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Danica Patrick isn’t the only female athlete ready to make a splash in Sunday’s 55th running of the Daytona 500.
Michael Waltrip Racing announced today it has hired professional CrossFit competitor Christmas Abbott as a full-time pit crewmember for its NASCAR Sprint Cup operation.
Abbott, 31, will be a “weekend warrior” with MWR, traveling to all NASCAR Sprint Cup events in a pit support role. Her long-term goal is to go over the wall as a tire changer.
“This is just the first step for me,” said Abbott who competed in several CrossFit competitions since 2006 and can overhead squat 200 lbs. “I’ve been training for several months. This is the most challenging thing I have ever done. I’m here to do whatever my coaches ask of me, and I don’t want any handouts. I’m ready to work three races a weekend if that’s what it takes to get me where I want to be. I’m in this for the long haul.”
MWR’s pit coaches have seen enough development of the 5’3 115-pound Abbott to name her to the MWR travel squad.
“This is another first for Michael Waltrip Racing,” said founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip. “She is an incredible elite athlete and she has worked with our crews by bringing some cross-fit elements to their workouts. She is a competitor and when she decided to start working towards an over the wall position, we said we are the perfect place to make it happen.
“As Danica has seen, it takes a lot of work and dedication to get to the top level of her trade. With her Daytona 500 pole, it seems so much of that work has been worth it. I believe the same can hold true for Christmas. We expect her to excel or we wouldn’t commit the position to her.”
Len and Eddie Wood will never forget the moment they saw the 1963 Ford Galaxie with No. 21 on the side in their rearview mirrors, exactly where they never thought it would be.
“It came up in conversation while on airplanes, in the garage and at home,” Eddie Wood said, “but the decision to make it period-correct wasn’t made until later.”
NASCAR and FDP Friction Science, a leading manufacturer and supplier of brake pads, announced today a new agreement that designates the Duralast brand as the ‘Official Brakes of NASCAR.’ With more than 50 years of brake technology and friction development experience, FDP manufactures Duralast Brakes which are sold exclusively at AutoZone.
NASCAR fans are more likely to be do-it-yourselfers when it comes to automotive maintenance and repairs. According to Scarborough Research (USA+ 2012 Release 1), among U.S. consumers who have a vehicle, NASCAR fans are approximately 15 percent more likely than non-fans to have had a brake repair in the past year and are approximately 50 percent more likely to have either done the brake repair themselves or have someone do the brake repair for free.
“Our brand loyal fan base associates NASCAR with quality and authenticity,” said Jim O’Connell, NASCAR chief sales officer. “NASCAR fans are more likely to shop at automotive specialty stores and the NASCAR bar mark will help differentiate Duralast Brakes at retail.”
Duralast will also participate in the NASCAR contingency program, with the creation of the “Brake in the Race Award” across both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series. The weekly award will be given to the highest eligible driver in the running order at the time of the first caution of each race. The year-end award winner will be the driver who wins the “Brake in the Race Award” the most times during the course of the season. In the event of a tie, the final series point standings shall serve as a tiebreaker.
"We are proud of our new alliance with NASCAR,” said Jack Carney, President FDP Friction Science. “We have been developing brake technology since 1969 and will continue to manufacture high-quality Duralast brakes that millions of NASCAR fans can trust.”
A full line supplier of both disc pads and brake shoes, FDP clients include OE manufacturers, retailers, program groups, warehouse distributors, exporters, and other brake manufacturers. FDP is headquartered in Tappahannock, Va., with manufacturing and R&D facilities located throughout the world.
Arko Customhas signed on as associate sponsor for Tommy Baldwin Racing's NASCAR Sprint Cup No. 36 Golden Corral Chevrolet, driven by JJ Yeley during Daytona 500 Speedweeks. Arko Custom, a large format digital print and media provider based in Atlanta, GA, will begin its co-sponsorship during Thursday's Budweiser Duel, the pair of 150-mile qualifying races that will set the starting order for the Feb. 24 Daytona 500, otherwise known as The Great American Race. Though heavily involved in motorsports and sports marketing, this will be the first sponsorship endeavor for Arko Custom and its parent company, Graphics Central Inc., also based in Atlanta.
