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American Ethanol E15 names Chicagoland Truck race
Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup kickoff weekend fueled by sponsor BUY: Chicagoland race tickets Chicagoland Speedway announced Tuesday that its NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Sept. 18 will be known as the American Ethanol E15 225 (Sept. 18, 8:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). With support from Growth Energy, an official NASCAR Green partner, and the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, American Ethanol will serve as the sponsor for the race leading into the first Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup event as the 10-race playoff for NASCAR's premier series opens at the Joliet, Illinois facility for the fifth consecutive year. "As we kick off our Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend, we are thrilled to welcome a partner as involved in the sport as American Ethanol ," Scott Paddock, president of Chicagoland Speedway, said in a track release. "Their commitment to reducing emissions through the cleaner burning ethanol fuel has been a vital part of NASCAR's Green Clean Air initiative. American Ethanol has proven to be a tremendous partner not only for Chicagoland Speedway, but for NASCAR's teams, fans and the industry as a whole." The event will be the 16th of the 23-race Camping World Truck Series schedule, and it will be the third event sponsored by American Ethanol , which served as a presenting sponsor for the June 13 American Ethanol Presents the Drivin' for Linemen 200 Brought to You by Ameren at Gateway Motorsports Park and as the title sponsor of the American Ethanol 200 on June 19 at Iowa Speedway. "Growth Energy is thrilled to sponsor the American Ethanol 225 and work in conjunction with Chicagoland Speedway and Illinois family corn growers to promote a homegrown, American fuel," Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, said in the track release. "The drivers at Chicagoland Speedway and across the nation rely on E15 for superior horsepower and performance, and as they will tell you, it delivers." Kyle Busch won last year's event for his fourth career Camping World Truck Series victory at Chicagoland. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Kraft's Korner: The Daytona 500 and the Super Bowl
RELATED: Drivers make their picks for the big game Super Bowl 50 is this Sunday with the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos squaring off for the Vince Lombardi Trophy and the National Football League championship. The game is the culmination of the entire NFL season and is the sport's biggest event. Similarily, the Daytona 500 is the biggest event in NASCAR and the "Great American Race" serves as the start to the entire Sprint Cup Series season. Interestingly enough, the Daytona 500 is eight years older than the Super Bowl, with the event's first run coming in 1959, whereas the first Super Bowl was played in 1967. Last year's Daytona 500 saw Joey Logano take the victory over Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr . Weeks earlier, the New England Patriots knocked off the Seattle Seahawks to take home Super Bowl XLIX, thanks to a game-clinching interception on the goal line with 20 seconds left that was a top moment in its own right. RELATED: @nascarcasm's Madden ratings for drivers Winning a Daytona 500 carries with it plenty of prestige and a likely spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field. Winning a Super Bowl carries with it plenty of prestige as well. Not to mention the fun that is had away from the game with a memorable melange of television advertisements and a big halftime musical performance. So with that in mind and both events coming up, we examine the top moments from each. Top Super Bowl moments 4. Joe Montana leads the San Francisco 49ers to a game-winning drive in Super Bowl XXIII against the Cincinnati Bengals. He finds John Taylor open in the end zone for the game-winning score with 34 seconds left and a 20-16 win. See Montana's final drive here . 3. Trailing the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXV, Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly engineers a drive to get into field-goal range for the win. However, Scott Norwood misses the 47-yard field goal as Buffalo loses 20-19 and suffers the first of four straight Super Bowl defeats. See the ending here . 2. New York Jets quarterback "Broadway" Joe Namath guarantees victory over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Namath leads the Jets to the only Super Bowl win in franchise history thus far, a 16-7 win. See highlights of the game here . 1. The undefeated New England Patriots have their eyes on a perfect 19-0 season, but Eli Manning and the New York Giants stand in their way in Super Bowl XLII. Manning leads the Giants on a game-winning drive that includes a miraculous catch by David Tyree en route to a 17-14 win. See the highlights of the game here . Top Daytona 500 moments 4. In the 1976 Daytona 500 , Richard Petty and David Pearson battle for the win on the final lap. Contact occurs as the two come off of Turn 4, and both cars spin into the infield. Pearson is able to get his car across the finish line for the win, while Petty can't get his engine to restart and finishes in second. 3. The first Daytona 500 in 1959 produces a photo finish between Lee Petty and Johnny Beauchamp. The on-the-spot unofficial decision goes to Beauchamp, but after three days spent examining the photos, NASCAR reverses its decision and gives the victory to Petty by a margin of less than a yard. 2. The 1979 Daytona 500 is the first NASCAR event to be broadcast live flag-to-flag. On a battle for the lead on the final lap, Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison crash side- by -side into the Turn 3 wall. A fight breaks out between the two drivers, while Richard Petty goes on to win the race. 1. For years, this was the race that was Dale Earnhardt's kryptonite. "The Intimidator" captures the 1998 Daytona 500 (his 20th try at it) and is congratulated by every crew on the edge of pit lane as he makes his way to Victory Lane.
