As part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR announced competition changes for the 2011 racing season.
Atlanta Motor Speedway president and general manager Ed Clark commented on the modifications outlined by series officials: “NASCAR is to be saluted for their off-season work on the significant program changes announced today. The new elements will keep the sport fresh and interesting for both long-time fans and new followers of the sport. The changes to NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying will bring a great amount of drama back to pole qualifying day. We will see new heroes emerge in the Nationwide Series as drivers now have to choose what series they want to run for a title in. And, with the point system changes, there will be a heightened level of competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. 2011 will be a very interesting season.”
Atlanta Motor Speedway will play host to all three of NASCAR’s top touring divisions on Labor Day weekend in 2011 with night racing under the lights:
Friday, Sept. 2nd: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Saturday, Sept. 3rd: NASCAR Nationwide Series
Sunday, Sept. 4th: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
CREDIT: AMS PR
What are your goals this year with your teammate Brian Vickers?
“Just working together, he (Brian Vickers) wants to. I want to. Our teams (have goals), and to me it’s a good relationship and it should be all season long. I think we can both get a lot out of it. That’s the goal of having teammates. I think it’s going to be good.”
Will this be a hard year for your knowing you will only be with the team for one season?
“It’s different than some situations -- or than most situations -- but it’s what we have. Red Bull was really excited about it. I was really excited about it. Kenny Francis (crew chief) and the team -- to me it’s a good thing. I think it’s going to be just fine. One year, we’ll do all we can to do it right and have a great season and go from there. You never know what’s going to happen in racing. You never know what’s going to happen at the end of the season. It’s kind of always up in the air, but I would say that we can do a lot this year and really have a great year.”
How happy are you to have this ride with the current economic struggles in NASCAR?
“I’m really happy. Something would’ve happened for sure this year. Mr. (Rick) Hendrick was behind it and told me it would (work). So, that’s basically why I made the decision I did for kind of the next five years. When he told me (about) Red Bull, I was like, they weren’t having a good season. It wasn’t much of a year for them, but I know what they have here and what they do. I know a lot of the people, so I got excited pretty quick. Once I started going over there, even prior to driving for them, and just knowing what was going on, talking to some of the guys, I was like, ‘Man, this is actually going to be a really good spot for me.’ So, it’s been exciting. I think we can do a lot in this one season, as a team and as a company together.”
Do you think the type of drama that happened last season helps NASCAR?
“I don’t think it hurts. There’s 43 guys that want to win the race and if something happens -- somebody gets used up or done wrong, then they’re definitely going to have an issue with that. I was able to watch a lot of it and I kind of laughed at a lot of it and thought it was pretty good. I think I was maybe in one myself and it was pretty easy going and kind of over. There was definitely some good ones. There was some exciting stuff that went on that isn’t bad. It’s just showing the drive and things that each one of these drivers and teams have to win races.”
Does the one-year deal with Red Bull give you more incentive to be successful?
“It definitely makes you want it pretty bad. I think I will as long as I’m in racing. I’ve always wanted to just do everything I can to win and this is one of those years where you go into it really confident because of the off-season and because of the way that Red Bull is preparing for this season. I’m really excited. I think we can do a lot. I think we can run strong and have a lot of fun at the same time. I’m looking forward to it and can’t wait to get started.”
Do you think there needs to be more attention focused on the drivers instead of on the race cars?
“I think things are actually -- the car itself to me is a blast to drive. It’s created a ton of great racing over the last few years, especially this last year. I thought it was some of the best racing that I’ve been a part of since I’ve been in NASCAR. I like what we have. I like how it keeps getting better, and to me it’s a great car. I think there’s a lot of personalities in NASCAR, from the drivers and things that are pretty good. I don’t know exactly what to do there, but I think that the car itself -- I love what I do. I think it’s some great racing.”
Have you talked with Brian Vickers about what he’s gone through to be able to come back to NASCAR?
“I’ve known Brian (Vickers) for a long time. I wouldn’t say we’re best friends or anything, but we’ve definitely been friends for a long time. Myself, I take off a month and a half during the offseason and I can’t wait to get back in the car. I do and I’m so excited for a couple days to just be back in a race car and get to feel it, whether it’s any type of car and especially our Sprint Cup cars. To me, I couldn’t imagine being out for eight months at this time of your career. I’m not sure how old he is, but whatever he is, that’s a great time in his career and where he’s at in racing. I think it would be really difficult to be out, but at the same time things happen, you get it fixed up and you go on. And, that’s what he’s done. I think he’s got to be relieved and just excited as can be to be back in the car. I’m looking forward to working with him and having a great season together.”
