Wednesday, Feb 01
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Mark Ware, a veteran of more than 20 years in the construction business, has been name Director of Facility Operations at Martinsville Speedway.

Ware will be responsible for Martinsville Speedway’s infrastructure including oversight of future capital projects.

“We are fortunate to have Mark as a part of our team now,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. “His experience in the construction field will be a tremendous asset for the speedway as we continue to update and expand to meet our guest’s expectations.”

Ware, a 1992 graduate of Fieldale-Collinsville High School, has more than 20 years experience in most all areas of construction and facilities oversight. He is a licensed master plumber, a licensed Class B contractor, a certified structural and pipe welder, a draftsman and a heavy equipment operator.

Before coming to Martinsville Speedway, Ware operated his own plumbing business, Ware Plumbing LLC.

Ware and his wife Lora live in Bassett with their three sons.

Martinsville Speedway PR

NASCAR Team Properties announced today that it has reached a licensing agreement with Touch by Alyssa Milano to create a line of apparel for female NASCAR fans. The fashionable apparel is designed utilizing high quality fabrics and features NASCAR drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick and Jimmie Johnson.

“We’re excited to welcome Alyssa to the NASCAR family, and for the first time, we now have a fashion forward clothing line exclusively for our many female fans,” said Blake Davidson, NASCAR vice president, licensing and consumer products. “The Touch brand offers our fans a fresh and stylish line of apparel that is designed specifically for them.”

Touch by Alyssa Milano is the premier, high-end fashion brand for the female sports fan. The brand represents a breakthrough in fashion and function. Touch empowers the fiercely loyal fan to look and feel her best. Whether cheering on their favorite race team or simply living life, Touch provides a platform for female sports fans to rally around.

“I am very excited to be able to bring Touch apparel to female NASCAR fans,” said Alyssa Milano. “I have received so many requests over the past few years to expand distribution of the Touch brand into NASCAR, so I’m really proud to have NASCAR under the Touch brand umbrella.”

The initial launch will include a variety of women’s tops for NASCAR drivers Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Danica Patrick and Tony Stewart. Touch by Alyssa Milano is manufactured and distributed by G-III Sports, a division of G-III Apparel Group Limited, and is available for purchase at the NASCAR.com Superstore and trackside retail locations operated by Americrown during select NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekends.

NASCAR PR

The No. 15 Toyota Camry crew chief Brian Pattie admits his team isn’t running as well as it can, but you would never know it by looking at the points.

Since the Sprint Cup Series last visited a restrictor plate track seven weeks ago, Pattie and driver Clint Bowyer have recorded the second most points of any team, scoring five top-10s including back-to-back top-fives the last two weeks.

The No. 15 will carry a PEAK’s BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid paint scheme Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway. PEAK’s  BlueDEF brand is making its first appearance on the No. 15 in 2013. PEAK appeared on the No. 15 at Talladega and will so in two more races in 2013.

ON FINISHING: “We need to do all that we can to manufacture finishes when we go to places that we aren’t the best and maximize the finishes at places we know we can be good. That’s what makes this team so good. At Kentucky last week we knew we were probably going to struggle going into the race, but we did what we had to do to get the finish we needed. We’re going to need to do that again this weekend at Daytona too. Just stay out of trouble the best we can and get a good finish. If we keep doing that we are going to have a shot at this thing.”

DAYTONA: “I’m not sure you are going to see a whole lot different racing then you saw down there in January. I don’t think you will see a pick up from visiting a track for the second time until we get to Pocono. Daytona is just Daytona. We are taking a new tire which is a green version of what we had, so I don’t think we have to worry about it throwing too many wrenches in the mix. It’s just tough. I know everybody has made their cars better. I know we’ve made our cars better since January with trying to get drag down, but I think the overall race is probably going to be the same. I hope it slicks up a little bit. I think the race will be better if it’s a little slicker – a little hotter which it should be. I’m looking forward to it.”  

YEAR SO FAR: “It’s been a decent year. We were off a little bit with our cars early in the year. We were a little bit behind, but we’ve made a lot of changes to the cars and a lot of updates and we seem to be running pretty good here in the last four to six weeks. We probably gave one away at Sonoma, but if we can’t win our teammate needs to and Martin Truex Jr. did a good job. We are still working. We have a lot of new cars coming up from Indy on and we are looking forward to trying to make this Chase to see if we can make a little ruckus.”

