Monster Energy Cup Series News (17144)
Johnny Sauter, driver of the No. 13 Safe Auto/Curb Records/Carrier Chevrolet Silverado, makes his fourth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Texas Motor Speedway for ThorSport Racing Friday, June 10th. The Series points leader after a successful second place finish last weekend in Kansas, Sauter is ready to return to the track where he narrowly missed wins twice in 2010. Out of four starts for TSR since 2009, the driver has finished no worse than sixth position - safely saying that the track is a comfortable place for the driver.
"Texas is a great track for me. It's all about track position there, and you don't want to work up from the middle of the field. We've always run up front there. The goal with my crew chief, Joe Shear, Jr, is to run up front from the get go. I'm hoping to build on the finishes we had there last year for sure - twice we finished in second, and we had the truck to win. I'm pretty motivated to get to Texas right now." Sam Hornish Jr. will make his 2011 return to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Pocono Raceway this weekend, manning the wheel of the No. 38 Long John Silver's Ford while Travis Kvapil competes in the Camping World Truck Series in Texas. The three-time IndyCar Champion has 108 Cup races under his belt since making the move to stock-car racing, but this weekend's event in Long Pond, Pa., will be his first this year.
The 2.5-mile track known as the "Tricky Triangle" is the perfect place for Hornish to make his return. The low-banked, sharp-turning tri-oval suits the former open-wheel racer. He has a top-five, two top-10 and four top-15 finishes in his six Cup career starts there. Hornish is also familiar with No. 38 crew chief Jay Guy, whom he was a co-worker with at Penske Racing in Sprint Cup.
Comments from Long John Silver's driver Sam Hornish on Pocono and driving for Front Row:
"I'm really excited to get back in a Cup car. And it's not just an opportunity to run a Cup race, but I get to race at Pocono. That's a track that a lot of drivers don't like and it puts them in a bad mood trying to figure it out. And that actually can pay dividends for me because I like racing there and I go there with confidence. I've run well there the past two years with four top-15 finishes.
"I got a call from Penske asking if I was interested in running the '38' while Travis was racing trucks, and I was on the phone with Front Row about half an hour later working it all out. It came together pretty fast but I was excited to do it.
"It's going to be a little difficult, obviously, because there's not a lot of time to work together to prepare. Pocono is hot and it's 500 miles, so it can be pretty uncomfortable over the course of the race, so it's important to have a good fit in the car. I was at the Front Row shop last week and again Monday working on getting fitted. And I've been spending some time with Jay Guy, going over the set-up of the car, so we have a good game plan going in.
"I knew Jay from when he was at Penske, but I didn't work directly with him. But I'm looking forward to working with him this week. As challenging as it's going to be coming in for one race with a team I haven't worked with before, it's refreshing at the same time. I've only raced a stock car with Penske, so it will be good to try something different and get that experience."
Sauter's momentum still has competitors in his sights. "We've got a lot of talent this year in our Series, and we're just now hitting the summer, when all the action really starts to happen. You've got rookies like Whitt who are doing well, but there's always Bodine, Hornaday and my teammate Matt Crafton, who run really well in Texas and are good at these 1.5 mile tracks. It's an all-star lineup, so we've got to be 150% perfect and execute on pit road and with the setups. If we can do that, we have a shot at Victory Lane."
The No. 13 team will have a chance to become honorary "cowboys" on a special VIP tour with their teammates on the No. 88 Menards Chevy team at Cowboys Stadium on Friday morning. They will get an inside look from the Dallas Cowboys management team at the operations, locker room and get to "pull the Heisman" on the playing field. "I know the guys are excited to get on the field, we're all a bunch of sports junkies," said Sauter. "Every race city we go to, we're either at a ballpark the day before the race, a basketball court or a football field. Just depends on the season! This is a great opportunity to take a look at what the Cowboys do every day."
"We're also hosting Kyle Mohan from Kyle Mohan Racing on Friday - the guys are all going to learn how to Ultimate Drift. It's really awesome that all these different types of racers will be at Texas Motor Speedway. IndyCar, Drifters and NASCAR. That's great for the fans." ThorSport Racing will also take part in a "TweetUp" with IndyCar team Andretti Autosport on Friday for crossover fans.
