Wednesday, Feb 01
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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For the first time this season, the drivers of the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) will try their hand at a road course. The Flying J Travel Plaza team will head to Road America looking to turn heads. Annett may not be known for his road course success, but he has proved to his Crew Chief, Philippe Lopez, and the No. 43 team that he has what it takes to be there at the end.


Annett has three starts at the four-mile track, accumulating one top-10 finish. He earned his best starting position of 12th last year and his best finish of seventh in 2011. The No. 43 team was on their way to another top-10 finish last year until the transmission broke with two laps to go.


Annett will be participating in the NNS autograph session at Road America located in front of the Media Center entrance from 3:45 - 4:30 p.m. CT. The session will be open to fans on a first come, first serve basis, and fans can begin lining up in front of the Media Center at 3 p.m. CT.


The Des Moines, Iowa native is hoping to celebrate his 27th birthday on Sunday, June 23rd with his first NNS win on Saturday night.


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


"Ford sent all of the Ford drivers out to Miller Motorsports Park a few weeks ago, and we got to go out there in some Mustangs and work with Billy Johnson. He ran in Montreal last year with Roush and almost won. Jack Roush Jr. was out there helping us too.


"I finished seventh there in 2011 and was running around seventh last year when my transmission went out, so I think we have a really good shot at a good finish. My strategy every time we go there is to stay on the track and the last 10 or 15 laps get as much as I can and get a top-five or top-10 out of it." 


Comments from Crew Chief Philippe Lopez on Road America:


"I am expecting no less than a top-10. Michael is not known for his road course prowess, however, when we showed up last year, he ran in the top-10. We had a little off-beat strategy, but it seemed to work. He was doing a great job, but, unfortunately, the transmission broke with two laps to go, I believe he was running seventh at the time. Michael does a really good job at Road America; it seems to suit him well.


"The biggest problem that Road America poses is that it's so big or so long that once you pass pit road it's a long time to come back. It really puts the pressure on the engineer to get the gas mileage right. If you figure out gas mileage wrong, you won't make it back to pit road, and that will end your day. The other problem with Road America, although we might not face it this year because it seems like they've had a lot of rain, is when the ground is dry everybody has a problem with grass collecting on their grills. It takes two minutes to get around the track so if you start overheating you could cook your motor by the time you get back to pit road. You really have to think through when you're going to pit, and if your mileage says you can go .9 of a lap, you might not take that lap because if you don't make it back, that's the end of your race.


"We took a chance in Michigan last week because of the threat of rain. This weekend we also have a threat of rain so I'm not sure how it's going to play out, but if a window of opportunity opens up, we're going to take it."



Ryan Hess, a crew member in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body’s Substance Abuse Policy.

On June 14, Hess was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 19 (violation of the NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy) of the 2013 NASCAR Rule Book.


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team Germain Racing is proud to announce that Caymus Vineyards, part of the prestigious Wagner Family of Wine, will be on board the No. 13 GEICO Ford Fusion as an associate sponsor for the upcoming Sonoma Raceway event.

"We are very proud to have Caymus Vineyards and the Wagner Family of Wine partner with us on the 13 GEICO Ford Fusion at Sonoma this year. I had an opportunity to visit Caymus with friends in 2011 and Chuck Wagner actually took the time to give us a personal tour. The Wagners are certainly one of the most well respected families in the wine-making business and we're looking forward to representing them on the track,” said Bob Germain Jr., team owner of Germain Racing.

Having a prestigious California winery with such a strong commitment to family tradition and producing quality products makes the Caymus Vineyards pairing with Casey Mears, of Bakersfield, CA, and Germain Racing a perfect match.

“We are pleased to be an Associate Sponsor of Casey Mears from Germain Racing and supporter of NASCAR for this year’s Sonoma race. In addition to enjoying this great sport, Caymus has many friends connected with NASCAR and we are happy to be able to support them in some way,” said Chuck Wagner, Owner/Winemaker, Caymus Vineyards and Wagner Family of Wine.

