Speedway Digest Staff
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Michigan International Speedway, the hometrack of auto manufacturers since 1968, announced today the creation of a Manufacturer’s Trophy, an ode to the spirit of the automobile and its importance to the racetrack.
Inspired by the Stanley Cup, the award will recognize the winning manufacturer – Ford, Toyota or Chevrolet – after each NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at MIS.
“MIS is important. It’s important to all (the manufacturers),” track president Roger Curtis said. “Whether you're headquartered here or not, Toyota has a huge presence in this state with the Tech Center and employs a lot of people there. I thought it was very important that we do something to formally recognize almost in a rivalry standpoint the significance of MIS on the schedule for these guys.”
Each manufacturer and MIS also will donate $10,000 that will be given to a youth-related, STEM-related charity in Michigan.
The trophy was designed by Fortress Studios artists Steven Kuypers and Steven McShane, both graduates of Detroit’s College for Creative Studies.
The trophy will be more than three feet tall, weigh about 50 pounds and feature sculpture similar to Greek goddess of victory Nike, also inspiration for classic cars hood ornaments from Cadillac, Rolls-Royce and Packard. The original bronze artwork will sit atop a base similar to architecture of Detroit landmarks such as the Fisher Building and Guardian Building.
Curtis compared the trophy with the tradition-steeped Big Ten football rivalries that have produced such iconic prizes as the Old Oaken Bucket (Indiana vs. Purdue) and the Paul Bunyan Trophy (Michigan vs. Michigan State).
The track annually recognizes NASCAR’s manufacturers, asking fans in the grandstands to cheer on their favorite during a fun poll conducted over the PA during pre-race ceremonies.
The Manufacturer’s Trophy will be presented after every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan in June and August, starting with the Pure Michigan 400 on Aug. 18.
The trophy is expected to renew a fun “rivalry” between the automakers.
Ford Racing’s Jamie Allison understands the importance of having MIS in Detroit’s backyard and looks forward to the “rivalry.” He said it makes the three automakers want to bring their absolute stuff to the Brooklyn track.
“I mean, this is a date that we all circle on our calendars beginning of every season,” Allison said. “Every racetrack is important. Every win is magnificent. Obviously, here you talk about backyards, our hometown. We circle the date. We want to show up and compete and win in front of our friends, our neighbors, our employees, the entire network of people who support our company, whether it's executives, fans, you name it. It's an extra level of pride that comes with being here in your hometown.”
The trophy is unnamed. And Curtis has asked media to Tweet him name ideas at @MISRoger.
The countdown has begun: it’s less than three weeks to the biggest Fourth of July party imaginable: Celebration 2013 at Martinsville Speedway on Wednesday, July 3.
This will be the 15th consecutive year for Celebration at Martinsville Speedway. The entire night is free, from the music to carnival rides to fireworks. All concession items will be sold at reduced prices.
Night Ranger, the powerful rock group that ruled the charts in the 1980s and still has a huge following, will headline Celebration 2013. They scored multi-platinum hits like “Sister Christian,” “When You Close Your Eyes,” and “(You Can Still) Rock in America.”
Like no other rock band, Night Ranger epitomized the sound and style of the 1980s, and that remains true today. They continue non-stop touring, playing to sold-out crowds around the world, including stops in Europe, Mexico, Canada, Japan and the United States.
Project 4, a rock and roll band from Roanoke, will open the entertainment portion of Celebration 2013 at 7 p.m.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Fuel For Families Food Drive will be held in conjunction with Celebration. Everyone attending the event is urged to bring non-perishable food and personal care items and drop them off at one of several collection areas at entrance gates and in the carnival ride area.
According to statistics provided by the United Way of Henry County and Martinsville, 26.4 percent of the population of Martinsville is food insecure and 18.3 percent of those living in Henry County are food insecure. Those numbers include approximately 3,600 children. Food insecure is defined as a lack of access, at times, to enough food for a healthy, active life for all household members.
In addition to the concert, there will be more than a dozen children’s carnival rides and the evening will culminate with the largest fireworks’ display in the area.
The children’s rides will open at 5 p.m. and remain open until 11:30 p.m. The concert will begin at 8:30 p.m. followed by the fireworks. The entire event, including the rides, will be free of charge.
Celebration 2013 could not happen if not for many generous sponsors of the event. Those sponsors include: American Global Logistics; AmeriStaff; Applied Felts; Bassett Furniture; Bassett Office Supply; BB&T; Blue Ridge Aquaculture; Brad Parker Insurance Agency – Nationwide Insurance; Carter Bank & Trust; Chamber’s Partnership for Economic Growth; City of Martinsville; Collinsville Printing Co.; Commonwealth Laminating; Cool Knobs and Pulls; Dillon Insurance; Eastman; Frith Construction; Gardner, Barrow, Sharpe and Reynolds; Henry County; Henry County Baptist Association; Hooker Furniture; Martinsville DuPont Credit Union; Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce; Martinsville Speedway; Martinsville Speedway Children’s Foundation; Memorial Hospital of Martinsville-Henry County; Nelson Automotive; River Community Bank; RTI Martinsville, Inc.; Shenandoah Furniture; Southwestern Virginia Gas; Stanley Furniture; Steve Martin Trenching; Taco Bell; Tarheel Paper & Supply Co.; The Lester Group; TR Properties; Virginia Mirror; West Window and Zenith Logistics.
Martinsville Speedway PR
The idea of a major NASCAR race in wine country appeared to be a mismatch from the get-go 25 years ago, but fast forward to 2013, and the Toyota/Save Mart 350 has solidified itself as one of the most challenging and uniquely entertaining stops on the Sprint Cup Series schedule.
This year’s race, June 21-23, marks the 25th running of NASCAR’s top series at Sonoma Raceway. Some of the sport’s most legendary names have visited the Wine Country Winner’s Circle, and several memorable finishes mark the event’s history.
“It’s got deep roots with NASCAR now,” said two-time Sonoma winner Tony Stewart. “I think it’s one of those tracks that you just can’t imagine it not being on the schedule, and I think pretty much all the drivers and teams think of it that way.”
But in the late 1980s, when NASCAR officials were scouting out Northern California race sites for what was then known as the Winston Cup Series, Sonoma was not viewed as an ideal destination. A replacement was needed for Riverside International Raceway, another road course that hosted two Winston Cup races annually and would shut down after the 1988 season.
Ken Clapp, the longtime vice president of NASCAR’s West Coast operations, was instrumental in getting Sonoma Raceway (then Sears Point Raceway) built in 1968. But he and others were skeptical about it as a potential Winston Cup venue.
The general feeling was that any new track added to the schedule should be an oval. There also was the matter of location. Then-NASCAR president Bill France, Jr. was not convinced the Sonoma Valley was a match for his sport.
“I just don’t think that wine country up there is going to accept that kind of entertainment,” Clapp remembers France telling him.
But Clapp pointed out the promise of the Bay Area market. Sears Point was close to metropolitan San Francisco and relatively close to San Jose and Sacramento. NASCAR’s popularity in general was on the rise.
“(France) said, ‘Bottom line, I don’t know if we’ve got any choice,’” Clapp recalls.
So in 1989, Sears Point was granted one of the Riverside events. Phoenix International Raceway took over the other. Any worries about whether fans would embrace the new Sonoma race evaporated after the press release was sent out announcing the inaugural event.
“I’m telling you, the phones rang,” Clapp said. “’Where do we buy tickets? How do we get a hospitality tent?’ It was a huge turning point.”
The first race on June 11, 1989 set the tone for the exciting, aggressive driving that has marked the Toyota/Save Mart 350. Wallace and Ricky Rudd traded paint in the closing laps and Rudd held off Wallace by .05 seconds, still the closest margin of victory in the event’s 25-year history.
“I think because it was the first time being out there to race, there was a lot of anticipation of what to expect,” Rudd recalled. “I think a lot of fans hadn’t been exposed to cars going side by side – half on the dirt, half on the track.”
Rudd, who later won the 2002 Sonoma race for his final Winston Cup victory, was the prototype for the kind of driver who is successful on the winding, 10-turn track. He came from a go-kart background and thus wasn’t thrown off by non-oval racing – he was accustomed to making both left- and right-hand turns in a race.
Jeff Gordon is the undisputed king of Sonoma with five Cup victories at the track – 1998-2000, 2004 and 2006. Stewart has won the event twice, so did Ernie Irvan.
But this race is also noteworthy for the big-name drivers who struggled for years on the twisting layout before finally claiming the checkered flag. It took Dale Earnhardt until 1995 to win at Sonoma for his only road-course victory. That came 21 years into his 27-year Cup racing career.
Five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson didn’t deny his struggles at Sonoma early in his career, and it took him until his ninth start at the track, in 2010, before he finally found the winner’s circle.
Kasey Kahne was established on the circuit before winning for the first time in Sonoma in 2009, and Clint Bowyer claimed his first victory at the track last season. Bowyer’s enthusiasm when discussing Sonoma Raceway matches Wallace’s.
“Sonoma is just one of my favorite tracks, and I can’t believe I’m telling you that because it’s a road course and I’m a dirt tracker from Kansas,” Bowyer said. “There’s so much emotion that goes into a road course because, obviously, you have to have speed and you gotta keep your car in position. But you (also) gotta stay on the race track. It’s just an emotional roller coaster.”
Sonoma Raceway PR
SR2 Motorsports is proud to announce VIP Poker as sponsor for this week's events at Michigan International Speedway. The premier destination for poker players of all skill levels will adorn the No. 24 Toyota driven by Blake Koch for Saturday's running of the Alliance Truck Parts 250 at the 2-mile oval in the Michigan Irish Hills.
"We are a growing race organization and we are excited to have someone like VIP Poker on board with us this week," stated SR2 Motorsports team owner Jason Sciavicco. "We greatly appreciate companies that see the value in our program and want to be a part of it. We look forward to putting together a strong effort this weekend in Michigan and giving VIP Poker a great show."
Situated in Kahnawake territory, just a short drive from Montreal, VIP is the epicenter of the Quebec poker boom. VIP is brought to you by management who has long understood and catered to the desires of the local poker playing population. VIP knows what players want; VIP knows what players deserve. The room was founded on the principal that all players should be treated as VIP's.
The running of the Alliance Truck Parts 250 at Michigan International Speedway begins at 2:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 15, 2013. The race can be viewed LIVE nationally on ABC and heard on affiliated MRN radio stations and on Sirius NASCAR Radio 90.
SR2 Motorsports PR
Today, on Flag Day, the Made in USA Brand announced a special paint scheme on the No. 8 Made in USA Brand (MIUSA) Chevrolet for Max Gresham. The scheme will showcase the NASCAR: An American Salute initiative at the Kentucky Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race on June 27.
The Made in USA Brand wants to show their support together with Gresham for the NASCAR: An American Salute industry initiative. The program highlights NASCAR's ongoing support for the U.S. Armed Forces and veterans. It encourages the NASCAR industry, as well as its partners and Fans, to show their appreciation with letters of thanks to active military members around the world.
"When we first heard about the NASCAR: An American Salute initiative, we wanted to partner with Max Gresham, spread the word to fans and help reach one million thank-you "salutes" to our troops by the Forth of July," said Marcie Gabor, President, Made in USA Brand; Principal, Conrad Phillips Vutech.
Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR), Gresham's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race team, will showcase their support by displaying patriotic-themed elements from NASCAR, along with the current Made in USA Brand paint scheme on the No. 8 Chevrolet Silverado. The No. 8 Made in USA Brand Chevrolet will feature a red, white, blue patriotic paint scheme, along with red stars and stripes accents on the splitter, rear spoiler and side skirts.
Max Gresham, 20, has driven in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series since 2011 with 23 career starts. He was the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion, earning two victories, four pole positions, nine top-five finishes and 11 top-10s in 12 starts.
The Made in USA Brand Certification Mark logo pays tribute to the American flag every day with its iconic design. This design, along with the special red, white, and blue paint scheme on Gresham's truck, will honor the troops and serve as a reminder of the dedication and service of all our American soldiers.
