Speedway Digest Staff
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Steve Ellisor has $12,000 to show for his outstanding academic record at Universal Technical Institute. He has his hard work, coupled with the generosity of race team owner Roger Penske and the Universal Technical Institute Foundation, to thank for it.
Ellisor, a recent UTI graduate from the Avondale, Ariz. campus, has been selected to receive the Roger Penske Outstanding Student Award. The honor rewards academic success, impeccable attendance, leadership qualities and outside service over the course of a student's education.
Ellisor, a 31-year-old father of two and former Marine, is humbled and grateful for the cash award.
"It was kind of like a lottery winning," Ellisor said. "It was like, 'Wow.' I'm extremely, extremely grateful. I'm still kind of blown away by it."
Ellisor admits that his accomplishments and ultimately the award didn't come easy, but his drive and ambition to succeed as an automotive technician kept him focused. He and his family plan to relocate to South Carolina to be closer to family.
But, before using the money to pay down debts or purchase new tools, Ellisor decided to donate $500 of his award back to the UTI Foundation in honor of UTI's founder Robert Sweet.
"Without him, and his vision, I couldn't even of had this opportunity," Ellisor said of Sweet, who passed away earlier this summer.
Don Ableson, UTI Foundation president and board chairman, said Ellisor is a wonderful reflection of who the Penske Outstanding Student Award is designed for. Ableson said Ellisor's desire to immediately give back speaks to his character.
"Most students could care less about something like that. I'm very impressed with this young man. We hope he'll go far." Ableson, one of three members on the Penske Award committee, said. "It's wonderful to see people with that kind of mental attitude and to have those qualities that he has shown."
The Penske Award was created in 2008 with a $100,000 donation, and it is awarded twice a year to the top student across all 11 UTI campuses.
Reality television star Captain "Wild" Bill Wichrowski from Deadliest Catch teamed up with road safety spokespeople Tayler Malsam driver of the #19 G-OIL Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, motorsports Hall of Fame hydroplane racer Chip Hanauer and Emmy Award winning actor, Bryton James, of The Young and the Restless, in a united effort, for RADD® and NOYS® to promote "JST DRV" an anti-texting and driving campaign by NOYS aimed at teens. These four heavyweight celebrities joined together with the two nonprofits and #19 G-OIL team to generate awareness, via social media, to communities along with NASCAR fans about the dangers of distracted driving.
During Daytona Speedweek in March, Team G-OIL pledged to run the entire NASCAR season in partnership with National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) and RADD, the entertainment industry's voice for road safety, to help prevent traffic crashes -- the #1 killer of children and teens! Joining the fight to save young lives, Captain Wild Bill has signed on as a RADD Spokesperson and will be bringing to Indy, two high-end, brightly painted custom golf carts that he personally donated to RADD. They will be showcased in the RADD-NOYS safety tent during "Super Weekend at the Brickyard 2012" from Thursday, July 26 through Sunday, July 29, 2012 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This is the first time in NASCAR's long history that the Nationwide Series will host an event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"No matter if you are driving a high performance race car at 200 mph, a commercial fishing vessel in the Bering Sea or your own personal ride, being distracted while you drive can be deadly," said Wild Bill. "The 'Don't Text and Drive' campaign in my opinion will save so many lives that there is no way to measure it's good worth. If everyone posted on Facebook or tweeted spreading the message to their loved ones to drive safely, it could make a tremendous difference."
A highlight of the RADD-NOYS exhibit at the track will be scheduled autograph sessions with Captain Wild Bill, Tayler Malsam, Chip Hanauer and Bryton James. NASCAR fans are encouraged to stop by the booth, meet the celebrities, take a photo in Malsam's #19 G-OIL Toyota Camry race car, and learn more about safe, sane and sober driving.
Ross Chastain is having a little fun again. As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series made it’s way through the Midwest, Chastain spent his week entertaining and promoting watermelon at various venues around the Windy City. Saturday night, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate had some fun on the racetrack bringing his Illiana Watermelon Association Toyota home 13th in the American Ethanol 225 at the Chicagoland Speedway.
The Florida teen qualified the SS Green Light No. 08 19th with a lap of 31.69 seconds on the mile and an half speedway just south of Chicago at over 170.4 miles per hour.