Was it a coincidence that you drafted quite a bit with the Hendrick teams at the Daytona test?
“The reason that happened is there were four guys who wanted to draft. It was me and Brian (Vickers) and Jimmie (Johnson) and (Dale Earnhardt) Junior that first day. So, we kind of all worked together and drafted together and it worked out pretty well. Those are two good cars to kind of surround yourself with and see where you compared with those guys. It was good for us. As far as working together, I think Red Bull and Toyota do their thing and Hendrick and Chevrolet do theirs. This year I’m working with Red Bull and Toyota.”
Do you have a different approach this year knowing you will only be with Red Bull for one season?
“It really doesn’t change because the way I look at it is I always want to make the Chase. You have to make the Chase. That’s what everybody is here for. You have to win races, that’s why we do it is to win. That’s why we drive and race. And the only way to do that is to be consistent in this sport and that’s something where I feel like I’ve failed over the years. I’ve had years where I haven’t been very consistent, I’ve had years where we’ve been a lot better and that’s something that I need to get a lot better at. To me, if I want to win races and make the Chase I need to be consistent. That’s something I need to do this year, I need to do next year and on and on. That’s the only way to make it happen in NASCAR.”
Why did you start racing with Red Bull toward the end of the 2010 season?
“As much as anything, I liked kind of just changing and starting out with a team and getting used to their ways a little bit. I think that was definitely good. I think it was good for myself to get away from where I was. It needed to happen sooner than later. I think it was good for RPM (Richard Petty Motorsports) to get me out of there. They were happy about it and I was happy about it and we’ve went on. I’m actually really happy with where I’m at, and since Kenny Francis (crew chief) and some of the guys that I’ve worked with in the past have came over to Red Bull, I just feel really confident and really under control. I know exactly what is going on. I feel like that’s a good thing and it’s going to be really beneficial for all of us this year to have Kenny and a lot of the guys that came.”
What would it mean for you to win the Daytona 500 in this car?
“It would be great to win at Daytona. I got a little bit of a taste of it by winning a 150 (qualifying race) there. And, we ran pretty strong there all of the races last year, it seemed like. I feel confident running well at Daytona and the 4 has been impressive at times there so hopefully we can just have a really good Speed Weeks, be upfront in everything we do and start the season off right. That’s all we can ask for, that’s what we’re going for.”
What were you and Brian Vickers able to learn at the Daytona test last week?
“There was a lot you could learn with that two-car deal. The pack was too small to really learn a lot as far as the drafting side goes with the bigger pack. Nobody ever wanted to draft -- or not enough cars at once so that made it tough. I think myself and Brian (Vickers) started it and then everybody else by the end of the testing were really focusing on the two-car stuff and making changes and figuring out how you work together and how that works. I think it was really good. You’re going to need that as far as the way that the track is now. I don’t think you’ll need it as much as what we did at the test. With the big pack, you’ll need it at times and it’s good to know how it works and how you can make it work better.”
Are you at a point in your career where you feel like it’s time to have more success on the race track?
“I’ve been at that point, really. I feel like it should happen. I don’t feel like I have near enough wins. I don’t have near enough poles. I haven’t made the Chase enough. Everything about what I’ve done I don’t feel like I’ve done near enough. I’m a pretty competitive person when it comes to racing and a lot of things off the track. I want to do it right. I want to figure out how to win more and contend a lot more often.”
Are you disappointed you will only be with the Red Bull brand for a year?
“You never know how long it will be as far as my relationship with Red Bull. Hopefully it’s a lot longer than one year. Like I said, I like what we have going on and hopefully we can do good things together this year and make it a longer deal. If it’s only one year, it’s one year and I’m going to do everything I can to win races and do it right.”
Is it strange for you to have gone through all of the manufacturers in the series?
“It all changes a little bit. I noticed how many cars are on the road and you look at what’s out there. To myself, I liked the Dodge stuff, I liked the Ford stuff, I like the Toyota and then I’m going to enjoy the Chevrolet. I’ve never kind of been part of that. Where I’m at, I’ve got to get a little bit of each one of them and I think it’s actually kind of neat for myself. Yeah, I enjoy vehicles and I enjoy cars. I’m with Toyota now.”
