Speedway Digest Staff
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The NASCAR HOTPASS lineup for the Crown Royal 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is as follows:
DIRECTV Channel 795:
Tony Stewart and the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet team of Stewart-Haas Racing
Tony Stewart will make his 484th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and his 14th at Indianapolis Motor Speedway … Has two wins (2005 and 2007), one pole (2002) and nine top-10 finishes in 13 Sprint Cup starts at Indianapolis … Stewart has raced Sprint Cup cars (13x), Indy cars (5x) and IROC cars (3x) to earn a total of 21 Indianapolis starts … Stewart won his sixth career Sprint Cup pole for the 2002 Brickyard 400, and in doing so, became the first driver to have started from the pole and led the first lap in both the Indianapolis 500 (1996) and the Brickyard 400 … Stewart’s average speed for his Indianapolis 500 pole was 233.100 mph, while his Brickyard 400 pole came at 182.960 mph – a difference of more than 50 mph … The 41-year-old Columbus, Ind., native has won 47 races and has 275 top-10 finishes in 483 Sprint Cup starts … 2012 marks Stewart’s 14th full year in Sprint Cup and he won the points championship in 2002, 2005 and 2011 … Started 10th and finished 12th two weeks ago at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon … Ranks seventh in Sprint Cup points with three wins and nine top-10 finishes.
DIRECTV Channel 796:
Paul Menard and the No. 27 Menards-Nibco Chevrolet team of Richard Childress Racing
Paul Menard will make his 203rd career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and his sixth at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway … Has one win (2011) and one top-10 finish in five Sprint Cup starts at Indianapolis … The 31-year-old Eau Claire, Wis., native has one win and 20 top-10 finishes in 202 Sprint Cup starts … 2012 marks Menard’s ninth season with at least one Sprint Cup start and he finished a career-best 17th in points in 2011 … Started 13th and finished 17th two weeks ago at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon … Ranks 15th in Sprint Cup points with four top-10 finishes.
DIRECTV Channel 797:
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet team of Richard Childress Racing
Kevin Harvick will make his 414th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and his 12th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway … Has one win (2003), one pole (2003) and seven top-10 finishes in 11 Sprint Cup starts at Indianapolis … The 36-year-old Bakersfield, Calif., native has 18 wins and 183 top-10 finishes in 413 Sprint Cup starts …Won 2001 and 2006 NASCAR Nationwide Series championships … 2012 marks Harvick’s 12th full year in Sprint Cup with a career-best points finish of third in 2010 … Started 12th and finished eighth two weeks ago at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon … Ranks sixth in Sprint Cup points with nine top-10 finishes.
DIRECTV Channel 798:
Dale Earnhardt Jr., and the No. 88 AMP Energy / National Guard Chevrolet team of Hendrick Motorsports
Dale Earnhardt Jr., will make his 455th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and his 13th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway … Has two top-10 finishes in 12 career Sprint Cup starts at Indianapolis … The 37-year-old Kannapolis, N.C., native has won 19 races and has 176 top-10 finishes in 454 Sprint Cup starts … Won 1998 and 1999 NASCAR Nationwide Series championships … 2012 marks Earnhardt’s 13th full year in Sprint Cup with a career-best points finish of third in 2003 … Started ninth and finished fourth two weeks ago at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon … Ranks second in Sprint Cup points with one win and 14 top-10 finishes.
Thousands of race fans at Michigan International Speedway are annually touched by the Olympic Games – and they probably don’t even know it.
With Opening Ceremonies set to begin Friday, officially kicking off the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, speedway Guest Services Director Tim Booth proudly reflects on the legacy the Games have had on Michigan International Speedway.
Much of the speedway’s tram fleet was used during the Summer Olympics in Atlanta in 1996. Shortly after those Olympic Games, MIS officials purchased the trams to transport race guests around the 1,400-acre facility.
The speedway’s full fleet of double-trailer trams, “nomads” and golf cars moves about 70,000 race fans and employees throughout a NASCAR event weekend. It’s a big task, considering recent surveys suggest more and more fans are hitching a tram ride.
But Booth, like any Olympian, is up for the challenge.
