Speedway Digest Staff
Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest
Two NASCAR Nationwide Series Teams Penalized Following Post-Race Incidents At Richmond
Penalties have been levied to two NASCAR Nationwide Series teams as a result of their involvement in separate post-race incidents following last Friday’s race at Richmond International Raceway.
Thomas Costello and Michael Scearce, both crew members for the No. 2 team, have each been fined $15,000 and suspended from NASCAR until the completion of the next four NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship events. They have also been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. Both Costello and Scearce were found to be in violation of Section 12-1 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing. Involved in an altercation with another competitor after the race had concluded).
Drivers Nelson Piquet Jr. (No. 30 car) and Brian Scott (No. 2 car) have been placed on NASCAR probation until June 26 for violating Section 12-1 and their involvement in an on-track altercation with their two cars after the race had concluded.
Crew chiefs Chris Carrier (No. 30 car) and Phil Gould (No. 2 car) have likewise been placed on NASCAR probation until June 26 as a result of the on-track incident between their two drivers.
Landon Cassill No. 4 Flex Seal Talladega Preview
After running strong at Richmond International Raceway and recording the team’s best finish of 2013, Landon Cassill and the No. 4 Flex Seal Chevrolet will head to Talladega Superspeedway for the Aaron’s 299 on Saturday, May 4th. The top-20 finish moved the No. 4 car up 16 points in the owner’s standings, but still leaves the team outside the top-30 in points.
In order to maximize their potential at the 2.5 mile restrictor plate track, the team will use JDM Chassis 011. This racecar was previously the backup car for the No. 01 team at plate races, but has been rebuilt into a Camaro and renumbered for this weekend. Powering the car will be a fresh ECR motor.
Although Cassill will be making his first start at Talladega in the Nationwide Series, he is no stranger to success at plate races. In his only start at Daytona, Cassill was rewarded with a top-5 finish after drafting with veteran Tony Stewart for the majority of the day.
Cassill, who recently completed a move into a new house, will be making his third start with JD Motorsports, and joining him will be Flex Seal. Along with the typical tight racing at Talladega is the potential for being involved in the ‘big one’, a scenario the team will work hard to avoid.
Landon Cassill Quotes: “Last weekend was so much fun racing towards the front at Richmond. This is going to be a tough weekend for us, because we want to run and finish well, but we cannot risk getting involved in an early crash. I have had some good races at the restrictor plate tracks in the past, including pushing Tony Stewart to a win back in 2011. I’m looking forward to the race, I know we will have a good car and good power.”
JD Motorsports PR
Scott Speed and Leavine Family Racing to Go All Out at Talladega to Honor Victims in West, Texas
Sunday's Aaron's 499 will be the second race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season with restrictor plates. But for Scott Speed and Leavine Family Racing, their effort will be anything but restricted.
The team will dedicate its efforts on Sunday to the victims of the West, Texas, explosion that killed 14 people, including 12 first responders.
"We will run with restricted engines at the Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, but I can promise you nobody on this race team will hold anything back," Speed said. "Our race team has deep roots in Texas. Our car will be West, Texas, strong."
The Texas-based team decided to bring awareness to the disaster with signage on Speed's No. 95 Ford Fusion for Sunday's race in the aftermath of the fiery explosion at the fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas. The roof to Speed's car will carry to the words: "West, Texas, Strong. Victims - Survivors - Heroes."
"As Texans, we all bond together," said car owner Bob Leavine, who lives in Tyler, Texas. "Texans are strong people, proud people. And when something happens, we join forces."
TrackingPoint and Jordan Truck Sales (JTS) will share the primary sponsorship for the 188-lap event. Returning team sponsor Jordan Truck Sales (JTS) will be on the hood of the No. 95 Ford.
The Austin, Texas based TrackingPoint will return with sponsorship on the quarter panels. TrackingPoint is an applied technology company that created the first Precision Guided Firearm, a revolutionary new long-range shooting system that puts jet fighter "lock and launch" technology in a rifle, enabling users to hit moving targets at extended ranges.
