Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest

The Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series will go out with a bang Tuesday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway with fireworks and appearances by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver and former Legend Car racer Kyle Busch, as well as NHRA driver and B.R.A.K.E.S. founder Doug Herbert.

As part of Champion’s Night presented by Stock Car Steel and Aluminum, Busch will serve as Grand Marshal and Herbert will be the Honorary Starter. Both racers will participate in an autograph session on the concourse beginning at 6 p.m. for the first 150 kids to get wristbands from the main ticket office in Smith Tower. Children can pick up their wristband starting at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

The autograph session will take place at the special B.R.A.K.E.S. display featuring a Top Fuel dragster. B.R.A.K.E.S., which stands for Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe, is a nonprofit organization that teaches teens and their parents about the importance of safe driving. Herbert founded the organization after he tragically lost his two sons in a car accident in 2008.

Tuesday, champions will be crowned in six Legend Car and Bandolero divisions during Round 10. One of the closest battles of the summer is in the Quaker Steak and Lube Legend Car Pro division. Going into the last race of the year, just 15 points separate leader Tyler Green and second-place Justin Swilling. While Swilling has two wins, Green has been more consistent throughout the season, leading to the season-ending showdown.

At the end of the night, there will be a spectacular fireworks display saluting the new Summer Shootout champions.

In addition to Legend Car and Bandolero racing, four-cylinder, front-wheel-drive Stadium Stocks, which run weekly at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C., will take to the frontstretch quarter-mile oval for a special race.

The first 1,000 fans through the gate will receive a free lanyard keychain courtesy of title sponsor, Jack in the Box. Plus, kids can have fun in the POWERADE Play Zone, featuring bounce houses, interactive games, face painting and more.

Fans can enter to win a pair of tickets to the Dollar General 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Oct. 12. They can also register at the U.S. Legend Cars International booth to win a Legend Car driving school.

Gates open at 5 p.m. with opening ceremonies at 7 p.m. Tickets for the Summer Shootout Series are $7 for adults and are available in advance at the speedway ticket office or at Gates 4 and 5 the night of the event. Kids 13 and under get in free.


The NASCAR HOTPASS lineup for the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn is as follows: 


DIRECTV Channel 795:

Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team of Penske Racing

Brad Keselowski will make his 112th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and his seventh at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn … Has one top-10 finish in six career Sprint Cup starts at Michigan … The 28-year-old Rochester Hills, Mich., native has seven wins and 32 top-10 finishes in 111 Sprint Cup starts … 2012 marks Keselowski’s third full year in Sprint Cup with a career-best points finish of fifth in 2011 … Won 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship … Started fourth and finished second last week at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International … Ranks fifth in Sprint Cup points with three wins and 12 top-10 finishes.


DIRECTV Channel 796:

Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 Fifth Third Ford team of Roush Fenway Racing

Matt Kenseth will make his 459th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and his 27th at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn … Has two wins (June 2002 and August 2006) and 17 top-10 finishes in 26 career Sprint Cup starts at Michigan … The 40-year-old Cambridge, Wis., native has 22 wins and 223 top-10 finishes in 458 Sprint Cup starts … 2012 marks Kenseth’s 13th full year in Sprint Cup and he won the points championship in 2003 … Started 24th and finished eighth last week at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International … Ranks third in Sprint Cup Series points with one win and 14 top-10 finishes.  


DIRECTV Channel 797:

Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet team of Hendrick Motorsports

Jimmie Johnson will make his 386th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and his 22nd at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn … Has nine top-10 finishes in 21 Sprint Cup starts at Michigan … The 36-year-old El Cajon, Calif., native has 58 wins and 240 top-10 finishes in 385 Sprint Cup starts … 2012 marks Johnson’s 11th full year in Sprint Cup and he has five championships (2006-2010) … Started and finished third last week at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International … Ranks first in Sprint Cup points with three wins and 16 top-10 finishes.     


DIRECTV Channel 798:

Dale Earnhardt Jr., and the No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet team of Hendrick Motorsports

Dale Earnhardt Jr., will make his 458th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and his 27th at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn … Has two wins (June 2008 and 2012), two poles (August 2000 and 2002) and nine top-10 finishes in 26 career Sprint Cup starts at Michigan … The 37-year-old Kannapolis, N.C., native has 19 wins and 177 top-10 finishes in 457 Sprint Cup starts … Won 1998 and 1999 NASCAR Nationwide Series championships … 2012 marks Earnhardt’s 13th full year in Sprint Cup with a career-best points finish of third in 2003… Started 16th and finished 28th last week at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International … Ranks fourth in Sprint Cup points with one win and 15 top-10 finishes.


