Speedway Digest Staff
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For a driver with just 36 career Sprint Cup starts, Trevor Bayne has a good bit of experience at Texas Motor Speedway, where he’s set to drive the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion in Saturday night’s NRA 500.
It was at Texas in the fall of 2010 that Bayne made his first career Cup start, driving the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion to a strong 17th-place finish and almost as importantly, impressing NASCAR officials enough that they approved him to run the Daytona 500 in 2011, a race he won.
Bayne also got his first Nationwide Series victory at Texas, in the fall of 2011 driving the No. 16 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing.
On the Cup side, Bayne has five career starts at Texas, more than any other track except Daytona, where he also has five, and that alone has his crew chief Donnie Wingo looking forward to getting back to the track this weekend for the Wood Brothers’ third race of 2013.
“Trevor’s experiences at Texas give him more confidence going in,” he said. “And with it being a night race, he seems to do better when the track has more grip.”
Wingo is taking two Ford Fusions to Texas – one to use in a special test session on Thursday and another one, the same Ford Fusion Bayne raced at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier this year, for the NRA 500.
“Even though the test Thursday will be with a different car it’ll help us get a baseline set-up for the race,” Wingo said. “And the schedule, with two practices on Friday, will allow us to use the first session to get a better handle on the race set-up.”
The veteran crew chief also likes what he sees on the weather map, as the forecast for Friday calls for sunny skies, which should allow qualifying to be held as scheduled, which almost always is a best-case scenario for a part-time team like the Wood Brothers that has to qualify on speed to make races.
“The last time we were at Texas we qualified seventh,” Wingo said.
Wood Brothers Racing PR
Jimmie Johnson enters the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth as the defending winner – from the pole position – on the heels of last weekend’s race win at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway – also from the pole position. Johnson is first in the driver standings, six points ahead of second-place Brad Keselowski.
Another first from first this weekend would certainly add to a season that has already produced the latest handful of career highlights for Johnson, who started the year with his second victory in the Daytona 500, the sport’s biggest race. And after Sunday’s win at Martinsville, he may need to take out a deed on the track as he now owns the record for most wins among active drivers at the .526- mile oval.
Texas has been good to the five-time Sprint Cup champion. He owns the sport’s second-best driver rating at the 1.5-mile oval (103.5 average of a possible 150 points) and has two wins (November 2012 and 2007). However, the track has certainly produced its share of drama for Johnson and Team Lowe’s Racing. A lap-three accident in 2009 nearly took him out of the running for the championship but was averted thanks to an incredible repair job by the No. 48 crew to get him back on track and on his way to the title. Last year’s dramatic battle to the finish with Keselowski provided a thrilling end to Johnson’s race win, but Keselowski eventually won the championship trophy two weeks later.
There’s sure to be more drama in this weekend’s 334-lap event as everything is big in Texas, as the saying goes. Johnson and his team just hope the drama is another first from first that leaves him in first place in the standings.
International Speedway Corporation Announces Two Appointments To Its Board Of Directors And An Increase In Its Annual Dividend
International Speedway Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select Market: ISCA; OTC Bulletin Board: ISCB) ("ISC") announced the additions of Ms. Sonia Maria Green and Mr. Larry D. Woodard to the Company's Board of Directors. Ms. Green and Mr. Woodard appointments fill existing vacancies on ISC's Board of Directors. Mr. Woodard will hold office until the 2014 annual meeting of shareholders, completing the term of Raymond Mason, who did not stand for re-election in 2011. Ms. Green will hold office until the 2015 annual meeting of shareholders, completing the term of Edward Rensi, who did not stand for re-election in 2012.
Lesa France Kennedy, ISC's Chief Executive Officer, stated, "Following a thorough search by our nominating and corporate governance committee, we are delighted to welcome Sonia and Larry to ISC's Board of Directors. Their experience in advertising, branding and multicultural marketing will bring significant perspective and add tremendous value to ISC as we continue to grow our business and increase long-term value for our stockholders. Expanding our Board has been a priority and their appointments are especially timely as we align with NASCAR and its ambitious Industry Action Plan to better connect with existing fans, engage Gen Y, youth and multicultural consumers in motorsports."
ISC also declared an annual dividend of $0.22 per share, payable on June 28, 2013, to common stockholders of record on May 31, 2013, marking the 40th consecutive year that the Company has paid a dividend to its shareholders. ISC paid an annual dividend of $0.20 per share in 2012.
