Atlanta a Must-Win Event for Those Outside Chase Bubble

Posted by imelda sovzky on Monday, August 30, 2010

Atlanta a Must-Win Event for Those Outside Chase Bubble

Sitting on the outside looking in, the Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway will likely be a must-win event for those drivers still fighting to qualify for NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup Series Championship.
A small gang of NASCAR namesakes – Jamie McMurray (13th place, -100), Mark Martin (14th, -101), Ryan Newman (15th, -118) and Kasey Kahne (16th, -136) – are still trying to battle their way into NASCAR’s 10-race postseason dash. With just two races remaining to move into the top-12 in the standings, Atlanta will likely prove critical to determining these drivers Championship hopes.
The odds are staked against this group of drivers, making the need to drive all out for a win even more critical. While 13th-place McMurray sits just 100-points back of Clint Bowyer’s 2920 points, Bowyer merely needs to finish seventh or better in each of the next two races to secure his Chase berth, even if McMurray wins consecutive races.
However, a push into the postseason is not unthinkable for McMurray, who surged to pick up five positions in points over the last five races. In that period, McMurray has outscored Bowyer by 81 points and the Missouri native has two wins in 2010 to buoy his confidence.
Of other hopefuls, Kahne won last year’s NASCAR Labor Day weekend Sprint Cup Series night race at Atlanta Motor Speedway to secure his position in the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. Meanwhile, Newman’s history in Atlanta includes seven pole wins, tying the “Rocket Man” for the track record with his mentor, Buddy Baker.
McMurray has never qualified for the Chase, while Martin (four times), Newman (three) and Kahne (two) have each previously made the field and each most-recently qualifying in 2009. Kane also previously made up the largest Chase-points deficit in history to qualify in 2006 when he made up 90 points in the final two races.
Among those currently closest to falling out of the Chase, Greg Biffle (11th, 3055 total points) has the best-career record at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Biffle has an average finish of 15th in Atlanta , seventh-best among active Cup drivers, and nine top-10 finishes in 15 starts. However, both 10th-place Kurt Busch and 12th-place Bowyer has also been strong in Atlanta, with Busch winning the past two Spring races at the track and boasting an average finish of 17.7 (15th best among Cup drivers) and Bowyer having an average finish of 16.4 (12th best among Cup drivers).
Points leader Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon have already secured their position in the Chase and the next nine drivers are eligible to clinch their position at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend.

Coming Off Montreal Win, Zaxby’s Car to Feature Ga.-Native Townley

Coming off this weekend’s win in Montreal by road course ringer Boris Said, the No. 09 Zaxby’s Nationwide Series ride will enter the Great Clips 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series night race at Atlanta Motor Speedway with Georgia-native John Wes Townley at the wheel.
The win in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve by Said marked the first-career win for team owner Robby Benton of RAB Racing in three years of competition in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Townley, who competed as a youth in Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Thursday Thunder, will make his first-career NASCAR start at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Townley recorded one win and 13 top-10 finishes in five years racing INEX-sanctioned events at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Townley has competed on a part-time basis for RAB Racing since the 2008 season and Richard Childress Racing since 2010, appearing in 37 events. Townley’s best finish came earlier this year in the Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where he placed 15th.

Busch Artwork to be Added to Club One Wall of Champions

A photoillustration of race winner Kurt Busch from the 2010 Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be added to the Club One “Wall of Champions” during the 2010 Emory Healthcare 500 race weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 3-6.
Atlanta-based photoillustrative artist Ardy Arani has created a unique image of each Atlanta race winner since the opening of Club One in October of 2006 and the eight-foot-long photo of Busch will be added to the “Wall of Champions” during this weekend’s events.
“Racing is bold, colorful and full of energy, and that is what I try to incorporate into these images,” said Arani about the latest edition to the Club’s collection.
“When you stand there and look at an image this size, it is in your face and demands your attention, just like a NASCAR Sprint Cup car on the banks of Atlanta Motor Speedway,” added Atlanta Motor Speedway president Ed Clark. “When Ardy and I began planning the art for Club One, we knew it would have to be something dramatic, and his large format images really make an impact.”
Busch, a three-time winner in Atlanta , will be on hand to sign the art and will participate in a private question-and-answer session in Club One prior to the running of the Emory Healthcare 500 on Sunday, Sept. 5. Busch will answer questions from fans as a select bonus only for Club One ticket holders.

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NASCAR: Expansion of Communications

Posted by imelda sovzky

Expansion of Communications Function Will Build on Strength of Current Competition-related Efforts and Allow For More Strategic Focus on Brand and Consumer Marketing, Digital and Social Media and Collaboration with Industry Stakeholders

New Department will be Led by Chief Communications Officer;

Search for IMC-Experienced Leader is Underway

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 30, 2010) – Following a comprehensive review of its communications function and public relations activity across the industry, NASCAR announced today that it will move immediately to create an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) department that will better position the sanctioning body to lead best practices and provide overall thought leadership in the communications space for the entire industry.
“Our sport has unique challenges and very diverse constituencies and it has become clear that NASCAR must be a catalyst in this space to help all stakeholders find greater value,” said Brian France, NASCAR’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “This is a major investment for the company at a critical time and represents an elevation of this highly-important function for NASCAR and the industry. We are confident this evolved approach will yield immediate and long-term value for NASCAR, its media and business partners and the industry as a whole.”
The new communications structure will allow NASCAR to be even more effective on the competition aspects of the sport, an area where NASCAR was regularly cited in the review as being among the best when compared to other major league sports by media in all genres. It also positions the sanctioning body to take a much more strategic and offensive approach to selling the sport in a constantly-evolving traditional, digital and social media landscape. Three areas that will see greater communications resourcing and organizational focus moving forward include: brand and consumer marketing; digital and social media strategy and activation; and strategic collaboration with industry stakeholders.