“It was a real good race. We definitely had a lot of fun, got to run the whole race and we learned a lot,” an excited Chastain said. “We practiced 20th and 12th, the truck felt the same in both sessions; we just had a little more speed in the second. We qualified 19th and then we were able to drive forward from the drop of the green, I was able to drive around a bunch of guys.”
“We got to run with some guys that we’ve been watching run like Ron Hornaday and Cale Gale, now we got to race with them a little bit. That was a good feeling and we’re going in the right direction. We have been pretty good when we unload and we’re doing the right things from the shop to the track.”
“At the end of the race were kind of stuck where we were so we decided to come down to pit road with about ten laps to go. We were in 12th, but I didn’t feel we could move forward from there.” Ross explained. “So we came in a put on a set of tires we had run good lap times on earlier in the race. We came to get those tires that had cooled off a bit for the finish. We were about the only ones to pit and we came out around 18th, one of the last trucks on the lead lap. At the drop of the green I was able to makes some moves on the outside to get around a bunch of trucks. Everything went right for us on that restart to get back to where we were before we pitted.”
“Then we had that last caution and the green, white, checkered. Somebody got jumbled-up on the start and I don’t know how I made it through it but I ended-up picking up a bunch of spots to 8th or 9th coming to the end of the race, it was pretty cool.”
“We we’re eighth on the white flag, but I got into the wall a little bit on the last lap; I just lost the nose and ran up to the wall, nobody pushed me up there or anything. I just barley got out of the gas and lost momentum and a couple of trucks got by me. I only hit the wall for ten feet, but it really slowed me down.”
Through the excitement of the last lap Ross brought the Illiana Watermelon Association Toyota across the finish line in 13th behind James Buescher who won his third race of the 2012 NCWTS season.
“It was awesome, the pit grew did great all night,” he concluded. “When we had a green flag pit-stop early in the race they got me out in front of Jason White who had just passed me on the track. It’s a good feeling with the pit crew he has for us to compete with them. All but our jackman work in the SS Green Light shop everyday. Everyone did a great job.”
SS Green Light Racing PR
John Wes Townley piloted the No. 09 Family Farmers Toyota Tundra to a 14th-place finish in Saturday night's American Ethanol 225 at Chicagoland Speedway, marking his career-best finish in NASCAR competition.
After two successful practice sessions on Friday, posting speeds fast enough for the 11th and 24th positions, respectively, Townley drove his Toyota Tundra to a 16th-place starting position in Saturday morning's qualifying session.
From the drop of the green flag Townley wasted no time advancing position, running as high as 13th by Lap 10. Throughout the 150-lap event, he expertly navigated a series of single-truck incidents. As the sun began to set over the 1.5-mile speedway, crew chief Chris Rice called for adjustments that kept the Family Farmers Tundra in tune with the changing track conditions, and consistent stops on pit road by the RAB Racing pit crew helped Townley keep his track position over the course of the race. He took the checkered flag in the 14th position, posting his career-best finish.
Townley garnered his sixth top-20 finish of the 2012 season, helping him advance one position in the driver point standings, to 19th.
"We had a great weekend overall," said Townley. "We were pretty fast in Friday's practice sessions. We focused on race runs and I think it really paid off. Then we got a solid 16th place qualifying position. I have to thank Family Farmers and Toyota for providing me with this opportunity. I'm feeling good about my career-best finish and can't wait to further improve at Pocono Raceway."
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has a week off before heading to Pocono Raceway August 4th, 2012 for race 11 of the 22-race schedule.
RAB Racing PR
A combination of pit strategy and expert driving skills helped Kenny Wallace, Family Farmers and RAB Racing with Brack Maggard garner their best finish of the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series season this Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway.
Making the first of two trips to the Windy City during the 2012 season, Wallace and RAB Racing recorded the 17th and 15th-fastest times, respectively, in the two scheduled NASCAR Nationwide Series practices leading up to the Sunday afternoon event. After his qualifying attempt on the 1.5-mile tri-oval, Wallace posted a speed fast enough to slot into the 11th-place starting position.
