Speedway Digest Staff
Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest
Blaney Leaves Auto Club Speedway with a Top-25 Finish
After qualifying 29th on Friday, the Tommy Baldwin Racing crew went to work during Saturday's practice sessions, making adjustments for race day.
At the drop of the green flag Sunday, Blaney began the climb to the front with the No. 7 SANY America Chevy SS. Moving all the way up to 18th, Blaney and his team were making adjustments to the car at every stop as they worked to dial in the handling to Blaney's comfort. The long green flag runs did not play in their favor, causing Blaney to go a lap down half way through the 400 mile race. On lap 121, Blaney took the wave around, and was back on the lead lap. With only 79 laps left, the charge to the front had to happen. After several single car cautions, new tires, and fuel, this gave Blaney the opportunity to move up to 21st, where he ended up finishing at the end of the race.
After the race team owner and crew chief Tommy Baldwin commented, "We are happy leaving here with a 21st place finish for the SANY America team. We fought all day and finally started to get somewhere at the end of the race. With a couple more laps we could have gotten a top-15 finish, no questions. Frustrating day, but great work by all the guys here at TBR."
Travis Pastrana, an 11-time X-Games gold medalist currently running his first full NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule, will host a fan suite at Chicagoland Speedway during the Rally, Rock and Race weekend on Sunday, July 21. Pastrana, who owns two top-10 finishes in the opening five races of his first full-time season, will participate in a question-and-answer session with fans on Sunday morning.
“I’m having an awesome time so far this year, and a huge part of that is how welcoming the NASCAR fans have been,” said Pastrana. “I love being able to talk racing with people who enjoy it as much as I do. This is a big day for our series. Without a Sprint Cup race that weekend, it’s all eyes on the Nationwide Series drivers and we have a chance to put on a great show.”
The Fan Suite is a climate-controlled, luxury suite featuring a lunch buffet and light snacks with unlimited soda and water in addition to a cash bar. Fans will also be given a commemorative gift and one of the best seats in the house for the STP 300 for just $199.
Chicagoland Speedway PR
In a nutshell, here’s what you missed if you weren’t at Auto Club Speedway Sunday for the Auto Club 400:
· Great crowd: “Biggest crowd at Auto Club Speedway in 13 years.” (Inland Empire Daily Bulletin)
· Great race: “If this race isn’t monumental for our sport, I don’t know what is.” (Kenny Wallace, FOX)
· Great weather: “This may be the best weather ever seen for a NASCAR trip to Fontana. All mountains every day... impressive.” (Charlotte Observer) – To which Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Ford) retweeted: “Agreed.”
· Great fans amenities: “Where else can you slide from the top of the suite to a bar at the bottom? NOWHERE BUT ACS AND PIT BOX LOUNGE!”
· Great entertainment: “(RATT) They were freaking awesome!!!!
Joey Logano (No. 22 AAA Southern California Ford) and Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Fed Ex Toyota) bumped, pushed, rubbed side-by-side for most of the final lap before Logano's car slid up the track in Turn 4, making contact with Hamlin and putting him into the wall, allowing Kyle Busch (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota) to make a sneaky high-side final pass to capture the checkered flag to the thrill and delight of tens of thousands of standing, raucous fans. The race matched a record for green flag passes for the lead (41), and there were 3,721 green flag passes throughout the race, the most since 2010.
(Did we mention that Busch won the NNS race on Saturday too?)
And as exciting as the race was, THAT might not even have been the highlight of the weekend! Rave reviews on the Auto Club 400 weekend from entertainment to weather and everything in between were prevalent and plentiful via social media:
· “The fact that #NASCAR was the #1 trend on twitter despite #MarchMadness says just how great the racing was at @ACSupdates.”
· “Pheewwww... AWEsome day today at the Auto Club 400. Loved every breath taking moment. It was my first time to a race and never realized the chills I would get when I felt the thunder of the cars zooming by!! Wow! I can't wait to do it again sometime!!!!!
· “Great day for AC Speedway. Tremendous crowd, epic finish.”
· “Best day Fontana's seen since early Penske years when every race sold out. Time for many fans to really reevaluate attitudes re: this track.”
· We just experienced 300-feet of zipline fun in the infield. Awesome!
· “Pit Box Lounge – THANKS Auto Club Speedway. Where else can you slide from the top of the suite to a bar at the bottom? NOWHERE BUT ACS!”
