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Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Win One for Baby

Tuesday, Jul 24

There’s no doubt Ryan Newman is riding on a personal high as he rolls into Indianapolis Motor Speedway for this Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400.

Not only has Newman and his Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team scored two consecutive top-10 finishes, Newman welcomed his second daughter, Ashlyn Olivia, on Monday, July 16 at 12:20 p.m. EDT.

After a little more than a week at home with his three girls – wife Krissie and daughters Brooklyn and Ashlyn – Newman is ready to return to the racetrack and take care of business. And the South Bend, Ind., native hopes his own personal bliss can translate into professional elation and success on his home turf at the historic 2.5-mile Indianapolis oval.

For the 11-year Sprint Cup veteran, racing at Indianapolis isn’t significant just because he is a Hoosier. Instead, it’s the history of the 103-year-old Speedway that makes this weekend’s race one of the most important events he competes in each season.

Newman, who prides himself on carefully studying the history of the sport, considers the Indianapolis racetrack to be the cornerstone of the history of auto racing.

So for Newman, it is an honor to simply walk through the Speedway’s Gasoline Alley as he knows he is following in the footsteps of some of his heroes. And he admits he has caught himself thinking about whose tire tracks he could be following as he travels down the long straightaways.

While Newman is fascinated with the history at the Brickyard, his performance at the track has been lackluster.

In his 11 Sprint Cup visits to Indianapolis, Newman has started outside of the top-eight just two times. But while he has made a habit of starting near the front of the Brickyard 400 field, he has not enjoyed the same kind of success when it comes to recording solid finishes in the 160-lap race. Newman has just one top-five at Indianapolis – a fourth-place effort during his 2002 rookie campaign.

Newman wants to turn that stat around. And with his team’s recent top-10 runs, perhaps Newman & Company have the momentum to do just that.

Three weekends ago, Newman finished fifth at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. It was his first top-10 finish at the superspeedway since his win in the 2008 Daytona 500. More importantly, it was the No. 39 team’s first top-10 in more than three months. The following weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, Newman finished 10th.

Currently 14th in points with one win to his credit this season, Newman is one of several drivers involved in a hotly contested battle for one of two wild card spots for the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. While top-fives and top-10s are good, what Newman would really like is to engineer another win for his No. 39 Quicken Loans team.

And a win at the Brickyard wouldn’t just give Newman his own page of history at the 2.5-mile track, it would also greatly help his team’s quest to make this season’s Chase. Of course, too, it would be difficult to find a better congratulatory baby gift than a big win for this new, second-time dad.

 TSC

NASCAR has issued penalties to the No. 09 team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, as a result of rules infractions found on July 22 during post-race inspection at Chicagoland Speedway.

Crew chief Scott Zipadelli has been fined $10,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Sept. 5 for violating Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (any determination by NASCAR officials that race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20A of the rule book or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event); 20A-2.3A (improperly attached weight); and 20A-2.4B (car failed to meet minimum weight requirements in post-race inspection). Car chief Travis Young has been placed on NASCAR probation until Sept. 5 for the same infractions.

Driver Kenny Wallace and owner Robby Benton have been penalized with the loss of six championship driver and six championship owner points for violating Sections 12-1; 12-4J; and 20A-2.4B.

NASCAR PR

STATEMENT FROM RAB RACING

NASCAR announced yesterday, July 24, penalties for the No. 09 RAB Racing with Brack Maggard team which competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 22. The penalties are a result of rule infraction found in post-race inspection.

Crew chief Scott Zipadelli has been fined $10,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Sept. 5. Car chief Travis Young has been placed on NASCAR probation until Sept. 5. Additionally, car owner Robby Benton and driver Kenny Wallace have been penalized with the loss of six driver and six owner points, respectively.

 

"We accept the penalty and fines levied by NASCAR with respect to failing to meet minimum weight requirements in post-race inspection at Chicagoland Speedway," said Robby Benton, owner of RAB Racing with Brack Maggard. "We experienced a part failure that resulted in a piece of ballast being lost from within its container during the event. It was unintentional, and of no fault of Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) or Travis (Young, car chief), but the crew chief and car chief are held liable for such cases. We will not appeal NASCAR's decision, and will move on to this weekend's inaugural Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway."

