Speedway Digest Staff
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Elementary students in the Darlington County School District (DCSD) read more than 9,200 books in five weeks, as part of Darlington Raceway’s “Race Into Reading” Program.
Rosenwald Elementary/Middle School in Society Hill won the competition, averaging 12 books per student. St. John's Elementary School came in second, averaging 4.7 books per student and West Hartsville Elementary came in third, averaging 3.9 books per student.
Designed as a way to celebrate “March is Reading Month” and to get children excited about reading, the “Race Into Reading” program challenged first through fifth graders across the county to read as many books as possible.
The students from the top three reading schools received a visit from NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Parker Kligerman, driver of the No. 77 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, and the Nationwide Series showcar today as part of their reward for reading the most books.
The program kicked off on March 1 with all Darlington County School District elementary students receiving a Darlington Raceway bookmark, reading reminder bracelet, and a youth admission ticket to Nationwide Series VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 on Friday, May 10.
“I am extremely proud of our students for taking their reading so seriously. When given the challenge of the Race Into Reading Contest they really stepped up,” said Kim Mason, principal of Rosenwald Elementary/Middle School. “I am grateful for the partnership between our school district and Darlington Raceway for the contest and the incredible incentives to get our students reading. Meeting Parker and standing on the start/finish line of the "The Lady in Black" will be a lasting memory for our Rosenwald Eagles.”
“We were blown away by the amount of books the students read as part of our Race into Reading program we introduced to the district this year,” Darlington Raceway President Chris Browning said. “It’s our goal to utilize the track in more ways like this to provide a positive impact on our local community and its school students. It’s nice to see the students truly embrace the program this year and hopefully we’ll continue to grow the program and make it even better in 2014.”
The Reading Program is just one of many that the track has created over the years as part of its youth initiatives. It also offers one of the best kids ticket offers in the industry with 12 and under half-price for any seat to the Bojangles’ Southern 500.
Darlington Raceway PR
It just got even easier for fans to purchase tickets to NASCAR’s most exciting and unpredictable venue - Talladega Superspeedway. It’s now literally at a consumer’s fingertips.
To directly gain access to Aaron’s Dream Weekend, May 3-5 - which is less than two weeks away - fans can now use their smartphones. The new mobile-friendly fan experience, created by Moovweb, gives users quick and easy access to purchase event tickets as well as other opportunities such as the Talladega Experience – NASCAR’s ultimate hospitality venue – and much more. Simply log onto talladegasuperspeedway.com on the mobile device and select the “Buy Tickets” link.
“In our fast-paced world of ever-changing technology, we are always looking for ways to make it easier and quicker for our fans to get their tickets to Talladega,” said track Chairman Grant Lynch. “Moovweb has provided that with this incredible technology for our fans to use their mobile devices. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the incredible racing here at NASCAR’s Most Competitive Track. It has been, and will continue to be, the most exciting venue in motorsports.”
Moovweb is providing the service to all tracks of International Speedway Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select Market: ISCA) (“ISC”), owners of thirteen world renowned motorsports facilities, including Talladega Superspeedway.
“Enhancing the fan experience for our customers while they are at the track is a high priority,” stated Tina Martin, ISC's Chief Information Officer. “With our new mobile-friendly sites, fans can now save time and effort by using the power of their smartphones to purchase tickets from virtually anywhere to gain access to a wide range of world-class events and event day activities.”
Area Residents Reminded to See Inside Atlanta Motor Speedway at "Drive the Track Day' on Saturday, April 27
Fans looking to gain access not normally afforded to the casual customer can do so when they take their own vehicle on the famed high banks of the 1.54-mile speedway, as well as enjoy a full Legends racing program, on Saturday, April 27 as part of the speedway’s “Drive the Track Day.”
Beginning at 10:00 a.m., those that have purchased a ticket to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 on Sunday, Sept. 1 will be able to take a few hot laps around the speedway. Tickets will be available for purchase at the AMS Ticket Office, and those that have already purchased their AdvoCare 500 ticket can stop by the Ticket Office to pick up their pass to ride the track. A $30 donation to the Atlanta chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities will also grant access to the on-track portion of the day.
