Monster Energy Cup Series News (17340)
AMP Energy driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. will spend some time with fans in the Martinsville Speedway Fan Zone sponsored by AMP Energy before the TUMS Fast Relief 500 on October 30.
Earnhardt, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ most popular driver, is scheduled to appear in the Martinsville Speedway Fan Zone sponsored by AMP Energy. He will take questions from fans in an emceed question and answer session.
“Dale Jr. is obviously a fan favorite, so we’re always excited when we can get him for a session with our fans,” said Martinsville Speedway President W. Clay Campbell. “It’s a great opportunity to see him in a different setting. He always seems to have fun interacting with the fans in our Fan Zone.”
Admission to the Martinsville Speedway Fan Zone sponsored by AMP Energy is $99 and includes pastries, juice and coffee for breakfast, lunch buffet, four coupons for AMP Energy and Pepsi products or beer per adult and Pre-Race Track Pass.
The Pre-Race Track Pass allows fans to stroll on the track along the front stretch from 9:00 a.m. to noon.
The $99 price does not include a ticket to the TUMS Fast Pain Relief 500.
The Martinsville Speedway Fan Zone sponsored by AMP Energy will open at 8 a.m. on October 30.
The pastries will be served at 8 a.m. with the lunch buffet beginning at 10:30 am.
Martinsville Speedway PR
Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 team started in the front of the pack and was strengthened by strong restarts and pit stops to lead a race-high 125 laps on their way to victory at the inaugural Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway last weekend. The win, which gave Kyle Busch the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points lead, also resulted in four post race contingency awards for the team.
Busch’s strong start pushed the No. 18 Toyota Camry to the front, leading most of the first half of the race. As the event progressed, cautions put extra importance on restarts, a skill at which Busch excels. On the final restart, he fought off five-time champion Jimmie Johnson with two laps remaining, helping him earn the American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award, provided to the driver that records the fastest average speed on restarts and finishes the race on the lead lap. Busch also recorded the fastest lap of the race to capture the Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award.
When Busch relinquished the lead later in the race, strong pit stops helped get him back in front and gave crew chief Dave Rogers his fifth DIRECTV Crew Chief of the Race Award, which is awarded based on combined starting and finishing position. Finally, JGR head engine builder Mark Cronquist captured his fourth MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Race Award of the season. The award is earned for providing consistent power based on qualifying and finishing position.
“I think Kyle and Dave will both tell you it's a total team sport,” said team owner Joe Gibbs. “When I watch these guys going over the wall, that group is awesome, I got to tell you. Dave made great calls. Certainly the whole team performed extremely well.”
The awards are part of the NASCAR Prize Money and Decal Program, also referred to as the contingency program, which provides teams prize money and weekly awards based on performance in several categories.
“I was pretty confident that we were the car to beat,” said Busch after the race. “Whether you stay the car to beat is the next question because how long this race is, how you change from daytime to twilight to nighttime, the track goes through a lot of different changes. Dave had to do a lot of thinking on his own that I was telling him the car is good, but he would still make a change knowing what the track is going to do. That's just experience. Knowing this race track pretty well, for us it worked well. We kept up with it.”
Busch takes his point lead into Sunday’s LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (1 p.m. ET, TNT).
Official winners of this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Prize Money & Decal Program special awards include:
v AMERICAN ETHANOL GREEN FLAG RESTART: Kyle Busch
v COORS LIGHT POLE AWARD: N/A
v DIRECTV CREW CHIEF OF THE RACE AWARD: Dave Rogers (crew chief for Kyle Busch)
v GOODYEAR GATORBACK BELTS FASTEST LAP AWARD: Kyle Busch (175.718 mph, Lap 261)
v MAHLE CLEVITE ENGINE BUILDER OF THE RACE AWARD: Mark Cronquist, Joe Gibbs Racing, No 18
v MOBIL 1 OIL DRIVER OF THE RACE AWARD: David Reutimann
v MOOG CHASSIS PARTS PROBLEM SOLVER OF THE RACE AWARD: Paul Wolfe, 0.482 secs (crew chief for Brad Keselowski)
v O’REILLY AUTO PARTS POSITION IMPROVEMENT AWARD: Denny Hamlin (15 places)
v SUNOCO ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD: Andy Lally
Landon Cassill is looking forward to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' stop this weekend at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301. Cassill and his No. 51 Security Benefit/Thank A Teacher Today Chevrolet team have shown significant improvement throughout the last month and are eager to build upon their results.
