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Russell Branham, well respected for his more than 25 years in the NASCAR industry, was named today as the Director of Public Relations for Talladega Superspeedway. Track chairman Grant Lynch also announced that Branham would serve as the Executive Director of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Branham, a South Carolina native and 1987 graduate of Francis Marion University (SC), joins the track after spending the last 13 ½ years as NASCAR driver Jeff Burton’s business manager as well as Vice President of HB&M Sports, a marketing agency in Charlotte, NC.
“We are excited to have Russell join our team,” Lynch said. “He brings unmatched expertise and numerous connections throughout NASCAR to Talladega. The fact that he cut his public relations teeth under my late, great friend Jim Hunter at Darlington Raceway brings untold value to our business. We’re excited for him to be with us both at the track and at the Hall of Fame.”
Branham brings a vast amount of experience to his role as Director of PR. He headed the communications effort at Darlington Raceway (SC) from 1989-99, and was actively involved with the track’s Stock Car Museum and National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame.
“It’s an exciting time to join the Talladega family,” said Branham, who will lead all media, community and Public Relations/Communications efforts for the speedway. “I am anxious to get started at a historic venue that is the most competitive in NASCAR, and the most fun-filled for fans. I am just as eager to help showcase the incredible venue that is the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.”
Talladega Superspeedway PR
Texas Motor Speedway is following up its fan-fueled enhancements unveiled last month with another fan friendly initiative with the redesign of www.texasmotorspeedway.com. Beginning today, fans will find a more dynamic, user-friendly website that offers visitors one-stop shopping for all their NASCAR and INDYCAR news.
The site now provides optimum functionality for all internet devices while providing the capability of creating customizable driver pages, a comprehensive page for all the latest news in NASCAR and INDYCAR, a blog providing exclusive content and incorporation of fan images via the social media platform Instagram.
"Our new website is all about the fans and it truly offers everything a fan would want in a website," Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. "With all the enhancements, it makes it the only website a fan needs to visit to get everything they want to know about NASCAR and INDYCAR."
The enhanced site allows fans to easily navigate via a smartphone or tablet. This reactive website will be able to detect the type of mobile device utilized by the user and deliver the website to them accordingly.
Fans using a smartphone will be prompted to the mobile lite site which provides a scaled-down version of www.texasmotorspeedway.com that requires low bandwidth usage, making it easier for fans to navigate the site for information during high-traffic race weekends at "The Great American Speedway!" Those navigating on a tablet will have the option of using the full-scale or mobile lite site.
"The new mobile lite site provides an effective tool to keep our fans informed during race weekends," Gossage said. "Finding improved measures to serve our fans is a priority and this new features certainly does that and more."
The website also provides a comprehensive page that features the latest news, videos and photographs with the help of NewsCred. With information being drawn from over 150 news sites and content updates every 15 minutes, Texas Motor Speedway's new website will provide the most up-to-date coverage of NASCAR and INDYCAR.
Customized content utilizing the new "My Favorite Driver" page under the Fan Zone will allow fans to build a page that will provide updated content for their driver of choice. Texas Motor Speedway is encouraging its fans to build a "My Favorite Driver" page prior to Sunday's Daytona 500 for a chance to win VIP tickets and a meet-and-greet session with the 2013 Daytona 500 winner at the House of Blues in Dallas on Wednesday, Feb. 27. Fans featuring a page of the winning driver of the Daytona 500 will be eligible for the chance to win tickets to the exclusive Victory Lane Luncheon with the champion.
Fans also can read the latest entries from Texas Motor Speedway's new blog, "The Monkey Knife Fight," that will provide unique content with special guest bloggers, exclusive videos, behind-the-scenes images, and more.
Other modifications to the website include a "Motorsports 101" page devoted to educating fans about the sport. The page currently includes the latest on NASCAR's new Gen-6 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car and the drivers' perspectives on how the new chassis will impact the on-track action.
Fans will have the ability to post their photos taken via Instagram to www.texasmotorspeedway.com. The website will share fan photos using the hashtag #WildAsphaltCircus.
Back in April 2010, the ASA Truck Series opened their season under the ownership of Todd & Lisa McLauchlan. Their first event took place at Havasu 95 Speedway, an ASA Member Track in Lake Havasu City, AZ. The winner of that race was a14-year-old who had a last name that many didn’t know how to pronounce, and had a major sponsor.
Fast forward to 2013 and Dylan Kwasniewski is becoming a household name. Last year, he became the youngest NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion and is now looking at moving up to the higher levels when he turns 18.
Kwasniewski started racing in the ASA Truck Series in 2009 and started out the 2010 season by winning the first two races at Havasu 95 Speedway and I-10 Speedway. He followed that up with a fifth place finish at Irwindale and a second place finish at The Bullring. After that his career shot out of a cannon.
