Friday, Jul 01
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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When a Daytona 500 champion returns to Daytona International Speedway, it’s always a special trip for the driver no matter the time of year.

Ward Burton, the 2002 Daytona 500 champion, was at the “World Center of Racing” on Thursday hosting employees and customers from one of his sponsors – State Water Heaters – for a day with the Richard Petty Driving Experience.

“This race track is so full and represents such good things about this sport and NASCAR,” Burton said. “It’s so rich in history. Just coming in the grounds – it feels like hallowed ground. Today, we’re doing an event for State Water Heaters with 25 customers and we do this around the country. Last time we were here doing this was ’09 so we’re glad to be back and doing it at Daytona again.”

Burton plans four of these events per year with State Water Heaters and Richard Petty Driving Experience at tracks around the country. He climbs behind the wheel of a two-seat No. 27 State Water Heaters Chevrolet prepared by Richard Petty Driving Experience and gives rides to guests. Following the rides and more instruction, guests then get their turn to drive on the legendary tri-oval.

In February, Burton celebrated the 10th anniversary of his Daytona 500 victory by making a return to NASCAR competition for the first time since 2007. He finished eighth in the NextEra Energy Resources 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.

These days, Burton’s focus has now shifted to his 19-year-old son Jeb, who wants to follow the footsteps of his Daytona 500-winning father. Jeb Burton, who races Late Models out of his own shop in Virginia, made five starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this year notching one top-10 finish.

Ward Burton says Jeb has “raw talent” and he is doing his best to put together sponsorship so his son can compete in a full season of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series beginning next year during Budweiser Speedweeks 2013.

“Jeb did a phenomenal job beyond my expectations with the resources we had and the limited seat time,” Ward Burton said of his son’s five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts. “Actually I’ve been in Orlando the last two days working on sponsorship opportunities for Jeb. I need to get him back out there. He deserves to be there. He has got the talent to represent somebody really well. I’m working everyday for my son.”

DIS PR

At 70 years of age, Morgan Shepherd still shows he's got the juice from the fans. Backed by Hyland's, Inc. once again at this weekend's inaugural Nationwide 250 at Indianapolis, the "Be There, Do That!" inspirational Masters Athlete Twitter contest has blown up the past two weeks. Fans can simply follow on Twitter @HylandsActive and Tweet for autographed merchandise, apparel, tickets to races and to be a guest of the legendary driver. "Morgan still has the juice!" says Hyland's Marketing Director Thao Le. "With our really cool masters athlete video and Twitter contest, our website has went from individuals spending fifty-five seconds on our site to over eight minutes on average! That's an incredible jump and we're really happy with our partnership with Morgan. He's truly an inspiration to us all and obviously to many fans." Hyland's will be on board as an associate sponsor once again this weekend at Indy. To check it out, go to http://betheredothat.hylands.com/twittercontest/ or follow on Facebook at Hyland's Active!

Morgan Shepherd PR

No. 99 Boost Mobile driver Travis Pastrana knew embarking on a NASCAR career would be tough. Not long after beginning a Nationwide and K&N schedule, he surrounded himself with people who could make his transition from X Games superstar and rally driver to NASCAR driver a bit easier.

 

That's how he met Matt Crafton.

 

Since joining Pastrana at a January 2011 test at New Smyrna Speedway, the two-time Camping World Truck Series winner has served as Pastrana's unofficial driver coach. Crafton calls on his 13 years of truck experience to teach Pastrana how to manage tires, pick driving lines, and hone some of the techniques needed for NASCAR success. Crafton's even climbed in the No. 99 during practices to speed Pastrana's development.

 

This weekend Pastrana will once again have Crafton on hand as he makes his first start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and, is seventh NASCAR Nationwide series start on 2012.       

 

PASTRANA ON CRAFTON: "Having Matt around has been awesome for testing and just getting to know the race tracks. It really helps when Matt can jump in the car and I can actually see where he is braking on the telemetry. He can also tell me turn by turn what the car is doing. He helps get the car set up a little quicker then I can. He is a constant reminder to me that I can't over drive these cars. I have always manhandled everything I have ever driven and it doesn't work in NASCAR. The more you try and manhandle them the slower you are going to go. Matt has been a tremendous help and I think he has helped my learning curve."

