Racing News (9917)
Racing News from around the World
More than 225 journalists from
print, internet, radio and television outlets from 21 states and as far away
as Canada and Germany will convene in Concord next week as Charlotte Motor
Speedway hosts the 29th annual NASCAR Sprint Media Tour.
An essential part of NASCAR's pre-season schedule, this year's Media
Tour will begin Monday morning, Jan. 24, and continues through Thursday
afternoon, Jan. 27.
With support from sponsors Sprint and NASCAR, the Media Tour gives
credentialed participants the opportunity to preview the 2011 NASCAR season
with race shop tours; interviews with drivers, crew chiefs and team owners;
and overviews of the latest developments and news with motorsports industry
"Each season brings a host of changes, from driver and team swaps,
to adjustments in rules and even new events and attractions at the tracks,"
said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor
Speedway. "NASCAR fans want to know what they have to look forward to in
2011 and this year's NASCAR Sprint Media Tour is designed to help
journalists obtain the very latest information to update race fans
Journalists from New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington, D.C.,
and Toronto are among those registered to participate, representing such
media outlets as USA Today, The New York Times, Bloomberg News, ESPN, FOX
Sports, The Associated Press, Reuters Newswire and Sports Illustrated.
Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Childress Racing,
Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Penske Racing are just several
of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams scheduled to make announcements during
the four-day tour that boasts 21 stops, including a visit to the NASCAR Hall
Daily updates, including audio, video and photo galleries will be
available on Charlotte Motor Speedway's website at
www.facebook.com/CharlotteMotorSpeedway and via Twitter at
http://twitter.com/cltmotorspdwy or by following the Twitter hashtag
There are tracks that some drivers like to call home and then there are tracks that are home. In the case of Junior Johnson, he considered North Wilkesboro Speedway to be part of his personal backyard.
As a youngster running moonshine through the winding roads of Wilkes County in North Carolina, Johnson knew a thing or two about driving fast. And when he brought those skills to NASCAR there was one place and one place only that mattered more than any other.
“It’s my home territory. I grew up around here,” said Johnson recently. “The speedway was a big part of me getting into racing because with hauling moonshine like I was doing back in those days, hearing people talk about this guy outrunning that guy, I felt like I had cars that were better and faster than anybody and I sure didn’t give in to anybody being a better driver than I was, so North Wilkesboro Speedway is basically a race car drivers’ dream for me.”
The race track opened in 1947 and hosted races for 50 years before closing after the property was sold to Bob Bahre and Bruton Smith in 1996. The facility re-opened last year to host some touring series events and is schedule for more races in 2011.
“I saw that track go through all the changes from start to finish. In fact, as they were building the thing and it kind of took shape, when they quit working in the daytime with the grating equipment, a lot of us bootleggers would slip in there and run on it until they ran us off,” recalled Johnson. “They finally started putting the bulldozers across it after they would leave so we couldn’t go up there and run on it, but North Wilkesboro Speedway was one of a kind. It kind of set the example for a lot of other race tracks because I could go to North Wilkesboro Speedway to set my car up and run 12 other race tracks that the combination worked on. It was a dream for me because I could set my car up for Martinsville, Richmond, Darlington – all of those kind of race tracks – and I’d go to those race tracks already set up while others had to set up for that track. I could do it just by going to North Wilkesboro, so it was a great deal for me.”
Johnson ended up winning four times at the speedway, which was known for a quirky feature of having the backstretch run uphill and the frontstretch downhill, but it was the last of those that became the most memorable. The date was Oct. 3, 1965. Johnson had just come off a win at Martinsville the week before, which was his 12th of the season, but put more emphasis on winning at his home track because of a decision he had made leading up to that event.
“I pretty much made up my mind that I was gonna quit after that season and I wanted to win that race more than any other race,” said Johnson. “I put a lot of effort into going up there and practicing and working on my car and changing the setup. I built A-frames and all kind of suspension parts to make sure that I had the best car that was there. I knew that was gonna be my last race. It was my hometown and I just didn’t want to get beat there.”
Johnson was one of only three race leaders on the day. Fred Lorenzen led 190 laps before blowing an engine on Lap 219 and Cale Yarborough held the top spot for six laps, but Johnson led the other 204 en route to a two-lap victory, which was the 50th of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Hall of Fame career and 200th in the series for Ford Racing.
“It was an emotional thing for me to defend my territory,” said Johnson, who took home $4,675 for winning that day. “It was really rewarding to know that I could outsmart everybody and outdrive them at that place.”
