Tuesday, Dec 05
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Telescope, the market leader in audience participation, consumer engagement, and mobile technology for live television, employed its social engagement platform, Connect, to power the Sprint Unlimited, NASCAR Hall of Fame voting, and Sprint Fan Vote campaigns.

Fans were able to log on to the application via their mobile, web, iOS, or Android device and vote for different elements to feature within the race. Votes were validated in real-time and revealed live through the Telescope audience engagement dashboard. Audiences voted for their preferred race format, number of pit stops, and the elimination format. It was the first time in NASCAR history that fans were able to decide the rules of any race. Fans were even able to choose what type of fire suit Miss Sprint Cup would wear when she presented the trophy to the race winner. To incentivize NASCAR app downloads, Telescope powered a double count technology for in-app voting - rewarding fans for app usage.

This race season also provided NASCAR another boost in audience engagement with the Telescope-powered Hall of Fame voting application. Over the course of the month-long campaign, viewers could log on, vote up to five times for their favorite racer, and watch in real time as the votes rolled in for their choices and those of fellow fans.

Similar to the Hall of Fame initiative was the Sprint All-Star campaign—also powered by Telescope—which saw fans log on to the Sprint-sponsored platform to vote for their favorite driver, with 76% of the votes originating from mobile devices. Fans were given a voice to decide which driver would be added to the lineup for the Sprint All-Star race, something which had never been allowed in years past.

“NASCAR features some of the most dedicated and passionate fans within the sporting world,” said Jason George, CEO of Telescope. “We wanted to enable NASCAR and their partners to better amplify that passion across digital mediums. Through use of our social tools and Connect platform, NASCAR increased fan activity across multiple social platforms, delivering earned media and increasing their social footprint.”

NASCAR and Telescope first began their partnership in 2013 and have since launched three campaigns, driving millions of fan interactions.

Beck Media PR

Dennis Connor, a three-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, has joined ThorSport Racing as Johnny Sauter's crew chief for the No. 98 Carolina Nut Co. / Curb Records Toyota, effective immediately.


Connor, who was with Sauter and his crew last weekend at Pocono Raceway as an observer, has an exemplary career statistical record including the series' standard for championships by a crew chief, which he won with Jack Sprague at Hendrick Motorsports in 1997, 1999 and 2001.


Connor and Sprague, whose passion and volatility are akin to Sauter's demeanor, were a particularly effective combination. They paired for 24 consecutive top-10 finishes in the last 12 races of Sprague's first championship year and halfway into 1998. In Sprague's final title year Connor prepared trucks in which Sprague qualified in the top 10 every race, with a season qualifying average of 3.5. The pair had two other qualifying streaks of 22 and 23 consecutive top-10 starts, both coming between 1997-1999. 


Connor's other significant statistical marks include the second-most career victories by a crew chief in the 19-year-old series' history, 26, a 40-percent ratio of top-five finishes, a 58-percent ratio of top-10 finishes, a 76-percent ratio of lead-lap finishes and a 90-percent ratio of races running at the finish in all his 278 career starts.


Connor joins a team that won the 2013 season's first two races, at Daytona and Martinsville, and scored top-five finishes in the first four events. But a technical violation and 25-point penalty incurred at Kansas and wrecks in which Sauter was an innocent victim in three of their last seven races have put them in 10th in the championship standings, 84 points behind ThorSport Racing teammate Matt Crafton.


"I'm extraordinarily enthused after being fortunate enough to get a chance to stand back and take a look at everything that was going on at Pocono," Connor said. "I saw a nice truck that was very well-prepared and a spectacular driver who's definitely capable of getting the job done, in my opinion, anywhere we go.


"I was very impressed with the crew and I think all of the components to have a consistently winning race team are in place. If we can tweak it up just a little bit and get everybody working on the same page it's going to make the entire ThorSport organization better." 


Sauter, who has eight wins -- all with ThorSport -- in 119 career Truck Series starts, shares his new crew chief's enthusiasm.