Separately, at ISC's annual meeting of ISC shareholders, the following members of the Company's Board of Directors were re-elected to a three-year term: Edsel B. Ford, II, William P. Graves, Christy F. Harris, and Mori Hosseini.
About Sonia Maria Green
Ms. Green is a nationally recognized leader in marketing and brand communications for over 20 years, with a specialty in multicultural/diversity marketing. She is an acknowledged Latino corporate leader, and a trusted spokesperson on diversity and marketing issues for both Spanish and English language media outlets.
Having worked her way through college while employed at Avon Products, Inc., Ms. Green moved quickly through the marketing ranks in both the U.S. and the International divisions. Through her assignments in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, Ms. Green garnered an in-depth knowledge of the nuances that exist within the Hispanic community. As Director of Avon's first U.S. Hispanic Marketing Division, she successfully developed and introduced new products and marketing programs.
In 1997, Ms. Green was hired as Vice President of Operations at Beauty Group International where she assumed responsibility for the Yanbal brand throughout Latin America. She was later promoted to the position of President and Chief Operating Officer for the company.
In 2001, Ms. Green was selected by General Motors to serve as its Director of Diversity Marketing and Sales with responsibility for the Hispanic and Asian consumer segments. A new initiative for GM, Ms. Green was instrumental in developing the plans that generated market share increases in both consumer segments due in part to the creation of relevant and innovative marketing programs.
Most recently Ms. Green served as Vice President of Marketing and Sales at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Ms. Green was instrumental in creating and executing the Broward Center's, Addy® award-winning 30th Anniversary Celebration campaign in 2011.
Ms. Green currently serves on the board of The Soup Kitchen of Boynton Beach and is a member of the 4Kids Business Development Council. In addition, she is a Big Sister to foster care kids affiliated with Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale. Previously, Ms. Green enjoyed board positions at: Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Ferbei-Management Trustee, Avon Products Foundation, Hispanic Institute for Research and Development, Mexican Cultural Institute of New York, and the National Hispanic Corporate Council.
Ms. Green received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Baruch College in New York City and completed a Marketing Management Program at Columbia University's Graduate School of Business.
About Larry D. Woodard
Larry Woodard is a highly regarded, award-winning advertising executive with over 26 years of agency experience. He is President and CEO of Graham Stanley advertising, a firm he founded in 2010. Prior to that, he was President and CEO of Vigilante Advertising, part of the Publicis, SA network of companies. Mr. Woodard has twice been awarded the O'Toole Award for Advertising Agency of the Year, has won a Gold Effie and received one of the industry's most prestigious awards, The Cannes Gold Lion for the Oprah Car Giveaway.
Born in Casablanca, Morocco, Mr. Woodard spent time growing up in Wurzburg, Germany and Martina Franca, Italy. He describes himself as a cultural anthropologist and an organic idea generator. He has a lifelong passion for world cultures and languages.
Mr. Woodard is frequently published in industry trade publications and has appeared on CNN, CNBC, ABC News and other networks discussing the advertising industry. He has been a guest lecturer at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Sports Advisory Council of the School of Sport Management and the Board of Visitors of the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics for his alma mater Syracuse University. Mr. Woodard co-authored: Inside the Minds: Advertising as a Branding Tool.
Mr. Woodard is the past recent Chair of the New York Council of The American Association of Advertising Agencies; a Director of Advertising Week in New York City; Chair of The Deacon Ministry of his church Shiloh Baptist in Eastchester, New York and has served on the Board of Governors of the Westchester Area YMCA's.
Last Race Recap...After being delayed by a couple weeks due to rain, the second race of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) schedule took the green flag this past weekend at Greenville Pickens Speedway. Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) was represented by three of its talented young stars. One of the brightest spots for TSM on the night was Kenzie Ruston. Ruston was patient throughout the entire 150 laps and surged her way up to a third-place finish. Dylan Kwasniewski, who won the opening race of the season at Bristol Motor Speedway, had an up-and-down night and brought the Rockstar Energy Drink/Royal Purple team home with a top-15 finish. Austin Dyne, who made his first start at the half-mile track, came up just short of his first top 10 of the season, finishing in the 12th spot.