"Arko Custom joins Golden Corral and our other great sponsors as we work towards a great Speedweeks for the No. 36, hopefully culminating in a big finish for JJ and all of us at Tommy Baldwin Racing in Sunday's Daytona 500," said Tommy Baldwin Jr., owner, Tommy Baldwin Racing.
Tommy Baldwin Racing is coming off its best year in 2012, highlighted by leading three laps in last year's Daytona 500 along with a third-place finish by the No. 36 Golden Corral Chevrolet at Talladega in October. Veteran driver JJ Yeley takes over the No. 36 in 2013, with Dave Blaney taking over the new No.7 team for Tommy Baldwin Racing. Yeley has been competing in NASCAR Sprint Cup since 2004 and has seven top ten finishes and one pole in his career driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, Hall of Fame Racing and Robinson-Blakeney Racing.
"Tommy Baldwin's 36 team is poised to take advantage of the momentum from a solid 2012 with a new driver that has raced for and against the best that NASCAR has to offer," said Tyler Alexander, founder and president of Arko Custom.
The first 150 mile race of the Budweiser Duel begins at 2 PM ET on Thursday, Feb. 21, with JJ Yeley running in Duel 2 starting at 4 PM at Daytona International Speedway. The front-row qualifiers and the highest 15 finishers in each Duel will earn a spot in the Daytona 500, scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 24 at 1:00 PM ET. The Duel will be televised by SPEED TV and the Daytona 500 on FOX.
Danica Patrick, Go Daddy's long-time spokeswoman, made history this week as the first woman to take a NASCAR Sprint Cup pole position for the Daytona 500. Leaders at Go Daddy, the Web's top platform for small businesses, knew the Daytona 500 was going to be big, but with Danica Patrick securing the coveted starting spot for NASCAR's marquee race ... the event is generating even bigger buzz than expected. Increased social media chatter, heightened mainstream media coverage and a surge in fan support make this weekend's races compelling to a much wider audience.
"To watch Danica's story unfold at such a high-profile venue like the Daytona 500 has been inspirational, not just for women, but for anyone with a dream to compete at the highest level," said Blake Irving, Go Daddy CEO. Irving is a dedicated proponent for women in male-dominated fields, having been involved with the Society of Women Engineers and the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing for years. "When Danica took the pole Sunday, it represented another barrier being broken and another door being opened -- and that makes us incredibly proud. We're ecstatic for Danica and the whole Go Daddy crew in Daytona."
Go Daddy has been Danica's primary NASCAR sponsor from the beginning of her stock car career and sponsored her in open-wheel racing long before she made history as the first woman to win an IndyCar race in Motegi, Japan back in 2008.
Coincidently, the 2013 mantra for the Go Daddy Danica partnership is about 'driving results,' both on the track and on the Web. By driving faster than anyone else vying for the Daytona 500's top spot, Danica launched the campaign with the kind of flare that can't be bought. Go Daddy sees the history-making feat as a great way to shine more light on women entrepreneurs, who like Danica, work to build a brand in order to build their businesses.
As for Danica, she's less focused on what makes her different from others and instead is concentrating on the results. "I don't think about being a woman when I'm out there on the track, or when I'm managing my business ... I'm really just focused on driving and working with the Go Daddy team to leverage all the assets we have in order to be successful. Whether it's business or sports ... it takes a team," Danica said.
"Most people don't think of Danica as a business owner, but she absolutely is," said Go Daddy Chief Marketing Officer Barb Rechterman, who is at Daytona again this year to watch the races. "Danica is driving a race car in a male-dominated sport. She is also driving a business. Her website and social media presence have definitely helped her develop her brand, not unlike what other business owners do to nurture and grow their bottom line. At Go Daddy, we are focused on helping small businesses harness the power of the Internet, which is driving results for our Go Daddy customers."