"I guess the biggest thing that makes me comfortable in working with Dennis is he's been at ThorSport before, so he knows how things work and that will help him get up to speed really quickly," Sauter said. "We all know what Dennis has done in the Truck Series, it's impressive and I think he'll be a real good complement to the guys on our team.


"I've always felt really good and confident about my team and I would stack them up against any team in the garage. So for Dennis to come in for one weekend and immediately feel the same way about them gives me a real positive feeling."


The Truck Series has a weekend off before it has five races in 28 days, beginning with an event at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 17 through a Sept. 13 race at Chicagoland Speedway.


"Obviously, we have to get trucks prepared, not only for Michigan but also for Bristol and the road course -- there's a tremendous amount of work that has to be done," Connor said. "It's going to be a lot of hours and a lot of midnight oil, as they say, but for me it's going to be a lot of seeing exactly how the procedures work around here and what the right way of doing things is, to make everyone not look at me as an outsider but as  a helpful teammate.


"I'm looking forward to getting to know the guys on the 98 team as well as I possibly can -- and the rest of my teammates as well -- during this little bit of time off from racing. Where you usually have two or three months to get prepared during the off-season, I've got about a week to get prepared for a tough stretch of the season.


"It's going to be a challenge but my life's always been built around challenges and in some cases I've done pretty good with them."


Connor, who most recently worked on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East program at Rev Racing for diversity drivers Ryan Gifford and Jorge Arteaga in 2012, feels he has everything he needs to succeed at the current ThorSport, where he formerly worked.


Connor was Tracy Hines' crew chief at the end of 2004 and then was ThorSport's competition director in 2005. Connor was Shelby Howard's crew chief on the No. 13 truck in 2008, when the team was housed in its old shop. ThorSport's state-of-the-art shop that opened in August 2011 is 100,000 square feet and Connor saw it for the first time when he returned from Pocono. 


"When I came into the shop on Saturday night the first thing I thought was that the pictures that are on the (ThorSport.com) Web site don't do it justice," Connor said. "It's absolutely magnificent, much larger than I had imagined it to be and there's no piece of equipment you need that isn't here, so I can't see that we're lacking anything to have a great program." 


Connor will work with truck chief Jesse Saunders, a third-year ThorSport employee who was promoted into the crew chief's right-hand position at the start of this season. Saunders served as co-crew chief for Sauter with former truck chief Dan LeMasters at several events this season in place of suspended former crew chief Joe Shear Jr.


Thorsport PR


For the 11th race of the 2013 season, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) headed north to Pocono Raceway for the Pocono Mountains 125. With Mother Nature forcing NASCAR to cancel qualifying, the starting line up was set by the first practice session, lining Ron Hornaday and the No. 9 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff team up in the 21st position.


As the race got under way for 50 laps around the 2.5-mile raceway, it was immediately slowed for the first caution of the race for a spin on lap one. Settling back into the 21st position, the race restarted on lap three and with a strong restart, Hornaday passed four competitors on the restart to move into the 17th position on lap five.


Patiently making his moves on competitors, Hornaday moved into the top 15 on lap eight and set his eyes on the leaders.


With the race continuing under a long green-flag run, teams began to make green-flag pit stops on lap 21 with Hornaday scored in the 12th position. Crew chief Bruce Cook called Hornaday to pit road at the halfway point of the Pocono Mountains 125 for right-side tires and fuel. Once the field cycled through pit stops, Hornaday was running in the 15th spot.


Running his fastest laps of the race, Hornaday picked off one competitor at a time to move into the top 10 for the first time on lap 45 with five scheduled laps remaining in the Pocono Mountains 125. 


Surviving two late cautions that forced the race into overtime and making evasive moves to avoid spins in front of his No. 9 Smokey Mountain Chevrolet, Hornaday was able to cross the finish line solidly in the sixth position to earn his fifth top-10 finish of the season.


Hornaday Hype:


"Pocono Raceway is the most unique track I have visited during my rookie season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.  To cap off my first race weekend at the Tricky Triangle with a top-five in the ARCA Racing Series and my first top-10 finish in the NCWTS was amazing.  My Qore-24 team worked through adversity having to bring out the back up truck early in practice and I had to overcome starting positions deep in the field of both events because the ever changing weather cancelled qualifying."


