Sunday, Oct 02
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Water jet systems manufacturer Jet Edge, Inc. proudly announces that Brian Vickers will drive the #55 Jet Edge Toyota Camry April 7 at the Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Vickers, who is driving the #55 car in nine races this year for Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR), became the youngest Busch Series champion in NASCAR history in 2003, at the age of 20. Last September, he drove the #55 Jet Edge-Freightliner Toyota Camry to a ninth place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and led the race for five laps despite starting from the rear due to an engine change.

MWR uses a Jet Edge precision water jet cutting system to cut more than 1,000 parts for each of its racecars. MWR builds about 56 cars per year, including the #55 Aarons Dream Machine Toyota Camry driven by Michael Waltrip, Mark Martin and Brian Vickers, the #56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry driven by Martin Truex Jr., and the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry driven by Clint Bowyer.

This spring, MWR is installing a second Jet Edge water jet system in its Cornelius, N.C. fabrication shop. MWRs second water jet system will feature Jet Edges latest Permalign® EDGE taper control and bevel cutting technology. 

"Brian ran an incredible race last fall at Loudon and were really excited to see him back in the Jet Edge car this spring," said Jet Edge President Jude Lague. "Were very proud that MWR uses Jet Edge equipment and that they are installing a second Jet Edge."

Jet Edge PR

Fans hoping to get to meet their favorite NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) drivers will have the opportunity to do so on Saturday, April 13 at Rockingham Speedway.

The speedway will hold a driver autograph session that morning from 10:15 a.m. until 11:15 a.m. by the famous rocks by the main entrance of the track.  The session will take place before the first NCWTS practice for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at The Rock presented by Cheerwine.

The autograph session is open to anyone holding a ticket for Saturday's or Sunday's races.

"We had such a great turnout with last year's autograph session, that we had to do it again," said Rockingham Speedway President Andy Hillenburg. "The autograph session is a great time for fans to come out and meet their favorite drivers before the racing action gets underway."

The speedway will be selling tickets for Saturday's and Sunday's events at the main office adjacent to the rock.

There will also be a "Tweet Meet" Sunday morning at 9 a.m. outside of the track for the NASCAR Twitter community. More details will be available on Rockingham Speedway's official Twitter @RockinghamSpeed as the race approaches.

The NCWTS will be making its second-annual trip to Rockingham Speedway for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at The Rock presented by Cheerwine. In last year's inaugural event, Sprint Cup veteran Kasey Kahne took the checkered flag despite starting at the rear of the field.

 

The UARA-STARS Late Model Series and the Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals (FKSSN) will join the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at The Rock presented by Cheerwine weekend. The UARA and FKSSN will be competing on Saturday, April 13, with qualifying on Friday, April 12.

 

The NCWTS will practice on Saturday with qualifying and racing on Sunday, April 14.

 

Rockingham Speedway PR

Jack Roush's success at Texas Motor Speedway has become a part of the speedway's growing history. It was Roush who became the first team owner to sweep both events at "The Great American Speedway!" during the inaugural season in 1997. His success has not stopped there as he has since gone on to win 18 races as a car owner across NASCAR's top three national series at Texas Motor Speedway, including a record nine in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition.

 

His dominance at Texas Motor Speedway has earned him the honor of becoming the 15th member inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame. Roush will be honored Thursday, April 11, during the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Gala benefitting Speedway Children's Charities that will be held in The Speedway Club's Grand Ballroom.

 

 Roush's induction culminates an evening that celebrates the accomplishments of motorsport's most talented drivers and contributors. Other honorees will be five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson; 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch; IZOD IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal; and legendary motorsports journalist Chris Economaki posthumously.

 

Roush has helped establish one of the most successful organizations in motorsports in Roush Fenway Racing. The organization stands as the winningest team in NASCAR history and boasts the most victories in both the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. With Roush at the helm, Roush Fenway Racing has captured seven championships across NASCAR's three major series, including two Sprint Cup Series championships in 2003 and '04.

 

Texas Motor Speedway has become the "House of Roush" with his nine Sprint Cup Series wins and 18 in Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series competition. His Sprint Cup Series victory total is more than double the next closest owner - which is Rick Hendrick with four - and his most recent win came in last April's Samsung Mobile (now NRA) 500.

