Speedway News (9314)
Keep up on racing and speedway news from around the US
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Brad Keselowski made a trip back to his home state of Michigan on Tuesday in support of Michigan International Speedway and the beginning of the 2011 NASCAR race season.
Keselowski paid a visit to Troppo Restaurant in Lansing, Mich. during MIS’ second Season Kick Off, which featured a variety of fans, media and partners. The fans ranged from long-time MIS ticket holders to first-time buyers in 2011.
“MIS is an unbelievable place,” Keselowski said. “I am fortunate to have won back-to-back Nationwide Series races at MIS and will look to defend that race win in June this year. However, we would also really like to win at MIS in the Sprint Cup Series. I love coming back to Michigan and helping out with these events any way I can.”
MIS, and its president Roger Curtis, discussed many of its initiatives for 2011 including its Fan Appreciation Program, now in its third year, the upcoming Budweiser Shootout Viewing Party at FireKeepers Casino on Feb. 12, qualifying moving to Saturday in June and the Great Lakes Wine Fest, which will take place on May 21 at the speedway.
An update of the track’s capital improvement projects was given. Most of the three grandstands between turns 3 and 4 have been taken down. Work has also begun to widen the pedestrian tunnel under the frontstretch of the track. Partners FireKeepers Casino and new ARCA Racing Series race sponsor RainEater Wiper Blades were on hand and participated in the Q&A format.
“It’s important to continue to update our fans, media and partners on what we are doing at MIS and how these initiatives are continuing to make our track a must-see event on the Sprint Cup Series race schedule for our fans.”
Keselowski also talked about his new Checkered Flag Foundation, which is to support military personnel, veterans, first-responders and others who were wounded in combat or in the line of duty. The program hosted its first event, the Wounded Warrior Day, at MIS in August of 2010 and followed up with similar events later in the season.
Keselowski was also honored at the State Capitol with a legislative proclamation on the Senate floor from 12th District Michigan Senator Jim Marleau of Lake Orion, which represents Keselowski’s native Rochester Hills, a suburb of Detroit. Keselowski received the honor for winning his first Nationwide Series championship and giving back to his local Michigan community.
“Brad is very deserving of this honor,” Curtis said. “He has become a very successful driver in NASCAR and has done a lot for his home state and given back in so many ways. It was nice to see our state government honor him today for those efforts and achievements.”
Nestled in the lush Irish Hills of Southeastern Michigan, Michigan International Speedway is the Great Escape, a venerable NASCAR national park where fans can get away and enjoy the very best in racing and camaraderie. It’s the love of racing and the thrill of a great time for race fans and drivers alike.
MIS’ Value Pricing ends on February 28. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tickets for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 on June 19 and NSCS 400 on August 21 are as low as $25. Visit MISpeedway.com or call the MIS ticket hotline at 800-354-1010 today to take advantage of great pricing for 2011 events at MIS.
Where the NFL and the country’s largest football stadium failed 400 disappointed football fans, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the Stratosphere Hotel, Casino and Tower have come through.
The speedway and the country’s tallest hotel-tower have partnered to offer tickets to the March 4-6 NASCAR Weekend in Las Vegas to those who were displaced from their seats at Sunday’s Super Bowl. Some of the fans may also win airfare and three nights of accommodations at the Stratosphere as well.
“It’s a shame what happened to all of those fans who got to the Super Bowl and then had nowhere to sit,” said LVMS president Chris Powell. “I can assure them that the seats we are giving them are real, and they will have good seats to watch the Kobalt Tools 400 and Sam’s Town 300.”
Fans who show proof of their displacement at the Super Bowl and choose to accept LVMS’s offer will receive a ticket to NASCAR Weekend in Las Vegas. Among those fans, four will have their names drawn and will receive three room nights in new Stratosphere Select accommodations at the Stratosphere in Las Vegas.
“Our heart goes out to those fans that didn’t get to see the game,” said Todd Ford, Director of Marketing at the Stratosphere. “This unique opportunity will allow those fans to enjoy great NASCAR racing, have a chance to experience our newly remodeled rooms, plus all of the excitement Las Vegas has to offer.”
