Saturday, Sep 30
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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 Amid final preparations for Monday’s launch of NASCAR AMERICA on NBCSN, NBC Sports welcomes USA TODAY Sports auto racing writer Nate Ryan to the Group’s expanding roster of on-air talent. Ryan, who will cover his ninth Daytona 500 for USA TODAY Sports on Sunday, is set to join NASCAR AMERICA host Rick Allen, fellow reporters Kelli Stavast, Marty Snider, and a rotating panel of guest analysts when the show premieres on Monday, February 24 at 5 p.m. ET.  The announcement was made today by Jeff Behnke, Vice President of NASCAR Production, NBC Sports Group.

“Nate’s work ethic, relationships throughout the sport and sharp journalistic instincts have earned him an elite position within NASCAR over the last decade,” said Behnke.  “He is a terrific addition to the NBC Sports family and will add a lot to NASCAR AMERICA.”   

Ryan’s contributions to NASCAR AMERICA will include interaction with NBCSN’s new daily NASCAR show via reports from NASCAR venues nationwide and regular visits to NBC Sports’ studio locations in Charlotte, N.C. and Stamford, Conn.  Ryan’s work will surround breaking news as well as feature stories, which melds nicely with his continuing role at USA TODAY Sports.

“The first NASCAR race I covered was also the first that I attended, and it bred an insatiable curiosity about a sport that is fueled by so many moving parts, both literally and figuratively,” Ryan said. “I’ve tried to remain true to exploring the myriad storylines with a fresh and unique perspective, and I’m enthused and humbled to be afforded such a terrific platform with NBC Sports.”

Ryan joined USA TODAY Sports in January 2006 as an auto racing writer and recently completed his 11th full season of covering the Sprint Cup Series. He has covered more than 300 races in NASCAR’s premier series, beginning with the June 22, 1997 opening of California Speedway as a writer with the San Bernardino County Sun. He moved to the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch as a backup NASCAR writer in 1998 and took over the full-time beat in May 2002.

Ryan is a four-time winner of the Russ Catlin Motorsports Journalism Award of Excellence and was named a two-time writer of the year by the National Motorsports Press Association. He has held a weekly Thursday morning spot on Sirius Satellite Radio’s “The Morning Drive” since 2007 and has been a regular fill-in for the hosts and other programs since 2008, co-hosting several dozen times. He was a guest panelist on ESPN’s “NASCAR Now” several times from 2009-11 and was a regular weekly contributor to Fox Sports One’s “Race Hub” from 2012-13. Ryan graduated from Northwestern University in June 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

NBC Sports PR

American Ethanol is enhancing its partnership with Richard Childress Racing and driver Austin Dillon for the 2014 NASCAR season. Beginning with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on March 2, Dillon will race the No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet SS in select races during the 2014 season.

"American Ethanol is extremely pleased to once again partner with Austin Dillon, Richard Childress and the entire RCR team to help promote a sustainable homegrown American fuel that is better for our environment, reduces our dependence on foreign oil and creates jobs right here in the U.S., while revitalizing rural economies across America and save consumers at the pump," said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy.

American Ethanol, launched by Growth Energy and the National Corn Growers Association along with the support of other partners, is a breakthrough brand that seeks to expand consumer awareness of the benefits of ethanol and E15. Since the program launch for the 2011 season, NASCAR drivers have run more than 5 million miles on renewable Sunoco Green E15.

"We want to show consumers coast-to-coast there is a great alternative to imported oil and our association with NASCAR and RCR is doing that extremely well," said Jon Holzfaster, a Paxton, NE farmer and chairman of the National Corn Growers Association's NASCAR Advisory Committee. "Ethanol is also responsible for bringing a rural renaissance from Main Street to the family farm."

American Ethanol will also serve as a major associate sponsor for Dillon's No. 3 Chevrolet for the full 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season joining Dow, Cheerios, Realtree Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops and the University of Northwestern Ohio.

"Homegrown biofuels like American Ethanol have stepped up to help our nation's economy," said Dillon. "NASCAR drivers have run more than 5 million competitive miles on Sunoco Green E15 and I know we will reach even more milestones together. I am proud to wear the American Ethanol colors in NASCAR and I hope I can bring them to Victory Lane in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2014."

