Thursday, December 29, 2011

What's New for 2012 Preseason Thunder NASCAR Testing at Daytona

Preseason Thunder Test is Jan. 12-13-14 at Daytona International Speedway

Final preparations for 2012 Speedweeks, in particular, the running of the 54th annual Daytona 500 – Sunday, Feb. 26

Rules package is a result of information gathered during recent tests at Talladega (October) and Daytona (November)

Rules package includes:
Smaller radiator - Maximum of 2 gallon capacity
Smaller overflow tank - Maximum capacity of ½ gallon
Radiator inlet is moved up closer into the front center bumper area
Rate reduction in the springs – softer springs
Smaller rear spoiler, 3 1/2 inches high 
Base line restrictor plate of 29/32 inch (1/64 inch larger than plate size for the 2011 Daytona 500)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Biffle Selected as Fourth Quarter NMPA Speedway Motorsports Spirit Winner

Members of the National Motorsports Press Association have selected NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Greg Biffle as the fourth quarter winner of the NMPA Speedway Motorsports Spirit Award.

The award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Each year, quarterly winners are selected, and an overall winner is determined by a vote of the National Motorsports Press Association membership.

Biffle teamed with several partners to provide Charlotte-area children the opportunity to receive free dental care during the October race weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Give Kids A Smile program was aimed at helping more than 200 young fans.

Also receiving votes were: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kevin Harvick, Juan Pablo Montoya and Ryan Newman.

JTG Daugherty Racing won the award in the first quarter, Jamie McMurray was honored in the second quarter and Jeff Gordon took the honor in the third quarter.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Roush Yates Partners with Impact Mastercraft

Roush Yates has once again cemented a reputation for producing the fastest engines on the planet regardless of the application, wtih 160 victories this year alone. When first opening its performance products store in 2009, Roush Yates created an extension of its championship-winning engine technology to include everything from engine parts to chassis components. The popularity of the move spread so quickly that massive foot traffic and product demand required a recent expansion to a new 40,000 square foot new and race proven parts facility.

According to Bucky Gregory, Roush Yates Performance Products’ Vice President of Sales, safety products, in-general, has proved to be a significantly in-demand aspect of the company’s business. To that end, Roush Yates has reached a distribution agreement with Impact by MasterCraft Safety to create a 1,500 square foot safety center within Roush Yates Performance Products’ Mooresville, N.C. retail center. This partnership will continue Roush Yates’ goal of offering “one stop” shopping for drivers and pit crews throughout the racing spectrum.

“We’re very proud to be associated with a great company like Impact,” said Roush Yates CEO Doug Yates. “This new partnership certainly broadens our reach and product offerings as a whole, which should further underscore the fact that Roush Yates Performance Products is truly a complete solution center for any racer of any caliber or series."

The safety center will be staffed with personnel well versed in the intricacies of critical safety matters such as helmet fitment, custom race suit measurements, and choosing the proper restraints for specific genres of racing.

"We couldn't be happier," said MasterCraft Safety president Robbie Pierce. "While our product lines are different, both Roush Yates and Impact offer premium racing products with absolutely no compromises."

About Roush Yates:Roush Yates, of Mooresville, N.C., designs, engineers and crafts high performance racing engines with the power to perform and the horsepower and durability you'd expect from legendary NASCAR pioneers Jack Roush and Robert Yates. The partnership of power and precision has come from merging the knowledge and experience of two legendary engine builders, both with a passion for winning today and powering up for tomorrow. In 2009 Doug Yates purchased his father's half of Roush Yates Engines to become a co-owner in the company.

About Impact by Mastercraft:
Impact by MasterCraft offers a full complement of industry leading safety equipment, from SNELL 2010 certified helmets to fire-resistant driving suits and Nomex®underwear. Founded by safety pioneer Bill Simpson in 2002, Impact moved under the MasterCraft Safety banner in 2010. Impact's line of helmets, driving and crew suits, drag parachutes, window nets, and race restraints are all made in the United States in their manufacturing facility strategically located in the heart of Gasoline Alley in Indiana, just ten minutes from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

Impact Mastercraft Release

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Statement from NASCAR Involving Aegis Science Corp

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 21, 2011) – NASCAR confirms that data theft involving Aegis Science Corporation included information on members of the NASCAR community. 

Although Aegis provides NASCAR with laboratory drug testing services, absolutely no drug or medical records pertaining to NASCAR were on the laptop or drives. Among material on the laptop and external drive was a 2009 file that primarily listed names and social security numbers of individuals involved in the sport. 

