Friday, March 30, 2012

Kyle Petty to be honored for charity work

Victory Junction Gang Camp founder Kyle Petty will rub elbows with some high-wattage celebrities Monday as he is honored for his work with the camp that supports children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses.

Petty has earned recognition as part of the "Celebration of Paul Newman's Dream," a fundraiser in Avery Fisher Hall at New York City's Lincoln Center. Newman was the driving force behind the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps, a network that includes NASCAR-themed Victory Junction.

Newman's widow, Joanne Woodward, will host the event, which also will feature appearances by Tina Fey, Jake Gyllenhaal and Jimmy Fallon. Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, Trisha Yearwood and Josh Groban will perform at the fundraiser.

Kyle Petty and son Austin Petty will accept the honor on behalf of Victory Junction, which Kyle and wife Pattie Petty founded in memory of their son Adam, who lost his life in a racing accident at New Hampshire in May 2000.

/// Press Release

Martinsville: Happy Hour Speeds

Rank, Car #, Driver,  Time, Speed
1 11 Denny Hamlin 39.553 182.034
2 24 Jeff Gordon 39.700 181.360
3 15 Clint Bowyer 39.732 181.214
4 1 Jamie McMurray 39.750 181.132
5 18 Kyle Busch 39.768 181.050
6 48 Jimmie Johnson 39.786 180.968
7 29 Kevin Harvick 39.788 180.959
8 17 Matt Kenseth 39.859 180.637
9 56 Martin Truex Jr. 39.888 180.505
10 14 Tony Stewart 39.889 180.501
11 2 Brad Keselowski 39.906 180.424
12 55 Mark Martin 39.906 180.424
13 99 Carl Edwards 39.946 180.243
14 5 Kasey Kahne 39.952 180.216
15 9 Marcos Ambrose 39.955 180.203
16 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 39.968 180.144
17 13 Casey Mears 39.970 180.135
18 39 Ryan Newman 39.991 180.041
19 20 Joey Logano 39.994 180.027
20 16 Greg Biffle 39.995 180.023
21 31 Jeff Burton 40.034 179.847
22 51 Kurt Busch 40.069 179.690
23 27 Paul Menard 40.078 179.650
24 10 David Reutimann 40.084 179.623
25 47 Bobby Labonte 40.124 179.444
26 78 Regan Smith 40.141 179.368
27 42 Juan Pablo 40.186 179.167
28 43 Aric Almirola 40.220 179.015
29 22 AJ Allmendinger 40.253 178.869
30 33 Brendan Gaughan 40.401 178.213
31 34 David Ragan 40.410 178.174
32 98 Michael McDowell 40.580 177.427
33 26 Josh Wise 40.662 177.069
34 38 David Gilliland 40.669 177.039
35 36 Dave Blaney 40.699 176.909
36 93 Travis Kvapil 40.772 176.592
37 83 Landon Cassill 40.806 176.445
38 74 Reed Sorenson(i) 40.959 175.786
39 32 Ken Schrader 41.165 174.906
40 49 JJ Yeley 41.185 174.821
41 19 Mike Bliss(i) 41.320 174.250
42 23 Scott Riggs 41.418 173.837

Kasey Kahne relieves Kole Kahne of spotting duties

Per, Kasey Kahne will have a new voice on his radio this weekend as Shannon McGlamery takes over spotting duties for the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports driver.

Kole Kahne, Kasey's cousin, has been the driver's longtime spotter. But after Kahne was involved in an accident two weeks ago at Bristol, his spotter came under question. A source familiar with the situation said Kahne wanted to try something new.

McGlamery has served as a spotter for Jeff Gordon and as a mechanic at Hendrick.

Joe Falk purchases No. 33 team

Per Dave Moody, Hermie Sadler will race in Sunday's "Goody's Fast Relief 500" at Martinsville Speedway, driving a No. 33 Chevrolet fielded - officially - by Richard Childress Racing. The Virginia native has confirmed, however, that the No. 33 team will soon belong to former Sprint Cup Series owner Joe Falk, who will make his return to the sport in two weeks at Texas Motor Speedway.

"I had been talking to Richard about driving the No. 33 at some point this year," said Sadler on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius XM Speedway. "And in the last week to 10 days, Richard made a deal with Joe Falk& to purchase the team and its (owner) points. Joe is a big NASCAR fan who has done pretty well in the car business. A lot of people know him, he's been around the sport forever."

Sadler called this week's entry "a collaborative effort" between RCR and Falk, as part of a transition that will see Falk assume ownership of the car at Texas Motor Speedway on April 14.

"This is technically an RCR effort this week," he said. "It's an older Richard Childress car with a Childress engine under the hood. Richard entered the car this weekend because of (NASCAR rules concerning) entry blanks and when they have to be submitted. After they filed the entry, conversations began between him and Joe about making the transition official in time for Texas."

Falk was listed as co-owner of the Hillman Racing No. 40 Toyota that Michael Waltrip attempted to qualify for this year's Daytona 500, and sources say the No. 33 entry may be housed at the Hillman Racing shop in Mooresville, NC.

MWR adds two Cup races to Vickers schedule

CORNELIUS, N.C. – Michael Waltrip Racing announced today that it has added two more events to Brian Vickers’ 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule in the No. 55 Toyota Camry. Vickers, who led 125 laps and finished fifth in his debut with MWR at Bristol Motor Speedway two weeks ago, will pilot the No. 55 at Infineon Raceway on June 24 and Watkins Glen International on Aug. 12.

“Brian did such an amazing job at Bristol that we wanted to reward him with more races,” said co-owner Michael Waltrip who will drive the No. 55 in four races. “It has as much to do with how he interacted with (crew chief) Rodney Childers and the crew as what he did on the race track. They really enjoyed his input and his professional approach, and he was a great teammate to Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer. Those guys were really impressed with how he engaged with them and managed his race car. Brian is a great young driver who is hungry to show what he can do. In my mind, he earned these extra races with his approach and attitude, and I’m so happy we were able to offer them. Brian’s contribution to the team has continued the momentum Rodney and Mark Martin created pushing the No. 55 up to eighth in owner points.”

“I purposely waited for an opportunity that would allow me to be competitive and this is what I have found with Michael Waltrip Racing,” said Vickers who earned Toyota Racing Development its first Chase for the Sprint Cup entry in 2009.

“I could see all of the progress MWR has made from the outside, and when I was able to get to experience it first hand at Bristol, I was so impressed. It’s hard to explain, but each one of these team members and each one of the drivers truly cares about the other. There is a team atmosphere here and they welcomed me with open arms. That cooperation is how we were able to put three cars in the top five at Bristol. People don’t think of me as a road racer, but I love road racing and am so happy I will get a chance to compete at Infineon and Watkins Glen.”

Mark Martin will drive the No. 55 in 24 races plus the All Star race.

Vickers, 28, owns two victories and 11 poles. Until this season, the Thomasville, N.C. native competed full time in the Sprint Cup Series for eight years. In 2011, he scored three top-five and seven top-10 finishes.
Vickers began his Sprint Cup career in 2003 driving for Hendrick Motorsports before moving to Red Bull Racing in 2007. Vickers has raced only Toyotas since the manufacturer entered Sprint Cup competition in 2007.