Johnson, who ranks tied for sixth with Lorenzen on the all-time Ford win list with 26, finished the 1965 season winning 13 times, and even though he drove in seven races the following season, he eventually turned his attention to becoming an owner.
“Racing was never really exciting for me. It was something that I could do and I felt like I could do it better than anybody because I’d been in it on the highways. It didn’t excite me like it did other people and it was getting to be where I wanted to go into some sort of business,” said Johnson. “I was working with Holly Farms and had a poultry company of my own, and I just wanted to get off and get away from it, basically. But I ended up getting more involved when I got out of the driving side of it and into the owner’s side of it. I’ve stayed in it forever, almost.
“I got into that side of it and the more I did, the more intriguing it was as far as putting my wits against other people. That’s what kept me in it so long, and then I got to where I loved to try and outsmart, outwork and beat everybody that was out there. I always got a good feeling about going to the race track and saying, ‘I got you.’”
Johnson went on to win six championships as a car owner, including three consecutive with Yarborough behind the wheel from 1976-78, and was a member of the inaugural class inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame last year.
Credit: Ford Racing PR
For more on Justin Lofton and the golf tournament, visit LoftonRacing.com
The Richard Childress Racing supported Golden Gate Racing Team is geared up and ready to go for the 2011 racing season. This year the successful San Francisco based team will return to the K&N Pro Series West with Utah’s Michael Self as their primary driver aboard the #21 Bay Bio Diesel-Golden Gate Meat Company Chevrolet Impala.
The 2011 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West series consists of 14 events from February through November. The new schedule includes visits to 12 NASCAR facilities in nine states and is the West’s oldest stock car racing circuit, celebrating its 58th season. – click here for 2011 schedule
The Golden Gate Racing Team will begin their 2011 racing season at the end of January in the annual NASCAR Toyota All Star Showdown at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, California. This high profile event brings the K&N Pro Series East together with the West in a non-point shootout that is the Daytona 500 of short track racing. The Golden Gate Racing Team will field two drivers for the event with North Carolina’s Ty Dillon joining Self on the track. Additional details about the showdown will be released in the coming days.
“We are looking forward to a very strong year with Michael Self as our primary driver and a great crew that makes this team strong wherever we go,” said Jim Offenbach, owner of the Golden Gate Racing Team. “We’re ready to get rolling, we recently tested well at Toyota Speedway and we should have the ability to run up front with Michael and Ty in that event before we begin the west series next month.”
The 2011 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season begins at Phoenix International Raceway on Febuary 24 and concludes back at the one-mile, Arizona track on November 12. The Phoenix events are two of three events in conjunction with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this season.
The schedule features a return to several tracks that have hosted NASCAR K&N Pro Series West events in the past but have been absent from the series in recent history. Both Offenbach and Steve Portenga, Competition Director for GGRT, are looking forward to returning to many of the previous venues they have once raced at.
Included will be a June 11 visit to The Bullring at Las Vegas Motors Speedway, where the series raced in 2001, 2002 and 2003; a race has been added on July 10 at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash. – which hosted 50 series races between 1964 and 2008; and a race on September 3 at Spokane County Raceway in Washington, a half-mile track that was visited by the series in 1979.
“Steve (Portenga) and I always ran very well back in the day at Evergreen Speedway and we are both excited to see it back on the schedule this year,” added Offenbach. “It’s always nice to see a track return to the schedule like that and I think we will perform well there.”
A high profile event on the schedule is the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa on May 21. The fifth edition of the East-West challenge will share the weekend with the NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
The Golden Gate Racing Team and Self both have strong records on road courses and the new schedule includes three such events. Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah on April 30. The team returns to their home track of Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, on June 25; and Portland International Raceway on July 24.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will make two visits to All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif. The historic fairgrounds track will host the series on April 16 and again on October 15. Self has had consistent top finishes in his late model racing career at All American Speedway and is sure to be a driver to contend with upon his return this spring.
The series will visit Toyota Speedway at Irwindale on July 2, participating in the track’s big Fourth of July holiday celebration event for a fifth consecutive year. Two other popular short-track events on the 2011 schedule for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West include a visit to Colorado National Speedway in Dacono, Colo., on Aug. 6 and a trip to Montana Raceway Park in Kalispell, Mont., on Aug. 13.
“The schedule for next year looks incredible” said Self. “Not only have they added two more races but they’ve given us a chance to race at some of the most well known tracks in the west. I don’t think there’s a doubt in any racers mind that this is the best West schedule that’s been released over the last few years.”