 

Roush joins an accomplished list of individuals that have been inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame since it was established in 2003. He joins previous inductees A.J. Foyt (2003), Johnny Rutherford ('03), Terry Labonte ('04), Lee Shepherd ('04), Kenny Bernstein ('05), Jim Hall ('05), Eddie Hill ('06), Mark Martin ('07), Jim McElreath ('07), Bobby Labonte ('08), Bruton Smith ('08), Joe Gibbs ('09), John Force ('10) and Lanny Edwards ('11).

 

Johnson, who turned in his most dominating season at Texas Motor Speedway in 2012 with a victory in the AAA Texas 500 and runner-up finish in the Samsung Mobile 500, will receive the Texas Motor Speedway Racer of the Year award. In the AAA Texas 500, Johnson became just the second driver to win from the pole for his second career victory at Texas Motor Speedway. His win followed his previous performance during April's Samsung Mobile 500 where he led a race-high 156 laps en route to a runner-up finish behind Greg Biffle. In all, Johnson led a total of 324 of 669 laps in the two 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at "The Great American Speedway!"

 

Busch has been instrumental in helping Speedway Children's Charities-Texas Chapter raise funds to benefit children in North Texas. He will be recognized as this year's recipient of the Maj. General Thomas Sadler Award. Busch has hosted some of Speedway Children's Charities biggest fundraising events that include the Kurt Busch Celebrity Bowling Tournament and Busch-Whacked Mud Run. In all, Busch has helped Speedway Children's Charities-Texas Chapter raise more than $40,000.

 

Rahal will receive the Texas Motor Speedway Sportsmanship Award for displaying a demeanor both on and off the track that exemplifies the meaning of sportsmanship. In June, he appeared headed to his second career IZOD IndyCar Series victory before his car brushed the wall and the bobble handed the lead and eventual victory over to Justin Wilson. Following the race, Rahal handled defeat as a true professional. His sportsmanship has been demonstrated off the track through his work with the Graham Rahal Foundation and his efforts to help the family of the late Dan Wheldon in 2011 by generating an auction that raised more than $600,000.

 

Economaki, motorsport's most noted and accomplished journalist, will be honored posthumously with the Bruton Smith Legend Award. Economaki left a lasting impact on the motorsports community through his work as both an editor and publisher for National Speed Sport News and television commentator. His passion for racing helped him earn the title, "Dean of American Motorsports." His 74-year career as a journalist helped capture the early history of motorsports, covering premier events in NASCAR, INDYCAR and Formula One, among others.

 

A special VIP reception will be held prior to the awards ceremony beginning at 6:30 p.m. CT, followed by dinner beginning at 7:15 p.m. Fans can join in honoring the recipients by purchasing sponsorship or individual tickets to the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Gala.

 

Table sponsorships, beginning at $1,200, and individual tickets ($150) are available by calling the Speedway Children's Charities office at (817) 215-8421 or for more information, visit www.scctexas.org.

 

TMS PR

This year’s 135th Annual White House Easter Egg Roll will kick off Monday, April 1 with Roush Fenway's No. 99 Fastenal Sprint Cup Ford Fusion featured at The Ellipse in the nation’s capital.

The 2013 Easter Egg Roll, which takes place on the South Lawn of the White House, is focused on promoting health and wellness with the theme, “Be Healthy, Be Active, Be You!” The event features live music, sports courts, cooking stations, storytelling and, of course, Easter egg rolling. The activities encourage children to lead healthy, active lives in support of the First Lady’sLet’s Move! initiative.

“It will be an honor to have the No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion on site at the White House,” said Pat Resch, Fastenal’s VP of Marketing. “We’re looking forward to being a part of this Easter tradition and presenting the Fastenal brand to 30,000-plus attendees.”

Fastenal, a Winona, Minn. based Fortune 500 company and North America’s largest fastener distributor, will debut a military-themed paint scheme over Memorial Day weekend for the Coca-Cola 600 on Carl Edwards' No. 99 Ford, as well as the No. 16 and No. 17 Sprint Cup cars driven by Roush Fenway Racing teammates Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

“This is a great opportunity to show a sign of respect for all branches of the military, and all of the men and women who’ve sacrificed for the freedoms we sometimes take for granted,” said Resch, a former member of the US Navy and National Guard. “We’re proud of all of our employees, but leading up to Memorial Day we’re especially proud of the hundreds of current and former military personnel who are part of our Fastenal Blue Team.”

