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Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan To Drive Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Pace Car at 101st Indianapolis 50025 May 2017 Written by Steven B. Wilson
Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who has played major roles in hit television series such as "The Walking Dead" and "Grey's Anatomy," will drive the 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Pace Car to lead the starting field of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil to the green flag Sunday, May 28.
Morgan plays "Negan" in the smash hit AMC series "The Walking Dead," which returns for its eighth season this fall. He received a Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series and an MTV Movie & TV Award for Best Villain in 2017 for the role.
"We're honored to welcome Jeffrey Dean Morgan to IMS to drive the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport Pace Car," IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. "He's used to playing the ultimate villain in 'The Walking Dead,' but he'll be an envied hero to millions of race fans around the world when he gets to lead the field to the green flag of the 101st Indianapolis 500 in such a beautiful Corvette."
Morgan also endeared himself to audiences with his recurring role as "Denny Duquette" on ABC's smash hit series "Grey's Anatomy" and as "Jason Crouse" in the CBS series "The Good Wife." He also had a notable, recurring television role in the CW drama series "Supernatural."
He has guest-starred in many popular television series, including "ER," "JAG," "Walker, Texas Ranger," "Angel," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Sliders," "The O.C." and "Monk."
Since his motion-picture debut in "Uncaged" in 1991, Morgan has appeared in more than 25 feature films. He starred in "Watchmen," director Zack Snyder's adaptation of the iconic graphic novel. Other feature credits include "Desierto," "Batman v. Superman," "The Resident," "All Good Things," "The Losers," "Taking Woodstock," "Shanghai," "Texas Killing Fields" and "The Accidental Husband."
The 2017 Corvette Grand Sport Pace Car equipped with the Z07 package features a 460-horsepower LT1 direct-injected V8 engine that accelerates the car from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds and covers the quarter mile in 11.8 seconds. The Corvette Grand Sport Pace Car also achieves 1.2 g cornering capability.
This will be the 14th time a Corvette has served as the official Pace Car, starting in 1978. No other vehicle has served as the Pace Car more than the Corvette. This is the 28th time a Chevrolet has led the field, dating back to 1948, when a 1948 Fleetmaster Six convertible paced the race.
Visit IMS.com to purchase tickets for the 101st Indianapolis 500 Presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on Sunday, May 28 and for more information on the complete Month or May schedule at IMS.
The race also will be televised live on ABC, with the pre-race show starting at 11 a.m. (ET). Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio will provide live coverage of the race to its affiliates and on Sirius 212, XM 209 and SXM 970.
The biggest stars in the NASCAR industry came together Wednesday for the 37th annual Speedway Children’s Charities Gala sponsored by Sonic Automotive and Speedway Motorsports, Inc. The fundraising event is estimated to have generated a record-setting $890,000. Held at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Charlotte, the black-tie dinner and auction was hosted by FOX’s Adam Alexander and Shannon Spake, with entertainment provided by GRAMMY award-winning musician Darius Rucker and special honors being bestowed upon NASCAR Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson.
“The Speedway Children’s Charities Gala was very successful this year and the attendees had a wonderful time,” said Lisa Starnes, executive director of the Charlotte Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. “We are very thankful for all of our sponsors and supporters. Due to their generosity, we will be able to make an impact on the lives of many children this year.”
The night was designed to honor Johnson, a seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion. Johnson is the only driver to win five consecutive NASCAR Cup Series championships with his amazing run from 2006-‘10. With 82 career NASCAR Cup Series wins, Johnson has his eye on an unprecedented eighth championship, breaking the three-way tie he presently holds with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr.
“For more than 17 years, Jimmie Johnson has achieved amazing success on the track as a talented driver, but he has also been a wonderful spokesperson for the sport of NASCAR and a generous supporter of Speedway Children’s Charities,” said Marcus Smith, vice chairman of Speedway Children’s Charities. “The gala was the perfect opportunity for us to thank him for all he’s done to help children in need around the country.”