No. 55 Driver Lineup
Apr. 14 Texas – Martin
Apr. 22 Kansas – Martin
May 6 Talladega – Waltrip
May 12 Darlington – Martin
May 19 All Star Race- Martin
May 27 Charlotte – Martin
June 3 Dover – Martin
June 10 Pocono – Martin
June 17 Michigan – Martin
June 24 Infineon – Vickers
June 30 Kentucky – Waltrip
July 7 Daytona – Waltrip
July 15 New Hampshire – Vickers
July 29 Indianapolis – Martin
Aug. 5 Pocono – Martin
Aug. 12 Watkins Glen – Vickers
Aug. 19 Michigan – Martin
Aug. 25 Bristol – Vickers
Sept. 2 Atlanta – Martin
Sept. 8 Richmond – Martin
Sept. 16 Chicago – Martin
Sept. 23 New Hampshire – Vickers
Sept. 30 Dover – Martin
Oct. 7 Talladega – Waltrip
Oct. 13 Charlotte – Martin
Oct. 21 Kansas – Martin
Oct. 28 Martinsville- Vickers
Nov. 4 Texas – Martin
Nov. 11 Phoenix – Martin
Nov. 18 Homestead – Martin

Kasey Kahne plans to enter Rockingham truck race

Per, Kasey Kahne announced Thursday on Speed's NASCAR Race Hub that he'll drive the No. 4 Turner Motorsports truck in the upcoming Camping World Truck Series race at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway on April 15.

"I'm excited to have Rockwell Tools be part of the Truck race at Rockingham," Kahne told NASCAR Race Hub host Steve Byrnes. "We're going to run that, which is the Sunday after Texas. Turner Motorsports, they have great trucks and have a lot of good people there.

"I'm excited to be on their team and be a part of it. Rockingham is a great track for me; I've run really well there in the past in both series that I've raced in, especially in the final Cup race there.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Accell Construction to sponsor TBR for three races

MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Accell Construction made a three-race commitment with Tommy Baldwin Racing adding to the Oklahoma-based company’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) program. David Reutimann will pilot the No. 10 Accell Construction Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway.

Accell Construction, an Oklahoma-based company, sponsored the No. 10 Chevrolet at Phoenix International Raceway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway. Continuing to see an increase in interest of the company, Accell Construction decided to extend their relationship with the NSCS team.

The 20-year-old company also sponsored the TBR No. 36 Chevrolet for six primary events, as well as associate races, last season. Accell Construction, a full-service site civil contractor for the pipeline terminal and bulk storage industries, specializes in tank farm construction, tank foundations and other related site civil construction.

“Accell Construction is proud to represent the pipeline terminal and bulk storage construction industry in the NASCAR world,” explained Steve Todhunter, owner of Accell Construction. “Texas and Kansas are like hometown tracks for us, so we are looking forward to competing there. We enjoy taking our customers out to celebrate racing in the Midwest. We have had a good time working with TBR over the past two seasons and are excited to continue that relationship.”

With Accell Construction on board for three of the four races with Reutimann behind the wheel, the No. 10 team worked to overcome early bad luck. The Zephyrhills, Fla., native drove into the 34th position in NSCS Owner Points. The point position will lock the Accell Construction team into the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 this weekend.

Bristol Motor Speedway announces changes to track

BRISTOL, Tenn. – After more than a week of studying requested fan input, Bruton Smith, Chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, today announced he has ordered the go-ahead to make changes to the track surface at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“The race fans have spoken,” Smith said. “We had input that included a wide range of opinions. But the majority we heard from said they wanted to see changes made. As a result, I have ordered the equipment and work will begin within the next two weeks to allow time to have everything ready for August.”

Smith said an announcement regarding the scope of the work will be made soon.

“The question we wanted to answer as quickly as possible was ‘Is something going to be done?’ Smith said. “The answer to that is ‘yes.’ We will have the details in two weeks as to what that ‘something’ is.

“Bristol Motor Speedway has been voted the most popular race track in the country more than a half-dozen times, even one of the 10 things you need to see before you die. We aim to keep the status as the fans’ favorite.”

/// Track PR

ESPN rejects commerical, driver loses sponsorship

Per, ESPN rejected the advertisement from Blake Koch’s sponsor, the Rise Up and Register Campaign, which is designed to educate people about the importance of registering to vote in upcoming elections.

Koch said the network rejected the advertisement, in part, because of his religious activism. A devout Christian, the 26-year-old driver often speaks at churches on race weekends, at numerous religious outreach events and on television shows.

“Their whole campaign was to run that commercial on ESPN, and they wanted to get in front of the NASCAR fans,” Koch said about his sponsor in a phone interview Thursday. “They didn’t care about any other network.

"We found out Friday at Daytona (in February) that they weren’t going to air the commercials due to political and religious overtones, and they said particularly on (my) website.”

While the campaign's website does not promote specific religions, it does include links to Koch's site, which promotes his ministry and other religious programs.

ESPN issued a statement Thursday, saying, “The spot did not meet our guidelines in regard to advocacy messaging. Blake Koch’s personal religious beliefs played no role in our evaluation.”

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cousin Carl trains with Ft. Worth SWAT team

Carl Edwards, along with Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage, took part in a special training session with Sgt. Todd Plowman and members of Fort Worth's SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) team at the Fort Worth Police & Fire Training Center. Edwards experienced the high-risk job of serving as a member of the Fort Worth SWAT team.

During the crash course, Edwards observed as Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage fired a 40mm Grenade Launcher, Benelli M4 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun and Colt M4 Commando 5.56mm carbine with suppressor.

Edwards opted for some of the other training exercises that included rappelling down the side of a six-story building and facing "live" situations in a hostile environment simulator and having to defuse the situation with armed force. He also appropriately arrived to the event in the Fort Worth SWAT team's Bearcat tactics vehicle and later took it for a spin.

/// Track PR

Friday, March 23, 2012

Auto Club 400 Qualifying Order

Car# Driver

1 37 Timmy Hill #

2 7 Robby Gordon

3 19 Mike Bliss(i)

4 32 Ken Schrader

5 74 Reed Sorenson(i)

6 23 Scott Riggs

7 87 Joe Nemechek(i)

8 36 Dave Blaney

9 93 Travis Kvapil

10 38 David Gilliland

11 33 Brendan Gaughan

12 98 Michael McDowell

13 34 David Ragan

14 83 Landon Cassill

15 49 JJ Yeley

16 26 Josh Wise #

17 13 Casey Mears

18 47 Bobby Labonte

19 30 David Stremme

20 42 Juan Pablo Montoya

21 51 Kurt Busch

22 27 Paul Menard

23 20 Joey Logano

24 24 Jeff Gordon

25 78 Regan Smith

26 22 AJ Allmendinger

27 43 Aric Almirola

28 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.

29 56 Martin Truex Jr.