 

MATT CRAFTON ON PASTRANA: "He really wants to be successful in NASCAR. He has a lot of talent; it's all about breaking some bad habits. For example, in some of the rally stuff, drivers use ton of brake. That's 100 percent the opposite you want to do in a stock car. You want to be smooth on the brake pedal. With all the telemetry, he can see exactly what I'm doing with the brake pedal and with the throttle. All it is, is speeding up his learning curve. Travis has a lot of talent and he has the drive to make it in this sport. I think if he can run a bunch of races in a row the results will come."

 

RAB Racing

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Kyle Busch was the fastest driver Thursday, July 26 in practice for the Indiana 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Busch led both sessions on the 2.5-mile oval, posting a top overall speed of 175.836 mph in the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota during the final 90-minute practice.

"It felt really good," Busch said. "The car's fast, obviously. It's run well all day. We've just been trying to work on it to make it better in the long run. You've got to be snug here to be fast because the place is so flat. But, overall, it feels stable. Hopefully it will stay with us all day Saturday."

The inaugural Nationwide Series race at IMS is scheduled to start at 4:50 p.m. Saturday.

Busch was one of four full-time Sprint Cup Series competitors among the five fastest drivers Thursday. His older brother, 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch, was second at 174.700 in the No. 1 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, followed by Kasey Kahne at 174.639 in the No. 38 Great Clips Chevrolet.

2006 Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr. was the first Nationwide regular, fourth at 173.695 in the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge. Hornish also will drive the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Dodge in the Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday due to the indefinite suspension of full-time Penske Racing Cup driver A.J. Allmendinger.

Sprint Cup regular Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five at 173.671 in the No. 18 SportClips Toyota. Hamlin was the only driver in the top five to record his fastest speed in the opening 3 ½-hour practice session.

Indianapolis 500 veteran Danica Patrick was 13th in the final practice at 171.916 in the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet. This is Patrick's first race at IMS since the 2011 Indianapolis 500, as she is competing full time this season in the Nationwide Series.

GRAND-AM Road Racing will take center stage Friday during the Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard, with practice, qualifying and two races on the 13-turn, 2.534-mile Grand Prix road course. The Brickyard Sports Car Challenge for the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge starts at 1 p.m., while the Brickyard Grand Prix for the Rolex Sports Car Series starts at 4:10 p.m.

IMS PR

Current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader Matt Kenseth will make an appearance in the Monster Mile Club, a hospitality ticket add-on at Dover International Speedway, the morning of the Sept. 30 "AAA 400" NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Best Buy Ford, joins Ryan Newman on the lineup for that morning's appearances in the Monster Mile Club.

A virtual lock to make this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Kenseth is a two-time winner at Dover and this year's "Daytona 500" champion. Fans will get to hear all about Kenseth's stellar season as well as his strategy for that day's race, which is race No. 3 in the Chase, during a question-and-answer session.

A hospitality option that can be added to any Sunday race ticket, the Monster Mile Club includes a Trackside Access pass to the frontstretch of the track prior to the race, unlimited food and beverage (Anheuser Busch and Pepsi products), a race program and a souvenir gift, all in addition to the appearances by Kenseth and Newman. The add-on costs just $99.

For more information on Kenseth and Newman's appearances, click here. To purchase passes to the Monster Mile Club, click here.

Dover Motorsports PR

TMone will support both Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) teams this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Iowa and South Dakota based company will be a primary sponsor of the No. 10 @TMone CRM Hiring Veterans Chevrolet and associate of the No. 36 SealWrap Chevrolet in the Crown Royal presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard.
 
TMone, pronounced T-M-one, is a business process outsourcing (BPO) company that is in the business of domestic business services outsourcing. TMone is seeking to hire over 150 Veterans immediately for full time, permanent positions. All of TMone’s jobs are filled in the Heartland of America. TMone’s growth is a direct result of supporting some of the biggest brands in the NASCAR garage. TMone helps service and support other company’s customers so Fortune 500 clients can focus their human capital on their core businesses, which in return drives jobs internally and externally.
 
As an outsourcing company in the USA, TMone is launching efforts this weekend to benefit veterans, including helping transition veterans from a military career. In an effort to strengthen support of our nation’s veterans and their commitment to our county, TMone targets to hire 150 veterans by 2013. TMone’s commitment is part of the White House Joining Forces initiative, a nationwide effort to recognize, honor and support America's veterans and military families.
 
TMone, listed as one of Inc’s Fastest Growing Privately-held Companies in the USA for five years, is seasoned in recruiting, staffing and training but admits there is a gap in executing the Veterans Hiring Initiative. Therefore, TMone is seeking the assistance from non-profit groups to achieve the target by 2013 and looks forward to new partnerships to ensure that permanent positions are filled.
 