Gala attendees enjoyed the musical talents of Darius Rucker, who is known for being a GRAMMY award-winning musician and a true southern gentleman. Rucker first attained multi-platinum status in the music industry as former lead singer and rhythm guitarist of GRAMMY award-winning Hootie & the Blowfish. Then, Rucker accomplished what few others are able to achieve by re-introducing himself to the world as a country artist. Since that time he has released four consecutive albums to top the Billboard Country albums chart and earned a whole new legion of fans. A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Rucker was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2012 and then in 2014 Rucker won his third career GRAMMY award for Best Solo Country Performance.
Last year the Charlotte Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities granted almost $815,000 to 93 deserving charities in the Charlotte region. In 2016, the eight chapters of Speedway Children’s Charities collectively granted almost $3.1 million to 450 charities to help children. Since Bruton Smith founded Speedway Children’s Charities in 1982, the organization has awarded more than $49 million to other nonprofits across the country. Speedway Children’s Charities are operated by Speedway Motorsports, Inc.
For more information on Speedway Children’s Charities or to see how to volunteer or make a donation, visit www.speedwaycharities.org.
City of Avondale officials today helped Phoenix Raceway celebrate an important milestone for its Phoenix Raceway Project Powered by DC Solar by delivering the first four truckloads of steel that will be used to construct the grandstand addition.
The vehicles were led by an escort from the Avondale Police Department and the official Phoenix Raceway Toyota Camry promotional car as part of a special parade down Avondale Boulevard.
City of Avondale officials and loyal Phoenix Raceway ticket holders accompanied members of the Okland Construction team (builder for the project) riding in the four trucks that carried the steel to the project site outside of the famous dogleg.
These four trucks, carrying 40,000 pounds of steel each, are the first of 100 total trucks that will transport the steel throughout the project.
On Sept. 7, 1947, Red Byron won the first race ever at Martinsville Speedway. In 2017, as the historic racetrack celebrates its 70th anniversary, its inaugural race winner was voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s class of 2018.
Byron, who also won the first NASCAR Strictly Stock (the precursor to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) Championship, passed Buck Baker with two laps remaining in the 50 lap race, to claim the victory. He would go on to win one more time at Martinsville, in another historic race, as he also won the first NASCAR sanctioned race at the half-mile track in 1949.
“As a pioneer of the sport - the first champion – Red Byron is certainly deserving of a spot in the Hall of Fame,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “From a Martinsville Speedway perspective, I think it’s really special that the winner of two of our most important races in history – the first one and the first with a NASCAR sanction – was elected the same year that we are celebrating our 70th anniversary.”
In addition to Byron, four other NASCAR legends were elected to the Hall of Fame, each of whom have a history at Martinsville Speedway:
- Robert Yates – the car owner and engine builder won twice at Martinsville Speedway, first in 1993 with Ernie Irvan as the driver and again in 2001 with Dale Jarrett behind the wheel.
- Ray Evernham – the crew chief most known for his time with Jeff Gordon was the crew chief for the first two of Gordon’s nine Martinsville wins.
- Ken Squier – The broadcasting legend covered many races at Martinsville, both on television and radio. Squier was also instrumental in starting the Motor Racing Network, which still broadcast races live from Martinsville Speedway.
- Ron Hornaday Jr. – The four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion won at Martinsville in 2010.
In addition to the Hall of Fame inductees, Jim France, the Chairman of Martinsville Speedway’s parent company International Speedway Corporation, is the recipient of the Landmark Award, for outstanding contributions to NASCAR. Martinsville Speedway Founder H. Clay Earles received the same award earlier this year.
“I’m really pleased that Jim France has been honored with the Landmark Award,” Campbell said. His contributions to motorsports are immeasurable, so it’s wonderful that he’s being recognized for his efforts and accomplishments.”
Racing returns to Martinsville Speedway this fall with two race weekends.