In the coming week, Self and Offenbach will travel to North Carolina to participate in the annual Media Day for Richard Childress Racing. During the trip, Self will have the opportunity to spend time with his fellow drivers that are within the successful RCR stable including Kevin Harvick, Clint Boyer, Jeff Burton, Austin and Ty Dillon and more. The event will give him the opportunity to meet much of Childress’ staff and tour their operations.
“Just getting the opportunity to go back to RCR and be around some of the biggest names in NASCAR is unreal,” added Self. ‘I can’t thank Richard Childress and Jim Offenbach enough for this opportunity. It is far beyond anything I ever imagined I’d get the opportunity to do. This will be an amazing experience that is only going to advance and influence my racing career further.”
In addition to the support of Richard Childress Racing and the sponsorship of Bay Bio Diesel and the Golden Gate Meat Company, the Golden Gate Racing Team carries additional support from a number of dedicated marketing partners whom they are very grateful for over the past racing season. Among the partners are the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma, Superior Lamb Company, Hill Meat Company, Harraka Racing Equipment Sales, Foodcomm International, Signco, Praxair and JW Web Design.
Contact us to learn more about sponsorship opportunities for the 2011 racing season. To learn more about the Richard Childress Racing Driver Development program visit www.rcrracing.com. Michael Self’s personal racing website can be found at www.michaelselfracing.com.
Credit: Golden Gate Racing PR
Four years ago we lost a great friend and one of Wilkes County native son's, Benny Parsons. Benny was always a great help in the quest to reopen North Wilkesboro Speedway. He will never be forgotten..
Two-time winner of the Daytona 500, TV personality, and now a highly successful NASCAR car owner, Michael Waltrip has been tapped to take on the role of event Grand Marshal for the eighth running of NASCAR’s Toyota All-Star Showdown. Set for Friday, January 28 and Saturday, January 29, the annual champion’s event takes place at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, California.
"We really couldn’t be more pleased that Michael accepted our invitation to be honored at this year’s All-Star Showdown," said Speedway VP/GM Bob DeFazio. "He’s a real fan favorite, just a great guy. I think that everyone looking forward having him here at this event. His big brother, Darrell, was our first Showdown Grand Marshal eight years ago, the Waltrips are all very welcome here."
At the first All-Star eight years ago, Michael’s brother Darrell said that the racing at Toyota Speedway was the best short track racing that he had ever seen. The expectations are for Michael, an avowed short track racing fan, to finally have an opportunity to see the progressively-banked Speedway at its best: filled wall-to-wall with fire-breathing NASCAR machinery driven by a highly-talented group of professional drivers.
"I’ll bet that this guy brings all his ‘stuff’ (helmet and driving gear) with him," DeFazio said only half in jest. "I know that Michael would love nothing more than to get out there and mix it up on the track. We’ll be sure to let him drive our Toyota Camry Hybrid pace car for a couple of laps. It would be cruel not to at least let him take a couple of laps around ‘LA’s Half-Mile Superspeedway’ while he’s here."
Saturday’s race marks the NASCAR debut of action sports star Travis Pastrana who’ll race for Pastrana-Waltrip Racing. Pastrana plans to race seven Nationwide races in 2011 and at least 20 races in 2012. Pastrana, Michael Waltrip Racing, along with Gary and Blake Bechtel own Pastrana-Waltrip Racing. Michael Waltrip Racing also fields Sprint Cup entries for Martin Truex, David Reutimann and Waltrip out of its Cornelius, N.C. shops.
Credit: Toyota Speedway PR
The Board of Directors of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame are excited to announce the 2011 Class of Inductees on Wednesday, January 12 at the Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham, Alabama.
The five inductees represent multiple forms of racing ranging from stock-car, Can-Am, sprint, and open-wheel. The Inductees, determined by a panel of 125 international motorsport media that will be enshrined to the Hall of Fame on Thursday, April 14, 2011 are: John Holman, Jan Opperman, Maurice Petty, Brian Redman, and Rex White. This year’s votes were tallied by Letson & Associates in Hoover, AL.
“Congratulations to these exceptional motorsports legends that make up the 20th Anniversary Class of Inductees, “said IMHOF Executive Director Grant Lynch. “This year’s class consists of world-wide talent, what they have accomplished is in fact amazing and they are true pioneers in motorsports history.”
About the 2011 Induction Class:
John Holman (1918-1975): One half of one of the most successful NASCAR owners, John Holman was partners with Ralph Moody, who formed one of the most successful NASCAR teams, Holman-Moody. One of the first teams to build “purpose-built” stock car racing chassis, Holman-Moody cars won 2 NASCAR Championships and 96 races with over 30 drives including numerous IMHOF inducted drivers and crew-chiefs.
