Speedway Digest Staff
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Brad Keselowski delivered a long-awaited stock car victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to legendary team owner Roger Penske, winning the inaugural Indiana 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday, July 28.
Penske Racing has earned a record 15 Indianapolis 500 victories, but this was the first NASCAR victory for the team on the 2.5-mile oval. Keselowski passed Penske teammate and 2006 Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr. on Lap 72 of the 100-lap race and beat him to the finish by 3.304 seconds in the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge.
"I've been watching races here for a long time as a kid from Michigan," Keselowski said. "Everyone knows how special Indy is. To win the first Nationwide Series race is special here. This is for Roger. It's special for me to deliver it to him."
Ty Dillon finished third in the No. 51 Wesco Chevrolet. Dillon, 20, is the grandson of three-time Brickyard 400-winning car owner Richard Childress.
Kyle Busch led a race high three times for 51 laps in the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota. But he never recovered from a slow pit stop under caution on Lap 64 that dropped him from first to ninth on the ensuing restart. Busch ended up finishing 22nd, slowed by a spin after losing control on a restart on Lap 79. He side-swiped Hornish during the incident, who continued in the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge without trouble.
Elliott Sadler appeared to have a chance at victory, taking the lead on a restart on Lap 83 in the No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet. But NASCAR judged that he jumped the restart, and Sadler was forced to serve a drive-through penalty on Lap 89. Keselowski was officially credited with leading the laps Sadler was out front, and Keselowski then pulled away from Hornish over the final 10 laps.
"I didn't have any dreams of grandeur or whatever of going out there and passing him on the last lap," Hornish said. "It would have been awesome if we did, but I felt like as soon as I got within 10 car lengths, he was going to step it back up a little bit. I knew it was going to have to be one of those deals where he made a mistake for me to be able to get the job done and to feel comfortable about doing it."
2005 Indianapolis 500 Chase Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick finished 35th in her stock-car debut at IMS in the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet. She was eliminated from the race on Lap 40 after hitting the rear of Reed Sorenson's car in Turn 1. Sorenson spun and collected Patrick, with both cars hitting the SAFER Barrier in Turn 1.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying, Denny Hamlin earned the pole for the Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com with a lap of 182.763 mph in the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota.
"This is very, very high up on my list of tracks to want to win," Hamlin said. "I consider it as high as the Daytona 500, personally, so this is a great start to our weekend knowing we have the No. 1 pit stall, we have obviously a fast car, and I have a great pit crew that's going to hopefully keep me out front all day."
Carl Edwards will start alongside Hamlin in the front row after posting a fast lap of 181.984 in the No. 99 Fastenal Ford.
Defending race winner Paul Menard qualified eighth at 181.014 in the No. 27 Menards/Nibco Chevrolet.
The 160-lap Sprint Cup Series race starts at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Walmart Stores Bring NASCAR Driver Appearance, Fan Events and Unique Race Time Experiences to Indianapolis
As Indianapolis prepares for the upcoming Crown Royal Presents The "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard, select Walmart stores will offer authentic NASCAR merchandise and host exclusive fan events starting July 25. Customers are invited to attend these special events and enjoy a special appearance by Bobby Labonte and show car and simulator displays– perfect to safely get behind the wheel and feel the power of NASCAR – July 25-28 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., depending on the location.
"Walmart is the champion of the racing fan, and we are committed to providing customers with savings on authentic merchandise, as well as unique race time experiences," said Walmart market manager Becky Dedman. "We want to give fans affordability and accessibility, so they can enjoy race time with their families and friends."
Race Time at Walmart
In addition to the fan events happening in Walmart parking lots, area Walmart stores will feature savings on all the food and snacks you need to enjoy the race, plus authentic NASCAR merchandise such as T-shirts and racing flags, with an even bigger selection of exclusive products available at Walmart.com/NASCAR.
Participating stores near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway include:
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Displays free and open to the public include the M&M's Show Car, Sim Pod and Trophy Display, Coors Light Show Car, Hefty Show Car Simulator, 5-hour Energy Show Car, Cheez-It Show Car Simulator and Wheaties Show Car at:
7245 U.S. 31 S.
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Displays free and open to the public include the Scott Products Ultimate Tailgate Truck, Oreo Ritz Show Car, No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger, No. 24 Pepsi MAX Show Car, No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Show Car, Miller Lite Show Car and Coca-Cola 2-Seat Simulator at:
8191 Upland Bend
11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Displays free and open to the public include the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger, Coors Light Show Car, Hefty Show Car Simulator, Wheaties Show Car, Coca-Cola 2-Seat Simulator and 5-hour Energy Show Car at:
