Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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As the NASCAR season’s tension rises with the August heat, Roush Fenway Racing continues to eye the top spots in each of the sport’s top-two series. With 22 races in the books RFR’s Greg Biffle trails first place in the Sprint Cup Series by just a single point as the series heads into Roush Fenway’s top track Michigan International Speedway.

However, Biffle understands the crucial role that wins play in the Chase for a championship.

“For us, winning races is really what we have to do for bonus points,” said Biffle. “We’re not locked into the Chase by any means, but we feel like we’re in pretty good shape. We are close to the lead, but the points really don’t matter right now until you get into the Chase and bonus points are what matter. When it resets to start the Chase the only thing that will reset are the wins, so if we go in there leading the points or go in sixth we’re going to be in the same spot, so we need bonus points right now and that comes from wins.”

Fresh on Biffle’s heels is teammate Matt Kenseth who trails first place by just two points – one marker behind Biffle. Both Kenseth and Biffle have won once this season in the Cup series.

In the Nationwide Series defending champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr., used a strong fourth-place finish at Watkins Glen to climb one spot to second and trim eight points off his deficit to first. Stenhouse heads to Montreal only 13 points outside of the Nationwide Series point lead.

Carl Edwards’ agenda over the next four races is even more clear; win. Last year’s Sprint Cup runner-up, is currently 12th in the Sprint Cup point standings.

“We’re not where we’d like to be this season, but we’re working hard to rectify that,” said Edwards, who acknowledges that any win at Michigan is extra special.

“I remember we ended a long losing streak at Michigan in 2007,” added Edwards. “Any time you win at Michigan it’s big and it’s big especially for the guys who race for Jack (Roush). Jack and his business are based in Michigan. We really appreciate everything Ford has done and it’s a very special place to win near their headquarters. I think everyone in the garage feels that way with the manufacturers being so close. It’s a good place to win a race and the fans there are great.”

A victory for Edwards this weekend at Michigan could turn his season around, most likely placing him into the final Chase spot with only three races remaining before the Chase cutoff at Richmond.  A pair of wins would all but assure Edwards’ seventh berth in the Chase.

RFR PR

Old Wisconsin is pleased to announce that it will debut its popular Snack Bites products on NASCAR driver Michael Annett's No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford Mustang for Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event held on September 1, 2012 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Marking its first racecar appearance, Old Wisconsin branding and Snack Bite imagery will be featured on the No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford Mustang.

Pilot Flying J currently carries a variety of the family-owned Old Wisconsin products in its 600 retail locations across North America. Featured products include the 1.5 ounce Snack Sticks, available in flavors: Bold, Teriyaki, Beef, and Pepperoni and 4 ounce Snack Bites, available in flavors including Bold, Beef, and Turkey. Another tasty favorite is the 2.5 ounce Smoke Stacks in Beef & Cheddar Cheese, BOLD Sweet Heat & Chipotle Cheese, and Beef & Jalapeno Cheese, a perfect hearty and hardwood-smoked treat for on-the-go snackers.

We're thrilled that Old Wisconsin is combining the history and excitement of NASCAR with America's number one Snack Bite," said Laura Palenkas, Vice President of Marketing for Pilot Flying J. "Old Wisconsin is the perfect fit for both our racecar and retail customers looking for a quick bite while on the go."

Michael Annett is presently ranked sixth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings. The 2012 season has served as a career-best year for the 26-year-old Des Moines, Iowa native, who has earned four top-five finishes and eight top-10 finishes in his first campaign as the driver of the iconic RPM No. 43.

Rising Star PR

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Ross Chastain and the SS Green Light Racing team will join thirty-five other competitors this weekend as the NCWTS begins the second half of the twenty-two race 2012 season. Saturday, the truckers travel to the Irish Hills of Southeastern Michigan for the VFW 200 at the freshly repaved 2-mile Michigan International Speedway.

For the second straight race the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender will have backing from Melon 1, one of the largest shippers of fresh watermelon in the United States as the Florida teen looks for a second consecutive top-ten finish.

