Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Timmy Hill: Mission Accomplished

Skirts and Scuffs had the pleasure of speaking to Timmy Hill months ago; during the July Daytona race Rosalie Thompson spoke to him about his rookie season and his goal of earning the Rookie of the Year title in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Well congratulations Timmy, mission accomplished! After a season long battle with Blake Koch, the Rookie of the Year contest was won by just one point. Both Hill and Koch fought hard for this honor and are deserving of the title, but this year the title goes to the 18-year old who spent the season behind the wheel of the No. 15.

Was it as hard of a battle as it seemed? “Yeah definitely, the mid-season we had a lead for the ROTY battle but Blake made a pretty good charge where we were tied up going into the last race,” recounted Hill. "Whoever finished ahead would be ROTY. At the beginning of the race, Blake was just a tick better than us; we got some adjustments made and then were able to get a lap ahead of him. That relieved a lot of pressure. We were able to beat him but the battle between me and Blake the entire season was super tight. For us to pull it off with a one point difference – that is HUGE!”

As we saw this season, one point truly makes a difference and can make or break your season. Knowing just one point won him the ROTY title, Hill has thought back to where he could have gained or lost points. “There are a number of things we could have changed, that we could have earned more points at. It makes you wonder in your mind.”

Having a week to digest it all, the reality set in. Hill now joins a list of past ROTY such as Kenny Wallace, Steve Park, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and many drivers who have gone onto be Cup Series stars such as Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards. “It feels really great for me to be Rookie of the Year along with those other guys. What they have accomplished after winning ROTY gives me high hopes for my future, I hope I can achieve that and I think we can,” said Hill. “We have good things going on here at Rick Ware Racing for 2012 and I think we will have a great season next year.”

With that time to reflect, Hill said “I stepped back and looked at everything, and was! After it all sank in, it was pretty cool to look back at the things you did. It’s just great to take the time and think about that after all the ups and downs of the season.

“It was tough at the beginning of the season, juggling high school and racing at the same time,” said Hill. “I had to maintain my homework, do my tests and come back and still race so it was tough. Since I graduated in June, I was able to finish out the year really strong.” Hill lived a bit of a “Superhero” existence, high school student by day and NASCAR driver on weekends. Friends and classmates would say, ‘Hey I seen you on TV’ as they went to school on Monday. Many pointing out that Hill did not win, but as Hill said, “they don’t know how tough it is.” Although the cool part of it all, coming back to school after a race and being the “hero” cause of your TV time. Hill remains thankful that his friends have continue to treat him normally, “if they didn’t it would add stress and pressure.”

380895_325031434179549_100000180845886_1524394_150923508_nThroughout the season, Hill worked hard to get to this point. “Working on lots of things but specifically restarts, I got really good at restarts towards the end of the season,” said Hill. “Another thing, before the season started, I had only run short races, so these 300 mile Nationwide races were new to me. I had to learn to pace myself and not do anything stupid because we need to be there at the end and in the right position. There are numbers and numbers of things I have learned to prepare me for the 2012 season.”

For Hill, he says he feels his area he needs to improve upon is “I need to be quicker in practice to tell the crew what changes to make. I have learned the tracks now, so in 2012 I will be able to go out and tell the crew what I need and where I am running wrong. Be confident in the car and be confident that I know where I need to be.”

After speaking to Timmy, it was hard to keep in mind that he is only 18-years old, until I asked him who his mentor has been this season. His answer was truly heartwarming and should make his family very proud. “I have numerous people that have helped me throughout the season but the number 1 guy I would lean on was my dad. He was in the Truck Series back in 2003 (father Jerry Hill also raced for Rick Ware for a time and completed 58 races in the Truck Series) and he has pretty good information and knowledge of the racing and the different types of tracks. He has been in all the situations before, he tells me the characteristics or the tracks. He has just told me everything he learned and I have him to tell me all this since he is retired.”

Jerry Hill makes it to just about every race with his son, missing only a select few this past season. “It’s a confidence builder,” said Timmy as he talked about having his father by his side each weekend. “It shows how much he cares; he is there for me no matter what. Every time I need advice I can just walk over to the coach and he is there.”

While the 2011 season just concluded, Hill already has his goals in sight for 2012. “Our main goal is to finish top-10 in driver’s points and top-10 in owner’s points also. That is the main goal we are shooting for. We are looking for some top-10 finishes, looking like we are going to be building some better cars for next year also. We have more funding for our program for next season also, our sponsors are picking up the program. It’s looking like a really good season for us next year.”

On a more personal note, I interviewed Timmy on Monday and Tuesday we learned of the passing of Dave Mitchell from Rick Ware Racing. I wanted to include a note here, I worked with Dave for this interview, and he was so kind; even e-mailing me on Thanksgiving to set this up for me. Clearly he loved his job and his team.

Timmy shared this on his Facebook page and I thought it was the perfect way to end this interview:

Today I lost my Best Friend Dave Mitchell. Dave was the hardest working man you could ever meet! Dave is a loving husband and father. I'm glad we were able to spend such a great time together and to achieve our accomplishments together this year! My prayers go out to Danielle, Morgan, and Chase. Dave you will always be in my heart! R.I.P Dave! Godspeed

Sprint Cup Champion's Week in Las Vegas schedule

2011 Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart poses with his trophy
in front of MGM
in Las Vegas. Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR
It's three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart's first Champion's Week in Las Vegas. Lots of events are planned, leading up to the annual 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony on Friday.