“TMone is proud to leverage the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and our various team partnerships to spread the message that we are recruiting over 100 veterans immediately for job placement with our BPO company,” said TMone Co-Founder and President Anthony Marlowe. “The Brickyard 400 is an American staple, and we are optimistic the most attended NASCAR event of the season will be effective in sharing such positive news. I hope everyone will help us connect with our heros as they rejoin us and the job market in America.”
 
TMone has sponsored one or more cars in all 20 NSCS races this season. The company has teamed up with TBR for eight of those events, including a primary partnership at Kentucky Speedway and co-primary partnership at Daytona International Speedway. Reutimann drove the No. 10 CarportEmpire.com/TMone.com Call Centers in America Chevrolet to TBR’s best finish this season last weekend when he tallied an 11th-place finish at Daytona International Speedway.
 
“TMone has been a great partner for us,” explained Tommy Baldwin. “Their company is about outsourcing in the USA, and we are thrilled that they have chosen our team to outsource their marketing to in eight events. Racing at Indy is one of our biggest stages, so we are excited we can promote TMone to the many NASCAR fans.”

TBR PR

Michigan International Speedway has been nationally recognized for its safety and security practices during its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events.

The National Sports Safety and Security Conference and Exhibition will award MIS with the Facility of Merit Award during its annual event Aug. 1 in New Orleans.

The Award recognizes a company that performs above all other organizations making sure that they have the best safety and security practice in place. Recipients of this award may have also shown their kind acts of security by resolving an accident. 

The racetrack was nominated by NASCAR, besting competitors from each professional league and the NCAA.

“We are honored to win these two prestigious awards for our Operations and Security departments,” MIS President Roger Curtis said. “Led by Security Director Jim Hobbs and Barry Gibson, senior director of Operations, our security practices have become well known in the sport. We are honored to be recognized by our peers in all sports and we look forward to providing the best fan experience in the future.”

Hobbs was named the recipient of The National Sport and Security Professional of the Year Award.  This honor goes to a member of management at a venue who has resolved problems dealing with safety and security in a well-organized manner. Hobbs has proven himself a strong leader and set an example to all others.

This is not the first time Hobbs has received an honor. He was also recognized with the NASCAR’s Excellence Award in 2007 and 2011.

A retired deputy sheriff, Hobbs has been in law enforcement for more than 30 years. He’s been at MIS since 1997. 

“It’s an honor for me to receive the award on behalf of the entire team at MIS,” Hobbs said. “All our efforts are done as a team.”

Established in 2006, the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi was created to provide an interdisciplinary academic environment to increase sport security awareness, improve sport security policies and procedures and enhance emergency response through evacuation, recovery operations and crowd management training. For more information about NCS4 and the national conference call 601.266.6183 or visit www.NCS4.com/conference

MIS PR

“The Road To Richmond” roars back to action this weekend at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns from an off week to make its annual stop at the Brickyard. Sunday’s Brickyard 400 is the third event in the 2012 “Race to The Chase,” meaning only five races remain before the Federated Auto Parts 400 “One Last Race to Make The Chase” at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night, September 8th.

Similar to the “One Last Race to Make The Chase,” the Brickyard 400 is one of the marquee events on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. Over the years, the Brickyard 400 has provided a good indication of who will win the series championship. NASCAR’s top series has raced at Indy 18 times with 14 races being won by past, reigning or future series champions.  In eight of those seasons the winner at the Brickyard has gone on to win the Sprint Cup Series title, including in four of the last seven years.

This weekend could also play an integral role in the wild card slot. Last year, Paul Menard vaulted himself into the thick of the wild card hunt by notching his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory at the Brickyard. There are two veteran drivers still looking for their first win of the season, which could help them as they fight for a wild card position when the checkered flag flies in the Federated Auto Parts 400 “One Last Race to Make The Chase” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway.  Carl Edwards and Jeff Gordon are both good picks to kiss the bricks this weekend.

Gordon, currently 17th in points, has four career victories at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He hasn’t won at the Brickyard since 2004, but a win this weekend could prove to be the spark that this team needs to be in contention for the wild card come September 8th.

Edwards, while 11th in points, hasn’t won at the Brickyard, but he has three career top ten finishes there. A win this weekend will help secure his chances of getting into the 2012 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Here is a look at other drivers to keep an eye on as “The Road to Richmond” stops at the Brickyard:

Kevin Harvick:                   Currently 6th in points, Harvick is no stranger to winning at the Brickyard and would love nothing more than to put Richard Childress Racing back into victory lane for a second straight year. He has a driver rating this week of 93.5 and four career top five finishes in Indianapolis.

