Sunday, December 30, 2012

Saturday Night Rumble Goes to Derek Bischak


Photo by Kevin Lillard
Derek Bischak leads Stewart in Sat. Rumble
Derek Bischak took advantage of Tony Stewart's misfortunate to win the 50-lap midget feature that capped the 15th Annual Fort Wayne Rumble at the Memorial Coliseum Expo Center.

The three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and nine-time Rumble winner slipped inside Bischak in turns three and four to take the lead on Lap 22. Unfortunately, four laps later Stewart's brakes failed and he spun in turn two, returning the lead to Angola, Ind. native Bischak. Stewart's exit was met with boos by many and cheers by others. "Anyone who boos me can kiss my ass, brakes failed and not much we could do," said the outspoken Stewart.

The 24-year-old Bischak, who first raced at the Rumble in "1998 or 1999" as a quarter midget driver, remained in command the rest of the way holding off 2012 USAC Silver Crown champion Bobby East and 14-year-old Justin Peck, who was runner-up to Billy Wease on Friday night. Mike Fedorcak and Geoff Kaiser rounded out the top five.

Tim Neal led all the way and beat John Ivy in the winged outlaw modified midget feature.

It has been a really long time since Stewart went winless at the Rumble but this year's Rumble was different than the rest. With unrest and bickering over square tanks and plexi wings, the confusion seemed to carry over into everything. From a very slow, almost non-existent, information flow to those not in attendence to grumbling and discomfort for some in attendance. Comments from those in attendance ranged from complaints about the temperature to food and air quality. In fairness there has to be ventilation so it's going to be cold and I have yet to find concessions anywhere besides Eldora that were worth what you paid. Attending an indoor car race one shouldn't expect clear air.

The racing itself was good not great but worth the price of admission. The winners were gracious and the losers for the most part were as well. It was a much needed fix for a lot of people who scoured the web to find coverage and information. Sadly, there was very little to be had and even less that was accurate. With the racing withdrawal eased, it's on to the largest Midget race of the year - The Chili Bowl. We look forward to seeing you there.

MIDGETS (National/Focus/Kenyon Car)

Qualifications – 1. Mike Fedorcak, 97, Stewart, 8.160 seconds; 2. Tony Stewart, 2, Stewart, 8.289; 3. Brandon Knupp, 78k, Chambers, 8.316; 4. Justin Peck, 5x, Clay, 8.367; 5. Billy Wease, 99, Burrow, 8.390; 6. Derek Bischak, 31, Bischak, 8.394; 7. Geoff Kaiser, 10, Moore, 8.397; 8. David Gough, 6, Gough, 8.456; 9. Cory Setser, 24, Setser, 8.478; 10. Cooper Clouse, 14c, Clouse, 8.512; 11. Jimmy Anderson, 99g, Guess, 8.533; 12. Aaron Pierce, 26, Gaines, 8.585; 13. Bobby East, 61, Kenyon, 8.604; 14. Grant Galloway, 84, Galloway, 8.616; 15. Stratton Briggs, 2r, Briggs, 8.658; 16. Russ Gamester, 46, Gamester, 8.664; 17. Billy Hulbert, 88x, Hulbert, 8.678; 18. Rex Norris III, 63, Norris, 8.692; 19. Chris deRitis, 66, deRitis, 8.749; 20. Joe Swanson, 3, Barnett, 8.772; 21. Chris Jagger, 27, Jagger, 8.807; 22. Bryan Nuckles, 59, Nuckles, 8.825; 23. Rich Corson, 15, Corson, 8.835; 24. Mike Osite, 20, Fedorcak, 8.955; 25. Joey Burrow, 49, Burrow, 9.007; 26. Terry Ahern, 6t6, Ahern, 9.163; 27. Vince Kuelbs Jr., 10x, Kuelbs, 9.368; 28. Mike Wallace, 10w, Wallace, 9.578; 29. Basil Hicks, 88, Hicks, NT; 30. Nick Hamilton, 3h, Hamilton, NT; 31. Mike Ousley, 14, Ousley, NT; 32. Matt Westfall, 19, Ryder, NT.

First heat (10 laps) – East, Hulbert, Wease, Fedorcak, Jagger, Burrow, Hicks, Setser.
Second heat (10 laps) – Stewart, Bischak, Nuckles, Norris, Ahern, Galloway, Hamilton, Clouse.
Third heat (10 laps) – Knupp, deRitis, Anderson, Kaiser, Kuelbs, Briggs, Corson.
Fourth heat (10 laps) – Gamester, Peck, Pierce, Wallace, Swanson, Osite, Gough.

First semi-feature (12 laps) – Fedorcak, Pierce, Norris, Burrow, Nuckles, Wallace.
Second semi-feature (12 laps) – Wease, Galloway, Anderson, Swanson, Corson, Ahern, Hicks.
Third semi-feature (12 laps) – Kaiser, Clouse, Briggs, Osite, Hamilton, Jagger, Kuelbs.

Feature (50 laps) – Derek Bischak, Bobby East, Justin Peck, Mike Fedorcak, Geoff Kaiser, Rex Norris III, Billy Hulbert, Grant Galloway, Aaron Pierce, Tony Stewart, Brandon Knupp, Chris deRitis, Cooper Clouse, Billy Wease (Russ Gamester qualified for feature but was unable to start). Lap leaders: Bischak 1-21, Stewart 22-25, Bischak 26-50.

Predictions for the 2013 Sprint Cup season

Credit: Lisa Janine Cloud/Skirts and Scuffs

With the 2012 season in the rear view mirror, I'm looking ahead to the 2013 season. While this off season has not been as full-throttle of a "Silly Season" as last year's was, there are still enough unknowns to make it difficult to predict with any degree of certainty who will make the Chase, who will win races or who will be most successful in adapting to the new cars.

So I'm making predictions of a less-serious nature. The list below is for entertainment purposes only. I intend no disrespect to any driver, owner or team.

1. Brad Keselowski will make a run at the Sprint Cup Championship again. This time, Miller will be ready with a tanker truck full of Miller Lite outfitted with a special hose for the celebration.

2. Penske Racing will lift the overall performance of Team Ford with his overall approach to success: put good people in place, get out of their way and let them do their jobs. Team Ford wants to drink beer in Victory Lane and on SportsCenter at Homestead, too. Pennzoil plans to just give out gift cards and loaves of sandwich bread if Joey Logano wins.

Credit: Lisa Janine Cloud/Skirts and Scuffs
3. Roush Fenway Racing will adopt the Penske dress code of black slacks with a neatly pressed crease and starched white shirts, prompting GQ to feature Carl Edwards on the cover, but with the shirt open to show off his washboard abs.

4. Greg Biffle's sponsor 3M will make a giant Post-It Note pad so their driver can remind Jack Roush to "Stick with the Biff."

5. Zest will supply Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s team with plenty of soap to use on Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s mouth if he gets too feisty on the radio during races. They're also looking at the logistics of creating Zest body wash bubbles in victory lane if the rookie wins in his first full Cup season.

6. Richard Childress Racing will see their overall Sprint Cup performance improve despite Kevin Harvick's plans to leave after the 2013 season. Budweiser, not to be outdone by Miller, will have the Clydesdales at every race and are designing a special Sprint Cup Championship keg for their Victory Lane appearances. Somehow, Kenny Schrader manages to be near the keg all the time.