Fans can participate in many of the events, and for those who can't make it in person, links are provided so fans can watch the events streamed live online.

Wednesday, Nov. 30
  • Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Champion’s Week Kickoff Event: Held on Fremont Street, this free event starts at 2:15 p.m. (5:15 p.m. ET) and will feature a Newlywed Game-type competition among the top-12 drivers. Drivers will be paired in groups of two, and will answer questions about each other mirroring the famous Newlywed Game style. Fans can watch the event on NASCAR.COM via this link: (Note: NASCAR's offical Twitter account says to tune in at 4:30 p.m. ET).
Thursday, Dec. 1
  • NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon: Beginning at 11 a.m. (2 p.m. ET)  in the Bellagio Ballroom at the Bellagio, this annual industry/media gathering includes the presentation of awards to the Champion Crew Chief (Darian Grubb), Champion Sponsor (Office Depot and Mobil 1), Sunoco Rookie of the Year (Andy Lally) and Most Popular Driver (to be announced). Co-hosted by NASCAR and the National Motor Sports Press Association, fans can attend this exclusive event for the second-consecutive year. Fans can watch the event on NASCAR.COM via this link:
  • NASCAR Victory Lap: Set for 3 p.m. (6 p.m. ET), the fan-favorite NASCAR Victory Lap will feature the top 12 drivers parading – with engines growling – down the famed Las Vegas strip in their teams’ respective race cars. NASCAR Victory Lap will feature an authentic pit stop along the route and two burn-out sections for drivers. NASCAR Victory Lap will start in front of Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino on Las Vegas Boulevard and end at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Fans can watch the event on NASCAR.COM via this link:
  • Coca-Cola Fan Zone: Fans can get a front-row seat for the conclusion of NASCAR Victory Lap at the Coca-Cola Fan Zone, a free event located at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. Beginning at noon, the Coca-Cola Fan Zone offers interactive displays from The Sprint Experience, Game Show Network, Ford, Coca-Cola, and is a prelude to NASCAR After the Lap.
  • NASCAR After the Lap: Starting at 4:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m. ET), NASCAR After The Lap is one of the highlights of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week. Tickets for the third-annual event will be available for purchase at for $20 each, with proceeds benefitting The NASCAR Foundation, a non-profit organization which raises funds that support children’s charities and important causes throughout the nation. Sponsored by Ford Motor Company and Coca-Cola, the event is renowned for its unfiltered, "tell-all" format featuring the 2011 top-12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers. Fans can watch the event on NASCAR.COM via this link:
Friday, Dec. 2
  • 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony: The big show starts at 6 p.m. (9 p.m. ET), crowning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion driver and owner and honoring the other drivers who finished in the top 10 in the final series standings. The star-studded entertainment lineup for the ceremony includes country music icon Reba as host, a performance by Grammy-award winning rocker Kid Rock, as well as performances by two recent additions: up-and-coming country artist Ella Mae Bowen and Broadway sensation Jersey Boys. Sixteen-year-old Ella Mae Bowen is an emerging country singer-songwriter who is featured on the new "Footloose" soundtrack with her enthralling remake of "Holding Out For a Hero". "Jersey Boys" is the smash-hit musical winner of the 2006 Tony Award on Broadway and Best Musical accolades in both London and Australia. This critically-acclaimed musical tells the tale of four blue-collar boys working their way from the streets of Newark to the top of the charts taking audiences behind the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Jersey Boys, voted #1 show in Las Vegas by the Las Vegas Review Journal, is currently performing at The Palazzo and is coming to Paris Las Vegas in March 2012.

    SPEED, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio and MRN Radio provide same-day coverage, starting at 9 p.m. ET.

    SPEED's broadcast of the Sprint Cup banquet will be preceded by the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series combined banquet, taped last week, at 7 p.m. ET.

TMS Offering More Than $400,000 In Prizes During "No Limits Christmas" Promotion

  • Purchase A Seat For April 14 Samsung Mobile 500 And Receive A Scratch-Off Ticket That Reveals One Of 12 Guaranteed Prizes
  • Grand Prize Is Trip For Two To 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony
  • Promotion Begins Friday And Runs Through Dec. 23
FORT WORTH, Texas (Nov. 30, 2011) - Texas Motor Speedway will be offering more than $400,000 in prizes, including a trip to next year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony, beginning Friday in a "No Limits Christmas" scratch-off promotion for fans purchasing tickets for April's Samsung Mobile 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

Christmas Scratch-OffBeginning 9 a.m. Friday through Dec. 23, fans will receive a "No Limits Christmas" scratch-off ticket for every ticket purchased for the Samsung Mobile 500 on April 14 and are guaranteed to win one of 12 prizes, including a grand prize for two to the 2012 NASCAR Awards Ceremony currently held at the Wynn Las Vegas that is available only to a limited number of race fans.

"The 2011 championship battle was historic and we can't let the excitement of the 2011 NASCAR season fade away," Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. "We want to keep our fans pumped up for what we have in store for 2012. Not only does our 'No Limits' holiday promotion do that, it makes this the ideal time to buy the NASCAR fan on your shopping list the ultimate gift with a chance at a whole lot more."

In addition to the trip to the awards ceremony, 12 lucky fans have the chance of enjoying a race experience upgrade for two for the Samsung Mobile 500, the first Saturday night race of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The package includes a pair of tickets in the Victory Lane Club, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver's meeting passes, mosh pit passes for the Samsung Mobile 500 pre-race show featuring Foreigner, VIP pit passes and VIP parking.

