Monster Energy Cup Series News (16540)
After 61 years in the NASCAR racing business, the Wood Brothers have two long-standing relationships that stand above the rest – their ties to Ford Motor Company and to David Pearson.
Both of them will be prominently represented on their No. 21 Ford Fusion for the 2011 season. Ford Customer Service Division is returning as the team’s primary sponsor with its Motorcraft and Quick Lane brands for the 11th straight season, and the team has dedicated its year to Pearson in honor of his induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The season-opening paint scheme, a red-and-white car with gold numbers, is the same as the Woods ran on the 1971 Mercury that Pearson began driving at Darlington in the spring of 1972. The magic was apparent from the start as Pearson won both the pole and the race that weekend. It was the first of his 43 wins and 51 poles in the Wood Brothers Mercury.
An announcement will be made at the Concord, N.C., airport on Thursday, and Pearson is expected to be on hand along with several members of his crew from the 70s, a group that included Glen Wood, Leonard Wood, Delano Wood, Kenny Martin, Cecil Wilson and Butch Moricle, as well as Len and Eddie Wood.
Eddie Wood, one of the team’s current co-owners, said he was especially pleased to be starting the season with Motorcraft/Quick Lane and Fordparts.com backing his car and with the opportunity to honor Pearson.
“As we begin our 61st year, we’re really excited to have Ford Customer Service Division back for the 11th straight year,” Wood said. “And we’re proud to be able to honor David Pearson as a friend and as a 2011 inductee into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.”
Wood acknowledged that of all the drivers who have been at the wheel of the No. 21 over the years, one stands head and shoulders above the rest.
“We’re most associated with Pearson,” he said. “Almost half of the 97 races we’ve won came with him as the driver.”
Having Pearson and the old crew come to Concord for Thursday’s announcement means a lot to Wood and the current members of the team.
“It’s really humbling,” he said. “David and Leonard together, made Wood Brothers Racing. What they did is almost unheard of in terms of racing today. They won 11 of the 18 races they started in 1973, and all but one was on a superspeedway.”
In that impressive season, the team also had two runner-up finishes and a third.
Their 1976 season was another dominating performance as they won 10 times in 22 starts and swept the Triple Crown, the sport’s big three races – the Daytona 500, World 600 and Southern 500.
Among those who find the Woods’ accomplishments with Pearson something to behold is the team’s current driver, rookie Trevor Bayne.
Bayne, 19, is the youngest driver ever to take the wheel of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion. As he’s toured the team shop and visited with members of the family like Leonard Wood, he’s come to appreciate the car he’s driving and the special paint scheme it will carry in 10 races this year.
“I remember that famous paint scheme with the gold numbers,” he said. “David Pearson made it famous. It’s a real honor to be a part of that history.”
CREDIT: WOOD BROTHERS RACING PR
CREDIT: SPRINT PR
NASCAR announced Wednesday that it has added a wild card element to setting the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field and it has simplified its points system for 2011, making it easier for fans, competitors and the industry to understand.
While the 12-driver Chase field remains intact, the final two spots will be determined by the number of wins during the first 26 races.
What are your goals this year with your teammate Brian Vickers?
“Just working together, he (Brian Vickers) wants to. I want to. Our teams (have goals), and to me it’s a good relationship and it should be all season long. I think we can both get a lot out of it. That’s the goal of having teammates. I think it’s going to be good.”
Will this be a hard year for your knowing you will only be with the team for one season?
“It’s different than some situations -- or than most situations -- but it’s what we have. Red Bull was really excited about it. I was really excited about it. Kenny Francis (crew chief) and the team -- to me it’s a good thing. I think it’s going to be just fine. One year, we’ll do all we can to do it right and have a great season and go from there. You never know what’s going to happen in racing. You never know what’s going to happen at the end of the season. It’s kind of always up in the air, but I would say that we can do a lot this year and really have a great year.”
How happy are you to have this ride with the current economic struggles in NASCAR?
“I’m really happy. Something would’ve happened for sure this year. Mr. (Rick) Hendrick was behind it and told me it would (work). So, that’s basically why I made the decision I did for kind of the next five years. When he told me (about) Red Bull, I was like, they weren’t having a good season. It wasn’t much of a year for them, but I know what they have here and what they do. I know a lot of the people, so I got excited pretty quick. Once I started going over there, even prior to driving for them, and just knowing what was going on, talking to some of the guys, I was like, ‘Man, this is actually going to be a really good spot for me.’ So, it’s been exciting. I think we can do a lot in this one season, as a team and as a company together.”
Do you think the type of drama that happened last season helps NASCAR?
“I don’t think it hurts. There’s 43 guys that want to win the race and if something happens -- somebody gets used up or done wrong, then they’re definitely going to have an issue with that. I was able to watch a lot of it and I kind of laughed at a lot of it and thought it was pretty good. I think I was maybe in one myself and it was pretty easy going and kind of over. There was definitely some good ones. There was some exciting stuff that went on that isn’t bad. It’s just showing the drive and things that each one of these drivers and teams have to win races.”
Does the one-year deal with Red Bull give you more incentive to be successful?
