Speedway Digest Staff
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Kansas Speedway and Kansas Lottery officials announced a multi-year renewal of their partnership, which has been in place since Kansas Speedway opened in 2001.
The partnership means the Kansas Lottery will remain the entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race (Kansas Lottery 300), which returns to Kansas Speedway on Oct. 4, and the Kansas Lottery will continue as the “Official Lottery of Kansas Speedway.”
“I’m excited that we are able to continue our partnership with the Kansas Lottery,” said Kansas Speedway President Patrick Warren. “The Lottery has been a tremendous supporter of ours and their continued sponsorship of Kansas Speedway and as the entitlement partner on our NASCAR Nationwide Series race is incredible. It’s going to be a great year at Kansas Speedway and I’m glad that the Kansas Lottery will be a part of it.”
“The Kansas Lottery has partnered with Kansas Speedway since the beginning,” said Kansas Lottery Executive Director Terry Presta. “Besides the great visibility the partnership affords us, our players really appreciate being able to win once-in-a-lifetime VIP racing experiences at Kansas Speedway in our second-chance drawings.”
Kansas Speedway PR
Kansas Speedway has spread the wealth during its 14-year stay on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule.
It wasn't always so generous, of course -- not after Jeff Gordon reeled off back-to-back wins in 2001-02, Kansas Speedway's first two seasons.
But then, Kansas welcomed six different drivers to Victory Lane in the next six races. And after that, another six unique winners.
Which all leads to a record book long on parity.
Five drivers share the all-time wins lead at Kansas with two wins apiece. Joining Gordon atop that list are Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart.
That bunch, who combine for 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships, one NASCAR Nationwide Series title and one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship, also share another trait -- one a little less enviable.
They are all still looking for their first win of 2014, and the likely Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup spot that goes with it. The statistics suggest that breakthrough win will come in Saturday night's 5-hour ENERGY 400 at Kansas Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on FOX).
That fab five rank 1-through-5 in Kansas Speedway driver rating, with the breakdown as such: Johnson 118.9; Kenseth 109.6; Biffle 106.9; Gordon 99.6; Stewart 97.5.
Biffle could be the smart pick. His team, Roush Fenway Racing, has won four times at Kansas Speedway, accounting for all of Ford's victories at the 1.5-mile speedway, with wins by former RFR drivers Kenseth and Mark Martin joining Biffle's two. Also, Biffle comes off an impressive second-place effort at the largest and most precarious track in the series, Talladega Superspeedway.
Biffle was asked about becoming the first three-time Kansas winner.
"I didn't know that stat; I'd be super-excited to win there to start with, but to be the first guy to win three there would be pretty neat ... I love that race track," Biffle said. "It sure would have been nice (at Talladega) to get a win (working) toward the Chase, but we've got some great race tracks coming up, as well. ... It would have been nice."
The Jimmie Johnson Foundation announced today the five winners of the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope, a program that allows fans and consumers across the country to nominate not-for-profit (501c3) organizations that support K-12 public education. Each of the winners will be awarded a $25,000 grant.
The 5 winners are:
- Crayons to Classrooms in Dayton, Ohio
- Champions for Learning in Naples, Florida
- HEART Tutoring in Charlotte, N.C.
- Le Mars Community Schools Foundation in LeMars, Iowa
- Reading Partners in Denver, Colorado
The final five were selected via public vote. Approximately 438,658 votes were cast for the 10 semifinalists during the voting period.
“We are thrilled with this year’s Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program,” Johnson said. The competition was tough. The public rallied around the semifinalists to show their support. It was exciting to see the number of votes go up each day. All of the semifinalist organizations were very deserving. Chani (wife) and I are honored that the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, in partnership with Blue Bunny, is able to support the great work of the 5 winners.”
In addition to a $25,000 grant, each of the five winners will receive a Blue Bunny ice cream party and special recognition on Johnson’s race helmet during the Sprint Cup Series race on July 27, 2014 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. To date, the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program has contributed more than $560,000 to 71 different charities.