What made you change to the 4 car?
“They’ve been 82, 84 and 83 and I didn’t really want to be any of those numbers so I asked if I could be -- when I go and race my Sprint car I’m number 4. We have our own kind of numbers -- the 4, the 9, the 91 and the 49 -- all our numbers kind of match and look similar that we did. I just asked them if they cared if I was 4, nobody is and kind of ran our design and everything. They were actually perfectly fine with it. I think it looks really good on the car. It looked great on the race track. It looks good on everything they’ve done with the 4 so far. I’m glad that Red Bull was behind it and it’s pretty cool.”
Are your knees completely recovered from your off-season surgeries?
“Yeah, probably not basketball because I can’t really twist a lot yet and maybe come down wrong. As far as running, I’m running every day. I’m biking every day. I’ve been biking for about a month, but running didn’t start until last week. I feel pretty good. I’m already running on the treadmill at 8.0 so that’s pretty decent. The knees aren’t too bad if you can do that. They don’t affect me. I didn’t even feel them sitting in the race car. They feel better now than they felt at the end of last year. I’m actually pretty happy with it.”
What did you actually have done to your knees?
“From what I understand, we’re all born with Plica. We’re all born with it and most of it goes away and mine didn’t. Mine actually kind of got bigger and filled up my joints so it was rubbing on my joints and rubbing on your kneecap and things like that. So, it was kind of a pain. Then, I tore my meniscus in my right knee so they had to fix that also so that was a pain all of last year. I did that in March of last year, so I just kind of lived with it all year and got lucky that something didn’t happen there because it could’ve been much worse.”
What does the Red Bull Racing Team have to offer you during this one year, before you move on?
“I feel like they can give me -- I think the biggest thing is the stability, the drive of winning, the excitement of all the employees and just how everybody wants to run good. Everybody wants to make themselves better. We want to do it for Red Bull. To me, it’s just a good attitude. I think a lot of it has to do with attitude and that’s what I feel they’re giving me as much as anything -- a great opportunity.”
How does your crew chief Kenny Francis fit in at Red Bull?
“Well, he’s (Kenny Francis, crew chief) is not going to change, so that doesn’t really matter. He just does his thing. He’s a great guy. He’ll sit there and if you can get him to open up and talk about things, he’s a really good guy. I’ve learned a lot and really like Kenny. But he’s probably not the edgiest guy around. That’s fine, I think it’s great. He doesn’t change, I can tell you that. It doesn’t matter who is talking to him or what time of day or when it is, he’s that same person. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
CREDIT: TOYOTA MOTORSPORTS PR
How far has Red Bull come since starting in 2007? “How much we’ve grown from the beginning is immeasurable. When I was hired at Red Bull as the first driver, gosh, I was like maybe the fifth or sixth employee. Literally I walked in the shop and it was just me and a handful of other guys. It’s incredible to watch the team go through everything it’s gone through and grow as much as it has. The evolution from a handful of guys all the way to the company that it is now. There’s been a lot of change. There’s a group of guys that are still there – the core group that have been there since the beginning, but there’s a lot of guys that have come and gone. That’s expected in a new organization. You create an organization and you create a culture -- some guys are going to fit in it and some guys aren’t. Doesn’t mean they’re bad or good, they just need to fit the right piece for the right puzzle and I think over the years I’ve seen the company and the culture – we kind of went one direction and then we changed and now we’re going back in the original direction that we went from a cultural standpoint. I think all those are good changes. We’ve learned a lot from that as a group and through that process people have come and gone. Where we’re at right now, I really believe is as good as we’ve ever been as an organization. From a direction, a culture, a structure, a passion, a drive -- I think the enthusiasm within the team on both cars within the race shop in the highest it’s ever been. Having two experienced guys that can lean on each other is the best it’s ever been. Honestly, I’m really excited about 2011 and the growth I’ve seen through the years.”
What was your feeling when you first climbed back in the driver’s seat of your race car? “I savored it -- it felt good. I guess you don’t really know what to expect, you’re not really sure which direction to go, what emotions to feel. When you get back in the car, you’re not sure what’s going to happen. My gut always told me that I would get right back in it and it would be just like an old pair of shoes or riding a bicycle, but everyone starts asking you, ‘It’s been eight months, do you remember how to drive?’ It’s not that you really start believing it, but you start wondering what that experience is really going to be like. But when I got back in that car, the belts fit, I remember how to put them on – nobody had to tell me how. In so many ways, I think I truly appreciated it more, but at the same time it was almost like I hadn’t even been gone. It just felt so comfortable, it felt so good, it felt so normal to be back in that seat. I got in, climbed in the car, the belts still fit, the helmet fit and I put it all on and went racing. Just got back on the race track and it was a very special moment.”