R3 Motorsports is entered in two races this weekend in two different countries, at two totally different racetracks!

The #23 R3 Motorsports North Texas Pipe/Maddie’s Place Rocks! Chevrolet is entered in the NASCAR Nationwide road course race in Montreal on Saturday, August 18, 2012.  Rookie sensation, Dexter Stacey will be piloting, with veteran crew chief Greg Conner calling the shots.

Stacey comments, “I am looking forward to running at my home track for R3 Motorsports and Maddie’s Place.  I got some lap time in last week at Watkins Glen and am looking to continue improving and gaining experience and respect! I’m excited to be running in front of my home crowd here in Montreal!”

Greg Conner, crew chief, states, “We had Dexter in the car last weekend and he did a great job.  He gave really good feedback and continued to improve as the weekend went on.  He’s a smart kid and we are looking forward to having him in the car at Montreal.”

Scott Riggs is behind the wheel of the #23 North Texas Pipe NASCAR Sprint Cup Chevrolet this weekend in Michigan.  Stephen Gonzalez, car chief, will be in the role of the crew chief for Riggs, calling the shots.  This is Gonzalez’ debut as a crew chief and the entire team at R3 Motorsports is behind him 100%!!

Riggs comments, “I think it’s great that Stephen is getting this opportunity to step up and take charge.  He is with us every week and knows the routine.  We were just in Michigan a couple of months ago, so we have a good notebook to start with!  I’m looking forward to working with him!”

Gonzalez says, “This is a great opportunity for me! I am looking forward to working with Riggs but it’s definitely a team effort.  I have a lot of support from my team as well as in the garage area.  We have a good base to start from and look forward to improving our efforts from last time we were here.” 

Riggs and Gonzalez share the love of racing not only cars, but both are pro moto riders!  Look for the two of them to have a great weekend!

R3 Motorsports PR

Hunt Brothers® Pizza is looking for NASCAR fans and hunting enthusiasts to show off their skills and compete in the Scoot & Shoot Challenge on August 23 at Food City Race Night in Bristol, Tenn.


Sixteen lucky fans will be selected from the crowd at the Food City Race Night event to compete in the tournament-style competition, which challenges contestants to race big wheels through a relay course of target-shooting stations that will test their aim and speed. The winner of the Scoot & Shoot Challenge will receive an autographed HBP diecast car.


The event is a nod to Hunt Brothers Pizza's upcoming Hunt to Win Sweepstakes, launching September 10, which will give consumers the chance to win more than $25,000 in prizes and hunting gear.


"Food City Race Night is one of the premier NASCAR fan events, and we're so excited to be back for a second year to connect with fans," said Keith Solsvig, vice president of marketing for Hunt Brothers Pizza. "This year we're bringing back the big wheels, which were a huge hit, but adding in the excitement of hunting to get fans pumped up for our sweepstakes this fall." He added, "We encourage everyone to join us for some free pizza and a lot of fun."


Hunt Brothers Pizza will offer free pizza and prizes to Food City Race Night attendees from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Fans interested in meeting Kevin Harvick must visit the sign-in table starting at 3:30 p.m. Only 200 wristbands will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis for the autograph session. The Scoot & Shoot Challenge will begin promptly at 4 p.m., and Kevin Harvick will meet fans and sign autographs following the tournament.



Jimmie Johnson launched a new Website today geared toward enhancing the online experience for fans. The site, JimmieJohnson.com, features a homepage filled with a mix of content derived from social media, including tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram images, as well as pertinent race-related information from fans and Johnson, the five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.

 “I wanted a place where the fans could find out what’s going on with me, whether it’s at the track or away from the track,” said Johnson, who is active on Twitter, twitter.com/JimmieJohnson and Facebook, facebook.com/JimmieJohnson.

“In trying to come up with an easy way for fans to get information, it just made sense to tie everything together and house it in one place. It’s like one-stop-shopping for information on what me and my team are doing on a weekly basis.” While the site relies heavily on social media, offering fans a glimpse into Johnson’s week, a noted emphasis is placed on his at-track performance.

The site recounts each race weekend through pictures, videos, stories and in-depth recaps. A countdown module alerts fans to the start of the next race.   Fan participation also is encouraged through a tab that allows fans to choose who Johnson follows on Twitter. 

“I think fans are really going to enjoy being part of the site and helping to provide creative content,” Johnson explained.