“It definitely makes you want it pretty bad. I think I will as long as I’m in racing. I’ve always wanted to just do everything I can to win and this is one of those years where you go into it really confident because of the off-season and because of the way that Red Bull is preparing for this season. I’m really excited. I think we can do a lot. I think we can run strong and have a lot of fun at the same time. I’m looking forward to it and can’t wait to get started.”
Do you think there needs to be more attention focused on the drivers instead of on the race cars?
“I think things are actually -- the car itself to me is a blast to drive. It’s created a ton of great racing over the last few years, especially this last year. I thought it was some of the best racing that I’ve been a part of since I’ve been in NASCAR. I like what we have. I like how it keeps getting better, and to me it’s a great car. I think there’s a lot of personalities in NASCAR, from the drivers and things that are pretty good. I don’t know exactly what to do there, but I think that the car itself -- I love what I do. I think it’s some great racing.”
Have you talked with Brian Vickers about what he’s gone through to be able to come back to NASCAR?
“I’ve known Brian (Vickers) for a long time. I wouldn’t say we’re best friends or anything, but we’ve definitely been friends for a long time. Myself, I take off a month and a half during the offseason and I can’t wait to get back in the car. I do and I’m so excited for a couple days to just be back in a race car and get to feel it, whether it’s any type of car and especially our Sprint Cup cars. To me, I couldn’t imagine being out for eight months at this time of your career. I’m not sure how old he is, but whatever he is, that’s a great time in his career and where he’s at in racing. I think it would be really difficult to be out, but at the same time things happen, you get it fixed up and you go on. And, that’s what he’s done. I think he’s got to be relieved and just excited as can be to be back in the car. I’m looking forward to working with him and having a great season together.”
Was it a coincidence that you drafted quite a bit with the Hendrick teams at the Daytona test?
“The reason that happened is there were four guys who wanted to draft. It was me and Brian (Vickers) and Jimmie (Johnson) and (Dale Earnhardt) Junior that first day. So, we kind of all worked together and drafted together and it worked out pretty well. Those are two good cars to kind of surround yourself with and see where you compared with those guys. It was good for us. As far as working together, I think Red Bull and Toyota do their thing and Hendrick and Chevrolet do theirs. This year I’m working with Red Bull and Toyota.”
Do you have a different approach this year knowing you will only be with Red Bull for one season?
“It really doesn’t change because the way I look at it is I always want to make the Chase. You have to make the Chase. That’s what everybody is here for. You have to win races, that’s why we do it is to win. That’s why we drive and race. And the only way to do that is to be consistent in this sport and that’s something where I feel like I’ve failed over the years. I’ve had years where I haven’t been very consistent, I’ve had years where we’ve been a lot better and that’s something that I need to get a lot better at. To me, if I want to win races and make the Chase I need to be consistent. That’s something I need to do this year, I need to do next year and on and on. That’s the only way to make it happen in NASCAR.”
Why did you start racing with Red Bull toward the end of the 2010 season?
“As much as anything, I liked kind of just changing and starting out with a team and getting used to their ways a little bit. I think that was definitely good. I think it was good for myself to get away from where I was. It needed to happen sooner than later. I think it was good for RPM (Richard Petty Motorsports) to get me out of there. They were happy about it and I was happy about it and we’ve went on. I’m actually really happy with where I’m at, and since Kenny Francis (crew chief) and some of the guys that I’ve worked with in the past have came over to Red Bull, I just feel really confident and really under control. I know exactly what is going on. I feel like that’s a good thing and it’s going to be really beneficial for all of us this year to have Kenny and a lot of the guys that came.”
What would it mean for you to win the Daytona 500 in this car?
“It would be great to win at Daytona. I got a little bit of a taste of it by winning a 150 (qualifying race) there. And, we ran pretty strong there all of the races last year, it seemed like. I feel confident running well at Daytona and the 4 has been impressive at times there so hopefully we can just have a really good Speed Weeks, be upfront in everything we do and start the season off right. That’s all we can ask for, that’s what we’re going for.”
What were you and Brian Vickers able to learn at the Daytona test last week?
“There was a lot you could learn with that two-car deal. The pack was too small to really learn a lot as far as the drafting side goes with the bigger pack. Nobody ever wanted to draft -- or not enough cars at once so that made it tough. I think myself and Brian (Vickers) started it and then everybody else by the end of the testing were really focusing on the two-car stuff and making changes and figuring out how you work together and how that works. I think it was really good. You’re going to need that as far as the way that the track is now. I don’t think you’ll need it as much as what we did at the test. With the big pack, you’ll need it at times and it’s good to know how it works and how you can make it work better.”
Are you at a point in your career where you feel like it’s time to have more success on the race track?
“I’ve been at that point, really. I feel like it should happen. I don’t feel like I have near enough wins. I don’t have near enough poles. I haven’t made the Chase enough. Everything about what I’ve done I don’t feel like I’ve done near enough. I’m a pretty competitive person when it comes to racing and a lot of things off the track. I want to do it right. I want to figure out how to win more and contend a lot more often.”
Are you disappointed you will only be with the Red Bull brand for a year?
