Friday, April 30, 2010

TV Schedule April 30-May 2

Field races first lap
NASCAR goes short-track racing under the lights this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. The Sprint Cup and Nationwide series head to the 3/4-mile D-shaped oval, a favorite of drivers and fans alike. And after a monthlong break, the Camping World Truck Series gets back on track at Kansas Speedway.

Richmond has 14-degree banking in the corners, 8 degrees on the frontstretch and 2 degrees on the backstretch. Drivers can gain a lot of speed coming off the corners. Racing in such close quarters has the potential for some serious bumpin' and bangin', and is bound to raise the frustration level of some drivers. With the incredible racing we've seen recently at Martinsville and Talladega, expect it to continue at this popular track.

Richmond busch bow car The Bubba Burger 250 Nationwide race will take to the track Friday, and the Crown Royal Presents the Heath Calhoun 400 Sprint Cup race will roll out Saturday. Kyle Busch swept both series at Richmond last spring, becoming only the second driver in NASCAR history to win on his birthday (the Cup race on May 2, 2009). Defending fall race winners are Denny Hamlin in Cup and Carl Edwards in Nationwide.

The Truck Series hits the ground running Sunday at the 1.5-mile Kansas tri-oval, its fifth race of the 2010 season. Kyle Busch captured the first win for his new team, Kyle Busch Motorsports, at Nashville before the series took a breather. Can the team keep up the momentum at Kansas? Looking to defend his win from last season will be Mike Skinner.

The following is a schedule of track events and television coverage this weekend at Richmond and Kansas (all times are in Eastern Standard Time. Events without a TV channel listed will not be televised):

Friday, April 30:
9 a.m. Nationwide practice
12 noon Sprint Cup practice, SPEED
1:30 p.m. NASCAR Live, SPEED
2:00 p.m. Sprint Cup final practice, SPEED (reruns at midnight)
3:30 p.m. NASCAR Live, SPEED
4:00 p.m. Nationwide qualifying, SPEED
5:30 p.m. Sprint Cup qualifying, SPEED (reruns at 1:30 a.m.)
7:00 p.m. Nationwide Countdown presented by Hellmann's, ESPN2
7:30 p.m. Nationwide race at Richmond: Bubba Burger 250, ESPN2. Green flag: 7:43 p.m. (reruns at 2 a.m.)
11 p.m. Trackside at Richmond, SPEED. Guests: Kasey Kahne and David Ragan (reruns Saturday at 11 a.m.)

Saturday, May 1:
10 a.m. Truck Series practice
10:00 a.m. NASCAR Now, ESPN2
11:40 a.m. Truck Series final practice
3:30 p.m. NASCAR Performance, SPEED
4:00 p.m. NASCAR Smarts, SPEED
4:30 p.m. NASCAR in a Hurry, SPEED
4:35 p.m. Truck Series qualifying
5:00 p.m. NASCAR RaceDay, SPEED
7:00 p.m. Sprint Cup pre-race show, FOX
7:30 p.m. Sprint Cup race at Richmond: Crown Royal Presents the Heath Calhoun 400, FOX. Green flag: 7:44 p.m.

Sunday, May 2:
12:30 p.m. Truck Series SetUp, SPEED
1:00 p.m. Truck Series race at Kansas: O'Reilly Auto Parts 250, SPEED. Green flag: 1:19 p.m.
8 p.m. NASCAR Victory Lane at Richmond, SPEED (reruns at 2 a.m.)


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dale Earnhardt Jr. to Drive No. 3 Wrangler Chevy in July NNS Race at Daytona

2010 Mooresville April No 3 unveiling

WELCOME, N.C. (April 29, 2010) – Through a joint effort between Richard Childress Racing, JR Motorsports, Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and Wrangler®, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will pay tribute to his father’s upcoming induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame by driving the No. 3 Wrangler® Chevrolet Impala in the July 2 Subway Jalapeno 250 powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

The announcement and car unveiling was made today at JR Motorsports and to the fans at Dale Earnhardt Inc., both in Mooresville, N.C. In attendance were Richard Childress of Richard Childress Racing, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Kelley Earnhardt of JR Motorsports, Teresa Earnhardt of Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and Craig Errington, vice president of Wrangler® marketing. The No. 3 Wrangler® Chevrolet Impala is an RCR entry but built and prepared by JR Motorsports.

2010 Mooresville April No 3 unveiling Dale Earnhardt Jr with car

“This was an idea that came up as a way to pay tribute to my Dad, and it’s pretty cool that it’s a collaborative effort between JR Motorsports, RCR and DEI,” said Earnhardt Jr. “The Wrangler car is definitely in the top-10 of coolest cars that have ever been on the race track. A lot of people identify with it, and I can’t think of a better way to honor my dad and celebrate his induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame than to bring the Wrangler colors back with the No. 3 on the side, similar to the ‘Wrangler Jean Machine’ scheme of the 80s. I think it will be worth seeing, and I’m looking forward to driving it at Daytona.”

The combination of Earnhardt Jr., DEI and RCR has a very brief yet shining history on the track together. In their one and only race together, Earnhardt drove the No. 3 Chevrolet to victory in the February 2002 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway. That car, with just the one race to its credit, is on display at the RCR Museum in Welcome, N.C.

2010 Mooresville April No 3 unveiling Teresa and Dale Earnhardt Jr

“Bringing this group of people and these organizations together is the best way I can think of to honor Dale Earnhardt’s induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame,” said Childress. “Dale means so much to all of us, as well as his fans across the country and throughout the world. We created a special piece of history together in 2002 and, with Wrangler back on board the No. 3 Chevrolet at Daytona, we look to make some more history in July. I know the fans will love it and much as we all will.”

In support of the program, an array of licensed product will be available to fans from die-cast cars to apparel and select novelty items. Merchandise will highlight both Dale Earnhardt original Wrangler® car and Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s current paint scheme. Fans can find the products at, trackside or through each of the represented team stores.

2010 Mooresville April No 3 unveiling group shot with car

“Dale’s induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame is truly a special honor for the Earnhardt Family as well as for all of Dale’s fans” said Teresa Earnhardt. “Dale was a competitor, but he was also a person who loved the fans and worked hard to connect with the people who supported him through his career. Wrangler was one of Dale’s first sponsors and it’s great to connect back with those early years, where it all started for Dale as he drove his way into the Hall of Fame”.

Wrangler® has a long history with all parties involved, and is the first apparel brand to have significant involvement in NASCAR, beginning in the 1980s when Dale Earnhardt was featured in the brand’s “One Tough Customer” marketing campaign. Wrangler® was the primary sponsor of Dale Earnhardt and the famed yellow-and-blue “Wrangler® Jean Machine” from 1981 to 1987. After a couple race team changes in the early 1980s including a brief 1981 stint with Richard Childress, Earnhardt moved back to Richard Childress Racing in 1984, bringing the brand with him as his primary sponsor. In 1998, the brand became one of the first corporate sponsors to sign up with Dale in his new role of team owner of Dale Earnhardt, Inc.

2010 Mooresville April No 3 unveiling wide shot

The Wrangler®-Earnhardt legacy continued in 2004 with a relationship between a second generation
Earnhardt and a “New Generation of Wrangler®” – Earnhardt Jr. signed on as the endorsee for the Wrangler Jeans Co.TM line of new fits and styles of jeans and apparel. This longstanding relationship continues today with Earnhardt Jr. starring in the current brand marketing campaign.

“For Wrangler, this yellow-and-blue paint scheme signifies a lot of our brand history, marketing and persona from the 1980s,” said Craig Errington, vice president of Wrangler® marketing. “It’s truly a piece of our history that will be on the track July 2 and it makes it that much more meaningful that it’s not only Dale Earnhardt’s son who will be driving it, but also the brand’s current partner and friend – Dale Jr.”

Photos and release courtesy of NASCARMedia

Jimmie Johnson adds Personal Touch to Hall of Fame

2009 NSCS Jimmie Johnson championship four trophies CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 28, 2010) –  With 13 days until opening, the NASCAR Hall of Fame today announced four prominent historic items to be on display at the 150,000-square-foot interactive, entertainment attraction – Jimmie Johnson’s four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Trophies. The reigning four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion has loaned his four personal trophies to the venue for six months.

