Speedway Digest Staff
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FOX Sports and IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) announced today a five-year multi-media rights deal that solidifies United SportsCar Racing’s home on television through the 2018 season.
Today’s announcement, which comes on the heels of last week’s news that FOX Sports will broadcast NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races through 2024, bolsters FOX’s expansive motorsports coverage. The agreement also includes coverage of IMSA’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge for five years. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
For motorsports fans accustomed to FOX Sports’ broadcast presentation of various forms of racing, including NASCAR since 2001, today’s announcement signals another exciting development for sports car racing in America. In September of 2012, GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón announced the two entities were merging in one of the most significant developments in the history of sports car racing in North America. Later named United SportsCar Racing, sanctioned by IMSA, the premier new sports car racing series begins its next chapter with the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January of 2014.
“It’s hard to argue that there’s a global media company more equipped and better resourced to cover and broadcast sports car racing than FOX Sports,” said Ed Bennett, CEO of IMSA. “By partnering with FOX Sports for the next five years, United SportsCar Racing, Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and their teams, tracks, drivers and sponsors are positioned for strong exposure while our existing fans can expect top-notch presentation, promotion and marketing.”
With the 2014 schedule still being finalized, exact distribution plans currently are being determined, but fans can expect to see a mix of races available on both FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2. Under the new arrangement, FOX Sports also has the right to stream all IMSA races as part of its FOX Sports GO product. IMSA retains additional digital rights including alternate camera angles and full race replays.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to partner with IMSA and newly formed United SportsCar Racing,” said Billy Wanger, FOX Sports EVP of Programming & Research. “Our commitment to motorsports remains very strong across the FOX family of networks, and this relationship with what is now a unified sports car community delivers a strong package of racing content for its passionate fans.”
FOX Sports began broadcasting live NASCAR races in 2001 and will launch its new all-sports network, FOX Sports 1, on Aug. 17 with a broadcast of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race from Michigan International Speedway as the network’s first-ever live event. On the same day, FOX Sports 2 will broadcast the Rolex Series SFP Grand Prix from Kansas Speedway, with a re-air Sunday on FOX Sports 1.
“FOX Sports has shown a thirst for live sports programming, and in particular live motorsports programming,” said Scott Atherton, ALMS President and CEO. “We’re thrilled to have partnered with FOX Sports on this deal, rounding out their motorsports coverage with this content and giving sports car racing fans a place to call home for the next five years. United SportsCar Racing and the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge will be surrounded by some of the best sports programming in the world and will benefit from great awareness and promotion.”
Summary of FOX Sports’ Exclusive Rights
· 2014-2018: Entire United SportsCar Racing and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge seasons
· 2015-2024: First 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points races of each season, including the Daytona 500
o Nine on FOX Sports and seven on FOX Sports 1
· 2015-2024: First 14 NASCAR Nationwide Series points races of each season
o Fourteen races on FOX Sports 1
· 2015-2024: NASCAR Sprint Unlimited, The Duel at Daytona and NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race
· 2015-2024: All NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races
After hosting its most successful American Red Cross Blood Drive in 2012, Darlington Raceway is once again excited to host the annual event for the 8th consecutive year on Sept. 11, 2013.
The Darlington Raceway Blood Drive has experienced tremendous growth over the last few years with more fans taking time out of their day to donate and give back to the local Pee Dee chapter of the American Red Cross.
“This is an event we’re really proud to host every year,” Darlington Raceway president Chris Browning said. “It only takes the generosity of a few people each giving one unit of blood to potentially save hundreds maybe thousands of lives in our area. It truly is a positive way to honor the tragedies of 9-11 in our local community.”
For each donation, fans will get a behind-the-scenes look at the Lady in Black, which includes an opportunity to take their vehicle for laps around the Darlington oval, as well as an American Red Cross gift bag. Any donation in the month of September, including at the Darlington Raceway Blood Drive, will receive a free haircut coupon courtesy of Sport Clips.
The event, which will take place from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Sept. 11, is now accepting appointments. To reserve your donation time, go to www.redcrossblood.org, click on the Make an Appointment link and enter the sponsor code: darlingtonraceway or call 1-800-REDCROSS. Appointments are encouraged in advance to ensure participation in the blooddrive.
It’s important to remember that one unit of donated blood can be transfused up to three people. The 2012 event collected 218 units of blood, thus potentially saving the lives of 654 people.