Looking Ahead...The TSM team will travel south to Five Flags Speedway in Pennsacola, Florida and will have Austin Dyne, Dylan Kwasniewski and Kenzie Ruston behind the wheel of their cars. Dyne and Kwasniewski will make their first start of any kind at the half-mile Five Flags Speedway this coming weekend while Ruston has numerous starts at the track, including the famous Snow Ball Derby. TSM will participate in an open test session on Friday at Five Flags Speedway.
Austin Dyne...When the original date for the Kevin Whitaker 150 rained out, TSM and Dyne took advantage of the time before the rescheduled date and went down to Greenville Pickens Speedway to have Dyne turn his first laps around the half-mile oval. After starting in the 20th spot, Dyne patiently picked his way through traffic despite experiencing radio issues that caused him to be unable to hear his spotter or crew chief. Dyne went on to finish just outside the top 10, in the 12th-finishing position. In what will continue to be a trend for Dyne in 2013, he will make his first start at the half-mile oval of Five Flags Speedway this coming weekend.
"It's definitely challenging for me to go to these new tracks that I haven't raced at yet, but I'm excited about the opportunity to go to another new track on this circuit," said Dyne. "From what I hear about it, I feel like I will love it. Our team has been really working great together the last couple of races, and I feel like we are on the verge of scoring our first top-10 or even top-five finish."
Dylan Kwasniewski...Starting mid-pack at Greenville, Kwasniewski was able to work his way up inside the top 10 and make a threat at the top five during the first half of the race. As the race went on, Kwasniewski's handling on the Chevrolet Impala seemed to begin to fade. Kwasniewski battled the remaining half of the race for a top-15 finish and stays within striking distance of the points lead. Much like Dyne, Dylan Kwasniewski will make his first start at the high-banked oval of Five Flags Speedway this coming weekend. Kwasniewski will use the open test session on Friday to get accustomed to the new track before Saturday's NAPA 150.
"I always enjoy going to race at a new track, " said Kwasniewski. "I am glad we have an open test session the day before. That will really benefit me and the entire TSM team, and allow us to get a good race setup for Saturday's race. I typically love high-banked race tracks, so I feel like I will like Five Flags."
Kenzie Ruston...Ruston became the highest-finishing female in NKNPSE history with her third-place finish at Greenville Pickens Speedway last Saturday evening. The previous highest-finishing female in the series was Danica Patrick, who drove to a sixth-place run at Dover during the 2010 season. Ruston started deep in the field for the 150-lap main event. Patiently waiting for the right time to make her move, Ruston worked her way up to a third-place finish. Ruston is no stranger to Five Flags speedway, as she has numerous starts at the track, but this will be her first NKNPSE at the half mile.
"Qualifying has never been my strength and coming into the new cars, we've qualified a lot worse than we wanted," Ruston said. "But, that really has kind of helped us. I've been able to get back there and ride and learn and save tires to be there at the end. We've been working hard, and my crew chief [Rich "Fuz" Burgdoff] has worked hard with me. I love Five Flags Speedway. It has a lot of banking; it's just a fast little race track. It's almost like you never stop turning."
The following is a statement from Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board O. Bruton Smith regarding Wednesday's announcement that he was one of five newcomers among the 25 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2014:
"It is a great honor to be nominated as a candidate for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Bill France Jr. once asked me to help him build NASCAR and I have literally been building monuments to the sport for my entire lifetime. Millions of people have attended NASCAR events at our speedways over the years and we've tried to be creative and innovative in an effort to help push the sport to a higher level. It's always been a perfect fit for me because I love racing and I love NASCAR fans."
Background: Smith is considered the preeminent speedway promoter and entrepreneur who revolutionized motorsports entertainment over the course of seven decades. Smith's first major speedway endeavor began when he partnered with racing star Curtis Turner to open Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., in 1960 and held the first World 600 that year.
His racing empire of motorsports facilities has grown immensely under Speedway Motorsports, Inc., which currently owns and operates Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.
The speedway group plays host to 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, 17 NASCAR Nationwide or Camping World Truck Series races, and other high-profile motorsports events.
Smith took SMI public in 1995 and in the process became the first motorsports company to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange. He also was the first in the sport to transform speedways into modern, first-class sports venues, which included the additions of condominiums, private clubs and a proliferation of luxury suites.
He also founded Speedway Children's Charities in 1984 for the betterment of children and the result has been donations in the tens of millions over the years.
Smith has been inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (2007), National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame (2006) and Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame (2008).
