Saturday, Dec 04
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Adam Nelson and Harold Crook find themselves in a unique position.  Each Promoter has a driver that is undefeated so far this season in their premiere division, which is very rare in short track racing.  Both are also looking to have their first ASA Member Track National Champion.
 
Shelby Stroebel, from Meridian Speedway, still sits at the top of the ASA Member Track National Championship standings with an average of 3.6429.  Lance Gatlin, from Lonesome Pine Raceway, is not far behind with an average of 3.5027.
 
Over the next few weeks, the battle could get more interesting as Gatlin will have the opportunity to have an equal number of events on record to Stroebel.  Gatlin competes again on August 4 while Stroebel will be back in action on August 11. This could be the start of a classic East vs. West battle for the National Title.  A battle that could see more than just two involved as other ASA Member Track drivers could be also in the hunt.
 
Nelson is the promoter of Meridian Speedway, an ASA Member Track in Meridian, ID.  His driver Shelby Stroebel won his eleventh straight ASA Modified feature this past Saturday night.  His win streak going back to last season is now up to 13 events. 
 
As a Promoter, Nelson hopes to see many of his competitors visit victory lane at his 1/4-mile asphalt oval.  But, when a driver is undefeated this far into the season, Nelson has a different thought. “It is rare to have undefeated drivers at two tracks with decent car counts, especially in your top division,” Nelson said.  “Our guys are doing everything they can to get involved in our ASA Modified division.  When you have that interest, you would like to see many different winners.  At the same time, when you have Shelby on the streak he is on, everyone is curious to see how far he will take it, including myself.”

ASA Racing PR
 
Over on the East Coast at Lonesome Pine Raceway, an ASA Member Track in Coeburn, VA, Harold Crook is tickled to death that he has a driver in the hunt for the 2012 National title.  He also would like to see different winners as well.  In fact, over the last few events, Crook has put up a bounty for any competitor who beats Gatlin.  After two attempts, no one has claimed the bounty, which is up to $450 on August 4.
 
“It feels real good to have a driver like Lance Gatlin challenging for the ASA Member Track National Championship.  He is a really nice guy,” Crook said. “But, I am very lucky to have some great teams racing with us this season. They all work hard and deserve to win, which is why I put up the bounty on Lance.  His success is great for our track because it is drawing fan interest and helping our car count.  In fact, our fans are cheering for him to win each week.  Last Saturday night, we did a thorough inspection on his car to show everyone that he is legal.  Fans were calling the track office during the middle of the night to make sure he was the official winner.”
 
“Right now, you have two drivers on a great streak and several others chasing them.  One hiccup from either could allow the others to catch up,” Dennis Huth, ASA President said.  “This is very far from over.  The battle may not come down to these two drivers in the final two months.  Several others, who started later in the season could have a strong finish and be in contention for the title.”
 
Mike Slone is third overall with an average of 3.1972.  He has been leading the ASA Late Model standings all season long at Lebanon I-44 Speedway, an ASA Member Track in Lebanon, MO.  He and Matt Wallace could be in for a great points battle after Wallace won his third feature last Saturday night.
 
Zack Franks and Dennis Queen at Newport Motor Speedway, an ASA Member Track in Newport, TN are chasing down Wayne Webb in their Late Model Sportsman division.  Webb is fourth overall in the standings with an average of 2.8291.
 
Defending ASA Member Track National Champion Barry Beggarly is hoping to get back on track this Friday night and gain some points on the leader at Ace Speedway, an ASA Member Track in Altamahaw, NC.  The last event for him was rained out two weeks ago.  He is fifth in the standings with an average of 2.6302.  He is also in a tight points battle with Dustin Rumley in their Late Model division.
 
Michael Hale is in a good position defending his Maverik Modified championship at Rocky Mountain Raceways, an ASA Member Track in West Valley City, UT.  He is sixth overall with an average of 2.3745.
 
Mark Mackesy took back the points lead last Thursday night at State Park Speedway, an ASA Member Track in Wausau, WI.  He has an average of 2.0910.
 