While there appears to be no identity theft to date, NASCAR is taking every precaution possible to address this situation including contacting all individuals whose names appear on the file. Aegis also is providing outreach and consultation.

It should be noted that the process that allowed information to be available on a laptop/drive could not happen today due to a data-processing system that NASCAR and Aegis have utilized since 2010.

NASCAR apologizes to the affected individuals for this unfortunate incident involving one of our vendors, and we are pressing Aegis to do everything necessary to mitigate this situation. 

Information on the theft can be found on the Aegis website at

- Nascar Press Release

Allmendinger to Drive Shell-Pennzoil Dodge in 2012

Penske Racing has named AJ Allmendinger as the driver of the team's No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Allmendinger, who has competed in the Cup Series since 2007, is coming off a strong season that saw him finish 15th in the series standings while battling for a position in the Chase for the Championship. The 30-year-old native of Los Gatos, Calif., earned one top-five, 10 top-10 and 22 top-15 results in 2011 while driving the No. 43 car for Richard Petty Motorsports.

"I am really excited about the opportunity to join Penske Racing and drive the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge in 2012," said Allmendinger. "I have always admired Roger Penske and the way his teams compete and win in every series where they race. It is a privilege for me to represent such iconic and respected brands as Shell and Pennzoil, AAA and Dodge. I am honored to join Penske Racing and I will do my very best to continue to build on the standard of excellence established across the organization."

Allmendinger will join a winning team that's poised to compete for a position in the 2012 Cup Series Chase. The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge team produced two wins, three poles and 16 top-10 finishes in 2011 as it earned a spot in the Chase and finished 11th in the series standings. Allmendinger will be paired with crew chief Todd Gordon, who led the Penske Racing No. 22 Nationwide Series team to six victories last season and was named last week as the new chief of the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge.

"AJ is a very talented and motivated driver and we believe he will be a terrific fit with our team," said Roger Penske. "He has shown great promise and consistent results on the track over the last few seasons and working with Todd and the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge team will allow him to take the next step and compete for race wins and a spot in the Chase in 2012."

"Shell and Pennzoil are extremely pleased by Penske Racing's selection of AJ Allmendinger to drive the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge," said Lisa Davis, President of Shell Oil Products U.S. "AJ has consistently demonstrated great potential and continuous improvement as a driver, and with Penske's track record, our employees and customers can look forward to seeing him contending for wins and ultimately a championship in the NASCAR Cup Series. We know he will represent our brands well on and off the track and we look forward to a successful 2012 with AJ behind the wheel."

In five years in the Cup Series A.J has 152 starts, 0 wins, 4 top 5's, 26 top 10's and 1 pole, Phoenix in 2010

- Penske Racing Press Release

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Statement from Richard Petty Motorsports regarding Best Buy

“We have had a successful and rewarding relationship with Best Buy for the past few years and appreciate all they have done for us,” stated Richard Petty, co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports. “Although it is very disappointing that Best Buy is changing directions at this late date, we wish all of our friends there the best in their future endeavors.

“Our plan has always been to run a two-car team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2012 and we are continuing down that path,” said Petty. “We have several partners that remain committed to the No. 43 team. We will move forward and explore all of our options in regard to the No. 43 program in the coming weeks.”

- Richard Petty Motorsports Press Release

Best Buy Partners With Roush Fenway Racing

Best Buy Co., Inc. today announced a new sponsorship deal for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season. Best Buy will serve as primary sponsor of the Matt Kenseth No. 17 Ford for nine races and Carl Edwards’ No. 99 Ford for two races. In addition, Best Buy will serve as associate sponsor for each.

“Best Buy is thrilled to announce this new NASCAR sponsorship deal with Roush Fenway Racing,” said Drew Panayiotou, senior vice president of marketing for Best Buy. “Roush Fenway Racing is a great fit for Best Buy Racing. NASCAR continues to be a relevant way for us to connect with our customers. Our goal is to reach our target audiences in a meaningful way, while maximizing the value of our marketing and sponsorship investments.”

“We are extremely pleased to announce this partnership with Best Buy,” said Roush Fenway co-owner Jack Roush. “Best Buy is an industry leader and a top brand globally. They do a great deal to market and support their teams and we are pleased to be working with an organization that is as enthusiastic about racing as Best Buy. We feel it is a great fit with our organization and we look forward to a great partnership together.”
Best Buy has been a NASCAR sponsor for the past 7 years.
- Roush Fenway Racing Press Release 

Monday, December 19, 2011

ARCA Series Test Results from Daytona

Buster Graham and Milka Duno each led sessions over the final day of ARCA Racing Series open testing at Daytona, but Venturini Motorsports ended the weekend with the top four positions on the overall time chart.