Secondary sponsors Friends of NRA and Besties with Testies also signed on for Sunday's project.
Crew chief Wally Rogers knows the best way to honor the victims of the explosion is to run up front. The team will bring the same car that led two laps at the season-opening Daytona 500 and wound up with a lead-lap finish.
"We have a good restrictor-plate package," Rogers said. "Scott has a good sense for finding good drafting partners and not taking big gambles. This is a great opportunity for this team to make a breakout performance. No other track lends itself to upset victories like Talladega. Of course, in our minds it wouldn't be an upset."
Races at Talladega and Daytona are run with speed-reducing restrictor plates that limit the amount of air and gasoline into the engine. The plates restrict speeds by as much as 40 mph for safety reasons.
Since Leavine Family Racing is running a selective schedule, Speed kept himself busy with driving in the X-Games Global Rallycross championship. He won a gold medal for Ford Racing by winning the race in an OlsbergsMSE Fiesta Star Ford April 23 at Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. Speed won with a last-lap pass.
"Winning in Brazil was a lot of fun," Speed said. "Winning at Talladega would be even better."
NASCAR, Vuguru and AOL Announce 10 Episode Unscripted Docu-Series On Up-and-Coming Star Dylan Kwasniewski
Scheduled to share the stage with Nicole Richie, Sarah Jessica Parker, Hank Azaria and other Hollywood celebrities, up-and-coming NASCAR star Dylan Kwasniewski today will unveil at the 2013 Digital Content NewFront in New York a 10-episode docu-series following the 17-year-old’s quest to become a top driver in the sport. In attendance for today’s presentation will be more than 700 brand advertisers, marketers, agencies and digital and TV media buyers.
“Flat Out,” which is co-produced by NASCAR and Vuguru, will premiere later this year on AOL On Network, AOL’s premium video platform and curated video hub. Following Kwasniewski as he finishes his senior year of high-school and adjusts to his new NASCAR team, Turner Scott Motorsports, “Flat Out” is an unscripted, inspirational, real-life documentary series about a teenager trying to prove himself on the track while balancing family, school, friends and newfound celebrity away from the track.
“Flat Out” is NASCAR’s second original production greenlit in as many months and is a product of the sanctioning body’s Los Angeles-based Entertainment Marketing Division. Led by NASCAR Vice President Zane Stoddard, NASCAR’s Entertainment Marketing Division is continually integrating NASCAR into mainstream pop culture in an effort to expand the sport’s reach to new fans. In addition to television and film integrations and talent acquisition for NASCAR events, Stoddard and team are methodically developing and pushing out original productions like “Flat Out,” highlighting once again for Hollywood some of the most compelling stories within the NASCAR universe for both the big and small screen.
“There are so many great stories within NASCAR but Dylan’s stands out,” said Zane Stoddard, NASCAR vice president of entertainment marketing and business development. “It’s hard to find someone with a more unique and inspiring life, let alone a 17 year old, and we think ‘Flat Out’ will appeal to a very broad audience.”
Vuguru LLC is an independent studio that develops and finances scripted, story-driven content for digital and international platforms. Founded by Michael D. Eisner’s Tornante Company and backed by Canada’s Rogers Media, Vuguru develops, finances and licenses premium scripted content to a global set of distribution partners. “Flat Out,” which Vuguru is producing in partnership with NASCAR, will be the company’s first non-scripted original production.
“Vuguru’s success comes from great storytelling for audiences across multiple platforms,” said Larry Tanz, CEO of Vuguru. “We are excited to partner with NASCAR and NASCAR Productions to bring Dylan’s story to life and expand our relationship with AOL On, creating ‘Flat Out’ for mainstream consumers and racing enthusiasts alike.”