· That was such an amazing race! One of the best if not the BEST in ACS history! Love the place and all they do for us fans! Can't wait for next year!!
Race Day Turn 3 Infield Parking On Sale For IMS Oval Events
Race Day Turn 3 infield parking will be available for purchase for the first time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 2013 Indianapolis 500 and Crown Royal presents the "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard.
Sold on a first-come, first-served basis, Race Day Turn 3 infield parking passes are ideal for all fans looking to park inside the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway and enjoy tailgating. Front-row parking spaces are available for $75 each, with additional general parking spaces available for $25 each.
Race Day Turn 3 infield parking passes go on sale Monday, March 25 and can be purchased in person at the IMS Ticket Office, by calling (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Fans may also purchase Race Day Turn 3 infield parking passes at www.ims.com/tickets.
Beginning this year, all Turn 3 parking for Sunday Race Day oval events at IMS - the Indianapolis 500 and Crown Royal presents the "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard - will be pre-paid, with entry by parking pass only.
Free parking still remains outside the oval for fans attending all IMS events in 2013, with access to lots from both eastbound and westbound 30th Street.
Customers can pick up their Race Day Turn 3 infield parking passes at IMS or have them mailed if purchased by May 13 for the Indianapolis 500 or July 15 for the Crown Royal presents the "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard.
Public gates will open at 5:30 a.m. for the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 26 and at 6 a.m. for the Crown Royal presents the "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 28. All Race Day Turn 3 infield parking pass holders are guaranteed a parking space, although parking pass holders are encouraged to arrive at IMS on race days by 9 a.m.
The recommended gate entry point for pre-paid Race Day Turn 3 infield parking pass holders is through Gate 2 (Tunnel 2) off of 16th Street.
All fans parking in IMS lots should follow the IMS KNOW YOUR ZONE parking program designed to help Speedway guests identify the best driving routes to parking lots located near their respective seating locations.
"All Roads Lead to Indy" driving routes have been created by the Indiana State Police and match KNOW YOUR ZONE parking sectors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Two-time Talladega Superspeedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner Clint Bowyer, a noted Elvis Presley fan, says he’s ready to “Rock and Roll” and get to one of his favorite race tracks – Talladega Superspeedway – for the Aaron’s Dream Weekend, May 3-5. With two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series triumphs under his belt at TSS, the Kansas native says he wants to write his own music to the tune of another victory at the unpredictable track in the Aaron’s 499 on May 5. If that happens, what could Clint’s first words be when he climbs from his car? “Thank you. Thank you very much,” sounds likely. Maybe one day he could be dubbed “The King” of Talladega.
Joe Gibbs Racing Update on Driver Denny Hamlin
Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver Denny Hamlin suffered a L1 Compression Fracture following an accident on the final lap of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.
Hamlin hopes to be released today to fly to his home in North Carolina where he will be evaluated by Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates later this week.
Successful First Start at Auto Club Speedway
NASCAR and Univision will make history on April 1 as “Arranque de Pasión, La Historia de Ela,” the first-ever sports-themed original project for the leading media company serving Hispanic America, debuts in the U.S. and Puerto Rico on Univision.com. Following five consecutive weeks of three new five-to-seven-minute episodes, this NASCAR-themed drama will air an edited version in a special primetime network television debut on Univision on Sunday, May 5.
Earlier that day, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will also celebrate its return to the famous Talladega Superspeedway with the 44th running of the Aaron’s 499 (FOX and FOX Deportes, 1 p.m. ET).
“Arranque de Pasión, La Historia de Ela,” is a co-production between Univision Studios and Kate Del Castillo Productions, Inc., in association with NASCAR. The drama stars internationally acclaimed television and motion picture actress Kate del Castillo, who yesterday served as Honorary Starter for the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., as well as leading men Carlos Ponce and Christian Meier. Shot at Homestead-Miami Speedway, “Arranque de Pasión, La Historia de Ela” is also NASCAR’s first-ever Spanish language original production.
“Novelas are a popular genre for Univision and Hispanic audiences, and we think NASCAR is a very exciting universe for storytelling and unique original projects like ‘Arranque de Pasión, La Historia de Ela,’” said Zane Stoddard, NASCAR vice president of entertainment marketing and business development. “We have developed a great relationship with Univision over the last several years, and this project is a wonderful opportunity to introduce Univision’s millions of online and television viewers to the excitement and passion of NASCAR.”