Kyle Borden will be looking to extend his points lead this Saturday night at Shasta Speedway, an ASA Member Track in Anderson, CA.  He has an average of 1.3704.
 
Throughout the season, drivers competing in the premiere divisions at eligible ASA Member Tracks are in the running for the 2012 ASA Member Track National Championship.  In order to have a chance for the national title, a driver must first win their 2012 track championship.

Reed Sorenson and Biagi-DenBeste Racing will unite two of American motorsports' most revered icons - Carroll Shelby and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - this weekend when the No. 98 Carroll Shelby Engine Company Ford Mustang makes its third start of the 2012 racing season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
 
This weekend marks the first occasion that the Nationwide Series competes at the heralded speedway, known worldwide as "The Brickyard." Although it will be the initial start at the 2.5-mile track for Biagi-DenBeste Racing, its driver is not lacking in experience.
 
Sorenson captured a pole for the 2007 Brickyard 400, one of the premier events each year for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Sorenson earned a fifth-place finish that year and also has finishes of 13th and 17th in 2009 and 2008, respectively.
 
"Every racecar driver wants to go to Indianapolis and compete for a win," said Sorenson. "I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to go this weekend with our Carroll Shelby Engine Company Ford Mustang and try my hand at a Nationwide Series win."
 
Sorenson, a winner of four races in the Nationwide Series, has previous runs of 16th at Charlotte Motor Speedway and 13th at Kentucky Speedway behind the wheel of the No. 98 Carroll Shelby Engine Company Ford Mustang, which this season, is being dedicated to the memory of the late Carroll Shelby, who passed away in May.
 
"At the beginning of the race season, we set out to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Shelby American," said Bill DenBeste, co-owner of Biagi-DenBeste Racing. "With Carroll Shelby's recent passing, we've dedicated the race season to his memory. His legacy started on the track, and there is no better way to celebrate his storied career."

RSMPR

Turner Motorsports announced today that Nelson Piquet Jr. will return to the cockpit of the No. 30 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet Impala at the upcoming NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) event at Bristol Motor Speedway. This will be Piquet Jr.'s second NNS start of 2012, and the fourth of his career.

 

The 26-year-old Brazilian earned his first ever stock-car victory earlier this season when he took the checkered flag in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event at "The World's Fastest Half Mile." In his most recent NNS start at Road America in June, Piquet Jr. claimed his first victory in one of NASCAR's top-three touring series. Piquet Jr.'s 39 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) starts have resulted in one pole, nine top-fives, and 19 top-10 finishes.

 

Piquet Jr. on his NNS start at Bristol Motor Speedway: "After the success of my first Nationwide start of 2012, I'm more than ready to make my second. It was very important to me for it to be on an oval. I think I've proven that I can get around a road course quite well, so my next step is trying to prove I can do just as well on an oval. Crew chief Trent Owens and I worked very well together at Road America and I'm excited be given this opportunity again this year. Turner Motorsports has proven to be very dominant this year in both the [NASCAR] Nationwide Series and the [NASCAR Camping World] Truck Series. I'm ready to get them another win."

 

Turner Motorsports PR

The Petty family has a long history of supporting our nation's heroes. This weekend, with the help of driver Aric Almirola, the team will once again take time to honor America's military families with team partner Eckrich. 

 

This summer, Eckrich, part of the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, has partnered with Operation Homefront to support military families.  The company 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.  It has also partnered with Operation Homefront and Richard Petty Motorsports to honor a military family at the track during its three primary race events, including this weekend at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

 

Honoring the military is not new to Almirola or Petty. The team already has partnerships with the U.S. Air Force and the Paralyzed Veterans of America.  For Almirola, who was born on Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, it's also in his family blood.

 

Sunday's Brickyard 400 will mark Almirola's career debut at the storied 2.5-mile oval in Indianapolis, Ind.

 

Comments from Eckrich Ford Fusion Driver Aric Almirola:

 

"I don't know if a lot of people knew I was born on an Air Force Base before this season, but a partnership and program like we have with Eckrich has allowed more people to hear my story.  It's really something I'm proud to share and proud it's part of my family background.  My father was a mechanic at Eglin Air Force Base. He didn't get sent overseas or anything like that, so I was lucky that our family wasn't separated for any long periods of time.  But there are a lot of military families that do experience that.  And while it's very important that we think about the safety of the service men and women who are deployed, we also have to keep in mind the spouses and kids back home who are missing their mom or dad or other family member and may need some extra help.