Sunday’s race day broadcasts begin with RaceDay on SPEED at Noon Eastern, followed on TNT by Countdown to Green starting at 2:00 PM ET and the race coverage at 3:00 PM. Radio broadcasts can be heard on PRN and Sirius XM Ch. 90.

The Toyota/Save Mart 350 is a 350K/218.9-mile,110-lap event which will be live from Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, CA. The track has a Twitter feed @RaceSonoma and NASCAR keeps fans in the loop @NASCAR and @NASCARStats.

Germain Racing PR

There will be a familiar name to road course racing next weekend as Jacques Villeneuve takes over the No. 51 TAG Heuer Eyewear Chevrolet for Phoenix Racing at Sonoma Raceway.

The 42-year-old native of Montreal, Quebec, CAN isn’t a stranger to NASCAR competition making three previous Sprint Cup Series, nine Nationwide and seven Camping World Truck Series starts. His best results were in the Nationwide Series where he earned four top-fives and six top-10 finishes; all on road courses.

Villeneuve has also competed in F1, CART, and USAC races. He was most successful in F1 winning 11 times and CART where he won five times and was the series champion in 1995.

“We wanted to put a driver in our No. 51 Chevrolet who would give us the best chance to win at Sonoma Raceway,” said James Finch, team owner. “When the opportunity came up to have someone like Jacques Villeneuve in our car, we were very happy to make that happen.

“It’s a long way out there to not be competitive. He gives us the chance to not only do really well, but to actually win the race. We led laps there last year and almost did win it; we plan on getting the trophy this time.”

Sponsorship from TAG Heuer Eyewear isn’t a new thing for Villeneuve as the two were partnered up during his F1 competition days.

“We are very happy to have Jacques Villeneuve representing our eyewear in the race at Sonoma Raceway,” said Robert Cooper, Racing Director for TAG Heuer Eyewear. “He was an excellent ambassador for us during his F1 days and we’re glad to be part of his return to NASCAR racing.

“We’d like to thank James Finch and Phoenix Racing for making this possible. We know Jacques is going to be looking good in our TAG Heuer Eyewear, and on the track in the No. 51 Chevrolet.”

Tag Hauer PR

International Speedway Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select Market: ISCA; OTC Bulletin Board: ISCB) (“ISC”)today approved funding to redevelop the frontstretch of Daytona International Speedway, the Company’s 54-year-old flagship motorsports facility, to enhance the overall experience for its fans, marketing partners and the motorsports industry. This historic, multi-year project will break ground on July 5, 2013, and is targeted for completion in January 2016, in time for the 54th Rolex 24 At Daytona and the 58th DAYTONA 500.

“We are truly creating history with this unprecedented endeavor,” said ISC’s Chief Executive Officer Lesa France Kennedy. “I commend the board’s decision to move forward on our plan to redevelop the Company’s signature motorsports facility, thereby shaping the vision of Daytona for the next 50 years.

“The decision was made with strong consideration of the current macroeconomic condition and a clear view for our long-term growth,” Ms. France Kennedy continued. “This significant private investment is a strategic use of our capital that will ensure the long-term viability of the iconic speedway, and when completed, will contribute favorably to the Company's revenues, as well as to our community and the sport as a whole.”

The redevelopment is expected to cost between $375 million to $400 million, excluding capitalized interest. Total expenditures incurred for the redevelopment through May 31, 2013 were approximately $15 million. The Company expects to fund the redevelopment from cash on hand, cash from its operations and may use borrowings on its credit facility for a limited period of time to even out cash flow.

The five-year capital expenditure plan (2013-2017) that ISC’s Board of Directors approved is not to exceed $600 million over that period. This is consistent with the Company's previous guidance on its average annual capital expenditures range of between $100 million to $120 million for the next several years. The five-year capital expenditure plan encompasses all the capital expenditures for ISC’s 13 major motorsports facilities, including the Daytona International Speedway redevelopment, as well as any equity commitments to undertake a proposed mixed-use entertainment-oriented destination development across from Daytona International Speedway, which is still in the planning stage and subject to a number of approvals.