“Congratulations to the five winners of the 2014 Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope grants,” stated Mike Wells, President & CEO, Wells Enterprises, Inc., maker of Blue Bunny ice cream. “The rallying effort by the fans and supporters of each of the 10 semifinalists was impressive and illustrates the energy and passion around the purpose and mission of each organization. It is an honor to help each of them further the important work they are committed to around education.”
Jimmie Johnson Foundation PR
Excited for a new race season and busy upcoming year, Bass visited Elon University and Appalachian State University as a guest lecturer during the month of January. However, rather than making his usual February trek to NASCAR's birthplace in Daytona Beach, Fla., Bass spent NASCAR's Speedweeks fighting for his life as a previously undetected diabetic-related blood infection turned to septic shock. Four related surgeries within the time span of two and a half weeks took its toll.
"It was very touch-and-go there for a bit," commented Bass. "While the recovery process from losing more than 33% of the tissue in my left leg has been frustrating at times, for the first time in 90 days I am finally able to walk without crutches. Honestly, I'm just really happy to still be here."
Bass continued, "I haven't gone this far into the season without attending a NASCAR race since I was seven years old. At this point, I am practically counting down the days until I can return to the track. I'm very much looking forward to seeing my friends and colleagues again. I'm also excited that despite everything, I've been able to complete my 75th and 76th consecutive program covers for Charlotte Motor Speedway and I'm thrilled that my return to the sport will coincide with the May races."
With his recovery on track, Bass expects to return to his normal appearance and travel schedule beginning with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In addition, the Sam Bass Gallery, located adjacent to Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., will be open to welcome visitors throughout the Charlotte race weeks. To view and purchase Sam's work or get information about upcoming appearances, visit SamBass.com, or connect with Sam on Facebook (facebook.com/SamBassArtist) and twitter (@SamBassArtist).
Sam Bass PR
As the month of May gets underway, the racing season is in full swing. Casey Mears and his GEICO team have been on a solid run, notching three top 20 finishes in their last three outings and now announce an initiative to honor our nation's military.
GEICO's history with the military is long and rich and the company will now pay tribute to the troops by running a special paint scheme at the Sprint Showdown on Friday, May 16th, and also throughout Memorial Day weekend at the Coca-Cola 600. The No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will feature camouflage accents on the side of the car, along with the Gecko wearing a military helmet and 'GEICO Military' across the hood. 'Thank You For Your Service' will adorn the decklid, while the television panel of the car will feature the Gecko offering a salute while standing at attention.
GEICO has been dedicated to serving the U.S. military since the company's founding in 1936, as its first customers were enlisted service members and other federal employees. Their support is expansive and GEICO provides discount programs and service options that can best serve U.S. troops at home and overseas during wartime, as well as peacetime.
"It's really special that GEICO is going to honor our troops on the No. 13 Chev rolet SS in Charlotte this month because our military is such a large part of our fan base and really embraces NASCAR," Mears said. "It makes me proud to be sponsored by a company that not only says they support the troops, but actually stands behind them and offers many different programs to assist them, whether they are here or abroad." He added, "I won Charlotte in 2007 in the National Guard car and have always had a lot of respect for our troops. It's exciting to go there this year with some camouflage on our GEICO Chevy and the Gecko wearing a helmet. It will definitely be memorable."
GEICO also honors members of the U.S. military each year for their contributions toward drug and alcohol abuse prevention, fire safety and fire prevention or traffic safety and accident prevention with the GEICO Military Service Awards.
GEICO also supports the USO and the programs it provides to military members and their families.
There is still time to vote Casey Mears into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race! You can vote by visiting: http://www.nascar.com/SprintFanVote
BK Racing's newest driver Cole Whitt will have a new look for this weekend's first-ever night race at the Kansas Speedway. The No.26 team welcome's The Iowa Chop House on-board it's Toyota Camry.
