Thursday, Jun 08
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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James Hylton recently announced his plans to retire from driving race cars, which means he'll switch gears next year to the role of team owner (which he's always been) without steering his famous No. 48. But, for now, the 78-year-old from Inman, S.C. is content on enjoying his final months as a race car driver.


"I'm enjoying every lap," Hylton told a crowd at the Hollywood Casino, site of Tuesday's annual press conference that kicks off the season for Toledo Speedway. "I do at every track we go to. I'm driving the car and enjoying every lap."


Hylton has been involved in the sport since the 1950s when he started wrenching on a modified car. By the 1960s he was working on NASCAR cars. By 1966 he was racing in NASCAR when he was the series Rookie of the Year. Now, more than 750 professional stock car races since, Hylton has found a home with his James Hylton Motorsports in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.

"ARCA took me in, so to speak," he said. "What a wonderful place to be in my retirement years."


Hylton announced before the Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona International Speedway that this would be his last behind the steering wheel. He plans on turning the reigns over to a younger driver and manage the team.


He was the guest of honor at the press conference. During an interview, he told some stories from his days as a NASCAR driver. He won two races in the series, including a race at Talladega.


"I had a rocket ship that day," he said.


He recalls a fan waving to him outside of turn four on every lap.


"There was a pretty girl and she waved at me every lap," he said. "I wasn't too busy, so I would wave back at her."


He said he should have won the series championship one season in NASCAR, but the point system was changed during the season, and Richard Petty captured the series title instead.


"I scared him anyway," Hylton quipped. "Originally, the points were set up to reward consistency, which fit right into my season. Richard was winning more races, but he wasn't as consistent I was. After they changed the point system, it worked out pretty good for him, but not so much for me."


As for driving the No. 48 - made famous most recently by five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmy Johnson - Hylton said he met Johnson once during a weekend that ARCA and NASCAR were both running at Pocono's. Shortly after the meeting, Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knauss, showed up in the ARCA garage and met Hylton, carrying an autographed hat.


"That took a lot of courage to send your crew chief to meet me," Hylton said.


Hylton drove from his South Carolina home to Toledo for the ARCA event Tuesday, three days after the ARCA Mobile 200 in which he was involved in a hard crash.


"I got a banged-up knee, hurt my shoulder and it made me mad," he said.


Hylton plans on finishing out the season in the car, including the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care at Toledo Speedway May 19. It's one of several special events planned at Toledo Speedway announced by Scott Schultz, general manager of the track.


Hylton said it's been an enjoyable ride as a driver, but he's now hoping to find more sponsors for his team and find a driver for the seat to continue ARCA's movement of putting young drivers in the cars to get speedway experience to move into the NASCAR ranks. He said he's had an enjoyable career.


"I did it with nothing, but I had fun doing it," he said.


ARCA Racing PR

NASCAR has reinstated driver Jeremy Clements upon the successful completion of stipulations following his indefinite suspension from NASCAR on Feb. 27 for violating the sanctioning body’s Code of Conduct policy. Clements will be on NASCAR probation until Sept. 13, 2013.
“As part of the requirements for reinstatement, Jeremy Clements participated in an individualized program with Dr. Richard Lapchick and his staff at the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “In Dr. Lapchick’s judgment, Jeremy has successfully completed the program. We’re pleased that Jeremy has taken these important steps and will return to racing starting this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.”
NASCAR today reinstated Jeremy Clements, driver of the No. 51 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, from an indefinite suspension instituted on Feb. 27 for violation of NASCAR’s Code of Conduct

Clements will be back in the #51 Chevrolet starting this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. In a statement released this morning from his Spartanburg S.C. shop, Clements said, “I would like to thank NASCAR for their support throughout this entire process. I would like to also thank Dr. Lapchick and his team for their time and the opportunity to help me grow. I have learned a lot and am looking ahead, to getting back in the car at Bristol and having a fresh start to the season. I am truly grateful to my sponsors who have stood by me, to my fans for their tremendous outpouring of support and to my family and team for their unwavering love and support."

Chase Elliott and Jeb Burton have very famous fathers in the NASCAR world. Both youngsters are adamant though, their careers will be made on their own skills, their own hard work.

And both were hard at work Tuesday during a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series test session at Martinsville Speedway in advance of the Kroger 250 on April 6.

“Nope, not at all,” 17-year-old Chase Elliott responded when asked if being the son of NASCAR legend Bill Elliott would create any pressure in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Martinsville Speedway on April 6.

“He’s my dad and I’m me and I’m trying to make a name for myself. I’m going to try to do my best no matter what.”

Burton agreed.

“Chase and I are trying to make a name for ourselves,” said Burton. “It’s good to have our fathers in the sport and helps us as much as they can, but once we get into the race car, it’s our own destiny.