On September 23 the Whelen All-American Series will be in action with NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious Late Model Stock Car race, the ValleyStar Credit Union 300. The race pays $25,000 to the winner and will be the first race under the track’s new LED lighting system.
On the weekend of October 27-29 the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will both be in action for the Alpha Energy Solutions 200 and the Old Dominion 500. Both races are part of NASCAR’s Playoffs, where the winner could be the first to lock in a spot at the Championship Round at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Martinsville Speedway PR
The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil added another accolade to an already stellar resume Wednesday night, taking home 2016's Event of the Year honor at the 2017 Sports Business Awards. The annual event hosted by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily recognizes the top events, leagues, partners and executives in the sports world and took place at the New York Marriott Marquis at Times Square.
"The 100th Running was both a fitting tribute to our remarkable history and a bold move toward an even brighter future for both the Indy 500 and the Verizon IndyCar Series," said Hulman & Company President and CEO Mark Miles. "It was an honor to accept last night's award on behalf of the Hulman-George family, our entire team and the many corporate and community partners who fueled such a tremendous effort last year. The 101st Running is just a few days away, and we can clearly see the impact of last year's race both in this year's ticket sales and in the sustained levels of engagement and interest throughout the state."
Other nominees included the 2016 World Series, 2016 Ryder Cup, 2016 Copa America Centenario Knockout Round, World Cup of Hockey 2016 and Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol.
Among many firsts, the 100th Running of the race achieved the only sellout in Indianapolis Motor Speedway history. As a result, the race was broadcast live on local television for the first time in more than 50 years.
The community effort behind the race was powered by The 100th Running Host Committee, organized to provide Hoosiers across the state opportunities to engage with the landmark race. More than 600 Host Committee volunteers, working alongside IMS and the 500 Festival, introduced new programs and opportunities, including 100th Running porch parties, Bike to the 500, a renewed downtown décor effort, IMS Historian Donald Davidson's statewide engagement tour, the 500 Gives Back program and more. The 74,538 square-foot graphic featuring the Borg-Warner Trophy on the JW Marriott was one of the Committee's most visible contributions to the Month of May.
This year, IMS introduced 500 Forward, an evolution of the Host Committee model which has brought many of last year's most celebrated programs back through renewed partnerships with Central Indiana community organizations. To learn more about 500 Forward program and initiatives, click here.
"Community is a core value for us," Miles said. "Allison Melangton and Doug Boles led a tremendous effort last year, and they've worked tirelessly to keep the momentum going for 2017. I couldn't be more proud of their efforts to ensure every Hoosier can continue to engage with their state's greatest event and greatest sport."
The 100th Running took place Sunday, May 29, 2016 and was broadcast live on ABC. Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian's Alexander Rossi -- an Indy 500 rookie -- won in shocking fashion, using a daring fuel-strategy to cross the Yard of Bricks in first place. Rossi will start on the front row in this weekend's 101st Running, which takes place on Sunday, May 28. The Race Day broadcast begins on ABC at 11 a.m. (ET).
Launched in 2008, the Sports Business Awards were established by SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily to celebrate and recognize the leaders, visionaries and day-to-day practitioners who personify excellence in the business of sports. For more information, click here.
International Speedway Corporation (“ISC”) Chairman James (Jim) France, has been selected as the 2018 recipient of NASCAR’s Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR, it was announced today.
The announcement was made at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C., following a vote by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel. France was chosen from a list of five nominees including Janet Guthrie, the first female to compete in a NASCAR premier series superspeedway race; Alvin Hawkins, NASCAR’s first flagman who also established NASCAR racing at Bowman Gray Stadium with Bill France Sr.; Ralph Seagraves, who formed groundbreaking Winston-NASCAR partnership as executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company; and, Ken Squier, legendary radio and television broadcaster.
