Wednesday, Feb 08
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Quicken Loans Inc., the nation’s third largest mortgage lender, today announced the launch of the company’s “Bring It Home” sweepstakes, which will pay five peoples’ mortgages for a month each time Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing, finishes among the top-five in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. 

Consumers can enter the sweepstakes by visiting www.qlracing.com.  To increase their chances of winning a month-long vacation from their mortgage, sweepstakes participants are eligible to enter weekly, and can also win additional entries by inviting their friends and family to participate.

“Coming into the 2013 season, we have really increased our support of Ryan and Quicken Loans’ involvement in NASCAR in general.  We were looking for a fun, and impactful, way to help engage with the fans, and I think we have found it,” said Jay Farner, President and Chief Marketing Officer at Quicken Loans.  “Every weekend we find ourselves on the edge of our seats cheering Ryan on, and now everyone in our sweepstakes will have another reason to do the same.  We are looking forward to a very good season and paying a ton of mortgage payments for the fans.”

Each Monday, after Newman brings it home with a top-five finish in a Sprint Cup race, Quicken Loans will draw the names of five lucky winners, which will be posted to the company’s Facebook (www.facebook.com/quickenloansracing) and Twitter (@quickenloans) pages. 

“I think I just gained a lot of new fans who are keeping a close eye on me to make sure I bring it home for them,” joked Newman.  “It is always fun to drive for a sponsor like Quicken Loans who just plain gets it when it comes to interacting with NASCAR fans.  I can guarantee you that I will be pushing to bring it home, and can’t wait to help a lot of people take a month off from their mortgage payment.”

Quicken Loans will serve as Newman’s primary sponsor for 18 Sprint Cup races in 2013, beginning with the 55th Daytona 500 Sunday at Daytona International Speedway.  When not the primary sponsor, the company will be an associate sponsor on Newman’s No. 39 Chevrolet. The company also serves as an associate sponsor of three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart and Sprint Cup rookie-of-the-year candidate, and Daytona 500 polesitter Danica Patrick, both of whom are teammates with Newman at Stewart-Haas Racing.

TSC

Mark Reuss, General Motors North America president, who was instrumental in bringing the new Chevrolet SS to NASCAR, will be the honorary pace car driver for the 55th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 24.

He will be behind the wheel of a 2014 production Chevrolet SS.

“Leading the Daytona 500 starting field to green driving a 2014 Chevrolet SS pace car on one of the most famous race tracks in the world will be a special honor for me,” Reuss said. “I can’t wait to drive across the start/finish line and on into Turn 1. I know it will be difficult to turn down onto pit road when it’s over because I will want to make that moment last as long as possible.”

The 2014 Chevrolet SS pace car has been busy during its Speedweeks debut, earlier pacing The Sprint Unlimited and both Budweiser Duels. The 2014 Chevrolet SS is the first V-8, rear-wheel drive performance sedan for Chevrolet since 1996.

“The Chevrolet brand was largely built on the strength of rear-drive performance sedans, yet it's been 17 years since we've offered one,” Reuss said when the production car was unveiled at the track last weekend. “The all-new Chevrolet SS fills that void and fills it better than any other vehicle in the brand’s rich history. The comfort, convenience, spaciousness and V-8 power make the SS a total performance package unlike any other on the road today.”

The Chevrolet SS accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in about five seconds – making it one of the quickest sedans on the market.

The 2014 Chevrolet SS will be available in the fourth quarter of 2013, with prices set closer to the on-sale date. 

This is the first time that Reuss has been an honorary pace car driver for a NASCAR race.

DIS PR

Today NASCAR celebrated the outstanding achievements of ground-breaking individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the advancement of diversity initiatives at the sixth annual NASCAR Diversity Awards Luncheon. 

"At the luncheon, we have an opportunity to celebrate a few of the people and organizations whose dedication and commitment are shining examples of our industry understanding the importance of diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our sport," said Marcus Jadotte, NASCAR vice president of public affairs and multicultural development.” From the competitors on tracks to the employee’s across our offices, NASCAR is more diverse than ever and we have positioned ourselves to place the sport in front of new audiences like never before.”

During a ceremony held at The DAYTONA 500 Club at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR recognized the following individuals and organizations across the industry:

NASCAR Diverse Driver: Kyle Larson

In his first season of NASCAR competition, Kyle Larson – a Japanese-American from Elk Grove, Calif. – raced into the record books in impressive fashion. In 2012, Kyle scored two wins and 12 top 10s in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. He capped his season off with Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors en route to bringing home Rev Racing and the NASCAR Drive for Diversity’s first series championship. Kyle became just the third driver in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East history to capture the championship and Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the same season.

Kyle signed on with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and will make his national series debut this season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series where he has a full-time ride with Turner Scott Motorsports. He has already been to Victory Lane once in 2013 when he won the opening race of the UNOH Battle At The Beach on Monday, Feb. 18.

NASCAR Diverse Crew Member Award: Tesfa Lee

The NASCAR Pit Crew Development Program Presented by Sprint is designed to identify, coach, train and develop minority athletes who possess the skill, ability and attitude to be a successful NASCAR pit crew member. Today’s crew member award winner, Tesfa Lee, exemplifies the desire and talent the program was created to develop.

When Tesfa Lee showed up to the 2009 Combine with very little background in NASCAR the coaching team did not know what to expect. He proved to be a fast learner and in seven months had already started working with a team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Tesfa has followed that up with consistent improvement and has gained excellent experience as part of several championship-winning teams. In 2010, he was part of the Germain Racing team that won the NASCAR Camping World Truck championship with Todd Bodine. Then last year, he was a member on Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s NASCAR Nationwide Series team that won the title for Roush Fenway Racing. In 2013, Tesfa will continue his great work with Roush Fenway as a member of Trevor Bayne’s No. 21 NASCAR Sprint Cup and No. 6 NASCAR Nationwide Series crews.

NASCAR Diversity Internship Program Award: Stacey Houston

Stacey Houston, a senior at Davidson College (N.C.), interned in Charlotte, N.C., with the Market Research Group in the NASCAR Marketing Department. During the course of his internship, Stacey worked on a variety of projects, one of which was the development of a database that allows the department to create more impactful and meaningful questionnaires for the official NASCAR fan council.

Institution Award: Ten80

The Ten80 Student Racing Challenge is a project-based STEM curriculum and annual competition league that provides students with professional development opportunities in related disciplines. Ten80 Student Racing Challenge teams are mini-race teams that compete using a 1:10 scale electric radio-controlled car. This program has helped thousands of students not only develop a passion for NASCAR and motorsports but also to cement their interest in careers based on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

NASCAR Partner Award: Octagon

As the agency of record for several of NASCAR’s key partners including Sprint and Sunoco, Octagon has diligently worked with NASCAR to create and support initiatives that help to expose the sport to new audiences in unique ways. Octagon’s dedication has led the company to annually bring on an intern from the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program, a commitment that has given several minority students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the sport.

NASCAR Young Racer Award: Ryleigh Lemonds

Nine-year-old Ryleigh Lemonds is making her mark as a future driver to watch. During 2012, Ryleigh competed in 29 races and wheeled off 10 wins, 27 top 5s and 29 top 10s, winning on five tracks in three states. Ryleigh’s epic season ended with her winning the Langley Speedway Bandolero Track championship and the 2012 INEX Virginia State Bandolero Bandit championship.

In 2013, Ryleigh will be a developmental driver with Rev Racing, participating in arena racing and driving one of the team’s Bandolero cars at select tracks throughout the southeast.

NASCAR Industry Ambassador: Bryan Sperber

As president of the Phoenix International Raceway, Bryan Sperber sets the strategic direction for one of NASCAR’s most popular tracks. Under Sperber’s leadership, Phoenix International Raceway has become imbedded in the local community and continuously seeks to form partnerships with minority organizations such as the Arizona Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce. In 2013, Phoenix International Raceway will host the NASCAR Toyota Series’ inaugural race in the United States, where some of Mexico’s best drivers will compete during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend.

NASCAR PR

RockTape™, the world’s strongest brand of kinesiology tape, propels athletes towards achieving their best by helping them overcome injury and increasing performance. For the first time in the history of NASCAR, a pit crew athlete is bringing sponsorship to the team with lead sponsor, RockTape.

“The hazards and risk of injury in any sport will always be there”

Worn by athletes around the world, RockTape helps NASCAR pit crew member and CrossFit champion, Christmas Abbott, power through the intense physical demands of being on the racetrack.

“The hazards and risk of injury in any sport will always be there,” says Christmas. “You can wear an injury like a badge of honor but if the healing process lingers, it can be a sore reminder of what you can’t do. RockTape gets me back to what I enjoy doing sooner than later.”

Applied directly to the skin, RockTape improves circulation to the injured area, expediting the healing process and in some cases can result in immediate mobility. RockTape also decreases tissue swelling associated with edema, allowing muscles to feel refreshed and invigorated. With RockTape, athletes can go stronger, longer.

“Congratulations to Christmas on this amazing accomplishment. She is an incredible athlete and inspiration to many, says RockTape CEO Greg van den dries. “We are honored that we can support her during this history-making event.”

RockTape supplies Christmas with RockTape and Rock Sauce™, a powerful pain relieving lotion. Combined or used separately, any athlete or sports enthusiast can benefit from the increased stamina, pain relief and endurance.

Be sure to watch Christmas Abbott in action this Friday February 22nd at 8pm live on Speed Channel. Follow Christmas on Twitter for updates @christmasabbott and join the conversation on Facebook.

For more information visit www.rocktape.com; follow us on Facebook and Twitter: @RockTape.

RockTape PR

Few athletes have ascended to the top of their sport like Jimmie Johnson, who will be making his 400th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start in the 55th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 24 (FOX, FOX Deportes, MRN Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio).

In 399 starts the 37-year-old Hendrick Motorsports driver has tallied 60 wins to go along with five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships. Only NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt have more championships (seven).

Johnson’s prolific career rivals – and in some cases, surpasses – those of some of the most prominent talents in NASCAR history.

Eight drivers have won 60 races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Johnson was the sixth fastest to reach the milestone when he notched victory No. 60 on Nov. 4, 2012 at Texas Motor Speedway in his 397th start. The five drivers that reached the milestone in fewer starts: Jeff Gordon (318), Darrell Waltrip (321), David Pearson (356), Richard Petty (358) and Cale Yarborough (380). Dale Earnhardt (454 starts) and Bobby Allison (493) also have reached 60 wins in their careers. 

Johnson has produced at least two NASCAR Sprint Cup wins per season for the last 11 consecutive seasons, and all of them with the same sponsor – Lowe’s. Only Johnson and Jeff Gordon (DuPont) have had the same sponsor for each of their first 400 starts.

And championships? This is where Johnson has inserted his name in the “Greatest of All Time” discussion. At 400 starts, Richard Petty had two championships and Dale Earnhardt had five. Richard Petty? He had two at 400 starts.

Below is a timeline of Johnson’s career highlights on his way to 400 starts:

1 – On October 7, 2001, Johnson made his first series start at Charlotte Motor Speedway, finishing 39th. Johnson made three starts in 2001, scoring a best finish of 25th at Homestead-Miami.

4 – In his fourth start and first Daytona 500, Johnson sat on the pole, Feb. 17, 2002, he finished 15th.

14 – On April 28, 2002 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., Johnson, a California native, posted his first victory in just his 14th start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. 

100 – On September 5, 2004, at Auto Club Speedway, Johnson made milestone start No. 100. He finished 14th.

148 – On Feb. 19, 2006, Johnson wins NASCAR’s biggest race – the Daytona 500. Johnson started ninth in the event – the same starting position he’ll have in Sunday’s race.

183 – On November 19, 2006, at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Johnson locked up his first of five consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championships.

200 – On July 1, 2007, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Johnson made milestone start No. 200. He finished fifth.

219 – Johnson won back-to-back titles on November 18, 2007 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

254 – On November 9, 2008, at Phoenix International Raceway, Johnson moved into 15th on the all-time wins list after posting his 40th NASCAR Sprint Cup win.

296 – On March 21, 2010, at Bristol Motor Speedway, Johnson became the 12th driver to post 50 NASCAR Sprint Cup wins.

300 – On April 25, 2010, at Talladega Superspeedway, Johnson made milestone start No. 300. He finished 31st.

327 – Johnson became the only driver in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history to win five consecutive series championships on November 21, 2010 at Homestead-Miami.

374 – In a victory at Darlington Raceway in the Bojangles’ Southern 500 on May 12, 2012, Johnson delivered Hendrick Motorsports’ 200th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory.

397 – On November 4, 2012, at Texas Motor Speedway in the AAA Texas 500, Johnson became the eighth driver in series history to post 60 or more wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

NASCAR PR

Rush Enterprises, which operates the largest network of commercial vehicle dealerships in North America, will be the primary sponsor of Tony Stewart and the No. 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) for three Sprint Cup races with its Rush Truck Centers brand.

Rush Truck Centers will adorn the hood of the No. 14 Chevrolet SS March 24 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., April 7 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and April 27 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. When not serving as the primary sponsor, Rush Truck Centers will be an associate sponsor on the No. 14 Chevrolet with placement on the B-pillar and lower-rear quarterpanel.

“We’ve been doing business with Rush Truck Centers for years. It’s an established relationship that will now have a much higher profile thanks to their decision to become a primary sponsor with the No. 14 team,” said Stewart, co-owner of SHR with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas. “Rush Truck Centers keeps our trucks and transporters in great condition, and you could argue those are the most important parts of our race team. Without them, our cars never get to the racetrack. The employees of Rush Truck Centers are as detail-oriented as we are, and they play a critical role in the success of our race team.”

Stewart, the three-time Sprint Cup champion (2002, 2005 and 2011), is a two-time winner at Fontana and is the defending winner of the track’s Sprint Cup race. Stewart is also a three-time winner at Martinsville and a three-time winner at Richmond.

“Rush Truck Centers is extremely proud to increase our partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing by becoming a primary sponsor of Tony Stewart and the No. 14 team,” said Rusty Rush, president and chief executive officer, Rush Enterprises, Inc. “We’ve been a part of Stewart-Haas Racing since 2010. They have a championship culture based on winning, with the same passion and drive we have at Rush Truck Centers. Many of our customers and employees are NASCAR fans, so expanding our relationship with Stewart-Haas Racing makes business sense, now and for the future.”

Since the creation of SHR in 2009, the team has won 17 races, 11 poles and captured the 2011 Sprint Cup championship. Along the way, trucks provided by Rush Truck Centers have successfully hauled SHR’s fleet of racecars to every race and test session.

TSC PR

Brad Keselowski returns to the track this weekend to defend his NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. To honor the fans who supported Keselowski, Miller Lite is teaming up with Fan Mosaics to offer a unique opportunity to be a part of his title defense, by actually appearing on the Miller Lite Blue Deuce's special mosaic paint scheme.

 

Beginning today through March 31, legal-drinking-age fans will have the chance to submit an image of their favorite moments with friends - otherwise known as Miller Time moments - to be featured on the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford during the May 18 All-Star Race in Charlotte. To encourage fans to participate, for every photo submitted, Miller Lite will donate $2 to Keselowski's Checkered Flag Foundation (CFF), up to $22,222.

 

"With the launch of the Miller Lite mosaic paint scheme, we're inviting fans to connect with their favorite driver in a new and exciting way," said Ryan Reis, senior director of marketing for Miller Lite. "The fan mosaic brings consumers closer to the sport like only Miller Lite can. Get your picture on there and then gather with your friends to enjoy your shared moment in the spotlight when the Blue Deuce hits the track in Charlotte."

 

Fans can locate their individual picture and will be able to purchase a commemorative print of the paint scheme at www.FanMosaics.com/GetOnThe2. A portion of the proceeds from the print will be donated to the CFF, which strives to support those individuals who have sacrificed greatly for America, including military members, veterans, first-responders and their families.

 

"I'm always looking for ways to give back to the fans as they are the backbone of our sport," said Keselowski. "Over the last few years we've been able to do some cool things in that regard and I'm proud of that. With the help of Miller Lite, we're excited to offer another unique opportunity to those who support us."

 

For additional information about the entry process and Fan Mosaics, please visit www.FanMosaics.com/GetOnThe2. To learn more about the Checkered Flag Foundation, go to www.CheckeredFlagFoundation.org. Visit www.MillerLite.com, Facebook.com/MillerLite or follow @MillerLite and @keselowski for more information about Miller Lite Racing.
 
BKR PR
Kurt Busch, American NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race car driver has partnered with the gasoline-fueled actions sports apparel brand Panic Switch Army, founded by former Silver Star owners, Luke Burrett and Charis B.
“We have friends in business and when you share the same passion for business like Luke and I do, it’s easy to be excited about a new venture, but most importantly, the two of us will be on the same page, moving the needle as we go down this road together,” said Busch, a 24-time Sprint Cup race winner.
The exciting new partnership also includes One Punch Distribution, the authorized official worldwide wholesale distributor of TapouT, Jaco, Tribal Street Wear, Panic Switch Army, and Anti-Human.
“This partnership will attract Kurt’s fan base and the NASCAR world to Panic Switch and One Punch Distribution,” Burrett said. “We are excited to utilize his expertise and his huge audience will now be exposed to our brands overnight.”
“We will be launching a signature series Kurt Busch line for Panic Switch Army and you’ll be seeing much more of us in the NASCAR arena very soon,” Burrett said. “We‘re extremely thrilled about the partnership and the numerous possibilities in the NASCAR world.”
The cutting-edge look of Panic Switch Army’s designs and Luke’s artistic vision are two of the catalysts that sparked Busch’s interest in becoming an invested partner with the fashion enterprise. The partnership was formed as a result of a friendship between Busch’s girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, who runs the Armed Forces Foundation, and Charis. B.
“There are people in this world who are artists and I like how Luke sees things,” Busch explained. “Not that I’m on the cutting-edge of fashion here,” he said, laughing, “but I’ve had my different distinct styles over the years and it’s a good match.”
“I want people to know that they can find quality clothing that is on the cutting-edge of something new and exciting,” Busch said. “This is a chance for my fans to be on the frontline of a new beginning.”
Panic Switch Army is also proud to announce the debut of Gasoline Girl, the new women’s clothing line spearheaded by former Playboy Playmate and Panic Switch co-founder, Charis B., and fashion designer and TV personality, Kelly Nishimoto.
Busch currently drives the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet SS for Furniture Row Racing in the Sprint Cup Series, and will make his season debut at the Daytona 500 on February 24, 2013.
“Just like anything in my line of work, I jump in and I go full-throttle with it,” Busch concluded. “Keep an eye on us. We’re going to be moving the needle when it comes to fashion and new design.”
FRR PR

Better safe than sorry. That may have been the mindset of voters in the annual preseason NASCARMedia.com poll that tapped five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson as the favorite to win the 2013 title.

Despite a two-year championship drought – an eternity for the El Cajon, Calif. native – Johnson has qualified for the “postseason” Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in each of its nine seasons. His 22 Chase wins are more than any other driver.

So, as they say, you have to be in it to win it.

Johnson, who will start his 400th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Sunday’s Daytona 500 (1 p.m. on FOX, FOX Deportes, MRN Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio), finished third last season behind champion Brad Keselowski and runner-up Clint Bowyer.

Possibly the biggest surprise of this year’s media poll: The voters came out in full force for Kyle Busch.

Busch tallied the second-highest vote total, a somewhat surprising number considering he enters 2013 coming off a 2012 season he has called the worst of his career. Busch opened the season with a flourish, winning his Duel at Daytona race on Thursday.

Rounding out the top 12: defending champion Keselowski, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne.

Media members were also tasked with predicting the final top five for the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

With two-time NASCAR Nationwide champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. moving to a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup ride, the 2013 championship is wide open. But, voters feel that Austin Dillon can duplicate the feat he accomplished in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: follow up a Sunoco Rookie of the Year title with a series championship.

Voters picked Dillon to win this year’s NASCAR Nationwide championship, with Elliott Sadler, Brian Vickers, Trevor Bayne and Regan Smith rounding out the top five.

In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series poll, voters are predicting history. Never in the series’ 18-year history has a driver won back-to-back titles, but voters think the drought will end. They picked James Buescher to repeat in 2013, with Ty Dillon, Ryan Blaney, Timothy Peters and Johnny Sauter rounding out the top five.

NASCAR PR

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