RFR PR

Ted Besch and his brother Kevin have been coming to Martinsville Speedway for years, always staking out a spot in the campground that overlooks the track.

This year he convinced three friends to make their first trip from Fredrick, Md., with him. And by Saturday morning, days before the first race car will be on track the rookies were huge Martinsville fans.

“It just seems like it’s going to be a lot of fun here … a good time,” said Vivian Hunsley, who along with her husband Ray and friend Dennis Corle are Martinsville first-timers. “We camped in the parking lot last night to get in our line to get our spot today and it was so much fun meeting all the people. Everyone was so friendly. It was like a big party.”

And that was even before the campground opened at 8 a.m. Saturday.

By mid-morning Saturday the group was busying themselves getting their two RVs set up. They were a bit surprised by one visitor they had … track president Clay Campbell.

“I love the short-track racing. I love the camping overlooking the speedway and most of all I love the hospitality. The track president just stopped by and talked with us. Where else does that happen,” asked Besch.

“What other track can you set up above the track, actually see into the infield from your campsite. The ambiance here is something else. You can go to a football game and the people next to you won’t even talk with you. Camping here and at the race here, it’s like everybody is your friend. That’s why I keep coming back.”

The STP® Gas Booster™ 500 will be just the second NASCAR race for the Hunsleys and Corle. The entire group went to a race in the Midwest last year, and Besch convinced them it was nothing when compared to the Martinsville experience.

“After that race I told them how cool it was here, what it was like here and then, it was a done deal,” said Besch.

The group was getting back on the road later in the day Saturday, making the five-hour drive back to Fredrick to work a couple of days before returning midweek to stay through race weekend.

“We’re headed back home for a few days. My brother Kevin is from Iowa and he’s flying into DC later this week. I’ll pick him up in DC and bring him back with us,” said Besch.

They are all thrilled about the weekend of on-track action in front of them.

“I’m excited about the short-track racing. That’s going to be fun,” said Vivian.

Ray was a little more direct: “It’s going to be loud. It’s going to be fast and it’s going to be fun.”

Martinsville Speedway PR

The Rev. Jonathan Falwell, senior pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, will offer the invocation prior to the start of the STP® Gas Booster™ 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 7.

Rev. Falwell has been in full-time ministry since 1994 and has served as senior pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church since his father, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, passed away in May of 2007. His father was the founding pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in 1956.

“We are very grateful to have Rev. Falwell deliver our invocation,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. “The Falwell family has done so much to help so many people over the years, from Thomas Road Baptist Church to their various missions and through Liberty University (founded by Rev. Jerry Falwell).”

“What an honor for me to be able to take part in the festivities surrounding the STP® Gas Booster™ 500 at Martinsville Speedway. I love the excitement and competitive spirit that is found in NASCAR,” said Rev. Falwell. “I look forward to offering a prayer of safety and encouragement for the drivers as well as the fans.

“As one of the largest professional sports organizations, the fact that NASCAR still opens every event with prayer and the National Anthem is a great testimony to America and the world. We live in a culture today where so many feel as if God should not be honored or recognized. It is refreshing that Martinsville Speedway and NASCAR feel differently.”

Martinsville Speedway PR

Joe Gibbs Racing announces today that Brian Vickers will take over behind the wheel of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for the injured Denny Hamlin starting on April 13 at Texas Motor Speedway.

It was previously released that Mark Martin would handle the duties behind the wheel for the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team while Denny Hamlin recovered from injury. Martin will drive the car in Martinsville, but Vickers will now take over the duties beginning in Texas.

“Obviously having to find someone to fill in for Denny is not an ideal situation to have to be in and when you start a process like this you obviously begin to look at the drivers that are not only available but also able to drive for your race team and manufacturer. We were a bit premature in determining Mark’s status past Martinsville however,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. “We're real happy to have the opportunity to get Brian in our Cup cars and with him driving Nationwide for us we think we have some continuity there that is beneficial.