"The NASCAR Hall of Fame is going to have so many cool things, showing the history of our sport. I was definitely humbled that they asked for something of mine to display,” said Johnson. “It’s an honor for me and the whole 48 Lowe’s team. I hope fans appreciate seeing the trophies up close. I know how special they are to me, and I’ve certainly enjoyed seeing them the past four years.”

While the NASCAR Hall of Fame is dedicated to honoring the history and heritage of NASCAR, a current item such as Johnson’s trophies recognizes the importance of history in the making. Eight years ago today, Johnson captured his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win on April 28, 2002 at California Speedway, and since then, he has earned a spot in the record books as the only driver to win four consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championships (2006-2009).

“To showcase all four of Jimmie’s personal trophies emphasizes the importance of the NASCAR Hall of Fame for the veterans of the sport and the history-makers of today,” said Winston Kelley, executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “These trophies represent his back-to-back championships and are iconic to this new era of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing. We are honored to show these to the public. We initially requested Jimmie’s 2009 championship trophy to display, and Jimmie graciously offered to loan us all four.  Of course we were thrilled.  His offer really illustrates how supportive the sport has been of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.  We sincerely appreciate Jimmie and all the other members of the NASCAR community for their generosity and support.”

The driver of the No. 48 Lowes Chevrolet began his storied run to four championships in 2006. Since that time, Johnson and team have recorded 32 wins, 69 top-five finishes and 100 top 10s, most notably winning the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.

In total, Johnson has tallied 50 wins, 122 top-five finishes and 186 top-10 finishes. Among active drivers, he is second in total wins, 32 wins behind car owner Jeff Gordon (82). Johnson has won at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at all but five (Michigan, Infineon, Chicago, Watkins Glen and Homestead) of the 22 tracks on which the series competes.

The El Cajon, Calif.-native is currently tied with two-time NASCAR Champion Ned Jarrett and NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Junior Johnson for 10th on NASCAR’s all-time win list. In addition, the four-consecutive wins scored by the No. 48 team in the 2007 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup ties a modern-era NASCAR record.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series trophy was crafted by world-renowned jeweler and silversmith Tiffany & Co. Weighing in at 27 pounds and 24 inches tall, the sterling silver trophy debuted in 2004 with the entry of NEXTEL as NASCAR’s premier series sponsor. It features flowing checkered flags and a perpetual base listing the names of each NASCAR Champion since 1948, four of those spots dedicated to Johnson.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame opens to the public May 11 at 10 a.m. EDT. The opening ceremony for the high-tech, interactive attraction begins at 9 a.m. EDT. The one-hour ceremony will culminate with NASCAR celebrities, elected officials and other dignitaries officially opening the venue. The opening ceremony will be followed by free outdoor activities from 10 a.m. through the late evening. Activities will include NASCAR celebrities, question-and-answer sessions, strolling entertainment, food vendors, and free concerts by country music artists Lee Brice, Bomshel and Love And Theft.

Tickets for the NASCAR Hall of Fame are on sale now and can be purchased at or by calling 877-231-2010. Tickets are $19.95 for adults, $17.95 for seniors and military, $12.95 for children 5-12, and free for children younger than 5. Memberships provide unlimited entry for one year and start at $25 for children and $50 for adults. Group discounts, facility rentals and sponsorships also are available by calling 704-654-4400.

About NASCAR Hall of Fame
Opening May 11, 2010 in uptown Charlotte, N.C., the 150,000-square-foot NASCAR Hall of Fame is an interactive, entertainment attraction honoring the history and heritage of NASCAR. The high-tech venue, designed to educate and entertain race fans and non-fans alike, includes artifacts, interactive exhibits, 275-person state-of-the-art theater, Hall of Honor, Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, NASCAR Hall of Fame Gear Shop and NASCAR Media Group-operated broadcast studio. The five-acre site also includes a privately developed 19-story office tower and 102,000-square-foot expansion to the Charlotte Convention Center, highlighted by a 40,000 square-foot ballroom. The NASCAR Hall of Fame is owned by the City of Charlotte, licensed by NASCAR and operated by the Charlotte Regional Visitors

Need Tickets or Race Info? 1-866-GO-NASCAR is the Source

phone CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 29, 2010) –  NASCAR fans can now dial a single toll-free number to purchase tickets to any national series NASCAR event and the best racing in the world.

With the help of Convergys, a global leader in relationship management, fans can dial the official NASCAR directory at 1-866-GO-NASCAR (1-866-466-2722) for tickets and information to NASCAR national series events, including the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

The toll-free number allows many NASCAR fans who attend multiple races easier access to upcoming event ticket options. Seeking to provide fans with a single point of contact for their ticket and information needs, NASCAR chose Convergys’ speech self-service solution for its ability to deliver a superior customer experience while reducing costs.

“NASCAR and the race tracks have always worked hard to give the fans the best possible experience, and now technology helps us do that even better,” said Paul Brooks, NASCAR senior vice president and president of NASCAR Media Group “Convergys understood what our fans wanted and offered a solution that made the ticket-purchasing process easier for them. Our global media assets will now promote 1-866-GO-NASCAR to fans worldwide. This partnership benefits the fans and that is our first priority.”

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for one of North America's premier sports.  NASCAR is the No. 1 spectator sport – with more of the top 20 highest attended sporting events in the U.S. than any other sport, and is the No. 2 rated regular-season sport on television. NASCAR races are broadcast in more than 150 countries and in 20 languages. NASCAR fans are the most brand loyal in all of sports, and as a result more Fortune 500 companies participate in NASCAR than any other sport.

NASCAR consists of three national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series), four regional series, and one local grassroots series, as well as two international series.  Also part of NASCAR is Grand-Am Road Racing, known for its competition on road courses with multiple classes of cars. NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races at 100 tracks in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico. Based in Daytona Beach (Fla.), NASCAR has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Charlotte (N.C.), Concord (N.C.), Conover (N.C.), Bentonville (Ark.), Mexico City, and Toronto.

About Convergys:
Convergys Corporation (NYSE: CVG) is a global leader in relationship management.  We provide solutions that drive more value from the relationships our clients have with their customers and employees.  Convergys turns these everyday interactions into a source of profit and strategic advantage for our clients.

For more than 30 years, our unique combination of domain expertise, operational excellence, and innovative technologies has delivered process improvement and actionable business insight to clients that now span more than 70 countries and 35 languages.

Convergys, a Fortune Most Admired Company for nine consecutive years, has approximately 70,000 employees in 82 customer contact centers and other facilities in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, and our global headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio.  For more information, visit

5 Things to Do and See in Richmond, Virginia

Home of Richmond International Raceway

A lot of NASCAR fans tend to get caught up in raceday excitement and forget that there are other things to do around the tracks. Sometimes, race fans don't always want to just hang around the track. I have not been to or visited all of these places but many of these have been suggested by fans or natives of the towns and states or even by folks in the NASCAR industry themselves! Others have come from websites or the chambers of commerce. So sit back and take an armchair road trip with me across the circuit...

Virginia Beach, VA – suggested by Carolyn from Virginia Beach

Just about an hour and a half from the track lie the beaches of Virginia. I know, it doesn’t sound as romantic as it could, but a beach is a beach, right? Carolyn says “Get on I-64 and only 96 miles away and about 1 1/2 hours drive, more or less depending on traffic, is the Atlantic Ocean and mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.  You'llfort_story_07 want to keep on driving past Colonial Williamsburg, because it's hot and you're heading for the beach!”

Also near the beach is the lighthouse. “The lighthouse is on Fort Story, a military base, so be prepared to show identification. You can climb to the top and see where the  Atlantic Ocean meets the Chesapeake Bay and beyond.”

Photo credit:

Carolyn’s favorite place to visit is the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center. It's very hands on and interactive.  They offer Dolphin Watching Trips as well.  I've gone with friends on their boats out on the Chesapeake Bay to watch the dolphins and it is a sight.” More information can be found at the aquarium’s website.

The Virginia Civil War Trails – suggested by

If you’re a history buff and interested in the Civil War, there are plenty of historic sites around Virginia which aren’t too far away and they are in great abundance. Even if you aren’t really much into history, it’s important to take a step back and learn about our nation’s past. Of course, it’s only a matter of opinion.

If you have enough time and get into Virginia early enough to take some time exploring these historic sites, I would suggest taking the opportunity to follow one of the Civil War trails. You can create your own itinerary here or follow one of the preplanned itineraries here.