A comparison of Cassill's results from the first half of the season to the second half shows consistent progress. The 22-year-old averaged a 29th-place finish over the course of his first seven events with Phoenix Racing, which spanned from Auto Club Speedway to Dover International Speedway. In the last six events with the team, Cassill has averaged a 25th-place finish.
Over his last four races, Cassill has driven to a 21st-place average finish. In three of his last four races, he has finished on the lead lap.
Cassill has three previous starts at NHMS. He competed in the 2010 Sprint Cup Series event, driving for Larry Gunselman. Cassill drove for JR Motorsports in 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series competition. He put the No. 5 car on the pole, but finished in 34th-place following a crash. In 2007, Cassill raced for Hendrick Motorsports in the K&N Pro Series East. He started sixth and finished fourth.
Phoenix Racing has five Sprint Cup Series starts at NHMS, posting one top-10 finish, which came in 2009 with Brad Keselowski behind the wheel.
Cassill Comments on the Lenox Industrial Tools 301:
"Our results have steadily improved over the last few weeks. It's a combination of a lot of things that has us finishing better. First off, everyone on the Security Benefit/Thank A Teacher Today team has worked so hard from the start of the season. That hasn't changed a bit. But it takes time for a driver and his team to gel as one unit. We're developing a better understanding of what I need as a driver and how I can communicate what I need for the car. In short, we're preparing our cars better and making better adjustments on it during the race.
"Also, there's no substitute for seat time. There more laps I run, the more comfortable I feel at each track and have a better grasp of how to tackle it. I'm new to some tracks, but new to a lot of tracks in the Cup car. It's also different racing from the Nationwide Series so there is a big learning curve there. But, it's all coming together for us and I'm looking forward to building on what we've already accomplished for the second half of the season.
"New Hampshire [Motor Speedway] is a fun track. I've had a few races there and all were in different series. I think it's helped give me a good understanding of the track's characteristics. It's a fun track and really challenging. It's flat, so it takes finesse to round the corners. It's only a mile, which bunches up the field and keeps you on your toes. There's lots of action for sure.
"Besides seeing the improvements on the track, off the track we're starting to see more and more teachers get excited about our program. Our Facebook page (Security Benefit Racing) is starting to gain a bit more traction and I love hearing the comments from the fans about the sponsorship. It's been really cool to be a part of. Overall, this season is coming together for us."
Phoenix Racing PR
J.J. Yeley will bring his strong record at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to Front Row Motorsports this weekend when he pilots the No. 38 Long John Silver's Ford. Travis Kvapil, the car's usual driver, will be racing in the Camping World Truck Series in Iowa. Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 301 will be Yeley's first time driving for Front Row Motorsports.
The 34-year-old Phoenix, Ariz., native has a strong resume at the flat track, with one top-five and three top-10 finishes in his Sprint Cup Series career. His best finish at the 1.058-mile oval is a third-place run in 2008.
The No. 38 Ford moved up one position in owners' points (37th) after Kvapil's 29th-place run at Kentucky Speedway last weekend. The team is still 16 points outside the top 35, so Yeley will need to qualify for the race on speed.
Comments from Long John Silver's Ford team driver J.J. Yeley on the Loudon race:
"Statistically, New Hampshire is actually my best track on the circuit. So, I'm sure that helped in Front Row's decision to put me in the car there. I know the No. 38 car has been close to getting back into the top 35 in owner points, and it seems like every time they get really close, they have some kind of setback. Hopefully we can have a good weekend and get those guys closer to getting back in.
