Steven B. Wilson
Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest
Michael Waltrip ended his driving career on a high note, racing with the leaders to an eighth-place finish in Sunday’s Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.
Waltrip drove for Premium Motorsports in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, for his grand finale, and what a grand finale it was! The No.15 Aaron’s Toyota Camry was the highest finishing Toyota in the entire field. This car, had the body installed in the Premium Motorsports fab shop by Gene Dehart and a group of Premium Motorsports employees led by Eric Ellington. The complete race car prep and set up was produced by crew chief Mark Hillman and crew leading to the 8th place finish which is a big victory for the underfunded team.
Premium Motorsports PR
On Tuesday, executives of the 600 Festival Association unveiled several new changes for the 2017 series of events that support the May races at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Most notably, Circle K Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola’s three nights of music will take place in Romare Bearden Park located at 300 South Church Street in Charlotte. The new location will allow ticketed customers the comforts of a lawn seat to enjoy the national headliners who will be announced soon. A second music stage, the Mello Yello stage, will be located on Tryon Street at Stonewall Street.
In addition, Circle K Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola will be sporting a new look for 2017 with a refreshed logo for the 23rd annual event. The 600 Festival also has rolled out a new website for 2017 that is more user-friendly and informative.
“Since we wrapped up in May, the team has been working diligently on improvements for the 2017 600 Festival events,” said Jacqueline Gafrarar, executive director of the 600 Festival Association. “The new concert location, new logo and new website are just a few of the exciting updates we have for our event attendees.”
This year, event goers can enjoy the May 5 Movies on the Campus event in conjunction with Jiggy with the Piggy in Kannapolis; Haulers on Union in Concord on May 18; the Little 600 at GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville May 23; the PNC Speed Street 5K on May 25 in Charlotte; and Circle K Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola May 25-27.
CSM Production, formerly known as JHE, has produced and promoted the 600 Festival Association’s events for 22 years.
600 Festival PR
Superior Essex is excited to announce that it will sponsor the No. 14 TriStar Motorsports Toyota for the Rinnai 250 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 4, 2017. The car will also be co-sponsored by Legrand and Accu-Tech. The event will be televised on FSI at 1:30 PM ET.
Superior Essex previously sponsored the No. 14 TriStar Motorsports Toyota in the Powershares QQQ 300 race on February 25, 2017, where the car finished in 25th place.
Preceding race day, Superior Essex will host the No. 14 car and its driver, J.J. Yeley, along with other members of the TriStar Motor Sports team, at its corporate offices in Atlanta. Employees, customers and local NASCAR fans will have the unique opportunity to see the No. 14 car up close, as well as meet and take pictures with Yeley and the race team. During the event, the company will also raffle two infield passes to the Rinnai 250 race event on Saturday.
“As Atlanta residents, we are excited to be representing our city on the track this weekend,” says Ken Braziel, Vice President of Enterprise Sales at Superior Essex. “This is a great opportunity for us to engage with local fans and customers, and to develop new relationships within our local communities.”
As a part of its Speed eXPerience initiative, Superior Essex is working with NASCAR and its sponsors to generate business relationships that aim to create a new demand for its products throughout the NASCAR industry. The company has already begun to work with NASCAR sponsors to specify its PowerWise™ products for more than 300 installations throughout the USA, with projects set to begin in 2017.
Superior Essex PR
RSS Racing and driver Ryan Sieg are pleased to welcome Crazy Vapors as the primary sponsor on their No. 39 Chevrolet Camaro for the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway this Saturday.
Crazy Vapors is an electronic cigarette, e-liquid, and accessory store located in Augusta, Ga. They specialize in providing fast, dependable, and honest service for all their customers. Additionally, the team will welcome Super-Sod, Otter’s Chicken, AWS, and The Georgia Trade School as associate sponsors for the race. Baseball Racks and Midstate Basement, who will be primary sponsors later in the year, will continue as associate sponsors at Atlanta.
The race in Atlanta is a hometown event for Ryan Sieg and his RSS Racing team. “I always enjoy racing so close to home with so many family and friends around. We have some local Georgia based sponsors so that will be neat to have them on board as well,” commented Sieg.