The Edgar Allan Poe Museum- suggested by

You can visit the museum of American thriller author, Edgar Allan Poe, and lies only a few blocks away from Poe’s first Richmond home and his first place of employment.

Walk through the museum and you can see such collections of Poe’s things as furniture, personal items, art, photographs, manuscripts and rare first editions of Poe’s works. The museum also houses many treasured items belonging to either Poe or his wife.

In addition to the museum, they have small reenactments such as the Tell-Tale Heart trial in which participants are able to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused and a mock crime scene where participants get to “investigate” a murder from one of Poe’s murder mysteries. However, these activities may only be for students, so it’s recommended to call the museum before you head out just to assure that you can participate.

To visit the museum, you can find directions on their website. The hours are also posted on the site on the same page as the directions.

Canal Walk- suggested by travelers on

While there doesn’t appear to be an abundance of information on the Canal Walk, what I’ve seen from reviews is very good. A 1.25 mile walk along the banks of the Haxall Canal carries you through a part of historic Richmond.

Also, you can take a historic canal cruise. The rates are actually very reasonable, even if you are on a budget. For families with young children, this is definitely recommended. Be sure to check out their websites here and here for driving and pricing information.

Bizarre: Roadside Attractions in Richmond- suggested by

From giant milk bottles to a Confederate pyramid, if you’re into the bizarre, the offbeat, and the downright weird, has plenty of things to see and do.  Most of the suggestions are made by travelers and visitors on the site so you may VARICmilk_jeffrey see the same thing posted up more than once but it’s always nice to get a second opinion.

There are a total of 29 roadside attractions listed on the website for Richmond and the surrounding area. You can view a map here and make a day of it by creating an itinerary of attractions you’d like to visit. The map comes complete with addresses so you can GPS them or just print up a copy of the map. Either way there are plenty of quirky things to see in Richmond.

Photo credit:

Keselowski deducted 50 points for rule violations at Talladega

NASCAR announced Wednesday that three NASCAR Nationwide Series teams have been fined and docked points due to rule violations during this past weekend’s event at Talladega Superspeedway. The No. 22 piloted by race winner and Nationwide points leader Brad Keselowski, the No. 75 driven by Bobby Gerhart and the No. 05 piloted by Willie Allen were penalized.

Paul Wolfe, crew chief for the No. 22 team, was fined $10,000 for violating Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules) and 20A-12.1A(8) (unapproved left front spring). Wolfe was fined an additional $10,000 for violating Sections 12-1, 12-4-J and 20A-12.3T (unapproved right front shock absorber) of the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series rule book.

Jodi Geschickter, owner of the No. 22 team, was penalized with the loss of 25 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship owner points for violating 12-1, 12-4-J and 20A-12.1A(8), and lost an additional 25 owner points for violating 12-1, 12-4-J and 20A-12.3T.

Keselowski was docked 25 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship driver points for violating 12-1, 12-4-J and 20A-12.1A(8). He also surrendered an additional 25 driver points for violating 12-1, 12-4-J and 20A-12.3T. The rule violations for the No. 22 team were discovered during post-race inspection on April 25.

Keselowski remains the Nationwide points leader in wake of the penalty, but his lead was trimmed from 60 to 10 points over Kevin Harvick.

Bob Schacht, crew chief of the No. 75 team, was fined $5,000 for violation of Sections 12-1, 12-4-J and 20A-12-E (reinforcement extended forward of the coil spring mounting pad). Schacht was fined an additional $2,500 for being in violation of 12-1, 12-4-J and 20A-12 (use of hollow bolts in truck trailing arms and panhard bar). The infractions were discovered during opening-day inspection on April 22.

Gerhart drove the No. 75 to a 25th-place finish in Sunday's race.

Also Newt Moore, crew chief of the No. 05 team, was fined $2,500 after being found in violation of 12-1, 12-4-J and 20A-12.1B(8) (non-magnetic steel rear jacking bolts). These infractions also were found during opening-day inspection.

Allen failed to qualify for the Nationwide event at Talladega.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Richmond Cup race named after paralympics athlete and retired soldier

Crown Royal presents the Heath Calhoun 400

Richmond, VA (April 28, 2010) – When the 43 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers hit the track this weekend at Richmond International Raceway, they will all be racing to honor one man – Heath Calhoun. As the grand-prize winner of the Crown Royal “Your Name Here” contest, Calhoun was awarded naming rights to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday, May 1. The race is officially titled “Crown Royal Presents The Heath Calhoun 400.”

The Clarksville, Tenn, native was unveiled as the grand-prize winner earlier this year during a patriotic ceremony at Daytona International Speedway. This year marked the first that Crown Royal, a subsidiary of Diageo plc (NYSE: DEO), focused the annual promotion solely on military service members to honor their achievements.

Calhoun and four other military members were chosen as the top finalists after nominations were received from their friends, family and fellow soldiers for their ability to demonstrate the core values of the military in performing a selfless act that made them a hero. Heath’s winning nomination detailed his determination and ability to inspire others to live their lives to the fullest, despite their injuries.
“The last few months have been a whirlwind,” said Calhoun. “Since being announced the Crown Royal winner, I have competed in the Paralympics, met President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, and will soon be living out any race fan’s dream by having my own race. This has truly been an unbelievable experience. Thanks to Crown Royal, I will have the experience of a lifetime. I look forward to representing all the men and women who serve our country during the race weekend.”

Calhoun, 30, retired from the US Army when he lost both of his legs in an explosion in Iraq. For his efforts on duty, he received a Purple Heart, as well as the George C. Lang Award for Courage. He works closely with the Wounded Warrior Project in an effort to help as many people as he can. Calhoun recently competed on the US Paralympics Team at the 2010 Paralympics Winter Games, where he scored an 8th-place finish in the Super-G and a 10th-place finish in the Men’s Super Combined alpine skiing events.

Calhoun was also selected by Team USA to serve as flag bearer for Opening Ceremonies. Growing up very close to Bristol Motor Speedway, Calhoun has always loved NASCAR and remembers listening to the races on the radio with his grandfather when he was young.

“We are extremely proud to have such a remarkable athlete and hero in Heath Calhoun representing Crown Royal,” said Rob Mason, senior brand manager, Crown Royal. “In addition to his personal sacrifices for our country, Heath is very deserving of having his name in lights as he embodies the character and core values that we celebrate as a brand. We are confident that NASCAR fans at the track and at home watching the race will be taken aback by Heath’s accomplishments and his drive to make a difference. We look forward to making Heath the king of the race and we hope to toast all the men and women that serve our country, in Victory Lane - responsibly.”

Calhoun will receive the royal treatment throughout the weekend. His name will be incorporated into the race broadcast and has been included on all the race tickets and merchandise. Some of his duties include serving as Grand Marshal, participating in pace-car laps, watching the race from the No. 17 pit box and delivering the trophy – emblazoned with his name – to the race winner in Victory Lane.

Calhoun will be joined by his wife Tiffany and several close friends and family members.
“Richmond International Raceway congratulates Heath and sincerely thanks him and all the members of our nation’s armed forces to whom this race is dedicated,” said Richmond International Raceway President Doug Fritz. “The partnership with Crown Royal and the ‘Your Name Here’ contest has been a huge success, and Heath is another great winner. We look forward to continuing this great tradition by having Heath join us for an exciting weekend at America’s Premier Short Track.”

Prior to the race at Richmond International Raceway, America’s Premier Short Track, Crown Royal driver Matt Kenseth, along with Doug Fritz and Heath Calhoun, will participate in a private luncheon with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.  The event will take place as a special tribute to Heath, his upcoming race, as well as his service to the country and ability to make a difference despite his injury.
“It has been an honor to meet Heath as well as all the other finalists that took part in this program,” said Kenseth. “Crown Royal has given me and the team numerous opportunities to interact with race fans this season and it’s been a blast.  We look forward to this weekend’s race activities and continuing our involvement with Crown Royal throughout the season to ensure adult race fans always drink responsibly.” 
Crown Royal continues to use its NASCAR-related sponsorships to remind adult fans to "Please Drink Responsibly.” This includes activities to support the race at Richmond, as well as its signature “Safe Rides Home” designated driver initiatives and other programming designed to reinforce responsible drinking.

Release courtesy of Roush Fenway Racing

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Royal Purple named title sponsor for Darlington Nationwide race

DARLINGTON, S.C. (April 26, 2010 ) – Royal Purple Synthetic Oil has signed a multiyear deal to be the title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series event held at the historic Darlington Raceway. This year’s race will be known as the Royal Purple 200 Presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts. The green-flag will fly on the event at approximately 7:30 pm on May 7.

