Day 2: 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart

Posted by imelda sovzky on Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 2: 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart Finishes First Again
Stewart, Teammate Ryan Newman, Winners of Humorous Newlywed Game Parody

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 30, 2011) — Tony Stewart’s on a roll. And that’s a good feeling when you’re in Las Vegas.

Stewart and Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Ryan Newman won Wednesday’s “This Ain’t the Newlywed Game,” a riff on the television original hosted by Bob Eubanks. Stewart and Newman edged the team of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch by most accurately recalling the estimated attendance of March’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The game had a myriad of humorous moments – some broad, others ribald – and in some cases more resembled a roast of the top 12 finishers in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™.

Stewart, who suggested engineering graduate Newman would be a better driver “if he didn’t think all the time,” got in the final zinger to his teammate’s incorrect answer that he would be the driver the champion most likely would bump out of the way on the final lap to win the race.

“I figured you’d pick me,” said a disappointed Newman. Stewart answered, “There you go thinking again.” Stewart thought Newman’s answer would’ve been “Brian Vickers.”

Carl Edwards said Roush Fenway Racing partner Matt Kenseth would be a better driver “if he didn’t qualify in the back.” Kenseth responded, “Are you kidding me? I beat Ryan Newman for poles this year.” Actually, they both won three Coors Light Poles during the 2011 season.

Kenseth set up Eubanks by telling Edwards his most annoying habit was always being late. Eubanks said, “Even late crossing the finish line” in reference to Edwards’ second-place finish to Stewart in the championship deciding race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“This could be the end of my career,” said Eubanks. “I’m not sure I’ll ever do it again but it’s been fun.”

The Newlywed-style event, held on downtown Las Vegas’ historic Fremont Street Experience, drew several thousand fans. Some carried signs welcoming their favorite drivers.

The six teams were comprised of Stewart/Newman, Hamlin/Kyle Busch, Edwards/Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr./Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon/Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski/Kurt Busch.

There were other activities as well, as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week rolled into its second day working toward Friday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Banquet at Wynn Las Vegas, a signature event that will feature same day coverage (9 p.m. ET) by SPEED, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and MRN Radio.

Travis Pastrana sat for a featured one-on-one interview during Wednesday’s second and final day of the Motorsports Marketing Forum at Caesars Palace. Pastrana noted his recovery process from a broken ankle, which delayed his NASCAR Nationwide Series career, saying, “I actually became a bigger fan and feel like I learned a lot by watching on television.”

Pastrana said the biggest challenge he faces in 2012 is working with crew chief and crew to make the optimum adjustments. “In Rally, if you want to make up time, you can take chances to jump up further,” he said. “In NASCAR, you really have to not only know what the car is doing, but how to relate that.”

Stewart hosts the popular 5th Annual “Stewie Awards” with co-host Matt Yocum at 9:30 p.m. ET Thursday on the SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90. The Stewies honor the best, boldest and funniest moments from the NASCAR season.

Thursday is Champion’s Week longest day with the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon, NASCAR Victory Lap and NASCAR After the Lap
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There’s Even A Bite Of ‘The Big Apple,

Posted by imelda sovzky

 
There’s Even A Bite Of ‘The Big Apple,’ Where He Celebrated Two Previous Titles
 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 29, 2011) — Tony Stewart left Las Vegas Motor Speedway a second-place finisher last March but returned to Las Vegas as No. 1 on Tuesday to begin celebrating his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
 
It’s Stewart’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week in Las Vegas. His 2002 and 2005 titles were celebrated in New York City. There was perhaps a bit of déjà vu during Tuesday’s annual Landmark Photo Shoot, with the faux Big Apple skyline of New York, New York appearing as background in one of the shots.
 
"There’s so much to do here in Las Vegas," said Stewart. "It’s the perfect place to have the year-end celebration. I look forward to having everyone from the Stewart-Haas Racing team, Office Depot and Mobil 1 here on Thursday night and spending some time with them."
 
Stewart hit a number of notable Las Vegas photo op hot spots for the traditional photo shoot. On this year’s agenda: the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign, the iconic lion outside the MGM Grand Hotel and an evening shoot at the Foundation Room in the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, which overlooks the Las Vegas strip.
 
All photos from today’s shoot can be viewed and downloaded at www.nascarmedia.com.
 
Stewart also participated in interviews with ESPN Radio, four Las Vegas television stations, members of the print media, all culminating with an appearance on MRN Radio’s NASCAR Live With Eli Gold.
 
No surprise – Stewart admits to being a bit winded during his cross-country championship festivities that followed his Nov. 20 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
 
Miss Sprint Cup, Monica Palumbo, accompanied the champion on his Las Vegas media rounds and suggested Stewart "had better be on your game this week" because it will be a busy four days, culminating with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Banquet on Friday night at The Wynn Resort.
 
