Speedway Digest Staff
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Texas Motor Speedway to host American Red Crodd blood drive April 1 at Lone Star Condominium Clubhouse
- Ensuring that we have sufficient workers and resources to collect vital blood products.
- Investing in public consciousness to raise awareness and inspire individuals to donate blood.
- Equipping and training disaster workers to provide a safe environment for those affected by disasters.
- Increasing their ability to provide key services virtually.
- Working with community partners to provide supplies and meals when called upon.
NTT IndyCar Series PR
In these challenging times, the entire NWES community relay the #StayHome message and encourage everybody to be smart and safe. When it will be time to return racing, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will hit the track with a record number of 33 full-time entries, fielded by 17 teams for the 2020 NWES season.
Champion team Hendriks Motorsport will expand to put three cars in the entry list, while EuroNASCAR 2 title winning squad DF1 Racing will field four Chevrolet Camaros. A fifth car will be entered by the Austrians in cooperation with Marko Stipp Motorsport. CAAL Racing and Jacques Villeneuve’s Feed Vict Racing will have four V8 beasts each ready for the upcoming season. The Italian powerhouse also reached a technical partnership with Solaris Motorsport, which will return with their Camaro. There are several two-car teams confirmed for the 2020 NWES season: Alex Caffi Motorsport, RDV Competition, PK Carsport, 42 Racing and Braxx Racing. Memphis Racing, Mishumotors, Marko Stipp Motorsport, Team Bleekemolen and newcomer TC Motorsports will field one full-time entry each.
As proven by the many drivers already announced during the offseason, the competition level will be the highest in NWES history, with an unprecedented number of drivers capable of winning. The battle for titles and trophies will be more intense than ever before.
What Team Managers said
Roy Hendriks (Hendriks Motorsport): “The competition will be outstanding and there have been several big names already announced. I think it will be harder in 2020 than it was last year. Beside ours there are a lot of good drivers joining the other teams. The cars are ready to race and also the whole team and all drivers want to get back to the track as soon as possible. But we fully understand that it’s not responsible to go racing during this crisis. We make the best out of it, as we have more time to think about strategies and setups right now.”
Norbert Walchhofer (DF1 Racing): “I really think the upcoming season will be the strongest one in the history of NWES. Our drivers are well prepared and we’re looking positively to the 2020 season despite these difficult times. We are looking forward to hitting the track again soon and continuing our winning streak from 2019.”
Jacques Villeneuve (Feed Vict Racing): “It’s great to see so many entries because it shows that there’s a lot of interest in the series. There are also many important names joining. The races are exciting, the cars are fun to drive, the tracks are great and the drivers are hungry for pure racing. There’s a place for everyone, from 16 to 70 years old. We all can’t wait to go back racing, but now it’s the time to be smart and focus on going through this difficult moment, hoping to return to the track soon.”
Luca Canneori (CAAL Racing): “We worked hard during the winter, preparing our cars and completing several test days. We are ready for a season with no equals as far as competition on track. Having so many strong competitors is positive for the whole sport. We are of course looking forward to going back racing soon and giving the fans some unique NASCAR races.”
Anthony Kumpen (PK Carsport): “We’ve already won our first race in 2020 with our new driver Alon Day piloting the #24 Monster Energy car at virtual Watkins Glen. I watched the sim race and it was nice! To have such a big grid for the 2020 NWES season is good news. Since joining the series in 2014 I always said that EuroNASCAR is one of the fastest growing series in Europe and it is becoming really strong. It’s a special mix of experienced and young drivers, surrounded by great crowds at the tracks, a special atmosphere. It’s great to be part of the series for a team like us.”
Franck Violas (RDV Competition): “We started racing in NWES ten years ago and year after year the level kept rising. It’s amazing to have so many teams and drivers with the potential to win a race. It’s not like in other series where the same drivers and teams end up on the podium. We had a tough 2019 season but I think we will look way better in the 2020 championship. To have 33 full time entries already is great for us as we can prove ourselves in this tight and high-level competition. We work very hard to be successful again.”
Jerry De Weerdt (Braxx Racing): “I’m really looking forward to the upcoming season as we worked hard during the winter to put everything in place. We are still working on filling a third car with good drivers. I think we already have a strong line-up for the series. Marc Goossens will join us again and he’s always good for podiums and wins. We also have young drivers in our rows who have the potential to bring home some good results in 2020.”
NBC Sports Group earned 24 Sports Emmy Award nominations for 2019, highlighted by recognition for its coverage of the NFL, NHL, Kentucky Derby, NASCAR, Premier League, FIFA Women’s World Cup, golf, and Tour de France.
