For the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series:

• Effective June 3 (at Chicagoland Speedway and Kansas Speedway), qualifying order will still be determined based upon practice speeds – slowest to fastest – but will no longer be separated between those teams that are locked into the race and those teams that must qualify on speed.

For the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series:

o Effective June 10 (at Pocono Raceway), qualifying order will still be determined based upon practice speeds – from slowest to fastest – with those times now coming from the first practice session (as opposed to the combined practice sessions). In addition, the qualifying order will no longer be separated between those teams that are locked into the race and those teams that must qualify on speed.

NASCAR PR

Tickets for the TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway are now on sale.

And even though the TUMS Fast Relief 500, the seventh race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, is five months away, now is the perfect time to purchase tickets.

“When you buy early you have the best chance to get the seat you want,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. “Everyone knows there isn’t a bad seat in the house here, but most folks have a favorite area to sit, and the earlier you order the better chance you have of getting those favorite seats.”

Any ticket to the TUMS Fast Relief 500 will be a ticket to excitement. In last fall’s race there were 24 lead changes among 13 drivers and 15 caution periods. In this spring’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 there were a record-setting 31 lead changes.

Fans won’t need a banker to help them to purchase tickets for the TUMS Fast Relief 500, either. Ticket prices begin at $25.

Here are some of the amazing Martinsville ticket and package prices:

·         Backstretch seats are $25 along with the first five rows of seats in the Sprint Tower, the Clay Earles Tower and the South Annex.

·         Seats in the Clay Earles Tower overlooking the second turn are $55. Children’s tickets, ages 18 and under, in the Clay Earles Tower are only $10 when purchased with an adult ticket, rows 15-52.

·         All seats in Bill France Tower are $40.

·         Seats in the Sprint Tower are $65.

·         Family 4 Pack, includes 2 adult tickets, 2 children tickets, 18 and under, vouchers for 4 hot dogs and 4 Pepsi products, all for just $99.

Martinsville Speedway PR

Travis Pastrana helps launch the seventh annual Sunoco Free Fuel 5000 promotion this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the Las Vegas MGM Hotel in a style fitting for the action sports star embarking on a NASCAR career in 2011.

The 11-time X Games gold medal winner plans a 75-foot, ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jump over the familiar Sunoco logo and barrels, representing 5,000 gallons of Sunoco gasoline to kick off Sunoco’s Free Fuel 5000 promotion. The promotion officially began on June 1 and ends August 31.

Taking part in the Sunoco Free Fuel 5000 promotion is easy. Simply visit any participating Sunoco station, pick up a free Sunoco decal, put it on your car, and visit Sunoco stations on a regular basis for a chance to be “spotted” for your chance to win. There will be spotters at every Sunoco station at least once this summer, and there is no limit on how many times you can win. Winning is easy as well. In fact, 17,000 people won last year.

If you are at a Sunoco station and the Sunoco Prize Patrol sees a Sunoco decal on your car, you instantly win one of thousands of $10 Sunoco gift cards, and you are automatically entered to win 5,000 gallons of Sunoco fuel. To put this much free fuel in perspective, if a customer drives 12,000 miles each year and averages 20 miles per gallon, 5,000 gallons of Sunoco fuel would last for more than eight years.

“Sunoco is looking forward to another summer of rewarding our loyal consumers with free gas as well as providing one lucky Sunoco customer with 5,000 gallons of free fuel,” said Sunoco brand marketing manager Drew Kabakoff.

Pastrana will enter seven Nationwide races beginning in Indianapolis on July 30 driving the No. 99 Boost Mobile Toyota. He plans to run at least 20 races in 2012 driving for Pastrana-Waltrip Racing, which is owned by Pastrana, Michael Waltrip Racing along with Gary and Blake Bechtel.

“This is a pretty cool way for Sunoco and I to begin our relationship,” said Pastrana. “I’m really looking forward to the jump on Saturday as well as all the ways we’ll be promoting the Free Fuel 5000 over the next few months. Coming to NASCAR has been a lot of fun so far and it’s only just starting. It’s cool to see my fans turn on to NASCAR and to see the NASCAR fans take a look at some of the stuff we do with Nitro Circus.”

Sunoco and Pastrana plan to wage an aggressive social media effort through Pastrana’s and PWR’s Facebook, Twitter and websites reaching more than 25 million fans. Fans can visit Sunoco’s Facebook page this month to view Pastrana’s exclusive Vegas jump.  Additional behind-the-scenes videos of Pastrana and his Nitro Circus team as well as other exclusive activities will continue to be rolled out during the summer.