“It’s part of our vision here,” he said. “We work very hard to ensure race fans have a good time while they are at MIS and that they experience the very best in guest services. Transporting them to and from areas around the entire property is part of that process.”
Booth is always examining the wait time at tram stops, comfort of trams, safety of trams and enjoyment of the ride.
As a result, the speedway has invested in building two giant tram plazas in Turn 1 and Turn 4 to efficiently queue guests waiting for a tram, developed an electronic system to track tram stop wait times and installed PAs on the trams.
And that’s just the beginning.
Booth and his team of 175 tram drivers, tram ambassadors and guest services staffers are always looking for better ways to move guests.
“We are always trying to figure out the next ‘it’ thing for our tram service,” speedway President Roger Curtis says. “Our guests have high expectations so the challenge always for us is how to continue to deliver on our brand promise and vision ‘to create lasting memories for every person, every time.’”
Soon, guests on the north side of the property will notice a significantly less wait time in line and on the tram with a new route that has been created through a stretch inside the MISCamping.com Tree Farm Campground.
Other guests will notice a shaded Tram Plaza.
So what’s next for trams at MIS?
“We will always strive for something better as long as we have guests who need a ride,” Booth said.
Nestled in the lush Irish Hills of Southeastern Michigan, Michigan International Speedway is the Great Escape, a venerable NASCAR national park where fans can get away and enjoy the very best in racing and camaraderie. It’s the love of racing and the thrill of a great time for race fans and drivers alike.
Where's Waldo? 25th Anniversary Celebration Races On with Front Row Motorsports and Lionel NASCAR Collectables
Everyone's favorite globetrotter, Where's Waldo?®, has been known to pop-up wherever the action is and he's at it again! To celebrate his 25th anniversary, Classic Media, the driving force behind Where's Waldo? has partnered with Front Row Motorsports and Lionel NASCAR Collectables to have Waldo spotted on David Ragan's No. 34 Ford Fusion later this season, when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Martinsville Speedway for the October 28th race weekend. In perhaps one of the most unique paint schemes in NASCAR history, the entire No. 34 Ford will transform into the iconic Where's Waldo? "On The Beach" scene that will then be rolled out as limited edition die-cast cars.
"We are pleased to partner with the top-tier team of Front Row Motorsports and driver David Ragan so fans can bring the search for Waldo at the NASCAR track," said Nicole Blake, EVP Global Marketing & Consumer Products, Classic Media. "Waldo typically travels on foot, so it is exciting that he now has his first set of wheels with the Where's Waldo? No. 34 car and the die-cast cars from Lionel NASCAR Collectables. You never know where Waldo will show up next!"
"Waldo is such a powerful icon," said David Ragan, driver of the No. 34 Ford. He continued, "from waiting rooms, to classrooms, to both road trips and afternoons at home, I think most of us have sat down and tried to find Waldo at least a few times. This is probably the most unique paint scheme I've ever had on one of my cars. A partnership with Where's Waldo? alone would have been very cool, but to have the entire car designed as an actual mural - that is just awesome," commented Ragan.
"We design die-cast for just about every team in NASCAR," said Howard Hitchcock, General Manager of Lionel NASCAR Collectables. "I can honestly say that this Where's Waldo? paint scheme is one of the most fun and interesting designs we've produced."
"I can picture Waldo enthusiasts and NASCAR fans from around the world sitting with their No. 34 die-cast in hand, searching for Waldo just as they would in one of the Where's Waldo? books," Hitchcock continued.
Fans can visit www.FrontRowMotorsports.com to learn more about the car and fans who wish to pre-order the No. 34 Where's Waldo? die-cast can visit the Lionel NASCAR Collectables web site at www.lionelnascarcollectables.com and the NASCAR.com Superstore at www.store.nascar.com.
The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma is airing its first public service announcement to raise awareness about the No. 1 killer of children in America - serious injury. The PSA will run on select cable channels in Charter Communications' service areas throughout the U.S. July 23-August 19.
"More than 12,000 kids die every year from serious injuries, which is more than all other causes combined," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing and co-founder of the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma. "When my wife and I heard these numbers, we knew we needed to make an impact to save the lives of injured children across the United States. The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma is grateful to Charter for helping us raise awareness of pediatric trauma as a healthcare crisis."