Graham’s morning lap of 48.229 seconds (186.61 mph) in the No. 88 Ford gave him the lead in the weekend’s fifth testing session, and in turn the only top 10 time outside of Saturday afternoon’s drafting session. Duno, Jared Marks, Will Kimmel, and Alex Bowman comprised the remainder of the morning top five.

79 cars took time on track for the weekend, however only 30 cars participated in the last afternoon session, which Duno led with a best lap of 48.34 seconds (186.161 mph). She was followed by Joey Coulter, Brandon McReynolds, Bowman, and Josh Richards. Full speed charts for both Sunday sessions are available at
The overall weekend results are listed below.

1 25a Alex Bowman Chevy 47.787 188.336
2 55 John Stancill Toyota 47.811 188.241
3 25 Brennan Poole Chevy 47.812 188.237
4 15 Ryan Reed Toyota 47.821 188.202
5 12 Jared Marks Dodge 47.832 188.159
6 63 Milka Duno Ford 48.166 186.854
7 35 Nelson Canache Chevy 48.212 186.676
8 51 Drew Charlson Chevy 48.221 186.641
9 88 Buster Graham Ford 48.229 186.610
10 16 Matt Lofton Chevy 48.234 186.590
11 94 Steve Blackburn Chevy 48.245 186.548
12 69a Fain Skinner Ford 48.251 186.525
13 58 Chad Hackenbracht Chevy 48.340 186.181
14 61 Joey Coulter Chevy 48.363 186.093
15 4 Brandon McReynolds Chevy 48.364 186.089
16 32 Chris Windom Toyota 48.380 186.027
17 66 Josh Richards Toyota 48.438 185.805
18 68 Will Kimmel Ford 48.488 185.613
19 08 Ross Chastain Ford 48.569 185.303
20 12 Maryeve Dufault Dodge 48.573 185.288
21 75 Ginny Quinones Toyota 48.674 184.904
22 44 Frank Kimmel Toyota 48.773 184.528
23 6 Cale Gale Chevy 48.803 184.415
24 14 John Ferrier Chevy 48.839 184.279
25 05 Derrike Cope Chevy 48.846 184.253
26 00 Ed Kennedy Chevy 48.865 184.181
27 66 Mark Thompson Toyota 48.931 183.932
28 1 Alli Owens Ford 48.953 183.850
29 90 Zachary Ralston Ford 48.971 183.782
30 29c Bobby Pelland Dodge 49.076 183.389
31 29a Sam Edwards Dodge 49.092 183.329
32 5a Bobby Gerhart Chevy 49.169 183.042
33 82a Sean Corr Ford 49.190 182.964
34 61 T.J. Duke Chevy 49.193 182.953
35 11b Rick Clifton Chevy 49.340 182.408
36 75a Benny Chastain Toyota 49.392 182.216
37 17 Chris Buescher Ford 49.417 182.124
38 29b Sloan Henderson Dodge 49.461 181.962
39 5b Damon Lusk Chevy 49.469 181.932
40 14a Josh Williams Ford 49.609 181.419
41 05 Spencer Gallagher Chevy 49.625 181.360
42 1a Jeremy Petty Chevy 49.725 180.995
43 40a Michelle Therault Dodge 49.745 180.923
44 10a Dennis Strickland Ford 49.793 180.748
45 13 George Cushman Dodge 49.985 180.054
46 69 Chris Brown Ford 50.133 179.522
47 18 Michael Affarano Chevy 50.207 179.258
48 10b Ryan Glenski Chevy 50.223 179.201
49 90a Grant Enfinger Ford 50.258 179.076
50 40t Nick Tucker Dodge 50.390 178.607
51 11 Paul Harraka Chevy 50.403 178.561
52 11c Trevor Edwards Chevy 50.517 178.158
53 10 Derrick Griffin Ford 50.539 178.080
54 1b Thomas Praytor Ford 50.560 178.006
55 11a Ed Pompa Chevy 50.579 177.939
56 29 Bob Bryant Dodge 50.606 177.845
57 11e Sunny Hobbs Chevy 50.617 177.806
58 29d Andy Jones Dodge 50.626 177.774
59 18f Chris Coker Ford 50.640 177.725
60 04c Danny Esposito Dodge 50.651 177.687
61 04 Scott Edwards Dodge 50.695 177.532
62 1c Alexsander Gregory Ford 50.715 177.462
63 40b Trent Mayo Dodge 50.926 176.727
64 04a Juan Carlos Blum Dodge 51.029 176.370
65 40d Larry Barford Dodge 51.054 176.284
66 11d Bill Coffey Ford 51.162 175.912
67 40d Josh Watkins Dodge 51.162 175.912
68 06 Ricky Byers Chevy 51.173 175.874
69 11h James Hylton Ford 51.243 175.634
70 10f Brad Lloyd Chevy 51.257 175.586
71 10b Daryl Eustice Ford 51.277 175.517
72 18c Tyler Speer Chevy 51.348 175.275
73 89 Chris Lafferty Chevy 51.563 174.544
74 40c Ryan Rust Dodge 51.605 174.402
75 7 Brent Cross Chevy 51.792 173.772
76 40 Michael Bockler Dodge 51.795 173.762
77 40b Roger Carter Dodge 51.827 173.655
78 89a Korbin Forrister Chevy 52.314 172.038
79 74 Jimmy Nowell Chevy 60.220 149.452