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week festivities begin in earnest on Wednesday at Las Vegas’ famed downtown Fremont Street where Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosts a Newlywed Game-type competition featuring the top-12 drivers.
 
Tuesday also marked the opening day of the NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum being sponsored for the 12th year by Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal. The conference, featuring an array of insight from sports and marketing executives from within and outside the motorsports industry, continues Wednesday at Caesars Palace. Stewart was interviewed to open the two-day event. Among the attendees and panelists were NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps, Chief Operating Officer of NASCAR Media Group Jay Abraham and NASCAR Managing Director, Entertainment Marketing and Business Development Zane Stoddard. Dylan Kwasniewski and Darrell Wallace Jr., two of NASCAR’s stars of the future, were also among first-day participants.
 
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Day 1: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week

Posted by imelda sovzky

Day 1: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week 2011 Begins
With Tony Stewart’s Arrival In Las Vegas
There’s Even A Bite Of ‘The Big Apple,’ Where He Celebrated Two Previous Titles

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 29, 2011) — Tony Stewart left Las Vegas Motor Speedway a second-place finisher last March but returned to Las Vegas as No. 1 on Tuesday to begin celebrating his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

It’s Stewart’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week in Las Vegas. His 2002 and 2005 titles were celebrated in New York City. There was perhaps a bit of déjà vu during Tuesday’s annual Landmark Photo Shoot, with the faux Big Apple skyline of New York, New York appearing as background in one of the shots.

“There’s so much to do here in Las Vegas,” said Stewart. “It’s the perfect place to have the year-end celebration. I look forward to having everyone from the Stewart-Haas Racing team, Office Depot and Mobil 1 here on Thursday night and spending some time with them."

Stewart hit a number of notable Las Vegas photo op hot spots for the traditional photo shoot. On this year’s agenda: the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, the iconic lion outside the MGM Grand Hotel and an evening shoot at the Foundation Room in the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, which overlooks the Las Vegas strip.



Stewart also participated in interviews with ESPN Radio, four Las Vegas television stations, members of the print media, all culminating with an appearance on MRN Radio’s NASCAR Live With Eli Gold.

No surprise – Stewart admits to being a bit winded during his cross-country championship festivities that followed his Nov. 20 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Miss Sprint Cup, Monica Palumbo, accompanied the champion on his Las Vegas media rounds and suggested Stewart “had better be on your game this week” because it will be a busy four days, culminating with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Banquet on Friday night at The Wynn Resort.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week festivities begin in earnest on Wednesday at Las Vegas’ famed downtown Fremont Street where Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosts a Newlywed Game-type competition featuring the top-12 drivers.

Tuesday also marked the opening day of the NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum being sponsored for the 12th year by Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal. The conference, featuring an array of insight from sports and marketing executives from within and outside the motorsports industry, continues Wednesday at Caesars Palace. Stewart was interviewed to open the two-day event. Among the attendees and panelists were NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps, Chief Operating Officer of NASCAR Media Group Jay Abraham and NASCAR Managing Director, Entertainment Marketing and Business Development Zane Stoddard. Dylan Kwasniewski and Darrell Wallace Jr., two of NASCAR’s stars of the future, were also among first-day participants.

Wednesday, Nov. 30
· Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Champion’s Week Kickoff Event: Held on Fremont Street, this free event starts at 2:15 p.m. and will feature a Newlywed Game-type competition among the top-12 drivers. Drivers will be paired in groups of two, and will answer questions about each other mirroring the famous Newlywed Game style. Fans can watch the event on NASCAR.COM via this link: http://www.nascar.com/champions_week_kick_off.

Thursday, Dec. 1
· NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon: Beginning at 11 a.m. in the Bellagio Ballroom at the Bellagio, this annual industry/media gathering includes the presentation of awards to the Champion Crew Chief (Darian Grubb), Champion Sponsor (Office Depot and Mobil 1), Sunoco Rookie of the Year (Andy Lally) and Most Popular Driver (to be announced). Co-hosted by NASCAR and the National Motor Sports Press Association, fans can attend this exclusive event for the second-consecutive year. Fans can watch the event on NASCAR.COM via this link: http://www.nascar.com/Myers_Brothers_Luncheon.

· NASCAR Victory Lap: Set for 3 p.m., the fan-favorite NASCAR Victory Lap will feature the top 12 drivers parading – with engines growling – down the famed Las Vegas strip in their teams’ respective race cars. NASCAR Victory Lap will feature an authentic pit stop along the route and two burn-out sections for drivers. NASCAR Victory Lap will start in front of Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino on Las Vegas Boulevard and end at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Fans can watch the event on NASCAR.COM via this link: http://www.nascar.com/Victory_Lap.