Fans will have amazing sound to go with the always amazing racing when they return to Martinsville Speedway for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 on April 3.
A new, state-of-the-art sound system will be in place by the April event, giving fans unparalleled audio during the weekend.
“Our new sound system will be much the same as the sound systems used in other major stadiums around the country,” said Martinsville Speedway President W. Clay Campbell. “It’s going to enhance the quality of the sound, especially during pre-race, when music is being played and anytime cars aren’t on the track.”
Approximately 50 new speakers are being installed around the track and atop the video boards in the infield. In the past the speakers have been on the catch-fence circling the track, but now they will be mounted on poles closer to the grandstand area.
“Fans have told us that they were having difficulty hearing the PA system in certain areas around the track. This should provide great sound to everyone,” said Campbell.
Other improvements at Martinsville Speedway for the 2011 season include wider seats, new restrooms and new concession stands and wider concourse under the front-stretch grandstands.
CREDIT: MARTINSVILLE PR
Bloomberg Businessweek has named Michigan International Speedway chief Roger Curtis an “Innovator” for his efforts to bring research and development testing to the Brooklyn, Mich., racetrack.
Curtis says his position in auto innovation is an unlikely one.
For most of his 18 years in motorsports administration, he focused on marketing, which is what the Terre Haute, Ind., native studied at Indiana State University. He hopes opening the speedway to researchers is one way to persuade auto companies to keep their research and development spending in Michigan, his adopted state.
"When the time comes for the floodgate for really testing connected vehicles and connected roadways, we'd like to be sure that it's done right here," he said.
MIS, a NASCAR racetrack in Brooklyn, Mich., about 100 miles west of Detroit, is conveniently located near 80 percent of the world’s automotive engineering and R&D companies and leading universities. The track annually hosts NASCAR’s top auto racing events: Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series.
Curtis now wants to turn the speedway into a test bed for transport innovation. The next generation of roads and automobiles will be more intelligent, talking to each other and wireless-data networks to help keep people safe and traffic flowing smoothly. A smart intersection, for instance, might be able to detect a vehicle about to run a red light and warn other cars, preventing collisions.
Such smart systems must work with all kinds of autos from different manufacturers, so Curtis says they'll need a neutral site for planning and testing, and that the 1,400-acre speedway is ideal. The site has 7.8 miles of roadways that go mostly unused outside the June and August NASCAR weekends at the track, 26 miles of fiber-optic cable to pipe in high-speed Net, and Wi-Fi. Curtis is also developing movable intersections so researchers can simulate various driving conditions, including rural highways and busy urban grids.
The speedway has already hosted a handful of automotive tests, giving the speedway a new income source. The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center conducted a four-day experiment using intelligent systems to guide convoys last year. Five carmakers have also looked over the property, and two may be back this year to test smart systems.
The racetrack annually hosts the collegiate Formula SAE competition, as well as emissions-related research, including final tests for the Progressive Automotive Xprize. The Xprize awarded $10 million to teams that built a vehicle capable of achieving 100 miles per gallon.
Richard Wallace, a director at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor., Mich., who specializes in intelligent vehicle communications, says “having a test facility like this is very valuable. These systems all have to be able to talk to each other.”
And Curtis believes that is just the beginning.
"We're on the map now," he said.
MIS, which served as an AMC test track for several years starting in the mid-1970s, has two 1.9-mile road courses that can be used for testing. The two-mile oval used during motorsports races can also be used for testing. In all, the racetrack is comprised of 1,400 acres, most of which the Curtis would consider for testing locations if a private company needed a specific terrain or environment. Testing could be available year-round, with the exception of the NASCAR event weekends.
CREDIT: MIS PR
The second phase of construction began this week on the world's largest high-definition video board that will debut during Charlotte Motor Speedway's 2011 May race events.