NTS Motorsports PR


As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) hit the halfway point of the 2013 season, teams unloaded at Pocono Raceway for each driver to learn and master the three unique turns of the 'Tricky Triangle.' Brennan Newberry and the Qore-24 team entered the weekend with two shots at visiting Victory Lane and looking for strong finishes in the second half of the 2013 season.


Arriving in Pocono for a full day of Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) practice on Thursday, Newberry and the Qore-24 team were greeted by Mother Nature with a day full of rain. ARCA canceled the practice sessions and turned Friday's qualifying session into a lone practice for the teams, and set the starting line up by owner's points, as designated in the rulebook.


Excited to see clear skies of Friday, Newberry prepared for a day of double duty, starting the day in his No. 24 Qore-24 Chevrolet Silverado and ending the day in his No. 92 Qore-24 Chevrolet Impala.


Unfortunately, poor track conditions coupled with jet dryer fuel on the pavement forced multiple trucks, including the No. 24 Qore-24 Silverado to back up trucks for the Pocono Mountains 125. The worked hard and were very successful preparing the backup truck.  Taking to the unique track, Newberry was able to secure the 22nd spot in practice.


Switching gears Friday afternoon, Newberry competed in the ARCA ModSpace 125 learning the tricks and turns of Pocono Raceway.  Starting in the 31st spot, Newberry passed the most cars of any driver and finished an impressive fourth.


After a wet start on Saturday morning that forced NASCAR to cancel NCWTS qualifying, the truck field would be set by the practice times.  The sun made an appearance in time for the NCWTS teams to race for 50 laps in the Pocono Mountains 125. With confidence on their side following their fourth-place finish in the ModSpace 125, Newberry and the No. 24 Qore-24 team started the Pocono Mountains 125 in the 22nd position.


With the race underway, spotter Rick Carelli told Newberry to "keep the momentum going" as he started to make his move toward the front of the field. On lap 13, as Newberry moved into the 20th spot, he reported to the team that his Silverado was "a little snug off all three turns, but felt overall good."


As the race continued under a long green-flag run, the field began making scheduled stops at lap 21. Newberry made his way down pit road on lap 26 to the hands of the Qore-24 team for a routine stop. After the field cycled through green-flag stops, Newberry was running in 20th place.


Taking over 16th on  lap 39, Newberry continued to focus on making his way to the front. The caution waved on lap 41 for debris and Newberry told the team "the truck handles great!" Told to save fuel and stay out under the caution, the race restarted on lap 43 with the Qore-24 team running 12th.


Following several late cautions where Newberry had to stay on his toes to miss being involved in accidents in front of him, the race was extended with two green-white-checker attempts. Running as high as ninth in the closing laps, Newberry battled his way to a strong 10th-place finish in the Pocono Mountains 125, his first career NCWTS top-10 finish.


Newberry Knowledge:


"Pocono Raceway is the most unique track I have visited during my rookie season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.  To cap off my first race weekend at the Tricky Triangle with a top-five in the ARCA Racing Series and my first top-10 finish in the NCWTS was amazing.  My Qore-24 team worked through adversity having to bring out the back up truck early in practice and I had to overcome starting positions deep in the field of both events because the ever changing weather cancelled qualifying."


NTS Motorsports PR

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team owner Eddie Sharp Jr. announced today that as he has formed a partnership with businessman Bill Gallaher of Santa Rosa, California, creating Sharp Gallaher Racing.


Gallaher is a successful real estate developer specializing in premium retirement communities and is Chairman of the Board of First Community Bank, based in Santa Rosa, California. He brings to SGR a business background that will raise the bar in Camping World Truck Series competition both on and off the race track.


"Eddie has proven he is a winner, not only in racing but also as a person which is exactly what I look for in a successful business combination," stated Gallaher "I am very pleased to be part of this exciting team and look forward to using my expertise to bring this team to a new level of success.".