“You never know how long it will be as far as my relationship with Red Bull. Hopefully it’s a lot longer than one year. Like I said, I like what we have going on and hopefully we can do good things together this year and make it a longer deal. If it’s only one year, it’s one year and I’m going to do everything I can to win races and do it right.”
Is it strange for you to have gone through all of the manufacturers in the series?
“It all changes a little bit. I noticed how many cars are on the road and you look at what’s out there. To myself, I liked the Dodge stuff, I liked the Ford stuff, I like the Toyota and then I’m going to enjoy the Chevrolet. I’ve never kind of been part of that. Where I’m at, I’ve got to get a little bit of each one of them and I think it’s actually kind of neat for myself. Yeah, I enjoy vehicles and I enjoy cars. I’m with Toyota now.”
What made you change to the 4 car?
“They’ve been 82, 84 and 83 and I didn’t really want to be any of those numbers so I asked if I could be -- when I go and race my Sprint car I’m number 4. We have our own kind of numbers -- the 4, the 9, the 91 and the 49 -- all our numbers kind of match and look similar that we did. I just asked them if they cared if I was 4, nobody is and kind of ran our design and everything. They were actually perfectly fine with it. I think it looks really good on the car. It looked great on the race track. It looks good on everything they’ve done with the 4 so far. I’m glad that Red Bull was behind it and it’s pretty cool.”
Are your knees completely recovered from your off-season surgeries?
“Yeah, probably not basketball because I can’t really twist a lot yet and maybe come down wrong. As far as running, I’m running every day. I’m biking every day. I’ve been biking for about a month, but running didn’t start until last week. I feel pretty good. I’m already running on the treadmill at 8.0 so that’s pretty decent. The knees aren’t too bad if you can do that. They don’t affect me. I didn’t even feel them sitting in the race car. They feel better now than they felt at the end of last year. I’m actually pretty happy with it.”
What did you actually have done to your knees?
“From what I understand, we’re all born with Plica. We’re all born with it and most of it goes away and mine didn’t. Mine actually kind of got bigger and filled up my joints so it was rubbing on my joints and rubbing on your kneecap and things like that. So, it was kind of a pain. Then, I tore my meniscus in my right knee so they had to fix that also so that was a pain all of last year. I did that in March of last year, so I just kind of lived with it all year and got lucky that something didn’t happen there because it could’ve been much worse.”
What does the Red Bull Racing Team have to offer you during this one year, before you move on?
“I feel like they can give me -- I think the biggest thing is the stability, the drive of winning, the excitement of all the employees and just how everybody wants to run good. Everybody wants to make themselves better. We want to do it for Red Bull. To me, it’s just a good attitude. I think a lot of it has to do with attitude and that’s what I feel they’re giving me as much as anything -- a great opportunity.”
How does your crew chief Kenny Francis fit in at Red Bull?
“Well, he’s (Kenny Francis, crew chief) is not going to change, so that doesn’t really matter. He just does his thing. He’s a great guy. He’ll sit there and if you can get him to open up and talk about things, he’s a really good guy. I’ve learned a lot and really like Kenny. But he’s probably not the edgiest guy around. That’s fine, I think it’s great. He doesn’t change, I can tell you that. It doesn’t matter who is talking to him or what time of day or when it is, he’s that same person. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
CREDIT: TOYOTA MOTORSPORTS PR
How far has Red Bull come since starting in 2007? “How much we’ve grown from the beginning is immeasurable. When I was hired at Red Bull as the first driver, gosh, I was like maybe the fifth or sixth employee. Literally I walked in the shop and it was just me and a handful of other guys. It’s incredible to watch the team go through everything it’s gone through and grow as much as it has. The evolution from a handful of guys all the way to the company that it is now. There’s been a lot of change. There’s a group of guys that are still there – the core group that have been there since the beginning, but there’s a lot of guys that have come and gone. That’s expected in a new organization. You create an organization and you create a culture -- some guys are going to fit in it and some guys aren’t. Doesn’t mean they’re bad or good, they just need to fit the right piece for the right puzzle and I think over the years I’ve seen the company and the culture – we kind of went one direction and then we changed and now we’re going back in the original direction that we went from a cultural standpoint. I think all those are good changes. We’ve learned a lot from that as a group and through that process people have come and gone. Where we’re at right now, I really believe is as good as we’ve ever been as an organization. From a direction, a culture, a structure, a passion, a drive -- I think the enthusiasm within the team on both cars within the race shop in the highest it’s ever been. Having two experienced guys that can lean on each other is the best it’s ever been. Honestly, I’m really excited about 2011 and the growth I’ve seen through the years.”
What was your feeling when you first climbed back in the driver’s seat of your race car? “I savored it -- it felt good. I guess you don’t really know what to expect, you’re not really sure which direction to go, what emotions to feel. When you get back in the car, you’re not sure what’s going to happen. My gut always told me that I would get right back in it and it would be just like an old pair of shoes or riding a bicycle, but everyone starts asking you, ‘It’s been eight months, do you remember how to drive?’ It’s not that you really start believing it, but you start wondering what that experience is really going to be like. But when I got back in that car, the belts fit, I remember how to put them on – nobody had to tell me how. In so many ways, I think I truly appreciated it more, but at the same time it was almost like I hadn’t even been gone. It just felt so comfortable, it felt so good, it felt so normal to be back in that seat. I got in, climbed in the car, the belts still fit, the helmet fit and I put it all on and went racing. Just got back on the race track and it was a very special moment.”
