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Controversy was in full swing yesterday after the 45th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. The 300 lap Super Late Model race is considered to be the Daytona 500 of short-track racing by many. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Kyle Busch helped bring a lot of publicity to the event when he won the race in 2009. He once again was in the race this year and his actions created a lot of controversy.
On lap 154 Busch was battling TJ Reaid for the lead after a restart when Reaid seemed to squeeze Busch a little bit. Busch reacted by spinning Reaid out in Turn 4 on the same lap. Reaid's spinning car also collected Ross Kenseth, Chase Elliott, Clay Alexander, Bubba Pollard and John Hunter Nemechek. Some of the drivers were able to continue with their damage and still salvage good days, but the accident definitely set off a lot of opinions about Kyle Busch's involvement in the race.
The interesting thing about the accident is that Reaid used to race one of Kyle Busch's late models. He did not have nice words for his former boss after the race.
“I guess (Busch) got pissed off I got him on the restart,” Reaid said. “Typical him, he’s gonna (expletive) cry.”
Reaid was not the only driver that had strong words for Busch after the race. Last year's winner Chase Elliott, who was involved in the crash but still managed to somehow salvage a fifth place finish, thinks Busch should stay away from these races.
“I’m disappointed. We should be here,” Elliott said after walking away from victory lane after congratulating eventual winner Erik Jones. “The only thing I’d do different is I’d tell Kyle Busch to not come down here and race with us. He needs to show respect to all drivers.”
Reaid was a teammate to Elliott on his father, Bill Elliott's late model team. Their feelings were strong about not wanting the NASCAR star to race against them if he can't show respect. Busch wasn't the only NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver to race on Sunday. David Ragan also raced the event and finished eighth after sitting on the pole. Sprint Cup youngster, Landon Cassill, tried to make the race but failed to qualify.
The frustration is understandable from those who suffered from Busch's dumb move to wreck Reaid. But having a driver of Kyle Busch's stature at the race only makes the race even bigger of an event. His involvement draws more fans and raises the stakes for those drivers trying to make a name for themselves like Erik Jones. Busch has 24 Sprint Cup Series wins in eight full seasons, 51 Nationwide Series wins and 30 Camping World Truck Series wins.
The 16-year old Jones, who was making his first ever Snowball Derby start, was able to battle and beat Busch in the closing laps in great door-to-door action. He was fired up and enjoyed being able to have the opportunity to beat one of the industry's best.
“We just beat NASCAR star Kyle Busch,” Jones said. “I can’t believe it. Guys race for this championship for a lifetime and don’t get it. And for me, my first time, to get it? It’s amazing. Kyle’s one of the best, obviously, but I wasn’t going to lose this. It’s hard to describe what it means to me.”
It was a great opportunity and feat for Jones to go toe-to-toe with Busch and win. It could be something that lands him in a NASCAR ride in the future and it is because of the fact that Busch races in events like the Snowball Derby.
Busch did not comment on his wrecking of Reaid after the race, something that he has learned in the Cup Series. He doesn't usually open his mouth or conduct an interview if he knows he has nothing good to say. But in this case he should have answered questions critiques had. If he is not going to take responsibility for his on track actions then maybe he should stay home and away from these races like the 17-year old Elliott suggested.
Busch had a rough 2012 season in NASCAR as he only won one race across the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series and missed the Chase for the Sprint Cup. The bottom line is that even being on the heels of a bad season it doesn't mean he should let his frustration carry over to a Late Model race where he is battling hard for the lead with someone.
Check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.
After being sent to the rear of the field when race officials ruled his contact with another competitor in a lap-158 accident of the 45th annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla. was "beyond normal racing," Kyle Busch mounted a rally and had his No. 51 Monster Energy Camry at the front of the field for the final restart. Busch battled side-by-side for nearly 20 laps with eventual race winner Erik Jones before settling into the second spot with five laps remaining. By the time the field took the checkered flag, he surrendered one more position, leaving the Monster Energy Camry with a third-place finish.
"We were able to get out front for the last restart and I thought that would give us the advantage, but Erik drove a great race and got back by us," said Busch, the 2009 winner of the prestigious event. "My guys gave me a great piece -- I hate it that we didn't have enough. I have to thank Monster Energy for coming onboard for this race and everything they've done for me in my first year as a Monster Athlete. Also have to thank our other sponsors we had this weekend, Choice Hotels and REI (Recycling Equipment Inc.)."
