Sunday, Mar 26
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps. Mike Wallace and the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller team will use that saying as they prepare to race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The team has traveled from Phoenix with hopes of running and finishing well at the 1.5 mile track located just outside of the city.

The No. 01 team will be welcoming back G&K Services as they look to improve on their current points position in the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series. After running well at both Daytona and Phoenix, the team has not earned the results they deserved, but will not be deterred from working hard to race up front this weekend. The team will look to build on their setup from last year, which netted them a top 20 finish.

Mike Wallace Quotes: “Our team enjoys coming out to Vegas to participate in the big NASCAR race weekend each year, and this will be no exception. Although our finishes have not represented our running position, I am happy with our performance and hope we can finally have some luck on our side in Vegas.”

JD Motorsports PR

“Some days you’re the windshield, some days you’re the bug. Today, we were the bug.” – Tweet from @TonyOldman10 Sunday evening, March 3.

Tony Gibson, crew chief of Danica Patrick’s No. 10 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), hit send on that bit of wisdom just hours after he and Patrick looked over a destroyed race car in the garage area during the Subway Fresh Fit 500k NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday, March 3 at Phoenix International Raceway.

One week after starting on the pole and leading five laps en route to a record-setting eighth-place finish in the 55th Daytona 500, Patrick and Gibson became “the bug” after a massive accident at Phoenix sent them to a disappointing 39th-place finish.

Patrick was in the top-25 on lap 184 at Phoenix when she exited turn four of the mile oval and the right-front tire of her car suddenly lost all air pressure. Her machine headed straight for the SAFER Barrier on the outside of turn four, and the right front of her Chevrolet SS took the brunt of the impact. The car then bounced off the wall and was hit in the driver’s side by the oncoming car of David Ragan, who had nowhere to go.

The two collisions destroyed Patrick’s car, but the driver was checked and released without injury from the infield care center. The accident caused Patrick to fall from seventh to 22nd in the point standings.

Patrick will look to change her luck in this week’s Kobalt Tools 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and everyone knows luck is an important part of any trip to Vegas. So, perhaps it’s ironic that Patrick will make her 13th career Sprint Cup Series start this weekend.

If the number isn’t traditionally lucky, at least Patrick’s stock car luck at the 1.5-mile oval traditionally has been good. In three NASCAR Nationwide Series starts at Las Vegas, Patrick has two top-12 finishes, including a record-setting fourth-place result in 2011.

That marked the best finish by a woman in a NASCAR national stock-car series, topping a fifth-place run by Sarah Christian in a Sprint Cup race in 1949 at Heidelberg (Pa.) Raceway.


Ryan Newman’s 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series seasongot off to a great start at Daytona, where he posted a fifth-place finish. But a pair of tire failures at Phoenix left him with a 40th-place result. Newman enters the Kobalt Tools 400 on March 10 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway 20thin points in the Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, but it’s not time to hit the panic button just yet.

Newman’s results at Las Vegas since joining Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) have been trending in the right direction. His finishes of 25th, 18th, fifth and fourth, respectively, have Newman putting last week’s disappointing result at Phoenix in the proverbial rearview mirror.

SHR looked strong in this race one year ago, with teammate Tony Stewart claiming the win and Newman finishing fourth, bringing plenty of optimism to the Quicken Loans camp as Newman heads into the race Sunday. And while the field for the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship is far from being determined, strong finishes to start the season can certainly help solidify a team’s chances of earning one of the 12 coveted berths. Scoring early-season wins certainly increases the odds, as well.

Newman and crew chief Matt Borland have looked forward to the 267-lap race at Las Vegas, the first intermediate racetrack of the 2013 season. With a bulk of the 36 races that make up the schedule contested at similar tracks, the No. 39 team is eager to assess its intermediate program with NASCAR’s sixth-generation racecar.

For Newman, Las Vegas Motor Speedway offers up a little bit of everything he likes in a racetrack. From the banking to the bumps, the character of the 1.5-mile oval gets him excited about racing at Las Vegas. While he has yet to make his way to victory lane there, his recent performances make him hard to overlook as a potential winner.


Jason White will get his first taste of Nationwide Series racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in this weekend's Sam's Town 300. He will be behind the wheel of the No. 00 SR2 Motorsports-fielded Toyota Camry. Don't be fooled, though, White knows his way around the 1.5-mile oval. He has six Truck Series starts under his belt and has finished inside the top-15 in four of the events. His best finish was third place, which he achieved in 2009.

Last week at Phoenix International Raceway, White rallied to a 22nd-place finish despite having brake issues. He's ready for action and anxious to show his team's true potential.


