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Richmond International Raceway photographer John Harrelson was named the 2010 Howard O’Reilly Photographer of the Year in a vote by the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA).   The honor was announced at an awards ceremony at the NMPA meetings in Charlotte, N.C., where Harrelson was presented with a trophy.

There are four categories used to qualify a photographer for the honor: Race Action, Portrait/Personality, Feature and Crash Action.  Points are awarded based on where a photographer finishes in each category.  Harrelson, a native of Richmond, Va. placed first in Race Action for a shot of Denny Hamlin’s pit crew speeding through a stop, second in Portrait/Personality for a shot of “The King” Richard Petty deep in thought, second in Feature for a shot of track crews chasing a cat on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway and third in Crash Action for a shot of Paul Menard and Dennis Setzer wrecking at Talladega Superspeedway.

“It’s pretty exciting to have our track photographer named the 2010 NMPA Photographer of the Year,” said track president Doug Fritz.  “John does a great job and deserves this honor.”

Harrelson, who has been the official photographer of Richmond International Raceway since 1985, has also worked with Motorsports Images and Archives and Getty Images.

“This award is such an honor,” said Harrelson as he accepted his trophy in Charlotte, NC.  “Since I was a kid in the grandstands this is all I’ve wanted to do.  To win photographer of the year and know my name is going to be on the trophy at the Darlington Stock Car Museum means the world.  I’m doing what I love and being honored for it at the same time.”

In addition to Harrelson’s honor, track photographer Geoff Burke was also awarded a plaque for placing first in the Open category with a photo of Kyle Busch celebrating a win in Victory Lane.

Along with business partner Scott K. Brown, Harrelson just built a new state-of-the-art photography studio in Ashland, VA where the two can showcase their company Pixel Factory and Harrelson Photography Inc.

NASCAR returns to Richmond International Raceway for a NASCAR Tripleheader April 28-30, highlighted by the Saturday, April 30 Crown Royal Presents The Your Name Here 400 Sprint Cup Series race. Tickets start at $45 and can be purchased online at www.rir.com or by calling 866-455-RACE (7223).

The weekend also features the Friday, April 29 BUBBA burger 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race “under the lights.” Friday’s tickets start at $30 in advance. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East kicks off the weekend on Thursday, April 28, when they debut at America’s Premier Short Track for a race “under the lights.” Thursday’s tickets are general admission and $10. Children 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult in general admission sections on Thursday and Friday. For tickets and information, log on to www.rir.com or call 866-455-RACE (7223).

CREDIT: RIR PR

 

 

Charlotte Motor Speedway is gearing
up for a spectacular year of entertainment as the track's 2011 schedule
features more than 100 days and nights of excitement.


The speedway's 2011 season includes premier NASCAR, NHRA and World
of Outlaws Series events, as well as two gigantic Food Lion AutoFairs.
Beginning with Cirque Du Soleil on March 3, the schedule features events at
all three venues on the speedway's complex including Charlotte Motor
Speedway, zMAX Dragway and The Dirt Track at Charlotte. The 2011 season will
conclude with the second annual Carolina Christmas light show and winter
festival, Nov. 21 through Jan. 1, 2012.


"Charlotte Motor Speedway's 2011 season schedule promises to be one
of the most action packed yet," said Marcus Smith, president and general
manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "More than one million fans will visit
us to see the world's greatest drivers compete and to create memories that
will last a lifetime."


Races quickly approaching in the Spring Season of Speed, include the
NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, the World of
Outlaws Sprint Car Showdown and the Coca-Cola 600.


The speedway is offering exceptional savings through season ticket
or multi-event plans for the NASCAR Sprint Cup weekends at Charlotte Motor
Speedway, NHRA events at zMAX Dragway and World of Outlaw races at The Dirt
Track at Charlotte.


For NASCAR fans, the best value in racing is the Victory Lane Club
Season Ticket. In addition to reserved seats to all three NASCAR Sprint Cup
Series races in May and October at the speedway, members will receive $1,500
in added value including a 15 percent discount on tickets, VIP parking,
trial membership to The Speedway Club, free tickets to other select speedway
events and invitations to members-only functions.


Drag racing fans can witness the two NHRA national events at the
Bellagio of drag strips with the zMAX Dragway Season Ticket. The package
includes 10 percent savings on four-day reserved tickets to both the NHRA
Four-Wide Nationals in April and the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals in
September, VIP parking, a personalized photo identification hard card and
other great values.