STAYING FRESH: “This team likes to have fun. You have to do that. When you’re on the road three and four days a week puts a strain on everybody, so the easier we make it at the racetrack the more efficiently everyone works.  It seems like having fun makes it easier on everyone. I give my guys a lot of time off. Whether it’s at the shop or at the track as long as we work efficiently then they can get time off and try to stay sharp. The driver makes it really good some times, but he also makes it tough when he’s not happy and complaining, but it’s not easy and we have to be able to work through that. When it comes race day Clint is as good as anybody. We are doing a pretty good job with execution, but we need to improve just a tick and we can get to victory lane. We are getting close. We are happy where we are at, but it could be better.”

MWR PR

One of the most famous “curses” in sports may be in Major League Baseball involving legendary Hall of Famer Babe Ruth, nicknamed the Bambino, and the Boston Red Sox. When Boston sold Ruth to the New York Yankees, the Red Sox, who had won numerous World Series titles previously, went winless for decades while the Yankees went on to win multiple titles. The “curse” was lifted after 86 years when Boston won the World Series in 2004, but the curse remains one of the more widely known in sports.

Jimmie Johnson had a bit of a curse going last year, albeit not as lengthy or widely known, on the Sprint Cup Series’ restrictor-plate tracks. Thanks to accidents or DNFs (did not finish) inflicted by other means, Johnson was 0-for-2012 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. He was credited with finishing last October’s race at Talladega, but was involved in a last-lap accident. This season, however, the five-time champion seems to have reversed the curse. In February, he got his 2013 campaign off to a successful start by not only finishing, but winning, the sport’s biggest race – the Daytona 500. He followed that up in May with a fifth-place finish at Talladega.

A return visit to Daytona is on the agenda for this weekend. The track ranks as one of Johnson’s top-five worst, statistically. He has only two top-five finishes in the July race – second-place finishes in 2004 and 2009. He has never won the race, which typically falls during the July 4 holiday weekend. However, the man they call “five-time” is halfway there in countering last year’s curse. If he finishes Saturday night’s 400-mile event, only October’s Talladega race remains on the restrictor-plate-race schedule. If he is able to break the curse, like the 2004 Red Sox finally did, perhaps it will all end with a championship celebration at the end of the year.

TSC PR

Short of winning the 55thDaytona 500, Danica Patrick’s participation in February’s Speedweeks at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway was nearly flawless. 

She was the fastest during the first practice of the year Feb. 16, then backed that up by winning the pole for the Daytona 500 one day later to become the first woman ever to claim the top spot for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. She stayed out of trouble for the remainder of Speedweeks and ran in the top-three for much of the Daytona 500 before dropping from third to eighth on the final lap.

She rewrote some of the NASCAR record books with her eighth-place finish, earning the highest finishing position ever earned by a woman in the “Great American Race.”

In addition to her history-making pole run and finish in the Daytona 500, Patrick also led five laps – 90 to 91 and 127 to 129 – becoming the first female to lead NASCAR’s most prestigious race and the first woman to lead Sprint Cup Series laps under green. Janet Guthrie led five laps under caution in 1977 at Ontario (Calif.) Motor Speedway.

By leading laps in the Daytona 500, Patrick joined an elite club of only 13 drivers to have led both the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500. The other drivers to accomplish this feat are A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Al Unser, Bobby Unser, Bobby Allison, Jim Hurtubise, Johnny Rutherford, Tim Richmond, John Andretti, Robby Gordon, Juan Pablo Montoya and Stewart. Of those 13 drivers, only Patrick, Foyt, Andretti, Gordon, Montoya and Stewart have led at least five laps in each race.

Patrick’s eighth-place finish in the Daytona 500, coupled with her six top-10 finishes in the Indianapolis 500, make her one of only 15 drivers to have top-10 results in each race. The other drivers are Foyt, Montoya, Gordon, Rutherford, Stewart, Mario Andretti, Al Unser, Bobby Johns, Cale Yarborough, Dan Gurney, Donnie Allison, Jerry Grant, Paul Goldsmith and Tom Sneva.

She returned to the 2.5-mile oval in April to take part in a Goodyear tire test and now returns for Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola. She’ll do so with a bit of a different look on the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) as the car will be its traditional green, but with touches of red, white and blue, along with the logo of “Start with .US” on the hood and rear decklid.

The country code domain for the United States of America is .US and, since 2001, Neustar has been providing domain name registry services, critical infrastructure services and policy expertise for .US on behalf of the United States Department of Commerce. GoDaddy has partnered with Neustar for several years on offering domain names that end in .US.

Guided by her crew chief, Tony Gibson, a Daytona Beach native, Patrick is hoping she can continue to make history, this time by going all the way to victory lane.