Sauter has one win under his belt this season, at Martinsville, making him the only non-Sprint Cup driver to win in the Truck series to date.
Front Row Motorsports PR
TNT and NASCAR.COM are set to wave the green flag on the network’s 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series coverage debuting on Sunday, June 12 at Pocono Raceway with enhanced features and more interactivity on television and online to provide fans with the most comprehensive multi-platform NASCAR experience possible. This year, TNT RaceBuddy on NASCAR.COM will return with twice as many camera views as last year including two mosaics for fans to choose from. Also, the network will debut Inside Trax, offering fans exclusive audio and video from select crew chiefs and their teams each race. Wide Open Coverage returns for TNT’s marquee primetime race in Daytona on Saturday, July 2 and will feature the first-ever NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway in primetime on Saturday, July 9.
TNT RaceBuddy on NASCAR.COM returns to provide live companion coverage online with an expanded application. This season, fans can choose from a total of ten camera views, twice as many as last year, including two Mosaics. Eight individual camera angles include four In-Car Driver Cams, up from one cam last year, two Battle Cams highlighting head-to-head competition between drivers, a Backstretch Cam and a Pit Road Cam. The two Mosaic Views allow fans to view four streams at once. Returning features to the site include the DVR Function, an Enhanced LIVE Leaderboard and RaceView’s position tracker: Fans can also connect throughout the race on Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo! Messenger and MySpace in a seamlessly integrated social media experience
Turner Sports’ coverage of NASCAR will debut innovative new linear and digital features that will bring fans all the exciting action at the track, including:
- Inside Trax: TNT will mic-up select crew chiefs and their teams throughout the Summer Series providing fans with inside access to the sounds and strategy of NASCAR.
- Live online video chats on NASCAR.COM: For the first time this year, TNT NASCAR analyst Kyle Petty and Rutledge Wood’s ongoing live video chat series “30 Minutes You Will Never Get Back” will invite TNT announcers to answer questions from the fans. Each Friday, fans can submit questions via Twitter or Facebook to have their questions answered on the show. TNT NASCAR analyst Larry McReynolds will join Petty and Wood on June 10 in Pocono.
TNT returns its marquee announcer crew with analysts Petty and Wally Dallenbach joining play-by-play announcer Adam Alexander in the booth for each race. Veteran reporters Ralph Sheheen, Marty Snider and Matt Yocum will be joined by Chris Neville, a ten-year veteran motorsports reporter, on pit road. In addition, Lindsay Czarniak will once again host the network’s 60-minute pre-race show, Countdown to Green delivered by Pizza Hut, with Petty and McReynolds joining her on the TNT rig along with special guests each week.
“In our 28th consecutive year of televising NASCAR’s premier series, we are looking forward to enhancing the viewers’ experience through our unrivaled portfolio of linear and digital assets,” said Jeff Behnke, Turner Sports executive producer. “With our six races featuring the increased audio presence of Inside Trax and the continued growth of RaceBuddy, we are committed to bringing NASCAR fans in-depth coverage of the sport they love.”
The green flag will drop on TNT’s coverage beginning June 12th in Pocono, followed by six consecutive weeks of exclusive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series coverage with races in Michigan (June 19), Sonoma (June 26) and Loudon (July 27), and primetime Saturday night races in Daytona (July 2) and the first-ever NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kentucky(July 9). Also featured throughout the six race series:
- Pride of NASCAR: The popular series celebrating NASCAR’s rich history will return for its 10th year with in-depth profiles of six racing legends. This year’s series launches in Pocono with a feature on the late legendary crew chief Harry Hyde and also feature A.J. Foyt, Barney Hall and Rex White.
- TNT Off-Track Robotic Car (TORC) presented by Toyota:McReynoldsbreaks down pit crew car strategies and provides a unique look inside the engine of a custom-built race car.
- NASCAR.COM Post-Race Show: Hosted by Czarniak and featuring all of TNT’s announcers, the exclusive online post-race show will wrap up all the day’s action with highlights and special interviews.
- TNT Million Dollar Fan Challenge:A weekly event on NASCAR.COM that gives fans the opportunity to win up to $1 million each week of TNT’s coverage by selecting in precise order the drivers they think will be the top-10 finishers in each race, with the opportunity to adjust their line-up through 25% of the race.
- NASCAR.COM Ultimate Tailgating Vehicle: The UTV, sponsored by Coors Light and featured on NASCAR.COM, will be on-site and shown on TNT telecasts during the Summer Series package.
TNT’s marquee primetime race in Daytona with the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona powered by Coca-Cola will feature the return of Wide Open Coverage in which the network provides continuous race coverage free of national commercial breaks and features more unobstructed race action than that of a standard telecast by using a letterbox widescreen format. In place of the national ads, the telecast features a variety of animated sponsor messages, unique branded content and distinct on-screen graphic elements. Over the past four years, TNT’s Wide Open coverage has only missed 9 total laps of green flag racing including zero laps missed over the past two years.
When Cale Yarborough won the Volunteer 500 Aug. 26, 1978 at Bristol Motor Speedway, he certainly was happy, but there was one thing about that particular victory that made it a little different than the seven others that came before it.
This time, Yarborough was making history. While it was his eighth win at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile, when he took the checkered flag some 16 seconds in front of Benny Parsons, he did something never before achieved at Bristol -- win a race under the lights.
That August race 33 years ago was the first BMS race contested at night. But for Yarborough, the historical part of the evening was lost on him at that moment.
“I was just happy to win another race at Bristol,” said the three-time NASCAR champion. “And I don’t guess I even really thought too much about it being the first race at night there. I was just glad I’d been able to get me another one at that place.
“It did put me back in the old racing days though, when we used to race everything at night. When we heard Bristol was getting lights all of us were happy about it. Night racing at Bristol was the way to go because it made it a lot cooler. Racing at night just made it better for all of us.”
While the lights that were erected for that race were far from the specially designed and innovative systems used today, Yarborough said they were pretty advanced for that time.
“Those lights were wonderful,” he said. “I know compared to what they have today they might not hold up, but for guys who cut their teeth racing at night in nothing better than street lights most of the time, we thought those lights were top-notch.”
Yarborough snagged two of his nine race wins at BMS at night, including his final one in the summer of 1980. He says even back in his heyday, the night races were the way to go at Bristol.
“They raced at Nashville at night, but when Bristol started doing it in the summer, that was by far the thing that brought the people out. Even back then, that night race was the one everybody wanted to come to.
“That night race was something special back in ’78 but now, well, everybody knows how people love that August race in Bristol. And let me tell you, winning at Bristol is special… that’s something I know a lot about… but winning that night race, that’s something that you never forget. There’s just something special about knowing you beat everybody with all those people watching at a place as tough as ol’ Bristol.
“Even these guys today... that race means something big to them. Winning at Bristol at night just puts you in a special class.”
Darrell Waltrip’s 12 wins -- including seven in a row -- at Bristol Motor Speedway, are marks other driver has matched. He also won more night races, seven, than any other driver. Next in line are Dale Earnhardt with four wins and Rusty Wallace with three under the lights.
Had Bristol’s summer race been moved to night earlier in the decade of the 70s, Yarborough would have finished with five, instead of two. He maintains that the sport’s elite drivers performed at the top of their game at Bristol because they had a special affinity for the track.
“Shoot, I love that place and it liked me,” said Yarborough. “Same goes with Waltrip and Earnhardt. We all knew how to get around it in the daylight and at night and I’ll guarantee you both of them loved that night race just as much as I did.
“Like I said, racing at Bristol at night just made it an even more special place to win. I’m proud of the races I won there because I know how tough they were to win. And it ain’t no different today. Still a tough old place and these guys today… when they win, they know it’s worth something.”
Pocono Raceway announced that Jason Lee, star of TNT’s MEMPHIS BEAT, has been named Grand Marshal for the 5-hour ENERGY 500 at Pocono Raceway on June 12, 2011. Lee, who stars as Memphis police detective Dwight Hendricks, will participate in pre-race activities, which includes giving the command for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers to start their engines.
MEMPHIS BEAT centers on Hendricks, a detective who considers himself the keeper of Memphis. He inherited a passion for music and an instinct for solving crimes from his father, an officer who was killed in the line of duty when Dwight was a young boy. Dwight sees his hometown of Memphis as a rich, magical place. He is an outstanding detective with a laid-back, easygoing style and an incredible, radar-like intuition about what people are thinking or feeling.
MEMPHIS BEAT is slated to launch its second season Tuesday, June 14, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT). In the second-season opener of MEMPHIS BEAT, the squad will be plunged into a case involving the death of an admired police officer who may have been involved with a white supremacist group. The case hits home for Dwight, who relates to the young son the officer left behind.
With a flourishing career that includes an Independent Spirit Award for his performance in writer-director Kevin Smith's Chasing Amy and memorable roles in multiple features for such directors as Smith, Cameron Crowe and Lawrence Kasdan, Lee has solidly established himself among critics, directors and peers.
For four seasons, Lee starred in and produced the half-hour NBC comedy series My Name is Earl, about a hapless crook who has an epiphany after winning a small fortune in the lottery. He earned two Golden GlobeÒ nominations and two Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG AwardsÒ) nominations for his performance.
Born and raised in Huntington Beach, Calif., Lee turned a childhood pastime of skateboarding into a professional career. After moving to Los Angeles during his early 20s, however, he began developing an interest in acting. His big break came in 1995 with the lead role in Smith's Mallrats. He went on to star in Smith's Chasing Amy, for which he won an Independent Spirit Award for best supporting male for his role. He re-teamed with Smith on Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Clerks II.
Lee is a professional photographer as well as an avid supporter and collector of the arts. He is also actively involved with his skateboard company, Stereo Sound Agency, which recently celebrated its 15 year anniversary.
Pocono Raceway PR
First of all, I'm responsible for my actions, plain and simple. As you know, I am a very principled person and have a passion for what we do at Richard Childress Racing. I believe passionately in defending my race teams and my sponsor partners. In this instance, I let that passion and my emotions get the best of me. I accept the penalty NASCAR announced today and, as a company, we will now focus on this week's races at Pocono Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway.
General Mills Inc. is putting Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer back in black. Beginning today through June 15, fans have the opportunity to put "Bowyer in Black" by voting which black Wheaties FUEL paint scheme Richard Childress Racing driver Bowyer will pilot at the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 2nd, 2011.
By visiting the official "Bowyer in Black" website at http://www.bowyerinblack.com, fans can simply log on and vote for their favorite orange-and-black paint scheme. The site boasts four options for the No. 33 Chevrolet and features an opportunity for fans to enter-to-win a sweepstakes with a grand prize VIP trip for two to a Sprint Cup Series race. The package features airfare, hotel accommodations, VIP passes and $500.
The event marks the return to familiar surroundings for the four-time Sprint Cup Series winner, who drove a primarily black paint scheme the first three NSCS seasons of his career at RCR.
"I'm very excited that General Mills is giving me the opportunity to drive a black car again," said Bowyer, the 2008 Nationwide Series champion. "It was fun to drive the Wheaties FUEL Chevrolet at Las Vegas earlier this season and any of the black paint schemes in the vote will look sharp under the lights at Daytona."
Fans who visit the website can vote for their favorite paint scheme one time per day (with a valid e-mail address) from June 6-15 and the winning scheme and sweepstakes winner will be announced on June 20th. The sweepstakes winner will have the choice of attending a NSCS event at Daytona, Indianapolis in July or Richmond in September.
"This really is a cool deal for my fans or any fans of the sport for that matter. Not only do you get to pick the black paint scheme for my Wheaties FUEL Chevrolet at Daytona, but two fans will get to come out to the track for a VIP experience of a lifetime," added Bowyer.
RCR Racing PR
Pocono Raceway and 5-hour ENERGY® are proud to announce the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, to be held on Sunday, June 12 at “The Tricky Triangle,” will be titled the “5-hour ENERGY® 500.”
NASCAR fans will be able to stay even more alert while watching all the exciting racing action at Pocono Raceway with the help of 5-hour ENERGY®, which gives hours of energy when one needs it without a letdown. Representatives of 5-hour ENERGY® will be stationed throughout the raceway, all weekend long, offering free samples of their 0 sugar, 4 calorie energy shot.
“We are thrilled for the opportunity to sponsor a Sprint Cup Series race for the first time”, said Carl Sperber, Director of Corporate Communications for 5-hour ENERGY®. “It’s a great way to support one of Amercia’s favorite sports and to personally introduce people to 5-hour ENERGY®.”
“Pocono Raceway is excited to have 5-hour ENERGY® as title sponsor of our June 12 event,” stated Brandon Igdalsky, Pocono Raceway President. “Speaking from experience, their product really works! Hopefully, race fans attending our first Cup Series event this year will try 5-hour ENERGY® and feel the difference for themselves.”
Pocono marks the first time 5-hour ENERGY® is sponsoring a race in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series. The Michigan-based brand has a strong presence in NASCAR as the title sponsor for last year's Nationwide Series race in St. Louis and this year’s Nationwide Series race in Dover. 5-hour ENERGY® is also in its fourth season as primary sponsor for the Rusty Wallace Racing’s No. 66 entry, driven by Steven Wallace.
Fans can follow @5HourEnergyGuy on Twitter, "like" the 5-hour ENERGY® Facebook page or log onto to www.5hourenergy.com for more information about 5-hour ENERGY® products, the motorsports program and various contests or promotions that may be available for fan participation.
Pocono Raceway PR
For the second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in a row, the finish came down to fuel mileage.
Only this time, Kasey Kahne had enough gas in the tank to make it to the finish. And so did his teammate, Brian Vickers.
Kahne finished 14th and Vickers 16th in Sunday’s STP 400 at Kansas Speedway, even picking up a cheap position each when Juan Pablo Montoya’s car ran dry on the final lap. Vickers’ No. 83 Red Bull Toyota was the last of 16 cars on the lead lap as a myriad of strategies played out in the closing stages.
Still, most of the scorching afternoon was spent chasing the handling of the Red Bull Toyotas. Kahne cracked the top 10 with just over 100 laps to go and cycled back to 27th as green-flag pit stops unfolded. He eventually climbed back into the top 20 before finishing 14th — his fourth top 15 in eight Kansas starts.
“It’s frustrating because we couldn’t get the balance on the car to work,” Kahne said. “We struggled all day and never seemed to get it where it needed to be.”
Vickers was up to fourth — right where he started the day, his best starting position of the season — with 16 laps to go and needed a timely caution. He never got it, was forced to pit under green and cycled back into traffic in 17th. He finished 16th.
“We started really, really tight,” Vickers said. “The guys made a bunch of major adjustments throughout the race that finally put us in the right direction, but the car was still loose in and off. It was a hard-fought 16th — the guys never gave up. Both changes we made yesterday (in practice) probably hurt us, but we thought the track would be loose today and it was tight. The car was at it’s best toward the end of the race. We’ll continue chipping away at the points.”
Kahne gained a position in the driver standings to 18th — 43 points out of 10th. Vickers picked up two spots. He’s now 26th, but still 39 points out of 20th.
Red Bull Racing PR
Travis Kvapil's No. 38 Ford will go to Michigan International Speedway next week with a special tribute to the memory of Wes Leonard - the Fennville (Mich.) High School basketball player who died of a heart ailment just after scoring a game-winning basket.
The No. 38 Ford, which will be sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, will carry the logo of the Wes Leonard Heart Team on its rear quarter panels. The foundation was set up in the superstar's memory to honor children who have lost their lives to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and to prevent similar tragedies from occurring. Leonard's parents, brother and grandparents and members of the foundation will be special guests of the No. 38 team at the June 19 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
The 16-year-old junior passed away March 3, shortly after scoring the winning basket in overtime to secure an undefeated regular-season record for Fennville High. Doctors said the cause of his death was an enlarged heart, a condition that often goes undetected in otherwise healthy athletes. The Wes Leonard Heart Team was formed to lobby for legislation providing schools with automated electronic defibrillators (AEDs) and staff training to prevent sudden cardiac arrest in student athletes, and to raise research funds for the effective detection of heart ailments that can cause SCA.
"What happened to Wes just broke my heart," said Bob Jenkins, owner of Front Row Motorsports' No. 38 Ford. "I have teen-aged kids, Travis has a teen-aged daughter. Something like this really hits home with a parent. We just want to help raise awareness for the Wes Leonard Heart Team and, at the same time, give the family a day to remember at the racetrack."
The family and foundation hope the public attention will raise more awareness for their cause, so no parent will have to go through what they endured.
"No parent should have to watch their child die - ever," said Jocelyn Leonard, Wes' mother. "We may not have had a lot of signs to know that he had an enlarged heart, so we have to know how to restart that same heart. You cannot look at someone and say how young they are, or they are so fit. You have to look at the distress signs you are seeing and react accordingly. All gyms and schools should have working AEDs and staff that have an emergency response plan to put that life-saving equipment into use."
"The Wes Leonard Heart Foundation would like to thank Front Row Motorsports and driver Travis Kvapil for their generosity and support for raising awareness for the Wes Leonard Heart Team," said Tony Petkus, Fennville High School Athletic Director and Heart Team member.
Learn more about the Wes Leonard Heart Team at www.wesleonardheartteam.org.
Front Row Motorsports PR
Dale Earnhardt Jr. matched his best finish of the 2011 season after he took runner-up honors in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Kansas Speedway. The driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet raced hard to contend for the win, but ultimately had to go into fuel-conservation mode on the final laps. He finished second, ahead of his teammates Jeff Gordon in fourth, Jimmie Johnson in seventh and Mark Martin in 21st.
Earnhardt lined up 28th for Sunday’s race and was working his way through the field, when he spun his No. 88 Chevrolet in Turn 4. Earnhardt saved his car, but had to make a stop for new tires and fuel.
“I spun out there one time trying to find some speed,” Earnhardt said. “It was just real loose, which I like. It was hot and slick, just the way I like it. I tried to get too much at one time. We had a good car – fast all day. Just gotta qualify better so we don’t have to work so hard.”
Earnhardt’s teammates also rallied from some difficult starting spots. Gordon lined up 22nd for the 400-mile affair, and Johnson was 31st. They made their way through the field and were running inside the top 10 by Lap 67. Martin, meanwhile, experienced handling issues on his No. 5 Farmers Insurance/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet and spent the majority of his day inside the top 25.
When Earnhardt’s spin brought out the caution flag on Lap 154, the Hendrick lineup took the oportunity for fuel, tires and adjustments. Earnhardt’s issue turned out to be a blessing for the driver of the No. 88 Chevy, and he picked up a new pit sequence. As the race wound down, Earnhardt and crew chief Steve Letarte knew the No. 88 Chevrolet could go the distance if the 267-lap event continued under green-flag conditions.
Gordon and Johnson were on a different pit sequence, however, and were required to come in for fuel during the final 10 laps. Their pit crews worked swiftly and the duo returned to nab spots inside the top 10. Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet, improves to second in the driver standings, while Gordon now ranks 13th.
“I thought we did an excellent job with this (No.) Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet,” Gordon said. “I have to thank Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and all the guys. We had an awesome car all weekend; the car just unloaded fast. We made some adjustments early and it really just came to us and that’s when we drove it up into the top three and really stayed there.
“All in all a great effort, great top-five finish. We’re thrilled about that. We want to thank everybody for supporting Drive to End Hunger, especially in this Kansas area with everything that’s been going on in Joplin (Mo.). We can’t thank the fans enough not only for coming out to the race, but for supporting Drive to End Hunger.”
Martin, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet, ranks 14th in the driver standings.