Speedway Digest Staff
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By now, you’ve probably heard that every fan attending the Saturday, April 26, TOYOTA OWNERS 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race can get up close and personal with the track they love through Track Takeover. Well, the innovation doesn’t stop there. RIR will introduce the Turn 3 Terrace featuring the Outback Bloomin’ Zone, another amenity open to all fans.
The Turn 3 Terrace, not surprisingly located outside of Turn 3, is open before AND during the TOYOTA OWNERS 400, from 2:00 p.m. until the checkered flag flies. Fans are invited to take the Richmond stroll around the track and take a break to enjoy:
· Outback Bloomin’ Zone featuring:
o Q&A with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick (3:45 p.m.)
o Harvick’s No. 4 Outback showcar for photo ops
o Fill up on tasty food that you’ve come to expect from Outback Steakhouse
o Free prizes
· RIR Memory Lane – take a walk through time and learn about many historical and monumental moments throughout RIR’s legacy that spans more than 60 years
· Decades Trackside Bar – a full-service bar and outdoor seating that will be a hot spot before the Green Flag flies and during NASCAR action on America’s Premier Short Track
With all the excitement around NASCAR’s competition changes for Talladega Superspeedway’s Aaron’s Dream Weekend, May 2-4, added pressure and a sense of urgency will now be felt like never before by the Crew Chief and team engineers who set up the cars and make the hard decisions at NASCAR’s biggest and most challenging venue.
Two immediate changes – the new “Knockout” Coors Light Pole Award qualifying and NASCAR’s new Chase format where a driver has a chance to make The Chase with a victory – will place a premium on perfection where it concerns aerodynamics of the cars as well as the engines under the hood. It could mean the difference between winning or finishing 30th.
While the intensity will be turned up on the 2.66-mile, 33-degree banked mammoth track, the fans in the stands will be the real winners, witnessing 200 mph, four-wide, bumper-to-bumper racing like never before. While the driver will be key in piloting the car to a coveted victory, the man calling the shots prior to and during the race will play a pivotal role. Billy Scott, crew chief for the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine of Brian Vickers, knows all too well what to expect.
“Talladega puts a premium on aerodynamics and makes us scrutinize everything on our Aaron’s Dream Machine,” says Scott, who is in his first year as crew chief after serving as the team’s racing engineer in 2012 and 2013. “In the weeks before a race, our team at Michael Waltrip Racing will massage and tweak our cars to perfection. Priority one at Talladega is reducing drag. As the car is going down the backstretch, drag is the force that slows it down. We want our cars to slice through the air.
“To do that we’ll go to crazy lengths in the way we build our cars even making sure the bolts we use on the car glide through the air with as little drag as possible. At 200 mph reducing drag by even a fraction helps. We’ll take our cars to the wind tunnel to learn what works and what doesn’t work. We move the car’s splitter and work to keep the back of the car down so the spoiler isn’t up in the air which slows the car down. Heck, nothing is too small for us to consider. At Talladega reducing drag is critical.”
Like many modern day NASCAR crew chiefs, Scott relies heavily on his own engineering background. In addition to aero, engine cooling will be important in both the Aaron’s 499 set for Sunday, May 4, as well as the new three-segment, group elimination qualifying the day before.
“Keeping the engine cool is a priority,” added Scott, who hopes to give Vickers his second Talladega triumph. “If you notice, teams will put tape on the front of the radiator openings on the car’s nose. Taping over the openings creates far less drag, which means you’ll go faster. However, taping over the opening means your engine will run hotter. You can’t afford to have the engine overheat if you are caught back in the pack. It’s a tradeoff that the crew chief, engineers and drivers consider before and during the race. Tape means faster and hotter, no tape means slower but cooler.”
Fuel Mileage won’t come into play during Knockout qualifying but it could in the Aaron’s 499, and calculating the correct mileage is huge. If a driver runs out of gas through the trioval, it is nearly 2.5 miles back around to the entrance of pit road – a disaster which will take lots of time, and in the process, cause the car to lose laps to the leaders.
“Usually fuel mileage is pretty straightforward at most of the tracks where we race, but what makes Talladega different is the draft,” Scott admitted. “A car running by itself could use up to 10 percent more fuel than a car being sucked along in the draft. If you listen during the race, the crew chief will ask the driver how much he’s been in the throttle on that particular fuel run. He’ll tell you a bunch or not much and you’ll make fuel calculations based on that input. That’s the importance of communication between driver and crew. That can be the difference between winning the race and running out of fuel at the end.”