Kyle Busch:                         As the wild card position battles start heating up, Busch finds himself currently at 13th in points with one win on the season. With the driver rating this week of 92.8, Busch knows a win this weekend could help solidify a wild card berth.

Jeff Burton:                        The thought of a Wild Card berth for Virginia native Burton is a stretch.  He’s currently 19th in points, but he’s the eleventh best on the driver rating list this week at 90.9.  He’s never won at the Brickyard, but does have one top five and five top 10 finishes.

RIR

 

Fastenal returns to the Nationwide Series and will serve as the primary sponsor for the reigning 2011 NASCAR Nationwide champion, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and his No. 6 team during the U.S Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway on August 4. The No. 6 Fastenal Ford will resemble the No. 99 Fastenal Ford driven by Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series.

“I’m excited to have Fastenal back on board with us this year,” said Stenhouse. “Fastenal was a huge supporter of our entire Nationwide fleet last year. They have been a great organization to work with and I’m glad to have the Fastenal blue colors on my No. 6 Ford as we go for the four-peat at Iowa.”

“We’re excited to be teaming up with Ricky again,” said Pat Resch, Fastenal’s vice president of marketing. “With all of the success he’s had at Iowa, we’re looking forward to a very competitive race, and hopefully a win for the Fastenal Blue Team.”

Stenhouse has captured three consecutive wins at Iowa Speedway. The 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Champion became the first Nationwide driver to win three consecutive races at a track since Kyle Busch won three straight at Texas Motor Speedway in 2009-2010.

RFR PR

EcoBoost is taking over the world – at least when it comes to Ford Motor Company’s motorsports program in the month of August.

 

Ford’s latest engine technology, which provides increased fuel efficiency and decreased emissions without sacrificing power, has been a major hit with consumers worldwide. Beginning with the first weekend in August, motorsports fans will get a heavy dose of Ford EcoBoost highlighted through a unique livery on selected racing vehicles around the world.

 

Ford will use its North American racing programs in NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide, NHRA drag racing and Best in the Desert, while its FIA World Rally Championship and China Touring Car Championship programs will also participate.

 

“Simply put, our Ford EcoBoost technology is going global with our production cars around the world, and we wanted to find a unique way to highlight that fact,” said Jim Farley, Ford group vice president, Marketing, Sales and Service.  “What better way to do that than to use our global motorsport program as a way to reach out with the Ford EcoBoost message to the millions of fans who follow the sport all across the globe.

 

“Motorsport fans are just like any consumer.  They care about having a combination of power and fuel economy, whether it’s in the cars they drive to the track, or in the cars that their favorite drivers compete with on the track.”

 

The livery campaign kicks off on the weekend of Aug. 3-5 with NHRA star Bob Tasca III sporting Ford EcoBoost on his NHRA Mustang Funny Car in Seattle for the annual Northwest Nationals while Petter Solberg and Jari-Matti Latvala will team up in their Ford Fiesta RS WRC for the World Rally Championship event in Finland.

 

The promotion will continue the following weekend of August 10-12 at Watkins Glen International as champion drivers Matt Kenseth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, respectively.  Kenseth will be in his No. 17 Ford EcoBoost Fusion while Stenhouse drives his No. 6 Ford EcoBoost Mustang. 

 

Two other series will round out the Ford EcoBoost blitz August 17-19 with Steve LaRoza piloting his Ford EcoBoost-powered F-150 in the Las Vegas to Reno off-road race sanctioned by the Best in the Desert Racing Association, and Fan Gaoxiang will sport Ford EcoBoost on his Focus in the China Touring Car Championship event at the Ordos International Circuit in China.

 

The Ford EcoBoost livery made its debut on the 2013 NASCAR Fusion that debuted in January and race fans have also seen the livery debut earlier this year in series such at Rally America and Formula Ford Great Britain.

 

“Not every race car with Ford EcoBoost on it during those weekends actually runs an EcoBoost engine,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “First and foremost, this is a marketing effort to let the world know more about this great technology.

 

“But the fact is, we do have cars in World Rally, Best in the Desert, and sports car racing that are currently using Ford EcoBoost Technology in competition.  This helps us prove-out the technology in terms of power, fuel economy and reliability in a competitive and demanding race setting, then take those learnings from the track to the street.”

 

Ford Racing PR

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