Friday, Oct 07
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Since Motor Racing Network (MRN) isn't broadcasting from Rockingham Speedway until Sunday's North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at The Rock presented by Cheerwine and broadcasters Kyle Rickey and Dave Moody were coming to the track on Saturday, speedway president Andy Hillenburg decided to put the duo to work early.

  Rickey and Moody will be waving the green flags to start the Fast Track 175 double header. Rickey will do the honors for the Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals (FKSSN) 100-lap portion and Moody will handle starting the UARA-STARS Late Model Series 75 lapper.

"Kyle and Dave have been huge supporters of everything that we have done at Rockingham since we started, so it's great to have them here as part of all of our events this weekend," said Hillenburg. "I'm running a contest on Twitter to see which one might drop the flag."

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) will be making its second-annual trip to Rockingham Speedway for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at The Rock presented by Cheerwine. In last year's inaugural event, Sprint Cup veteran Kasey Kahne took the checkered flag despite starting at the rear of the field.

The NCWTS will practice on Saturday with qualifying and racing on Sunday, April 14.


The UARA and the FKSSN will join the NCWTS for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at The Rock presented by Cheerwine weekend. The UARA and FKSSN will be competing in the Fast Track 175 on Saturday, April 13. The FKSSN qualifying will be held on Friday, April 12. The UARA will qualify after NCWTS practice (approx. 11:10 a.m.) Saturday morning.


Rockingham Speedway PR


There is nothing more exciting than attending a NASCAR race at the sport’s Most Competitive Track – Talladega Superspeedway! Now, fans have even more reason to purchase tickets to the Aaron’s 499 in May – to help the most promising pediatric cancer research and programs that will improve patients’ quality of life as part of the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation.

This Thursday, April 11 – One Day Only – for everyfrontstretch grandstand ticket sold to the Aaron’s 499, $24 will be donated to the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation. Talladega Superspeedway’s “Jeff Gordon Day” – Thursday, April 11 - has arrived.

“This is a very cool gesture by Talladega Superspeedway,” said Gordon Wednesday during a visit to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt on behalf of Talladega Superspeedway. “It means a lot to me that Grant Lynch (TSS Chairman) and the track would partner with us on our initiatives for so many young people.

“I’ve had success at Talladega (6 wins) and a lot of great memories on the track there,” added the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. “I appreciate this initiative by Talladega to make a difference off the track.”

Beginning Thursday, April 11, from 9 am until 5 p.m. EDT, fans can secure tickets or by calling 877-Go2-DEGA. A $24 donation will be made to the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation for tickets purchased in the following grandstands: Gadsden; Lincoln; Anniston and Anniston Tower; O.V. Hill North and South; O.V. Hill Tower, Tri-Oval and Tower Extension; Birmingham and Birmingham Tower; Moss-Thornton and Moss-Thornton Tower; and Talladega and Talladega Tower. The $24 donation is for the Sunday, May 5, 2013, Aaron’s 499 event only.

“Jeff, like us at Talladega Superspeedway, has a passion for kids, and what he has done to help cancer research is remarkable,” said TS Chairman Grant Lynch. “Jeff has helped us a lot over the years to promote our exciting races. He’s won a lot here, and Thursday is going to be a great opportunity for fans to show their support for an incredible cause, plus get some of the greatest tickets in sports.”

During his tour of the Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Gordon passed out blank illustrations of Talladega’s Grand Marshal Car to the kids, who have the opportunity to design a car that will be used in pre-race ceremonies at a future TSS event.

“We are hoping to get some really colorful designs,” added Gordon. “It’s great to see the kids be active and having fun, and this allows them to show off their creativity and have a blast at the same time.”

Upon the Aaron’s 499 conclusion, Talladega Superspeedway will present the Children’s Hospital a checkered flag signed by all the drivers who participate in the event.

Joining Gordon at the Children’s Hospital was Dr. Seuss’s “The Cat In the Hat” character, supportingHats Off to Hope! The campaign brings the magic of Dr. Seuss to children going through treatment in cancer centers throughout the United States.

The most competitive racing in NASCAR combined with a mix of southern hospitality returns to Talladega Superspeedway May 3-5 for the Aaron’s Dream Weekend. Experience the excitement as the superstars of NASCAR attempt to tackle the high-banks of ‘DEGA at 200 mph. Secure your tickets or by calling 877-Go2-DEGA. This is more than a race…This is Talladega!