"If someone hadn't told me a couple years ago that New Hampshire was statistically my best racetrack, I wouldn't have guessed that. It's a very technical racetrack, being a short track and being flat, so you've got to save your equipment and you've got to be there at the end. For some reason, it fits the way I like to drive. I'm constantly working on changing my line to help the racecar. I think you can find speed at a lot of different racetracks that way, and New Hampshire is one of them.
"I know a fair amount of the guys on the Front Row team, so it's not like working with strangers. I was at the shop Monday morning to get fitted in the car, and I saw a lot of faces from my days at Hall of Fame Racing and other guys that I've gotten to know over the years. I know Joe Williams is the new car chief on the 38, and I worked with him a little last year at Tommy Baldwin Racing. So, I do have relationships with some of the guys there, and it's always good to see old friends. I'm just excited about the opportunity to go run a full race in some pretty nice equipment. I know the Ford FR9 engines seem to have a pretty good advantage right now in the series, so I think it's going to be a lot of fun.
"It's never easy to just jump in with a new team, of course, but sometimes you run into those relationships where everything just clicks. (Crew chief) Jay Guy seems to be a really easy guy to work with, and I know he's going to start with a package that he's run at New Hampshire a couple different times and it's something that he's comfortable with, so I'm comfortable going into it. Obviously, we have to qualify in, so we'll make all qualifying runs on Friday. And because we're working with a standard race schedule this weekend, that still gives us plenty of time to work on the race trim on Saturday."
Front Row Motorsports PR
New Hampshire Motor Speedway might not be on David Gilliland's list of favorite tracks, but he is still optimistic for this weekend's Lenox Industrial Tools 301. The No. 34 team has always been fast at the 1.058-mile track and shows improvement every time the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Loudon, N.H.
The team will be heading to the flat track with a new set-up for this weekend's race, which may be just what Gilliland needs to get his Ford to the front of the pack. Gilliland has eight starts at Loudon with a career-best finish of 28th.
Comments from team driver David Gilliland on the upcoming Loudon race:
"I think we've gotten better in our approach to the flat tracks, like Loudon. It's probably my least favorite track of everywhere we go, but we feel like we tried some set-up stuff this year with Derrick Finley coming aboard that we've never tried before. That has been a definite plus for us. Hopefully, we can take some of what we've learned to Loudon and have a better result than in the past.
"The track may not be my favorite to race on, but I love the area. It's a beautiful part of the country. It's nice and quiet, kind of different from anywhere else we go throughout the racing season. As for the track not really being a favorite of mine, hopefully we can run a little bit better and move it up my list a little bit.
"We're a little disappointed with our results at Kentucky. We had hoped to get in a good test session on Thursday to help us with our mile-and-a-half program, but we had a shock problem and scraped up our primary car. We had to go to a back-up and never got back on track that day. Then we lost some practice time due to rain on Friday, so we just didn't get as many practice laps in as we really needed. So, unfortunately, we just didn't have the preparation we needed for the race on Saturday. Peter (Sospenzo) and the guys did a great job getting our back-up ready and making it better over the course of the race, but we had some cautions come out while we were on pit road and that just erased any progress we were making.
"But, we'll try and put that behind us and move on. We had good runs at Sonoma and Daytona and we want to get back that momentum we lost a bit last weekend. If we can get a solid, top-20 finish at New Hampshire that will be a great step forward for us. This team has made progress this season and we want to have a strong second half to finish the year."
Front Row Motorsports PR
Atlanta Motor Speedway has partnered with several companies to offer one-stop purchasing for fans looking for hotels, tickets and transportation for the AdvoCare 500 NASCAR weekend, Sept. 2-4.
Fans can buy all-inclusive packages that include hotel, tickets, transportation to and from the speedway, pit access, stage front accessibility to the pre-race Lynyrd Skynyrd concert and more. Custom packages can also be created to fit each fan’s desired activities for the AdvoCare 500 weekend.
