Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012 by Gilbert Sam · 0
The Wood Brothers Racing car was inducted on March 23, 2012 into the “Driving America” exhibit next to the Indy 500-winning Lotus that cruised to victory in 1965 behind the quick pit stops designed by Wood Brothers Racing, and Sweepstakes, the car that Henry Ford himself drove to victory against Alexander Winton on Oct. 19, 1901.
“I’m really excited. This is a huge honor for us,” said an elated Bayne. “The drink bottle, everything is exactly where it was in the cockpit and that is special to me.”
The No. 21 Ford Fusion entered the Henry Ford Museum after sitting at the Daytona 500 Speedway exhibit for a year. The red and white race car was unwashed, with confetti still glued to it from the victory bath of now dried Gatorade and Coca-Cola.
“The car is really dirty,” said Eddie Wood. “In fact, it’s nasty. The odd thing about it is there’s no champagne on it like you usually have in Victory Lane because Trevor was 20 at the time, so they didn’t allow it there, which is really cool. It’s a great honor to have our car in here.”
Bayne’s monumental victory not only revived Wood Brothers Racing by giving them their first Sprint Cup Series win in over ten years, but it also provided Ford Racing with their 600th Sprint Cup victory.
“People often ask me what the most memorable race I have attended was,” Edsel Ford said. “Certainly being with my father at LeMans in 1966, when Ford beat Ferrari, is clearly one of the highlights. But even though I’ve been at many memorable wins for Ford, at LeMans or many Formula One races or Trans Am or NHRA, I think being at the Daytona 500 on Feb. 20, 2011 ranks well above them all.”
Another man that can attest to the exceptional pride that comes from winning the Daytona 500 is Doug Yates, CEO of Roush Yates Engines and engine builder for Wood Brothers Racing.
“The Daytona 500 has always been a special race for me and my family,” said Yates. “Seeing Glen, Leonard, Eddie and Len Wood alongside Trevor Bayne in Victory Lane last year was definitely a highlight for me. It’s a great honor to have the No. 21 with our engine sitting in the prestigious Henry Ford Museum.”
To learn more about all the drivers that use Roush Yates engines every week, visit www.roushyates.com.
Richmond, Va., April 25, 2012 – After being unveiled in a public ceremony today at the Virginia State Capitol, the 2012 Focus Electric pace cars are ready for their historic race weekend when they become the first all-electric vehicles to pace a NASCAR Sprint Cup event.
The two Focus Electric vehicles will perform all pace car duties for the Capital City 400 presented by Virginia is for Lovers Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway.
The two cars were unveiled by Eric Kuehn, chief nameplate engineer, Ford Global Electrified Programs; Mike Lynch, NASCAR’s managing director of Green Innovation; and Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.
With Bolling and Kuehn in one pace car, and Lynch in the other, the two vehicles proceeded to drive through the streets of Richmond after the ceremony to Richmond International Raceway, where they were turned over for weekend duty to Dennis Bickmeier, president of RIR.
“It will be a special moment for NASCAR fans across the country, Virginians and the Ford family on Saturday night when the Focus Electric completes its first lap as the official pace car for the Capital City 400,” said Kuehn. “As Ford and NASCAR make history with the first all-electric pace car, we will also be demonstrating to thousands of race fans and millions more on TV that you can combine performance and fuel-efficiency.”
Bolling pointed out the pride the state of Virginia takes in having the all-electric pace car debut in Richmond.
“I was delighted to unveil the 2012 Ford Focus Electric pace car at the Virginia State Capitol. Virginia is the energy capital of the East Coast so it’s only fitting that the first ever all-electric pace car will debut at the Richmond NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race,” said Bolling. “NASCAR is not just great fun, but it is also big business, having a huge economic impact on the metro Richmond area each year. We love to have folks visit Richmond for our annual NASCAR races and take advantage of all that the Commonwealth has to offer.”
NASCAR’s Lynch pointed out this marks another historic moment in the sport’s history.
“The arrival of the 2012 Ford Focus Electric pace car is a strong example of how the innovation cycle around green transportation is accelerating,” said Lynch. “The Ford Focus Electric was held to the same highly demanding standard of any pace car, and more than met the performance requirements. Seeing it on the track at Richmond International Raceway will be another historic moment for our sport.”
This marks the latest in a line of groundbreaking moments for Ford in NASCAR. In addition to being the first manufacturer to compete with a four-door sedan as its flagship model in 1998, Ford was also first to use a hybrid to start a NASCAR event when the Fusion Hybrid served as pace car for the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2008.
In January, Ford became the first manufacturer to show off its 2013 NASCAR race car when it unveiled the new 2013 Fusion racer to media in Charlotte, N.C.
The all-new Fusion range, which includes EcoBoost, a hybrid and the Energi plug-in hybrid version, is the best example of how Ford is giving customers true power of choice for fuel-efficient vehicles.
This year, Ford will offer nine vehicles reaching an anticipated 40 mpg or more. Plus, the company is building six new electrified vehicles by the end of this year.
“The Focus and Fusion are great examples of how we transformed our fleet of cars, utilities and trucks with leading fuel efficiency – by electrifying entire vehicle platforms, instead of one-off specialty models,” said Kuehn.
Ford will offer fuel-efficient EcoBoost engines in 11 vehicles in 2012, up from seven in 2011, tripling the production capacity of EcoBoost-equipped Ford vehicles. This expansion of fuel-efficient offerings will be led by the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine in the high-volume Escape compact utility vehicle and Fusion sedan.
Delivering up to 20 percent better fuel economy than conventional engines, EcoBoost uses smaller overall size combined with turbocharging and gasoline direct injection to bring customers the power they want and the fuel economy they need.
Focus Electric is America’s most fuel-efficient five-seat car that offers the equivalent of 110 miles per gallon (MPGe) city, 99 MPGe highway and operates entirely on battery-generated power. Focus Electric has been certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to offer 105 MPGe combined.
By comparison, the Nissan Leaf is certified at 106 MPGe city, 92 MPGe highway and 99 MPGe combined. Focus Electric features more passenger room, more motor power and a faster charging system that can nearly halve the charging time of the Leaf.
Production of the Focus Electric began in December at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. More information about MAP can be found here.
Ford is ramping up Focus Electric retail production in the first half of this year for dealership availability in California, New York and New Jersey. By the end of the year, Focus Electric will be available in 19 markets across the U.S.
More information about Ford’s electrified vehicle lineup – including press releases, technical specifications and other related material – can be found online here. Photos of the Focus Electric can be found here.
Per SI.com, The Bristol project will be completed in time for Goodyear to come to Bristol
for a tire test before the Aug. 25 Sprint Cup Series return.
Goodyear said it has scheduled a tire test for June 12-13.
"We will start out our test with the existing Bristol tire setup, in order to determine if the changes to the track surface require any changes to our tread compound formulation,'' said Stu Grant, Goodyear's general manager of worldwide racing.
"We'll then evaluate if the track surface has changed and if we'll need to bring back something different for the race in August.''
“I said when this process began last month that I would listen to what the fans said they wanted,” Smith said. “The fan feedback over the past month, along with input over the past few years, was the impetus for alterations to the track.
“Since March 28, when we announced that changes would be made, we have listened to fans, heard from drivers and talked to engineers about what to do and how much time we had to do it. Once we knew the direction, we located the right equipment to make it happen.”
The changes concentrate on the progressive banking applied when the current track surface was put in place in the summer of 2007.
“The majority of fans we heard from said they wanted adjustments made and the bulk of those said the progressive banking was what they didn’t like,” said Smith in explaining the decision-making process. “So, that’s the focus of our efforts. And that is what we are working to change.”
When the deteriorating BMS track surface was replaced in 2007, variable banking was added. Often referred to as “progressive” because the degrees increase from bottom to top, the layout provided multiple lanes of racing on the famed short track.
Smith said the choice to change the track surface did not come easy, but listening to the race fans always has served him well.
“More and more fans kept asking us to do something to the track,” Smith said. “So I put it out there. They spoke and we listened. I want them to be happy; I want them to love their experience in Bristol. This will accomplish that and I know they will be pleased with the result.”
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012 by Gilbert Sam · 0
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET, was the guest on the NASCAR Weekly Teleconference. Below is the complete transcript:
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to this special NASCAR teleconference. Today’s teleconference features BBC America’s Top Gear host Richard Hammond who joins us today from the UK, and five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson, one of the drivers showcased in the upcoming Top Gear episode featuring NASCAR along with Jeff Gordon and Juan Pablo Montoya.