 

With the final off week of the 2012 Sprint Cup season in the rearview mirror, it's full speed ahead for Travis Kvapil, driver of the No. 93 Burger King/Dr Pepper Toyota. Kvapil and his BK Racing crew have their eyes set on this week's Curtiss Shaver 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, one of the most prestigious and coveted events in motorsports, and they're looking to start the final stretch off with a bang.

This will be BK racing's first time racing at the Brickyard. The team understands that all 43 teams in the garage will pull out all the stops to win and Kvapil sees this as an opportunity to make a statement. He hopes their performance reflects their capabilities and progress since forming in February.

Kvapil has competed at the Brickyard on four occasions. Half of his starts have resulted in top-25 finishes. His best finish (24th place) came in 2010.

Comments from BK Racing Driver Travis Kvapil heading into Indianapolis:

"Obviously it's a great race track with a great history. I remember growing up and watching the Indy 500 and being a fan of Rick Mears and Danny Sullivan and other guys I looked up to. I didn't really get into the open wheel stuff, but I always watched the Indy 500 in May. Being on the stock car side, I never really thought I'd have the chance to make laps around there, so it's pretty cool to be able to race there with the Sprint Cup Series and make laps around the same place that my heroes did.

"This is a great chance for us to make a statement. This is one of the biggest races of the year. For us to go to Indy as a new team and leave with a solid finish, it will show everyone what we're capable of. We've come a long way and I hope this week reflects that.

"It's definitely a unique race track. It's very challenging. It's kind of a rectangular-shaped track with four corners and it's pretty flat. It's a challenge for the teams to get the splitter down as low as they can. On the engine side, it takes a lot of horsepower to get the cars down the long straightaways. You definitely have to have the total package there. It's going to be nice going there after a weekend off. Teams will be prepared. It's just a cool place to go.

"The Brickyard is pretty unique. There aren't many tracks with the characteristics of Indy. Pocono is similar, but only Turn 2. We feel like we learned a lot at Pocono during the open test and during the race weekend. It gave us an opportunity to try some things and get data on the car, which is good moving forward because we can take some things that we learned there and apply it to Indianapolis. We'll probably run a very similar setup even though the tracks are different."

BK Racing PR

Very few venues on the Sprint Cup circuit have the grandeur of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Every driver dreams of becoming a part of the track's hallowed history. Landon Cassill, driver of the No. 83 Burger King/Dr Pepper Toyota, is ready to make his mark in this week's Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard. His brief record at the track shows that he can get the job done. He has confidence that his BK racing team is up to the task, but he's willing to take a few chances along the way if necessary.

Cassill has two starts at the Brickyard under his belt. His best finish came last season. He started 32nd and finished 20th. It was one of four top-20 finishes he scored in 2011.

Doug Richert, crew chief of the No. 83 team, has called nine races at the Brickyard. His best finish is sixth place, which he achieved in 2004.

Comments from BK Racing Driver Landon Cassill heading into Indianapolis:

"The Brickyard is such a special place. It's such a prestigious venue. It's really amazing to even compete at that race track.

"Of all the races we have left this season, Indy is at the top of my list for ones that I'd like to win or have our best finish at. It's one that's worth taking a gamble or taking a risk if it can get you a good finish. If we need to take a chance to get our best finish of the season, we'll definitely roll the dice. We'll stretch the fuel mileage as long as possible, or maybe try a two-tire stop if necessary. It's a special track and worth taking the risk.

"I've run well there in the past. I finished in the top 20 there last season. I really think that our Burger King/Dr Pepper team can go there and do that, too.

"There aren't many places we go to that are like Indy. I think that with the size of the track and the banking, Pocono is about as close as it gets to racing there, but it's still pretty unique. Doug (Richert, crew chief) knows how to run well there and knows what to unload with. I think he'll get us started off on the right foot."

BK Racing PR

NASCAR’s expanding role among global influencers of sport continues this week as Chairman and CEO Brian France participates in Beyond Sport’s annual summit in London. The Summit begins today, a few days before the start of the 2012 Olympiad.