Sunday, December 18, 2011

NASCAR Presents “The Loopies”: The Fifth Annual Best-Of Loop Data For 2011

For the fifth consecutive season, NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications combed through the statistics to hand out a number of awards celebrating the best – and worst – Loop Data performances of 2011. The envelopes please…

“Still The Most Awesome Sport Ever” Award: This one goes to NASCAR. Congrats again, us. For the second consecutive season, the world’s best racing boasted numbers never before seen in its six-decade-plus history. According to the Loop Data, there were 131,989 green flag passes this season, the most since NASCAR started recording the stat in 2005. Though not Loop Data, there were also an average of 27.1 lead changes and 12.8 leaders per race, both Cup Series records. The 2012 Daytona 500 -- Feb. 26 on FOX, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 -- can’t come soon enough.

“Where Did He Come From” Award: Better known as the “Most Improved Driver” Award, this award goes to the driver who had the biggest gain in Driver Rating from 2010. Brad Keselowski, please accept your well deserved award. Keselowski entered 2011 mostly as an afterthought. He finished the 2010 season -- his first with Penske Racing -- with a 25th-place points finish and a Driver Rating of 65.1. Still fresh to the series, most expected those growing pains to continue. But Keselowski scoffed at any low expectations with a quick win at Kansas. Then he won at Pocono on a broken left ankle. A few weeks later, he won the Bristol Motor Speedway night race. And soon after that, he made the Chase for the Sprint Cup, taking advantage of the new Wild Card berth. Keselowski finished the season fifth in points, with a Driver Rating of 87.1 – an improvement of 22.0 points, best in the series.

“Nice Guys Finish Not First” Award: We hate to give this award out, but no one ever said The Loopies were easy. Fans place a certain level of trust in The Loopies board of directors. This one is given to the driver with the largest drop in Driver Rating. This unfortunate award goes to Jeff Burton, whose 96.2 Driver Rating in 2010 fell to 78.7 in 2011 -- a decline of 17.5 points. The personable Burton need not worry too much. Optimism reigns in the No. 31 shop, as the team scored four top-10 finishes in the final five races. 

“Rope-A-Dope” Award: Attention NASCAR Hall of Fame: Richard Petty’s plaque needs a re-write -- he has just won a Loopie. The King’s two drivers, A.J. Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose, ranked 1-2 in the “Closer”statistic -- the number of positions gained or lost in the last 10 percent of races. Allmendinger gained a whopping 134 spots as races winded down; Ambrose improved 85 spots. In case you’re wondering, Kevin Harvick (aptly nicknamed “The Closer”) ranked third, with 78 positions improved.

“Irregular Season” Award: Season-to-Date Loop Data is what it says -- a statistical representation of the entire season. That’s why you’ll find Kyle Busch -- winner of this Loopie -- at the top of so many Loop Data charts, but at the bottom of the Chase standings. Busch led 10 different Loop Data categories this year: Average Running Position (10.4), Driver Rating (104.1), Fastest Early in a Run (average rank of 5.9), Fastest Late in a Run (average rank of 7.8), Green Flag Speed (average rank of 6.1), Laps in the Top 15 (79.6%), Laps Led (1,455),
Mile Leaders (1,777.77), Quality Passes (2,219) and Speed in Traffic (average rank of 9.3). So why the 12thplace finish for Busch? The answer: Another subpar Chase. During the 26-race regular season, Busch had a Driver Rating of 108.4. In the nine races he ran in the Chase, his Driver Rating was 91.6.

“Brad Keselowski’s Ankle Deserves Its Own Award” Award: This award goes to Brad Keselowski’s ankle. Keselowski’s performance after his early-August accident that resulted in a broken left ankle defies logic. 