From the drop of the green flag in the STP 300, Wallace expertly navigated through the field, keeping the No. 09 Family Farmers Toyota Camry running just outside of the top 10.
With 40 laps to go, crew chief Scott Zipadelli made the call for Wallace to remain on track as the leaders pitted under green. The pit strategy proved advantageous as a caution flag flew and Wallace was able to restart inside the top five, where he would remain as the laps wound down.
Wallace battled a loose-handling racecar until an accident on Lap 195 forced a green-white-checker finish. Luckily for the RAB Racing team, this allowed the tires to cool and Wallace to gain some grip on the track. He raced his way to the second position before getting loose, which allowed two competitors to get around him as he came to take the checkered flag in the fourth position.
The finish, Wallace's highest in 113 Nationwide Series races, also marks his first top-five result since finishing fifth at Richmond International Raceway last September. It also marked RAB Racing's best finish at Chicagoland Speedway.
As one of the four highest-finishing Nationwide Series drivers, Wallace also qualified for the Nationwide Insurance "Dash 4 Cash" program next week at the inaugural event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"Our Family Farmers Camry handled really well," said Wallace. "It was really fast for 40 laps and then we would get wicked loose. I've got to thank everyone at RAB Racing and these Family Farmers that keep supporting me.All the farmers are starving here, they've lost their livelihood, all their money -- their corn has burnt up. I'm a racer and without the Family Farmers of America Ethanol, this car wouldn't be here.I'm just happy to think that today we might have given them something to smile about and take their minds off these tough times."
RAB Racing PR
No. 99 Boost Mobile Toyota driver Travis Pastrana finished 17th in Sunday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway. The RAB Racing with Brack Maggard driver started 32nd and moved to 25th by lap 10. An ill-handling car hampered his progress and he lost a lap to the leaders on lap 33. The 11-time X Games gold medal winner raced in the top 20 for much of the event.
Limited cautions kept him from regaining the lost lap and he finished 17th.
The 28-year-old returns to action in the No. 99 Boost Mobile Toyota on Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
* Pastrana started 32nd and finished 17th
* Tied his career-best NASCAR Nationwide finish of 17th
* Went a lap down to the leaders on Lap 33
* Has two more scheduled NASCAR Nationwide Series starts this season - Indy and Atlanta
* Pastrana will be on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Monday at 11:30 p.m. ET
PASTRANA QUOTE: "I am pretty happy with today's outcome. We didn't qualify well but Mike Greci (crew chief) and the guys stuck with me and we came home with a good finish. I kept the car out of trouble today and I learned a lot. I think this is the best Nationwide race I have driven all season. I am looking forward to being back behind the wheel of the No. 99 Boost Mobile Toyota next weekend at Indy."
RAB Racing PR
The Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, one of the premier events in NASCAR, will be the launching point for ESPN’s live, flag-to-flag telecasts of the final 17 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season on Sunday, July 29.
ESPN’s multimedia platforms will surround the race telecasts on television, radio, online and on mobile devices. Of the 17 races, 14 will air on ESPN and WatchESPN and three Saturday night events will air on ABC, and ESPN’s flagship news and information program SportsCenter will follow the 14 ESPN race telecasts with additional post-race interviews, highlights and information.
Beginning Sept. 16 at Chicagoland Speedway, the final 10 races will comprise the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR’s playoffs, culminating Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with the crowning of the series champion.
For the 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, ESPN will again utilize NASCAR NonStop, a split-screen commercial format that brings more racing action to viewers. The format, which ESPN used for the first time in 2011, shows the advertisement on the left side of the screen and a continuation of racing action on the right side. ESPN’s scoring ticker continues to move across the top of the screen, allowing NASCAR fans to follow the running order of the race during the breaks. NASCAR NonStop takes effect at or near the halfway point of the race, with the first half of the race presented in the traditional commercial break format.
The race telecast from Indianapolis is presented by Golden Corral and follows the one-hour NASCAR Countdown pre-race show at noon, with the race’s green flag at 1:19 p.m. ET. Also from Indianapolis, ESPN will televise the inaugural race at the famed track for the NASCAR Nationwide Series on Saturday, July 28, with NASCAR Countdown at 4 p.m. and the green flag at 4:49 p.m. NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying for the Brickyard 400 airs earlier that day at 2 p.m. on ESPN, with NASCAR Sprint Cup practice at 10:30 a.m. on ESPN2.