Go Daddy recently incorporated a new Content Delivery Network (CDN), technology that speeds up website load time. Go Daddy is also giving customers simple and affordable tools to build mobile websites in order to capture new customers using smartphone technology. Go Daddy also offers personalized 24/7 telephone support to help customers looking to build or develop their websites quickly.
The parallel between speed levels in website performance and racing were noted by one Go Daddy customer, who is already enjoying Go Daddy's new CDN. "I'm a speed enthusiast, whether on the track or on the Web," said Jonathan Farkas, Vice President of Marketing at AdamsInterior.us. Adam's Interiors is a company dedicated to world-class contemporary furnishings. "Go Daddy's new CDN sped up my website performance by more than 200 percent. That means my site loads in 1.1 seconds, or three times faster than the time it takes Danica to go from zero to 60."
Danica is set to hit speeds approaching 200-miles-per-hour in Daytona this weekend. She is in the top spot, behind the wheel of the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet SS for the 55th annual Daytona 500, scheduled to start Sunday at 1 p.m. E.T. on FOX.
Saturday, look for Danica in the No. 34 GoDaddy.com Nationwide Chevrolet Camaro on ESPN beginning at 1 p.m. E.T.
Go Daddy PR
Cameron Hayley came from behind during a green-white-checkered finish to win the inaugural UNOH Battle At The Beach NASCAR K&N Pro Series race Tuesday night at Daytona International Speedway.
It was only fitting that the third and final race of the two-day event concluded with cars trading paint, given that the first two races ended with last-lap contact and late lead changes.
Hayley took advantage when the race leaders tangled in Turn 2 to drive to the victory.
Fifteen-year-old Gray Gaulding finished second in the Krispy Kreme Toyota, while Puerto Rican Bryan Ortiz took the third spot in the Putinka Vodka Toyota.
“It was a tough race overall,” said Hayley, who hails from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. “When I was sitting there on that last restart, I was thinking they were going to wreck in front of me. There’s going to be something happening in front of me. My crew chief and my spotter coming over the radio telling me to be patient and when you see a hole - go.”
Tuesday’s nightcap, the feature of the UNOH Battle At The Beach, showcased 28 drivers from 11 different U.S. states, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Spain.
Other notables included Ben Kennedy, son of International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy, who finished fifth. Kennedy is the first France family member to race at Daytona International Speedway in a stock car.
“It was a great experience to run at DIS, really cool what the track has put together for tonight,” Kennedy said. “Unfortunately we got knocked around and messed up our rear end for the rest of the night. Really should’ve been in Victory Lane tonight but proud of the guys. We’ll go on to Bristol and set our sights on the championship.”
Steve Park Wins UNOH Battle At The Beach NASCAR Whelen
Steve Park raced to the finish line to capture the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Race, the first of two races Tuesday night at the UNOH Battle At The Beach at Daytona International Speedway.
Park, a Daytona Beach resident, overtook Eric Goodale coming out of Turn 2 after making contact with Mike Stefanik’s back bumper on the white flag lap. Eric Goodale finished second in the RBS Showroom Chevrolet, while Ted Christopher took third place driving the Cape Cod Copper/Silver Dollar Construction Chevrolet. Stefanik claimed 13th place in his Robert B. Our Co./Canto & Sons Paving Chevrolet.
“You can win races all over this country but you are not going to have a Daytona trophy like we have here,” said Park, who had previously raced in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. “I’ve had the opportunity to race here 14 or 15 times and I never had a Daytona trophy but now I do. It’s a big deal for me.
“We started almost dead last and won the race,” said Park, who drove a Ford sponsored by UNOH. “We went from the outhouse to penthouse. I don’t think we had the fastest car. I thought if we could put ourselves in the position and have the wheels on the car, we would have something to race with at the end.”
Tuesday night’s opener included 18 cautions in the 150-lap, 60-mile race.
As the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season-opener from Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway draws near, T3R2 and Stuart, Florida native Bryan Silas welcome World of Beer (WofB) on-board as an associate sponsor on their No. 99 Ford F-Series for Friday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250.