In the episode, Hammond explores the history of NASCAR, and tells the story of how the sport evolved into what it is today. After explaining its roots, Hammond visits Texas Motor Speedway on race weekend to dive into the different elements and intricacies of a NASCAR race car. The episode airs for the first time on BBC America next Monday April 30th at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.
THE MODERATOR: Jimmie, talk about your experience working with Richard and the rest of the Top
JIMMIE JOHNSON: It was great to see them out. I’m a fan of the show, and I was very happy to see the film crew, and to know how in depth Top Gear is with their program and the fact that they were going to take our sport and showcase it to the level that they do was exciting to me. I was excited to be a part of it. It was a pleasure to meet everyone, and I certainly hope to cross paths again with everybody.
THE MODERATOR: One last thing, and I’m sure you’re aware. But what is your reaction to topping Forbes list of America’s Most Influential Athletes for the second year in a row?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: It’s just a huge honor. Not only is it very good for me and my career and what I do in the race car and my brand, I think it’s very good for NASCAR as well. So among all athletes in America, to be ranked the most influential athlete out there, I’m very proud of the award and very happy to receive it.
Q. Jimmie, I wanted to ask you that question. We know what Richard learned by getting to do this. But what was your most memorable moment in being part of this piece?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: We were trying to shoot our piece while the teams were warming the cars, and with the audio required, we had a hell of a time just trying to find a quiet spot to get it done to show him around my race car.
Q. Jimmie, this is a different topic, but I know you posted some comments on Twitter yesterday or so in regards to the issue about some fans wanting cautions to bunch the field up for competition. I wanted to ask you is that notion insulting to you as a competitor? Do you see someone’s point that putting you guys back side by side for a restart is better potentially for the entertainment purposes of the event?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Well, truthfully I was having some fun yesterday just trying to see what the opinions were. There are a lot of comments about how few cautions we’ve had over the last couple weeks on the mile and a half. So I sent out a conversation stimulating thought.
And I was pleasantly surprised the majority weren’t after the wreck. They just wanted things bunched up at the side by side racing. Still it’s a slippery slope and tough to understand, because we go to some tracks that were known for crashes, like Bristol, and we run side by side, lap after lap, and that doesn’t win the fan appeal as well.
So it’s a complicated topic. And there is been a lot of discussion about it, and I was reading a lot of different things about it, and I just wanted to engage and get the pulse of the fans myself.
Q. Did you learn anything to further your knowledge, and is it something that if not now, NASCAR might need to take a look at?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: There are certainly things to look at, but I don’t know how we address much. We completely changed the type of vehicle we race in to have parity in the sport. Now we’re virtually running the same speed. You look at the quality times and how tight things are, when you run the same speed, it’s tough to pass.
But we need that in order to have parity, and not let teams skid away and separate themselves so we have the action on the racetrack.
In my opinion, it’s starting to focus on the tracks that we race on. There are some tracks that are more racing than other racetracks, and that’s the direction I’m looking in these days. As we start resurfacing tracks, let’s take some extra steps to make sure it’s not a single group racetrack the first time we go up.
Then from there, we know what progressive banking can do and we’re well aware of short tracks and the action they provide. Maybe we reconfigure some of these tracks and get rid of the mile and a halves. I mean, there are plenty of them. Let’s get more mile and unders on the circuit. Those are ideas easy from my point, because they don’t cost me any money. But I think that’s the direction things are heading.
The competition is equal. And by design, it needs to be that way. So I think that is the area to focus in.
Q. I want to shift gears a little bit. I want to ask you about Travis Pastrana. I don’t know if you’ve been following him at all. Is he coming back in the stock cars at Richmond? I know he’s a friend of yours. And I want to know, first, have you talked to him at all? And how do you think he’ll do on Friday night?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I think he’ll do well. And I you’ll see I gave him a pretty cool haircut, there is more to follow in the next couple days. But he has a rocking mullet that I was able to carve out of his head with some metal cutting sheers.
So he is all committed, fully in. On a more serious note, it’s his time. The guy knows how to race and ride and drive and whatever the heck it is. It’s just car time. It’s like Carmichael or Juan Pablo, like staying on four wheels, it just takes time to find that last point 2.
Travis is coming in pretty green. Sew has to find the big steps. Then once he gets through the big steps, it’s down to the last point 2. Some people take a couple years, others take longer than that. So it’s just a time thing.
But I’m really happy to have him in the sport. He’s an amazing guy with a huge fan base, and it’s going to be good for NASCAR.
Q. How did this haircut take place?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Well, that’s the part I can’t reveal yet. But I think tomorrow the rest of the story will unfold. But there are some photos floating around in the social space right now. But it’s a pretty nice mullet.
Q. When Travis made the announcement a month ago about doing more rallies this year, there was a lot of discussion about how committed to stock cars is he? Is he really full-time on NASCAR? Is the sense you get that he’s doing the rally just to stay in the car, and that NASCAR Sprint Cup is his ultimate goal that he’s still fully committed to being a stock car driver?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I’m not sure. I don’t know if Travis knows, and people that know Travis realize that. He does what he likes to do. I mean, he lets his heart kind of lead him and his interests lead him. I think this year, he’s going to get his feet wet in stock cars and see where it goes. At the same time, he’s done so well in the Rally America stuff, it doesn’t matter who you are, you want to win races and championships.
So I have to imagine he’s got a nice opportunity there to go out and compete and have a shot at the championship while getting some stock car experience.
Q. Jimmie, they’re having a tire test at Pocono today. I heard they had to shovel snow off the track?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I heard that too.
Q. But I wonder what you expect from the track? It’s the first time it’s been repaved since the mid ’90s. I hear you guys will have a half day to test up there race day or during race weekend. But what do you think it’s going to be like?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: We’re assuming it’s going to be very smooth and very fast. The tire that we’re to run on is always – with new tracks and high speeds, we usually end up on a sketch tire, one that’s durable and hard, but it takes a lot of laps for it to come in. I’m anticipating that. I’m anticipating qualifying on that, one from speed, and a tire that’s durable enough to handle the high speeds.
In the race, a similar thing and something that I’m thinking about is the brakes. We could run the brakes off the cars there with the old surface and lower speeds. I would imagine that brakes will be a pretty big concern with the elevated straightaway speed, although you’ll have more grip to turns. But still, it’s a pretty sharp turn there after some very long straightaways.
Q. You probably addressed this at Kansas. Dale Jr. feels he’s the best racer out there and smartest and so forth. I’m just curious what your reaction was to that?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Not familiar with what he said, but I can tell you that every one of those drivers climbing in a race car every Sunday feels that they’re the best otherwise they wouldn’t be out there. So I’m not familiar with what he said, but I have to assume it is a natural line of thought.
Q. He was asked, do you think Jimmie Johnson is a better race car driver than you? And he said, hell no. No, he said Jimmie’s a hell of a race car driver, but I feel like I’m the best. That’s the way you have to feel. Pretty much what you just said.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, exactly. I’m not very good anyway, so (laughing).
Q. The quote in the Forbes article was about the fact that people are becoming more aware of the drivers this year and this year, six of the ten most influential athletes are NFL signal callers. Why do you think that you were able to get that accolade? What is the reasoning for it? Obviously everybody in NASCAR, the fans are proud of the fact that a driver is up at the top of the pack. Why do you think you got it?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I haven’t read the article myself. I was in team meetings all day long, and started to get text messages and emails from everyone. I felt like I needed to respond really quick on Twitter to ride the wave.
I haven’t read the article itself. I’m not sure of the criteria. But I’m happy with the outcome, bottom line. I’m happy to be the most influential athlete out there. I think it does speak to the reach of our sport. And for an outside group to analyze all sports in general and look at all the factors necessary to put myself, a NASCAR driver in that spot says a lot for all of us involved.
Q. Do you think it helps solidify that drivers are great athletes?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, without a doubt. It’s a battle we’re going to fight. I feel like we’ve been winning that battle over the last five years or so. And I think winning the AP Athlete of the Year award a few years back was very helpful, because there was really from our toughest critics. And for them to select me and choose me as that really got things over center.
And anybody I know that’s an athlete that comes to a race or enjoys racing or I run across they know what it’s about. So I believe that deal has gone away.
Q. After getting repaved, how much do you think it impact the race in October?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: It will be a lot different. Our set-up and mindset for Kansas, too, has evolved since our first trip there. There are trends that we pick up on with the grip level. What affects need to be done to qualify for the race or race adjustments, and that’s all going to change.
I would assume even the aggregate that they use for the asphalt will change and be more like the new stuff we see now, which has very little grip. It’s tough to get those tracks to work in. I hope that’s not the case. I know Pocono has tried to go back to the original aggregate they had to get side by side racing faster.