Looking back, he remembers how the ASA Truck Series really helped his driving skills. “The ASA Truck Series is awesome! It is a good stepping-stone to go from Legends into the trucks and learn how to run bigger racecars like that,” Kwasniewski recalled. “It was good to get a feel in these style of heavier cars and trucks, after racing Legends, before going up to the big boys. It taught me a lot about car control and getting used to the style of racecars I would be driving in the future.”
He would encourage any future young drivers to look at the ASA Truck Series. “I would say definitely get into it. It was a good series when I was competing with them before moving up. They have good competition and I learned a lot from it,” Kwasniewski said. “It was a good stepping-stone without jumping too far ahead into the next series. It really helped me get acclimated to the bigger cars.”
Kwasniewski also appreciates the effort that Todd & Lisa McLauchlan have put into the series. “They are great. I see them at Havasu from time to time. I wish I had the time to go and run a couple of more races. They are great people and they treat their drivers and fans real well. It is a well-run series.”
“Dylan is a perfect example of what the ASA Truck Series is all about. Our series is focused on helping propel the careers of young drivers like Dylan,” Lisa McLauchlan said. “Todd and I remember when Dylan won the first race we ran at Havasu. We are proud that we were able to use our series to help further develop his career. We wish him the best and are grateful to call him an ASA Truck Series Alumni.”
“Our series truly allows young talent to grow into mature racers,” Todd McLauchlan said. “We are proud to know Dylan and see the success he is having at his age, especially after winning the K&N Pro Series West championship last year. We appreciate that he realizes how much the ASA Truck Series has helped him move up to the higher levels. We encourage drivers to use our series to help them move through the ranks like what Dylan has done. He is proof of what our series can do for young drivers.”
Along with the ASA Truck Series, Havasu 95 Speedway also played a major role in his development. “I did an interview on Showtime and they asked me what was my favorite track growing up and I said Havasu 95 Speedway. It was the track that I ran at the most because I wasn’t old enough to run at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway,” Kwasniewski explained. “The track is great. It taught me a lot about car control because it is such a small track. You definitely have to be easy on your tires there. Bill and Greg run a great show and treat everyone well. Whenever I can get out there to run a race, I do.”
“Dylan is a real good kid and man can he turn the wheel of a racecar,” Bill Rohzon, Havasu 95 Speedway Promoter said. “It just amazes me with the talent he has and it is great that he is having the success he is having today. He knows he is always welcome to come and race with us anytime his schedule allows.”
In 2013, Kwasniewski is running for the K&N Pro Series championship. There are also plans in the works to run some ARCA events with the hope of getting into the Nationwide Series in 2014.
You can learn more about Dylan by visiting www.dylankwasniewski.com.
You can also learn more about the ASA Truck Series at www.speedtruck.com and Havasu 95 Speedway at www.havasu95speedway.com.
ASA Racing PR
NTS Motorsports is pleased to announce the addition of Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup to its 2013 partnership lineup. The Wisconsin-based company will serve as primary sponsor on the No. 9 Chevrolet Silverado for three races with four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Champion, Ron Hornaday, in addition to primary placement on the No. 24 Chevrolet Silverado at Martinsville Speedway (November) with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular, Kevin Harvick.
The family-run and operated company will adorn the No. 9 machine at Dover Motor Speedway (May), Kentucky Speedway (June) and Chicagoland Speedway (September).
"I have had the privilege of carrying the Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup colors for a couple years now," said Ron Hornaday, "they are a small, family company with big dreams and a great product. They have been loyal supporters of mine and we look forward to building their presence in market and on the race track in 2013."
Anderson's Maple Syrup, a pure, all-natural, and healthy alternative to artificial "maple-flavored" syrups, was started over 80 years ago by Paul Anderson as a hobby. Today the third-generation grandson, Steve Anderson, continues the family's sugar making heritage.
"We are thrilled to enter our third NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season with Ron Hornaday," said Steve Anderson. "Ron has been a wonderful spokesperson for our brand and we are excited as we head into the 2013 season with NTS Motorsports, Ron, and his 'Sweet Ride.'
Harvick, who will make two starts for the rookie team this year at both Martinsville Speedway events, will carry the crimson and gold colors during the second NCWTS event at the half-mile "paper-clip" in November.
"Kevin has been a wonderful supporter of Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup since our 2011 season with KHI (Kevin Harvick Incorporated)," continued Anderson. "As a family-brand, Kevin will do a great job of representing our product and with his success at Martinsville in the truck series, we are so grateful for the opportunity to have him drive our Chevrolet Silverado."
NTS Motorsports PR
A quick trip around Daytona International Speedway on Sunday afternoon assured Trevor Bayne and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion a starting spot in next Sunday’s 55th annual Daytona 500.