· Coca-Cola Fan Zone: Fans can get a front-row seat for the conclusion of NASCAR Victory Lap at the Coca-Cola Fan Zone, a free event located at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. Beginning at noon, the Coca-Cola Fan Zone offers interactive displays from The Sprint Experience, Game Show Network, Ford, Coca-Cola, and is a prelude to NASCAR After the Lap.

· NASCAR After the Lap: Starting at 4:30 p.m., NASCAR After The Lap is one of the highlights of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week. Tickets for the third-annual event will be available for purchase at www.NASCARAfterTheLap.com for $20 each, with proceeds benefitting The NASCAR Foundation, a non-profit organization which raises funds that support children’s charities and important causes throughout the nation. Sponsored by Ford Motor Company and Coca-Cola, the event is renowned for its unfiltered, “tell-all” format featuring the 2011 top-12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers. Fans can watch the event on NASCAR.COM via this link: http://www.nascar.com/After_The_Lap

Friday, Dec. 2
2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony: The big show starts at 6 p.m. (9 p.m. ET), crowning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion driver and owner and honoring the other drivers who finished in the top 10 in the final series standings. The star-studded entertainment lineup for the ceremony includes country music icon Reba as host, a performance by Grammy-award winning rocker Kid Rock, as well as performances by two recent additions: up-and-coming country artist Ella Mae Bowen and Broadway sensation Jersey Boys.

• Sixteen-year-old Ella Mae Bowen is an emerging country singer-songwriter who is featured on the new “Footloose” soundtrack with her enthralling remake of "Holding Out For a Hero". Bowen is originally from Walhalla, South Carolina, and is currently signed with Big Machine Label Group, which is the record label home to country superstars like Reba, Taylor Swift and Martina McBride. Click here for a photo of Bowen.

• “Jersey Boys” is the smash-hit musical winner of the 2006 Tony Award on Broadway and Best Musical accolades in both London and Australia. This critically-acclaimed musical tells the tale of four blue-collar boys working their way from the streets of Newark to the top of the charts taking audiences behind the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Jersey Boys, voted #1 show in Las Vegas by the Las Vegas Review Journal, is currently performing at The Palazzo and is coming to Paris Las Vegas in March 2012. Click here for a photo of Jersey Boys.
SPEED, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio and MRN Radio provide same-day coverage, starting at 9 p.m. ET.

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Simplified Points System To Be Instituted In NASCAR Regional Touring Series

Posted by imelda sovzky on Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Simplified Points System To Be Instituted In NASCAR Regional Touring Series

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 29, 2011) – NASCAR announced today that the points system all NASCAR national series began using this year will be instituted in the regional touring level for 2012.
 
The points system was simplified to make it easier for fans, competitors and the industry to understand.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In some cases, race procedures developed at the touring level have been adopted at the national level. In 2009, the double-file restarts that had come about in the regional series, became a part of the national series race procedures.
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Blickensderfer Named Crew Chief of RCR's No. 31

Posted by imelda sovzky


Blickensderfer Named Crew Chief of RCR's No. 31 Caterpillar/Wheaties Racing Team



November 28, 2011


Interim crew chief Luke Lambert will assume yet-to-be announced position at RCR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by imelda sovzky


Richard Childress Racing
In the past week, Richard Childress Racing has made two separate announcements shuffling personnel within his organization. With the second announcement he brings in a new card to play in his 2012 plans. Intending to play all his cards, Richard Childress is a man of vision and his goal is to bring back what he feels belongs in his organization.  



On November 23rd, a personnel shuffle was announced with the Sprint Cup program indicating, this seasons' #29 crew chief, Gil Martin is taking on a new role as director of team operations and will report directly to the competition director, Kent Day.
Gil Martin is now Director of Team Operations


Gil Martin in his last 72 races has seven wins, twenty-five top-fives, and forty-five top-tens. His average finish is 10.2 all with Kevin Harvick and together, they won the 2010 Bud Shootout. 


In the Nationwide series Gil Martin as crew chief for Kevin Harvick, Inc. has earned in thirty-nine starts, thirteen wins, twenty-nine top-fives, thirty-six top-tens, three poles and led a total of 1,347 laps. 