Larger than life figures who built NASCAR lap by lap and bolt by bolt from the post-World War II era into the 21st century comprise the 25 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2014.

NASCAR today announced those 25 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s fifth induction class, and included among the diverse group are five newcomers whose achievements are cornerstones of the sport’s origins and continue to fuel its growth in contemporary times.

Of the 25 nominees, 20 return from last year’s group. Five are first-timers with varying backgrounds in the sport: second generation NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion Dale Jarrett; Maurice Petty, for more than three decades the chief engine builder for Petty Enterprises; five-time NASCAR weekly series national champion Larry Phillips; race track builder and owner Bruton Smith; and 1960 NASCAR premier series champion Rex White.

From that list, five inductees will be elected by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, which includes a nationwide fan vote on NASCAR.COM. Voting Day for the 2014 class will be May 22. Fans can attend the announcement at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C.

This round of nominees was selected by a 21-person Nominating Committee consisting of representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and track owners from both major facilities and historic short tracks. The committee’s votes were tabulated by accounting firm Ernst & Young.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame’s 2014 inductees will be determined by a 54-member Voting Panel, which includes the entire Nominating Committee, media members, manufacturer representatives, retired competitors (drivers, owners and crew chiefs) and recognized industry leaders. In addition, the fan vote will result in the Voting Panel’s final ballot. Fan voting on NASCAR.COM opens today, April 10 and closes May 21 at noon.

Following are the 25 nominees, listed alphabetically:

Red Byron, first NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion, in 1949

Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series

Jerry Cook, six-time NASCAR Modified champion

H. Clay Earles, founder of Martinsville Speedway

Tim Flock, two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion

Ray Fox,legendary engine builder and owner of cars driven by Buck Baker, Junior Johnson and others

Anne Bledsoe France, helped build the sport with husband Bill France Sr. Affectionately known as "Annie B.," she is the first woman to be nominated for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Rick Hendrick, 13-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series

Jack Ingram, two-time NASCAR Busch (now Nationwide) Series champion and three-time Late Model Sportsman champion

Bobby Isaac, 1970 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion

Dale Jarrett, 1999 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion and three-time Daytona 500 winner

Fred Lorenzen, 26 wins and winner of the Daytona 500 and World 600

Raymond Parks, NASCAR’s first champion car owner

Benny Parsons, 1973 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion

Maurice Petty, chief engine builder for Petty Enterprises

Larry Phillips, only five-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion

Les Richter, former NASCAR executive; former president of Riverside International Raceway

Fireball Roberts, 33 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series wins, including the 1962 Daytona 500

T. Wayne Robertson, helped raise NASCAR popularity as R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company senior VP

Wendell Scott,NASCAR trailblazer was thefirst African-American NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series race winner, and first to be nominated for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Ralph Seagraves, formed groundbreaking Winston-NASCAR partnership as executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

O. Bruton Smith, builder of Charlotte Motor Speedway and architect of Speedway Motorsports Inc.

Curtis Turner, early personality, called the "Babe Ruth of stock car racing"

Joe Weatherly, two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion

Rex White, 1960 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion

The 21-person Nominating Committee follows...


NASCAR Hall of Fame: Executive Director Winston Kelley; Historian Buz McKim.

NASCAR Officials: Chairman/CEO Brian France; Vice Chairman Jim France; President Mike Helton; Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton; Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O'Donnell; Competition Administrator Jerry Cook; former Senior Vice President Paul Brooks; former Vice President Ken Clapp.

Track Owners/Operators: International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa Kennedy; Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell; Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage; Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark; former Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George; Dover Motorsports CEO Denis McGlynn; Pocono Raceway board of director member Looie McNally; Bowman Gray Stadium operator Dale Pinilis; Riverhead Raceway operators Jim and Barbara Cromarty (1 vote); Rockford Speedway owner Jody Deery; Kingsport Speedway Operator Robert Pressley.


After a career of driving opponents to the mat in professional wrestling rings with his signature "Sweet Chin Music" finishing move, WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels will now grab the wheel of the "No Limits" Wild Asphalt Circus Chevrolet Camaro Official Pace Car and lead the 43-car field to the green flag for Saturday evening's NRA 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.


 Considered one of the most gifted sports entertainers of all time prior to retiring in 2010, Michaels now gets the rare opportunity as a celebrity to pace the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for the start of the NRA 500 in the Official Pace Car.  NASCAR has granted Texas Motor Speedway special permission to allow Michaels to drive the car pending a mandatory on-track orientation prior to race.