“I think the designers did a nice job of creating a place where we’re able to provide key information while allowing fans to feel like they’re a part of the action.” Johnson was heavily involved in the look of the site, which was developed by Code and Theory, a N.Y.- based interactive agency.


Kentucky Speedway is seeking 15 race enthusiasts to found a Fan Council.  Selected members will work directly with the speedway management team to brainstorm, discuss, debate and focus on ideas that will enhance the speedway guest experience.

Discussions will be conducted throughout the year by either conference call, e-mail, survey or meetings at the 107,000-capacity speedway.  Each council member must be at least 18 years of age and will be asked to commit to a one-year term. Applications are available for download at http://www.kentuckyspeedway.com/fancouncil/.

Completed applications can be returned by mail, e-mail or fax to the addresses and number provided on the page. Applications being returned by mail must be postmarked by Sept. 14, 2012. 

“Our Kentucky Speedway team is committed to creating a world-class customer experience every time we stage an event. Our fans continuously bring us new ideas, so we expect our council’s input to make a noticeable impact during future events,” Kentucky Speedway General Manager Mark Simendinger said.      

Council member selections will be made by Sept. 21, 2012.  Kentucky Speedway’s Sept. 21-22 weekend features Austin Dillon racing for a second straight 300-mile NASCAR Nationwide Series Kentucky crown on Saturday afternoon in a field that includes fan-favorite talents Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch, Elliott Sadler, Sam Hornish Jr., and more.

The weekend opens Friday with 201 miles of primetime NASCAR Camping World Truck Series racing. Up-and-coming talent James Buescher aims for his second series victory in the Bluegrass State against fellow rising stars Ty Dillon and Joey Coulter as well as veteran talents Todd Bodine, Matt Crafton, Ron Hornaday, Jr., and Johnny Sauter.


Third generation NASCAR driver, Jesse Little, has been signed to drive for Coulter Motorsports in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. The high school sophomore will make his debut on Labor Day weekend at the historic Greenville-Pickens Speedway as the half-mile hosts the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140.
Little has made selected starts in the series in 2012 including Richmond International Raceway in April where he became the youngest driver to ever take the green flag in NASCAR's premier development series. Posting an 11th place finish in the Blue Ox 100 gave Little his highest finish in his brief K&N Pro Series career.
While the focus will be on the upcoming Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140 at Greenville-Pickens, Little will be building for a run towards the 2013 K&N Pro Series East championship and Rookie of the Year honors, he explained.
“I like to set high goals for myself. I feel personal goals should be difficult to attain, something you have to work very hard for. My goals next year are to qualify well for each race, top-10 at most races and on the pole at two events. In addition my goals are to finish every race, including the top-10 at most events and the top-five in five of the races on the schedule. We will also focus as a team on building towards winning my first K&N Pro Series event in my first full-season of competition.”
Leading Little's team at Coulter Motorsports is Kris Bowen, a veteran crew member of the organization.
“Jesse Little is a proven racer who I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with," Bowen said. “He has excelled at every level to date and I know with our (Coulter Motorsports) guidance and mentoring Jesse will be a strong force in the NASCAR K&N Series. Our racing family grew with the addition of Jesse and his family and we look forward to developing his young career."
Little has had Bowen's leadership in the past and sees a reuniting of the pair as a positive step towards his entry into full-time K&N Pro Series competition, he added.
“I've known Kris Bowen for many years. He helped me when I first started Limited Late Models and he works closely with Harold Holly, who has also been a big part of my growth as a NASCAR driver. This is a good opportunity for me and I'm excited to run all of the K&N Series East events the remainder of this season and into the future with this team. Coulter Motorsports have won on many racing circuits including the ARCA Racing Series and I want to bring them a victory on NASCAR's K&N Pro Series.”
With confidence in the team and his ability to compete at any level, Little was a natural choice to join Coulter Motorsports, according to team owner Joe Coulter.
“Coulter Motorsports is pleased to welcome Jesse Little into our driver development program,” Coulter said. “Jesse is an esteemed young racer who has proven to deliver himself maturely not only on the track but in life itself. He and his family are a natural fit and a welcomed addition to our NASCAR K&N Pro Series stable. We look forward to taking Jesse to the track and the success that follows.”
Little will continue to race out of the Team Little Racing shop with his NASCAR Whelen All-American Series late model as time allows. The late model experience gained since joining the series in 2010 has been beneficial to Little's approach to racing on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, he explained.
“Racing on the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series has given me experience in the heavier and bigger cars from where I started in Legends and Midgets. This year I've learned a lot about how to save a car and how to make sure you're around at the end of a race to finish strong. I've also learned that if the car's handling is off on a given day then take what the car will give you, try different lines and see if it helps. Most importantly I have gained the knowledge that you need to finish races to learn and be better for the next event.”