Dillon is an official spokesperson for American Ethanol, the most commercially-viable alternative that America currently has to offset the economic impact of foreign petroleum. Corn ethanol reduces emissions by 59 percent. And by strengthening America's energy independence, ethanol helps create American jobs - studies have shown that for every $1 sent overseas for oil, $1.55 leaves the U.S. economy.


Tommy Baldwin Racing welcomes back Golden Corral as the primary sponsor of Reed Sorenson's No. 36 Chevrolet for the Daytona 500.
Heading in to the first weekend of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, Reed Soreson is looking forward to being back competing against the top drivers in the circuit. Qualifying 29th, Reed will compete in the first Duel on Thursday evening at Daytona International Speedway.
Also joining TBR and the No. 36 crew is championship winning Crew Chief Todd Parrott. Parrott has several notable wins under his belt, including two Daytona 500 wins. Together Sorenson and Parrott are looking to take the No. 36 Golden Corral Chevrolet to a Top 10, so children will eat for free on Monday.
"I fully intend on getting my No. 36 Golden Corral Chevrolet into the Top 10 on Sunday," commented Sorenson. "The guys have worked tirelessly to get this car ready, and give me the best equipment there is for the 500. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure we start this 2014 season off right, and that kids will eat free at Golden Corral on Monday."
"It's great to have Golden Corral back on board the No. 36 again with us this season," said team owner Tommy Baldwin. "We have spent a lot of time in the offseason making sure we got these cars ready, I believe we can compete with the top teams out there this weekend."
Remember to tune in to NASCAR on FOX at 12pm ET on Sunday, February 23rd for the 56th running of the Daytona 500. Cheer on the No. 36 Golden Corral Chevrolet, and if Reed Sorenson finishes in the Top 10, kids eat free at Golden Corral restaurants across the country on Monday.


MB Motorsports, one of the original NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ teams, is set to return to Daytona International Speedway with Justin Jennings behind the wheel of the #63 Mittler Brothers Machine and Tool Chevy Silverado.  Jennings will be looking to make his first series start at Daytona.

“I’ve been working my way up,” says the 21 year old Jennings.  “We started in Iowa, moved up to the mile and a half intermediate tracks and now we’re at Daytona.  It’s very cool, yet hard to believe at the same time.  I think everyone who’s ever wanted to race has dreamed of racing at Daytona and now I’m here with Mike Mittler and the MB Motorsports crew.”

“It’s been great watching Justin progress,” beams team owner Mike Mittler.  “This kid is so talented.  He can build race cars.  He can drive race cars.  And whether he’s working on the truck or racing it, he’s totally committed and focused.  No matter what he encounters, he stays calm, cool and collected.  He’s an impressive young man.”

MB Motorsports will once again be supporting Eagle Rock Camp, a faith-based, holistic sports camp that reconnects military families in a traditional camp environment that is therapeutic, builds a healthy spirit and strong family bonds.  “Chief Camper” Lynn Miller is excited about working with the team again.  “We appreciate MB Motorsports so much!  They helped raise awareness for our camp last season and to continue to do so is just wonderful.  Everyone involved with the team truly supports our military families.  2014 is shaping up to be an amazing year.  We will have announcements later on this summer about a second location. In 2013, we saw miracles happen daily, as families came together and reconnected.  It is our honor and privilege to work with our military families.  While at camp, they worked hard, played hard and their family lived were enhanced.”

Notes Mittler, “Lynn and Eagle Rock Camp do great work and we’re happy to do what we can to help those who sacrifice so the rest of us can enjoy our freedom and way of life.  For what the guests at the camp have been through, this is the least we can do to let them know we appreciate them and all that they do.”

MB Motorsports PR

Veteran ARCA Series driver and returning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) driver, Sean Corr, will take to the Daytona pavement for the second time this 2014 season in Fridays NCWTS season opener the NextrEra Energy Resources 250.

Corr scored a top-10 finish at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) last week in the ARCA Racing series season opener and he will be capitalizing on that momentum coming into this week’s event when he switches seats to pilot the No. 82 Ford F-150.  The Empire Race team posted a 7th overall fastest time at the test in January at DIS and that is the same chassis that Corr will be maneuvering around the track on Friday.

“If our 15’ Ford F-150 is still as quick on the board as we were in the test, then we should be in great shape”, said Corr.  “The team really hit the nail on the head for setup with the new body design.  I can not thank the guys enough for the hard work they put into this truck in such a short amount of time.”