On Wednesday, France will participate in a panel entitled “Mobilizing Millions,” in which he will highlight NASCAR’s efforts in green, diversity and charitable giving. Joining France will be Dr. Robin Peterson, CEO of the South African Football Association; Jamie Oliver, celebrity chef, Emmy Award-winning television personality and health advocate; and Paddy Harverson, official spokesperson for Prince Charles, Duke of Cambridge.

Moderated by Dr. Michael Lynch, NASCAR’s managing director of green innovation, the conversation will look at how sport can be used as a tool to trigger large-scale change. Panelists will analyze how sports organizations, personalities and governing bodies can use the power of sport to improve lives, positively change behavior, or empower people on a global scale.

Additionally tomorrow, France will present Beyond Sport’s “Sport for the Environment” Award to a recipient who has put forth significant efforts to reduce sports’ impact on the environment.

"A key part of Beyond Sport’s mission is to bring together people from different spheres to share their experiences and to learn from each other,” said Nick Keller, founder of Beyond Sport. “Between them, through inspiration and education, these people and their organizations have changed the outlooks, perspectives and even living habits of millions of people around the world, and their insights are invaluable."

The Beyond Sport summit is convened to celebrate, promote and drive sport-led social change. The event features networking opportunities, panels and action-led working sessions that include influencers from the worlds of sports, business and government. It will play host to a wide range of global luminaries, including Muhammad Ali, David Beckham and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

In May, NASCAR accepted an invitation to join Beyond Sport, a global organization that promotes, develops and supports the use of sport to create positive social change. NASCAR joined a coalition of leagues that includes Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, the National Hockey League and the Women's National Basketball Association as part of Beyond Sport's wider global network. NASCAR is the first and only motorsports organization aligned with Beyond Sport.

In addition to France, each of the following panelists will share their unique perspective with the global audience
 

·        Dr. Robin Peterson, CEO of the South African Football Association. Peterson is one of the most influential figures in African sport, and will talk about the power of the Rainbow Nation's most popular sport and how it can genuinely help unite and build a nation.

·        Jamie Oliver, celebrity chef, Emmy Award-winning television personality and health advocate. His popular program “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” has earned him wide notoriety as a critic of processed foods in public schools and was recently awarded the Harvard School of Public Health’s Healthy Cup Award.

·        Paddy Harverson, a key player in the media relations world from a number of perspectives, but is best known for his role at the Clarence House as the official spokesperson for Prince Charles, Duke of Cambridge. He spent four years as director of communications for the Manchester United Premier League football club and most recently coordinated communications for the union of Prince William and Kate Middleton. He will discuss the major shift in modern media and its significance in influencing people's behavior for the better.

NASCAR PR

Big Machine Records and Front Row Motorsports are giving fans of racing and country music alike the chance to win a signed guitar and race-used firesuit through the Racecars and Country Stars Sweepstakes.

Fans can win a David Gilliland race-used firesuit and a guitar signed by Big Machine Label Group recording artists: The Band Perry, Justin Moore, The Mavericks, Greg Bates and Sunny Sweeney. Prior to entering, fans will need to 'like' both Big Machine Label Group and Front Row Motorsports on Facebook.  Fans can earn additional bonus entries by 'liking' the pages of Big Machine recording artists and Front Row Motorsports partners.

Visit www.RacecarsAndCountryStars.com to enter and view official rules.  David Gilliland will drive the No. 38 Racecars and Country Stars / Big Machine Records Ford in Sunday's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Runner-Up prizes include CD's from Big Machine Label Group recording artists and items autographed by David Gilliland.

The contest will run through August 24th, 2012.  A winner will be announced by September 1st.

FRM PR

Fans who are looking for a way to honor the tragedies of 9-11 can take advantage of the opportunity to give blood during Darlington Raceway’s 7th annual Blood Drive, scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 11.

The event, which will take place from 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Sept. 11, is now accepting appointments in advance by going to www.redcrossblood.org, clicking on the ‘Make a Blood Donation Appointment’ link and entering the sponsor code: darlingtonraceway; or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS. Appointments are encouraged in advance to ensure participation in the blood drive.

