NASCAR checks in to Hotels for Hope
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR announced today a multi-year partnership with Hotels for Hope designating the company as the "Official Hotel Booking Partner of NASCAR®." Hotels for Hope, a hotel inventory brokerage with a philanthropic business model, services large scale consumer events across the country and will now include NASCAR race weekends. As part of the partnership, a landing page on NASCAR.com ( www.nascar.com/hotels ) launches today, allowing the industry and fans to book hotels for upcoming race weekends through its "Raceday Hotels by Hotels for Hope™" platform. For each actualized room night booked through Hotels for Hope, one dollar will be donated to The NASCAR Foundation. "There's really nothing like attending a NASCAR race and partnering with Hotels for Hope will provide our fans with a convenient and streamlined process to book travel," said Chad Seigler, NASCAR vice president of business development. "Hotels for Hope drives awareness and funds for notable charitable organizations and we are proud that The NASCAR Foundation will be represented among them." Hotels for Hope's database of over 600,000 hotel partners are utilized across a wide variety of events including music festivals, food and wine festivals, business conferences, trade shows, and more. With custom branded solutions and room block management, Hotels for Hope's technology will fulfill the hotel accommodations for any type of event. "Hotels for Hope's industry leading technology uses hotel reservations as a vehicle to raise awareness and support nonprofit partners, including The NASCAR Foundation," said Neil Goldman, Hotels for Hope CEO and founder. "Servicing NASCAR.com and the fans allows us to reach a larger audience, and to drive more bookings with meaning through this sport." Similar to The NASCAR Foundation, Hotels for Hope's mission is to improve the lives of children worldwide. All the nonprofits on its preferred list work to help children live happier and healthier lives. The NASCAR Foundation is committed to making children's health and medical needs a top priority. "The NASCAR Foundation is rooted in improving the life and health of children," said Nichole Kreiger, The NASCAR Foundation acting executive director. "We are thrilled to be working with an Official Partner that has the same commitment, and look forward to making an impact together." Through the Speediatrics Children's Fund, the Foundation supports needs for hospitals, clinics, and other organizations providing children's medical care. Since its inception, more than one million children in need have been aided. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season will continue with the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, March 26 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Daniel Suarez stars in first national television ad for Subway
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary Daniel Suarez is debuting in his first national TV ad as a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver with sponsor Subway this weekend as the series wraps up its NASCAR Goes West swing at Auto Club Speedway. Suarez will drive the No. 19 Subway Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.) The accompanying television ad focuses on Suarez's drive and desire to reach the pinnacle of the sport, his path to get here and his competitive fire. "I came here to race," the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender says. "I came here to be better. Now, I stand here a challenger …" Get a sneak peek of the ad here: When Subway came on as a sponsor for Suarez earlier this year, the young star said, "I'm extremely grateful to Subway for their continuing sponsorship of our Joe Gibbs Racing team this year. I enjoy eating healthy, and Subway has always been my go-to choice to refuel my body when I'm on the road or at home. I'm looking forward to a great 2017 season in the Subway Toyota Camry." Subway is primary sponsor on Suarez's No. 19 ride for four Monster Energy Series races this season, including the May 28 Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte; the July 1 Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona; and the Oct. 15 Alabama 500 at Talladega.
DraftKings: Auto Club 400 Price Check
WATCH: Auto Club 400 Price Check, sponsored content provided by DraftKings.
