School teachers and officials across the country are finishing their academic year and are preparing for a well-deserved summer break. As driver of the No. 51 Thank a Teacher Today Chevrolet, Landon Cassill is hoping to honor teachers across the country for all of their hard work with a good run in this weekend's Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway.

Cassill's performance at Kansas Speedway was marred by an accident on Lap 120. He was forced behind the wall for repairs and had to settle for a 35th-place finish. He aims to get back on track this weekend at the track they call the Tricky Triangle.

Cassill has two prior starts at Pocono Raceway, one in the Sprint Cup Series and one in the ARCA Series. This week's event will mark Cassill's second Sprint Cup Series start with Phoenix Racing at Pocono Raceway.

Cassill Comments on the Pocono 500:

"Schools all across the country are starting to get out for the summer now.  I think many of them have already ended or are in their final weeks.  Right now, it just seems to be an appropriate time for our Thank a Teacher Today Chevrolet with its message.  Teachers have invested so much in this school year and deserve a pat on the back. We can't thank them enough for all of their hours and hard work that they pour into their students, but hopefully our car will be a nice tribute and remind everyone to tell a teacher 'thank you' for all they do. Hopefully we'll give them a good run.

"Pocono is exactly what it's nickname states, it's a 'tricky triangle.' I've only had a couple of races there, but it didn't' take long to realize that this place is just different.   Each time was a learning experience. It's definitely a track that you use a 'give and take' setup. There's no way that you can have a perfect-handling car all the way around the race track. The turns are each unique and can't be treated the same. You have to drive each corner differently as well. No turn has the same marks for braking or accelerating. It's a track that takes total concentration and focus for sure. There's no cruise control at Pocono.

"We had a tough race last week at Kansas. We got a lap down early, but started picking up the pace after we made some adjustments. We got our lap back and were running pretty well. I ended up getting pushed into the wall and that killed our day. We just need some luck and we'll have some good finishes come our way. Pocono is a good opportunity for us to get back on track and get some positive momentum going."

 

Phoenix Racing PR

Penske Racing’s No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team directed by crew chief Paul Wolfe and driver Brad Keselowski played the skillful fuel-saving game and provided Dodge its first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory of the 2011 season, and helped the Penske team capture three contingency awards Sunday at the Inaugural STP 400 at Kansas Speedway.

Wolfe captured the Moog Chassis Parts Problem Solver of the Race Award, which goes to the crew chief that improves the most from the first half to the second half of the race utilizing the 40 best lap times.

While Keselowski managed to save enough fuel to make it to the finish line by more than two seconds over runner-up Dale Earnhardt Jr., it was teammate Kurt Busch in the No. 22 AAA Dodge that started the weekend on the Coors Light Pole and led 152 laps on the day. Penske Engines also captured the MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Race Award for powering the efforts of Busch’s No. 22 Dodge.

The awards are part of the NASCAR Prize Money and Decal Program, also referred to as the contingency program, which provides teams prize money and weekly awards based on performance in several categories.

“It was a team victory today,” said Keselowski. “We had Kurt Busch, my teammate, who led the majority of the race from what I could see, and had good speed and the 2 car had great speed as well. We just kind of caught a bad break on qualifying when we went out. But it's a team effort. Kurt had him covered on speed. We had him covered on strategy and together one of us was going to win. And I'm proud in general that it was a Penske car that won.”

Keselowski took the lead with just nine laps to go which makes this the sixth time in 11 years that the winner of the race at Kansas didn’t lead until the second half of the race.

“Well, it's great to see Dodge back in the [Victory Lane],” said team owner Roger Penske. “[Keselowski and Wolfe] are talking all the time. They’re working, there's nobody more committed. The good news is to hear Kurt say … it was great for the team. We finally think we have a combination that we can run on the mile and a halfs (Kansas is a 1.5-mile track), because we struggle on the mile and a halfs.”

The win puts Keselowski in 21st place in the standings as Roush Fenway’s Carl Edwards retains his lead, by 40 points over Jimmie Johnson heading into Sunday’s 5-Hour ENERGY 500 at Pocono Raceway (1 p.m. ET, TNT).

Official winners of this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Prize Money & Decal Program special awards include:

·         AMERICAN ETHANOL GREEN FLAG RESTART: Tony Stewart

·         COORS LIGHT POLE AWARD:Kurt Busch (174.752 mph. 30.901 secs.)