The American Red Cross has an emergency need for blood donations of all types, as blood donations nationwide have reached their lowest levels in 15 years. Due to a mid-week Fourth of July holiday, fewer businesses were able to host blood drives; severe summer storms in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic the first two weeks of the month forced the cancellation of dozens of blood drives; and locally, extreme heat is keeping many donors at home and away from Red Cross blood drives and donation centers.

“We had numerous fans and community members participate in our 2011 event and we want to continue to see more successful growth of the Pee Dee’s largest single-day blood collection event,” Darlington Raceway President Chris Browning said. “It only takes the generosity of a few people each giving one unit of blood to potentially save hundreds maybe thousands of lives in our area. It truly is a positive way to honor the tragedies of 9-11 in our local community.”

"We are grateful to Darlington Raceway for the opportunity to once again team up for their annual blood drive, and we encourage community members to give the gift of life in remembrance of the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001," said Julie Weilacher, interim CEO of the American Red Cross South Carolina Blood Services Region. "Donating blood is a meaningful way to make a positive impact on the lives of our hospital patients."

For each donation, fans will get a behind-the-scenes look at the Lady in Black, which includes an opportunity to take their vehicle for laps around the Darlington oval, as well as an American Red Cross gift bag. Free food and beverages will be provided for donors courtesy of Bojangles’.

It’s important to remember that one unit of donated blood can be transfused up to three people. The 2011 event collected 143 units of blood, thus potentially saving the lives of 429 people.

The American Red CrossS.C. Blood Services Region provides lifesaving blood to 54 hospitals and must have 500 people give blood and platelets each weekday to meet hospital demand. Accident victims as well as patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses receive lifesaving transfusions every day. There is no substitute for blood and volunteer donors are the only source.

Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Platelets can be given safely every two weeks, up to 24 times a year. Most healthy people age 17 and older, 16 with parental consent, who weigh at least 110 pounds, are eligible to donate blood and platelets. Donors who are 18 and younger must also meet specific height and weight requirements.

Darlington Raceway PR

Rain-X®, the automotive aftermarket leader in water repellency glass treatments and wiper blades will be primary sponsor of the No. 31 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Burton in this weekend's Brickyard 400 at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"My family uses Rain-X® products on all our automobiles at home and we are proud to represent a great product on the No. 31 Chevrolet at a prestigious track like Indianapolis Motor Speedway," said Burton. "Our goal is to get the No. 31 Rain-X® Chevrolet into Victory Lane and to kiss the bricks."

Burton, currently in his 19th full-time season in NASCAR's premier division, has amassed 21 wins, 132 top-five finishes, 246 top-10 finishes, six pole awards and led 6,510 laps during his illustrious career. Burton sits 19th in the 2012 Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings with four top-10 finishes including a fifth-place finish in the prestigious 2012 Daytona 500 and runner-up finish earlier this month in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Burton qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup from 2006-2008 and in 2010 with 13-time NASCAR championship winning car owner Richard Childress.

"RCR, Jeff Burton and Rain-X® share a common commitment to performance and winning and we will be cheering on the No. 31 car on July 29th," says James Stone, General Manager for ITW Global Brands. "Studies show 90% of driving decisions are based solely on vision, and as the most preferred brand of windshield wiper blades and glass care, Rain-X® products help ensure ultimate visibility in any weather condition...on the roads or at the racetrack."

For the past 40 years, drivers have trusted Rain-X® to help them stay one step ahead of Mother Nature on the road. The revolutionary water beading technology in Rain-X® Original Glass Treatment enables raindrops to fly right off the windshield as you drive. In addition to glass treatments, the Rain-X® portfolio offers wiper blades, glass cleaners, car washes, waxes, bug & tar removers, and headlight restoration kits. Rain-X®, owned by ITW Global Brands- a Houston based division of Illinois Tool Works Performance Polymers & Fluids, joins longtime RCR partners Caterpillar, Wheaties and BB&T who serve as primary sponsors for a majority of the races on Burton's No. 31 Chevrolet.

RCR PR

 Furniture Row Racing announced today that Todd Berrier has been named crew chief for the team's No. 78 Chevrolet driven by Regan Smith.