Sunoco will also be giving away Pastrana autographed items on its Facebook page

Pastrana is in Las Vegas this weekend performing with the Nitro Circus Live Show at the MGM Grand. No fewer than 10 world-firsts are planned to be attempted Saturday night. With sold-out shows in Australia and New Zealand, the international tour is being billed as the “greatest live action sports show of all time” for its stunning choreographed displays in FMX, BMX and skate, as well as world-first stunts and crazy contraptions launched off the infamous 50-foot high Nitro Giganta Ramp, all performed by the best action sports stars on the planet.

Log on to www.GoSunoco.com/freefuel5000 for more information.

Pastrana Waltrip Racing PR

Potomac Family Dining Group (PFDG) announced today the sponsorship of Tim George Jr., driver of the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Chevrolet, in the Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 150 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards at Chicagoland Speedway on June 4.


This marks a return to the RCR Chevrolet for the Washington, D.C.-based restaurant group that is the exclusive franchisee of 30 Applebee's®restaurants in southern Maryland, northern Virginia, and parts of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. In April, PFDG sponsored George in both the ARCA Racing Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series races at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.


"Many of our guests are fans of NASCAR-style auto racing and we see our support of Tim and RCR as another way to reinforce our commitment to being a good neighbor, "said Jim Rieger, President and CEO of Potomac Family Dining Group.


Along with being one of the most recognized brands in the casual dining segment of the restaurant industry, Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar® is also its largest with more than 2,000 restaurants worldwide.


George comes to Chicagoland carried on the momentum of consecutive top-five finishes at Toledo Speedway and New Jersey Motorsports Park.


"It's a real honor to have Applebee's and the Potomac Family Dining Group back on the RCR Chevrolet," said Tim George Jr. "It's a great feeling to have such an established and respected brand support our efforts. We'll get to showcase them on SPEED Channel this weekend at Chicagoland, where we had a good test a couple of weeks ago. My team has spent a good deal of time working on the car. I'm looking forward to the race on Saturday."

 

RCR PR

Sprint announced today a new way for race fans to access NASCAR Sprint Cup SeriesTM content through the latest addition to its ever-growing menu of customizable ID Packs, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ID pack. Only available to Sprint customers, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ID pack transforms Sprint ID-capable devices into the ultimate accessory for race fans, providing instant access to their favorite drivers, live race radio broadcasts, news, videos and more.

Part of Sprint ID, a service that downloads apps, widgets, wallpapers, ringtones and other content related to a person’s interest at the push of a button, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ID pack allows fans to access Sprint’s exclusive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series content directly from their device’s home screen. To learn more about Sprint ID, visit www.sprint.com/sprintid.

“NASCAR fans are passionate about their sport and want access to the latest information about their favorite drivers and teams,” said Tim Considine, director of sports marketing at Sprint. “With the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ID pack, we are able to deliver an amazing level of news and content in one convenient package. The NASCAR Sprint Cup ID pack will make it easier than ever for race fans to stay close to the action and is yet another way that Sprint is using its advanced wireless technology to bring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series fans closer to the sport.”

A must-have for any NASCAR fan, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ID pack allows users to cut through the clutter and receive only the information they find important, transforming their phone into a reflection of themselves.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ID pack includes access to:

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup MobileSM Widget: Provides fans the latest information, including the upcoming race location, date, time and broadcast network. During races, fans can find out their favorite driver’s leaderboard position, the flag status, how many laps have been completed, and which drivers are currently running in the top five. It also links to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile application main menu.
  • NASCAR on SPEEDTM: Links to the live NASCAR on SPEED channel on Sprint TV. Content includes select live events (the Gatorade Duel at Daytona in February, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the Sprint Pit Crew Challenge in May) as well as all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice and qualifying sessions. See the latest SPEED video on demand, including NASCAR Trackside, NASCAR Live, NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR Victory Lane.
  • NASCAR Video on Demand: See the latest NASCAR.com video on demand features, including Final Laps, Race Rewind, Press Pass, Sights and Sounds, NASCAR Preview and the Fantasy Showdown.
  • Miss Sprint Cup Widget: Displays the latest social media updates and photos from Miss Sprint Cup, with links to additional social media posts.
  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series News Widget: Displays the latest headline news stories, with links to the full stories and additional news.
  • Countdown and Weather Widget: Displays the countdown to the upcoming race, as well as the latest weather forecast for that event.

In addition to the apps and widgets mentioned above, users can personalize their device with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wallpapers, such as their favorite race track or Miss Sprint Cup photos, as well as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Miss Sprint Cup ringtones.