“We’re real excited to have Melon 1 back on our Toyota again this weekend,” Ross said. “We’ll also have the Illiana Watermelon Association and Engine Parts Plus giving us a hand. We appreciate all the support that we have been getting this year.”

“We were going to bring the truck we ran at Texas to Michigan but after Pocono we switched and we are going to run that truck again. I just like the way it felt and hopefully we can get that same feel on the new pavement at MIS. They say you can run anywhere on the track, I’m looking forward to see where our Melon 1 Tundra will run our best times.”

“They said I should hold it wide open, we’ll see. We’ll take our time getting out on the track and I’ll talk to some people that I talk to a lot and I’ll go to Todd (Bodine) after he goes out to see if he still says what he said before. Then I’ll find out for myself if we can do it,” Chastain continued. “I met Todd a long time ago and he helps me as much as anyone at the track.”

Prior to the race, Ross will pay a visit to the University of Michigan's C.S Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan to visit with young patients at the Hospital to sign autographs and hand out watermelon coloring books and stickers to the children. “I went to the Children’s Hospital in Fort Meyers back home and it’s a real humbling experience that makes you appreciate your health. It means a lot to them to have visitors and I’m glad to be able to go.”

The VFW 200 is the 282nd consecutive NCWTS start for the SS Green Light Racing team and the seventeenth career start for Chastain in the Truck Series. Ross has moved up to seventeenth in the NCWTS point standings and has four top fifteen finishes in 2012 including a career best seventh at Martinsville in March and tenth two weeks ago at Pocono.

There are 35 trucks on the entry list for the VFW 200, which will prelude the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at the Michigan International Speedway. Johnny Chapman is set to pilot the No. 07 for SS Green Light Racing.

Practice for the VFW 200 will be Friday, August 17th from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. with a rare third practice from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. On Saturday, August 18th there will be two laps of qualifying at 9:35 a.m. and the green flag will fly in the VFW 200 at 1:30 p.m. All times Eastern. The race will be shown live on SPEED TV and will also be broadcast live via on the Motor Racing Network and on SIRIUS Satellite Radio NASCAR Channel 128-XM104

SS Green Light Racing PR

NASCAR fans in North Carolina can save on tickets to the upcoming Bank of America 500 on Oct. 13 with the Walmart Family Track Pack. The $99 package gives families four race tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas and one program – a total savings of more than $100.

"We are making races affordable and accessible for fans," said Rand Waddoups, senior director, Entertainment Properties and Brands, Walmart. "The Walmart Family Track Pack is a great value that gives local fans a way to take their whole family to the track together."

"NASCAR fans that descend into Cabarrus County spend millions of dollars that help our local economy by generating tax revenues for local governments, thereby reducing the property tax burden on residents," said Donna Carpenter, president and CEO of the Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

"The economic impact that visitors create trickles throughout the county, via hotels, restaurants and retail stores. In essence, the speedway is the driver, and we are the pit crew! It's a win-win for everyone," Carpenter added.

The Walmart Family Track Pack is available online at www.walmart.com/NASCAR and in Ticketmaster kiosks in select stores.

Race Time 2012 at Walmart
In addition to the race ticket package, the Walmart Race Time 2012 program gives fans authentic NASCAR merchandise and unique fan events at stores.

Beginning Oct. 9, select Walmart stores in the Charlotte area will host NASCAR fan events featuring real stock racing car displays and racing simulator machines – perfect to safely get behind the wheel and feel the power of NASCAR.

Additionally, Walmart stores will feature savings on authentic NASCAR merchandise such as T-shirts and racing flags, with even more items available on Walmart.com/NASCAR.

Participating stores in the Charlotte area include:

Store #1156
169 Norman Station Blvd.
Mooresville, N.C.

Store #2005
2420 Supercenter Drive NE
Kannapolis, N.C.

Store #1552
323 S. Arlington St.
Salisbury, N.C.

Store #2134
7735 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, N.C.

Store #1027
150 Concord Commons
Concord, N.C.

Store #4574
5825 Thunder Road NW
Concord, N.C.