Do you want the illness to be forgotten so your career is not defined by it for years to come? “I don’t really care -- I just want to win a championship. I do believe that the experience has made me a better person and therefore I think that translates on the race track. The person you are and the personality that you have is always going to translate in your driving style. I want to use this experience as an opportunity to reach people whether it’s clot awareness or different things. Do I want to be defined by it? No, but ultimately you’re defined by your actions, you’re defined by what happens to you, you’re defined by a lot of things. This is going to be one of them and I accept that. After Daytona, I want to be talking about winning the race not about clots. But I understand that who I am and what I do and what I’ve gone through, it ’s always going to be a part of my life.”
What did you learn at the Daytona test? “We learned that you could still hold it wide open. There’s going to be drafting and it’s going to be an exciting race. We did learn a lot of things that I think are going to help us as a team, but a lot of guys learned a lot of things. We got faster while we were there, but so did other guys. I don’t know if I could tell you how the race is going to be. It’s going to be one of the most exciting Daytona 500s for me from the driver’s seat and I’m sure it’s going to be the same for the fans. The track surface is part of it, the cars with the new noses is part of it. I think the evolution of drafting. Could our old cars have done what we do now, the way we draft in pairs and really pick up a lot of speed? Yeah, maybe they could have and we just never tried it. We didn’t really push that boundary. Maybe the new car is a part of that. The surface is definitely a part of it at Daytona. Why you didn’t see more of it at Talladega I don’t know. I think you’re going to see a lot of it at this race, but you’re still going to see a big pack. You’re still going to see three wide. How the two car breakaways are going to play into that -- I don’t know, but it’s going to be exciting to find out.”
Did you ever consider retiring from racing? “Absolutely. Listen there was a point in time where it wasn’t really up to me. We weren’t sure what caused it, what happened, am I coming off blood thinners, am I not? Medically we had to answer a lot of those questions. There was a lot of time there where I wasn’t sure if it was even in my hands. Once it was in my hands, I still had a decision to make. If I decided to come back racing, was I going to be thinking about a blood clot every lap? Was I going to be able to focus on my job? Was I still going to love it? Was it time to move on to something else in my life? I had a hard decision to make and there were a lot of things that had to be weighed
What has the support from competitors been like throughout this process? “There’s definitely situations with guys that have changed. Some of the guys that were the most there for me were the obvious ones and the guys that I am the closest to outside of racing -- Casey (Mears), Jimmie (Johnson), Jeff (Gordon). There were some guys there that checked in on me every once in a while and were very supportive -- Tony Stewart was one of the first guys to check in with me via text or phone. When I was at the race track he would always say something. He was the first guy to stick his head in my window at Daytona. Tony obviously has his rough side and his moments and I wish he would show more -- it doesn’t come out as much as it used to. I kind of liked it. He’s a teddy bear inside. He always has been to me. He was great and I’m just giving you one example because I don’t want to go through all of them. Him for instance, that meant a lot to me on a personal level. It really did. It really showed me a side to Tony that I’d seen some, but not directed towards me. It was Sonoma when he and I got into it and that was awesome. I think it cost him some money. Back then I used to love to push his buttons and I was good at it. Tony and I have become really close over the years and have a mutual respect. Him and I race well together now and probably as good as I’ve raced with anybody on the race track. Really hard when it’s time to be hard, but not when it’s not. I think that’s a good example of what he did and how his little comments here and there meant a lot to me. I still want to beat him and I think he knows that. He expects that and that’s what he respects. He’s not going to feel bad for me either. He’s going to race me just as hard if not harder than he ever has and I like that -- that’s what I love about our sport. That’s what I want. I want to race these guys with respect and I want to race them hard, but when we all go home we’re all people. We’re a community, we’re a team and the NASCAR community as a whole has been very supportive through this. People talk about that a lot, but it’s truly there. I think you really see it when things are bad. How much everybody really supports you and are understanding. I would even say that to all you guys here and all the media in general. A lot of the familiar faces that are there week in and week out. You guys were great -- you could have been in my business and asking just inappropriate questions, but you weren’t. I understand you have a job to do and I think I talked about that in some of my press conferences. I wanted to give you guys as much as I could, but in return I asked that you give me my space and you did and I really appreciate that. I think that’s part of our community. You don’t get that in a lot of other places. I talked to some of my friends that are athletes in other sports -- they don’t get that, they don’t get that at all. They don’t have the accessibility on the front end. That’s why I tried to give you guys as much as I could. That’s always meant a lot to me and I really appreciate it. I think that’s another example of what you’re talking about with the community coming together whether it’s your peers as drivers or the media or the fans or the teams or whatever. When Sunday rolls around I still want to win.”
CREDIT: TOYOTA MOTORSPORTS PR
Penske Racing announced today that Alliance Truck Parts, a leading provider of replacement parts for the commercial transportation industry, will be the primary sponsor of the No. 12 Dodge Challenger driven by Sam Hornish Jr. for the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Hornish raced the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Charger in the 2010 Nationwide Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and he is ready to compete for the team again this season.