To see "The Greatest Show on Dirt" at one of the world's premier
dirt track facilities, fans can purchase a 2011 sprint car or late model
ticket package for The Dirt Track at Charlotte. The Sprint Car Double Down
Ticket Package includes tickets to the May Sprint Car Showdown and
November's World Finals, while the Late Model Double Down Ticket Package
includes the World Finals and October's Late Model Showdown. Both packages
not only come with a five percent discount on ticket prices, but also
include VIP parking for both events, a free ticket to Saturday of the Spring
AutoFair, a free ticket to a Summer Shootout event, plus a free pit pass for
World Finals.

CREDIT: CMS PR

The history and lore surrounding Talladega Superspeedway leads thousands of NASCAR fans to flock to the foothills of Alabama twice a year.  Now, two fans will be chosen each year to become a part of the track’s history when they are enshrined to the Talladega Superspeedway Fan Hall of Fame. 

“Talladega has some of the most passionate race fans on the circuit,” said Talladega Superspeedway Chairman Grant Lynch.  “Our desire to recognize those loyal and outgoing fans led to the creation of the Fan Hall of Fame.”

Fans can nominate themselves or be nominated by others by completing the online entry form and an essay of 100 words or less, explaining why they should be selected as the ultimate fan of Talladega Superspeedway. The selection committee consists of staff from Talladega Superspeedway and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

In recognition of being selected to the Talladega Superspeedway Fan Hall of Fame, inductees will be recognized during pre-race ceremonies of the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and showcased on www.talladegasuperspeedway.com and in a special display at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum.

Nominations for the 2011 Fan Hall of Fame will be accepted from February 1 - March 1, 2011. A full set of rules and online nomination form can be found at www.talladegasuperspeedway.com/fhof.

The countdown is on for the April 15- 17 Aaron’s Dream Weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.   Qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, followed by the ARCA Racing Series 250 is set for Friday, April 15.  On Saturday, April 16, fans will see qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, followed by the Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race.  On Sunday, April 17, the greatest drivers in the world face off in the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

CREDIT: TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY PR

Fans who buy tickets to Michigan International Speedway for the 2011 season will see more value in their purchase than ever before.

So now is the time for the best deals possible during the speedway’s Value Pricing Period, today through Feb. 28.

The Value Pricing Period kicks off the speedway’s public ticket sale today. Tickets can be purchased online at www.MISpeedway.com or by calling 800-354-1010.

“Our ticket pricing is unique in that we offered the lowest prices for our loyal, renewing customers and anyone who left a goodwill deposit,” MIS President Roger Curtis said. “So this is the best opportunity for any new fans of our sport or fans who forgot to renew to take advantage of some great ticket deals before event pricing goes into effect on March 1.”

MIS offers NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tickets for as low as $25. Kids 12 and under are free in the general admission seating areas, while junior pricing for 17 and under are half price for all reserved seats. The Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 on Father’s Day June 19, and the NSCS 400 on August 21, both NASCAR Sprint Cup events, feature some of the lowest ticket prices in the country.

Prices on other events such as the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on June 18 and Camping World Truck Series VFW 200 on August 20 have also remained low for 2011 at $40 and $30, respectively. Lastly, the RainEater Wiper Blades 200 ARCA Racing Series event on June 17 and Meijer Pole Day on Aug. 19 are just $7.50 each.

Prices are subject to increase on March 1 when the Value Pricing transitions to Event Pricing, so Curtis encourages anyone who wants to see some of the best stock car racing in the country to give MIS a try.

“We are making our sport affordable and getting families back to the track,” Curtis said. “Our 2011 tier-pricing structure has made Sprint Cup Series tickets at MIS a tremendous value for adults and children. MIS offers a great racing experience for its fans at a reasonable price.”

With NASCAR’s recent announcement about changes to its points system, thus simplifying it for the industry and its fans, the buzz heading into the 2011 season is far greater than in previous years.

Additionally, MIS’ continuous commitment to its fans in the form of a new and improved scoreboard, paved tram routes and additional handicapped parking in 2011 are just a few of the more than $55 million worth of improvements the speedway has made for its fans since 2006. New gate policies will also be in effect for 2011, giving fans the chance to bring in larger coolers to keep their food and beverages cold during the race.

With important changes to NASCAR, various capital improvements and affordable Value Pricing, MIS events are can’t miss races in 2011.