“Lifetime Achievement” Award: As this is the milestone Fifth Annual Loopies, NASCAR felt it necessary to commemorate the occasion with a special award: The Stefan Kretschmann Lifetime Achievement Award. Kretschmann, the godfather of Loop Data, works for the partners at Stats Inc. in Chicago, Ill. He’s the man behind the Loop Data, originating each statistic and inventing the involved formula for Driver Rating. It’s only fitting this award be named after him. And the winner of the first ever Stefan Kretschmann Lifetime Achievement Award Loopie is … Jimmie Johnson. Johnson’s championship reign ended in 2011, but his assault of the stats page continues. NASCAR started collecting Loop Data in 2005. Since then, Johnson has compiled a Loop Data-lifetime Driver Rating of 104.8, the only driver eclipsing the 100.0 barrier. Second-best is Jeff Gordon, with a 98.3.

Friday, December 16, 2011

More Than 50 NASCAR Drivers To Appear At NASCAR Preview 2012

 More than 50 drivers from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series are now confirmed to appear at the inaugural NASCAR Preview 2012 Presented by Sprint, scheduled for Jan. 21 in Charlotte, N.C. Race fans will have the chance to meet top competitors of the sport during the all-day fan event located inside the Charlotte Convention Center.

NASCAR Preview 2012 Presented by Sprint will offer a festival-like experience for fans that features driver autograph and question-and-answer sessions, show car appearances, simulators, games and more. The fan event is one of several events that comprise NASCAR Acceleration Weekend, which begins Friday, Jan. 20 with the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony for Class of 2012 inductees Richie Evans, Dale Inman, Darrell Waltrip, Glen Wood and Cale Yarborough. 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.

2011 champions Tony Stewart, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Austin Dillon plus other drivers from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will sign autographs in the Ballroom and the Exhibit Hall at the Charlotte Convention Center starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21.

Driver Appearance Times (Ballroom)
9:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. – Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth

10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. – Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson

11:45 a.m. – 1:45 p.m. – Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski

12:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. – Greg Biffle

12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman

2:45 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. – Dale Earnhardt Jr., Juan Pablo Montoya

3:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. – Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart

Driver Appearance Times (Exhibit Hall)
9 a.m. – 11 a.m. – AJ Allmendinger, Jeff Burton, Bobby Labonte, Joey Logano, Mark Martin, Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears, David Ragan, Justin Allgaier, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Timmy Hill, Blake Koch, Travis Pastrana, Timothy Peters

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Marcos Ambrose, Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard, Regan Smith, Brian Vickers, Aric Almirola, Trevor Bayne, Brian Scott, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Brad Sweet, Cale Gale, Justin Lofton, Todd Peck

12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Michael Annett, Elliott Sadler, Mike Wallace, Dakoda Armstrong, Johnny Sauter, Parker Kligerman

2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Danica Patrick, Martin Truex Jr., Austin Dillon, Morgan Shepherd, Kenny Wallace, Joey Coulter, Ty Dillon, Brendan Gaughan, Tim George Jr.

Beginning Saturday at 7 a.m. in the Charlotte Convention Center Ballroom, wristbands will be distributed to a limited number of fans to get into the Ballroom where several of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will be signing autographs. Recipients must have an event ticket to be eligible to receive a wristband.

Additional driver appearances from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, plus all four living 2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees, will be announced at a later date. Appearance times are subject to change.

Fans will have the opportunity to purchase new 2012 NASCAR merchandise at the NASCAR Preview 2012 Presented by Sprint. New items for 2012 include NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee merchandise, new 1:24 and 1:64 scale die cast cars, 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule t-shirts and new driver merchandise featuring Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne and more.

Tickets to NASCAR Preview 2012 Presented by Sprint are available now starting at just $10 for individual event admission at or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Tickets will also be available the day of the event for $15. A discounted $20 combo ticket includes admission to both the Preview event and the NASCAR Hall of Fame, while a $299 VIP weekend package includes all NASCAR Acceleration Weekend events, including the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.


Greg Zipadelli Named Competition Director for Stewart-Haas Racing

Greg Zipadelli, winner of two championships and 34 victories as a crew chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has been named competition director at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). He will work with Vice President of Competition Matt Borland and oversee the Nos. 14 and 39 teams, while also building the No. 10 team for which Danica Patrick will run a 10-race Sprint Cup schedule with in 2012.

Zipadelli comes to SHR from Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) where he served as crew chief for the No. 20 team since 1999. It’s where the 44-year-old from Berlin, Conn., began a 10-year tenure with Tony Stewart, the co-owner of SHR along with Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation.