7. Jeff Burton pushes to make the currently honorary title of "Mayor of the NASCAR Garage" an official one.

Credit: Lisa Janine Cloud/Skirts and Scuffs
8. With Danica Patrick running her first full season in Sprint Cup, Stewart-Haas Racing owner Tony Stewart schedules the GoDaddy Girl for some dirt-track races to help her with car control and on-track retaliation. He also includes a special segment on throwing equipment, with the assistance of JTG Racing's Bobby Labonte and ESPN's Dale Jarrett.

9. All four Hendrick drivers make the Chase again. For good luck, Mr. Hendrick has them each wear Penske Racing hats in all their pressers.

Credit: Lisa Janine Cloud/Skirts and Scuffs

10. Michael Waltrip Racing's Mark Martin and Clint Bowyer become personal trainers for the entire Sprint cup garage. Mark Martin will hold weightlifting classes featuring the beats of his alter-ego Epic Swag, while Clint Bowyer leads the official "Sprint Cup Sprint-Through-the-Garage" obstacle course. Media will be allowed to participate in Bowyer's sessions, just so they will be able to keep up. 

11. Earnhart-Ganassi racing prohibits Juan Pablo Montoya from using any song with the word "Fire" in it for driver introductions at any track. The organization celebrates their change to Hendrick horsepower by offering to give Rick Hendrick a ride on Jamie McMurray's car window. Mr. Hendrick declines. 

12. Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch welcome their new teammate Matt Kenseth by sneaking over to his house and spray-painting it orange with white trim. They also begin calling him "One-Time" in the style of Jimmie Johnson's nickname "Five-Time." Kenseth retaliates by calling Busch "Also-Ran" and Hamlin "Miss Congeniality."

Love Is In The Air and "It's Official" ... NASCAR Weddings

“Love is patient, love is kind...” (1 Corinthians 13:4)

As we all know, the NASCAR season is a long, busy eventful one. Most of the off-season is spent taking well-deserved vacations, enjoying the down time with family and friends or saying “I do.”

A number of couples have been wedding planning (at least one year in advance) and counting down the days until they walked down the aisle. Two NASCAR competitors who tied the knot this month include Sprint Cup drivers David Ragan, No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford, and Landon Cassill, No. 83 BK Racing Toyota. 

Pictured: Mr. & Mrs. David Ragan (Photo Courtesy of @JacquelynRagan Twitter)
  
David Ragan and fiancé’ Jacquelyn Butler officially tied the knot on December 15, 2012 in Charlotte, NC. Mrs. Ragan shared a picture of the newly married couple via Twitter with the caption “The best night of @DavidRagan & my life celebrating with family and friends.” 

Pictured: Mr. & Mrs. Landon Cassill
 (Photo Courtesy of @landoncassill Twitter)
 
Landon Cassill married his fiancé Kaitlan Linsted on December 28, 2012, and shared their picture via Twitter with the caption “Here we are! Newlyweds! Me and my beautiful wife @katelinsted.”

Congratulations to both couples on their nuptials!

Until next time …


Unique Hiram is an Associate Editor/Contributing Writer/Media Rep for Skirts and Scuffs. Additionally, she is also the author of "Fast Lane Poetry" which was published April 2011. Unique can be contacted via email or through Twitter.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wease Wins Friday Night Rumble!

Photo Credit: Kevin Lillard
Billy Wease wins Friday night's 15th Annual Fort Wayne Rumble
Billy Wease couldn’t believe it when he eased his way past Cooper Clouse with two laps to go, taking the checkered flag in Friday night's 50-lap midget feature of the 15th Annual Fort Wayne Rumble. This was his fourth career victory on the 1/6 mile track and fifth overall indoor midget victory. “I kept on diggin' man,” said Wease from victory lane. “I’ll tell you what, I was pretty upset I had to start last. But there was a bunch of crashes, a bunch of crap going on. I stayed in it and let everyone else put themselves out.”

As excited as Wease was finishing first, he was nowhere near as surprised as the legions of Tony Stewart fans who had braved the cold and snow to watch their champion pull off what had been considered a sure thing in the past. Friday night, however, it was not to be. Stewart would blow a motor in his Volkswagen powered Munchkin just before halfway. Although his Munchkin carried him to second, there was warning that something was amiss on the car. It refused to fire in morning practice but after working on the car for a short while the munchkin fired. Crew members stated somewhat jokingly that she was old and got cold but it was nothing to worry about. At least it seemed that way when he won his heat race with seemingly very little effort. On Lap 20 of the feature the air cleaner blew off the motor and three laps later he pulled off the track. “Motor” he said glumly. “We beat ourselves. Mechanical problems have been a part of racing ever since I can remember.” Stewart said he would have a replacement Volkswagen engine – “a very tired one” – in his Munchkin chassis for Saturday’s finale of the Rumble.

Mike Fedorcak, Stewart's teammate and car builder, seemed to be headed toward his second career Expo Center win until spinning under pressure from Bobby East on Lap 27. With nowhere to go, East stopped on the track and had to go to the tail end, giving the lead to Cooper Clouse. "Overall, I'm pretty happy,” conceded seventh-place finisher Clouse.

So was Justin Peck, making first start in a full midget under the watchful eye of former IndyCar driver Ronnie Johncox, his mentor “Billy Wease is a really good driver,” said Peck, who got a hearty slap on the back from Wease. “Pretty cool finishing behind him.”

Wease dedicated this victory to his 95-year-old great-grandmother, Pauline Wease, who died on Christmas Day. He also dedicated the win to Colleen and Steve Savage, mother and step-father of his fiance' Amanda Jaraczewski, who both died in the past two months.

Erick Rudolph scored an equally improbable win in the winged outlaw modified midget feature, inheriting the lead when Cap Henry spun just before taking the white flag. Henry reported his throttle stuck but Rudolph wasn’t red-nosed or red-faced, “In indoor racing, that’s half the battle – to get to the end and we were there,” he said.

Jason Dunn and Philip Schneider each won twice in karts. Bennett Lushin doubled in quarter midgets.

The nearly 16-hour racefest ended at 12:50 a.m.

Qualifications – 1. Derek Bischak, 31, Bischak, 8.155 seconds; 2. Joe Liguori, 67, Liguori, 8.200; 3. David Gough, 6, Gough, 8.247; 4. Tony Stewart, 2, Stewart, 8.259; 5. Geoff Kaiser, 10, Moore, 8.278; 6. Brandon Knupp, 78k, Chambers, 8.318; 7. Jimmy Anderson, 99g, Guess, 8.382; 8. Justin Peck, 5x, Clay, 8.444; 9. Billy Wease, 99, Burrow, 8.445; 10. Cory Setser, 24, Setser, 8.457; 11. Russ Gamester, 46, Gamester, 8.486; 12. Bobby East, 61, Kenyon, 8.513; 13. Mike Fedorcak, 97, Stewart, 8.524; 14. Cooper Clouse, 14c, Clouse, 8.625; 15. Rex Norris III, 63, Norris, 8.667; 16. Rich Corson, 15, Corson, 8.672; 17. Jim “Timex” Morgan, 2m, Morgan, 8.685; 18. Joey Burrow, 49, Burrow, 8.740; 19. Matt Westfall, 19, Ryder, 8.778; 20. Chris Jagger, 27, Jagger, 8.806; 21. Chris deRitis, 66, deRitis, 8.842; 22. Stratton Briggs, 2r, Briggs, 8.857; 23. Bryan Nuckles, 59, Nuckles, 8.871; 24. Aaron Pierce, 26, Gaines, 8.919; 25. Basil Hicks, 88, Hicks, 8.952; 26. Vince Kuelbs Jr., 10x, Wallace, 9.028; 27. Bobby Santos III, 98, Burrow, 9.057; 28. Joe Swanson, 3, Barnett, 9.073; 29. Terry Ahern, 6t6, Ahern, 9.346; 30. Mike Wallace, 10w, Wallace, 9.399; 31. Keith Ousley, 14, Ousley, 9.482; 32. Mike Osite, 20, Fedorcak, 9.610; 33. Nick Hamilton, 3h, Hamilton, 9.817; 34. Grant Galloway, 84, Galloway, 15.648; 35. Bill Hulbert, 88x, Hulbert, NT; 36. Kyle Hamilton, 33, Hamilton, NT

First heat (10 laps) – Bischak, Corson, Gamester, deRitids, Ousley, Knupp, Kuelbs.