Michael Waltrip driving in Daytona 500
RELATED: 2016 Driver Tracker " Daytona Speedweeks schedule Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip announced Thursday that he will compete in this year's season-opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event as driver of the BK Racing No. 83 Toyota. Waltrip, 52, made the announcement during the FS1 program "Race Hub." "It's a great opportunity for us to expand our team and go racing," Waltrip said, adding that Maxwell House will provide sponsorship. BK Racing will field three teams at Daytona, with Waltrip joining current BKR drivers Matt DiBenedetto and David Ragan . DiBenedetto competed for the team in the No. 83 last season while Ragan, who joined BKR during the offseason, will be in the team's No. 23 Toyota. With Waltrip in the No. 83, the organization will field a third entry for DiBenedetto at Daytona International Speedway . It is believed to be a one-race deal for Waltrip, who made three starts last season and has made no more than four starts annually since 2010. Waltrip scored his first NASCAR premier series victory in 2001 when he won the Daytona 500 , a race that was marred by the death of seven-time series champion Dale Earnhardt. Waltrip came back to win the 500 again in 2003. He also won the summer race at Daytona in 2002 and the fall event at Talladega Superspeedway in 2003. Waltrip was also a team owner – his Michael Waltrip Racing organization fielded full-time teams with the backing of Toyota, which entered the series in 2007. MWR drivers won seven times before the organization closed its doors at the end of the 2015 season. Waltrip has 28 career starts in the "Great American Race." The 58th running of the Daytona 500 is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 21 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR).
Post-Race Reactions: American Ethanol 200
Hear from all the top finishers from Saturday's American Ethanol 200 from Iowa Speedway.