The vision for the redevelopment of the Daytona International Speedway frontstretch places an emphasis on enhancing the complete fan experience, beginning with five expanded and redesigned fan entrances, or injectors, along International Speedway Boulevard. Each injector would lead directly to a series of escalators and elevators that would transport fans to any of three different concourse levels, each featuring spacious and strategically-placed social "neighborhoods" along the nearly mile-long frontstretch.

A total of 11 neighborhoods, each measuring the size of a football field, will enable fans to meet and socialize during events without ever missing any on-track action, thanks to an open-sightline design throughout each concourse and dozens of added video screens in every neighborhood. The central neighborhood, dubbed the "World Center of Racing," would celebrate the history of Daytona International Speedway and its many unforgettable moments throughout more than 50 years of racing.

Every seat in the Speedway frontstretch will be replaced with wider and more comfortable seating, with more restrooms and concession stands throughout the facility. At the conclusion of the redevelopment, Daytona International Speedway will be comprised of approximately 101,000 permanent seats with the potential to increase permanent seating to 125,000.

There will be no capacity changes for the 2014 DAYTONA 500. The eventual decrease in capacity could occur in stages following the 2014 DAYTONA 500 and will include the complete removal of the backstretch grandstand by the start of the 2016 motorsports season. By moving all seating to the frontstretch, all attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy a full race day experience including pre-race ceremonies, pit road action and the facility’s new amenities. “We will take great care of our loyal existing customers throughout this renovation,” said John Saunders, President of ISC. “They can expect to receive additional direct communication as we proceed with construction.”

The redevelopment will also provide an expansive platform for ISC’s corporate marketing partners. Hospitality is elevated with a completely revamped design that will exceed partners’ expectations for a more intimate, affordable and effective experience. The new frontstretch will include 53 suites that will offer superb views of the track.

Daytona International Speedway and ISC's operations in Daytona Beach generate $1.6 billion in annual economic benefit to the state of Florida. Following an unsuccessful bid for a public / private partnership with the State of Florida during the most recent legislative session, the Company was forced to reduce the scale of its redevelopment plan. Among the features that were revised and no longer included in the redevelopment plan was a major overhaul of the midway area. “It is unfortunate we are forced to scale back some elements, but the project will be designed for additional enhancements should future economic incentives present themselves,” said Mr. Saunders. In 2014, the Company intends to pursue incentives including those currently available to all other major sports venues in Florida. ISC will reevaluate additional potential amenities based on the outcome of those efforts.

Construction for the redevelopment project will begin after the 2013 Coke Zero 400 NASCAR weekend. As a result, the redevelopment will impact certain ancillary events at the Speedway through 2014. However, major races such as those associated with Budweiser Speedweeks, the Daytona Supercross by Honda, the Daytona 200 and the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola, will be held as scheduled. Additional information on events beyond 2014 will be provided upon completion of the full construction schedule.

“The redevelopment of Daytona International Speedway reaffirms its status as the ‘World Center of Racing’ for years to come,” said Ms. France Kennedy. “It is imperative that we build upon my grandfather’s vision to create a world-class facility with premium amenities to provide unparalleled experiences for our guests and partners. Doing so will ensure that the DAYTONA 500 and all our other events continue to drive our business while serving as a significant economic engine for the region.”


Alex Kennedy is attempting to make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut at Sonoma Raceway this weekend driving for Humphrey Smith Racing, LLC (HSR). Kennedy, who is familiar with the 2.52-mile road course, will pilot the No. 19 MediaMaster/Dream Factory Toyota Camry.

"I want to thank Mark Smith and Randy Humphrey for providing this great opportunity,” said Kennedy, a 21-year-old driver from Aztec, N.M. “I look forward to working with the team this weekend and doing a good job for them."