Second heat (10 laps) – East, Liguori, Santos, Anderson, Briggs, Morgan, Osite.

Third heat (10 laps) – Fedorcak, Gough, Peck, Nuckles, N. Hamilton, Swanson, Burrow.

Fourth heat (10 laps) – Stewart, Clouse, Pierce, Galloway, Westfall, Ahern, Wease.

Fifth heat (10 laps) – Kaiser, Setser, Hulbert, Jagger, Wallace, Norris, Hicks.

First semi-feature (12 laps) – Knupp, Hurlbert, Nuckles, Santos, Ousley, Gamester.

Second semi-feature (12 laps) – Anderson, Pierce, Jagger, Osite, Norris, Swanson.

Third semi-feature (12 laps) – Peck, deRitis, N. Hamilton, Hicks, Ahern.

Fourth semi-feature (12 laps) – Wease, Galloway, Briggs, Wallace, Burrow, Kuelbs.

Feature (50 laps) – Billy Wease, Justin Peck, Jimmy Anderson, Bobby East, Mike Fedorcak, Geoff Kaiser, Cooper Clouse, Rich Corson, Cory Setser, Brandon Knupp, David Gough, Tony Stewart, Joe Liguori, Derek Bischak. Lap leaders: Fedorcak 1-26, Clouse 27-48, Wease 49-50.

 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Chili Bowl Qualifying Nights Revealed

Chili Bowl Qualifying Nights Revealed
Photo Credit: Bryan Hulbert

With the days dwindling down, the 27th Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire debuts the four Qualifying nights with 252 competitors. A truly international event, the Chili Bowl will feature drivers from 32 states along with drivers from Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Finland.
With a few late entries expected over the next week, the VIROC V will be released just prior to the January 8-12, 2013 event at the Tulsa Expo Center.

A quick glance of the entry list reveals a staggering number of Rookies with 42 spread among the four nights of racing. Past A-Feature starters for the Chili Bowl stands at 54 with 7 past champions.

The nightly entry lists can be found at the following links:

Tuesday's Warren CAT Qualifiers - http://www.chilibowl.com/entries/manual.aspx
Wednesday's River Spirit Qualifiers - http://www.chilibowl.com/entries/manual.aspx?c=1089
Thursday's J.C.T Qualifiers - http://www.chilibowl.com/entries/manual.aspx?c=1090
Friday's Vacuworx Global Qualifiers - http://www.chilibowl.com/entries/manual.aspx?c=1091

The 27th Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire will begin moving teams in on Sunday January 6, 2013.

Practice is scheduled for Monday January 7th with the first night of competition getting underway with Tuesday’s Warren CAT Qualifying night as well as the 5th annual Vacuworx Invitational Race of Champions.

Competition continues with Wednesday’s River Spirit Casino Qualifier, Thursday’s John Christner Trucking Qualifier, and Friday Vacuworx Global Qualifier with everything culminating on Saturday’s Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Championship.

The top three in each of the US Fleet Tracking Qualifying Night A-Features will transfer directly into the Saturday January 12th Feature event with the remainder of Saturday’s US Fleet Tracking Championship Feature lined up according to the Qualifying night finishes.

Tuesday night tickets are the only reserved seats still available which can be obtained by calling the Chili Bowl office at 918-838-3777. General Admission seating is available along the back straight-a-way and can be accessed with the purchase of a Pit Pass.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tony Stewart is Ready to Rumble in Fort Wayne



Tony Stewart in 2012 Fort Wayne Rumble
Photo Credit: Ro Cowan
For Tony Stewart, the sheer joy of wheeling a midget race car around a tight, 1/6-mile indoor track is irresistible.

The three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion will return to the 15th Annual Fort Wayne Rumble on Friday, Dec. 28 and Saturday, Dec. 29, trying to add to his record nine victories at the Memorial Coliseum Expo Center. He swept the two-day program last year for the second time in his career.

"I just like to race," said the 41-year-old from Columbus, Ind., who got his start in the lightweight open-wheel, open-cockpit cars. "When the weather is bad outside and you can't do anything else and you like racing, to be able to race indoors is really a luxury."

The unique holiday event brings together more than 300 competitors in midgets, winged outlaw modified midgets (600cc), karts and quarter midgets. Spectator gates will open at 11 a.m. each day, with midget time trials at 6 p.m. and the main portion of the program after 7:30 p.m.

"It's just fun," said Stewart, who especially likes to watch the younger drivers with an eye toward the future of his own race teams. "You get everything from kids racing quarter midgets and go-karts to guys who have been racing 20-25 years."

Stewart's record at Fort Wayne is remarkable consisting of nine victories in just 14 starts and holding the track qualifying record of 7.323 seconds, set in 2005. There was only one time when he failed to win with his car running at the finish. On the second night of competition in 2008, East Coast standout Lou Cicconi Jr. beat him in a race that went green all the way.

Stewart will return to the Rumble in his black No. 2 Munchkin chassis, which he half-jokingly says is funded by his poker games. He will also field a second Tony Stewart Racing entry for his longtime teammate and car builder Mike Fedorcak of nearby Roanoke, Ind., who is a past winner of the Rumble and won on the opening night in 2002.

"It's going to be great fun to have Tony racing at the Rumble against champions from a variety of series,"said event organizer Tony Barhorst of Classic Motorsports. In 1999, he first arrived unannounced and one year Stewart even competed under the name Mikey Fedorcak Jr. from Gnawbone, Ind.

"This year, we know for sure he will be here."



-Press Release Courtesy of www.rumbleseries.com



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Love Is In The Air ... NASCAR Engagements

The NASCAR off-season is usually filled with a variety of stories that include driver hiring news, sponsorship updates and team transformations throughout all three series. It is also filled with the exciting news of relationship status updates.

Two of the most recent relationship status changes are the engagements of NASCAR drivers Trevor Bayne (2011 Daytona 500 Winner) and Reed Sorenson.

Pictured: Trevor Bayne & fiance' Ashton Clapp/Photo Credit: Trevor Bayne Twitter

On December 22, approximately three days before Christmas, Trevor Bayne proposed to his girlfriend Ashton Clapp and she happily accepted. The exciting news was shared via Twitter by the happy couple. "Wellll ladies and gentlemen...she said yes!!!"


Pictured: Laura Frame, fiance' of Reed Sorenson/Photo Credit: Reed Sorenson Twitter

Three days later, on Christmas day, Reed Sorenson proposed to his girlfriend Laura Frame and the couple shared their joyous news via Twitter. "She said yea."

I am sure that this is just the beginning of NASCAR engagement love stories during the offseason. It will be exciting to see who will be the next couple to make a BIG announcement via Twitter.