Busch, who started the 300-lap event from the fourth position, had worked his way into the runner-up spot by the time the first caution of the day slowed the field on lap 48. On the ensuing restart, he was able to work his way around John Hunter Nemechek for the lead, which he maintained for four laps before settling back in the second position.
When the next caution occurred on lap 114, the Monster Energy Camry had fallen back to the third spot. Busch brought his No. 51 Toyota to the over-the-wall crew for four fresh tires and a chassis adjustment. As cars exited pit road, the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) crew had gained their owner one position, but with two competitors electing not to pit, the team was scored in the fourth position when cars lined up for the restart on lap 128.
The Las Vegas native was able to maneuver his way into the runner-up spot on lap 130 and began to reel in race-leader T.J. Reaid. A one-car spin on lap 151 brought out a caution and bunched the field. Shortly after the ensuing restart, Busch closed to Reaid's bumper and challenged him for the lead. As the Monster Energy Camry charged hard into the corner in an effort to drive to the inside of Reaid's car, the two cars made contact and Reaid spun, collecting a few other cars in the process. Under caution, race officials deemed that the contact from Busch was "beyond normal racing" and he was sent to the back of the field for the restart on lap 163.
"I blame myself for giving them the opportunity to make that call," explained Busch post race. "We were hard racing and I was on the outside of, I think, the No. 99 car (Casey Smith). I stepped on the gas with the edge to the corner -- T.J. didn't go right away and I hit him. I tried to check up and get off him, but he lost it and stacked up a lot of good cars -- I hated it for those guys."
When the race resumed, Busch began to slowly but surely make his way back through the field. The Monster Energy Camry was scored in the 13th position for a lap-213 restart and five laps later was back inside the top 10. By the time the next caution occurred on lap 227, KBM's owner-driver had advanced into the fifth position.
After the race went back green, Busch made his way into the fourth position on lap 259 and had moved into third shortly before the final caution of the race occurred on lap 275. Crew chief Chris Gabehart summoned his driver down pit road, where the over-the-wall crew put on the team's final set of sticker tires and returned their No. 51 Toyota to the track at the front of the field.
On the final restart, Busch was able to open up a two-car length lead on Jones, but the youngster quickly closed the door. With Busch on the inside lane and Jones on the outside, the two battled door-to-door for nearly 20 laps before Jones was able to clear the Monster Energy Camry. With five laps remaining, the veteran driver made one more attempt to dive to the inside of the up-and-comer, but was unable to complete the pass and had used up his equipment. By the time Jones crossed the stripe, Jeff Choquette was able to work his way around Busch, leaving the Monster Energy Camry with a third-place finish.
"You have to give Erik a lot of credit -- Kyle put a lot of pressure on him and we figured at some point he would make a mistake, but he never did," said Bond Suss, Program Manager for KBM's Late Model team. "They both drove their tails off those last 25 laps and put on a great show for all the fans. Our car was just a little tight in the center and free off all week, and we never really seemed to be able to fix it. It got really tight that last run, but Kyle gave it all he had and we came up just a little bit short."
Jones, who was making his first career Snowball Derby start, became the third consecutive teenager to win the prestigious race, following Johanna Long (2010) and Chase Elliott (2011). Choquette finished second, followed by Busch in third. Jeff Fultz and Elliott rounded out the top-five finishers.
Seven different drivers led, exchanging the lead 12 times, including Busch who led three times for 15 laps. Six drivers failed to finish the 300-lap race.
Eight NASCAR champions head a list of drivers that have earned locked-in spots in the field at the inaugural UNOH Battle At The Beach on Feb. 18-19 at Daytona International Speedway.
The UNOH Battle At The Beach features two nights of racing with NASCAR K&N Pro Series, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tours and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series on the .4-mile oval on the backstretch.
Locked-In spots go to:
- 2012 race winners and champions from K&N Pro Series and Whelen Modified tours, earn spots in their respective races
- Top-10 finishers in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I national standings earn starting spots in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model race.
- In addition, the 2012 overall champions from the Canadian Tire Series and Euro Racecar Series will also receive secured starting positions for the event and can choose which one of the three races they wish to compete.
