Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (17340)

Foxwoods Resort Casino today announced it will serve as sponsor of the No. 30 Foxwoods Chevrolet Impala driven by Inception Motorsports’ David Stremme in the NASCAR Sprint Series’ LENOX®  Industrial Tools 301 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) on Sunday, July 17.

Stremme, who currently sits at no. 41 on the Sprint Cup point standings, has three career top 10 Sprint Cup Series finishes, and was the 2003 Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year, an honor he shares with NASCAR standouts Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards. With racing roots dating back to a Midwestern short track, Stremme has earned 24 feature wins, two Rookie of the Year titles and two track championships

“Auto racing is a wonderful sport and I’m a huge fan of NASCAR,” said Foxwoods Resort Casino President & CEO Scott Butera. “We’re really excited to partner with David Stremme and Inception to feature Foxwoods Resort Casino on their car at the Magic Mile this weekend.”

Located in Southeastern Connecticut, Foxwoods is North America’s largest resort casino, with four hotels, more than 30 dining experiences, two world-class theaters, spas, golf, and six casinos, offering more than 6,400 slot machines, 350 table games, 97 poker tables in the only WPT World Poker Room™ on the East Coast, a High Stakes Bingo hall and Ultimate Racebook.

Sports and entertainment partnerships are an important component of Foxwoods’ consumer marketing strategy. In addition to being the “official resort casino” of the Boston Celtics, the Boston Red Sox, the New Jersey Nets, the New York Knicks, and the New York Liberty, Foxwoods also holds sponsorships with House of Blues Boston, Foxwoods Theatre, home of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, and the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA).

Elevate Communications PR

Andy Lally will take the No.71 TRG Motorsports Ford to the Granite State this weekend as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series makes its first of season stops at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The team is coming off of a 32nd place finish last weekend at Kentucky Speedway.

“We were never really able to get our feet set last weekend. The weather kept us on our toes and we didn’t get as much time to focus on our race setup as we would have liked to. I was happy to get our car in the race for all of our guys.” – Andy Lally on last week’s run.

This will be Lally’s third career start at the mile-long oval of New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He has earned a pair of 37th place finishes there in his previous two starts.

“I like New Hampshire because I’ve been there before. It’s different from a lot of the tracks we race at in terms of braking points and how the car carries momentum through the corner. Because the track is basically flat, you have to start approaching the corner much earlier than you would if the track was banked. If you compare a track like New Hampshire to a track like Dover, they are both mile-long ovals, but the similarities end there. Dover has a ton of banking and New Hampshire has almost none. A lot of people look at oval racing and say it’s easy or that all of the tracks are the same. I can tell you that, as a rookie, one of the hardest things to learn is how unique each of the tracks we race on is and how different the racing line is from track to track. We’ve been consistent all year long and are looking for a strong run this weekend that can help give us some momentum and move us up in points.”

Team owner Kevin Buckler remains high on his team’s efforts. “All of our guys have been putting in a lot of effort. We’ve had some restructuring go on in the past month, and I believe that it is for the better. We’re here to field a successful, competitive and efficient race team on every level and I think we are well on our way towards accomplishing that goal. We’re a very unique organization. Last week we competed in the American Le Mans Series, Grand-Am Rolex Series and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. It was great to see our Porsches finish first and second at Lime Rock. Andy is doing a good job learning these cars and tracks. Everything he is doing this year is brand new to him. I’m proud of how he has been able to progress and keep us in the hunt in the Owner’s Points standings. A solid run this weekend would go a long way for us.”

Crew Chief Doug Richert will be on the box at New Hampshire for the sixteenth time in his career this weekend. “We’ve had some encouraging things happen for us lately. We had a great qualifying run at Daytona and Andy did a good job helping us make adjustments last weekend. We’re all working really hard to build this program.”

TRG Motorsports PR

On the heels of Kyle Busch’s Kentucky Speedway win on “The Road to Richmond,” the 10-week stretch continues at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend. The next eight races will prove pivotal in deciding the field for the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, which will be finalized on Saturday, September 10, at Richmond International Raceway’s Wonderful Pistachios 400, which is “One Last Race to Make The Chase.”

While the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format has provided plenty of excitement since its inception in 2004, this year may be the most intense after a few new-for-2011 tweaks. The top 10 in driver point standings will earn a berth in the championship field and two “wild card” drivers will also earn a spot. The “wild card” positions go to the two drivers with the most wins who are ranked 11-20 in the point standings, which means there could be an abundance of drivers battling it out for the win “under the lights” at Richmond International Raceway.