This is why Scott’s anxiety level will be tested like no other track when he comes to Talladega.
Chart-topping alternative rock band LIVE will provide exhilarating entertainment for fans during the first day of qualifications for the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Saturday, May 17 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Verizon IndyCar Series practice and qualifying will be held throughout the day with the LIVE concert taking place on the Pagoda Plaza Stage beginning at 2 p.m. The concert is free with paid gate admission.
LIVE, a four-man group that originated in York, Pa., surged on to the burgeoning alternative music scene in 1991with their major label debut, "Mental Jewelry." The band infused heartfelt melodies with raw energy for an inimitable style that has stood out from the early nineties pack.
LIVE's impressive catalog of songs includes seminal tunes and mega hits such as "Lightning Crashes", "I Alone", "All Over You" and "Lakini's Juice," all becoming pillars of the '90's' both musically and culturally.
"The Dolphin's Cry" and "Overcome" ushered the group triumphantly into the 21st century, and given anthems such as those, LIVE has sold more than 22 million albums worldwide and have become a veritable concert juggernaut.
LIVE's sophomore set, "Throwing Copper," solidified their status as bona fide superstars. After fifty-two weeks it reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 and eventually surpassed sales of 10 million in merely two years. Rolling Stone and MTV both dubbed the album "One of the 25 Greatest Rock Albums of All-Time", while tastemakers from Spin to the New York Times lauded it with equal praise.
Upon release, its 1997 follow-up "Secret Samadhi" immediately shot to No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 and eventually went six-times platinum. However, on "The Distance to Here" in 1999, LIVE turned into an international powerhouse and jumped from arenas into stadiums all over the globe driven by the smash "The Dolphin's Cry." "V" and "Birds of Pray" followed, continuing to expand their legacy and satiate their rabid and faithful fan base amassed over nearly two decades.
LIVE are planning to release a brand new album in the fall of 2014, produced by longtime producer and collaborator Jerry Harrison [Talking Heads]
Looking to upgrade your April 25 & 26 race days at Richmond International Raceway? We have options for fans to take their experience to the next level with add-ons and ticket packages that include pre-race pit passes, exclusive driver appearances, food & beverages, and much more.
Pit Stop Club ($2,300 per group of 8), includes:
· Eight reserved grandstand seats in the Commonwealth Mezzanine on the frontstretch for the Saturday, April 26, TOYOTA OWNERS 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race
· Guided garage tours for each guest
· Pre-race pit passes for each guest
· Exclusive Q&A with NASCAR driver Kurt Busch
· Two VIP parking passes
· Admission to the climate-controlled Pit Stop Club hospitality area, from 1:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., which includes a full buffet with beverages – complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks, and water
TORQUE Club ($800 per person), includes:
· Reserved, outdoor stadium seat for the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race (Saturday, April 26), and the ToyotaCare 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series and BLUE OX 100 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races (Friday, April 25)
· Exclusive Q&As with NASCAR’s Paul Menard, Ryan Reed, Kaz Grala and Mike Calinoff (Friday); Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Larry McReynolds (Saturday)
· Pre-race pit pass for both days
· All-inclusive gourmet food package
· Unlimited soft drinks and water
· Adult beverage tickets
· Reserved parking
· Access to the indoor, air-conditioned lounge
Veranda Club ($320 per person), includes:
· Reserved seat in the top row of the Veranda grandstand for the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, and the ToyotaCare 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series and BLUE OX 100 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races
· Pre-race pit pass for Saturday, April 26
· Exclusive Q&A with NASCAR driver Kurt Busch
· Guided garage tour on Saturday, April 26
· VIP parking for April 25 and April 26
· Admission to the climate-controlled Pit Stop Club hospitality area, from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., which includes a full buffet with beverages – complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks, and water
Eighteen drivers paced the biggest and baddest race track on the planet Wednesday during an open ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards practice session at Talladega Superspeedway in preparation for the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200, a part of a spectacular triple header on Saturday, May 3.
Veteran Tom Hessert led the way with a speed of 184.551 mph, followed by Justin Boston at 183.733 mph. The rest of the top five included John Wes Townley (183.448 mph), Leilani Munter (183.367 mph) and Mark Thompson (183.084 mph).