As an aspiring race car driver, Kennedy, then 12, competed in multiple Legends Car events at the hilly, 12-turn course. Known for its motto, “Think Outside the Oval”, Sonoma Raceway is one of only two road courses on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule.

Kennedy brings NASCAR racing experience with him, having competed in 14 events in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, nine of which were on the road courses of Watkins Glen, Road America and Montreal. He earned his best finish of 15th last year at Montreal.

“I look forward to racing at Sonoma with the Sprint Cup drivers,” said Kennedy. “I love road course racing and I think it puts the race back into the driver’s hands. As long as you can get your car to turn left and right, and stay out of trouble, you should have a good day.”

When asked his goals, Kennedy explains, “Each lap will be a learning experience in practice and the race, that’s for sure. My goals are to learn from the other Cup drivers, earn their respect and have a good finish for HSR.”

Kennedy will pilot HSR’s chassis No. 318, which was last raced by Jason Leffler at Pocono Raceway on June 9th. As a tribute to Leffler, who was tragically killed in a sprint car accident last week, Kennedy’s Toyota will carry the familiar “LEFturn” decal above the right side door.


Josh Wise has only raced Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway once before, but it's already one of his favorite tracks. After last year's visit to the 1.99-mile road course, the driver of the No. 35 MDS Transport Ford found it reminded him of his dirt-track racing days. Like on a dirt track, the winding course allows more leeway for overdriving the car and being more aggressive.


Wise was an eager student of the raceway last year, taking more than three pages of notes to help him in his return. He'll look forward to applying what he's learned this weekend for Sunday's Toyota-Save Mart 350, a 218.9-mile (350 kilometer) trek through the hills of California wine country.


Wise has one Cup start at Sonoma - a 30th-place finish in 2012.


Comments from MDS Transport team driver Josh Wise heading to Sonoma:


"Road course racing is my favorite thing to do. I don't really have any road racing background or experience but I truly enjoy it and look forward to it and the challenge that it is. Sonoma last year was probably one of the most fun races I've ever run. I didn't do very well - I think I finished 30th - but I learned a lot. I took three and a half pages of notes that I wrote down from there as far as shift points and things that I felt like I learned during the race. I'm super excited to go back there.


"Keeping notes like that is big for me. I try to get as much information documented as I can every week just because it's easy to forget little things that you learn and that information is valuable. It'll be big for me having those notes going back, to be able to unload off the truck and be fast and be able to give feedback for the racecar right away.


"For me, it's the physicality of road course racing, both while you're racing people but also just in driving the car. When we go to the larger tracks and even some of the short track ovals, you can drive the car hard but you still have to be within some parameters. If you push too hard, you actually slow the car down. But on the road courses, those parameters are a lot broader. So you can really overdrive the car, which caters a little more to my dirt-racing background."



When it comes to Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, David Gilliland is like the child in the backseat who can't wait to get to Disneyland. "Are we there yet?" is the frequent, excited thought in the driver's head in the weeks leading up to the Sprint Cup Series' first road course race of the season.


The California native has always performed well on the winding, hilly course, including a second-place finish in 2008 that is tied with last month's Talladega runner-up finish for his best Cup career result. He also has two wins in the NASCAR K&N West Series at the venue.


The No. 38 Long John Silver's team will welcome Pick-N-Pull as an associate sponsor on its Ford Fusion for the race weekend. The California-based company is a chain of self-service auto parts stores providing recycled original equipment manufacturer parts. Visit to learn more.


Comments from Long John Silver's team driver David Gilliland heading to Sonoma:


"Sonoma is one of those places that's circled on our calendar. Obviously we're going to put a lot of effort going in there because it's one of those places where we can run well and even contend for a win. I got one of my best finishes there, second, in Cup and I've won multiple races in all other classes there, so I've had a lot of success at that racetrack. I love it and I can't wait to get back out there. I always enjoy heading out to the west coast, which is home for me. It's just a great event and a great racetrack, and it's a type of racing that I really enjoy doing.