White comments on racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:


"I'm really looking forward to my first Nationwide race at Vegas. Hopefully my experience in the Truck Series will give me a nice head start for this weekend. I know my way around the track and have a good feel for what a truck needs to be successful there, so it will be a matter of adapting that feel to my Toyota Camry. I'm sure it will take a few laps to warm up, but it won't take too long to get up to speed. One of my best-ever finishes was at Las Vegas, so that gives me a lot of confidence about Saturday.


"I'm really impressed with the potential our SR2 Motorsports team has shown. We had some trouble with our brakes last week at Phoenix, but our car was handling really well. I think we had a top-20 coming our way, maybe even a top-15, if it hadn't been for that. You'll have problems like that from time to time, but I'm excited about what we're achieving and the progress the team has shown. The guys at the shop are putting good equipment on the track and I know this could be a great weekend.


"Vegas usually comes down to horsepower and handling. The track is really fast and it has some bumps in (Turns) 1 and 2 that can disrupt your line. If your car isn't handling well, the bumps make it seem a lot worse, so it's important that your car handles well on that end of the track. It's definitely one of our most fun tracks and one of the coolest cities to go racing in."


SR2 Motorsports PR


Blake Koch set a new benchmark for SR2 Motorsports at Phoenix International Raceway in last weekend's Dollar General 200. He eclipsed the team's best finish of 22nd place at the "Desert Jewel" with a 16th-place run. His eyes are now set on the Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he hopes to raise the bar yet again.

Koch and SR2 Motorsports have a near-blank slate at Las Vegas. SR2 Motorsports' only start at the 1.5-mile oval netted a 30th-place finish with Benny Gordon behind the wheel last season. Koch has one start at Las Vegas as well, which resulted in an 18th-place performance. Koch feels confident that his No. 24 team can set a new standard this weekend.


Koch comments on racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:


"We had a great finish last weekend at Phoenix. I'm really excited about the potential our team is showing. It definitely gave us a lot of confidence and momentum heading into Las Vegas. When you have a good performance, it makes all the difference in the world. Everyone is pumped up and anxious to hit the track again. I can't wait.


"Of course, this will be our first mile-and-a-half track this season, which is totally different than Phoenix. Las Vegas is a lot faster and has steeper banking. I think this weekend will be a good gauge of how well our program has advanced. It will give us a chance to size up our strengths and weaknesses for our intermediate track setups. We'll race on more intermediate tracks this season than any other configuration, so it's important that we learn all we can and keep improving as the season goes on. The key is to keep taking steps in the right direction and so far we're on a great path.


"Las Vegas is so unique. The city is electric and has an atmosphere unlike any other place we go. The track has done a great job of capturing that and bringing it to the race fans. It's always a really fun race to be a part of."

SR2 Motorsports PR


Reed Sorenson, who will fill in for Michael Annett, looks to make the most of his opportunity to drive the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford. This weekend will mark Sorenson's fourth Nationwide start at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Peachtree City, Ga., driver has an average finish of 14.2 at the 1.5-mile track and tallied his best finish of sixth in his Nationwide track debut in 2005. 


The No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford team posted a 13th-place finish in last season's event and found success at similar tracks throughout the season.


Comments from Pilot Flying J Ford Mustang Driver Reed Sorenson:


"I haven't run a race at Vegas in two years, but I really like the track. I had a really good car there in 2011 and finished well. It's a great race track, and the surface is getting better and better. I'm just ready to get back there.


"I really look forward to working with the Pilot Flying J team. We will have over four hours of practice since the series will be racing on a new tire. This will give us significant amount of time to get to know each other. It will also help them figure out what I want in the car and help me to figure out how they do things. It will be nice to have that extra time.


"I'm really excited for this opportunity and look forward to making the best of it. We want to have strong runs with the Pilot Flying J Ford while Michael heals."


Comments from Crew Chief Philippe Lopez on Vegas:


"We found a lot of success at mile-and-a-half tracks last season. We're in a position now where we can take more gambles now that Michael is out for a few races. We want to help build the program while he is gone so we can hit the ground running when he gets back. The additional practice time this weekend will help us get into a good groove with Reed. I think we will see good speed this weekend and hopefully can come away with a good finish."



Buoyed by the success of last year's "Send a Soldier to The Rock" promotion, Rockingham Speedway is partnering with the United Service Organization of North Carolina (USO of NC) to continue the program for the April 14 running of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at The Rock presented by Cheerwine.


Through Send a Soldier to The Rock, race fans can purchase tickets to the event that will be distributed by the USO of NC to servicemen and women and their families.


"Supporting our men and women in uniform is something that I am passionate about," said Rockingham Speedway President Andy Hillenburg. "They sacrifice so much for our freedom and Send a Soldier to The Rock is a small way for the speedway and fans to show our appreciation.


 "Having the USO of North Carolina come on board makes this so much more special. They have such a long history of great work for our soldiers, sailors and marines and we won't to support that work."


Rockingham Speedway will be donating a portion of ticket sales from Send a Soldier to The Rock back to the USO of NC.