Sprint ID-capable devices include LG Optimus STM, Sanyo ZioTM, Samsung TransformTM, Samsung EpicTM 4G and Samsung Galaxy TabTM and Sprint ID packs are free to download with an Everything Data plan from Sprint. For more information about the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint ID pack, visit http://tinyurl.com/NASCARSprintCupIDPack.

Users can download up to four additional ID packs onto their device, in addition to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ID pack and MyID, which range from golf enthusiast to business pro to other branded packs, such as MTV Music ID. To see all Sprint ID packs, visit www.sprint.com/sprintid.

Sprint PR

Roush Fenway Racing rolls into Chicagoland Speedway this weekend riding a hot streak and looking for its fourth consecutive Nationwide Series victory. Roush Fenway has wins in the last three events at Dover, Iowa and Charlotte, but in order to pull off the fourth, it will require the organization’s first NASCAR victory - ever - at Chicagoland Speeedway.

“I’m thinking about what a difference a year makes,” said team owner Jack Roush. “Last year it seemed for a long time we couldn’t buy one and this year we moved Chris Andrews to be the crew chief on the 16 car and provide his vision of engineering leadership to the program. We got the FR9 engine going and got a new Mustang car, and what a difference a year makes.”

Roush Fenway has been close at the 1.5-mile track, posting five runner-up finishes (three in the Sprint Cup and two in the NNS), including Carl Edwards’ second-place finish in the Cup race last year.  Chicagoland remains the only current track on the NASCAR circuit, that hosts multiple series, where Roush Fenway has never won.  However, riding a huge wave of momentum Roush Fenway’s trio of drivers - Carl Edwards, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Trevor Bayne – will look to change that statistic.

Currently Roush has fielded 79 entries at Chicagoland, while putting up 14 top-five finishes, 30 top 10s, two poles and led 659 laps.

In addition to going for Roush Fenway’s first Chicagoland win, Stenhouse - on the strength of three consecutive top-five finishes and a win - has pulled back to within one point of the Nationwide Series points lead and will look to retake the top spot this weekend in Joliet.

In addition, the Roush Fenway stable will again have the services of Trevor Bayne, who returns to action this weekend.

“I can’t explain how excited I am to get back in a race car,” said Bayne. “Sitting out for the last month and a half has made me realize how much I love to drive race cars and how blessed I am to do it. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all of this, but after watching races on TV you realize how fortunate you are to be in there. I’m very excited about getting back in the car at Chicago and hopefully we’ll have a good showing.”

Roush Fenway Racing PR

Gerber Collision & Glass will be an associate sponsor this weekend for Mike Wallace’s No. 01 Cowboys & Aliens Chevrolet Impala at Chicagoland Speedway.

“We are very excited to have Gerber Collision & Glass come back on board for this year’s Chicagoland efforts,” Tony Priscaro VP of Marketing and Sales for JD Motorsports said. “These last few weekends have been great. With the help of Universal Studios and now Gerber Collision & Glass, we look to be in great shape for races to come.”

This will be the second time that Gerber Collision & Glass and JD Motorsports have partnered for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway. Last year, the team finished 22nd after starting 34th. Now, the team looks to surpass last year’s finish as they bring back their old chassis that has a great track record.

“Gerber Collision & Glass is excited to again partner with JD Motorsports and help sponsor the #01 Cowboys & Aliens Chevrolet.  We enjoyed Mike Wallace’s exciting finish in the race last year at Joliet and look forward to Mike’s return to the Chicagoland Speedway.” said Jim Maliszewski, Director – Centralized Support and Program Management, Gerber Collision & Glass.

After a 25th place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway last weekend, the team jumped up to 15th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series point’s standings. So far this year, the team has captured five top 20 finishes and one top 10 finish. The top 10 finish came at Dover International Speedway on May 14.

JD Motorsports PR

Phoenix Racing arrives at the Kansas Speedway this weekend with a familiar color scheme, but slightly new look.  The team announced today the No. 51 will replace the No. 09 on the roof and sides of the team's cars for the remainder of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.  The colors of Security Benefit and their Thank a Teacher Today program will remain the same, but will now also be visible on the team transporter, driver and crew uniforms as well as pit equipment.


"The number change was something we've thought about for a while," said James Finch, team owner. "Being in their home state of our sponsor Security Benefit, this is a great time to roll it out.  This was our original number when we first came to NASCAR and it's great to have it back in our stable."