So we’ll go back there with a lot of questions, and I’m sure there will be a practice session the day before to let us get a feel for things. But really we go back with a clean sheet of paper and start all over again.
Q. What track are you looking forward to race the most this year?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Dover’s my favorite track. But we’re getting into a stretch right now with a lot of great racetracks. There really aren’t any that I don’t like, to be honest with you. For a while, Bristol gave me a hard time, but it’s been a lot of fun lately. I love Martinsville. I love racing at Darlington and look forward to that track working its way back to an old, slick, abusive track like it used to be.
We’ve got a lot of racing coming up in Charlotte in May, and it’s always nice to be close to home.
Q. Jimmie, obviously, they have a European perspective on things. I wanted to see if they might have asked you something that us American media failed to maybe get out of you guys?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Outside of the cool accent, I think that’s about it.
Q. And Jimmie, Richard was saying earlier when he got to the track he realized how friendly it was and how much access everybody has. When you bring someone to the track for the first time, whether it be someone from outside the sport, family member, whatever it may be, what do you find that their perceptions are versus what they see in reality?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, I think it’s very similar, the access that fans have at a NASCAR event is second to none. What makes it more apparent to me is when a football friend or baseball friend comes to the track. Especially the baseball guys, the starting pitcher you’re not even allowed to talk to that guy prior to a game.
So just to see the interaction the driver has with the fans, how accessible the cars are, the crew members are, the fans around the work space, the hospitality events that take place prior to the race, the driver intros, every aspect of it is really an eye-opening experience for anyone that I bring out there.
We have something special in our sport, and I think that’s what has separated us over the years and why our sports are so highly attended.
Q. Jimmie, I wanted to get your take on how things are different at Daytona in July versus February? Obviously you’re not there as long in July, the weather is different, the race is shorter, but can you talk about some of the different changes between the two, if you don’t mind, Jimmie, thanks?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, you come back in July and your grip level is down 20, 30%, and we’d have to make different aero changes and handling changes to the car that we wouldn’t even consider in February when the temps are a lot lower. So that was kind of the common trend.
I’m thinking back to Tony Stewart and how fast he would be in July, and we all wonder why he didn’t have the same speed or dominance in February and it’s really because it was two different racetracks at the time.
Now with the repaved grips it’s much more abundant, and that delta is a lot closer together. So eventually will end up there, and it might be this year, but I don’t think so. The track still has a lot of grip, very few bumps, if any at all, more like little ripples, that’s about it.
So I think we’ll still be on a full speed package from aero and mechanical grip, and not really need to compromise any of that and make the car handle right over the long haul.
Q. Does the overall mood tend to be more laid back in July than in February?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I guess so. I mean, we’re down there so long in February that there are different high points that you get charged up for, especially on Sunday race day. It’s different. It’s just nice to be down there for a couple days and go on.
We have all the testing and different appearances we make for the speedway when we run the Rolex 24 and come back for the race. I feel like in January and February, so it’s nice to come back and be in and out in two or three days.
Q. We’re talking about fans and being recognized. Obviously you have a very familiar face to a lot of fans. But you also travel to Europe. There are times when you get away that you’re really not recognized. Could you talk about that and what that’s like for you? Here you have a very famous face, and then maybe get Richard’s take on what you say.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Okay. Traveling around, I’d certainly do fly under the radar. We used to take a trip in July and work our way through a lot of different areas. I see F1 stickers or watch F1 broadcasts, a little rally, a little Moto GP. But in most areas, NASCAR is not around.
When I’ve competed in the Race of Champions event, they know that NASCAR drivers are coming, and London especially when we raced there, there was a huge gathering of fans. I mean, they’re flying 48 flags and they had die cast cars for me to sign.
So I think there are different pockets where NASCAR has worked its way into. But we still have a lot of ground over there to make up within the Motorsports community to showcase our races to.
Q. Jimmie, if I could ask you about Charlotte and Daytona. Obviously, you couldn’t hardly walk anywhere. Could you talk a little about that and what that’s like to fans and sometimes you just want to get away, right?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Well, it’s not bad. I mean, around race weekend there are certainly more people thinking of race car drivers and around them. There are more race fans in town. But it is what it is. I’m very, very happy to be in this position to have the success I have. The hardest part is at the race when I’m trying to do my job and we’re having a bad practice session and I’m trying to get from the race car to the transporter, and there are fans there waiting for hours who want an autograph. And I’m in my work space, in my office, if you will, and I can’t take the time.
Away from the track, I’m a lot more at ease with all of that than I ever am in my work space. It doesn’t bother me. It’s a great privilege to have. I still remember the days I was walking around with a pin, and not wearing a fire suit that had my name on it, and people were calling me the wrong name, and I was just excited to sign something for them. So it’s not a bad thing at all.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Jimmie, Richard’s been behind the wheel of all sorts of different cars on Top Gear. Is there a car that you’ve seen on the show that you really want to get behind the wheel and take a couple of laps in?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: One of my favorite episodes, I don’t think Rich was driving, but I think it was the Lotus F1. They have a rich man’s play day where you can come to a track. They set up the rigs and put you in a car and let you go out and run and have the full F1 experience. That looked really cool and one episode I always think of.
How amazing that would be to go out and experience. I think it’s a cool car and all, but to go out and have a proper test and have some time in an F1 car would be cool.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
An elite panel of 21 broadcasters and journalists had a difficult time this quarter with many worthy drivers.
Australia's Will Power came from near the middle of the grid on twisting road and street courses to claim back-to-back victories in the Indy Car series. Ironically, when he won the pole at the season opener, in St. Petersburg, he finished seventh. With those performances he has a healthy lead in the series point's standings.
"I think my guys feel very confident no matter where we start now that it's always possible," Power said after his most recent victory at the Toyota Grand Prix in Long Beach, California.
"It is a great honor to be recognized by such an elite panel. This award is a testament to how hard the Verizon Team Penske crew has worked this year and we hope to keep it going for the rest of the season," Power said after learning of the award.
At first Barry Schmoyer, President of the DRIVER OF THE YEAR Foundation, was surprised at the vote in which Power beat Hight by one point. "I don't recall such a close quarterly vote," he said. On reflection he realized that Power won the third quarter in 2010 by two points. There has only been one tie in DRIVER OF THE YEAR history - in 2002 when Cristiano da Matta (then in Champ Car) took the annual title in tie-breaker over NASCAR's Tony Stewart based on points earned in the quarterly tallies.
In the voting Power, who drives the Verizon Dallara DW-12/Chevrolet for Penske Racing, had eight first-place ballots and totaled 99 points according to the DRIVER OF THE YEAR points system. Hight, who drives the Auto Club Mustang for John Force Racing in the NHRA Full Throttle Tour's funny car division, also recorded eight first place votes and garnered 98 points.
Greg Biffle, who leads the Sprint Cup points in the quarter which ended with his victory at the quarter ending race at Texas Motor Speedway, finished third with two first place votes and 78 points.
A total of 16 drivers scored points in the third quarter voting.
In its' 46th year, the DRIVER OF THE YEAR title is unique. The panel of 21 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. determines the winner. Three panelists did not vote this time. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4,3,2,1 basis. Power will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch to be presented at a race weekend at to be determined.
"I certainly take pride in winning this award and want to thank everyone on the panel," Power added.
President of the DRIVER OF THE YEAR Foundation is Barry Schmoyer, businessman and sportsman of Sarasota, Florida.
AUGUSTA, Ga. (April 24, 2012) – CURE Childhood Cancer’s Press On Fund will be featured on Cole Whitt’s No. 88 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet in NASCAR Nationwide Series events at Richmond International Raceway and Darlington Raceway as part of a collaborative effort by TaxSlayer and JR Motorsports to raise awareness in the fight against childhood cancer.
The logo of Press On Fund will appear on the TV panel of the No. 88 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet starting this weekend at Richmond. The Virginia 529 College Savings 250 is scheduled for a 7 p.m. ET start on ESPN2. It will appear for a second time on Whitt’s car at Darlington for the May 11th VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200. That race will start at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
The Press On Fund’s goal is two-fold: to achieve a greater cure rate for pediatric neuroblastoma and AML, which represents the two childhood cancers with the lowest survival rates. It also aims to mitigate the potentially devastating side effects of current therapies.
“This is something we are doing to help draw attention towards two devastating forms of childhood cancer and the race to a CURE for all childhood cancer,” said Daniel Eubanks, motorsports director for TaxSlayer.com. “At TaxSlayer we are great friends with some of the founders of this fund, and we are trying to do everything that we can to help. Press On donates 100% of its funding towards research. The significance of these dollars for the children that need them most cannot be underscored.”