 

"I know that our military families sacrifice a lot.  And that's what this is all about. It's about Eckrich and Operation Homefront teaming up to make sure our military families are recognized and have their needs met.  Having the logo on the car this weekend at Indy is a reminder that we need to recognize and take care of those who are taking care of us."

 

Comments from Eckrich Ford Fusion Co-Owner Richard Petty:

 

"Throughout the years we've always tried to do something for our military members.  We have relationships with the Air Force and the PVA and now Eckrich has partnered with Operation Homefront.  It's always important to take some time and say 'thanks' to our military families.  And what Operation Homefront does is to make sure they are taken care of.  I think that's something very important to do.

 

"Sometimes we see the soldier, but you have to remember that most of the time there is a family at home, too.  We need to make sure to remember them and ensure they have everything they need.  That's what Operation Homefront does and Eckrich has done a great job of supporting them.  We just need Aric to go race up front on Sunday and we'll get a lot more people to see what it's all about, too."

 

RPM

Turner Motorsports will field the No. 30 Chevrolet with driver Alex Tagliani for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on August 18, 2012. Tagliani, a hometown favorite in Montreal, will compete on the circuit he knows well after narrowly finishing second in an epic battle to the finish during last year's event.  He hopes to better that result in 2012.

"I'm always proud to come back to Montreal and to be able to race on this fantastic road course named after one of my all-time racing heroes, Gilles Villeneuve," said Tagliani. "I really wanted to race here again, so when the opportunity presented itself with Turner Motorsports and we were no longer scheduled to be overseas, I was pretty excited. In Formula Atlantic, I won here from the pole and also had a pole in Indy Car.  Montreal has been good to me to date and I'm hoping to better my race history here.  Having a competitive car to challenge for the win is all I can wish for."

"Last year's race was a great experience and it was amazing to qualify on the front row and finish the race second.  This year is really cool because I met Trent Owens (crew chief of the No. 30 entry for Turner Motorsports) in Kershaw and he was really helpful, answering all my questions even though, at that time, he was working with his own team.  It's ironic that we are going to work together a few short years later.  He's an amazing guy, so I'm excited. I'm honored to drive for Turner Motorsports. This is a passionate group of individuals that make up an awesome team.  From Steve (Turner) to all the mechanics, I'm looking forward to meeting everyone at the shop."

Owens is looking forward to the opportunity to work with Tagliani in the upcoming event. 

"We are looking forward to working with Tag.  Looking at what he is capable of doing in Indy Car with a new team with a one-car operation for the last two street course-qualifying sessions says it all.  But last year is what impressed me.  He missed the pole by just a little bit, and then ran a mistake-free race.  Racing in the open wheel circuits makes him drive with a lot of respect on the track and that's important."

Montreal-native Tagliani has raced across the country throughout his career.  

"I feel like I'm covering Canada well this season, with two races in Indy Car (Toronto and Edmonton) and the Nationwide race in Montreal now," added Tagliani.  "My sponsors are excited to spend the week in this beautiful city."

Steve Turner, owner of Turner Motorsports, feels Tagliani's road course experience will be an added advantage to his entire organization.

"Our team is looking forward to working with Tag.  The type of experience he can bring to our organization and road course program is invaluable and will be a big advantage for us.  We  have one road course win under our belt already this season after Nelson Piquet Jr.'s win at Road America, and we fully expect to be able to bring home another with Alex in Montreal."

Francois Dumontier, President and CEO of Octane Management, the promoter of the event, is thrilled to have Tagliani's presence at the upcoming event at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

"We are glad to confirm with Turner Motorsports the presence of Alex at our upcoming NAPA Auto Parts 200, presented by Dodge. With the excellent finish he recorded in Montreal last year and the very good car he will be driving this year, he must be considered as a serious contender for the win", said Dumontier. "Alex is a determined man and a driver with a true passion for auto racing. All his efforts on-track and off-track with fans and sponsors have not always been rewarded as they should have.  We wish him to encounter a success he largely deserves, during the weekend of August 16, 17 & 18," added Dumontier.