Fans interested in obtaining travel packages for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 weekend can visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com/tickets/travel for more information.
For fans simply looking for hotels for the AdvoCare 500 NASCAR night racing weekend, great rates are also available through the Speedway’s official hotel, The Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel.
Atlanta Motor Speedway has also partnered with 25 local hotels, allowing access to affordable lodging. Each partner facility guarantees a room rate of $120 or less without requiring a multi-night stay. Because of limited availability, fans are encouraged to act early to lock in discounted rates.
Race fans can access the complete list of partner hotel properties by visiting www.atlantamotorspeedway.com and selecting the “Fan Friendly Hotels” link under the “Visitor’s Guide” tab. Fans can directly access the list at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com/fans/hotels.
Below is a complete list of Atlanta Motor Speedway’s local hotel partners for the AdvoCare 500 NASCAR night racing weekend:
Best Western – AAS* College Park 770-996-5800 $79
Best Western Peachtree City 770-632-9700 $100
Budgetel Inn & Suites Atlanta 678-808-8100 $48
Comfort Inn & Suites – AA* Atlanta 404-768-7800 $89
Comfort Inn & Suites East Point 404-762-5566 $79
Country Inn & Suites – AA* Atlanta 404-767-9787 $92
Country Inn & Suites Morrow 770-603-3232 $99
Days Inn – Southlake Morrow 770-961-6044 $80
Economy Inn Jonesboro 770-603-6700 $70
Hampton Inn Peachtree City 770-486-8800 $119
Holiday Inn Express Atlanta 404-348-5003 $89
La Quinta Inn & Suites Locust Grove 678-583-8088 $119
Microtel Inn & Suites Lithonia 678-287-4400 $59
Motel 6 Newnan 770-251-4580 $40
Motel 6 Stockbridge 770-389-1142 $46
Motel 6 Union City 770-969-0110 $42
Quality Hotel Conference Center College Park 770-996-4321 $67
Quality Inn & Suites Morrow 770-960-1957 $70
Ramada Limited Locust Grove 770-898-1216 $100
Red Roof Inn Locust Grove 678-583-0004 $119
Red Roof Inn – AAS* Morrow 770-968-1483 x155 $70
Stockbridge Inn Stockbridge 770-474-1700 $65
Suburban Extended Stay Hotel Stockbridge 770-507-4700 $80
Western Inn Hampton 770-707-1477 $120
Wyndham Peachtree Conf. Center Peachtree City 770-486-3212 $95
AA* – Atlanta Airport
AAS* – Atlanta Airport South
Atlanta Motor Speedway PR
Matt Puccia will be the crew chief of the No. 16 3M Sprint Cup team at Roush Fenway Racing effective immediately. Puccia has been with Roush Fenway Racing since the end of 2004 and was most recently assigned to the research and development program. Prior to this season, Puccia was crew chief of the No. 98 Paul Menard entry throughout the 2010 Nationwide Series season, leading the team to 19 top-10 finishes and fifth place in the point standings.
Puccia’s first role as crew chief at Roush Fenway came in 2006 with the No. 50 Camping World Truck Series team. He led the No. 99 Truck Series entry with driver Erik Darnell to a victory at Michigan in 2008 and finished fourth in the final point standings. In 2009 Puccia made the move to the Nationwide Series as crew chief for a partial schedule with Menard before the team raced full time in 2010.
“Matt Puccia has been a very effective and successful crew chief with the organization in both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series,” said team owner Jack Roush. “Most recently he has led the research and development efforts for our superspeedway program which helped put David Ragan in victory lane in Daytona. This is a natural progression of our crew chief development and I have every confidence that he will do well in this new role. Greg Erwin has made a significant contribution to our engineering efforts and our program is better because of him.”
“I am excited for the opportunity to work with Matt Puccia,” added driver Greg Biffle. “Greg Erwin led this team to the Chase the past three years and I look forward to Matt doing the same.”