“What a great opportunity to be the title sponsor of the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Darlington Raceway. It’s a perfect pairing of Royal Purple's high performance and action packed racing,” said Patrick Burris, Motorsports Coordinator for Royal Purple.

Royal Purple, founded in 1986, has emerged as a leader in manufacturing high performance lubricants to a wide range of consumers. Royal Purple’s state-of-the-art products, including marine, racing, snowmobile, and motorcycle oils, are focused primarily on outperforming other synthetic oils in the market.

“Royal Purple is a great fit at Darlington Raceway,” said Chris Browning, Darlington Raceway president. “They have a very unique brand that will incorporate itself very well in the NASCAR community and we are very excited to welcome them into the Darlington Raceway family.”

Race day will feature NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series practice, qualifying for the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series in the afternoon, followed by the Royal Purple 200 Presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts under the lights. This race showcases some of NASCAR’s future stars as they test their skills on the storied 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval track.

Dubbed “Too Tough to Tame” over 60 years ago, Darlington Raceway has a long history of featuring brilliant racers on a challenging track that easily separates the good from the great drivers.

You can keep up with all of the latest news from Darlington Raceway at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at
Darlington Raceway or the track “Too Tough To Tame” as it is known to many, is where the purest of NASCAR competition meets true southern hospitality.

A NASCAR staple since 1950, Darlington Raceway has seen some of motorsports most talented drivers thunder to Victory Lane. In 2010, NASCAR’s stars return to battle the track “Too Tough To Tame” in the Sprint Cup Series SHOWTIME Southern 500® and Nationwide Series Royal Purple 200 Presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will also make a stop at Darlington for the first time since the 2004 season.

Don’t miss any of the paint-scraping action at Darlington Raceway in 2010. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series will visit the track on Mother’s Day Weekend, May 7-8, for the SHOWTIME Southern 500® and Royal Purple 200 Presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts. The Camping World Truck Series will make its return to Darlington Raceway for first time since 2004 on August 14 for the Too Tough To Tame 200. Tickets for all three events are on-sale now. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or online at

About Royal Purple
Royal Purple produces a broad line of high performance lubricants for automotive, consumer and industrial applications.  For more information about Royal Purple or its products, contact Royal Purple Inc., One Royal Purple Lane, Porter, TX 77365, 281-354-8600,

Release courtesy of Darlington Raceway

Pocono 500 gets new name, new sponsor

Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 Presented by Target BOSTON (April 23, 2010) – Gillette, the world’s leading grooming brand, announced that it will sponsor the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway on June 6. The event will be titled the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 Presented by Target.

The date of the race coincides with the official launch of the Gillette Fusion ProGlide shaving system, a significant advancement in shaving performance and comfort. All activities to promote the race will be designed to support the new razor, which will also be available to consumers in stores on June 6.

“We are very excited about our upcoming partnership with Pocono Raceway and Target,” said Michelle Potorski, associate marketing director, Gillette North America.“The race sponsorship provides the perfect opportunity to further enhance our efforts to inform consumers of the engineering advancements and breakthrough technology achieved with the Gillette Fusion ProGlide.”

Gillette continues to utilize NASCAR as a vehicle to market its brand. Since its inception in 2003, the Gillette Young Guns program has been at the forefront of all its NASCAR-related activations. The Gillette Young Guns drivers, which include Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne and Joey Logano, will also be incorporated into all planned activations, including at-track, creative and digital, to support the launch of the Gillette Fusion ProGlide. 

“It is an honor and a privilege for Pocono Raceway to partner with both Gillette and Target on the launch of this terrific new Gillette Fusion ProGlide,” said Brandon Igdalsky, president, Pocono Raceway. “The staff at Pocono that tried the new Fusion ProGlide has each become ‘Believers’ of this great new razor! And on June 6, everyone in America will be able to use the new Gillette Fusion ProGlide and become a ‘Believer’ themselves!”

As part of the race entitlement, Pocono Raceway is offering a 15% discount on tickets throughout the race weekend when you enter the promotional code, “PROGLIDE”. Visit  to enter the code and receive your discount. 

All the Gillette Young Guns, including Gillette driver Ryan Newman, will be giving away tickets to the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 presented by Target. Each driver has an allotment of tickets to distribute throughout various outlets including social networking sites, fan clubs, charities, etc.

The Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 Presented by Target will air live on TNT at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 6. For ticket information visit or call toll free 1-800-RACEWAY (1-800-722-3929)

Beyond the Byline: Getting to know Rebecca Kivak

You see our names here on Skirts and Scuffs and you may even follow us on Twitter. Sure, you know we are NASCAR fans and writers, but who are we really? What makes us tick? What was that moment we knew this was our NASCAR?

In this new column. Beyond the Byline, the creator of Skirts and Scuffs, Katy Lindamood (hey, that’s me) will go beyond the byline and behind the tweets in an attempt to learn more about some of the amazing women making Skirts and Scuffs a success.

Today we sit down with Skirts and Scuffs Associate Editor, Tweet Crew Member, and Twitter enthusiast Rebecca Kivak. We hope you enjoy this series and grow to love Rebecca as much as we do.

Here goes!

Phoenix photos personal camera 050

Rebecca, tell us a little about your background. Where did you go to school? Do you have a degree? What do you do for a living?

I’m an alumni of Penn State University. I graduated with a double major in English and Economics in 2004. Unfortunately, the further I got in my Economics major, the less I liked it! But I’ve always loved writing and editing, and that lead to me to work at a local newspaper. I was first hired as an obituaries writer, then had the opportunity to write a few stories and learn page design. About two and a half years ago I was promoted to a copy editor/page designer. I read stories for clarity and accuracy, create headlines and design local news pages (I do not work in sports).

You are a copy editor by trade. Do you have any advice for women wanting to get into that field? Are there are a lot of opportunities with the current economic climate with many newspapers and websites closing down?

For young women who seek a career as a copy editor, I would suggest joining your school newspaper and seeking out copyediting internships. Keep a portfolio of stories you have edited and pages you have designed. If you have done reporting, keep those clips too – clips are very important, and the more you have, the better to show a potential employer. If you write stories or do interviews for blogs, keep copies of those too. I’d also suggest learning Adobe Photoshop and page design programs like Adobe InDesign (that will be replacing traditional programs like Quark).

With the current climate, a lot of newspapers are cutting staff and folding, so I’m going to be honest: it is hard to get a job in the industry right now. As more readers seek their news from the Internet, any kind of website skills you can acquire is a plus, as most newspapers have companion sites and post breaking news, as well as multimedia to accompany stories. Some newspapers have also become Internet-only. The future of journalism lies with the Internet, so any kind of web skills you have can only help you.

Rebecca, our readers are dying to know about your recent experience in Phoenix regarding the Tweet Crew Team. Tell us about your trip and some of the amazing things you got to take part in.

Phoenix photos personal camera 095 The trip to Phoenix International Raceway was amazing. Randy Martin, Nancy E. Mills (both of whom I have profiled for Skirts and Scuffs) and I were chosen to be on the first official Tweet Crew, sponsored by Best Western and Michael Waltrip Racing. We followed MWR driver David Reutimann at PIR, had behind-the-scenes access in the pit and garage areas and tweeted about everything we experienced. We got to stand on the 00 hauler during Cup qualifying and hang out inside the hauler that day and on race day. David is a sweetheart and I’m glad we got to hang out with him. He was suffering from allergies that weekend, which I can relate to. We got to meet Michael Waltrip and appear in a press conference with him and David announcing the Tweet Crew before the race. Everyone from MWR who we met was great to us.
Phoenix photos personal camera 090

We also got to attend the drivers’ meeting, which I never thought I’d get to sit in on. Before the meeting I spoke a little bit with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski, and afterward I spoke with Jeff Gordon (I shook his hand) and Mark Martin. During the race I was positioned on top of the 00 pit box, then later I sat with the 56 (Martin Truex Jr.’s) crew and later on I was near turn 4, tweeting updates. Unfortunately the phones we were tweeting on died, so every so often they had to be recharged and we had to tweet on our own phones. I tried to send texts to Twitter from my Razr, but had trouble sending some through (not sure if there was a reception issue). I want to thank all those who stuck with the Tweet Crew during those times.