NASCAR Productions’ “Flat Out” will be an anchor of AOL’s slate of new original web series that was announced today across autos, entertainment, tech, style, business and food. These new series feature well-known celebrities as well as influencers on the rise and all are slated to premiere throughout the coming months.
AOL, the No. 1 premium curated video network on the web, bridges the gap between premium digital video and TV and has a proven track record of successful franchises including Moviefone’s “Unscripted,” “The Engadget Show,” Autoblog’s “The List,” AOL Autos’ “Translogic,” AOL On Parenting’s “Little Women, Big Cars” and AOL Music’s “Sessions.” Through its original production, curated programming and video distribution across partners and screens, AOL is creating a seamless, high-end video experience for advertisers and consumers.
“People who watch video on AOL gravitate towards authentic stories about interesting people and ‘Flat Out’ is just that,” said Karen Cahn, Head of Original Video, AOL. “Dylan’s story of overcoming personal tragedy and rising to become a NASCAR phenom is beyond inspiring.”
The next NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will be the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, May 5 at 1 p.m. ET on FOX, FOX Deportes, Motor Racing Network Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
Marcus Smith’s Statement on Charlotte Being Selected as One of Four Finalists Considered to Host Summer Edition of X Games
ESPN announced today that Charlotte is one of four cities being considered to host three years of the summer version of the X Games beginning in 2014. If selected, a majority of the action sports competitions, which range from skateboarding and BMX to Rally Car and Moto X, would be hosted at different venues within the Charlotte Motor Speedway complex.
“We're honored to be one of four finalists in consideration to host the X Games in 2014 and beyond,” said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. “In many respects, Charlotte Motor Speedway was one of the original action sports venues, having hosted world-class NASCAR and NHRA events that have drawn the attention of international audiences for more than 50 years.
“These events combine extreme action sports entertainment with the ESPN brand for more than 100,000 fans on site and tens of millions watching worldwide. Like the annual running of our NASCAR races or last year’s Democratic National Convention, the X Games would bring a tremendous spotlight to the greater Charlotte region and the great state of North Carolina.
“As we move forward in the selection process, working with our business and tourism partners from across the region, we look forward to showing the ESPN selection committee what makes Charlotte the best fit for years to come.”
To help with any news coverage surrounding today’s announcement, here are some facts about X Games:
• X Games (originally known as the Extreme Games) were first held in Rhode Island and the summer of 1995. Two years later, ESPN added the Winter X Games;
• The 2010 X Games, hosted by Los Angeles, had an economic impact of at least $50 million, according to a 2010 study by the LA Sports & Entertainment Commission;
• In 2010, ESPN broadcast 31 hours of original content live, reaching all 50 states, 175 countries and more than 380 million households around the world, according to the study;
• Several notable X Games athletes call North Carolina home, including Rally Car driver Dave Mirra and BMX biker Rob Darden, both from Greenville, and skateboarder Dan Murphy, from Raleigh.
ESPN is expected to name the host city later this summer. In addition to Charlotte, other cities under consideration are Austin, Texas; Chicago and Detroit.
It has only been three days since NASCAR was in Richmond, Virginia, but fans are already counting down the days until Richmond International Raceway hosts the Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Virginia 529 College Savings 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series races, September 6-7.
Fans who attended the Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR weekend at America’s Premier Short Track this past weekend are encouraged to renew their tickets by the May 6 deadline to enjoy these benefits:
- · Special renewal pricing: At least $10 off per NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tickets
- · Payment plan options: Take advantage of Pay Half Now, Half Later or the 4-Part Payment Plan to spread out your payments over a period of time
- · No processing fee on Print at Home: Opt to print your tickets at home and we’ll waive the processing fee
- · Option to relocate: Those who renew have first choice to move their seats or add additional seats before tickets go on sale to the general public
For a full listing of renewal benefits, please visit www.rir.com/renewals.
Tickets for the Saturday, September 7, Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and the Friday, September 6, Virginia 529 College Savings 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race go on sale to the general public Thursday, May 23.