Erwin’s role in the organization will be announced at a later date.\
Roush Fenway Racing PR
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, will make his 200th-career start in NASCAR's elite division this weekend when the series returns to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301.
The 32-year-old Bowyer is no stranger to success at the one-mile oval known as "The Magic Mile." In 10 starts at the Loudon, N.H.-based facility, he has led more than 400 laps and visited NMHS Victory Lane twice with his most recent trip coming last September when he kicked off his 2010 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup campaign.
"It's only fitting that we are going to New Hampshire this weekend for my 200th-career start," said Bowyer. "We have had some significant success up there in the past and, after some bad luck these last few weekends, it's nice to go somewhere where we run well."
Bowyer, a native of Emporia, Kan., has amassed four wins, 30 top-five finishes, 87 top-10 finishes and two poles in six fulltime Sprint Cup Series seasons with Richard Childress Racing. He currently sits 12th in the 2011 NSCS driver championship point standings on the strength of three top-five and eight top-10 finishes.
"I am very fortunate to hit this milestone with the same organization that I came into the sport with over six years ago," the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion added. "Richard and I have built a great relationship over the years and I appreciate everything he has done for me throughout my career."
RCR Racing PR
Kentucky Speedway, which is owned and operated by Speedway Motorsports, Inc., today issued the following statement regarding the fan experience at Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event.
"To those fans that were not able to attend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, we offer our sincerest apologies," said Mark Simendinger, general manager, Kentucky Speedway. "We'd also like to apologize to all of our fans who endured challenging conditions during our event weekend. As we said earlier, we're committed to working with NASCAR, state and local officials and traffic experts to address Saturday's traffic issues to ensure that we never have this type of experience again."
“I would like to apologize on behalf of Speedway Motorsports to the fans who had tickets, yet due to logistical issues, were not able to attend the inaugural Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway," said Marcus Smith, president and chief operating officer of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. "For those fans with tickets who were unable to attend Saturday night's event, we will honor their ticket at any remaining 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at a Speedway Motorsports facility or the 2012 Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway.
"Our company has always been about enhancing the fan experience with first-class amenities and putting fans first. I feel terrible for the fans that had a bad experience at Kentucky Speedway and we are asking that they give us a chance to make it up to them. We are very thankful for the overwhelming fan support we had for this inaugural event. We learned some valuable lessons this past weekend and will do everything in our power to make sure we don't have these issues again."
The ticket exchange is good for the following events at Speedway Motorsports facilities while supplies last at each respective venue:
July 17 - New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Aug. 27 - Bristol Motor Speedway
Sept. 4 - Atlanta Motor Speedway
Sept. 25 - New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Oct. 15 - Charlotte Motor Speedway
Nov. 6 - Texas Motor Speedway
2012 - Kentucky Speedway
In addition to the ticket exchange, Kentucky Speedway will issue these fans an equal quantity of tickets to either its Oct. 1 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 225-mile race or Oct. 2 IZOD IndyCar Series 300-mile event.
Fans can exchange tickets for remaining SMI events and receive tickets for either Kentucky Speedway' October event by mailing their Kentucky Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event tickets to:
c/o Ticket Office
1 Speedway Drive
Sparta, Ky. 41086
Fans mailing tickets will be contacted by a Kentucky Speedway ticket agent.
Kentucky Speedway PR
The Kevin Harvick Foundation and longtime partner Rheem Manufacturing Company have teamed up with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats to host a group of 50 youth from the Boys & Girls Club of Manchester on Wednesday, July 13 for the Northeast Delta Dental Eastern League All-Star Game in Manchester, N.H. In addition to attending the game, the group will participate in a Home Run Derby with Kevin Harvick Foundation co-founders Kevin and DeLana Harvick and players from the New England Fisher Cats minor league baseball team.
