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Tickets for the 2011 SHOWTIME Southern 500 are already a hot commodity and they have become even more desirable with the announcement that 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductees and South Carolina natives, Bud Moore and David Pearson, will be featured on the commemorative ticket.

Legendary car owner Bud Moore was born in Charleston, South Carolina, and would become a decorated war hero in World War II before embarking on a remarkable career in NASCAR racing. Moore saw some of NASCAR’s greatest drivers pilot his entries during his time as an owner. Names like Weatherly, Pearson, Baker, Yarborough and Earnhardt became synonymous with Moore’s race teams during a career that spanned more than four decades and produced back-to-back NASCAR Cup Series championships in 1962 and 1963.

Spartanburg, South Carolina native David Pearson made a name for himself by being a gritty competitor on the track that did things his way. Pearson is the second winningest driver in NASCAR history, behind only Richard Petty, with 105 career victories. Having never run a full season makes Pearson’s victory mark even more impressive. In fact, many still argue Pearson is the best NASCAR driver ever, and had he run full-time he would have surpassed the mark set by Petty. In addition to his 105 career victories, Pearson also recorded three NASCAR Cup series championships in 1966, 1968 and 1969.

Both Moore and Pearson are prominently featured on the SHOWTIME Southern 500 ticket along with the race logo and NASCAR Hall of Fame logo making the ticket a true collectible.

“When the 2011 Hall of Fame class was announced in October we were very excited to have two South Carolinians headed to the Hall in 2011,” said Darlington Raceway President, Chris Browning. “Bud and David have done so much to build NASCAR from its humble beginnings to the major spectator sport it is today and both are well deserving of this special honor.”

You can keep up with all of the latest news from Darlington Raceway at DarlingtonRaceway.com, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DarlingtonRaceway and on Twitter at Twitter.com/TooToughToTame.

Darlington Raceway, or the track “Too Tough To Tame” as it is known to many, is where the purest of NASCAR competition meets true southern hospitality. A NASCAR staple since 1950, Darlington Raceway has seen some of motorsports most talented drivers thunder to Gatorade Victory Lane. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will kick off the 2011 racing season at Darlington on March 12, 2011. On Mother’s Day weekend, May 6-7, 2011, NASCAR’s biggest stars return to battle the track “Too Tough To Tame” in the Sprint Cup Series SHOWTIME Southern 500® and Nationwide Series Royal Purple 200 Presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts.

Darlington Raceway PR

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) released today its telecast times for the 2011 season, primarily preserving the earlier and consistent start times established in 2010.

Regular season points races in the Eastern and Central regions of the country will begin at 1 p.m. ET; West Coast events will begin at 3 p.m. ET; and night races will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET (Note: NASCAR’s longest race, the Coca-Cola 600, will start at 6 p.m. ET on May 29).

In addition, NASCAR announced new start times for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with six of the first seven races beginning at 2 p.m. ET and the last three races, including the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, beginning at 3 p.m. ET. The 52nd annual Bank of America 500 from Charlotte Motor Speedway is the only night race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, and will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points races will again be seen on either FOX, TNT, ESPN or ABC.
“The 2011 broadcast schedule strikes the right balance between keeping the start times in familiar slots and highlighting the races down the stretch, building more excitement at the end of the season,” said Paul Brooks, senior vice president of NASCAR and president of NASCAR Media Group. “Continuing to raise the profile of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup was also on the top of our list and we believe these new start times for those 10 races will help do just that.”

The preseason non-points Budweiser Shootout at Daytona will be on FOX (8:10 p.m. ET on Feb. 12). In addition, two other non-points events – the Gatorade Duel at Daytona (2 p.m. ET on Feb. 17) and the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (7:30 p.m. ET on May 21 at Charlotte Motor Speedway), will be on SPEED.

FOX will have the first 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points races, beginning with the 53rd running of the Daytona 500 (Feb. 20, 1 p.m. ET) and ending with the June 5 race at Kansas Speedway, the first of two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at that track this year.

TNT will have the next six events, beginning with the Pocono 500 at 1 p.m. ET on June 12 at Pocono Raceway and ending with New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s first of two races on July 17 at 1 p.m. ET. In addition, TNT will have the inaugural Kentucky Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on July 9 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

ESPN and ABC will carry the final 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events. ABC will telecast three races, including the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup “cutoff race” – the Richmond 400 on Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

ESPN will telecast 14 races, including the first race of the Chase at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 18 at 2 p.m. ET and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 20 at 3 p.m. ET.

ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 will telecast 33 of the 34 NASCAR Nationwide Series races in 2011. ESPN2 opens the season with the DRIVE4COPD 300 at 1:15 p.m. ET on Feb. 19 at Daytona International Speedway. ESPN2 will also telecast the season finale Ford 300 on Nov. 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (4:30 p.m. ET).

SPEED will air one NASCAR Nationwide Series race in 2011 with the 24th running of the Bubba Burger 250 from Richmond International Raceway on April 29 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to SPEED for a ninth consecutive season. As was the case last year, SPEED will show the entire 25-race schedule, opening with the NextEra Energy Resources 250 on Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. ET at Daytona.

The full telecast schedules for all three national series – the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – are available via the Word and PDF links at the top of this page.

Les Richter, who served as a senior executive for NASCAR following his All-Pro NFL career, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it was announced tonight.

Richter, affectionately known as “Coach” throughout the motorsports industry, passed away last June at the age of 79. He came to NASCAR 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 Executive Vice President of Competition in 1986 and the Senior Vice President of Operations in 1992.
"On behalf of all of NASCAR, I'd like to congratulate the Les Richter family on his selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Les lived a wonderful life and had a remarkable career that transcended two of our country's major sports. He played a key role in the growth of NASCAR, particularly on the West Coast and his accomplishments on the football field are legendary. This is a most fitting tribute to a great man."
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.
He previously was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as well as the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
Richter’s last job in motorsports was as vice president of special projects for Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., a track he helped come into existence and then become established as a big time sports facility.

CREDIT: NASCAR PR

After a solid 2010 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season, Jack Roush Jr., and Billy Johnson are back in action with sights set on the 2011 championship, but this time they will be piloting a brand new No. 61 Ford BOSS 302R Mustang. The ROUSH Performance team will again add a second car to the stable with drivers Roly Falgueras and new talent Shelby Blackstock who will share the No. 51 Ford Mustang.

The ROUSH Performance team had an impressive 2010 season finishing in the top five in nine out of 10 races, with six podium finishes and two wins. The team fell just eight points shy of the championship while acquiring the most driver and team laps led, and winning in Homestead; marking team owner Jack Roush Sr.’s 400th victory in racing.

“The 2010 season was a great year for us,” says Johnson. “There have been a lot of changes in the off season with a new crew chief, Jeff Campey, and most notably our new BOSS 302R. We learned a lot in both the Homestead and Daytona tests about the car. It’s quick but we have been working hard to make it last over the long haul like our old FR500C and we are preparing to come to Daytona ready for action.”

In 2009 Jack Roush Jr., finished fifth in the driver points. In 2010 he finished third in points with co-driver Billy Johnson.

“If we keep this yearly improvement, we should attain our goals for 2011,” said Roush Jr.

Joining the team and driving the No.51 ROUSH Performance Mustang is Puerto Rican Roly Falgueras and young gun Shelby Blackstock. Falgueras is returning to Grand-Am GS action after a brief hiatus racing GT cars in South America. This will be Blackstock’s first Grand-Am start, but after showing speed in both the Skip Barber series and Mustang Challenge cars, as well as a solid performance in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, the up and coming star is surely someone to keep an eye on.

“I’ve kept track of Shelby for a year now and am looking forward to working with him and seeing what the kid can do,” said team manager Brad Francis. “Roly has been doing this for a while now and is a solid addition to the team.”


“I am very excited to compete in my first Grand-Am race,” said Blackstock. “To be driving for such an historic team like Roush is quite a privilege.”

While new to the team, Campey is not new to the game. Having years of experience as a crew chief under his belt ranging from ARCA to NASCAR, he is a great addition to the No.61 program. Combining Campey with Francis makes for a strong combination with decades of experience.

“I love sports car racing and it’s in my blood,” said Campey. “In fact I first started working for the Roush organization in IMSA before moving over to NASCAR years later. The team is already proven winners and we have an outstanding driver lineup with Jack Roush Jr., and Billy Johnson. It’s also an honor to be able to work hand in hand with Brad Francis. We also have a great crew who have been working very hard in the off season preparing our new BOSS 302R and I hope to contribute to this effort to make everyone’s hard work into a year-end championship.”