·         DIRECTV CREW CHIEF OF THE RACE AWARD: Bob Osborne (crew chief for Carl Edwards)

·         GOODYEAR GATORBACK BELTS FASTEST LAP AWARD: Kyle Busch (167.587 mph, Lap 2)

·         MAHLE CLEVITE ENGINE BUILDER OF THE RACE AWARD: Penske Engines, No. 22

·         MOBIL 1 OIL DRIVER OF THE RACE AWARD: Tony Stewart

· MOOG CHASSIS PARTS PROBLEM SOLVER OF THE RACE AWARD: Paul Wolfe (crew chief for Brad Keselowski, -0.025 secs.)

·         O’REILLY AUTO PARTS POSITION IMPROVEMENT AWARD: Matt Kenseth (15 places)

·         SUNOCO ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Andy Lally

NASCAR PR

As the nation celebrates the Independence Day holiday weekend, Daytona International Speedway and tens of thousands of race fans in attendance for the Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola will pay tribute to four Medal of Honor recipients.

It’s the third straight year that Daytona International Speedway will honor Medal of Honor recipients, a program that was first started by Bill France Sr. back in the 1970s.

The Medal of Honor recipients, all from the Vietnam War, to be honored are:

  • Jon Cavaiani, retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant
  • Harold Fritz, retired U.S. Army Captain
  • Don Jenkins, retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant
  • Leo Thorsness, retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel

All four Medal of Honor recipients will be recognized during a special luncheon on Friday at the Bill France Room, will attend driver’s meetings and participate in pre-race ceremonies for both the Subway Jalapeno 250 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Friday night, July 1 and the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday night, July 2.

During Saturday’s 53rd annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola, a special salute will take place for the four Medal of Honor recipients during pre-race ceremonies.

In addition, the four Medal of Honor recipients will take part in an autograph session with race fans in the Sprint FANZONE on Saturday prior to the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola.

“We’re proud to continue the tradition of honoring Medal of Honor recipients at this year’s Coke Zero 400,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “These four individuals clearly distinguished themselves with their courageous actions and we’re looking forward to paying tribute to their heroic service.”

The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It’s bestowed on a member of the United States armed forces who distinguishes himself or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.

P1 Groupe driver Scott Wimmer, driver of the #70 Foretravel Motorcoach Chevy Impala for ML Motorsports, left Chicagoland Speedway feeling confident in himself and his team following a 19th place finish on Saturday in the STP 300. With Qualifying rained out, Wimmer would start the race also in 19th position, and he believed that he had a car that could contend for a Top-10 finish by race end. As the green flag waved Wimmer began making his way to the front clicking off fast lap times and passing cars each lap. He had worked his way up into the 2nd position at one point in the race, before being called into the pits for a full stop of four tires and fuel. The timing just wasn’t right on the day for as soon as Wimmer came in the yellow flag dropped, which didn’t allow him to get out before the pace car came around and ended up one lap down.

As the race began to wind down Wimmer was still fighting to get a set up on the car that would allow him to drive over the bumps coming out of turns three and four as well as his competition. When the checkered flag dropped Wimmer was able to bring the #70 Foretravel Motorcoach Chevrolet Impala home in 19th position.

“The car was very strong in the beginning of the race, and I felt as if I could pass anyone on either the low side or the high side.” Wimmer discussed “As the night went on we got pushed back in the pack a bit, I thought we beat the pace car to the line that would have kept me on the lead lap, but we just kept digging as hard as we could to get our lap back. That really came into play as most of the leaders ran out of gas on the last lap, if we were on the lead lap, we could have made up several positions right there. Could’ve been a lot better, this team is headed in the right direction for sure, and we will get. Everybody at the shop put in long hours to give me a race car that could contend for a Top-10 finish, and we will get that Top-10 here shortly.”

Following this weekend’s race in Chicago Scott Wimmer currently sits in 21st place in Driver Points for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and ML Motorsports currently sits in 25th in Owner Points for the NASCR Nationwide Series.

ML Motorsports PR

Turner Motorsports will be well-represented as drivers Justin Allgaier, Ricky Carmichael and Jason Leffler travel to Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, to compete in the seventh annual running of The Prelude To The Dream on Wednesday evening June 8th, 2011.  All three Turner Motorsports drivers have unique experience running on dirt that will play into their favor Wednesday evening.


Straight off his second career NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) win, Allgaier will be making his second consecutive appearance in the race.  With the support of his NNS sponsor BRANDT, Allgaier will compete to benefit the St. Louis Children's Hospital.  Allgaier and BRANDT President and CEO, Rick Brandt, visited the children's hospital last week during a whirlwind of activities in the company's backyard of Springfield, Ill.  The 24-year-old driver is excited to once again take part in the prestigious event.