7325 N. Keystone Ave.
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Displays free and open to the public include the Scott Products Ultimate Tailgate Truck, Cheez-It Show Car Simulator, No. 24 Pepsi MAX Show Car, No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Show Car, Oreo Ritz Show Car, Miller Lite Show Car and M&M's Show Car, Sim Pod and Trophy Display at:
4545 Lafayette Road
11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Friday, July 27, 2012
Displays free and open to the public include the Cheez-It Show Car Simulator, Hefty Show Car Simulator, Coors Light Show Car, No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger, Wheaties Show Car, 5-hour Energy Show Car, No. 24 Pepsi MAX Show Car and No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Show Car at:
2373 E. Main St.
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Scott Products' Bobby Labonte Driver Appearance from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Displays free and open to the public include the Scott Products Ultimate Tailgate Truck, Oreo Ritz Show Car, M&M's Show Car, Sim Pod and Trophy Display, Coca-Cola 2-Seat Simulator and Miller Lite Show Car at:
1133 N. Emerson Road
11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Displays free and open to the public include the Coca-Cola 2-Seat Simulator, Scott Products Ultimate Tailgate Truck, Coors Light Show Car, Hefty Show Car Simulator and No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger at:
400 W. Northfield Drive
8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Displays free and open to the public include the Oreo Ritz Show Car, 5-hour Energy Show Car, Wheaties Show Car, Cheez-It Show Car Simulator, No. 24 Pepsi MAX Show Car, No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Show Car, Miller Lite Show Car and M&M's Show Car, Sim Pod and Trophy Display at:
9500 U.S. 36
9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Randy Kerr had an ear-to-ear smile on his face at the conclusion of last Saturday’s ASA Pro Trucks Series event at Magic Valley Speedway in Twin Falls, ID. That smile was not for the awesome races that his series had that night; it was for what his drivers did for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
What the ASA Pro Trucks Series drivers did was donate more than half of their winnings to St. Jude’s, a total of $1,256.25.
“This right here is why I feel so honored to promote a series like this, these drivers care,” Kerr, ASA Pro Truck Series Promoter said. “They care about each other, they care about the community and they care about making a difference. I consider every one of these drivers as a friend. No one could ask for a better friends or a better racing to be a part of like what we have in the ASA Pro Truck Series.”
The idea started with Magic Valley Speedway itself working with two local radio stations, 98.3 The Snake and KEZJ 95.7 FM, as the presenting sponsors for the first ever twin main events for the ASA Pro Trucks Series. As part of the promotion Magic Valley Speedway offered to donate $5.00 for each ticket sold to St. Jude.
Johnny Pierre, who drives the #38 ASA Pro Truck called Kerr and asked what they could do as a series to help raise more money. Pierre lost his mother to cancer and the research that St. Jude’s does means a lot to him.
Pierre told Kerr that he was willing to give all of his winnings from the night and wanted to challenge all of the other drivers to give at least half of their winnings to the well-known research hospital.
Kerr presented Pierre’s idea at the driver’s meeting, and without hesitation, every driver said they would donate at least half of their winnings. In the end, 50% of the drivers gave half of their winnings while the other 50% gave 100% of their winnings from the twin main events that Saturday night.
“We all know that it costs money to be involved in short track racing, let alone a traveling series like the ASA Pro Trucks Series. But to see what our drivers did says a lot in my opinion,” Kerr said. “At the end of the night, we all knew we did the right thing and are hopeful that our donation will help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital continue to provide the best care they provide to children and continue the valuable research they are doing today. It was an honor to be a part of this generosity.”
ASA Racing PR
Imagine answering your front door and finding a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver and race car outside. And the driver is bearing gifts. That's exactly what happened to an Indianapolis family when Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 43 Eckrich® Ford, rang the doorbell of the Baier home Friday afternoon.
Almirola and sponsor Eckrich, part of the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, made the surprise visit as part of their partnership with Operation Homefront, a national non-profit organization that provides emergency financial assistance to the families of United States service members and wounded warriors.
The driver presented retired U.S. Army serviceman Scott Baier and his family with a gift package that included Eckrich products as well as Eckrich shirts and hats autographed by Almirola and Richard Petty Motorsports team owner and racing legend Richard Petty. Almirola also gave the family VIP passes to Sunday's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Baiers also got a close-up look at Almirola's race car. Waiting outside their home was the No. 43 Eckrich Ford Fusion show car, decked out in the sponsor's logo colors and the Operation Homefront logo. Family members got to peek inside and take souvenir photographs with Almirola beside the car as curious neighbors looked on at the entertaining spectacle.