TSC PR

The Fourth of July may fall on Thursday, but the annual celebration at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway will last throughout the weekend. For Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), he’d like nothing more than to cap off that celebration by scoring his first “Bloomin’” win of the 2013 season at Daytona.

Until recently, there hasn’t been much to celebrate for Newman and the No. 39 team at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. In fact, it’s been a series of wrong-place, wrong-time incidents that have either put Newman out of the race for good or have caused so much damage to his racecar that he could do little more than limp to the checkered flag.

Since joining Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009 – the season after Newman celebrated the greatest moment of his racing career at the historic racetrack by winning the 50th running of the Daytona 500 – Newman’s best finish at Daytona was 20th in the July 2009 Coke Zero 400, and he’d endured three finishes of 34th or worse. But, his Daytona fortunes seemed to change for Newman beginning with this race last year.

On that night, Newman was able to overcome a pit-road incident that resulted in a heavily damaged racecar and survived a mad dash and a rash of wrecks in the closing laps to earn a hard-fought fifth-place finish. And in the 2013 season-opening Daytona 500, Newman overcame starting at the back of the field and aerodynamic issues to record another fifth-place finish at the “World Center of Racing.”

This Saturday night would be the perfect time for Newman to return to his winning ways at Daytona, as it would undoubtedly help the No. 39 team’s chances as they hope to earn for a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship.

With nine races to go before the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins Sept. 15 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., Newman is 18th in points. Only the top-10 in points are locked into the Chase. Positions 11 and 12 in the Chase are wild cards, awarded to the two drivers between 11th and 20th in points with the most wins. Although he enters Daytona just 31 points behind the 10th and final guaranteed spot, earning a victory would help the No. 39 Outback Steakhouse team’s chances in securing at least one of the two wild-card berths into the Chase if it is unable to crack the top-10.  

With Outback Steakhouse making the second of three 2013 appearances as primary sponsor of Newman’s No. 39 Chevrolet this weekend at Daytona, memories are evoked of his most recent win at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in April 2012. When he pulled into victory lane, he did so with the Tampa, Fla.-based steakhouse’s logo across the hood of his racecar.

Outback Steakhouse has been celebrating Newman’s top-10 finishes since last season with a free Bloomin’ Onion® for its customers on Mondays. Come Saturday night, Newman would like nothing more than to relive last year’s April success at Martinsville – by scoring his first “Bloomin’” win of the 2013 season at Daytona.

TSC PR

Many drivers feel that it is hard to control your own destiny at a superspeedway race, but Parker Kligerman isn't one of those drivers. The 22-year-old believes that there is technique and a strategy involved in plate racing and while his team may not make a lot of laps on the track in practice for Friday night's Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, the superspeedway student will have put in the "homework" necessary to be in a position to succeed long before he buckles into his No. 77 Bandit Chippers Camry - which will feature a patriotic paint scheme for the holiday weekend.

The results Kligerman has posted on superspeedways back up his theory.  He has finished sixth or better, led multiple laps and been in position to win both of the Nationwide Series superspeedway races this season. Last year, he picked up his lone Truck Series win on a superspeedway, winning the October event at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and also registered a respectable 11th-place finish in the Daytona Truck Series race.  That gives him an average finish of 5.8 across his last four NASCAR superspeedway races.

 

For Friday night's race, Kligerman and his Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) team will be unloading the same Toyota Camry, KBM-10, that they qualified third and finished fifth with in the season-opening event at Daytona and followed it up with a sixth-place finish at Talladega in May. It will also have a familiar logo on the hood, as Bandit Chippers jumps on board for its first of three additional primary races after seeing the rewards of a successful early-season schedule.

 

When Kligerman hits the track at Daytona, he will already be mentally prepared for what lies ahead in Friday night's 100-lap shootout. He will have watched race tapes, put in laps on a simulator and developed a game plan in his head of how the race will likely play out and where he needs to be during different stages of the race. The student of superspeedway racing is hoping to be the valedictorian of the Subway Jalapeno 250 and leave Florida with his first Nationwide Series victory. 

 

KBM PR

Remembering this year’s February Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway event, the No. 54 Monster Energy team unfortunately didn’t have the opportunity to battle for the checkered flag, when their day ended early from an engine failure. Five months later the young team is not only eager to finish what they started at season start, on the 2.5-mile superspeedway, but they’ve proven they can take it all the way, already earning six victories and 12 top-five finishes through 15 races this year. The reunited duo of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and Kyle Busch has proven to be effective.

