Sunday, Oct 01
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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"After thorough consideration, NAPA has made the difficult decision to end its sponsorship arrangement with Michael Waltrip Racing effective December 31, 2013. NAPA believes in fair play and does not condone actions such as those that led to the penalties assessed by NASCAR. We remain supportive of the millions of NASCAR fans and will evaluate our future position in motorsports."


“Michael Waltrip Racing respects the decision NAPA announced today following the events at Richmond. There is no doubt, the story of Michael Waltrip Racing begins with NAPA Auto Parts, but there are many more chapters yet to be written. MWR has the infrastructure and support of Toyota for three teams plus three Chase-caliber, race-winning drivers. With the support of our corporate partners we are preparing to field three teams in 2014. MWR is a resilient organization capable of winning races and competing for the championship and that remains our sole focus.”


“NAPA has been with me from winning two Daytona 500s, to missing races with a new start-up team, and back to victory lane again. The relationship grew far past that of just a sponsor, but more of a partner and a friend. We will not be racing a NAPA car in 2014, but I have friendships that will last a lifetime.

“To the fans and those who made their voice heard through social media, as the owner, I am responsible for all actions of MWR. I sincerely apologize for the role our team played and for the lines NASCAR has ruled were crossed by our actions at Richmond. NASCAR met with the competitors in Chicago and we all know how we are expected to race forward.”


"NAPA announced today that, after due consideration, it has decided to end its sponsorship arrangement with Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) effective December 31, 2013. As many of you are aware, NASCAR determined that MWR attempted to manipulate race results at Richmond, Virginia, on September 7, 2013. NASCAR assessed a large fine, deducted 50 points from each of the three MWR drivers in the race and suspended or banned other members of the MWR team.

NAPA believes in fair play and we are very disappointed in the actions that led to the NASCAR penalties. We have made NAPAs decision known to MWR and posted a statement on our Facebook page. There will be significant media coverage and discussion among racing fans and we expect that our decision to terminate our sponsorship will generate additional attention. The decision was difficult, but we believe is the right thing to do.
We appreciate in advance your support of our marketing efforts. We will continue to evaluate our future position as it relates to motorsports."

Mark Martin Fuel Factor

Thursday, Sep 19

“Money makes the world go ‘round.” It’s a notorious phrase used in speech and song that although cliché, warrants merit.

Swap out the word “fuel” with “money” and the expression applies to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, only there is no platitude to the revised phrase. Fuel powers the sport in more ways than one, making it only appropriate that the commodity is sometimes the difference between winning and losing. Nowhere has that circumstance been more inherent than at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, site of Sunday’s Sylvania 300.

The No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet team of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) is very familiar with the importance of fuel, having experienced  both ends of the spectrum on the win/loss scale when it comes to racing at New Hampshire. With Mark Martin driving in place of the injured Tony Stewart this weekend, the team looks for some redemption after finding itself on the losing end of a fuel gamble during the series’ most recent visit to the 1.058-mile oval in July.

Less than 10 weeks ago at New Hampshire, the Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops team found its No. 14 Chevrolet SS out front in the closing laps of the race and in position to score their second win in six races.

After leading for 84 laps, Stewart relinquished the lead 16 laps short of the finish as he went into fuel conservation mode. In second place on the penultimate lap, Stewart was primed for another strong run at New Hampshire, or maybe a win if race-leader Brian Vickers bobbled. But just moments after the white flag waved, signaling the race’s final lap, Stewart’s machine sputtered off turn two. Forced to coast all the way down the backstretch and through turns three and four, Stewart crossed the finish line a gut-wrenching 26th

That certainly was an episode of dealing with the bad, but there have also been instances of good, most notably the 2011 edition of the Sylvania 300. Two years ago the No. 14 team found itself in a nearly identical situation, only they were in position to take advantage of another competitor’s foiled fuel strategy. The No. 14 led the final two laps after previous leader Clint Bowyer ran out of gas just before taking the white flag of the 300-lap race. It was Stewart’s second consecutive win and it propelled him to the 2011 Sprint Cup championship.

At this year’s Sylvania 300, the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops team will be led by Martin. The ageless veteran will make his 31st career Sprint Cup start at the Magic Mile, but first since 2011.

While two years removed from his last New Hampshire race, Martin remains rock solid in the Granite State. He is a 40-time Sprint Cup winner, the most recent of which came at New Hampshire on Sept. 20, 2009. He has two poles and nine top-fives and 14 top-10s in his 30 starts dating back to 1993 when the track first hosted the Sprint Cup Series. Through the years, Martin has proven a model of consistency with an average start of 15.3 and an average finish of 12.5. And through two decades of racing in NASCAR’s elite division at New Hampshire, Martin has completed all but 23 of the 8,863 laps available for a lap completion rate of 99.7 percent.

Thos stats, combined with the racecar Martin will pilot at New Hampshire, make the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops team’s anticipation for the Sylvania 300 palpable. The same car that nearly won at New Hampshire 10 weeks ago is the same car Martin will wheel around the tight, flat confines of the Magic Mile.

With guile and experience unmatched in NASCAR, Martin knows how to win, even when winning means conserving. And if fuel again factors into the outcome at New Hampshire, Martin’s veteran poise could portend another victory for the No. 14 team.


If there truly are races Ryan Newman circles on his calendar at the beginning of each season as races where he and his Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team should be the class of the field, there’s no doubt one of those is this weekend.

After all, New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon has been the site of three of Newman’s 17 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins – September 2002 and 2005 and July 2010 – and six of the Quicken Loans driver’s 50 career poles.

In fact, New Hampshire was the site of Newman’s first points-paying Sprint Cup victory during his rookie season in 2002. On that September afternoon, the South Bend, Ind., native started from the pole and dominated the rain-shortened race, leading 143 of 207 laps.

The second victory came three years later in September 2005. Newman, who had narrowly squeaked into the inaugural Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, used pit strategy to gain the lead late in the race after starting 13th. In the closing laps, he dueled for the lead with now-team owner and teammate Tony Stewart. Newman passed Stewart with two laps remaining and held on to take the win, renewing Newman’s hopes for a run at the championship.

The July 2011 win was a wire-to-wire effort as Newman drove from his No. 1 starting spot to victory lane. Newman led six times for 119 laps in winning from the pole position for just the fourth time in his career.

And that win was all part of a banner weekend for SHR. Newman and Stewart started 1-2 and finished 1-2 as teammate and team owner. The last time a team started 1-2 and finished 1-2 was Hendrick Motorsports in the 1989 Daytona 500. However, the last time a team started 1-2 and finished 1-2 with the same drivers in the same order was back on April 7, 1957, at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway, where DePaolo Engineering’s Fireball Roberts won from the pole while teammate Paul Goldsmith started and finished second.

So, it makes sense Newman would circle New Hampshire on his calendar each year. The 1.058-mile flat track commonly known as “The Magic Mile” has been the site of some magical moments over Newman’s Sprint Cup career.

As part of the 2013 Chase field, Newman and the No. 39 team are peaking at the right time. Since winning the 20th annual Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July, Newman has scored three top-five finishes and four top 10s, and his only finish worse than 14th came at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, where a late-race incident led him to finish three laps down with a badly damaged racecar. And, after opening the Chase with a 10th-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., last weekend, Newman and his Matt Borland-led team advanced four positions to eighth in the standings, 28 points behind series leader Matt Kenseth.

With his four most recent race wins coming on flat tracks – Phoenix International Raceway in April 2010, New Hampshire in July 2011, Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in April 2012 and Indianapolis in July, Newman is looking forward to coming “home” to New Hampshire this weekend. It always brings back great memories thanks to his previous successes at the track with the ever-present potential to bring additional successes. This weekend, a trip to victory lane in the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS could go a long way in his quest to become the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.


While it’s hard to believe, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has hit the three-quarter mark of the season – 27 races down, nine to go.

There is no season quite like the Sprint Cup Series as it stretches from February to November with just two weekends off during the season.

Despite racing since she was 10 years old, Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing has never experienced a season quite like her rookie year in the Sprint Cup Series. The IZOD IndyCar Series averaged 16 to17 events per season when she competed in that discipline and, while her first NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule was 33 races, most of those were one- or two-day commitments at the racetrack.

But the Sprint Cup Series schedule is comprised of 38 weekends, the vast majority of which require a three-day effort at the racetrack, making it by far the busiest racing schedule Patrick has ever endured.

Patrick and the other 42 Sprint Cup competitors will open the fourth and final quarter of the season by competing in Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. The first Sprint Cup Series start for Patrick came in July but was ended prematurely by an accident on lap 237. She finished 14th in the July 2012 Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire and sixth in the 2011 IndyCar Series event at the 1.058-mile oval.

While Patrick’s mind is on the final quarter of the season, she’s also looking ahead to the offseason – specifically, co-hosting the American Country Awards with Trace Adkins on Dec. 10, live on FOX. The event will take place at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.


Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) Development Driver, Corey Lajoie, will be making his fourth ARCA Series start of the season at Kentucky Speedway. He already won in two of his starts this year. The young driver is now looking to add a third win as he gains additional experience on high-speed tracks.

While Lajoie has logged the majority of his laps on short tracks racing in NASCAR's K&N series, he has proven to be a winner on the nation's biggest, fastest ovals. In his first ARCA start this season at another one-and-a-half mile track, the Chicagoland Speedway, Lajoie drove his No. 17 Ford to Victory Lane. In his next start, Lajoie raced to the win at Pocono Raceway.


Comments from Medallion Ford Fusion Driver Corey Lajoie:


"I'm looking forward to this weekend. I've never been to Kentucky, but I always seem to do well at new tracks. Most of the K&N races are on the short tracks. Chicagoland was my first mile-and-a-half track, and we pulled off the win. Our next race, we won at Pocono. I have a lot of confidence in our team that we'll be up front this weekend.


"We do know that Kentucky will be bumpy. The challenge will be to make the car drive as smoothly as possible. We've been trying some new stuff that I think will be good, but we have a really strong baseline that we can go back to, if needed. 


"It's been nice to get this experience and have assistance from RPM. This is still my car, and we're doing a lot of the work ourselves, but we're also getting assistance from the guys at Petty. It feels good to know that they are on my side. We're working hard to put the pieces of the puzzle together to run more consistent with them next year. I know there is a strong staff working on that. Right now, I'm just focused on winning at Kentucky this weekend."



Traditional dance, live music, festivities and Highland games competitions return to Richmond Raceway Complex, October 19 & 20, at the Central Virginia Celtic Festival & Highland games.

In its second year, local promoter Blind Squirrel brings this two-day festival for the whole family to enjoy. The festival returned to Richmond Raceway Complex last year and mirrors the previous Celtic and Highland games festivities that were held there.

Proceeds from the festival benefit two non-profits: the Cullather Brain Tumor & Quality of Life Center, and Richmond International Raceway Cares.

The festival runs from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. both days.


Kids 12 & younger admitted FREE

Advance 1-day admission: $15/day (available through October 18)

Advance 2-day admission: $25 (available through October 18)

Day-of admission: $20/day

Dogs are permitted with a $5 donation, ticketed adult, non-retractable leash and proof of rabies vaccination

For more information, please visit the Central Virginia Celtic Festival & Highland games website by clicking here.


Longhorn Chassis announced today its new and latest chassis design is now available for sale to dirt late model owners and drivers. The new Longhorn Chassis, designed in January of this year with the engineering background of Kevin Rumley, have been raced this year by Bobby Labonte Racing (BLR) in-house driver Earl Pearson Jr. and also by Steve Shaver and Justin Labonte.


Since the beginning of this race season, the new Longhorn Chassis has four feature wins, 25 top-five and 36 top-10 finishes including two wins on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (LOLMDS). Pearson Jr. is currently fourth in the LOLMDS championship standings racing two new, exactly-built Longhorn Chassis.


Rumley, owner of K&L Rumley Enterprises, joined Longhorn Chassis and BLR as the lead engineer in design earlier this year. Along with input from Pearson Jr., Shaver and the Labonte family, including Bobby, Terry, and Justin, Rumley has used his engineering background to develop a strong and safe chassis that has also been very adaptive to various tracks and track conditions across the country. The in-house Bobby Labonte Racing team has enjoyed resurgence with Pearson Jr. racing the new Longhorn this year.


"Kevin and the entire Longhorn Chassis staff have really built a solid foundation for a new level of chassis design in dirt late model racing," said Pearson Jr. "I have been very impressed with the new Longhorn and I am very confident wherever we race that we have a winning chassis underneath the car.


"This is a very easy, turn-key solution for local, regional and national dirt late model racers," continued Pearson Jr. "The Labonte family has a tremendous staff, facility and equipment to duplicate the same Longhorn Chassis that we're winning with today. I think any racer can win with the Longhorn Chassis and also sustain a grueling schedule without the Chassis losing any of its structural integrity."


Co-owner of Longhorn Chassis Bobby Labonte has been satisfied with the engineering design and results of the Longhorn Chassis this year. He is also satisfied that it's ready for the racing public to purchase.


"Before we really started to promote the sale of the new Longhorns, we wanted to ensure that this design was capable of winning, being competitive under various conditions at various tracks and also durable enough to sustain a grueling schedule," said Labonte. "After nearly an entire race season, we've seen positive results with different drivers and driving styles.


"Earl, Steve and Justin have all had positive feedback with the 'feel' of the new design all year," continued Labonte. "Earl has really been impressive on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and other national events with the Longhorn. That has given us the confidence that we've built a winning product that we can offer to other dirt late model teams and drivers."


For more information on purchasing a Longhorn Chassis, please visit


Longhorn Chassis PR

Swan Racing continues to audition young talent during the final 10 races of the 2013 season and this weekend will run Kevin Swindell in the No. 30 Toyota. It will mark Swindell's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut.

In addition to racing this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Swan Racing will also run Swindell the following week at Dover.

The 24-year-old driver has limited NASCAR experience. He has made 16 career starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series including 10 this season for Biagi-DenBeste Racing. He has an average finish of 17.6 in the 10 races this year with a best finish of eighth at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"They're trying to find somebody full-time for next year and move some different guys in the car and decided to use me," Swindell said. “It’s a great opportunity and just try to treat it like another day at the office."

Swan Racing turned to Cole Whitt to drive at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday replacing David Stremme. Whitt is also scheduled to drive at Kansas, Charlotte, Talladega, and Phoenix. With Swindell in at New Hampshire and Dover, that leaves the races at Martinsville, Texas, and Homestead-Miami as still having an open seat.

Swindell has one ARCA Racing Series win in 14 starts. The win came in 2012 at Chicagoland Speedway. He is best know for winning the last four years in the Chili Bowl.

Check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

Hitting the road for the final NASCAR Nationwide Series stand-alone event of the season, TriStar Motorsports crews maintain the mile-and-a-half state of mind. This will mark the second Fall event in the Bluegrass state for the Nationwide Series. While the Spring event in Sparta, Kentucky was shortened by rain, Saturday's prime time event will not be short of excitement. Bliss to Make 11th Start at Kentucky (@MikeBliss19):

One of the most seasoned drivers out of the TriStar Motorsports camp, Mike Bliss will make his 11th career start at Kentucky Speedway. In 2002 Bliss won the Camping World Truck Series event at Kentucky and later went on to clinch the Championship for that season.

"Last time we were at Kentucky we had trouble finding a balance with the car," said Bliss who finished 19th at the Spring event. "To be honest, I don't think we had a top-20 car last time. Believe it or not the rain shortening the event helped us."

In Bliss' 10 previous starts at Kentucky Speedway he earned one top five and three top-10 finishes. His best NASCAR Nationwide Series finish at Kentucky came in 2004 when he placed third. Home Again for Green :

Jeff Green will enjoy the comforts of home this weekend as the Owensboro, Kentucky native will make his sixth start at Kentucky Speedway.

"I enjoy coming home to Kentucky to race," said Green who will be behind the wheel of the No. 10 Toyota Camry for TriStar Motorsports. "This track has a lot of bumps and dips, which really sets it apart from other 1.5-mile tracks on the schedule."

The former NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion earned his best finish at Kentucky in 2010 when he placed 20th. McClure Still Feeling Great (@ericmcclure):

Feeling refreshed, Eric McClure is pumped for his 10th career start at Kentucky Speedway for Saturday night's Kentucky 300. Racing a car that was used last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, McClure hopes to make gains with the No. 14 Hefty® Ultimate™ Camry.

"I'm looking forward to getting back to Kentucky, we raced really well there last year," said McClure. "We were in place for a descent finish in the Spring race, but we pitted right before they called the race due to rain."

The 2nd Annual Kentucky 300 will be McClure's 222nd NASCAR Nationwide Series event. The Virginia driver's best finish at Kentucky Speedway came in the fall of 2012 when he placed 22nd. Whitt Looking for Redemption the Second Time Around (@ColeWhitt):

Coming off of a two week break from being behind the wheel of the No. 44 Toyota for TriStar Motorsports, Cole Whitt is rested and ready for redemption at Kentucky Speedway. What was looking like a top-10 finish for Whitt in the Spring NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kentucky, ended up being a 31st place finish due to a mechanical problem.

"We had some unfortunate luck in the Spring race," said Whitt who will make his fourth career start at the 1.5-mile tri-oval. "I learned a lot about Kentucky my first few races there. I think I know it well enough now so I can hopefully earn that top-10 we were going for last time."

Whitt will have CBC Framing back on board as a contributing sponsor for Saturday night's race which will air on ESPNews at 7:30 p.m. (EST). Whitt earned his best finish at Kentucky Speedway during this event last year when he placed sixth.


Daytona International Speedway will bring together some of the state’s top sports business executives for an innovative webcast on Friday, Sept. 27 at the International Motorsports Center located just outside Daytona International Speedway.

The webcast is the first of the eight-part Sports Business Insider Series, which will be hosted around the country by the Speedway’s parent company International Speedway Corporation. The series will address the most current issues in major sports and will be moderated by national sports media personality and host of Bloomberg TV’s “Sportfolio,” Rick Horrow.

Taking part in the Sept. 27 webcast panel at Daytona International Speedway will be:

n  Joie Chitwood III, President, Daytona International Speedway

n  Mark Lamping, President, Jacksonville Jaguars

n  Mike Millay, Director of Sports Business Development, Disney’s Wide World of Sports

n  John Bisignano, President/CEO, Central Florida Sports Commission

“We’re delighted to kick off the Sports Business Insider Series,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “I’m excited to be a part of this group of panelists and look forward to the thoughtful discussion on the current topics facing the sports business industry.”

The Sports Business Insider Series attendance and Citrix GoToWebcast viewing is by invitation only. Although followers of @ISCupdates, @DISUpdates, and @RickHorrow will get #InsiderSeries content on Twitter during the events.



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