“Jim deserves this honor as the epitome of what the Landmark Award represents,” stated ISC CEO Lesa France Kennedy. “His unassuming yet steady, decisive leadership has been a significant contributor to the growth of the sport through the years. He has left a lasting mark on NASCAR’s legacy. For someone who never seeks the spotlight, I am so pleased to see it shined on him today.”
France grew up in the early years of stock car racing, living and learning every detail of the sport from his own experiences as well as those provided by his parents Bill France, Sr. and Annie B. France, along with brother Bill France Jr. Joining ISC in 1959, France assumed a role in the family business from a young age working in all phases of operations including parking, ticketing, and gate operations.
France was elected to ISC’s Board of Directors in 1970 and has served as the Company’s Secretary, Assistant Treasurer, Vice President, and Executive Vice President before being named ISC’s President and Chief Operating Officer in 1987. France served as President until 2003, followed by Vice Chairman and CEO from 2003 to 2007, and Chairman and CEO from 2007 to 2009. France is currently ISC’s Chairman of the Board and has been a member of NASCAR’s Board of Directors since 2000.
An avid motorsports fan, his passion for sports car racing has been well documented. He founded the GRAND-AM Road Racing Association, which began in 2000. GRAND-AM was acquired by NASCAR in 2008, and in 2012, France spearheaded the historic merger between GRAND-AM and the American Le Mans Series, resulting in the creation of the new International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) of which he is presently Chairman.
Since 2014, IMSA has operated and sanctioned its flagship IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, featuring prestigious North American endurance races such as the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida. In total, IMSA now sanctions seven different road racing series competing in the U.S. and Canada and more than 80 races each year.
Just like last year, race fans are encouraged to arrive as early as possible for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on Sunday, May 28. With one of the largest crowds in decades expected to fill the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Race Day, the easiest way to ensure a stress-free day at the track is to arrive by the time all gates open at 6 a.m. (ET).
"Momentum from the 100th Running has carried over into this year's race, and we expect our second-largest crowd in at least the last 20 years," Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said. "So we're encouraging fans to get here early and take a little extra time to map out their route to the Speedway and fully plan their day at the track."
Gates at IMS open at 6 a.m. following the traditional cannon blast. From there, fans looking to beat traffic and avoid longer lines can take advantage of many fun opportunities, including:
•IMS Museum: The Museum, which opens at 6 a.m. on Race Day, features a special exhibit honoring legendary four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt this year. Learn more about the Museum's world-renowned attractions here: www.indyracingmuseum.org.
•Fan Midway: This year's Fan Midway features several exciting attractions, including the NERF Nitro Kids Zone and interactive activations from Yamaha, Crown Royal, Disney and more. The action-packed Chevy Stage is also in the lot adjacent to the Midway.
•Shopping and Food: A wide array of 101st Running attire and collectibles will go fast, so don't miss out! Shop for family and friends while supplies last. All concessions and retailers will open at 6 a.m.
•Borg-Warner Trophy March to the Bricks: Back by popular demand, the Borg-Warner Trophy will begin an epic March to the iconic Yard of Bricks at 8 a.m. from the IMS Museum. Line up outside the west side of the Museum for a chance to see one of the most famous trophies in the world - escorted by the Indianapolis 500 Gordon Pipers - begin its journey to Victory Podium.
•IMS Red Carpet: This year, the IMS Red Carpet is moving just north of Pagoda Plaza with celebrities walking the carpet from 9-10 a.m. The fans lining up in the viewing area earliest will have the best view of Race Day celebrities and also receive free Race Day swag!
•Rolling Stage: Also making a repeat appearance this year is the IMS rolling stage, which will begin circling the track at 10 a.m. Popular alternative rock band Jonathan Jackson + Enation will play in Turns 1, 2 and 4. Band leader Jonathan Jackson is a star on the CMT show "Nashville."