Martin's career stats are equally impressive with 179 starts in the Sprint Cup series, he has two wins. With the Nationwide series in seventy-six starts, fourteen wins and in the Camping World Truck series, eight wins in fifty starts.
Shane Wilson now #29 Crew Chief


Shane Wilson formerly crew chief for Clint Bowyer and the #33 team, will now take over the crew chief duties for the #29 Team with Kevin Harvick.  Wilson and Harvick have worked together before in 2006, with ten wins, twenty-four top-five and thirty-one top-ten finishes. Those results earned them the Nationwide series championship and with the 824 point difference to second place, they reigned in that series record in NASCAR.




With the end of Kevin Harvick, Inc. at the close of the 2011 season, RCR is absorbing two of their Nationwide teams and one Camping World Truck series team. Elliott Sadler and Austin Dillon are expected to run the Nationwide series, while Ty Dillon is making his first full year run in the Camping World Truck series next season.  


On Monday, November 28th, RCR made another announcement playing a new card in his deck. Drew Blickensderfer is the new crew chief for the #31 team of Jeff Burton for the 2012 season. Richard Childress said, "Drew is a strong leader and will be a great complement to the Catepillar/Wheaties Racing team. He's won some big races, including the 2009 Daytona 500, his first race as a Sprint Cup crew chief.  There's every reason to believe the combination of Jeff and Drew will be a successful one."  


Drew Blickensderfer now #31 Crew Chief
Drew Blickensderfer comes to RCR from Roush Fenway Racing after leading the #6 team of David Ragan and has also served as a Nationwide series crew chief with drivers, Carl EdwardsDanny O'Quinn and Matt Kenseth since 2007. With Ragan, Blickensderfer earned two poles, and one win at the July Coke Zero 400 in Daytona this past season. 


The Illinois native began his career with Matt Kenseth in 2009. In his first race with Kenseth at the Daytona 500, they won and went on the next week at the Auto Club Speedway and won again.  This accomplishment makes Drew Blickensderfer one of the only crew chiefs in history to win his first two NASCAR Sprint Cup races.


Blickensderfer says, "I'm excited about the move to RCR and the opportunity to help lead Jeff Burton and the Catepillar/Wheaties Racing team back into contention," Blickensderfer went on to say, "I was around Jeff briefly at RFR and always admired and liked him.  He's a very talented driver and I look forward to working with him and the rest of the #31 team in 2012."
Luke Lambert's role TBD




Burton qualified for the Sprint Cup Chase from 2006-2008 and again in 2010.  He finished 20th in the 2011 driver point standings. Luke Lambert, the interim crew chief with the #31 team since July is impressive, ending the season with four top-tens in the final five races.  His average finish in the Chase is 12.7. Richard Childress also said, "Lambert will assume a yet-to-be announced new position at RCR." 




The announcement went on to say, "Further personnel changes within RCR's competition department will be announced in the coming weeks. 
Slugger Labbe remains #27 Crew Chief

Slugger Labbe remains unchanged as crew chief for the #27 team with Paul Menard, completing the complement of crew chiefs in the RCR deck of cards. Richard "Slugger" Labbe's pairing with Menard has produced an impressive win at the Brickyard 400 this past season and finishing 17th in the point standings with four top-fives and eight top-ten finishes.  

Richard Childress a Man with a Vision for 2012






Reshuffling the deck Richard Childress clearly feels he has a winning hand saying he "has  one goal in mind: to bring home the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship to RCR. 
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Notebook: Stewart picks Addington to be crew chief