The 2011 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season will kick off at Daytona International Speedway on January 28.

 

Credit: Roush Fenway Racing PR

 

The 26th annual Aflac Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence ceremony was held today, honoring five individuals with the coveted accolades in motorsports media. This year's recipients were Nate Ryan (USA Today), Lauren Stowell (ESPN), Kris Johnson (NASCAR Illustrated), Mark Rebilas (US Presswire) and Brian Tetzler (KWGN/KDVR) for exceptional motorsports media coverage in 2010. The ceremony, which honors the legacy of motorsports journalism pioneer Russ Catlin, was orchestrated by Aflac, the No. 1 provider of voluntary and guaranteed-renewable insurance in the United States, and held in conjunction with the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The Aflac Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence recognize the best motorsports coverage in five categories, including Daily and Other Writing, Local and National Broadcast, and Photojournalism. More than 150 entries were submitted this year, making it one of the most competitive seasons to date.

"We're proud to honor the writers and broadcasters who strive to bring the best possible coverage to the motorsports audience. Their passion helps fuel our industry and keeps fans coming back for more," said Daniel Fleishman, vice president of Corporate Sponsorships and Emerging Markets for Aflac. "We thank them for all the time and dedication they pour into their work and connecting with the fans."

The Indiana University School of Journalism judged the award entries. Winners receive a trophy and $1,000 scholarship from Aflac in their names to the schools of their choice. Their names are also added to a perpetual trophy housed at Charlotte Motor Speedway that lists all past winners.

"We have so many gifted and talented journalists in the motorsports field. To be chosen among them is an incredible honor," said Scott Cooper, vice president of communications for Charlotte Motor Speedway. "We're proud and thankful that Aflac recognizes their contributions to the sport."

The award is the most coveted in motorsports journalism. The 2010 Aflac Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence winners are as follows:

Writing - Daily

Nate Ryan - USA Today

Entry: "Junior's Ride Tied to Sports"

Judges' Comments: Timely story that explores the pressure of high expectations; excellent variety of perspectives; provides ample context for understanding current issues in NASCAR; solid reporting.

Scholarship: Northwestern University; Evanston, Ill.

Writing - Other

Kris Johnson - NASCAR Illustrated

Entry: "Taking Flight"

Judges' Comments: Revealing quotations from a variety of sources; addresses a serious and complex issue (safety) from both a physical and emotional perspective; readers "walk in the shoes" of drivers who have crashed; reporter's research and excellent interviewing skills are evident.

Scholarship: UNC Chapel Hill; Chapel Hill, N.C.

Broadcast - National

Lauren Stowell - ESPN

Entry: "Hendrick for Haiti"

Judges' Comments: Connects racing to world events and universal themes of loss and hope, which allow this story to reach a broader audience. The story illustrates these themes by using personal, national and international tragedies. Excellent production values, effective storytelling, and marriage of verbal and visual elements.

Scholarship: South Windsor High School, South Windsor, Conn.

Broadcast - Local

Brian Tetzler - KWGN/KDVR, Denver, Colo.

Entry: "Using iPads at the Track"

Judges' Comments: This story exemplifies quality reporting. It goes beyond "what happened at the track today" by examining the timely issue of technology integration in motorsports. Superior content and production quality.

Scholarship: Marquette University; Milwaukee, Wis.

Photojournalism

Mark Rebilas - US Presswire

Entry: "Lawn Dart"

Judges' Comments: Excellent composition that provides context for the action. Interesting photo that makes a person stop and examine the details. Unusual image that helps tell the story of off-road racing.

Scholarship: Lincoln Elementary School; Mesa, Ariz.

 

Credit: Aflac PR

Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor paced Chevrolet’s qualifying efforts Thursday in the manufacturer’s first event as an official promotional partner of GRAND-AM Road Racing.

Angelelli, driving the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Chevrolet Dallara, qualified outside front row in Daytona Prototype (DP), and Taylor, in the No. 88 Autohaus Camaro GT.R, qualified second in GT for this weekend’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“That was good,” Angelelli said after a fast lap of 1:40.133 (127.990 mph) at Daytona International Speedway. “We have a good car and a good engine…. We’re looking forward to this season. This Chevy-powered car – we’re going to be fast.

Taylor’s fast lap occurred late in the qualifying session.

