Sporting a new Sam’s Club® paint scheme on the No. 14 Hefty®/Reynolds® Impala at Kansas Speedway, the TriStar Motorsports team was optimistic that, based off solid runs at Chicagoland Speedway earlier in the season, a successful weekend was on tap for its sister track. Unfortunately, the year-long string of bad luck would continue for Eric McClure as he was swept into an accident on lap four. Although the No. 14 Sam’s Club®/Hefty® Reynolds® Chevrolet suffered such significant damage that immediately changed the car’s drivability, the team was able to make laps and salvage a 31st-place finish in the Kansas Lottery 300. With this finish, the Virginia driver slipped one position (20th) in NASCAR Nationwide Series Driver Standings.
“There are no words to describe what happens to us. If it wasn’t so expensive and frustrating it would be funny at this point. We had a poor qualifying effort today, which got us in that position. We came out of the gate fairly quick and were making passes when another competitor went four-wide on lap four and we got the worst end of it. I think the wreck bent everything inside the front and rear. We lost a lot of laps on pit road trying to beat the fenders out and tape it up enough so they would let us make laps. I’m proud of my guys for not quitting.”
Despite starting the Kansas Lottery 300 from the 36th position, McClure advanced seven positions by the completion of lap two and was in the process of advancing two additional positions on lap four when another competitor dove to the apron inside of the already three-wide pack of cars heading in to turn one. Not able to hold the position or pass the pack of cars, the chain of events that followed resulted in the No. 14 Sam’s Club®/Hefty® Reynolds® Chevrolet hitting the wall. After visiting pit road to survey and try to repair some of the damage, McClure was sent back on track as the field received the signal from NASCAR that the green flag would be displayed on the following lap. However, after discussing the likelihood of cutting a tire and damaging the car further, the call was made to bring the car to pit road for right side tires, fuel, and to make additional repairs to the car. Once McClure returned to the track under green flag conditions, he was scored three laps down to the race leader in the 37th position.
When the event’s second caution flag waved, the team had advanced to the 34th position and took this opportunity to again come to pit road to make additional repairs. Not wanting to lose an additional lap to the race leader, McClure was sent back on track with one lap to go before the race resumed. However, just as the field was coming to the green flag on lap 44, crew chief Gary Cogswell called the driver back to pit road so the team could make certain the fenders were still clearing all tires. McClure returned to the track in the 34th position, six laps down to the race leader.
As the race continued, McClure continued to work the top lane around the speedway as this was where his damaged car had the most grip and could maintain a faster speed. When the third caution flag waved on lap 60, McClure came to pit road for tires, fuel and additional repairs. When the race resumed on lap 65, the team still occupied the 34th position in the running order where they remained until the event’s fourth caution flag waved on lap 87. Staying on track to receive the wave around, the team advanced one position for the lap 95 restart.
When the track conditions remained green over the next thirty laps, McClure was forced to pit road for fuel, tires and to remove tape from the front grille as the water temperature had risen to 240 degrees. Just ten laps after returning to the track the event’s fifth caution flag waved. As the team had just visited pit road just a few laps prior, the call was made to stay on track to receive the wave around in hopes it would pay dividends in the closing laps of the race. McClure was scored in the 32nd position when the race resumed and remained in that position until another competitor’s engine expired with 27 laps remaining. Coming to pit road for fuel only, McClure returned to the track to finish the Kansas Lottery 300 in the 31st position.
TriStar Motorsports PR
When the NASCAR Nationwide Series activities begin this weekend at the 1.5-mile oval of Charlotte Motor Speedway, Robert Richardson, Jr. will be back in the seat of the No. 23 North Texas Pipe Chevrolet.
While it’s a home “game” for most everyone in NASCAR, Richardson will be making the trek from his home in Texas. The family-owned team of R3 Motorsports has entered and made every race this year with the No. 23 entry.
The 29-year old native of McKinney, Texas used the recent off-weeks from racing to take an extensive tour of Colorado and New Mexico utilizing his minor in photography from Southern Methodist University. To see some of his photos, he has them on is Facebook for viewing.
Fast Facts: This will be Richardson’s 20th start of the 2011 season and 89th of his NNS career. Throughout this year, he’s completed 2,946 of 3,740 laps contested and led one lap, at Talladega. His best finish took place at Richmond in May where he was 20th.
Track Facts: In his five previous starts at CMS, the former quarterback has a best start of 28th in 2008 and finish of 23rd in the spring race last year. He’s completed 617 of 975 laps during his handful of starts.