Walmart PR

Last August when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rolled into Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Tony Stewart was blunt in assessing his team’s performance. “We’re not setting the world on fire,” said Stewart before the race weekend even began. Then, after a ninth-place finish in the Pure Michigan 400, Stewart famously declared, “If we’re going to run this bad, it really doesn’t matter whether we make the Chase or not because we’re going to be occupying a spot in the Chase that somebody else that can actually run for a championship should take because our stuff is so bad right now, we’re wasting one of those top-12 spots.”

Stewart, of course, made the Chase, and in doing so, set the world on fire behind the wheel of his No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet. In record fashion, he won five of the season’s last 10 races en route to securing his third Sprint Cup championship in an epic finale where Stewart won the title over Carl Edwards by virtue of a tiebreaker, as Stewart’s fives wins trumped Edwards’ one.

The glow of the 2011 championship hasn’t waned in 2012, as Stewart has won three races and shares the No. 1 Chase seed with fellow three-time race winners Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski. Augmenting those wins are eight top-threes, nine top-fives and 11 top-10s which currently place Stewart eighth in points.

Compare this season to last year at this time, when Stewart had zero wins and only two top-fives and eight top-10s, leaving him in the precarious position of 10th in points – the bubble spot to earn a guaranteed spot in the 12-driver Chase. Had Stewart fallen out of the top-10, he would’ve missed the Chase, for the 11th- and 12th-place spots are wild cards, reserved for the two drivers between 11th and 20th in points who have the most wins. Keselowski (three wins) and Hamlin (one win) earned those spots in 2011. A winless Stewart wouldn’t have been eligible.

When Stewart wasn’t biting his fingernails, he was using them to hold on to his top-10 point standing. He was successful, thanks to a third-place run in the second-to-last regular season race at Atlanta Motor Speedway and a seventh-place finish in the cutoff race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.

Stewart was in the Chase for the seventh time of his career, and with the Chase allowing him to hit a reset button on his season, he pulled off one of the biggest comebacks in sports history by winning the 2011 championship.

Eight months removed from hoisting the Sprint Cup trophy last November at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Stewart has remained in championship form, as his most recent run at Michigan attests.

When the series visited the 2-mile oval back in June, Stewart started eighth on the freshly paved track, led 18 laps and finished second. It was the second race of a nine-race run where Stewart finished among the top-12 seven times, four of which were top-three finishes, including a win July 7 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. It was also Stewart’s eighth top-three finish at Michigan, a statistic which includes a victory in June 2000, where Stewart secured the second-longest advance to victory in a Sprint Cup race at Michigan after starting 28th.

That rallying spirit, which was evidenced in the Chase, has often been on display at Michigan. Stewart holds the record for greatest improvement from a starting position at Michigan, as the three-time and reigning Sprint Cup champion started 41st in the June 2007 race and advanced 38 positions to finish third, besting the previous mark of 36 places earned by Jimmy Spencer (40th to fourth) in the June 1996 race.

Despite an average start of 19.6 in his 27 career Sprint Cup races at Michigan, Stewart has an average finish of 11.2 thanks to 11 top-fives and 19 top-10s.

With a much better outlook in 2012 than he had in 2011, Stewart will look to add to those numbers come Sunday in the Pure Michigan 400.

TSC PR

Bristol Motor Speedway guests at the Aug. 25 IRWIN Tools Night Race receive a couple of special rewards from Outback Steakhouse just by finding their seats.

As part of the continued involvement in NASCAR racing by the popular restaurant chain, each guest will receive a flag to wave at the start of the race as well as a coupon for $10 off at Outback on any two entrees.

Outback gives fans a free Bloomin’ Onion the Monday immediately following a Sprint Cup race if Ryan Newman finishes among the top 10. To date, Newman, who has one win, has placed among the top 10 eight times this season, giving fans plenty to cheer about on Mondays.

Tickets still are available for all three nights of racing at BMS in August. Race week begins Aug. 22 with a doubleheader, which features the UNOH 200 Camping World Truck Series race and the UNOH Perfect Storm 150 Whelen Modified event.