Other prizes include NASCAR Sprint Cup Series hot garage passes; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver's meeting passes; Victory Lane Club tickets for the Samsung Mobile 500; Texas Motor Speedway's Pit Stop Pavilion pre-race hospitality access; Foreigner pre-race mosh pit tickets; pit passes; race tickets to the April 13 NASCAR Nationwide Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 300; $5 discount coupons off a $15 program pack (33% savings); $5 discount coupons for any purchase of $25 or more at the Speedway World Gift Shop (25% savings); or a free Texas Motor Speedway track tour.

Fans also can take advantage of the popular "2 for $99" ticket special, which offers two frontstretch tickets for the Samsung Mobile 500 for just $99. The package has remained a fan favorite as it offers a savings of more than $140 and now has the added value of receiving two "No Limits Christmas" scratch-off tickets with the purchase.

Fans purchasing season tickets, which begin as low as $270, also will be eligible to receive "No Limits Christmas" scratch-off tickets.
The Texas Motor Speedway ticket office is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from Noon to 5 p.m. Tickets also are available by calling the Texas Motor Speedway ticket office at (817) 215-8500 or by visiting

For official rules of the "No Limits Christmas" scratch-off promotion visit

Faith on the Frontstretch: Uncertainty in the Off-Season

Credit: Jonathan Ferry/Getty Images
 “...and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1b

Change and uncertainty mark the off-season for a number of NASCAR drivers and crew members. One team closes down. Another has a doubtful future. Some drivers move to different teams, while others don’t know if they have rides for next year.

No one likes uncertainty, whether in a racing career or any other facet of life. But unfortunately, we all experience times of limbo. Whether it is a job loss or health crisis or a wayward teenage child, the time we spend waiting to see how things work out is no fun. Suspense might enhance the plot in movies, but in real life, unresolved or unknown situations leave us feeling edgy and anxious.

Races are full of uncertainty, too. A simple thing like a rain shower can leave everyone hanging during a red flag, wondering if the race will restart or not. But on Lap 109 of the last Chase race at Homestead-Miami, the rainfall contributed something beautiful to the event – a rainbow!

For me, seeing a rainbow always brings a sense of childlike wonder and the realization that God is near. Do you know the significance of the rainbow? In Genesis 9, Noah and his family came out of the ark after the great flood. God made a rainbow in the clouds as a sign of His promise never to allow a flood to destroy all life on earth again. Since biblical times, rainbows have appeared in the sky as a colorful reminder God’s promise.

When the rainbow arched above the track during the Ford 400, it reminded me that God is always the same. He is the one constant in life, amidst the waiting and decisions and doubts. In a world where a guy can win a championship and still lose his seat on the pit box, it’s reassuring to know God is loyal and steadfast. He will never leave you.

This off-season, if there is uncertainty in your life, take heart. No matter how bewildered or discouraged you feel, God is watching over you. Take comfort in this promise:

... God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid ... ~ Hebrews 13:5b-6b
Want to read more racing devotions? When you donate $25 or more to Skirts and Scuffs, we’ll send you a complimentary copy of Beth’s book, Race Fans’ Devotions to Go. See you on the frontstretch!

Beth Bence Reinke is the author of Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a devotional book geared toward female racing fans. Her column for Skirts and Scuffs explores the role of faith in motorsports. To read more of Beth’s posts, click on her name or “Faith on the Frontstretch” on the Skirts and Scuffs home page. Feel free to leave a comment on this post or reach her via twitter: @bbreinke.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fast Facts: NASCAR Hall of Fame

Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR
The NASCAR Hall of Fame opened May 11th, 2010 and has been a destination for NASCAR fans visiting Charlotte, North Carolina since. Here’s a little background on the Hall, which will induct its third class in January 2012.
  • The NASCAR Hall of Fame is located at 400 East Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in uptown Charlotte, across from the Charlotte Convention Center. Groundbreaking for the Hall of Fame took place January 25th, 2007, with excavation work beginning in May 2007.
  • There are seven main sections to the Hall: the Ceremonial Plaza, outside the main entrance; Belk High Octane Theater, a 275-seat state-of-the-art theater; the Great Hall, featuring rotating exhibits and a 14’ x 18’ video board; Glory Road, mimicking various degrees of banking at historic tracks and featuring 18 cars; the Hall of Honor, showcasing the Hall of Fame’s inductees; Race Week, an interactive exhibit for the entire family; and Heritage Speedway, looking back at the history or NASCAR.
  • The Hall of Fame also hosts a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, the NASCAR Hall of Fame Gear Shop and TV and radio studios plus the NASCAR Newsroom.
  • The first class of inductees in 2010 were: Bill France Sr. and Bill France Jr., the founding family of NASCAR; Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty, the Cup Series’ only seven-time champs; and Junior Johnson, driver and championship-winning team owner.
  • The second class, inducted in 2011, featured: Lee Petty, patriarch of the Petty racing clan; championship drivers David Pearson, Bobby Allison and Ned Jarrett; and championship-winning team owner and WWII infantryman Bud Moore.
  • The third class, to be inducted in January 2012, includes: championship-winning drivers Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough; Glen Wood, driver and owner for the renowned Wood Brothers; Dale Inman, championship crew chief for Petty Enterprises; and Richie Evans, nine-time NASCAR Modified champion, who becomes the first non-Cup Series driver inducted in the Hall of Fame.
  • Find out more about the NASCAR Hall of Fame at