Serious injuries can happen anywhere at any time to any child. The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma wants to help every injured child receive the best care, no matter where or how they get hurt.
View the PSA by visiting the Childress Institute's YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/ChildressInstitute. Donate now by texting CHILDREN to 80077 to give $10. When prompted, reply YES to confirm. (See terms below).
For more information about how to save the lives of injured children, find the Childress Institute on Twitter @injuredkids, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ChildressPediatricTrauma, or online at www.InjuredKids.org.
JR Motorsports launched today a fun and easy online contest that gives fans a chance to put their racing knowledge and prediction skills to the test. Called the Fellows 5 Challenge, entrants will simply answer five multiple-choice questions pertaining to driver Ron Fellows and his upcoming NASCAR Nationwide Series races at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Multiple prizes will be awarded at the conclusion of each race with the grand prize being a three-day driving experience package at Ron Fellows Performance Driving School at Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club.
2002 Daytona 500 Champion Ward Burton Shows Off Daytona to Guests Through the Richard Petty Driving Experience
When a Daytona 500 champion returns to Daytona International Speedway, it’s always a special trip for the driver no matter the time of year.
Ward Burton, the 2002 Daytona 500 champion, was at the “World Center of Racing” on Thursday hosting employees and customers from one of his sponsors – State Water Heaters – for a day with the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
“This race track is so full and represents such good things about this sport and NASCAR,” Burton said. “It’s so rich in history. Just coming in the grounds – it feels like hallowed ground. Today, we’re doing an event for State Water Heaters with 25 customers and we do this around the country. Last time we were here doing this was ’09 so we’re glad to be back and doing it at Daytona again.”
Burton plans four of these events per year with State Water Heaters and Richard Petty Driving Experience at tracks around the country. He climbs behind the wheel of a two-seat No. 27 State Water Heaters Chevrolet prepared by Richard Petty Driving Experience and gives rides to guests. Following the rides and more instruction, guests then get their turn to drive on the legendary tri-oval.
In February, Burton celebrated the 10th anniversary of his Daytona 500 victory by making a return to NASCAR competition for the first time since 2007. He finished eighth in the NextEra Energy Resources 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.
These days, Burton’s focus has now shifted to his 19-year-old son Jeb, who wants to follow the footsteps of his Daytona 500-winning father. Jeb Burton, who races Late Models out of his own shop in Virginia, made five starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this year notching one top-10 finish.
Ward Burton says Jeb has “raw talent” and he is doing his best to put together sponsorship so his son can compete in a full season of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series beginning next year during Budweiser Speedweeks 2013.
“Jeb did a phenomenal job beyond my expectations with the resources we had and the limited seat time,” Ward Burton said of his son’s five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts. “Actually I’ve been in Orlando the last two days working on sponsorship opportunities for Jeb. I need to get him back out there. He deserves to be there. He has got the talent to represent somebody really well. I’m working everyday for my son.”
At 70 years of age, Morgan Shepherd still shows he's got the juice from the fans. Backed by Hyland's, Inc. once again at this weekend's inaugural Nationwide 250 at Indianapolis, the "Be There, Do That!" inspirational Masters Athlete Twitter contest has blown up the past two weeks. Fans can simply follow on Twitter @HylandsActive and Tweet for autographed merchandise, apparel, tickets to races and to be a guest of the legendary driver. "Morgan still has the juice!" says Hyland's Marketing Director Thao Le. "With our really cool masters athlete video and Twitter contest, our website has went from individuals spending fifty-five seconds on our site to over eight minutes on average! That's an incredible jump and we're really happy with our partnership with Morgan. He's truly an inspiration to us all and obviously to many fans." Hyland's will be on board as an associate sponsor once again this weekend at Indy. To check it out, go to http://betheredothat.hylands.com/twittercontest/ or follow on Facebook at Hyland's Active!
Morgan Shepherd PR
No. 99 Boost Mobile driver Travis Pastrana knew embarking on a NASCAR career would be tough. Not long after beginning a Nationwide and K&N schedule, he surrounded himself with people who could make his transition from X Games superstar and rally driver to NASCAR driver a bit easier.
That's how he met Matt Crafton.