Jan Opperman (1939-1997): From the sprint car world, Jan Opperman is known to many as one of the original “outlaw” drivers before the development of the World of Outlaw series. Not one to run for points or championship, Opperman would travel the country driving many tracks and different sanctioning body. One of his most prestigious wins would come in 1976; Opperman won the Hulman Classic at Terre Haute, IN which at the time featured many top sprint car drivers in the country and had several drivers in the field who would start the Indianapolis 500. He would also race twice in the Indianapolis 500 in 1974 and 1976.
Maurice Petty (1939 - ): Part of the famed Petty family, Maurice Petty is best known as the chief engine builder for Petty Enterprises. With Dale Inman turning wrenches and Maurice Petty providing horsepower, Richard Petty drove to 200 NASCAR victories during Maurice’s career. Petty also competed in a total of 26 NASCAR sanctioned races between 1960 and 1964, with a high of nine in 1961. He scored seven top-five finishes and 16 top 10s, with a best showing of third in 1961.
Brian Redman (1937 - ): Driving both Formula One and CAN-AM during his career, Brian Redman has driven for several championship teams as well as multiple types of cars ranging from open-wheel F1 cars to CAN-Am sports cars. Redman drove 15 points races in F1 as well as numerous times at the famed 24 Hours of LeMans. Redman continues to race in historic and vintage races as well as promoting these forms of motorsports.
Rex White (1929 - ): One of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers, the 1960 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion was one of the original members of Chevrolet’s NASCAR racing team. White would win 28 races, record 163 top ten finishes and qualify for 36 pole positions with 233 stars. Driving mostly General Motors products during his career, White would not only win the 1960 NASCAR Championship but also win the Most Popular Driver award as well as the Driver of the Year award.
Credit: International Motorsports Hall of Fame PR
Trinity Capital Advisors ("Trinity Capital") announced today it has purchased the debt and equity interest in NASCAR Plaza, a 393,000 square foot Class-A office building located in the Charlotte central business district ("CBD").
The NASCAR Plaza investment, which is the firm's first purchase of an existing CBD Class-A tower, exemplifies Trinity Capital's strategy of investing in value-add office opportunities. The firm, in a joint venture with Rubenstein Partners, a Philadelphia based, real estate fund manager ("Rubenstein"), will bring a well capitalized ownership that will enable NASCAR Plaza to effectively compete for tenants within a submarket of Charlotte which has been demonstrating steadily improving fundamentals.
The key factor of the acquisition was the Trinity Capital and Rubenstein team's ability to efficiently structure an extremely complex transaction involving multiple parties in a condensed period of time.
Walker Collier, Managing Director of Trinity Capital, remarked, "NASCAR Plaza is a true Class-A asset that is perfectly positioned to compete for both CBD and suburban Charlotte tenants, as well as corporate relocations to the metropolitan area. We feel fortunate to have the opportunity to own and manage such a well constructed building that has an exceptional anchor tenant." Sean McKinley, Director of Trinity Capital, further commented that, "This asset is located in a part of town that is directly in the path future growth, and enjoys phenomenal access that is unmatched in Uptown. We are excited about the opportunity to reintroduce the building to the market."
NASCAR Plaza is a landmark building in the Charlotte skyline and connected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame complex. It was designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, famous for more than 200 world renowned projects such as the expanded Louvre in Paris, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the John Hancock Tower in Boston. Furthermore, the building has achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ("LEED") silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council ("USGBC").
About Trinity Capital Advisors
Trinity Capital Advisors is a preeminent Charlotte, private real estate investment and development company focused on selective development, acquisition and redevelopment of office, industrial and mixed-use real estate throughout the Southeast. (www.trinitycapitaladvisors.com)
About Rubenstein Partners
Rubenstein Partners is a private real estate investment management and advisory firm with operations throughout the Eastern United States. The firm is focused on directing and managing value-added office real estate investments, primarily in the Eastern Time Zone of the United States. (www.rubensteinpartners.com)
Credit: Trinity Capital PR
President Tom Mayberry has announced that the touring super late model series has reached an agreement designating Crane Cams Ignition as the official ignition of PASS.
“We are excited to welcome Crane Cams Ignition to our North and South super late model series for 2011,” said Mayberry in making the announcement. “The company is a well known and trusted name in motorsports and we are proud to represent them in the short track community. We encourage our competitors to support this program in every way possible.”