Tickets also are available for the IRWIN Tools Night race, starting at $75 while tickets for the Food City 250 start at $45. An August race weekend package, which includes a ticket to the IRWIN Tools Night Race and the Food City 250, starts at $110. A doubleheader ticket for Wednesday night’s UNOH 200 Camping World Truck Series race and the UNOH Perfect Storm 150 is available for $30.

Food City 250 tickets for children 15 and under are available at half price, starting at $22. Entry for children 15 and under is free for Wednesday night’s doubleheader.

BMS PR

Race fans from all over the United State are heading to Michigan International Speedway for this weekend’s Pure Michigan 400, and local and healthy food options await them.

Americrown, the company that provides catering, food and beverage concessions at MIS, has partnered with several local companies to support the economy and provide concessions that can only be found at NASCAR’s fastest racetrack.

The special sauce that goes on all Coney dogs comes from Jackson, Mich.,-based Todoroff Foods, the company that brought Coney dogs to the state. Todoroff’s signature Coney Sauce will make the taste buds savor every last bite. The company has been in business since 1914.

Have you ever wondered where you can get that special bun that surrounds the juicy eight-ounce angus burger? The fresh brioche roll comes from

Stone Hearth Breads and Bakery, just three miles from MIS in Brooklyn.

That’s 2,000 rolls – all locally baked.

“We believe in using local vendors for our services and offering healthy options for our fans,” Mike Clark, director of Concessions for Americrown. “Michigan International Speedway is a destination for race fans from all over the country. We want them to taste and enjoy local food while they are here. And we want to support local businesses.”

Backwoods BBQ concession stand in section 15 has added a new item to its expansive menu and it is sure to be a hit among race fans. The cornmeal dusted PO’ Boy sandwich with a spicy remoulade sauce is unique to the Irish Hills.

In addition, MIS has many healthy food items throughout its many concession stands on race weekends. A guest can purchase a chef salad at the Infield’s No. 1 stand (next to the Pit Patio, behind pit road) in sections 40 and 154. Fruit cups are also available in section 24.

MIS and Americrown also have a variety of sandwiches available for fans looking for a healthy alternative. A turkey sub can be purchased in sections 59, 26 and 166. Subway is also serving freshly prepared sandwiches in a variety of locations. Fans can order their favorite sub at a pair of spots in vendor row. They also have locations in sections 35 and 40.

Finally, for fans looking for a hot sandwich that is of the healthy variety, you now have an option. A grilled chicken sandwich is available in sections 26 and 154.

Fans can find all the great options by visiting http://bit.ly/Nc06wU.

MIS PR

The anticipation about Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway has been crescendoing for Regan Smith ever since he and his Furniture Row Racing team departed from the Goodyear tire test session at the 2-mile oval on July 30. 
 
According to Smith the Michigan test went so well that the team packed up early and headed back to its home base in Denver with a new level of enthusiasm.  
 
"I have more confidence going into Michigan than I ever had going into a race in my career," said Smith with 100 percent conviction. "The only reason we left the test early in Michigan is because we felt that strongly about how good our Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet was."
 
The surging Smith also has other reasons for his newly-found optimism as he prepares for the Pure Michigan 400. The two races following the Michigan test, the 28-year-old driver posted consecutive ninth-place finishes -- at Pocono and Watkins Glen. The results were his first top-10s of the season and the Watkins Glen finish was a career best on a road course. 

 

 
"No doubt this Furniture Row Racing team has taken a huge leap to where we were the majority of the season," stated Smith during an interview on Siriusxm Satellite Radio. "We made some big changes and with those changes come a lot of different ideas with the race car. We fundamentally changed everything and the performance has picked up. I'm doing the same thing in the race car that I've done all year -- the cars are just going faster. We're unloading with speed, and once you unload with speed, you can work on the fine-tuning details to get the car ready for the race."
 
Smith, rightfully so, has been tipping his hat to crew chief Todd Berrier, who joined the team three races ago. And in those three races, the team has averaged a 12th-place finish, almost slashing in half its season average of 22.545. 
 
"Todd Berrier is one of the most meticulous persons that I've been around in my career," explained Smith. "We believe in each other, and when you have that kind of chemistry, good things develop."
 
