Wednesday, Jun 29
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway is one of the few tracks on the NASCAR schedule where Danica Patrick has a lot of experience.

Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has made seven starts at Sonoma dating back to 2005.

Those seven starts came in the IZOD IndyCar Series and unfortunately won’t offer much assistance to Patrick as she competes in Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350k NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Sonoma.

About the only things familiar to Patrick will be the garage area, pit lane and portions of the track. The reason only portions of the track will be familiar is that the IndyCar Series used two different layouts during the seven years Patrick competed there and neither is identical to the 1.99-mile, 10-turn course she will drive on Sunday.

It will be Patrick’s first career Sprint Cup Series start on a road course and she is hoping her efforts produce better results than her three NASCAR Nationwide Series road-course finishes last year.

All three were memorable, if not downright strange.

In June at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., Patrick was fourth on the final lap when she was bumped into the gravel trap by Jacques Villeneueve, which caused her to finish 12th. Two months later, Patrick finished 43rd at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International after Ryan Truex spun in front of her on the start and she could not avoid his spinning car and made heavy contact with his machine.

But the strangest experience of all came one week later when Patrick led 20 laps and was on the point at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal when a fan threw a shoe onto the track and she ran over it on lap 38 of 81. Shortly thereafter, whether the shoe caused the problem or not, Patrick was forced to pit for mechanical repairs and finished 27th.

At Sonoma, Patrick is hoping to run a smooth and clean race, avoid any shoes on course, and build upon a solid 13th-place finish she and the GoDaddy team scored last week at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

TSC PR

As part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 on Sunday, Sept. 1, Atlanta Motor Speedway is providing select fans with the opportunity to gain access to an autograph session with five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers at the track during race weekend.

Fans who purchase tickets to the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway before Monday, July 8 will be entered to be selected to attend the autograph session with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Danica Patrick, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Martin Truex, Jr. The autograph session will be held at the speedway on the afternoon of Saturday, Aug. 31.

By random draw, 50 accounts that have purchased tickets prior to July 8 will be selected and notified after July 9. Those selected will be allowed to bring one guest to the autograph session. Those who have already purchased AdvoCare 500 tickets are automatically eligible for selection.

AMS PR

University of Kentucky Men's Basketball Head Coach John Calipari will be the honorary Ford Fusion pace car driver for Kentucky Speedway's June 29 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts and will help lead a 43-car field to the green flag just after 7:30 p.m.

"It's kind of like walking out in the Final Four and having your team behind you, excited and ready to go. The last time I was part of this event it was incredible. This is a great thing that brings our people together. The state of Kentucky takes great pride in the facility like it does in basketball, like it does in horseracing, like it does in bourbon.

"The speed of it is what gets everybody hyped and understanding the courage of those drivers. We sit up in the stands and know how fast they are going, yet they have the courage to be inches from each other at that speed and have the vision and wherewithal to say 'I'm doing this, we're gonna get this done'. Having a bunch of them that are the best in the world at what they do in one setting like this is going to be unbelievably exciting," Calipari said.

Calipari guided the 2011-12 Wildcats to the program's eighth NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship and 15th Final Four appearance. His team, led by Associated Press Player of the Year Anthony Davis and All-American Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, earned 38 victories and posted an unblemished 16-0 Southeastern Conference record.

The coach earned his first national championship after making his second straight and fourth Final Four appearance. He is one of two coaches to lead three different programs to a Final Four. He enters his fifth UK season owning a 123-26 mark with the Wildcats and a 526-164 head coaching record through 21 campaigns.

"We welcome Coach Calipari back to our speedway and look forward to him leading one of the quickest fast breaks in history of our commonwealth," Kentucky Speedway General Manager Mark Simendinger said.

The Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts will be the finale for the speedway's tripleheader NASCAR weekend. Racing begins Thursday, June 27 with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) UNOH 225 and continues Friday, June 28 with the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) Feed The Children 300.

KYS PR

Sonoma Raceway is gearing up for the 25th Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend, June 21-23, and has put together an unforgettable pre-race show featuring everything from jets to giant shopping carts to live music entertainment.

There will be plenty of on-track action throughout the day, but be sure to get your tickets and arrive early, as pre-race entertainment will get underway at 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 23.

Listed below is what fans can expect during this year’s incredible pre-race show:

Vintage Aircraft Flyover, 10 a.m.

Fastening Systems International (FSI), a Sonoma-based supplier of aerospace and industrial fasteners, tooling, sheet metal and composite repair tool kits, is pleased to celebrate its 30th anniversary by sponsoring this year’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 pre-race kickoff flyover, featuring two pairs of the most famous American fighter aircraft, the North American Aviation P-51 Mustang and the Curtiss WrightP-40 Warhawk.

