Monday, Feb 06
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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e-Swisher has reached an agreement to extend their partnership with The Motorsports Group (TMG) to be primary sponsor of the No. 40 Chevrolet Camaro driven by Reed Sorenson in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, beginning with the Memorial Day weekend event at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 25.

“I’m thrilled to have e-Swisher expand their partnership with us,” said Sorenson. “Our team at TMG is young, but we’re growing and headed in the right direction. e-Swisher’s continued participation speaks volumes about the job we’re doing. I’m confident that we can do a great job of representing them and I really appreciate this opportunity.”

e-Swisher previously partnered with TMG and Sorenson at the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway.

“Everyone at Swisher is excited to continue our partnership with Reed and TMG’s No. 40 Camaro,” said Ed Denk, marketing director for Swisher International. “Reed has demonstrated, both on and off the track, his ability to represent the e-Swisher brand extremely well and we are looking forward to enjoying some great runs.”

“This is a big win for us,” said Curtis Key, owner of TMG. “We’re a growing team and having e-Swisher come on board for these races means a great deal. I’m looking forward to seeing their colors on our car.”


Richmond International Raceway has been the site of two of Jeff Gordon's 87 career NASCAR Sprint Cup victories. And one very memorable runner-up finish.


Last September at the three-quarter-mile track, Gordon entered the last race before the 12-driver "Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup" field was set on the outside looking in. He qualified second, but then fell nearly two laps behind the leaders just past the halfway mark of the 400-lap race. Gordon and the No. 24 Drive To End Hunger team battled back onto the lead lap, though, and into the Chase field with a spirited runner-up finish.


"That certainly was memorable - probably my most memorable second-place finish," said Gordon. "We struggled early but regrouped during the rain delay and never gave up, fighting all the way to the checkered flag. That never-give-up attitude is what I love about this team."


Gordon has faced adversity again this year. A strong performance at Bristol ended with a heavily damaged No. 24 Chevy SS while a top-three run at Texas ended early with a left-front hub issue. Despite those poor results, he is still 15th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings eight races into this season - a position he did not attain in 2012 until after race No. 20 at Indianapolis.


"We've made some gains with the Gen-6 car - especially on the intermediate tracks," said Gordon, who started 43rd at Kansas last weekend and finished 13th. "But I'm really looking forward to running this Chevy SS on a short track this weekend."           


Along with two wins at the Virginia track, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has five poles, 16 top-fives and 25 top-10's in 40 starts. Gordon has a 7.9 average starting position and he has led 1,415 laps - both tops among active drivers at the short track. However, bettering those numbers will require some guessing.     


"When you practice during the day and race at night, you have to guess," said Gordon. "And I feel like every time we race here something is changing. I feel like we are advancing the technology of the cars - gaining more downforce and gaining more mechanical grip. You are always trying to figure out what combination is going to work best for the night race.


"We've been very successful three out of the last four times here, but we also missed it big one of those times. Our goal is to find that right balance.


"And make sure we don't miss it big."



Like every other driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, David Ragan is used to signing autographs for fans. But during the race weekend at Richmond International Raceway, the driver of the No. 34 Ford will be collecting signatures for the hood of his race car as a pledge to exercise safety around railways as part of the CSX "Play it Safe" campaign.


On Friday, April 26, NASCAR fans will sign the pledge that will make their signature part of the car that will race in the April 27 event.


Ragan, who partnered with the U.S. Department of Transportation last year to educate drivers of the dangers of distracted driving, welcomed the opportunity to be part of another safety message.


"Distracted driving is unfortunately very widespread, and it's impossible to bring too much attention to this issue, but exercising that same caution around railroad tracks and crossings as drivers and pedestrians is something too many people don't even think of," says Ragan. "It can take a train up to a mile to stop, and every three hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train."


"We're proud to partner with the team that has been most associated with driver safety," says Gary Sease, Corporate Communications Director. "David is a great spokesperson, and we hope his passion for this issue will translate into helping us make the roads and our rails safer. If we save just one life, it's worth it."


As the primary sponsor for the Richmond race, CSX will use the entire car to promote safety. In addition to the hood of signed safety pledges, the No. 34 Ford will feature the "I brake for trains" bumper sticker, both quarter panels and the hood will display the "Play it Safe" campaign tagline and other messages. Ragan is utilizing social media and encourages his fans to help promote the message with the #PlayItSafe hashtag as it will be seen on his car.


"The most likely person to be involved in a train-car or train-pedestrian collision is a male 18 to 34 years old, so NASCAR provides the perfect audience to get out this important message," says Sease.


In addition to NASCAR, the "Play it Safe" campaign targets college students in campuses intersected by railroad tracks and includes billboards placed strategically near rail crossings, online advertising, social media and other communications that urge caution.


