Speedway Digest Staff
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With the sounds of a revving race engine, Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) and Eckrich-sponsored NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Aric Almirola made a different kind of pit stop Thursday evening in Ann Arbor, Michigan. And it was all to the surprise of military family, the Kotts, in their own driveway. Almirola drove a replica of the famed No. 43 Eckrich stock car right up to the house of Sergeant First Class Howard Kott and his wife Dawn to surprise them with the opportunity to be honorary crew members this Sunday at the Michigan International Speedway.
Eckrich, part of the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, and Operation Homefront have worked together the past two years to support and thank military men and women and their families. Today's event continues that partnership with Eckrich-sponsored Almirola saying thanks in this once-and-a-lifetime manner. Once Almirola stepped out of the car, he surprised the Kott family by presenting them with crew uniforms and VIP passes and then asked them to be part of the famed No. 43 team this Sunday.
"We just heard this loud noise and came out to see Aric just driving the No. 43 down the street. He even set off someone's car alarm," said Howard Kott. "We are so excited and can't wait to get to the track on Sunday. This is really cool."
But Eckrich and Almirola weren't done honoring the family just yet. In addition to the VIP crew member experience, Eckrich brought a gift basket that Almirola presented, including Eckrich No. 43 hats, water bottles and plenty of Eckrich products. The family will also be given a pace car ride around the track on Sunday, attend the driver's meeting with Almirola and be introduced to the race crowd with "The King" Richard Petty prior to the start of the race.
"We want to keep recognizing, honoring and thanking our military veterans, wounded warriors and their families," said Almirola. "They have made a tremendous sacrifice for us to enjoy our freedom and to allow me to race each weekend. It's just a lot of fun to give back and say thanks in a different way. Eckrich and Operation Homefront are really good at doing that."
Added Howard, "All of this is just a little overwhelming but in a good way. Sometimes we don't know what the next day will bring, so this is really cool for Eckrich and Operation Homefront to provide an opportunity like this."
Sergeant First Class Howard Kott is currently active in the Army and has been deployed twice for service. He and his wife, Dawn, are race fans who are now looking forward to their first VIP experience thanks to Eckrich.
"The Kotts are a perfect example of who we are honoring and thanking for their service and sacrifice," said Chuck Gitkin, vice president, marketing, innovation and R&D for the John Morrell Food Group. "To give back to them, with this unique experience is just as rewarding for us as it is to them. Our relationship with Operation Homefront allows us to make that happen and we're honored to work together to support these families and also to make surprises like today's event happen."
Almirola and the No. 43 Eckrich Ford will race at the Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, August 18. Television coverage will begin at 1:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.
To learn more about Operation Inspiration, please click here.
Not only is Michigan International Speedway a destination multiple times a year for NASCAR fans from around the world, it serves as a valuable business partner to companies across the state.
NASCAR’s fastest track is the largest welcome center in Michigan every year, twice a year. Thousands of guests make their way to the Irish Hills in June and August when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series comes to town.
The fans who annually travel from all 50 states and 13 countries eat in area restaurants, stay in local hotels, shop at local grocery markets and department stores, rent cars, sightsee, golf and do other things while in town.
In addition, MIS is the largest registered campground in Michigan. The track has more than 8,000 campsites for guests to use on race weekend. Often, fans arrive the week prior to a race and stay through the event before departing for home, spending their vacation in Michigan.
“The local businesses welcome the influx of campers and race fans, many of whom shop for supplies and look for places to explore while they are in the area,” senior director of Corporate Partnerships Josh Burgett says. “It’s awesome for those businesses and we love being a part of it.”
Businesses from the state of Michigan realize a great opportunity at MIS throughout the year, too. Those companies invest in MIS to grow their brand awareness and market their products to a legion of fans – making Michigan International Speedway truly Pure Michigan.
In 2013, the entitlement sponsors for the two NASCAR Sprint Cup races are a pair of Michigan-based companies – Quicken Loans and Pure Michigan.
That continues into the Camping World Truck Series where the Michigan National Guard has partnered with the track as title sponsor for Michigan National Guard 200. The National Guard markets its brand to its target audience through television, radio and print mediums on a state and nationwide basis.