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion Kyle Larson headlines the 13 NASCAR K&N Pro Series drivers that secured spots by virtue of winning races.
The 20-year-old Larson from Elk Grove, Calif., won his first NASCAR touring championship driving the No. 6 Toyota Racing Development Toyota for Rev Racing and NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Initiative.
Larson, who edged Corey LaJoie for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East title by 14 points, earned his spot in the feature field through his victory at Gresham Motorsports Park in Gresham, Ga. He also won the series’ Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors.
Other notable NASCAR K&N Pro Series drivers “locked-in” include 17-year-old Dylan Kwasniewski, the youngest K&N Pro Series West Champion in history; Chase Elliott, son of two-time Daytona 500 champion Bill Elliott; and Joe Gibbs Racing developmental driver Darrell Wallace Jr.
Connecticut’s Doug Coby and North Carolina’s George Brunnhoelzl III head the list of 13 drivers locked into the NASCAR Whelen Modified race. Coby won four races in claiming his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship, while Brunnhoelzl had six wins en route to his third NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour title.
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion Lee Pulliam of Semora, N.C., tops the list for the Late Model race. Pulliam earned the national championship with 22 wins, 30 top fives and 32 top 10s in 36 starts.
NASCAR international series champions locked in are D.J. Kennington from the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1, Spain’s Ander Vilarino from the Euro-Racecar NASCAR Touring Series, and Mexico’s Jorge Goeters of the NASCAR Toyota Series.
Kennington from St. Thomas, Ontario won his second Canadian Tire Series championship while Vilarino is the inaugural Euro-Racecar Series champion. Goeters won his second Mexican title, but first under a NASCAR banner.
Current, or past, full-time national series drivers not currently competing in the touring or regional series are ineligible to compete in the UNOH Battle At The Beach.
For a complete list of the UNOH Battle at the Beach locked-in drivers, click here.
It was a battle for the ages in the closing laps of the 2012 Snowball Derby. It was an all out shootout with just 22 laps to go between NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Kyle Busch and a little known 16-year old Michigan native Erik Jones. Jones led when the field came to make their final pit stops on lap 278 after Hunter Robbins spun out causing the races' eighth caution. Busch pulled out to a lead in his #51 car but Jones closed. Busch and Jones would run side by side, beating and banging for the next eight laps until lap 292 of the 300 lap event, when Jones finally cleared Busch and sailed to his first career Snowball Derby victory in his first start. An excited and thrilled Jones stood in victory lane.
"I can believe it, we just beat Kyle Busch," Jones screamed! "I can't put it into words, can't thank my mom and dad enough. I was nervous, I didn't think I could hold him off at the end but we did."
Busch was passed by Jeff Choquette with five laps to go, pushing him to the runner-up spot. Kyle Busch finished in the third spot as his car went away towards the end. Busch brought a lot of notoriety to the Snowball Derby, after he won the race in the 2009 running. Although he brought a lot of notoriety to the race Busch also brought a lot of controversy to the race, to no one's surprise. The controversy erupted on lap 154 when TJ Reaid was leading the event in his Bill Elliott owned #41 car. Reaid was leading and trying to hold off Busch when he went up to squeeze Kyle Busch, which he did. Busch went into turn four and spun out Reaid. Reaid's car spun and collected a lot of innocent victims in the accident. Some of those victims were Ross Kenseth, Chase Elliott, Clay Alexander and Bubba Pollard. The accident also caused John Hunter Nemechek's car to overheat. Elliott's damage was severe and the team had to make several pit stops throughout the event to work on his #9 car. Reaid's car was out of the event and as the race ended Reaid went up to Kyle Busch to "discuss" what had happened between the two cars. Chase Elliott who finished fifth, had this to say about Kyle Busch in his post race interview.
"It's unfortunate, but I guess it wasn't meant to be," Elliott said. "It's just Kyle Busch and the lack of respect he brings when he races here. I have a lot of respect for Kyle Busch as a racecar driver but I lost a lot of that today."
Finishing fourth in the event was veteran Jeff Fultz. Fultz started the race in the 34th position and is a fan favorite around Pensacola. He was running in his final Snowball Derby as he will continue to come down to the race as an owner. It was a stout performance for the veteran. Grant Enfinger finished sixth, finishing seventh was Kyle Benjamin, pole sitter David Ragan finished eighth with Chris Davidson coming home ninth and John Hunter Nemechek rounded out the top ten.