Though Furniture Row Racing has enjoyed recent success, Berrier wants more out of the team and knows the potential is there.  
 
"We're moving along at a nice pace, but obviously we want to pick it up and keep on improving," said Berrier. "I believe we can do that and reach that new level of competition."
 
Smith enters the Pure Michigan 400 with seven career starts at MIS and a best finish of 13th, which he achieved in last year's August race. 
 
"As we know so many things can happen in a race, but I would be awfully disappointed if we didn't better that 13th-place finish," said Smith.
 
FRRPR

The battle for the ASA Member Track National Championship is starting to get intense. Shelby Stroebel remains undefeated while Lance Gatlin saw his win streak end last Saturday night. The other track leaders are starting to catch the top two in the national standings.
 
Stroebel won his twelfth ASA Modified feature of the year last Saturday night at Meridian Speedway in Meridian, ID.   Going back to last season, he is on a 14-win streak.  He has an overall average of 4.0929.
 
Gatlin had his streak stopped by two-time track champion Nate Monteith last Saturday night at Lonesome Pine Raceway in Coeburn, VA. Gatlin finished second in the Limited Late Model feature event.  Even though his win streak came to an end, he still is not far behind Stroebel with an average of 3.8680.
 
Wayne Webb continues to lead the Late Model Sportsman standings at Newport Motor Speedway in Newport, TN.  He is not that far behind Gatlin in the national standings as he has an average of 3.8336.
 
Mike Slone picked up another feature win in the ASA Late Model division at Lebanon I-44 Speedway in Lebanon, MO.  He had a rough month of July but has turned that around in August.  He has an average of 3.7320.
 
Dustin Rumley finished second to Barry Beggarly last Friday night in the Late Model feature at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, NC.  He still holds on to the points lead in a tight battle over Rodney Cook and Beggarly.  He is also in the hunt for the national title with an average of 3.2591.

ASA Racing PR
 
Michael Hale’s sixth place finish helps maintain a healthy point lead in the Maverik Modified standings over Mark Ith Jr. and Lynn Hardy.  He is sixth overall in the national standings with an average of 3.0446.  Hale is slowly catching the top-five.
 
Mark Mackesy holds a four-point lead over Mark Eswein in the Super Late Model standings at State Park Speedway in Wausau, WI.  He has a national average of 2.6826 with some big events coming up at the Wimmer owned facility.
 
Kyle Borden and his fellow ASA Modified drivers will be in action at the end of the month at Shasta Speedway in Anderson, CA.  He has a national average of 1.3704.
 
“Many of our ASA Member Tracks have tight point battles that could change the landscape for the National Championship,” Dennis Huth, ASA President said.  “Many will want to focus on chasing down Shelby Stroebel for the national title, but they need to keep their eye close to home and win their track championship first.  The next few weeks are going to be stressful for those in contention.  It can also create some great racing at all of our ASA Member Tracks.”
 
Throughout the season, drivers competing in the premiere divisions at eligible ASA Member Tracks are in the running for the 2012 ASA Member Track National Championship.  In order to have a chance for the national title, a driver must first win their 2012 track championship.

Three nights of NASCAR night racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway can be a family event at an affordable price this Labor Day weekend with special offers for students and youths under the age of 12.

While adult tickets start at just $39, students can gain access to the Elliott Grandstand for just $19 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 on Sunday, Sept. 2. A valid student ID must be presented at the grandstand gate.

The Elliott Grandstand sits high above turn three, giving fans an amazing view of the 1.54-mile speedway, illuminated under the track’s lights, while the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series chase a victory in the AdvoCare 500. The Elliott Grandstand will also offer a great vantage point of the post-race fireworks, moments after the checkered flag falls.

The great value is not only for Sunday’s racing, as youths 12 and under will be admitted free to both Friday and Saturday night’s races with a paying adult in the General Admission seating areas, located on the speedway’s fronstretch. There is no limit to the number of children that each adult can bring. The Jeff Foxworthy’s Grit Chips 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race will run on Friday, Aug. 31 and the NASCAR Nationwide Series NRA American Warrior 300 will take place on Saturday, Sept. 1.

AMS