Opening in July, 2014,The Iowa Chop House is an approachable, rustic, farm-to-table style restaurant and tap room offering the finest in Iowa-sourced, organic and seasonal ingredients, from prime cuts to craft beers and wine. Fittingly located in the heart of the historical downtown district of Iowa City, The Iowa Chophouse brings together local entrepreneurs and a team of talent that is focused on highlighting why Iowa has the best in food and libations. Inside, guests can simultaneously feel at home in an environment that showcases Iowa's rich past and excited by the industry-leading technology featured in our custom "Beer Barn," made from an authentic Iowa barn. The Iowa Chop House is the embodiment of the idea that cooking should be based on the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients, produced locally- and in this case, in Iowa.
"The Iowa Chop House is the latest concept in our family of restaurants," said David Etre, Executive Chef and Managing Partner. "With our grand opening right around the corner, we thought there was no better medium than NASCAR and its large and devoted fan base to feature our brand and the great state of Iowa. We are truly excited to partner withthe BK Racing Team and driver Cole Witt this weekend in Kansas and we look forward to a great race."
"We are proud to promote the grand opening of The Iowa Chop House," said BK Racing co-owner Anthony Marlowe. "Their farm-to-table concept along with their cutting edge beer and wine tap technology is sure to win people over."
"I am excited to represent The Iowa Chop House this weekend," said Whitt. "Showcasing new, emerging companies and businesses to our sport is crucial to the continued growth of BK Racing; I look forward to giving them the best ride possible."
BK Racing PR
Carsforsale.com, one of the fastest-growing online automotive websites, announced today a three-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series partnership with driver Landon Cassill and Hillman Racing as primary sponsor of the No. 40 Chevrolet SS beginning with this weekend’s 5-hour Energy 400 race event under the lights at Kansas Speedway. Building on the success of its sponsorship of Cassill and the No. 40 in the Daytona 500, Carsforsale.com will also serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 40 Carsforsale.com Chevrolet SS at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 27) and Talladega Superspeedway (October 19), where just last week Cassill posted a Sprint Cup Series career-best 11th-place finish.
“Coming off an 11th-place finish at Talladega last week and then having Carsforsale.com expand its relationship with us is really important for our growing organization,” said Cassill, the 24-year-old Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native that has driven for the likes of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and football great Randy Moss and earned 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie-of-the-Year honors. “We started the season with a 12th-place finish in the Daytona 500 with Carsforsale.com on the car and, as a team, have shown the type of promise that companies want to be a part of as they grow their involvement in the sport.”
“This sponsorship is another great opportunity for the NASCAR community to get to know the Carsforsale.com brand,” said Carsforsale.com CEO, Sean Coffman. “We look forward to working with Landon and the Hillman racing crew again. Being involved with NASCAR has provided Carsforsale.com with the opportunity to bring shoppers to the inventory of our nearly 17,000 member dealers.”
Advertising Carsforsale.com at the national level has increased brand awareness and positioned the company as a well-known and recognized brand among the dealer community as well as the general consumer. Online advertising, national television campaigns, and numerous sponsorships have allowed Carsforsale.com to reach new users, build a stronger following, and focus on helping the consumer find the perfect vehicle.
Hillman Racing PR
Fans who have been looking for a way to get behind the scenes for the 10-Day Blockbuster of Racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway will have the chance to do just that with exclusive opportunities provided by the Charlotte Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. The “Ride of a Lifetime” and VIP experience auctions are back and fans can take advantage by placing their bids online and helping Cabarrus County and Charlotte-area children in need.
Ride of a Lifetime Auction
Fans can bid to ride along with their favorite driver during their parade lap after driver introductions for the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, May 25, via the “Ride of a Lifetime” auction. Drivers participating in the auction include Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and more.
The winning bidders will receive a pit and garage tour, get to attend the drivers meeting and see driver introductions prior to their lap around the track in the back of a Toyota Tundra. To place a bid, visit the Speedway Children’s Charities auction site at www.sccauctions.com. The auction closes at noon on Thursday, May 22.
VIP Experience Auction
This year Speedway Children’s Charities is offering more VIP experiences than ever before, providing fans with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Among the packages up for auction are a Jake Owen meet and greet, a visit to Victory Lane for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race or Coca-Cola 600, a VIP Day with a NASCAR Nationwide Series driver and more. The full list of VIP packages is below.