“With all the recent changes NASCAR announced last week and the continued investments we are making into our facility, it truly is creating a much larger buzz around the sport heading into the 2011 season,” Curtis added. “The whole team here is energized for the start of what will be a phenomenal NASCAR season and a return to affordable, fun entertainment in Michigan.”

Nestled in the lush Irish Hills of Southeastern Michigan, Michigan International Speedway is the Great Escape, a venerable NASCAR national park where fans can get away and enjoy the very best in racing and camaraderie. It’s the love of racing and the thrill of a great time for race fans and drivers alike.


CREDIT: MIS PR

Iowa Speedway has a new Director of Media Relations. Rob Gray, a sports reporter at The Des Moines Register for 10 years, has joined the team to serve in that role, track officials announced Monday.

Gray’s duties will include, but not be limited to, writing articles for IowaSpeedway.com, coordinating the release of track-related information to accredited media outlets, and assisting members of all media before, during and after the four race weekends slated for 2011 at “America’s Place to Race.’”

“We’re extremely pleased that Rob will be joining us,” said Iowa Speedway President Jerry Jauron. “He worked hard covering us from the other side and I expect him to be a valuable addition to our industry-best team.”

Gray covered every race at Iowa Speedway for the Register

He also reported on various other sports, including high school and college football, basketball, wrestling, volleyball, baseball, soccer, track and field, tennis and swimming.

 

CREDIT: IOWA SPEEDWAY PR

As part of its ongoing effort to enhance fan communication and safety while providing timely information, Daytona International Speedway today announced the debut of its mobile website, www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com, this coming weekend at the 49th Rolex 24 At Daytona.  With the new mobile web site, fans can now access vital ticket and race weekend information directly from their smart phones.

In addition, speedway officials announced the return of the Fan Texting Service, allowing fans to communicate directly with officials on property to report a safety issue, ask a seating question or request general assistance.

“Our fans are becoming more technologically savvy and with the current capabilities available on today’s smart phones, it’s important for us to use this technology to deliver current event information and enhance our guests’ overall experience,” said Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III.  “With the new mobile web site, fans can access important information before, during and after race weekends, including ticket information, gate policies, race day activities, latest news and much more.  Also, our Fan Texting Service adds another level of customer service to ensure all our guests have a safe, memorable and enjoyable experience at the ‘World Center of Racing.’”

The fan texting code will be highly visible via signage throughout the entire Daytona International Speedway property, including parking areas, merchandise and vendor midway areas, the infield, and grandstand seats.

Tickets for the 53rd annual Daytona 500 and Speedweeks 2011 events are available online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter (www.twitter.com/disupdates) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway).

 

CREDIT: Daytona International Speedway PR

As part of its ongoing effort to enhance fan communication and safety while providing timely information, Daytona International Speedway today announced the debut of its mobile website, www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com, this coming weekend at the 49th Rolex 24 At Daytona.  With the new mobile web site, fans can now access vital ticket and race weekend information directly from their smart phones.

In addition, speedway officials announced the return of the Fan Texting Service, allowing fans to communicate directly with officials on property to report a safety issue, ask a seating question or request general assistance.

“Our fans are becoming more technologically savvy and with the current capabilities available on today’s smart phones, it’s important for us to use this technology to deliver current event information and enhance our guests’ overall experience,” said Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III.  “With the new mobile web site, fans can access important information before, during and after race weekends, including ticket information, gate policies, race day activities, latest news and much more.  Also, our Fan Texting Service adds another level of customer service to ensure all our guests have a safe, memorable and enjoyable experience at the ‘World Center of Racing.’”

The fan texting code will be highly visible via signage throughout the entire Daytona International Speedway property, including parking areas, merchandise and vendor midway areas, the infield, and grandstand seats.

Tickets for the 53rd annual Daytona 500 and Speedweeks 2011 events are available online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter (www.twitter.com/disupdates) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway).

 

CREDIT: Daytona International Speedway PR

NASCAR announced Wednesday that it has added a wild card element to setting the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field. While the 12-driver Chase field will remain intact, the final two spots will be determined by the number of wins during the first 26 races. That means that the "One Last Race to Make The Chase" on Saturday night, September 10 will be even more important than ever for drivers.