Other executions in the series include the lines, "No Guts, No Gory," "Open up a giant can of safety" and "Born to be mild."



Back On Track...After enjoying a weekend off, the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) heads to Richmond International Raceway for a 250-lap shootout at the 0.75-mile D-shaped oval. Rookie of the Year contender Kyle Larson has one previous start at RIR, starting second and finishing fourth in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East's (NKNPSE) visit to the track last season. The 2012 race is where Larson broke into the top five in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings and never looked back, capturing the championship later that year.


Up In The Air...Cessna will be returning to take flight with Larson this weekend at Richmond International Raceway after debuting with the rookie NNS driver in the ARCA Racing Series event at Daytona. Cessna, the world's leading general aviation company, has designed, produced and delivered more than 193,500 airplanes around the globe. This includes more than 6,300 Citation business jets, making it the largest fleet of business jets in the world.


Previous Race Recap...Competing in the "Wild Asphalt Circus" at Texas Motor Speedway for the first time in his young career, Larson and his No. 32 Cessna team began the weekend with hopes to capitalize on recent momentum. Rolling off from the 12th-starting spot, Larson maintained his track position through the first 40 laps of the O'Reilly 300 before misfortune ended his hopes of a podium finish. An incident on lap 44 ultimately led to a blown left-front tire, causing extensive damage and relegating Larson to a 32nd-place finish.


Winner, Winner...Larson comes to Richmond fresh off his first career NASCAR top-three series victory, which he captured at Rockingham Speedway on April 14 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). Larson started third in the event and paced the field a dominating 187 of 205 laps before capturing the checkered flag. The win was achieved in only Larson's fifth NCWTS start.


This Week's Camaro...This weekend, the No. 32 team will unload chassis TSM-323 at Richmond International Raceway. TSM-323 last hit the racetrack at Phoenix International Raceway in March, where Larson scored a 13th-place finish.


Watch and Listen...The ToyotaCare 250 can be seen live on Friday, April 26 on ESPNEWS.  Race coverage will begin at 7:00 p.m. EDT. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.


Kyle Larson on Richmond International Raceway:

"Richmond is one of those tracks that I don't think any team really conquers, so we're all looking forward to having some extra practice time this weekend. Track position is super important in Richmond; you have to qualify up front because it is extremely difficult to pass. We qualify during the day and race at night, so it's also a place where you have to be on top of your changes to keep up with the track condition. I had a pretty good race when I came here for the K&N East race last year, so I think this can be a really good weekend for the No. 32 team."

Under the Lights...Following a one-week hiatus, the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) returns to the track at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) Friday evening for its second-consecutive night race. Justin Allgaier has two previous short-track starts this year at Phoenix International Raceway and Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS). Both events resulted in top-5 starting positions and top-10 finishes, with Allgaier earning the Coors Light Pole Award at BMS.


Honor and Remember...The Gold Star Family program in partnership with Honor and Remember will host the family of Chesterfield, Va. native and U.S. Army SGT Jeffrey Reed at RIR. Reed lost his life March 2, 2009 in Balad, Iraq from wounds he suffered after a grenade hit his vehicle. Reed was just 15 days from returning home from his second deployment after being in Iraq for 14 months. Reed's family will spend time with Justin on the No. 31 BRANDT hauler Friday afternoon.


This Week's Camaro...Chassis TSM-333 will once again be put to work in NNS competition this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. This is the same chassis the No. 31 BRANDT Chevy Camaro team used at Phoenix International Raceway and Bristol Motor Speedway.


2013 Point Standings...Heading into the seventh race of the season, Allgaier is currently fourth in the NNS point standings. He's just nine points behind leader Sam Hornish Jr.


It's a Girl...Justin and his wife Ashley announced this week that they are expecting a baby girl. The couple's first child is due at the end of August.


Crew Chief Scott Zipadelli on Richmond International Raceway:

"We are taking chassis No. 333 to Richmond [International Raceway], which has performed well for us this season and seems to have a good balance of speed and grip. The track will change quite a bit over the couple of days that we are there, so we have to be prepared to make a lot of changes. It's really easy to be good in practice but not run well in the race, but I've had some good runs there; it's one of my favorite tracks."    


Justin Allgaier on Richmond International Raceway:

"You have to be very disciplined at Richmond [International Raceway]. The corners are really tight in the middle and on exit, and it's extremely hard to pass, so track position is very important. Qualifying well at Richmond is a big deal because of track position, but it's also tricky because we qualify during the day but race at night and the conditions change so much."
Welcome to Richmond...Nelson Piquet Jr. will be making his first career NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) start at Richmond International Raceway on Friday night, having only previously raced at the 0.75-mile short track in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race last fall where he finished 17th.  