Unique Hiram is an Associate Editor/Contributing Writer/Media Rep for Skirts and Scuffs. Additionally, she is also the author of "Fast Lane Poetry" which was published April 2011. Unique can be contacted via email or through Twitter.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Fast Facts: Michael McDowell


Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR
Michael McDowell has raced just about anything with four – or two – wheels since he was 3 years old. Learn more about this multi-faceted racer in this week’s Fast Facts.

  • Michael Christopher McDowell was born December 21, 1984 in Glendale, Arizona. At age 3, McDowell began racing BMX bikes, then moved into karting at age 8. In 10 years of karting, McDowell won the World Karting Association championship and back-to-back International KArting Federation championships.
  • After competing in Formula Renault in 2002, McDowell joined the Star Mazda Series, a Road to Indy development series for the IZOD IndyCar Series; he was named Rookie of the Year in 2003 and won the series championship in 2004. McDowell did run two Champ Car events in 2005, but decided to move on to the Grand-Am Cup Series, and later to the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.
  • In 2006, McDowell switched gears from sports cars to stock cars, driving a handful of races for Eddie Sharp Racing in the ARCA Racing Series. In 2007, they teamed up full-time, resulting in McDowell being named ARCA Rookie of the Year, on the strength of a runner-up finish in points and nine pole positions during the season.
  • McDowell’s next move was to NASCAR in late 2007, with races in the Camping World Truck Series and the Nationwide Series for Darrell and Michael Waltrip’s teams, respectively. He made his Cup Series debut in 2008 for Michael Waltrip Racing, and has since driven for Prism Motorsports, Tommy Baldwin Racing and Phil Parsons Racing. He has also made numerous Nationwide Series starts for Joe Gibbs Racing.
  • McDowell and his wife Jami have two children: son Trace (born 2009) and daughter Emma (born 2012).
  • Find out more about McDowell at his website, www.mmcdowell.com.  

Three-Time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart Aims For Third Golden Driller In Chili Bowl Return

Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Racing

INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 24, 2012) – Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) announced today that three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart has joined the star-studded field of entrants for the 27th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire at the Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Center, which kicks off Tuesday, Jan. 8 and concludes Saturday, Jan. 12. 

Stewart finished 10th in last year’s finale after not participating in the event for three consecutive seasons (2009-2011). This year, he returns to action in the TSR No. 14 Chevrolet Performance/Spike/Chevrolet in the most prestigious Midget race of the year. 

The annual Chili Bowl, which takes place inside the typically fan-packed confines of the QuikTrip Center’s Tulsa Expo Raceway, will see Stewart and more than 200 drivers attempt to qualify for one of the coveted spots in Saturday’s 50-lap A-Main finale. Each driver will participate in a qualifying program and accumulate points. 

Stewart is one of only five drivers to win the Chili Bowl more than once, one of 17 different drivers to win it since the inaugural event in 1987. He has a pair of Golden Drillers in his collection after scoring Chili Bowl victories in 2002 and 2007. Stewart earned Chevrolet its initial Chili Bowl triumph in 2007 and hopes to deliver a second in January.

The three-time NASCAR titleist prepped for the upcoming Chili Bowl Saturday by leading all 40 laps of the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series-sanctioned third annual Battle at the Center on the one-sixth mile Mini Magic Mile at the Southern Illinois Center in DuQuoin, Ill. He drove the special-edition black, carbon-fiber entry that has been dubbed the “Back in Black” machine that he’ll compete with in Tulsa. 

Tony Stewart, Owner and Driver of the No. 14 Chevrolet Performance/Curb Records/Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1/Spike for TSR:

Are you more focused on bringing home the Golden Driller for a third time this year after finishing 10th in the 2012 Chili Bowl Midget Nationals 50-lap A-main finale following a three-year hiatus from the event?

“Going back to the Chili Bowl for the first time several years in January of 2012 reminded me of just how tough of an event it really is. You typically have more than 200 competitors from all over the world battling it out on a quarter-mile dirt track – indoors. The excitement and atmosphere that is contained in the Expo Center is really something you can’t explain and it was great to be part of it again. I’m really looking forward to taking another shot at winning the Golden Driller for our partners, Chevrolet Performance and Curb Records, and I’d like nothing more than to win a third title for them and TSR.” 

You’re returning to the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals following a very convincing POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series victory in DuQuoin, Ill., in early December and you’re competing in the Rumble in Fort Wayne (Ind.) at the end of the month. How much preparation do these events give you for the Chili Bowl? 

“We had a lot of fun racing in DuQuoin last week, but it was more than just having some fun. We used that event as an opportunity to shake the car down for the Chili Bowl in January. Last year, I didn’t have a chance to get some laps in the car before I ran my qualifying night in Tulsa. We were starting from scratch and spent some time getting the car where we wanted it. Having run the DuQuoin event before we get to the Chili Bowl this year is going to help us a lot. We’ve got a good baseline of where we’d like to start out for the week and I am completely confident the guys will give me a great car to drive. 

“Running the Munchkin in the Rumble in Fort Wayne is also a lot of fun for us. We won both nights last year and it’s never easy to win on such a tight, little track. The Rumble and the Chili Bowl are like night and day, as one is pavement and one is a dirt race. But that’s what makes open-wheel racing so much fun. Competing on both surfaces, especially indoors, gives you the best of both worlds. I’m looking forward to both the Rumble in Fort Wayne and the Chili Bowl.

-Press Release Courtesy of Tony Stewart Racing

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Circuit of the Americas releases two statements regarding track rentals

Photo courtesy of Circuit of The Americas
Today the only purpose-built F1 circuit in the United States issued seemingly contradictory statements regarding the Circuit's policies on track rental for events not involving a sanctioning body such as Formula One, MotoGP, V8 Supercars and GRAND-AM Road Racing. The first indicated that the track would not be able to accommodate such events, but within hours a second release redefined the previous one.

While neither of these statements directly effect F1 or GRAND-AM racing at the facility, they do raise questions about the management policies of the circuit.

Here's the text of the first release:


AUSTIN, Texas (Dec. 22, 2012) –
Circuit of The Americas today set the record straight on the venue’s track rental program and responded to questions raised in social media forums about the program’s future direction.

“Circuit of The Americas currently offers a track rental program for organizations and clubs and private individuals that provides automotive enthusiasts with a world-class experience at the United States’ only purpose-built Formula  facility,” Circuit spokesperson Julie Loignon said. “We have had inquiries and discussions with a number of organizations that are interested in renting our facility, and we’ve determined that we will not be able to work with all of them in the coming year. We have contacted organizations that did not have fully executed rental agreements to inform them of our decision. We regret not being able to assist them with a track rental in 2013 and hope there are other ways we can accommodate their interest in Circuit of The Americas in the future.”


 And the text of the second:

 AUSTIN, Texas (Dec. 22, 2012)  Circuit of The Americas today announced that it would honor track rentals with four organizations that had booked track days and paid rental fees in advance.

“We are moving ahead with these agreements and contacting clients so they can share this information with their members and customers,” Circuit spokesperson Julie Loignon said. “The executed rental agreements will limit the number of vehicles we have on track at any given time to ensure a fun and safe experience for participants, including any amateur drivers who will be participating. We regret the confusion that was caused as we worked through these issues with our clients and look forward to providing a one-of-a-kind experience to auto enthusiasts coming to Circuit of The Americas through our track rental program.”

About Circuit of The Americas

Circuit of The Americas is a world-class destination for performance, education and business. It is the first purpose-built Grand Prix facility in the United States designed for any and all classes of racing, from motor power to human power, and is home to the 2012 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX. Racing series joining the Circuit’s 2013 line-up include MotoGP, V8 Supercars and GRAND-AM Road Racing. The Circuit of The Americas’ master plan features a variety of permanent structures designed for business, education, entertainment and race use. Its signature element is a 3.4-mile circuit track. Other support buildings include an expansive outdoor live music space, an iconic 251-foot tower with observation deck, an events and conference center, a banquet hall as well as a state-of-the-art medical facility. For more information and downloadable video, audio and photos, visit: www.CircuitofTheAmericas.com.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

SPEED™ kicks off 2013 Sprint Cup Series season with 21 hours of live testing from Daytona


image004In just three short weeks, SPEED and SPEED.com will be live from the high banks of Daytona International Speedway when Preseason Thunder kicks off the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season.

SPEED and SPEED.com offer live coverage of the Jan. 10-12 test session in its entirety with SPEED live from all afternoon sessions and SPEED.com streaming all morning sessions.

Darrell Waltrip, a NASCAR on FOX and SPEED analyst who will cover Daytona testing for SPEED, says he will be watching for parity among the manufacturers with the new Cup Series race car. Waltrip points out that the new car, given its current uncertainties, potentially could tip the scale in favor of one manufacturer over another, at least temporarily.

“With the new rules, there are no guarantees these cars will be equal,” Waltrip said.  “They’ve been tested in the wind tunnel and they’ve been aerodynamically matched up the best they can, but there is no guarantee these cars will all be equal.  When you look at the variances in the bodies this year compared to the past, one manufacturer could wind up with a huge advantage at Daytona, and that’s something NASCAR will be keeping an eye on at the test.”

John Roberts, Jeff Hammond and Matt Clark host SPEED’s on-air coverage from the studio above pit road at the start/finish line at Daytona.  Steve Byrnes calls the on-track action during the morning sessions (9 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET) on SPEED.com alongside analysts Kyle Petty and Kenny Wallace, while Hermie Sadler and Wendy Venturini handle reporting duties.  Rick Allen assumes the play-by-play chair for the afternoon sessions (1-3 p.m. ET and 3-5 p.m. ET) while the NASCAR on FOX and SPEED crew of Waltrip and Larry McReynolds take over the TV booth duties.  Bob Dillner and Matt Yocum report from pit road and the garage.

SPEED invites fans to submit questions and comments through Twitter @SPEED (http://www.twitter.com/speed) using the  #daytonatesting hashtag during the test sessions to be answered on-air and on Twitter.  In addition, special driver chat sessions will be held after testing is complete on Thursday night on Daytona’s Twitter and Facebook pages (www.twitter.com/disupdates and www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway).

Special editions of NASCAR Race Hub will air Jan. 10-11 at 6 p.m. ET from Daytona to recap all the on- and off-track action.  Furthermore, NASCAR Race Hub offers new episodes from the SPEED Studios Jan. 21-24 at 6 p.m. ET during the week of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Sprint Media Tour. The program’s 2013 season premiere is slated for Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. ET (Monday-Thursdays at 6 p.m. ET).

Additionally, SPEED Center, hosted by Adam Alexander, continues to keep fans updated on all things across the motor sports world, beginning with its 2013 premiere on Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. ET.

SPEED schedule for Daytona testing (all times Eastern and live):

Thursday, Jan. 10
9 a.m. - 12 p.m. (SPEED.com)
1 p.m. - 5 p.m.  (SPEED)
6 p.m. - 8 p.m. (SPEED encore of 3-5 p.m. session)

Friday, Jan. 11
9 a.m. - 12 p.m. (SPEED.com)
1 p.m. - 5 p.m. (SPEED)
6 p.m. - 8 p.m. (SPEED encore of 3-5 p.m. session)

Saturday, Jan. 12
9 a.m. - 12 p.m. (SPEED.com)
1 p.m. - 5 p.m. (SPEED)
6 p.m. - 8 p.m. (SPEED encore of 3-5 p.m. session)

About SPEED™
SPEED, anchored by its popular and wide-ranging coverage of NASCAR, is the nation’s first and only cable television network dedicated to automotive and motorcycle racing, performance and lifestyle. Now available in nearly 86 million homes in North America, SPEED, a member of the FOX Sports Media Group, is among the industry leaders in interactive TV, video on demand, mobile initiatives and broadband services, including SPEED2, a groundbreaking new broadband network featuring live, streaming and on-demand events complementing offerings of the linear network. For more information, please visit SPEED.com, the online motor sports authority and follow us on Twitter: @SPEED.

About FOX Sports Media Group
FOX Sports Media Group (FSMG) is the umbrella entity representing News Corporation’s wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets.  Built with brands capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, FSMG includes ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing partnerships.  FSMG includes FOX Sports, the sports television arm of the FOX Broadcasting Company; Fox’s 20 regional sports networks, their affiliated regional web sites and FSN national programming; SPEED and SPEED2; FOX Soccer, FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Soccer 2Go; FUEL TV; FOX Deportes and FOX College Sports.  In addition, FSMG also encompasses FOX Sports Interactive Media, which includes FOXSports.com on MSN, Whatifsports.com Scout.com and Yardbarker.com.  Also included in the Group are Fox’s interests in joint-venture businesses Big Ten Network, BTN 2Go and STATS, LLC, as well as licensing agreements that establish the FOX Sports Radio Network and FOX Sports Skybox restaurants.

Start times finalized for Budweiser Speedweeks 2013 events

Daytona_International_Speedway
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – For the fourth straight year, the 55th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 24, NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious race, is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start time (TV – FOX Sports, Radio – MRN Radio).

Start times for the other remaining events of Budweiser Speedweeks 2013 at Daytona International Speedway are as follows:

· The 51st anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race, Jan. 26-27, 3:30 p.m. (SPEED)
· The Lucas Oil 200 ARCA Racing Series, Saturday, Feb. 16, 4:30 p.m. (SPEED)
· The Daytona Shootout  non-points event, Saturday, Feb. 16, 8 p.m. (FOX)
· Daytona 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger, Sunday, Feb. 17, 1 p.m. (FOX)
· Budweiser Duel At Daytona, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2 p.m. (SPEED)
· NextEra Energy Resources 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, Friday, Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m. (SPEED)
· DRIVE4COPD 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race, Saturday, Feb. 23, 1 p.m. (ESPN)

Penske Racing’s Brad Keselowski will begin his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title defense in the season-opening 55th annual Daytona 500, which will mark the debut of the new 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car. Dubbed “Gen 6,” the new-look sixth generation cars highlight greater brand identity for the manufacturers.

Matt Kenseth, who won the 2012 Daytona 500 with Roush Fenway Racing, will attempt to be the first driver since Sterling Marlin (1994-1995) to win “The Great American Race” for a second straight year with his new team Joe Gibbs Racing.

Tickets for NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious race – the 55th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 24 – start at $65 and are available at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

For the second straight year, the Speedway is offering special youth pricing for the Daytona 500.  Children 12 and under will receive 50 percent off all backstretch grandstand seats for the Daytona 500 while supplies last. In addition, children 12 and under are free in the Sprint FANZONE throughout Budweiser Speedweeks.

Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter (@NASCAR) and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtags #NASCAR and #DAYTONA500 and #NASCARBattle.  In addition, fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest for all the latest news all season long.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Faith on the Frontstretch: More than “just another driver”

Credit: Beth Bence Reinke for Skirts and Scuffs  
“... And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1b

What if someone pointed to the driver in the blue Miller Lite firesuit and asked you, “Who is that?” You could say, “That’s Brad Keselowski,” or “That’s the 2012 Sprint Cup Champion.” You’d be right either way. You could even say, “That’s Brian Keselowski’s brother,” and still be correct.

Although there are lots of appropriate ways to describe him, saying any champion is “just another driver” is not one of them.

In a similar, but more extraordinary way, Jesus was not “just another prophet.” He wasn’t just another teacher or just another religious leader, either. Nope. Sometimes people pigeonhole Jesus with these smallish, compartmentalized terms. But Jesus is so much more than “just another” anything.

During the Christmas season, we celebrate Jesus humbling himself to be born as a little baby on earth. Any ordinary conception and birth is a miracle, but with baby Jesus, it’s a deeper, more beautiful mystery. The King of Kings allowing Himself to become a frail human - a baby - doesn’t seem to make sense.

But something we rarely think about is that Jesus existed way before He came to earth as a baby in a stable. That fact is hard for our human brains to fathom, and we probably won’t grasp it completely on this side of heaven. But Jesus was present when God created the earth. He is the second part of the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He has always existed. He’s eternal, backwards and forwards, from this point in time.

Trying to think it through logically perplexes the brain, perhaps because it wasn’t meant to be understood with the intellect. In your mind’s eye, imagine baby Jesus in the straw-filled manger. Think of Jesus teaching the crowds and performing miracles. Then visualize Jesus on the cross and Jesus in heaven at God’s right hand. Can you picture Him in those settings? Each of those tells part of who Jesus is. They are images of the heart, discerned through faith, not logic.

So ... this Christmas, what if someone pointed to baby Jesus in the manger and asked you, “Who is that?” You might say, “That’s baby Jesus,” or “That’s Jesus – Christmas is His birthday.” Very true.

But look deeper. Who do you really believe Jesus Christ is? Who is He to you? Is He your Lord and Savior? Is He your closest friend? That’s who He wants to be for you ... this Christmas and for the rest of your life.

Please don’t wait. Call out to Him. None of us knows how many tomorrows are left. Jesus is listening for your voice right now.

... the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. ~ 1 John 4:14
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Want more racing devotions? When you donate $25 to Skirts and Scuffs, we’ll send you a complimentary copy of Beth’s book, Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a month-long, pocket-sized devotional book for female racing fans.


“Faith on the Frontstretch” appears every 1st & 3rd Wednesday and explores the role of faith in motorsports. Comments or twitter follows welcome: @bbreinke. See you on the Frontstretch!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

John Wes Townley joins Red Horse Racing

Credit: Skirts and Scuffs
MOORESVILLE, NC (DECEMBER 18, 2012) - After closing out the organization’s most successful season to date, Red Horse Racing has signed John Wes Townley to join the team in 2013. Townley is slated to drive the No. 7 Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra with Zaxby’s serving as the primary sponsor for the 22-race NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season.

After competing for Rookie of the Year honors in 2012 and collecting his best series finish of eighth at Pocono Raceway, Townley enters his second full-time season credited with 28 series starts.

“I’m a competitive race car driver, and I want to race and compete for wins,” said the 22 year-old, Georgia resident. “Red Horse Racing has worked hard and continues to excel in the truck series. The success that this Red Horse Racing organization was able to accomplish last season, is the same success we are looking forward to next year.”

Veteran crew chief Mike Beam will join John Wes Townley at Red Horse Racing on the No. 7 Toyota Tundra. Beam has been atop the pit box since the early 80′s and is credited with 25 national series victories.

“The Truck Series proved to be the most competitive series in 2012, said Beam. “I want to be a part of that, and be a part of one of the top-tiered teams in the series. Playing an integral part in John’s career is important to me and I’m anxious to see our results.”

Team Principal, Tom DeLoach adds, “John showed vast improvement on the track this past season. Red Horse Racing is eager to move him to the next level in his racing career. Pairing him with Mike Beam is a great way to give John the insight from Mike’s impressive background . We had a fantastic 2012 season and we are anxious to see what 2013 will hold.”

About Red Horse Racing:
Founded in 2005 by former Mobil Corporation executive Tom DeLoach and NASCAR veteran Jeff Hammon, Red Horse Racing aims to be a professional racing team that strives for excellence on and off the race track. Red Horse Racing hopes to build and maintain solid, mutual relationships with its partners to win races and championships and to represent itself in a professional manner. The team has five victories and six poles in its brief existence. DeLoach and Hammond also own Performance Instruction Training (PIT), the number one pit crew training center in the world that also has many corporate training options that include team-building, lean manufacturing, motorsports demonstrations and more.

Kligerman joins Kyle Busch Motorsports for 2013 Nationwide Series season

Kligerman at Kentucky Speedway in September
Credit: Skirts and Scuffs 
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Dec. 18, 2012)- Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced today that the team has signed 22-year-old Parker Kligerman to compete for the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series driver’s championship. Kligerman will pilot the No. 77 Toyota Camry for the entirety of the 33-race schedule.

Kligerman comes to KBM’s Nationwide Series program on the heels of a breakout season in 2012. In his second full-time Camping World Truck Series campaign, the talented youngster earned his first career NASCAR victory at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in October, captured two pole awards and collected eight top-five and 15 top-10 finishes en route to a fifth-place finish in the final Truck Series driver’s point standings.  His Talladega victory, both poles and five of his eight top-five finishes came after joining the Toyota Racing family at the halfway point of the season.

The Connecticut native has registered five top-10 finishes in 18 career Nationwide Series starts. He posted two top-10 finishes in three starts this season, including a career-best seventh-place finish in the July race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.

In October of 2009, at the age of 19, Kligerman captured the pole in his first-ever Nationwide Series start at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, becoming the 10th driver in series history to accomplish the feat. That same year, he earned the 2009 Rookie of the Year award in the ARCA Racing Series after winning a series-high nine races and finishing second in the final point standings.

“When you think of Kyle Busch and Kyle Busch Motorsports, you think of an owner and a team that have established a tradition of winning and pride themselves on it, so I feel honored to be given the chance to come in and continue in that tradition,” Kligerman said. “I feel that running full-time in the Truck Series the last two seasons and coming close to a championship last season has prepared me to be able to do the same in the Nationwide Series next year. With the personnel that KBM has in place and what they were able to accomplish in their first year in the Nationwide Series combined with all the support they have from Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development), I see no reason why we can’t compete for wins on a weekly basis and be a top-five team in the final point standings at the end of the season.”

“Once Parker got behind the wheel of a Toyota halfway through the season, he proved that he was capable of running up front week in and week out in the Truck Series and comes to us with a lot of confidence,” owner Kyle Busch said. “Since I started my Truck Series team in 2010, I’ve wanted the focus of our efforts to be on developing young talent and being able to create an identity for KBM without having to be behind the wheel myself. With the addition of Parker to our Nationwide Series program and Joey Coulter to our Truck Series program, we now have two of the sport’s most talented young drivers in our building.”

“Everyone at Toyota and TRD speaks very highly of Parker and they were a big part of why were able to bring him onboard here at KBM,” KBM General Manager Rick Ren said. “Although he has only driven a handful of races with these new Nationwide Series cars, he has participated in a lot of testing the last few years and we feel like he will be able to come in and be able to use that knowledge to help us to continue to make improvements to our program.”

In its inaugural Nationwide Series campaign, KBM registered one win, three poles, 15 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes en route to an eighth-place finish in the owner’s point standings. The team recorded eight top-five and 12 top-10 finishes over the last 13 races of the season.

“Our Nationwide Series program really seemed to hit its stride the last 10 races of the season — won a couple of poles, led a bunch of laps and were in contention for the win almost every week,” said Busch, who was behind the wheel for eight of the final 10 races. “We feel like we’ll be able to carry that momentum into next year and come out of the gates stronger than we did in our first season.”

Further details regarding sponsorship for Kligerman’s No. 77 Camry will be announced at a later date.

About Kyle Busch Motorsports
Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) has quickly established itself as one of the most successful teams in all of NASCAR, capturing the 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owner’s Championship in its inaugural season and 18 Truck Series victories over its first three seasons. 2012 marked the team’s debut in the NASCAR Nationwide Series with team owner and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Kyle Busch sharing the driving duties behind the wheel of the No. 54 Monster Energy Camry with his brother Kurt, the 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion. The duo produced one win, three poles, 15 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes in their debut campaign.

KBM prepares a fleet of race-winning Toyotas out of its 77,000-square-foot facility in Mooresville, N.C. Pending LEED certification, the facility’s state-of-the art equipment and innovative green initiatives make it unmatched among its peers. Fans can stay up-to-date with all the latest KBM news online at www.KyleBuschMotorsports.com, by liking the team on Facebook (KyleBuschMS) and following the team on Twitter (@KBMteam).

Fast Facts: Brian Vickers

Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR/Rainier Ehrhardt
Brian Vickers has a busy 2013 ahead of him: he’ll be driving part-time in the Sprint Cup Series for Michael Waltrip Racing as well as driving full-time in the Nationwide Series for Joe Gibbs Racing. Learn more about this North Carolina native in this week’s Fast Facts.


  • Brian Lee Vickers was born October 24, 1983 in Thomasville, North Carolina. He began racing go-karts in 1994, winning 80 races and three championships in the World Karting Association over the span of three seasons. He moved up to the Allison Legacy Series in 1998, winning five races, and the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series in 1999.
  • In 2000 and 2001, Vickers raced in the USAR Pro Cup Series (now the Rev-Oil Pro Cup Series). He won Rookie of the Year on the strength of two wins in 2000 and finished second in points with five wins in 2001.
  • Vickers made his top-tier NASCAR debut in 2001 in the Busch Series (now Nationwide Series) in a family-owned car, running 25 races for the team between 2001 and 2002; his best finish was seventh (Richmond – 2002). In 2003, he was hired by Hendrick Motorsports to run the No. 5 in the series, going on to win the championship and become the youngest champion in the Nationwide Series at age 20. Vickers also competed in five Cup Series races for Hendrick in 2003 before making the jump to full time in the Cup Series in 2004.
  • Vickers left Hendrick Motorsports for Red Bull Racing following the 2006 season, spending five years with the team before it closed up shop at the end of the 2011 season. Vickers missed most of the 2010 season after blood clots were discovered in his leg, finger and lungs.
  • In 263 Cup Series races (through 2012), Vickers has two wins, 62 top 10s and 11 poles. In 118 Nationwide Series races (through 2012), he has three wins, 60 top 10s and four poles. In 2012, Vickers also competed in the 6 Hours of Spa and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
  • Find out more about Vickers at his website, www.brianvickers.com.  

NASCAR makes changes to its competition personnel structure

Moves Designed To Strengthen Overall Scope of NASCAR’s Racing Series
 
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (December 18, 2012)– In an effort to strengthen and grow its racing series for 2013 and beyond, NASCAR announced Tuesday several revisions to its Competition personnel structure. The following changes will take effect in 2013:
 
· Joe Balash, who has served as the NASCAR Nationwide Series director since 2004, will be assuming a new role as International Competition Liaison. This position will be the NASCAR point of contact for competition-related matters relative to the NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, the Euro Racecar, NASCAR Touring Series and other international competitions and series in which NASCAR may be involved and/or considering involvement. Balash now will report toRichard Buck, who has been promoted to managing director, Competition GRAND-AM and managing director, Touring Series NASCAR.
 
· Wayne Auton, who has served as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series director since 1995, will assume the role of NASCAR Nationwide Series director. Auton will continue to report toJohn Darby, managing director, competition and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director.
 
· Chad Little, currently NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series director and director of Racing Development, Mexico, will serve in the role of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series director. Little also will report to Darby.
 
· Brad Moran, currently NASCAR Canadian Tire Series director, will serve in the role of director of Touring Series, NASCAR, reporting to Buck.
 
With the increasing integration between NASCAR, GRAND-AM, American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and Euro Racecar, NASCAR Touring Series, these moves are designed to strengthen all of the sport’s racing series, both at the national and international levels.
 
“We recently completed a thorough, strategic review of all of our racing series and believe the changes we’re announcing today will further strengthen our overall racing and offer us the best opportunity for growth,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “Joe (Balash) is terrific at building relationships with track operators, sponsors and other key stakeholders, and he will be an excellent fit in his new role. I’m also pleased our system allowed us to promote our talent up the ranks, as is the case with Wayne (Auton), Chad (Little) and Brad (Moran). I think this shows that we have a great deal of depth in our series director leadership roles and these moves reflect that depth and versatility.”
 
George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president regional and touring, highlighted the fact that these moves will aid NASCAR as it continues to focus on expanding its reach beyond the United States.
 
“Our sport is ever-evolving and we plan to grow in regions of the world where an increasingly strong appetite exists for NASCAR racing,” said Silbermann. “Joe (Balash) certainly will help us achieve our international goals which not only include conducting our existing series at a best-in-class level but also attracting new partners for global exhibitions and/or series.”
 
The NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series continues to attract top young driver talent and for the first time, the series will race on U.S. soil in 2013, when it kicks off its season March 1 at Phoenix International Raceway. The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 is growing in popularity and the maiden season of Euro Racecar, NASCAR in 2012 exceeded the sport’s expectations.
 
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Monday, December 17, 2012

Why I Love NASCAR: Connections by Chief 187™

NASCAR-sponsored decal honoring Dan Wheldon that was displayed
on stock cars during the race weekend following his death.
The holiday season is upon us and I must admit my mind is full of a thousand different thoughts.

The thoughts run the gamut from how will Matt Kenseth do at Joe Gibbs Racing in a Toyota with teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, to whether I’ll get to another NASCAR Sprint Cup Race in 2013.

Then my thoughts settle down. I recalled recently a conversation I had on the Friday of the Homestead-Miami Speedway Championship weekend. I was canvasing everyone I met about their Simple Joys. It was a question that allowed me to share intimacies in a limited time with NASCAR’s greatest across all three of the top tiers.

In the Camping World Truck pits I stumbled upon a man I had not met before and, quite frankly, had never heard about in my travels. I instantly took a shine to this man who I’ll call B.

B was funny, irreverent, and charming. He gladly answered my Simple Joys question in both a humorous way and a more sincere one.

I noticed B wore a rubber bracelet around his wrist akin to the “Live Strong” ones that have been popular for years. B’s bracelet read “Remember” so I asked him about it.

B told me that he was very good friends with the late Dan Wheldon of IndyCar fame. They were the best of buds. After Wheldon’s passing B put a lot of thought into his life and his feelings.