Long Foundation Drilling Company from Winston-Salem, N.C., and Mid-Atlantic Construction of Charlotte, N.C., are working with Eastern Sign Tech of Burlington, N.J., on phase two of the HD video board construction this week at the speedway. The construction crews are using an 80-ton crane with a 100-foot arm and a separate caisson drilling rig to dig the massive support column holes that will lift the Panasonic HD video board 110 feet above the track. This phase of site work will include removing 900 cubic yards of dirt by drilling 12 holes, each 54 inches in diameter, more than 50 feet deep to bedrock level. Concrete piers will then be installed in the holes to support the massive 500,000-pound steel frame that will hold the 165,000-pound video board. When completed, the total structure will weigh 332-and-a-half tons or 665,000 pounds.
Using heavy earth-moving equipment, crews from Granite Contracting, of Concord, N.C., have already removed 18,000 cubic yards of dirt and 3,000cubic yards of concrete behind the backstretch where the gigantic, nearly 16,000-square-foot screen will be located. The concrete bleachers that were removed were part of the speedway's original construction in 1960.
Designed and created by Panasonic, the approximately 200-foot-wide,80-foot-tall screen will be centered along the backstretch between Turns 2 and 3, across from the start/finish line. Fans seated throughout the frontstretch from Turn 4 to Turn 1 will have clear viewing angles of instant replays, leaderboard updates and interactive entertainment displayed in 720P high-definition visuals. The screen will be illuminated by more than nine million LED lamps during each NASCAR race event at Charlotte Motor Speedway this spring, including the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 21 and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 29.
Frontstretch tickets with the best views of the new HD video board and pit road start at just $49 for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Fans can also purchase two frontstretch tickets for just $99 to the Coca-Cola 600 by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or online atwww.charlottemotorspeedway.com
CREDIT: CMS PR
Battery brand Energizer will “Light Up the Night” May 21 for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Energizer, with the help of fans in attendance, will attempt to set a world record for shining the most flashlights simultaneously in a sporting arena. Energizer will distribute thousands of its LED Headlights – powered by an Energizer battery - and ask fans to “flash their brights” during pre-race activities.
Representatives from Guinness World Records will record and judge the “Light Up the Night” event.
Since the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race is taking place in May – which is right before the start of hurricane season – Energizer will make a donation to a Charlotte-area disaster response group to help them get prepared in advance of severe weather. The donations will be generated, in part, by purchase of Energizer batteries and lights at Target.
“As part of our new Now That’s Positivenergy platform, Energizer is committed to making a difference in communities across the country,” said Jim Olsen, vice president of North American marketing for Energizer. “We want to help the residents of Charlotte power through whatever Mother Nature throws their way,”
The free Energizer Headlights will be available to fans while supplies last.
Energizer’s partnership with Charlotte Motor Speedway is an outgrowth of its relationship with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Energizer has done paint schemes in the past as part of the Target program with the race team. The “Light Up The Night” event kicks off the 16th year Energizer and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing have worked together.
Phoenix International Raceway’s annual Night of Champions charity event on Feb. 24 will have a twist of mystery until the winner of the DAYTONA 500 is crowned just four days prior, on February 20. The 2011 Daytona 500 champ will join NASCAR Nationwide Series driver and Valley local Danica Patrick, three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip, former IndyCar driver Lyn St. James and PIR President Bryan R. Sperber to help celebrate the start of the 2011 NASCAR season and the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500™ event weekend at Phoenix.
Night of Champions will be held at Frank and Albert’s, located in the legendary Arizona Biltmore Resort, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 24. Waltrip, who retired from racing in 2000 and is now a lead analyst for NASCAR on FOX, will host the event that will benefit and raise awareness for the Arizona State University College of Nursing & Healthcare Innovation and St. James’ Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation.
“This year’s Night of Champions offers a star-studded group of honorees in Darrell Waltrip, Danica Patrick, Lyn St. James and the winner of the 2011 Daytona 500,” Sperber said. “Our eyes will focus on Daytona with added interest and intrigue as we wait to find out which NASCAR star will join us to help raise charitable funds and rev up the 2011 season at PIR.”