The announcement was made today by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Highlights of NBC Sports Group’s nominations:
- Sunday Night Football – primetime television’s No. 1 show – was nominated again for Outstanding Live Sports Series, which it has won 10 times in the past 11 years;
- NBC received two nominations in the Outstanding Live Sports Special category for its presentations of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final and the 145th Kentucky Derby;
- NBC earned a nomination in the Outstanding Studio Show – Weekly category for Football Night in America, and a nomination for Outstanding Studio Show – Daily for NHL Live;
- Tour de France coverage on NBC and NBCSN garnered nominations for its Outstanding Technical Team Remote, and The George Wensel Technical Achievement Award for augmented reality;
- NBC and NBCSN earned a nomination in the Outstanding Editing – Long Form category for its production of the documentary Drive Like Andretti about the life of motorsports icon Mario Andretti;
- Mike Tirico (NBC) was nominated in the Outstanding Sports Personality – Host category for the second consecutive year;
- Mike “Doc” Emrick (NBC), who has won the Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play in six consecutive years and seven of the last nine, was nominated once again in the category along with Al Michaels (NBC) and Kenny Albert (NBC/NBCSN);
- Cris Collinsworth, winner of 16 Sports Emmys throughout his career, was nominated for the Outstanding Sports Personality – Sports Event Analyst category;
- Michele Tafoya (NBC), the only three-time winner of the Outstanding Sports Personality – Sports Reporter Emmy, was nominated for the ninth time in the nine-year history of the category;
- Andrés Cantor (Telemundo), winner of three Sports Emmys, was nominated for Outstanding On-Air Sports Personality in Spanish.
NBC Sports Group earns a total of 24 nominations, including three nominations for GOLF Channel and two nominations for Telemundo.
The complete list of NBC Sports Group nominations are as follows:
- Outstanding Live Sports Special: 2019 Stanley Cup Final (NBC)
- Outstanding Live Sports Special: 145th Kentucky Derby (NBC)
- Outstanding Live Sports Series: Sunday Night Football (NBC)
- Outstanding Edited Sports Event Coverage: Ironman World Championship (NBC)
- Outstanding Short Sports Documentary: Golf Films: Chi Chi and Devo (GOLF Channel)
- Outstanding Studio Show – Weekly: Football Night in America (NBC)
- Outstanding Studio Show – Daily: NHL Live (NBC/NBCSN)
- Outstanding Studio Show – Daily: The Dan Patrick Show (NBCSN/B/R Live/DirecTV)
- Outstanding Short Feature: NCAA Golf Championships – Life Without Katie: The Jason Enloe Story (GOLF Channel)
- Outstanding Trans-Media Sports Coverage: Premier League (NBC/NBCSN)
- Outstanding Sports Personality – Studio Host: Mike Tirico (NBC/NBCSN)
- Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play: Mike “Doc” Emrick (NBC/NBCSN)
- Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play: Al Michaels (NBC)
- Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play: Kenny Albert (NBC/NBCSN/FOX/FS1/MSG)
- Outstanding Sports Personality – Sports Event Analyst: Cris Collinsworth (NBC)
- Outstanding Sports Personality – Sports Reporter: Michele Tafoya (NBC)
- Outstanding Technical Team Remote: Tour de France (NBC/NBCSN)
- Outstanding Editing – Long Form: Drive Like Andretti (NBC/NBCSN)
- Outstanding Live Event Audio/Sound: NASCAR on NBC (NBC/NBCSN)
- Outstanding Live Graphic Design: NHL on NBC (NBC/NBCSN)
- The George Wensel Technical Achievement Award: Tour de France – Augmented Reality (NBC/NBCSN)
- Outstanding Studio Show in Spanish: Hoy en la Copa Mundial Femenina de la FIFA (Telemundo)
- Outstanding Feature Story in Spanish: Golf Central: Dylan Reales: El Loco del Palo (GOLF Channel)
- Outstanding On-Air Sports Personality in Spanish: Andrés Cantor (Telemundo)
A complete list of nominees is available at www.emmyonline.org.
NBC Sports PR
Matt DiBenedetto and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang will return to competition on network TV this weekend as the sport’s iRacing wing steps up to deliver live content to a sports world starved for entertainment due to the coronavirus.
Sunday’s eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at virtual Texas Motor Speedway is the second event held this season featuring mostly Cup drivers but the first to be carried on FOX. Last week’s race at the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway was broadcast on FOX Sports 1, which also is airing this week’s race.
The Invitational races might seem on the surface like a hastily assembled affair, but they are made possible by iRacing’s infrastructure already in place.
Drivers participate via computers in their own homes, with their consoles varying from $40,000 rigs to some costing just a few hundred dollars.
The Wood Brothers, with backing from the dockless electric scooter rental company Spin, a Ford Motor Co. property, already were involved in on-line racing and fielded four drivers last year.
Two competed in the 18-race NASCAR Peak iRacing League, and two more in the 16-race season for the NASCAR Heat Pro League.
Jon Wood, senior vice president and co-owner of the Wood Brothers team, said the foundation already laid by iRacing is the reason NASCAR fans can watch Cup drivers in action even though the traditional cars are idled indefinitely.
“iRacing took a chance before anyone else in being a NASCAR eSports league,” Wood said, giving much of the credit to iRacing Executive Vice President and Executive Producer Steve Myers, and to Otto Szebeni, who is iRacing’s director of sales and marketing. “We met them at Homestead in 2018 and they mentioned the idea of having an esports league.
“We really knew nothing about what they were planning, but the notion of an iRacing league, made up of some Cup teams seemed like a really good idea.
“We joined in and were actually the first team to commit, not knowing if it would be a total flop or a booming success.”
After some initial difficulties explaining the concept of online racing to the old-school members of his family’s race team, Wood said his team now fully supports a venture that has become a leader in a sports world scrambling for ways to deliver content.
And, as with their traditional Cup team, the Woods have strong support from Ford in their iRacing venture.
Wood credited Brett Wheatley, who once oversaw the Motorcraft sponsorship and now oversees the company’s mobility and autonomous vehicle businesses including Spin, with recognizing the potential of esports like iRacing.
“Brett wanted to be a part of our esports venture, seeing it for what it could be at some point down the road,” Wood said. I think he accurately called that shot.”
Now, with few sports broadcasting options other than re-runs, the vision of folks like Wheatley and the iRacing execs is paying off.
“The shutting down of all of America has kickstarted the e-sports revolution, but iRacing was already there and totally killing it long before this virus took hold,” Wood said. “If not for last year’s Peak Series and this year’s Coca-Cola iRacing Series, I can almost guarantee we wouldn’t be talking about iRacing in the way we are now.”
“The infrastructure and relationships were already there because of team involvement.”
Wood said it took no more than a single text message relating to last Sunday’s Homestead race. From letting the team know the race would happen to making sure Matt and his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang would be involved was a single back and forth text. No contracts, no delays.
“That level of trust and knowing whatever they do, we know it will be done right. That wouldn’t exist had it not been for the already existing relationships we have, and I think many other teams probably have very similar experiences,” Wood said.
The O’Reilly Auto Parts 125 race at virtual Texas Motor Speedway takes place on Sunday, March 29, at 1 p.m. Eastern Time and is available on FOX, FS1, and the FOX Sports app.
In what came down to a last-second decision in the final matchup, the Final Four is set in #RoushMadness as No. 1 seeds Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards advanced, while the No. 7 seed Ryan Newman pulled the ultimate upset over No. 1 Mark Martin.
The two final four matchups – Biffle vs. Edwards and Kenseth vs. Newman – get underway Thursday night with voting set to end Friday at noon ET. From there, the Championship will take place Friday night to determine the fans’ choice in the greatest driver in Roush Fenway Racing history.
Newman Pulls Ultimate Upset Over Martin
With over 6600 votes cast, and a deciding margin of just 146 votes, Newman took down No. 1 overall seed Martin on Thursday, 51-49, to advance through to the Final Four. At one point, Martin trimmed the difference to just a point, but Newman again rallied the troops on Twitter to decide it.
Edwards Too Much for McMurray in Elite Eight
Edwards managed to tally the second-largest blowout of the tournament in terms of total votes (1245), defeating Jamie McMurray 84-16.
Biffle Bests Ragan
Biffle, who holds the fourth-most amount of votes throughout #RoushMadness thus far with 2899, handled No. 2 David Ragan with ease, 82-18.
Kenseth Topples Burton to Move On
The Mayor’s run in #RoushMadness came to an end in the Elite Eight after falling to Kenseth, 71-29.
It’s a True Fastenal Final Four
Fastenal, celebrating its 10-Year Anniversary with Roush Fenway in 2020, has the perfect scenario in the Fastenal Final Four, as all four remaining drivers ran a Fastenal branded-car at some point in their careers.
Fastenal joined the RFR stable in 2010 coming on board as an Xfinity Series partner for Carl Edwards’ No. 60 entry. They followed Edwards to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2012, sponsoring him in the No. 99 entry until his departure at the end of 2014. From there, they partnered with Ricky Stenhouse Jr., beginning in 2015, and now serve as the primary for Chris Buescher’s No. 17 machine.
At one point in the company’s history, they served as the primary partner on all three of Jack Roush’s NCS entries, at the 2012 Charlotte spring race, where Biffle, Kenseth and Edwards each carried Fastenal colors. That trend followed again in 2013 and 2014 when Stenhouse joined Biffle and Edwards in Fastenal blue for the spring Charlotte events.
For Newman, Fastenal was aboard his No. 5 machine for JR Motorsports in the 2009 Xfinity Series season, including races at Dover, Chicago, Michigan and Bristol.
Vote Leaders Thus Far
With just four drivers left, Newman leads the way in total sum of votes in #RoushMadess, amassing 6903. Martin is next-closest with 5428, with Edwards (3864), Biffle (2899) and McMurray (2610) rounding out the top five.
The Final Four kicks off Thursday night with Biffle vs. Edwards and Kenseth vs. Newman. In terms of Cup wins, that’s 19 vs. 28 and 39 vs. 18. In terms of car numbers, matchups feature the No. 16 vs. No. 99, and No. 17 vs. No. 6.