Phoenix photos personal camera 096 The hardest part was trying to tweet what was going on at the race. Even though I was there, you miss a lot of it because your view of the track is limited to what’s in front of your pit box and what you can see as you try to look out over the rest of the track. I could listen to the MWR teams’ scanners, look at the scoring on the laptops on the pit boxes and listen to PRN on the scanner, but it was difficult to know what was going on with other drivers besides Reutimann or what was happening on the track. I already had a lot of respect for the media who cover the races, but it was amplified after seeing firsthand what they have to do and how hard it is. I also have an even greater appreciation for the pit crews, drivers and other NASCAR officials after seeing what they do firsthand. They’re so good at doing something so difficult.

It's pretty obvious you are a NASCAR fan, but you haven't always been one, right? How did you get into the sport? When was your AHA! Moment? You know, the moment you thought “this is my sport?”

I got into NASCAR in 2006. My dad had been a fan when I was younger, and I used to say I liked whoever drove the McDonald’s car, because, well, I really liked McDonald’s, lol. I knew Jimmy Spencer drove it at one time, and I knew he was from my area (he’s from Berwick, about 30 minutes away from where I live in Wilkes-Barre). But it wasn’t until 2006 that I actually watched a race. While my boyfriend and I were at a friend’s house, he asked to change the channel to the NASCAR race. We’d been going out for over a year, and even though I knew he was a NASCAR fan, he’d never watched a race in front of me before. This was my first opportunity to see a race, and I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. It was the May 2006 Richmond race, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the winner. With the exception of football, I’ve never liked sports very much, so I was shocked that I got into this race. The following Saturday, I was my boyfriend’s house when I took his remote and started hunting for the NASCAR race. I found it on FX – it was the Darlington race. Greg Biffle won. I knew I was hooked when I realized I actually wanted to find the next NASCAR race and watch it. It’s been a weekly tradition ever since!

How did you come to be a blogger for Skirts and Scuffs? Are there any other NASCAR sites you work with or any other projects you have in the works?

It started with Twitter. I joined Twitter to talk about NASCAR and find more NASCAR fans to talk with. While I like Twitter’s concept of tweeting in 140 characters, sometimes I felt that I had more to say about an issue in the sport that went way over the 140-character limit. I was considering starting my own blog to write about NASCAR when a NASCAR fan/writer who I talked to a lot, Katy Lindamood (yup you!) came on Twitter one day and said she had an idea for a NASCAR blog for female writers only. I’ve always been one to try and break stereotypes about women, as well as encourage women to bond together over, well, whatever we wanted. Joining with fellow female NASCAR fans to write about the sport sounded great to me, so I contacted Katy. You know the story from there!

I also am a contributor for a site called NASCAR Tweetups (, which assists NASCAR fans who meet on Twitter to plan meeting up with other fans in person. In addition, I recently became a contributor for Element of Speed ( and am working on posting my first story for the site.

We know you are an active Twitter user. How do you think that Twitter has affected the NASCAR fan base? Is it hurting it or helping it? Are there any negatives in your opinion? Any particular driver you wish had an account? Is there one who you think should NEVER get an account?

pir meetup I think Twitter has been a good thing for the NASCAR fan base because it’s allowed many of us to get to know each other from across the country when otherwise we probably wouldn’t have. The best example I can give of this is when I went to Phoenix. Fellow Skirts and Scuffs writer Genna met me at the airport! And I met at least 10 more fans or reporters who I had known from Twitter, including another Skirts and Scuffs writer, Farrah, at Phoenix. If not for Twitter, I wouldn’t have known a single soul in Phoenix. One of the most amazing results from Twitter is that fans have a chance to interact with NASCAR drivers, reporters, crew members and other insiders directly. Kevin Harvick can ask what networks we think give the best coverage of races, and I can actually answer him and tell him what I think. Twitter has also given NASCAR fans a forum to sound off about the sport, a place to offer praise or give complaints. NASCAR has an official presence on Twitter, so they can hear directly from the fans if a new rule works or not.

There are negatives to Twitter. For instance, many users can engage in a respectful debate about an issue in the sport, but some can be disrespectful and personally attack others for not sharing their views. I like to think of Twitter as a place to air opinions, not to impose them on others. We each have our own views, and I think healthy debate is a good thing. Sometimes it can be overwhelming on Twitter if you like a certain driver in the sport but others constantly rag on that driver. There can be a lot of negativity fans express over certain drivers or when fans don’t agree with a call made by NASCAR. While I’m for everyone giving their opinion, sometimes the negativity can be a lot to take. In that case, it’s better just to log off while others get it out of their system.

As for drivers on Twitter, I would like most, if not all drivers to get an account on there so they can connect with their fans. The driver I most want to see on Twitter is Dale Earnhardt Jr. But he’s also the one who maybe should never have an account. He’s the most popular driver in the sport and has a lot of demands on him the way it is. But I think even if he tweeted just a few times a week, that would be enough. He’s open with the media and with fans, so if Twitter would just be an extension of that, I think it could work for him. But if it’s something that would be annoying for him to keep up with, then he probably won’t do it.

**Follow Rebecca for updates at @becbeat555

Are you looking to turn your NASCAR writing and editing jobs into a full-time career in the future? Maybe something in public relations or working with a major website? Or are you just happy to let it take you where it leads?

I’m certainly open to my NASCAR writing and editing gigs leading to a full-time career in the future. It would be a great way to combine my interest in the sport with a job. While I enjoy my work and like my co-workers at the newspaper, it’s an uncertain time in the industry, as well as the economy, and it’s smart to keep other avenues open. I know a lot of people who have worked either as reporters or editors who have gone on to do public relations, so I can see myself taking a similar path someday. If an opportunity arose doing PR or with a major website, I would definitely consider it. I’m open to whatever the future may hold.

When you aren't being an editing genius or penning your own work what do you like to do? Do you have any hobbies? What do you do to relax? How do your spend your “me” time?

LOL, you’re very kind. I read a lot. Right now I’m into the “Twilight” saga and the “Vampire Diaries” series. I like reading books about vampires. I’m not sure what that says about me, lol. I also like watching movies and seeing them in the theater. I try to spend time with friends, family and my boyfriend when I can. The people in my life are important to me. I work in the evenings, which makes it hard to get together with everyone, so I try to make the most of the afternoons and days I have off.

Do you have a role model? Personally or professionally?

My mom is a strong woman who doesn’t get the credit she deserves, in my opinion. She was a teacher, but stayed home to raise me. Being a homemaker is not an easy job, not by any stretch of the imagination, and I admire her and all homemakers, whether mothers or fathers, who are taking care of kids and a household.

In NASCAR, I admire Amy Walsh, account manager at Hendrick Motorsports for the 48 team. She’s also from Northeastern Pennsylvania and went on to work for several teams in NASCAR. Now she’s working for Hendrick Motorsports, the powerhouse of the teams. It’s inspiring to see someone from my area go so far in NASCAR. I also look up to female NASCAR reporters like Wendy Venturini, Nicole Briscoe and Becca Gladden, to name a few. They are smart women who know the sport inside and out. Frankly I also consider Danica Patrick a role model. I admire how self-assured she is knowing that so many eyes are on her. Yet she goes out there on the racetrack or a talk show, does her thing and then goes out and does it again, despite the cameras and the criticism. She runs with the boys on the track and she is used to it; it’s what she does. She knew running in NASCAR would be out of her comfort zone, but here she is, doing it anyway. All of that requires an amount of fearlessness I wish I had.

Describe yourself in one sentence. What's the one thing you want people to know about you?
I’m grateful for the people in my life, and I’m open to new experiences.

I would like to thank Rebecca for taking the time to answer these questions and for all the hard work she does behind the scenes of Skirts and Scuffs.

I look forward to continuing this series in the coming weeks and hope you will come back for the next Beyond the Byline post. If you have a particular contributor you would like to hear from, just let me know via Twitter or email (

Photos used with permission: Top - Rebecca poses on top of the 00 hauler at Phoenix International Raceway. Photo 2 – the view from on top of the 00 pit box. Photo 3 – David Reutimann awaits the start of the race. Photo 4 – Pit Crew Members prepare for the race. (Courtesy of Rebecca Kivak) Photo 5 – Farrah Kaye, Genna Short, and Rebecca Kivak meet up in Phoenix. (Courtesy of Farrah Kaye)

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Lugnut Report: Johnson Loses Horseshoe, Has Rough Day in 'Dega

After their run in down in Texas, Jimmie Johnson and teammate Jeff Gordon spent the week leading up to Talladega fending off spectulation that a feud was brewing in the Hendrick Motorsports shop.