Berrier, who replaces Pete Rondeau, will take over the crew chief duties immediately. His first race on the pit box will be Sunday's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  

In making the announcement team general manager Joe Garone said, "Todd will be a great fit with our operation. The skill sets he has acquired during a successful crew chief career will be valuable assets as we move forward with a high level of energy and anticipation.”

Berrier worked as a Sprint Cup crew chief for 11 years at Richard Childress Racing (RCR) before joining JTG Daugherty Racing and driver Bobby Labonte at the start of the 2012 season.

During his tenure at RCR, Berrier was crew chief for eight victories, including two of NASCAR's biggest events, the Daytona 500 (2007 with Kevin Harvick) and the Brickyard 400 (2003 also with Harvick).

Berrier directed Harvick's Chase playoff appearances in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Along with serving as Harvick's crew chief, Berrier also worked in the same capacity with RCR drivers Jeff Burton, Casey Mears and Jeff Green.

"Furniture Row Racing has a reputation in the Sprint Cup garage for its commitment and potential," said the 42-year-old Berrier. "I welcome this opportunity and can't wait to begin my new position at Indianapolis this weekend."

FRR PR

Approaching the Indianapolis Motor Speedway race weekend, JTG Daugherty Racing announced today significant changes that include a new general manager and crew chief change for the No. 47 single-car NASCAR Sprint Cup Series operation.  

Bobby Hutchens joins the racing organization as general manager.

“Bobby Hutchens is someone I have admired for a long time and the individual I’ve turned to many times for direction over my 18 years as a car owner,” said JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner Tad Geschickter. “In my opinion, he is the best in the business and we are fortunate to have someone of his caliber step in to help steer our team in the right direction during this important transition.”

David Hyder will assume the role as interim crew chief for this weekend’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“We have our eye on the crew chief that we want for the long term, but couldn’t get it all done in time for the next few races,” Geschickter said. “We would rather make the right decision for the long term. We are fortunate to have David Hyder working at JTG Daugherty Racing every day as crew chief for the K&N Pro Series East team that we have been preparing each week for Cale Conley.  He has a wealth of Sprint Cup experience and we know he will do a great job until we make our decision.”

Todd Berrier, who joined JTG Daugherty Racing at the end of the 2011 season as crew chief and general manager, recently accepted a position with another team that was announced today. Co-owner Brad Daugherty stated that the departure will not deter the team from reaching its goals.

“Todd Berrier did a great job and we wish him the best in his new opportunity,” Daugherty said. “We have great people throughout the organization and with the leadership of a champion like Bobby Hutchens we will stay focused on being the number one single-car team competing on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit.”

This season, Labonte’s best finish in 19 starts is 10th at Daytona International Speedway in the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola. Following the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion is 23rd in the official driver standings. In the midst of the season, Labonte and his team embrace the changes.

“Like Tad mentioned, Hyder has been in our race shop all year with the K&N Pro Series East team and he knows all the guys and some of them have worked on his cars,” Labonte said. “The fact that he already knows everyone and has experience in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, makes him a great choice to help us in our transition.

“Bobby Hutchens is very knowledgeable and experienced,” Labonte continued. “He has a want and desire to do this, which will really help our small team become more structured so that we can keep moving forward. This is going to be a great advantage for us.”

Labonte’s team is prepared for the Brickyard this weekend as they display SCOTT Products on the hood of the No. 47 Toyota Camry. In 18 starts at the Brickyard, Labonte has one win (8/05/2000), four top five, five top 10 and has led 30 laps. His best start is 3rd (2000) and he holds the race record (155.912 mph on 08/05/2000).

“I think it’s going to be a little different this time around because it is the first time the NASCAR Nationwide Series cars are on the track,” Labonte said. “Normally, the track usually tightens up throughout race. This track is fun and challenging. It can be a hard track to pass on. Therefore, track position is going to be the key. I love going there. The year I won there with Joe Gibbs Racing, we were on a roll. We had everything going for us. After it was all said and done, not many guys can say they’ve won there. It’s just an awesome feeling. At the end of the day reflecting back, we won the Brickyard and the championship in the same year. It’s a neat feather in your cap. I’m looking forward to being back and racing there this weekend.”

JTG PR

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