Coulter Motorsports PR

NASCAR announced that tickets go on sale today for the unpredictable, unforgettable, tell-all fan event – the 2012 NASCAR After The Lap sponsored by Ford and Coca-Cola. Returning to Las Vegas for its fourth consecutive year, NASCAR After The Lap will take place on November 29 at 5p.m. PT at PH Live at Planet Hollywood. ESPN pit reporter Jamie Little will host the event.
Fans in attendance will interact with the top-12 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, resulting in unfiltered answers and unpredictable antics. Last year, 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion™ Tony Stewart drove his car into the venue, which set the tone for the event’s highlight: Jeff Gordon’s rousing break dancing performance that took the audience by surprise and ignited dialogue across the digital and social space.
“NASCAR After The Lap is one of the crown jewels of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week," said Norris Scott, vice president of partnership marketing for NASCAR. “Our top drivers take their helmets off and celebrate the season with our fans, resulting in a wildly entertaining evening and a unique platform for two of our long-standing partners, Ford and Coca-Cola.”      
In conjunction with the launch of ticket sales, the “NASCAR After The Lap” sweepstakes begins today. One lucky fan will win a grand prize package that includes a 2013 Ford F-150 FX4 truck, round trip air fare for two to Las Vegas, two nights at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino and two VIP tickets to NASCAR After The Lap.
To purchase tickets and enter the “NASCAR After The Lap” Sweepstakes, fans can visit www.NASCARafterthelap.com. Tickets are $20 each, with proceeds benefitting The NASCAR Foundation™, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit that raises funds to support children’s charities and important causes throughout the nation. “NASCAR After The Lap” Sweepstakes entries will be accepted up until November 18 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
“NASCAR After The Lap provides an unforgettable experience for NASCAR fans and we look forward to being a part of the event again this year,” said Tim Duerr, motorsports marketing manager for Ford Racing. “The ‘NASCAR After The Lap’ Sweepstakes offers Ford invaluable interaction with NASCAR’s broad fan base and we encourage them to register today for a chance to win a 2013 Ford F-150 FX4 truck.”

“NASCAR After The Lap is both an opportunity to strengthen the partnership between Coca-Cola and NASCAR, and a perfect venue to celebrate the passionate and enthusiastic fans that we share,” said Ben Reiling, director of motorsports for Coca-Cola. “Nothing uplifts NASCAR families and fans quite like the ice-cold refreshment of Coca-Cola, and we look forward to joining many of our Coca-Cola Racing Family members for what will surely be a memorable event.”


The Motorcraft/Quick Lane team heads into this weekend’s Pure Michigan 400 with high hopes after having a fast Ford Fusion in the most recent race at Michigan International Speedway. It was even faster during the Goodyear tire test at the recently paved track.

Trevor Bayne and the Wood Brothers team didn’t get the finish they were hoping for in Michigan back in mid-June because of an engine problem that occurred just after the start, but they did have a good car.

Bayne was third fastest in that first practice and sixth in the second. He qualified seventh at over 200 miles per hour and was running seventh when the problem occurred .

Crew chief Donnie Wingo said he and the team used the July 30 Goodyear tire test at Michigan to fine-tune their set-up for the No. 21 Ford Fusion. They ran the same car they raced in June at the test and will run it in the Pure Michigan 400 this weekend.

“We started the test with the car like it was for the start of the race in June,” Wingo said.

“Then we kept going further in the same direction with the set-up.”

“It seemed to be better.”

Indeed, Bayne was able to drive deeper into the corners and ran lap times comparable to the best cars at the test. The team got to use the extra time on the track to try some other chassis tweaks as well.

“We were able to do some things that we don’t have time to do on a regular race weekend,” Wingo said. “Everything went really well at the test.”
Sunday’s race, the second on the track since it was repaved, likely will see track position as critical as it ever has been in Sprint Cup racing, Wingo said.
That likely means a lot of two-tire or no-tire stops, he said.

“The amount of fuel you need will determine how many tires you take on a pit stop,” he said, adding that teams will start the race figuring how to get to the finish with as few pit stops as possible.

“You’ll run the race backward to a certain degree,” he said.

Wood Brothers Racing PR