After Talladega, there seems to be no doubt that there is.

Johnson entered 'Dega 108 points ahead of second place Matt Kenseth and two wins already in the books for the 2010 season. Rain cancelled qualifying, putting Johnson on the pole for the Aaron's 499.
Luck, it seemed, was on Double J's side. Karma, it would prove, was certainly not.
Johnson led just nine laps on the day, but in doing so collected those all important five bonus points. He spent most of the day running in the midst of the front pack, but made little noise otherwise.
It didn't stay that way long, though.
Five laps from the finish, Gordon and Johnson made contact after the No. 48 went to jump in line ahead of his teammate. The No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet would eventually fall back into the field, get caught up in a wreck, and ended his day 22nd.
And, if any consolation to Gordon, Johnson got his, too.

On lap 196, in one of the "Overdrive" green-white-checkers, Johnson and Biffle got together sending the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet into the inside wall. He would finish 31st.

"The 48 is testing my patience, I can tell you that. It takes a lot to make me mad-- and I am pissed right now," Gordon said after the race. Johnson would later take the blame for the incident.
Gordon last went to Victory Lane last season in the spring Texas race. Johnson has won ten races since then. And after this latest incident, will the tension continue to rise between the top two HMS drivers?

While he keeps the points lead, Harvick's win now has him within 26 points of the defending champion, and his points lead may be in even more trouble. With a field seemingly deteremined to take four time down and a pissed off teammate, Johnson and company enter Richmond International Raceway, where tempers are sure to be short.

Thanks to NASCAR on FOX, SPEED, Racing Reference, LA Times and the Associated Press for the information, quotes and statistics used in this piece.

Roush Rewind: Aaron's 499

While severe weather made NASCAR call off all track activities on Saturday, it was a different story on Sunday. The action heated up under clear skies for the running of the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. The Roush Fenway Racing drivers knew avoiding the “Big One” would be a key factor in getting a good finish for the race. The Roush drivers all had strong performances in Sunday’s race, but two of them ended up with finishes that did not reflect how good they had been throughout the race.

Since qualifying was cancelled on Saturday, Matt Kenseth started 2nd in the No. 17 Valvoline Ford. Kenseth took the lead on lap 4, but in true Talladega-style racing, whoever was leading, normally didn’t stay up front for too long as positions shuffled due to drivers finding different draft partners. A competition caution came out on lap 20 so teams could check for tire wear since the cars hadn’t been on the track since Friday’s practice sessions. Under that caution, Kenseth told crew chief Todd Parrott that the No. 17 Ford was tight and that it might not have the speed needed for him to push any drafting partners he would hook up with. Kenseth pitted for four tires, fuel, and a wedge adjustment in what should have been a routine stop for Kenseth’s crew, but it was discovered that the vent tube would need repairs. Kenseth had to pit again, resulting in him restarting 43rd. The No. 17 Ford was still tight through the following green flag run. Kenseth pitted on lap 66 for two tires and fuel. The caution came out again on lap 77, and Kenseth and his crew opted to stay out. Kenseth had battled his way back to 25th by lap 81, only to be caught up in a multi-car incident two laps later in the tri-oval. Kenseth’s racecar took quite a beating and sustained heavy damage to the nose and right side. He drove the battered car to pit road so his crew could survey the damage and begin repairs. After the crew repaired the damage to the nose of the car as well as the toe settings, Kenseth headed back out onto the track. Kenseth went four laps down, and despite two more cautions late in the race for multi-car crashes, Kenseth ended up finishing 28th. The finish caused Kenseth to drop from 2nd to 4th in the standings.

Greg Biffle started 3rd on Sunday in the No. 16 811/3M Ford. At the drop of the green flag, Biffle began to drift back and by lap 4, he was 29th. He was running 20th when the competition caution came out. Biffle pitted one lap after pit road was open in an attempt to avoid congestion, but due to complications getting the right front tire off, he would restart 37th. Biffle remained toward the back of the field throughout the following green flag run. He was 31st when he made a green-flag stop on lap 65 for tires and fuel, but once again, the right front tire caused problems for Biffle’s crew. He returned to the track in 32nd place, but had lost the draft. The caution came out about 10 laps later, which was fortunate for Biffle who had been in danger of going a lap down. Biffle pitted for fuel only under the caution and restarted 19th. Lap 83 found Biffle back inside the top-five when the caution came out again. Crew Chief Greg Erwin opted for a four-tire stop since they would pit under the caution. On the restart, Biffle was 14th, but quickly made his way up to 4th. When the caution came out again around lap 100 for the engine blowing on Regan Smith’s car, Biffle pitted for fuel only again and restarted in the lead. The next green flag run found Biffle running solidly inside the top-ten. Biffle came down pit road on lap 146 for what the team thought would be their final stop of the race for right-side tires and fuel. Biffle was 3rd when the caution came out again, with only a handful of laps remaining. Erwin ordered Biffle to save as much fuel as possible for the green-white-checkered attempt. The green flag waved on lap 188, but the caution came out again for a multi-car crash before the leader took the white flag. A second attempt at the green-white-checkered finish was made and Biffle restarted 2nd behind Jamie McMurray, but lost the draft and quickly fell back. Jimmie Johnson tried to pass Biffle, but cut across the nose of Biffle’s car, resulting in both drivers spinning toward the inside wall. Johnson’s car sustained significant damage, while Biffle drove his car to pit road for repairs. He was 23rd for the third attempted green-white-checkered finish, and was able to pick up 6 positions to finish 17th. Biffle remains 3rd in the standings.

Carl Edwards started 15th in the No. 99 Aflac Ford. The green flag waved, and Edwards decided to “play it safe” by dropping back through the field. For much of the race, Edwards was content with riding it out in the back of the field. There weren’t many cautions for the first part of the race, but Edwards knew there would be a “Big One”, and he felt running toward the back of the field would help him avoid it. Edwards’s crew had great pit stops and was able to help Edwards gain positions almost every stop. By the halfway point, Edwards had moved up to 15th, but by lap 120, he was once again toward the back of the field, running 30th. Edwards made his final pit stop under green on lap 146. It was a two-tire stop for Edwards, and crew chief Bob Osborne knew they would need to get all the fuel they could into the No. 99 Ford, so he told Edwards to go on his command and not when the jack dropped. Had they not taken the extra time for fuel, the outcome of the race could have been very different. Edwards opted to stay out and gain track position under the caution that came out on lap 177. With 9 laps to go, Edwards restarted 7th, but fell to 13th. The caution came out again on with a few laps remaining, setting the field up for the first of the green-white-checkered attempts. When the caution came out again, Osborne reminded Edwards to conserve all the fuel he could. Edwards restarted 9th for the second attempted green-white-checkered finish, and when the caution came out again, fuel mileage became an even bigger concern. Edwards was 8th when the green flag waved for the last time, but was 11th when the checkered flag waved. The finish allowed Edwards to move up two spots in the points to 13th.

David Ragan began the race in the 26th position, but when the green flag waved, it became apparent his car was one fast machine. Ragan made his way inside the top-five during the first few laps, but had fallen to 16th when the competition caution came out. The car’s handling was nearly perfect so Ragan pitted for right-side tires and fuel. He restarted 9th, but was shuffled back to 24th soon afterward. However, it didn’t take long for Ragan to rebound and take the lead on lap 35. He lead one lap then fell back, but remained inside the top-five. Lap 50 found Ragan once again in the lead. Ragan pitted under green for tires and fuel when needed. On lap 143, Ragan took the lead and broke a NASCAR record. Until Sunday, the most ever lead changes during a race was 75, but Ragan taking the lead was the 76th lead change of the race. Ragan made a green-flag stop shortly afterward for two tires and fuel. Green flag stops cycled through, and Ragan was once again the leader. When the caution came out around lap 183 for the multi-car incident in the tri-oval, crew chief Donnie Wingo instructed Ragan to save fuel. The field then geared up for what some knew would be one wild finish. The second green-white-checkered attempt found Ragan sitting in 11th, wondering if there was enough fuel in the No. 6 to finish. He remained 11th when teammate Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson got together. On the last restart of the race, Ragan hooked up with Mark Martin and was 6th to take the checkered flag. It was Ragan’s best finish of the season, and he gained 4 positions in the standings to jump from 26th to 22nd.