Turner Motorsports PR

This week the NASCAR Nationwide Series makes its inaugural visit to the famed Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway (IMS), and the No. 54 Monster Energy Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) team is prepared for an exciting run with their owner-driver behind the wheel. Kyle Busch will make his 11th start in the company-owned Toyota, competing in the Indianapolis 250 event on Saturday. Busch has seen the famed surface before in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but along with 42 other competitors, will be visiting the special brick surface for the first time in the Nationwide Series.

KBM isn't taking just any No. 54 Monster Energy car from its fleet to race the 2.5-mile oval, it is taking the same Camry the young company won with at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway in April, with brother and company co-driver Kurt Busch. The elder Busch also ran winning chassis nine at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, where he produced a top-five finish for the team, who with nearly every stop on the schedule thus far, has been faced with the task of learning a new track.

The Mooresville, NC-based race team was essentially formed in 2003 when the younger Busch built and raced his first Legends Cars. That passion for competing and winning grew into a multi-team business, including a Championship NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team, who at the end of 2011 added a NASCAR Nationwide Series team to the portfolio.

In the first 18 starts of the season, the KBM Monster Energy team has accomplished one win, seven top-five finishes, 10 top-10 finishes and led 167 laps. Kurt Busch has seen the wheel eight times and will reappear nine more times through the balance of the 2012 schedule.

For the company owner to lead the team into Indianapolis, in search of that first victory himself, is special. IMS is a track mortared with victories recorded by many of motorsports' finest. As the winningest driver in the Nationwide series, with 51 career victories, it's fitting for Busch to drive the No. 54 Toyota and compete with his young team, in the opening event at such a historical speedway.

KBM PR

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series drivers will sign autographs during sessions Friday, July 27 and Saturday, July 28 during the Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Four separate autograph sessions will take place between 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, July 27 at Chalet No. 4 in the Pagoda Plaza during Chevy Day, with Nationwide Series drivers taking part in an autograph session from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday, July 28 in the East Chalet No. 2 in the Pagoda Plaza.

Among the drivers scheduled to participate Friday are Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick. Stay tuned to www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com for a list of Nationwide Series drivers participating Saturday.

Ticket holders are eligible to participate in the autograph sessions by picking up wristbands, while supplies last, for the autograph session of their choice. Only one wristband will be distributed to each ticket holder, first come, first served.

Wristband distribution will begin at 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday in the East Chalet adjacent to the Pagoda Plaza, with wristbands distributed only for that respective day's sessions. All adults and children must have wristbands to be admitted to one of the autograph sessions. There is a limit of one autographed item from each driver per person. All autograph sessions on Friday, July 27 will take place in Chalet No. 4 on Pagoda Plaza.

The Friday autograph session schedule:

Session 1 (11-11:55 a.m.): Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Danica Patrick
Session 2 (12:50-1:45 p.m.): Austin Dillon, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman
Session 3 (1:10-2:10 p.m.): Jeff Gordon
Session 4 (3-4 p.m.): Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart

A number of GRAND-AM Road Racing drivers and selected NASCAR drivers will sign autographs from 6:45-7:15 p.m. Thursday, July 26 during the Hauler Parade on Main Street in nearby Speedway, Ind.

Fans also can hear from many of their favorite drivers during Q&A and interview sessions on the Chevy Stage during the Kroger Super Weekend located in the parking lot just east of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.

The Q&A/interview session schedule:

Friday, July 27
11:45-11:55 a.m.: Austin Dillon, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman
12:45-1 p.m.: Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Danica Patrick
4:05- 4:20 p.m.: Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart

Saturday, July 28
11:45 a.m.: Justin Allgaier
2:30 p.m.: James Buescher

Sunday, July 29
9:15 a.m.: Jamie McMurray
9:30 a.m.: Paul Menard, Regan Smith
9:45 a.m.: Jeff Burton, Juan Pablo Montoya
10 a.m.: Kevin Harvick
10:30 a.m.: Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson

***

Burn ban in effect at IMS: Open burning, such as comfort fires and campfires of any kind, will be banned on Indianapolis Motor Speedway property from July 25-30 during the Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard due to a significant fire hazard created by persistently dry environmental conditions and the absence of significant rainfall.