Darlington Raceway was recognized by the American Red Cross earlier this year for its blood collection efforts during the 2012 calendar year. The track helped collect 314 total units of blood in 2012, a vast majority of them gathered during the Sept. 11 blood drive and Bojangles’ Southern 500 race weekend in May. It was the most units collected by any one private business in the Pee Dee area in 2012.
“We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to partner with Darlington Raceway for eight consecutive years for the annual 9/11 memorialblood drive,” said Ryan Corcoran, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross South Carolina Blood Services Region. “Donating blood is a meaningful way to honor those whose lives were lost Sept. 11, 2001 while also helping those whose lives depend on blood transfusions today.”
The American Red Cross S.C. Blood Services Region provides lifesaving blood to 54 hospitals and must have 500 people give blood and platelets each weekday to meet hospital demand. Accident victims as well as patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses receive lifesaving transfusions every day. There is no substitute for blood and volunteer donors are the only source.
Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Platelets can be given safely every two weeks, up to 24 times a year. Most healthy people age 17 and older, 16 with parental consent, who weigh at least 110 pounds, are eligible to donate blood and platelets. Donors who are 18 and younger must also meet specific height and weight requirements.
Darlington Raceway PR
Award-winning Southern rock/country band Blackberry Smoke will headline the Turn 5 Concert Series near Martinsville Speedway during the Goody’s™ Headache Relief Shot™ 500 Powered by Kroger weekend.
Blackberry Smoke will play on Saturday night, October 26, at the outdoor Turn 5 concert venue, which is adjacent to the Martinsville Speedway campground. Popular Virginia rock band The Worx will headline on Friday, Oct. 25th. In all, six bands will take the stage over the course of this two-night charity fundraiser, which is organized and produced by Rooster Walk Inc.
“Anytime there is an event of this magnitude close to the speedway on one of our event weekends it’s a plus for our fans,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. “We thank everyone involved with Rooster Walk for choosing our fall event weekend to put on this show. It’s going to be a great addition for our fans.”
Blackberry Smoke’s most recent album, “The Whippoorwill,” earned immediate commercial and critical acclaim, reaching No. 1 on the iTunes country album charts, No. 8 on the Billboard country charts and No. 12 on the Billboard rock charts. The band routinely plays up to 250 shows per year, and has been featured on television’s Speed Channel, CBS Sports and Palladia, among others. Two weeks ago the band appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Friday’s headlining band, The Worx, was recently named one of the state’s top acts by readers of Virginia Living Magazine. They have also been named “the best local band” by a variety of publications for the cities of Harrisonburg, Roanoke and Lynchburg.
The remaining four bands performing at Turn 5 will be announced in the coming weeks.
A two-night pass for all six bands will cost just $20 if purchased in advance. Single-day tickets will cost $10 for Friday and $15 for Saturday. Ticket sales will begin Friday morning, Aug. 9, at www.roosterwalk.com or www.brownpapertickets.com. Physical tickets will also be available in local stores in the next two weeks.
The Turn 5 concert venue is located at 340 Clover Road in Ridgeway, about 100 yards away from the entrance to the Martinsville Speedway campground.
Martinsville Speedway PR
Watkins Glen International provides NASCAR fans another way to interact with the stars of the sport: On Friday (August 9) at 4:30 p.m. several NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers will participate in an hour-long autograph session at The Glen.
This autograph session is open to every Watkins Glen International fan with a weekend ticket for Cheez-It™ 355 at The Glen (August 8-11). It will be held in The Bog, behind the Sir Jackie Stewart grandstand and adjacent to The Pyramid. Fans wishing to participate should pick up a wristband at the Cheez-It™ or Zippo displays in the infield Midway display area.
Drivers scheduled to participate include: Justin Allgaier; Trevor Bayne; Alex Bowman; Austin Dillon; Brendan Gaughan; Travis Pastrana; Nelson Piquet Jr.; Brian Scott; Bryan Silas.
Driver participation is subject to change and without notice. NASCAR is not a sponsor of this event.
NASCAR Nationwide Series returns to Watkins Glen International, Saturday, August 10 at 2 p.m. (ABC) for the Zippo 200. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series takes to the storied road course on Sunday, August 11 at 1 p.m. (ESPN) for the Cheez-It™ 355 at The Glen.
Iowa Speedway officials announced today that the Newton facility’s final ‘big event’ weekend on Saturday, September 7 and Sunday, September 8 will be dedicated to the fans that have supported the track throughout the 2013 season.
In keeping with the ‘Fan Appreciation’ theme, children and teens ages 17 and younger will be admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult, and military service members will also be admitted free of charge with military identification. That ‘free admission’ offer is valid for both the ‘Prairie Meadows 150’ ARCA stock car race on Saturday evening, and the ‘Iowa 200’ NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event on Sunday afternoon.
“Iowa Speedway fans are the very best in the world, and they have supported all our events this year,” said Chuck Spicer, Iowa Speedway Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “We wanted to do something really nice for our fans, and we believe the free admission offers for both kids and teens, as well as our heroes in the military, is a very good way to show our sincere appreciation.”
Iowa Speedway PR
Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski and current top-10 driver Greg Biffle are the special guests in Richmond International Raceway’s 3-Wide fan hospitality on Saturday, September 7 prior to the Federated Auto Parts 400NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event – “One Last Race to Make The Chase.”
Guests who have race tickets for the Saturday, September 7 race at RIR are invited to upgrade their race day experience by purchasing 3-Wide fan hospitality, which includes a pre-race Pit Pass and admission to the 3-Wide hospitality area, located in a climate-controlled building, where you can enjoy the Keselowski and Biffle Q&A sessions, food and festivities before a memorable night of short track racing “under the lights.”
The 3-Wide upgrade is $80* per adult, and includes:
- An EXCLUSIVE pre-race Pit Pass (valid 2:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., weather permitting.)
- Admission to our 3-Wide hospitality area (2:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.), located in the climate-controlled Old Dominion Building, which includes:
o Question & Answer sessions with Brad Keselowski and Greg Biffle.
o Appetizers from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. and a buffet dinner from 3:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
o Unlimited sodas and water.
o Three beer or wine tickets for fans 21 years of age and older with a valid ID (to be used in the 3-Wide hospitality area).
o Souvenir event program.
o Music, games and a chance to win a trip to pre-race and Gatorade Victory Lane ceremonies.
Kids 12 and younger can experience 3-Wide fan hospitality for $40. The kids’ version includes everything above except the beer and wine tickets.
*Race tickets are not included in 3-Wide; fans must have a corresponding NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race ticket to purchase 3-Wide.
The prognosticators can predict who they think might win Saturday's Zippo 200 (2 p.m. ET, ABC) at Watkins Glen all they want, but the truth of the matter is that no one knows.
That's because no driver currently entered in the race has ever won a NASCAR Nationwide Series event at The Glen.
Furthermore, only one driver currently ranked in the top 10 in the standings has ever won a series event on a road course. That driver is Justin Allgaier, who bested the field last August at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal to narrowly beat Sam Hornish Jr. to the finish line.
A win at The Glen would cap off a life-changing week for Allgaier, who Thursday morning announced on Twitter that his wife Ashley had given birth to their daughter, Harper Grace. The baby girl is the couple's first child.
It's a quick turn-around from new-father to championship contender. In two short days, Allgaier goes from the hospital to the race track, attempting to nab a second road-course victory.
That one road-course win (and a string of five top-10 road-course finishes) might work in Allgaier's favor this weekend, although, he hasn't had a great deal of luck in his four starts at The Glen.
"I don't have the best results at Watkins Glen, but my team at Turner Scott Motorsports has prepared a great chassis, and I think we have a great chance to win," Allgaier said.
His only top 10 at the 2.45-mile track came in last year's race when he finished ninth. His other three finishes are 17th, 34th and 12th.
In the first road-course event of the season at Road America, back in July, Allgaier posted a runner-up performance. In the 2012 race at Road America, he finished a respectable 10th.
He has placed in the top 10 in each of the last five road-course races with an average finish of 6.0 in those events.
If Allgaier is able to continue his recent road-course success through the next two races – the NASCAR Nationwide Series makes its inaugural visit to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course next Saturday – there is no reason to doubt that he'd be right in the middle of the championship conversation.
The Riverton, Ill., native is currently seventh in the standings, 50 markers behind points leader Austin Dillon. In 20 races this season, Allgaier has three top-five and 10 top-10 finishes, and has been running at the finish of every race. Earlier this season, he had a stretch of 11 consecutive races (Talladega through Chicagoland) where he finished in the top 15.
In 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series races in Watkins Glen, N.Y., 11 different drivers have made celebratory visits to Victory Lane. This Saturday a 12th driver will be added to that list.
It was a final lap that no one watching will ever forget.
It was a two-driver showdown battle for the checkered flag that some said was one of the best in NASCAR history.
It was one of the brightest highlights of the 2012 season.
And in the end, Marcos Ambrose stood victorious over Brad Keselowski, who would go on to capture his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship at season's end.
