Monday, Mar 27
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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The Shop, located at 2 North Franklin Street in the village of Watkins Glen, is now located too! Watkins Glen International successfully unveiled its online merchandise store today.

“Launching the online store provides us with the ability to serve our fans all over the United States and abroad,” Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup said. “We are thrilled that it is in place just in time for the 2013 season at The Glen.”

T-shirts, hats and other collectible items previously only available in-store may now be purchased at The Shop online. Guests are able to select from a variety of items and have them delivered right to their door. Fans can browse the store by visiting and clicking “Merch” on the top navigation bar.

Located in the Finger Lake Region of New York, Watkins Glen International is the premier road racing facility in the United States. Tickets for all 2013 events at The Glen are available now. Fans that purchase tickets during the advance sales period have the chance to save over those that purchase during event time. Gift certificates, licensed merchandise, Thunder Road Tours and tickets are available for purchase at The Shop, located in downtown Watkins Glen at 2 North Franklin Street and online at The Shop is open Monday-Friday 10 a.m. -4 p.m.


With the ever-changing world of communication through technology, Darlington Raceway is giving its race fans more convenient and enhanced ways to obtain information about the trackToo Tough To Tame with the launch of its new mobile app and redesigned website.

The free mobile app, available for both iOS and Android users, will give fans the most up-to-date information on the track, which includes news, maps, social media, event information and more.

“Our mobile app is just another way we can communicate with our fans in a timely manner,” Darlington president Chris Browning said. “We understand the ever-growing usage of smart phones with our fans and this is another way to update them with what’s going on with our track year-round.”

Visit the iTunes App Store or Google Play to download the free app today using keyword search “Darlington Raceway” or by clicking on the links below via your Sprint Smartphone or other mobile device.


Google Play:

The new and improved will offer a more streamlined format that is easier to navigate and also feature Facebook and Twitter RSS feeds, showing the most up to date posts from the track. The improved homepage also give fans a new design that provides better ways to purchase tickets and find content about the track.

“We’re thrilled about our redesigned website. It provides better functionality and easier ways for fans to purchase tickets and access information,” Browning said. “We’ve found over the years that fans want a simple and easy way to navigate throughout our website and our redesign provides that for them.”

Darlington Raceway PR

After a lot of building and a lot of testing, Josh Wise says it's time to go racing. And Front Row Motorsports is ready for it. The driver of the No. 35 MDS Transport Ford says this weekend's race at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway will finally give the team a feel of what many 2013 Sprint Cup Series tracks will be like because the 1.5-mile Vegas oval is one of numerous intermediate tracks the series visits.


The team built its own Gen-6 cars in the off-season, unlike most other smaller teams that get their cars from bigger operations. After testing in Charlotte in January, Wise and his teammates are eager to drive those cars on the first intermediate track on the race schedule.


Wise has one Sprint Cup start at Vegas under his belt and has three starts at the track in the Nationwide Series.


Race fans will get to meet Wise and his Front Row Motorsports teammates in Las Vegas on Saturday. The trio will sign autographs at the Riviera Hotel & Casino from 7 to 8 p.m. local time.


Comments from MDS Transport team driver Josh Wise heading to Las Vegas:


"I think our team as a whole, just in the last year since I've been at Front Row Motorsports, has done a good job building race cars. And I think we showcased that at Daytona. And we tested at Charlotte in January and we learned a lot there as well. So we're excited to get in a position where we can start applying this stuff and just go racing. It's that time of year where everyone's just excited to get going.


"Vegas is really cool. We've had a lot of repaves in the last couple years, and Vegas just has a lot of character. I don't know how many years it's been since its last repave, but it's not smooth by any means, which is cool for us as drivers. You've got some pretty good bumps that you've got to miss into Turn 1 and the track widens out and gets racy. I look forward to going to places like that. And of course, Las Vegas is one of those places that's close to home (Riverside, Calif.), so it's always good to race in your own neck of the woods."



Most people like a nice smooth road when they're behind the wheel. But when it comes to Sprint Cup race tracks, sometimes bumpier is better. David Gilliland, for one, looks forward to the unique surface characteristics of Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway, where the Cup Series will race its third points event of the season this weekend.


The No. 38 team will race the Long John Silver's paint scheme for the second consecutive week. Gilliland is eager to make the first intermediate-track race a solid one, after falling victim to accidents during the first two races on the schedule.


The California native has been racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway since he was a 21-year-old K&N Pro Series West driver. Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400 will be Gilliland's seventh Cup career start at the 1.5-mile oval. His best finish is 14th (2009).


Fans of Gilliland and his Front Row Motorsports teammates will have the opportunity to meet them in Las Vegas on Saturday. The trio will sign autographs at the Riviera Hotel & Casino from 7 to 8 p.m. local time.


Comments from Long John Silver's team driver David Gilliland heading to Las Vegas:


"The Charlotte test should help us at Las Vegas. We learned some interesting things that they've gone back to the wind tunnel and backed up. So, we've got some good information as a team. Personally, I'm excited to drive the new car on a mile-and-a-half track. Everyone says the cars drive really well and are more fun to drive than last year's car, so I'm looking forward to it.


"Las Vegas has its own unique characteristics. I think getting into Turn 1, there are some bumps that you've got to tune your car around. It puts more in the hands of the individual teams and drivers to make it work. It's unique, it's fast and it's always a lot of fun.


"I'm not much of a gambler but the Vegas weekend will still be fun personally. My wife and family are coming and also some extended family and we're renting a house out there. The west coast races are really our home-away-from-home races with all the family and friend we still have out there, so I always look forward to this part of the season when we spend a lot of time out on that side of the country."



Racing at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway can present a lot of variables with the unique track surface and the unpredictable springtime weather. But David Ragan is actually looking for predictability and stability in this week's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The driver of the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports got caught up in "wrong place, wrong time" accidents in the series' first two races of the year, so he's looking for a day of no surprises in Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400.


The weekend will produce some uncertainty, however, with the event marking the first time the new Gen-6 car races on a mile-and-a-half track. To help alleviate some of that uncertainty, the team will participate in an open test at the track Thursday before race practice officially begins Friday.


Fans of Ragan and his Front Row Motorsports teammates will have the opportunity to meet them in Las Vegas on Saturday. The trio will sign autographs at the Riviera Hotel & Casino from 7 to 8 p.m. local time.


Ragan has six Cup career starts at Las Vegas with a top finish of seventh (2008).


Comments from Front Row Motorsports team driver David Ragan heading to Las Vegas:


"We learned a lot at the Charlotte test, like that the Gen-6 cars have a little bit more speed and a little more downforce. A lot of it depends on what kind of tires that Goodyear brings. But the Vegas track is a really fast track and a 400-mile race, so it's kind of a fast-paced race and it's always one of my favorite weekends of the year. Hopefully we can take some of the things that we learned at the Charlotte test and try it out on the open test date on the Thursday prior to the Vegas race. And we'll see the telltale signs of who's got the cars figured out, who's better than others and what we have to work on.


"Vegas is a track that has some cold winters but really, really hot summers, so it ages a little different than other places. It gets very windy at times, too. And in the spring, you can have a really hot day followed by a really cold day. So you never know what you're going to get. But it's definitely one of the fun stops. It's always a packed house with a lot of great race fans.


"The race track facility is one of the nicest we go to, and it's just a few miles down from the Las Vegas strip. We all enjoy that, doing a lot of people-watching. I'm not a huge gambler. I'll play a little bit, just for entertainment. But we enjoy finding some good spots to go eat some good meals; there's a lot of good restaurants in Vegas. So we have fun, but not so much fun that it hurts us on Sunday."



Elliott Sadler: Next

Tuesday, Mar 05

Since 1998, ESPN The Magazine has issued a special edition of its publication called “Next.” The special issue has become an annual event that recognizes an elite group of emerging athletes sports fans should keep an eye on as they are competitors on the verge of stardom, and in the unique position of possibly transcending sports into pop culture.