It also gives the organization access to a tremendous social media network already built by MIS and NASCAR.
Fans can literally get a taste of Michigan at the track, as well. Ann Arbor-based Cottage Inn delivers pizzas to campers and hungry race fans.
Source One Digital from Muskegon is the official sign company of the speedway. The company handles all of the printing and creative for the large format billboards throughout the track.
Speedway partners align and work together to enhance the fan experience. This spring, four Michigan companies – Michigan International Speedway, Ford, Pure Michigan and Quicken Loans – partnered to unveil the Ford Fusion Energi as the 2013 Official Pace Car at NASCAR’s fastest track. And on fan will have the opportunity to win the pace car as part of the MI Pace Car Sweepstakes during the Pure Michigan 400.
In addition, to all the great official sponsors at the track, MIS is happy to welcome numerous companies who partner with the track in various ways.
Michigan International Speedway is a race track but has proven to be a rewarding investment opportunity for companies of all sizes.
Other Michigan-based partners of Michigan International Speedway include:
Michigan Economic Development Cooperation Lansing
Michigan National Guard Lansing
Patriot Pumps Howell
Quicken Loans Detroit
B & D Thread Rolling Taylor
Cottage Inn Pizza Ann Arbor
Corrigan Oil Brighton
Experience Jackson Jackson
Ford Motor Company Dearborn
General Motors Detroit
Melling Industries Jackson
Roush Industries Livonia
Source One Digital Norton Shores
ZYNP International Romulus
NSK Ann Arbor
CP Federal Credit Union Jackson
Alro Steel Jackson
Five-Hour Energy Farmington Hills
The “Biggest Labor Day Party in the USA” is fast approaching with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 and the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips / Grit Chips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway August 30 to September 1.
Extended Ticket Office Hours:
To better server customers purchasing event tickets and camping spaces, the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office has extended ticket office hours through the AdvoCare 500 on Sunday, September 1.
The extended ticket office hours are: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. During race weekend, the ticket office will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.
Great Ticket Options Still Available!
The FANtastic Family four pack is a cost affordable opportunity for fans to catch the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Labor Day weekend. For just $159, fans can get four (4) lower Elliott Grandstand tickets, four (4) hot dogs and four (4) Coca-Cola beverages.
Kids ages 12 and under as well students with a valid student ID can purchase discounted tickets for the AdvoCare 500. Kids and student tickets are $19 in the Elliott Grandstands and in the lower Winner’s Grandstands and $29 in the upper Winner’s Grandstands.
Fan Experience Upgrades
AdvoCare 500 weekend experience upgrade opportunities include pre-race pit passes and stage front passes for Sunday’s Fast Cars & Guitars pre-race concert featuring Billy Currington presented by Bad Boy Buggies.
A pre-race pit pass for the Labor Day race weekend is $125. A Saturday only pre-race pit pass is $75 and a Sunday only pre-race pit pass is $100. Stage front access to the Fast Cars & Guitars pre-race concert featuring Billy Currington presented by Bad Boy Buggies is $49 and also includes stage front access to the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver introductions.
Race fans will have a new alternative to hotels when it comes to race weekend accommodations this fall at Dover International Speedway, with the addition of an all-new camping program for the Sept. 27-29, 2013 race weekend.
All-inclusive Premium Camping introduces fans at the Monster Mile to a turnkey option that provides added convenience on race weekend, and includes a luxury tent; two comfortable cots with blankets and pillows; two shower passes per day; and a parking spot right at your campsite. Premium Camping costs $289 for the duration of the stay. The package also includes a Trackside Access pass for each NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ticket on a customer’s account, providing access to the frontstretch of the track on Sunday morning before the green flag waves.
Standard Tent Camping, available for just $100, provides fans with the option to bring their own tent and setup for race weekend at their leisure. A parking spot on-site is included, along with nearby restroom access. Showers are available for a nominal fee
The only ticket requirement for either package is one adult ticket for any of the weekend’s three races.
Both Premium Camping and Tent Camping are located in Lot 9, in close proximity to the track’s FanZone and Monster Monument in Victory Plaza. Fans that stay on-site can easily experience all the Monster Mile has to offer all weekend long, including free autograph sessions, driver question-and-answer sessions, the family friendly Monster FunZone, live music and more.