STATEMENT FROM TMS PRESIDENT EDDIE GOSSAGE
"We are so proud that our boss, Bruton Smith, has been nominated to be considered for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He deserves to be honored in the Hall. He has been one of the people to lead our sport from a small regional promotion to an international force. I also know the many occasions he has quietly helped employees, crew members and drivers that came across hard times in their lives. Most of all, Bruton has helped the fans by leading the way with modern facilities and major-league promotion. Personally, I'm glad he's my boss, but mostly I'm glad he's my friend."
Les “Coach” Richter, who was instrumental in the development of Auto Club Speedway, from the demolition of the historic Kaiser Steel Mill, to its transformation into a first-class racing facility, has been nominated again as one of 25 nominees for the 2014 NASCAR Hall of Fame’s induction class, the NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominating Committee announced today. Richter, who passed away in 2010, was also a nominee for the 2012 and 2013 classes.
Five inductees will be elected by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, which includes a nationwide fan vote on NASCAR.COM. Voting Day for the 2014 class will be May 22. Fans can attend the announcement at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C.
Richter, a native of Fresno, Calif., was an All-American linebacker and guard at the University of California Berkeley and played for the Los Angeles Rams from 1954 to 1962 after being acquired from the Dallas Texans for 11 players. The defensive star was picked for the Pro Bowl eight times and was an Associated Press first team All-Pro in 1956.
“Coach” joined the NASCAR family in 1983 after a successful second career as president and general manager of Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway. Richter soon evolved into one of the most important advisors to then-NASCAR Chairman/CEO Bill France Jr. as NASCAR’s popularity expanded. Richter was named NASCAR's Ex. VP of Competition in 1986 and the Sr. VP of Operations in 1992.
Richter previously was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame as well as the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Richter also served as vice-president of special projects for International Speedway Corporation, the parent company of Auto Club Speedway. The current trophy for the Auto Club 400 is named the “Richter Trophy” as a lasting tribute to his contributions to Auto Club Speedway and the world of motorsports.
This round of nominees was selected by a 21-person Nominating Committee consisting of representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and track owners from both major facilities and historic short tracks. The committee’s votes were tabulated by accounting firm Ernst & Young.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame’s 2014 inductees will be determined by a 54-member Voting Panel, which includes the entire Nominating Committee, media members, manufacturer representatives, retired competitors (drivers, owners and crew chiefs) and recognized industry leaders. In addition, the fan vote will result in the Voting Panel’s final ballot. Fan voting on NASCAR.COM opens today, April 10 and closes May 21 at noon.
NASCAR Unites Track Walk, benefiting The NASCAR Foundation and Autism Speaks, set for Saturday, June 1
Dover International Speedway will again host the NASCAR Unites Track Walk, benefiting The NASCAR Foundation and Autism Speaks, following the Saturday, June 1 “5-hour ENERGY 200” NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver and defending champion Brad Keselowski will kick off this special event, which will give fans the unique opportunity to walk the one-mile, concrete oval shortly after the NASCAR Nationwide Series race, all while raising money for a good cause.
Registration costs $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 14 and younger. Interested participants can register in advance by visiting NASCAR.com/foundation. There will also be an opportunity for on-site registration at The NASCAR Foundation Hauler in the FanZone, just outside Turn 4, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, May 31 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 1.
Keselowski will kick the event off at approximately 5:30 p.m. on the Monster Monument, presented by AAA, in Victory Plaza with an introduction that will include a free question-and-answer session for fans. A representative from Autism Speaks and The NASCAR Foundation will then address the crowd, and participants will proceed into the track for the walk.
This marks the seventh straight year that Dover International Speedway is teaming up with Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, for its spring race weekend. FedEx has again partnered with Autism Speaks at Dover for the June 2 “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. All of the weekend’s planned events work to raise awareness and funds for Autism Speaks.
Dover Motorsports PR
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had a FAN-Tastic day partnering with Darlington Raceway and visiting Columbia, S.C. Tuesday to help promote the upcoming Bojangles’ Southern 500 race weekend on May 10-11.
Stenhouse, who drives the No. 17 Zest Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, teamed up with Darlington Raceway president Chris Browning and South Carolina Education Lottery director Paula Harper Bethea to unveil the FAN-Tastic scratch ticket available now in convenience stores across South Carolina, which proudly features the track Too Tough To Tame and Bojangles’ Southern 500.