Do you want the illness to be forgotten so your career is not defined by it for years to come? “I don’t really care -- I just want to win a championship. I do believe that the experience has made me a better person and therefore I think that translates on the race track. The person you are and the personality that you have is always going to translate in your driving style. I want to use this experience as an opportunity to reach people whether it’s clot awareness or different things. Do I want to be defined by it? No, but ultimately you’re defined by your actions, you’re defined by what happens to you, you’re defined by a lot of things. This is going to be one of them and I accept that. After Daytona, I want to be talking about winning the race not about clots. But I understand that who I am and what I do and what I’ve gone through, it ’s always going to be a part of my life.”
What did you learn at the Daytona test? “We learned that you could still hold it wide open. There’s going to be drafting and it’s going to be an exciting race. We did learn a lot of things that I think are going to help us as a team, but a lot of guys learned a lot of things. We got faster while we were there, but so did other guys. I don’t know if I could tell you how the race is going to be. It’s going to be one of the most exciting Daytona 500s for me from the driver’s seat and I’m sure it’s going to be the same for the fans. The track surface is part of it, the cars with the new noses is part of it. I think the evolution of drafting. Could our old cars have done what we do now, the way we draft in pairs and really pick up a lot of speed? Yeah, maybe they could have and we just never tried it. We didn’t really push that boundary. Maybe the new car is a part of that. The surface is definitely a part of it at Daytona. Why you didn’t see more of it at Talladega I don’t know. I think you’re going to see a lot of it at this race, but you’re still going to see a big pack. You’re still going to see three wide. How the two car breakaways are going to play into that -- I don’t know, but it’s going to be exciting to find out.”
Did you ever consider retiring from racing? “Absolutely. Listen there was a point in time where it wasn’t really up to me. We weren’t sure what caused it, what happened, am I coming off blood thinners, am I not? Medically we had to answer a lot of those questions. There was a lot of time there where I wasn’t sure if it was even in my hands. Once it was in my hands, I still had a decision to make. If I decided to come back racing, was I going to be thinking about a blood clot every lap? Was I going to be able to focus on my job? Was I still going to love it? Was it time to move on to something else in my life? I had a hard decision to make and there were a lot of things that had to be weighed
What has the support from competitors been like throughout this process? “There’s definitely situations with guys that have changed. Some of the guys that were the most there for me were the obvious ones and the guys that I am the closest to outside of racing -- Casey (Mears), Jimmie (Johnson), Jeff (Gordon). There were some guys there that checked in on me every once in a while and were very supportive -- Tony Stewart was one of the first guys to check in with me via text or phone. When I was at the race track he would always say something. He was the first guy to stick his head in my window at Daytona. Tony obviously has his rough side and his moments and I wish he would show more -- it doesn’t come out as much as it used to. I kind of liked it. He’s a teddy bear inside. He always has been to me. He was great and I’m just giving you one example because I don’t want to go through all of them. Him for instance, that meant a lot to me on a personal level. It really did. It really showed me a side to Tony that I’d seen some, but not directed towards me. It was Sonoma when he and I got into it and that was awesome. I think it cost him some money. Back then I used to love to push his buttons and I was good at it. Tony and I have become really close over the years and have a mutual respect. Him and I race well together now and probably as good as I’ve raced with anybody on the race track. Really hard when it’s time to be hard, but not when it’s not. I think that’s a good example of what he did and how his little comments here and there meant a lot to me. I still want to beat him and I think he knows that. He expects that and that’s what he respects. He’s not going to feel bad for me either. He’s going to race me just as hard if not harder than he ever has and I like that -- that’s what I love about our sport. That’s what I want. I want to race these guys with respect and I want to race them hard, but when we all go home we’re all people. We’re a community, we’re a team and the NASCAR community as a whole has been very supportive through this. People talk about that a lot, but it’s truly there. I think you really see it when things are bad. How much everybody really supports you and are understanding. I would even say that to all you guys here and all the media in general. A lot of the familiar faces that are there week in and week out. You guys were great -- you could have been in my business and asking just inappropriate questions, but you weren’t. I understand you have a job to do and I think I talked about that in some of my press conferences. I wanted to give you guys as much as I could, but in return I asked that you give me my space and you did and I really appreciate that. I think that’s part of our community. You don’t get that in a lot of other places. I talked to some of my friends that are athletes in other sports -- they don’t get that, they don’t get that at all. They don’t have the accessibility on the front end. That’s why I tried to give you guys as much as I could. That’s always meant a lot to me and I really appreciate it. I think that’s another example of what you’re talking about with the community coming together whether it’s your peers as drivers or the media or the fans or the teams or whatever. When Sunday rolls around I still want to win.”