30 99 Carl Edwards

31 10 David Reutimann

32 29 Kevin Harvick

33 14 Tony Stewart

34 9 Marcos Ambrose

35 18 Kyle Busch

36 17 Matt Kenseth

37 1 Jamie McMurray

38 48 Jimmie Johnson

39 16 Greg Biffle

40 39 Ryan Newman

41 31 Jeff Burton

42 11 Denny Hamlin

43 2 Brad Keselowski

44 5 Kasey Kahne

45 55 Mark Martin

46 15 Clint Bowyer

All State to sponsor McMurray at ACS

Allstate will be the co-primary sponsor on the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet this weekend at Auto Club Speedway. The Allstate Corporation is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer.  Contact your local Allstate agent via or 1-800-Allstate for information on all your insurance needs or to insure your boat or ATV from Bass Pro Shops.

Team PR

Kevin Harvick to be inducted into Walk of Fame

As the 2011 Auto Club 400 race winner, Harvick will be inducted into the Auto Club Speedway Walk of Fame on Saturday, Mar. 24 at 11:30 a.m. PT. The Bakersfield, Calif., native will receive a bronze plaque from track president Gillian Zucker, which will be placed in a cemented area along with his footprint, handprint and signature. The induction will be held in the Auto Club Speedway FanZone, located outside gate 12 and is open to the public. For additional information please visit

Mike Helton defends NASCAR's appeals process

Per, NASCAR President Mike Helton defended NASCAR’s inspection process Friday and said that the fact that Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Chad Knaus’ $100,000 fine was upheld shows that the sanctioning body is doing its job enforcing rules.

Helton said he did not plan any immediate changes to NASCAR’s inspection process based on the penalties being overturned.

“Some of our penalties were upheld,” Helton said Friday at Auto Club Speedway. “That tells you that the inspection process was correct and there was an issue with the car. The pieces that were not upheld, if there is a way for NASCAR to be more clear, which is what we learn every time we go through the process, whether the penalties are upheld or modified, we learn from the process.

“We should [learn] because we have worked very hard to do this. If we can make it more clear, more understandable, more definitive where it is more difficult to disagree with it, then we will continue to try to do that.”

Helton also defended NASCAR’s choice of Middlebrook, a former longtime General Motors executive and friend of both Helton and team owner Rick Hendrick, to hear the final appeals.

“When we chose John Middlebrook as our chief appellate officer, we chose him based on our experiences with him for several years and his pragmatic approach to business and his relationship with race teams and with NASCAR,” Helton said. “The reasons that we chose the current chief appellate officer haven’t changed. Our opinion and belief in our chief appellate officer hasn’t changed.”

Monday, March 19, 2012

Jimmie Johnson: Losing appeal would be a 'huge blow'

Per USA Today, In the wake of Tuesday's loss before the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel, Jimmie Johnson said there's no backup plan for losing crew chief Chad Knaus to suspension.

"We've had a lot of faith with what took place," Johnson said Friday morning at Bristol Motor Speedway. "We were shocked at the penalties to start. We felt like last Tuesday things would be overturned. We feel if things don't change at the next appeal, we're not overly concerned, but we still know how important this sport is along the lines of chemistry.

"Chad and I have great chemistry. (Car chief) Ron Malec, the way he runs the team. If things stand, it'll be a huge blow to the team."

Johnson lost 25 driver points, and car owner Jeff Gordon was docked 25 points after the No. 48 Chevrolet failed a prerace inspection for the Daytona 500 last month. Knaus also was fined $100,000 and suspended six races and placed on probation until May 9 (as was Malec).

Bristol Motor Speedway considering changes to track

Per Associated Press, Bristol Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith is considering about $1 million worth of changes to return his Tennessee track to the way it was before a 2007 reconfiguration.

"We are going to take a very hard look at it this week," Smith told The Associated Press on Monday. "We have everything in our computers that shows us what the track used to be and what it is now, and we started working on that last night. I'll have an answer for you next week on if we'll alter the track."

But Smith insisted it was the rain, not fan apathy over the current style of racing at Bristol, that contributed to Sunday's poor crowd.

"We certainly thought it was going to be better, but the rain got us," Smith said.

The rain began late Saturday night and continued until about two hours before Sunday's scheduled start, which Smith said "killed the walk-up crowd. And that alone accounts for 3,500 to 4,000 tickets."

Read more here:

Food City 500: Dale Earnhardt Jr Post-Race Quotes


I got busted for speeding on pit road. I really hate that happened. I don’t think I was; but I don’t (think) any driver ever thinks he was speeding. Congratulations to Brad (Keselowski, race winner); he drove a great race. We had a good, fast car. We didn’t have a good car here last year. We’re improving. Things are looking up for our team, and we’ve been running strong this year. I expect more of it. (If) We put cars like we did today on the race track; we’ll get some shots at some wins.”

“I absolutely feel responsible. I got into his door a little bit. We were racing and having a good time, to be honest with you. I put the pipes up against the left rear tire of his car, and knocked the side wall out of it. I hate…I feel bad about that. I’m going to have to do some damage control this week. I know Jeff understands what was going on out there, but his boys work real hard on their car, and they had a good run going. They had a potential win, or good finish going too; and they deserve it.”

ONCE YOU GUYS GOT SOME TRACK POSITION YOU WERE PRETTY MUCH A TOP-FIVE RACE CAR ALL DAY. TELL US ABOUT YOUR RUN: “We were fast all weekend. I’m real happy with the way the National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet ran all day. We sped on that last stop I guess. I came down the back straight-a-way and I had green lights all the way down. I had two red lights on the front straight-away.
“I was told I was speeding on the back, but if anywhere I was speeding on the front. I don’t know. This place is probably hard to tell exactly what is happening. I don’t really trust those timing lines too much. If they say so I guess we were speeding. It’s a difficult way to give up a good finish. We ran hard. We worked hard all day.
“I hate what happened to Jeff (Gordon). We were racing really hard. It was fun. If there is a track where you can lean on each other a little bit then this ought to be the place. We just barely rubbed down the back straight-a-way.”

I HEARD YOU SAY (ON THE RADIO) ‘I DIDN’T GET INTO HIM MUCH’: “Well you showed it on TV. I’m sure some people might have thought that was a hard hit. That to me was good hard racing. The (tail) pipes on my car cut the left-rear tire down. I feel terrible about that happening to my teammate. Those guys work really hard and they were running good and happy with their car I’m sure. But, there are four of us out there we are bound to race each other and run into each other every once in a while. Otherwise I’m just frustrated about the finish, but we did run good. We run better than we run here last year. We run really good pretty much everywhere except for Phoenix. Things are looking up for our team.”

“I think the racing has suffered since the change. Go and watch the first race we had here with this surface. That was a great race. Carl (Edwards) and Kasey (Kahne) battled for the win all night. I remember being up in the middle of that and we were running three-wide for the lead. It’s possible to have an awesome race here. And I think Goodyear could come in here and pull some trickery with the tires and improve the racing. This tire is a great tire. But Goodyear really holds the key I think to improving this surface and this configuration. Aside from digging it up and trying again, they’re going to have to move the tire around a little bit to see if that will affect the racing.”

“I’m upset that I screwed myself on pit road speeding there; I’m pretty upset about that. Otherwise, I feel bad about running into Jeff’s (Gordon) car and I had a good day other than that. I had a good time. Long green flag run, man. That put us all to the test. I was watching for somebody to fall out of the seat; I don’t know who did and who didn’t, but I watching for a couple of them to pull over (laughs).”
“I’ll just have to sit down and talk to him and see where he’s at. I’ve got to own up to my responsibility in the situation, which I will, and go from there.”