Press On Fun is a named fund of CURE Childhood Cancer, a 501(c)(3) with a long standing reputation for its commitment to supporting families and finding a CURE. To accomplish its goals, the Press On Fund provides grants to scientists and institutions conducting research into novel, targeted therapies for neuroblastoma and AML. In just under three years the Press On Fund has invested more than $770,000 to save children’s lives.
For more information on Press On Fund, please visit its website at www.pressonfund.org.
The appearance will be the first NASCAR sponsorship for VeriFone, a San Jose, Calif.-based company that provides merchant-operated, consumer-facing and self-service payment systems for the financial, retail, hospitality, petroleum, government and healthcare industries. The company will announce additional at-track plans leading up to the race event.
“Talladega is a great race to have a new sponsor because all the action has fans’ non-stop attention,” said Almirola. “Everyone is glued to their seat watching to see what’s going to happen next, whether you’re sitting in the stands or at home in front of the TV. We hope everyone’s eyes will be on the No. 43 VeriFone Ford leading the pack and taking the checkered flag first.”
The sponsorship is the latest in a string of new partner announcementsfor Richard Petty Motorsports and an opportunity for fans to learn more about a company whose products and services they probably use every day.
“You might not realize it, but you probably swipe your payment card at the store or at the gas pump all the time on VeriFone products,” said executive vice president of marketing for RPM, Mike Hargrave. “And security is top priority for them, so you don’t have to worry about your personal information remaining secure. It’s always good to have a partner on the car that you actually know and trust in your daily life away from the racetrack.
The sponsorship is also the first for the team in the software category and first for VeriFone in NASCAR.
“The NASCAR fan base, especially at Talladega, is some of the most passionate of all sports,” said, Paul Rasori, senior vice president of marketing at VeriFone. “We feel this is a great opportunity to be a part of the excitement and also educate the fans about our products and services. We’re proud to announce this partnership with Aric and the rest of the Richard Petty Motorsports team.”
The Talladega race will air May 6 at noon (ET) on FOX.
/// Team PR
Friday, April 27Noon-2 p.m. – First practice
2:45-3 p.m. – Final practice
5:35 p.m. - Qualifying
Saturday, April 287 p.m. – Coverage of Sprint Cup racing from Richmond begins on FOX
7:30 p.m. – Green flag for the Sprint Cup race from Richmond on FOX (400 laps, 300 miles)
Friday, April 279-11:30 a.m. – Final practice
4:05 p.m.– Qualifying
7:30 p.m. – NASCAR Nationwide Series 250 (250 laps, 187.5 miles)
Note: all times ET
Last year three drivers from the Nascar circuit made our list of America’s Most Influential Athletes, led by perennial Sprint Cup Series champ Jimmie Johnson. Nascar hasn’t exactly faded. Johnson, whose talent and guy-next-door demeanor endears him to fans, as well as to marketing chiefs of brands like Chevrolet, Quaker State and Lowe’s, repeats as America’s most influential athlete, based on public opinion polling. But fellow drivers Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (down from No. 3 to No. 7) and Jeff Gordon (off the list this year) didn’t keep up, making way for newcomers like Jeremy Lin and Manny Pacquiao, and for the rise of several pro quarterbacks.
Train front-man Pat Monahan and the rest of the three-time
Grammy-winning band will return to Daytona International Speedway on
Saturday, July 7 for the 54th annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
From the legendary pit road in the tri-oval area of the "World Center of Racing," Train will perform a 60-minute pre-race concert prior to the Independence Day holiday classic.
All race fans that purchase a Pre-Race/Sprint FANZONE access pass for the Coke Zero 400 in addition to a race ticket will be able to view Train's Coke Zero 400 Pre-Race Show as well as the driver introductions from the grass tri-oval area.
Tickets for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola are available online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
Per SportingNews, A federal judge has denied NASCAR's request to throw out a lawsuit by
an aspiring driver who was invited to its 2005 Drive For Diversity
combine but claims he was discriminated against when he never made it
onto the track.
Michael Rodriguez, who is of Puerto Rican descent, filed the lawsuit in January 2010 claiming NASCAR and Access Communications, which operated the diversity program, violated his civil rights. He is asking for unspecified damages.
Rodriguez, a former state karting champion who was 15 at the time of the combine, never participated in the on-track portion of the program. He claims in the lawsuit that he was denied the opportunity to participate because his blue eyes and fair skin made him look “too Caucasian.”
Rodriquez also claims in the suit that he was twice referred to as a “poster boy” or “poster child” for the Ku Klux Klan by Access personnel.
NASCAR claims in its court briefs that Rodriquez was not allowed to drive because he was disoriented after complaining of a headache, possibly from bumping his head.
The case is set for trial beginning June 4 in Charlotte after NASCAR’s and Access Communications’ motion for summary judgment was denied.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012 by Gilbert Sam · 0
“It doesn’t impact anything, it really doesn’t,” Kyle Petty, a former NASCAR star, said Monday. “Basically, the board had decided to ask Pattie to take an emeritus role and just be a spokesperson. … I have no concerns with the direction of the camp at all. Period.”
The Pettys’ son Austin is chief operating officer of the camp for chronically ill children. The Pettys opened its Randleman, N.C., camp in 2004 and has been raising funds for a new camp near Kansas City.
“While public figures are involved, this situation is no different from a regulatory perspective, and personnel matters are private and confidential per the law and human resource policies,” Austin Petty said in a statement.
“Because of this, we will not have any further comment on this or any other personnel issues at this time.”
The North Carolina camp, which has hosted more than 14,000 children free of charge since it opened in 2004, was started after a major fund-raising effort by Kyle and Pattie and with the help of the NASCAR community. It was created in memory of Adam, who was killed in a NASCAR crash in 2004. Adam Petty had talked about building the camp before he was killed at age 19.
“We’re always going to be involved in the camp,” said Kyle, the son of seven-time Cup champion Richard Petty and a driver from 1979 to 2008. “The camp was founded in memory of Adam, and we have worked incredibly hard to build the camp.
Patty Petty Removed From Victory Junction's Day-to-Day Operations
Per Kansas City Star, The Victory Junction board of directors has informed Patty Petty, wife of former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and daughter-in-law of Hall of Famer Richard Petty, that she will no longer be part of the day-to-day operations of the camp.
The board has offered her emeritus status, but she is balking at serving in a purely ceremonial role.
“They don’t want anything to do with me,” said Pattie Petty, who has been living in Kansas City part time while raising funds for the camp in Wyandotte County. “They gave me not one reason. They said they wanted to make a change. … I’m not sure what I did wrong, but the word came back to me I was making irrational decisions.
“Two board members who wanted me to leave gave me an ultimatum … never go to the camp, not talk to anybody with the camp. … It was probably the most hurtful thing that’s ever happened to me in my life.”
John McKee, president of Victory Junction and who was hired by Pattie Petty, said he has been instructed by the board not to have any comment “because there is an ongoing employment negotiation.”
Kyle Petty Not Concerned About Direction of Victory Junction After Removal of Wife
"We're working on that," JGR president J.D. Gibbs told ESPN.com on Sunday after Denny Hamlin's victory at Kansas Speedway. "We'll be with Toyota for a long time to come."
Dodge has been looking for a team to anchor its 2013 program since Penske Racing announced earlier this year it would leave the manufacturer for Ford next season.
Per Indy Business Journal, Max Siegel will be the new CEO at USA Track & Field.
The Indianapolis-based organization said Monday afternoon that it had signed Siegel, 47, to a two-year contract that starts May 1.
Siegel is a former president of global operations for the NASCAR racing team Dale Earnhardt Inc. and a senior vice president at Sony/BMG. He started his career in the 1990s as an attorney at the Indianapolis law firm now known as Faegre Baker Daniels, but soon launched a talent-management agency, Sports and Entertainment Group, which he later sold.
USA Track & Field hired Siegel last fall to ramp up it marketing efforts going into the summer Olympics. President and Chairwoman Stephanie Hightower said Siegel was a favorite for the long-vacant CEO slot.
“Countless members of the track and field community had suggested that we consider Max for the position, citing his success as an executive, his Rolodex and his ability to bring people together to get things done,” she said.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Thursday, April 19, 2012 by Gilbert Sam · 0
TALLADEGA, Ala. – Talladega Superspeedway is proud to announce the release of its new mobile application this week. Fans will find it easier than ever to stay in the loop with up to the minute information on all things ‘DEGA. The app will be especially useful on race weekends, when it will provide guests with all that’s needed to plan their trip, get around the facility and have a good time while they are here.