NASCAR IMC will be led by a Chief Communications Officer (CCO) who will become part of the senior leadership team, reporting directly to NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps, with a direct line to Brian France. A global search, led by Korn/Ferry International, to identify and secure top-level talent to fill the CCO position and other critical roles within the planned IMC structure is under way. It is expected the leadership of NASCAR IMC will have broad consumer marketing communications experience with global brands, strong familiarity with integrated marketing communications and, preferably, deep experience in sports and entertainment marketing.

Current Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter will continue to play a significant role in this evolution. NASCAR expects Hunter’s valuable experience and insight into the inner workings of the sport to continue to be important assets not only in this transition, but also to the new CCO for years to come. At the end of this season, Hunter will assume a new role as Vice President of Special Projects. Managing Director of Corporate Communications Ramsey Poston has elected not to pursue a role within the new structure, but Poston will continue to lead the department on a day-to-day basis through the balance of 2010. He will then move into a consulting role for the sanctioning body.

“As the communications review accurately revealed, Jim and Ramsey have done a fantastic job of moving the competition aspects of our operation to an elite level,” said Phelps. “The strong foundation they’ve built has positioned NASCAR to expand this operation to meet the needs of the future and we are confident their combined experience, expertise and passion for NASCAR will be strong assets in that process.”
NASCAR also has retained Taylor to provide on-going strategic counsel throughout this process. That engagement will be led by Taylor Managing Partner Brett Jewkes, who has deep experience with NASCAR, in the sport and working with top brands that operate with an IMC model.
It is anticipated the framework of the department and new leadership team will be in place by the start of the 2011 season with implementation of the new structure and approach accelerating throughout the balance of 2010.

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Notebook: Montreal jinx still haunts Ambrose

Posted by imelda sovzky on Sunday, August 29, 2010

Notebook: Montreal jinx still haunts Ambrose

[more Nationwide and Campingworld truck--News and Results clickon title]

By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR  Service
(August 29, 2010)

MONTREAL—Polesitter Marcos Ambrose thought he had the fastest car in Sunday’s NAPA Auto Parts 200 Nationwide Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
He was right—until a problem with his electrical system cut the power of his No. 47 Toyota in half.
Ambrose’s crew tried changing batteries, but that didn’t fix the problem. Ultimately, Ambrose brought the car to the garage after 50 of 77 laps, extending his winless streak in Montreal—and his frustration—to four years.
In the inaugural race in 2007, Ambrose was spun while leading by Robby Gordon, who ignored NASCAR’s order to abandon second position and blend in deeper in the field. In 2008, it was a pit-road speeding penalty that foiled a likely win.
Last year, Carl Edwards passed Ambrose through the final corner to steal the victory. In four years, Ambrose has led 149 laps at the 2.709-mile road course with no win to show for it.
“First of all, we had the fast car there,” Ambrose said of Sunday’s effort. “We were dominating early on. We just had an alternator or battery lay down on us, and the engine went into half RPM. I held the lead for a long time.
“I had to turn all the fans off for the brakes and the engine and me. We all got hot and damaged. Eventually, the motor got so bad we had to change the battery, and then I broke something in the left front suspension.”
Even in defeat, Ambrose was philosophical.
“It’s a great track,” he said. “It’s a great city. Huge crowd. I love coming here. Just because I’m not winning doesn’t mean I don’t have fun.”

Back to school
Paulie Harraka, 20, a product of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program, made his first Nationwide start Sunday, qualifying 31st and finishing 29th despite being caught in a Lap 12 wreck.
Harraka, however, had to shoehorn his participation in the race between activities leading up to his junior year at Duke University, which was an associate sponsor on the No. 87 Chevrolet he drove for owner Joe Nemechek.
“I actually drove down to Duke Wednesday morning, moved all my stuff into my apartment Wednesday evening and then flew up to Montreal Thursday,” Harraka said. “I’ll fly back early Monday morning. I’ve got to be in class at 10 o’clock. It’s wide open—there’s a lot going on.”

Driver stable after heart attack
Racing television commentator and driver Didier Schraenen, 51, suffered a heart attack after finishing eighth in Sunday’s 20-lap F1600 race, one of the supporting events for the NAPA Auto Parts 200. Schraenen was taken to a local hospital, where he was listed in stable condition.

Ranger bangs out a win
In a battle reminiscent of a Carl Edwards-Brad Keselowski confrontation, Andrew Ranger knocked 2009 K&N Pro West champion Jason Bowles into the wall in Turns 13 and 14 on the final circuit to win Sunday’s 23-lap NAPA Autopro 100 NASCAR Canadian Tires Series race. Ranger’s shove was payback for a shot he took from Bowles in the hairpin moments earlier, when Bowles used his bumper to pass Ranger. Bowles, the only American in the race, finished 20th.
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Kevin Harvick clinches Chase spot with win at MIS

Posted by imelda sovzky on Sunday, August 15, 2010

By Matt Harding

In Play Magazine

Kevin Harvick won the Carfax 400 with Denny Hamlin, who finished first in the June race at MIS, coming in second place. [FULL RACE RESULTS HERE]

Harvick, who started with the eighth position, passed Hamlin with only 11 laps to go in the race. The No. 29 crew gambled when they stayed out on the track, rather than making a pit stop, during a caution toward the end of the race. Obviously, with the win, the move paid off.

Kasey Kahne, who started the race on the pole, had this to say about his performance: "We actually ran pretty good for a long time. It's disappointing, I thought we had a good shot. Something went wrong there."

Harvick's win at MIS makes it three wins on the season. He had this to say about his win: "We had a good car in practice. This has been a very bad track for us, and then to come here and do what we did today says a lot about where RCR (Richard Childress Racing) is."

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