Clint Bowyer can attest to how the “wild card” is affecting the standings. Although he is 12th in points, he finds himself on the outside looking in. Bowyer has zero wins on the season, while David Ragan (15th in points) has a win, putting Ragan in The Chase for the moment.

Keep an eye on these drivers for Week 3 on “The Road to Richmond”:

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Has never won at New Hampshire, but he does have the 5th-best driver rating over the past six years, with an average finish of 14.9. Right now Earnhardt Jr. is 8th in the point standings but only 21 points ahead of 11th-place Tony Stewart. Earnhardt Jr. has no wins on the season and will need to stay afloat on points if he doesn’t find Gatorade Victory Lane.

Clint Bowyer Is trying to find his way back in The Chase. As previously mentioned, Bowyer is no longer in the 12-driver field for the moment. His 12th-place points position leave him on the outside, due to Ragan’s one win for the second “wild card” spot. The good news for Bowyer is he has two New Hampshire wins and the 6th-best driver rating. Look for him to climb this week.

Tony Stewart Finds himself on this list pretty frequently, but for good reason. Stewart has the top driver rating at New Hampshire, to go along with two wins there. He’s 11th in driver points, earning him a “wild card” berth for the moment, but he has zero wins.

Brad Keselowski Is slowly but surely inching his way towards the top 20. Moving up one spot over the weekend, Keselowski is now 21st…AND he has one win this season. Moving into the top 20 would likely vault him into The Chase, since only Ragan has a win in spots 11-20.




Kentucky Speedway must have felt positively Dickensian on July 9, because in many ways, it truly was both the best of times and the worst of times.

The excitement and spectacle of the track’s inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was tempered somewhat by issues on a different type of driving surface. Traffic delays prevented some of the more than 100,000 ticket-buying fans from seeing the beginning of the race; missing the start of the start, you might say.

In another bumpy start, the first time I met the late Jim Hunter, former vice president of corporate communications for NASCAR, things didn’t go too well.

I was working at the local newspaper at the time, and was new to both the town of Darlington and to NASCAR in general. After attending a race, I was forced one way by the South Carolina Highway Patrol when I wanted to go another, literally got lost in my own backyard, and completed the 14-mile trip home in just under two hours.

More than a little irritated, I decided the best way to handle this might be to rip both the track and the SCHP on the editorial page; the term “buzz-cut Neanderthals” may have been used. Hunter, who was president of Darlington Raceway at the time, in turn decided the best way for him to handle things was to invite me to come out to his office for a little chat.

Clearly enough even for someone who considers math a four-letter word, he explained the difficulty of things like two-lane roads divided by tens of thousands of fans, and the multiple challenges this equation presented to the speedway and the overworked state troopers, who literally worked night and day to move fans in out of the races both quickly and safely.

Basically, he advised this then-young lady to watch her mouth because, “One day, you just might be looking at this from the other side.” I told him I got the point; it was all just a matter of perspective. “No,” he said. “It’s a matter of respect.”

Years later, when Hunter was my boss and I was working my first race as DR’s public relations director, those words proved prophetic. It became painfully clear to me in a hurry that I was completely reliant on state troopers, local law enforcement and track personnel to do their best to get our fans in on time. They worked hard; they deserved respect.

NASCAR has taught me a lot about respect over the years. I have gone from being Rita Road Rage to someone who understands that attending a huge sporting event comes with its share of waiting. I have evolved from Go Fast, Turn Left Girl to a NASCAR fan with a real appreciation for the technical precision and athletic skill necessary to excel in the sport of stock car racing.

But the thing that has taught me the greatest lesson about the importance of respect in NASCAR is the seeming lack of it in other sports.

I have watched baseball star Mark McGwire admit he used steroids when he broke the home run record in 1998, and am keeping an eye on powerhouse pitcher Roger Clemens, currently on trial for perjury for lying to Congress about his own alleged steroid use. No determination has been made, but nothing involving the phrase “used syringes” can be all that positive.

I have read the recent national magazine interview with Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who called NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a crook, a dictator and a devil, among other things.

These stars aren’t doing much to brighten their skies. I cannot in my wildest dreams picture any NASCAR driver acting cagey at a Congressional hearing, or using a national magazine as a vehicle to hurl insults at NASCAR President Mike Helton. It is simply unthinkable. The reason? Respect. Small issues invariably crop up from time to time, but to the last man (and woman), NASCAR drivers respect their sport, the people who legislate it, and one another. They are fierce competitors on the track, but they also work fiercely together to positively reinforce and build NASCAR up, not tear it down with controversy and criticism.