Where’s Robert? The NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers have a scheduled autograph session from 1 p.m. ET until 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon at the track.
Robert Richardson, Jr. Quotes: “This 1.5-mile track is pretty much like the others when it comes to the layout. But, this one is a lot faster than a Chicagoland or Kansas when it comes to how you handle in the turns.
“We need to get ourselves dialed in real good during the two practices sessions so we know what we have to deal with during the race. If we start to get in some of those long, green-flag runs like we have been lately, then we need to know what to expect.
“I’m liking this race for our guys because they get to spend some time at home instead of traveling a long distance to go to work. They will have a lot of family and friends at the track, so we want to put on a good show for them.”
R3 Motorsports PR
WINNING IN SIN: Matt Crafton and the No. 88 Menards/Ideal Door team are betting on a win in this weekend's race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Although Crafton has never hit the jackpot in Sin City, he has three top-five and four top-10 finishes at the 1.5-mile oval. Crafton has come close to taking home the big money, finishing second behind teammate Johnny Sauter in 2009, and his last three starts at LVMS have all resulted in a top-five finish.
DEUCES WILD: This weekend when Crafton takes the green flag, he will officially surpass Dennis Setzer for second in all-time consecutive starts in the series with 268. Terry Cook is the current record holder with 296, which Crafton can break at the end of the 2012 season if the schedule has 25 or more races.
SAIL THE OPEN SANDS: In addition to running 219 miles behind the wheel of the No. 88 Chevrolet Silverado, Crafton's week in Vegas includes some extracurricular driving activities. Crafton will embark on the maiden voyage of his newly built sandrail, a lightweight motor vehicle designed for off-road driving and skimming the surface of sand dunes. Be sure to tune in to this weekend's NCWTS Setup on SPEED to see Crafton hit the dunes with Ray Dunlap.
COME SAY 'CIAO' AT THE RIVIERA: This weekend, both the No. 88 and No. 13 trucks will carry the Riviera Hotel & Casino on board as the official Las Vegas hotel of ThorSport Racing. Crafton and teammates Sauter and Dakoda Armstrong will also be making an appearance at the 'Riv,' signing autographs at a meet and greet on Friday, October 14 from 7:30-9:00 p.m. local time. Visit www.rivierahotel.com for more information.
YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO SHOP: The ThorSport Racing online store is open for business and is now accepting credit cards. Head over to http://store.thorsport.com or click the Merchandise tab on ThorSport.com to find gear for all of the ThorSport Racing drivers.
CHASSIS HISTORY: The No. 88 team will utilize chassis No. 41 this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This is the chassis Crafton drove to the pole position earlier in the season at Michigan International Speedway. Crafton most recently raced No. 41 at Kentucky Speedway two weeks ago.
PREVIOUS RACE RECAP: Crafton and the No. 88 team rallied back from mechanical issues on the first lap to finish 23rd at Kentucky Speedway. After being forced into the garage immediately after the green flag due to a bad vibration, the team quickly repaired the Menards/Ideal Door Chevrolet and returned to the track, earning back several laps and gaining many valuable positions before taking the checkered flag in the Kentucky 225.
THOUGHTS FROM THE DRIVER: Matt Crafton
Do you like going out to Las Vegas?
"I love going out there, it's the West Coast, that's where I'm from. I always go out there early to head home for a bit and spend some time in the desert. I just finished building a brand new sandrail, so I'm really looking forward to getting out onto the dunes to break it in. Everyone says it's so hot out there, but it's a dry heat. It's definitely a little different than hot weather on the East Coast."
What do you like about Las Vegas Motor Speedway?
"I love racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway because there's always a great turnout in the stands, and it has been a really good racetrack for ThorSport. Two years ago, me and Johnny [Sauter] finished one and two, and we both ran well and finished in the top five last year too."
How does Las Vegas Motor Speedway compare to other intermediate tracks?
"It has definitely gotten more of a second groove over time. When we first went there, everyone would run around the bottom, but now the groove has moved up, especially in 1 and 2. That's what I really like about the place, the fact that the groove has moved with age. It also has one of the best garages in the sport."