From 1999 through 2008, Zipadelli was Stewart’s crew chief, with the duo winning Sprint Cup titles in 2002 and 2005 while claiming 33 victories and 10 poles. When Stewart left JGR following the 2008 season to form SHR, Zipadelli stayed and spent three years as the crew chief for Joey Logano, where he helped deliver Logano’s first career Sprint Cup victory on June 28, 2009 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.

The addition of Zipadelli to the SHR family is a reunion on two fronts – Stewart, of course, but also with Steve Addington, who spent 2004-2008 at JGR and is now Stewart’s crew chief at SHR with the No. 14 team. Tony Gibson serves as crew chief for the No. 39 team and driver Ryan Newman.

Zipadelli told reporters Friday he expects to be Danica Patrick's crew chief for the Daytona 500 and perhaps all of the former IndyCar driver's 10-race Sprint Cup schedule in the upcoming season. Zipadelli has yet to speak with Danica Patrick, but believes he can help build her #10 Cup team this season until he hires a permanent crew chief.

Zipadelli said it could take "until the end of the year" to find someone and said "We'll take as much time as we need." His goal is to find a crew chief who fits in with the rest of the organization, and he wants someone who can work with Patrick on a long-term basis.

Zipadelli's remarks indicated he may be atop the pit box for Patrick's entire first Cup season, which is scheduled to consist of 10 races.

- Stewart Haas Racing 

Ratcliff Named Crew Chief for JGR #20 Sprint Cup Series Team

Joe Gibbs Racing  announced today that Jason Ratcliff has been named crew chief for its No. 20 Sprint Cup Series team, replacing Greg Zipadelli who is leaving the organization to pursue an opportunity with Stewart-Haas Racing.

“We appreciate everything Greg has done for us here at Joe Gibbs Racing. He has been a big part of our success, but we felt the timing was right to make this transition for our race team which allows Greg the opportunity to pursue a director of competition position with Tony (Stewart),” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “We also felt that the timing was right to bring Jason (Ratcliff) to our Cup operation. He is a proven leader with a tremendous track record in our Nationwide program and we think he and Joey will work well together.”

Ratcliff spent the previous seven years as crew chief for JGR’s No. 18 Nationwide Series team. No team has been better over the past three seasons as the team won two consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner’s Championships in 2009 and 2010. They narrowly missed out on a third consecutive title this past season finishing just a few points off the pace in second. Over the past three seasons JGR’s No. 18 Nationwide Series team has won an incredible 30 races, with 68 top-five, and 85 top-ten finishes. In addition, they have led an astonishing 6,124 laps over that time.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to join our Cup operation and work with Joey and everyone on the 20 team,” said Ratcliff. “There is a great history with this program and we have two of the best sponsors in the sport with The Home Depot and Dollar General. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Joey a few times now on the Nationwide side so there is a familiarity there, but I’m looking forward to getting started fulltime and working alongside Dave (Rogers) and Darian (Grubb).”

Zipadelli has been the crew chief for JGR’s No. 20 program since the team was formed in 1999. Over the 13-year span he has won 33 total races and two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships with driver Tony Stewart (2002 and 2005). He was also on top of the pit box for Joey Logano’s first career victory in 2009 which made him the youngest driver ever to win on the Cup level. Zipadelli is leaving JGR to pursue an opportunity with Stewart-Haas Racing.

- Joe Gibbs Racing Press Release

Major Changes to Cooling Systems for 2012 Speedweeks at Daytona

NASCAR has issued a new technical bulletin to its Sprint Cup teams, detailing major changes to cooling systems for 2012 Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway in an effort to better regulate tandem drafting, the basis of which are:
Smaller radiator - Maximum of 2 gallon capacity
Smaller overflow tank - Maximum capacity of ½ gallon
Radiator inlet is moved up closer into the front center bumper area
Rate reduction in the springs softer springs
Smaller rear spoiler
Base line restrictor plate of 29/32 inch (1/64 inch larger than plate size for the 2011 Daytona 500)

According to Chris Paulson, president and owner of C&R Racing Inc. -- which manufactures nearly all of the radiators used in NASCAR's premier series -- the sanctioning body will be significantly reducing the size of the radiators and changing the location of the grille openings before the cars return for Daytona testing in January.

John Darby is implementing a two-gallon maximum radiator size," Paulson said. "So in other words, the big, huge five-gallon radiators everybody's running will be down to two. And that accumulator can was a one-gallon max volume. It's going down to a half-gallon-sized can."

