Speedway Digest Staff
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Travis Pastrana, an 11-time X-Games gold medalist currently running his first full NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule, will host a fan suite at Chicagoland Speedway during the Rally, Rock and Race weekend on Sunday, July 21. Pastrana, who owns two top-10 finishes in the opening five races of his first full-time season, will participate in a question-and-answer session with fans on Sunday morning.
“I’m having an awesome time so far this year, and a huge part of that is how welcoming the NASCAR fans have been,” said Pastrana. “I love being able to talk racing with people who enjoy it as much as I do. This is a big day for our series. Without a Sprint Cup race that weekend, it’s all eyes on the Nationwide Series drivers and we have a chance to put on a great show.”
The Fan Suite is a climate-controlled, luxury suite featuring a lunch buffet and light snacks with unlimited soda and water in addition to a cash bar. Fans will also be given a commemorative gift and one of the best seats in the house for the STP 300 for just $199.
Chicagoland Speedway PR
In a nutshell, here’s what you missed if you weren’t at Auto Club Speedway Sunday for the Auto Club 400:
· Great crowd: “Biggest crowd at Auto Club Speedway in 13 years.” (Inland Empire Daily Bulletin)
· Great race: “If this race isn’t monumental for our sport, I don’t know what is.” (Kenny Wallace, FOX)
· Great weather: “This may be the best weather ever seen for a NASCAR trip to Fontana. All mountains every day... impressive.” (Charlotte Observer) – To which Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Ford) retweeted: “Agreed.”
· Great fans amenities: “Where else can you slide from the top of the suite to a bar at the bottom? NOWHERE BUT ACS AND PIT BOX LOUNGE!”
· Great entertainment: “(RATT) They were freaking awesome!!!!
Joey Logano (No. 22 AAA Southern California Ford) and Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Fed Ex Toyota) bumped, pushed, rubbed side-by-side for most of the final lap before Logano's car slid up the track in Turn 4, making contact with Hamlin and putting him into the wall, allowing Kyle Busch (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota) to make a sneaky high-side final pass to capture the checkered flag to the thrill and delight of tens of thousands of standing, raucous fans. The race matched a record for green flag passes for the lead (41), and there were 3,721 green flag passes throughout the race, the most since 2010.
(Did we mention that Busch won the NNS race on Saturday too?)
And as exciting as the race was, THAT might not even have been the highlight of the weekend! Rave reviews on the Auto Club 400 weekend from entertainment to weather and everything in between were prevalent and plentiful via social media:
· “The fact that #NASCAR was the #1 trend on twitter despite #MarchMadness says just how great the racing was at @ACSupdates.”
· “Pheewwww... AWEsome day today at the Auto Club 400. Loved every breath taking moment. It was my first time to a race and never realized the chills I would get when I felt the thunder of the cars zooming by!! Wow! I can't wait to do it again sometime!!!!!
· “Great day for AC Speedway. Tremendous crowd, epic finish.”
· “Best day Fontana's seen since early Penske years when every race sold out. Time for many fans to really reevaluate attitudes re: this track.”
· We just experienced 300-feet of zipline fun in the infield. Awesome!
· “Pit Box Lounge – THANKS Auto Club Speedway. Where else can you slide from the top of the suite to a bar at the bottom? NOWHERE BUT ACS!”
· That was such an amazing race! One of the best if not the BEST in ACS history! Love the place and all they do for us fans! Can't wait for next year!!
Race Day Turn 3 Infield Parking On Sale For IMS Oval Events
Race Day Turn 3 infield parking will be available for purchase for the first time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 2013 Indianapolis 500 and Crown Royal presents the "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard.
Sold on a first-come, first-served basis, Race Day Turn 3 infield parking passes are ideal for all fans looking to park inside the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway and enjoy tailgating. Front-row parking spaces are available for $75 each, with additional general parking spaces available for $25 each.
Race Day Turn 3 infield parking passes go on sale Monday, March 25 and can be purchased in person at the IMS Ticket Office, by calling (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Fans may also purchase Race Day Turn 3 infield parking passes at www.ims.com/tickets.
Beginning this year, all Turn 3 parking for Sunday Race Day oval events at IMS - the Indianapolis 500 and Crown Royal presents the "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard - will be pre-paid, with entry by parking pass only.
Free parking still remains outside the oval for fans attending all IMS events in 2013, with access to lots from both eastbound and westbound 30th Street.
Customers can pick up their Race Day Turn 3 infield parking passes at IMS or have them mailed if purchased by May 13 for the Indianapolis 500 or July 15 for the Crown Royal presents the "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard.
Public gates will open at 5:30 a.m. for the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 26 and at 6 a.m. for the Crown Royal presents the "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 28. All Race Day Turn 3 infield parking pass holders are guaranteed a parking space, although parking pass holders are encouraged to arrive at IMS on race days by 9 a.m.
The recommended gate entry point for pre-paid Race Day Turn 3 infield parking pass holders is through Gate 2 (Tunnel 2) off of 16th Street.
All fans parking in IMS lots should follow the IMS KNOW YOUR ZONE parking program designed to help Speedway guests identify the best driving routes to parking lots located near their respective seating locations.
"All Roads Lead to Indy" driving routes have been created by the Indiana State Police and match KNOW YOUR ZONE parking sectors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Two-time Talladega Superspeedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner Clint Bowyer, a noted Elvis Presley fan, says he’s ready to “Rock and Roll” and get to one of his favorite race tracks – Talladega Superspeedway – for the Aaron’s Dream Weekend, May 3-5. With two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series triumphs under his belt at TSS, the Kansas native says he wants to write his own music to the tune of another victory at the unpredictable track in the Aaron’s 499 on May 5. If that happens, what could Clint’s first words be when he climbs from his car? “Thank you. Thank you very much,” sounds likely. Maybe one day he could be dubbed “The King” of Talladega.
Joe Gibbs Racing Update on Driver Denny Hamlin
Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver Denny Hamlin suffered a L1 Compression Fracture following an accident on the final lap of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.
Hamlin hopes to be released today to fly to his home in North Carolina where he will be evaluated by Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates later this week.
Successful First Start at Auto Club Speedway
NASCAR and Univision will make history on April 1 as “Arranque de Pasión, La Historia de Ela,” the first-ever sports-themed original project for the leading media company serving Hispanic America, debuts in the U.S. and Puerto Rico on Univision.com. Following five consecutive weeks of three new five-to-seven-minute episodes, this NASCAR-themed drama will air an edited version in a special primetime network television debut on Univision on Sunday, May 5.
Earlier that day, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will also celebrate its return to the famous Talladega Superspeedway with the 44th running of the Aaron’s 499 (FOX and FOX Deportes, 1 p.m. ET).
“Arranque de Pasión, La Historia de Ela,” is a co-production between Univision Studios and Kate Del Castillo Productions, Inc., in association with NASCAR. The drama stars internationally acclaimed television and motion picture actress Kate del Castillo, who yesterday served as Honorary Starter for the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., as well as leading men Carlos Ponce and Christian Meier. Shot at Homestead-Miami Speedway, “Arranque de Pasión, La Historia de Ela” is also NASCAR’s first-ever Spanish language original production.
“Novelas are a popular genre for Univision and Hispanic audiences, and we think NASCAR is a very exciting universe for storytelling and unique original projects like ‘Arranque de Pasión, La Historia de Ela,’” said Zane Stoddard, NASCAR vice president of entertainment marketing and business development. “We have developed a great relationship with Univision over the last several years, and this project is a wonderful opportunity to introduce Univision’s millions of online and television viewers to the excitement and passion of NASCAR.”
Following the premiere on Monday, April 1, a new episode will be released every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, midnight ET, for five consecutive weeks, culminating with the Univision network television special on Sunday, May 5. NovelasySeries.com will also provide compelling behind-the-scenes footage, exclusive content, character bios, previews, recaps, trivia and much more for users to engage with before, during and after each episode airs.
“Univision Studios is pleased to partner with NASCAR and Kate del Castillo Productions, Inc. to debut a compelling novela that takes place in the exhilarating world of NASCAR,” said Luis Fernandez, president of Univision Studios. “This new project will allow us to continue our commitment of offering Hispanic America culturally relevant content across platforms, including online and on mobile.”
NASCAR’s Los Angeles-based Entertainment Marketing division continues to focus on integrating NASCAR into mainstream pop culture through original productions, television show integrations and at-track celebrity appearances. In addition to “Arranque de Pasión,” other recent projects include Joey Logano appearing on Cartoon Network’s Hall of Game Awards, actor James Franco serving as Grand Marshal for the Daytona 500 and Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart “guest-starring” on The Cleveland Show.
Viewers can join the conversation regarding this first-of-its-kind novela on Twitter via @Univision, @vivanascar and @NASCAR as well as comment along with others on Facebook.com/Univision.
Daryl Harr Post Race Report No. 4 iWorld Chevy Fontana
The No. 4 iWorld Chevy entered Auto Club Speedway with the intention of racing hard and gaining points. After barely missing the race at Bristol last weekend, the team put extra emphasis on not only making the race, but finishing strong. Once again, Daryl Harr returned to wheel the No. 4 iWorld Chevy.
As the lone practice began on Friday, the team used a second driver to strengthen the No. 4 for the weekend. Landon Cassill, the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year and veteran test driver with over 120 starts, stepped in to help the team. Harr and Cassill spent the 2 hour practice session working on the handle of the race car, ending up 20th on the board.
Veteran Cassill again stepped in and used his experience to qualify the No. 4 iWorld Chevy 27th for the start of the Royal Purple 300. After gaining knowledge and experience from Cassill, Harr strapped in the No. 4 iWorld Chevy to start the race. He immediately began a spirited battle for a position within the top 25.
As the race continued, Harr and CC Dave Smith worked on the handle, fighting a loose condition for much of the afternoon. As the laps expired, the No. 4 iWorld Chevy finished 28th, moving them closer to the all important top 30 in owners points.
Daryl Harr Quotes: “What a fun weekend for the team out in California! I was glad to have Landon come in and help with the No. 4 car for the weekend. I was able to learn from his experience and knowledge, and I felt really good about my race and the car at the end. I learned a few things from the drivers seat, but the team also benefitted immensely from having him step in for a few laps. I am already looking forward to my next Nationwide event in Iowa.”
JD Motorsports PR
Mike Wallace No. 01 Flex Seal Chevy Fontana Post-Race Report
After battling the track in sunny California, Mike Wallace and the No. 01 Flex Seal team overcame obstacles and finished 23rd in the Royal Purple 300.
On track action began Friday with one extended practice session. The team unloaded fast, immediately completing a lap within the top 20. After working through different setups, the No. 01 Flex Seal Chevy finished the day 23rd, leaving the team optimistic for qualifying on Saturday morning.
After starting the race 26th, the veteran Wallace began to attack the track with a wildly loose race car. After radioing to the crew for help, the first caution flag waved allowing the team the chance to fine tune the race car. Crew Chief Marc Browning used a multitude of adjustments to tighten the Chevy, sending Mike back out on the track.
As the race continued, Mike used a wave around and a lucky dog to stay competitive on the track. After entering the top 25, Wallace remained there for the remainder of the event, and finished 23rd, the second top 25 in a row. Wallace is now tied for 24th in points.
Mike Wallace Quotes: “Our team, once again, accomplished our initial goal of finishing the race. I am happy with our overall results this weekend, including practice and qualifying. We found something that helped our cars, both the No. 01 and the No. 4, to go faster on track, that I think will help us in the future. I would like to thank Flex Seal for their support this weekend, and I think the two weeks off will help the team catch up and prepare our cars for Texas.”
JD Motorsports PR
Patrick Runs Clean Race, Finishes 26th at Fontana
Danica Patrick achieved just what she wanted to do in the Auto Club 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Patrick, the driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), wanted to run a clean race and finish the 200-lap event. She did that, earning a 26th-place finish.
While Patrick and the Go Daddy team hoped for a higher finish, it was an improvement from the beginning of the weekend, a goal for the team as Patrick continues her Sprint Cup education.
Patrick started the race – her first Sprint Cup start at the 2-mile oval – in 40th place with an ill-handling racecar. She nearly lost a lap to the leaders early thanks to the rapid pace of the race, but a timely caution at lap 28 kept Patrick on the lead lap and gave the team the opportunity to work on the GoDaddy.com Chevrolet.
The team made track bar, wedge and air pressure adjustments to help improve the balance of Patrick’s car, which she described as being loose entering the corners, tight in the center and loose exiting the turns. Once back under green, Patrick reported that the adjustments aided her car’s handling.
Patrick continued to give valuable feedback to the crew on her car’s performance. With each opportunity, crew chief Tony Gibson made adjustments, which helped the GoDaddy.com machine come to life. She also tried various lines on the multi-grooved racetrack to learn where the car was fastest. As the race wore on, Patrick’s car continued to improve.
Thanks to the various pit stops to work on the car, Patrick ended up on a different pit sequence than most of the leaders. A green flag pit stop at lap 77 saw her lose a lap to the leaders. But Patrick refused to give up and fought to keep her car in the mix. When the caution flag waved at lap 131, Patrick did not pit and was able to take the wave-around and get back on the lead lap.
But she again was pitting off-sequence and again lost a lap during a green flag pit stop at lap 161. Despite being a lap down, Patrick stayed in the battle to get back on the lead lap, but she never could claim the “Lucky Dog” spot.
By the end of the race, Patrick’s car had improved enough to turn lap times comparable to drivers in the top-15. While Patrick wanted to finish better than 26th and one lap down, she was pleased with the improvements the team made to her car throughout the race.
“We just had a tough Friday and Saturday, and we regrouped for Sunday and put a new setup on the Go Daddy Chevrolet and stayed optimistic,” Patrick said. “The car started off a little bit loose, but once we dialed that in, it was decent. At the end of the race, I really thought it was pretty good. So I felt better at the end of the race than I did in qualifying. We made big improvements. We all want better than 26th and that’s what we had today, and it will be better next time.”
Patrick’s performance at a difficult track made Gibson proud.
“We’re pleased,” Gibson said. “We’re making small gains and finishing races, and that’s what we’ve got to do. We struggled Friday and Saturday. We kind of leaned on the 14 (Tony Stewart) guys on part of their setup there, and made our car definitely better there. We got better as the race went on. Our adjustments were working. We fought for that ‘Lucky Dog,’ and we actually thought we had it there one time, but we just couldn’t get in the right line and get moving. We put ourselves in position to have a good day, and we had a good day. Really appreciate everyone at Go Daddy for their support.”
Patrick’s SHR teammate, Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 WIX Filters Chevrolet SS, finished 10th to score his third top-10 finish of the season and his eighth top-10 in 19 career Sprint Cup starts at Fontana.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers /Mobil 1 Chevrolet for SHR, led twice for 18 laps and was in position for a top-five finish with 10 laps to go until a block by Joey Logano on the lap 190 restart forced Stewart low and impeded his momentum. Stewart lost valuable positions in the closing laps and finished a disappointing 22nd.
Kyle Busch won the Auto Club 400 to score his 25th career Sprint Cup victory, his first of the season and his second at Fontana.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished behind Busch in the runner-up spot as the race ended under caution for a last-lap crash involving Logano and Denny Hamlin. Logano, Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-five, while Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Paul Menard, Kasey Kahne and Newman comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were nine caution periods for 35 laps, with eight drivers failing to finish the 200-lap race.
With round five of 36 complete, Newman leads the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He gained three spots to climb to 20th, 78 points behind new series leader Earnhardt. Stewart picked up two positions to rise to 22nd, 91 points out of first. Patrick dropped one spot to fall to 29th, 112 points behind Earnhardt.
Patrick, who is competing for Rookie of the Year honors against Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished six spots behind Stenhouse, who placed 20th.