Justin Allison, grandson of two-time Talladega winner and original member of The Alabama Gang Donnie Allison, was eighth at 182.442 mph. Defending International Motorsports Hall of Fame winner and 10-time ARCA Champion Frank Kimmel, was 13th at 180.553 mph. Alabama’s Thomas Praytor (Mobile) and Joey Gattina (Alabaster) were also on hand. Testing resumes Thursday.
“We need some speed in our car,” said Kimmel, whose son Frank Kimmel II was also testing today and will make his Talladega debut on May 3. “And that is why we are here. We didn’t qualify well in Daytona (in February) and it felt good to come away with a runner-up finish. This is the same car so we are here for a couple of days to try different things to find some speed and make sure we are a contender when we come back here in a couple of weeks.
“This is by far the coolest racetrack that we compete on. We love the people here. The employees at Talladega are second to none and treat you like family, and the fans are the same. Nowhere we go do we hear so much passion for racing. I can tell them that we are going to have a great ARCA race at Talladega. If you want passing, get ready.”
A longtime tradition leading into the Month of May and "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" was renewed Wednesday when the 33 directors of the 500 Festival received their Indianapolis 500 Chevrolet Camaros on the main straightaway at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The "Festival cars" have reminded Indianapolis-area residents of the upcoming Indianapolis 500 since the 1960s, and this year's unique cars will capture the attention of many as they are driven around Central Indiana.
"Seeing the Indianapolis 500 Festival cars around the city and state is one of the surest signs every year that the Indianapolis 500 is just around the corner," said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. "This year's Chevrolet Camaro SS bears a striking resemblance to the beautiful Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 that will lead the 33 drivers to the green flag on May 25 and once again pays tribute to the longstanding relationship between the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the 500 Festival and Chevrolet."
Each of the 500 Festival cars is a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible, equipped with a 400 hp 6.2L V-8 engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission with tap shift.
All of the Camaro SS Festival cars are black with black tops and black interior, and are specially equipped with Chevy-accessory black aluminum wheels to emulate the Camaro Z/28 coupe that will serve as the official pace car for the Indianapolis 500 this year. These special Camaros will be seen throughout the month of May adorned with the Indianapolis 500 event logo on the doors and the iconic IMS winged logo on the quarter panels.
"Chevrolet and Indianapolis Motor Speedway have been long-time partners, and each year our partnership allows civic leaders to be ambassadors of Chevrolet and of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," said Jeff Chew, Manager of Business Strategy and Operations for Chevy Racing. "The speedway truly embraces the community, and the amount of support in Indianapolis and the surrounding communities is very special and is second to none."
The new front-end appearance on the '14 Camaro SS has a sleeker appearance and incorporates new headlights that create a more serious-looking face. Also, SS models are distinguished by an all-new vent-style hood inspired by the Camaro ZL1.
Two 6.2L V-8 engines are offered in the Camaro SS, including the L99 on automatic-equipped vehicles and the LS3 on manual-equipped models. All convertible models feature a standard rear-vision camera system.
FOX to Air NASCAR Sprint Cup “Knockout” Qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway during Aaron’s Dream Weekend
How big of a deal is NASCAR’s new Sprint Cup Series “Knockout” qualifying going to be at the Biggest and Baddest race track on the planet – Talladega Superspeedway – on Saturday, May 3? Just ask FOX.
The television network announced Wednesday it will air Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Aaron’s 499, moving it from FOX Sports 2 and marking the first time a non-Daytona 500 qualifying session has aired on FOX. It’s the most anticipated qualifying session of 2014. Drivers will race four wide at 200 mph – with a sense of urgency – in hopes of gaining the coveted top starting spot at NASCAR’s most mammoth track.
“This just shows the power of Talladega and what this race track is all about,” said Talladega Superspeedway Chairman Grant Lynch of FOX’s plans to cover qualifying. “Our drivers have three segments to get it done in NASCAR’s new qualifying format, and there will be no time to waste. Talladega is famous for four-wide racing in all our racing events. Now fans can get ready for it in qualifying.”
“This move is a direct result of the double-digit ratings gains NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying format is delivering every weekend,” said Bill Wanger, EVP of Programming, Research & Content Strategy. “We are thrilled to be able to highlight this new format on FOX, and what more exciting place to do that than Talladega Superspeedway.”
The new format pits drivers against each other in three segments. The first will feature more than 43 drivers in a 25-minute session, and after a five-minute break, the top 24 drivers will advance to the second round, which will be 10 minutes of on-track action. The fastest 12 will move to the final five-minute dash for glory, with the quickest driver in the anchor segment taking the Coors Light Pole Position.