While on the speedway’s infield, visitors will have the opportunity to visit victory lane, where each race winner at the speedway climbs out of their machine during the Labor Day weekend. There, AMS guests will be able to have their photo made with the pace car, Atlanta’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series trophy, as well as our lively mascot, Monkey Wrench.
Then at 2:00 p.m., those in attendance will be able to watch the afternoon’s scheduled Legends and Bandolero race from the infield, which will take place on the speedway’s quarter-mile “Thunder Ring,” located on the frontstretch. The event will be a full race program, featuring all divisions that race in the “Thursday Thunder” summer series, with some of racing’s future stars taking part in the action.
Sprint Forms Special Committee of Independent Directors to Review Unsolicited Proposal From DISH Network Corp.
Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) today announced the Board of Directors has formed a Special Committee of independent directors to review and carefully evaluate the proposal received from DISH with its financial and legal advisors. The Special Committee plans to evaluate the proposal and additional information that the committee has requested from DISH and provide its assessment to the full Board in due course whether the proposal is, or is reasonably likely to lead to, a Superior Offer (as defined in the Agreement and Plan of Merger with SoftBank Corp.). Neither the Board nor Sprint intends to comment further at this time.
The Special Committee consists of Larry C. Glasscock, James H. Hance, Jr., V. Janet Hill, William R. Nuti, and Rodney O’Neal. Mr. Glasscock will serve as Chairman of the Special Committee.
The special committee has retained BofA Merrill Lynch to act as its financial advisor, and Shearman & Sterling LLP as its legal counsel.
Sprint advises shareholders that they need not take any action at this time in response to DISH’s proposal pending review by Sprint’s Special Committee.
There are few honorary positions at a race more thrilling than waving the green flag to begin the event. Long-time NASCAR fan Steven Weber of Catharpin, Virginia, will do just that this Thursday night, at the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown presented by FedEx at Richmond International Raceway.
Weber, who has been attending races at Richmond International Raceway for 10 years, was automatically entered in the contest when he purchased tickets to the race, which is a fundraiser for the Denny Hamlin Foundation and the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.
In addition to flag waving duties, Weber and his friend Robert Bell will watch the race from a suite with other contest winners who will have a chance to meet NASCAR drivers, including Denny Hamlin, prior to the race.
“I am thrilled and shocked,” said Weber. “I didn’t know what to think at first…My friend Robert, who attends all the races with me, is also excited. He will have an opportunity to meet Denny Hamlin. I’m a Tony Stewart fan – I like his passion for racing and he says what’s on his mind.”
Dale Inman was a soft-spoken, hard working, natural-born creative leader who basically wrote the book on how to be a crew chief in NASCAR. Prior to his arrival in the sport in 1958, there wasn’t a blue print on how to get the most out of a race car, nor how to organize - or get the most out of - a team.“It was definitely a learning curve because it was all new to us,” said Inman, who will join his cousin Richard Petty and Uncle Lee Petty as a member of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame on Thursday, May 2, at the Speed Dome just outside of Talladega Superspeedway. “There wasn’t any glamour to it, that is for sure, so you just did what you had to do. If you had to work all night and drive the truck with the race car to a track the next day, you did it. I can tell you it wasn’t always easy, but we learned something new each day.”
Today, Inman is known as not only a true mechanical innovator, but his ability to teach and lead separated him from others over the years. He is the most successful crew chief in the history of NASCAR, with a record eight Sprint Cup Series Championships and 193 Cup wins. Out of those victories, seven of them were at the Daytona 500 with Richard Petty behind the wheel. Seven of the championships were also with Petty.
Inman was born and raised in Level Cross, NC, right down the street from Richard. He spent most of his free time at the Petty’s where he put in timehelping three-time NASCAR champion Lee, the patriarch of Petty Enterprises, work on his race car.