"It's one of those racetracks where you can get to the guy's bumper ahead of you at any time. A lot of these tracks we go to are very aero-sensitive and you can't get to a guy's bumper to move him and it's just hard to pass. At Sonoma, it can still be hard to pass, but you can overdrive a corner to get to a guy's bumper and move him. And the double-file restarts there, too, have made it a very physical race.


"To me, places like Bristol and Martinsville are places that you pull in the pits and the cars are just tore up. Well, the last couple years at Sonoma, you come in and it looks like a racecar graveyard, like a destruction derby. So it has definitely turned into a very physical race with a lot of bumpin' and bangin'. And that's what kind of makes it fun, too.


"We're glad to have Pick-N-Pull on our car for the Sonoma race. I've raced with them before - actually won with them last year in the West race - and we're happy to have them back. I think they bring good luck so we're happy to have them along for the ride."



NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team Front Row Motorsports and Carson-Newman University (C-N) have forged a one-race partnership featuring the University on Front Row's No. 35 Ford Fusion. The Carson-Newman car will be driven by Josh Wise during the IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Aug. 24.


"We are very excited about this unique opportunity that specific University donors and Front Row Motorsports have afforded us," said Carson-Newman President Randall O'Brien.


O'Brien says he is impressed with both the integrity and humbleness in which Front Row owner and Dandridge, Tenn., resident Bob Jenkins operates his team.


"To be able to partner with Mr. Jenkins and his organization in showcasing Christian higher education on a national stage - well, it just doesn't get much better than that," O'Brien said.


"One of the most gratifying parts of running a Sprint Cup team is bringing new partners into the sport," said Jenkins. "And when it's an organization as respected as Carson-Newman, it's even better. Throw in that it's one of the biggest races of the year and that's going to make it a pretty special weekend."


The Front Row car will also highlight several area C-N supporters including Knoxville's Ted Russell Automotive Group and Premier Building Maintenance Corporation, as well as Oak Ridge's Denton Financial Group.


Planning is also under way for a Carson-Newman/Front Row VIP event that will take place on C-N's Jefferson City campus during the week leading up to the race. Proceeds from the event will go to the local Boys & Girls Clubs of Dumplin Valley. Details will be announced at a later date.


The IRWIN Tools Night Race will air live in primetime on ABC.



Get ready to start your engines! Eutechnyx’s newest racing game, NASCAR The Game: 2013, is available now for pre-purchase with Beta Access on Steam. This is the first title in the series available on Steam and PC, featuring all of the official drivers, teams and tracks from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

In NASCAR The Game: 2013, players can drive straight into an authentic NASCAR experience, filled with intense graphics and competitive AI, all backed from a strong and supportive multiplayer system. Jump into the driver’s seat of a Gen 6 model stock car and race towards the finish line in hopes to be crowned the Sprint Cup Series Champion. Featuring Inside Line Highlights, relive and rewrite iconic moments from recent NASCAR races, all recreated using telemetry data. Update packs including the Inside Line Highlights will be released throughout the 2013 NASCAR season*.

Here are some key details for NASCAR The Game: 2013:

-          Race your way to the highest rank and become the renowned champion of the official NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

-          Delivering an authentic NASCAR experience in stunning visuals, duel against competitive and aggressive AI in every race

-          Design and drive a Gen 6 model stock car using the brand new paint booth toolkit

-          Race as any of the 43 NASCAR drivers and challenge others on official 2013 NASCAR tracks

-          Immerse yourself in full race weekends, including practice, qualifying and race sessions

-          Relive and rewrite history from the most recent NASCAR races, including the 2013 season as it happens

-          NASCAR The Game: 2013 is supported by BigPicture, allowing for full controller support when playing on a TV

Steam Link:

NASCAR The Game: 2013 is available now for pre-purchase with Beta Access on PC via Steam at a special 10% discount of £26.99. NASCAR The Game: 2013 will be released at the end of July for £29.99. For more information, visit Follow along on Twitter and Facebook.

*Races from Bristol, Kansas and Dover will not be available.

Eutechnyx PR


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