“I went out basically to try and get a gap in qualifying just get in clean air, no traffic,” said Taylor (1:48.821, 117.771 mph). “I caught traffic in the middle of the session, but once I got a clear lap on that last lap, it was a really good lap. I got a little bit of a lockup in turn one, but other than that it was a pretty solid lap. We have not had one issue with our Camaro – so, so far, so good for a 24-hour event."

Chevrolet announced its partnership with GRAND-AM Road Racing and team lineup earlier in the day.

“It is good to see all of the hard work by the Chevy teams during the off season paid off with front row starting positions in both the DP and GT classes,” said Mark Kent, GM Racing Director. “While starting up front in a 24-hour race isn't critical, it's definitely a morale boost for our teams.”

Other Team Chevy qualifiers: In DP, Antonio Garcia (No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Chevrolet Coyote), sixth, and Alex Gurney (No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet Riley), 10th. In GT, Robin Liddell (No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R), seventh, and Oliver Gavin (No. 07 Banner Racing Camaro GT.R), 19th.

The Rolex 24 at Daytona starts Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

Matt Bell, driver of the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GS.R, qualified fifth in Continental Tire Challenge GS. Other Team Chevy qualifiers in GS: No. 00 CKS Autosport Camaro GS.R, 16th; No. 62 Mitchum Motorsports Camaro GS.R, 21st; No. 6 Mitchum Motorsports Camaro GS.R, 26th; and No. 01 CKS Autosport Camaro GS.R, 27th.

 

CREDIT: Team Chevy Racing

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) today announced two key additions to the Integrated Marketing Communications team.

Kristi King, who has 17 years of public relations and marketing experience in NASCAR racing, has been named director of communications, competition and joins the sanctioning body’s Integrated Marketing Communications team.
Steve Pegram brings more than 15 years of experience working with high-profile brands, sports and entertainment properties across multiple marketing and promotional platforms and has been appointed director of stakeholder communications. Most recently, he has worked with Motorsports Management International, the leading driver management firm, and Red Bull Energy Drink, where he oversaw motorsports communications and played an instrumental role in launching the start-up Red Bull Racing NASCAR team. Pegram’s first involvement with NASCAR was more than a decade ago in servicing the Miller Brewing sports marketing account for Wunderman, a Young & Rubicam-owned integrated marketing agency.
King, who will be based at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., has worked at Talladega Superspeedway for the past 6½ years. She was the track’s director of public relations from 2004-08 before being promoted to senior director of communications and consumer marketing in 2008. King was public relations director at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, N.C., from 1994 to 2004.
In her new role, King will assist in providing strategic leadership for all competition-related public relations efforts with specific responsibilities geared towards the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
"Kristi brings a solid background in our sport along with a high level of energy and creativity,” said Kerry Tharp, NASCAR senior director of communications, competition. “We’re excited about her joining our team.”
Pegram will play a critical role in leading NASCAR’s collaboration with the marketing and communications teams at various entities throughout the industry, especially race teams and track operators. Pegram will be responsible for working collaboratively with the IMC leadership team and across all NASCAR departments – most notably Industry Relations – to identify and then strategically mobilize NASCAR resources to support key promotional initiatives.
NASCAR veteran Jennifer Powell has been promoted to senior manager, stakeholder communications and will report to Pegram as they collaborate on establishing the department.
“Steve’s relationships and strategic experience will be vital to extending NASCAR’s communications efforts with key stakeholders in the sport,” said Steve Phelps, NASCAR chief marketing officer.
Pegram will be located at the NASCAR Plaza in Charlotte, N.C., and will report directly to the chief communications officer.

CREDIT: NASCAR PR

Roush Fenway Racing has announced a multi-year organization-wide partnership with Navistar. The agreement will see all Roush Fenway haulers transported to all tests and races behind Navistar’s International LoneStar Series Diesel Trucks.

“We are very pleased to welcome Navistar to Roush Fenway,” said Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark. “Performance and success on the racetrack is what we focus on as an organization. And the first step in succeeding at the track is getting their safely and efficiently. Navistar is an industry leader in power and performanceand our racecars will be in good hands with the LoneStar trucks pulling our equipment to the racetracks each week.”


“I’ve seen the trucks over at the shop and they are the sharpest looking diesels on the road,” added Newmark. “I know that some of our truck drivers have expressed just how excited they are to get them out on the road this season.”