The newly fabricated F-150 was developed and constructed straight form the Empire Racing facility in Mooresville, North Carolina.  At the head of construction was Crew Chief Mike Cheek and he will be the directive voice for Corr during Friday nights 100 lap main event.

“I am excited to be racing with Sean Corr and the entire Empire Racing team”, said Cheek.  “This is one of the best teams I have ever worked with.  Our truck was built old school style with a lot of hard work.  I am looking forward to a solid run on Friday.”

Coming back on board to support the Empire Racing efforts in the NCWTS arena are returning sponsors and NESCO Bus Sales and Maintenance. supported Corr and the Empire Racing teams ARCA endeavors at the World Center of Racing for the ARCA series opener. Friday will not only be a day with supporters, fans and teammates but  Corr will pilot the No. 82 NESCO Bus Sales and Maintenance Ford F-150 for 100 laps around the superspeedway all the while marking a very momentous milestone in his life - his 30th birthday.

Empire Racing PR

One year after a successful launch of 'The Crew Challenge', Ford Racing has joined Brad Keselowski's digital initiative as the presenting sponsor and a key partner of the interactive fan contest. The contest, which will now be known as 'The Crew Challenge presented by Ford Racing', is housed on Keselowski's award-winning website, The multimedia platform gives fans the chance to tell Keselowski's story and their own experiences with the sport from any perspective or location, and in the process, earn valuable prizes. Fans can participate on a weekly basis throughout the season, with this year's contest getting underway today with the green flag for the duel races at Daytona International Speedway.

In 'The Crew Challenge presented by Ford Racing', fans are encouraged to participate in the storytelling of the racing season, submitting substantive stories, pictures and videos to the website. Fans earn points based on the quality of their entries. Points can be earned, for example, if Keselowski personally re-tweets a submission to his more than 450,000 followers. Earned points can be cashed-in for prizes of varying value and simultaneously, a leaderboard displays the cumulative point totals earned by each fan with season-ending prizes for those earning the most points. This weekend at the Daytona 500, Keselowski is hosting the 2013 'Crew Challenge' grand prize winner, Abbie Smith. Smith will accompany Keselowski as his personal guest for the weekend courtesy of an all-expenses-paid trip.

"Brad has proven to be on the leading edge of digital and social media," said Tim Duerr, Marketing Manager for Ford Racing. "We see 'The Crew Challenge presented by Ford Racing' as a new and exciting way to engage with Brad's huge fanbase and in the process reward them for their passion for NASCAR racing."

One of the areas in which Ford Racing's presence will be most appreciated by the fans is in the prizes. Thanks to Ford Racing fans can earn VIP behind-the-scenes access to race events including credentials and suite passes, as well as numerous other prizes from the manufacturer. New prizes will be added throughout the season from Ford, as well as from the partners of Team Penske and Brad Keselowski Racing.

"It's great to have Ford Racing on-board as the presenting sponsor for 'The Crew Challenge," said Keselowski. "We are continually striving to provide fans with new, better, and different ways to experience the races and engage with the sport, while at the same time strengthen our relationships with our key partners, such as Ford Racing, by providing them with new ideas and value. I think we have achieved both here."

For more information and to sign up for 'The Crew Challenge presented by Ford Racing', please visit


Cooper Standard (NYSE: CPS) announced today that the company is building on its community involvement activities with the formation of the "Cooper Standard Careers for Veterans" program. The program will leverage Cooper Standard's partnership with Brad Keselowski and Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR) throughout the 2014 NASCAR season.

Novi, Michigan based Cooper Standard, a leading global supplier of systems and components for the automotive industry, has been a primary partner of BKR since 2011. The BKR team, which fields multiple entries in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series including the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150, is owned by NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Keselowski. Cooper Standard originally partnered with Brad Keselowski based on his Michigan heritage (Rochester Hills, Michigan-native) and the shared interests in assisting military veterans returning to civilian life. Brad Keselowski's Checkered Flag Foundation strives to support those who have sacrificed greatly including military members and veterans.