“My dad has raised me the best he can, to be respectful of people. He tries to help me on the race track as much as he can and sometimes that is a battle between us. I’m sure Chase has been through the same thing. He wants the best for me, though, and I know Chase’s dad does for him.”

Both of the youngsters’ fathers had amazing NASCAR careers. Bill Elliott was the 1988 Cup Series champion and had 55 Cup wins in his career. Ward Burton recorded five Cup wins over 17 years, including the 1992 Daytona 500 and the 1991 Southern 500. Ironically neither of the two older drivers ever fared well on Martinsville’s difficult half-mile oval.

This season will be the younger Elliott’s first foray into one of NASCAR’S top three national touring divisions. He has nine NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races scheduled, including both of the series events at Martinsville. A year ago he raced in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series where he picked up a win and finished fourth in the series standings. In 2010 he raced in 40 events in various series and captured 12 victories and 38 top 10s. In February of 2011 he signed a developmental contract with Hendrick Motorsports. He is driving for the Hendrick organization this year.

The 20-year-old Burton is running the entire Camping World Truck Series schedule this year and came out of the gates amazingly strong three weeks ago with a fifth-place finish in the season opener in Daytona.

Burton grew up in South Boston, an hour east of Martinsville Speedway and cut his teeth at South Boston Speedway, which all makes the Kroger 250 bigger than most events for him.

“Coming here, my hometown track, with a bunch of family and fans here and it’s going to be short-track racing and that’s what I was brought up on … so we need to get out of here with another top-5 finish and keep our momentum,” said Burton.

Elliott and Burton were two of five drivers testing at Martinsville Speedway Tuesday. Others included Miquel Paludo, James Buescher and Caleb Holman. All five will return Wednesday for a second day of testing and will be joined by Bryan Silas and Scott Riggs.

The testing is open to the public free of charge.

Martinsville Speedway PR

March is filters month at NAPA AUTO PARTS, and to celebrate the month-long promotion, Clint Bowyer’s Toyota will carry NAPA’s iconic blue and yellow colors this weekend when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits Bristol Motor Speedway.

Bowyer’s No. 15 Toyota Camry will promote NAPA’s $20.99 oil change special, while Martin Truex Jr.’s No. 56 Toyota Camry will adorn the traditional NAPA AUTO PARTS scheme. NAPA and the No. 15 car have a rich history, scoring two Daytona 500 wins together with Michael Waltrip behind the wheel. This will mark the first time since 2005 the NAPA AUTO PARTS shield will be on the hood of the No. 15 race car.


ON RACING THE NAPA COLORS:“To race a No. 15 NAPA car for Michael Waltrip Racing carries a lot of meaning for everyone involved. (Team founder) Michael Waltrip raced those colors with that number to some very significant wins - including two Daytona 500s. I think it will be great to see NAPA back on the No. 15 this weekend. I know it will mean a lot to Michael, the folks at NAPA and also to me. I’d love to put that car back in victory lane for Michael and the folks at NAPA - plus, it’s Bristol baby! I’d just love to get a win there because I think it’s such an amazing racetrack. We ran well at Daytona and Phoenix but struggled last weekend at Vegas. We’ll be much better this weekend. Bristol is just good old-fashioned racing and I think the fans will see a heck of show Sunday. It’s good to be back short track racing again.”


After handing the“keys” to Daryl Harr for the two races out West, Danny Efland will return to drive the familiar No. 4 Flex Seal Chevrolet at Bristol Motor Speedway. The car, chassis JDM 008, was raced by teammate Mike Wallace in a number of events last year, and has been recently renumbered and added to the No. 4 fleet.

Danny will be making only his second start at Bristol this weekend, but he is no stranger to success at high-banked short tracks. Before entering the upper divisions of NASCAR, Danny raced at many short tracks throughout the south.

The team is also excited about the return of Flex Seal to the No. 4 race entry as they continue their relationship with Danny, Mike, and the entire JD Motorsports team. During his break, Danny spent time honing his road course racing skills with teammate Mike Wallace and road course ace Ron Fellows. The two raced at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Chevy Corvettes, practicing for the three road course venues on the 2013 schedule.

Danny Efland Quotes: “I am so relieved to be getting back behind the wheel of the No. 4 Flex Seal Chevy at Bristol. Daryl had some tough luck out West, but I hope we can rebound strong at the crazy half-mile short track. Bristol is usually a fast-paced race, and sometimes it is a challenge to keep the car clean. I look forward to battling it out and racing hard this weekend.”