Security Benefit, based in Topeka (Kan.), has supported the team in every event of 2011.  It's their first year in the sport, but the insurance company has already seen positive feedback from teachers and fans alike through the message, Thank a Teacher Today.  The program will now have increased branding along with the new number during its first visit to their home track this weekend in Kansas.


"It's been great to seeeveryone support this car because of its message," said driver Landon Cassill.  "It's great to come to the Kansas Speedway with a new number and increased presence for Thank a Teacher Today. The car looks pretty cool and there are some exciting things still to come."


The team plans continued announcements regarding the Thank a Teacher Today program later this season.


The number 51 was last used in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series during the 2010 Daytona 500 by driver Michael Waltrip.  Prior to that, Phoenix Racing used the number in four events in 2001 with driver Jeff Purvis.  The number has been used in 336 Sprint Cup events with two wins by Gober Sosebee in 1952 and 1954.

 

Phoenix Racing PR

No one knows what the outcome of the race will be when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Kansas each year; if the season so far has taught us anything, we have learned to expect the unexpected.

But there is one thing we can always count on. I guess it is only natural to use probably the most famous thing about Kansas (sorry, KU Basketball) as a basis for comparison when NASCAR comes to town. “The Wizard of Oz” is not only one of the best, and best-loved, films of all-time, but also one of the most frequently quoted.

Fairy tales and fantasy worlds do not exist solely for our entertainment. Rather, they can encourage us to look at familiar things we really know and care about – like NASCAR, for example – in entirely new ways. So you don’t have to be Nostradamus to predict that when Kansas rolls around on the schedule, we’re off to see the wizard before the first lap is ever run.

I’m probably not alone in the fact that I still get mildly irritated when I find myself involved in a conversation with one of those “NASCAR is nothing but go fast, turn left” people. It gets my hackles up, but I have learned that instead of getting defensive, it is much more effective to fight fire with some factual NASCAR heat. This time of year, when everyone is all worked up about baseball, I like to come back at them with a quote from another famous movie, “Bull Durham” – “This is a very simple game. You throw the ball. You catch the ball. You hit the ball.”

Then, when they launch into the usual speech about superior timing, strategy and 90 mph blink-of-an-eye fastballs, I explain that, on average, it takes between 1/10 and 4/10 of a second to blink an eye. Margins of victory in NASCAR, by comparison, can be measured in mere thousandths of seconds. Hit that, Albert Pujols.

Figuring out how to beat the blink of an eye requires some very big brain power.

Even with nothing more than a simple piece of string and a tiny shard of metal, threading the needle can be a risky business. Throw in 43 stock cars weighing in at 3,400 pounds each, zipping along at 185 mph or so, and you definitely want to shimmy through that eye on the first attempt. Missing it and pricking your finger could prove to be a very messy proposition.

Realizing the risk but going forward anyway takes a lot of courage.

On May 29, when the Coca-Cola 600 went to a green-white-checkered finish, it officially became the longest race in NASCAR history. Regardless of their favorite driver, on that night, fans in the grandstands and in living rooms all across America collectively rose to their feet and held their breath as Dale Earnhardt Jr. came out of Turn 4, on his way to the checkered flag.

He knew he couldn’t make it. “We were running out of gas and, we knew it. We played our hand … If we had won, it would have been a gift,” Earnhardt, who finished seventh, said after the race. "We're going to be around for a long time, and we'll get plenty, don't worry.”

To soldier on, to never give up, to run flat-out when you desperately want to win but know you’re probably going to lose in the end, shows an awful lot of heart.

“Dale has brought a fresh breath, a fresh voice, a fresh approach to our race team,” No. 88 crew chief Steve Letarte said this week about working with Dale Earnhardt Jr. this season.

“There was nothing wrong with Jeff Gordon. Sometimes change is necessary, and I think Dale Jr. has brought that change to this race team,” Letarte continued. “We are starting to approach tracks a little more open minded, a little more flexible then what we planned on running.”

Plucky Dorothy Gale and her pals had to navigate their way through some pretty crazy stuff in order to reach their goals. They always had the power; they just had to figure out to find it, to dig deep and use their special skills in order to get there. A brain. A heart. The nerve. Sound familiar?

NASCAR, with all its bright colors, loud noises and narrow escapes, may sometimes seem as exotic and confusing as Oz. But when you dig your way through the twisting maze of cranky apple-hurling trees, menacing flying monkeys, deceptively pretty poppies and chic red shoes, you can find what you are looking for waiting at the end. The guy who gets there first may change from week to week, but the destination never does.

Whether you call it Victory Lane or home, there’s really no place like it.

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