“We’re happy to provide on-site camping options, giving our fans additional and affordable choices for accommodations on race weekend,” said Michael Tatoian, COO for Dover Motorsports, Inc. “We hope that fans will see this as a convenient alternative to hotels on race weekend.”
To reserve your Premium Camping or Tent Camping spot for race weekend, call the Dover ticket office at 800-441-RACE.
NASCAR returns to Dover International Speedway Sept. 27-29, 2013 for the Sept. 29 “AAA 400” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the third event in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the Sept. 28 NASCAR Nationwide Series race and the Sept. 27 “Drive Sober 150” NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race.
Dover Motorsports PR
Richmond International Raceway is bringing you closer to the action than ever before with Friday Pre-Race Pit Passes prior to the upcoming Virginia529 College Savings 250NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Friday, September 6. You can watch NASCAR pole qualifying and practice from the perspective of a NASCAR crew member and see the stock cars from just a few feet away as they rumble down pit road, giving you an unforgettable experience of the sights and sounds that only NASCAR can produce.
Individual Friday Pre-Race Pit Passes, $50 per person, are the only way fans can gain access to pit road prior to the Nationwide Series race. Friday Pre-Race Pit Passes are available online by clicking here or calling 866-455-7223.
Friday’s events include Farm Bureau Insurance Pole Qualifying and practice for the Sprint Cup Series, as well as WRIC-TV8 Pole Qualifying and practice for the Nationwide Series. In order to purchase the Friday Pre-Race Pit Pass, you must have a ticket for the September 6, Virginia529 College Savings 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Pre-Race Pit Passes are limited to guests 16 years of age and older. A parent or guardian must sign waivers for and accompany children under 18 who are utilizing Pre-Race Pit Passes.
Appropriate dress is required. Shirt, shoes and shorts or pants must be worn at all times while on pit road. No alcohol or coolers are permitted in the infield.
To purchase tickets for the September 6, Virginia529 College Savings 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race and Pre-Race Pit Passes, click here or call 866-455-7223. Tickets to Friday’s race start at $30 in advance and children 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult in general admission.
Detroit-based Quicken Loans, the nation's largest online mortgage lender, today announced that the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS driven by Ryan Newmanwill feature a special paint scheme supporting the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) at the Pure Michigan 400, held at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, August 18.
In addition to featuring a unique paint scheme on his No. 39 Chevrolet this weekend, Newman, winner of the 20th annual Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, made a very special visit to the Detroit Public School's Burton International Academy Wednesday. Pulling up to the school in his No. 39 Chevrolet, Newman, an engineering graduate from Purdue University, spoke with students about the importance of staying in school and how education played an important role on his path to becoming a successful racecar driver.
"It is always fun to spend time with kids and talk with them about the relationship between racing and education," said Newman. "They see the Quicken Loans Chevrolet and know it's loud and goes fast, but it is also a great tool to be able to explain the engineering that goes into these machines. It shows the kids that math and science can be fun...and fast."
Quicken Loans also put Newman to work, moving more than $7,500 in school supplies purchased by the Detroit-based company. Newman traded his racing gloves for work gloves as he carried boxes from his show car trailer into Burton International Academy, a school serving kindergarten through eighth-grade students in Detroit.
"We are excited to be partnering with the National PTA, Detroit Public Schools and the Burton International Academy on this event," said Leslie Andrews, Director of Community Relations for Quicken Loans. "Today we created memories for these kids that will last well beyond the start of school in a few weeks and showed them that with dedication and hard work they too can achieve their dreams just like Ryan Newman did."
The school supplies purchased by Quicken Loans for Burton International Academy came from Chalkfly (www.chalkfly.com), a sister company of Quicken Loans. Chalkfly, an office and school supply company that gives five percent of every purchase to the teacher of the customer's choosing, also provided each teacher at Burton International Academy a special back-to-school starter kit each containing $100 worth of supplies. Chalkfly's logo will also be featured on Newman's No. 39 Chevrolet at this weekend's race.
"This is a great example of collaboration between families, schools and the community to increase student success. We are thrilled about the opportunity to help a local school and give our children the opportunity to learn from a professional racecar driver like Ryan Newman," said Otha Thornton, National PTA President.
Quicken Loans PR
Aspen Dental And Stewart-Haas Racing Celebrate Smiles During Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race At Michigan
When Ashland City, Tenn. resident Judy Berryhill celebrated her birthday this spring, she vowed to make this the year she would put her health above all else. Today, thanks to Dr. David Elrod, DMD, and the team at Aspen Dental in Clarksville, Tenn., Judy can now check "great oral health" off her to-do list.
"I told myself I wouldn't wait another year," Berryhill told Aspen Dental. "I got tired of looking in the mirror and knowing there was a smile in my heart that wasn't being shown on my face."
Judy wasted no time in treating her poor oral health. After seeing a commercial for Aspen Dental in Clarksville, she began her treatment and says she owes her new-found confidence to the transformation she experienced at Aspen Dental.
"From the moment I arrived, I was greeted with warmth and compassion by not only the dentist, but also by Dana, the office hygienists and technicians," Berryhill wrote in a review she posted on Aspen Dental's Facebook wall. It was determined that I needed to have teeth extracted and be fitted with dentures. Dr. Elrod and Leslie went above and beyond what was needed to calm my anxiety."
On Sunday, Aug. 18, Aspen Dental and Stewart-Haas Racing will showcase Judy's story as they feature her smile on Ryan Newman's No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet during the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
Judy plans to pay her good fortune forward this fall as she begins volunteer work with Big Brothers Big Sisters in Clarksville.
"I have so many reasons to smile these days that I decided I needed to share my good fortune with those who need it most," she said. "Nothing spreads faster than a smile, and now I have a one to share with the world."
Aspen Dental began featuring patients' photos on Newman's No. 39 Chevrolet during the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, and will continue the tradition throughout the 2013 season.
Aspen Dental was the primary sponsor of the No. 39 Chevrolet for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on May 18, 2013 and will also boast the primary sponsorship of Newman's car during the AdvoCare 500 Sept. 1 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. For all other races during the 2013 season, Aspen Dental is an associate sponsor with placement on the lower-rear quarter panels of the No. 39 Chevrolet and prominent positioning on Newman's uniform. In addition to Newman, Aspen Dental is also featured on the uniform of Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet and co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing.
Aspen Dental PR
Seven-hundred horsepower will roar to life in Downtown Roanoke on September 11 when one of NASCAR’s top drivers will pilot a Sprint Cup car through the streets and onto the Historic Roanoke City Market.
The event, presented by Martinsville Speedway, is part the Chase Across America, a nationwide kickoff celebrating the Chase for the Sprint Cup, NASCAR’s final 10-race championship chase. Martinsville Speedway hosts the seventh race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, the Goody’s™ Headache Relief Shot™ 500 Powered by Kroger.
One of the 12 drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup will drive a Sprint Cup car down Jefferson Street, across Campbell Avenue and onto the Historic Roanoke City Market where he will be met by a marching band, cheerleaders and a crowd of fans.
After leaving his car, the driver will be greeted on a stage in front of Center In The Square by Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell, Roanoke City officials, and Jaclyn Rooney, Miss Sprint Cup. He will be honored by Roanoke City leaders, address the crowd and conduct a question-and-answer session with the fans. The identity of the driver will not be known until drivers are locked into the Chase in the coming weeks. It will be one of the top-12 drivers.
“The Roanoke area is very important to us. A large portion of our fan base is from that area,” said Campbell. “When we were looking for a way to celebrate the Chase, we immediately thought of Roanoke. We want to bring the feel of a race day at Martinsville Speedway to the Historic Roanoke City Market that day. We want the fans to cheer for the driver, even if he isn’t their favorite. We want it to be a big celebration.”
When speedway officials began planning the Chase Across America event, they immediately contacted Downtown Roanoke, Inc. for help. The group, led by Tina Workman, President & CEO of DRI, was instrumental in putting the plan together.
"We are thrilled at the opportunity to partner with the Martinsville Speedway for this Chase Across America event and help bring a driver to our Downtown," said Tina Workman, President & CEO of Downtown Roanoke, Inc.