Posted by imelda sovzky

Notebook: Stewart picks Addington to be crew chief
Special to the Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
(November 28, 2011)
Eight days after winning the 2011 Sprint Cup title with Darian Grubb, Tony Stewart has a new crew chief.
Steve Addington will replace Grubb as crew chief for the three-time Cup champion at Stewart-Haas Racing, the team announced Monday.
Addington had served as crew chief for Penske Racing’s Kurt Busch for two seasons, following a nearly two-year stint as crew chief for Kurt’s brother, Kyle, at Joe Gibbs Racing.
Stewart, who told Grubb that he was out of a job six weeks before they won the 2011 Cup title together, knows Addington from their time at JGR.
“I know Steve well, and I know how he goes about setting up a race car,” Stewart said. “My comfort level with him is already strong. He balances the technical part of our sport with the real-world experiences we get at the track, and that will allow for a smooth transition as we prepare to defend our title in 2012.”
Grubb is not expected to return to SHR, which still has openings for a competition director and crew chief for Danica Patrick, who will run a part-time Cup schedule in 2012 and a full-time Cup schedule in 2013.
“Darian was a very important part of the success we’ve had at Stewart-Haas Racing,” Stewart said. “I’m very proud of everything he helped accomplish, especially this year when we all rallied to win the championship.
“He’s a great person, and I know he’ll continue to be successful in this sport.”
Addington won 16 races the past four years with the Busch brothers.
“Tony and I are a lot alike, and we’re able to push each other,” Addington said. “I saw how he worked when we were at Gibbs together, and I’m not surprised at all at the success he’s created at Stewart-Haas Racing.”
Kurt Busch finished 11th in the standings with two wins in each of his two seasons with Addington. The temperamental driver has a reputation for airing his frustrations on is in-car radio, sometimes with Addington bearing the brunt of the criticism. Busch has had four crew chiefs in six years at Penske. No replacement for Addington has been named.
Blickensderfer named crew chief for Burton
Drew Blickensderfer, crew chief for Roush Fenway Racing’s David Ragan since September 2010, has taken over as crew chief for Richard Childress Racing driver Jeff Burton.
Blickensderfer replaces Luke Lambert, who had the job on an interim basis after Todd Berrier was released in July. Lambert will remain with the organization.
Burton finished 20th in the 2011 standings after making the Chase in four of the previous five years.
"I was around Jeff briefly at RFR and always admired and liked him,” Blickensderfer said. “He's a very talented driver, and I look forward to working him and the rest of the No. 31 team in 2012."
Blickensderfer was crew chief for 37 races with Matt Kenseth (2009-2010). He won the first two—the 2009 Daytona 500 and the following week at Auto Club Speedway—but then didn’t win again before being replaced after the 2010 Daytona 500.
Owner Richard Childress also announced that Slugger Labbe will remain as crew chief for Paul Menard next season. The team had previously announced that Shane Wilson would replace Gil Martin as crew chief for Kevin Harvick.
Hendrick’s seat came loose in crash
Rick Hendrick’s seat came loose during the Oct. 31 plane accident in which he suffered four broken ribs and a broken shoulder when a Hendrick Motorsports plane lost its brakes and skidded off the runway in Key West, Hendrick said Monday.
Hendrick spent a week in a North Carolina hospital. His wife, Linda, suffered some bruises to her leg.
Hendrick said Monday he spent three weeks sleeping in a chair and still has daily therapy sessions but is doing better.
“My belt was on, and something came loose in the seat itself,” Hendrick said during a teleconference Monday. “I hit the bulkhead and my wife. My chest and head went into the seat in front of me, and that’s where I got my ribs (broke) and I had a concussion.
“We were very fortunate. We’re glad that it wasn’t any worse than it was. We’re healing up. We don’t have any of the answers yet on exactly what happened there, but there’s a lot of smart people involved and we’ll get that figured out pretty soon, I hope.”
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Steve Addington Named Crew Chief for Tony Stewart

Posted by imelda sovzky on Monday, November 28, 2011

Steve Addington Named Crew Chief for Tony Stewart
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Darian was a very important part of the success we’ve had at Stewart-Haas Racing,” Stewart said. “I’m very proud of everything he helped accomplish, especially this year when we all rallied to win the championship. He’s a great person and I know he’ll continue to be successful in this sport.”
/team release/
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News and Views - Volume 3

Posted by imelda sovzky

For the week of November 28, 2011 - volume 3
With NASCAR's 2011 Chase contenders and Champion coming to Las Vegas, it should be a fun week for fans to watch as all activities lead to the Sprint Cup Series banquet on Friday evening. Fans can watch the banquet on the SPEED channel. Champion Tony Stewart will be presenting his fifth annual "Stewie Awards" on Thursday night on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Fans can vote for the "Stewie Award" winners online at SiriusXM Stewie Awards


A new CALENDAR tab has been added to the site, so fans can check what NASCAR activities are in place each day of the week.  And just a reminder, your suggestions are always encouraged, so please use the SUGGESTION BOX tab to submit your email directly to Fan4Racing for consideration. 


This past week was surprisingly busy with plenty of NASCAR activity for fans to take in after crowning a new champion. In fact, the third volume of News and Views may even be enough to give your mind a work out, with silly season madness in full swing.  


The race in Homestead results in the largest viewership on ESPN ever
The news came out this week indicating the final race of the Chase for the Championship earned the largest viewership ever for a NASCAR televised event on ESPN. The peak audience of 10.5 million viewers at the moment the new champion crossed the finish line was at 8:08 pm ET, Sunday, November 20th. The telecast averaged 6.8 million viewers. These final numbers do not include a rain delay from around 4:45 to 6 pm.  Viewership was up by 21 percent and the rating was up 18 percent from last year's championship event, also aired on ESPN. Furthermore, ESPN and ABC ratings for the series Chase season were up 14.8 percent over the 2010 season and does not include the Monday rain-delayed race at Chicagoland Speedway.  


Why do you think viewership was so high for this year's final and the season's Chase events?  Was it because of the economy or because Johnson was not going to win his sixth consecutive title?