As the host of the final race before the Chase, Richmond International Raceway is likely to play an integral role in deciding the final two positions in the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

The top 10 in points following the "cutoff" race at Richmond International Raceway will continue to earn Chase berths. Different from years past, positions 11 and 12 will be "wild card" qualifiers and go to non-top-10-ranked drivers with the most wins, as long as they’re ranked in the top 20 in points.

This means that drivers will have more incentive to battle it out at America's Premier Short Track. A visit to Gatorade Victory Lane "under the lights" could mean a berth in the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

"The addition of the wild card element to the Chase will definitely add to the excitement of the September 10th ‘One Last Race to Make The Chase’ at Richmond International Raceway," said track president Doug Fritz. "The drama and anticipation will only increase. This will provide even more incentive for drivers to battle it out for the win, which will ultimately provide more exciting on-track action ‘under the lights.’"

Additional changes go into effect at the start of the season and will play a large role in the April 28-30 Crown Royal Presents The Your Name Here 400 NASCAR Weekend at Richmond International Raceway. The new points system – which applies to all NASCAR national series – will award points in one-point increments. As an example, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, race winners will earn 43 points, plus three bonus points for the win. Winners also can earn an extra point for leading a lap and leading the most laps, bringing their total to a possible maximum of 48 points.

All other drivers in a finishing order will be separated by one-point increments. A second-place finisher will earn 42 points, a third-place driver 41 points, and so on. A last-place finisher – 43rd place – earns one point.

The qualifying order for both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series will be based on fastest practice times.  The slowest drivers will qualify first, with the fastest qualifying last.  Historically qualifying order has been based on a random draw.

“The changes in qualifying will be a great addition to our April 30th Crown Royal Presents The Your Name Here 400 weekend, adding to the drama and excitement that fans have come to expect at Richmond International Raceway,” continued Fritz.  “Additionally, the new points system will make it easy to understand for both the casual and hardcore fans of NASCAR throughout the entire season.

I commend Brian France and Mike Helton for listening to the fans and making these changes based on what the fans have said they want to see.  This is just another way that NASCAR is showing the fans that their opinions matter.”

 

Continuing to make Kansas Speedway the best guest experience in motorsports, Kansas Speedway President Patrick Warren announced several enhancements to the fan experience at Kansas Speedway, including two projects that will total over $2 million.

Kansas Speedway is increasing the width of its seats throughout the grandstands, a project that is scheduled to be completed for the new June event weekend (June 4-5, 2011). The project will increase seat widths of both chair back and bleacher seating. Seats that are currently 18 inches will become 20 inches and seats that are 20 inches will increase to 22 inches, which will improve fan comfort during events. The previous grandstand seats, both aluminum and plastic, will be recycled.

In addition to widening seats in the grandstand, Kansas Speedway is also increasing the size of coolers fans can bring to the track. Starting with the June events, soft-sided coolers measuring 14”x14”x14” or 2,700 cubic inches will be permitted – which is six times bigger than in years past.  Coolers of this size typically have a removable plastic liner and are branded to hold 24 to 36 cans of carbonated beverages.  To ensure these items fit underneath grandstand seats and do not block walkways, coolers with telescoping handles and wheels will not be permitted. As part of its standard policy, hard-sided coolers will not be allowed into the grandstand area.

“We continue to listen to our fans about how to improve their experience at Kansas Speedway,” said Warren. “By adding a second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race to our 2011 schedule and the other changes we’ve made, this was the appropriate time to make these enhancements. Our improvements are designed to add a level of comfort to our guests for all of our events.”

Safety improvements allow enhanced convenience for fans while continuing to provide a secure environment.  To make it more convenient for fans to carry additional items such as cameras, radio scanners and souvenirs, fans can now utilize lightweight backpacks or daypacks similar to those used by school students.  Fan comfort and safety remains a top priority so all items carried into the speedway will be subject to a thorough and complete search by security personnel prior to entering the ticket gates.

Kansas Speedway is adding to its popular Blue Ox campground with an additional paved lot on the north side of Speedway property adjacent to State Blvd. The campground will add 185 camping spots to the facility.

When race fans arrive at Kansas Speedway in June, they will also notice the new Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway as the steel portion of the project is expected to be completed by the end of February. Overlooking Turn 2, the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway is slated to open in the first quarter of 2012.

 

CREDIT: Kansas Speedway PR

 


NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France today revealed changes to NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship “playoff” system—the winner of which will be crowned at Homestead-Miami Speedway during Ford Championship Weekend for a 10th consecutive season this fall (Nov. 20).