The overall objective of the "Cooper Standard Careers for Veterans" program is to provide career opportunities for military veterans and those transitioning from active service. "We look at the 'Careers for Veterans' program as a means for Cooper Standard to let veterans know we are actively hiring and looking to recruit top talent that can positively impact our business," said Jeff Edwards, Cooper Standard's Chairman and CEO. "In many cases, military veterans possess unique skill sets acquired through their service to our country. Cooper Standard is one company where these veterans can put these skills to work. Brad Keselowski and BKR will help get this message out to the massive NASCAR audience, and many military families. We hope that Cooper Standard's efforts and the visibility of the program through Brad and BKR encourage other companies to engage in similar programs."

Keselowski, as well as Ryan Blaney, the driver of the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150, will help serve as spokesmen of the Cooper Standard program. The No. 29 BKR truck with Blaney at the wheel will feature a special "Cooper Standard Careers for Veterans" paint scheme that will take to the track at four (4) races in 2014 -- Daytona (February 21st), Charlotte (May 16th), Kentucky (June 26th) and Michigan (August 16th).

"Cooper Standard has been a terrific partner of not just BKR over the past few years, but also the Checkered Flag Foundation and our efforts on that front," said Keselowski. "I and everyone at BKR and the Foundation are absolutely 100-percent behind 'Cooper Standard Careers for Veterans' and are pleased that Cooper Standard has asked us to play a role in the initiative."

For more information on "Cooper Standard Careers for Veterans" please visit


Jeffrey Earnhardt has run 27 races across four Nationwide Series seasons, but now he’s ready to take on the circuit week by week, track by track.

For the first time, Earnhardt, 24, is scheduled to run the entire Nationwide circuit this year in Chevrolets owned and prepared by JD Motorsports, a Gaffney, S.C.-based team that has a long history in Nationwide racing.

Earnhardt will drive the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller Flex Seal No. 4 Chevrolet beginning with Saturday’s DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway.

“I’m really looking forward to getting started at Daytona,” said Earnhardt, grandson of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. “Johnny has always had good equipment at Daytona, and I’m ready to see what we can do. Mike Wallace always put their stuff near the front there, and superspeedway racing more or less puts everybody on an even playing field.

“It’s kind of a crapshoot. It’s all about where you put yourself near the end.”

JD Motorsports PR

Landon Cassill knows the promise of Daytona International Speedway.

In 2011, Cassill rolled home third in a Nationwide Series race at DIS, one of the spotlighted venues on the 33-race Nationwide schedule.

In the tight packing drafts of Daytona, almost anything can happen.

“It’s a great track, and you can put yourself in position to do great things here,” Cassill said. “So much can happen in just a few laps. You can go from first to 15th and back in no time. It’s just the way Daytona racing works.”

Cassill will get his next shot at Daytona success in Saturday’s DRIVE4COPD 300 Nationwide Series opener. He’ll challenge the 2.5-mile track again in the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller G&K Services No. 01 Chevrolet.

Cassill, 24, is back for a full-series run in JDM’s Chevrolets after running in 23 Nationwide races for the Gaffney, S.C. team last year. Cassill carries sponsorship from G&K Services and Flex Seal.

Daytona practice is scheduled to begin at noon (ET) Thursday. There will be a second practice at 3 p.m.

JD Motorsports PR

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet, is scheduled to appear at Phoenix International Raceway’s Budweiser ROLL-BAR Club for a question-and-answer session with NASCAR fans before The Profit on CNBC 500 Presented by Small Business Fueling America NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, March 2.

The Budweiser ROLL-BAR Club, located on the west side of the track behind the Bobby Allison Grandstands, features the best in live entertainment each day throughout the entire The Profit on CNBC 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend at PIR, as well as appearances by some of NASCAR’s top personalities.

Harvick is a four-time winner on the oval at PIR, tying him for the track record for most wins in NASCAR’s elite series.  Harvick has won the November NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at PIR each of the last two years, capturing the AdvoCare 500 last fall after leading a race-high 70 laps. In addition to his two AdvoCare 500 victories, Harvick swept both Sprint Cup Series races at Phoenix in 2006, becoming the first driver to accomplish that feat at PIR.

Overall, Harvick is a nine-time winner in Phoenix, with four Sprint Cup Series wins, four victories in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and one race win in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. His nine wins are tied with Kyle Busch for the second-most ever at the track across all competitions, trailing only Ken Schrader, who won 15 races across four series at PIR.

Single-day tickets to the Budweiser ROLL-BAR Club  are available for $99 on Saturday, March 1 and for $149 on Sunday, March 2. Additional purchase of grandstand ticket is required for track admission.



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