Thousands of fans were understandably disgruntled by their Kentucky Speedway experience; they paid for an entire race, and they wanted to see one. The speedway has suffered for it, as media coverage of the traffic issues has nearly eclipsed coverage of the actual race. The track’s owner, Speedway Motorsports Inc., in an effort to make amends, has offered ticket exchanges for any races at SMI tracks – including Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway – for the remainder of this season, or for Kentucky Speedway next year.

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France issued a statement, saying, “While NASCAR was thrilled by the incredible response to our inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Kentucky, we also are extremely disappointed by the traffic problems and inconveniences endured by fans who wanted to be part of our races at Kentucky Speedway. NASCAR will be in close communications with Kentucky Speedway and Speedway Motorsports Inc. to see that they work to resolve the issues. This situation cannot happen again."

Tickets to NASCAR events generally include a no-refund policy, yet SMI is showing both regret and respect to its fans by offering admission to another of its premier facilities. Kentucky Speedway, by its own admission, did not at first succeed, but NASCAR respects it enough to give it the chance to try, try again. I suspect it will do a very good job.

NASCAR continues to demonstrate a firm commitment to its credibility, its image and its legions of supporters. You give what you get in this world, which is why in this case we should all feel free to offer our respect. In ways both large and small, NASCAR works hard to earn it.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veterans Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota and Mark Martin, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet will highlight a weekend of NASCAR driver visits to Club One, Atlanta Motor Speedway’s public-luxury suite.

On Friday, Club One ticket holders will be visited by NASCAR Nationwide Series stars Justin Allgaier and Georgia native Reed Sorenson. Fellow Georgian and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Ragan will visit Club One on Saturday.

Each driver will engage Club One patrons with question-and-answer sessions throughout the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 weekend, Sept. 2-4.

In addition to driver appearances, Clue One ticket holders are treated to an array of luxurious accommodations, and benefits such as: exclusive rooftop-viewing access from above the speedway’s first turn and pit-lane exit, theater-style seating and lavish décor.

On top of that, each Club One ticket grants pre-race pit road access, delectable food and beverage and a golf cart shuttle from the reserved parking area.

Perfect for entertaining friends or small business groups, Sunday Club One tickets cost $545 or fans can purchase a three-day Club One ticket for $755 for the entire AdvoCare 500 race weekend.


It didn't take Regan Smith long to answer how he would like to start the second half of the 2011 Sprint Cup season.

"The same way we started the first half of the season, but a few positions better," Smith said succinctly.

Smith will get that opportunity Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 begins the second half of the 36-race season.

Smith and the Denver, Colo.-based Furniture Row Racing team are both off to their best start ever, which was triggered by an impressive showing at the season-opening Daytona 500, where Smith finished seventh after leading the race with five laps remaining.

Following Daytona, Smith hit a streak of bad luck with accidents and mechanical malfunctions. But the luck cycle eventually turned and the ultimate success came on May 7 when he captured his first Sprint Cup victory at the historic Southern 500 race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

"If we are fortunate to win more races the victory at Darlington will still be extra special because it was the first," said Smith. "We not only want to keep the momentum going in the second half, but we want to kick it up a few notches too. And when the final checkered flag waves at Homestead-Miami Speedway, we want to look back and say that we showed improvement right to the end of the year."

But before the Cup series finishes the season in late November, Smith must contend with the present -- the 1.058-mile flat track at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

"Going from a road course (Sonoma), to a superspeedway (Daytona), to a mile-and-a-half (Kentucky) and now to New Hampshire's one-mile track is pretty exciting," noted Smith. "I like the different configurations each week and have a good feeling that our Furniture Row Chevrolet is going to also like New Hampshire."

Sunday's race at the track known as the Magic Mile, will be Smith's eighth start. His best finish was 19th in last year's September race.

"Hopefully we can produce another highlight for the 2011 season with a strong run on Sunday," said Smith. "A flat track like New Hampshire is what many of the Cup drivers cut their teeth on in the early years."

Furniture Row Racing PR

Wonderful Pistachios, which has been rallying people to Get Crackin’ for three years, will now be revving people to Get Racin’ as the entitlement sponsor of Richmond International Raceway’s September 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The Wonderful Pistachios 400 showcases one of the most anticipated racing events of the season, as it marks “One Last Race to Make The Chase.”