The idea is to make the cooling systems less efficient, Paulson said, forcing the cars to run in open air to keep water temperatures down.

"The bigger effect is going to be moving the grille opening up to the bumper fascia area. Because now when they're tucked up behind another car, they're really going to kill all the air. So I think they're on the right track with that. They'll get the result that way."

In addition, NASCAR will require softer springs, a smaller rear spoiler and a baseline restrictor-plate size of 29/32ths of an inch, or 1/64th of an inch larger than the plate used for the 2011 Daytona 500.

"We want to be able to give the teams more options when it comes to drafting and we want to be able to reduce the difference in the speeds between the tandem style of racing and more of the pack style of racing that the fans are accustomed to seeing. We believe we're headed in the right direction with that."

Pressurized cooling systems had been used for years in open-wheel racing but made their way to NASCAR only in the past 12 years, Paulson said. And it wasn't until just a few years ago that teams realized they could run water temperatures well past the boiling point for entire races without appreciable damage to their engines.

That issue came to the forefront during last year's Budweiser Shootout, when drivers used tandem drafting throughout the entire race for the first time.

The pressure was reduced to 25 pounds at Talladega, but had only a limited effect on tandem drafting. Paulson believes the new rules -- combined with changes to the restrictor plates and spoilers -- should have the desired effect at Daytona. But it won't eliminate tandem drafting entirely.

"It'll be a short number of laps, and they'll be peeking out a lot more," Paulson said. "They certainly won't be able to do a sustained lap-after-lap run. I think that'll be taken care of. But you'll see, for one or two laps, them hook up if they want to go and pass people.

"I think that'll mix it up a lot more. And it needs to. I don't disagree with NASCAR of their wish to break that up. It's really changed that type of racing."


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kellogg's Returns As A Primary Sponsor Of Carl Edwards’ #99 Ford

Roush Fenway Racing and Kellogg Company have announced the multi-year extension of their NASCAR partnership. Kellogg will serve as a primary sponsor of the No. 99 Ford for four Sprint Cup races in 2012, teaming its famed Kellogg’s™ Frosted Flakes cereal and Cheez-It crackers with perennial championship contender and fan favorite Carl Edwards.

Kellogg has been involved with NASCAR for many years, including serving as a primary sponsor of the No. 99 Ford with Roush Fenway for the past two seasons. Edwards finished as runner up in the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup and has accumulated 19 wins during his stellar Cup career. He also has 89 top-five finishes, 144 top-10 finishes and 10 pole awards in just over 250 starts.

Edwards secured a position in the Chase for the Sprint Cup NASCAR “playoff” six times in seven attempts, and finished second in 2008 and 2011. In addition, he won the 2007 Nationwide Series Championship. This season, Edwards and the No. 99 team led the Sprint Cup point standings for 23 of the 36 weeks.

“It’s an honor to be involved with Kellogg,” said Edwards. “They have tremendous commitment to quality in everything they do and racing fans love their products. They are a fun partner to go racing with and I’m excited about continuing the relationship.”

“Our involvement with racing gives us a great opportunity to interact with our consumers in a fun, exciting environment,” said Brad Davidson, president, Kellogg North America. “We are thrilled to extend our relationship with Carl and Roush Fenway Racing, and we look forward to seeing Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes and Cheez-it crackers on the No. 99 car next season.”

- Roush Fenway Racing 

Greg Biffle to Participate in 2012 Rose Parade

NASCAR driver Greg Biffle will help Natural Balance Pet Foods make a “splash” in the upcoming 123rd Rose Parade on January 2nd, 2012. In 2010 the Natural Balance float rolled into the Guinness Book of World records as the world’s longest float and in 2011, took the record for the world’s heaviest float.

This year the Natural Balance float will be 116 feet long and feature a tropical floral setting. After extensive training, the dogs on the float will actually surf on 65-foot long waves in over 6,600 gallons of water on a float weighing more than 100,000 pounds. A specially designed “wave” machine is incorporated into the design of the float and creates a wave every minute.

The Rose Bowl Parade will air live from Pasadena, Calif. on ABC at 11:00 a.m. EST. Check out Biffle and Tillman, the World’s Fastest Skateboarding Bulldog at and get a sneak peek at the building of the float at

“I can’t wait to see the float,” said Biffle. “I’ve heard a lot about this year’s float and I’ve seen video of the floats from the last couple of years. Tillman came to our shop at Roush Fenway Racing last month and we got to see him skateboard. I heard he’ll be surfing on the float this year so I can’t wait to see that. It was definitely an honor to be asked to ride on the Natural Balance float because we share the same passion for the well-being of animals.”

