Wednesday, Dec 06
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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David Ragan, driver of the No. 34 Taco Bell Ford, comments on racing at Auto Club Speedway:
"California is a fun racetrack. It loses grip throughout the course of a run. You put on new tires and you feel like Superman for a few laps. It's very bumpy and there are a lot of different grooves you can run around.
"Usually for qualifying, you want to be right down on the bottom. That's where the grip's at. But throughout the course of the weekend, that groove widens out. So, by the time 'Happy Hour' rolls around on Saturday for the Sprint Cup cars, you can definitely move around to the middle and the top. A lot of times you can get your car to run faster on the bottom, but it is harder on the tires.
"We've had a bit of a rough start to our season on the 34 team. We've had a couple mechanical issues, but we've also had some plain old bad luck, too, getting caught up in other people's mistakes. The next couple weeks will be important for us to turn things around."

JUST THE FACTS: Ragan has 11 Sprint Cup career starts at Auto Club Speedway ... His best finish at the two-mile oval is seventh (2009) ... The black and purple paint scheme of Taco Bell returns at Fontana.


David Gilliland, driver of the No. 38 Love's Travel Stops Ford, comments on racing at Auto Club Speedway:

"Fontana's a different racetrack. It's a two-mile track, so you're going really fast, but it never feels like it has quite enough banking. You get down there in the corner, and it just feels like you need about 10 degrees more banking. And it's gotten rougher and rougher over the years. So, it definitely presents its own set of challenges. It's unique as a racetrack.

"It's my home track, so I always look forward to going there. There are so many people out west who helped my career and helped me get where I am today. Whenever we visit California, we always try to visit with everybody and try to do what we can to remind them how grateful we are. And this week we get to show off our awesome Love's Travel Stops paint scheme to everybody."

JUST THE FACTS: Gilliland has 12 Sprint Cup career starts at Auto Club Speedway ... His top finish in Fontana is 17th (2008) ... The 37-year-old driver is from nearby Riverside, Calif. ... Love's Travel Stops returns as the primary sponsor on the No. 38 Ford Fusion ... Gilliland will make an appearance at the Ford Racing display Sunday at 9:15 a.m.


Ryan Truex and the No. 83 Borla Exhaust Toyota Camry team finished in the 42nd position at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon.  After a flat right front tire caused Truex to have hard contact with the outside retaining wall, the BK Racing team was forced to retire early from the 500-lap event.

Making his second start at the track known as the "World's Fastest Half-Mile," Truex rolled off 40th for Sunday's Food City 500.  Morning rain delayed the initial race start, and with all the rubber washed off the track surface, the showers also prompted NASCAR to call for a mandatory competition caution just 50 laps in to the event.  Making minor adjustments to their Toyota Camry throughout the early portion of the race, the BK Racing team also had to remove tape from the grill when Truex noticed climbing water temperatures just 70 laps into the race.

Not long after, the red flag was displayed on lap 125 for heavy rain passing through Bristol, Tenn.  The rain would delay the race for nearly three and half hours, as track officials worked to dry the track surface and resume the 500-lap event.  Once the race restarted, the BK Racing team continued to make minor chassis and air pressure adjustments to fine-tune the handling of the Borla Exhaust Toyota.

By lap 275, Truex was making progress and slowly climbing through the field.  However, that progress was halted on lap 270 when the No. 83 Borla Exhaust Toyota Camry suffered a flat right front tire in turn two.  After making hard contact with the outside wall, Truex brought his heavily damaged car to the attention of his crew on pit road.  After careful assessment of the damage, the team made the official call to retire from the race on lap 336.  As a result, Truex was scored with a 42nd-place finish.

"Well, we didn't finish the race in the way we had hoped today," commented Truex.  "Our Borla Exhaust team worked really hard preparing for this race, and we were excited to get to one of the tracks where I have some previous experience in a Sprint Cup Series car.  We were making some progress in the race, but unfortunately we had a problem that was beyond our control.  The flat tire caused us to hit the wall and the damage was just too severe to continue.  I'm disappointed for everyone-my team, my sponsors-but we'll just keep at it, go back to the shop and get ready for the next one.  I'm looking forward to racing at Auto Club Speedway next week."

BK Racing PR

The Warbirds will offer up an encore flyover performance for the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway, repeating their amazing effort from last fall.

The Warbirds, a group of five former military pilots flying vintage post-World War II-type aircraft, will present the pre-race flyover for the STP 500 on March 30.

“This group put on such an amazing performance last fall that we had to have them back,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. “Their flyover was one of the best we’ve ever had. It was amazing. I still have people stop me and tell me how good it was.”

The Warbirds have performed since 2009 at other sporting events, including the 2013 CokeZero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins football games, and the Players Championship golf tournament.

The Warbirds’ team is led by Henry K. “Hoot” Gibson, a former Naval aviator and Gulf War veteran.

Martinsville Speedway PR

The International Motorsports Hall of Fame, adjacent to Talladega Superspeedway, will establish a new process for enshrinement beginning in 2015.

There will not be an International Motorsports Hall of Fame induction ceremony this year, as a result of no individual receiving the required 51 percent of the vote from the 120-person voting panel. The annual event was tentatively scheduled for Thursday, May 1, as a kickoff to the Aaron’s Dream Weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.

“The process of election into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame has served the institution and public well for many years,” said Senator Gerald Dial, Chairman of the Board for the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. “We want to make sure we are consistently honoring those deserving individuals on a yearly basis, so we are looking to create new and better procedures for induction and implement them for 2015. Once the Board of Directors of the Hall has approved and finalized the future process, we will make our members, as well as the public, aware of the changes.”

In early November last year, the Hall announced its second ballot with 22 finalists for the 2014 induction class. The percentage of votes cast for any of the finalists, however, from the panel which consists of media members as well as current International Motorsports Hall of Famers, didn’t meet the requirement for new membership. The finalists included: Michael Andretti, Raymond Beadle, Keith Black, Harold Brasington, Clint Brawner, Joie Chitwood, Harvey Firestone, Tommy Hinnershitz, David Hobbs, Ted Horn, Connie Kalitta, Joe Leonard, Roger McCluskey, Tom “Mongoose” McEwen, Danny Ongais, Marvin Panch, Les Richter, Troy Ruttman and Sir Henry Segrave. All 22, plus others, will be on the 2015 list for possible induction.

Currently, to be eligible for the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, an individual must be retired in his or her line of work in motorsports for at least five years. However, that person may still be active in the sport in a different capacity. The Hall is dedicated to enshrining those who have contributed the most to motorsports, either as a driver, developer, engineer, promoter, etc. Opened in April of 1983, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the history of motorsports. 


The Indianapolis Motor Speedway today announced that Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, Sammy Hagar and the reggae rock trio Sublime With Rome will headline the Coors Light Carb Day concert on Friday, May 23. The concert is set to deliver an exciting mix of rock, reggae, alternative rock and hip hop.

The thrilling double bill concert featuring The Red Rocker Sammy Hagar and The Wabos and Sublime With Rome is free with a Coors Light Carb Day admission of $30. The concert will take place on the new Turn 4 Coors Light Stage in the IMS infield. Coors Light Carb Day tickets are available at

"Coors Light Carb Day has become one of the most anticipated and busiest days of the year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. "The day is the official kick-off of race weekend activities and the Coors Light Carb Day concert is the place where everyone celebrates the start of a holiday weekend, summer just around the corner, and the upcoming Indianapolis 500. Sammy Hagar and Sublime with Rome bring the kind of music and entertainment to the Coors Light Carb Day stage that race fans, and music lovers, are looking for to put race weekend into high gear."

Sammy Hagar, also known as The Red Rocker, is a Grammy award-winning vocalist, guitarist, songwriter and musician, who in 2007 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Van Halen. From breaking into the industry with the seminal hard rock band Montrose to his multiplatinum solo career and his ride as the frontman of Van Halen, he's set the tone for some of the greatest rock anthems ever written-with songs like "I Can't Drive 55," "Rock Candy," "I'll Fall in Love Again," "There's Only One Way to Rock," "Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy," "Finish What Ya Started"  "Right Now" and "Why Can't This Be Love." Throughout his prolific 40-year-career, Hagar's solo and group albums have globally amassed 25 Platinum certifications on sales surpassing 40 million.

In 2013, Hagar teamed with a seminal array of his legendary rock and country artist friends for his first-ever rock collaborations album, "Sammy Hagar and Friends." The album scored Hagar the 11th Billboard Top 25 album of his career and featured rock collaborations with Kid Rock, Nancy Wilson (Heart), Ronnie Dunn (Brooks & Dunn), Neal Schon (Journey, HSAS), Chad Smith, (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chickenfoot), Michael Anthony (Chickenfoot, Van Halen), Joe Satriani (Chickenfoot), Bill Church & Denny Carmassi (Montrose), The Wabos and more on an epic collection of 10 new songs and unexpected covers.

In 2009, Hagar formed the supergroup Chickenfoot with bassist Michael Anthony (ex-Van Halen), guitarist Joe Satriani and drummer Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers). The band's self-titled debut album was certified gold and their subsequent tours were lauded by both fans and critics. In 2011, with the release of his critically acclaimed autobiography, "Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock," he became a No. 1 New York Times Best Selling Author. Hagar is also a successful restaurateur and pioneer in the now popular celebrity spirit trend.

Formed in 1988 by bass player Eric Wilson and front man Bradley Nowell in Long Beach, Calif., Sublime delivers an irresistible blend of ska, reggae, punk, surf rock and hip hop.  Over the course of its three albums - 1992's double-platinum "40oz. to Freedon," 1994's gold "Robbin' the Hood," and 1996's six-time platinum self-titled major-label debut - the band has sold more than 17 million albums worldwide. Nowell died of a heroin overdose two months prior to the release of "Sublime," which reached No. 13 on the Billboard Top 200, sold six million copies and spawned such hits as "What I Got," "Santeria" and "Wrong Way," which remain radio staples across the country.  Profoundly affected by Nowell's death, Wilson never considered performing the group's music live without his partner until he met Rome Ramirez, a then 23-year-old gifted songwriter and musician.

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Rome was introduced to Sublime's music by his uncle, and credits the band with inspiring him to first pick up a guitar and learn to play at age 11. Rome began singing and writing songs as a teenager and was playing solo gigs around the Bay Area when he met Wilson while the two were recording at the same studio.

An instant friendship and musical bond was formed and their first big show as Sublime with Rome came in October 2009 at Cypress Hill's annual Smokeout Festival. A sold-out tour in March 2010 followed with spontaneous sing-alongs and mosh pits at every stop. That fall, Sublime with Rome entered the studio to begin recording their debut album.

The result was "Yours Truly," released in the summer of 2011. The album, produced by Paul Leary, both picks up where Sublime left off and builds on what they've accomplished, thanks to the fresh infusion of energy from Rome, who brought in lyrics, melodies and chords he'd written over the past few years. Songs like first single "Panic" (a top-five modern rock hit), "Take It Or Leave," and "You Better Listen" are reminiscent of vintage Sublime, while songs like "Lover's Rock" and "Murdera" pick up on the reggae dancehall style the band had begun exploring in 1996. "Paper Cuts" has a distinct punk flavor, while "PCH" and "Spun" have more of a rock-pop feel.

Joined by celebrated drummer and longtime friend Josh Freese, Sublime with Rome tours the world in treating fans to both new songs as well as Sublime favorites that many never had a chance to previously hear live.

The Coors Light Carb Day Concert featuring The Red Rocker Sammy Hagar and The Wabos and Sublime With Rome will be the finale of an action-packed day at IMS. Also scheduled are the final practice for the 33 starters in the 98th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, the Indy Lights Freedom 100 race and the popular Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge.

The 2014 Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for noon (ET) Sunday, May 25.


Over 500 students, representing 11 schools in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, will be on the fast track to learning at a hands-on Math & Science Day on March 21 as part of the Auto Club Speedway’s Auto Club 400 Weekend. The event will be held at the Speedway from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT.

Using science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills, the students will experiment with exercises on distance, rate, time, friction, gas laws, as well as force vs. changes in height throughout the day.

Featured speakers for the event include:

·        Alba Colón, Chevrolet Racing's Program Manager for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since 2001 and the only top female engineer in the sport

·        Dakota Sun, NHRA Sportsman Motorcycle National Event Champion

·        Gary Thomas, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools

·        Gillian Zucker, President, Auto Club Speedway

Participating schools include Vanguard Prep from Apple Valley Unified; Barstow Junior High from Barstow Unified; Big Bear Middle School from Bear Valley Unified; Almeria and Sequoia middle schools from Fontana Unified; Ranchero Middle School from Hesperia Unified; Oaks Middle Schools from Ontario-Montclair; Kolb Middle School from Rialto Unified; Cobalt Institute of Math & Science from Victor Valley Union High; Mesa View Middle School from Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified; and San Gorgonio Middle School from Beaumont Unified.


Alex Bowman and the No. 23 Dr Pepper Toyota Camry team finished 32nd at Bristol Motor Speedway.  After a battery malfunction and nearly a four-hour rain delay, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender fought back to regain over 10 positions to finish the race inside the top 35.

Following a soggy morning in Bristol, Tenn., Bowman rolled off in the 33rd position for the Food City 500 on Sunday afternoon.  Despite it being his first time in a Sprint Cup Series car at the track known as the "World's Fastest Half-Mile," Bowman kept a steady pace to race into the top-25 and maintain his position on the lead lap leading into a scheduled competition caution on lap 50.

Shortly after the stop, a bit of bad luck would hit the BK Racing team.  First, Bowman noticed the water temperature climbing on his Dr. Pepper Camry causing him to make an unscheduled pit stop to remove tape from the nose of his car.  Then, just 10 laps later, the battery would fall out of Bowman's car, leaving him without power on the racetrack.  A safety vehicle pushed Bowman back to the pit area where the Dr Pepper team was waiting to replace the part and send Bowman back on the track.

Not long after, on lap 125, the skies would open forcing a rain delay on the 500-lap event and nearly three-and-a-half hours would pass before engines would re-fire at the high-banked half-mile.  Following the delay, Bowman found himself 8 laps behind the leaders, but with a car that was fast enough to still maintain pace.  Continuing to make laps and avoid any on-track incidents, Bowman was able to finish the race in the 32nd position.

"I'm really proud of the effort of my Dr Pepper team this weekend," commented Bowman.  "We had a great car early in the race, we were able to pick up positions, race inside the top 25, and stay on the lead lap.  We aren't really sure what caused the battery to fall off the car, but the guys did a great job resolving the problem, replacing the battery and getting us back on track.  We were left to play catch-up for the rest of the race, but we stayed calm and methodically picked up positions.  We'll take a close look at the car once we get back to our shop in Statesville [N.C.] to determine how the battery came loose, and make sure that we don't have that problem again.  I'm looking forward to getting back to the West Coast next weekend to race at Auto Club Speedway."

BK Racing PR

Michael Annett and his No. 7 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet SS team continued to raise their own bar, earning a 26th-place finish Sunday night at Bristol Motor Speedway that serves as the team's best finish of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

Annett, a Rookie of the Year candidate, qualified his Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) car 34th during Friday's knockout qualifying session. After a delayed start to the event due to inclement weather, he held his 34th-place running position, but went a lap down on the first green-flag run. A competition caution on lap 51 allowed him to pit for tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment that crew chief Kevin "Bono" Manion felt would alleviate a poor handling condition.

A lap 60 caution flag would allow Annett to receive the beneficiary pass to earn a lap back. Because he accepted the free pass, by rule he could not pit. The handling on the No. 7 Chevrolet was neutral for Annett anyway, who gained four positions prior to a caution flag for another rain delay on lap 120.

Once the rain halted, Annett used the remaining three quarters of his race to pad his track position. Following another free pass earned on lap 155, green-flag runs prior to two pit stops - on laps 332 and 394 - allowed him to pick up six spots. In the final 100 laps of the race, he outlasted his surrounding competition, while nursing a car with a splitter hitting the track for the majority of the race's conclusion. On his final stop, Annett pitted while in the 27th-place position, took on the usual fuel and tires and an air pressure adjustments and exited with a spot gained. He held the 26th-place position for the remainder of the event.


"Things weren't perfect, but we made the best of them. We got the free pass twice and a few cautions came out that helped us work on the car. Our splitter was hitting the track for what seems like the final 200 laps. It was a wild race. There wasn't a whole lot of rubber laid down, so I don't know if anyone was handling perfectly. But it was a lot of fun."

Rising Star PR

Roush Yates and Ford Racing scored a 1-2-3 finish and their second straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win on Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway. After two rain delays lasting more than five hours, Carl Edwards’ No. 99 Kellogg’s Ford Fusion took the checkered flag under caution with Roush Fenway teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. close behind and Richard Petty Motorsports driver Aric Almirola finishing third.

Edwards and crew chief Jimmy Fenning made the winning call on a late-race pit stop, electing to stay on the track and hold off the field for the final 71 laps without fresh tires. His Roush Yates powered Ford Fusion opened up a lead over of the field of more than four seconds before an unexpected caution flag waved on lap 499 of 500 and hard rain ended the night under caution.

“Our car was faster than it had been all night, so not pitting was not a determinant to our performance,” said Edwards. “It didn’t hurt us in any way staying out and helped with all that track position. How about these Ford drivers? Ford has done so much for the sport. They make the greatest cars on the road and for them to finish 1-2-3-5, that’s a big turnaround for the year.”

“Now we’re in the Chase,” continued Edwards. “We’re going to go out and win this championship.”

Stenhouse Jr. and Almirola chose to stay out on the last pit stop as well and race for the win. In the end, both young drivers posted their best career finishes. Marcos Ambrose finished fifth, giving Roush Fenway Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports four of the top five finishers.

“We’re real happy with the representation Ford was able to have tonight,” said team owner Jack Roush. “It was a great night for Roush Fenway and for all the guys in the shop. They worked hard all winter and they got the result from it tonight that they deserve. We made some changes and built some new cars over the winter and revised our strategies a little bit as far as the way we do our engineering and the way that manifests itself in what the race cars are and we are still working with our process.”

This weekend’s Ford sweep came just one day after Ford Racing and Roush Yates won the Twelve Hours of Sebring sports car race. Ford drivers previously finished 1-2-3 last season when David Ragan, David Gilliland, and Edwards took home the top three spots at Talladega. Penske Racing driver Brad Keselowski overtook the series points lead after finishing 14th and winning last week in Las Vegas.



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