Michaels is just the third celebrity in the history of Texas Motor Speedway to earn the honor, following movie star Vince Vaughn (2007 Dickies 500) and former Texas Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson (2010 AAA Texas 500). Former Dallas Stars great Mike Modano also was bestowed the honor, but had his moment washed out for the April race in 2010 when the Samsung Mobile 500 was postponed until Monday due to rain.


Michaels, known as "The Heartbreak Kid," is a three-time WWE champion and three-time Intercontinental champ who also captured a World Heavyweight Championship, European Championship and World Tag Team Championship during an illustrious 26-year career that culminated with an induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.  Though retired, he recently returned from his 17th WrestleMania appearance that took place at New Jersey's MetLife Stadium.


Since his retirement from the ring in 2010, Michaels has been serving as an ambassador of the WWE as well as spending time in the stands at Lil' Texas Motor Speedway watching his son Cameron Hickenbottom compete in the Bandolero Outlaw Division.  Hickenbottom won the Winter Series Championship at Texas Motor Speedway's Lone Star Legends earlier this year and is competing in the Battle at the Big Top at Lil' Texas Motor Speedway during the NRA 500 race week.


Michaels also can be found on The Outdoor Channel as he enters his third year as co-host with Keith Mark on the award-winning MacMillan River Adventures. Season three will begin on July 2.




Following a two week break in the NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule, Martin and the No.44 American Custom Yachts Toyota Camry team prepare to travel to Fort Worth, TX for Martin's second series start at this track. Martin has competed at Texas Motor Speedway two times previously. In 2006, Martin raced his super late model and received a 12th place finish. In addition, Martin competed at Texas Motor Speedway last fall where he finished 30th following contact with the outside wall in turn two early during the race.
Hal Martin on Texas Motor Speedway


How are you preparing yourself for this upcoming race? 
Hal stated "This is the first track in my Nationwide Series schedule that I will have seen previously. My confidence is boosted and I'm ready for an exciting race. To prepare for this race, I plan on reflecting on my own personal experiences at this track as well as watching video footage from previous races at this track. I will also utilize the knowledge of my teammates at TriStar Motorsports who have raced at this track many times." 
This is your fifth race of the season; how do you feel about your team cohesion thus far?
"The only member of our team that was with me during my first three Nationwide Series races last season is my car chief, Dan Brzozowski." Martin states "The rest of my team was new to me and new to each other at the season opener in Daytona. During these first five races, we've had time to not only get to know each other in a professional capacity but to also get to know each other personally. I've got a great, hard working, professional group of guys who I have a lot of respect for, and I couldn't have picked a better team to work with." 
You had two weeks off, what did you do during your off time? 
Martin replied, "Life on the road is usually pretty hectic, during my time off I went home with my fiancee and we were able to spend time with family and friends and take care of planning our wedding. We were also interviewed by Erin Nicole at WGNO (ABC26) about my race career and our wedding planning process. It was cool to be able to present an inside look at an off track experience to our fans."
Girl Friday PR

After a short hiatus from behind the wheel, Timmy Hill returns this week to his driving duties of FAS Lane Racing's No. 32 OXYwater™ Ford.  Hill will make his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start of the season in the running of the NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night.

"I am excited to climb back into the No. 32 OXYwater™ Ford in Texas," said Hill. "I think the team and I were on the same page on making great adjustments to the car through practice at California but our day was unfortunately cut short. Going into Texas, I have high hopes and I know the FAS Lane Racing team has big hopes to rebound from California with a strong effort in Texas. As a driver, my favorite style of racetracks is the 1.5 mile race tracks. I have always taken a liking to them and had my better runs at the speedways. The high banks at Texas are going to make us have to work on the car to make it fast in all the grooves from bottom to top. That is what I will be looking for in practice and when we get that dialed in, I know we will have a great race!"


Hill, the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year, piloted the No. 32 OXYwater™ Ford last month at Auto Club Speedway but was plagued by a rare failure and relegated to a disappointing 39th-place finish.  Hill has four previous starts at the Fort Worth, Texas area track in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition.


Also joining Timmy and FAS Lane Racing this week as Associate Sponsors on the No. 32 OXYwater™ Ford are Front Row Tailgating and Laquinta Inn and Suites Dallas Arlington South.


The running of the NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway will run this Saturday April 13th at 7:00 p.m. ET.    The race can be viewed LIVE nationally on FOX and heard on affiliated PRN radio stations and on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90. 


FAS Lane Racing PR

No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS driver Martin Truex Jr. sees Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway as a way to make up some ground in his bid to earn his Michael Waltrip Racing team its second consecutive appearance in the “Chase for the Sprint Cup.”

Truex returns to the ultra-fast 1.5-mile oval in Fort Worth as the defending pole sitter who finished sixth. Truex also finished 13th in October earning him the seventh most points of any driver at Texas in 2012. The No. 56 team is 25th in points after just six races in the 2013 season.

Martin Truex Jr. Thoughts Heading Into Texas : “I think with the way our season has started, we need to forget about points and just go racing. We need to try and get some wins. This could be a good thing for us. Obviously we go to the track to win, but I think with the position we are in, we can afford to gamble a little bit. I don’t think we have to worry about protecting our position. I know we have fast NAPA Toyotas. My team is incredible and Texas is a good place to get things going.”

Racing at Texas: “Texas is one of my favorite tracks. It’s been a really good track for me in the past. We had good runs there last season. I love that it’s old and worn out. It’s got some bumps in it. It’s really, really fast and very similar to one of my other favorite tracks—Atlanta. I always look forward to going there. I am interested in seeing what this new NAPA Toyota does. I hope it’s something that we can go out with and win this race.”


Although his 2013 results have varied from week to week, Ryan Newman is feeling optimistic not only about how his season is going, but also his chances of improving at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth this weekend, a racetrack where he doesn’t necessarily have the best record.

Newman kicked off the 2013 season by “Bringing it Home” in the form of a fifth-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500, but that was followed by finishes of 40th and 38th, respectively, at Phoenix International Raceway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. While those latter finishes certainly didn’t reflect the on-track performance of the No. 39 team, the record book will forever tell the tale of the day.

But things seemed to turn around for Newman. Finishes of seventh at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and 10th at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., seemed to have turned the tide. It appeared as if their bad luck was behind them and that they were going to be able to capitalize on strong runs by posting strong finishes.

Heading into Martinsville (Va.) Speedway with high hopes of defending his race win from 2012, Newman appeared to have a Quicken Loans Chevrolet that was up to the task, until a pair of flat tires would leave him eight laps down in 31st position.

That’s been Newman’s season. The 16-time Sprint Cup Series race winner has had strong racecars in each of the first six races so far, but he hasn’t always had the finishes to show for it. Had Newman been able to finish where he was running when misfortune struck at each of the three races where he’s scored less-than-desired results, he would likely find himself much higher than 23rd in points.

Since joining Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009, Newman’s best finish at Texas Motor Speedway is 11th, which came in the spring of 2010. However, the Quicken Loans driver knows how to get around the 1.5-mile speedway. Having claimed the checkered flag in March of 2003, Newman feels confident he can reclaim his previous success there.

On his side is an extra day of on-track testing at the ultra-fast “Great American Speedway.” For just the second time in 2013, and the first time under the lights, NASCAR’s sixth-generation Sprint Cup cars will race on a 1.5-mile oval. With almost a third of the races contested at such racetracks, Newman and crew chief Matt Borland will be able to apply some of what is learned in Thursday’s test session to not only to this particular race weekend, but to the bulk of the season, as well.    

While the 2013 season has been a roller coaster-like ride for Newman and the Quicken Loans team, they aren’t letting their bad days get them down. Newman has remained upbeat, knowing that his results are not indicative of the team’s performance. However, he knows it’s time to make the most of their strong runs, and capitalize on the finishes.


Todd Bodine fell victim to another driver's apparent impatience Saturday at Martinsville Speedway, and his No. 13 SealMaster Toyota's potential was ultimately borne out by a come-backing 11th-place finish in the Kroger 250.


When Bodine was spun out by Kevin Harvick as the pair went into Turn 3 on the 229th lap it created the scenario that not only enabled Bodine's ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter to make the winning move in his No. 98 Carolina Nut Co. / Curb Records Toyota, it also facilitated their third teammate, Matt Crafton's charge into second in his No. 88 Rip It Energy Fuel / Menards Tundra.


But Bodine took away a big-picture view and it centered on crew chief Jeriod Prince and his double-duty team, which also fields ThorSport's ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship-leading Toyota Camry for Frank Kimmel.


"I'm very impressed with Jeriod and all his guys," Bodine said. "For just coming in here and working with a new driver, I'm very impressed. Jeriod's got a great head on his shoulders and a way of running the team that's very calm, cool and collected and that's very important for a crew chief to be able to do that.