Nemechek sat on the outside of the front row, with David Ragan on the inside as the field took the green flag for the 45th running of the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway. Ragan pulled out to a lead early in the event. Lap six saw the first retiree of the afternoon when Steven Dorer broke a rocker-arm on his car. He would finish dead last in the 37th position. On lap 30, Ragan would surrender the lead to John Hunter Nemechek. Nemechek would lead until lap 49 when Paul Kelly caused the races' first caution of the afternoon when his car stopped on the racetrack.
When the race restarted on lap 54 Nemechek was still in front, but he would spin his tires allowing Busch to get around him initially. On lap 70 Nemechek lost the lead to Erik Jones. Jones would lead until lap 105 when John Hunter Nemechek battled back to take the spot from him. On lap 114 the second caution of the day would fly when DJ Vanderley and Brian Campbell would crash. Campbell was driving a car that had the Grinch from How the Grinch Stole Christmas on the car and he won an additional 300 dollars due to the paint scheme. Vanderley would continue but Campbell wouldn't and he would finish in the 34th position.
The leaders would pit on lap 115 and Erik Jones' team would have trouble with the lug nuts on the right side of the racecar. David Rogers' car found trouble too, when it was discovered there was a problem with the breaks on his machine. His crew fixed the problem and he would continue. Jeremy Pate's car would lose his transmission ending his day in the 33rd position.
When the race restarted on lap 123 Hunter Robbins led the field after staying out on the track during the pit stops. Robbins lead was short lived, when just a lap later Daniel Hemric's car would blow a right front tire and slam hard into the outside wall, collecting others as well. Involved in the wreck were Nelson Piquet Jr, Mike Garvey, Johanna Long, and Logan Boyett. All drivers drivers except for Long would be out of the race, including Hemric who received a punishing blow to the outside wall. Hemric tried to continue in the race but would stop his car during the lap 151 caution. Hemric was complaining of head and neck problems and was transported to a local hospital where he received a CT scan and was held overnight for further evaluation.
On the lap 128 restart Hunter Robbins still led, but not for long as the tires started to wear on the abrasive surface of Five Flags Speedway. TJ Reaid would pass Robbins two laps later and Kyle Busch would follow close by in second. On lap 151 the caution flag would fly when Donnie Wilson spun his #2w car out. On the lap 154 restart, that's when Busch spun out Reaid causing chaos at the speedway. Busch was sent to the back due to the incident and would have to drive his way through the field with just 147 laps remaining. When the dust settled, Casey Smith found himself in the lead. He got a good jump on second place driver Jeff Choquette but just two laps later, DJ Vanderley and David Rogers would crash causing the races' fifth caution. In a separate incident TJ Reaid spun out ending his day. Reaid finished 26th and Rogers finished 23rd.
After a restart with Smith still in the lead, Brad Rogers would spin his #0 car out and hit the wall causing the races' sixth caution of the afternoon. Rogers finished 25th. The race restarted on lap 175 with Smith still out in front and looking strong. Smith would lead to the 200 lap mark of the event and was in the lead when the races' seventh caution would fly on lap 205. That was caused by Donnie Wilson, Johanna Long and David Rogers getting together. Wilson would continue to finish 15th. The leaders would pit, except for a few drivers. Erik Jones and David Ragan stayed out and they led the field to green on the lap 211 restart.
Two laps after the restart Ben Kennedy, grandson of Bill France Jr, would experience some issues on his #96 car. The issues were terminal and he finished in 24th spot. On lap 216 Jones was showing how strong his car was pulling away from David Ragan by five car lengths. Meanwhile in the back of the field, Kyle Busch was working his way up through the field. He was in the seventh position by lap 222. Five laps later the caution would fly when David Rogers, Steve Wallace, Ben Kennedy and Casey Smith got involved in a crash. Wallace finished 22nd and Smith finished 21st. Erik Jones was still in the lead over David Ragan when the race restart on lap 226. By lap 245, Ragan would fall back to fifth due to his car having older tires. Jones though was cruising. He had a huge lead and it seemed like nothing could happen. However, Jones' crew came on the radio and told him he had to pit one more time to make it the rest of the way. It was not the words Jones wanted to hear.