"It's pretty exciting to run the Prelude again.  It's such a fun race that benefits so many people in need in different parts of the US," said Allgaier.  "After the great weekend we had in Chicago, I hope that momentum carries over to Wednesday night and we'll be competitive throughout the evening."


Carmichael, also making his second Prelude appearance, will be running to benefit the St. Louis Children's Hospital as well, with longtime partner Monster Energy on the hood. With his immense amount of dirt experience, Carmichael plans to use his ability to "read the dirt" to get a leg-up on the competition.


"Having grown up racing motorcycles on dirt - and I think even some of the guys who raced cars on dirt can tell you - you know what to look for" said Carmichael. "You know what the dirt looks like and where the grip is. You know where the track is fast and where it's blown out."


Making his debut appearance in the event, Leffler will have Appliancezone.com on the hood, with his NNS primary sponsor Great Clips, also having logo placement on the car. He will compete to benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Leffler, a three-time USAC Midget Champion, has the most four-wheel experience among the Turner Motorsports teammates.


"I'm really excited to have the opportunity to compete in the Prelude this year," said Leffler.  "I don't get a chance to run on dirt very often anymore but when I do, it's always a lot of fun.  This is the kind of racing I grew up with, though I was racing sprint cars and midgets, not late-models.  I hope that some of my prior experience on the dirt will be an advantage for my team.  It's going to be a great event to raise money for charity and I'm honored to be a part of it.  "


The live, commercial-free broadcast will begin at 8 p.m. EDT (5 p.m. PDT) with an immediate replay. HBO Pay-Per-View's racing telecast has a suggested retail price of $24.95 and is available to more than 71 million pay-per-view homes. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming in the pay-per-view industry.

 

Turner Motorsports PR

The NASCAR Foundation will recognize the outstanding charitable and volunteer efforts of NASCAR fans by awarding the inaugural Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award, which includes a $100,000 donation from The NASCAR Foundation to the children’s charity of the recipient’s choice.

The award will honor the passionate commitment Betty Jane France has demonstrated with her charitable works and community efforts. France has been a pioneer of charitable works in the NASCAR community and serves as Chairwoman and founder of The NASCAR Foundation.

“Since 2006, The NASCAR Foundation has been inspired by the selfless dedication of our NASCAR fans to improve the lives of the children,” said France. “We have champions in every community and we are thrilled to recognize them with this Humanitarian Award.”

While the award is open to U.S. residents throughout the nation, Richmond International Raceway president is calling on all Greater Richmond Metropolitan Area residents to nominate a passionate NASCAR fan who demonstrates charitable and volunteer efforts.

“This award is such a great initiative by The NASCAR Foundation and the NASCAR community,” said Fritz. “I know there are thousands of passionate NASCAR fans in the Richmond community who immerse themselves in children’s-related volunteer and charitable efforts. I would love to brag that the first winner of the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award came from our backyard.”

Four finalists will be chosen, with each receiving a $25,000 donation to a children’s charity of their choice, a trip to a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in 2011 and be part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week in Las Vegas, where the winner will be announced and presented the award from France.

The winner receives the $100,000 donation from The NASCAR Foundation to their children’s charity and a 2012 Ford Explorer. The award winner will be based on nominations where individuals submit a short story about the community work and focus on supporting children’s charities done by the nominee. The three criteria that will determine the winner include the long term commitment to children’s causes, impact on the local community and dedication for their efforts and passion for the sport of NASCAR.

Nominations will be accepted online at www.nascar.com/unites, and through U.S. mail to: Betty Jane Humanitarian Award; The NASCAR Foundation; 550 South Caldwell Street, Suite 2000, Charlotte, NC 28202. The deadline for nominations is July 18.

For more information about the process, please visit www.nascar.com/unites.

RIR PR

This July, Travis Pastrana will make history when he competes at Summer X-Games in Los Angeles and makes his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at the Kroger 200 in Indianapolis the same weekend!  Boost Mobile and Pastrana are asking fans for their input to help them Name the Weekend for a chance to win a VIP trip to Los Angeles or Indianapolis to see Travis compete first hand.

Travis will be competing in the Summer X-Games in Los Angeles on July 28 and July 29.  He will then fly 2,000 miles to Indianapolis to make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at the Kroger 200 on Saturday July 30.  The craziness continues as Pastrana will fly back to Los Angeles that night just in time to compete in Rally at the Summer X-Games on Sunday July 31!