This Week's Camaro...The No. 30 Delavaco team will have chassis TSM-335 for this Friday's race at Richmond International Raceway. TSM-335 was previously used at Phoenix International Raceway and Bristol Motor Speedway.


Texas Recap....Making his first career NNS start at Texas Motor Speedway two weeks ago, Nelson Piquet Jr. looked to gain momentum in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 before heading into the off-weekend. Piquet Jr. and his No. 30 WORX Yard Tools team started the weekend by qualifying 19th at the 1.5-mile oval. Piquet Jr. was able to drive his WORX Yard Tools Chevrolet Camaro to an 18th-place finish.  


X Games Recap...This past weekend, Piquet Jr. went to Brazil to participate in the Global RallyCross race at X Games Foz do Iguacu. The Brasilia, Brazil native finished 11th overall in the event. "The experience racing in Global RallyCross was fantastic and I really got into the series," said Piquet Jr. "ESPN puts on an incredible show. If I have an opportunity to race the next X Games event in Barcelona, I'll do it.  Otherwise, I'll be competing again when the season moves to the U.S."


Welcome Delavaco...For the first time this year, Piquet Jr. will display the No. 30 Delavaco colors on Friday Night at Richmond International Raceway. The Delavaco Group ("Delavaco") is a private equity and merchant banking firm focused on investments in the real estate, retail, and resources sectors. Delavaco's objective is to combine access to capital, industry expertise, and extensive capital markets experience to create significant value in its investment portfolio.  Delavaco is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with an additional office in Toronto, Ontario.


Watch and Listen...The ToyotaCare 250 can be seen live on Friday, April 26 on ESPNEWS.  Race coverage will begin at 7:00 p.m. EDT. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.


Crew Chief Chris Carrier on Richmond:

"Richmond is a short track with long straightaways. It has two grooves that make for some great side-by-side racing.  Richmond reminds me of a 0.75 mile Fontana. It takes a good motor, down force and grip to make a good lap around that place. I love running under the lights at Richmond and am looking forward to a great weekend. " 


Nelson Piquet Jr. on his return to Richmond:

"I am looking forward to returning to Richmond and the Nationwide Series this weekend. This will be the first time I have been in a Nationwide Series car at this track. I am looking forward to practice on Thursday so I can get some laps under my belt. Chris Carrier and the guys at Turner Scott Motorsports have worked hard to get my Delavaco Camaro ready to race. I hope we can go into Richmond and contend for a good finish."

Brian Keselowski will pilot his No.52 Brian Keselowski Motorsports Toyota at Richmond International Raceway with high expectations of successfully qualifying to race in the “Toyota Owners 400” on April 27, 2013 at Richmond International Raceway.

Brian Keselowski Motorsports has worked hard to get back on track since attempting the Daytona 500 in February 2013. The unfortunate event of not making the“Great American Race” only added a log to Keselowski's fire to come back and be successful on track. “Giving up is not an option, you learn from what went wrong and go from there, but I'm not giving up, I’m no where near ready to that” stated Keselowski.

BKM welcomes back some of their sponsors that supported them in February to include, major associate sponsor, Highland Wealth Advisors, LLC, a company who works closely with High Net-Worth individuals to help them accomplish their Personal and Financial goals and objectives. Highland Wealth Advisors LLC, offers Personalized Risk Management Assessment & customize solutions for their clients. They coordinate strategies to help create and preserve wealth for the client and not for the government. Previous sponsors, Twisted Graphix and The Carolina Basset Hound Rescue, will once again be displayed on Keselowski's No.52 along with newcomers, Virginia Software Group, Inc. and Infield Jen. Support continues to come from Keselowski's loyal fans who signed up to have their names on his race car.

Brian Keselowski will proudly wear a “Wreaths Across America” fire suit with “Give By Cell” text keyword and number across his shoulders to help raise awareness and funding for the federally licensed 501(c) 3 nonprofit.“I’ve worn a lot of fire suits in my career but I wear the WAA fire suit with great pride because of what it represents and what they do to support our military, fallen soldiers and their families”said Keselowski. He will also carry the familiar all-American red, white and blue, stars and stripe paint scheme dawning the Wreaths Across America™ logo on the B-Post of his No.52. For more information

BK Motorsports PR


Who is ready to get lucky with Martin Truex Jr.?

The driver of the No. 56 NAPA Brakes Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing is ready for your help. Since his first NASCAR Sprint Cup win in 2007, Truex has dominated several events, has posted six runner-up finishes and seen several wins slip out of his grasp. All he needs to change the result is a little luck, and racing fans will provide it.