Sorenson Looks to Top Best Finish of Season for Third Week
The No. 43 Pilot Travel Centers Ford team and driver Reed Sorenson is coming off of a strong 10th-place finish at Richmond International Raceway last Friday night and now looks to secure a second consecutive top-10 finish at the high-banked Talladega Superspeedway.
While Superspeedway racing leaves much to chance, Sorenson knows what it takes to be at the front at the end of the 117-lap race. He has a total of 17 starts on superspeedways, accumulating two top-five and six top-10 finishes.
Richard Petty Motorsports has just one start in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Talladega. Last year, Michael Annett posted a 23rd-place finish after being involved in an accident while racing for the lead. The No. 43 Pilot Travel Centers team has four starts on superspeedway tracks with a best finish of third at Daytona International Speedway in July of last year with Annett behind the wheel.
Comments from the No. 43 Pilot Travel Centers Ford Mustang driver Reed Sorenson:
"We had a really good car in Richmond, and it was great to get a top-10 for this team. This team is really strong and Richard Petty Motorsports has built a strong Nationwide program in a short time. The whole team has a great chemistry and I can see why Michael (Annett) enjoys racing this car so much. I'm just happy I can fill in for a few races because it's been a lot of fun.
"Going into Talladega you never know what to expect, anything can happen, but we are hoping to avoid getting caught up in any incidents. We want to leave there with another solid finish. These guys have worked really hard all season. It would be great to get some more good finishes so Michael can come back and be in a good position. I know we're all working hard to make that happen.
Comments from Crew Chief Philippe Lopez on Talladega:
"Last week's top-10 was a welcoming sight for our team. We got pretty used to good finishes at the end of last year and going into this year we thought we were doing all of the right things to continue that, but we haven't been getting the results we thought we would. It was nice to finally have things come together.
"We have a really solid foundation in Roush Yates Engines for our superspeedway program. Having a strong, fast motor is very important at these tracks. If you have a fast car, then you have other fast drivers that want to draft with you. Once you get a quality drafting partner, you can go from the back of the field to the front with no problems; you just have to make it to the end of the race with no incidents.
"Even though you go into this kind of race knowing you have a 50/50 chance of making it to the end they are still fun. Every lap is different, and as a Crew Chief, your strategy could change every three laps during the race."
JW Demolition to Sponsor Jason White at Talladega
The Nationwide Series returns to restrictor-plate racing this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. For Jason White, driver of the No. 24 Toyota, that's a reason to smile. White knows his way around the 2.66-mile tri-oval. He's driven to two top-10s and one top-five in six Truck Series starts at Talladega. He's looking for similar results when he hops behind the wheel of his SR2 Motorsports-fielded Camry in Saturday's Aaron's 312.
White will be racing with JW Demolition onboard his Camry at Talladega. In business since 2000, JW Demolition is a licensed demolition and hazardous materials remediation contractor serving commercial and industrial clients in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic states, and Mid-West. Their experience and safety record in both areas makes us uniquely qualified to take the lead in plant decommissioning and commercial redevelopment.
White comments on racing at Talladega:
"I'm really excited about Talladega. I can't help but smile when I think about racing there. It's anyone's race. With the rules packages that we have at restrictor plate tracks, it really bunches up the competition and keeps the field pretty close. We'll be really competitive this week. This is a track that we can get a top-10 or top-five and that's really exciting. We know that we can get one of our best finishes of the season this weekend, so we'll do all we can to capitalize on it.
"I'm really excited to have JW Demolition on our car this week. Given the craziness that can happen at Talladega, I'd say their a natural fit for this race.
"Hopefully my teammate and I can work together during the race. It's always nice when you have a teammate close by that you can draft with. It would be great if we can stick together all day and help one another get to the front.