“I think it’s going to be awesome,” said Kyle Busch, the 2008 winner of the Aaron’s 499, who is still seeking his first pole position at Talladega Superspeedway. “I think it’s going to be some of the most fun sessions we get to have. I think you’re going to have guys that try to get in a line of 2, 3, 4 cars, and then try to chase down the pack to see how fast they can get going and what kind of laps they’ll run. Talladega is going to be a whole pack of cars trying to figure it all out, so there’s going to be some interesting moments there.”
And what does the six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson think about it?
“A lot of guys paid attention in Daytona to what the Nationwide cars did (in February during the NNS qualifying), and there is a way to run a fast lap,” said the two-time Talladega winner. “It just depends on who you are trying to team up with, who’s trying to work together, and how far somebody is laying back. You know you are getting up to speed, and with a group behind you, you are pulling them along at a faster rate. Do you abort your lap and try to catch somebody else and tag on to the back of their draft? So, it is going to be extreme – you can’t predict it. It’s just going to be out of control, in a good way. There could be some wrecks because there’s going to be a lot of cars out there.”
Denny Hamlin, also seeking his first pole at Talladega, simply says, “It will be very, very interesting.”
140 BUZZ is pleased to announce their partnership with Racing4Vets for the First Annual Veteran Kart Challenge to Benefit Service Disabled Veterans. 140 BUZZ will be working with the non-profit group to handle the public relations and social media coverage of the event.
The First Annual Racing4Vets Veteran Kart Challenge will take place on May 19, 2014 at GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville, North Carolina.
The event will feature NASCAR stars racing high performance karts in a 2-hour team relay format. Each four person team will include a professional racer paired with race fans. An auction will allow fans to win a seat on a professional's team. Racing4Vets will also field a team of veterans for the race.
Drivers scheduled to compete at the event include NASCAR Sprint Cup Series young guns, BK Racing teammates Alex Bowman and Ryan Truex. From the Nationwide Series; Ryan Preece, Corey Lajoie and Jeffrey Earnhardt look to lead their respective teams to victory. Camping World Truck Series star Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. will be joined by reigning 2013 champion Matt Crafton. Representing the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program will be Daniel Suarez and Mackena Bell.
140 BUZZ PR
Racing fans attending the NY International Auto Show at Javits Center in Manhattan will get the chance to meet Brodie, receive an autograph, and see the #43 K&N East Series Toyota on display from April 18 to 28, 2014.
Brodie has autographed a custom designed racing helmet that will be raffled off at the show. Raffle tickets can be purchased for a nominal donation to Canine Companions.
Team Arcoplate PR
NASCAR announced today that Marcus Jadotte, vice president of public affairs and multicultural development, will be leaving the organization. Jadotte will serve as a consultant as NASCAR continues to evolve its diversity and multicultural development initiatives throughout the organization. Additionally, NASCAR will expand its existing relationship with Teneo Strategy, a strategic advisory firm which has worked with NASCAR since 2013, to support its public affairs activities.
“During his nine years at NASCAR, Marcus has made a truly meaningful impact on our business,” said NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France. “Thanks in large part to Marcus’ passion and leadership, we have become a leader in diversity and inclusion among the sports industry, and we will continue to deepen our commitment in the years ahead. We are grateful for his years of dedicated service to NASCAR.”
“The NASCAR ecosystem reaches nearly every facet of the American economy, so it was particularly gratifying to have worked with leading NASCAR stakeholders and to have contributed to the sport’s development over the last nine years,” Jadotte said. “I am especially grateful for the professional support and friendship I have received from Brian France and NASCAR President Mike Helton during my tenure.”
Among his accomplishments since joining NASCAR in March 2005, Jadotte led the development of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D) and NASCAR Pit Crew Development programs. These initiatives focus on developing the skills of promising female, Asian, Latino and African-American drivers and crew members in NASCAR. Jadotte has effectively overseen NASCAR’s relationship with Rev Racing, which operates teams in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for the NASCAR D4D program, resulting in an increase in minority participation and on-track success.
NASCAR D4D will continue under the leadership of Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president, racing operations (to whom Jadotte reported). The NASCAR Diversity Internship Program and annual NASCAR Diversity Awards also are among a number of diversity and inclusion programs started by Jadotte that will continue at NASCAR.