Fireworks and grilling devices that use a source of ignition other than gas also are not permitted. Specific ignition sources prohibited during this period:

•Comfort fires or camp fires on the ground or in elevated devices
•Charcoal or any non-gas grills of any kind
•Fireworks of any kind

Gas grills are permitted in camping and tailgating areas during the Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard but are required to be operated at a minimum of 18 inches off the ground, with 36 inches off the ground as the preferred height for the safest usage.

The Town of Speedway also started a burn ban June 28. The Speedway Fire Department will assist in patrols and education of customers during the Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard event concerning the Town of Speedway burn ban as well as the burn ban initiated by IMS to ensure a safe environment for all customers attending the event.

IMS asks all customers camping on or around Speedway property to be careful concerning the potential threat of ignition to dry areas of grass that could be caused by common sources of heat and fire that are permitted, such as cigarettes, recreational vehicle generator exhaust, vehicle engine heat, fluids from hot vehicle engines and gas grills.

If a fire occurs, please call 911 immediately to contact local authorities.

***

Sunday shuttles available: Roundtrip Race Day bus shuttle service is available for the 19th annual Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com on Sunday, July 29 at four convenient locations, including three in downtown Indianapolis and one at Indianapolis International Airport.

Tickets are $25 per person for one-way or round-trip service. Tickets can be ordered in advance at www.indysportsparking.com. They also can be purchased on Race Day at each location, with credit card, debit card and cash accepted.

Service will be provided by the SODREL Companies, the Free Enterprise System and Star of America Motor Coach, in partnership with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Fans will be served with air-conditioned shuttles and handicapped-accessible vehicles on all routes.

Service to the track will start at 8 a.m. at all four locations, with continuous shuttles until noon. Return service will take place for three hours after the end of the race, with all shuttles leaving from the staging area at the parking lot on the southeast corner of 16th Street and Polco Street in Speedway.

Shuttle details:

Pink Route
•Location: 1220 S. West St., Indianapolis (Corner of West and Morris Streets).
•Parking: $5 per car, cash only.

Black Route
•Location: IUPUI Lot 73 and 92, Downtown Campus, Corner of Michigan and California Streets in Indianapolis, with access from Michigan Street.
•Parking: $5 per car, cash only.

Purple Route
•Location: Hampton Inn Downtown, 105 S. Meridian St., Indianapolis (across from Circle Centre Mall and Hard Rock Café)
•Parking: None

Blue Route
•Location: Ground Transportation Lobby, Zone 1 at the airport. Get tickets inside at Star of America booth.
•Parking: $10 per car, airport garage. Fans must show race ticket stub to cashier upon exit to receive this special rate.

***

Fans can feel power in Thunder Alley: NASCAR Sprint Cup teams are on the move after 18 years at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with the top 35 cars in the points working from the pitside MotoGP garages instead of Gasoline Alley during the Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard.

The move will let fans in the grandstands across the track from the MotoGP garages get a much closer look at teams' preparations for the Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com.

Fans also can get as close to the action as possible through Thunder Alley, a free area located near the far south end of the MotoGP garages, in front of the last building behind Gasoline Alley.

Thunder Alley will put fans just 30 feet from the back door of the garages of the top 10 drivers in the Sprint Cup point standings, and those doors will be open all weekend for great viewing opportunities. Fans in Thunder Alley also will see and feel Sprint Cup cars in points positions 36 and lower and all NASCAR Nationwide Series cars - which will use the traditional Gasoline Alley garages - rumble past them as they enter the track.

To access Thunder Alley, fans must walk down Hulman Boulevard in the center of the infield and turn down 5th Street, next to the IU Emergency Health Medical Center, and continue to walk along the south edge of Gasoline Alley to the building just across from the MotoGP garages.