Then B had an epiphany of sorts. He wanted to remember Wheldon forever, which was going to happen anyway, as Wheldon was sewn into the fabric of B’s life. But B also wanted to remember that "Life is Short" and to "Live Life to the Fullest."

Although the phrases seem cliché, they are apt and appropriate. Only those who have endured what B, Wheldon’s widow Susie, their children, and other close friends and family of Wheldon have could truly grasp the importance of those expressions.

What was most lovely to me was the fact that although B missed his friend daily and acutely, he was so full of life and joy. He took every opportunity to speak of his friend with me, not to gain publicity, but because he knew we had connected and I was a willing student to the life lessons B was trying to impart.

Death affects as all so differently. When one of our sports stars – our heroes – dies at the pinnacle of his career it is difficult to process.

Those of us who adored Dale Earnhardt were forced to accept the unacceptable in 2001. There is still much sadness associated with the NASCAR superstar’s untimely death.

For many, Wheldon’s passing dredged up feelings still too near the surface of Earnhardt’s death, Davey Allison’s, Alan Kulwicki’s, Neil Bonnett’s, Kenny Irwin’s, Clifford Allison’s, et al.

After speaking to B, though, I was soothed by our conversation. His philosophy, stories, and calming nature showed me that those closest to Wheldon are healing, including his widow.

I never expected to randomly walk up to a man in the pits at Homestead-Miami Speedway and gain so much insight. The connections I made that day were strong and priceless.

NASCAR has given me much in life: a connection with my husband, a sport to call my own, tons of new friends from around the world, and a deeper understanding and appreciation of the fragility of life. I have been given a great gift this year.

The connections I have made through NASCAR are yet more valuable reasons why I love NASCAR.


Chief 187™ is a writer, columnist, and blogger as well as creator of the widely popular Chief 187™Chatter. Her column “Why I Love NASCAR” and other articles are featured on Skirts and Scuffs. She can be reached via Twitter by following @Chief187s. To find out more please visit http://Chief187.com.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Michael Waltrip to appear on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"

Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Team owner to participate in Monday, Dec. 17, episode

CORNELIUS, N.C. - Michael Waltrip and the employees of Michael Waltrip Racing teamed up with ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” builders and designers to surprise a Lincolnton, N.C. family in a holiday-themed episode of the popular home makeover show. Waltrip makes a special appearance in two segments of the episode to air Monday, Dec. 17, at 8 p.m. ET. on ABC.

A nine-year veteran of the police department and foster mother to over 30 children, Devonda Friday and her husband James Friday didn't think twice when they received a call to provide temporary care to a boy who was being transferred to a group home. They had no idea, though, that this call would change their lives. The teenage boy showed the Fridays a video of his siblings and begged them to help keep the five of them together.

Before they knew it, Devonda and James were making room for the five youngsters to join their own two children. When the request was denied because their modest ranch home didn't have enough room, the Fridays converted their carport into two makeshift bedrooms and sold their van to offset expenses. The adoption was final in 2011, and Monday’s episode will celebrate the spirit of Christmas by giving the Friday family a new spacious home for the holidays.

The show’s design team has just seven days to make this home even more of a haven for the family. The Friday family has been whisked away on a dream vacation to Jamaica, while “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” team leader Ty Pennington, designers Michael Moloney, Jillian Harris, Ed Sanders and Paige Hemmis, local builder Bellamy Homes, as well as well as community volunteers, build the structure.

Waltrip is a two-time Daytona 500 champion and owner of MWR that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. MWR fields Clint Bowyer’s No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, Martin Truex Jr.’s No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota and the Aaron’s Dream Machine driven by Mark Martin, Brian Vickers and Waltrip. MWR Toyotas won three times, earned five poles and finished second, 11th and 15th in owner points in 2012.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Joey Logano and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. visit the Middle East and Germany on USO trip

NASCAR drivers (l) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Joey Logano pose for a photo with members of the Pennsylvania and South Carolina Army National Guard as part of their recent USO tour to Kuwait, Dec. 8, 2012.- USO photo by Michael Clifton 
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (December 12, 2012) – NASCAR Sprint Cup SeriesTM driver Joey Logano and two-time and reigning NASCAR Nationwide SeriesTM champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. recently teamed up with the USO to deliver good times and holiday cheer to troops overseas in the Middle East and Germany.

Logano and Stenhouse extended America’s thanks to men and women in uniform, and let them know their service, sacrifice and dedication are appreciated – not just during the holiday season but every day. After meeting troops serving in the Middle East and Germany, they wrapped up their USO tour by visiting recovering warriors at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, also located in Germany.

In all, Logano and Stenhouse visited six installations and touched the lives of hundreds of service men and women overseas. The tour was part of an ongoing partnership with the USO that continues to strengthen the connection between the military and motorsports. During this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s WeekTM in Las Vegas, NASCAR® teamed up with the USO to host healing heroes and their families at NASCAR Victory LapTM and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AwardsTM.

This was the second USO tour for Logano, who last year, along with 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, visited hundreds of troops and military families stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This was the first USO tour experience for Stenhouse.

“We had the chance to meet some amazing men and women on our USO tour,” said Logano. “I have so much respect for our troops; they do their jobs day in and day out without complaint and are always giving it their all. We are lucky to have these men and women serving and protecting our country, and I can’t thank them enough for all that they do.”

“My first USO tour was an amazing experience. It was an honor to meet our troops and see them in action,” Stenhouse said. “The service and sacrifice of these men and women and their families are inspiring, and I have nothing but admiration and gratitude for what they do for our country.”

For photos from the visit, click here: http://bit.ly/Vbfbq5. To find out how the USO is supporting our troops, military families and our wounded, ill and injured this holiday season, please visit www.usowishbook.org.

About NASCAR
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for one of North America's premier sports. NASCAR races are broadcast in more than 175 countries and in 25 languages. In the U.S., races are broadcast on FOX, TNT, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, SPEED, Motor Racing Network Radio, Performance Racing Network and Sirius XM Radio. NASCAR fans are among 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 three international series. Also part of NASCAR are GRAND-AM Road Racing and the American Le Mans Series, known for 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, Mexico and Europe. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., NASCAR has offices in eight cities across North America. The next NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will be the Shootout at Daytona on Feb. 16 on FOX. For more information and a complete schedule, visit www.nascar.com. Follow NASCAR on www.facebook.com/NASCAR or on Twitter: @NASCAR.       


About the USO
The USO (United Service Organizations) lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families millions of times each year at hundreds of places worldwide. We provide a touch of home through centers at airports and military bases in the U.S. and abroad, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and services. We also provide critical support to those who need us most, including forward-deployed troops, military families, wounded warriors and their families and the families of the fallen.
The USO is a private, nonprofit organization, not a government agency. All of our programs and services are made possible by the American people, support of our corporate partners and the dedication of our volunteers and staff.  In addition to individual donors and corporate sponsors, the USO is supported by President’s Circle Partners: American Airlines, AT&T, Clear Channel, The Coca-Cola Company, jcpenney, Kangaroo Express, Kroger, Lowe’s, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Procter & Gamble, and TriWest Healthcare Alliance and Worldwide Strategic Partners: BAE Systems, The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft Corporation and TKS Telepost Kabel-Service Kaiserslautern GmbH & Co. KG. We are also supported through the United Way and Combined Federal Campaign (CFC-11381).  To join us in this patriotic mission, and to learn more about the USO, please visit uso.org.