The new points system will award 43 points to the race winner, with the points rewarded then decreasing in one-point increments to a single point for the last-place finisher. The race winner will also be awarded three bonus points for the victory, as well as another point for leading a lap during the race.

“Many of our most loyal fans don’t fully understand the points system we have used to date,” France said in making the announcement. “So, we are simplifying the points system to one that is much easier to understand. Conceptually, it is comparable to our previous system, but it is easier to follow....It's going to create even more excitement and drama [and] last year, we got the best racing we have seen all the way down to South Florida in the closest Championship ever.”

In years past, the first 26 events of NASCAR’s 36-race season determined the Top 12 points-scoring drivers for the 10-race Chase “playoff.” The new format will feature the Top 10 points-scoring drivers plus potentially two wild cards who don’t qualify in the Top 10 but score the highest number of victories.


“This makes the scoring system much easier to understand, and based on what I've heard from our fans over the last few days there is no question that this was the right move,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Matthew Becherer. “There is so much drama that unfolds on the track each week, and I'm for anything that helps tell that story in a more effective way as we work toward the Sprint Cup Championship during Ford Championship Weekend in Miami. I am also thrilled for the fans with the addition of the two wild-card spots: It has always been about winning, but to now have two spots in the Chase be solely determined by wins just ratchets up that level of emotion.”

CREDIT: Homestead-Miami Speedway PR

With the announcement of changes to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points system, the summer race dates at Michigan International Speedway on June 19 and August 21 will offer more excitement for fans and become even more pivotal races on the 2011 Sprint Cup Series schedule. A two-time Sprint Cup Series race winner at MIS agrees …

“The points system will be easier for all to understand and therefore track their favorite driver and team. Mathematically it will still reward the winner and therefore a winning and deserving champion,” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman said. “The Michigan race in August is especially pivotal because you can mathematically eliminate yourself from the Chase or lock yourself in for that matter. That can't be done at Infineon or Darlington. There are just as many points to gain or lose, but you can change the outcome of the rest of your season in that one race.”

The announcement, which took place on Wednesday night at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C., will make the points standings easier for fans to understand, while putting a greater emphasis on winning.

“I love the simplicity of the points for our fans and am very excited that NASCAR has emphasized leading and winning,” MIS President Roger Curtis said. “Our sport is about proving who is the best, not just over the course of the season, but each week on a variety of race tracks. These changes balance awarding consistent success over 10 months and great performances on a weekly basis.

“I am very happy with the addition of the wildcard drivers and that they did not add “knockout” rounds as had been rumored. The Chase is an exciting playoff for our sport as seen with this last year’s thrilling championship. Blaming a once-in-a-lifetime witnessing of Jimmie Johnson and his race team’s amazing success is not a reason to scrap the Chase or make kneejerk reactions. Yet, the changes announced by NASCAR are not subtle and put the focus on where is should be – racing and winning and earning your way into the playoffs and then racing win the Championship,” Curtis continued

The new points system – which applies to all NASCAR national series – will award points in one-point increments. As an example, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, race winners will earn 43 points, plus three bonus points for the win. Winners also can earn an extra point for leading a lap and leading the most laps, bringing their total to a possible maximum of 48 points.

All other drivers in a finishing order will be separated by one-point increments. A second-place finisher will earn 42 points, a third-place driver 41 points, and so on. A last-place finisher – 43rd place – earns one point. In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the last-place finisher receives eight points, to account for that series’ 36-driver race field.

While the 12-driver Chase field remains intact, the final two spots will be determined by the number of wins during the first 26 races. The top 10 in points following Race No. 26 – the “cutoff” race – continue to earn Chase berths.

Positions 11 and 12 are “wild card” qualifiers and will go to non-top-10-ranked drivers with the most wins, as long as they’re ranked in the top 20 in points. The top-10 Chase drivers will continue to be seeded based on wins during the first 26 races, with each win worth three bonus points. The wild card drivers will not receive bonus points for wins and will be seeded 11th and 12th, respectively. It’s a move aimed towards rewarding winning and consistency during the regular season.

The deadline to place a deposit is approaching on Jan. 31. The best, guaranteed lowest prices in 2011 go to customers who make a $30 goodwill deposit. New customers can log onto www.MISpeedway.com or call 800-354-1010 to leave a deposit. That deposit ensures race fans get the best pricing for 2011.

 

CREDIT: MIS PR

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