•Epic Pre-Race! Be in your seat for it: This year's pre-race ceremonies will serve as a fitting, stunning tribute to our nation's military heroes and continue as America's greatest Memorial Day Weekend sporting tradition. Be in your seat early to ensure you see every can't-miss moment.
Other Important Race Day Tips for Fans
•Plan Your Visit: Use IMS.com/planyourvisit to enhance your day at "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." This central hub includes the most current information on parking, schedules, directions, allowed and prohibited items, and more.
•IMS App and Twitter: Download the IMS app, available on both iPhone and Android, before Race Weekend. Also follow the IMS (@IMS), Town of Speedway Police (@SpeedwayPD) and Indiana State Police (@IndStatePolice) accounts on Twitter for the latest Race Day information.
•Cooler, Backpack Restrictions: No coolers larger than 18 inches by 14 inches by 14 inches can be brought into the facility, which will be strictly enforced. Fans will be allowed to bring one cooler and one standard backpack or book bag per person.
•Parking: All IMS exterior parking lots open at 5 a.m. on Race Morning, while interior lots open at 6 a.m. All IMS exterior and interior parking is sold out. A limited number of IMS ADA parking passes remain available for purchase. These must be purchased before Race Morning at the IMS Ticket Office.
•Gate 2, Gate 10 Access: Gate 2 and Gate 10 are not accessible via car on Race Day without a pre-paid parking pass. Fans with a pre-paid parking pass in Turn 3 must enter IMS through Gate 10, not Gate 2.
•Road Closures: To increase the safety and security of race patrons, the Speedway Police Department will close Georgetown Road and 16th Street to all vehicular traffic during the running of the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500.
Georgetown Road will be closed south of 25th Street beginning at 7 a.m. After Georgetown Road is closed, no vehicular traffic, including placarded traffic, will be allowed to access the roadway. Race patrons with pre-paid parking passes who are accustomed to entering IMS Gate 7 must enter through Gate 2 (W. 16th Street) or Gate 10 (30th Street).
Upon completion of the race, Georgetown Road will remain closed to vehicular traffic until the vast majority of race pedestrian foot traffic clears from the roadway (approximately two hours after the race).
In addition, 16th Street will be closed between Olin Avenue on the east to the 16th Street roundabout on the west from approximately 11 a.m. until the race ends. In addition, 16th Street will not be accessible from Polco Street, as it will be blocked at 10th Street.
Once 16th Street is closed, traffic traveling east on Crawfordsville Road from the west will be turned around at the 16th Street roundabout. Traffic traveling west on 16th Street from downtown will be diverted south on Olin Avenue.
•More Traffic, Road Information: Drivers can learn the locations of work zones and highway restrictions by calling INDOT's TrafficWise at 1-800-261-ROAD (7623) or viewing an online map at www.TrafficWise.IN.gov. ISP will offer updates on traffic and parking on Twitter and Facebook.
For more information regarding access to IMS, visit IMS.com. For additional information, follow on Twitter the Indiana State Police @IndStatePolice, the Speedway Police Department @SpeedwayPD or listen to radio stations WNFI-AM 1070 or WIBC-FM 93.1.
•Tickets: Visit IMS.com to purchase tickets for the 101st Indianapolis 500 Presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on Sunday, May 28, and for more information on the complete Month of May schedule at IMS.
There are two huge costs a weekly race track can help control: tires and motors. South Boston Speedway has worked diligently over the years to keep those costs in check.
Just a year ago, South Boston Speedway implemented a two-tire rule in the Late Model Stock division to cut teams’ tire costs in half. At the same time, the track also increased the purse, guaranteeing $500 to start every night of racing.
That work continues.
Last week, South Boston Speedway implemented some rule changes to bring a new engine used by some teams back in line. That new engine had skewed what was a level playing field toward those that can readily afford the new engine.
The result of that change was effective with three different engine combinations qualifying in the top three last Saturday night separated by only three one-hundredths of a second (.031).
The track has always been adamant that it would do what was necessary to keep competition balanced and to help insure the health of the sport.