Fans can submit their suggestions for what to call this extraordinary weekend via a tabbed application hosted on Boost Mobile’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/boostmobile).  The application is fueled by ShoutOmatic (www.shoutomatic.com) which allows you to record and broadcast "Audible Voice Status Updates" (Shouts) to your Twitter and Facebook streams.   A full range of social sharing buttons will let fans post their Shouts to their Facebook wall, post to a friend’s wall, post to Twitter, send to a friend via e-mail and download the Shout as an MP3 file.

The Grand Prize winner will receive a VIP trip to Los Angeles or Indianapolis including a personal meet and greet with Pastrana, an Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Prevail, one month of Boost Mobile’s $50 Monthly Unlimited service and an autographed Pastrana shirt.

Fans will be able to submit their Shouts through June 17.  Immediately afterwards, there will be a one (1) week voting window where fans can vote on their favorite Shouts by clicking a Thumbs Up icon.  Boost Mobile and Travis Pastrana will choose the winner from the top three Shouts according to the fans.

MWR PR

If 2010 numbers can predict 2011 results, the competition could skip out on Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Texas Motor Speedway. Todd Bodine just scored a strong third-place finish at Kansas Speedway, where he also finished third in 2010. There were a few events in between the two 1.5-mile races last season, but, the events were the longest races on the schedule and the trip to Texas produced a victory for the No. 30 Tundra with Valvoline on the quarter panels.  When Bodine puts the No. 30 NTB/Service Central/Valvoline Tundra on track at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, he and his crew will look for nothing less than another win from their efforts.

“We always feel like we can go win at Texas any time we race there,” said Bodine, who admits that this time the team has to put in some extra effort to be in winning form at TMS. “Goodyear’s coming back with a different tire, so the advantage we had with the old setup for our NTB/Service Central/Valvoline Tundra is one we’ll have to work on with the tire change. We’ll just have to work hard to get our Toyota to go as fast as it normally does, but I’m sure this Germain Racing team will have no problem doing just that.”

Bodine says that returning to Texas with Valvoline branding on board certainly is part of a familiar scenario he and Germain Racing hope to duplicate.

“When we went to Texas last June, we had Valvoline on the quarter panels for the first time and we were able to take them to victory lane. We’re hoping to give them, Service Central and NTB another winning experience with the 30 Tundra at Texas Motor Speedway,” said Bodine.

Bodine is strapping into racing chassis GR-019 for Friday’s Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. The truck is new to the Germain Racing fleet; it raced first at Kansas Speedway. The No. 30 NTB/Service Central/Valvoline Tundra driver is currently ranked ninth in the championship standings.

Germain Racing PR

Richard Childress Racing and Okuma America Corporation, the U.S.-based affiliate of Okuma Corporation, a world leader in the development of computer numeric controls (CNC) and machining technology, have extended their partnership through 2017.


The RCR/Okuma partnership began in 2000. RCR's No. 29 Chevrolet with driver Kevin Harvick will carry the Okuma logos in the primary sponsor positions for this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. It will mark the first time Okuma has been the primary sponsor of an RCR car in Sprint Cup Series competition.


"The Okuma/RCR relationship has been mutually beneficial and we are excited to continue it," said Jim King, President and Chief Operating Officer, Okuma America Corporation. "We've been able to provide cutting-edge technology to a leader in the motorsports industry and learn more about our machines and how we can improve manufacturing across all industries.  Using the Okuma Technology Center at RCR to show our machines in action provides us with expanded opportunities to build and enhance customer relationships.  We feel winners partner with winners and we are proud to contribute to Richard Childress Racing's success."


The RCR and Okuma partnership has grown significantly over more than a decade. From four Okuma machines and five employees that first year, the RCR Okuma Technology Center is now a 17,000 square foot facility, housing 12 Okuma machines and employing 15 technicians, engineers and management staff.


The RCR OTC manufactures more than 3,000 different race parts with a total output in 2011 forecast to reach nearly 100,000 units. RCR and Okuma have worked together to specially design and develop CNC machinery to produce intake manifolds, cylinder heads and camshafts.


"The partnership between Okuma and RCR has been an integral part of RCR's success over the years," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. "The competitive nature of our sport dictates that we produce more and more quality, dependable race parts on our own premises. It's one of the key factors in providing a competitive advantage for both RCR and ECR Engines. The Okuma Technology Center is also the perfect facility for Okuma to showcase its products in a high performance, real-world setting."

 

RCR PR

It’s very rare that Kyle Busch leaves a racetrack pleased with a second-place finish.

But, that’s exactly what happened to Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), following last June’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.

In fact, not only did the Las Vegas native bring home his best Pocono last June, he also started from the pole – his first at Pocono – and was beaten across the finish line only by teammate and Pocono master Denny Hamlin, who has four wins and seven career top-five finishes to his credit there.