“We really appreciate everyone at Michael Waltrip Racing and Toyota for working with us through this process,” added Gibbs. “The good thing for us is that we have drivers the caliber of Mark and Brian to help fill in until Denny comes back.”

Vickers is currently driving JGR’s No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. He has recorded two top ten finishes through the first five races of the season.

Vickers has 264 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts over his 11-year career on the sports’ top level. He has two wins, 24 top-five and 63 top-ten finishes. He has one start thus far this season having finished eighth in at Bristol Motor Speedway for MWR.  Last season, Vickers made eight starts for MWR with three top-five and five top-ten finishes. 

JGR PR

Michael Waltrip Racing announced today that Mark Martin will fill in for injured Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 Toyota Camry next weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

Martin will return to the No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry at Texas Motor Speedway on April 13 and resume his previously scheduled run of events with MWR for the remainder of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint cup season.

"I think it is great that a driver of Mark’s caliber is available to support our fellow Toyota team during this difficult time for them. We wish Denny a speedy recovery" said MWR founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip. "Mark is a big part of our organization and is committed to our sponsors, especially Aaron’s and Toyota. We have a lot of goals yet to reach this year and we are very focused on accomplishing them."

As previously announced, Brian Vickers will race MWR’s No. 55 Jet Edge Toyota Camry for MWR at Martinsville.

MWR PR

Could the excitement and anticipation level be any higher for next Sunday’s STP® Gas Booster™ 500 at Martinsville Speedway?

Let’s count the reasons.

The target on Joey Logano’s rear bumper after last Sunday’s wild finish.

Tony Stewart’s temper. (See above).

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is off to his best start ever in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and comes into the STP®Gas Booster™ 500 as the points’ leader.

The new Gen-6 cars have proved exciting everywhere this season, but drivers have pointed to Martinsville Speedway as the track the new cars may be best early in the season.

And the list goes on.

Like Danica Patrick earning the distinction of the first woman to ever start a Sprint Cup race at Martinsville. Women have raced in every other major division at the half-mile track.

Then there is Jeff Gordon trying to get his season back on track. He’s mired back in 18th in points, but Martinsville could help turn that around. He’s won here seven times, and even though his last Martinsville win came in 2005, he has led laps in the past 13 Martinsville races.

And of course the news of the week: Mark Martin replacing injured Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 Fed Ex Toyota for the next few races, starting here at Martinsville Speedway.

With all the chatter about some wild on-track antics the past two weeks, Earnhardt Jr. has sort of flown under the radar into the Sprint Cup points lead.

The STP® Gas Booster™ 500 at Martinsville will mark Earnhardt’s 475th NASCAR Sprint Cup start. Although he’s never won at the 0.525-mile track, Earnhardt has finished in the top five on 10 occasions, including third in last year’s spring race, a race he had a shot to win right up to the closing lap. He has finished second on two occasions at Martinsville.

Gordon and Johnson are tied among active drivers with most Martinsville wins, seven. Gordon led the most laps here last spring and seemed to be on his way to victory when Clint Bowyer tried to make it three-wide on a restart late in the race and created a multi-car wreck that included Gordon and Johnson. It was the start of a feud between Gordon and Bowyer that hasn’t been settled yet.

With 14 wins between them, Gordon and Johnson obviously have been dominant here. At one point in his career Johnson had 17 straight top-10 finishes while Gordon once had a 15-race top 10 streak. Johnson got back on track at Martinsville last fall with a victory.

Hamlin is the other recent master of Martinsville, but is on the sidelines for next Sunday’s race. Martin, his replacement, hasn’t been too shabby at Martinsville. In 48 starts at Martinsville, the 54-year-old Martin has two wins, two poles and a career-average finish of 13.3.

While Logano has drawn a lot of attention from his late-race collision with Hamlin a week ago and a similar situation two weeks ago, his success this season, his first with team-owner Roger Penske, has been overlooked. He’s ninth in the Sprint Cup points’ standings, a spot behind Paul Menard, who has been the top driver out of Richard Childress Racing so far this season.

Rookie Ricky Stenhouse has also been a surprise in 2013, sitting 12th in points headed into the STP® Gas Booster™ 500. The other top rookie-of-the-year candidate Danica Patrick hasn’t fared well after the Daytona 500 and sits outside of the top 25 in points. Interestingly enough, neither Stenhouse nor Patrick have ever turned a lap at Martinsville Speedway in any division.