Thorsport Racing PR
Jeff Smith took the lead on lap32 and went on to take the $4,000 to win event Saturday night at 311 Speedway. Smith started 5th on the grid and settled into the 4th spot by the completion of lap one. Smith moved up to the third spot on lap 3 as he made the pass on points leader Dennis Franklin. On lap 17 Smith made the move up to second when pole sitter Kenny Compton Jr went pitside. Smith moved passed Luke Roffers on lap 32 and lead the remaining 8 laps en-route to his first Carolina Clash victory of the season. It was Smith's 2nd victory of the weekend as he picked up the win in the NDRA crate event the previous night at Carolina Speedway.
Points leader Dennis "Rambo" Franklin had his woes as he had to go pitside on lap 17 with a flat tire. Franklin's crew quickly put on a new American Racer and Franklin rejoined the field without losing a lap. Rambo marched steadily through the field taking advantage of the deleware double file restarts and made it back into the top 5 by race end.
Kenny Compton Jr Set the XS Power Racing Batteries fast time in Qualifying . Compton turned in a lap of 15.946 to earn the pole position for the main event. While running second, Compton ran over debris which caused heavy damage to the rear-end of his machine sending him behind the wall for repairs. Compton was able to make repairs and return to the field a few laps later. Compton made as many laps as possible before race end and salvaged a 15th place finish. Compton lost valuable points to Franklin but was able to hold onto 2nd place in Chase points.
Luke Roffers was the second fastest qualifier and took the lead from the drop of the green. Roffers appeared to be unbeatable as he dominated the first half of the race. Roffers came into the race third in Chase points and only 7 points ahead of Jeff Smith. Smith's win moved him 3 points ahead of Roffers. Both Roffers and Smith closed the gap on 2nd place Compton and gained points on the Chase points leader Franklin.
Mike Gault and Scott Autry started the night tied for 5th place in Chase points. Autry went pitside on lap 4 with engine troubles ending his night early and Gault started the event in 20th place and battle to a 6th place finish. Gault earned the Safety Kleen Hard Charger of the race as he gained 14 spots during the event.
In the Klotz Lubricants Rookie of the Year battle, Travis Yow has a commanding lead but Yow is also fighting to hold onto eighth in the Chase points and maybe even advance a position. Tim Allen is only 5 points behind Travis and Scott Autry is only 14 points ahead after Yow's 7th place finish Saturday night.
JE Pistons Roush/Yates Performance Chase for the Championship Feature Winner - Jeff Smith
Safety Kleen Hard Charger of the Race: (10 pts bonus) Mike Gault
Lap Leaders: Luke Roffers 1-31 Jeff Smith 32-40
XS Power Racing Batteries Fastest Qualifier - Kenny Compton Jr 15.946
Collins Signs First Man out Award (11th place Qualifier) - Travis Yow
Comp Cams Feature Winner - Jeff Smith
Keizer Wheels Runner-Up Award - Luke Roffers
Shell Racing Solutions 3rd Place - Dustin Mitchell
ATL Fuel Cells 4th Place - Donald Bradsher
Cool Shirts Top-5- Jeff Smith, Luke Roffers, Dustin Mitchell, Donald Bradsher, Dennis Franklin
RF Composites 6th Place - Mike Gault
Nascar Technical Institute 10th Place - Kyle Pierce
Klotz Lubricants 15th Place - Kenny Compton Jr
Ohlins Shocks Last but not Least - Scott Autry
Klotz Lubricants Hard Luck Award - Scott Autry
Klotz Lubricants Rookie of the Race - Travis Yow
Collins Trophies Feature Winner - Jeff Smith
The Blue Collar Tour will make their last appearance of the year Saturday night at Fayetteville Motor Speedway for the 6th Annual Carolina Clash Bash. This will be a 40 lap $4,000 to win feature event. It all comes down to this weekend for the Chase Contenders. The 2011 Carolina Clash Champion will be decided in the Carolina Clash final race of the Season.
Andy Ward, Roush Fenway Racing’s head of pit instruction, coaches physical skills but believes mental toughness ultimately is the difference between winning and losing.
Ward, whose No. 17 Ford team won the third quarter Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award, said NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing has reached the point where every crew on pit road has reached an elite level of performance.
“Very few teams have a clear-cut advantage,” said Ward, who has managed pit crews for nearly 15 years. “Ninety percent of the cars (theoretically) would leave the way they came down [pit road]. What separates them is which can adapt the most to adverse conditions. It’s a nip and tuck thing.”
The No. 17 team’s performance during the season’s third quarter cemented Kenseth’s spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ as well as getting the driver off to a solid start in the post season. Its average pit stop time was second at Chicagoland, sixth at Bristol, first in Michigan, eighth at Watkins Glen and seventh at Indianapolis. Kenseth had four top-10 finishes during the third quarter including a fifth in the Brickyard 400.
Crew chief Jimmy Fennig’s over-the-wall crew consists of jack man Cameron Cobb, Washington, Ill.; front tire changer Justin Nottestad, Cambridge, Wis.; front tire carrier Joe Crossen, Salisbury, N.C.; gas man Shawn Ward, Hickory, N.C.; rear tire carrier Ryan McCray, Highland, Calif. and rear tire changer Jon Moore, Gainesville, Fla.
Ward, 38, is in his second stint with Roush Fenway, rejoining the organization when it absorbed Yates Racing in 2004. He shared the 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship with Matt Kenseth’s No. 17 team in 2003.
“I just flat-out believed they out-performed every team in the sport,” said Ward, whose team claimed the American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award at Kansas Speedway on Sunday. The $5,000 award goes to the eligible driver – Kenseth – who records the fastest average speed on restarts. “We lost both tire changers from the previous year and we came back and won with the next group. I’d like to see us put this team over the top (for the championship). It would be a dream come true.”
The Kannapolis, N.C. native began his coaching career as a volunteer in 1996, moonlighting from his physical therapist assistant job with HealthSouth. He joined Penske Kranefuss Racing as a strength and conditioning coach two years later as teams began to realize that over the wall members should be specialists rather than mechanics pressed into race day duty.
“I still chuckle when I remember asking, ‘how often do you practice?’ and they answered, ‘we don’t,’” said Ward.
Ward’s job goes beyond simply teaching choreography and clicking the stopwatch.
“My influence is understanding people, putting groups together that work,” he said. “Super athletes can perform in the parking lot but when it comes time to race they fold. It’s all about being able to control your emotions; people who live for the spotlight, seek it and perform in it.”
Ward credits the leadership of Roush Fenway’s director of competition Robbie Reiser, the No. 17 team’s former crew chief, for keeping the team at a peak level of performance. “Robbie’s still here and he’s our boss. He sets the tone,” he said. “He’s no-nonsense, blue collar. If you’re doing a good job, you don’t hear about it. That’s what you’re paid for. His level of expectation is unmatched.”
The No. 17 pit crew will be presented its award prior to Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway which can be seen live on ABC beginning at 7 p.m. ET. The race is the fifth and halfway point in the Chase.
Official winners of this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Prize Money & Decal Program special awards include:
· AMERICAN ETHANOL GREEN FLAG RESTART: Matt Kenseth
· COORS LIGHT POLE AWARD: Greg Biffle (174.887 mph, 30.877 secs,)
· DIRECTV CREW CHIEF OF THE RACE AWARD: Bob Osborne (crew chief for Carl Edwards)
· GOODYEAR GATORBACK BELTS FASTEST LAP AWARD: Greg Biffle (169.705 mph, Lap 2)
· MAHLE CLEVITE ENGINE BUILDER OF THE RACE AWARD: Hendrick Engines No. 48
· MOBIL 1 OIL DRIVER OF THE RACE AWARD: Kasey Kahne
· MOOG CHASSIS PARTS PROBLEM SOLVER OF THE RACE AWARD: Shane Wilson 0.138 secs (crew chief for Clint Bowyer)
· O’REILLY AUTO PARTS POSITION IMPROVEMENT AWARD: Landon Cassill (24 places)
· SUNOCO ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD: Andy Lally
When the 2011 racing season started for 19-year-old Chad Finley, the goal was a top five points finish for Chad Finley Racing (CFR) in the inaugural JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by GM Performance Parts Series Championship. Heading into the last race of the inaugural season for the Salem, Indiana based series, Finley is sitting solidly in third in the season long points chase with an outside chance at the runner-up spot.
The 2011 season finale for the JEGS/CRA/GM series will be held during the 40th annual Winchester 400 weekend on Friday-Sunday, October 14-16th at the legendary ½ (0.500) mile high-banked paved oval of Winchester Speedway in Winchester, Indiana. The 11th and final race for JEGS/CRA/GM will be the W&M Manufacturing / Pier-Mac 100 Plastics Presented by JEGS.com which highlights the Saturday portion of the three-day weekend under the lights on Saturday, October 15th.
"We have had a mixed variety of things happen this year at CFR. From a pin hole in a radiator hose which set us back to starting dead last on the field to finishing second speaks volumes,” Finley remarked. “We put this team together to build the future of CFR and I am very proud of where it is at today. We have had our misfortunes, but the future looks good and the never give up attitude is building it even brighter.” He added.
In Finley’s last race within JEGS/CRA/GM, he started 35th (last) after wrecking the car in Keyser Manufacturing Qualifying. After the CFR team worked throughout the night, and early the next morning, the car was ready to race and the DeWitt, Michigan standout made the most of a very hectic Sunday afternoon of racing. After all was said and done, Finley would settle for second after advancing a whopping 33 positions in the race and in the process, set a series record for the most positions gained in one race!
"LOR (Lucas Oil Raceway) was a good boost for us all after the hole I put the team in qualifying.” The DeWitt, Michigan driver offered. “We’ll be a lot smarter at Winchester that’s for sure. This is our last chance to win one of these JEGS/CRA/GM series races this year, so we are very focused on that as our main goal.”
Finley will head into Winchester third in the season long points chase as he's 46 markers back of second place Eddie Hoffman and 74 points behind current series points leader, Erik Jones for the JEGS/CRA/GM points lead. Winchester is also the site of Finley's hard crash back on August 20th during the Winchester 100 Presented by JEGS.com and he's eager to return to the famed high-banks with hopes of earning a little redemption in the process.
"We definitely want to keep all four wheels on the ground this time around.” He laughed. “Honestly we had a real good car there last time. Just got caught up in nothing of our own doing. Phil Harper (Phil Harper Motorsports) found a few gains on horsepower so we will have even more power this time around. We should be real good in race trim there.”
“All of us at CFR have to thank everyone for their support this year as the season comes to an end. Starting with Auto Value / Bumper to Bumper Parts Stores & Certified Service Centers, who have been the back bone for us this year. Appreciate them very much.” Finley added. “Howe Racing Enterprises for their continued help. We have had some very fast cars this year. Rain Eater Wiper Blades, Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil, and the Air Lift Company as well. All of which are available in the Auto Wares group of stores and at AutoParts2020.com. It’s been a great year of building and I am grateful to everyone.” He ended.
With one race remaining in the JEGS/CRA/GM schedule, Finley has recorded four top five finishes with a season high of a second place showing coming twice with the most recent runner-up at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Indiana on October 2nd as well as at Dixie Motor Speedway in Birch Run, Michigan back on June 17th. His two other top five’s were third place finishes at Columbus Motor Speedway in Columbus, Ohio back on May 28th and his most recent podium showing at Owosso Speedway in Ovid, Michigan on September 3rd. Overall, he has racked up eight top 10 finishes in 10 starts.
The #42 Howe Racing Enterprises template ride with a Ford Fusion body and a crate engine from Phil Harper Motorsports carries sponsorship from; AutoParts2020.com, as well as Rain Eater Wiper Blades, Auto Value / Bumper to Bumper Parts Stores & Certified Service Centers, the Airlift Company, Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil, NorthsideTowing.net, Nalett Trucking, and M.P.H. Promotions.
Chad Finley PR
BRIAN FRANCE: I'll just get started real quick. I know we're all short on time. As you know, from time to time I will take some questions for the record and elsewhere, and today is one of those days. Obviously I'm not sure we can be any more pleased with how the Chase is unfolding, and frankly how the season has unfolded, with the level of competition, the closeness in the Chase, some of the moves that we made, the wild card being one, and streamlining and simplifying the points system being another, to make it easier for people to understand how you qualify and of course add some additional drama. It's done all of that, and if you look back, those were at the time viewed as small moves that we made, but they're actually having a really big impact, and that's terrific. I think it's still very wide open. Our hope and our hope always is that we come down to the finale in South Florida at Homestead and have as many drivers really in the thick of it as possible. That's the goal. That's what we hope. We'll see, and we'll also see if Jimmie Johnson can continue to make history, as well, winning six in a row. But with that, I'll be happy to take a few questions if you'd like.
Q. Two local questions: Since the last time you were here, we got a soccer stadium and a casino. Just your thoughts on the property, and I'm sure you weren't here Friday night, but we had our first night race, which went pretty well, for ARCA. I was wondering if you envision maybe in 2013 when the schedule gets back to normal if we'll see some night racing, trucks or even Nationwide or Cup here?
BRIAN FRANCE: Well, I'm sure that that will be a consideration, a fan favorite typically. You've got weather concerns in this area; being a particularly warm October I'm told but may be not indicative of how it usually is. But look, this whole facility and the surrounding developments are impressive, as impressive as any place that we go, and how fast they're coming on line. I'm going to take a tour of the casino here after the drivers' meeting. The soccer stadium is beautiful; it's very additive to the complex here. So yeah, and they continue to take good care of their fans. It's nice to see this track now hosting two events, two Cup events, and doing a great job with it.
Q. There's been a lot of talk about the companion series, Nationwide and truck, returning to the roots, going to Rockingham. Is there an interest in looking at the cost of travel and things of that nature of kind of returning to the roots of NASCAR for some of the companion events in the future?
BRIAN FRANCE: Well, I think that that's probably true to some level. We've been doing that. You think about Iowa, you think about other places that can't host a Cup race but they're able to host a truck or a Nationwide, and we've been able to use that series to do that. And so, yeah, I think Rockingham is interesting with all that heritage, so we'll have to see how that all plays out. And there's a new facility on the horizon if you believe what is being written about, which is down in Texas with a big road course. We have some road racing product that might be possible, too. So yeah, we'll take a look at that for sure.
Q. Obviously we're near the home of Sprint. They've got two years left on the deal. They've had some kind of good days and bad days. Where do you see that relationship? Have you started renegotiating the series sponsorship?
BRIAN FRANCE: Well, relationship is very good. It's a program that's worked extremely well for them. They would, I think, tell you that. We're in a time when we're having those kind of discussions about extending the relationship. My hope is that we will. That's always a goal when we have a really good incumbent sponsor who's done such a good job. You obviously want to extend the relationship if you can.
Q. Can you talk about not only this speedway but the repaving project that is about to begin here, your thoughts on the surface and the project that lies ahead?
BRIAN FRANCE: Well, I know that they're learning so much with the repaving efforts that have gone on, going back to Homestead a few years ago, certainly Talladega, Phoenix recently, I know with compound banking and other things, with Daytona being a recent example. But when they do pave a track, and it's obviously -- it's obviously in that time period where it will happen, they really want to improve the racing. I know that's the engineering of that, the kind of asphalt that they lay down, and even sometimes changing the configuration a little bit as they did in Phoenix all designed building on what they know, which will be more side-by-side racing, which is what we're all about. That will be the goal, I'm sure, when the track gets down into doing just that.
Q. You've had some good news as far as TV ratings go early in the Chase. Any data yet as to what demographics the increases are coming from in particular, and what's your gut feeling in terms of why there seems to be a heightened level of interest this year?
BRIAN FRANCE: You know, the increase is primarily coming frankly right where we would really want it to be, which is the younger demo, up I think 20 something percent, has consistently been up 20 something percent. I think in major sports today, you're going to see this in the various playoffs and championships that will be decided in all kinds of sports, it gets down to story lines and match-ups is that last 10 percent, 15 percent, whatever it's going to be, and when you have more of that, good story lines and great racing in our case, you should do better, and we are doing better. We've just got to keep building on that and hope that the racing and the story lines continue to do what they have done.
Q. You've seen a lot of races this year that have come down to fuel mileage races, and I was wondering if NASCAR is considering any competition changes going into 2012 to kind of put more emphasis on the side-by-side racing rather than who's not going to run out of fuel.
BRIAN FRANCE: Well, that's part of the strategy, it's part of the game, and it's part of the racing. We're not going to be trying to overregulate that. That's cyclical, too. There's going to be times when there tends to be more of that for whatever reason, the way races play out, and then there will be times when there are cautions like there was yesterday in the Nationwide, where the cautions happen late in the race and bunches everybody up, and people always say you don't like too much of that, either, do you? Of course we like it all. We like to see all the strategies and scenarios play out.
Q. You've had good story lines on the track, but off the track there's still been some unsettling news with teams filing layoff notices with the state of North Carolina, and it appears there will be maybe five or six less full-time Cup cars next year at this point. How would you characterize the labor environment for teams and the sponsor environment for teams going into 2012, and do you see any hope of this rebounding?
BRIAN FRANCE: Look, I've always said I'm not an economist, but I know what you know, and it's very, very difficult out there for companies and for people in the general economy. That has impact on us, and it will continue to have some impact on us. One of the things that does happen when availability comes forward in terms of if a team or two doesn't elect to compete next year, we often see in the off-season teams that were thinking about moving up but did not want to because there wasn't availability, they couldn't make the event, couldn't make the top 35 or whatever else, you'll see where those five or six teams don't necessarily turn out to be five or six teams. I hope everybody comes back and everybody gets what they need to compete, but if the economy is difficult, it does allow opportunities for others, and that's, I guess, the only silver lining in it.
Q. The Truck Series in particular, somewhat related to Nate's question, seems to be some teams struggling. It's very hard for teams to get to the races in some cases. Do you still consider the Truck Series to be a viable, healthy series, and what do you think the future of that is?
BRIAN FRANCE: It's very viable. It's a franchise for the SPEED Channel. It's their highest rated programming every week, depending on what venue. It does fairly well. But yeah, there's no question that that series and every motor sport series in the country has got some impact, and some greater than others. I will say that with that particular series we've done unprecedented things in the last two or three years to take cost out of the system for those team owners and the drivers for that matter. But limiting crew members and doing all kinds of things on the regulatory side that have proven a great deal of cost savings, it's a lot cheaper to operate a truck team than it was three years ago.
Q. You mentioned Austin and the Formula 1 race. I assume it's not like a companion race with one of Bernie's shows.
BRIAN FRANCE: That's a good assumption.
Q. Are you looking at Nationwide? Are you looking perhaps at Cup in 2012, 2013? Are you looking to -- what are your talks there? Are they coming to you, are you going to them?
BRIAN FRANCE: We are having conversations. We have conversations at one level or another with all the major motorsports facilities, and they're no different. Remember, we've got Grand American Road Racing. We're arguably the best road racing product in this country. When you look at how these events play out at Sears Point, Watkins Glen, I mean, by all accounts, there's not a better road course show in this country for sure. Now, that said, obviously we're not talking -- the cup is full and all those things, we're not having those conversations, but we have a lot of motorsports products, so we are speaking to them.
Q. I heard possibly trucks at Watkins Glen, and what's the story with Montreal? Will it be a NASCAR race next year for somebody?
BRIAN FRANCE: I believe it will, and there's some changes going on in the marketplace with the promoter and otherwise that are happening, how they're promoting the event, some changes. But it's a very popular event, does very well. My hope is we'll continue to be there.
Q. There's been some rumblings that your hopes of attracting maybe more youth that you'd either go into the rally business or do some sort of companion events with rally type vehicles. Can you give us some sort of update on where you stand on that?
BRIAN FRANCE: Well, there's no update because that's -- I mean, we will look -- we look at all kinds of motorsports, and sport for that matter, that we could have an impact in or a marketing opportunity. You've seen some crossover drivers or riders in motorcycles and otherwise, so that's not anything new, so we'll continue to be opportunistic to try to see when we can expose NASCAR to a different audience. We do that racing and non-racing, and that's just -- there's no plans for us getting in rally or any other business like that.
Q. You mentioned some cost-cutting measures in Nationwide and the Truck Series. Is NASCAR considering any further measures there, either technical or in any other way, to help those owners save more money?
BRIAN FRANCE: Absolutely. It's a core principle at the R & D center that there's a group of people that are looking at safety, performance and cost all the time. You don't see them, you don't need to see them, they're not going to come to the events very often, but that's what they're trying to do. And we're trying things out in the touring divisions frequently that we don't talk a lot about, but we do, to see what can work and what can't, and obviously the conditions are different. But that's all good.
I did want to say one last thing about our diversity efforts, and you think you're starting to see some really top-notch talent that I believe will make it into the Cup level and certainly the Nationwide level shortly. Darrell Wallace being one has got the attention of a lot of owners, and Sergio Pena is another talented driver winning races in a tough environment. We could have what we've been hoping for, which is to spotlight some talent that will be with us at the highest level for a long time. That will be good for NASCAR, and obviously Danica coming over and competing full-time next year in the Nationwide and some Cup events is another positive thing. She's talented, and I hope she does well.
Ingersoll Rand, a global leader in vehicle service tools, equipment and compressed air technology has announced a primary sponsorship in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Ingersoll Rand is proud to sponsor Front Row Motorsports’ #55 Ford Fusion at the Bank of America 500 on October 15th 2011 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, as part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The car will be driven by 2003 Craftsman Truck Series Champion Travis Kvapil.
“Ingersoll Rand has been in the pits for over 50 years with our legendary Thunder Gun Impactool™,” says Nate Schmid, Marketing Manager for Vehicle Services with Ingersoll Rand. “We are very proud to be returning to the track as a primary sponsor.”