World of Beer is a truly uncommon establishment where the experience is as essential as the product. At World of Beer, having the most extensive beer selection is not enough. It is important that a broad spectrum of patrons, from the beer aficionado to the casual beer fan, can enjoy the best beers on the planet and increase their beer knowledge in a comfortable and upbeat setting. By combining a friendly environment with an exceptionally knowledgeable staff, World of Beer creates an atmosphere where patrons feel at home, as if they are visiting a neighbor and not just a neighborhood bar.
“We’re truly appreciative to everyone at World of Beer for allowing us to carry their logos Friday night at Daytona,” said the 25-year old Silas. “It’s a humbling feeling for me and our team knowing that we’re racing on Friday night with two brand new sponsors. I think we’ll have a good truck and if we are lucky enough to stay out of trouble, we should have an opportunity to contend for a good finish.”
“This is an exciting time for us,” said Lisa Weatherston, director of marketing for World of Beer USA. “We cannot wait to have the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race from Daytona on at all of our locations across the United States to root for Bryan and the team. We wish them the best of luck.”
On Monday, the Mooresville, North Carolina-based team announced that Lazer TroKar, a line of fishing hooks from Eagle Claw Fishing Tackle will make its NASCAR sponsorship debut in the first of 22 NCWTS races this season.
Friday’s race will also mark the debut of Gary Cogswell as the new crew chief for T3R2.
Iowa Speedway’s ‘7thAnnual Daytona 500 Party’ will be on tap this Sunday, February 24, in the track’s upscale Newton Club. Tickets are available in advance or at the door for $10 per person, with doors opening at 11 am on raceday.
The Fox television broadcast of ‘The Great American Race’ will begin at noon on multiple screens throughout the 10,000 square foot clubhouse, located on the ground floor of Iowa Speedway’s suite tower.
According to track officials, the 2013 edition of the track’s ‘Daytona 500 Party’ will offer party-goers a special ticket for chances to win numerous door prizes, and a car number from among the Daytona 500 entries for more opportunities to win gift baskets, retailer gift cards, and other merchandise.
“Our ‘Daytona 500 Party’ is a wintertime tradition for many Iowa Speedway fans,” said Jason Christofferson, Director of Ticketing Operations. “For hundreds of our customers, it’s the launch of a new racing season, and we always have fun regardless of the weather in Newton.”
Tickets to the ‘7th Annual Daytona 500 Party’ at Iowa Speedway are available for purchase online at http://www.iowaspeedway.com/aspx/RacePage.aspx?pid=94, or by calling the track’s toll-free ticketing line, 866-RUSTY-GO (787-8946).
Iowa Speedway PR
Hitting The High Banks...The 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) season opens at Daytona International Speedway this Saturday, February 23. Danica Patrick, who embarks on her first full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season this year, will be behind the wheel of the No. 34 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet Camaro for Turner Scott Motorsports in the NNS season opener. The race will mark Patrick's first event for TSM, and will be her 59th career start in the Nationwide Series. Veteran crew chief Mike Greci will be calling the shots from atop the pit box.
Leading The Way...Patrick made history last Sunday when she laid down the fastest lap (45.817 seconds, 196.434 mph) in NSCS Daytona 500 qualifying, making her the first woman to win a pole in NASCAR's top series. This will not be the first time Patrick has started from the top spot at Daytona International Speedway; she earned the NNS pole in the February race last season.
DIS Stats...Patrick, who made her NASCAR debut at Daytona International Speedway in 2010, has five previous NNS starts at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. Patrick has one top-10 finish, which she earned in July of 2011, and one pole, which she earned in February of 2012. In her five events at the Daytona Beach, Fla. track, Patrick has started in the top five three times and has never taken the green from outside the top 15, tallying an average start of 6.0.
This Week's Camaro...Patrick and the No. 34 team will unload chassis TSM-336 for this weekend's race at Daytona International Speedway. TSM-336 is a brand-new Chevrolet Camaro, which will be making its on-track debut on Saturday afternoon.
Watch and Listen...The DRIVE4COPD 300 can be seen live on Saturday, February 23 on ESPN. Race coverage will begin at 12:00 p.m. ET, and the event can also be heard live on MRN Radio, as well as SiriusXM Radio, channel 90.