Michael Waltrip Racing has created a “Get Lucky with Martin Truex” program where NASCAR fans rally to push the 33-year old Mayetta, N.J. native over the finish line first. Fans are invited to send in their lucky item. An item will be chosen each week until Truex grabs the checkered flag. If the fan’s lucky charm is the one used during the week over Truex’s next win, the participating fan will receive a celebratory victory package from MWR, including VIP experience to a NASCAR event of their choice to meet Truex. Other items will be aggregated by MWR sponsors, as well, to make the winning lucky charm owner a winner with Truex.

“Every fan of NASCAR should participate in this program,” said Ty Norris, EVP and General Manager of Michael Waltrip Racing. “It doesn’t matter who your favorite driver is, every fan knows Truex has been super competitive and something has kept him out of victory lane. If it is luck, then we want the fans to rally behind Martin and get him back into victory lane with their lucky charm. We will reward that fan handsomely if Martin wins with their lucky charm.”

Martin Truex Jr. on“Get Lucky with Truex” contest: “I’m all about mixing things up and trying something different if it will help. But I do not consider myself superstitious. After our bad luck at Daytona, I actually changed out my driver’s helmet. Right before Texas, I didn’t shave and I still haven’t since we’ve run well two weeks in a row. I really think this is a fun idea and when it comes to NASCAR fans, they are the best. This is a fun way to get them involved and if they can share with me what helps them succeed, I am more than willing to see if it works for me. I can’t wait to see what is sent in. It’s a win-win situation for everyone that’s for sure! This little project could turn out big. This is going to be fun! But I really hope this contest doesn't last very long.”

Racing at Richmond:“I expect another strong run this weekend at Richmond. I love going to that track. We’ve had some fast NAPA Toyotas over the last couple of years. Actually, it’s a good track for the entire Michael Waltrip Racing organization. It’s all about keeping this ball rolling in the direction we’ve been heading over the last few weeks. With some luck, we’ll leave there with a win on Saturday night.”


Following an early race transmission failure at Texas Motor Speedway, Martin and the crew of the No.44 American Custom Yachts Toyota Camry team are ready to tackle Richmond. Martin and crew are looking forward to the test session on Thursday and plan on utilizing this time to dial the car in for Friday night's race as well as give Martin an opportunity to learn the layout of the track.


Hal Martin on Richmond International Raceway


How are you preparing yourself for this upcoming race?
Hal stated "I'm really pumped up about this week's race. Due to the transmission failure in Texas, I didn't get a chance to really race hard because of the failure early in the race. I'm excited to get back behind the wheel and make my Richmond debut. Richmond is a high-speed short track, which happens to be my favorite type of track. These tracks are reminiscent of my days racing my late-model around the Gulf Coast. I always had a blast there."
How will Richmond International Raceway compare to the other tracks you've raced on this season?
Martin stated, "Richmond International Raceway is a high-speed short track. Although this is the second short track race of the year, Bristol being the first, there are many differences in the two tracks. This track has lower banking, a different shape and the track itself is made of asphalt whereas Bristol is concrete. This track is new to me and I can't wait to get behind the wheel and on track."
Do you have any appearances scheduled at Richmond International Raceway?
"This week, I'll be making an appearance on Friday, April 26th from 1pm - 2pm at the Toyota Drive Center, located next to Toyota Pit Pass in the Vendor Midway. I'll be signing autographs and hanging out with the fantastic fans who make what I do possible. Doing appearances for Toyota is always fun and I enjoy it as much as the fans" Martin replied.

NASCAR K&N Pro Series East driver and Midlothian, VA native Sam Hunt and Richmond International Raceway got race week started by celebrating the opening of the Pit Stop exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Richmond’s Central Location (2626 W. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23220).

The event featured a Q&A and a special Story Time with Sam, as he read the book,Racer Buddies: Rematch at Richmond. Fans of all ages were able to tour Sam’s car hauler and see his race car that he’ll drive in Thursday’s BLUE OX 100.

“I had a great time reading to all the young race fans at the Children’s Museum of Richmond today,” said Hunt. “It was really cool to see so many kids take a real interest in racing. I think this new exhibit will be great to help teach our young fans about racing and hopefully they’ll come out and watch us run under the lights at Richmond.”

The Pit Stop exhibit is a traveling, four-piece, interactive display that teaches kids and adults all about the country’s most popular racing series that originally launched in early February at the Chesterfield CMoR location.

The four pieces of the exhibit include:

  • · The Flag Stand: Visual and interactive explanation of what each flag used during a NASCAR race indicates
  • · Half Car: Children can sit inside an actual NASCAR race car that has been cut in half to see what it’s like inside the cockpit
  • · Build Your Own Race Car: Visitors may build small scale cars to race against others, with the opportunity to modify the pieces to make them go faster
  • · When They Were Young: Historical facts and information about NASCAR drivers, crew chiefs and owners who hail from Virginia



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