CREDIT: TOYOTA MOTORSPORTS PR
Champion NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace, ESPN's lead studio analyst for auto racing, has reached a new contract extension to remain with ESPN through the 2014 season, it was announced by Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, production. "Rusty Wallace is a NASCAR legend," Williamson said. "We're very happy that he will continue to share his knowledge and experience with our viewers for the remainder of our current relationship with NASCAR. It's a very strong property and we look forward to the next four years." Wallace joined ESPN after retiring from driving following the 2005 NASCAR season. A 55-time winner in NASCAR's top series and the 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, Wallace is lead analyst for ESPN's NASCAR studio programs, including NASCAR Countdown and NASCAR Now. Wallace also contributes NASCAR analysis to SportsCenter, First Take and ESPNEWS and calls selected NASCAR Nationwide Series races from the booth. He spent the 2006 season as an analyst for ESPN's coverage of the IndyCar Series before moving to NASCAR in 2007 as the stock car racing series returned to ESPN. "ESPN has given me the opportunity to do a lot of great things," said Wallace. "I got to call two Indianapolis 500s, call a lot of races from the booth and be on SportsCenter. Now I'm at home in the pit studio and I love working with Allen Bestwick and Brad Daugherty and all of the people at ESPN. I'm glad to be able to be a part of it for the next four years." Wallace, whose 706th career start ended his 2005 season-long "Last Call" tour, led nearly 20,000 laps in his 25-year career. The 1984 Rookie of the Year ended his 22nd consecutive full-time Sprint Cup season eighth in the standings, the 17th time he finished among the top 10. At the time of his retirement, Wallace ranked as one of the top five money winners in NASCAR history, with nearly $50 million in career winnings. In his last year on the NASCAR circuit, every race facility honored Wallace and nine race tracks now on the NASCAR schedule offered permanent dedications. More than a dozen state, city, and county seats of government declared race day as an officially recognized Rusty Wallace Day. In addition, bestowed upon Wallace were Delaware's Order of the First State and North Carolina's Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian honors in those states. In 1998, NASCAR named the St. Louis area native one of its 50 greatest drivers of all time and he is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Hall of Fame. Wallace is owner of Rusty Wallace Racing, which fields a NASCAR Nationwide Series car driven by his son, Steve Wallace. In addition, he helped design Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Visit www.espnmediazone.com for ESPN's latest releases, schedules and other news, plus photos, video and audio clips and more. CREDIT: RUSTY WALLACE RACING PR
Champion NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace, ESPN's lead studio analyst for auto racing, has reached a new contract extension to remain with ESPN through the 2014 season, it was announced by Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, production.
"Rusty Wallace is a NASCAR legend," Williamson said. "We're very happy that he will continue to share his knowledge and experience with our viewers for the remainder of our current relationship with NASCAR. It's a very strong property and we look forward to the next four years."
Wallace joined ESPN after retiring from driving following the 2005 NASCAR season. A 55-time winner in NASCAR's top series and the 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, Wallace is lead analyst for ESPN's NASCAR studio programs, including NASCAR Countdown and NASCAR Now. Wallace also contributes NASCAR analysis to SportsCenter, First Take and ESPNEWS and calls selected NASCAR Nationwide Series races from the booth. He spent the 2006 season as an analyst for ESPN's coverage of the IndyCar Series before moving to NASCAR in 2007 as the stock car racing series returned to ESPN.
"ESPN has given me the opportunity to do a lot of great things," said Wallace. "I got to call two Indianapolis 500s, call a lot of races from the booth and be on SportsCenter. Now I'm at home in the pit studio and I love working with Allen Bestwick and Brad Daugherty and all of the people at ESPN. I'm glad to be able to be a part of it for the next four years."
Wallace, whose 706th career start ended his 2005 season-long "Last Call" tour, led nearly 20,000 laps in his 25-year career. The 1984 Rookie of the Year ended his 22nd consecutive full-time Sprint Cup season eighth in the standings, the 17th time he finished among the top 10. At the time of his retirement, Wallace ranked as one of the top five money winners in NASCAR history, with nearly $50 million in career winnings.
In his last year on the NASCAR circuit, every race facility honored Wallace and nine race tracks now on the NASCAR schedule offered permanent dedications. More than a dozen state, city, and county seats of government declared race day as an officially recognized Rusty Wallace Day. In addition, bestowed upon Wallace were Delaware's Order of the First State and North Carolina's Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian honors in those states.
In 1998, NASCAR named the St. Louis area native one of its 50 greatest drivers of all time and he is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Hall of Fame. Wallace is owner of Rusty Wallace Racing, which fields a NASCAR Nationwide Series car driven by his son, Steve Wallace. In addition, he helped design Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.
Visit www.espnmediazone.com for ESPN's latest releases, schedules and other news, plus photos, video and audio clips and more.
CREDIT: RUSTY WALLACE RACING PR
Bud Moore had just completed a highly successful three-year run with driver Bobby Allison behind the wheel of his No. 15 Ford, and he was in need of a new driver.
“Bobby Allison drove for me in ‘78, ‘79 and ‘80 and we needed somebody to come along in 1981 because Bobby was moving on,” recalled Moore, who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte this May. “Melling Tool was going to sponsor us and help us out if we’d take on Benny because Benny was a traveling salesman for them. We did and that’s how we got started together.”
Trying to match what Allison had done would be a difficult task, considering he won 14 races, including the 1978 Daytona 500, and had point finishes of second, third and sixth. But with Parsons being a former series champion with 17 career wins under his belt, Moore felt good about continuing his solid momentum.
The season got off to a good start with Parsons posting four fifth-place finishes in the first eight races. He made it to victory lane for the first time at Nashville in May when he beat Darrell Waltrip and Allison to the checkered flag. The next two weeks, however, weren’t quite as kind as an accident at Dover and engine failure at Charlotte resulted in finishes of 32nd and 37th, respectively.
So when the series headed to Texas World Speedway on June 7 for the Budweiser 400, Parsons and Moore were in need of a turnaround but they weren’t the only ones. Promoters for the speedway struggled to sell tickets for the event and a crowd of approximately 18,000 was on hand for what proved to be the final NASCAR race at the two-mile facility.
“The track was real rough and as far as spectators were concerned, I ran several races there and they never drew any spectators for some reason,” said Moore. “I think it was because the track was so far out between Dallas and Houston, but I don’t really know why they couldn’t draw fans. I know Winston was paying the purse to even get us to go down there and run.”
The fans who did show up, however, saw a memorable finish between Parsons and Dale Earnhardt, who was driving the No. 2 Wrangler Pontiac of Rod Osterlund.
“We really had a good car that day, but we were very, very fortunate that we finished because the oil tank broke loose in the car,” said Moore. “There were several things that happened that day that were really bad and we often wondered how we even finished, but Benny drove a heck of a race that day to outrun Earnhardt and win. It was a great day for all of us.”
Earnhardt led the most laps that day with 96 and was ahead with four laps to go, but Parsons was able to get up alongside and run door-to-door to the finish. Parsons ended up edging Earnhardt by a half-second at the finish line to win the race and give Ford Racing it’s 300th series victory.
One more victory followed late in the year at Richmond, but Parsons endured a series of mechanical failures over the final two months of the season. He finished 24th or worse in six of the last seven races to end up 10th in the final point standings.
“It was a good relationship all the way around with Melling and Benny, and I just hated we didn’t get to go another year or so with them, but it didn’t happen,” said Moore, who ended the relationship at season’s end. “Benny was a great race driver, but the biggest thing was when Wrangler came along and hired me. With all of the stuff that was happening with that sponsorship, I had to take on Dale Earnhardt. I had to go with them because of the situation, but I really hated having to leave Benny. I felt if we could have run two or three years together, that we would have won a lot more races than what we did.”
Parsons, who was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998, went on to become the first NASCAR driver to qualify a stock car at more than 200 miles an hour when he ran 200.176 mph at Talladega Superspeedway in 1982 for the Winston 500. He won only one more race after leaving Moore, with that coming at Atlanta in 1984, before retiring after the 1988 season. He went on to have a successful career as a broadcaster while Moore went on to compete in the series until selling his operation in 1999.
CREDIT: FORD RACING PR
Construction crews have nearly completed the first phase of work on thesite where the world's largest
high-definition video board will rise 110 feet above the track for its debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway's 2011 May race events.
Using heavy earth-moving equipment, crews from Granite Contracting,
of Concord, N.C., have removed 18,000 cubic yards of dirt and 3,000 cubic
yards of concrete behind the backstretch where the gigantic, nearly
16,000-square-foot screen will be located. The concrete bleachers that were
removed were part of the speedway's original construction in 1960.
The next phase of site work will include removing another 900 cubic
yards of dirt by drilling 12 holes, each 54 inches in diameter, more than 50
feet deep to bedrock level. Concrete piers will then be installed in the
holes to support the massive 500,000-pound steel frame that will hold the
165,000-pound video board. When completed, the total structure will weigh
332-and-a-half tons or 665,000 pounds.
Designed and created by Panasonic, the approximately 200-foot-wide
and 80-foot-tall screen will be centered along the backstretch between Turns
2 and 3, across from the start/finish line. Fans seated throughout the
frontstretch from Turn 4 to Turn 1 will have clear viewing angles of instant
replays, leaderboard updates and interactive entertainment displayed in 720P
high-definition visuals. The screen will be illuminated by more than nine
million LED lamps during each NASCAR race event at Charlotte Motor Speedway
this spring, including the May 21 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the May 29
Frontstretch tickets with the best views of the new HD video board
and pit road start at just $49 for the May 21 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
Fans can also purchase two frontstretch tickets for just $99 to the May 29
Coca-Cola 600 by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS or
online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.
CREDIT: CMS PR
Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber today announced 3 Amigos Tequila – the Official Tequila of PIR – as title sponsor for the upcoming NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at PIR on Feb. 24. The 3 Amigos Organic Blanco 100 will run at Phoenix International Raceway at 4:30 p.m. local time as the first race of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season and will also open the 2011 NASCAR season for PIR.
“3 Amigos Tequila is a quality product that’s all about good times and fun – a perfect match to help us open the 2011 NASCAR season at PIR next month,” Sperber said. “The product’s local roots make our partnership even more exciting for race fans in the Valley of the Sun.”
Known as “Your Arizona Family Tequila,” 3 Amigos Tequila was founded by Arizona resident Santiago Gonzalez and his family in 2007. The product is made from agave grown at his family's farm in Mexico. The tequila is distilled and bottled in Mexico before being brought to the United States for distribution. The Paddington Corporation and Pelican Brands serve as the global brand manager for 3 Amigos Tequila.
“3 Amigos Tequila is an amazing, 100 percent agave, hand-crafted tequila that can go head-to-head with Patron and Don Julio and is uniquely priced to give amazing value to our consumers,” said J. Smoke Wallin, Chairman & CEO of Pelican Brands and Chairman of The Paddington Corporation. “We are very excited to launch the 2011 NASCAR season at Phoenix International Raceway with the 3 Amigos Organic Blanco 100 on Feb. 24.”
Tickets for the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500™ on Feb. 27 are available now and start at just $25. For Phoenix International Raceway tickets and information, call 866-408-RACE (7223) or visit PhoenixRaceway.com. Let the GO begin.
CREDIT: PIR PR
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced today that it has reached an exclusive agreement with K&N Filters for the company’s air and oil filters to be designated the “No. 1 Filter in NASCAR®.”
This multi-year agreement provides K&N with a marketing platform to enhance and differentiate its products and drive sales. K&N will utilize the NASCAR Performance brand marks and intellectual property on its packaging, as well as within literature, on its advertising and promotional programs, and at industry events.
K&N offers a complete line of Washable/Reusable High-Flow Air Filters, Wrench-Off Oil Filters, and Performance Air Intake Systems that replace the entire factory air delivery system to provide a guaranteed increase in horsepower. K&N makes filtration products for most cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Additionally, K&N has recently released a line of Heavy Duty Air Filters for use on over-the-road diesel trucks, motorhomes and other industrial equipment.
In addition to its exclusive NASCAR Performance partnership, K&N will maintain its status as an official developmental series partner of NASCAR by continuing its run as title sponsor of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and also will remain a NASCAR Prize Money & Decal (Contingency) Program sponsor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. K&N has been a major supporter of all types of motorsports from grassroots racing to the professional categories.