In pole qualifying, Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 winner, turned a lap at 195.976 miles per hour to post the third-best qualifying time, so no matter how he finishes in Thursday’s 150-mile Budweiser Duel, he’ll be in the line-up for next Sunday’s Great American Race.
“It’s a big sigh of relief,” crew chief Donnie Wingo said as his Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew pushed their Ford Fusion, the fastest of the Blue Oval contingent, through the inspection line.
As Bayne pointed out in his post-qualifying interview, speed in qualifying at Daytona is more a result of preparation by the crew than driver performance.
“The Wood Brothers know how to do it, that is for sure,” he said. “That is what is so cool about qualifying here. It shows all the hard work that they put into these cars. Once you get in the race and get beat up a little bit, it doesn’t matter quite as much, but qualifying shows all the hard work they put into it.”
Wingo didn’t disagree.
“This is a tribute to everbody in the engine shop at Roush Yates Engines and the people at Roush Fenway Racing who build these cars and to our Motorcraft/Quick Lane guys who put it together and got it right,” he said.
Team co-owner Eddie Wood said he too was relieved to be in a position to race in The Great American Race no matter what happens in Thursday’s Duels. Only the top two qualifiers are locked into their starting spots. The remainder of the field is set by the results of Thursday’s Duels, and there are additional spots reserved for the top qualifiers not otherwise in the starting field with the final spots going to teams based on car owner point standings. Also, there is one final spot that is reserved for a past champion, if it’s needed.
“With the uncertainty surrounding how these cars are going to drive and so many unknowns with a new car, it feels good to know we’ll be in the race,” Wood said, adding that it’s important to the current team members to have a strong Speedweeks this year. “It’s a tribute to Leonard [Wood] being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame and to Tiny Lund and Marvin Panch.”
A replica of the Ford Galaxie that Lund drove to victory in the 1963 Daytona 500 in relief of Panch who had been burned in a sports car race, is on display in the Fan Zone adjacent to the garage at the speedway. After Speedweeks, it will spend a year in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte to commemorate Wood’s recent induction.
Bayne and the 2013 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion, which carries the same paint scheme and the same colors as the ’63 Galaxie driven by Lund and Panch, will return to the track to determine their Daytona 500 starting spot on Thursday in the first of two 150-mile Budweiser Duels. Those qualifying races are scheduled to start at 2 p.m., with TV coverage on SPEED.
The 55th annual Daytona 500 should get the green flag just after 1 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24, with coverage on FOX.
Wood Brothers Racing PR
Patrick Makes history, Gordon Makes it an All Chevrolet SS Front Row for the 55th Running of Daytona 500
Danica Patrick made history today behind the wheel of the No. 10 GODADDY Chevrolet SS by winning the pole for the 55th running of the Daytona 500. Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion Jeff Gordon powered the No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS to second in the final order giving the all-new Chevrolet SS the front row for the Great American Race set for Sunday, February 24, 2013.
"We are so proud of Danica Patrick, Tony Gibson and the entire Stewart-Haas team on putting the No. 10 Chevrolet SS on the pole for the 2013 Daytona
500," said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. "Danica was focused and drove a great line to secure the pole. She gave tremendous credit to her entire #10 team for this accomplishment. She is a determined racer, a team player and we're proud to have her on Team Chevy.
"It is also great that three-time Daytona 500 champion, Jeff Gordon, will be on the outside front row with his No. 24 Chevrolet SS. It was a proud moment for us yesterday when Jeff drove the all new Chevrolet SS production car into the Daytona Fan Zone for its first public reveal. And, today he qualified on the front row of the Daytona 500 for the fourth time in his career.
"In addition, we are honored to that the new Chevrolet SS production car will pace the Daytona 500, and that it will lead an all Chevrolet front row to the green flag."
Patrick's accomplishment marks the first time in the 64 year-history of the NSCS that a woman will lead the field to the start of the Great American Race. Patrick, who led the first two practice sessions leading up to today's all-important qualifying, was eighth in the order of the 45 cars making qualifying attempts today. Her lap of 45.817 seconds - 196.434 m.p.h. proved to have staying power as one-by-one the remainder of the cars made their runs.
Team Chevy drivers captured five of the top-six qualifying positions giving Ryan Newman, No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS (fourth), Tony Stewart, No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS (fifth) and Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS (sixth) excellent starting positions for Thursday's Budweiser Duel at Daytona Qualifying Races.
Other Chevrolet SS drivers in the top-20 qualifiers were: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS - 11th; Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS - 13th; Paul Menard, No. 27 Menards/Peak Chevrolet SS - 14th; Austin Dillon, No. 33 Honey Nut Cheerios Chevrolet SS - 16th and Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS - 20th.
Team Chevy Racing PR