***

Fan Walk Friday: Fans attending the full day of GRAND-AM Road Racing action Friday, July 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be permitted to walk the pit lane from noon-12:35 p.m., getting an up-close look at the high-performance machinery that will race later that day in the Brickyard Grand Prix and Brickyard Sports Car Challenge.

Among the features during the Fan Walk will be a pit stop demonstration by the reigning Daytona Prototype championship team, TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, and a driver autograph session.

***

Stars converge in GRAND-AM: An impressive list of Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 veterans will compete in the GRAND-AM Brickyard Grand Prix on Friday, July 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It's the inaugural GRAND-AM race at IMS, as Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype and GT cars will race for three hours on the 13-turn, 2.534-mile Grand Prix road course.

Indianapolis 500 veterans include 2000 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, 2008 winner Scott Dixon, Paul Tracy, Eliseo Salazar, Scott Pruett and Sebastien Bourdais. Brickyard 400 veterans include 2010 winner Jamie McMurray, Montoya, Pruett, Boris Said and Andy Lally. Montoya, McMurray and Dixon are forming an all-star team of Indianapolis winners, sharing the No. 02 Chevron BMW/Riley fielded by Chip Ganassi.

The three-race North American Endurance Championship presented by VISITFLORIDA.com also will be decided at this event, with the Daytona Prototype champion team earning a $100,000 bonus. The special series started with the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January and continued with the Sahlen's Six Hours at the Glen on July 1 at Watkins Glen International.

***

Unique aircraft in flyover: Two V-22 Osprey tilt-rotator aircraft used by the U.S. Marine Corps will perform the flyover shortly before the 19th annual Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 Powered by BigMachineRecords.com NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday, July 29 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The versatile Ospreys land vertically like a helicopter and fly like a plane by tilting wing-mounted rotors that function as propellers. The Osprey is used by the Marines for a variety of purposes, including troop and cargo transport, amphibious assault, special operations and search and rescue missions.

The flyover will be the culmination of pre-race ceremonies that pay special recognition to 100 years of U.S. Marine Corps aviation, acknowledging its growth in the early 20th century and distinguished service to the nation through to the present day.

Raul Malo, lead singer of The Mavericks, will sing the national anthem while rising country star Sunny Sweeney will sing "America the Beautiful."

Indiana native singer-songwriter Corey Cox will sing the national anthem before the Indiana 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday, July 28 at IMS.

***

Fans help troops attend '400:' Thanks to generous fans and the combined efforts of Wish For Our Heroes (W4OH), the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indiana National Guard, 117 Indiana-based soldiers will attend the Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard powered by BigMachineRecords.com Sunday, July 29 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Fans donated $10,000 to the W4OH campaign that is providing reserved seats for military members for the 19th annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at IMS. A national, non-profit organization based in Noblesville, Ind., Wish For Our Heroes coordinated the purchase and delivery of the tickets to the participating soldiers.

For the first time, Wish For Our Heroes provided fans with the opportunity to help send active United States military or veterans to the Indianapolis 500, the Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard powered by BigMachineRecords.com or the Red Bull Indianapolis GP in 2012.

The "Wish Fund" program is accepting donations to send soldiers to the 2012 Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP race Sunday, Aug. 19 at IMS.

Wish For Our Heroes provides fans three ways to salute American service members through contributions or donations at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/wish4ourheroes or www.wish4ourheroes.org:
•Contribute funds: Contribute $5 or more toward the purchase of a 2012 IMS event ticket for an active-duty service member or veteran.
•Purchase tickets: Purchase a 2012 IMS event ticket for an active-duty service member or veteran.
•Donate tickets: Donate extra or unused 2012 IMS event tickets to an active-duty service member or veteran.

Fans may also make donations to send soldiers to the Red Bull Indianapolis GP during the pre-race infield concert before the start of the Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard powered by BigMachineRecords.com on Sunday, July 29. Ten active-duty soldiers will be in the concert crowd accepting donations.

Fans who donate the purchase price of a ticket to the "Wish Fund" can designate the service branch and service status (active, reserves, National Guard, veteran, wounded veteran) of the ticket recipient. "Wish Fund" contributors who donate tickets or the purchase price of a ticket also can receive a picture of the military recipient and learn more about their dedicated service to the country.