“I feel bad at what happened to Jeff, but we were just racing. And that wasn’t nothing. We barely touched. That’s just kind of a freak deal. So, I’m not going to beat myself all to hell about it. I feel bad (about) what happened to him and I’m going to tell him about it. But I screwed myself on speeding. And we were running good. I think we were running good as a team. We’re a good team.

“We’re showing all the signs of any of these other guys capable of running up front and maybe winning us a race or two this year. We’re going to keep it up. I’m going to take all the positives I can out of this one. We ran good. We didn’t run good last year. We struggled and just kind of limped around and made something out of nothing. Today we ran good; and I feel good about that.”

“I don’t think so, man. They ran a race here in 1973 that didn’t have any cautions. Cale Yarbrough won that and led every lap. I don’t know if that was a boring race. But racing is racing. You line ‘em up and let ‘em go and I’m glad NASCAR didn’t step in and throw a bunch of debris cautions all day long to try and make a show out of it. Some of the racing is more exciting that others; some tracks are better than others, and that’s just the way it is. Everybody is just going to have to live with it unless somebody wants to spend the money to dig it up and re-do it, we’ve pretty much got what we’ve got.”

“I don’t know. When it was a lot smaller they had a lot less people here (laughs). I don’t know man. It ain’t all the surface of the race track. It ain’t. It ain’t. It ain’t the track’s surface and the way the track’s configured. You could say that’s part of it or all of it, but it ain’t. You put the right tire out there; these tires have different configurations on the left and right-sides and different compounds. That changes how you race. It changes the way the cars go around the track. Look at that first race we run here and do your story. That was an exciting race. And it’s the same track.”

Food City 500: Toyota Post-Race Notes & Quotes

TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Post-Race Notes & Quotes Bristol Motor Speedway — March 18, 2012

Camry driver Martin Truex Jr. (third) was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Brian Vickers led three times for 125 laps (of 500) in his 2012 season debut and claimed a fifth-place finish for Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR).

All three MWR drivers — Truex (third), Clint Bowyer (fourth) and Vickers (fifth) — claimed top-five finishes at the .533-mile short track. The finishes by MWR marked the first time the team has placed three cars in the top-five overall. Toyota drivers Joey Logano (16th) and Denny Hamlin (20th) also earned top-20 finishes at the Tennessee track.

Other Toyota drivers in the field included Travis Kvapil (27th), Bobby Labonte (28th), Landon Cassill (29th), J.J. Yeley (30th), Kyle Busch (32nd), David Stremme (38th) and Joe Nemechek (40th). Following Bristol, four Camry drivers are in the top-12 in the unofficial NSCS driver point standings — Truex (fourth), Hamlin (fifth), Clint Bowyer (eighth) and Logano (ninth).

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 3rd How do you feel about all three MWR cars in the top-five? “So proud of the team — all the guys on the NAPA team and everybody at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing). Clint (Bowyer) and Brian (Vickers) were up front all day long and this just says a lot about everything that everybody at MWR has done over the off season — working hard, giving us good race cars. We got off in the mid-part of the race, but had the race strategy at the end and a fast enough car to stay up there.”

How was your race today? “It was a great day for our NAPA Toyota and for everybody on our team. Obviously, it was a great day for MWR. Just do proud of Michael (Waltrip, team owner) and Rob (Kaufmann, team owner) and everything they’ve put into this team to get us to where we are. Proud of Chad (Johnston, crew chief) — his call at the end. He called to stay out and stuck to his guns and never second-guessed himself. He’s really coming into his own as a crew chief. I’m proud of him and the team and proud of everyone at MWR for what they’ve given us — TRD (Toyota Racing Development) for all their help. We’ve come a long way in the last 10 or 15 races — we’ve had a really consistent, really good race team. We’ve got a lot of confidence. For us, it was a good day. We were up and down. We were off on the middle part of the race, but we kept digging and worked hard on it. We got back up to fifth, sixth, seventh right there before that last caution and stayed out. That was the call of the race. Just want to thank Chad, thank everybody on the NAPA team, the NAPA car and we’ll see what happens — go to California and try to get to victory lane. We’re getting close.”

CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 4th How strong was your race car? “These MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) cars have been good ever since (Martin) Truex was running good at the end of last year. Just real proud of everybody — 5-hour ENERGY, Toyota. Tough call at the end there to come in and pit, but still the right call. We did the right thing there and it got us a top-five. Heck of a day for MWR.”

BRIAN VICKERS, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 5th How was your race today? “This was pretty good and it felt really good when we were out there leading. It would have been awesome to hold onto that, but it’s the first time back so I can’t complain about that. What an organization. So proud to be a part of getting all three cars in the top-five. Can’t thank Michael Waltrip (team owner) and Rob Kaufmann (team owner) and everyone at MWR enough — I don’t know those two guys that well, but I can tell a lot about them by the group of people they’ve built and the team they’ve built. What an incredible organization. Thanks to Aaron’s for having me on board and I look forward to Martinsville.”

Is this the return you expected to make? “When it’s your only one, you have to make it count. I can’t take any of the credit. Wow, the guys — I’m just proud to be a part of MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) and get three cars in the top-five. What an exciting day. Rodney Childers (crew chief) bolted together my first go-kart 20 years ago and then he handed it off to my father to finish it off and then he just put together my last one and what a heck of a job. He called a great race and everyone did good.” JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 16th

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 20th
TRAVIS KVAPIL, No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing Finishing Position: 27th
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Clorox / Scott Products Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Finishing Position: 28th

LANDON CASSILL, No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing Finishing Position: 29th
JJ YELEY, No. 49 JPO Absorbents Toyota Camry, America Israel Racing Finishing Position: 30th
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Doublemint Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 32nd
DAVE ROGERS, crew chief, No. 18 Doublemint Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What happened that caused all the damage to the car? “Short track racing. I think the 5 (Kasey Kahne) got messing with the 78 (Regan Smith). Maybe or the 78 got messing with the 5, however you want to look at it. The next thing you know, the 5 was blocking the race track and everyone was trying to check up. You just can’t check up quick enough and we got caught up in it. Nothing that Kyle (Busch) could have done any different. (Kevin) Harvick got in the back of us and I don’t think there was anything Harvick could have done any different. It was just racing.”

How was your team able to get the car back out? “I’m real proud of this Doublemint crew here. You look and you know it’s not about tenths of a second, you know your cars is messed up, you know it’s not going to be as fast as you want it to be, but what you’re trying to do is salvage as many laps as you can. If you look, we had some really top teams, really good teams caught up in the same wreck as us. I thought we were damaged as bad as anybody and our guys were the first ones to put our car back on the track. Hats off to them. They’ve been working hard all season. We just haven’t been getting the breaks that we want, but we know if we keep pushing hard and we keep working hard and mind our P’s and Q’s that the results will come shortly.”

DAVID STREMME, No. 30 Food Country USA Toyota Camry, Inception Motorsports Finishing Position: 38th

JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 40th

Hendrick appeal to be heard Tuesday

Per AP, Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec go before NASCAR's chief appellate officer Tuesday, trying to reverse their six-race suspensions. Knaus was also fined $100,000 and Johnson was docked 25 points because NASCAR found illegal modifications on the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy in the opening inspection for the Daytona 500.