"The USO of NC is pleased to partner with the Rockingham Speedway to help enrich the lives of service members and their families," said John Falkenbury, President of the USO of NC. "The USO of NC and NASCAR have worked together on many programs that allow our troops and families to enjoy races, spend time together and to serve as visible reminders of their selfless service to all race. This partnership helps us continue our mission to lift the spirits of those we serve and demonstrates the love and support our community has for our troops."


Fans can purchase $25 Send a Soldier to The Rock tickets by calling 910.205.8800 or online at


The UARA-STARS Late Model Series and the Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals (FKSSN) will join the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for the weekend. The UARA and FKSSN will be competing on Saturday, April 13, with qualifying on Friday, April 12.


The NCWTS will practice on Saturday with qualifying and racing on Sunday, April 14.


The Rock PR

Race fans can begin downloading the new Martinsville Speedway Mobile App which should make their next trip to Martinsville Speedway a much easier experience.

The new app, which is available at no cost for iOS and Android, has features that will help visitors navigate their way around Martinsville Speedway’s property on event weekends. The first event fans will be able to utilize the Martinsville Speedway App will be the STP® Gas Booster™ 500 weekend April 5-7.

“Rolling out our mobile App is just the next logical step in today’s digital world,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. “It will be the easiest way possible for fans to keep up with race weekend schedules, find their way around the track and even find the closest concession stand. It’s going to make the entire experience much more enjoyable.”

Key features of the new App include: interactive GPS map, detailed facility maps, race weekend schedule, ability to find your friends at the track, and much, much more.

The Martinsville Speedway App for iPhone users can be downloaded at:

Android users can find the Martinsville Speedway App at:

Martinsville Speedway PR

Roush Fenway Racing has been named a finalist for the PR News’ Social Media Icon Award. The program is sponsored by PR News and is designated to honor those that “took chances, made incredible strides and understand the power of social media in public relations.”

RFR has been named a finalist in the category of “Use of Google+”, with its marketing efforts through the platform in 2012. Roush Fenway become the first motorsports team to build a significant footprint in the Google+ space and the first team to exceed one million fans in its combined circles.

A leader in NASCAR marketing solutions, Roush Fenway has brought home MarCom awards the past two years for its award-winning campaigns and “25 Winning Years.” The significantly upped its level of fan engagement with a behind the scenes look at the organization kicking off at the 2012 Daytona Speedweeks with the first ever ‘Five Driver Hangout.’ The platform also featured live pre and post-race driver ‘hangouts’ from Daytona International Speedway, as well as G+ Hangouts from Fenway Park and RFR Fan Days.

In 2012 RFR was recognized by USA Today as having the “broadest social media reach” in NASCAR through its Google+ circles.

View Roush Fenway/Google+ Sizzle Reel

Winners will be announced at the Social Media Icon Awards Luncheon on April 17 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City.


Furniture Row Racing driver Kurt Busch is banking on a “Lucky 13” start to beat the odds and fulfill a career dream of claiming his first Sprint Cup victory in his hometown of Las Vegas.
“Not too many people beat the odds in Las Vegas, but after 12 attempts of trying to win there, I think I’m overdue,” said Busch, whose No. 78 Chevrolet will feature a new associate sponsor – Serta Mattress – for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
A strong proponent of Las Vegas, Busch joined former Las Vegas Mayor and current Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Host Committee Chair Oscar Goodman and Las Vegas Motor Speedway president Chris Powell at a news conference last week to discuss the economic impact of the NASCAR race weekend.
“The NASCAR weekend is one of the biggest of the year in Las Vegas, having an economic impact of more than $240 million,” explained Busch, who is ranked fifth among active drivers with 24 career Cup wins. “As a Las Vegas native and a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver that makes me very proud.”
What would make Busch even more proud is to leave the city Sunday with the winning hardware, which has eluded the former NASCAR champion since his first Cup start at Las Vegas in 2001.
“Look at the record, it’s quite evident that Las Vegas Motor Speedway has been tough on me,” said Busch, who has one top-five and three top-10s in 12 starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “It’s a challenging track and the new Gen-6 car could make it even more challenging.
“But I like the track and feel it’s a winnable place. It would be the ultimate welcome to our new associate sponsor Serta, whose top-of-the-line mattresses are sold at Denver Mattress locations nationwide.”
Winning at Las Vegas might initially appear to be an unrealistic goal after looking at the team finishes in the first two races – 28th (Daytona) and 27th (Phoenix). But a closer look at the performances of those two races does indeed suggest that the No. 78 Furniture Row/Serta Chevrolet SS is a capable contender.
“We proved that we can run up front in both Daytona and Phoenix, but accidents and untimely car issues have held us back,” noted Busch. “We have the potential to be contending at the end, but need to have a clean and error-free race.”

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