The action will begin at 11 a.m. on September 11 when the driver will fire up the NASCAR Sprint Cup car near Elmwood Park on Jefferson Street. He will drive the racer several blocks down Jefferson and take a right on Campbell Avenue and proceed to the Historic Roanoke City Market where the festivities will be held.
Martinsville Speedway PR
Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces today that it has partnered with Pit Crew U, a division of Performance Instruction & Training, on a pit crew development program designed to keep a flow of talent coming to the organization for years to come.
“It certainly is no secret how important pit crews have become in our sport especially with track position playing such a vital role in each race,” said J.D. Gibbs, President of JGR. “We’ve always believed in developing our own talent through our driver program and our Nationwide Series program, which has seen many team members, including crew chiefs, make the step to the Sprint Cup Series. We’re excited to partner with Pit Crew U now to make sure we have a consistent flow of over the wall talent coming to JGR in the years to come.”
Pit Crew U has produced some of the best over-the-wall talent in NASCAR with several of JGR’s current Sprint Cup Series pit crew members having come out of their program.
“To be part of a pit crew at the highest levels of our sport takes an athlete with very specialized skills,” said Mike Lepp, Athletic Director for JGR. “Pit Crew U has a state of the art facility for training to those specific requirements and is proven in their ability to develop talent. This is a big step for JGR in ensuring depth in talent at every over the wall position.”
JGR will work with Pit Crew U to identify 10 talented athletes to form a development squad for their racing programs with the intent to eventually fill the organization’s needs in their Nationwide Series programs and ultimately the Sprint Cup Series.
“Not only has Joe Gibbs Racing consistently fielded winning Sprint Cup race teams and elite pit crews since their creation in 1992, but just as importantly to us, Joe and J.D. Gibbs have created a winning culture – an organization that personifies class and integrity in everything that they do,” said Bob Plott, General Manager of PIT. “JGR wins the right way. Performance Instruction and Training (PIT) shares those same core values and beliefs. And Like JGR, PIT takes pride in developing quality, winning athletes as well as quality people. That’s why we are so excited to partner with JGR and be a part of their great team.”
Getting the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion up to speed at Michigan International Speedway hasn’t been much of a problem for Trevor Bayne and the Wood Brothers in recent races. Securing a fitting finish has been another matter altogether.
In both Sprint Cup races at Michigan in 2012, Bayne qualified in the top seven only to have equipment issues take away opportunities for strong finishes. An engine failure in the first race and a flat tire in the second, hindered any chance of showcasing the teams full potential.
Back in June of this year at the home track for Ford Motor Company, Bayne was poised to be a big part of a Ford celebration of its 1,000th NASCAR victory before aerodynamic damage from an incident on the track left him with a 15th-place finish behind the winning Ford Fusion driven by Greg Biffle.
The team will use the same Ford Fusion it ran at MIS on Father’s Day, and it will be back in its familiar red-and-white paint scheme instead of the black-and-white colors used at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to honor Henry Ford’s 150th birthday. Veteran crew chief Donnie Wingo said he and his Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew are determined to do their part to help Bayne steer Chassis No. 745 to a strong finish in Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.
“We’ve had some of our better runs at Michigan, but we just haven’t been able to finish them off,” Wingo said. “The car’s been good. It just needed a little bit here and there, which we should be able to work on in practice.”
Among the goals Wingo has for the weekend is a strong qualifying effort, for several reasons. Foremost, there’s the matter of making the starting field, as the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team must make the race based on its qualifying speed. Then there are the advantages that come with starting up front, namely a beneficial pit stall and the edge that comes with having track position from the drop of the green flag.
“We’re going to work hard on qualifying,” Wingo said. “I expect we’re going to have a track-position race.”
That means race strategies will focus on keeping drivers as close to the front of the field as possible, especially as the laps wind down.
“You’re not going to take four tires every time you make a pit stop,” Wingo said. “You’ll see lots of two-tire stops and some no-tire stops. It just depends on how much fuel you need at that point.”
Qualifying for the Pure Michigan 400 is set for Friday at 3:40 p.m. Eastern, and the race is scheduled to start just after 1 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on ESPN.
Wood Brothers Racing PR