"It takes a lot of trust between you and your spotter at Talladega. Cars are everywhere and the field is constantly changing. One second you'll be clear, then a split second later you'll be in the middle going three wide. That happens all the time at Talladega, so you've got to trust that your spotter will let you know what's going on around you immediately. You also need to believe that he can keep an eye on the competition and help find the right drafting partners to line you up with. It's truly a team effort at Talladega."
SR2 Motorsports PR
Almirola Rides the Draft of Three Top-10 Finishes to Talladega
After three consecutive top- 10 finishes, Aric Almirola and the No. 43 team are one of the most successful teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series right now. This weekend, they are hoping to extend their streak with the colors and branding of Gwaltney on the high-banks of Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The race will mark Gwaltney's first of two races this season.
Almirola will make his seventh start at Talladega this weekend. He posted his best Sprint Cup superspeedway finish of 12th during the spring race at Talladega last season. At the 2.66-mile track, Almirola posted two runner-up finishes in the truck series in 2009 and 2010 and a ninth-place finish in the Nationwide series in 2011.
Comments from Gwaltney Ford Fusion Driver Aric Almirola:
"Talladega is a bit of a crapshoot. You go in knowing you of a one in 43 chance of winning the race, but also have a one in 43 chance of ending up on your roof and done for the day. Roush Yates has built a great engine package for this race and Todd (Parrott) and the guys worked on some aero with the chassis since Daytona too. I feel like we will have good speed this weekend.
"This will be Gwaltney's first race with us this season, so hopefully we can continue our top-10 streak and give them a good showing this weekend. We have some really good momentum now. I think last week at Richmond really proved how good our team is. We took an okay car, worked on it all race, and by the end we had a top-10 finish. We're right in the thick of it for a Chase position. Although some think it's still early for that, maybe, but every race is important. Right now, we're taking advantage of all of them."
Comments from Gwaltney Ford Fusion Crew Chief Todd Parrott:
"We weren't too happy with our car in Daytona, so we came back and built a new chassis. I am very proud of the season we put together so far. If we keep putting ourselves in position for top-10 and keep improving, we'll start posting top-fives and really be in contention to win each week. That's our goal. Talladega is difficult because you really don't know what you are going to get until the last few laps. We just have to give Aric a fast car and try to be in the right place at the right time at the end."
Ambrose Knows Team Can Shake Bad Luck
Marcos Ambrose heads to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway looking to turn his season around. Despite bad luck in the first nine races, he still sits 23rd in points, just 76 points outside of a Chase spot. With 17 races left, and two wild card spots, the No. 9 Stanley Ford team should still be considered a serious threat.
The team has also proved to be very strong both in qualifying and early in races. Ambrose hasn't qualified worse than 15th in the last four races and has raced in the top-10 before problems have forced the team to undeserved finishes. But, coming into Talladega, Ambrose has just as good of a chance at a win than anyone.
Ambrose has posted eight previous starts at the 2.66-mile superspeedway with a best finish of fourth in his track debut in 2009. The No. 9 Stanley Ford tallied a third-place starting spot and 14th-place finish in the spring event last season.
Comments from Stanley Ford Fusion Driver Marcos Ambrose:
"We were bit by bad luck again last week, but hopefully all that is behind us now. We're ready for some good luck, and Talladega is a place where you need it. Anything can happen at these superspeedway races, we've just got to be in the right place at the right time and stay out of trouble. I know that we'll bring another fast Stanley Ford because the last month we've been pretty fast.
"Richard Petty Motorsports is a world-class organization, and we always come to the track ready to win. I think we can do that each week, and I know this bad luck will end. We're a strong team, and we'll see the finishes come soon. Hopefully, it starts this weekend."
Comments from Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer on Talladega:
"We had a good car last weekend and another problem out of our control. It's important for us to keep our heads up and know that we deserve and can get top-10 finishes. We'll have a good car this weekend. We'll just have to keep out of trouble early on and be there at the end. Speed is very important at Talladega, and I think our Roush Yates engine will be fast this weekend."