By simply taking a look at the talented 26-year-old’s record at the 2.5-mile triangle, it’s easy to figure out why the runner-up finish was a satisfying day for the winner of 97 overall races among NASCAR’s top three series’. Busch had made it no secret that Pocono has given him fits, as he has only three top-10 finishes in 12 previous starts there, along with six finishes of 22nd-place or worse.

But even more satisfying for the Las Vegas native to would be to score his first career NASCAR victory at Pocono. Of the 29 tracks that will host NASCAR’s top three divisions in 2011, Busch has competed at every circuit but one (Elkhart Lake, Wis.) and has won at 24 of them. There are only three current Sprint Cup venues – Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Pocono, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway – where Busch has not scored a victory in any of NASCAR’s top three series’ and he’d certainly like nothing more than to cross another track off the list this weekend.

So as the series heads back to the Pocono Mountains for Sunday’s 5-Hour Energy 500, Busch, crew chief Dave Rogers, and the entire M&M’s team will look to take the very same approach that yielded a second-place finish one year ago, but finally reach Pocono victory lane for the first time.

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:

How proud were you of the second-place finish in Pocono last June, given your previous record there?

“Really proud. Dave (Rogers, crew chief) and my guys gave me a great racecar. Our M&M’s Camry was good. We kept messing with it all day, trying to make it a little bit better. I think it’s just the driver here who can make up so much with lap time. Denny (Hamlin, teammate) has that place figured out. I did the best I could. If you were grading me, I went from about an F at knowing how to get around here to about an A, and an A didn’t get it done with Denny being so good there. But I was very satisfied with how we ran there, knowing how tough it’s been for me there in the past.”

Pocono is the most unique track on the circuit with three distinct corners. What’s the most difficult part of the track for you?

“The hardest part of the track, for me, is probably turn one, and then turn two is the second-hardest, and then turn three is the third-hardest. Turn three, last year, because of the patch they laid down. We couldn’t go down low and get underneath somebody and get a run on them because, when you come off the corner, you’re 8 to 10 mph slower than the guy on your outside, and they’re just going to blow right by you going down the straightaway.”

Since the track is unique, where is the best place to make a pass at Pocono?

“Most of your passing is going to be done probably through turn one and off of turn one and getting into turn two, if somebody can get a good run off of turn two, get back up high and get in line to get on that patch getting into turn three. Besides that, in turn one, we just can’t get the cars to turn down there because there’s so much load on the bump stops from going 210 mph down the front straightaway and then trying to slow it down to about a ‘buck-40’ (140). Turn two is kind of bumpy and kind of rough. There are different areas where you’ve got to maneuver through the tunnel turn to get your car right. If you miss it just by a little bit, you tend to knock the wall down off the corner, so it’s tight.”

Do you have to change your approach late in a race with what happened at the end of the race in Charlotte and some of these long green flag runs at the end of races like we saw this past weekend?

“No. Everything in this sport is circumstantial anyway. If there’s a caution, there’s a caution. If there’s no caution, you just keep racing. From what I understand, I wasn’t there and I didn’t see it -- there was a bunch up on the restart at Charlotte and there were a few cars that kind of got banged up and one spun or something like that and they didn’t throw a caution. From what I understand, all of the cars kept rolling. They never really stopped. They didn’t hit anything. There wasn’t a big wreck or nothing like that. To me, I thought NASCAR did fine in what they did. Last weekend, there are times you end up having a long green flag run at the end, sometimes you come out on the good side, and sometimes you don’t. It’s all circumstance.”

Are you safely in the Chase now with two wins?

“Not really. There are an awful lot of good guys that are scattered through 11th to 20th. There are a few good teams that are there, and you don’t know. They can rattle off some wins right in a row -- for instance, I think Juan (Pabo Montoya) is one of those guys. He can win Sonoma and win Watkins Glen and boom, there’s a guy that’s already seated himself. He could even win at an oval-type track. I know Kansas -- I think -- has been good for him and Chicago has been good for him, even though Chicago is the first Chase race. These are those typical race tracks. (David) Reutimann -- same thing. Reutimann can really rattle off a win here. He won Chicago and he won Charlotte so he knows how to do these places. Keselowski getting his first win last weekend is an example of that too. Like I said, because of the good cars that are in 11th through 20th in points, it won’t be surprising to see a few of those guys get some wins.”

How many wins do driver’s need to be secure in the Chase?

“I think two (wins) is okay, three is safe. Yeah, that’s what I said before. I said three is definitely going to be safe and four is going to be safe.”

TSC/Kyle Busch PR

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