"Bill coming on board is a game changer," commented Sharp. "We have aggressive plans to step this team up as a premier organization in NASCAR and Bill's partnership makes that possible. I am so humbled and thankful to Bill for his trust in me and our organization."


Eddie Sharp Racing was formed in 2005 and has had its share of success winning the 2009 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Championship as well as 19 ARCA Racing Series events. ESR was also runner up in the ARCA Racing Series Championship three times in 2007, 2008 and 2010 before entering the Camping World Truck Series in 2011. In 2012 ESR won two Camping World Truck Series events with drivers Justin Lofton (Charlotte Motor Speedway) and Cale Gale (Homestead-Miami Speedway).



In an effort to bring more fans closer to all of the action, including the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint CupTM races, NASCAR Digital Media has launched the official NASCAR Mobile ’13TMapp for Microsoft Windows Phone 8 devices. And the timing couldn’t be better, as anticipation builds with five races remaining before the world learns which 12 drivers will battle it out for the title of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.

NASCAR Mobile ’13, which is also available on Windows 8 tablets and PC as well as for iOS and Android devices, offers a wide range of features and functionalities, such as race information, in-depth news, expert analysis, video and photos across the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

On the Windows Phone 8 platform, the app includes exclusive features such as the option to add the app to the home screen as a Live Tile or as live wallpaper, pinning favorite drivers to the Start screen, and the ability to initiate voice commands.

“Since February, fans have been able to download the official NASCAR Mobile ’13 app onto their iOS and Android devices, and now we are pleased to make the app available to Windows Phone 8 users as well,” said NASCAR Vice President of Digital Media, Marc Jenkins. “The app gives avid and casual fans alike the ideal platform to further immerse themselves in the NASCAR experience, particularly through premium features such as the advanced live leaderboard, in-car audio and alternate camera angles.”

Sprint customers utilizing a Windows Phone 8 device will have exclusive access to all the premium live race day features including the race radio broadcast, drivers’ in-car audio, advanced live leaderboard, alternate camera angles, and more for free with any Sprint Unlimited data plan. These features will be rolled out in phases throughout the remainder of the 2013 season. Beginning in 2014, the premium features will be available for a subscription fee to Windows Phone 8 mobile users across other carriers.

Currently, a monthly pass for premium content is available on iOS and Android devices for free to Sprint customers, and for just $2.99 per month on all other carriers. The app is available to download for free from the Microsoft Store on Windows 8 devices, the App Store on Apple devices and Google Play on Android devices.

Since launching in February, there have been more than 1.8 million total downloads worldwide of NASCAR Mobile ’13 and NASCAR RaceView Mobile ’13.


Dover International Speedway will again honor the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks with its annual 9/11 Memorial Blood Drive on Wednesday, Sept. 11 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Diamond Room in the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino.

The event began in 2006 when the Monster Mile, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino and the Blood Bank of Delmarva started the noble cause. Each year the event has improved, and this year will include a special guest that will surprise donors sometime during the day — a still-to-be-determined driver, who is in the top-12 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings and a member of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field.

The mystery driver will visit donors to thank them for giving blood and talk about the upcoming 10-week pursuit of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. Week number three in that journey will come through Dover, Del. for the Sept. 29, 2013 “AAA 400.”

In addition, every interested donor at the blood drive will have the chance to take a pace car ride around the one-mile, concrete oval with Track Historian George Keller. Keller has not missed a single NASCAR race weekend or other motorsports event at the Monster Mile since the track opened in 1969.

The 9/11 Memorial Blood is open to the public. To make an appointment, visit www.DelmarvaBlood.org or call 1 888 8-BLOOD-8, and be sure to reference the Dover International Speedway drive. Although appointments are strongly encouraged, walk-in donors are welcome and will be taken if time permits.

Dover Motorsports PR

No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. admitted in June that Sonoma Raceway wasn’t one of his favorite road courses. Days later the Michael Waltrip Racing driver led 51 of 110 laps before winning the first road-course race of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.

In what could be a scary omen for the rest of the field, Truex says he loves Watkins Glen International where he’ll race this weekend.  Truex owns four top-10 finishes in seven starts on the New York track and has a good shot at sweeping both road-course races on the schedule.