ThorSport Racing Celebrates Successful 2011; Pursues 2012 Series Championships with Toyota and TRD

Longest-tenured NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Team Announces Expansion Plans & Employment Opportunities within Two Series
Sandusky, Oh. (November 29, 2011) - ThorSport Racing, the longest-tenured NASCAR Camping World Trucks (NCWTS) team with entries since 1996, announced today their 2012 expansion plans - to include a partnership with TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development). After a successful 2011 season in the NCWTS, with three wins and four poles between two veteran drivers - Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton - and debut of rookie Dakoda Armstrong; the organization is hiring in its state of the art facility in Sandusky, Ohio for the No. 44 ARCA Racing Series team of Frank Kimmel.

"We'd like to thank everyone at Chevrolet for all the support over the last 16 years," said Matt LaNeve, vice president of motorsports partnerships for ThorSport Racing. "ThorSport Racing, along with dedicated owners Duke and Rhonda Thorson, have a long-standing history and commitment to conservative, steady growth within NASCAR. Toyota's business and competitive philosophies are in line with our 2012 goals for both Frank Kimmel, as he pursues his 10th ARCA Racing Series Championship; and our NCWTS teams of the 13, 88 and 98, as we further look to increase competition. We are aggressively chasing not only wins in our two respective series, but championship trophies for our drivers and sponsors."
ThorSport Racing currently operates three NCWTS teams - the No. 13 of Johnny Sauter; the No. 88 of Matt Crafton; and the No. 98 of Dakoda Armstrong. The organization will also field the No. 44 Ansell/Menards Toyota Camry during the 2012 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season. The No. 13 Safe Auto/Curb Records entry finished second in driver championship points in 2011, matching the organization's highest previous finish by the No. 88 Menards entry and Matt Crafton in 2009 - narrowly missing the championship by six points but capping the year off with a win at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 18th; adding to driver Sauter's win list, shared with a trophy clock at Martinsville earlier in the year. The No. 88 Menards entry, piloted by Matt Crafton, finished 8th in overall driver championship points, earned two poles and wheeled into Victory Lane at Iowa Speedway during the 2011 season.
"ThorSport Racing is a first-class organization and a championship-caliber race team, as well as one of the most respected teams in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series," said Lee White, president and general manager of TRD, U.S.A.(Toyota Racing Development).   "We look forward to working together with the entire ThorSport race team and are confident that it will raise the level of our entire Toyota Tundra racing program."
"We're always on the forefront of competition in whatever series we are competing in," said David Pepper, Director of Competition and Team Manager for ThorSport Racing. "We're looking forward to forging ahead with Toyota in the competition arena in 2012. We're actively hiring top talent to our existing crew members on our championship-caliber teams. We're encouraged, during a down economy in both the country and in racing, to be hiring and adding jobs back into our industry."

Remembering Dave Mitchell

Rick Ware Racing’s team has been faced with another tragedy - the loss of Vice President Dave Mitchell, who passed away Tuesday morning at his home in Thomasville, N.C. Mitchell was 44 years old at the time of his passing.

According to Mitchell's bio on Rick Ware Racing's website, Mitchell’s impact on NASCAR will be long-lasting. Initially launching his career, Mitchell also launched the website for a young Ryan Newman. Mitchell’s website tracked Newman’s career through ARCA, Busch and Cup series racing and provided photos and statistical information.

From there, Mitchell began writing articles and race reports on other upcoming drivers, also developing a website that is one of only two to rate developmental drivers across the country, known as Racers Report.

Mitchell’s “big break” came with Penske Racing, working with their driver development program. After two years, Mitchell was offered a position with MacDonald Motorsports Nationwide Series team.

Once at MacDonald Motorsports, Mitchell was tasked with taking a part-time team to a full-time team with driver DJ Kennington. Within a few short months, Mitchell had sponsorship for the team and changed the outlook of MacDonald Motorsports.

In 2009, Mitchell made the move to Rick Ware Racing, becoming the team’s Vice President of Marketing and Competition. In a matter of months, Mitchell and Rick Ware worked to set up a Nationwide team, later followed by a Truck Series team.

Known as the “Biggest Little Team in Motorsports,” a motto that Mitchell coined, by 2010 the Rick Ware Racing organization was operating a part-time car in the Nationwide Series, two full-time Camping World Truck Series teams, along with entries in the K&N East and West, ARCA, Legends and Allison Legacy cars while at the same time still running the AMA Arenacross and motocross seasons.

Together Dave Mitchell and Rick Ware have gone into the record books on several NASCAR firsts and made further history as a team with driver Timmy Hill, who claimed the Rookie of the Year title in the Nationwide Series just over a week ago.

Sadly, this is the third tragedy to befall the Rick Ware Racing organization. Two crew members, Dean Shaut and Stephen Masch, were tragically killed in March following a car accident after the Darlington race.

Although details have not been released, Rick Ware Racing shared this on their Twitter and Facebook page just a short time ago: "We lost a great friend and brother who became part of our family. Please keep Danielle, Morgan and Chase in your prayers. We love you Dave." As further details are announced, we will keep you posted. 