Matt Tifft to make 13 starts in XFINITY Series for JGR
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (February 5, 2016) – "Names are Made Here" in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and young Ohio-native Matt Tifft will be doing just that in 2016 with a 13-race schedule behind the wheel of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota Camry. The 19-year old driver has 16-career starts in NASCAR’s top-three racing series over the last two seasons, while running a limited schedule in both the XFINITY Series and in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. In these early stages of his career Tifft has successfully earned six top-10 finishes in the Camping World Tuck Series and a top-10 result from 2015 in the XFINITY Series. Additionally Tifft has raced competitively in NASCAR's K&N Pro West, K&N Pro East and ARCA Series, as well as the X-1R Pro Cup Series. In 2015 Tifft made his first career XFNITY Series start and first entry with Joe Gibbs Racing at Kentucky Speedway in September. In what he described as a big learning experience, Tifft started from a 16th-place qualifying effort and made steady gains through the race, to bring home his first series finish in 10th place. Tifft's 2016 XFINITY Series schedule will kick off at Richmond International Raceway on April 23 and continues for a total of 13 scheduled races including: Dover International Speedway (May 14), Iowa Speedway (June 19), Daytona International Speedway (July 1), New Hampshire International Speedway (July 16), Iowa Speedway (July 30), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (August 13), Bristol Motor Speedway (August 19), Road America (August 27), Kentucky Speedway (September 24), Charlotte Motor Speedway (October 7), Texas Motor Speedway (November 5) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (November 19). "I am honored to have the opportunity to work with Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2016 season. I feel after our run last year at Kentucky that this is a great fit for me with an outstanding and well-respected organization, and I look forward to a very exciting and successful year driving the No. 18 Toyota Camry," remarked an eager Tifft. Over the years Joe Gibbs Racing has encouraged young drivers to gain experience with the now 25-year organization, by developing in the learning series of the NASCAR Camping World Truck and NASCAR XFINITY Series. In recent years names such as Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones have proven the JGR program successful. In 2015, Suarez earned NASCAR’s Rookie of the Year honor while finishing fifth in the XFINITY Series' driver ranking. Jones captured the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship in 2015 and earned two victories while driving a part-time XFINITY Series schedule. Both Suarez and Jones will compete full-time in the XFINITY Series in 2016, affording Tifft the opportunity to continue to learn alongside them. Executive Vice President of XFINITY Series Operations at Joe Gibbs Racing , Steve DeSouza confirmed further, "We take a lot of pride in using our XFINITY Series program to develop talent. That not only includes our drivers, but crew chiefs and our team personnel as well. It’s great to have Matt expand his program with us in 2016 and have the opportunity to run alongside Erik and Daniel for a good portion of the season. When you add Cody Coughlin to our roster, who will drive part-time in the Truck Series with KBM, we feel fortunate to have so much young talent in our system." Tifft further exclaimed, "I am very excited to work again with Daniel Suarez , Erik Jones and Kyle Busch . Last year they helped me a ton with development, and I will continue to try and advance my career by drawing on the experience and talent of those around me. Hopefully I can also help them in some ways as well. I look forward to a very exciting and successful year driving the No. 18 Camry, and can't wait to get this year started!" Tifft is also a second-year student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, as a business management major. Primary sponsorship across the 13 designated races with Tifft in the No. 18 continue to be developed and will be announced at a later date.
Cessna inks sponsorship deal with JR Motorsports
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Feb. 5, 2016) – JR Motorsports (JRM) and Cessna Aircraft Company, a subsidiary of Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, announced today a new relationship making Cessna the official business jet choice of Dale Earnhardt Jr . As part of the agreement, JRM’s No. 88 Chevrolet will carry the Cessna brand as primary sponsor in six races during NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) competition in 2016 with drivers Alex Bowman and Cole Custer . "We are looking forward to representing Cessna on both the business and competition front," said Kelley Earnhardt Miller, general manager of JR Motorsports. "Cessna is a strong and leading brand and our business strategies complement one another. Together we have a unique partnership with tremendous potential for growth." Cessna will also receive associate placement on the No. 88 during the two NXS events Earnhardt Jr. will compete in at Texas Motor Speedway (April 8) and Richmond International Raceway (April 23). "Cessna Citation business jets are designed for speed and efficiency, two trademarks valued by Dale Earnhardt Jr . and his team at JR Motorsports. We're looking forward to the relationship with JRM that will demonstrate those qualities as Dale travels in the Citation this season to races and events across the country," said Scott Ernest, president and CEO of Textron Aviation. Bowman and Custer will drive the No. 88 Cessna Chevrolet Camaro in six races, with 22-year-old Bowman first up at Michigan International Speedway (June 11) and Iowa Speedway (June 19). The Tucson, Ariz., native will also drive the Cessna entry at Richmond International Raceway (Sept. 9), Dover International Speedway (Oct. 1) and Phoenix International Raceway (Nov. 12). Custer, who competes full time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for JRM, will race the Cessna machine in one of his five NXS starts with the organization this season. He takes his turn at the wheel at Kentucky Speedway (July 8). Cessna brings the latest technologies and innovations to its Citation series of business jets, offering customers industry-leading aircraft solutions to meet the most demanding and unique mission requirements. Through its extensive global service network, Textron Aviation is renowned in the industry for its unrivaled, complete aircraft support across its Beechcraft, Cessna and Hawker platforms.