Ambrose's win last year at Watkins Glen was one that will go down in the annals of NASCAR lore as one of the most exciting, but it also gave the Australian driver back-to-back victories at the 2.45-mile road course. This Sunday in the Cheez-it 355 at The Glen (1 p.m. ET, ESPN) he'll be looking to become only the third driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to post three consecutive wins at the pastoral track nestled in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York.
Mark Martin first accomplished the three-peat in 1995 after winning the 1993 and 1994 races, as well. Jeff Gordon matched Martin's record four years later when he won his third straight race at The Glen in 1999.
"Obviously, we feel like we are contenders each time we go to Watkins Glen, and this weekend is no different," Ambrose said.
In the 2011 race, Ambrose passed Keselowski with two laps to go and then battled it out over the final two laps. On the final lap, a yellow flag came out when David Ragan got loose and hit the inside wall only to rebound across the lap where he slammed David Reutimann into the outside wall. When the flag was was displayed, effectively ending the race, Ambrose held a couple car-length lead over Keselowski.
The win was Ambrose's first in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since joining the series fulltime in 2009.
His second victory came the following season at the same venue in what was a hold-on-to-your-hat last-lap face-off between the same two drivers who battled it out the previous year.
Kyle Busch entered the final lap of the 2012 edition with a slim margin over Keselowski and Ambrose. But midway through the last circuit Busch spun out and Keselowski grabbed the lead with Ambrose following closely in hot pursuit. Going into one of the final turns, Ambrose went wide and was able to slingshot past Keselowski for the win by a margin of 0.571 seconds.
"Last year was a really great finish. It was stressful, but a lot of fun to battle against Kyle and Brad the last few laps for the win," said Ambrose, who will once again be piloting the No. 9 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford.
A third win in a row at The Glen would do wonders for Ambrose's chances of making the postseason, or at least putting him in contention for a Wild Card spot. In the first 21 races, he's posted only two top-10 finishes; however, one of them was a seventh at Sonoma, which hosts the only other road-course event on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule. He also finished eighth at Martinsville.
He currently sits 22nd in the standings, only five markers behind Jeff Burton in 20th. In order to be eligible to claim one of the two Wild Card spots, Ambrose would need to enter the top 20 in points and capture at least one win, if not two. In addition, he would have to pass three drivers (Tony Stewart, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Newman) currently ranked between 11th and 20th in the standings with one win, which might be a tall order considering there are only five races remaining before the Chase field is set at Richmond. Ambrose, therefore, would also have to add an oval victory to his season stats – something he has never done in his NASCAR Sprint Cup career.
Stewart, however, will miss Sunday's race after breaking his leg Monday night during a sprint car race at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa. Stewart's missed race could provide an opening for Ambrose if he wins at The Glen. If a win does move him into the top 20 and in front of Stewart, Ambrose would still need to find a way to pass Truex and Newman in the standings, or else find a second win in the final four races before the Chase begins. Both options will be steep uphill battles.
"We have had a tough season this year, but this race can very quickly turn it around and put us in contention for a Wild Card berth in the Chase," Ambrose said. "That's what our goal is right now."
For those who might question whether Ambrose can realistically put together a three-peat at Watkins Glen, it's definitely a possibility as he's already done it once. From 2008-2010, he posted back-to-back-to-back victories at the road course while driving for JTG/Daugherty Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Chase-Clinching Scenarios: Jimmie Johnson is the only driver this weekend with a mathematical possibility of clinching a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. If Johnson leaves The Glen with a 193-point lead over the 11th-place driver, he will reserve his spot in the postseason. Currently, he holds a 178-point lead over 11th. With a win at Watkins Glen, Johnson can also guarantee at least a Wild Card berth in the Chase.
Tomy Drissi teams up with the #87 Team for The Cheez-It 355 at The Glen, which airs live on ESPN at 1:00PM ET, Sunday, August 11, 2013. Tomy Drissi, a road course specialist from Hollywood, California and will be making his 3rd career Sprint Cup Series start. "I really appreciate having the opportunity to run with this great team, and I especially want to thank "Front Row Joe", Jay Robinson, Tom Legeman and the #87 Team for giving me another chance to race, not only with their team but also in NASCAR with some of the best drivers in the world. Racing at The Glen is an absolute thrill. The fans are really going to love seeing The Counselor movie on the No. 87. The movie is an edge of your seat ride from start to finish… just like racing at The Glen. It's going to be a fun weekend," says Tomy Drissi.
Tomy and the 87 team will be promoting the movie, The Counselor which will be released on October 25, 2013, Directed by Ridley Scott and will feature Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz.