Speedway Digest Staff
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Sorenson Looks to Make the Most of Opportunity to Drive RPM Ford
Reed Sorenson, who will fill in for Michael Annett, looks to make the most of his opportunity to drive the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford. This weekend will mark Sorenson's fourth Nationwide start at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Peachtree City, Ga., driver has an average finish of 14.2 at the 1.5-mile track and tallied his best finish of sixth in his Nationwide track debut in 2005.
The No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford team posted a 13th-place finish in last season's event and found success at similar tracks throughout the season.
Comments from Pilot Flying J Ford Mustang Driver Reed Sorenson:
"I haven't run a race at Vegas in two years, but I really like the track. I had a really good car there in 2011 and finished well. It's a great race track, and the surface is getting better and better. I'm just ready to get back there.
"I really look forward to working with the Pilot Flying J team. We will have over four hours of practice since the series will be racing on a new tire. This will give us significant amount of time to get to know each other. It will also help them figure out what I want in the car and help me to figure out how they do things. It will be nice to have that extra time.
"I'm really excited for this opportunity and look forward to making the best of it. We want to have strong runs with the Pilot Flying J Ford while Michael heals."
Comments from Crew Chief Philippe Lopez on Vegas:
"We found a lot of success at mile-and-a-half tracks last season. We're in a position now where we can take more gambles now that Michael is out for a few races. We want to help build the program while he is gone so we can hit the ground running when he gets back. The additional practice time this weekend will help us get into a good groove with Reed. I think we will see good speed this weekend and hopefully can come away with a good finish."
Buoyed by the success of last year's "Send a Soldier to The Rock" promotion, Rockingham Speedway is partnering with the United Service Organization of North Carolina (USO of NC) to continue the program for the April 14 running of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at The Rock presented by Cheerwine.
Through Send a Soldier to The Rock, race fans can purchase tickets to the event that will be distributed by the USO of NC to servicemen and women and their families.
"Supporting our men and women in uniform is something that I am passionate about," said Rockingham Speedway President Andy Hillenburg. "They sacrifice so much for our freedom and Send a Soldier to The Rock is a small way for the speedway and fans to show our appreciation.
"Having the USO of North Carolina come on board makes this so much more special. They have such a long history of great work for our soldiers, sailors and marines and we won't to support that work."
Rockingham Speedway will be donating a portion of ticket sales from Send a Soldier to The Rock back to the USO of NC.
"The USO of NC is pleased to partner with the Rockingham Speedway to help enrich the lives of service members and their families," said John Falkenbury, President of the USO of NC. "The USO of NC and NASCAR have worked together on many programs that allow our troops and families to enjoy races, spend time together and to serve as visible reminders of their selfless service to all race. This partnership helps us continue our mission to lift the spirits of those we serve and demonstrates the love and support our community has for our troops."
Fans can purchase $25 Send a Soldier to The Rock tickets by calling 910.205.8800 or online at www.rockinghamspeedway.com.
The UARA-STARS Late Model Series and the Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals (FKSSN) will join the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for the weekend. The UARA and FKSSN will be competing on Saturday, April 13, with qualifying on Friday, April 12.
The NCWTS will practice on Saturday with qualifying and racing on Sunday, April 14.
The Rock PR
New Mobile App Will Improve Fan Experience At Martinsville Speedway
Race fans can begin downloading the new Martinsville Speedway Mobile App which should make their next trip to Martinsville Speedway a much easier experience.
The new app, which is available at no cost for iOS and Android, has features that will help visitors navigate their way around Martinsville Speedway’s property on event weekends. The first event fans will be able to utilize the Martinsville Speedway App will be the STP® Gas Booster™ 500 weekend April 5-7.
“Rolling out our mobile App is just the next logical step in today’s digital world,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. “It will be the easiest way possible for fans to keep up with race weekend schedules, find their way around the track and even find the closest concession stand. It’s going to make the entire experience much more enjoyable.”
Key features of the new App include: interactive GPS map, detailed facility maps, race weekend schedule, ability to find your friends at the track, and much, much more.
The Martinsville Speedway App for iPhone users can be downloaded at:https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/martinsville-speedway/id598297950?mt=8.
Android users can find the Martinsville Speedway App at:https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.avai.amp.iscmartinsville.
Martinsville Speedway PR
Roush Fenway Selected as Finalist for PR News’ Social Media Icon Award
Roush Fenway Racing has been named a finalist for the PR News’ Social Media Icon Award. The program is sponsored by PR News and is designated to honor those that “took chances, made incredible strides and understand the power of social media in public relations.”
RFR has been named a finalist in the category of “Use of Google+”, with its marketing efforts through the platform in 2012. Roush Fenway become the first motorsports team to build a significant footprint in the Google+ space and the first team to exceed one million fans in its combined circles.
A leader in NASCAR marketing solutions, Roush Fenway has brought home MarCom awards the past two years for its award-winning campaigns forRickyVsTrevor.com and “25 Winning Years.” The significantly upped its level of fan engagement with a behind the scenes look at the organization kicking off at the 2012 Daytona Speedweeks with the first ever ‘Five Driver Hangout.’ The platform also featured live pre and post-race driver ‘hangouts’ from Daytona International Speedway, as well as G+ Hangouts from Fenway Park and RFR Fan Days.
In 2012 RFR was recognized by USA Today as having the “broadest social media reach” in NASCAR through its Google+ circles.
View Roush Fenway/Google+ Sizzle Reel
Winners will be announced at the Social Media Icon Awards Luncheon on April 17 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City.
Las Vegas native Kurt Busch looking to beat the odds in 13th attempt
Tony Stewart: The Vegas Years
Elvis. Singer, dancer, actor and the undisputed king of rock-and-roll. A pop-culture icon transcending time and place, and one of only a handful of historic figures recognized by a single name. Although Elvis has been gone for more than three decades, his legacy casts a long shadow, and it remains visible today. And while Memphis, Tenn., was his home, Las Vegas was recognized as his home away from home. To say that Elvis has not left the building in Las Vegas may be an understatement. There is likely no place on Earth where his presence not only lives on, but thrives.
For nearly 20 years, Elvis and the city of Las Vegas enjoyed a relationship full of mutual admiration. From the first time he performed in the city in 1956 to his wedding to Priscilla in 1967 to a series of shows throughout the 1970s, Elvis seemingly owned the Entertainment Capital of the World. The city even served as the setting for what many critics considered one of his best films with the 1964 hit “Viva Las Vegas.” It’s a period of time affectionately referred to as “The Vegas Years.”
While Tony Stewart doesn’t sing or dance, nor is it likely that anyone will see his name atop a movie marquee anytime soon, he can certainly appreciate the affection Elvis had for Las Vegas. While Stewart certainly enjoys the blackjack tables that dot the Strip, his real passion lies with a parcel of land just north of the city’s bright lights – Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing, returns to the 1.5-mile oval as the defending winner of the Kobalt Tools 400 –a victory that was a longtime coming for the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.
Up until last year’s race, where Stewart led three times for a race-high 127 laps and held off five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson for the win, Las Vegas had been as fickle as the wheel of a roulette table.
Stewart had flirted with victories at Las Vegas off and on for 13 seasons. Prior to last year, Stewart’s record at Las Vegas featured three top-three, five top-five and eight top-10 finishes. He led laps, sat behind the wheel of dominant cars, and been close enough to victory that he could almost taste the celebratory champagne – the most blatant example being the 2011 Kobalt Tools 400.
Stewart dominated that race, and victory seemed like a sure bet. Stewart led four times for a race-high 163 laps and, at one point, opened up a four-second lead over his nearest pursuer. Foiling the effort however, was a pit-road penalty that sent him to the rear of the field late in the race. And while Stewart was able to maneuver his way back to second place, the penalty ultimately cost him what was all but a guaranteed win.
Fast forward to last year’s Kobalt Tools 400. Three months after celebrating his third Sprint Cup Series championship in Las Vegas, Stewart returned to the city looking for redemption.
Stewart started seventh in the 267-lap race, but quickly moved toward the front of the field. He took the lead for the first time on lap 134 as he slipped past Johnson. Track position, however, was everything, and when Stewart found himself third on a lap-234 restart, he made a daring three-wide pass on the frontstretch to retake the lead for the final time. However, holding that lead proved challenging, as three separate caution periods allowed his competitors, notably four-time Las Vegas race-winner Johnson, to mount a charge against Stewart. Each time Stewart held him off, and when the checkered flag waved, Stewart had a .461 of a second margin of victory. It was the 13th time Stewart and Johnson finished 1-2, with Johnson taking seven victories and Stewart holding six.
The victory, which came in Stewart’s 14th Sprint Cup start at the track, put a spotlight on Stewart’s prowess at Las Vegas. His stat line now reads: one win, four top-threes, six top-fives, nine top-10s and 482 laps led. And in loop-data statistics, Stewart leads all drivers in the category of fastest drivers on restarts, and ranks among the top-five in average running position (fourth), fastest laps run (second), fastest green-flag speed (fourth) and number of laps in the top-15 (third). And his 357 laps led in the track’s last eight races places him second on the laps-led list behind four-time Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon. It all adds up to Stewart owning the third-highest overall driver rating, with only Johnson (first) and Gordon (second) ahead of him.
With a win finally under his belt that highlights his record of proficiency at Las Vegas, Stewart aims to take a page from Las Vegas icon Elvis by making this decade his very own “Vegas Years”.
Kyle Petty preps for 19th Anniversary Charity Ride Across America
During a weeklong event this spring, former NASCAR driver and racing analyst Kyle Petty will lead more than 175 motorcycle riders on a cross-country motorcycle trek to benefit Victory Junction. The 19th Anniversary Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America presented by Manheim will commence on April 27 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and extend 2,100 miles before finishing in Tempe, Arizona on May 3. The Charity Ride raises funds and awareness for Victory Junction, a camp created to enrich the lives of children with chronic medical illnesses.
“Over the years, the Ride has turned into so much more than we ever anticipated,” said Petty, who started the Ride as a small group of friends riding from track to track across the country. “I’m grateful for the chance to spend time with friends, while meeting fans and generous supporters who ultimately help create memorable and fun camp experiences for wonderful children and their families.”
The 2013 Schedule includes overnight stops in:
· Coeur d'Alene, Idaho to Boise, Idaho (April 27)
· Boise, Idaho to Jackson, Wyo. (April 28)
· Jackson, Wyo. to Green River, Wyo. (April 29)
· Green River, Wyo. to Grand Junction, Colo. (April 30)
· Grand Junction, Colo. to Durango, Colo. (May 1)
· Durango, Colo. to Show Low, Ariz. (May 2)
· Show Low, Ariz. to Tempe, Ariz. (May 3)
According to Herschel Walker, former NFL great and 1982 Heisman Trophy winner, he enjoys the camaraderie among the riders each year, as well as seeing Petty interact with the crowds.
“Kyle is incredible. He works so hard and cares so much about the riders, the Charity Ride and the children who attend Victory Junction,” said Walker, who is participating in his 8th Charity Ride this year. “It’s truly a blessing to be a part of this experience.”
Spectators, visitors and residents are encouraged to visit one of the daily scheduled fuel stops or overnight locations to show support for the riders, meet Petty and also contribute to the Charity Ride’s “Small Change. Big Impact.” program that benefits children with chronic illnesses.
In the last nine years, more than 7,650 children have attended Victory Junction at no cost to their families, thanks to the Kyle Petty Charity Ride. The camp has served as the Ride’s primary beneficiary since its establishment by the Petty family in 2004 in honor of their late son, Adam.
The 2013 Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America is made possible by presenting sponsor Manheim, as well as Coca-Cola, Pilot Flying J, Racing Electronics, FLUIDYNE Racing Products, WinCraft Racing, Krispy Kreme, FGX International and the Petty Family Foundation.
“Manheim is extremely proud to sponsor the Kyle Petty Charity Ride through 2015,” said Nick Peluso, Manheim senior vice president of customer management. “Previously having sponsored the Ride, Manheim values the national awareness it brings to chronic illness and enriching the lives of children who live with chronic illness. Giving back is definitely a priority for Manheim and our parent company COX; we are looking forward to our three-year sponsorship.”
Individuals can follow Petty and the riders live by visiting www.facebook.com/KPCharityRide or on Twitter @KylePetty and @KPCharityRide.
Full Circle PR
Scott Speed and Leavine Family Racing will keep their pirate colors for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The team set sail last week with a black No. 95 Ford Fusion at Phoenix, complete with a skull and crossbones designed by Sam Bass on the hood and the words "Surrender the Sponsor" across the trunk.
The project got so much positive feedback, including associate sponsorships for the 267 lap event in Sin City, that the team decided to stick with it.
"The whole idea to go with a pirate theme was to draw attention to Leavine Family Racing," Speed said. "We got off to a good start last week at Phoenix, so we decided to keep it on the car for Las Vegas."
Even though the No. 95 Ford will sport a black pirate theme, it will also carry the associate sponsorships from Race Fuel Energy Drink and Sin City Motorsports.
Crew chief Wally Rogers said the paint scheme is more than a publicity stunt. The team will make limited starts this season, so it's important to make the most of every opportunity.
"We've come so far since we put this program together in 2011," Rogers said. "We're confident in our ability to qualify for each race, and we know we're capable of solid finishes. This allows us to have a little fun while we try to catch the eye of a potential sponsor.
"We put the skull and crossbones on the car last week at Phoenix and we've added two partners in Race Fuel Energy Drink and Sin City Motorsports since. As they say in racing, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's why it's on the car again."
After a lead-lap finish at the season-opening Daytona 500, Speed qualified 28th for last week's race at Phoenix. A brake issue eventually relegated him to a 41st-place finish.
"When you have a thousand moving parts on a speeding car, things sometimes break," Speed said. "We're confident we've got things back on track for Las Vegas."
Speed and Rogers said the pirate theme also represents the team's willingness to work and think outside the box. It was the right time: after a limited season in 2012, the team was ready to 'raise the Black Flag' and challenge the status quo. Their battle flag is raised, a sign that Leavine Family Racing is willing to do battle against bigger teams.
"For us, it represents our tenacity," team owner Bob Leavine said. "We may be a little team, but we're not afraid of challenges. We close the gap with our work ethic."
Associate sponsor Sin City Motorsports is in the same boat as Leavine Family Racing, competing against the bigger teams in the midway with merchandise. They came on board to magnify efforts to help both the team- and merchandise-side grow.
The track will open a day early for testing as teams continue to work on their Generation-6 cars. Practice and qualifying is Friday, followed by another day of practice on Saturday.
Sin City Motorsports and Race Fuel Energy Drink aren't alone in supporting Leavine Family Racing this weekend: The new Tropicana Las Vegas will host Leavine Family Racing during this weekend's race as another team sponsor.
Associate sponsor Sin City Motorsports will have a merchandise trailer set up in the midway at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway with new 2013 apparel. Speed is scheduled to appear at the Sin City Motorsports merchandise trailer at the speedway from 9 to 9:30 a.m. before the race on Sunday.
The Kobalt Tools 400 is scheduled for a 3 p.m. ET green flag start, and will be televised on FOX.
NASCAR Productions Preserves and Archives High-Resolution Video Files With Spectra T-Finity
Spectra Logic today announced that NASCAR Productions has selected a Spectra®T-Finity tape library to archive 180,000 hours (8.0PB) of NASCAR Productions’ high-resolution video footage. The enterprise-class T-Finity, utilizing LTO data tape technology, will manage and store NASCAR’s vast historical broadcast data, including NASCAR-related events, TV programs, movies, commercials and other broadcast-related data sets. NASCAR’s video footage was previously archived on a Spectra T950 tape library, enabling a transition to a higher-capacity T-Finity tape library using Spectra’s TranScale feature, which protects prior investments and allows users to seamlessly transform and scale an existing tape library.
“When NASCAR Productions purchased the T950 library in 2008 it was configured to archive 50,000 hours of video footage, and in just five years, its broadcast data bloomed by 260 percent to 180,000 hours,” said Brian Grainger, Spectra Logic’s senior vice president of worldwide sales. “We have served NASCAR’s storage needs for many years, and were pleased to help them meet their growing needs with Spectra’s efficient, time saving TranScale capabilities. Spectra Logic prides itself on developing long-term relationships within the industry’s vendor, partner and end-user communities and, as the NASCAR solution illustrates, working with those contacts to meet unique and ever-changing data preservation needs.”
With Spectra’s TranScale architecture, T-Series tape library customers can utilize the common, interchangeable components between Spectra’s T-Series library family, enabling customers to seamlessly scale to the next largest library as data sets grow. The TranScale upgrade is easy and fast. It allows users to retain critical tape library components, eliminates the need for host/server reconfiguration, serial number changes, world-wide name changes, and switch rezoning, and is guaranteed to be completed in less than half a day. NASCAR Productions TranScaled from its T950 to a T-Finity with a simple chassis change.
“NASCAR needed to expand its data storage to accommodate a growing amount of video data. Spectra’s TranScale feature allowed us to transform our T950 into an upgraded T-Finity tape library,” said Steve Stum, NASCAR Productions’ vice president of operations and technical production. “The upgrade process involved a simple chassis replacement instead of a complex technology refresh, and we were able to complete the process in just a few hours.”
Kyle Busch looking to make it back to back at his hometown track
Coming off their first taste of victory together, this week Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and their Nevada-bred driver will bring the No. 54 Monster Energy Camry to Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS). Kyle Busch has had success on his “hometown” track. Not only does Busch hold the record for the number of fastest laps (127) at LVMS in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, but he also ranks second in laps led (228) over the last eight years the Nationwide Series has raced at the 1.5-mile facility.
The 2012 Sam's Town 300 proved difficult for Busch, after starting the race from a 20th-place qualifying position, Busch worked his way through the field, only to end up in an on-track accident that relegated his previous Kyle Busch Motorsports team to a 33rd-place finish.
Although in nine NNS starts Busch has not won at LVMS, expectations are higher this year for the newly-formed team and veteran driver, who already have one 2013 season victory under their belt. Nothing would be greater though, than for Busch to bring home another win for sponsor partner Monster Energy, at the driver's home track, in only his third start realigned with the JGR Nationwide Series program.