On a side note, the Sprint Cup season also set records in Lead Changes and Leaders per race in 2011, with this season standing as the most statistically competitive season in the 63-year history of NASCAR.  With 27.1 lead changes per race as the most in the history of the Sprint Cup competition, one of two major records are broken.  The other record is the average leaders per event, with this season's average of 12.8, also the highest since the inaugural year of 1949.  


Roush Fenway Racing with significant layoffs
Apparently more than 100 to perhaps as many as 125 employees were released on Monday and possibly Tuesday.  The team had employed as many as 440 people prior to these layoffs.  It was announced earlier that with needed sponsorship, RFR would field three cup cars for the 2012 season, with David Ragan, #6 team missing a chair when the music stopped this week. More bad news, indicates the team is also without sponsors for Matt Kenseth's #17 team leaving RFR to decrease its Nationwide operations and presence from three to just two, possibly only one car for the 2012 season.


Is this action by RFR an indication of the competitiveness for sponsorship dollars? Or, while other teams are maintaining or gaining on this front, i.e. Bobby Labonte, RCR, and others, does this indicate a management issue at the famed RFR organization?


After almost winning the Daytona 500 this year, David Ragan did win the second Daytona race in July. Earlier in the season, Ragan also won the non-points Showdown race giving him entrance to the All-star race in Charlotte. Despite his success, Jack Roush made some rather harsh statements about Ragan's performance saying, "David Ragan was a frustration and a disappointment for all of us, because he was not able to realize the potential that he had, given what his skill is and what the expectations of the sponsor were, and what the performance that was being demonstrated in the car and what engineering package was." Jack Roush, later clarified his comments saying, "I have nothing but the highest level of respect for David Ragan both as a person and a competitor," further stating, "He has been a valuable member of the Roush Fenway family for many years and has been a great representative of our organization....my comments was aimed at my sincere disappointment that I have not been able to put the pieces together with David that would have supported the type of success that I feel he is capable. With that said we have watched David grow tremendously as a driver and much of that growth was manifested in his successes on the track this season."  It was later confirmed by Steve Newmark, vice president of business operations, that the team was trying to keep Ragan under the RFR umbrella with a potential Nationwide car for next season. But as of now, no official announcements from the organization confirms this move for Ragan.


What are your thoughts about Jack Roush's characterization of David Ragan's performance?  Agree or Disagree? Is a move to the Nationwide series a good move for Ragan? Or should he look elsewhere for another cup ride?


Chris Heroy named as new crew chief for Montoya
An engineer with Hendrick Motorsports' #5 team, Chris Heroy was announced this week as the new crew chief for Juan Pablo Montoya's #42 team.  Montoya's previous crew chief, Brian Pattie was released in July, with Jim Pohlmann serving as interim crew chief for Montoya's second half of the season. Brian Pattie, is expected to take the crew chief duties at Michael Waltrip Racing for their new #15 team with Clint Bowyer.


Will this pairing be the magic Montoya is looking for to contend for a championship title in 2012?


Same question for Bowyer and Pattie...will their pairing bring a championship season to Michael Waltrip Racing?


New team number for Martin-Waltrip Team at MWR
Commemorating, sponsor Charlie Loudermark's founding of Aaron's, Inc. in 1955, the Martin-Waltrip team will drive the #55 camry for the 2012 and 2013 Sprint Cup seasons.  Mark Martin and owner, Michael Waltrip will share driving duties for the team with Martin taking 25 cup events in each of the next two seasons. While Martin will race at the 2012 Daytona 500, Waltrip will race the remaining restrictor plate races plus Kentucky, his home state. The remaining races will be a combination of drivers and sponsor partners, when Martin or Waltrip is not behind the wheel of the #55 car.  


Who benefit's most from the partnership of Martin and Waltrip?  Mark Martin or Michael Waltrip Racing?


Addington announces he is leaving Penske
After hearing rumors of his impending departure from Penske throughout the Chase season, Steve Addington finally called Kurt Busch on Monday afternoon, around 4 pm to let Busch know that he is "indeed leaving" the team.  Rumors further speculate, Addington is expected to join Stewart Haas Racing. In fact, Monday morning it was announced, Addington will be Stewart's crew chief for the 2012 season.  


Did SHR make the right decision in making Addington the new crew chief for the #14 team of Stewart? Yea or Nay?  


Darian Grubb's future remains uncertain
Tony Stewart's latest comments via Tuesday's media conference is "We're looking at all of our options right now."  Stewart went on to say, after fulfilling his media obligations for the week, "I'll be getting back to the shop and we'll sit down as a group and try to come up with a decision and figure out...what we think is the best option and decision for the company."  With the Monday morning announcement of Addington taking over crew chief duties for the #14 team of Stewart, it appears the decision is made and Darian Grubb is out at SHR.


Will this championship crew chief find another position for the 2012 season?


Martin promoted and Wilson becomes Harvick's crew chief
Richard Childress Racing made an announcement on Wednesday that Gil Martin, the crew chief for Harvick's #29 team since May, 2009 and with RCR since August 2000 is now director of team operations, reporting to director of competition Kent Day. Taking his place as crew chief for the #29 team of Kevin Harvick is Shane Wilson. Wilson was with the #33 team of Clint Bowyer for the past three years. The #33 team operation was shut down with Bowyer moving to Michael Waltrip Racing for the 2012 season.  RCR's press release further stated, "Further personnel changes with RCR's competition department will be announced in the coming weeks."


Is this the dream team for Harvick to win a championship in the 2012 season?


UPDATED with Monday Nov 28th announcement: 
RUMORS of Blickensderfer heading to RCR?
While Jack Roush has indicated his intention to keep Drew Blickensderfer at RFR by placing him as a crew chief with one of his Nationwide teams, rumors surfaced this week that Blickensderfer may have other intentions with Richard Childress Racing as a crew chief for Jeff Burton's #31 team. Announcements are expected this week from the RCR organization. 


Monday, November 28th, RCR announced Drew Blickensderfer will be the crew chief for Jeff Burton's #31 team for the 2012 season.  RCR did say, Luke Lambert will be reassigned to another position within their organization, TBD.  


So now the question becomes as many others, how will the team fare next season?  Will the matchup bring a championship title to the #31 team and Jeff Burton?


Options in 2012 for Vickers?
Brian Vickers, Red Bull Racing team is without the sponsorship needed to continue their operations for the 2012 season, leaving Vickers searching for work. After the Ford 400 in Homestead, Vicker's stated "I'm working on several options right now in the Cup Series that I'm very excited about, but until they're done, they're not done." He further stated, "I'm looking forward to hopefully continuing a strong career here in the Cup Series. I love this racing and I love what I do, especially with everything I went through last year. It taught me just how much I really do love it."  


Will Brian Vickers be able to put together a deal with a new team in time for the 2012 season?  If so, which team will Brian call his home next season?






Fan4Racing wants to hear your voice now.  Post your views with comments to these news stories. Thanks!

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Mark Martin: Why many may be questioning MWR signing

Posted by imelda sovzky on Sunday, November 27, 2011


Mark Martin with Hendrick Motorsports
All eyes were on Mark Martin as it was made apparent he would not be back with Hendrick Motorsports in 2012.  A lot of people at first speculated that Mark Martin would be heading over to join Stewart Haas Racing, however that would not be the case. 


After a lackluster season, David Reutimann was told he would not return to the #00 Aaron's Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing, leaving his seat open. In recent announcements from MWR for the 2012 season, fans officially learned Mark Martin will be sharing driving responsibilities with driver-owner Michael Waltrip in a new car #55 sponsored by Aaron's.   


Although Mark Martin is highly respected as a veteran driver with NASCAR, some may question why sign a two year deal with a driver on the last leg instead of the prime of his career? Especially when you consider at the close of this season, Martin finished 22nd in points. Also, his last truly competitive effort was in 2009 with five wins, which in retrospect, now appears to have been his last shot at winning a championship title. There are plenty of other current drivers equally as talented, who could make a competitive full-time run in that car in the next two seasons. 


Is Martin the Brett Farve of NASCAR with his inability to make his mind up about the direction of his career, wavering between part-time and full-time seasons? Since Martin will not be running a full season schedule, perhaps this poses more than just one question. Is this career move for Michael or Mark? If Martin's performance has been less than competitive at HMS, with some of the best equipment in NASCAR, what gives fans confidence that he'll win with a team in what has proven to be less competitive equipment? 


The key resource for any team is money in determining how competitive a team might perform and Mark Martin's reputation certainly holds the potential to bring added financial support with his name to MWR. If that is the case, the additional resources will perhaps not only improve the competitiveness of the equipment, but Mark Martin's veteran experience can also provide an added depth to this relatively newer, younger NASCAR team. 


What happens next with Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip Racing is a story yet to be told. For now, while we ask questions about Martin's latest career move, we can only sit tight and wait for the answers as the rest of this story unfolds when the new season begins at Daytona in February 2012.  
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Making Racing Games & Doin' Schoolwork...