JGR announces changes to executive team
Huntersville, NC (February 4, 2016) -- Joe Gibbs Racing announces changes today to its executive team. J.D. Gibbs will join his father Joe Gibbs as Co-Chairman of JGR with Coy Gibbs officially joining the NASCAR operations as Vice-Chairman/Chief Operating Officer, and Dave Alpern, who has been with Joe Gibbs Racing since its beginning, has been named President of the organization. In addition, JGR announces Tim Carmichael will assume expanded responsibilities in his role as Chief Financial Officer, while Wally Brown will serve as Competition Director and Todd Bowland has been named Technical Director. Todd Meredith has resigned his position as Chief Operating Officer but will continue to consult for the organization over the next several months as he explores new opportunities. "The Lord has blessed me and my family with something that is truly remarkable and as we celebrate our 25th anniversary at Joe Gibbs Racing this year, it is more apparent than ever that our people are responsible for the success we have experienced," said Joe Gibbs. "We feel the timing is right to bring Coy into the NASCAR operations in a more official capacity. He has done an outstanding job with our motocross operations and will continue to provide his leadership there as well. "J.D. has always had tremendous insight and perhaps his greatest display of that is when he brought Dave Alpern and Todd Meredith on board to help us launch our race team. It is amazing to think what they have accomplished. I have tremendous respect for Todd (Meredith) and we are all excited for him as he starts a new chapter in his life with his family. "I also have great confidence in Dave (Alpern). He is someone that J.D. and I have consulted with on every decision we have made and we have complete trust in his leadership. Elevating him to the position of President is something that was inevitable and the timing just seems appropriate right now. Tim (Carmichael), Wally (Brown) and Todd (Bowland) have been leading their respective departments for the last several years and today's announcement will ensure we don't miss a beat on the competition side." Coy Gibbs launched JGRMX in 2008 and has been at the center of every aspect of the operations from personnel decisions to sponsor acquisitions and competition direction. He will primarily be focused on the operations side for JGR's NASCAR team while continuing his daily role with JGRMX. "I'm excited to be more involved with our NASCAR operations," said Coy Gibbs. "I take great pride in what we have accomplished with our motocross operations and I will continue to provide direction there, while working more closely with my father and brother on the NASCAR side of the business. I know we have a tremendous team in place already and I'm looking forward to being more involved now in this official capacity." Alpern joined JGR in 1992 and has worked in the organization's marketing department since his arrival and most recently served in the capacity of Chief Marketing Officer the past two years. Alpern has been a key figure to JGR's involvement in the RTA and is well respected by his peers within the industry. "I'm humbled that Joe and J.D. have placed this trust in me," said Alpern. "I've spent more than half my life with Joe Gibbs Racing and it has become an extension of my own family -- it truly is a family business. "I've witnessed our organization grow from roughly a dozen employees to more than 550 now. Every decision we make we try to make in the best interest of them and our partners. I plan to work closely with Joe, J.D., the rest of the Gibbs family, and our executive team, to ensure we deliver competitive race teams that honor our partners and our fans in the way they have become accustom over the last quarter of a century." Meredith joined JGR in 1992 and has spent the past 25 years working in the competition and operations departments of the organization. He was named Chief Operating Office in 2013. "Over the past several years, I truly feel like the Lord has been calling on me to make a change and I'm excited to see what he has in store for me and my family," said Meredith. "I take a tremendous amount of pride in having had the opportunity to play a role in the growth of JGR over the past 25 years and I'm confident that this is the perfect time to step away and allow others to show their leadership. I want to thank Joe and J.D. and the entire Gibbs family for the opportunity they gave me and the trust they showed in me. I can't imagine a better place to work. I'm excited for the future of JGR and I'm excited for whatever lies ahead for me."