Grant Union High SchoolDrumline Performance, 10:20 a.m.

Sacramento’s Grant Union High School Drumline will march their way through the paddock and onto the pre-race stage igniting the audience with a 15-minute performance with their percussion instruments.

Vintage Stock Car Parade, 10:45 a.m.

Enjoy a walk down memory lane as six historic stock cars make their way around the twists and turns of Sonoma Raceway. The collection features some of NASCAR’s most famous rides including a 1979 No. 43 STP Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by the “King” Richard Petty; a 1993 Chevy Lumina and a 1995 Monte Carlo driven by No. 24 Jeff Gordon and the 1990 No. 3 Chevy Lumina originally driven by Dale Earnhardt.

Patriots Jet Team Air Show, 10:50 a.m.

The Patriots Jet Team will electrify race fans with a 25-minute air show just one hour before the green flag drops! The demonstration will feature six-L-39 albatross jets strutting their fast-paced formation flying, choreographed six-jet diamond-formation aerobatic maneuvers and their signature “Tail Slide,” where the aircraft actually slides backwards toward the ground.

Freestyle Motocross, 11:15 a.m.
The Brigade Freestyle Motocross Team will be in the house performing sets of freestyle motocross jumps in Turns 2 & 9.

Driver Introductions, 11:25 a.m.

We’re putting you closer than ever to your favorite drivers as they walk the “cat walk” before taking their pre-race parade lap. Be sure you’ve purchased your Pre-Race Pit & Track Pass to get an up-close look at driver introductions.

Save Mart Giant Shopping Cart, 11:50 a.m.

Save Mart Supermarkets will take its giant 12-foot shopping cart for a lap around the road course.

National Anthem byAmerican Idol’s James Durbin, noon

American Idol’s James Durbin will perform the national anthem prior to the green flag for the 25th Toyota/Save Mart 350. Durbin, a Santa Cruz native, finished fourth in season 10 of American Idol and has performed onThe Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Today Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Conan.

GoPro Bomb Squad, Noon

GoPro’s official team of skydivers will jump from 4,000 feet and make their way down to the raceway in their revolutionary wingsuits (goprobombsquad.com). Think humans can’t fly? Wait until you see these guys.

Drivers, Start Your Engines!, 12:07 p.m.

This year’s famous command will be given by the 25th Toyota/Save Mart 350 Grand Marshal and NASCAR Hall of Famer, Darrell Waltrip.

Huey Flyover, 12:08 p.m.

Just minutes before NASCAR’s top drivers take the green flag, be sure to keep your eyes to the sky as a 1965 Vietnam War era “Huey” helicopter makes its way over the Sonoma Valley road course. This model UH-1H helicopter served in the 25th Infantry Division at Cu Chi in Vietnam from 1967 to 1970, surviving multiple small arms attacks and a RPG strike. It was restored to its original US Army configuration and colors and put into service again as a “Thank you” to Vietnam Veterans by the nonprofit group Vietnam Helicopters of Concord.

Sonoma Raceway PR

Fourth-generation racer Trey Hutchens takes the next step toward his goal of a racing career at NASCAR’s highest levels on Saturday with his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East debut at Langley Speedway (Hampton, Va).
 
Hutchens, currently competing in select NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) Late Model Stock races at North Carolina short tracks this season, will pilot the No. 37 Jeff Spraker Racing entry in the Visit Hampton VA 175 with sponsorship from Kroger, SCOTT® Products, Herr’s Potato Chips and Stock Car Steel.
 
The rising high school sophomore, who scored a fourth-place points finish and collected 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, is poised to take advantage of the fact he recently celebrated his 15th birthday and thus met the mandated minimum-age requirement for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.  The K&N Pro Series East is widely considered the prerequisite or “feeder series” to the NASCAR Camping World Truck or NASCAR Nationwide Series, two of NASCAR’s three national touring series.
 
“This race has been on my radar for a long time, and there were times I didn’t think I’d ever turn 15,” joked Hutchens, son of JTG Daugherty Racing Competition Director Bobby Hutchens.  “The K&N Pro Series East is the next rung on the ladder for me in my goal of one day racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.  We’ve put a lot of long hours and effort into this weekend, and I’ve been very fortunate to have the support of companies like Kroger who recognize just how important this day is to my future as a driver.”
 
The A-honor roll student has notched seven top-five and 18 top-10 finishes in 26 Late Model and Limited Late Model starts in 2012 and 2013 at Ace Speedway and Caraway Speedway (Sophia, N.C.) as a 14-year-old, and was one of the youngest competitors in each event.
 
Hutchens’ 2013 resume also includes the prestigious Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway in April, a Late Model race for charity, and the NWAAS’ inaugural UNOH Battle at the Beach in February, a non-points event contested on a temporary four-tenths-of-a-mile track on the backstretch at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
 
The Lexington, N.C. native first climbed behind the wheel of a race car in November 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 in a Quarter Midget.
 
Saturday’s race is scheduled to be broadcast on SPEED on June 27 at 3 p.m. ET
 
For more information on Hutchens, please follow him on Twitter at @treyhutchens.

JTG PR

Daytona International Speedway and Richard Childress Racing, one of the most successful organizations to compete at the “World Center of Racing,” have partnered to have a special presence at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on July 11-14 in England.

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is the world’s biggest and most diverse celebration of the history of motorsport and is held on the grounds of the Goodwood House, West Sussex, England.

Richard Childress Racing will have a pair of race cars that will drive in the annual Hillclimb event on the Goodwood grounds – a No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet that was raced in the 2000 NASCAR season by the late Dale Earnhardt and a No. 3 Bass Pro Shops 2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS, a car that was driven by Austin Dillon in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Kerry Earnhardt, the oldest son of the late Dale Earnhardt, will drive the famed No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet while Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III will be behind the wheel of the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Camaro SS.

“We are honored that Lord March has once again invited Richard Childress Racing to participate at his Goodwood Festival of Speed,” said Childress, who won two Daytona 500s as an owner with Dale Earnhardt (1998) and Kevin Harvick (2007). “This will be our fourth appearance at one of the most prestigious motorsports events in the world and we are so proud to be a small part of it.

“We are very excited to be bringing two race cars this year - a 2013 Austin Dillon No. 3 NASCAR Nationwide Series Chevrolet Camaro and one of our historical seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt No. 3 GM Goodwrench Monte Carlos from one of his last victories.”

At the age of 5, Chitwood began his career as a stuntman as part of his family’s entertainment business, the well-known Chitwood Thrill Show, and later specialized in precision driving

“My dad, Joie Chitwood Jr., had the distinction of racing against Richard Childress back in the 1960s so it’s great to come full circle and drive one of his cars at Goodwood,” Joie Chitwood III said. “It’s a privilege to be behind the wheel of the No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro SS and to be a part of this diverse celebration of motorsports.”

Daytona International Speedway will also be represented at the Goodwood Festival of Speed by Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Bluebird V, which has left its home inside the Daytona International Speedway Ticket and Tours Building to be part of a land speed record display.

DIS PR

 

The scoring board atop the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Pagoda will be illuminated June 19 with the numbers "50," "1975" and "2013" as a tribute to race car driver Jason Leffler, whose funeral takes place today in Cornelius, N.C.

Leffler, who was born in 1975, died from injuries suffered in a sprint-car race June 12 at Bridgeport Speedway in Swedesboro, N.J. He was 37.

Leffler competed in the Indianapolis 500 in 2000 and in the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2008. He drove with the number 50 on his car when raced in the Indianapolis 500.

"Jason Leffler was one of the most versatile drivers in America, and he rose to the top ranks of racing by honing and mastering his skills in various forms of the sport at tracks all over the country," said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway chief operating officer. "Fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway were able to see him compete in both INDYCAR and NASCAR, and lighting the Pagoda with the years of his life and the car number he used in the Indianapolis 500 is our way to remember and honor his accomplishments as a race car driver. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with his entire family, team and fans."

IMS PR

The designers of Martinsville Speedway’s new website were given one basic mission: keep it simple. One click on the all new www.martinsvillespeedway.com will prove they accomplished that goal.

While the recently-launched site has a dynamic new look and style, its user-friendliness stands out above anything else which should help anyone making plans for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race on Oct. 27.

“We wanted to make sure when fans went to our website, they would be able to find what they wanted without becoming frustrated and stressed,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. “If they want to buy tickets, we want it to be a quick process. If they want to look at photo galleries or race results, we want them to be easy to find. Regardless of why someone comes to our website, we want their visit to be seamless and productive.”

Topics are organized logically under drop-down tabs to make everything simpler to find. There are several entry points to ticket information on the homepage to make ticket purchasing easier than ever.

Every possible effort was made to provide any and all information fans may need when planning a trip to Martinsville Speedway.

Other helpful and informative sections of the site include:

·         A section for first-time Martinsville Speedway visitors covering most anything a new fan may need to know.

·         A race results archive that lists full results for every NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway since 1975 and every NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at the track.

·         A map section that includes maps of everything from campgrounds to parking to concession-stand locations. There is also an interactive 3-D seating map where fans can select a seat and see the view of the track from that area.

·         New photo galleries that include photos from recent NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races along with a historic photo section.

Advance tickets for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 start at just $37 and advance tickets for the Kroger 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday, Oct. 26 are just $30 with youth 12 and under admitted free. Tickets for Pole Day, Friday, Oct. 25, are $15.

Martinsville Speedway PR

We’re Turning Left… and Right this Weekend (@TriStarRaceTeam):

The NASCAR Nationwide Series is about to shake things up this weekend. TriStar Motorsports’ drivers Cole Whitt, Eric McClure, Jeff Green and Mike Bliss will challenge the first road course of the season this weekend in rural Elkhart Lake, W.I.

Bliss to Play it Safe (@MikeBliss19):

Entering his fourth consecutive start at America’s National Park of Speed, Mike Bliss and his crew will try and play it safe this weekend at Road America.

“You have to be careful at these road courses, there are a lot of drivers out there who think they’re “road course ringers” and make mistakes. We don’t want to be involved in those mistakes,” said Bliss. “We will take our time and hope for a good outcome.”

Bliss will be one of 12 NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers to have competed in all previous events at Road America; Bliss’ best finish at Road America came last year when he placed 13th.

Green, Ready for a Different Pace:

Two time NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion Jeff Green will make his third start at Wisconsin’s four-mile, 14-turn road course this weekend.

“Road courses are really fun,” said Green. “It’s a change of pace from turning left week after week.” 

This weekend’s road course event will be Green’s 13th career road course event; he holds one top-5 and three top-10’s.   

McClure Looking Forward to Road Course No. 1 (@ericmcclure):

This weekend’s race at Road America will mark Eric McClure’s one year anniversary back behind the wheel piloting the No. 14 Hefty/Reynolds Toyota. McClure suffered a terrible accident that had him sidelined for six weeks last season. Road America is the first of three road courses on the NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule; a track McClure is looking forward to.

“I like racing at Road America. It’s a lot of fun as a driver to race on road courses,” said McClure.  “It’s challenging, yet enjoyable and it’s also very exciting for fans to watch.”

Road America will be McClure’s 11th career road course effort and his fourth at the track. McClure earned his best road course finish last year when he finished 21st.

Eric McClure’s Show Car Appearances:

Wednesday, 6/19:           Thursday, 6/20:                 Friday, 6/21:                       Saturday, 6/22:
Kroger 758                          Kroger 780                          Kroger 441                          Kroger 938
234 East Brooke Pkwy    10645 Dixie Hwy               3420 Towne Blvd              885 Union Rd
Mt. Washington, KY        Louisville, KY                      Middletown, OH              Englewood, OH
2 p.m. – 7 p.m.                  2 p.m. – 7 p.m.                  2 p.m. – 7 p.m.                  11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Whitt to Maneuver the No. 44 CBC Framing Inc. Camry around Road America (@ColeWhitt):

CBC Framing Inc. will make its’ NASCAR Nationwide Series debut this weekend on Cole Whitt’s No. 44 Camry at Road America. The Johnsonville Sausage 200 will mark Whitt’s fourth road course entry of his career and his second at America’s National Forest of Speed. 

“I’m looking forward to racing a road course this weekend. We had good luck there last year and I’m hoping to repeat,” said Whitt. “Making mostly right hand turns this weekend will be fun and challenging.”

Whitt’s career best road course finish came at Road America last year when he finished ninth.

TMI PR

It’s time to test Nationwide Series drivers’ road-course skills again.

The series visits the famous Road America course in rural Wisconsin this weekend for the Johnsonville Sausage 200, the first of three road-course races on this year’s Nationwide schedule. In August, Nationwide drivers will race at Watkins Glen International in New York and at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Landon Cassill will be back at the wheel for the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller Flex Seal Chevrolet this week.      

“It’s a different thing for us, but we always look forward to the road courses,” said team owner Johnny Davis. “It gives us a chance to try some things we don’t normally try, and I think all of the guys enjoy the change from the norm.”       

Cassill continues a season in which he’s making runs in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series. “In a lot of ways, I’m still the young driver trying to work my way up,” Cassill said.“I’m probably past the development stages of a young driver’s career, but it’s interesting that I don’t think Cup drivers should be in Nationwide. It should be a proving ground and a direct route to the Cup series.

“I’m in both series, but I’m not at Kyle Busch status. I would defend myself on it because I’m every bit of a blue-collar NASCAR driver. I don’t have the huge team to drive for and huge backing and motorhomes and airplanes and all that. I’m kind of working my way up the old-school way.”

JD Motorsports PR

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