Said Hornish, “It’s exciting to be able to return to the car and get a chance to represent the Alliance Truck Parts brand again this season. I know everyone at Penske Racing will be working hard to get the best results possible this year in the Nationwide Series.”
“Penske Racing has a heritage of benchmark performance and we feel the alignment between Alliance Truck Parts, Penske Racing and Sam Hornish Jr. is a partnership that signifies the quality, reliability and value of our brand,” said Daniel Haggerty, director of parts marketing for Daimler Trucks North America LLC.
Hornish will drive the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge for Penske Racing in at least eight races in the upcoming Nationwide Series season. The former Indianapolis 500 winner and three-time IndyCar Series champion is expected to compete in at least 10 series races overall in 2011. Specific races will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Penske Racing welcomes Alliance Truck Parts to the team,” said Roger Penske. “We believe this marks the beginning of a strong partnership. Sam and the team are ready to produce solid results in the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge. It should be an exciting 2011 season.”
CREDIT: Penske Racing PR
Penske Racing’s Kurt Busch will join Coca-Cola’s family of NASCAR drivers this season. Coca-Cola will sponsor the 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion as Busch pursues his second series title while driving the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil machine in 2011.
Busch will carry the iconic Coca-Cola name on both his uniform and his Dodge Charger as he looks to extend his Cup Series victory streak to 10 consecutive seasons.
“I am honored to represent Coca-Cola during 2011 racing season,” said Busch, who scored two wins and two poles in 2010, finishing 11th in the final Cup Series standings. “We’re looking forward to a great season as we transition to the No. 22 car and it’s awesome to have Coca-Cola on board for the ride.
As part of the relationship, Busch and Penske Racing will be featured in Coca-Cola’s in-store promotions throughout the 2011 season and Busch will also make promotional appearances on behalf of Coke.
“Both Kurt and Penske Racing have proven that they are winners both on and off the track,” said Ben Reiling, director of Sports Marketing for Coca-Cola. “We welcome Kurt and Penske to the Coca-Cola Racing Family and look forward to working with him to bring the passion of NASCAR and the uplifting refreshment of Coca-Cola to his many fans.”
CREDIT: Penske Racing PR
Richard Petty, owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, Andrew Murstein, President of Medallion Financial and Doug Bergeron, co-owners of RPM, announced today the 2011 partner lineup for the No. 9 and No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams.
“We’ve got a lineup of great sponsors for both Richard Petty Motorsports teams next season,” said Richard Petty. “Though we went through some trying times at the end of 2010, our partners saw the value in our organization and remained committed to us for the future. Best Buy, Stanley and DEWALT have made huge commitments to this race team and we thank them for their confidence in our race team. We’re fortunate to have Valvoline, U.S. Air Force, WIX Filters, Reynolds, Super 8 and Paralyzed Veterans of America on board as well.”
“We’ve set our goals and our standards high at Richard Petty Motorsports, and we’re committed to reaching those goals,” continued Petty. “Getting the No. 43 and No. 9 cars to Victory Lane is our number one priority and we have the drive, talent and enthusiasm to do so. We’re completely focused on building this organization into a winning race team and the talent at RPM runs deep.”
The sponsor line up for 2011 includes several organizations that have partnered with Richard Petty in the past. Stanley, an RPM sponsor since 2005, returns for the 2011 season. The 2011 season will also have a new addition to the RPM partner family as DEWALT returns to the sport. Both brands will serve as primary sponsors of the No. 9 Ford Fusion driven by Marcos Ambrose.
“Stanley and DEWALT are proud to partner with Marcos Ambrose and Richard Petty Motorsports,” stated Scott Bannell, Vice President Corporate Brand Management and Licensing, Stanley and DEWALT. “Richard Petty is a legend in the sport and we are honored to have him as the face of our brands on and off the track. Marcos Ambrose is a passionate and determined competitor and we look forward to a successful season together.”
Marcos Ambrose, a two-time winner in the V8 Supercar Series will once again get behind the wheel of a Ford machine as he begins his tenure with RPM. Ambrose has racked up an impressive seven Top-five and 13 Top-10 finishes in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. Championship winning crew chief Todd Parrott will lead the No. 9 team.
Best Buy will return to sponsor the No. 43 Ford Fusion and driver AJ Allmendinger for 24 races. Leading that team will be Mike Shiplett, who has worked with Allmendinger for several years at Richard Petty Motorsports. Valvoline, U.S. Air Force, WIX Filters, Reynolds and Paralyzed Veterans of America will round out the sponsorship package on the famed No. 43 car for the 2011 season.
“Best Buy is proud to renew our relationship with Richard Petty Motorsports and driver AJ Allmendinger for the 2011 season,” said Drew Panayiotou, senior vice president marketing, Best Buy. “Richard Petty is a motorsports icon and is well respected within the sport of NASCAR. Being a part of a team with his leadership is a privilege. We will be doing some innovative work with Richard Petty Motorsports around activating our sponsorship in new and fun ways for the fans. We look forward to continuing our support of AJ and the No. 43 team as they strive to make their way to Victory Lane.”