Wish For Our Heroes strives to relieve the burdens of family separation, reintegration for deployed soldiers, hardship circumstances and other means of assistance not covered by existing military charities. W4OH is a tax-exempt charity under Code Section 501(c)(3).

***

Nice mix for Indiana 250: The entry list for the inaugural NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indiana 250 on Saturday, July 28, features an interesting mix of drivers.

A handful of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars will race in the 100-lap event, including 2011 Brickyard 400 winner Paul Menard, 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Kasey Kahne.

Also included are two female drivers, 2005 Indianapolis 500 Chase Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick and Johanna Long.

Two Indianapolis 500 veterans are entered, Patrick and 2006 winner Sam Hornish Jr.

Other interesting entries include action sports superstar Travis Pastrana and Jeffrey Earnhardt, grandson of 1995 Brickyard 400 winner Dale Earnhardt.

The Indiana 250 starts at 4:50 p.m. Saturday.

***

Indy is big one for Menard: The Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com is widely considered to be the second-most prestigious race in NASCAR, behind the crown jewel Daytona 500.

But the race this Sunday at the Indianapolis 500 is the king for defending race champion Paul Menard.

"For me, personally, the Brickyard 400 is the biggest race that we go to," Menard said. "And I know for the sport, Daytona is considered the Super Bowl. But for me, personally, there's no race I would rather win than the Brickyard 400, and to be a two-time winner there would be even better yet."

Menard's father, John Menard, was a longtime sponsor and team owner of cars in the Indianapolis 500.

"What happened last year was great, and I'll always cherish it," Paul Menard said. "I have a lot of memorabilia from it. But the time now is to work on this year."

IMS PR

Race fans looking to take advantage of Atlanta Motor Speedway’s discounted ticket rates for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 weekend have until Aug. 6 to purchase their seats at ticket special rates.

 

Many of the speedway’s ticket specials for the biggest Labor Day party in the USA will go away beginning at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 6 and major discounts will be lost for those who have yet to gain their tickets to the three nights of racing under the lights.

 

This year AMS offers several affordable packages for fans to choose from:

 

·        $149 Start/Finish Package – The deepest discount available for purchase. An Upper Champion Grandstand ticket for both Sunday’s AdovCare 500 and NRA American Warrior 300 on Saturday, plus a Sunday pit pass. This package is valued at $260 and retails for $149, a $111 discount.

·        Danica Deal – New ticket package for 2012 to celebrate Danica’s first start at AMS. A Lower Earnhardt Grandstand ticket for the AdvoCare 500 and a General Admission ticket for the NRA American Warrior 300, plus a Danica Patrick hero card for only $99.

·        2 for $99 – The cheapest way to get on the fronstretch at AMS. Two tickets in the Lower Petty or Lower Winners Grandstand for the AdvoCare 500 for only $99. Two frontstretch seats for NASCAR racing for under $100.

·        $39 Weekend Upgrade – Available for those who already have their Sunday AdvoCare 500 tickets and want to see all three nights of racing. Sunday ticket purchasers can gain General Admission access to both the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday and the NRA American Warrior for only $39.

With all of these specials expiring on Aug. 6, fans have a limited window of time to purchase these tickets and save substantial amounts of money while getting to experience NASCAR racing at one of the most challenging venues on the entire schedule.

AMS

 

Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced today that Denny Hamlin will drive the team's No. 18 Tundra in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway on Aug. 4.

Hamlin has collected one win, three top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 13 career Truck Series starts, including a win and a runner-up finish in two starts for KBM last season. The Virginia native became the 23rd driver in history to win at least one race in all three of NASCAR's top three divisions last October, when he drove the No. 18 Tundra to victory at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. He followed that up with a second-place finish in the rain-shortened Truck Series season finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway last November.