By lap 255 Jones was still leading and by 260 he was still in front, with Kyle Busch coming in fourth spot. On lap 275 Jones was getting low on fuel, but he would catch a break. Hunter Robbins spun his #22 car out causing the races' eighth caution of the afternoon. The leaders pitted and Busch was in front of Jones for the final restart. The last 22 laps will go down in Snowball Derby history as Jones and Busch battled for the lead, with Jones prevailing for his first Snowball Derby victory. He became the first driver to win in their first start in the event since Gary St. Amant did so in 1992.
Busch was pleased with his teams efforts after the race and did not comment about the incident between he and Reaid.
The 45th Annual Snowball Derby is complete and Erik Jones adds his name to the list of winners at the most premier short track race in the country.
Check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.
After 47 years, 20 different drivers and countless product innovations, one thing hasn't changed for Federal-Mogul's (NASDAQ: FDML) MOOG® steering and suspension brand: It remains the technology of choice of NASCAR® Sprint Cup champions. The automotive aftermarket's premier brand of steering and suspension parts extended its Cup winning streak to 47 years when Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge clinched their first title in Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.
The Penske Racing-owned team finished the year with five wins, 13 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes - each delivered with the help of MOOG parts. It's the first Cup title for the 28-year-old Keselowski, his crew chief, Paul Wolfe, and team owner and racing icon Roger Penske.
"When you look at the list of champions dating back to the beginning of our streak in 1966 - names like David Pearson, Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and now Brad and Roger - you realize that this brand has been an integral part of the entire modern era of NASCAR racing," said Michael Proud, director of marketing, North America, Federal-Mogul. "Crew chiefs, team owners and drivers prefer MOOG because they know our parts are engineered to help win championships. This same standard is applied to every MOOG component installed by automotive repair technicians across North America."
The brand's trademark "Problem Solving" engineering philosophy - which includes the development of innovative designs combined with premium-quality materials - helped MOOG-equipped teams earn 11 of the 12 positions in the season-ending Chase for the Sprint Cup.
The MOOG product line includes an array of high-quality steering and suspension components - including ball joints, tie rod ends, control arms, idler and pitman arms, sway bar links, complete strut assemblies, and hub assemblies - covering virtually any foreign-nameplate or domestic vehicle. These parts are available through thousands of automotive service locations and parts providers throughout the U.S. and Canada.
For more information regarding MOOG steering and suspension components, please visit the brand's technician-focused www.moogproblemsolver.com website or contact your MOOG supplier. To identify the right MOOG part for virtually any application, please use the convenient, free www.FMe-cat.com electronic catalog.
Earlier this month (November 4th)) Kyle Larson, a driver for Rev Racing, won the 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Championship. At face value one wouldn’t know the significance of that accomplishment. However, the implications are deep. Kyle Larson, a Japanese American driver, is a graduate of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Program (D4D), and Rev Racing, the team for which Larson drives, is owned by Max Siegel, a brilliant sports mind who leads and manages D4D and who happens to be African-American. BSO interviewed Siegel to learn about his background, D4D, and Rev Racing.
Who is Max Siegel?
I have been a sports and entertainment executive for the last 23 years. I started off as a sports lawyer, working for a firm which represented the Seattle Mariners, national governing bodies for Olympic sports, and broadcast companies. I developed a law practice that represented the late Reggie White, Tony Gwynn and Terry Cummings. I was also a record executive with Tommy Boy records and a member of the global management team of Sony BMG. While at Sony, I was in the middle of purchasing a NASCAR team with Reggie White, Ronnie Lott, and Eddie DeBartolo. But two weeks before we were to announce the purchase, Reggie passed away. I stayed at Sony for another 1 ½ years, but left when I was invited by Teresa Earnhardt to become the first African-American President of a NASCAR franchise with Earnhardt Racing. After my tenure there I launched my own race team and started managing NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity (D4D). This will be my 5th year managing this program.
Tell me about your early interest in sports.
I’m a former athlete. I was recruited to play sports in college and was an academic adviser to athletes. A lot of my friends went on to play sports professionally, but I’ve always been interested in the transition from the playing side to the business side.