The Made in USA Brand urges everyone to demonstrate pride in our troops by joining Max Gresham in looking for, and purchasing, Made in USA products.
Running on Momentum (@TriStarRaceTeam):
All TriStar Motorsports’ Toyota Camry’s finished in the top-20 last weekend at Iowa Speedway. Great leadership, good drivers and fast cars seemed to be the recipe for success. Heading into Michigan International Speedway, TriStar and its drivers are running on momentum in hopes of repeating the success of last weekend.
Bliss, Geared Up! (@MikeBliss19):
Coming off his first NASCAR Nationwide Series top-10 of the season, Mike Bliss is geared up for this weekend’s Alliance Truck Parts 250 at Michigan International Speedway.
“Michigan is a really fast track; even faster since the repave last year,” said Bliss. “To be competitive at this track you have to have a good amount of horsepower under the hood. I’m confident our Pro Motor Engine will give us enough to race with all the top contenders,” continued Bliss. Bliss will make his eighth start at the super-fast two-mile oval. Bliss’ best Michigan finish was sixth in 2008.
Jeff Greens’ Seasoned at Michigan:
Jeff Green is by far the most seasoned driver at Michigan International Speedway out of the TriStar stable. Green will make his 12th start at the high-banked oval. “Michigan is a fun and fast track; it’s comparable to California, but with a little more banking,” said Green. “It was already a fast track and since the repaving last year, it’s even faster.” Green’s best finish came in 2002 when he placed third.
Eric McClure will Lean on Teammates (@ericmcclure):
With a new Crew Chief and coming off his best finish since the season opener in Daytona, Eric McClure is ready to tackle Michigan Speedway. The silver No. 14 Reynolds Wrap Toyota Camry will make its second appearance of the season.
“I did not race Michigan last year, so I have some uncertainties about the new surface,” said McClure. “I’m hoping to lean on my teammates even more this week and help build on last week.”
This will be McClure’s sixth start at Michigan and his best finish came in 2008 when he placed 27th.
Eric McClure’s’ Show Car Appearances:
Friday, June 14: Saturday, June 15
WM 5472 WM 5160
7000 E Michigan Ave 1700 W Michigan Ave
Saline, MI Jackson, MI
11 a.m. – 5 p.m. 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Cole Whitt, High Hopes for Michigan (@ColeWhitt):
With two NASCAR Nationwide Series starts in the 2013 season under his belt, Cole Whitt and Crew Chief Randy Cox are setting their standards high for Michigan International Speedway.
“I’ve lead some laps at Michigan and I think we have a great chance of having a top-10 finishing car,” said Whitt.
Whitt has two previous starts at the freshly paved two-mile oval and has not finished out of the top-10. Whitt lead 10-laps in the ‘Irish Hills’ last season and ended up finishing fourth.
Penske Racing announced today that it has extended its partnership with Carlisle Companies Incorporated (NYSE: CSL) through the 2016 season.
In addition to Carlisle’s continued support of the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion driven by 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, the new agreement will also include associate branding for the company on a Team Penske IZOD IndyCar Series car beginning in 2014.
“Carlisle Companies is truly an integrated partner of Penske Racing,” said Roger Penske. “They have been a great business partner while providing us with high-quality components for our race cars that have been an important part of our success. We are proud to continue that partnership with our NASCAR program, while also growing the relationship to include our IZOD IndyCar Series entries starting next season.”
Carlisle Companies joined the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford team prior to the 2011 NASCAR season – the same year that Keselowski began competing in the iconic race car.
“I really feel a special connection to Carlisle because they came onboard with the ‘Blue Deuce’ the same year that I did,” said Keselowski. “I think it is safe to say that our partnership has produced fantastic results and I look forward to winning many more races with the support of such a great company behind me.”
Since joining the Penske Racing partner lineup in 2011, Carlisle Companies and the No. 2 team have produced eight wins, 28 top-five finishes and the 2012 Sprint Cup Series championship.
“When you are associated with Penske Racing, you are clearly associated with a first-class organization,” said Dave Roberts, President and CEO of Carlisle Companies, Inc. “Having raced for many years myself, I know what the Penske name represents in motorsports. It was truly an honor to be a part of their first Cup Series championship. We are now able to pursue another championship, while also going after an IndyCar title as well.”
Penske Racing PR
Kasey Kahne, Four-Time Coke Zero 400 Champion Tony Stewart Blitz Central Florida to Promote Coke Zero 400
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stars Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart visited Central Florida this week promoting the upcoming Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday night, July 6 at Daytona International Speedway.
Kahne visits Tampa Bay Buccaneers training facility and plays catch with Freeman.
Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 5 Farmers Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports, visited the Tampa-St. Petersburg area on Tuesday. Kahne, an avid NFL fan, visited the training facility of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Kahne viewed mini-camp practice and then caught a few passes from quarterback and fellow No. 5 Josh Freeman. Kahne participated in a jersey exchange with Freeman and gave the Bucs’ quarterback one of his firesuits from the 2012 season.
“It’s something different. I’ve never been to a (NFL) practice before,” Kahne said. “I’ve been to plenty of football games over the years but never anything like this.”
Following practice, DIS President Joie Chitwood III presented head coach Greg Schiano with a Buccaneers-themed race helmet autographed by all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers.
“I always like racing at Daytona,” Kahne said. “I think the way the Talladega race went, I thought it was pretty entertaining and exciting. You could move around and pass. If Daytona is like that when we go back, I’m really looking forward to it. It’s going to be an awesome racing.”
Stewart fishes Lake Lloyd with Pro Angler Jimmy Houston
Four-time Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola champion Tony Stewart fished the waters of 29-acre Lake Lloyd, which is located in the infield of Daytona International Speedway, on Wednesday afternoon.
Stewart enjoyed one of his favorite activities with professional angler Jimmy Houston and the area media. The driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet previewed his attempt to win a fifth Coke Zero 400, which would tie him alongside NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson for most wins in the mid-summer classic.
Earlier this year, Stewart tied Dale Earnhardt Sr. atop the February Nationwide Series race with seven victories.
“It was pretty cool to tie Dale Sr.’s record in the Nationwide Series here in February,” Stewart said. “To have the ability to come here in the same year to tie David Pearson’s record would be pretty cool. This is a place where we’ve had a lot of success at, especially in July. It’s been a good event for us. Whether it’s been the IROC Series here, Nationwide, the Cup Series, we’ve won a lot of races so it’s a place we definitely look forward to.”
Following fishing, Stewart gave members of the media hot laps around the 2.5-mile tri-oval.
More than 30NASCAR Sprint Cup Series haulers will rumble through the streets of Sacramento at the 3rd NASCAR Hauler Parade on Thursday, June 20.
The NASCAR haulers, which will be en route to Sonoma Raceway for the 25th Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 21-23, will make their way over the Tower Bridge and around the State Capitol to greet Northern California NASCAR fans ready for big race in Sonoma.
You can expect to see haulers from Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and most every other driver on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit. This marks the third consecutive hauler parade in Northern California and raceway officials are thrilled to bring it to Sacramento, home to some of our most avid race fans.
The parade will begin promptly at 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 20, as the haulers depart their staging area and cross the Tower Bridge, heading for the State Capitol. The route is as follows:
- Cross Tower Bridge and drive up Capitol Mall.
- Right turn on 9th Street.
- Left turn on N Street.
- Left turn on 16th Street.
- Left turn on L Street.
- Haulers will then be directed to the freeway and head South on Hwy. 80 to Sonoma Raceway, where they will be parked in the garage for the race weekend. The Haulers will arrive at the raceway at approximately 3:30 p.m.
Race fans can catch the haulers all along the parade route, but are encouraged to head to L and 11th streets for the best view. Sonoma Raceway will have a display there, as well as the popular Raceway Girls, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, giveaways and tickets for the big race. This will be the heart of the action.
Mark Thursday, June 20, on your calendar so that we can give the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series a raucous Sacramento welcome as the haulers rumble through town. Be sure to download the parade route map on racesonoma.com, which lists the route, as well as best viewing points.
Sonoma Raceway PR