Tickets for “Night of Champions” are $250 each, and will provide guests with the chance to spend an evening with the 2011 DAYTONA 500 winner, Patrick, Waltrip and St. James, while contributing to the advancement of women in racing and research in nursing and health care at one of Arizona's leading educational institutions.
Presenting sponsorships for the event are also available. Sponsorship packages include inclusion on all event materials and an array of exclusive experiences throughout the NASCAR event weekend at PIR.
CREDIT: PIR PR
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is holding its second “Walk Like MADD, 5K walk or RUN” at Homestead-Miami Speedway this Saturday, Feb. 5 from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The event will raise funds to benefit community alcohol-education programs, victim advocacy and the DUI prevention program “The Power of Parents, It’s Your Influence.” “Walk Like MADD” is open to adults and youth of all ages, with strollers and leashed dogs welcome.
“We’re ecstatic to provide our venue to MADD this weekend to help emphasize the need for safe driving,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Matt Becherer. “On Saturday, we welcome guests to walk and run the very asphalt that will host the world’s best drivers for next month’s GRAND-AM Grand Prix of Miami and this fall’s NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend. Homestead-Miami Speedway is the perfect spot to educate the public on safe driving.”
Saturday’s “Walk Like MADD” event at Homestead-Miami Speedway runs from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and guests can participate in a 5K run or walk around the 1.5-mile, 18-20 degree variable-banked oval. Also on site for attendees: live music, food and interactive displays to include a Black Hawk helicopter, a vehicle roll-over simulation and police-canine demonstration.
CREDIT: HMS PR
Richmond International Raceway photographer John Harrelson was named the 2010 Howard O’Reilly Photographer of the Year in a vote by the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA). The honor was announced at an awards ceremony at the NMPA meetings in Charlotte, N.C., where Harrelson was presented with a trophy.
There are four categories used to qualify a photographer for the honor: Race Action, Portrait/Personality, Feature and Crash Action. Points are awarded based on where a photographer finishes in each category. Harrelson, a native of Richmond, Va. placed first in Race Action for a shot of Denny Hamlin’s pit crew speeding through a stop, second in Portrait/Personality for a shot of “The King” Richard Petty deep in thought, second in Feature for a shot of track crews chasing a cat on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway and third in Crash Action for a shot of Paul Menard and Dennis Setzer wrecking at Talladega Superspeedway.
“It’s pretty exciting to have our track photographer named the 2010 NMPA Photographer of the Year,” said track president Doug Fritz. “John does a great job and deserves this honor.”
Harrelson, who has been the official photographer of Richmond International Raceway since 1985, has also worked with Motorsports Images and Archives and Getty Images.
“This award is such an honor,” said Harrelson as he accepted his trophy in Charlotte, NC. “Since I was a kid in the grandstands this is all I’ve wanted to do. To win photographer of the year and know my name is going to be on the trophy at the Darlington Stock Car Museum means the world. I’m doing what I love and being honored for it at the same time.”
In addition to Harrelson’s honor, track photographer Geoff Burke was also awarded a plaque for placing first in the Open category with a photo of Kyle Busch celebrating a win in Victory Lane.
Along with business partner Scott K. Brown, Harrelson just built a new state-of-the-art photography studio in Ashland, VA where the two can showcase their company Pixel Factory and Harrelson Photography Inc.
NASCAR returns to Richmond International Raceway for a NASCAR Tripleheader April 28-30, highlighted by the Saturday, April 30 Crown Royal Presents The Your Name Here 400 Sprint Cup Series race. Tickets start at $45 and can be purchased online at www.rir.com or by calling 866-455-RACE (7223).
The weekend also features the Friday, April 29 BUBBA burger 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race “under the lights.” Friday’s tickets start at $30 in advance. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East kicks off the weekend on Thursday, April 28, when they debut at America’s Premier Short Track for a race “under the lights.” Thursday’s tickets are general admission and $10. Children 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult in general admission sections on Thursday and Friday. For tickets and information, log on to www.rir.com or call 866-455-RACE (7223).