A three-member appeals panel upheld the penalties this week. The hearing before John Middlebrook on Tuesday is the final step in the appeals process. Middlebrook has heard three appeals since being named NASCAR's final arbitrator in 2010, and although he did not overturn any of the rulings, he reduced a portion of the penalties in all three cases.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

NASCAR: Food City 500 Race Results

Order Driver (No.) Car Pts/Bonus Laps Laps Led
1 Brad Keselowski (2) Dodge / 500 231
2 Matt Kenseth (17) Ford / 500 46
3 Martin Truex Jr. (56) Toyota / 500 0
4 Clint Bowyer (15) Toyota / 500 0
5 Brian Vickers (55) Toyota / 500 125
6 Jeff Burton (31) Chevrolet / 500 0
7 Jamie McMurray (1) Chevrolet / 500 0
8 Juan Pablo Montoya (42) Chevrolet / 500 0
9 Jimmie Johnson (48) Chevrolet / 500 0
10 Paul Menard (27) Chevrolet / 500 0
11 Kevin Harvick (29) Chevrolet / 500 0
12 Ryan Newman (39) Chevrolet / 500 0
13 Greg Biffle (16) Ford / 500 41
14 Tony Stewart (14) Chevrolet / 500 0
15 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) Chevrolet / 500 2
16 Joey Logano (20) Toyota / 498 0
17 A J Allmendinger (22) Dodge / 498 54
18 Kurt Busch (51) Chevrolet / 498 0
19 Aric Almirola (43) Ford / 498 0
20 Denny Hamlin (11) Toyota / 498 0
21 David Reutimann (10) Chevrolet / 497 0
22 Brendan Gaughan (33) Chevrolet / 496 0
23 David Ragan (34) Ford / 496 0
24 Regan Smith (78) Chevrolet / 496 0
25 Casey Mears (13) Ford / 496 0
26 David Gilliland (38) Ford / 496 0
27 Travis Kvapil (93) Toyota / 496 0
28 Bobby Labonte (47) Toyota / 495 0
29 Landon Cassill (83) Toyota / 495 0
30 J.J. Yeley (249) Toyota / 493 0
31 Michael McDowell (98) Ford / 492 0
32 Kyle Busch (18) Toyota / 423 0
33 Ken Schrader (32) Ford / 420 0
34 Dave Blaney (36) Chevrolet / 417 0
35 Jeff Gordon (24) Chevrolet / 395 1
36 Marcos Ambrose (9) Ford / 389 0
37 Kasey Kahne (5) Chevrolet / 366 0
38 David Stremme (30) Toyota / 334 0
39 Carl Edwards (99) Ford / 245 0
40 Joe Nemechek (87) Toyota / 57 0
41 Scott Riggs (23) Toyota / 26 0
42 Reed Sorenson (74) Dodge / 17 0
43 Josh Wise (26) Ford / 16 0

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Food City 500: Jeff Burton Race Preview

Jeff Burton
No. 31 BB&T Chevrolet Impala
Event Preview Fact Sheet  

This Week’s BB&T Chevrolet at Bristol Motor Speedway … Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 359 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend. This No. 31 Chevrolet Impala was utilized three times last season including, Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600 (started-fifth, finished-21st), Pocono Raceway in August (started-eighth, finished-17th) and Dover International Speedway in October (started-13th, finished-11th).

No Stranger to Victory Lane … Burton claimed the 2008 Food City 500 trophy at Bristol Motor Speedway in a 1-2-3 RCR finish. He also visited Victory Lane in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition at BMS in April 1997.

Welcome Back BB&T … The No. 31 BB&T Chevrolet paint scheme will debut this weekend when competitors hit the track for Sprint Cup Series practice on Friday. The full-service financial institution will serve as primary sponsor for six races on the No. 31 Chevrolet including a special co-branded scheme with Caterpillar in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, retaining its status as official bank of the 43-year-old Welcome, N.C.-based organization. BB&T’s primary race sponsorship occurs within the corporation’s branch footprint, which covers 12 states and Washington D.C.

BMS Race Night … Burton and RCR teammate, Paul Menard, will take part in the Bristol Motor Speedway Race Night fan Q&A session on Friday, March 16 at 5:45 p.m. in the BMS hospitality village located outside turn four. For more information on the free event, log on to

Building a Legacy … Over his 20-year Sprint Cup Series career, the veteran RCR driver has amassed 21 wins, 131 top-five and 243 top-10 finishes in 622 starts. Burton has also tallied six pole awards and led 6,506 laps.

Rewind to Last Week … After spending a majority of the 267-lap event outside of the top 20, Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team bounced back for a 14th-place finish in the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Points Racing ... With his 14th-place finish in “Sin City,” Burton currently sits 15th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 15 points out of the top 10.

Since you won at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2008, this track hasn’t been very nice to you.
“Well, that’s Bristol. It will definitely do that to you. Bristol Motor Speedway is one of my favorite race tracks. We typically run well there with the exception of the August event last season. Every other time we’ve come here, we’ve run well, but just not got the finishes where we deserved. It’s a track that I really like and RCR typically performs well. It’s a hard race. Early in the season, everyone is trying to find their rhythm. Some teams are playing catch up, some are trying to protect their points cushion and some are being really aggressive. You always want to go there and feel you can be aggressive and go attack the race track. Even though it is a track that will bite you, the only way to go fast and win is to attack it. You can’t be passive, you have to be aggressive.” 

With the new track layout, there haven’t been as many caution-flag periods. Is it more physical on drivers now that there aren’t as many laps under caution?
“We now have green-flag pit stops at Bristol Motor Speedway which is crazy. Bristol is the most physically-demanding race track we go to on the circuit. You get into a deal where you run 150 green-flag laps in a row and it is very difficult. It’s a strain, but you have to be aggressive and attack the track. There are a lot of G-forces. You are constantly turning. Accelerating out of the corners is very difficult when trying to keep your rear tires from coming out underneath the car. It’s a challenge to make one lap, let alone a long string of them together. We have seen less caution-flag periods and you can make a case that the racing is worse, but I say the racing is better and the wrecking is better. From a driver’s perspective, the wrecking is better. Some of the fans want to see more accidents and more stuff going on. We are actually seeing better racing just not as many wrecks. Some people define good racing as a bunch of wrecks and it just depends on how you look at it. This track now has an escape route. If you looked and watched the racing, the reason we had a bunch of wrecks in the past is because something happened and five or six cars had nowhere to go. Today, you don’t have to be bumper-to-bumper because the cars can be offset a little bit. It give you a little bit of room to move when that accordion thing starts happening. That’s why the racing isn’t any less aggressive. We just aren’t seeing those multi-car pileups.” 

What’s it like to have Bristol Motor Speedway pop up as the first short track on the 2012 schedule?
“It’s typical NASCAR. Make it hard. Martinsville Speedway is hard too. Early on in the season, we have the two hardest tracks we do all year, in my opinion. They’re physically hard on the car and mentally hard on the driver. Those two races come early in the season and they are very demanding on the drivers and teams.”