NASCAR is one of the few professional sports leagues that has created an automotive specific marketing program for its family of automotive sponsors. The platform, branded as NASCAR Performance, includes exclusive marketing rights, the ability to co-brand products and product packaging as well as involvement in a long list of integrated media programs. The NASCAR Performance product program logo is a symbol of integrity that represents NASCAR’s commitment to performance, precision and quality.
“Increased performance and efficiency are benefits that the car-conscious NASCAR fan is always looking to achieve,” said Todd Armstrong, managing director, NASCAR Automotive Group. “The filters that K&N produces provide that advantage, which is why this is a strong partnership with NASCAR, a sport that celebrates performance.”
As an exclusive automotive partner under the NASCAR Performance brand, K&N Filters will utilize NASCAR marks and marketing programs in service centers and related media channels.
“K&N is a company with a long history in motorsports and its technology has benefitted race teams with increased and reliable horsepower for 40 years,” said Steve Rogers, C.E.O. of K&N. “I always believed it was just a matter of time before NASCAR and K&N reunited, I feel like we have so much in common as family run businesses driven by our passion for motorsports.”
CREDIT: NASCAR PR
A little over a week ago, Alli Owens announced on her social media channels that she intended to make her NASCAR debut in the Camping World Truck Series at her home track, the Daytona International Speedway. To do so, Owens asked her fans to raise the additional capital needed to fulfill the monetary commitment to run the race. With the help of those fans, a few local businesses and a new website, Owens announced today she will indeed make her debut in NASCAR during the NextEra Energy Resources 250 driving for Ray Hackett Racing, an experienced team based out of Salisbury, N.C.
Owens was able to raise the funds after getting support from Mullinax Ford, a dealership from New Smyrna, Fla.; local Daytona Beach area chapters of the IBEW and NECA to promote www.thequalityconnection.org, a website dedicated to the National Labor-Management Cooperation Committee of the Electrical Construction Industry; and also her fans, who helped her raise enough funds to complete the sponsorship needed.
"It's amazing that in such a short period of time everything has come together like it has," said Owens. "I went to Twitter and Facebook and put the word out there that we needed help. Almost immediately we had people jumping on board. It's been humbling, and I'm so truly grateful for the businesses and fans who have helped me."
Owens has three top-10 finishes in the ARCA Series and started on the outside pole at Daytona in the series in 2009. Owens will be the only female competitor from Daytona Beach competing at Speedweeks in 2011.
"I'm really honored to race for the city of Daytona Beach, the local IBEW and NECA chapters, Mullinax Ford and my family in the area," said Owens. "Growing up, the Daytona International Speedway meant everything to me. It still does, and I'm ready to make a successful NASCAR debut there. It's going to be a special day."
Owens will stay in North Carolina to help with the team the remainder of this month and into February. She will travel with the team to Daytona, where their first practice is scheduled for Wednesday, February 16.
Additional sponsorship opportunities are still available for Owens in 2011. For more information, please visit www.AlliOwens.com.
CREDIT: BREAKING LIMITS PR
After helping the No. 22 Dodge team and driver, Brad Keselowski, capture the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship, Ruby Tuesday, Inc. has agreed to extend and expand its partnership with Penske Racing this season.
The high-quality, casual-dining restaurant chain’s brand will once again adorn the sides of the No. 22 Dodge Challenger. Ruby Tuesday will serve as primary sponsor for five races in 2011, beginning with the May 6 event at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, and co-primary sponsor for four races, beginning with the March 19 race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. In addition to its presence in the Nationwide Series, Ruby Tuesday will have prominent placement on the rear deck lid of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger, also driven by Keselowski, in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2011.
“I am very excited to represent Ruby Tuesday again in 2011,” said Keselowski. “They were an integral part of our championship season in 2010, and I look forward to winning more races with them in the future. The fact that they have grown their relationship to include the ‘Blue Deuce’ is something in which we take great pride at Penske Racing.”
Penske Racing is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports. Competing in a variety of disciplines, cars owned and prepared by Penske Racing have produced 332 major race wins, 396 pole positions and 23 National Championships.
“Ruby Tuesday is happy to continue our growing relationship with Penske Racing and Brad,” said Mark Young, Ruby Tuesday’s Senior Vice President of Marketing. “When people compete and set high standards for performance, everybody wins. That’s the spirit that drives both our teams.”
CREDIT: Penske Racing PR