Last time out at Talladega, it was former Roush Fenway Racing driver Jamie McMurray who brought home the win. On Sunday, McMurray proved that, even if he is now with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, he is still a great restrictor plate racer. McMurray looked like he would win the Aaron’s 499, but a last second pass saw Kevin Harvick edging out McMurray by .011 of a second. Congratulations to Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 crew on winning one of the best Talladega races in a long time!

Next up: Crown Royal presents the Heath Calhoun 400 at Richmond International Raceway

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Congratulations to Lindi and Her Family

We know this isn't what you are used to seeing here on Skirts and Scuffs, but we wanted to take a moment to say congratulations to one of our most popular contributors, Lindi Bess.

Tonight Lindi's daughter gave birth to a beautiful little girl named Lily. Lily is Lindi's first grandchild and we wanted to be among the first to say congratulations to Lindi, her daughter, and their entire family. You can see a picture of Lily here.

Lindi, we love you and want to make sure that Lily knows she has an awesome woman for a grandmother! Take good care of her and make sure she knows how blessed she is.

Congratulations and Love,

The Entire Team at Skirts and Scuffs

I Love My NASCAR Driver (Series)

Here is another fantastic and truly admirable story of a fan and a new insight into a driver! Hope everyone enjoys and truly wonderful inspirational story.

Abrasive. Argumentative. Arrogant.

Ask a NASCAR fan to describe Nextel Cup driver Kyle Busch and those are some of the adjectives you might hear.

When Kyle entered the Cup series full time, many fans painted him with the same broad brush as older brother Kurt, who perhaps had done more to earn those epithets in the early years of his career than Kyle did.

And it didn’t help that Kyle was driving for Hendrick Motorsports, making him a teammate of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson – two drivers that many fans already loved to hate.

But there are many positive attributes that should come to mind when you hear the name Kyle Busch – among them: Accomplished.

In fact, looking at Busch’s resume, it’s hard to believe that the racing phenom is still just 22 years old.

A regular in the NASCAR Nextel Cup series since 2005, Busch already has a remarkable list of achievements: He was Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Busch series in 2004 and in the Nextel Cup series in 2005. Busch became the youngest driver to win a Truck Series race at the age of 20 years, 19 days, and is the youngest-ever winner in the Cup Series at 20 years, 125 days.

In addition, Kyle is the youngest driver to make the NASCAR Chase for the Championship and the youngest pole sitter in Cup history. He has four wins in the Nextel Cup series, ten in the Busch series, and six in the Craftsman Truck series.

But aside from his abilities on the race track, another word that describes Kyle Busch may be the one that race fans would least suspect: Altruistic.

A case in point — 14-year-old Margaret Ann Jennette is a big NASCAR fan. She’s even a bigger Kyle Busch fan, choosing him as “her” driver back in 2004, his rookie season, when she was just 11.

In fact, young Margaret is such a devoted fan that she named her dogs Kylie and Rowdy in honor of Kyle and his racing nickname, “Rowdy” Busch.

The Jennette family attends several NASCAR races each year, including the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, where they celebrate Margaret’s birthday. They also take in Darlington and Martinsville, and this year added Bristol to the itinerary.

Shortly before the Bristol race in August, Margaret’s mother observed that her normally active daughter was unusually tired.

“We really noticed it at the race when we spent the week in Bristol,” Kathy Jennette told me. “She always loves to do everything at the track, but that week she did not care if she went over to the track. She only went to the races and nothing else. All she wanted to do was stay in the camper and stay in bed.”

It was certainly uncharacteristic of Margaret who, as a seventh-grader, sent Valentine’s Day cards to all the Hendrick drivers, and who dreams of attending college to study Motorsports Management.

When the family got home from Bristol, they took the soon-to-be high school freshman to the doctor and, after a series of tests, learned that Margaret had juvenile diabetes. There, she was told that she will be insulin-dependent for the rest of her life.

The stunning diagnosis meant an immediate and drastic change of lifestyle for the previously healthy teenager.

Margaret was hospitalized in South Carolina where, mom Kathy says, “she learned to check her own blood sugars, give herself her insulin, and learned to calculate the carbs. She has to check her blood sugars before every meal, at bedtime and any other time during the day that she feels that they are high or low. She takes insulin after every meal and after every snack that has 15 carbs or more, plus she has another insulin that she takes every night at bedtime.”

All the testing, the needles, the careful meal planning, and general fear of the unknown took its toll on the active girl who had played on her middle school basketball team. “She was relieved to finally find out why she was feeling so bad, but she did not like the fact that she was going to have to stick herself as much as she does,” said Kathy. “After her release from the hospital she was scared. She spent many nights crying and asking me, ‘Why did this have to happen to me?’ “

While other girls her age were making carefree plans to go to the mall or sleep over at a friend’s house, Margaret learned that she would have to carry her insulin and diabetic supplies with her wherever she goes. “She did not want to go anywhere or even out to eat after she came home (from the hospital),” Kathy said. “She had to adjust to taking her blood sugar in public. She was afraid that she could not accurately count her carbs and get her units of insulin correct. She was afraid to go back to school because she was worried that something would happen and no one would know what to do.”

In the hopes of boosting her daughter’s sagging spirits, Kathy contacted Becky Hopkins in Kyle Busch’s office and asked if Kyle could send Margaret a card or a note – just a little something to take her mind off her health problems for a few moments.

The following day, Kathy received a call from a local florist wanting to schedule a delivery. She was on her way to work and asked that the flowers be delivered to her husband’s workplace. “At this point in time, we had no idea who they were for, or who they were from,” recalls Kathy.

The flowers that arrived were spectacular – a huge, colorful bouquet with a teddy bear on the front of the vase. But the most important part was the enclosed card, which was addressed to Margaret:

“Keep smiling, keep your chin up. I will be cheering you on the same way you cheer me on. Love, Kyle Busch.”

Recalls Kathy, “I started crying. I hung up from him and called my girlfriend and told her – then she started crying.”

That afternoon, Kathy picked Margaret up at school and drove her to her dad’s workplace, where Margaret saw the most beautiful bouquet she’d ever seen and learned they were from her favorite NASCAR driver.

“You wouldn’t think that a driver with his busy schedule would do something like that,” Margaret glowed. “Most people think that Kyle Busch wouldn’t do something like that. When I saw that the flowers were from him, I felt like I was on top of the world. Just knowing that he sent me the flowers and that he cared is what helps me keep on top of my diabetes.”

Despite the passage of a few months’ time, Kyle clearly remembered Margaret when I asked him about her this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.

“She’s a great little character,” he smiled. “She’s a very sweet little girl. She’s got a good head on her shoulders and we sent her flowers and hopefully raised her spirits a little bit.”

But the story doesn’t end there. Becky and Kyle had another surprise in store for Margaret – a personal meeting between the driver and his biggest fan prior to the October Martinsville race.

The Jennettes were told to be at the entrance to the driver’s motor home lot at 10:50 a.m. on race day in Martinsville. Kathy’s plan was to wait until the last minute to let Margaret know why they were there, telling her only that they were going to meet Becky. But waiting at the gate, Kathy recalls, “I could not stand it any more. I had to tell her at that point that she was going to meet Kyle one-on-one. She had the biggest smile on her face! She lit up like a Christmas tree with 10,000 lights on it.”

Kyle’s driver picked up the family at the gate and took them to Kyle’s motorhome, where Margaret met the driver she adores. “I tell you, when Kyle stepped out of that motorcoach, I think she went into shock,” said Kathy. “They talked for awhile, then he signed her coat and a diecast that we had bought her that weekend – it was the raced version of his win at Bristol, the first COT win.”

After taking time to chat and pose for photos, Kyle was off to the drivers’ meeting.

Kyle recalls the meeting fondly, too. “Becky had been keeping in touch with her a little bit and I had been, too,” he said. “We wrote her back and I finally met her at Martinsville. She’s trying to do what she can with the illness she’s got and we’re just trying to make her feel a little bit better.”

To hear Margaret tell it, “a little bit better” is a huge understatement. “After I met Kyle, I was really happy,” she chirped. “We met him on a Sunday when he had lots of things to do. I was shy and I couldn’t believe that I was meeting Kyle.”