The Talladega Superspeedway app is free and supported on most iPhone and Android devices. The key features include:
· Interactive GPS facility map with search capabilities to find the nearest restroom, food stand, souvenir trailer, tram, first aid station, will call booth, ATM and much more
· Customizable schedule with information on all events taking place over the weekend; fans will be able to personalize their race day and receive notifications for the events they wish to attend
· Social network integration with Talladega Superspeedway’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as NASCAR’s, NASCAR on Fox’s and MRN Radio’s social media outlets
· Google directions
· Detailed parking map
· Ability to connect with and locate friends at the race via “Friend Finder”
“With the release of the new mobile app, Talladega Superspeedway will be able to connect with its fans even more than it has in the past—which is something very important to us,” said track Chairman Grant Lynch. “Along with the valuable information like maps, schedules and directions, this app brings the Talladega family closer together through the use of social media.”
St. Paul, Minn. – When you are behind the wheel traveling at 200-miles-per-hour, safety is critical. It is the one thing, beyond winning, that NASCAR driver Greg Biffle considers when he climbs into his No. 16 3M Ford Fusion. Protection from fires is an ongoing concern among drivers. For this Earth Day weekend at the Kansas Speedway, Biffle’s car has been upgraded with the environmentally sustainable, 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid. Novec 1230 fluid balances performance requirements with favorable environmental and safety properties, giving Biffle added reassurance and peace of mind.
“I’m proud to drive the first racecar that incorporates a sustainable fire suppression fluid. It seems fitting to go the first round on Earth Day,” said Biffle. “I’m lucky to be working with Roush Fenway Racing who jumped on board early to get the new fluid into the car to not only protect me, but also the environment. The sustainability aspect of Novec is huge. I expect a fire suppression fluid to keep me safe, but the fact that it also is safe for the environment is important to me.”
Biffle went on to say that he is not surprised that a technologically driven brand like NASCAR has approved a fire suppression fluid from 3M, a company known for innovation. Metalcraft, Inc., an international leader in fire suppression, equipped both the cockpit and fuel cell area of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion with its new Fire-Trak™ branded fire suppression system using Novec 1230 fluid. The Fire-Trak system and 3M’s Novec 1230 fluid received NASCAR approval earlier this year. 3M researchers developed Novec brand products to be a safe, sustainable chemistry used to replace ozone-depleting substances being phased out under the Montreal Protocol or those chemistries that high global warming potentials and undesirable toxicity. Novec 1230 fluid has an exceptional environmental profile with zero ozone depletion potential and a global warming potential of one. It stays in the atmosphere only five days, compared to HFC-236fa that lingers for 240 years.
“Novec 1230 fluid is safe now and into the foreseeable future, unlike HFCs that could be impacted by the desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in fire suppression,” said Joe Ziemba, marketing manager at 3M. “We’re proud that the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion is putting 3M technology to work to help it keep racing toward a bright future.”
Novec 1230 fluid is a chemical agent that is stored as a liquid but is discharged as a gas that leaves no residue. The fluid does not damage sensitive electronics or equipment in the racecar and provides a wide margin of safety when deployed in an enclosed area near Biffle. It also does not affect the surface of the racetrack, keeping it safe for other drivers. Novec 1230 fluid comes with 3M’s Blue SkySM warranty, important when used in commercial buildings, where it offers an opportunity to earn innovation credits toward Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
Other notable applications of 3M Novec 1230 fluid include use in protecting high-value assets such as museum artifacts, library documents, data centers, health care facilities, computers and other critical devices where water cannot be used. Additionally, Novec 1230 fluid has found its way into the archives at the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library at the Alamo.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
|1||1||Jamie McMurray||Felix Sabates||McDonald's|
|2||2||Brad Keselowski||Rober Penske||Miller Lite|
|3||5||Kasey Kahne||Linda Hendrick||Farmers Insurance|
|4||9||Marcos Ambrose||Richard Petty||Dewalt|
|5||10||David Reutimann||Tommy Baldwin||Accell Construction|
|6||11||Denny Hamlin||JD Gibbs||Fedex Ground|
|7||12||Sam Hornish Jr.||Roger Penske||SKF|
|8||13||Casey Mears||Bob Germain||GEICO|
|9||14||Tony Stewart||Margaret Haas||OFFICE DEPOT / MOBIL 1|
|10||15||Clint Bowyer||Rob Kauffman||5 - Hour Energy|
|11||16||Greg Biggle||Jack Roush||3M/Novec|
|12||17||Matt Kenseth||John Henry||Roush Fenway Racing|
|13||18||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs||M&Ms|
|14||119||Mike Bliss||Randy Humphrey||Toyota Humphrey Smith Racing|
|15||20||Joey Logano||Joe Gibbs||The Home Depot|
|16||22||AJ Allmendinger||Walter Czarnecki||AAA|
|17||23||Scott Riggs||Robert Richardson Sr.||North TX Pipe|
|18||24||Jeff Gordon||Rick Hendrick||Drive to End Hunger|
|19||26||Josh Wise||Jerry Freeze||Ford Morristown Driver's Service|
|20||27||Paul Mendard||Richard Childress||Menards - Zecol|
|21||29||Kevin Harvick||Richard Childress||Rheem|
|22||30||David Stremme||Kevin Buckler||Inception Motorsports|
|23||31||Jeff Burton||Richard Childress||Caterpillar|
|24||32||Reed Sorenson||Jack Roush||TBA|
|25||33||Tony Raines||Richard Childress||TBA|
|26||34||David Ragan||Bob Jenkins||Barrett Jackson|
|27||36||Dave Blaney||Allan Heinke||Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet|
|28||38||David Gilliland||Brad Jenkins||TBA|
|29||39||Ryan Newman||Tony Stewart||HAAS Automation|
|30||42||Juan Pablo Montoya||Chip Ganassi||Target|
|31||43||Aric Almirola||Richard Petty||STP|
|32||47||Bobby Labonte||Tad Geschickter||Reese Tow Power|
|33||48||Jimmie Johnson||Jeff Gordon||Lowe's|
|34||249||JJ Yeley||Jay Robinson||JPO Absorbents|
|35||51||Kurt Busch||James Finch||Phoenix Construction Serivices, Inc.|
|36||55||Mark Martin||Bill Jenkins||Aaron's Dream Machine|
|37||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Michael Waltrip||NAPA Auto Parts|
|38||74||Stacy Compton||Turn One Racing|
|39||78||Regan Smith||Furniture Row -
|40||179||Tim Andrews||Archie St. Hilaire||BBI / Besway|
|41||83||Landon Cassill||Thomas Ueberall||Burger King - Dr. Pepper|
|42||87||Joe Nemechek||Andrea Nemechek||Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves|
|43||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Rick Hendrick||Diet Mountain Dew / National Guard|
|44||93||Travis Kvapil||Thomas Ueberall||Dr. Pepper|
|45||98||Michael McDowell||Mike Curb||Curb Records|
|46||99||Carl Edwards||Jack Roush||Aflac|
Kansas Speedway is joining six other athletic organizations in a Joplin,
Mo.-area Habitat for Humanity effort to build 35 homes in Joplin, which
was devastated by tornadoes last year.
The program aims to build 35 new homes in the heart of Joplin during 2012 to provide continued aid to the city's recovery.
Others participating are: the Kansas City Chiefs, the Kansas City Royals, the University of Missouri Athletic Department, the St. Louis Cardinals, the St. Louis Rams and the St. Louis Blues.
Per NASCAR.com, If there's a lasting image from last year's inaugural Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway, it doesn't involve the streams of headlights inching toward the race track long after the event had started.
With the cooperation of Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and the state legislature, Highway 35 has been widened to seven lanes, an extra lane has been added to the primary off-ramp from Interstate 75, and a 42-foot-wide tunnel has been built under Highway 35 to bring fans from the new parking areas to the speedway without snarling traffic with pedestrian crossings.
The improvements, tested extensively with computer simulations, prompts speedway general manager Mark Simendinger to say, "I am as confident as you can possibly be, short of having it already over," that the traffic issues that plagued the race last year have been solved.
Roughly 15,000 fans whose tickets were not scanned last year took advantage of a ticket exchange for this year's race. Ostensibly, those fans never arrived at the track, but it's hard to place an exact number on those who didn't make it, given that the speedway stopped scanning tickets after the race started to facilitate getting fans into the stands.
More at NASCAR.com
To cap off the 40th Anniversary, STP will be launching a national television campaign, entitled the Left Lane Club, featuring Richard Petty. The advertisement will premiere during the STP 400 at Kansas Speedway on FOX and will continue to run through the summer.
The money will pay for cystic fibrosis research and clinical trials in Richmond.
