Speedway Digest Staff
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Police Chief Ron Bastin, four-time Kentucky Speedway ARCA Racing Series (ARS) winner Frank Kimmel, ZLOOP Consumer and Electronics Recycling Centers (CERC) CMO and Founder Bob LeBarge along with President of Disabled Racers Aaron Grosskopf will serve honorary roles for Kentucky Speedway's doubleheader race weekend made up of Friday's ARS ZLOOP™ 150 and Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) Kentucky 300.
Bastin will be the honorary starter and send the NNS Kentucky 300 field roaring into Turn 1 when he waves the first green flag of the race just after 8 p.m. Kimmel will be the race grand marshal and give the command for drivers to start their engines.
Chief Bastin earned the honorary starter spot during the August Top Cop Challenge. The competition was created by Kentucky Speedway to thank law enforcement officers for their efforts in making speedway events a success as well as for year-round public safety initiatives. Sixteen officers representing eight Kentucky and Ohio jurisdictions turned laps in Richard Petty Driving Experience cars on the speedway's 1.5-mile tri-oval to determine team and individual winners. Bastin was quickest among the highest-ranking officers who raced.
Kimmel resides in nearby Clarksville, Ind., and is on the verge of capturing his 10th ARS championship in his No. 44 ThorSport Racing machine. He has raced to 79 victories through 466 ARS since 1991, including four at Kentucky Speedway, and is one victory away from taking the all-time series victories crown from legend Iggy Katona, who competed from 1953-1977.
Grosskopf will be the ARS ZLOOP 150 grand marshal and LeBarge will be the honorary starter for the speedway's 20th series event since 2000.
Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at age 1, Grosskopf founded DisabledRacers.com in Charlotte, N.C., to build awareness for the needs of disabled people who wish to get involved in simulated racing and provide a place where those racers can communicate while working together to find resources for equipment. In the past year, he befriended ARS rookie and ZLOOP Racing competitor Justin Boston, leading to Friday's opportunity.
LeBarge will represent the speedway's ARS event title sponsor, ZLOOP CERC, the only national franchise to guarantee the safe and secure disposal of eWaste. The company will accept select small electronics for recycling at its display near speedway Gate 15 throughout the event weekend. ZLOOP CERC will accept cell phones, smart phones, PDA's, laptops, tablets, printers, plotters, tabletop copy and fax machines, keyboards, mice, SCSI/USB/DVI video cables, wires and cords, switches, hubs, routers, tape drives, hard drives, two-way radios, radio scanners, cb radios, non-biohazard testing equipment, scanning and bar coding equipment as well as UPS, US Postal Service and FedEx equipment. Ink and laser toner cartridges, televisions, computer monitors and medical equipment WILL NOT be accepted.
Homestead-Miami Speedway today announced several unique ticket packages for Ford Championship Weekend, which will return to South Florida for the 12th consecutive year November 15-17, 2013. Track President Matthew Becherer made the announcement.
Highlights include appearances by 2012 NASCAR champions in its top three national series each day of race weekend. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series winner James Buescher will appear at the Speedway Club on Friday (November 15), while NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski will visit with fans in the Speedway Club on Saturday (November 16). Two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr., now a full-time participant in the Sprint Cup Series, will be in the Speedway Club on Sunday (November 17) prior to the weekend’s signature event, the Ford EcoBoost 400. The driver appearances will include question and answer sessions.
Fans will have access to these driver appearances with the purchase of a Speedway Club ticket, which are on sale now.
Speedway Club tickets include: Exclusive hospitality access to all Championship finales, reserved outdoor chair-back seating with armrests and cup holders, Pre-Race Pit Passes for Saturday and Sunday, and VIP parking. The Speedway Club features new amenities including a partially-enclosed area, new flooring, and flat screen TVs.
“We are proud of our offerings, including all three champions visiting the Speedway Club,” said Becherer. “Even though we are hosting three championship races, it’s important to have something for every taste and budget. Whether it’s the longtime NASCAR fan or someone that has never felt the power and speed of stock cars firsthand, it’s a ‘can’t miss’ weekend. Accordingly, we encourage fans to act fast – several areas are near capacity.”
Homestead-Miami Speedway is on course to offer an unprecedented number of NASCAR driver appearances during Ford Championship Weekend. The appearance schedule will be announced at a later date.
Other ticket options for Ford Championship Weekend include:
The Pit Box
Located in the Infield on the Start/Finish line, a three-day pass to the high-end club includes:
o Access to all three championship finales
o Indoor state-of-the-art lounge area with buffet, bar and seating to watch the races
o Private outdoor cabanas with comfortable open-air chair-back seating with armrests
o All-inclusive food and beverage bar
o Pre-Race Pit Pass (Saturday and Sunday)
o Preferred parking
o Access to race track for post-race championship celebration
Located eight stories above Turn 1, the Champions Club combines a bird's-eye view of championship racing with premium service.
Champions Club seating includes:
o Exclusive hospitality access to all championship finales
o Private, spacious, air-conditioned club
o All-inclusive food and beverage bar
o Pre-Race Pit Pass (Saturday and Sunday)
o Flat-screen TVs, private restrooms and elevators
o Preferred parking
o Access to race track for post-race championship celebration
Coke Zero Fan Zone
Now located in the Chalet Village, fans can enjoy hospitality before and during Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300, and the main event, Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400. Fans must have an admission ticket for race for access to Coke Zero Fan Zone. The area includes:
o Complimentary buffet lunch and snacks
o Q&A sessions with NASCAR celebrities
o Pre-Race Pit Pass
o Unlimited Coca-Cola beverages
o Three beer coupons (21 and older)
o Door prizes and gifts
o Cash bar
Race Day with Juan
Juan Pablo Montoya and Homestead-Miami Speedway have teamed up again to offer this special package benefiting the Formula Smiles Foundation. It was announced earlier this week that the veteran driver will not return to NASCAR in 2014, making this event an opportunity to provide a fitting sendoff to Montoya, a Miami resident.
Each Race Day with Juan purchase includes:
o One ticket to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship race, the Ford EcoBoost 400
o Exclusive Q&A session with Miami's own Juan Pablo Montoya
o Pre-Race Pit Pass
o Juan Pablo Montoya commemorative gift
Fourth-generation racer Trey Hutchens is poised for his second NASCAR K&N Pro Series East start in Saturday’s North America Power 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Hutchens, currently competing in select NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) Late Model Stock races at North Carolina short tracks, climbs behind the wheel of the No. 15 Trey Hutchens Racing Chevrolet Impala with sponsorship from MilitaryWarriors.org, Impact Gel, WIX Filters and Technique Engineering Chassis Components.
The high school sophomore made his K& N Pro Series East debut in June at Langley (Hampton, Va.) Speedway shortly after he turned 15 and thus met the mandated minimum-age requirement for the division, widely considered an entree to the NASCAR Camping World Truck or NASCAR Nationwide Series. Hutchens aspires to be a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver and has played a significant role in preparing his Triad Racing Technologies-powered car for Saturday’s event.
“This week is all I’ve thought about since my last K&N Pro Series race,” said Hutchens, son of JTG Daugherty Racing competition director, Bobby Hutchens. “I rush home from school every day, knock out my homework and then go work on my car. The more I’m behind the wheel, the more I know this is what I want to do with my life. I truly appreciate companies like Military Warriors.org, Impact Gel, WIX Filters and Technique Engineering Chassis Components, who support my goals and are helping me achieve them.”
The A-honor roll student scored a fourth-place points finish and Rookie-of-the-Year honors in the 2012 American Speed Association Limited Late Model Series at Ace Speedway (Altamahaw, N.C.) in his first season in a stock car. Additionally, he notched seven top-five and 18 top-10 finishes in 26 Late Model and Limited Late Model starts in 2012-‘13 at Ace and Caraway Speedway (Sophia, N.C.), as one of the youngest competitors in each event.
Hutchens’ 2013 resume also features the prestigious Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, a Late Model race for charity, and the NWAAS’ inaugural UNOH Battle at the Beach, a non-points event contested on a temporary four-tenths-of-a-mile track at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February.
The Lexington, N.C. native made his racing debut in a Quarter Midget in 2009 as an 11-year-old, shattering the NCQMA Speedway (Salisbury, N.C.) track qualifying record and finishing second in the feature event in just his first attempt. For more information on Hutchens, please follow him on Twitter @treyhutchens
Current points leader, Matt Kenseth, is set to earn a career milestone this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when he looks to make his 500th Sprint Cup Series start in Sunday’s Sylvania 300. Kenseth made his debut in the series in 1998, and has spent 14 full seasons at NASCAR’s top level. Kenseth will be driving a special 500th start paint scheme aboard his No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota for this weekend’s race events in Loudon, and will be looking to earn his seventh win of the season in this milestone start.
“All this really means is that I’m old,” joked Kenseth when asked about his thoughts on the historic start. “I’m proud having 500 starts. I remember making my first one and I wasn’t sure if I was going to even be able to make a second one. It’s a very tough business, so I feel very fortunate to have been with such great people, and to have driven such great cars and had fantastic sponsors throughout my career to be able to still be in this sport and competitive after this many seasons.”
Kenseth’s career has been full of many achievements over his 14 full seasons at NASCAR’s top level including his 2003 Cup Championship title, two DAYTONA 500 Championships, an International Race of Champions (IROC) title, Rookie of the Year honors, and qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup in all but one of its ten seasons of existence.
A native of Cambridge, Wis., Kenseth began his racing career at the age of 16 and won his first feature event in only his third race. By the age of 19, Kenseth was racing against the likes of Dick Trickle, Ted Musgrave and Rich Bickle in Wisconsin, and learning the skills that would eventually lead him to NASCAR.
In 1997, Kenseth got the fateful call from fellow Wisconsin racer, Robbie Reiser, who asked Kenseth to drive for his team in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series. Continuing his successful development in the Nationwide Series, Kenseth made his first Cup series debut on September 20, 1998 substitute driving for Bill Elliott in the McDonald’s Ford at Dover International Speedway. The young Kenseth drove to an impressive sixth-place finish in his first run with NASCAR’s elite.
Kenseth was given the opportunity to make five more Cup series starts in 1999 while also continuing his racing in the Nationwide Series full time that season as well. In 2000, Kenseth and his No. 17 team went full-time Cup series racing and Kenseth earned his first Cup victory at the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway that year. Kenseth went on to finish his rookie season with four top-five and 11 top-10 finishes along with that win, and was named the 2000 Raybestos Rookie of the Year.
Kenseth and his No. 17 team continued to grow and develop while earning several accolades over the next few seasons, but in 2003, everything clicked for Kenseth and his team as he was crowned the final Winston-era Cup Champion with a record-setting performance. Kenseth’s consistency kept the rest of the field at bay with a series-best 25 top-10 finishes, 11 top-five finishes, and one win. Kenseth also led the championship point standings that season for a record-breaking 34 straight weeks en route to Roush Fenway Racing’s first-ever Cup title.
Over the course of the next five seasons, Kenseth qualified for the Chase for the Cup every season from 2004 through 2008 and in the process, continued to add to his career achievements list. In 2006, Kenseth became the first driver since Dale Earnhardt to win back-to-back Bristol night races, and along the way, set career highs for top-five finishes (15), laps led (1,132), and average finishes (9.8).
Kenseth began the 2009 season with back-to-back victories by winning the Daytona 500 and followed up his victory a week later at California Speedway with another win. With the Daytona 500 win, Kenseth earned a spot with some elite company like Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, David Pearson and Richard Petty as one of only five drivers in NASCAR history who have won a Cup Championship, the Raybestos Rookie Award, and the Daytona 500.
The 2010 season saw Kenseth make his 400th Sprint Cup Series start in the final race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway but he finished that season without a win. The following year however, Kenseth snapped a 76-race winless streak in April at Texas Motor Speedway and went on to earn three wins that season along with a career-high three pole awards.
2012 opened with a bang for Kenseth after he claimed victory in his Gatorade Duel qualifying race and then went on to win his second DAYTONA 500 title. Kenseth earned three wins that year for the second consecutive season and had an average finish of 11.1 which was his best finish since 2006. Despite all the success of the 2012 season, Kenseth announced that the 2013 season would find him changing teams and moving into the No. 20 Dollar General/Home Depot Husky Toyota with Joe Gibbs Racing.
With several changes in line for the 2013 season, Kenseth found himself at home with his new race team, crew chief, and organization at Joe Gibbs Racing. NASCAR’s new “Gen. 6” car style seemed to increase the overall competition on the race track and Kenseth found success early on claiming his first trip to Victory Lane in March at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The win proved to be the first of many for Kenseth and his No. 20 team, in fact, in 27 starts so far this season, Kenseth has clinched a career-high six wins so far in 2013. Kenseth also leads the series currently with the most laps led. With nine races still remaining in the season, he has surpassed his career-high for laps led in the Series.
Kenseth began the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup as the top seed and won the first race of the Chase at Chicagoland Speedway last weekend to maintain his top spot in the standings as the series travels to New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend for the second race of the Chase. He and the No. 20 Home Depot Husky team will look to carry their momentum into Loudon, New Hampshire for Sunday’s Sylvania 300. The race will be broadcast on ESPN Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 2:00p.m. EST.
Award-winning Outback Steakhouse, with more than 750 locations nationwide, will continue its partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team co-owned by three-time series champion Tony Stewart and Haas Automation founder Gene Haas.
Outback Steakhouse will be the primary sponsor of SHR’s No. 4 team and driver Kevin Harvick for two races each in 2014 and 2015, and when not serving as a primary sponsor, will be an associate sponsor with placement on the B-post of the No. 4 Chevrolet SS. Outback Steakhouse joins Budweiser as a primary sponsor of the No. 4 team.
Whenever Harvick finishes among the top-10 in a Sprint Cup race, a free Bloomin’ Onion will be offered to customers on the Monday following the race.
“Stewart-Haas Racing has been an excellent partner of Outback Steakhouse and we’re proud to continue our relationship with the team,” said Mike Kappitt, chief marketing officer, Outback Steakhouse. “The ‘Bloomin’ Monday’ promotion has been incredibly successful thanks to our partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing, and we look forward to continuing ‘Bloomin’ Mondays’ with Kevin Harvick.”
Outback Steakhouse is an Australian-themed steakhouse restaurant, and it first opened in 1988 in Tampa, Fla. Although beef and steak items make up a good portion of the menu, the concept offers a variety of chicken, ribs, seafood and pasta dishes. The Company’s strategy is to differentiate its restaurants by emphasizing consistently high-quality food and service, generous portions at moderate prices, and a casual atmosphere suggestive of the Australian Outback
“It’s truly a privilege to represent the iconic Outback brand,” said Harvick, winner of 21 Sprint Cup races, including the 2007 Daytona 500 and 2003 Brickyard 400. “I’m certainly looking forward to making every Monday a ‘Bloomin’ Monday’.”
“We’re honored to have Outback Steakhouse continue its partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing,” added Stewart, who in his five years as a driver/owner in the Sprint Cup Series has scored 15 of his 48 career Sprint Cup victories. “Outback’s reputation for quality food and great service is exceptional, and it’s truly a pleasure to be associated with a company and a product that is admired by so many, including myself. We’re looking forward to continuing our partnership on and off the racetrack.”
One of the most recognized rock alternative bands of the last two decades will help kick off the only Saturday night race in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship when the Goo Goo Dolls perform during the Fast Cars and Guitars prerace concert at the Bank of America 500 on Oct. 12.
Formed in Buffalo, N.Y. in 1985, the multi-platinum-selling group has notched a record 14 Top 10 singles on Billboard’s Adult Top 40 charts since it was launched in 1996, including hits like “Name,” “Slide,” “Here is Gone,” “Big Machine,” “Let Love In” and “Home.” The Goo Goo Dolls’ most iconic hit, the 1998 single “Iris,” ranked No. 1 on Billboard's “Top 100 Pop Songs 1992-2012” chart and earned the band three GRAMMY nominations. Originally written for the “City of Angels” soundtrack, “Iris” has remained ingrained in the pop consciousness for decades, even climbing as high as No. 3 on the UK Billboard charts in 2011, 13 years after it was first released.
The Goo Goo Dolls has sold more than 10 million albums over 25 years and released its 10th studio album, “Magnetic,” earlier this year. The group, which has performed sold-out shows at iconic venues like Red Rocks Amphitheater, Ford Field and London’s Hyde Park, is eager to add Charlotte Motor Speedway to their catalog of performances.
“It's amazing to be included in this long tradition of racing here at Charlotte Speedway,” said Goo Goo Dolls founding member and bassist Robby Takac. “We've performed in some pretty unique venues over the years and being given the opportunity to add The Bank of America 500 to that list is a great honor.”
Charlotte, N.C.-based alternative rock band Paper Tounges will warm up the crowd for the Fast Cars and Guitars event beginning at 4:30 p.m. with a high-energy performance including hits like “Ride To California,” “Trinity” and Get Higher. The Goo Goo Dolls are scheduled to take the stage at approximately 5:30 p.m. The concert is free to all Saturday ticket holders, and fans purchase a pit pass upgrade will have stage-front access to the performance.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to the Granite State this weekend. New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon has proven to be a tough place at times for Jimmie Johnson. He has three wins, his most recent one coming at the mile oval in July 2010. But prior to that, a 2003 sweep was the last time he visited victory lane there.
Fortunately, Johnson’s last four races at the “Magic Mile” have ended in top-10 runs. At last year’s September race, he missed a shot at the win, earning a runner-up finish. It’s a position he hopes to improve on by one spot during Sunday’s Sylvania 300 after points leader Matt Kenseth won last weekend’s opening Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Johnson was bumped to third in points after his fifth-place finish at Chicagoland, a position he has never occupied entering the second race of the Chase.
The Lowe’s team tested last month at New Hampshire and all indications point to a productive weekend. With Johnson celebrating his 38th birthday Tuesday, it’s time for him to rock it in the Granite State. And there’d be no better gift than celebrating at the New Hampshire track with his fifth win of the season and what would be his 23rd in the history of the Chase.