"We struggled in practice and qualifying and made some changes for the race -- and we were actually really good. That's a very positive sign, when you can make changes blindly, not get to try 'em and actually make the right changes. That's really hard to do and that's what we were able to do, and to run well."


To his point, Bodine qualified only 23rd on Friday afternoon, but when the green flag fell his Tundra moved forward. The unique part of the solid relationship Prince and his crew have with Bodine is that they formulated a strategy to put them near the front when it mattered, even if their wheelman wasn't totally on board.


"Jeriod took a little calculated gamble on our pit strategy and it was going to pay off," Bodine said, even though, at the time Prince made the call not to pit when most of the rest of the lead-lap trucks did, Bodine had politely said on his in-truck radio, 'Just so you know, I don't agree with that call.'"


But Bodine quickly bought-into the plan, and with the exception of another driver spinning him out, almost executed it to perfection. That led Prince to say, after the race as he congratulated his driver and crew, "We should have had a ThorSport one-two-three." Bodine readily agreed.


"It was absolutely the perfect strategy," Bodine said. "And then we got ran over by Harvick. To be able to come in and put those old tires on and drive back to 11th -- that was pretty good and it just shows you how good the truck was."


Perhaps the most positive thing about Bodine's first two races with ThorSport is that, after two races in which circumstances largely out of his control cost Bodine better finishes than he deserved, he's still seventh in the championship, behind leader Sauter and third-place Crafton.


"That's very positive, there's no doubt about that," Bodine said. "To be able to have a new team that you've never worked with and to do as well as we've done... I'm a realist -- I don't look at the finish, I look at the performance.


"And the performance indicates we could have won both races (Daytona and Martinsville). To me that speaks volumes for the team and for what Jeriod's doing."


Sauter's hoping he can apply everything he learned at Martinsville, this weekend at Rockingham Speedway, a one-mile high-banked oval in the North Carolina sand hills that is legendary for abusing tires. The season's third race, the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at The Rock presented by Cheerwine, starts at 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.


ThorSport PR

As part ofNASCAR Race to Green™, a month-long, industry-wide effort to reduce the sport’s carbon footprint, NASCAR and Liberty Tire Recycling announced today a new partnership that designates the tire recycling services provider as the Official Tire Recycler of NASCAR Green.

NASCAR has the largest recycling program in sports, including a comprehensive effort that accounts for approximately 120,000 Goodyear tires recycled across NASCAR’s top three national series each year. Liberty Tire Recycling will join other Official NASCAR Green partners, which comprise a comprehensive recycling program,including Coca-Cola, MillerCoors, Creative Recycling, Goodyear,Safety-Kleen, and Sprint.

“By recycling more than 140 million tires annually, we reclaim nearly 1.5 billion pounds of rubber for innovative, eco-friendly products,” said Thomas Carter, Liberty Tire Recycling vice president of alternative fuels. “We look forward to enhancing NASCAR Green’s best-in-class recycling program by keeping its discarded tires out of landfills and transforming them into smart, sustainable products that improve people’s lives.”

In conjunction with theNASCAR Green Clean Air Tree Planting Program Delivered by UPS, an initiative that willneutralize the carbon emissions of all of the racing in NASCAR’s three national series, Liberty Tire Recycling will provide GroundSmart Mulch that will enhance the landscaping of trees that are donated to areas of need throughout the country. The rubber mulch lasts longer than its wood mulch counterpart and prevents soil from washing away.Additionally, Liberty Tire Recycling products, such as rubberized asphalt will be used to repave racetracks and parking lots at NASCAR Home Track racetracks across the country.

“Adding the nation’s premier tire recycling company to our group of Official NASCAR Green Partners will further enhance NASCAR’s position of leadership in sustainability across all sports,” said Jim O’Connell, NASCAR chief sales officer. “Liberty Tire Recycling has positioned itself as a leader in tire recycling innovation and we are pleased to work towards a common goal of reducing the environmental impact of our sport.”

Liberty Tire Recycling will join the NASCAR Fuel for Business Council®, which brings together an exclusive group of more than 55 Official NASCAR Partners to get more out of their sponsorships, specifically bringing together partners four times a year to buy and sell products and services. This environment offers the unique opportunity for manyFortune 500 companies to bypass the time and layers of corporate coordination that may exist and construct customized deals to help address specific business needs.



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