“Richard and I were in diapers around the same time,” laughs Inman, now 76, who is 10 months older than Richard. “We played as small kids, participated in sports in school together, climbed trees together, and spent a lot of time around each other. You have to remember there were no TV’s back then. As we got older, it was only fitting for us to work on race cars.”
Upon graduating high school in 1954, Inman went into the Army Ordnance and was there for two years. Afterwards, he started working full-time at Western Electric, but in his spare time you could find him at Petty Enterprises.
In 1963 he decided to take the plunge and become a full-time employee at Petty Enterprises as a crew chief. During his first season with the team, they won 13 races—leading the series in wins. Just a year later the duo won their first Daytona 500 and accomplished their first NASCAR Championship victory.
It was during this time in the sport that mechanics were self taught, and in order to get an advantage over the others, they had to learn new skills on their own. Inman was one of those guys who pushed himself to learn – to make cars better, faster and safer.
“He had that magical touch,” said Petty of Inman. “He was totally dedicated to what we were trying to accomplish. He knew how to get the best out of me as a driver as well as the crew. He approached things with attitude, confidence and focus. He knew what to do to make the car the best it could be for me. He just made it all work.”
In 1967, the dynamic duo made a statement to the racing world, claiming 27 victories with an incredible 10 in a row, a feat that has never been matched. No other driver won more than six races that season. Richard said a lot of the credit went to Inman, a stickler for pre-race preparation who wanted the car ready to race when it arrived at the track.
“Dale was one of the first ones to take a car in and completely disassemble it from one race to another instead of waiting until something broke,” added Petty. “That made those cars almost bulletproof. That’s the reason we won so many races.”
“I think I was able to understand pretty much everything that Richard needed in a car,” said Inman. “It is probably because we grew up together. He understood what he needed to do on race day as a driver, and I understood what I needed to do as a crew chief on race day. Because of that, when the race started, Richard always thought he could win.”
Inman was an expert at relaying information to all crew members and his drivers. Inman, also widely known in NASCAR circles as a practical joker, was a master strategist on race day, especially when it came to pit stops. He was the first to use the “gas and go” strategy, which wound up being the right call for the No. 43 team to win both Petty and Inman’s seventh Daytona 500 in 1981.
Soon after that classic Daytona 500 triumph, Dale parted ways with Petty Enterprises and moved over to Osterlund Racing where he became the crew chief for reigning Cup Series Champion Dale Earnhardt. Later that year Osterlund sold his team to J.D. Stacy and Earnhardt walked as well. As a replacement driver, Tim Richmond took Earnhardt’s seat and won two races that season with Inman as his crew chief.
After his stint with Stacy, Inman moved to Hagan Enterprises where he became the crew chief for Terry Labonte. In 1984 Inman led the team to a NASCAR Championship, his record eighth (1964, ’67, ’71, ’72, ’74, ’75, ’79 and ’84). After two seasons with Labonte, Inman returned home to Petty Enterprises in 1986, resuming his role as Petty’s crew chief. In 1988, he took a management role with the team.
Inman semi-retired in 1998. Today he serves as a consultant to the refurbished Richard Petty Motorsports., which houses teams for Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola in the Sprint Cup Series. When he’s not at the track he divides his time between his wife of 55 years, Mary Inman, his children Jeff & Tina, and his four grandkids.
“I have met so many great people over the years in this sport,” Inman admitted. “I have made so many friends, been to so many places, and really been fortunate to have a lot of success, so it has been an incredible ride. I would not change a thing. It truly is an honor to go into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, especially with this year’s class.”
The modern-day NASCAR K&N Pro Series East is certainly no stranger to successful rookies. In fact, three of the last six champions were first-year drivers, and many more made their mark. Early returns on the 2013 season have proved to be no different.
Through three points races, a pair of true rookies are holding strong in the top five of the series standings: Gray Gaulding and Kenzie Ruston. The season may only be one-fifth of the way complete, but the pair is showing signs of staying power.
Gaulding, a 15-year-old from Colonial Heights, Va., has recorded finishes of sixth, 10th and second in his three K&N Pro Series East races. Add to that a runner-up finish in the non-points UNOH Battle At The Beach on the short track at Daytona International Speedway and a sixth-place result in the K&N Pro Series West opener at Phoenix International Raceway in February, and the youngster has had quite the solid start to his NASCAR career.
Meanwhile Ruston, from El Reno, Okla., is making a name for herself as well. After a series debut at Bristol Motor Speedway that saw her finish 11th, the 21-year-old was third at Greenville Pickens Speedway and fifth last time out at Five Flags Speedway. Her third-place marked the best race finish by a female in the series’ 27-year history and the back-to-back top-fives are also a series first.
Aside from first year champions Joey Logano (2007), Ryan Truex (2009) and Kyle Larson (2012), there have been plenty of other first-year drivers that have made some noise in the championship standings in recent seasons. Austin Dillon and Trevor Bayne in 2008, Brett Moffitt in 2009, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Cole Whitt in 2010 and Bryan Ortiz in 2012 all finished in the top five in points while Alex Bowman ranked sixth in 2011.
They still have a long way to go, but Gaulding and Ruston are positioning themselves in the early going to join some elite company.
Clay Rogers edged J.P. Morgan on a green-white-checkered finish Saturday night to score his second CARS X-1R Pro Cup Series win of the season. The win at Hickory was Rogers’ third series win at the track of his career, and moved him into a tie for second with Benny Gordon on the all time wins list with thirty-two. J.P. Morgan looked to be back to his championship form bring home a second place finish followed by Tyler Young who overcame being a lap down early on to finish third.
“This was a lot tougher to get here tonight than it was last time in Dillon. I thought J.P. (Morgan) was going to get us there on that second to last restart, but I was able to get around him and thought we had it won and the yellow came out when we were going through in three and four. So I had to do my best to hold him off one more time and we did,” stated Rogers in victory lane at the Hickory Motor Speedway. “I have to thank L & R Racing for giving me this opportunity to come back to the Pro Cup Series and race for wins again. It’s pretty cool to be able to share these moments with my daughter, wife, and everyone that came out to support us tonight close to home.”
It took two occasions for Clay to make his way to the lead before eventually winning the Catawba Valley 250. The Mooresville, NC driver could only muster a sixth place starting position behind youngster #66 Reid Wilson who would lead the field to green after grabbing the MAHLE pole position during series qualifying. His reign at the peak position didn’t even last a lap as series sophomore Dalton Hopkins grabbed the lead as the field exited off of turn two with J.P. Morgan in tow. That quickly translated into Morgan showing his strength early taking the lead on lap twelve.
Several battles throughout the field were mere highlights compared to the one for the lead. Veteran racer and defending series champion J.P. Morgan raced side-by-side for multiple laps with rookie Wilson all the while Clay Rogers had made it to their back bumper. Rogers played his cards right on lap thirty-three taking advantage of the two’s mistake racing hard against one another resulting in both machines sliding up the track in turn three and putting Rogers in position to take the lead.
The first major incident of the night occurred on lap fifty-eight when #33 Stacy Puryear dive bombed the field body slamming the #62 machine of Andrew Smith, while in the sixth position, sending him spinning and stacking up the rest of the field behind his. Richard Gould, making his first start of the season, got the worst end of the deal suffering major cosmetic damage as the result. All drivers were able to continue, and so would green flag racing until the competition caution yellow on lap 125 allowing teams to pit for tires and fuel.
The results of the series redraw of the top eight drivers at the event’s halfway point put eighth place man Andrew Smith to the lead and Roush Yates Performance Products halfway leader Clay Rogers to sixth to take the green on lap 126.
It didn’t take long for action to heat up on track as Lucas Ransone, a former Rookie of the Year in the series, got squeezed into the outside wall by Hopkins passing for the second position on lap 129. The damage caused Ransone’s #00 machine to cut a tire the following turn slamming the outside wall ending what looked to be a good night.