As a veteran driver on the NASCAR circuit, Elliott Sadler has already proven himself as a championship contender and star competitor in the Nationwide Series. During his 16-year NASCAR career, Sadler has won races and contended for championships in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series. His career Nationwide record includes nine wins, 46 top-fives, 86 top-10s and 15 pole awards. And since returning to the series as a full-time competitor in 2011, the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver has finished a close second in the Nationwide Series championship battle the last two seasons.

With such a decorated career, the opportunity for first-time or new experiences are hard to come by. This weekend however, Sadler will be able to do just that as he’ll become the “next” driver to join the Interstate Batteries Racing family of drivers.

Interstate Batteries and JGR enjoy a partnership that stretches back more than 20 years to 1992, JGR’s first full NASCAR season. And when Sadler takes to the track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Sam’s Town 300, he will become just the seventh driver to drive an Interstate Batteries-sponsored car, joining the likes of NASCAR champions Dale Jarrett and Bobby Labonte, as well as Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Mark Martin and J.J. Yeley.

It’s a unique fraternity into which Sadler will pledge this weekend, made even more special considering his long relationship with the pioneer of that group – Dale Jarrett.

Jarrett was the first among a string of JGR drivers to sport the Interstate Batteries Racing logo. During his tenure behind the wheel of the Interstate Batteries car Jarrett recorded one of NASCAR’s most memorable moments when he won the 1993 Daytona 500. While holding off one of the greatest competitors in the late Dale Earnhardt to become a Daytona 500 champion, Jarrett made the last circuit around the track while his father, Hall of Famer Ned Jarrett, made the call of the last lap as part of CBS’ broadcast of the race. It was a poignant moment for the father and son that transcended the world of auto racing and made a lasting impression on a new generation of NASCAR drivers – including Sadler.

Ten years after that historic moment, Jarrett would take Sadler under his wing as a teammate at Robert Yates Racing. The two raced and worked together during the course of four seasons from 2003 to 2006, becoming close friends – a natural occurrence given everything the two drivers have in common. Both are natives of the South and come from families with racing history. They each were standout high school athletes who had the opportunity to compete collegiately on scholarship – Jarrett in golf and Sadler in basketball. They share a love of traditional stick-and-ball sports, particularly when it comes to college basketball and the North Carolina Tar Heels.

The commonality that Sadler and Jarrett share is lengthy, and it expands this weekend as they will now share the honor of having driven for the respected Interstate Batteries brand. And while it’s very early in the 2013 season, Sadler hopes the “next” thing he and Jarrett shares is the title of NASCAR champion.


Richard Petty Motorsports announced today that Reed Sorenson will fill in for NASCAR Nationwide Series team driver Michael Annett, who was injured in a crash at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and had to undergo surgery for a fractured and dislocated sternum.


Sorenson will race the No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford beginning this week at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway and remain the driver until Annett is healed and cleared by NASCAR officials to race. Sorenson made his Nationwide Series debut in 2004 and has collected four wins, 38 top-five and 85 top-10 finishes.


"It's an unfortunate situation for the team and Michael," said Sorenson. "I have been to the hospital to see him, and he will be fine, but it's going to take some time to heal. As a friend for a long time, my initial reaction was concern. I'm glad that he's recovering now."


"It was very unexpected to get the opportunity to step in," continued Sorenson. "The best part is that my friend, Michael, will be cheering for me and the whole 43 Pilot Flying J team. I talked to him about it, and he really wants to see me do well. This is a big deal for me, and I am going to make the most of it."


The No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford team finished fifth in last year's point standings and now looks to continue their hunt for the Nationwide Owner's Championship. In addition the team wants to be prepared for when Annett is ready to return.


"It's an unfortunate situation to have to deal with," said Director of Competition Sammy Johns. "We had a lot of momentum from last year and we want to make sure we don't lose that and give Michael the best situation possible when he returns."



With the 2012 racing season at Kingsport Speedway concluding during the hot heat at end of summer last August with local schools back in session, following a long, cold winter around East Tennessee and Southwest Virigina, both race fans and competitors alike are ready for the first green flag of 2013 to wave at "The Concrete Jungle" on Saturday afternoon, March 9.

Beginning the third season with former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series competitor Robert Pressley promoting Kingsport Speedway, Dalton Direct Carpets Day at the Races at the .375-mile banked concrete oval will feature exciting racing action in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock (60 laps), Street Stock (30 laps), Pure 4 (25 laps), Legends (20 laps) and Rookie Pure 4 (12 laps) divisions on Saturday.

One thing is certain, a new Late Model Stock champion will be crowned in 2013, with the decision of two-time defending track and also Tennessee State NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion Nate Monteith stepping into the car-owner role and handing driving duties over to protege Blake Jones of Sevierville. Along with the 16-year-old Jones, other Late Model Stock drivers expected to be in action Saturday include Zeke Shell of Johnson City, Paul Nogradi Jr. of Clinton, Ryan Stiltner of Grundy, Va., Daniel Pope II of Smyrna, Austin Peters of Kingsport (2012 Tennessee State NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Rookie-of-the-Year), Lee Tissot of Asheville, N.C., Hayden Woods of Piney Flats, Anthony Anders of Easley, S.C., Joey Trent of Gray, Adam Long of Pounding Mill, Va., Chad Finchum of Knoxville, Royce Peters of Kingsport, Wayne Hale of Bluff City, Robbie Ferguson of Jonesborough, Rick Pannell of Kingsport, Kres VanDyke of Claypool Hill, Va., Mark Christian of Blountville, plus several others. Competing for rookie honors in 2013 will be 18-year-old Erika Schmidt of Greenback, along with Taylor Coffman of Bean Station and Adam Gray of Kingsport.

Defending Street Stock champion Roger Neece of Clintwood, Va., will have a bull's-eye on him as several competitors look to wrestle the title away from the veteran driver. Among those will be Rob Austin of Castlewood, Va., John Harrell of Surgoinsville, Chris Tunnell of Wise, Va., Jared Broadbent of Spruce Pine, N.C., Nick Cole of Bristol, Paul Shull of Church Hill, Tony Ward of Kingsport, Tony Vance of St. Paul, Va., Jeff Counts of Castlewood, Va., Rick Smith of Kingsport, Greg Grindstaff of Bakersville, N.C., along with others.

Defending Pure 4 champion Jason Ketron of Kingsport will see among others trying to dethrone him as champion his father, John and brother, Billy. Also throw into the mix Model City-based racers Chris Neeley, Keith Helton, Kenny Absher, David Trent, Glenn Hughes, William Hale and Todd Cross, plus several others.

Seventeen-year-old Daniel Boone High School student Tyler Goodwin totally dominated Legends racing action in 2012 by recording 17 feature wins in 19 starts and easily winning the championship. Who will challenge Goodwin and possibly dethrone him as champion, could it be Drew Shortridge of Abingdon, Va., Zack Walton of Blountville, Greg Turner of Nickelsville, Va., Hubert Whitehead of Burnsville, N.C., Jacob Owens of Bean Station, Tony Wiggins of Kingsport, or some other chauffeur?

Also racing in 2013 will be the Rookie Pure 4 division for beginning drivers, where Knoxville's Jimmy Hillard captured the championship in 2012; along with the Mod 4 class tentatively slated to be in action for seven events.

The pit gate will open Saturday, March 9 at 9 a.m., with both grandstand and tier-parking gates opening at 11:30 a.m.

Practice will begin at 11:30 a.m. Qualifying is set for 1 p.m. and the season-opening green flag is scheduled to wave at 2:30 p.m.

Adult grandstand admission $10, with kids 12-and-under admitted free. Adult tier-parking admission $10 per person, plus a $10 vehicle parking spot fee. Pit passes are $25 with a NASCAR license, $35 without a license. NASCAR license forms are available at the track office during the week, and they will also be available at pit sign-in the day of event.

Tell your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers all about the exciting, action-packed weekly racing programs at Kingsport Speedway. You don't want to miss it!

Kingsport Speedway PR

Mike Wallace and Daryl Harr were prepared and ready to attack Phoenix International Raceway to rebound from Daytona. The weekend began with two practice sessions on Friday. The No. 01 Verve! Bold Chevy went through a variety of changes as the Marc Browning led crew searched for the winning setup for raceday. After experimenting with different approaches, the team ended up 34th and 33rd respectively.

Throughout the day, Daryl Harr worked to re-adjust himself to the No. 4 iWorld Chevy, welcoming the opportunity to race in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for JD Motorsports in 2013. The No. 4 iWorld Chevy ended the day 36th in both practice sessions.

Saturday morning began with qualifying, where the No. 01 Verve! Bold Chevy would start the race from the 25th position. The entire team was thrilled to have picked up from practice and began to work on race strategy to work their way through the field. Daryl Harr in the No. 4 machine ended up rolling off 38th to begin the race.

Immediately from the drop of the green flag, both cars were able to move up through the field, with Mike Wallace finding himself in the top 20 less than 40 laps in. The driver radioed that the car was sporty as the first round of pit stops occurred, and the Johnny Davis led team began to fine tune the handling. Daryl Harr was also able to avoid early trouble and raced on the lead lap as a number of caution flags flew.

Unfortunately, as cars began wrecking in front of the No. 01 machine, Wallace was clipped in the nose and the experienced driver brought the car to the pits for repair. After determining the front end needed attention, the crew took the car behind the wall to work on the A frame. Less than 30 laps later, Daryl Harr began to experience motor issues and was also forced to the garage, dashing the teams’ hopes for a strong finish.

The No. 01 Verve! Bold Chevy returned to the track and finished the day 32nd, 61 laps down. Daryl Harr ended up 34th, only completed 95 laps. The team now sets its’ sights on Las Vegas Motor Speedway, looking forward to a strong finish.

Mike Wallace Quotes: “First I would like to thank the folks at Vemma for coming on board at Phoenix. It was great to have the Verve! Bold brand as part of the team this week. After working through different set ups in practice, the car actually raced really well. Unfortunately we were clipped while avoiding a spinning car, and it pretty much ended the day for us. The car was good during the race and we were moving up before the incident. Now we head to Vegas, a place where we love to race, and we look forward to running well.”

 Daryl Harr Quotes: “I had a great time racing for JD Motorsports at Phoenix. It’s a bummer that the engine had issues, but hopefully we can come back from it at Vegas!”

JD Motorsports PR

JJ Yeley, driver of the No. 36 Accell Construction Chevrolet SS for Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR), returned to his home track of Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) and was looking to continue the momentum the team built on at Daytona.


As soon as the green flag dropped, Yeley battled a loose-handling car. He and Crew Chief Joe Lax strategized on how to tune up the No. 36 and were communicating well in just their second race together.


At lap 89, Yeley was unexpectedly hit in the left rear quarter panel by the No.10 car. No caution was brought out for that incident but laps later when another caution flew, the Accell Construction pit crew evaluated the damage on the car.


As the laps wound down, Yeley said the car was the best it's been all day. Happy with the handling and on the lead lap, with 20 laps to go Yeley was pushed into the wall by the No. 88. The final caution brought a green-white-checkered finish and unfortunately Yeley ran out of fuel on the final lap. Finishing 28th, Yeley leaves Phoenix 13th in the points.


"Racing at Phoenix is always a special time for me - seeing family and friends, it means a lot to me to be here," Yeley said. "It was a tough day for the Accell Construction team, we are ready to head to Las Vegas and keep fighting."

"We wanted to keep the momentum from Daytona going," said Joe Lax, "but we suffered damage by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The good news is that we are continuing to make great strides on the No. 36, and we look forward to seeing what we've got for Vegas."



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