“This is a big day for the Denny Hamlin Foundation,” Hamlin said in a statement. “It is exactly what I envisioned the foundation doing when I started it five years ago, and we’ve worked hard to get to a point where we can give this kind of gift.”
Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects about 30,000 children and adults in the United States and about 70,000 worldwide, according to a statement from the hospital. There is no cure for the disease.
“This generous donation will help accelerate our ability to bring these therapies to our patients, and the newly established Denny Hamlin Foundation Summer Scholars program will help us train the next generation of CF research scientists,” said Bruce Rubin, M.D., professor and chair of the VCU Department of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief of Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.
Hamlin, whose cousin has the disease, organized The Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown to raise money for his foundation. The race is April 26 at Richmond International Raceway.
Former two time Slinger Speedway Champion and 1992 NASCAR Winston Cup
champion, the late Alan Kulwicki, is among the 10 newest selections for
induction into the Southeastern Wisconsin Short Track Hall of Fame.
The sixth annual ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 3 at the Schauer Arts and Activities Center, at the Wisconsin Automotive Museum in Hartford.
During his visit to Texas Motor Speedway, Hammond explores the history of NASCAR and discovers how the sport evolved into the spectacle that it is today. He also discusses American motorsport culture and learns what it's like to be behind the wheel of a machine running 800-850 horsepower from those who know best, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stars Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Juan Pablo Montoya.
Hammond even gets a driving lesson from Kyle Petty, former NASCAR driver and son of NASCAR legend Richard Petty. NASCAR fans and petrol-heads alike can catch all the action from race weekend when this episode of Top Gear premieres on BBC AMERICA Monday, April 30 at 8:30pm et/pt
Finch was asked Sunday night on Speed if there was a question over whether his team would run all the races, and Finch said it was up in the air and that he needed sponsorship.
In trying to clarify the situation Monday, Finch said that while he needs sponsorship, he does not have a deadline for securing a sponsor to keep his No. 51 team and driver Kurt Busch from missing a race.
“My plan is to run the whole season,” Finch said. “I’m not saying it might not change. My plan is to run the whole season, and my biggest deal right now is to find sponsorship to improve the team.”
“I want people to know I need a sponsor,” Finch said. “I need sponsorship to make it all work. If I don’t get some sponsorship, I’m going to have to quit.
Per WBTV, Former NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield has been indicted on multiple counts of breaking and entering and larceny by an Iredell County Grand Jury.
The Mooresville Police Department, with cooperation of the Catawba County Sheriff's Office, investigated several crimes of breaking and entering along with subsequent larcenies which occurred in the latter part of 2010 in Mooresville.
Officers of the Mooresville Police Department presented evidence from the investigations to the Iredell County Grand Jury.
The Iredell County Grand Jury returned a true bill of indictment for the arrest of Jeremy Allen Mayfield, as well as two additional co-defendants.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Now, you can tune in to the PRN broadcasts of the NASCAR Nationwide
Series and Sprint Cup Series from almost anywhere in the world that has
internet or cell service and listen to the races on any iPhone, iPod,
iPad, Android or Smartphone platform or online. Fans just need to visit
www.GoPRN.com and click on the "listen here" live streaming icon.
This weekend's broadcast of the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 and the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway represents the third weekend of races that will be available free via the PRN network. The response has been incredible, with fans tuning in online from all 50 states and 63 countries.
In addition, millions of fans listen on more than 415 PRN affiliate stations and SiriusXM Radio. A complete list of PRN stations with their links can be found on www.GoPRN.com.
The online and radio station broadcast schedule includes (all times are ET):
Friday, April 13th:
6 pm: Qualifying for the Samsung Mobile 500 at TMS (exclusively online)
8 pm: O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 Nationwide Series race at TMS
Saturday, April 14th
6:30 pm Samsung Mobile 500 Sprint Cup Series race from TMS.
"We are excited about the response we've received from fans around the world to our new broadcast platform," said Doug Rice, president of the Performance Racing Network. "It allows us to bring NASCAR fans closer to the racing experience and the stars that they love. This is a great way for PRN to expand our race coverage for race fans. We're proud to be able to offer this new addition to our race lineup."
2012 Academy of Country Music Male Vocalist of the Year nominee takes the speedway stage at 5:00 p.m., on Saturday, June 30.
SPARTA, Ky. – County music star Chris Young will perform at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, June 30 at 5:00 p.m., before 43 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers take the green flag for the “Quaker State 400.”
The 2012 Academy of Country Music (ACM) Male Vocalist of the Year nominee will entertain speedway fans with an array of hits that includes consecutive No. 1 Billboard Magazine singles “You,” “Tomorrow,” “Voices,” “Gettin’ You Home,” and “The Man I Want to Be.”
Young’s race day concert is included in the price of a “Quaker State 400” ticket and fans that purchase a daily infield Fan Zone pass will be able to enjoy the show from a special area near the stage.
Race tickets and daily infield Fan Zone passes are on sale now at http://www.kentuckyspeedway.com, 859-578-2300 and the speedway corporate offices at 1 Speedway Drive, Sparta, Ky., 41086, just off Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Kentucky Highway 35 North.
The 26-year-old hit maker scored his fifth consecutive top-ranked Billboard single with “You,” from his 2011 “Neon” collection that made its debut at No. 4 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart and additionally features the No. 1 smash “Tomorrow.”
The Murfreesboro, Tenn., musician first topped the Billboard singles chart and garnered a GRAMMY nomination for Best Male Country Vocal Performance with “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song)” from his 2009, Gold-selling ”The Man I Want to Be” collection. He also scored a No. 1 Billboard single with the album’s title track.
He sustained his No. 1 momentum with the single “Voices” in 2010. The song won ACM Single of the Year honors and helped Young earn the 2011 ACM Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award.
“I really do believe in timing. Everybody has a different point in their career when things start to come together and click, when it’s your time.” Young said.
The “Quaker State 400” will close out a NASCAR tripleheader weekend that opens with the Camping World Truck Series “UNOH 225” on Thursday, June 28 and continues with the Nationwide Series “Feed The Children 300” on Friday, June 29.
The sun seemed to be shining on Lewis Hamilton, however.
Looking to become a winner of three poles in as many qualifying attempts this season, Hamilton certainly looked the part in Free Practice One.
Despite wet conditions that made for a tricky 90 minutes and led Hamilton (1:37:106) to complete just seven laps, the 2008 World Champion showed the way by more than a full second over the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg (1:38:116).
Hamilton could certainly use another stellar qualifying run, since he'll automatically drop five places on the Chinese GP grid for a gearbox change prior to practice.
Speeding To Read LogoClara Love Elementary's 630 K-5 student body have been racing to the finish line with more than 57,000 books read school wide.
The school's classrooms, split into two divisions with kindergarten through second grade and third through fifth grade, have been competing against each other to read the most books and earn the title of Speeding To Read champions.
Per SportingNews, NASCAR will add a new template to its inspection process when teams go through tech May 4 at Talladega Superspeedway.
It's a template inspired by Hendrick Motorsports and five-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson's team. Starting May 4-6 at Talladega, NASCAR will begin using an additional template for the C-post, the area of the car from the roof to the top of the rear quarter panel.
The new template, which will be used at all tracks beginning with the May 6 race at Talladega, will cover more of the area of the C-post. Currently, the template—a grid that goes over the car—has four checkpoints that cover the C-post area.
“The new template is one step further in confirming the (required) surface of the racecar,” Darby said in a statement released by NASCAR.
APRIL 12, 2012
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Texas Motor Speedway and discussed racing at Texas Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ return to Rockingham Speedway and other topics. Full Transcript:
TALK ABOUT RACING HERE AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: “It hasn’t been a very good race track for us over the last couple of years. We have had okay finishes, but hadn’t felt like we have run great. Obviously, we put a lot of time and effort into the weeks leading up to the race. Just trying to make sure that we didn’t make any mistakes of things that we needed to undo to come here and try to be better. All in all we will go practice and see where we start and go from there.”
WHEN YOU COME TO TEXAS IS THERE ANY PARTICULAR ORGANIZATION YOU LOOK AS ONE YOU KNOW IS GOING TO RUN WELL AND BE A MAIN CONTENDER? “I think obviously the Roush cars have run well here. (Tony) Stewart ran well here last time winning the race. It is just a matter of doing our stuff right and trying to figure out the things that I like to feel in the car and things that we didn’t do right before. Things that we think we need to do better this week is to just unload better and have a better starting spot to work from. Last week was a little bit of a wake-up call for us. We had a great weekend altogether and just made some bad decisions race morning as a group. I felt like that taught all of us as a group that we are still a fresh group together and we made some mistakes and just try not to do that again.”