Additional Facts:

In addition to the ABC broadcast, the 123rd Rose Parade will be broadcast on the Hallmark Channel, HGTV, KTLA (Tribune), NBC, RFD-TV and Univision. The Parade is also seen in more than 200 international territories and countries.

The Natural Balance float is 54th out of 91 parade entries. It is preceded by a high-school band and succeeded by the Southern California Peruvian Paso Horse Club Riders.

The parade will make an unprecedented pause for 45 seconds when the Natural Balance Float, a float of "high visual interest", passes the viewing stand, in order to ponder "dogs that surf".

For the very first time in Rose Parade history there will be a robotic camera on the float.

The Natural Balance Float is powered by Ford's latest version of the 6.8L 3v engine which will be available this April in the new Ford F-650 Super Duty Truck.

- Roush Fenway Racing PR

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Todd Gordon To Lead NO. 22 Shell/Penzoil Dodge Team.

Penske Racing announced today that Todd Gordon is the new crew chief of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series. The internal move comes on the heels of a successful 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) campaign, during which Gordon led the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Charger to six wins and six pole positions.

“Our first priority is always to look within the walls of Penske Racing when making personnel decisions,” said Roger Penske. “We want to reward success. The path we are taking with Todd mirrors what we did with Paul Wolfe who led the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge to a Chase berth in 2011. We think Todd can get the job done in the same manner.”

Gordon made the move to Penske Racing in January of 2011. He and Brad Keselowski quickly developed a driver-crew chief rapport that resulted in another successful season, helping make the No. 22 Dodge one of the premier entries in NNS competition.

“I can’t thank Roger and everyone at Penske Racing enough for this vote of confidence,” said Gordon. “It’s an honor to step into a race-winning team. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but this is an organization full of talented people that know how to get the job done. I look forward to getting the Shell/Pennzoil Dodge back in Victory Lane.”

Penske Racing continues to evaluate drivers to fill the seat of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge

- Penske Racing

2012 Budweiser Shootout At Daytona Lineup Announced

In what could be the deepest and most talented field to date, NASCAR announced Wednesday the list of eligible competitors for the 2012 Shootout.
The 34th annual season-opening event launches Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 18 with a start time set for 8:10 p.m. FOX and MRN will broadcast live nationally. 

Criteria is based upon the following qualifications, with eligibility based on a driver having been active in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series during the 2011 season:
· The highest ranked 25 competitors in 2011 NSCS driver points
· Previous winners at Daytona, including the Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola, and Shootout events.

“By taking the top 25 competitors in last year’s driver points and combining that with former race winners at Daytona, you have all the ingredients for an extremely deep and talented field of drivers for the 2012 Shootout,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “When you take a look at the roster of drivers that this entails, I have to believe this is one of the most competitive fields that have ever been assembled for this event.”

The race distance will again be 75 laps (187.5 miles), consisting of two segments – 25 and 50 laps. Both green-flag laps and yellow-flag laps will count. Between segments there will be a 10-minute pit stop allowing teams to pit to change tires, add fuel and make normal chassis adjustments. Crews will be permitted to work on cars and will be allowed to perform functions they would do on a normal pit stop in a regular NASCAR Sprint Cup event. All work must be performed on pit road or in the garage. Changing of springs, shock absorbers or rear-ends will not be permitted.

Starting positions will again be determined by a blind-draw at the annual Shootout Draw Party on Friday, Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. on the SPEED stage in the Midway, outside Turn 4.

The Shootout – a “non-points” event for NASCAR Sprint Cup competitors – was first held in 1979. Kurt Busch is the defending race champion.

Drivers eligible for the 2012 Shootout include: 
2011 Top 25 Driver Points
Tony Stewart
Carl Edwards
Kevin Harvick
Matt Kenseth
Brad Keselowski
Jimmie Johnson
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Jeff Gordon
Denny Hamlin
Ryan Newman
Kurt Busch
Kyle Busch
Clint Bowyer
Kasey Kahne
AJ Allmendinger
Greg Biffle
Paul Menard
Martin Truex Jr.
Marcos Ambrose
Jeff Burton
Juan Pablo Montoya
Mark Martin
David Ragan
Joey Logano
Brian Vickers
Others (criteria in parentheses)
Bill Elliott (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400, Shootout)
Geoff Bodine (Daytona 500, Shootout)
Derrike Cope (Daytona 500)
Michael Waltrip (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400)
Jamie McMurray (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400)
Trevor Bayne (Daytona 500)
Terry Labonte (Shootout)
Ken Schrader (Shootout)

- NASCAR Media