Harvick, a driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champion, will drive the No. 33 Rheem Chevrolet Impala show car around the warning track on his way to the pitcher's mound to throw out the first pitch. Immediately following the first pitch, he and his wife, DeLana, will accept a $50,000 donation to the Kevin Harvick Foundation from Rheem.
"DeLana and I are really looking forward to this event," said Harvick. "Together with Rheem we took a group of kids to the beach at Daytona (Fla.) last summer and this year, we're heading to the ballpark. Rheem has been a wonderful partner and with their generous donation, the Kevin Harvick Foundation will not only be able to bring these kids to the ballgame but support and benefit so many more children."
"Rheem is pleased to continue working with the Kevin Harvick Foundation to support the well being of children throughout our nation. By sponsoring wonderful events like this one benefiting the Manchester Boys & Girls Club, we know that our support will help the Kevin Harvick Foundation to continue the important work of providing meaningful assistance to other children throughout the U.S.," said Ed Raniszeski, Rheem corporate director of marketing. "This is now the second year that we've joined with Kevin and DeLana Harvick and their Foundation to bring a fun-filled, entertaining event to children in one of NASCAR's racing communities who may never otherwise get a chance to attend a professional ballgame, a NASCAR race or meet a champion racecar driver. Childhood is a time for innocence and dreaming, and Rheem is grateful for the opportunity to play a small part today in making the dreams of children come alive in Manchester."
The Kevin Harvick Foundation and Rheem are also providing the group of children with tickets to the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, July 16. The No. 33 Rheem Heating, Cooling and Water Heating Chevrolet Impala, which will be driven by Harvick, will carry a special decal commemorating the ballpark event.
For many drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, a solid top-15 finish is something they can hang their helmet on. It may not be flashy, but it is respectable and provides a decent amount of points toward the season-ending championship.
Tony Stewart, however, is not most drivers, as his two Sprint Cup titles and 39 career wins attest. So after finishing 12th while being strong enough to lead a lap and run solidly among the top-five, Stewart was in no mood to celebrate a 12th-place finish – the result he earned in Saturday night’s inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
“We just couldn’t get going on the restarts,” Stewart said. “Beyond frustrating.”
Stewart was alluding to two late-race restarts – one on lap 260 and another on lap 264 – where his No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 “Back-to-School” Chevrolet Impala for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) simply could not get powered up as quickly as his counterparts.
“We were good late in a run – our laps times were just as good, if not better than, the leaders,” Stewart said. “But that didn’t help us at the end.”
Stewart ran well enough to lead lap 159 in a stirring battle with eventual race-winner Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski. Busch was obviously strong, as was Keselowski, but Stewart was in the mix, running second with 100 laps to go.
But with less than 35 laps remaining, varying pit strategies were playing out. Stewart started the green-flag pit cycle on lap 233 with a four-tire change and fuel. Most everyone else behind him took either two tires and fuel or just fuel. As a result, it put Stewart in 11th when the race’s second-to-last restart began on lap 260. Stewart was able to gain one spot before the caution flag flew once more when Clint Bowyer crashed in turn two of the 1.5-mile oval. As such, Stewart restarted in 10th for the final time on lap 266, but faded to 12th when the checkered flag waved.
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Tornados Chevrolet Impala for SHR, finished fourth to score his fifth top-five finish of 2011.
Busch’s win in the 400-mile race was his 22nd career Sprint Cup victory and his third of the season. David Reutimann finished .179 of a second behind Busch in the runner-up spot, while Jimmie Johnson, Newman and Carl Edwards rounded out the top-five. Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, David Ragan, Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were six caution periods for 32 laps, with nine drivers failing to finish the 267-lap race.
With round 18 of 36 complete, Newman leads the SHR duo in the championship point standings. He moved up one spot to ninth and now has 538 points, 86 markers back of new series leader Kyle Busch and 11 points ahead of 11th-place Stewart, who gained one position. Stewart has 527 points and is 97 points arrears Kyle Busch with a 30-point cushion over 13th-place Juan Pablo Montoya.
Stewart Haas Racing PR