The multi-year race entitlement signifies Wonderful Pistachios’ entrance into the sport of NASCAR, and it couldn’t happen at a better time and place. When NASCAR descends upon America’s Premier Short Track, some of the best drivers in the world will battle for the final spots in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Wonderful Pistachios will be sold at concessions stands during Richmond’s race weekend, as well as at most International Speedway Corporation tracks.

“When NASCAR followers gather around the track or television to cheer on their favorite drivers at Richmond International Raceway, Wonderful Pistachios wants to be the winning snack,” said Mark Masten, vice president of sales and marketing, Paramount Farms – the supplier of Wonderful Pistachios.  “The Wonderful Pistachios 400 will introduce millions of fans to the lowest-calorie, lowest-fat nut that's fun to eat with friends and fellow fans.”

“Our ‘One Last Race to Make The Chase’ weekend just got even better with the addition of Wonderful Pistachios to the race weekend,” said track president Dennis Bickmeier. “The Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond International Raceway will be one of the most exciting and anticipated events of the season and we’re happy to have them along for what is sure to be a wild ride.”

The Wonderful Pistachios 400 carries significance in relation to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Because it is the final race before The Chase, drivers will be vying for valuable spots in NASCAR’s championship. New for 2011, the top 10 drivers in the point standings earn a berth, with two “wild card” spots up for grabs. The “wild card” drivers are the two with the most wins in spots 11-20, meaning there could be a plethora of contenders.


Tough times call for tough decision making for Brian Keselowski, as he makes the decision to step out of his No.92 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race car and allow the very talented Mr. Dennis Setzer to sit behind the wheel for this weekend’s race in New Hampshire.
“It was a tough decision to make, because all I really want to do is race, but I have to put the good of the company before my own, so I can keep things going, and keep trying to get to where we need to be. I can't focus on driving this weekend when there is work to be done on the car and want to keep our sponsor, Melling Engine Parts happy, so I have a lot to take care of on the business side of things right now. I have to keep my family’s company and namesake in business and that comes first. Dennis is a great friend and I trust him 100% . We worked together numerous times in the past and I feel that if I can’t be in the car, Dennis is the one who I want taking my place” said Keselowski.
K-Automotive is happy to announce that Mr. Mark Melling of Melling Engine Parts, has agreed to be a major associate sponsor for this weekend’s race at New Hampshire and Pocono. Melling Engine Parts has also agreed they will be a major sponsor for the upcoming race in Michigan. Sponsorship from Melling Engine parts for other races will be announced at a later time.
K- Automotive Motorsports is actively seeking additional sponsors and will work with any company or individual. Packages will include some or all of the following: decal of their company’s name or any name they would like to be placed on various parts of the race car, complimentary all access passes for the entire race weekend of their choice and experience an ultimate garage tour for a chance to meet their favorite NASCAR personalities and other hospitality amenities.
K Automotive Motorsports PR

Michael Waltrip Racing and all NASCAR fans can watch NASCAR.COM’s TrackPass RaceView’s coverage of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race from New Hampshire Motor Speedway free of charge at

For the first time ever, a race team website will host NASCAR.COM’s RaceView experience, enabling viewers to control the live race coverage and follow MWR drivers David Reutimann and Martin Truex Jr. by monitoring in-car audio, viewing customizable live stats, position tracker, and advanced virtual video with five camera angles on every car.

“This is so cool,” said MWR owner Michael Waltrip. “I love this. It gives the fan at home just about as much information as the crew chief has sitting on top of the pit box. I’m glad we could do this for the fans. The whole digital area – from Facebook to Twitter to videos on our website - is something that’s important to me and our race team. It’s a great way to bring our team closer to our fans and partners. I hope everyone gives this a try this weekend to see how cool it really is.”

TrackPass RaceView’s coverage begins just minutes before the green flag. The application is powered by Sportvision’s innovative RACEf/x System, the exclusive “car tracking” technology system for all NASCAR-sanctioned races.

TrackPass RaceView from NASCAR.COM is an unparalleled interactive racing experience that gives fans the ultimate way to follow their favorite driver alongside the race telecast, with multiple data-rendered cameras available for every driver throughout every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. A 3-D application that features animation similar to that of popular sports video games and is a unique way for fans to follow their favorite NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, RaceView is derived from the GPS-powered RACEf/x System, giving fans the ability to virtually follow all 43 cars from their computer screen, seeing five different viewpoints of every car in the race.

“TrackPass RaceView is one of our signature products and through interactive features provides fans exclusive access to their favorite driver,” said Justin Williams, senior director of business operations for NASCAR.COM. “Through our entire portfolio of products including TrackPass, we strive to bring on the track action to the fan on multiple platforms.”

“We are proud to continue to lead the charge in providing cutting-edge technology products, such as TrackPass RaceView, to MWR fans and give them access to all things NASCAR,” said David Knise, senior vice president, General Manager Motorsports at Sportvision.

Michael Waltrip Racing PR

Trevor Bayne opened the story of 2011, a surprise winner in the biggest race of them all – an event which featured a track-record number of leaders and lead changes.

Acting as the perfect table-setter, the 53rd Annual Daytona 500 set a tone for the entire first half, one that featured three first-time winners – Bayne, Regan Smith and David Ragan – and the highest leader and lead change numbers in the 63-year history of the series.

"I would say that parity is really the first thing that comes to mind [when thinking about the first half],” said five-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson. “There have been some guys that have flexed muscle at times, but no one consistently has just schooled everybody. It's been very, very equal this year and unpredictable, if you will. A lot of first-time winners, which is great to have, and no runaways right now so it's been an exciting time for the fans I believe. And then also, we've been acting like fools out there at times so that's always spicing things up."

Intriguing storylines join the robust statistics, a combination that will soon usher in NASCAR’s playoffs – the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, which begins Sept. 18 at Chicagoland Speedway. Some of those first-half storylines:

·               Jeff Gordon makes history. At Pocono Raceway in June, Gordon nabbed his 84th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory, tying NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison and NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Darrell Waltrip for third on the all-time list.

·               The new Wild Card rule ratchets up intensity. After race number 26 at Richmond International Raceway, the top-10 drivers earn berths in the 12-driver Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Spots 11 and 12 go to those outside the top 10 with the most wins, provided they are in the top 20. Currently, David Ragan holds the first Wild Card spot, thanks to his Coke Zero 400 win at Daytona. Brad Keselowski and Regan Smith both have wins, but need to vault into the top 20 for Chase consideration.

·               Kyle Busch nears triple-digit victory numbers. Winning two-of-three at Kentucky Speedway last weekend, Busch tallied NASCAR national series career victories 98 and 99. The win breakdown: 22 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, 48 in NASCAR Nationwide Series and 29 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. With his next victory, Busch will join NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and David Pearson as the only drivers in NASCAR history with 100 or more national series wins.

·               Dale Earnhardt Jr. enjoys a resurgent season. Though Earnhardt has fallen from third to eighth in the points standings over the last three races, his numbers in 2011 already match those of 2010. Through 18 races this season, he has three top fives and eight top 10s – the exact same figures he amassed in all 36 races last season.

·               Serious candidates emerge to end five-time champion Jimmie Johnson’s reign. Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch have combined to lead the points after 16 of the 18 races. Harvick

and Busch lead the series in victories, with three apiece. Busch has led 1,060 laps – compared to Johnson’s 473, which ranks second.

·               A feud is lit, and simmers. At Darlington, Harvick and Busch engaged in a juicy post-race fracas. Both were put on four-race probation – a penalty that has since expired. The animosity is fascinating for two reasons: 1) Neither shies away from a skirmish; and 2) They’re both legitimate championship contenders.

·               April’s race at Talladega Superspeedway tied two major NASCAR records. Its MOV of .002 seconds tied the record for closest MOV since the inception of electronic timing and scoring in 1993. Also, there were 88 lead changes, which tied the record for most lead changes in series history. Additionally, lead change records were set at Phoenix and Martinsville and tied at Infineon Raceway during the first half.

In some cases, the first half boasted numbers previously unseen in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history. Here are some of the statistics gleaned from the first 18 races:

·               12 different winners. Last time there were more through 18 races was 2003. Last year, there were seven different first-half winners.

·               12 different Coors Light Pole winners

·               An average of 14 different leaders per race, most through 18 races in history

·               An average of 31 lead changes per race, most through 18 races in history

·               44 different drivers have led at least one lap

·               30 drivers have scored at least one top 10

·               Average Margin of Victory of 1.552 seconds

·               9 races with an MOV under one second

·               Average of 3,940 passes per race, the most through 18 races since the inception of Loop
Data in 2005.

·               Average of 39 green flag passes for the lead (all around the track), second-highest total through 18 races since the inception of Loop Data in 2005.




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