He also paid a visit to the University of South Carolina’s spring football practice, meeting head coach Steve Spurrier, athletic director Ray Tanner and a number of USC football players, including All-American Jadeveon Clowney and quarterback Dylan Thompson, who wears No. 17, just like Stenhouse’s No. 17 Ford Fusion.
“It was a great day,” Stenhouse said. “Helping Darlington Raceway and the South Carolina Education Lottery launch their scratch ticket and visiting South Carolina football practice was really cool. Our team is excited about returning to Darlington Raceway in a few weeks to race at one of the iconic tracks in NASCAR.”
A member of the media asked Stenhouse at football practice if he would consider having Clowney serve as his jackman for the races. Clowney, a defensive end who comes in at 6-foot-6, 275 pounds, is considered a potential Heisman Trophy candidate this fall. Stenhouse’s response?
“I think that would be really good! I’m not sure he would need the jack though! He’s an unbelievable player,” Stenhouse joked. “It’s great that we were able to bring our South Carolina track, Darlington Raceway, the football team and one of the greatest coaches in the sport, coach Spurrier, together at an event like this.”
Stenhouse, running for Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year honors in 2013, has three NASCAR Nationwide Series starts at Darlington with two top-10 finishes and one pole award. His first appearance in the Gen-6 Sprint Cup car will take place on Mother’s Day weekend, May 10-11, at the Lady in Black.
“Darlington is such a great race track. It’s definitely up there in my top five places that I would like to win at in my career,” Stenhouse said. “It’s such a unique place to race and we’re hoping to have a lot of success their soon.”
As part of ongoing green efforts surrounding the STP 400 on April 21, Kansas Speedway is recognizing students from the Kansas City, Kansas School District who took part in the “Green Energy Challenge” April 8 – 12, 2013. All students are fifth-graders in the district and were selected to take part in the STP 400 pre-race activities by their teachers.
Each student will be paired with a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver as the driver participates in the VIP reception line during driver introductions.
“It’s great to be able to recognize some of the students who participated in the Green Energy Challenge,” said Kansas Speedway President Patrick Warren. “This is a great program to help students learn about green efforts through sustainability education opportunities at both school and home. This will also be the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race for many of these students and I look forward to introducing them to this incredible sport.”
The Green Energy Challenge was a fun opportunity for students to learn about energy through various lessons that included learning about renewable and nonrenewable energy, including solar, wind, biofuel and electricity.
Kansas Speedway PR
Kentucky Speedway is introducing fan-first initiatives that reward long-time season ticket customers, welcome first-time visitors and focus on family entertainment.
The five-event speedway season opens with the June 29 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Quaker State 400 that features a race-day concert with country music artist Billy Currington, June 28 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) Feed The Children 300 and June 27 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) UNOH 225. A second event weekend features a 300-mile NNS battle on Sept. 21 and a 150-mile ARCA Racing Series (ARS) event on Sept. 20.
Season ticket customers that have supported the speedway for 10 years or longer will receive reserved parking for each June and September race day, 20 $1.00 discount coupons that can be used for race-day food and non-alcoholic drink purchases as well as a coupon good for a 20 percent discount off a merchandise purchase from the Kentucky Speedway Gift Shop. Customers also will receive 10-year recognition premiums such as a full-size Kentucky Speedway flag, lanyard and window decal.
Five- to nine-year season ticket customers also will be rewarded with reserved parking for each race day along with unique premiums such as a five-year hat, lanyard and window decal.
Kentucky Speedway offers families special children’s rates and value-oriented Coca-Cola Four Packs. Families can purchase half-price tickets and half-price daily infield Fan Zone Passes for children age 12 and younger for each NNS race along with the NCWTS and ARCA events. Coca-Cola Four Packs deliver four race tickets along with vouchers that can be redeemed for four drinks and hot dogs on race days. Packs are priced at $169 for the Quaker State 400, $99 for the Feed The Children 300 and $69 for the UNOH 225. Coca-Cola Four Packs will be available through May 31, 2013.
First-time fans will be able to attend educational presentations on Quaker State 400 race day and visit a dedicated page on the speedway’s Web site, http://www.kentuckyspeedway.com/fans/first_time_fans/. The Web page will feature orientation videos, race-day supply checklists, frequently asked questions and answers, descriptions of race-day points of interest and more. First-time fans also will receive special communications in the months preceding the Quaker State 400 tripleheader weekend.
KY Speedway PR