The company is also an associate sponsor of the #34 Ford Fusion, driven by David Gilliland, 2004 NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Rookie of the Year and son of NASCAR veteran Butch Gilliland.
Both cars will be racing in the Bank of America 500 on Saturday, October 15th 2011 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, which will be airing on ABC at 7:30pm EST.
Follow pre-race preparation and race day video on the Ingersoll Rand YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/irtoolscom.
Ingersoll Rand PR
Tickets for the 2012 Indianapolis 500 go on sale Tuesday, Oct. 11.
The 96th edition of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" is scheduled for Sunday, May 27, 2012.
Race Day ticket prices start at just $30, and fans have three ways to purchase tickets:
•Online: Visit the Tickets section of www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.
•Phone: Call the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700, or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area.
•In person: Visit the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street.
Online orders can be made at any time. Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.
Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are on sale. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.
Many interesting storylines surround the 2012 Indianapolis 500:
•Helio Castroneves will attempt to become just the fourth driver to win the race four times.
•2011 victor Dan Wheldon and Dario Franchitti each will try to join the prestigious club of three-time winners.
•The unique sound of turbocharged engines will return to the race for the first time since 1996 as part of a new engine-chassis package debuting in the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2012.
•The new Dallara chassis and aero kits also will give the cars a fresh, bold look.
•Popular annual fan attractions also are being planned, such as Miller Lite Carb Day on Friday, May 25, Legends Day on Saturday, May 26 and the Celebration of Automobiles on May 12-13.
Portraying the thrill of speed, explosion of color, and his love of NASCAR racing through his work since the early 1980's, Sam Bass will celebrate 30 years of his art history in the sport this month as the racing world 's focus turns to Charlotte Motor Speedway. Designated NASCAR's First Officially Licensed Artist in 1997, the artist is referred to as "The Picasso of NASCAR", by Dale Earnhardt Jr., and credited by many as "The man who brought Technicolor to a black and white sport", Bass has grown his involvement in NASCAR from a single painting he presented to Bobby Allison in 1981, into the role as owner of a successful art and design business recognized by corporations and motorsports collectors around the world.
Among the artist's most successful and longest standing relationships, is the bond Bass has with Charlotte Motor Speedway. Dating back to the first program cover the artist designed and painted for the speedway in 1985, Bass has created every program cover since that date, totaling 67 consecutive cover paintings, with this year's "OKTOBERFAST!" being his latest.
"It is always so much fun, yet very challenging to design the cover art for Charlotte Motor Speedway. Fun, because they always have so much going on for the fans here. Challenging, because I always want to give each cover a different look, and after 67 covers, that really takes some planning and thought. This cover showcases the exciting Chase for the Sprint Cup competitors, set against all the great music, food, and fun event experiences the track is offering up this race. It is one of my most colorful paintings ever I think."
Charlotte race weekend is always a busy time for Bass and the home for the Sam Bass Gallery, located directly across the street from Charlotte Motor Speedway, behind Turn two. Opened in October 2000, the Sam Bass Gallery hosts the artist's collection of artwork, car designs, sheet metal, guitars and music memorabilia, along with his collectible designs and merchandise. Fans are always welcome to stop by and take a tour of the gallery and gift shop.
Looking through the gallery displays and record books of Bass' career, one will note some of his most prized accomplishments include the Gibson guitars he has designed as trophies for Nashville Superspeedway since 2002. The guitars have since become an icon in the sport, and were recently named among the top-10 trophies in all of sports by Sports Illustrated magazine. Bass has created Jeff Gordon's DuPont paint schemes for his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports entry since 1992, and was the art designer for the cars, transporters, and uniforms seen in the feature film "Talladega Nights", starring Will Ferrell. One of his most recent creations was the five stainless steel mural sculpture panels on the outside wall of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which offer up a visual history lesson about the sport. In addition, the artist has done numerous works through the years for charitable organizations within NASCAR, such as the NASCAR Foundation, Speedway Children's Charities, The Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation, and Victory Junction Gang Camp.
"I am really proud to have been working and creating in the sport of NASCAR for 30 years. It literally seems like yesterday that I began this dream and I'm still as enthusiastic about my work and the projects I get to do for the drivers, sponsors, officials, and most importantly the fans, as I have ever been. I hope I can keep doing it for at least 30 more years."
Sam Bass PR