Since joining Pastrana at a January 2011 test at New Smyrna Speedway, the two-time Camping World Truck Series winner has served as Pastrana's unofficial driver coach. Crafton calls on his 13 years of truck experience to teach Pastrana how to manage tires, pick driving lines, and hone some of the techniques needed for NASCAR success. Crafton's even climbed in the No. 99 during practices to speed Pastrana's development.
This weekend Pastrana will once again have Crafton on hand as he makes his first start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and, is seventh NASCAR Nationwide series start on 2012.
PASTRANA ON CRAFTON: "Having Matt around has been awesome for testing and just getting to know the race tracks. It really helps when Matt can jump in the car and I can actually see where he is braking on the telemetry. He can also tell me turn by turn what the car is doing. He helps get the car set up a little quicker then I can. He is a constant reminder to me that I can't over drive these cars. I have always manhandled everything I have ever driven and it doesn't work in NASCAR. The more you try and manhandle them the slower you are going to go. Matt has been a tremendous help and I think he has helped my learning curve."
MATT CRAFTON ON PASTRANA: "He really wants to be successful in NASCAR. He has a lot of talent; it's all about breaking some bad habits. For example, in some of the rally stuff, drivers use ton of brake. That's 100 percent the opposite you want to do in a stock car. You want to be smooth on the brake pedal. With all the telemetry, he can see exactly what I'm doing with the brake pedal and with the throttle. All it is, is speeding up his learning curve. Travis has a lot of talent and he has the drive to make it in this sport. I think if he can run a bunch of races in a row the results will come."
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Kyle Busch was the fastest driver Thursday, July 26 in practice for the Indiana 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Busch led both sessions on the 2.5-mile oval, posting a top overall speed of 175.836 mph in the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota during the final 90-minute practice.
"It felt really good," Busch said. "The car's fast, obviously. It's run well all day. We've just been trying to work on it to make it better in the long run. You've got to be snug here to be fast because the place is so flat. But, overall, it feels stable. Hopefully it will stay with us all day Saturday."
The inaugural Nationwide Series race at IMS is scheduled to start at 4:50 p.m. Saturday.
Busch was one of four full-time Sprint Cup Series competitors among the five fastest drivers Thursday. His older brother, 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch, was second at 174.700 in the No. 1 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, followed by Kasey Kahne at 174.639 in the No. 38 Great Clips Chevrolet.
2006 Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr. was the first Nationwide regular, fourth at 173.695 in the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge. Hornish also will drive the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Dodge in the Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday due to the indefinite suspension of full-time Penske Racing Cup driver A.J. Allmendinger.
Sprint Cup regular Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five at 173.671 in the No. 18 SportClips Toyota. Hamlin was the only driver in the top five to record his fastest speed in the opening 3 ½-hour practice session.
Indianapolis 500 veteran Danica Patrick was 13th in the final practice at 171.916 in the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet. This is Patrick's first race at IMS since the 2011 Indianapolis 500, as she is competing full time this season in the Nationwide Series.
GRAND-AM Road Racing will take center stage Friday during the Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard, with practice, qualifying and two races on the 13-turn, 2.534-mile Grand Prix road course. The Brickyard Sports Car Challenge for the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge starts at 1 p.m., while the Brickyard Grand Prix for the Rolex Sports Car Series starts at 4:10 p.m.
Current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader Matt Kenseth will make an appearance in the Monster Mile Club, a hospitality ticket add-on at Dover International Speedway, the morning of the Sept. 30 "AAA 400" NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Best Buy Ford, joins Ryan Newman on the lineup for that morning's appearances in the Monster Mile Club.
A virtual lock to make this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Kenseth is a two-time winner at Dover and this year's "Daytona 500" champion. Fans will get to hear all about Kenseth's stellar season as well as his strategy for that day's race, which is race No. 3 in the Chase, during a question-and-answer session.
A hospitality option that can be added to any Sunday race ticket, the Monster Mile Club includes a Trackside Access pass to the frontstretch of the track prior to the race, unlimited food and beverage (Anheuser Busch and Pepsi products), a race program and a souvenir gift, all in addition to the appearances by Kenseth and Newman. The add-on costs just $99.
Dover Motorsports PR