CREDIT: RIR PR
Charlotte Motor Speedway is gearing
up for a spectacular year of entertainment as the track's 2011 schedule
features more than 100 days and nights of excitement.
The speedway's 2011 season includes premier NASCAR, NHRA and World
of Outlaws Series events, as well as two gigantic Food Lion AutoFairs.
Beginning with Cirque Du Soleil on March 3, the schedule features events at
all three venues on the speedway's complex including Charlotte Motor
Speedway, zMAX Dragway and The Dirt Track at Charlotte. The 2011 season will
conclude with the second annual Carolina Christmas light show and winter
festival, Nov. 21 through Jan. 1, 2012.
"Charlotte Motor Speedway's 2011 season schedule promises to be one
of the most action packed yet," said Marcus Smith, president and general
manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "More than one million fans will visit
us to see the world's greatest drivers compete and to create memories that
will last a lifetime."
Races quickly approaching in the Spring Season of Speed, include the
NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, the World of
Outlaws Sprint Car Showdown and the Coca-Cola 600.
The speedway is offering exceptional savings through season ticket
or multi-event plans for the NASCAR Sprint Cup weekends at Charlotte Motor
Speedway, NHRA events at zMAX Dragway and World of Outlaw races at The Dirt
Track at Charlotte.
For NASCAR fans, the best value in racing is the Victory Lane Club
Season Ticket. In addition to reserved seats to all three NASCAR Sprint Cup
Series races in May and October at the speedway, members will receive $1,500
in added value including a 15 percent discount on tickets, VIP parking,
trial membership to The Speedway Club, free tickets to other select speedway
events and invitations to members-only functions.
Drag racing fans can witness the two NHRA national events at the
Bellagio of drag strips with the zMAX Dragway Season Ticket. The package
includes 10 percent savings on four-day reserved tickets to both the NHRA
Four-Wide Nationals in April and the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals in
September, VIP parking, a personalized photo identification hard card and
other great values.
To see "The Greatest Show on Dirt" at one of the world's premier
dirt track facilities, fans can purchase a 2011 sprint car or late model
ticket package for The Dirt Track at Charlotte. The Sprint Car Double Down
Ticket Package includes tickets to the May Sprint Car Showdown and
November's World Finals, while the Late Model Double Down Ticket Package
includes the World Finals and October's Late Model Showdown. Both packages
not only come with a five percent discount on ticket prices, but also
include VIP parking for both events, a free ticket to Saturday of the Spring
AutoFair, a free ticket to a Summer Shootout event, plus a free pit pass for
CREDIT: CMS PR
The history and lore surrounding Talladega Superspeedway leads thousands of NASCAR fans to flock to the foothills of Alabama twice a year. Now, two fans will be chosen each year to become a part of the track’s history when they are enshrined to the Talladega Superspeedway Fan Hall of Fame.
“Talladega has some of the most passionate race fans on the circuit,” said Talladega Superspeedway Chairman Grant Lynch. “Our desire to recognize those loyal and outgoing fans led to the creation of the Fan Hall of Fame.”
Fans can nominate themselves or be nominated by others by completing the online entry form and an essay of 100 words or less, explaining why they should be selected as the ultimate fan of Talladega Superspeedway. The selection committee consists of staff from Talladega Superspeedway and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
In recognition of being selected to the Talladega Superspeedway Fan Hall of Fame, inductees will be recognized during pre-race ceremonies of the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and showcased on www.talladegasuperspeedway.com and in a special display at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum.
Nominations for the 2011 Fan Hall of Fame will be accepted from February 1 - March 1, 2011. A full set of rules and online nomination form can be found at www.talladegasuperspeedway.com/fhof.
The countdown is on for the April 15- 17 Aaron’s Dream Weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. Qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, followed by the ARCA Racing Series 250 is set for Friday, April 15. On Saturday, April 16, fans will see qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, followed by the Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. On Sunday, April 17, the greatest drivers in the world face off in the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
CREDIT: TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY PR