*Skirts and Scuffs would like to extend our deepest thoughts and prayers to the entire Mitchell family and to the Rick Ware Racing organization*

Update: Funeral arrangements have been announced for Mitchell. A viewing will be held noon Saturday, with services following at 1 p.m. at Immaculate Heart of Mary, 4145 Johnson St., High Point, NC 27265 (336-869-7739).

Update: A memorial fund for Mitchell's wife Danielle and their children, Morgan and Chase, has been established at at BB&T Bank. Those interested can go to any BB&T branch and donate, or mail a check made out to Danielle Mitchell, c/o Ware Racing, 111 Sunrise Center Drive, Thomasville, NC 27360. In the memo of the check, you can write the Dave Mitchell Memorial Fund.

Simplified Points System To Be Instituted In NASCAR Regional Touring Series

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 29, 2011) – NASCAR announced today that the points system all NASCAR national series began using this year will be instituted in the regional touring level for 2012.

The points system was simplified to make it easier for fans, competitors and the industry to understand.

Beginning in 2012, the system will be integrated into the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and NASCAR Mexico Series.

The new structure awards points in one-point increments. As an example, race winners earn 43 points, plus three bonus points for the win. Drivers also can earn an extra point for leading a lap and leading the most laps, bringing the race-winning total to a possible maximum of 48 points.

All other drivers in a finishing order are separated by one-point increments. A second-place finisher earns 42 points, a third-place driver 41 points, and so on.

“Implementing the simplified points system at the regional touring level will make the points structure consistent with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president, regional and touring series. “The change at the national level was welcomed in the industry this year and has provided a points system that is much easier for everyone to understand.”

This year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ demonstrated that use of the new points structure is viable with a shorter schedule, such as with each touring series.

“Considering the tight competition in NASCAR’s touring series, we anticipate that with the new points system in place we will see close championship battles similar to the ones this year in all NASCAR national series,” Silbermann said.

The move to bring the simplified points system from NASCAR’s national series to the regional touring level is part of an effort to integrate uniform race formats and procedures throughout the NASCAR ranks. Earlier this year, two race procedures were changed to bring the touring series in line with the national series. One of those procedures stipulated that if a green-white-checkered finish is necessary, a maximum of three attempts will be made. The other change directed that on all restarts, passing will not be permitted until the car reached the start-finish line.

In some cases, race procedures developed at the touring level have been adopted at the national level. In 2009, the double-file restarts that had come about in the regional series, became a part of the national series race procedures.

NASCAR Preview 2012 Presented By Sprint Features Appearances By 2011 Champions

Stewart, Stenhouse Jr., Dillon To Sign Autographs At Inaugural Fan Festival In January

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (Nov. 29, 2011) – With the completion of the 2011 NASCAR season, planning for the NASCAR Preview 2012 Presented by Sprint season preview fan event is in high gear. Driver appearances by the newly crowned 2011 champions in the three NASCAR national series have been confirmed for the fan-centric, all-day event located inside the Charlotte Convention Center on Saturday, Jan. 21.

Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and first-time national series champions Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (NASCAR Nationwide Series) and Austin Dillon (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series) are scheduled for two-hour appearances that include driver autograph and on-stage question-and-answer sessions.

The NASCAR Preview 2012 Presented by Sprint is a new addition to the annual calendar. Reminiscent of popular season preview events of the past, the festival-like event will feature driver and show car appearances, simulators, games, prizes and a host of other fan-friendly and interactive activities.

The event is part of the three-day NASCAR Acceleration Weekend from Jan. 20-22 in Charlotte, N.C. that gives race fans an unprecedented experience through a combination of events and activities featuring the legends of the sport and stars of today.

NASCAR Acceleration Weekend kicks off Friday, Jan. 20 with the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony for the Class of 2012, which features Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, Dale Inman, Richie Evans and Glen Wood. Following Saturday’s NASCAR Preview 2012 Presented by Sprint event will be the unveiling of the Class of 2012 exhibits in the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Sunday, Jan. 22.

For many fans, the highlight of the weekend will be the opportunity to meet their favorite NASCAR driver. Stewart and other NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will sign autographs in the Ballroom of the Charlotte Convention Center starting at 9:15 a.m. on Sat., Jan. 21. Beginning Saturday at 7 a.m. in the Charlotte Convention Center Ballroom, wristbands will be distributed to a limited number of fans. Recipients must have an event ticket to be eligible to receive a wristband.

Driver Appearance Times
3:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. – Tony Stewart
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Austin Dillon

Additional driver appearances from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, plus the four living NASCAR Hall of Fame members inducted the previous night, will be announced at a later date. Appearance times are subject to change.

Tickets to NASCAR Preview 2012 Presented by Sprint start at just $10. Experience the entire weekend at a discounted rate: Ticket prices range from $10 for individual event admission to $299 for a VIP weekend package that includes the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, and are available at or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

For additional information, visit

A year in NASCAR quotes

NASCAR drivers often leave us with some memorable quotes through a season, so strolling down memory lane, we pulled together a list of our favorites (in no particular order).
Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
Tony Stewart has a gift of providing some great quotes throughout the season. Early in the Chase (at Chicagoland), Stewart said, "We got rid of some dead weight earlier this week, so it's made it a lot easier. It's been a big weight lifted off our shoulders." Darian Grubb’s response to that was also shocking, "Maybe he's talking about (firing) me and I just don't know it yet." Weeks later, Grubb was informed that he would not return as the crew chief for Stewart in 2012.