“I still really like Watkins Glen a lot,” said Truex. “I just love the speed it generates. It’s a place that has always been special to me. I went there when I was younger running Busch North and stuff back in the day. It was the first road course that I ran a stock car on. I’ve got a lot of experience there and I can remember going there just to watch my Dad. It’s like New Hampshire and Dover to me -- it’s one of those tracks that I was going to before I ever raced. It’s definitely a cool place for me to go. It’s a place that I definitely want to win. I’ve had some good runs there and hopefully this is the year we can get it done.”

A victory at The Glen would help solidify Truex’s bid for a second-consecutive berth in the Chase. He is 14th in points and holds the second of two wild cards.

ON CHASE: “We are in the hornets nest this weekend when it comes to Watkins Glen and the points situation. We are holding a wild card position and it’s not the ideal situation to be in. Based on what we did at Sonoma, I feel good about our chances because we have performed better at Watkins Glen. I have very high expectations for this weekend. It’s going to be fun and hopefully we’ll go up there and have another great weekend.”

THE GEN 6 IN 2013: “It is amazing what has changed this year with the new car. It seems like it’s constantly evolving. Our set ups for our new 2013 Toyota seem to change every week. And all of a sudden there are certain teams that hit on something and are good for a couple of weeks. Then another team seems to take over. MWR just needs to keep plugging away to find that little bit of an edge that’s missing. Hopefully we will find it soon.”


Danica Patrick No Boot?

Wednesday, Aug 07

The road course at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International is one of the few tracks on the NASCAR schedule where Danica Patrick has a lot of experience.

Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has made seven starts at Watkins Glen dating back to 2005.

Six of those starts came in the IZOD IndyCar Series and unfortunately won’t offer much assistance to Patrick as she competes in Sunday’s 355k at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. As if the incredible difference between a stock car and an Indy car weren’t enough, the IndyCar Series used the longer version of the Watkins Glen road circuit, which includes the famous “boot” portion of the track.

Patrick did compete in last year’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Watkins Glen, but she finished 43rd after Ryan Truex spun in front of her on the start. She could not avoid his spinning car and made heavy contact with his machine. It was part of a memorable, if not downright strange, three-race Nationwide Series road course experience for Patrick last season.

In June 2012 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., Patrick was fourth on the final lap when she was bumped into the gravel trap by Jacques Villeneueve, which dropped her to a 12th-place finish.

One week later, Patrick led 20 laps and was on the point at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal when a fan threw a shoe onto the track and she ran over it on lap 38 of 81. Shortly thereafter, whether the shoe caused the problem or not, Patrick was forced to pit for mechanical repairs and finished 27th.

Patrick’s only Sprint Cup Series start on a road course came two months ago when she started 31st and finished 29th at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. She and the GoDaddy team are hoping that a productive test July 30 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., will help them to a solid finish at one of the most famous racetracks in the world.





Brian Vickers has set the bar pretty high whenever he drives Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 55 Toyota Camry.

Not only did Vickers win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14, but the Thomasville, N.C. native has delivered impressive performances over the last two seasons driving a part-time schedule. In just 13 races Vickers owns eight top-11 finishes and an average finish of 13th in the No. 55. 

This weekend Vickers races the No. 55 at Watkins Glen International. He finished 13th in the Sprint Cup Series only road course race of 2013 in Sonoma. 


VICKERS ON WINNING: “I didn't give up on myself, but when you have so much love and support around you, that makes all the difference. I've got to thank my family and friends for getting me that through all that (health issues that forced him to miss races in 2010). Being able to win after that is almost unimaginable. It's so beyond what I was thinking about in the moment, getting back into a race car was all I could think about. But once I decided to get back in, my goal was to win a championship, and along the way win some races, and that’s still my goal. I feel like for the first time in my career, and this has nothing to do with anybody else or anyone I've worked with or worked for, sometimes it's just about chemistry - and I feel like the partners, the owners, the management and crew probably click as good as it ever has in my career.”






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