HOW MUCH OF WHAT YOU LEARN DURING THE NIGHT RACE HERE TRANSLATES TO THE CHASE RACE THAT IS HELD DURING THE DAY IN THE FALL? “I think the practice sessions are at the wrong time that probably a lot more in practice applies. We kind of are in a position to where you have to go off of previous history as to what you think you have to do to your car to guess at what the track conditions are going to be like in the race. So much changes during the year. This race being so early in the year and that race being so late in the year, the cars will give you somewhat of a baseline to start with. The cars will progress so much as we go through the year. You will have a different place to start by the time you come back here. Hopefully, we can run well and that will give you just a baseline to talk about with our simulation guys and the engineers that put the stuff together. They can work with the crew chief to come up with what worked for us this time and what we’ve progressed to at that point.”
HAS THAT CHANGED IN RECENT YEARS? FOUR OR FIVE YEARS AGO WOULD THEIR BE LESS CHANGE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEASON LIKE THAT?
“There is always progression in this garage. I think if you look at the Truck and the Nationwide garages probably not so much. You just put whatever you raced in and probably come back and be fine. You constantly have to try to figure out how to move forward. We were kind of a subject of that last week as we tried to move forward and took two steps back. Everything we wanted to do didn’t work out for us. Now going back to Martinsville you will go back to that same basic baseline that we have had for the last couple of years that has run well. Same thing will happen here, you will have that baseline and you will try to progress it forward. If you don’t you go back to where you were.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WOULD BE LIKE TO GO THROUGH THE SORT OF WINNING DRAUGHT THAT DALE EARNHARDT JR. IS GOING THROUGH? WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WOULD BE LIKE TO FACE THE QUESTION OF ‘WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO WIN AGAIN’ EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND?
“We went through right at a 100 races. Over the last few years we have been pretty fortunate to have the success that we have had. Just to live in his (Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s) shoes on a daily or weekly basis and answer some of the goofy ass questions you guys ask him is one thing in itself (laughs). To have to answer those questions and have to constantly live up to them, he is running good that is the good thing about it. He doesn’t have to answer them near as much as he did before. Now that he is running in the top-five every week and leading laps and doing the things he is doing. It’s just a matter of all the stuff falling together. The pressure that the sport puts on him in general weather he is running good or bad. The first thing you guys will ask him after he wins a race is ‘when are you going to win a championship’. It’s like the never ending battle for him. I feel sorry for him sometimes.”
DO YOU SEE ANY PARTICULAR REASON THAT IT HAS BEEN RELATIVELY QUIET THIS YEAR WITH DRIVERS RUNNING INTO ONE ANOTHER? “I think circumstances dictate a lot of that. I think if you look back, the second race last year at Martinsville was just a complete demolition derby. I’m sure everyone is trying to get off on the right foot and trying to get themselves positioned as teams, organizations to get in position to race to get into the Chase. Everyone is trying to win races so you need as few enemies as possible at this point.”
AT SOME POINT WILL YOU TURN UP THE INTENSITY? A LOT HAS BEEN MADE OF HOW LAID BACK YOU ARE CURRENTLY WITH THE CHANGES IN YOUR LIFE, BUT AT SOME POINT WILL THE INTENSITY PICK UP?
“We sat down at the beginning of the year and just tried to figure out how we were going to progress more productively. That opportunity was there to I guess be a jerk last week and we talked about it as a group. We figured out what we did wrong and we went on vacation. We felt like we had a lot of the questions to the quiz. I think there is still going to be situations where I don’t do or say the right thing, but that is just human nature. The good thing is we have had speed in the car every week. We hadn’t put it all together but the cars have been fast enough. There will be a point where they don’t run fast enough. It’s going to be a lot more productive if we can sit down and figure it out as a group. To use the resources that we have at the shop to put the pieces together and solve the problem quicker as a group than it is to fuss and fight for two or three weeks. Then have Richard (Childress, team owner) sit us down and tell us that we need to get along and then all of a sudden we fix the problem instead of in two weeks to fix it in four weeks and then you’ve wasted two weeks. It’s just trying to be more efficient and more productive.”
YOU HAVE DONE REALLY WELL AT KANSAS WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO IN ORDER TO GET A WIN AT KANSAS?
“A lot of the same things that we have done should work. As have happened in the past. It’s a fun race track to race on because it is so wore out. The cars slide around, that part will be the same. We just have to put a whole day together. We have to get on a little bit of a momentum roll with doing all the things that we are supposed to be doing right, not make the little mistakes. Weather it is in the seat, in the garage or wherever it may be. The speed has been there we just have to put it all together and it’s just a matter of time.”
WERE YOU ABLE TO GET OUT TO SEE COLBY LEWIS (PITCHER FOR THE TEXAS RANGERS) LAST NIGHT? COLBY HAS SAID THAT HE HAS ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A RACER, DID YOU EVER WANT TO BE A PITCHER?
“You should see him drive. He has quite the go-kart track. Obviously, Colby Lewis is a pitcher for the Texas Rangers. He is from Bakersfield, California (same hometown of Kevin Harvick). I got to know him a little bit over the last year or so. He has a hell of a dirt track at his house. He is probably a little bit braver than I am as to how close the back straight-a-way wall is to the brick wall that he has at his house. He is into racing. Those guys are a lot bigger than I am. They can throw a lot harder. That was never something that was in the cards for me.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE SPORT RETURNING TO ROCKINGHAM?
“For me that was a weekend of strange things and new beginnings and a lot of mixed emotions that went into that particular weekend. It’s great that the track is still around and the trucks are going back. Myself, I never had a lot of success there. We didn’t race but I think a couple of years there. It’s good to see an older track get a date and hopefully you will see a couple more of them maybe come back as we go down the road. Those historic race tracks mean a lot to the sport in my opinion.”
ONE OF THE BIG STORIES IN THE OFF SEASON WAS CLINT BOWYERS MOVE TO MWR (MICHAEL WALTRIP RACING). WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HIS SUCCESS THUS FAR THIS SEASON?
“I’m happy for him. I wish everything would have worked out and Clint (Bowyer) could have stayed at our team. Those guys made some big commitments to their team financially with people and drivers and getting everything situated to try to perform better. It’s worked out for them. I’m happy for Clint obviously; he is a good friend of mine. I’d like to see him to continue to be successful and they’ve done well so far. I’m happy for him.”
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Thursday, April 12, 2012 by Gilbert Sam · 0
APRIL 12, 2012
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 DIET MOUNTAIN DEW/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET met with media and discussed his first NASCAR Sprint Cup career win 12 years ago at Texas, being very close to winning, his suggestion for improving Bristol Motor Speedway, the upcoming race at Kansas, and more. Full Transcript:
YOU’VE SOME ON LIKE A HOUSE OF FIRE IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS. YOU’RE SECOND IN POINTS. YOU GOT YOUR FIRST CAREER NASCAR SPRINT CUP WIN HERE AT TEXAS IN 2000. TALK ABOUT COMING TO A PLACE THAT HAS FOND MEMORIES AND ABOUT RUNNING WELL SO FAR THIS YEAR
“Yeah, we’ve had a good season. Everything has been going pretty good and I do enjoy racing at Texas. It’s a mile and a half, like a lot of tracks we run on in the series, but this track’s got some oddities to it and things about it that make it a lot different than most of the other 1.5-miles. The exits, to Turn 2 especially, is a real challenge. And the bumps and stuff are pretty challenging on the bottom of both corners. The entry to (Turn) 1 is really, really loose in the race; or the entry to (Turn) 3, I mean. The entry to (Turn) 1 is always a lot of fun, really fast and just trying to get the car through the middle is a challenge there. But it’s a unique place and what makes it even better I think, is the energy the fans bring here. The fan base here has always been pretty solid, right from the start. And that’s kind of, in my opinion, rare. The further west we go, we really sort of don’t have that gain in the energy of the fan base. But they really enjoy this race track and really enjoy us coming here and it seems to have a lot of NASCAR fans in this area. So, that makes it even funner to be here when you know that there’s a lot of people that are going to come out and support the track. Eddie (Gossage) does an interesting job; kind of out of the box a lot of time with all the things he does. A lot of credit has got to be given to him and his staff for what the track is today and how well the track does.”
GIVEN HOW WELL YOU’VE BEEN RUNNING DID THE OFF-WEEKEND LIGHTEN THINGS UP FOR YOU AND GIVE YOU THE ABILITY TO ENJOY IT A LITTLE BIT?
“Yeah, absolutely. Anytime you’re going to have an off-weekend or maybe off on Sunday even, you definitely enjoy it more when you run good. If you don’t run good, that’s all you think about really is what you could have done to have run better or why you didn’t run as well as you wanted to. So it’s definitely a lot easier to enjoy the off-weekend of the Easter break with things going as well as they are. So, I definitely got a good break and it just seemed like it was longer than I wanted it to be. It seemed like it took forever for Texas to get here. It feels like I have been away from the race track for a month or more. So, I’m excited to get in the car and excited to go do some laps and get back to work and get back around my guys.”
YOU JUST SAID THAT IT SEEMS LIKE YOU’VE BEEN AWAY FROM THE TRACK FOR ALMOST A MONTH. DOES THAT SPEAK TO YOUR CONFIDENCE LEVEL RIGHT NOW WITH BACK-TO-BACK THIRD-PLACE FINISHES AND BEING SECOND IN POINTS?
“I don’t really know if it does. I just really know that I enjoy what I’m doing and I’m enjoying the season we’re having and I like going to the race track with the race team I’m working with. And with the way things are going, that’s my favorite thing. That’s what I want to do. So, when I’m not doing that, that’s what I want to be doing. And taking a week off is always a good time and I always make a good time out of it and have fun, but like I said at Martinsville or wherever I said it, the races just can’t come quick enough for us. I’m enjoying working and racing and I feel like we’re gaining on getting to victory lane and so obviously, you want the races to come as fast as they can come so we can get closer and closer and try to win us a race.”
TEXAS IS A PLACE THAT KEEPS RAISING THE GAME AND KEEPS THE FACILITY VERY NICE. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE NEXT INNOVATION TO COME TO RACE TRACKS? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE NEXT AMENITIES THAT WILL OR SHOULD POP-UP IN NASCAR?
“I really don’t know. I haven’t really thought of anything myself or had any ideas myself. There are a lot of things happening with the way the garage where the drivers’ meeting was in Vegas, to how that garage was even built at Vegas and how they’ve done it at Daytona. There’s a lot of things that have happened in the last couple of years that are really cool and great for the fans. I think you’ll see more of that kind of stuff; whatever can get them around and close to us while we’re working so they (fans) can see things happening. It they’re going to be here all weekend, they want to have the opportunity to get up next to the teams and the cars as they’re practicing and see the teams working and see things happening. So I think you’ll see more of that. And it just depends on how much the tracks want to invest it looks like.
“I think a good analogy or situation would be California. They had that one garage area with the frontrunners or whatever they were calling us over there, and they paved and brought that walkway up level with the top of the wall in between the two garages. I don’t know if you noticed that right next to the regional press office and driver’s meeting room; and they only did that in one garage. So that would be something that might be interesting to do in every garage. But they only did it in one garage, you know. And the fans really seemed to like it having that being elevated over at the cars and the teams working and being able to have a great birdseye view on what was going on; even closer than what they are provided at Vegas. And the Vegas deal is probably as big as you could probably go as far as finances and how expensive something like that might be. But Texas has always done a good job and always seems to be ready and willing to do whatever it takes to make it a good experience for the fans; and always coming up with new ideas. They’re pretty innovative. I don’t know. I don’t know what the next cool thing will be.”
ON KANSAS NEXT WEEK, ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE A LOOK AT THE NEW CASINO? CAN YOU COMPARE TEXAS TO KANSAS? WILL YOU GO TO OKLAHOMA JOE’S? TALK ABOUT THE FUN THINGS YOU LIKE ABOUT KANSAS
“Kansas is great. I look forward to getting another race in on that surface they’ve got before they tear it up. I’ve enjoyed racing there. It’s a fun race track. Both corners are really different. Turn 1 and (Turn) 2 to me are kind of flatter than (Turns) 3 and 4. Three and 4 offer a lot more banking; just way different styles of driving each corner. So the track is a challenge and a fun challenge. The area is growing, especially right there at the race track. The area is really growing at a high rate of speed and making the track itself a success and the idea of building the track there a success.”
WILL YOU GO TO THE CASINO?
“Well, I probably won’t be using the casino on race weekends, but I’m sure the fans will enjoy it. I don’t go to the casinos when I’m working. But it’s great for the fans and they’ll enjoy it. I will be going to Oklahoma Joe’s if I can get away. That’s hard to miss being out there that close.”
CAN YOU REFLECT ON YOUR FIRST CUP VICTORY HERE 12 YEARS AGO AND WHAT THAT MEANT TO YOU AND WHAT YOU REMEMBER FROM IT? ALSO, DO YOU GET TO BE RE-UNITED WITH TONY EURY SR. FOR A COUPLE OF NATIONWIDE RACES?
“It’s really hard to remember 12 years ago when your first race is a great feeling. I’ve answered this question several times in this room and it gets harder every time just because it gets further away. But you’re just relieved because you want to be able to do this for a living and there’s no guarantees. And when you win your first race and we did it at Texas, which has been good to me, they have used the fact that I’ve won that race in various ways to make me proud of that moment and make it even more special to me. It shows me that it meant something to them that I had won here. So, you’re just really relieved because you want to drive cars for a living and you want to be good at it. You don’t want to struggle your whole life. So winning that first race really kind of cracks that mold away from all of that and gives you a little more clear vision on what your future might be because there are so many unknowns and worry about whether this is something…. You want it so bad and you want to be a part of it and this is what I’ve wanted. I’ve wanted to drive cars all these years and be a part of it like I have. But at that moment and before that win, you didn’t know whether that was going to work out or whether that would happen for you. So, that starts to chip away at some of that and make you more aware and makes that vision a little more clearer to what the future might be for you.
“And, I am excited to be able to work with Tony Sr. We had to make some changes in the shop there and trying to help Cole (Witt) and trying to help Pops and everybody around and just trying to do whatever we need to do to make that thing work and work better. But I am looking forward to working with Tony Sr. and I’ve always enjoyed working with him and I hold him on a pretty high pedestal and we’ll enjoy being able to go to the track. I’m looking forward to going over there today and getting on the race track and hearing his voice over the radio. That will be a pretty good time for me.”
FOR THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS, THE QUESTION HAS BEEN ‘IS THIS THE WEEKEND?’ WHAT’S IT BEEN LIKE TO HAVE TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION EVERY WEEKEND? WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS TEAM AND THIS MOMENT RIGHT NOW THAT LEADS YOU TO BELIEVE THAT YOU’RE SO CLOSE TO A WIN?
“I think I really haven’t had to answer that question too much. People know I’m not Nostradamus, so they don’t ask me questions about the future. But I feel like we’re six points out of the point’s lead. We’re second in points. We’re a competitive team in this sport. So I think it’s a pretty easy argument to win that we’re better this year than we were last year; and better than the year before that. So we’re getting closer. I feel like we’re getting closer. I don’t really know what the measuring stick is but I think hopefully it’s real close. I’m ready to win and ready to go to victory lane. I’ve been working with these guys and they are working so hard. They are giving me really good cars. They deserve to win races. And I think the team deserves it. I’m ready to make that happen. We’re going to just keep trying. We’re getting closer though; at least that’s the bright spot of the deal.”
BRISTOL HAS AN UPCOMING PRESS CONFERENCE ABOUT CHANGES THEY’RE GOING TO MAKE TO THE TRACK. HAVE THEY CONSULTED YOU OR ASKED YOUR OPINION ABOUT WHAT YOU WOULD DO TO CHANGE THAT TRACK? EVEN IF THEY HAVEN’T, DO YOU HAVE A SUGGESTION?
“Well, they haven’t asked me personally. I’m sure they’ve reached out to certain drivers and obviously they’ve gone back and listened to what the fans have asked for. So, I think there’s only one thing that’s particular to me about the old race track that made it different. This particular thing to me about the old race track made the difference in the track entirely. And without it, I’m not sure how good it can be. But, with the old surface the yellow line around the bottom of the track was about a foot up away from the apron, and the apron was sealed black quite often. And they would seal all the way up to the line. That sealer is grippy. And so there was about a foot of sealer on the very, very bottom of the race track right above the apron; and then there would be the yellow line. And if you were smart and you hooked your left front tire on that sealer and didn’t overdrive the car and get the car up off that, you could find grip and find speed. And if you were smart enough to do that and be patient, you could make speed on guys that weren’t smart enough to use that. And that sort of made the racing look better and made the race funner from a driver’s point of view too. And without that, I think we’ll all just kind of…. I don’t know if that track will be as good as it was. That was a big, big part of what made the track what it was back then. And I don’t know if it gets enough credit but I know if you asked any other driver about it, they’d probably have the same opinion as I have, that it was a unique part that made that track what it was. And without that, and if they don’t do that again and they don’t have that in there, then the track ain’t like what it was. It’s not the same track as it was. That would be the only thing I would insist that they look into.”