Action kicks off at Martinsville Speedway next Friday with practice and qualifying for both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck series. Fan gates open at 9 a.m., the same time that the trucks hit the track for their first practice. After a full day of practice for both divisions, Sprint Cup qualifying is set for 3:40 p.m. with Camping World Truck Series qualifying at 5 p.m.

There will be two Sprint Cup practice sessions Saturday morning with the Kroger 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race taking the green flag at 1:30 p.m.

The STP® Gas Booster™ 500 is set to begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday April 7.

Fan gates will open at 9 a.m. each day.

Tickets for the STP® Gas Booster™ 500, the Kroger 250 and Martinsville Pole Day may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or by visiting www.martinsvillespeedway.com online.

Martinsville Speedway’s phone hours are Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Phone hours for this Sunday are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Phone hours next week will be 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

Martinsville Speedway’s ticket office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays through the upcoming race weekend. The ticket office will be open Easter Sunday, March 31.

Martinsville Speedway PR

Two-time USAC open-wheel champion Tracy Hines will attempt to boost his victory total at one of his favorite race tracks this summer when he drives a Toyota Tundra in a reunion with ThorSport Racing at Eldora Speedway's inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series dirt-track race.

  

When NASCAR scheduled its first national series' dirt race since 1970, it anticipated an all-star cast of dirt-track specialists entering. Hines, 40, of New Castle, Ind., brings much more than a notable dirt pedigree to his ThorSport entry in the July 24 mid-week NCWTS round at the half-mile speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.

  

"We're excited to have a driver with Tracy's ability in one of our trucks for a truly unique event that we feel will really highlight what he's done at that venue as well as what he can do in the series' first dirt race," ThorSport general manager David Pepper said. "We're looking at Tracy to be a positive influence on our entire organization through his experience as a top-level dirt car owner and driver, but especially through the insight he'll be able to offer his teammates."

  

"The realization that a major NASCAR series is going back to dirt is super exciting," Hines said. "What is it going to be? I don't think anybody knows, until we run under that checkered flag, what we're actually going to see. So that's definitely huge."

  

Hines has 52 career Truck Series starts -- 48 of them for ThorSport in 2004-2005 -- but he's been an ace on dirt, where he's won 85 main events across USAC's three primary divisions, putting him fourth on USAC's all-time wins list. Those victories include Hines' 12th career Eldora win, in a USAC sprint car in September 2012. Hines' next Eldora start will come in a USAC sprint car on April 20 -- an event he won a year ago.

  

Hines won championships in USAC's two most high-powered series, the 2000 Silver Crown Series and two years later in the National Sprint Car Series. He started the 2013 season with two USAC National Sprint Car Series wins at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla., in February.

 

Hines made his NASCAR debut in 2003, with four Truck Series starts for owner Jim Smith before he raced two seasons in trucks with ThorSport. Hines had a best start of fourth for Smith in 2003 at Texas and fifth for ThorSport in 2005 at Daytona and a best finish of fifth, at Mansfield, Ohio in 2004 and Richmond in 2005.

  

In all, Hines has 69 career starts between the Truck Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series, where he made 17 starts for four owners between 2004-2006, with a best finish of 13th at Bristol in 2006, for Armando Fitz.

  

"(The year's been) pretty good so far (and) we won both races at Eldora (in 2012) so who knows?" Hines said while taking a break from car preparation in his Indiana shop. "You know you're only as good as your last race, so we'll see."

  

Hines' next race of about 80 he'll race in USAC this season is a Sprint Car Series event at Lawrenceburg, Ind. -- ironically the same day the NASCAR Truck Series races at Martinsville. April 12-13 Hines races a USAC midget at Kokomo (Ind.) before he's back in a sprint car April 20 at Eldora.

  

"We've had a lot of success over the years at Eldora, in many different types of cars," said Hines, who has 12 career victories at the fast half-mile, putting him one win behind legend Jack Hewitt on Eldora's all-time wins list. "I've ran modifieds over there so I have some bigger car experience and I'm excited to see how my 52 Truck starts and my wins at Eldora can hopefully add up to success in the Truck Series."

 

ThorSport PR

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