"I really enjoyed driving the No. 18 Tundra for KBM the couple of races I did last year and I'm looking forward to working with Rick, Eric and all the guys over there again," Hamlin said. "I had been trying to get my name in the record books as one of the drivers to win in all three series -- doing one or two races a year -- and I was finally able to achieve that goal with KBM. If it wasn't for the rain at Homestead, we probably would've been two-for-two -- we had a really good truck and I was taking care of it waiting to make my move, when the skies opened up. Pocono is obviously one of my better tracks, so I think that we'll have a good shot at adding another banner to the rafters at Kyle's shop."

The 31-year-old boasts an impressive resume at "The Tricky Triangle," registering four wins, eight top-five and nine top-10 finishes over 13 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at the 2.5-mile venue. He finished ninth driving Billy Ballew's Toyota in his lone Truck Series start at the Pennsylvania track in 2010.

The No. 18 Tundra has finished in the runner-up spot in each of its two visits to Pocono Raceway. Kasey Kahne led 17 laps but finished second in the inaugural Truck Series event in the Keystone State and KBM owner-driver Kyle Busch duplicated that finish in last year's race.

KBM PR

No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer enters Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway knowing that winning at the Brickyard would not only be a career highlight, but would also likely punch his ticket to the 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Bowyer’s first season at Michael Waltrip Racing also has been the best of his career.  A victory, four top-five finishes, 10 top-10 finishes and holding ninth place in the points standings in 2012 are all career bests after 19 races. Bowyer’s history says he could add to those totals this weekend. He owns two top-five finishes in six career starts at Indianapolis. The MWR team is ninth with a 47-point lead over the 11th-place driver. Only seven races remain before the start of the 10-race Chase.

Bowyer has also enjoyed success away from the track. Last weekend,he hosted his Support Emporia 2012 Charity Event at Emporia Municipal Golf Course in Emporia, Kan. The event raised more than $350,000 to benefit the Emporia Community Foundation through Bowyer’s “79 Fund.”

INDIANAPOLIS:“Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a great and historic racetrack and I love going there and competing. You look at the names of the drivers who have raced on that track and some of the things that have been accomplished on that racetrack in terms of the history of auto racing - it really is a very big deal. I’d love to win at The Brickyard. It would be a career highlight for any driver in any series to be able to win a race there and kiss the bricks

That said, I’m a stock car racer - and as a NASCAR driver racing with fenders it will always rank second on the list of races that I want to win and tracks that I want to win at. Daytona is the big one for me. Indianapolis is big for the open wheel drivers and the Indianapolis 500 is their big event. The Daytona 500 is our big event - that’s still the race I circle on my calendar each year. That is by no means meant to be disrespectful to a great racetrack and historic venue and I’m not going to try to speak for everyone, but that’s how it is for me.”

CHASE CHANCES:“I think we are in pretty good shape when it comes to the Chase, but I wouldn’t say we are out of the woods by any stretch. We have a small points cushion and a win, and both of those things certainly help. There are a lot of drivers in a similar position.

“We are closer to fourth in points than we are to 11th.That means any of us in a similar situation have a bad week or two and run into some trouble and some of the guys on the outside looking in might win a race and it’s a whole new ballgame. I think it’s going to be a battle for everyone in the top-20 - it’s going to be exciting as we count down the final seven races. Some people are going to take some pretty big chances hoping to get a win and get a wild card. One more win would be a big help for us, but we also have to look at the bigger picture, stay out of trouble and play it smart.”

INTENSITY:“There is just a lot on the line each and every weekend. We’re all out here to win. We are all in that same category and with the same goal in mind. It’s very hard to do. This is the most competitive thing I’ve ever been a part of in any kind of racing – any kind of event – that I’ve ever done in my entire life. It’s unbelievable how close the racing action is on the racetrack and how difficult it is to get the most out of your simulation and engineering program and everything else. It’s hard to get the most out of the people. It’s just very, very tight right now in this sport.”

TEAM CHEMISTRY:“I think it’s key to maintain the level of confidence, the level of comfort that we have with one another. To keep it fun – that’s a big thing. This gets stressful. There is a tremendous amount of pressure that is on a team that’s on the bubble to making the Chase. It’s so important to everything we do: the sponsors, owners and everybody. Everybody is here to give it their all, but they’ve got to make the right decisions and I’ve got to make the right decisions myself. That’s all you can do.”

MWR PR

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