The winner of the Brickyard 400 will visit ESPN’s Bristol, Ct., studios on Tuesday, July 31, to appear on multiple ESPN programs and platforms.
ESPN’s NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage team will include four former NASCAR Sprint Cup champions, led by analyst Dale Jarrett, the 1999 driving champion, who will work with two-time champion crew chief Andy Petree and lap-by-lap announcer Allen Bestwick in the booth. Rusty Wallace, the 1989 driving champion, and three-time champion crew chief Ray Evernham will be analysts for NASCAR Countdown with host Nicole Briscoe and analyst Brad Daugherty, a NASCAR team owner.
Pit reporters during ESPN’s 17-race NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro, Dr. Jerry Punch, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch while Marty Reid will be the lap-by-lap announcer for the remainder of ESPN’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race telecasts beginning with Indianapolis.
ESPN will use 74 high definition cameras in the Brickyard 400 telecast, including a new, Ultra Slo Mo handheld camera for analyzing pit stops. Bat Cam, a camera running on a cable over pit road and the frontstretch that can move at more than 80 mph, also will be utilized again at IMS. ESPN will have a helicopter camera for all 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup race telecasts.
Last year at Indianapolis, ESPN introduced the first-ever use of dual path transmission for onboard cameras, allowing the network for the first time to show two high definition views from onboard cameras in the same car simultaneously. The technology has been refined and is being expanded into ESPN’s NASCAR Nationwide Series telecasts starting at Indianapolis.
The NASCAR Countdown show for the Brickyard 400 will have a different look as it will move from the ESPN Pit Studio to a set located on an outside floor of the speedway’s iconic Pagoda. The grandstands, track and pits will provide a backdrop during the program.
Among the features that are planned for airing during ESPN’s Indianapolis telecasts:
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his crew chief Steve Letarte sit down together with ESPN’s Marty Smith to discuss the evolution of their relationship, how Earnhardt has changed as a driver since they joined forces this season and why their team is finally firing on all cylinders.
- ABC News journalist Katie Couric talks with Danica Patrick at Indianapolis Motor Speedway about her transition to NASCAR, how people perceive her as a person and possible sexism she might face on a daily basis at the racetrack.
- Jeff Gordon reunites with his former championship winning crew chief Ray Evernham to talk about his struggles in 2012 and if success for him is lurking at the Brickyard, a place where he has won four times in his career.
- Last year’s Brickyard 400 is relived through the eyes of race winner Paul Menard and his father, John. Collectively they tell the story of how emotional and meaningful the victory was to the Menard Family.
Surprisingly, Jeff Gordon wants "Super Weekend" to end with a family argument.
The four-time Brickyard 400 winner grew up in the shadows of historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) in nearby Pittsboro, so each trip to the famed speedway is special to Gordon. But if he collects trophy No. 5 on Sunday, it could set off fireworks in the Gordon household.
"I want to bring that trophy (home) and watch [son Leo and daughter Ella] fight over it," said Gordon in an ESPN interview scheduled to air during Sunday's pre-race show. "These days, Leo's been starting some fights, so I'm curious to see who would win.
"And for that trophy to be a fifth Brickyard trophy? That'd be a good day."
Along with topping the list for most NASCAR Sprint Cup victories at the 2.5-mile track, Gordon also ranks first in: poles (3), top-fives (10; four more than any other driver), top-10's (14) and laps led (476; 249 more than any other driver) in 18 starts at IMS.
"Growing up here and going to the track numerous times as a kid, there is just something special about each trip here," said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet. "But that special feeling changes quickly when I get out on the track because this place is so challenging.
"The four corners look the same, but each is unique with different transitions and bumps. As a driver, factoring that in with the few little dips, the way the wind is blowing, the radius and everything else can give you an advantage.
"But the car has to be good, as well. We've had the best car or one of the best cars in each of the races we've won here."
Gordon arguably had the best car here last year, but he was unable to catch and pass fuel-saving winner Paul Menard.
"We ran well here last year," said Gordon, who led 36 laps en route to a runner-up finish here in 2011. "A lot has changed since we were here last, but I'm hoping we can take what we've learned in that time and be even faster, even better this year."
Which could net another trophy for Gordon. And set off a family squabble.
Race fans know the UNOH Perfect Storm Doubleheader on Wednesday, Aug. 22 at Bristol Motor Speedway produces one of the most electrifying nights of racing on the calendar. Thanks to a new promotion, local fans are able to catch all the action on Bristol’s revamped concrete surface at a lower ticket price.
The Wednesday night doubleheader, known for intense wheel-to-wheel Whelen Modified action and bruising door-to-door Truck Series excitement, already is one of the best values in motorsports. However, with new locals’ pricing, Bristol’s most passionate fans can see the action for just $20.
“We can never put a price on the support we receive from each of our race fans,” said Jerry Caldwell, Bristol Motor Speedway Executive Vice-President and General Manager. “Those in our local area always go above and beyond when it comes to the events here at BMS. They take pride in this facility as a part of their community and graciously extend a warm welcome to all of our guests.
“With this new pricing structure for those local fans, we wanted to make an already unbelievable night of racing even greater for those who see the Speedway every day.”
Race fans who live in the immediate areas surrounding the World’s Fastest Half-Mile can come to the BMS ticket office for the special pricing. Residents of Sullivan, Washington, Carter, Johnson, Greene and Unicoi Counties in Tennessee and Washington, Scott, Lee and Wise Counties in Virginia are eligible for local pricing. Fans should have their driver’s license with them to verify their residency.
Anyone who comes to the Speedway Saturday, Aug. 11 and presents his or her ticket to the UNOH Wednesday Night doubleheader may drive their own vehicle around the BMS high banks. Camping World Truck Series competitor Ty Dillon also makes an appearance at the event on Aug. 11.
Locals’ pricing is just $20 for adults. Ages 15 and under are admitted free to the event. Eight tickets per account may be purchased at the special rate. Locals ticket pricing ends on Friday, August 17.
The University of Northwestern Ohio, like many drivers during a NASCAR race weekend, will be doing double duty at Bristol Motor Speedway in August, sponsoring two events.
The sponsor of the UNOH Perfect Storm 150 Whelen Modified event at BMS since 2009, the college also will sponsor the UNOH 200 Camping World Truck Series event Aug. 22, the second half of the Wednesday night doubleheader.
Dr. Jeffrey Jarvis, the president of the University of Northwestern Ohio, says the partnership with BMS continues to be extremely beneficial for the university.
“Everyone at the University of Northwestern Ohio is very excited about extending our partnership with Bristol Motor Speedway to the Camping World Truck Series,” he said “We’ve been sponsoring the Modified event since 2009 and the opportunities it has given our students, staff and facility since we started have been immeasurable.
“The relationships that we have established with the people at Bristol Motor Speedway, the race teams, and the fans have made our experience such that we felt like we wanted to turn it up a notch, so to speak. We honestly can’t wait for August 22 when we’ll have our name on both races that night.”
Steve Farmer, Vice President of Business Development at UNOH, feels moving to the Camping World Truck Series made perfect sense.
“With the success we’ve had sponsoring the Modified race, it just makes more sense for us to be associated with the Truck Series because it is a higher profile event,” he said. “It’ll be more exposure for the University of Northwestern Ohio and our students and our programs.”
UNOH is on board as sponsor of the Truck Series race through 2016. This will be the final year of its sponsorship of the Modified event.
Jerry Caldwell, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Bristol Motor Speedway couldn’t be more pleased to have UNOH as a partner for the Truck Series race.
“The University of Northwestern Ohio has been an amazing partner for Bristol Motor Speedway,” said Caldwell. “They really embraced the Modified event and quickly became an integral part of our family.
“It’s really great to have them come on board as our Truck race sponsor and we’re thrilled to have them sponsoring both ends of the Wednesday night doubleheader this year. We’re definitely looking forward to continuing to build our relationship with Jeff, Steve and everyone at UNOH.”
The Aug. 22 doubleheader kicks off with The Perfect Storm 150 taking the green flag at 6 p.m., followed by the UNOH 200 at 8 p.m.