Danica Patrick on driving at Daytona International Speedway
"Daytona has been a great track for me in terms of qualifying. I've always had really good starts, but with the racing at Daytona being what it is, I haven't always had the finishes to reflect how well we ran. Every time I come to one of these superspeedway tracks, I learn a little more; it really comes down to patience and being in the right place at the right time. I'm looking forward to making my first start with Turner Scott Motorsports, I've got three talented teammates to work with and all the power we need under the hood with those Hendrick engines, so I'm hoping that everything will come together and I can help Turner Scott Motorsports win this race for the second year in a row."
Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI), the Official Satellite Radio Partner of NASCAR, will offer listeners comprehensive coverage of the 55th running of the Daytona 500, with the live race broadcast, multiple channels carrying in-car audio from some of the sport's top drivers, and daily coverage from Daytona International Speedway on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio(channel 90).
On Sunday, February 24, Daytona 500 race day, SiriusXM will start broadcasting live at 7:00 am ET and will offer listeners a full day of live coverage from the speedway. Subscribers will have access to all the action on the track during The Great American Race, which starts at 1:00 pm ET, plus full pre- and post-race coverage with expert analysis, reports from pit road and the garages, driver introductions and interviews with the winner and other drivers.
SiriusXM will also offer additional Driver2Crew Chatter™ channels that will carry the in-car audio of NASCAR's top drivers as they compete in the Daytona 500. Drivers featured will include reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski ,three-time champion Tony Stewart , five-time champion Jimmie Johnson , history-making Daytona 500 pole winner Danica Patrick , Dale Earnhardt Jr. and others.
SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90 – including race broadcasts – is available to Sirius subscribers, XM Premier and SiriusXM Premier subscribers and is also simulcast online at SiriusXM.com and on the SiriusXM Internet Radio App.
SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will also provide live coverage of the Budweiser Duel at Daytona, the 150-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying races, on Thursday, Feb. 21 (1:00 pm ET), the NextEra Energy Resources 250 Camping World Truck Series race on Friday, Feb. 22 (7:00 pm ET), and the Drive4COPD 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Saturday, Feb. 23 (12:45 pm ET).
Throughout the week leading up to race day fans will have access to the latest news and expert analysis on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, which will broadcast live from Daytona every day. The channel's daily talk lineup begins at 7:00 am ET and features a roster of expert hosts that includes Hall of Famer Buddy Baker, Danny "Chocolate" Myers, Claire B. Lang, Dave Moody, Mike Bagley, Pete Pistone, Pat Patterson, Jim Noble, Angie Skinner and Brad Gillie.
On Thursday, Feb. 21 (8:00 pm ET), four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jeff Gordon and iconic Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick will sit down for a Q&A with SiriusXM listeners for a special edition of SiriusXM's "Town Hall" series. Airing live on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, the special will be moderated by Gordon's former crew chief, Ray Evernham , ESPN analyst and former NASCAR team owner, who was on the pit box for three of Gordon's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships, and will feature Gordon and Hendrick taking questions from the studio audience about their careers and experiences in NASCAR.
From Wednesday through Sunday of Daytona 500 Week, several SiriusXM NASCAR Radio shows will broadcast from atop the Sprint FANDECK in the Daytona infield. On Monday, Feb. 25, on The Morning Drive, hosts Bagley and Pistone will be joined live by the 2013 Daytona 500 Champion driver, crew chief and team owner.
As the Official Satellite Radio Partner of NASCAR, SiriusXM broadcasts every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race live. For more info on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio please visit www.siriusxm.com/nascar.
In January, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio was honored by the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) with six awards for excellence in broadcasting in 2012. Dave Moody, host of SiriusXM Speedway, received four awards, including NMPA Radio Broadcaster of the Year. Claire B. Lang, host of Dialed In and the channel's pre- and post-race shows, won the second place award for Spot News Radio. The third place award in the Spot News category was presented to Mike Bagley and Pete Pistone, hosts of The Morning Drive.
SiriusXM Radio PR