The official designation does not mean that race teams will be required to use Crane Cams Ignition components. However, there will be substantial awards in all thirty one 2011 PASS North and South events that will give super late model racers the opportunity to redeem certificates for products throughout the entire Crane Cams line in addition to Crane Cams Ignition.
Based in Daytona Beach Florida, Crane Cams was founded in 1953 by Harvey Crane Jr. Over the years Crane brought new and innovative technology to the fore front, patenting roller rocker technology, introducing the Gold Race aluminum rocker arms that have become a standard of the industry and pioneering the use of computers to design camshaft profiles.
The 90's saw Crane Cams expand into the ignition field and introduce new ground breaking technology. In 1995 Crane introduced the industry's first digital ignition , followed by the the first digital “drop in” points replacement,the first adjustable distributor with 27 advance curves and the industry's first distributor to employ fiber optics to send a trigger signal..
PASS South will get it's season underway on Saturday March 12th at Andersen (SC) Speedway, while PASS North gets the green at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough Maine on Saturday April 30.
Credit: PASS Racing PR
Michael Waltrip Racing owners Michael Waltrip and Rob Kauffman are teaming up again to race in the sixth-annual Dubai 24 Hour sports car race at the ultra-modern Dubai Autodrome on Friday.
The event marks the first international motor race of 2011.
The two-time Daytona 500 champion and Kauffman will drive one of 90 entrants in the race that features nearly every sports car manufacturer.
“I love racing cars,” said Waltrip. “We had a blast racing there last year and wanted to do it again. I couldn’t believe the number of people that came up to me in Dubai and wanted to talk about NASCAR racing or ask a question about our team. I came back and told everyone at MWR that fans are paying attention to what we are doing on the other side of the world.”
Waltrip and Kauffman will join co-drivers Rui Aguas and Matt Griffin behind the wheel of the Ferrari F430 GT2 of the AF Corse team. Waltrip and Kauffman raced this car in Dubai last year and in Belgium where they scored an impressive third-place finish on the legendary Spa Francorchamps circuit.
The 3.5-mile track at the Dubai Autodrome is one of the most modern in the world; it is also one of the most challenging, as it has a combination of high-speed straights and technical corners.
NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Bobby Labonte and David Reutimann joined Waltrip and Kauffman at a Dec. 18-21 test session in Portugal where the AF Corse team prepared for Dubai.
Race fans can track Waltrip’s progress during the Dubai weekend on his Twitter account @mw55.
Track action starts on Thursday with daylight practice, qualifying and night practice. The 24-hour race will start on Friday at 2 p.m. local time (5 a.m. ET)
Waltrip and Kauffman own MWR which fields NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entries for Waltrip, Martin Truex Jr. and Reutimann.
Credit: MWR Press Release
Sheltra Motorsports, the 2010 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menard’s Champion, has signed Milka Duno to run the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona International Speedway (DIS). Duno, a driver in the IndyCar Series, will begin her foray with Sheltra Motorsports piloting the No. 63 Dodge Charger at the newly-repaved Daytona International Speedway for three days of ARCA Racing Series testing January 11-13.
Champion crew chief, Jon Wolfe, will work with Duno throughout the test session to get her comfortable, fast and ready for the ARCA Racing Series season opener at DIS on February 12th.
“This is truly an exciting opportunity for all of us at Sheltra Motorsports.” said Wolfe. “We are aiming to carry our momentum of the 2010 championship season into 2011”.
“We are really excited to have the opportunity to work with Milka in Daytona and to give her a shot at being the first female to win a major event in stock car racing.” Sheltra said. “Our goal is to get her comfortable at the test, and I have no doubt she will have a great performance in the race.”
Brandon Hinson, owner of Hinson Sports Management and Director of Marketing for Sheltra Motorsports, has been working with Duno’s team for several months to bring the Venezuelan driver to Sheltra Motorsports. “We made the commitment to give her the best equipment and opportunity possible to be successful.” Hinson said. “I believe that when she gets behind the wheel of the No. 63 this week, it will be the beginning of a great year for Milka.”
“I’m very excited and grateful for this opportunity to test with the 2010 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menard’s Championship winning team,” said Duno. “Patrick, Jon and Brandon head a very skilled and dedicated organization and having met with them and visited their facility it is easy to see why they are the 2010 champions!”
Sheltra Motorsports has worked all off-season to have a multi-car program in 2011, and things are beginning to shape up to make that a reality. More announcements are set to be made in the coming weeks.
Additional information about Milka Duno’s 2011 season will also become available in the next several weeks.
Credit: Milka Duno Press Release