RSS Racing PR
With a thrilling, last-lap pass in the first MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES race to feature the new stage format, 2004 NASCAR premier series champion Kurt Busch won Sunday’s season-opening DAYTONA 500 on FOX, with 23.3 million viewers tuning in for all or part of the event. An average audience of 12 million watched the race across the FOX broadcast network, FOX Deportes and FOX Sports GO, including 11.92 million on FOX alone.
Key 2017 DAYTONA 500 highlights are below:
· The race averaged 11.922 million viewers on FOX, up +5% over 2016’s average audience of 11.357 million, peaking at 14.031 million viewers from 6:15-6:30 PM ET
· The DAYTONA 500 scored a 6.6/15 HH rating, which is flat overall compared to the 2016 edition but delivers positive gains across key male and adult demographics:
HH Rating vs 2016
2.2 vs 2.0 (ties a four-year high)
3.7 vs 3.4
5.2 vs 5.0
1.8 vs 1.6 (ties a four-year high)
2.8 vs 2.7
3.9 vs 3.8
· The race projects to rank as the highest-rated and most-watched sports event of the weekend and the highest-rated and most-watched sports event since the Feb. 5 Super Bowl on FOX
· The DAYTONA 500 projects to rank as FOX’s highest-rated and most-watched telecast of any kind since Super Bowl Sunday
· The race continues to remain the No. 1 motor sports event in television
· Top-Five Markets: Core NASCAR markets led the way with Greensboro, N.C., finishing first with a 17.5/31, followed by Greenville, S.C. (16.5/28), Indianapolis (14.4/26), Knoxville, Tenn. (12.7/22) and Jacksonville, Fla. (12.4/22). Markets that experienced the largest year-over-year increases include Austin, Texas (+111%), San Diego (+74%), Oklahoma City (+49%) and Norfolk, Va. (+47%). Yesterday’s race also saw significant gains in America’s biggest markets, including Chicago (+18%), Philadelphia (+32%), Washington, D.C. (+18%) and Atlanta (+20%).
FOX SPORTS GO: FOX Sports GO delivered an average minute audience of 39,832, up +99% over last year’s 20,008, marking the best performance ever for a NASCAR event on FOX Sports GO.
SOCIAL: The DAYTONA 500 was the second-most talked-about event on social media Sunday, trailing only the Academy Awards, with 443,000 people posting about the race on Twitter or Facebook. Two million people posted or engaged socially regarding the DAYTONA 500.
FOXSPORTS.COM: NASCAR was the most popular section on FOXSports.com on Sunday, with 450,000 people visiting the section. One in three visitors to FOXSports.com consumed NASCAR content on Sunday, while users averaged 9.2 minutes on the site.
FOX Sports’ coverage of the 2017 MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES continues this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with live race coverage on FOX at 2:30 PM ET and pre-race coverage beginning at 2:00 PM ET on FOX NASCAR SUNDAY. For more FOX NASCAR information, please visit FOX SPORTS PRESS PASS.
Veteran driver and owner Clay Greenfield (https://claygreenfield.com/) made his return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series last Friday night, but the night ended early — through no fault of his own. The dreaded "Big One" came after the first full lap of the NextEra Energy Resources 250. Greenfield's #68 US Pavement Chevrolet was one of 17 trucks caught in the mess, but the veteran owner/driver isn't about to let this slow him down. He and his team are actively seeking sponsors for April's Alpha Energy Solutions 250 in Martinsville, Virginia.
"We had a short run here at Daytona," said Greenfield. "My team prepared a truck that qualified 15th and even had a shot at the top ten. You have just as big a chance of winning as you do of getting caught up in 'the big one', it's a product of speedway racing. I want to thank my sponsors, US Pavement and BH Holmes Construction, for helping make this possible. Now I've get my sights set on a victory at Martinsville."
Greenfield's skill has never been doubted, but in the past, he's relied on older equipment. That's a big handicap in the ultra-competitive Camping World Truck Series, which is seen by many as the most exciting of NASCAR's big three racing series. This year, Greenfield brought new equipment to Daytona and turned in an excellent qualifying performance, proving he can more than keep pace with the sport's top contenders.
Clay Greenfield PR
Michael McDowell and Leavine Family Racing (LFR) captured a 15th place finish at Daytona International Speedway during the season opener of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season.
Despite running out of fuel with two laps to go, McDowell and LFR began “The Great American Race” on a strong note by quickly moving up from their 22nd place starting position into the Top-15 within just a handful of laps where McDowell would race for 139 of 200 laps.