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Food City 500: Brian Vickers Race Preview

CORNELIUS, N.C. — Brian Vickers makes his 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup debut at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday in the Aaron’s Dream Machine. It’s the first of six races for Vickers in Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 55 Toyota. Vickers joins drivers Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip who will share driving duties in the No. 55. Under the guidance of crew chief Rodney Childers, the No. 55 is tenth in owner points. Although this weekend marks the first time Vickers and Childers have worked together, the North Carolinians have known each other a long time.

BRIAN VICKERS: “Rodney (Childers) and I go back about 20 years. I first met him when I was eight-years-old. He was racing go-karts in the World Karting Association. Rodney was always one of the guys to beat. He helped me when I was first getting going. Rodney, Corey Smith and my parents really taught me how to race go-karts. He was very talented. He was kind of a mentor and I looked to him for guidance. It’s only taken us 20 years to work together again. We’ve been friends, stayed in touch, but just haven’t worked together until now.”

CREW CHIEF AS A RACER: “It’s huge to have someone on the radio with you who understands what you are telling him. If I had a crew chief who hadn’t raced, I’d want to take him racing. I would want to take him to a school and just spend some time with him and get to know him and learn how to communicate. When you get on the radio and tell your crew chief you are loose in at Texas running 200 mph, it’s nice to know they understand what all that really means.”

RODNEY CHILDERS ON VICKERS: “As soon as I decided I was done racing and went to work for a Cup team and he was still on his path of running Hooters Pro Cup and moving up to the Busch Series, I felt like there would be something there sometime down the road. Not only am I friends with Brian, but I know his family real well and talk to a lot of his friends probably even more than I do to Brian. Every time I see Brian’s Dad at the track he’s always saying ‘I wish you all could get together some time.’ They want someone who’s going to put a lot of effort in to Brian. So it’s been going on a long time and now it’s finally happening.”

“Brian was put in a bad position just like anyone else. It was a deal to where things just didn’t work out like everyone hoped. He ended up being the odd man out and there are only so many Cup rides now that are good rides. He was determined he wasn’t going to take anything other than a good ride. I think he’s really good. He’s just like anybody else in the series whether you are a driver, crew chief or pit crew guy. You have to have the confidence you are surrounded by the right people. If you have that then it makes all the difference in the world. He’s been through some stuff in the last few years where they have changed crew chiefs and crew guys on him quite a bit. You have to wake up every morning knowing you got the right people around you and that they’ll do the right job. Hopefully, he’ll feel that way when he gets in our car.” 

  • ·        SIRIUS: Vickers will appear on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio with Claire B. Lang on Friday at 8:30 p.m. EDT.
  • ·        CHASSIS: Vickers will drive a new MWR chassis (No. 722) in Bristol this weekend.

Martin Truex Jr Auctioning Off Ride-Along Experiences To Benefit Foundation

MOORESVILLE, NC, March 14, 2012 – NAPA AUTO PARTS driver Martin Truex Jr. announced today he is giving two lucky race fans a thrilling ride around Charlotte Motor Speedway in his No. 56 Toyota Camry. The once-in-a-lifetime experience happens on Thursday, March 29 and will benefit the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation.

“I’m giving two fans the chance to experience what it is like to be me,” said Truex, who currently sits tied for eighth place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship standings. “I can’t wait to take them for a spin in my NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. They’ll be riding shotgun and I plan to have the throttle wide open so they get the full experience. I also want them to walk away knowing how much I appreciate their support by helping me raise money for my foundation. Their support will go a long way in helping kids in need.”
Each winner will receive:
  • ·      Three full speed laps around Charlotte Motor Speedway with Martin Truex Jr.
  • ·      An autograph and picture with Martin
  • ·      Exclusive VIP tour of the race shop at Michael Waltrip Racing
  • ·      Martin Truex Jr. gift pack with apparel and merchandise
  • ·      Winner will be allowed to bring a guest to the event (however guest will not participate in Ride-Along)
Right now through Sunday, March 25, fans can bid on two separate ride-along experiences by visiting the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation at

All proceeds from the auctions will benefit the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation and its mission of helping children in need.

Mac Tools to sponsor Marcos Ambrose in four races

Columbus, Ohio (March 14, 2012) –- Mac Tools announces an expanded partnership with Richard Petty Motorsports and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Marcos Ambrose to run four races in a Mac Tools-branded No. 9 Ford Fusion. The Mac Tools No. 9 will race in Bristol on March 18, Kentucky on June 30, Richmond on Sept. 8 and Dallas on Nov. 4.

“I’m really looking forward to having Mac Tools as the primary sponsor on my No. 9 Ford this weekend in Bristol, and partnering with them for three other races this season,” said Marcos Ambrose.“ Mac Tools has been an iconic brand in NASCAR for many years and I am honored to have them on my car in select races throughout the year.”

Mac Tools began sponsoring teams in Cup Series competition in 1985 and has built strong relationships with many successful teams. Over the years the brand has partnered with teams that have won 25 Sprint Cup Championships.

“Mac Tools is excited about this opportunity with Richard Petty Motorsports and Marcos Ambrose.  We will use these four races as a platform to drive our brand, our new products and to engage with Mac Tools Distributors, technicians and fans.  It also serves as a platform to increase awareness for the opportunity to own a Mac Tools Franchise,” said Brett Shaw, president of Mac Tools.  “All of our distributors’ and employees take great pride in this opportunity and look forward to the No. 9 Mac Tools Ford Fusion in victory lane.”

Tradebank to sponsor David Reutimann at Bristol

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (March 14, 2012) – Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) entered into a partnership with privately held, international trade exchange company Tradebank. As part of the partnership, Tradebank will be the primary sponsor on the No. 10 Tradebank Chevrolet and David Reutimann in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Tradebank will partner with TBR to build exposure for the businesses within the Tradebank Network as well as seek more companies for their network. TBR will also work with Tradebank, the Consumers’ Choice Award winner in the “Barter and Trade Exchange” category for the past 10 years, on opportunities to build a trade program within NASCAR.

“Tradebank’s barter platform provides businesses the driving force to attract new customers, new revenues and purchasing opportunities,” said Sindo Mayor, owner of Tradebank of Charlotte. “Tradebank offers businesses the opportunity to use barter to maximize return on their products and services.”

“Businesses need a way to capitalize on their under performing assets, aged inventory, underutilized co-op advertising and excess capacity,” added Ashby Green, owner of Tradebank of Atlanta. “Tradebank provides the solution through our barter network. Tradebank helps businesses who need a strategic barter partner in ways far beyond one-on-one trading.”

TBR is currently fielding two entries in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS). The No. 10 Chevrolet is competing for a top-35 spot in the 2012 NSCS Owner Points. The team is currently 39th in points, 14 points outside of the top-35.

“The new partnership between TBR and Tradebank accentuates the benefits of a barter relationship between Tradebank and regional- and nationally-based businesses,” commented TBR owner Tommy Baldwin. “Our participation in Tradebank means additional resources and revenue for us. TBR and Tradebank provide a cost effective way to pursue championship performance in your industry.”

Locked into the Food City 500, Reutimann will compete in the No. 10 Tradebank Chevrolet Sunday, March 18 at 1p.m. EST at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Hendrick has better odds with appeal to NASCAR’s chief appellate officer

Per, Rick Hendrick will see Middlebrook, a former General Motors executive for nearly a half-century, when his No. 48 team appeals its Daytona 500 penalties to Middlebrook in a hearing most likely to be held next week.

While Middlebrook has never rescinded an entire penalty, all three appeals he has heard have resulted in reduced penalties.

“I’ve known John for probably 20 years,” Hendrick said in 2010 when Middlebrook was named to his current post. “When he was with General Motors, I worked with him on the dealership side and the racing side, and I’ve always found him to be a very fair guy.

“I don’t think NASCAR could’ve gotten anyone who’s more straight forward and level headed.”

Although he didn’t talk about Middlebrook after his initial appeal on Tuesday, Hendrick has in the past emphasized his deep respect for him and indicated that Middlebrook would not take into consideration past friendships when making a ruling.

Dancia Patrick to make dirt track debut

ROSSBURG, OH (March 14) – Dirt racing’s grandest stage, Eldora Speedway, will set the scene for Danica Patrick’s long awaited dirt track debut. She joins Ryan Newman, Bobby Labonte, Kenny Wallace, Ty Dillon and Aric Almirola in the third installment of roster announcements for the Wednesday, June 6 running of the Feed The Children Prelude to the Dream, bringing the total of announced superstar drivers to 18.

After a seven-year run in INDYCAR racing, where she captured Rookie of the Year honors in 2005 and win in Motegi, Japan in 2008, Patrick made the bold move to concentrate full-time in NASCAR racing this year. She is concentrating her efforts full-time in the Nationwide Series with JR Motorsports, along with a limited schedule of Sprint Cup racing under the banner of three-time Sprint Cup champion and Eldora Speedway owner, Tony Stewart and his Stewart-Haas Racing camp.

At the age of 10, Patrick turned a few laps on dirt, but never in a stock car.

“I raced on dirt once before in a go-kart when I was young, but that’s about it. It’s going to be a challenge for sure, but I know Tony has offered to help in any way possible. I’m excited about it, but I’m also nervous,” stated Patrick. “It’s a totally different style of racing, so I’m not sure what to expect. But, it’s for a great cause with Feed The Children benefiting from the money raised this year, so I’m ready to give it a shot.”

Ryan Newman is no stranger to either the dirt or short track wars, as his early career found him blazing throughout the Midwest en route to an amazing 170 feature wins in USAC (United States Auto Club) Midget, Sprint and Silver Crown competition. However, he has yet to garner a victory at Eldora and that is a statistic the 15-time NASCAR Sprint Cup winner wants to change. This will mark his seventh Prelude appearance, with a fourth-place finish in 2009 his highest mark to date.

Inside knowledge is no problem for Bobby Labonte. The 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion fields a very successful short-track dirt Late Model team headed up by Earl Pearson, Jr. who has a much heralded Eldora World 100 win to his credit. Pearson will be coaching Labonte throughout the evening as the 21-time Sprint Cup winner makes his seventh Prelude appearance.

With his ever-present smile and quick wit, Kenny Wallace returns to the Prelude as a fan favorite. As the youngest of the famed racing Wallace siblings, Kenny has had no trouble following their successful footsteps. He has a thing for firsts. Kenny won the main event in his first-ever attempt at racing when he strapped into a Street Stock in 1982 and then when the Prelude to the Dream was introduced in 2005, he was the first driver to claim a win. While he is a regular on the tough NASCAR Nationwide Series circuit, he remains close to dirt grassroots racing with his Modified efforts. His 2012 short-track season is off to a great start, with four feature wins in the month of February.

Another driver having to follow older brother footsteps is Ty Dillon, brother to Austin and grandson of legendary car owner Richard Childress. As Austin creates standards, Ty reaches out and meets them. He concluded the 2011 season with an ARCA Racing Series National championship and then kicked off the 2012 campaign by capturing the UNOH DIRTcar Modified Nationals in Florida. He now sets his sights on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and taking the title that older brother Austin earned in 2011. Ty was able to get a taste of Eldora during the 2011 World 100 where he finished a creditable 8th in the B-Main in his first-ever visit to the famed .500 mile clay oval.

Aric Almirola’s career began with go karts in 1992, but his tenacity to succeed has seen a steady climb up the ladder through Modifieds, into the Joe Gibbs Diversity program, into the NASCAR Nationwide Series and into today’s spotlight where he has landed a ride in the renowned Petty Motorsports #43 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He is quickly adapting to that team with a twelve-place finish at Phoenix already under their belt. With six previous Prelude starts, last year’s strong third place finish was his best showing.

Race fans can catch all the behind-the-scenes preparation for the event by following the track, event, charity, drivers and officials on Twitter: @EldoraSpeedway, @PreludetoDream, @FeedTheChildren, @DanicaPatrick, @RyanNewman39, @Bobby_Labonte, @Kenny_Wallace, @tydillon, @aric_almirola.

Joining these six will be the previously announced Feed The Children Prelude to the Dream drivers Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, Dave Blaney, Tony Kanaan, Ron Capps, Jimmie Johnson, Just Allgaier, Bill Elliott, Ray Evernham, David Gilliland and Cruz Pedregon.

Tickets and campsites for the Feed The Children Prelude to the Dream and all other 2012 Eldora Speedway Major Events including the $100,000-to-win Dirt Late Model Dream presented by Ferris Commercial Mowers, $50,000-to-win World of Outlaws Kings Royal and 42nd Annual World 100 are available through the speedway box office (937) 338-3815 or online 24 hours a day at Like us at

Carl Edwards To Serve as Honorary Starter for Nationwide race at Bristol

Carl Edwards is used to seeing the green flag fly from behind the wheel of his Roush Fenway Ford Fusion or Mustang, but this weekend he’ll get a truly different perspective as he serves as Honorary Starter for Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

As part of its multi-year sponsorship agreement with BMS that runs through 2014, the Region Area Ford Dealers have continually looked for ways to activate and improve the race weekend experience for fans.  Ford Fan Friday, where race fans can attend Q&A sessions and get autographs from their favorite drivers, has become a highly-anticipated event.  The inclusion of Edwards in this special role continues that philosophy.

“It’s an honor.  I’ve sat in the grandstands to watch races at Bristol and I’ve been fortunate to race and win there as well, but this will be something totally different and I’m really excited about it,” said Edwards, who won the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Bristol in 2007.  “I think Ford has a revolutionary and smart technology with EcoBoost that delivers both performance and fuel economy, which is something fans care about.”

Edwards, who won the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship in 2007, is tied for third on the all-time NASCAR Nationwide Series win list with 37.  He has made 244 career starts as a driver in the series, but this will be his first as a race official.

Ford EcoBoost, which is coming off its first NASCAR victory as a primary sponsor last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr., uses turbo-charging and direct gasoline injection to boost engine output, reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency by as much as 20 percent.

Ford plans to offer EcoBoost engines in 11 vehicles in 2012, up from seven in 2011, and tripling the capacity of EcoBoost-equipped Ford vehicles. Expanded availability in high-volume nameplates helps make fuel economy more affordable for hundreds of thousands of drivers.

In addition to Edwards’ participation, Ford Group Vice-President of Global Marketing, Sales & Service Jim Farley will serve as the race’s Grand Marshal.   Farley has been a driving force behind the use of racing as a marketing tool for Ford EcoBoost.

“Reaching out to the millions of race fans in this country and around the world, will help us spread the message about Ford EcoBoost engines not just being a smart technology from Ford, but a way for consumers to save money at the fuel pump with increased fuel mileage,” said Farley.  “Fans appreciate getting good fuel mileage, whether it be getting to the race track to watch an event, or seeing their favorite driver use it to their advantage to win a race.”

There were a record 127,683 EcoBoost-equipped vehicles sold by Ford in 2011.

EcoBoost engines are a key element of the power of choice Ford offers buyers seeking fuel-efficient solutions. From EcoBoost to hybrids and from plug-in hybrids to full electric vehicles, this year Ford will offer nine vehicles reaching an anticipated 40 mpg or more.

“Carl Edwards is the perfect choice for us to be the Honorary Starter because he embodies the balance of exciting performance and environmental awareness,” said Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing.  “In addition to owning a vehicle with an Ford EcoBoost engine, Carl has taken part in projects like the Fusion Hybrid 1,000-Mile Challenge that showcases our company philosophy of producing safe, fuel-efficient, and fun-to-drive vehicles.”

By 2013, Ford plans to offer an EcoBoost engine in up to 90 percent of its North American nameplates, supporting global sales of 1.5 million EcoBoost-powered vehicles per year.

Chase Elliott to race in K&N Pro Series East season-opener at Bristol

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Chase Elliott will drive the No. 9 Aaron’s Dream Machine/ Chevrolet in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East’s season-opening event at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 17.

“Bristol is always something to be excited about even if you are going there just to watch,” Elliott said. “But to be able to race there is going to be awesome and to be at a place like Bristol that has so much history makes it even more special for me as a driver.”

It might be the first time the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East has visited Bristol, but Elliott has raced there before. In September 2010, he finished fifth driving in the USAR Pro Cup Series, which is now the CARS Pro Cup Series.

“Racing at a track that you’ve raced at before is always beneficial because it helps the process go by a lot quicker,” Elliott said. “Instead of me having to take the time to get use to the track this weekend during practice, we can start making changes on the No. 9 Chevy right away to get better and better. So it’s good that I have a decent idea already of what it’s like to race at Bristol. That Pro Cup race there two years ago will help us be one step ahead this weekend.”

Elliott, who will compete full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East this season, also received another confidence boost recently when he participated in the K&N Pro Series East’s test session in February. Elliott, 16, will look to capitalize on what he learned during that opportunity, which he hopes will benefit him this weekend.

“I felt like we learned a lot at the test that will really help us this weekend,” Elliott said. “There are improvements that need to be made on my end to be better, and I feel like the Aaron’s Dream Machine/ Chevy will be better when we go back as well.

“This year I obviously want to get as many wins as possible. But at the same time we just need to be smart, and I would be happy with consistent top-five finishes.”

Crew chief Lance McGrew enters the Bristol race weekend with both Cup and Nationwide Series experience. In 16 combined starts there, he has posted two top-five finishes and five top-10s. As McGrew continues to acclimate himself with the K&N car, he will rely on the notes the team took during the recent K&N Pro Series East Bristol test session.

IndyCar announces movie project with DreamWorks

Per, IndyCar is teaming up with DreamWorks Animation to make "Turbo," which is slated to hit theaters in the summer of 2013.

The animated movie features an ordinary garden snail that dreams of winning the Indianapolis 500, and gets a chance to do just that after a freak accident leaves it with extraordinary speed.

The film is scheduled for release July 19, 2013, and is the biggest deal yet for IndyCar's Entertainment division.

Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart visits the Small Miracles Therapeutic Riding Center

Tony Stewart, three-time NASCAR champion, displayed a different side of his personality Tuesday afternoon.

Shortly after attending a high-stakes competition meeting at the Stewart-Haas Racing headquarters near the NASCAR epicenter in North Carolina, Stewart decompressed for over two hours at the Small Miracles Therapeutic Riding Center in the rolling hills of Northeast Tennessee.

Stewart not only chatted with a group of wide-eyed special needs children, he helped lead their horses around the barn. He also posed for family photos, signed autographs and shared personal stories.

“This place is really close to my heart because I have a cousin who has a similar situation,” Stewart said. “To see how programs like this help children, it’s much bigger than what we’re doing with racing.”

Stewart became so enamored with the young riders that he had to be pulled away at the last second to conduct a scheduled satellite interview with ESPN.

“To see how these kids connect with their horses and ponies is pretty cool,” Stewart said. “We over complicate our lives a lot of times. It’s neat to be able to detach from all that and make life simpler for a couple hours.”

Tommy Baldwin Racing lands sponsorship for eight races

Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) signed a deal with SealWrap and Widow Wax for eight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in the 2012 season. Blaney will debut the No. 36 SealWrap/Widow Wax Chevrolet at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend.

Welch & Wilson Motorsports, the parent company of SealWrap, will partner with Dave and Ryan Blaney, as well as TBR, throughout the season. SealWrap will be the primary partner for Ryan Blaney’s six NNS starts, including his NNS debut at Richmond International Raceway next month. SealWrap partnered with DB Racing and Ryan Blaney last season in select NKNPS races.

Jeff Welch and Curt Wilson, owners of Welch & Wilson Motorsports, have once again searched out of the box to bring together Widow Wax and SealWrap in a joint venture to help promote their brands. “We are excited about the opportunities TBR have given us to present our products on such a grand stage as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series,” said Welch.

Widow Wax, a thin polymer coating, was created from NASA-based technology in order to provide a durable, high-gloss protective finish for all types of vehicles. Widow Wax will couple the NSCS program with sponsorship of Ryan Blaney’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series (NKNPS) races. This multi-tiered program will be Widow Wax’s first NASCAR sponsorship.

“Widow Wax is proud to be a part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series,” commented Widow Wax Founder Justin Kuhn. “We look forward to an awesome 2012 race season. Race Fans…Get Your Wax On!”

The No. 36 team is currently 20th in NSCS Owner Points and working to stay in the top-35 to be locked into the race at Martinsville April 1st. Dave Blaney’s best finish this year is a 15th-place finish at Daytona International Speedway.

“We are very happy to have Widow Wax come on board and have SealWrap expand their program with us,” explained Tommy Baldwin. “Both companies have great products that we can use around the shop daily. We’re proud of the team’s performance this year, and these companies coming on board helps us get to the next level.”

Dave Blaney will attempt to qualify the No. 36 SealWrap/Widow Wax Chevrolet for the Food City 500 this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway for TBR’s 100th team start. The Hartford, Ohio native made TBR’s only two starts at Bristol last season.

No. 36 SealWrap/Widow Wax Chevrolet Schedule:
  • March 18th – Bristol Motor Speedway
  • April 28th – Richmond International Raceway
  • May 12th – Darlington Raceway
  • June 30th – Kentucky Speedway
  • July 29th – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
  • August 25th – Bristol Motor Speedway
  • September 16th – Chicagoland Speedway
  • September 23rd – New Hampshire Motor Speedway