- Victory Lane Packages: Enjoy the historic moment when the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race or Coca-Cola 600 winner gets out of their car and celebrates in Victory Lane. The winning bidder for each package will receive access to Victory Lane as well as the opportunity to attend the winner’s champagne toast in The Speedway Club.
- Jake Owen Meet & Greet Package: One lucky bidder will get the opportunity to meet country crooner Jake Owen prior to his All-Star Backyard Experience presented by Lowe's, Pennington Seed and Kingsford Charcoal pre-race concert at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 17.
- VIP Tour Package with Wendy Venturini: With the VIP Tour Package, the winning bidder will receive a guided tour from Fox Sports 1 broadcast personality Wendy Venturini prior to the Coca-Cola 600 on May 25. The tour includes a walk through the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage, down pit road, inside the broadcast booth and more.
- NASCAR Nationwide Series VIP Day Package: The highest bidder for this package will get to spend some time with NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Dylan Kwasniewski prior to the HISTORY 300 on May 24. In addition, the package includes a tour of the NASCAR Nationwide Series garage, access to the drivers meeting and passes for driver introductions.
- All-Access Packages: The winning bidder for these two packages, one for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and one for the Coca-Cola 600, will receive two hot passes with access to the garage area and pit road on race day, as well as VIP parking.
- Behind the Scenes Packages: The winning bidder for these two packages, one for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and one for the Coca-Cola 600, will receive two cold passes, a tour of the infield media center, access to the drivers meeting and more.
To place a bid, visit the Speedway Children’s Charities auction site at www.sccauctions.com. The auction for NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race packages closes at noon on Thursday, May 15 and the auction for the Coca-Cola 600 packages closes at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 22.
There are Speedway Children’s Charities chapters at eight Speedway Motorsports, Inc., facilities: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Sonoma Raceway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. Throughout the year, Speedway Children’s Charities hosts a number of charitable events at each track.
For more information on the Charlotte Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities and upcoming events, visit www.charlotte.speedwaycharities.org.
Multiple Grammy Award-winning country music superstar LeAnn Rimes will sing the national anthem during pre-race ceremonies at the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 25, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
One of the world's most successful country music entertainers with a career spanning more than 20 years, Rimes was the youngest person to ever win a Grammy Award and was the first country artist to win the Grammy for Best New Artist.
"To sing the national anthem at one of the most prestigious racing events is truly an honor," said Rimes. "The adrenaline at the Speedway is felt around the world and I know I am one of millions who is so excited to hear those six legendary words 'ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.' "
Since breaking into country music in 1996, Rimes has released 10 studio albums, three compilation albums and two greatest hits albums. Rimes has placed 40 singles on American and international charts with 13 Top-10 hits, and has sold more than 40 million records worldwide.
Rimes had her first national hit at age 13 with the 1996 release of "Blue," which remained at the No. 1 spot on Billboard's country albums chart for more than three months. Rimes has amassed 42 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart, 13 of which have made the Top 10. Her version of "How Do I Live" is the second-longest charting song in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and her smash hit "Can't Fight the Moonlight" topped the charts in 11 countries.
"The pre-race pageantry of the Indianapolis 500 is one of the most exciting traditions in sports and a highlight of those activities is the singing of our national anthem," said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. "We are looking forward to LeAnn Rimes' performance and hearing her amazing voice as we pay tribute to our great nation and the men and women who have served to defend our freedoms."
Rimes had a hand in penning every song on her 2007 release "Family," which received two Grammy nominations. Her album, "Spitfire," her most personal to date, was released on June 4, 2013 and was immediately a critics' favorite. It debuted at No. 9 on Billboard's Top Country Album chart and number four on iTunes.
In June 2014 Rimes will release an album of dance remixes entitled, "Dance Like You Don't Give A ....". She is also the star of the upcoming VH1 show, "LeAnn & Eddie," set to premiere in July 2014.