Chase Elliott gains SunEnergy1 as sponsor
As Chase Elliott climbs into the legendary No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet this year, the rookie gains sponsor SunEnergy1 for four races each of the next three years. "We at SunEnergy1 are more than thrilled to be joining Hendrick Motorsports for several years," said Kenny Habul , founder and CEO of SunEnergy1. "It is a privilege to be on the No. 24 Chevrolet and support a driver like Chase Elliott , one of NASCAR's rising stars. The Hendrick Motorsports family is a symbol of excellence and integrity. There is no better fit for SunEnergy1 in the sport." In 2016, SunEnergy1 will be featured as a primary sponsor July 2 at Daytona International Speedway , Aug. 7 at Watkins Glen International , Oct. 16 at Kansas Speedway and Nov. 13 at Phoenix International Raceway . The partnership also includes associate-level sponsorship. "SunEnergy1 is on the cutting edge of the renewable energy industry," said the 20-year-old Elliott, who was voted by fans as the NASCAR XFINITY Series' most popular driver in 2014 and 2015. "In the XFINITY Series, I raced against Kenny on the road courses. He's a great competitor, and it will be fun to build this relationship with him and SunEnergy1. I'm looking forward to having them as a partner, and our whole team is focused on making the program a success." SunEnergy1 joins primary partners NAPA auto parts (24 races), 3M (five races), Kelley Blue Book (two races) and Mountain Dew (two races) to complete Elliott's 37-race 2016 Sprint Cup schedule.
Mark Martin addresses 'Smoke' fill-in rumors
Inside Groove: Racing with an attitude After news broke on Thursday that Tony Stewart would miss the beginning of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season -- his final full-time run before retirement -- due to severe back injuries, chatter began about who might pilot his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet in the interim. At least we know one driver who won't be putting on a No. 14 firesuit anytime soon -- or any firesuit, really. After giving his fans the subtle hint that he won't be returning to the Daytona 500 , Martin had to firmly clarify what he meant exactly by that confusing two-letter word "no". I don't drive race cars anymore. — Mark Martin (@markmartin) February 4, 2016 But do not fret racing fans, hands are going up for the job.
Gateway Truck Series qualifying washed out by rain
Practice leader Erik Jones will start on the pole in tonight's race RELATED: Full starting lineup " Practice speeds from Gateway Keystone Light Pole Qualifying got underway at Gateway Motorsports Park, but four minutes into the 20-minute opening round, a downpour put a hold on the session at the 1.25-mile track before ultimately washing out the three rounds of knockout qualifying. Since qualifying did not resume, NASCAR set the starting grid based on practice speeds, per the rule book. That puts Erik Jones on the pole position since he topped the lone practice session with a fast lap of 136.766 mph. Jones was also the fastest among the 16 drivers that made a lap during the opening round qualifying before the rain moved in, clocking a lap of 136.087 mph. Second-fastest in practice was JR Motorsports' Cole Custer (136.591 mph), who will start on the front row with Jones. Rounding out the top five from their top speeds in practice are ThorSport Racing's Matt Crafton (136.579 mph) and Johnny Sauter (136.285 mph), and GMS Racing's Brandon Jones (136.240 mph), respectively. Custer won the 21 Means 21 Pole Award for this race last year, an event that was ultimately won by Darrell Wallace Jr . There is no Air Titan at the track but there are jet dryers at work to dry the Illinois facility. The American Ethanol Presents the Drivin' for Linemen 200 brought to you by Ameren is the eighth race on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule for 2015. The 160-lap, 200 mile event is set for 8:30 p.m. ET with coverage on FOX Sports 1 as well as MRN and SiriusXM. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule