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Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell was presented with the Heck Ford Award by the Martinsville and Henry County Chamber of Commerce Thursday night.

The Heck Ford Award is the most prestigious award given by the M-HC Chamber and it is not given on an annual basis, but only when it is deemed deserving. The award is given in memory of Ford, who was in the real estate business in Martinsville from 1908 until 1955 and who was a "one-man chamber" long before the business group was organized.

The crowd of more than 250 people attending the dinner gave Campbell a standing ovation.

“I really don’t know what to say,” an emotional Campbell said as he accepted the award. “I remember when I was on the chamber board, and I would look at the community leaders who had received the Heck Ford Award and never in a million years did I think I could possibly be up here getting this award. This is a very special night for me.”

“The Heck Ford Award is our highest honor, given to a person who has shown leadership, commitment and dedication toward this region’s economic well being,” said Amanda Witt, president of the M-HC Chamber of Commerce. “There is no one more deserving of this award than Clay. He has been an integral part of this community for decades and Clay’s commitment to Martinsville-Henry County and his charitable involvement and contributions, demonstrate clearly that he is well deserving of this prestigious award.”

In its decision to present Campbell with the award, the Chamber considered his body-of-work in supporting the area’s economic growth, including his long-time partnership with and support of the Chamber and CPEG (Chamber Partnership for Economic Growth), his financial support of CPEG during the formation of the Economic Development Corporation, the economic impact of Martinsville Speedway on the area and the entire Commonwealth. His life-long community service in the area, including the annual Fourth of July Celebration, Martinsville Speedway’s annual toy drive, the Martinsville Speedway Children’s Foundation, and many other community events the Speedway has hosted over the years.

Campbell has been president of Martinsville Speedway since 1988, assuming the role held by his grandfather, H. Clay Earles, the founder of Martinsville Speedway. He began working at the track fresh out of high school in 1978 and for a decade compiled work experience in every department.

He is a member of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership board of directors, a board member of CPEG, a board member of the W.E. Skelton 4-H Conference Center, a member of the Blue Ridge Airport Authority Board of Directors and a member of the National Stock Car Racing Commission.

He is a past president of the Martinsville YMCA board of directors and has served on the Patrick Henry Community College Foundation board of directors and the New College Institute board of directors.

He has been a licensed pilot for more than 25 years and is certified multi-engine and jet, instrument rated.

Not only does he oversee a racing facility, he races stock cars. He is running the entire NASCAR K&N Pro Series East tour this season and has been racing stock cars at weekly tracks for two decades.

Martinsville Speedway PR

If you’re looking for a pre-race pit pass and the opportunity to get up close and personal with NASCAR celebrities on Sprint Cup Series race day, our Green Flag Zone fan hospitality option is your best bet. The Green Flag Zone fan hospitality this Saturday, September 10 is your ticket to a pre-race pit pass, full dinner buffet and question-and-answer sessions with NASCAR celebrities, including Chase contenders Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski, all before the Wonderful Pistachios 400.

The Green Flag Zone fan hospitality, available this Saturday, September 10, prior to the Wonderful Pistachios 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is $90 per adult and includes an exclusive pre-race pit pass (2:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.), as well as admission to the Green Flag Zone, which offers:

·         Appetizers (2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.)

·         Dinner buffet (3:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.)

·         Six adult beverage tickets for fans 21 and older (with a valid ID).

·         Unlimited sodas and water.

·         Question-and-answer sessions with Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Miss Sprint Cup and track president Dennis Bickmeier

·         Live musical entertainment

Kids pricing (12 years of age and younger) is available for $45, which includes all of the above except the adult beverage tickets. Guests must have a ticket to the Saturday, September 10 race to purchase. The Green Flag Zone does not include a race ticket.

For additional information, please click here, e-mail Heather Griffin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 804-228-7500, extension 4050.

RIR PR

Michigan International Speedway remains committed to honoring the victims and heroes of 9-11 despite a work stoppage among union workers for the American Red Cross.

In the event the work stoppage continues into the weekend, MIS and the Great Lakes Region of the American Red Cross encourage those who signed up for appointments to still attend the event at their scheduled appointment time. There are many activities planned, all which honor the 10th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The Spirit of America has evolved into more than just a blood drive. It’s an event and a time of reflection. Should the strike end, the blood drive will take place as scheduled.

“We will have an event on Sunday,” Spirit of America organizer and MIS Director of Guest Services Tim Booth said. “Please don’t let a work stoppage keep you from coming to the speedway this weekend as there are a number of things on hand we are doing in honor of the 10th anniversary of 9-11.”

This year, all presenting donors who keep their scheduled appointment will receive a Spirit of America gift bag, Culver’s lunch in the Champions Club presented by CP Federal Credit Union, and a track tour, which features Unity Field and Home of the Brave, a 9-11 multi-media exhibit.

During the tour, donors will get an up-close view of more than 3,000 American flags proudly displayed at Unity Field to honor the victims of 9-11. The flags, representing victims of the 9-11 attacks, are placed in the speedway’s Lot 10 by veterans from local American Legion chapters.

With the 10th anniversary of 9-11, the Spirit of America will feature a special tribute throughout the weekend. From 9 p.m. through midnight Friday through Sunday, Unity Field will feature a single beam of light pointed straight to the sky in a tribute to the victims of 9-11. “Ray of Remembrance” will be visible from many of the surrounding communities of MIS and people are encouraged to visit the “Ray of Remembrance,” which will be proudly displayed in Unity Field.

Unity Field and the “Ray of Remembrance” tribute are free and open to the public.

Also, a bagpiper will play “Amazing Grace” throughout the MIS property throughout the morning at six Sept. 11 moments, starting at 8:48 a.m. when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center North Tower.

Anyone may come to Unity Field. Only blood donors with scheduled appointments will receive a gift bag and lunch.

Since its inception in 2002, the Spirit of America Blood Drive has grown into one of the largest 9-11 blood drives in the nation with more than 1,300 pints of blood collected just last year. In the past nine years, more than 7,546 pints of blood have been collected at the Spirit of America drive, positively affecting more than 22,638 lives.

Sponsors of the ninth annual Spirit of America Blood Drive include: Allegra, Advance America, Americrown, Be The Match, Brooklyn-Irish Hills Chamber of Commerce, Chevy Trucks, C&L Sanitation, Coke, Culver’s, DDM Marketing & Communications, FOX 47, Gift of Life, Jackson Coffee Company, Jackson Community Ambulance, Kiwanis, Kohl’s, Michigan CAT, Prestige Promotional Products, Print Tech, Richard Petty Driving Experience and The Home Depot.

MIS PR

Homestead-Miami Speedway has made various changes to its staff, Speedway President Matthew Becherer announced recently.

“I am incredibly proud of the way that we have evolved our team in recent months,” said Track President Matthew Becherer.  In addition to some organizational restructuring, we have added some new members of the team who will help us further elevate the excellent level of service that our customers have come to expect.”

Track President Matthew Becherer welcomed the following additions to the Homestead-Miami Speedway organization:

•             Ali Bradshaw has been named Director of Ticket Sales at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Bradshaw joins the Speedway from Southern Methodist University, where he was the Director of Ticket Sales from 2008 to 2011.  His main responsibilities will be the development, implementation, and growth of the newly created ticket sales department to increase overall ticket sales revenue. Prior to that, he worked for Major League Soccer where he was an account executive with FC Dallas for seven years.

Bradshaw earned a bachelor’s degree in Geography and Sports Science from the University of Leeds.

•             Eric Childers, who has a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Oklahoma Baptist University, has been named Manager of Ticket Operations Relations. Childers joins HMS from the National Basketball Association’s New Orleans Hornets where he was in a similar role for six years. Childers will oversee Homestead-Miami Speedway’s ticket operations team.

Childers and his wife Vicki reside in Homestead and have one child, Anna (1).

•             Randall Hoppe joins Homestead-Miami Speedway as Promotions Manager. Hoppe comes over from Toyota Speedway at Irwindale where he was the Director of Community Relations and Promotions.  Among his other duties, Hoppe will organize grassroots marketing, coordinate media promotions and lead the team in all social media and website efforts.

Hoppe earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications with a minor in Public Relations and Social Work from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

•             Kela Jones has been named Manager of Community Relations after her service with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Memphis. With four years of community relations and foundation experience, Jones will be tasked with establishing partnerships with local schools and non-profit organizations as a way to increase the track’s charitable efforts.

Jones holds a bachelor’s degree in Sports Marketing and Management from the University of Memphis.

•             Bethany Luna has joined the speedway staff as Manager of Ticket Sales. Most recently, Luna served as the Assistant Director of Development and Alumni Relations at the University of Texas at Dallas. With five years of sales experience, Luna will spearhead group and individual tickets sales. Luna holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Baylor University.

Luna is engaged to be married in October.

•             Sandy Sarbadhikari has been designated as Senior Manager of Corporate Partnerships. Sarbadhikari joins the Speedway after spending the last four years opening up new stadiums in New York and New Jersey. A veteran of the sports industry, his main responsibilities will be to develop, implement and execute strategies surrounding all aspects of corporate sales.

Sarbadhikari earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications/Journalism from St. John Fisher College.

“We are committed to growing our business and investing in great talent,” Becherer said. “These individuals bring a wealth of experience and proven records of success in providing thoughtful solutions to their respective sports communities. They join us at a significant time as we prepare to host NASCAR during Ford Championship Weekend for the 10th consecutive year and delivering world-class motorsports experiences for our guests.”

Homestead-Miami Speedway PR

Finding a lost wedding ring at a NASCAR race is like finding a needle in a haystack. At least that’s what Andrea Wieland from Bay City, Mich., thought when she lost hers at Michigan International Speedway.

But a tenacious staff, social media and an anonymous crew member helped reunite the race fan with her precious ring, ensuring another guest had a positive lasting memory from MIS.

Wieland attended the Pure Michigan 400 on Aug. 21. She had the opportunity to walk through the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage as part of a fan promotion.

While putting on sunscreen that morning, she put her wedding ring in her camera bag. A little while later she went to look for ring and it was gone.

After searching throughout the garage area with her friend and fellow NASCAR fan Cheryl Ruse, Wieland accepted the ring was gone.

Imagine nearly 100,000 fans on a 1,400-acre property. Where do you event begin to look?

Wieland, who has been married to her husband Doug for 16 years, never thought she would lose her ring.

“I thought I had lost it in the garage area somewhere and I looked everywhere and just figured it was gone,” she said. “I was frantic. I’ve been attending races at MIS for the past five or six years and have always had a great time. This time, because of my own doing, I was upset because I had lost a ring I’ve cherished for 16 years of marriage.”

So to have been reunited with the ring was downright unfathomable. But the use of social networking and the promise of the MIS Vision – to create lasting memories for every person, every time – is a game-changer.

This powerful combination, plus an MIS staffer who scours Facebook and a generous crew member for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Brian Vickers, can make a needle in a haystack seem easy to overcome.

While Wieland went on with her day and watched the Pure Michigan 400, a crew member for Red Bull Racing who wished to remain anonymous stumbled upon the ring in the garage and kept it with the idea that he would try to reunite the ring back with its owner if he could.

On the Sunday evening drive back to Bay City, Wieland posted a message on MIS’ Facebook page via her cell phone: “Anyone who may have been in the garage area at MIS and may have found a wedding ring with 13 diamonds in it that includes the big center diamond PLEASE message me through Facebook!”

Amanda Day was hoping she could help Wieland find her ring. As the track’s digital media coordinator, Day saw Wieland’s Facebook message and jumped in to help.

“I felt really bad for her,” Day, married just one year, said. “On one other occasion a couple of years ago we were able to reunite someone with their wedding ring. It is a story we retell before every race to inspire us to do our best and look for ways to go above and beyond. And I was hoping this would be the same outcome.”

Low and behold, a few days after the Pure Michigan 400, Day received a call from North Carolina. It was the Red Bull crew member.

“He told me he had found a ring in the garage and wanted to return it to its owner,” Day said. “I was certain it was the same one. So, I made sure they got in touch with one another as soon as possible so we could have another great story to tell.”

Just three days later, the wedding ring was back in its owner’s hands, having made the long trek from North Carolina to Bay City, Mich.

“I was so excited! I thanked him so much for finding it and sending it back to me,” Wieland said. “It tells you a lot about everyone involved in the sport of NASCAR. Whether you are a fan, NASCAR team crew member or MIS staffer, everyone just cares about one another like a big family. I don’t think the same thing would have happened at another major sporting event. That’s what separates MIS and NASCAR racing from the rest!”

It’s a story of people helping other people that makes all the difference at a NASCAR event in the Irish Hills of Michigan. Memories are made at MIS, even more so than that of details of a wedding ring.

“I was talking with the Red Bull crew member via e-mail and he asked me to describe the ring. I told him it had 13 diamonds with one in the center, which is what I posted on Facebook,” Wieland said. “Little did I remember that it actually had 31 diamonds in it! Sorry to my husband Doug for forgetting that.

“The Red Bull crew member gave me the benefit of the doubt and still sent it. Lucky for me!”

MIS PR

Slightly more than one year after the dedication of Pocono Raceway’s solar farm, the total amount of electricity produced by the 25 acre facility reached the 4,000,000 kilowatt hour (kWh) mark. The solar installation consists of 39,960 American made photovoltaic modules that will produce more than 72 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy over the next 20 years. The environmental attributes associated with the system will offset more than 3,104 Metric Tons of carbon dioxide annually and will generate enough power to provide the electricity needs for over 1,000 homes beyond the power needs of Pocono Raceway.

“This is another important milestone for Pocono Raceway,” said Brandon Igdalsky, President and CEO of Pocono Raceway.  “Pocono Raceway strongly believes in the commitment to operate in a more environmentally responsible way and is proud to be the first race track to power our sport with clean, renewable sunlight as the world’s largest solar-powered sports facility. This solar power system, built with timber, steel and solar panels made in the U.S., satisfies all our Raceway’s energy needs, while helping to power local homes.  This project demonstrates real sustainability and proves that any business that truly wants to go green, can do it.”

The 4,000,000 (kWh) produced has already impacted the environment. The total energy generated equals the use of 22,830 light bulbs (60W) for one year at eight hours per day and represents a savings of 324,000 gallons of gasoline with a carbon dioxide (CO2) offset equaling that of 72,000 trees. The Raceway has been awarded a number of environmental awards for its sustainable energy efforts including the 2011 Excellence in Renewable Energy Awards, Readers Choice Award presented by RenewableEnergyWorld.com and the 2011 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence, presented each year by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. These awards highlight the best in environmental innovation and expertise.

Pocono Raceway PR

As the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 approaches this weekend, Dover International Speedway and Dover Downs Hotel & Casino are remembering those who tragically lost their lives that day with a series of remembrance events, all of which also tie into a significant anniversary for the Monster Mile.

On Sept. 23, 2001, Dover International Speedway played host to the first NASCAR event after the terrorist attacks with the running of the “MBNA Cal Ripken Jr. 400” NASCAR Spring Cup Series race. Emotions were running high that day at the Monster Mile, as the country was only 12 days removed from the devastating attacks, but the crowd of nearly 140,000 people did not show their concern, as they waved American flags, clapped hands, stomped feet and repeated chants of “U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” in proud support of their country and in tribute to the thousands of Americans who lost their lives.

That patriotism will again be on display at the Monster Mile leading up to the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race that followed with a variety of remembrance events.

The 9/11 Memorial Blood drive, a joint effort between Dover International Speedway, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino and the Blood Bank of Delmarva, is set for Thursday, Sept. 8 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Rollins Center Ballroom at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. All those who donate blood will receive the opportunity to take a pace car ride around the Monster Mile with track historian George Keller, who has not missed a NASCAR race weekend in Dover since the track opened in 1969. Appointments are recommended by calling 888-8-BLOOD-8 or visiting www.delmarvablood.org.

On Sunday, Sept. 11, the ten-year anniversary of the attacks, the Dover Symphony Orchestra will perform a special free tribute concert at 1 p.m. in the Rollins Center of well-known patriotic music in remembrance of the victims of 9/11, as well as a tribute to first responders, including fire and police personnel and our military.

Also that day, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and Delaware Volunteer Firefighter’s Association, along with Dover International Speedway, will host the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, an event occurring in each of the 50 states. All emergency services personnel are invited to the Monster Mile at noon to pay tribute to the 343 FDNY members who selflessly gave their lives on September 11 by climbing 110 flights of stairs, the exact amount of stories in the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. Those interested in registering to participate should visit www.dvfassn.com, and any member of the public who would like to attend as a spectator is welcome to do so by entering the complex at Victory Plaza, presented by AAA, via Leipsic Road.

These events will give folks the opportunity to remember those who tragically lost their lives that day, and give race fans the chance to look back on that memorable event at the Monster Mile just 12 days after the attacks.

The motorsports world had already had a tragic year of its own in 2001, losing NASCAR legend and fan favorite Dale Earnhardt in the February 2001 “Daytona 500,” as well NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racing legend Dave Schultz; Formula One track marshal Graham Beveridge; and Italian F1 driver Michele Alboreto. All of the heartbreaking events overshadowed what was otherwise a very exciting season in all facets of the motorsports world.

All of that sadness was put aside when NASCAR came to Dover following the terrorist attacks, however, as the assembled crowd used the gathering as a chance to show pride in their country. The drivers also joined in, with many abandoning their standard paint schemes on their cars to feature a patriotic-themed design, the most dramatic of which was Kenny Schrader’s No. 36 M&M’s Pontiac, which removed every sponsor decal and was completely painted as an American flag.

Normalcy returned when the cars took to the track, and after a thrilling 400 laps of action true to the reputation of the Monster Mile, it was only fitting that Dale Earnhardt Jr., following the loss of his father earlier in the year in the “Daytona 500,” took the checkered flag for the win in one of the most emotionally charged and memorable NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in history.

“What the fans presented to us this morning before the race was some sort of an inspiration for all of us,” Earnhardt Jr. said following the race.

After he won, one of the crew members for his No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet hopped the pit road wall with a giant American flag, making a beeline toward Earnhardt Jr.’s car. He handed the flag off, and in an act of pure pride for his country and patriotic solidarity with the raucous Dover crowd, the driver took the stars and stripes for a victory lap around the Monster Mile.

To this day, that race serves as not just one of the most memorable events in the history of the Monster Mile, but in the history of all of NASCAR.

Dover Motorsports PR

Talladega Superspeedway announced today that the  2012 Aaron’s Dream Weekend returns to a traditional place on the calendar; May 4-6.  The 2012 Talladega 500 Weekend also moves up on the calendar to October 5-7.

Talladega historically held a race in May from 1971 through 1994.  The shift in dates should bring a favorable change in the weather that has affected the past two spring weekends at Talladega Superspeedway.  May historically is a drier and less stormy month than April in Alabama.

“We approached NASCAR about changing the date of the Aaron’s Dream Weekend and have been extremely pleased with their cooperation and flexibility,” said Talladega Superspeedway Chairman Grant Lynch.  “May is a great month to visit Alabama and we look forward to welcoming all our race fans. As one of the most historical tracks in NASCAR, it’s great to see another tradition return to Talladega.”

TSS PR

He’s only been in Richmond two months, but Richmond International Raceway President Dennis Bickmeier is ready to rappel 25 stories from the roof of the downtown SunTrust Center in support of the “Over The Edge” event to benefit Special Olympics Virginia. But he needs your help!

Special Olympics Virginia’s “Over The Edge” event, which takes place on Friday, October 21, at the SunTrust Center, is a fundraiser where participants are asked to raise $1,000, earning the opportunity to rappel nearly 400 feet. With the support of race fans and community members, Bickmeier is hoping to make a “towering” impact on the Commonwealth of Virginia and assist people with intellectual disabilities.

To support his effort, please log on to Bickmeier’s personalized fundraising page at www.tinyurl.com/dennisbickmeier. You can also text a one-time $10 donation by sending “GOLD RIR” to 85944.*

“It’s my hope that we can harness the spirit of giving among our great fans at Richmond International Raceway and across the NASCAR industry,” said Bickmeier. “Special Olympics Virginia is a wonderful organization that does great things for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Please join me in my effort to go ‘Over The Edge’ and consider making a donation.”

For more information on Special Olympics Virginia, log on to www.specialolympicsva.org. For more information on “Over The Edge,” log on to www.overtheedge.com.

NASCAR returns to Richmond International Raceway this weekend for the “One Last Race to Make The Chase” doubleheader weekend. Saturday’s Wonderful Pistachios 400 is the final race before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Advance tickets start at $45 and can be purchased online or by calling 866-455-7223.

The weekend begins Friday, September 9, with a full day of on-track activity, highlighted by the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race “under the lights.” Friday is a great option for the whole family, with children 12 and younger admitted free with a ticketed adult in general admission sections and advance tickets starting at $30.

*A one-time donation of $10 will be billed to your mobile phone bill. Messaging and data rates may apply. Donations are collected for Special Olympics Virginia by mobilecause.com. Reply STOP to 85944 to stop. Reply HELP to 85944 for help. For terms, see www.igfn.org/t.

Richmond International Raceway is giving race fans an opportunity to win a VIP trip to the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas with the “Your Seat in Vegas is Waiting” contest. The “Your Seat in Vegas is Waiting” contest will give one lucky winner, and a guest, a four-day, three-night trip to Las Vegas, which includes roundtrip airfare, hotel accommodations, $500 spending money and a VIP experience at the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony.

Fans can enter the “Your Seat in Vegas is Waiting” contest at the Richmond International Raceway tent in the Midway during the upcoming NASCAR Weekend at Richmond, featuring the Wonderful Pistachios 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race “under the lights” on Saturday night, September 10 and the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 Nationwide Series race on Friday night, September 9. Fans can also enter to win online by visiting www.rir.com/vegas.

The deadline to enter the “Your Seat in Vegas is Waiting” contest is October 14.

The “Your Seat in Vegas is Waiting” VIP Trip includes:

  • Four days, three nights in Las Vegas.
  • Roundtrip airfare for two to Las Vegas.
  • Hotel accommodations at the Wynn Las Vegas.
  • Access to the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony, including the following exclusive fan access:
    • Two Seats at the NSCS Awards Ceremony, including dinner.
    • A fan only pre-reception with NASCAR Industry VIP’s and red carpet walk prior to Awards Ceremony.
    • Two Seats at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon, including lunch.
    • Access to the NASCAR “After the Lap” event.
  • $500 spending money.

The official rules and regulations of the “Your Seat in Vegas is Waiting” contest are also available at www.rir.com/vegas.

RIR PR

The guys will step aside as the ladies put on the firesuits for an all-out, girls-have-at-it battle when the inaugural Better Half Dash gets underway at Charlotte Motor Speedway as part of the Bank of America 500 pre-race activities on Oct. 15.

The charity race, supporting Motor Racing Outreach (MRO) and Speedway Children’s Charities (SCC), will pit the women of NASCAR against each other in Bandolero cars provided by U.S. Legend Cars International on the speedway’s frontstretch quarter-mile oval.

Participants already entered in the Better Half Dash include Katie Kenseth, wife of 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Matt Kenseth; Angie Skinner, wife of 1995 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Mike Skinner; and SPEED television personality Wendy Venturini. Additionally, Kelley Earnhardt, general manager and co-owner of Junior Motorsports, will wave the green flag for the event.

“Matt was pretty excited when he heard I was going to race,” said Katie Kenseth. “This is an exciting event for a great cause and an opportunity for the girls to ‘have at it.’ I think you’ll see most of us are just as competitive as the men. Hopefully the other ladies will have a lot of fun racing for second place.”

The Better Half Dash will start at approximately 2:30 p.m. EDT and will be 25 laps in length, with a competition caution set for Lap 15. There will be two chances at a green-white-checkered finish. Caution laps will not count. Starting order will be determined by random draw prior to the race.

While the better half is toiling away in the driver’s seat, the other half has the option to serve as crew chief or spotter for the race, but drivers and crew members are not permitted to make any engine, chassis or suspension modifications. They can, however, give advice.

“I have already started my research into how to drive,” said Angie Skinner. “My husband’s response was you let off the gas and turn when you feel you are too tight. But then I said, ‘How much do you let off and how long?’ He responded, ‘If you knew that you’d be a professional race car driver.’ Can I have a different ‘other half’ for this race please?’

The Better Half Dash purse will be paid to the driver’s charity of choice, with $5,000 going to the winner’s charity, $3,000 for the second place finisher and $2,000 for third. Fans will also have the opportunity to donate $10 to MRO and SCC through the completion of the Bank of America 500 by texting “MOTOR” to 20222.

“What a great and exciting opportunity to help support and raise money for MRO & SCC,” said Better Half Dash racer Trisha Mears, wife of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Casey Mears. “MRO has been such a huge part of our racing lives and SCC is a very rewarding charity that has helped no many children throughout the years. I’m looking forward to raising money and having fun in the racecar. And can someone ask Katie Kenseth if she can drive in reverse?”

“MRO is extremely thankful to partner with Speedway Children's Charities on this event and thankful for the support of Charlotte Motor Speedway and the drivers who are participating,” said Billy Mauldin, president of MRO. “We’re so excited to be a part of this fun event, it’s time to give these ladies the chance to show the guys they know a thing or two about racing."

Two Better Half Dash practice sessions are scheduled for Sept. 26 and 28 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Drivers currently entered are Ashley Allgaier, Jacquelyn Butler (David Ragan), Patricia Driscoll (Kurt Busch), Michelle Gilliland, Kenseth, Shannon Koch, Jami McDowell, Mears, Melanie Self (MRO), Skinner, Sabrina Simpson (Joey Logano), Venturini (SPEED) and Nan Zipadelli.

Updates on the race and entrants can be found at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.

CMS PR

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