“We want everybody to know regardless of the engine combination you choose, you will have a chance to win at South Boston Speedway,” said Nick Igdalsky, Chief Operating Officer of South Boston Speedway and Pocono Raceway, which owns South Boston. “
Affordability is the key to the health of weekly racing. Forcing teams to switch to a new engine combination when you have a perfectly good one under the hood of your car is counter to that philosophy.
“We want to go back to the roots of racing where a driver, with the help of their family and friends, can put a car together in their garage and be a competitive weekly racing team,” said Igdalsky. “They do it because they love the sport dearly. We want to make sure that as many of these teams can still be as involved in the sport as possible. The more people active in a sport they love is vital to the future of short track racing. We want the talent of the drivers to be the determining factor at South Boston.”
But talent can’t overcome an uneven playing field. That’s why South Boston Speedway will continue its efforts to keep rules equitable regardless of a team’s finances.
“We can’t force other competitors to upgrade. We want them to be competitive in what they can afford to have,” said Igdalsky. “We have been adamant about that since day one: that no motor would have an advantage at South Boston Speedway. We want to keep the sport healthy and to give the fans and competitors coming to South Boston for another 60 years of great racing.”
Daytona International Speedway and Americrown Service Corporation will be hosting hiring events for those interested in being a part of the work force during the upcoming Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola, June 29 – July 1.
With more than 200 Guest Services positions available during the upcoming Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series races, Daytona International Speedway Guest Services department will host hiring events inside the motorsports stadium on Tuesday, May 30 and Monday, June 5 from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Applicants can enter the property on the corner of Fentress Blvd. and International Speedway Blvd. and park in front of the Axalta Injector. Applicants can also apply online. Examples of positions available include Stadium Fan Crew (ushers), Admissions Fan Crew (ticket takers), Guest Services booths and hospitality staff.
Americrown, a subsidiary of Daytona International Speedway’s parent company International Speedway Corporation and provider of catering services and food and beverage concessions during the Coke Zero 400, will have two hiring events – Friday, June 2 and Friday, June 9 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. at 525 Fentress Blvd., Daytona Beach, Fla. Approximately 250 positions are available and examples include supervisors, bartenders, cooks and servers for both the catering and concessions departments.
Martinsville Speedway turns 70 years old in 2017, and she’s never looked better. A new Henry County logo highlighting this birthday milestone looks pretty good too.
In celebration of Martinsville Speedway’s 70th year, Henry County has produced a new, limited-use logo honoring the iconic race track.
“Martinsville Speedway has been an integral part of our community for 70 years,” said Jim Adams, Chairman of the Henry County Board of Supervisors. “It has created jobs for our residents, helped sustained our tax base, and created pride and optimism for our community. We are so proud to call Martinsville Speedway our own.”
The new logo embodies many of the characteristics that make Martinsville Speedway and Henry County great. The oval shape and light fixtures call attention to the racing action on the only track from NASCAR’s original schedule still hosting Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races and its recent addition of LED lighting. The inner perimeter includes a colorful representation of the county’s beautiful mountains, rivers, and green spaces.
“Seventy years is something to be really proud of and something we take great pride in,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “Henry County has been a great place to call home and we look forward to continued success in this community.”
Henry County will use the logo to help create synergy around the many activities planned over the next several months to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Martinsville Speedway. It will be branded on social media sites, print materials, and email communications to increase the awareness of Martinsville Speedway and build pride in our community. Henry County residents are also encouraged to use the logo to promote our community to their friends, families and co-workers across the world.
Upcoming events at Martinsville Speedway include the community Independence Day celebration on July 3rd, the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 Late Model Stock Car Race on September 23, and the Old Dominion 500 race weekend on October 27-29. For more information about Martinsville Speedway or to purchase tickets call 877.RACE.TIX or visit www.martinsvillespeedway.com .
Martinsville Speedway PR