Heading into Homestead, Tony Stewart was confident; he knew he was going to win. Stewart was asked during the Chase title contenders' press conference: if it came down to him and Carl Edwards on the last lap, would he take action? Stewart said this: “I'd wreck my mom to win a championship. I'd wreck your mom to win a championship!”
Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
During the Chase, Stewart was asked if he enjoyed "poking" Carl Edwards. Stewart’s reply showcased his sense of humor: "I don't poke Carl. I've made it real clear. I like women."

During the season finale at Homestead, “Smoke” was faced with some challenges but his attitude remained in check. "They're going to feel like s*** after we kick their a** after this." A short time later he went on to say, "They [Edwards' team] are going to really feel worse when we've been to the back twice."

Showing a new level of class and putting a face to victory in defeat, Carl Edwards said during his post-race press conference at Homestead, “I told my wife, 'If I can't win this thing, I'm gonna be the best loser NASCAR has ever had.'"

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
Racing throughout the season created many memorable quotes. Dale Earnhardt Jr. thought it was snowing in Charlotte due to the trash flying in air. “I think it's snowing out here,” he said over his radio. When asked to start and park, Jennifer Jo Cobb took a stand. "I'm not a start-and-park driver. I'm here to race,” said Cobb, igniting a controversy against start-and-park drivers. Denny Hamlin was hung out to dry at Talladega, with no dance partner in sight. His take: "I couldn't find a date for the prom ... so I just hit on everyone's mom!" Finishing in the top 10, Hamlin’s speed method proved to work. While racing at Daytona, Danica Patrick took time to quote "Talladega Nights": “How does that movie go, slingshot engaged!”

Although each driver is competing for themselves, racing at Talladega and Daytona created the tandem and teamwork was in play. Working together for the win was the Hendrick Motorsports tandem of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson. Via their in-car radio, Earnhardt Jr. said to Johnson, “I'm going to push you like hell, no matter what." Johnson was ready and waiting to head to the front: "10-4 man, let's do it." After winning, Johnson offered up his prizes to Earnhardt Jr.: "Take the damn flag. I'll give you the trophy, too." Politely, Earnhardt declined: “No, I don't want the trophy. I'll take the flag, though."

And of course, there are those quotes that follow on-track incidents and are often anger-invoked. After an incident with Juan Pablo Montoya at Atlanta, Clint Bowyer simply said, "You can’t race around the jackass!” Martin Truex Jr. was furious at his pit crew in Richmond after several bad pit stops. "You're all f**king fired! Every g**d**n one of ya!" Following the race, most of the pit crew was replaced, so that threat was followed through. The now infamous Ron Hornaday vs. Kyle Busch crash at Texas brought this quote from Hornaday: “He’s such a candy-ass, he won’t stay around to get a whooping like he’s supposed to get." On the opposite end, Kyle Busch had an accident with Elliott Sadler during the Bristol NCWTS race. During his interview afterward, Busch said, "Yeah, sure he did [do it on purpose]. Where's his paycheck come from?" (Elliott Sadler was not driving for Kevin Harvick Inc. in that race; he was driving for Joe Denette Motorsports.) After Brian Vickers and Tony Stewart had a dust-up at Sonoma, Stewart said, “If they want to block, that's what is going to happen to them every time for the rest of my career." Vickers offered this, “It's unfortunate. He made his bed at that moment, and he had to sleep in it." Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch let the words fly after Richmond, though Busch did most of the talking after several on-track incidents. "I know we're in his head,” Busch said, though he later recanted that statement. "He's got to learn how to race,” said Busch as he spouted off. Busch went as far as saying Johnson is the “five-time chump." Johnson took the high road, not exchanging verbal jabs but simply saying, "I'm sure I'll go find him and talk to him and he'll run his mouth.”

Not limited to the Cup Series, one of the most memorable quotes actually came in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. After leading the race and restarting with just two laps to go, Johnny Sauter was black-flagged for crossing lanes before the start/finish line. During his interview, he simply said, “God Bless America!” Best line ever! No swearing, no blaming anyone - just patriotic pride. Sauter also had another quote that stuck out to us. During the season finale Ford 200, rain hampered the race. Suddenly Sauter screams, “IT’S RAINING!” NASCAR threw the red flag and the race ended; Sauter won and was just 6 points short in the championship points battle. While beatin' and bangin' with James Buescher, Kevin Harvick had an internal dialogue which included this: "Don’t be Kyle Busch. Don’t be Kyle Busch."

Social media forums such as Twitter have provided us some great insight into the drivers this season. Jimmie Johnson took to Twitter in May with a public plea. “Hey Kevin Harvick, can I have my horseshoe back? Please?” DeLana Harvick replied, “oh come on, can't he keep it for just a little while longer? :)”  And after his extremely hard wreck at Charlotte, Johnson once again took to his Twitter page, simply saying, "Hello soreness..."

And call this the "oops" moment of the season. Chad Knaus was caught on RaceBuddy during Talladega saying, "If we win this race, you have to crack the back of the car. Got it?" Knaus was worried about the bump drafting knocking the car out of alignment if they won the race. NASCAR spoke to Knaus afterwards and for the remainder of the season they inspected the No. 48 at random.

The death of IndyCar star Dan Wheldon had a tremendous impact on the motorsports community this season. Danica Patrick drove in IndyCar with Wheldon and honored him with a tribute paint scheme at Texas Motor Speedway. “It feels comforting in a way, to be honest. I kind of feel like I have a little angel in a way,” said Patrick, speaking about her tribute car.

The most memorable quote for many was simply, “Are you kidding me?!” uttered by Trevor Bayne as he won the Daytona 500. The jubilation in his voice made you smile and his Cinderella story swept the nation.

With just 89 days until Daytona, we certainly hope for another celebratory line like that once again.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Drew Blickensderfer to take over crew chief duties for Jeff Burton

Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR
Interim crew chief Luke Lambert to be reassigned within RCR 

WELCOME, N.C. (November 28, 2011) -- Richard Childress Racing has named Drew Blickensderfer as the crew chief for the No. 31 Caterpillar/Wheaties Racing team with driver Jeff Burton for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

Luke Lambert, interim crew chief during the latter part of the 2011 season for the No. 31 team, will assume a yet-to-be announced new position at RCR.

Blickensderfer begins his RCR career after nearly a decade with Roush Fenway Racing. He spent the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season leading the No. 6 team and has been a crew chief, in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, since 2007.

"I'm excited about the move to RCR and the opportunity to help lead Jeff Burton and the Cat/Wheaties Racing team back into Chase contention," said Blickensderfer. "I was around Jeff briefly at RFR and always admired and liked him. He's a very talented driver and I look forward to working him and the rest of the No. 31 team in 2012."

Burton qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup from 2006-2008 and 2010. He finished 20th in the final 2011 driver championship point standings.

"Drew is a strong leader and will be a great complement to the Caterpillar/Wheaties Racing team," said Childress. "He's won some big races, including the 2009 Daytona 500, his first race as a Sprint Cup Series crew chief. There's every reason to believe the combination of Jeff and Drew will be a successful one."

Richard "Slugger" Labbe will remain as the crew chief for the No. 27 Menards Racing team in 2012. It was announced previously that crew chief Shane Wilson will move from the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper/BB&T team to the same position with the No. 29 Budweiser/Rheem/Jimmy John's team and driver Kevin Harvick. Gil Martin, the No. 29 team crew chief since May 2009 and a crew chief at RCR since August 2000, has been named director of team operations.

Further personnel changes within RCR's competition department will be announced in the coming weeks.

For more information on today's announcement, and all that's happening at RCR, please visit

- Courtesy of Richard Childress Racing

Turner Motorsports adds Miguel Paludo to its NASCAR CWTS roster

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (November 28, 2011) – As preparations have already begun for the 2012 season, Turner Motorsports announces the addition of Miguel Paludo to their stable of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) drivers for the 2012 season.  While he brings a multi-faceted, international racing resume to the team, Paludo is fresh off of his first full year in the NCWTS where he scored a career-high three top-five and seven top-10 finishes, closing out the season 17th in the series point standings. 

The 28-year-old driver made his mark racing go-karts at age 14, winning a regional championship in his home country of Brazil.  Paludo then headed to the national ranks, racing Renault Clios in 2006, earning two podium finishes.  He found further success in the Porsche GT3 Championship Series earning three wins, two poles and 11 top-three finishes in 2008, winning the series championship that year as well as in 2009. 

Paludo made the transcontinental move to the stock car ranks in 2010, making nine K&N Pro Series East starts before jumping to the NCWTS in August of that year.  Paludo made a statement in his first start, notching an impressive ninth-place finish at the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway.

Paludo joins a stable of drivers including James Buescher and Nelson Piquet, Jr. who will contend for the 2012 NCWTS championship. 

“I’m really excited to join Turner Motorsports next season,” said Paludo.  “I’m grateful to Mr. [Steve] Turner for the opportunity he has given me to drive for the team and I’m looking forward to a strong season in 2012.  I’m also thrilled to have some really strong teammates and I’m excited to see what we can do to make next season a good one for Turner Motorsports as we make a run for the championship.”

In adding Paludo to the already strong line-up of talent, team owner Steve Turner is affirming his commitment to giving young drivers a strong platform on which to build their careers. 

“Miguel [Paludo] adds another dimension to our NASCAR Camping World Truck Series lineup,” Turner said.  “He has shown a significant amount of potential and is committed to making his mark in the NASCAR ranks.  He is a proven champion winning titles in multiple disciplines.  I am looking forward to a very competitive 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season and watching all of our entries run up front.”

Steve Addington named crew chief for Tony Stewart

Addington replaces championship-winning crew chief Darian Grubb

KANNAPOLIS, N.C., (Nov. 28, 2011) – Steve Addington, winner of 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races as a crew chief, has been named to the same position for three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart and the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 team of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) effective immediately.

The Spartanburg, S.C., native is only the third crew chief Stewart has had during his 13-year Sprint Cup career, and it comes just a week after Stewart captured the 2011 Sprint Cup title.

“I know Steve well and I know how he goes about setting up a racecar,” said Stewart, who worked with Addington from 2005 through 2008 during his time at Joe Gibbs Racing. “My comfort level with him is already strong. He balances the technical part of our sport with the real-world experiences we get at the track, and that will allow for a smooth transition as we prepare to defend our title in 2012.”

Addington has served as crew chief for Bobby Labonte (2005), J.J. Yeley (2006-2007), Kyle Busch (2008-race No. 33 of 2009) and Kurt Busch (2010-2011) during his ongoing Sprint Cup career. Twelve wins were scored with Kyle Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing and four wins were notched with older brother Kurt during his most recent tenure at Penske Racing.

Prior to rising to the elite Sprint Cup ranks, Addington spent 15 seasons as a crew chief in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, 11 of which came with driver Jason Keller where the duo won 10 races, 11 poles and scored 69 top-five and 122 top-10 finishes.

“Tony and I are a lot alike and we’re able to push each other,” Addington said. “I saw how he worked when we were at Gibbs together and I’m not surprised at all at the success he’s created at Stewart-Haas Racing. He expects a lot and he knows a lot. His talent behind the wheel is obvious, but his ability to motivate and get everyone to believe that whatever goal they set is attainable is something every crew chief wants, and I plan to make the most of it.”

Addington has proven he can win with all kinds of drivers at all kinds of tracks. From the quiet and low-key drivers of Keller and Mike Bliss, whom Addington worked with in the Nationwide Series, to the competitive personalities of Kyle and Kurt Busch, Addington has steered his pilots to victory, and he’s done so at every conceivable type of racetrack – superspeedways, road courses, intermediates and short tracks.

“Steve has proven himself everywhere he’s been,” Stewart added. “Our expectation when we unload each weekend is to win, and that’s Steve’s expectation, too. Getting there is never easy, but we’ve both been around long enough to know what it takes to be successful.”

Addington replaces Darian Grubb, who served as Stewart’s crew chief since the inception of SHR in 2009.

“Darian was a very important part of the success we’ve had at Stewart-Haas Racing,” Stewart said. “I’m very proud of everything he helped accomplish, especially this year when we all rallied to win the championship. He’s a great person and I know he’ll continue to be successful in this sport.”

- Release courtesy of Stewart-Haas Racing

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Caption this: @TheOrangeCone

What is @TheOrangeCone thinking as the NASCAR official approaches?
Share your best captions in the comment section below and we will choose a winner next week.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dear Santa ...


Thanksgiving has passed, and now the boys and girls of NASCAR sit and write the Christmas lists for Santa Claus. Wonder what they are wishing for?

Dear Santa –
All I want for Christmas is a ride for 2012!
~ Brian Vickers, David Reutimann and David Ragan

Dear Santa -
Want some Amp to get ‘round the world faster? A sleighload is on its way to you in trade for a win next season! And THANKS for Letarte last year, best gift ever! 
~ Dale Jr. and Junior Nation

Dear Santa –
We are sorry for being bad this year! Please let the fans forgive us and give us a chance to redeem ourselves in 2012. Please let our sponsors forgive us as well, after all, they are who pays the bills.
(P.S. Tell NASCAR to leave you a tip, they have lots of our spare change lying in a jar.)
~ The Busch Brothers

Dear Santa -
Third place again? Man ... This is getting old fast! Thanks for the new crew chief though. You got my earlier notes I take it? You’re awesome.
~ Kevin “Now Happy” Harvick

Dear Santa –
Man, I got that 3rd Sprint Cup title. I don’t need anything from you now. I just wanted to write you and tell you I DID IT. Thanks man. Wanna come party in Vegas? Bring the Mrs., but leave them reindeer at home.
~ Tony Stewart

Hey Santa -
Man, it was a great season. Stewart got the trophy but now I am without a job - ya think you can help me out? Do the sleigh and reindeer need a crew chief?
~ Darian Grubb

Dear Santa –
Sorry for my radio rants at times. It’s the heat of battle and the pressure gets to me. I need to learn not to click the button and scream! (Yoga lessons would be a great gift by the way.) Thanks for understanding.
~ We shall remain nameless in shame of our behavior

Dear Santa -
I tried!! I need a rest, can I have a massive bottle of aspirin, some gift certificates to the spa and a therapist to vent to now?
~ A frustrated and Busched out Steve Addington

Dear Santa -
My reign has come to an end … but it’s been a heck of a time atop the NASCAR world. Can you please find my horseshoe? (Check Stewie’s house)
~ The only 5-time Jimmie Johnson

Dear Santa –
I am sorry for the GoDaddy commercials, they make me do it! 2011 was a great year and bigger things are ahead for 2012. Please let me make it into the Daytona 500 – that is the only gift I need.
~ Danica Patrick

Dear Santa -
We could not figure out what to ask for separately, so we are writing you together. We both got some awesome bling this year, so maybe let us share the No. 21 Wood Brothers ride for 2012? That would be our dream come true.
~Ricky vs. and Trevor

Dear Santa -
Times are tough but we want to thank our sponsors, AFLAC, Fastenal, Ford ... my family, fans and most of all I am thankful for a great season. Tell Tony Stewart I am coming for him in 2012! I don’t need any gifts, please just send them to the children who need them.
~ Carl Edwards

Dear Santa -
Please bring me better engines and luck for next year cause my FedEx ain’t delivering!
~ Denny Hamlin

Hey Santa -
We love ya man and we love our fans just as much as the Cup drivers do! All we want for Christmas is for fans to tune in each weekend - we drive for the same glory they do.
~ The NCWTS and NNS drivers

Dear Santa -
Can you help us find the missing NASCAR rulebook? We need to clearly define some rules in black and white and need your help please. (Please keep this letter on the DL – we do not need this being leaked to the media – they will have a field day with this!)
~ Brian France and Mike Helton

Dear Santa -
Thank you for a wonderful 2011 season and for our awesome fans and team. Please tell us where to find the elusive money tree so we can head to more races in 2012!
~ Katy Lindamood and the Skirts and Scuffs team

*The author intends this for purely comical value, no offense or harm was meant.*