Posted by imelda sovzky on Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sorry for not posting sooner.  I'm not dead.  Anyway, Happy Belated Thanksgiving.  Not much else to say that I didn't say last year.  Although there was a fourth life-or-death situation I was in.  In Little League Baseball, I was the pitcher...well, I was the guy standing next to the coach who tossed pitches to the batter.  And I got hit in the chest with a line drive.  There was a kid recently who died from the same incident but I went to the hospital and came out that night uninjured.  So that is good.

But about this Thanksgiving.  I was miles away from my family, I went to a Thanksgiving dinner hosted by one of my students at FIEA.  Most everybody was playing video games (Halo, Marvel vs. Capcom) which is okay.  I got the chance to play NFS: Hot Pursuit which is good but I'll reserve my opinions for later.

Strangely, when I asked everyone what they were thankful for, they had little to say.  Which is a shame since this is a religious holiday...the Pilgrims offered thanks to God that they actually survived for as long as they did (and received help from the Indians).  But I don't know.  People use any occasion as a means to socialize and just let go for a while.  Gamers don't seem respectful of tradition anymore.

So what have I been doing for school?  Well, I've been working on it non-stop.  We're given one assignment for Programmers only and that is to make an OpenGL game mimicking some old-school arcade game such as Pac-Man and Asteroids.  We're paired into teams of two.  I fortunately got to make Super Sprint.  Click here to read more about Super Sprint.


Now this is a super-beta screenshot but I've added more levels (including the ability to drive over and under bridges!!!).  While I'm working a lot on this, it's been "fun" work.  So at least that's good.  I split the track into three layers (the road, the rest of the screen, and any bridges/overpasses/things that obscure the track).  So I use a getPixel system to see if the car leaves the original road layer and have it bounce in the other direction accordingly.  But collision detection is a bitch, I'll tell you that.

I know that I'm being graded on this assignment although it's mostly on how much effort you put into it.  Unlike most people, I'm working hard on this because I personally want the game to be good.  I'm feeling this game, man.  It can have at least three players (everyone gathers around the keyboard) and multiple levels.  Just shoot me 1024x768 .png's of levels and I can insert them into the game.

Seriously, I'm getting friggin sick and tired of working my ass off on projects that get shoved into the file cabinet or thrown away after they are done.  So I want this game to MEAN SOMETHING.  Is that too much to ask?

The thing that's so sad about this is that it's due Wednesday--three days from now.  And by then I really can't work on it anymore.  Well, we're going to port it to the original Xbox (not the Xbox 360, DAMN!!!) but that's not much to add.  I may be able to add more features after the due date, we'll see.

Funny...had my racing game pitch gone through, I would've had to devote more time to that instead of this game.  So even though one door shuts on me, another one opens.  Yeah, because tiny OpenGL games are really worth it!

Plus, I'm also working on another racing game right now for some Rapid Prototype class.  The same class that gave the world 30 Seconds or Less.  A fun tangent--many people worked on game using the Kinect in previous rounds, including I with my How to Train Your Dragon game.  And guess what--all of them had awkward, delayed controls.  Congrats people, if you don't already know the Kinect is a piece of crap, then now you do!  The only good Kinect games are my HoTYD game and a South Park game in which you Kick the Baby.  Not making this stuff up.

But anyway, this fifth and final game in the class is a sequel to my A.R.I. game but with Grand Theft Auto free-roam and Crazy Taxi delivery-system.  The goal is to polish the game rather than create an entirely new one.  But frankly, my teammates aren't really into this project and I'm getting sick and tired of working in Unity.  So right now, I place more stake in my Super Sprint clone.

With this semester nearing the end, I go home for Christmas then head back to FIEA for another semester.  And this is when things get worse.  Most of the semester is dedicated to entering "Programming Boot Camp" and working on things like our own graphic shaders and game engines.  Plus I'll also be working on capstone projects, none of which I'm too enthusiastic about.  So does this semester sound like fun?  No, it doesn't.  It's like Time Crisis...you kill a boss and then you go to Level 2.  So it ain't over yet.

"We're game designers!!  We're the VSSE!!"

"Damn, this game is hard.  I need more quarters."

And thus, once this semester ends, that's the last chance I really get to make racing games.  It's really sad.  All I wanted to do is make great racing games but not now.  Too busy working on other stuff that I'm not really feeling great about.  But that's the breaks.  Gotta do stuff you don't like to get what you do like.  Still, I hate working towards something that presumably adds up to nothing...or a job at Electronic Arts that makes me want to jump off the roof of the building.

Anyway, off to sleep.  Then I'll work on the Super Sprint game even more.  But I'll end on this.  In an Intro to Art class, we worked on texturing a player model in Maya.  I made Matt Damon in a business suit.  Needless to say, this model is so realistic, you couldn't tell the difference between my guy and the actual Matt Damon.

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