After the first caution, McDowell made his first pit stop to tighten up the No. 95 K-LOVE Chevrolet SS, as it was sliding around the 2.5-mile tri-oval. After the adjustments, McDowell was able to work his way into the Top-10 where he would stay the majority of the race.
During the second stage of the race, McDowell raced side-by-side for most of the race and even narrowly avoided multiple wrecks, as spotter, Doug Campbell, helped McDowell navigate through the pack and into the Top-5.
McDowell raced in the front of the pack for the majority of the final stage while battling three-wide, until the No. 95 K-LOVE Chevy ran out of fuel with only two laps remaining in the 59th running of the Daytona 500. McDowell went on to cross the start/ finish line in 15th after having the 5th most laps in the Top-15.
“We had a great race,” said McDowell. “We ran in the Top-10 and Top-5 all day long and had ourselves in a really good position. We dodged a couple of big wrecks and had a little bit of damage, but not too bad. Then we just ran out of fuel there with two to go. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t have a shot to make a run there at the end, but everyone at LFR did a really great job. We were really hoping to get our K-LOVE Chevy into victory lane or at least a top-5. I think we were pretty close to it.”
Crew Chief, Todd Parrott is proud of his team and looks forward to many more great runs this season.
“The whole LFR team did a great job today,” said Parrott. “We had some great pit stops and had a fast car, but we just came up a little short. We are definitely excited to get the 2017 season started after having such a great run.”
Advance Auto Parts, a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider in North America that serves both professional installer and do-it-yourself customers, has signed a strategic, multi-year partnership with the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).
The agreement designates Advance Auto Parts as the official partner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at events including the legendary Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400, INDYCAR Grand Prix, Lights at the Brickyard, and more. Advance Auto Parts has more than 5,100 company-operated stores across the United States and Canada.
"Advance Auto Parts is a perfect fit with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," said Matt Davis, Advance Auto Parts marketing and sponsorships manager. "Indianapolis is the racing capital of the world, and we couldn't be more eager to see the Advance Auto Parts brand represented with one of the most famous sports venues on Earth."
The IMS Radio Network also will be renamed the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.
"We're thrilled to welcome a globally recognized brand and first-class company like Advance Auto Parts to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's family of sponsors and lineup of world-class events," IMS President Doug Boles said. "Advance Auto Parts represents quality and places its customers first, and those values also are so important to us. We are grateful to LST Marketing for its skilled work in facilitating a partnership that showcases the growing and cross-generational reach of our fan base."
"Our brand and the name 'Indy' are synonymous with excellence in automotive," Davis said. "We can't wait to get started."
Following his mother’s sudden death in 2011, NASCAR driver Joey Gase made the courageous decision to donate her organs and tissues, which ultimately touched the lives of 66 individuals in desperate need of a transplant. Since then, Gase has become as passionate about donation as he is about racing. In December 2015, he was awarded NASCAR’s inaugural Community Champion Award for his work supporting organ, eye and tissue donation.
Atlanta Motor Speedway will soon fill its 110,000 permanent seats with motorsport fans. Meanwhile, over 119,000 men, women and children across the county are waiting for the gift of life through transplantation; over 5,600 wait in Georgia. For the upcoming Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Gase will race the LifeLink® #52 car in honor of his mother and others touched by donation and transplantation, like Officer Jody Smith.
Engaged to be married, Officer Smith, a Georgia Southwestern University Campus police officer, had a full life ahead of him when he was tragically killed in the line of duty. Officer Smith made the decision, before his death, to register as an organ donor. LifeLink is humbled to partner with Gase to honor Officer Smith on the LifeLink #52 car. Officer Smith’s picture will be placed on the back panel of the race car and will serve as a tribute to the legacy Officer Smith leaves with those whose lives are forever changed by his decision to donate life.
On Wednesday, March 2, Gase will visit the Georgia Department of Driver Services Customer Service Center in Locust Grove to share his personal experience as a donor family member and honor the life of Officer Smith, and donor families in general. Recipients, donor families, and registered organ donors will be invited to sign and make handprints on Gases’ LifeLink #52 car during a special event called “Handprints of Hope.” These personal tributes to organ donors, transplant recipients and healthcare professionals will ride with Gase on the track during his race as an inspiration for fans about the power of donation.
Joey Gase PR