 

CREDIT: ROUSH FENWAY RACING PR

Travis Kvapil

Driver, No. 34 Long John Silver's Ford

Front Row Motorsports

"I don't think it will make a difference how we race, as far as passing cars or going for a win.  It's still going to be the same, in that the higher you finish, the more points you get.

"I like the idea of it being easier to understand, though.  If you're battling someone around you in points -- say someone who's 10 points ahead -- you'll know how many spots you need to catch up to him.  Before, it was harder to figure out.  You had to wait until after the race or even until you got home to look it up on the Internet to see how many points you got."

David Gilliland

Driver, No. 38 Taco Bell Ford

Front Row Motorsports

"I definitely think this new point system is going to be better, especially for the fans.  I think NASCAR has done a great job in listening to the fans and trying to make changes for their benefit.

"For us, as drivers on the track, I don't think it's really going to change anything there.  You're always going to race hard and race to get ahead of the guy in front of you, whether it's for one point or five or 10.  But it will definitely make it easier when you're trying to figure out what you wind up with when you cross the finish line."

Jennifer Jo Cobb

Driver, No. 10 "Driven" Ford

Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing

"I like the new system a lot.  It simplifies the process.  It's not just easier for the fans to follow, but it mirrors the system that I grew up with in NASCAR's grassroots level.  Each position was always separated by one or two points from first place to last place.  It keeps the competition close throughout the year, which I know the fans will enjoy."

Alli Owens

Driver, No.  76 Mullinax Ford/
TheQualityConnection.org Ford

Ray Hackett Racing

"This will be an easy system for the fans to follow.  The old way was very confusing to the casual fan.  Heck, it was too confusing for the diehard fans.  There were so many variables and factors that made it too tough to know what was going on.

KASEY KAHNE, No. 4 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team
What do you think of NASCAR’s new system of awarding points?

“If it’s the whole 43 (points) -- drop by a point -- the way the bonus points are going to work out, the way you will make the
Chase and the bonus points in the Chase -- I like all of it. I think it’s kind of similar to what we have now. The only differences
are -- I think it’s a little easier for the fan. It’s easier for the fan in the grandstand to keep up with the points when things are close
or to see where their favorite driver is in the points. I like it. Making the Chase -- I think wins is a big part of the sport still.
NASCAR has really kept that a big part of the points and a big part of the Chase, which is good.”


What do you think of earning additional points for race wins?

“It should be three points. Three bonus points -- I think that is plenty because last year with the bonus points it was like 92
percent of your points if you won a race. This year, it will be 91 percent -- which will make winning a race a touch bigger.
Consistency is still going to play a big part of our sport because if you finish bad it actually hurts you more by only getting a
point. Having those bad races will hurt you more than it did in the past. The two extra drivers in the Chase by most wins keeps
everybody after wins too. You’ve got to win races -- that’s the only way you’ll make the Chase. The only way you’ll win
championships is to win races. The top-10 and the next two with the most wins in the top-20 in points (will make the Chase).”
Could this new system change strategy in race number 22 or 23?
“I think it depends where you are at that point. If you have a couple wins and you are 14th in points -- you are doing pretty good.
But, if you have zero wins and you are 14th in points -- you have an issue and you better figure it out quick. You can win your
way in if you get after it. It creates a little more excitement and it gives everybody a little easier way to understand the points and
how it works.”


BRIAN VICKERS, No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team
How do you feel about the new NASCAR points system?

“The difference is easy - the 43 to one points is explainable to anyone by a text and not a long email. It’s all nice -- but when does
Daytona start again? I’m ready to race!”


MICHAEL WALTRIP, owner, Michael Waltrip Racing
What do you think of the new NASCAR points system?

“As a race car driver I’ve known for a long time that if you finish 11th you’re going to get 60 more points than if you finish 30th.
But I know that, and not very many other people know that. Now anyone can understand that if you finish 10th and someone else
finishes 20th you’re only going to get 10 more points than him and so it will just make the fans more engaged.”
“I think we not only need to look at the points system but beyond that. Look at the tracks to make sure that people understand
where pit road speed starts. You know if you look at the Dallas Cowboys new stadium that’s the new standard. That’s where the
bar is set with those big video screens and all sorts of technology. That’s where we need to head with our race tracks. We don’t
need a cone set up at the end of pit road saying that’s where pit road speed begins, we need it either shot across digitally or it
needs to be a big sign saying ‘enter here - speed limit 45.’ We need to show that so a fan in the stands can see those things. I
think that is the direction we’re going and this is just the first little step.”


DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
What do you think about the changes to the NASCAR points structure?

“It is what it is. I think in the end, especially toward the end of the year, when you’re trying to figure out who gets in and who
doesn’t it should make things a little easier for everyone to understand. The old way was pretty complicated for not only the fans,
but for some of us as far as trying to figure some of that stuff out – maybe more complicated than it needed to be. I think it’s a
good move to try and simplify things. I don’t see any down side to it.”
“Really, I don’t think it’s something that I’m going to put a lot of thought into. I know that if I’m winning races or finishing in
the top five and maintaining a high level of consistency it’s all going to work itself out and I’ll be where I need to be in points
when the time comes. That may be trying to over-simplify it, but I don’t spend a lot of time looking at where I’m at in the
standings now -- that’s just how it is. If it’s better for the fans and better for the sport I’m racing as hard and as fast as I can every
week to get everything I can out of the race car and get the best finish I can – that’s not going to change.”

NASCAR and Revolution Racing announced the 2011 driver lineup – the eighth season for the Drive for Diversity (D4D) program – tonight during NASCAR’s annual Charlotte Media Tour at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C.

This year, the D4D initiative looks to build upon its success in 2010. Ten drivers will participate in the 2011 Drive for Diversity Program – four in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and six in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
Last year, former Dale Earnhardt Inc. President Max Siegel created the Revolution Racing team along with former DEI and Robby Gordon Motorsports executive John Story. All 10 drivers will race for the team, which is headquartered in Mooresville, N.C.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East teams are operated under the direction of four-time K&N Pro Series champion Andy Santerre, and the six NASCAR Whelen All-American Series teams are led by former Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway track champion Blair Addis.
Revolution Racing is a minority owned NASCAR franchise whose mission is to develop minority and female drivers, pit crew members and mechanics through an “academy-style” training model. All D4D competitors relocated to Mooresville and entered the development program under the single team ownership structure.
“As team owners, John Story and I appreciate the commitment and support NASCAR has given our academy-style training model,” Siegel said. “Revolution Racing’s historic on-track performance last year validates our driver development model. I am proud to be able to provide opportunities for minority and female drivers, crew members and mechanics.”
Entering its eighth season, Drive for Diversity is NASCAR’s leading on-track diversity initiative. The program is designed to give young minority and female drivers opportunities to compete with established NASCAR teams at the grassroots level. Since 2004, 42 drivers have competed in Drive for Diversity, winning 38 races.
“We are proud of the progress this important initiative and its drivers have made over the past eight years,” said Marcus Jadotte, managing director of public affairs for NASCAR. “We look forward to the continued leadership of Max Siegel, which is bringing Drive for Diversity to the next level.”
This year’s class represents drivers from across North America. Six drivers will return from 2010.
Last year, the eleven drivers combined for five wins. African-American driver Darrell Wallace Jr., who will return for his second year, earned rookie-of-the-year honors. He became the youngest to ever win the award in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Hispanic driver Sergio Peña won the pole for the Toyota All-Star Showdown at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, Calif., then finished second to 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year Joey Logano.
Over 200 minority and female drivers applied to be part of the 2011 Drive for Diversity class. Thirty-six of those applicants were invited to tryout at the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Sunoco last October at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. Drivers were selected by Revolution Racing and NASCAR officials based on their on-track performance and off-track interviews.
NASCAR and Revolution Racing selected the following 10 drivers to compete in the program:
  • Jorge Arteaga of Aguascalientes, Mex. will race in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Arteaga made three starts in the 2010 NASCAR K&N Pro Series including a 10th-place finish in his debut at Lee USA Speedway on July 30th. He won the 2010 NASCAR Mexico Series Most Popular Driver Award.
  • Mackena Bell of Carson City, Nev. returns to the Drive for Diversity Program for a second season, and will race in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. In 2010, three of her five starts in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series were top fives, while her best finish came on Aug. 20 where she finished second.
  • Jessica Brunelli of Hayward, Calif. will race in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Her 2010 season included six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes. She returns to the Drive for Diversity program for a second season.
  • Michael Cherry of Valrico, Fla. returns to the Drive for Diversity Program for a third season and will race in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Last year he competed in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, becoming the first African-American to win a late model race at Tri-County Motor Speedway in Hudson, N.C. The win also was his first career late model stock car victory.
  • Trey Gibson of Easley, S.C. will race in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. In 2010, Gibson ran a full schedule of late model stock cars at Greenville-Pickens Speedway where he had two poles, two wins, 11 top fives and 20 top 10s. He made history by becoming the youngest driver to win a late model race at the historic Greenville-Pickens Speedway.
  • Ryan Gifford of Winchester, Tenn. returns to the Drive for Diversity Program for a second season, racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Last year, Gifford became the first African-American in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East history to win a pole position, on June 6. Gifford ran 10 races for Revolution Racing in 2010 in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, recording four top-five finishes, one pole and a 10th-place finish in season points.
  • Tayla Orleans of Randleman, N.C. will race in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. From age 7, in her first 120 races she recorded 31 wins and 92 top fives. Since that time, she has won numerous karting championships and honors that include becoming the youngest stock car winner in the history of Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl history.
  • Bryan Ortiz of Bayamon, Puerto Rico will race in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. In 2010, Ortiz drove for Sterling Marlin Racing in the Sunoco National Tour, recording a pole and four top-three finishes in seven races. He won rookie-of-the-year honors after capturing rookie of the race awards in all seven starts.
  • Sergio Peña of Winchester, Va. returns to the Drive for Diversity Program for a second season, and will race in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. He entered his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series race at last season’s Toyota All-Star Showdown at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, Calif., winning the pole, and finishing second to 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year Joey Logano.
  • Darrell Wallace Jr. of Mobile, Ala. will race in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, and returns to the Drive for Diversity Program for a second season. Wallace was the youngest and first African-American to win a race and rookie-of-the-year honors in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. He captured two victories in the series last season – the most of any Drive for Diversity driver last year.