The Indianapolis race is the second of three races where the Eckrich paint scheme will adorn the No. 43 Ford. The third will be at Michigan International Speedway on August 19. Almirola, who was born on a U.S. Air Force base, feels a special connection to military causes like the Eckrich program with Operation Homefront and hopes that fans will show support, too.
"This is all about drawing attention to our military members and their families," said Almirola. "They give up so much, just so the rest of us can go about our daily lives feeling safe. Today we made a surprise visit to give some cool gifts and a great experience to the Baiers here in Indianapolis, but there are so many other military members and families that should be recognized and thanked as well. And we hope that by doing something like this, we'll get some other people interested in helping out too."
Eckrich has already donated $200,000 to Operation Homefront through the contribution of five cents from each purchase of specially marked products from May 1 through July 4. The company and Richard Petty Motorsports' No. 43 team also recently launched a coin collection program with a special bank made out of a race tire. The coin bank is traveling with the Eckrich show car to encourage fans to donate spare change to help military families. The bank will also be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend and in Michigan next month.
"It's been wonderful how our partnership with Richard Petty Motorsports has helped elevate this cause," said Charles Gitkin, vice president, marketing, innovation and R&D for the John Morrell Food Group. "One thing we've seen in our efforts with the race team is that NASCAR fans are extremely appreciative of military families and the sacrifices that they make. So, if we can help showcase the good work that Operation Homefront is doing, then I think we can bring more support to this important cause."
Almirola and the No. 43 Eckrich Ford will compete in the Brickyard 400 Sunday afternoon. The race will be televised live by ESPN.
GoPro, the world’s most versatile camera, has been named title sponsor of the annual INDYCAR race at the raceway in Sonoma, officials announced today.
GoPro, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, has signed a three-year agreement with the raceway that extends through May, 2015. The GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, which will take place Aug. 24-26 in 2012, will feature the best in open-wheel racing with high-profile drivers such as Dario Franchitti, Helio Castroneves and Will Power.
The agreement with the raceway in Sonoma is a perfect extension of the GoPro business model. GoPro is the official camera of the 2012 Global RallyCross Championship, as well a sponsor of current INDYCAR driver JR Hildebrand. The company, which sells products in more than 140 countries, is heavily engaged in the action-sports industry and features a high-profile athlete list that includes Olympic gold medalist Shaun White, among others.
“GoPro is a dynamic young company with a foot in some of the most exciting sports and entertainment entities in the world. We are delighted to welcome GoPro as sponsors of our IndyCar weekend and look forward to some terrific potential cross promotional opportunities that could grow from this relationship,” said Steve Page, president and general manager of the raceway.
GoPro, which will become the “Official Wearable and Gear Mountable Camera of the Raceway in Sonoma,” will receive signage and hospitality packages from the raceway, as well as the right to use the raceway name and logo for promotional purposes. GoPro will also receive display space at all raceway major events, including the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event.
FAS Lane Racing is proud to announce that Special Operations for America (SOFA) will sponsor the team’s No. 32 Ford driven by Ken Schrader in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race this Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as part of their Public Awareness and Education Drive. The Special Operations for America name and logo will appear on the No. 32 hood and rear quarter panels along with the web site information and the message: “Join The Battle” in the running of the Crown Royal Curtiss Shaver 400.
“We welcome the opportunity to represent Special Operations for America within NASCAR and reach out to NASCAR fans nationwide,” stated FAS Lane Racing team owner Frank Stoddard. “NASCAR is such a powerful arena for programs such as this and it is a privilege that SOFA has chosen our race team as the vehicle to drive their message to millions. The race at historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway is one of our biggest races all year and we look to put on a good show with the No. 32 Special Operations for America Ford and Ken Schrader.”
Former Navy SEAL and Republican Montana State Sen. Ryan Zinke has launched a political action committee, Special Operations For America, that states its top goal as advocating real conservative and like-minded candidates who want to bring true leadership back to Washington and who believe in permanent and enduring American exceptionalism. The Crown Royal Curtiss Shaver 400 will be the start of a nationwide “Join the Battle” campaign by SOFA in reaching the hard working American voters prior to the November election.
“We’re proud to be part of NASCAR and this opportunity to reach millions of voters who share our time-honored, conservative values,” said Zinke -who was two-time member of the elite SEAL Team Six . “This is the type of grassroots effort that is needed in order to elect leaders who will restore America to its founding principles.”