NASCAR preseason testing at Daytona International Speedway concluded this afternoon and for Steve Wallace (No. 77 5-Hour Energy Toyota), the three-day test session provided valuable experience in advance of his Sprint Cup Series debut in next month's Daytona 500. # # # CREDIT: Rusty Wallace Racing PR
Said Wallace, "We definitely still have a lot of speed left to find, but one of the biggest things that came out of the test was the experience that I gained drafting in a Cup car. It's definitely a lot different than drafting in the old Nationwide Series car.
"We spent a lot of time drafting with guys like Tony Stewart, AJ Allmendinger and Brian Vickers; I want to thank all of those guys for their help. I really learned a lot about how to push guys and how to get pushed in a two-car draft like they've had with the Cup cars lately. There's definitely a technique to it that most people don't realize.
"It's incredible how fast the two-car draft is; we were almost 20 miles per hour faster in one of those than in qualifying trim. A lot of people are even saying that you're going to see a race of 20 different two-car drafts down here in February. I don't know if I'd go that far, but it's definitely going to play a huge role in both the Cup and Nationwide races."
The best lap of the week for Wallace's 5-Hour Energy and Aspen Dental-backed team came in Saturday's AM session, when he posted an average speed of 195.274 MPH while in a two-car draft with AJ Allmendinger. That lap placed Wallace sixth-fastest in the session. With that said, the 23 year-old is far from content and admits that his team still has quite a bit of speed to find before next month's race.
Wallace noted, "While I learned a lot about drafting down here, I also learned that we have to work really hard on our cars before we come back here. We definitely weren't as fast by ourselves as we need to be. With this program coming together so quickly, we just didn't have time before the test to do the fine details that make these speedway cars fast. We didn't even have time to get either one of our cars in the wind tunnel. Now that we're through the test, our guys are going to be working around the clock every day to make these cars the very best we can.
"We definitely learned a lot this week and we're going to be in the wind tunnel with both our cars as much as we possibly can before the race; we'll decide then which one will be our primary car. The car we had this weekend was an older RCR car that we converted to a Toyota. The other car, which just finished being converted this week, is a Ganassi car that was Montoya's backup speedway car last year; we all know how well the Ganassi cars ran on speedways. We'll take everything we learned this week and incorporate it into both cars before we come down here for the race. I'm confident that we'll pick up quite a bit on our cars.
"The speed isn't just in the car though, it's the total package. We didn't have the same engine package as we will for the race and we feel like we still have to gain in terms of horsepower. The guys at Triad Racing Technologies have told us that they're really committed to this program and I know they'll be working 24/7 every day over the next few weeks to find all the power they can before we come back down here."
Rusty Wallace Racing's preseason testing schedule continues this week, as both Steve Wallace's No. 66 5-Hour Energy team and Michael Annett's No. 62 Pilot Flying J / Aspen Dental squad will test their Nationwide Series cars on Monday and Tuesday at Walt Disney World Speedway. The younger Wallace and a portion of his No. 66 team will then travel on Wednesday to Irwindale, CA for next weekend's Toyota All-Star Showdown. Wallace will pilot the No. 66 South Point Hotel & Casino Toyota in that event.
# # #
CREDIT: Rusty Wallace Racing PR