Tune in for the Win

The NASCAR Nationwide Series moves to the high-banked Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend for a 300 lap race and ESPN2 will have a live telecast on Saturday, March 16. NASCAR Countdown begins at 1:30 p.m. ET with the green flag at 2:13 p.m. MRN Radio and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Ch. 98 will also carry the action Saturday. The racing will be preceded by qualifying at 10:35 a.m. on Saturday and two practice sessions at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Friday.

JD Motorsports PR

Mike Wallace and the No. 01 JD Motorsports team are prepared to head to the action-packed Bristol Motor Speedway with the support of Calhoun’s. The restaurant is a part of the Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants including Copper Cellar, Smoky Mountain Brewery, Chesapeake’s, and Cherokee Grill.

The team has high expectations for Bristol after running well there last year, finishing in the top 20 in the summer night race. Wallace will pilot the same car the team ran in that event, chassis JDM 007. Crew chief Marc Browning will lead the Calhoun’s team as they look to improve on their 2013 points position. While out west, Wallace spent one day testing with teammate Danny Efland and road course ace Ron Fellows.

JD Motorsports is pleased to announce that Calhoun’s has joined the organization as a partner for Bristol. Calhoun’s has been in business for almost 30 years and currently has eight locations located across East and Middle Tennessee. Known for their award winning hickory smoked ribs and BBQ, the team is excited to represent the brand at a national level. To learn more about Calhoun’s, check out, or follow on Facebook or @Calhouns on Twitter.

Mike Wallace Quotes: “After spending two weeks out west in Phoenix and Vegas, I am glad to be home, and I am sure the team is too. They have worked on our car from Bristol last year, where we were fast, so I am looking forward to running strong. It’s great to have a local restaurant on the car, Calhoun’s, so I know the team and I will be eating good this weekend!”

Tune in for the Win

The NASCAR Nationwide Series moves to the high-banked Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend for a 300 lap race and ESPN2 will have a live telecast on Saturday, March 16. NASCAR Countdown begins at 1:30 p.m. ET with the green flag at 2:13 p.m. MRN Radio and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Ch. 98 will also carry the action Saturday. The racing will be preceded by qualifying at 10:35 a.m. on Saturday and two practice sessions at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Friday.

JD Motorsports PR


After an exciting two weeks out west, Hal is all set to be headed to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend to compete in Jeff Foxworthy's Grit Chips 300. The TriStar Motorsports crew of the No. 44 American Custom Yachts Toyota Camry is making final adjustments to the car to have it ready for Thursday's departure.
Hal Martin on Bristol Motor Speedway


How are you preparing yourself for this upcoming race?
Hal stated "In addition to watching tapes of races from previous seasons and talking to my crew, I plan on picking the brains of my TriStar teammates, Eric McClure and Mike Bliss, as I prepare for this race."
With the track being so small, there can be a lot of action, what do you expect?

"I have not raced at Bristol before and I don't really know much about the track. However, I got my start in racing on short tracks and there was a lot of action there. I hope that there will be some similarity between the short tracks I've raced on and Bristol Motor Speedway."
You've had a sudden surge with your social media, tell us more.

Hal reported, "I decided to try to up my social media usage so fans could get a glimpse into my life, as a NASCAR Nationwide Series driver and Rookie of the Year contender. Fans will be able to follow me via Facebook and Twitter and see what I'm doing on race weekends. From the silly mundane things like what I'm doing in the hauler, to photos from pit-stops which my PR will cover. Also, for fans who can't watch the race on TV, the live twitter coverage can; hopefully, paint a picture as to what is going on during the race."
Bristol Chassis Information:
This week, the No.44 American Custom Yachts Toyota Camry team will use chassis number 351. This chassis has undergone an overhaul during the last off-season. Car chief, Dan Brzozowski, stated that the car has received a new front clip as well as a new interior. All members of the crew are excited about this piece and are confident for a strong showing in Bristol.
Girl Friday PR


FAS Lane Racing is proud to announce a new three year sponsorship agreement with OXYwater™.    The Ultimate Healthy Hydration Beverage will be the Primary Sponsor on the No. 32 FAS Lane Racing Ford for 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this season and continue for the entire 2014 and 2015 seasons.  The No. 32 OXYwater™ Ford will debut this weekend in the running of the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway with two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Terry Labonte behind the wheel.

“OXYwater™ is a dynamic young company that features an oxygen-enhanced mineral water,” stated FAS Lane Racing owner Frank Stoddard. “We are a young race team and are very proud that OXYwater™ has chosen us as their NASCAR marketing partner. Proper hydration is very important for our drivers, team members and our race fans. Through this partnership we look forward to introducing OXYwater™ to the NASCAR fan base and growing our businesses together.”

“OXYwater™ has zero sugar, zero calories, zero carbs and no artificial sweeteners and is clinically proven to be more effective than plain tap water at reducing the level of dehydration during exercise,” said Stacey Kuzda, Vice President of Marketing for OXYwater™.  “Our partnership with FAS Lane Racing is the cornerstone to our marketing program designed to promote OXYwater™ as the ‘Ultimate Healthy Hydration Beverage’.  We are honored to join the ranks of the many fine companies that have become NASCAR Sprint Cup team sponsors and are very excited to be a part of the FAS Lane Racing Team."

The running of the Food City at Bristol Motor Speedway will run this Sunday March 17th at 1:00 p.m. ET.    The race can be viewed LIVE nationally on FOX and heard on affiliated PRN radio stations and on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio 90. 

FAS Lane Racing PR

After a successful outing with the No. 51 team at Phoenix International Raceway, A.J. Allmendinger will pair with Phoenix Racing again this week at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 500. Allmendinger will pilot the Guy Roofing Chevrolet in his second Sprint Cup Series event of 2013.

Allmendinger and Phoenix Racing raced to an 11th-place finish in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 two weeks ago. He's anxious to rejoin the Spartanburg, S.C.-based team to tackle the high banks of the half-mile oval known as "Thunder Valley."

Allmendinger's first-ever Cup Series start came at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2007. This weekend will mark his 11th Cup race at the track. He's garnered four top-20s and one top-15, and started on the front row in one event. His best finish is 12th place, which he scored in 2011. Phoenix Racing scored its best Cup Series finish at Bristol last season. The team took the checkers in 18th place with Kurt Busch behind the wheel.

A.J. Allmendinger comments on racing the No. 51 Guy Roofing Chevy at Bristol:

"I'm really excited to go racing with Phoenix Racing again. We had a great race at Phoenix a couple of weeks ago and I'm looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the Guy Roofing Chevy. We're off to a good start and now it's about keeping the momentum rolling.

"Bristol is a crazy track. Before the most recent resurfacing, you would have two-wide and three-wide racing there. Now that they've ground up some of the top groove, it's a little closer to what Bristol used to be like. There's not quite as much room and you have to be a little more aggressive in making passes. You're seeing more bumping and banging now and it seems like everyone's patience is a little shorter than usual.

"There are a few keys to us having a good day. Of course you need to stay out of trouble. Needless to say, there have been countless drivers with good cars who've been caught up in wrecks and had to watch the checkered flag from the garage. We've got to keep our car in one piece. It's also important to have a car that can work the bottom groove. If you can make passes down low, you're going to have a good race. You've got to know when to be aggressive and when to back off. Sometimes aggression is your best friend at Bristol, and sometimes it's your worst enemy. Keep your emotions in check or you'll probably make some decisions you regret. I'm confident that the guys have prepared a good Guy Roofing Chevrolet for me and we have a good weekend ahead of us." 

Phoenix Racing PR

Like most drivers, David Ragan circles the Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway race on the calendar as one to look forward to.  But this year, he also put a question mark next to it.  Without any Sprint Cup Series testing at the .533-mile oval in the new Gen-6 car, the driver says the short track will be the first "wild card" on the 2013 schedule.


But he likes his chances.  Ragan earned his second NASCAR win at the track in 2009 in the Nationwide Series.  He has 12 Sprint Cup starts at Bristol with a top finish of 10th.


Sunday's race will mark the NASCAR debut of Dockside Logistics on the No. 34 Ford.  The company provides distribution, warehouse services, port operations and transportation, serving the Southeast from Charleston, S.C.


Comments from Dockside Logistics team driver David Ragan heading to Bristol:


"They altered the racetrack a little bit last year.  And a lot of what you can do on track depends on what kind of tire Goodyear brings - how you can pass, how you race.  But whoever gets their car to handle on the bottom is usually the car that can pass and run fast.  It's ironic that they altered the very top groove, then during the race that's the groove that everyone wanted to be in.  So it will be interesting to see how the racetrack has aged, what kind of tire Goodyear brings and how these new Gen-6 cars react.


"I think Bristol could be one of the bigger wild cards in the first few races of the season.  Goodyear had a test at Phoenix and a test at Vegas, but nothing at Bristol so far.  So I think Bristol will be a pretty good wild card to see what we've got at a short track where the track's been altered in the last year, the tire's different and we have a different racecar.


"Bristol, Richmond and Martinsville are some of my favorite races of the year.  I like short-track racing.  I like the atmosphere at a short track.  Bristol always has passionate fans and it's a great venue. So I'm absolutely a short track fan and I'm looking forward to going to Bristol.  We'll have Dockside Logistics on the car for the first time and I can't think of a better track to introduce them to NASCAR at than Bristol."




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