CREDIT: NASCAR PR

 

 

Champion NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace, ESPN's lead studio analyst for auto racing, has reached a new contract extension to remain with ESPN through the 2014 season, it was announced by Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, production.

 

"Rusty Wallace is a NASCAR legend," Williamson said. "We're very happy that he will continue to share his knowledge and experience with our viewers for the remainder of our current relationship with NASCAR. It's a very strong property and we look forward to the next four years."

 

Wallace joined ESPN after retiring from driving following the 2005 NASCAR season. A 55-time winner in NASCAR's top series and the 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, Wallace is lead analyst for ESPN's NASCAR studio programs, including NASCAR Countdown and NASCAR Now. Wallace also contributes NASCAR analysis to SportsCenter, First Take and ESPNEWS and calls selected NASCAR Nationwide Series races from the booth. He spent the 2006 season as an analyst for ESPN's coverage of the IndyCar Series before moving to NASCAR in 2007 as the stock car racing series returned to ESPN.

 

"ESPN has given me the opportunity to do a lot of great things," said Wallace. "I got to call two Indianapolis 500s, call a lot of races from the booth and be on SportsCenter. Now I'm at home in the pit studio and I love working with Allen Bestwick and Brad Daugherty and all of the people at ESPN. I'm glad to be able to be a part of it for the next four years."

 

Wallace, whose 706th career start ended his 2005 season-long "Last Call" tour, led nearly 20,000 laps in his 25-year career. The 1984 Rookie of the Year ended his 22nd consecutive full-time Sprint Cup season eighth in the standings, the 17th time he finished among the top 10. At the time of his retirement, Wallace ranked as one of the top five money winners in NASCAR history, with nearly $50 million in career winnings.

 

In his last year on the NASCAR circuit, every race facility honored Wallace and nine race tracks now on the NASCAR schedule offered permanent dedications. More than a dozen state, city, and county seats of government declared race day as an officially recognized Rusty Wallace Day. In addition, bestowed upon Wallace were Delaware's Order of the First State and North Carolina's Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian honors in those states.

 

In 1998, NASCAR named the St. Louis area native one of its 50 greatest drivers of all time and he is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Hall of Fame. Wallace is owner of Rusty Wallace Racing, which fields a NASCAR Nationwide Series car driven by his son, Steve Wallace. In addition, he helped design Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.

 

Visit www.espnmediazone.com for ESPN's latest releases, schedules and other news, plus photos, video and audio clips and more.

 

CREDIT: RUSTY WALLACE RACING PR

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