With Smith continuing to lead out front, it was Rogers once again stealing the show as he sliced his way through the field on the outside groove finally making his way past Andrew Smith’s #62 ride on lap 162. With laps winding down drivers began to make bids for position resulting in yellow flag fever over the final twenty-five laps. Solo spins by Puryear and Smith due to contact on two different occasions slowed the field taking away any chances of a podium finish for either of the two.
The spin by Andrew Smith on lap 246 setup a green-white-checkered sprint to the finish to decide the race winner. Rogers and Morgan lead the field to green with J.P. getting too good of a jump for series officials likings, forcing the defending champion to give the position back to Rogers. Just as he did the yellow flag flew for the spinning the #41 machine of Skewes forcing a second green-white-checkered shootout. This time with the two dominate cars of the evening side-by-side it was all Rogers whose car handled beautifully through the turns in route to the checkered flag.
CARS X-1R Pro Cup Series PR
The SFP 250 race weekend proved eventful for 20 year old La Grange, MO native Justin Jennings, as he made his debut on NASCAR's mile and a half tracks in the LG Seeds / Mittler Brothers Machine & Tool Chevy Silverado.
"We made a ton of changes to the LG SEEDS Chevy in practice and we got a lot quicker," said Jennings, who saw his speeds rise from 158 MPH to just over 172 MPH by the time practice was over.
After being featured during SPEED Channel's coverage of qualifying, Jennings was strapped into the truck and set to make his attempt when another truck blew an engine, spreading oil on the track. Not only would Jennings have to wait out the delay and re-focus his attention to his run, but the track was now covered in the residue of the oil dry from the clean up crew.
"Somebody told me that one of the announcers, I think it was Michael Waltrip, said that he wouldn't want to be me since I was the first one out to qualify after the 21's engine let go," grinned Jennings. He went on to start the SFP 250 in 27th position.
It didn't take long for the action on the track to get out of control. The race saw a total of 11 cautions, including three caused by wrecks that occurred right in Jennings' path. Noted team owner Mike Mittler, "There were a few of those cautions that could have very easily taken Justin and the LG SEEDS Chevy out. Fortunately, this kid has great instincts and made it through just fine. Even when the truck got loose and spun, Justin kept it under control and we were able to get back out on the track and come home in 18th. I can't say enough about what a great job Justin did in his first start on a mile and a half track."
By races' end, Jennings had moved the LG SEEDS Chevy into 18th, the best finish of his three NCWTS starts. "This was a great day," said Jennings. "All of our goals for the weekend were achieved and we were able to get some exposure for LG SEEDS and raise awareness for Eagle Rock Camp. You can't ask for more than that."
MB Motorsports PR
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie Timmy Hill used his previous learning experiences and success at the 1.5-mile layout of Kansas Speedway to put forth a strong outing in the FAS Lane Racing No. 32 OXYwater Ford on Sunday. However his outing would be ruined after receiving damage from fellow competitors tangling coming off Turn 2. The damage sent Hill and his team to the garage area briefly for repairs before returning to the track to complete the running of the STP 400 in the 33rd position.
"That was just very disappointing," stated Hill. "The FAS Lane Racing team gave me a phenomenal car this weekend. Our No. 32 OXYwater Ford was fast right off the trailer and after a small adjustment on our first pit stop it was awesome. It is just unfortunate that we got some damage in a melee coming off Turn 2 and it sent us to the garage for some necessary repairs. In all it was a great weekend for me and the team and we look to build on this effort moving forth."
The 33rd place finish kept FAS Lane Racing in the 37th position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owners points.
"Timmy and everyone on this OXYwater team did a great job this week," said FAS Lane Racing team owner Frank Stoddard. "Last weekend at Texas was very disappointing for us but we did learn some valuable stuff that really seems to be helping Timmy get more comfortable. I look forward to more performances like the one we had today in the future."
FAS Lane Racing and their No. 32 OXYwater™ Ford will head to Richmond International Raceway this weekend for the running of the Toyota Owners 400 on Saturday April 27th at 7:30 p.m. ET. The race can be viewed LIVE nationally on FOX and heard on affiliated MRN radio stations and on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio 90.