Following the premiere on Monday, April 1, a new episode will be released every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, midnight ET, for five consecutive weeks, culminating with the Univision network television special on Sunday, May 5. NovelasySeries.com will also provide compelling behind-the-scenes footage, exclusive content, character bios, previews, recaps, trivia and much more for users to engage with before, during and after each episode airs.
“Univision Studios is pleased to partner with NASCAR and Kate del Castillo Productions, Inc. to debut a compelling novela that takes place in the exhilarating world of NASCAR,” said Luis Fernandez, president of Univision Studios. “This new project will allow us to continue our commitment of offering Hispanic America culturally relevant content across platforms, including online and on mobile.”
NASCAR’s Los Angeles-based Entertainment Marketing division continues to focus on integrating NASCAR into mainstream pop culture through original productions, television show integrations and at-track celebrity appearances. In addition to “Arranque de Pasión,” other recent projects include Joey Logano appearing on Cartoon Network’s Hall of Game Awards, actor James Franco serving as Grand Marshal for the Daytona 500 and Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart “guest-starring” on The Cleveland Show.
Viewers can join the conversation regarding this first-of-its-kind novela on Twitter via @Univision, @vivanascar and @NASCAR as well as comment along with others on Facebook.com/Univision.
Daryl Harr Post Race Report No. 4 iWorld Chevy Fontana
The No. 4 iWorld Chevy entered Auto Club Speedway with the intention of racing hard and gaining points. After barely missing the race at Bristol last weekend, the team put extra emphasis on not only making the race, but finishing strong. Once again, Daryl Harr returned to wheel the No. 4 iWorld Chevy.
As the lone practice began on Friday, the team used a second driver to strengthen the No. 4 for the weekend. Landon Cassill, the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year and veteran test driver with over 120 starts, stepped in to help the team. Harr and Cassill spent the 2 hour practice session working on the handle of the race car, ending up 20th on the board.
Veteran Cassill again stepped in and used his experience to qualify the No. 4 iWorld Chevy 27th for the start of the Royal Purple 300. After gaining knowledge and experience from Cassill, Harr strapped in the No. 4 iWorld Chevy to start the race. He immediately began a spirited battle for a position within the top 25.
As the race continued, Harr and CC Dave Smith worked on the handle, fighting a loose condition for much of the afternoon. As the laps expired, the No. 4 iWorld Chevy finished 28th, moving them closer to the all important top 30 in owners points.
Daryl Harr Quotes: “What a fun weekend for the team out in California! I was glad to have Landon come in and help with the No. 4 car for the weekend. I was able to learn from his experience and knowledge, and I felt really good about my race and the car at the end. I learned a few things from the drivers seat, but the team also benefitted immensely from having him step in for a few laps. I am already looking forward to my next Nationwide event in Iowa.”
JD Motorsports PR
Mike Wallace No. 01 Flex Seal Chevy Fontana Post-Race Report
After battling the track in sunny California, Mike Wallace and the No. 01 Flex Seal team overcame obstacles and finished 23rd in the Royal Purple 300.
On track action began Friday with one extended practice session. The team unloaded fast, immediately completing a lap within the top 20. After working through different setups, the No. 01 Flex Seal Chevy finished the day 23rd, leaving the team optimistic for qualifying on Saturday morning.
After starting the race 26th, the veteran Wallace began to attack the track with a wildly loose race car. After radioing to the crew for help, the first caution flag waved allowing the team the chance to fine tune the race car. Crew Chief Marc Browning used a multitude of adjustments to tighten the Chevy, sending Mike back out on the track.
As the race continued, Mike used a wave around and a lucky dog to stay competitive on the track. After entering the top 25, Wallace remained there for the remainder of the event, and finished 23rd, the second top 25 in a row. Wallace is now tied for 24th in points.
Mike Wallace Quotes: “Our team, once again, accomplished our initial goal of finishing the race. I am happy with our overall results this weekend, including practice and qualifying. We found something that helped our cars, both the No. 01 and the No. 4, to go faster on track, that I think will help us in the future. I would like to thank Flex Seal for their support this weekend, and I think the two weeks off will help the team catch up and prepare our cars for Texas.”
JD Motorsports PR