Pos No Name Make Best Time Best Speed Session
1 2 Brad Keselowski Dge 45.316 198.605 Day 3 PM
2 22 Kurt Busch Dge 45.322 198.579 Day 3 PM
3 18 Kyle Busch Tyt 45.515 197.737 Day 3 PM
4 11 Denny Hamlin Tyt 45.515 197.737 Day 3 PM
5 20 Joey Logano Tyt 45.517 197.728 Day 3 PM
6 83 Brian Vickers Tyt 45.533 197.659 Day 3 PM
7 4 Kasey Kahne TYt 45.533 197.659 Day 3 PM
8 43 AJ Allmendinger Frd 45.549 197.589 Day 3 PM
9 24 Jeff Gordon Chv 45.550 197.585 Day 3 PM
1 20 Joey Logano Tyt 45.566 197.516 Day 3 AM
2 11 Denny Hamlin Tyt 45.567 197.511 Day 3 AM
3 14 Tony Stewart Chv 45.582 197.446 Day 3 AM
4 39 Ryan Newman Chv 45.583 197.442 Day 3 AM
10 99 Carl Edwards Frd 45.592 197.403 Day 3 PM
1 11 Denny Hamlin Tyt 45.716 196.868 Day 2 PM
2 14 Tony Stewart Chv 45.719 196.855 Day 2 PM
3 20 Joey Logano Tyt 45.757 196.691 Day 2 PM
5 43 AJ Allmendinger Frd 45.828 196.386 Day 3 AM
4 2 Brad Keselowski Dge 45.873 196.194 Day 2 PM
5 31 Jeff Burton Chv 45.954 195.848 Day 2 PM
6 83 Brian Vickers Tyt 45.955 195.844 Day 2 PM
1 00 David Reutimann Tyt 45.970 195.780 Day 1 PM
2 56 Martin Truex Jr. Tyt 45.971 195.776 Day 1 PM
7 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chv 46.037 195.495 Day 2 PM
8 48 Jimmie Johnson Chv 46.037 195.495 Day 2 PM
9 18 Kyle Busch Tyt 46.054 195.423 Day 2 PM
6 77 Steve Wallace Tyt 46.089 195.274 Day 3 AM
10 4 Kasey Kahne Tyt 46.170 194.932 Day 2 PM
11 77 Steve Wallace Tyt 46.239 194.641 Day 3 PM
3 83 Brian Vickers Tyt 46.312 194.334 Day 1 PM
4 4 Kasey Kahne Tyt 46.312 194.334 Day 1 PM
11 77 Steve Wallace Tyt 46.468 193.682 Day 2 PM
5 14 Tony Stewart Chv 48.165 186.585 Day 1 PM
12 33 Clint Bowyer Chv 48.583 185.250 Day 2 PM
16 16 Greg Biffle Frd 48.627 185.082 Day 3 PM
7 1 Jamie McMurray Chv 48.688 184.850 Day 3 AM
8 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chv 48.694 184.828 Day 3 AM
6 24 Jeff Gordon Chv 48.744 184.638 Day 1 PM
13 29 Kevin Harvick Chv 48.791 184.460 Day 3 PM
9 24 Jeff Gordon Chv 48.802 184.419 Day 3 AM
1 33 Clint Bowyer Chv 48.855 184.219 Day 1 AM
10 5 Mark Martin Chv 48.876 184.139 Day 3 AM
14 09 Bill Elliott Chv 48.889 184.090 Day 3 PM
7 33 Clint Bowyer Chv 48.923 183.963 Day 1 PM
15 5 Mark Martin Chv 48.927 183.948 Day 3 PM
8 1 Jamie McMurray Chv 48.937 183.910 Day 1 PM
16 88 Josh Wise Chv 48.943 183.887 Day 3 PM
2 24 Jeff Gordon Chv 48.945 183.880 Day 1 AM
13 1 Jamie McMurray Chv 48.946 183.876 Day 2 PM
14 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chv 48.953 183.850 Day 2 PM
17 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chv 49.009 183.640 Day 3 PM
11 27 Paul Menard Chv 49.019 183.602 Day 3 AM
18 21 Trevor Bayne Frd 49.020 183.599 Day 3 PM
19 1 Jamie McMurray Chv 49.022 183.591 Day 3 PM
9 18 Kyle Busch Tyt 49.031 183.557 Day 1 PM
20 27 Paul Menard Chv 49.038 183.531 Day 3 PM
10 99 Carl Edwards Frd 49.043 183.512 Day 1 PM
11 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chv 49.053 183.475 Day 1 PM
12 16 Greg Biffle Frd 49.054 183.471 Day 3 AM
3 5 Mark Martin Chv 49.079 183.378 Day 1 AM
12 20 Joey Logano Tyt 49.087 183.348 Day 1 PM
21 6 Todd Bodine Tyt 49.123 183.214 Day 3 PM
15 24 Jeff Gordon Chv 49.125 183.206 Day 2 PM
13 11 Denny Hamlin Tyt 49.132 183.180 Day 1 PM
22 09 Marcos Ambrose Frd 49.135 183.169 Day 3 PM
14 5 Mark Martin Chv 49.140 183.150 Day 1 PM
4 1 Jamie McMurray Chv 49.146 183.128 Day 1 AM
23 6 David Ragan Frd 49.157 183.087 Day 3 PM
13 2 Brad Keselowski Dge 49.162 183.068 Day 3 AM
15 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chv 49.177 183.012 Day 1 PM
5 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chv 49.181 182.997 Day 1 AM
14 22 Kurt Busch Dge 49.196 182.942 Day 3 AM
6 2 Brad Keselowski Dge 49.204 182.912 Day 1 AM
24 13 Casey Mears Tyt 49.215 182.871 Day 3 PM
16 5 Mark Martin Chv 49.230 182.815 Day 2 PM
15 29 Kevin Harvick Chv 49.240 182.778 Day 3 AM