Busch has earned two points-race victories over his career on the famed Florida track, notching victories in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2008 and the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2007. Over 41 events raced in all three of NASCAR’s top series at Daytona, Busch has earned 15 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes with no pole-starting positions, but 583 laps led, 272 of those in the Nationwide Series alone, recording Busch as the series leader in laps led. 

Joe Gibbs Racing has competed in 54 races in the Nationwide Series at Daytona and posted three wins, 15 top-five finishes, 22 top-10 finishes, five poles and 429 laps led. After securing victories in both 2008 events then recently in 2011, with former driver Joey Logano, the JGR contingency looks forward to another shot at visiting the superspeedway’s famous victory lane – this time with the series’ winningest driver, Busch, their Monster Energy athlete.

JGR/KBM PR

Almost four months ago, Michael Annett received word that he would be sidelined from the No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford for two to three months to recover from a broken and dislocated sternum that he suffered during a wreck in the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway.

 

This weekend, he returns to Daytona, but he's not focused on what happened in the past. He's looking ahead to Friday night's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race and concentrated on what it'll take to put the No. 43 Flying J Travel Plaza Ford in victory lane.

 

The Des Moines, Iowa native will makes his 146th career NNS start this weekend. He has nine starts at the two-and-a-half-mile superspeedway with one top-five (Summer 2012) and two top-10s (Summer 2011, 2012). Annett's best start at Daytona came in the Summer of 2009 where he started from the ninth position, and his best finish of third came in the Summer of 2012. Among NNS drivers, Annett ranks eighth in green flag passes with 1,361 passes under green flag conditions.

 

Fans heading to the race in Daytona can stop by the Ford Racing Display, located in the Midway, and ask Annett their questions on Friday, July 5th from 12:15 to 12:30 p.m. ET.

 

Comments from the No. 43 Flying J Travel Plaza Ford Mustang driver Michael Annett:

 

"I'm not going into this weekend thinking about what happened the last time I was in Daytona. I'm going into this weekend just like any other race. We finished third in this race one year ago, and we're looking to improve on that by two positions. We were running up front here at the beginning of the year before we wrecked. Everyone knows that anything can happen at superspeedways, so we just need to stay out of trouble and I think we'll be able to fight for the win at the end."

 

Comments from Crew Chief Philippe Lopez on Daytona:

 

"The biggest thing for this weekend will just be to stay out of trouble, which is very difficult to do at a superspeedway. We've been hard charging most of these restrictor-plate races, but we might look at laying back a little bit this time to try to avoid trouble. If you can get to the last 10 laps, you should be in good shape.

 

"Daytona and Talladega are the same; it's pretty much a crap-shoot. In Nationwide, we still do tandem racing, and it tends to lead to crazy, highlight-filled finishes. It's all about being in the right place at the right time.

 

"For any team, the second half of the season is always the better part. You tend to correct everything that didn't work the first time around, but unfortunately, every team does that so that makes every team that much better. It comes down to doing a better job than your competition and getting a good idea of what the race track is going to do throughout the weekend and not just the race."

 

RPM PR

If the 2001 & 2003 Daytona 500 champion can be considered a dark horse pick to win Saturday night’s 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway then Michael Waltrip might be a good bet to take home another trophy.

The No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota driver won this race in 2002 and led four laps in the 2013 Daytona 500. He finished fourth at Talladega in May in the sport’s most recent restrictor plate race and only a last corner accident deprived him of a chance for victory at Talladega in October 2012. 

Saturday’s race marks the founder and co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing’s 51st Sprint Cup start on the Daytona high banks. Among drivers in Saturday’s race, only Terry Labonte’s 61 starts at Daytona exceeds Waltrip. In addition to his television and ownership duties, Waltrip will race in all four superspeedway races in 2013.

WALTRIP ON DAYTONA: “My confidence heading into Daytona is really high. We are coming off a top-five finish at Talladega so I know we have a chance to win this weekend. We were competitive during the entire race at Talladega. We were also pretty good at Daytona in February. We led a few laps and ran in the top five until a mechanical failure took us out of contention. I am confident and looking forward to getting back in the car this weekend. It would be awesome to bring home a win for our friends at Aaron’s.”

CREW CHIEF RODNEY CHILDERS ON WALTRIP: “Michael (Waltrip) does a really good job at those places. He just really understands the draft and where he needs to be and where he doesn’t need to be, really. I think sometimes it’s as much not getting in a bad position then it is anything. He does a good job for us at those places. Hopefully we can do the same thing again at this coming race and take care of our equipment and be there at the end.”

MWR PR

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