How did you first get involved with NASCAR?
Growing up as a kid, I used to go to the Indianapolis 500. Reggie White and I were best friends and he was very passionate about racing. After he retired, Reggie White told me that there was a lot of opportunity in NASCAR for people of color.
Was your interest in NASCAR fueled by opportunities for diversification?
What I found out quickly is that NASCAR is a multi-billion dollar industry and that there are many career opportunities there, whether you’re an engineer, a mechanic, a lawyer, a doctor or an electrician.
What is the D4D program?
D4D focuses on recruiting and developing talent and providing the necessary skills for drivers and crew members to succeed. It is also designed to broaden NASCAR’s appeal. Rev Racing is the competition arm of the Drive for Diversity Program (D4D). I currently have 6 teams. Of a couple hundred people who apply for the program, we’ll select six persons. Training is rigorous. Once selected there’s a full-time commitment. Team members are required to workout 3 to 4 days a week, put in 20 hours in the shop, and do simulated driving. We do performance evaluations – everything from nutrition to psychological testing. So what we’re developing here at Rev Racing is probably one of the premier training models. So far, we’ve placed over 20 minority and women candidates on the pit crew side throughout NASCAR.
Where is the D4D located?
The Drive of Diversity Program is run out of my race shop in Concord, N.C.
How many aspiring drivers have gone through the D4D program?
About 20-30 drivers and 40-50 pit crew members.
How successful has NASCAR been in attracting minority hopefuls and helping them advance up the ranks?
I think the program has gotten better every year. It’s been a really important initiative for NASCAR. In my opinion there is more awareness, and now we have a good pipeline of young drivers who can make a big name for themselves on the national level. I think frankly that once someone makes it on the national level you may see the same phenomenon as the Williams sisters or Tiger Woods when it comes to creating interest in the sport. We just won our first championship with Kyle Larson. That was exciting. Just to have someone successful who has been through this training model we’ve created…. As an African-American owner, it is an honor to achieve something like that.
What made you want to own your own race team?
My mother was a strong believer and the one thing we were never allowed to do was complain about how bad things were. You either leave or do something about it. As an owner, although it’s challenging, I do have some control over my destiny. I am able to make a contribution and if I can take the risk and be successful, perhaps I can inspire others.
Where so you see Rev Racing in 5 years?
We want to continue to build on our current success, keep perfecting the model and become the go-to organization to develop talent.
What do you do in your spare time?
I go to a lot of my sons’ little league games and my daughter’s gymnastics. I enjoy spending time with my family. To me that’s why I get up in the morning and do what I do.
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During Friday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards at the Wynn Las Vegas – the official coronation of 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski – Lesa France Kennedy, daughter of Betty Jane France and vice chair and executive vice president of NASCAR, named Lorri Shealy Unumb, creator of “Ryan’s Law”, the official winner of the second annual, Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award.
On Sunday, December 2 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida the 45th Annual Snowball Derby will be held. The 300 lap Super Late Model race has been compared to the Daytona 500 of the Super Late Models. The 2012 edition has 71 entries, many of which are familiar names in NASCAR circles.
Current Sprint Cup Series regulars Kyle Busch, David Ragan and Landon Cassill are the major headliners.
Current or former Nationwide Series or Camping World Truck Series drivers include Johanna Long, Steven Wallace, Erik Darnell, Cale Gale, Nelson Piquet Jr., Jeff Choquette, Mike Garvey, Jeff Fultz, Augie Grill, and Grant Enfinger.
John Hunter Nemechek, the 15-year old son of Sprint Cup Series veteran Joe Nemechek, will also compete along with 16-year old son of Bill Elliott, Chase Elliott who won last year. Ross Kenseth, the son of Matt Kenseth and Kyle Grissom the son of former NASCAR driver Steve Grissom are also on the entry list.
Former winners of the race include Donnie Allison in 1975, Darrell Waltrip in 1976, Butch Miller in 1987, Ted Musgrave in 1988, Rick Crawford in 1989, Rich Bickle in 1990, 91, 96, 98, and 99, Jeff Purvis in 1995, Steven Wallace in 2004, Augie Grill in 2007 and 2008, Kyle Busch in 2009, Johanna Long in 2010, and Chase Elliott in 2011.
Action on the track gets started on Thursday with practice for the Snowball Derby from 10 a.m. ET to 4 p.m. Qualifying is set as the WXBM Pole Position Snowball Qualifying at 6 p.m. on Friday where the top 30 will lock themselves into the Derby. On Saturday, there will be another practice from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and then at 4 p.m. there will be a 50 lap qualifying race where four cars will race their way in. At 2 p.m. on Sunday the green flag will be thrown for the 45th Annual Snowball Derby.
Check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.
While most NASCAR drivers have already hung up their firesuits, helmets and gloves for the season, Kyle Busch closes out his 2012 racing schedule this Sunday, Dec. 2, driving the No. 51 Monster Energy Camry in the 45th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla. The Las Vegas native returns to the prestigious Super Late Model race for the first time since his victory in the 2009 event. Joining primary sponsor Monster Energy, as associate sponsors for this weekend's 300-lap event, are Choice Hotels, Quality Imports Toyota, Recycling Equipment Inc. and Tom Thumb.
"The Snowball Derby is one of the best short track races in the country -- it's been around for a long time and draws in some of the most talented drivers," said Busch, who will be making his third career Snowball Derby start. "It's a huge race that a lot of people want to win -- whether you're a guy that comes from the late model ranks or a guy that comes from a different background, you always hear about this race. My last time there in 2009, I had a really good car and we were able to win it. It was pretty phenomenal and I took a lot from it that hopefully we can put towards this year and get to victory lane again."
After starting from the third spot in the 2009 race, Busch led three times for 89 laps - including the final 25 - en route to his first Tom Dawson trophy. Prior to the victory, his lone start at the half-mile oval came in 2002, when an early accident relegated him to a 33rd-place finish.
Busch, who made a name for himself racing as a teenager at The Bullring at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway, has two victories in five Super Late Model starts in 2012. The 27-year-old opened the season with a win in SpeedFest at Watermelon Capitol Speedway in Cordele, Ga. in January and followed it up with his third straight triumph in the Rowdy 251 at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Mich. in June.
"It's been an up-and-down year in the Late Model races -- we've had a few wins, but we've also torn up some stuff and haven't been able to make it to the finish the last few races," Busch said. "Running these races is enjoyable for me. These are my favorite type of race cars -- the cars look good and drive good. The 300-lap or longer races with live pit stops are my favorite ones to race in. Racing on short tracks is what I grew up doing and I enjoy giving back to the sport by running a half dozen of the big races around the country each year."
Mars, Incorporated will be honored with the 2012 NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards held at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas on Thursday, November 29. Throughout its 23-year partnership, Mars has directly engaged race fans, customers and associates through an integrated marketing strategy that spanned across multiple activations, including: intellectual property, promotions, public relations, B2B, online, broadcast, event marketing and retail. The partnership represents one of the longest standing within the sport.
“Mars’ execution of a fully integrated strategy within NASCAR exemplifies the spirit of the award and has been the catalyst to the brand’s success in the sport,” said Jim O'Connell, chief sales officer for NASCAR. “One of our longest standing partners took full advantage of its sponsorship, raising the bar with innovative ideas designed to engage our brand loyal fan base, its associates and ultimately move product off the shelf.”
In a recent study, it was revealed that Mars receives an impressive 4-to-1 return on its investment in NASCAR (measured by Mars tracking data). Additionally, its sponsorships create a fifth season of sales for the brand, which is on par with the size of the company’s Christmas selling season.
“The NASCAR sponsorship model is driven by brand loyalty and Mars has been behind the wheel of a best-in-class partnership,” said William Clements, vice president of sponsorships and sports marketing for Mars Chocolate North America. “Our successes have been led by innovation that extends to customers, consumers and associates, and capitalizes on NASCAR’s broad fan base that represents approximately one-third of the U.S. adult population. We are honored by this award and continue to see the strength and growth of our partnership with NASCAR.”