David Reutimann and the No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry team finished 36th in Sunday's Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, September 15. The afternoon race became a night race when rain showers soaked the 1.5-mile speedway in Joliet, Ill., and cooler temperatures put extra stress on engines to result in multiple failures across all manufacturers. Nearing lap 200, a broken valve spring resulted in an engine failure and a 36th-place result for Reutimann and the No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry team.
Discussion regarding excess tire wear on the right rear tire was common throughout the Sprint Cup Series garage during the weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Reutimann and the No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry team were no exception to the conversation, and the excess wear left the team fighting a loose race car during the opening portion of the event.
Just past lap 100, the skies opened and rain soaked the racing surface. According to the NASCAR rulebook, a race can be deemed official as long as competitors have completed at least half of the scheduled distance. When the red flag was displayed just 25 laps short of the halfway point, drivers and teams settled in for a long rain delay. Over five hours passed as the storm moved through the area and track officials worked to dry the racing surface. Determined to finish the event, the field returned to green-flag racing around 10 p.m. EDT.
Now competing in a night race, teams had several challenges to overcome. In addition to adjusting the balance of their cars, the cooling air and track temperatures put extra stress on the engines as they were forced to turn additional RPMs. Reutimann and his No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry team worked diligently to tighten the handling of their car as the night progressed. With the car handling well, Reutimann was racing in the lucky dog position when he noticed something amiss with the engine. A broken valve spring caused excess strain on the motor and resulted in the engine failing just prior to lap 200. Unable to continue the event, Reutimann was scored with a 36th-place finish.
"What a crazy day we had at Chicagoland Speedway," commented Reutimann. "Our No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry team stuck with it all day. We had two completely different sets of track conditions racing around 110 laps during the afternoon, and another 155 laps at night. You could tell the strain that the changing track conditions put on the motors with how many teams experienced engine failure across all the manufacturers. It's unfortunate that we also experienced that, but with the circumstances of the day, there wasn't anything we could do to change it. I'm looking forward to getting back to New Hampshire Motor Speedway. I feel like our team has built good race cars this year, we just need to be able to put the whole package together and have luck on our side-hopefully we're able to do that in the final nine races of the season."
BK Racing PR
Travis Kvapil and the No. 93 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry finished 24th at Chicagoland Speedway. Kvapil survived a marathon event, as more than eight hours passed from the time the field took the green flag until the checkered flag waved in Joliet, Ill.
Throughout the weekend, Kvapil's team noticed their right rear tire was showing more wear than normal at the 1.5-mile speedway. The condition, which several teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage experienced, caused Kvapil's Toyota Camry to be loose through the exit of the turns during the opening portion of Sunday's 400-mile race. The BK Racing team made adjustments to their No. 93 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry during the lap 30 caution period, while looking to make up as much ground as possible knowing that precipitation was on its way.
A NASCAR race can be deemed official, as long as the competitors complete at least half of the scheduled distance. So when the skies opened and rain soaked the track just 25 laps before the halfway mark, drivers and teams settled in for a long rain delay. Over five hours passed as rain soaked the Chicagoland Speedway and track officials subsequently worked to dry the racing surface. Despite an initial dismal outlook for the continuation of the event, the field was able to return to green-flag racing around 10 p.m. EDT.
Coming to the green flag on lap 117, the No. 93 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry team made a pit strategy call to put Kvapil in the best possible position for the end of the race. The call paid off as Kvapil restarted the race on the lead lap just outside the top 30, and a quick caution then allowed him to visit pit road for fresh Goodyear tires and fuel. As the air and track temperatures continued to cool, Kvapil's BK Racing team worked to tighten the balance of the car. Bold pit strategy also benefited Kvapil as the team made a two-tire stop late in the race to secure Kvapil's position inside the top 20.
Nearly eight and a half hours after the green flag waved, teams finally circled around to the checkered flag. Running solid lap times and handling well, Kvapil crossed the finish line in the 24th position with his No. 93 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry.
"I'm proud of the effort of my No. 93 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry team today," commented Kvapil. "We basically ran two races-one this afternoon and one tonight, and transitioning between those two sets of conditions is not very easy. However, our team did a great job making the changes we needed to stay competitive all day. Dale [Ferguson, crew chief] made great calls on pit road, taking the chances we needed to take to put us in position at the end of the race. To survive everything and come out of here with a top-25 finish is what we needed today. I'm looking forward to going back to New Hampshire Motor Speedway next week; we want to finish out the season strong with our BK Racing team."
BK Racing PR