7 99 Carl Edwards Frd 49.263 182.693 Day 1 AM
16 2 Brad Keselowski Dge 49.264 182.689 Day 1 PM
16 09 Bill Elliott Chv 49.267 182.678 Day 3 AM
17 78 Regan Smith Chv 49.268 182.674 Day 1 PM
25 36 Dave Blaney Chv 49.272 182.660 Day 3 PM
8 20 Joey Logano Tyt 49.279 182.634 Day 1 AM
9 31 Jeff Burton Chv 49.287 182.604 Day 1 AM
10 27 Paul Menard Chv 49.294 182.578 Day 1 AM
18 29 Kevin Harvick Chv 49.298 182.563 Day 1 PM
17 21 Trevor Bayne Frd 49.301 182.552 Day 3 AM
19 9 Marcos Ambrose Frd 49.305 182.537 Day 1 PM
20 22 Kurt Busch Dge 49.306 182.534 Day 1 PM
18 9 Marcos Ambrose Frd 49.308 182.526 Day 3 AM
19 18 Kyle Busch Tyt 49.314 182.504 Day 3 AM
11 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chv 49.330 182.445 Day 1 AM
21 31 Jeff Burton Chv 49.340 182.408 Day 1 PM
12 11 Denny Hamlin Tyt 49.341 182.404 Day 1 AM
20 88 Josh Wise Chv 49.342 182.400 Day 3 AM
22 27 Paul Menard Chv 49.352 182.363 Day 1 PM
23 16 Greg Biffle Frd 49.370 182.297 Day 1 PM
13 18 Kyle Busch Tyt 49.376 182.275 Day 1 AM
17 39 Ryan Newman Chv 49.377 182.271 Day 2 PM
26 17 Matt Kenseth Frd 49.379 182.264 Day 3 PM
21 99 Carl Edwards Frd 49.382 182.253 Day 3 AM
14 22 Kurt Busch Dge 49.387 182.234 Day 1 AM
15 16 Greg Biffle Frd 49.390 182.223 Day 1 AM
18 27 Paul Menard Chv 49.392 182.216 Day 2 PM
22 83 Brian Vickers Tyt 49.396 182.201 Day 3 AM
16 39 Ryan Newman Chv 49.409 182.153 Day 1 AM
17 09 Bill Elliott Chv 49.409 182.153 Day 1 AM
19 16 Greg Biffle Frd 49.409 182.153 Day 2 PM
18 29 Kevin Harvick Chv 49.410 182.149 Day 1 AM
24 39 Ryan Newman Chv 49.410 182.149 Day 1 PM
25 21 Trevor Bayne Frd 49.424 182.098 Day 1 PM
23 6 David Ragan Frd 49.437 182.050 Day 3 AM
24 36 Dave Blaney Chv 49.474 181.914 Day 3 AM
25 17 Matt Kenseth Frd 49.483 181.881 Day 3 AM
19 21 Trevor Bayne Frd 49.484 181.877 Day 1 AM
26 4 Kasey Kahne Tyt 49.506 181.796 Day 3 AM
27 60 Todd Bodine Tyt 49.515 181.763 Day 3 AM
26 60 Todd Bodine Tyt 49.519 181.748 Day 1 PM
20 99 Carl Edwards Frd 49.520 181.745 Day 2 PM
20 6 David Ragan Frd 49.528 181.715 Day 1 AM
21 14 Tony Stewart Chv 49.573 181.550 Day 1 AM
21 21 Trevor Bayne Frd 49.573 181.550 Day 2 PM
22 9 Marcos Ambros Frd 49.575 181.543 Day 2 PM
27 6 David Ragan Frd 49.590 181.488 Day 1 PM
23 22 Kurt Busch Dge 49.590 181.488 Day 2 PM
24 29 Kevin Harvick Chv 49.597 181.463 Day 2 PM
28 09 Bill Elliott Chv 49.620 181.378 Day 1 PM
22 78 Regan Smith Chv 49.628 181.349 Day 1 AM
25 43 AJ Allmendinger Frd 49.661 181.229 Day 2 PM
23 83 Brian Vickers Tyt 49.668 181.203 Day 1 AM
29 43 AJ Allmendinger Frd 49.687 181.134 Day 1 PM
24 60 Todd Bodine Tyt 49.688 181.130 Day 1 AM
26 09 Bill Elliott Chv 49.698 181.094 Day 2 PM
30 48 Jimmie Johnson Chv 49.706 181.065 Day 1 PM
31 36 Dave Blaney Chv 49.739 180.945 Day 1 PM
27 00 David Reutimann Tyt 49.743 180.930 Day 2 PM
25 9 Marcos Ambrose Frd 48.744 180.926 Day 1 AM
26 48 Jimmie Johnson Chv 49.750 180.905 Day 1 AM
32 17 Matt Kenseth Frd 49.752 180.897 Day 1 PM
27 00 David Reutimann Tyt 49.762 180.861 Day 1 AM
28 6 David Ragan Frd 49.768 180.839 Day 2 PM
28 4 Kasey Kahne Frd 49.781 180.792 Day 1 AM
29 43 AJ Allmendinger Frd 49.845 180.792 Day 1 AM
29 60 Todd Bodine Tyt 49.790 180.759 Day 2 PM
28 13 Casey Mears Tyt 49.801 180.719 Day 3 AM
30 17 Matt Kenseth Frd 49.850 180.542 Day 1 AM
30 17 Matt Kenseth Frd 49.854 180.527 Day 2 PM
33 13 Casey Mears Tyt 49.874 180.455 Day 1 PM
31 56 Martin Truex Jr. Tyt 49.894 180.382 Day 2 PM
32 78 Regan Smith Chv 49.900 180.361 Day 2 PM
33 36 Dave Blaney Chv 49.925 180.270 Day 2 PM
31 13 Casey Mears Tyt 49.933 180.242 Day 1 AM
32 56 Martin Truex Jr. Tyt 49.971 180.104 Day 1 AM
34 77 Steve Wallace Tyt 50.036 179.870 Day 1 PM
34 13 Casey Mears Tyt 50.241 179.137 Day 2 PM
27 66 Michael McDowell Tyt 50.310 178.891 Day 3 PM
33 77 Steve Wallace Dge 50.418 178.508 Day 1 AM
29 66 Michael McDowell Tyt 50.958 176.616 Day 3 AM