In 2012, Mars executed several integrated marketing initiatives designed to reach its three key stakeholders – customers, consumers and associates – in an effort to extend beyond the iconic M&M’S® paint scheme. The following initiatives have resulted in Mars and its family of brands becoming some of the most recognized in the sport:
§ Conducted consumer-centric promotions like the current “M&M'S® When We Win, You Could Win Sweepstakes” that energizes customers and engages fans
§ Pioneered the now popular TV panel program which places the logo of key retailers on the rear “TV panel” of the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota to drive exposure and incremental sales
§ Made race day more fun with the “Best Seats in the House” program, providing fans with the ultimate seat upgrade at select tracks in the series
§ Engaged associates with dedicated NASCAR ambassadors to celebrate the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota successes and team news
§ Hosted NASCAR Day at Mars Chocolate North America’s headquarters in Hackettstown, N.J., featuring Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) owner Joe Gibbs, Kyle Busch and the entire No. 18 M&M’S Toyota team
Each year, NASCAR recognizes an industry partner who has exemplified the spirit of NASCAR through integrated marketing campaigns for all racing fans, consumers and employees. Previous winners of the NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award include: Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, ESPN, FOX/TNT/NBC, Gillette, Kmart, Nationwide Insurance, Office Depot, Sprint, The Home Depot and Toyota.
The RACE 101: 'Team Development Weekend' will debut January 11th, 12th, and 13th, 2013 in North Carolina. The three-day seminar was created to meet demands from racers and race teams to get a detailed overview of everything taught in the popular year-long RACE 101 program.
"The Team Development Weekend will be intense," said RACE 101 founder and head instructor Tony Blanchard. "The goal is to introduce drivers, team members, and family members to the principles we teach our students in the full RACE 101 program. It will be a lot to take in over three days, but we have been developing this for years. The market is ready."
RACE 101 is a one year program for young racers looking to flourish by understanding the complicated business of racing both on the track and away from the track. It combines technical principles along with marketing and public relations studies that a race team needs to achieve success.
"It is amazing what we will introduce a class in just three days," said marketing and public relations instructor Adam Ross. "Once we share our philosophy behind the way we approach the business of racing it becomes much easier to take everything in. We also plan to work with our race teams beyond the weekend to see them succeed."
Blanchard and Ross say the reason for understanding the material taught is just as important as understanding the material itself. If it sounds complicated - it is, but it isn't at all.
"Any of the topics we teach could be university courses," said Blanchard. "From physics, to public relations, to communication the content is advanced learning. But if you understand it in context, and if you understand why you need to grasp those subjects then it becomes much easier.
"If we told the average racer we need to affect the coefficient of friction on a car he or she likely wouldn't know where to start. When you explain we're looking for forward bite then it becomes much easier to understand. Every racer has encountered that challenge. We plan to help our students understand reasons for learning what we teach, and it will be much easier to grasp."
While teaching the drivers it is important to also teach the whole crew. The need for crew members and family to understand the same principles as the driver is simple.
"The core of RACE 101 is communication," said Ross. "Communication dictates the success of a race team. Communication within the team is critical to on-track success. Communication with the media and with potential marketing partners creates opportunity.
"Often a race team is a family operation with a small amount of outside help. When everyone understands the same principles the team becomes stronger. In three short days we will show how communicating the right way will lead to greater success in our sport, and the entire team will play a role."
Following two days in a classroom setting the group will put its knowledge to use working on various parts of a race car. The course is hands-on, and the material relates directly back to each individual race team.
Included in the cost of the seminar is ongoing consultation with Blanchard and Ross on both chassis set-up, proposal-writing, and the creation of a media campaign.
"Our goal is to communicate what we know to be successful strategies and tactics in racing, and then to work with each team to make sure they apply what they learn successfully," said Blanchard. "By applying their studies to their individual teams it completes the teaching process. The results are staggering."
"We don't just want to teach a class and move on to the next group," said Ross. "By following up with each team to execute what they've learned then we know they understand. It's very rewarding to see past students achieve their potential."
Specific areas of study during the Weekend:
BASICS OF RACE CAR MECHANICS
Driver comfort in relation to speed
Communicating with the crew chief
Being the driver - taking responsibility
Static wheel loads
ADVANCED MECHANICS AND MECHANICAL THEORY
Dynamic wheel loads
The speed in air pressure
Four cycles of an engine
Torque vs. horsepower
MARKETING/PUBLIC RELATIONS TOPICS
Core public relations:
Press release writing:
Creating media opportunity:
Fundamentals of speech:
Effective marketing materials
Introducing your 'product'
Powerful social media: (not everything is a sales pitch)
Race 101 PR