I asked Kyle about his affinity for helping kids like Margaret, as well as those he assists through the Kyle Busch Foundation which benefits children in residential homes throughout the country. “A couple of years ago I went to the St. John’s Home in Michigan and met the kids there. They were great. They asked more legitimate questions than some adults do, so I was impressed. It was cool to spend some time with them and I decided that this would be a good namesake for the Kyle Busch Foundation. Then we picked up a home in Charlotte and we just picked up a home in Las Vegas, too.”

“It’s not that it necessarily makes me feel better. It’s about making other people feel better and giving back to the community, and helping kids who’ve had a tougher life than you.”

Which leads to another descriptor that you may not have associated with Kyle Busch: Admirable.

But perhaps you will now.

Becca Gladden

This is a story that happen about three years ago! Kyle Busch is my hero and his is a main reason why I try my best to stay on top of my diabetes!

I Love My NASCAR Driver (Series)

This series is going fantastic and hearing the amazing fan dedication has gotten me thinking about the dedication to my driver. Mr. Ralph Dale Earnhardt Jr. I know its a big suprise seeing how he is the Most Popular Driver. I mean don't get me wrong every driver out there is great and there isn't a driver I dislike, however Dale Jr has my heart.

I was 11 years old when I found out about Earnhardt Jr. Unlike many fans I wasn't a fan of the Intimidator. I knew he was amazing I just wasn't necessarily a fan. To be honest I really wasn't a hardcore fan of racing. Before then I cheered for Darrell Waltrip simply because my parents did. I can't remember when exactly I noticed Junior but it was love at first sight. Driving that red No.8 Bud car with that blond hair. I knew we were going to marry soon.

Then I watched him drive and Dale Earnhardt Jr is one of the people I can thank for becoming obsessed with NASCAR. There was just something about him that stuck with me for eight years and counting. It may sound cliched but he is my honest to god inspiration. To watch him lose his father and his fathers team and redeem himself so well. Then to watch him hit some rough patches but never give up. He had his ups and downs and continues just to keep on pushing foward. I've gotten in heated arguments defending him through his down moments because he never once gave up.

I'm pushing for the day I get to meet my real life famous super hero. I've entered in tons of contests and am so afraid that the moment I meet him I'll cry.

Mr. Ralph Dale Earnhardt Jr, you're my driver, my hero, my inspiration and my man.

Oh and if he would've just trimmed the beard. I was digging it. But he could shave his head or dye it black and well he would still be my favorite driver.

A special shout out to Joey "Sliced Bread" Logano who I have became a new fan of!"

Pictures: One pictures is from a contest I entered of me with some of my Junior collection. I have boxes and boxes of it in my attic, this is just the real special stuff. The other picture is of me next to Juniors pit box in Richmond during the Pit tour. That was so exciting. The next picture is of me at Jr Motorsports in North Carolina. That was the most amazing trip of my entire life!

Have a special you want to share about your favorite driver. Send me an email at, and I will give you more information.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Aaron's 312 Starting Lineup: Nationwide Series

The NASCAR Nationwide Series race was rained out on Saturday but the drivers will be in action Sunday afternoon following the Aaron's 499 Sprint Cup Series race.

With a time of 51.106 seconds (187.375 mph) Kevin Harvick will be on the pole.

Here's the full starting lineup for the Nationwide Race
  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Carl Edwards
  3. Ricky Steinhouse Jr.
  4. Steve Arpin
  5. Shelby Howard
  6. Reed Sorenson
  7. Jason Leffler
  8. Paul Menard
  9. Parker Kligerman
  10. Brian Keselowski
  11. Kyle Busch
  12. James Buescher
  13. Colin Braun
  14. Clint Bowyer
  15. Joey Logano
  16. Bobby Gerhart
  17. Brian Scott
  18. Chrissy Wallace
  19. Justin Allgaier
  20. Scott Lagasee Jr.
  21. Dennis Setzer
  22. Patrick Sheltra
  23. Brad Keselowski
  24. Donnie Neuenberger
  25. Brian Vickers
  26. Jamie McMurray
  27. Mike Wallace
  28. Morgan Shepherd
  29. Michael Annett
  30. Jason Keller
  31. John Borneman III
  32. Michael McDowell
  33. Steve Wallace
  34. Scott Wimmer
  35. Joe Nemechek
  36. Brendan Gaughan
  37. Tony Raines
  38. Kenny Wallace
  39. Trevor Bayne
  40. Eric McClure
  41. Robert Richardson Jr.
  42. Jeff Green
  43. Mark Green

Daytona to be repaved after Coke Zero 400

For only the second time in its history, Daytona International Speedway will be repaved following the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola in July, track President Robin Braig announced Saturday.

“This is a historic moment for NASCAR’s most storied race track - Daytona International Speedway,” Braig said. “Daytona was originally repaved in 1978 and the time has come again to put new asphalt on this legendary race track.”

In the past few years, various NASCAR drivers have called for Daytona to be repaved, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. being one of the most outspoken. But the issue gained legs when a pothole developed in Turn 2 during the 52nd annual Daytona 500 in February.

NASCAR's premier racing event was stopped twice as crews tried to repair the area. The hole was patched and came undone and had to be patched again due to the unusually cold and rainy weather that settled over Daytona Beach for this year's Speedweeks. The two red flags disrupted the race for nearly two and half hours combined.

Since the Daytona 500, International Speedway Corporation’s team of engineers and asphalt specialists have conducted a thorough evaluation of the entire track, and upon completion of that analysis, the results were delivered to the ISC Board of Directors where the decision was made to repave the race track following the 2010 Coke Zero 400.

Daytona International Speedway’s entire 2.5-mile tri-oval will be repaved as well as the skid pads, apron and pit road. Concrete will be used for the pit stalls. All of the existing asphalt will be removed down to the original 52-year-old lime rock base, which will be leveled and then paving will begin.

The repaving of Daytona International Speedway will remain true to Bill France Sr.’s original vision, layout and geometry of the track that was constructed in the late 1950s.

The repaving project will begin immediately after the Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola on Sunday, July 4, with a target completion date of Jan. 1, 2011.

Lane Construction, which repaved other ISC race tracks including Talladega Superspeedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Richmond International Raceway and Darlington Raceway, has been contracted to repave Daytona International Speedway.

Due to the repaving project, the October motorcycles races, Richard Petty Driving Experience dates, testing sessions and other track rental events will be cancelled for the rest of the year.

Daytona KartWeek presented by Cometic Gasket World Karting Association races on Dec. 28-30 will continue as scheduled with the sprint and dirt track events only as those two series do not utilize the 2.5-mile tri-oval.

If race fans want to claim a piece of history, they can renew their 2011 Daytona 500 tickets and each account holder will receive a portion of Daytona’s track surface representing over 50 years of memories. The Daytona 500 ticket renewal process begins today.

Race fans will be able to view all the progressions of the historic repaving project from a section of the Oldfield Grandstands, which will open free to the public. Track tours will also be available through attraction admission to Daytona 500 Experience.

Speedweeks 2011 will kick off with the 49th annual Rolex 24 At Daytona GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race on Jan. 29-30 and conclude with the 53rd annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 20, the prestigious season-opening event to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

For tickets and more information on Daytona International Speedway events, visit or call 1-800-PITSHOP.

Press release courtesy of Daytona International Speedway

Severe weather postpones Nationwide race, cancels Cup qualifying

For the second week in a row, Mother Nature has halted Saturday's on-track events. Due to the threat of severe weather in the area, all activities scheduled for the day at Talladega Superspeedway have been canceled.

The Aaron's 312 Nationwide race that was originally set for Saturday has been postponed to Sunday. The race will start within an hour after the finish of the Aaron's 499 Sprint Cup race, at around 5:30 p.m. ET, and will be broadcast on ESPN2. The Aaron's 499 will start as scheduled at 1 p.m. ET on FOX.

Any ticket for the Aaron’s 312 or Aaron’s 499 will be honored at the gate Sunday.

Because Saturday's Sprint Cup qualifying session was canceled, the field for the Aaron's 499 will be set by the NASCAR rulebook using owner points.Check out the starting lineup for Sunday's race.

The Talladega area experienced a severe thunderstorm early Saturday morning. More severe storms are in the forecast for the remainder of the day, according to the National Weather Service. A tornado watch is in effect until 2 p.m. Central Time for Talladega County and 28 other counties in central Alabama.