NASCAR announces race package for XFINITY Series race at Indianapolis
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Indianapolis Teams competing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway later this year will do so with a race package that incorporates three major modifications aimed at one goal -- improved competition at the legendary 2.5-mile speedway. Designed specifically for the 100-lap race scheduled for July 22, the modifications consist of a taller rear spoiler and splitter package; aero ducts on the lower front bumper area; and a 7/8th-inch restrictor plate currently used for superspeedway events at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. The static ride height of the cars will remain at 4 inches, which is unchanged from the current 2017 rules package. The Indy package was crafted after much in-house simulation and development and then field-tested on Oct. 12 at IMS for verification. XFINITY Series teams from Richard Childress Racing, Roush Fenway Racing and Kaulig Racing participated in the test. "We (develop) the analytical package and come to some conclusions," Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR Senior Vice President, Innovation and Racing Development, told NASCAR.com. "But then we also need to go on the track and verify this. So this approach has been a two-step approach, analytical creation of the package and then on-track verification. "We race at 29 tracks (across all three national series) and they're all very special," Stefanyshyn added. "Indianapolis has a long history; it's a wonderful track. Our objective is to give our fans the best possible show we can. We are very proud of being able to participate at Indy; we want to put our best foot forward. We believe we have come up with a package that gives us the best opportunity to do that." MORE: IMS announces updated race weekend schedule Stefanyshyn said officials had teams run various packages during the test. While the use of the restrictor plates enabled the cars to run closer together, the ability to pull out and pass remained difficult. "We saw the cars were closer together, but we weren't able to create some passing until we introduced the aero ducts," he said. "That's the main purpose of the ducts, to give the trailing car more of an advantage … we always hear about clean air and how the leader has clean air. Our objective here is to try to give the trail car more benefit." Without the aero ducts, cars running down long straightaways such as those at IMS hit a wall of air, which creates "a significant horsepower deficit" when they get within approximately one car-length of the lead car, Stefanyshyn said. The aero ducts direct air in through the existing brake ducts and out through the wheelhouse on each side. The high speed air flowing out creates a larger hole or "envelope" for the trailing car. Use of the aero ducts should increase the amount of horsepower differential for the trailing car by approximately 25 percent. "We're giving the driver more momentum from four-five car lengths back, gaining coming into within half a car length; when he gets right into that bubble, he's still got to cross through it, but he's carrying momentum and he can break through it," Stefanyshyn said. Stefanyshyn said incorporation of the package isn't "a slam dunk," but studies and testing have thus far validated the changes. "Our belief is that we will create a situation where they can pass on the straightaways," he said. "That's been done analytically, it's been done with three cars. The question is when we turn 40 cars loose on the track can that still manifest itself and that's still what we’re hoping will happen." Speeds likely won't vary greatly with the new package, and the use of restrictor plates isn't expected to generate the big packs of traffic on the track similar to what typically is seen at Daytona and Talladega. Stefanyshyn said it's more likely that there will be several groups of five or six cars each, "and in each of those groupings we're hoping to see passing on the straightaways." The XFINITY Series has competed at IMS since 2012, and the lack of passing on the big, flat track has been a concern for NASCAR and speedway officials. Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing) led more than half the laps in winning the last two XFINITY Series races at Indy and he led 92 of 100 when he won the race in 2013. Dale Earnhardt Jr. addressed the racing package this week during his weekly Dale Jr. Download podcast. Earnhardt Jr. competes in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for Hendrick Motorsports. He is also co-owner of JR Motorsports, which fields four full-time teams in the XFINITY Series. "I'm curious to see (the changes)," he said. "I think NASCAR sees this as an idea on how fix racing in general at Indianapolis." According to NASCAR officials, there currently are no plans in place to utilize the package at any other venue or in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Auto Club Speedway by the numbers
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary RELATED: Full weekend schedule Jimmie Johnson was driving a Superman car and wearing a cape the last time he saw Victory Lane at Auto Club Speedway in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series' stop there in 2016. It's appropriate since he almost owns the place. Johnson has six wins at Auto Club, spanning a decade and a half. He also has five runner-up finishes, an impressive average finishing place of 6.5 and has led 980 laps around the 2-mile circuit in Fontana, California. Roger Penske has a stake in the place as well, having been one of the architects, alongside Les "Coach" Richter. The track officially opened June 22, 1997, and it's celebrating its 20th anniversary as NASCAR returns to Fontana this weekend for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and XFINITY Series racing. Penske got his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at the track on April 29, 2001 with Rusty Wallace piloting the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford. Brad Keselowski put Team Penske back in Victory Lane at Auto Club Speedway in 2015. Penske's open wheel drivers also have had success at the track. Penske built a fast race track, leading to some stout stats in the speedway's lore: -- A 188.511 mph qualifying speed record set by Denny Hamlin in 2016 -- A 155.012 mph race speed record set by Jeff Gordon in 1997 Digging into the numbers a bit more: -- Hendrick Motorsports has 10 wins, the most of any team -- Ford has 11 wins at the track, and Chevrolet has 13. Kyle Busch has taken home two Auto Club 400 trophies for Toyota in back-to-back races in 2013-14. -- Farthest back in the field a winning driver started: 31st, Matt Kenseth, spring of 2006 -- Pole-sitting winners: Only one, Johnson in 2008 -- The closest margin of victory was 0.144 seconds, as Kevin Harvick edged Johnson in 2011
Stage lengths for Auto Club weekend
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary RELATED: Full schedule for Auto Club The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series are at Auto Club Speedway this weekend. Below are the stage lengths for each race. Click here to bookmark stage lengths for every race this season. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (Race is Sunday, 3:30 p.m. ET, FOX) Stage 1: Ends on Lap 60 Stage 2: Ends on Lap 120 Final Stage: Scheduled to end on Lap 200 XFINITY Series (Race is Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1) Stage 1: Ends on Lap 35 Stage 2: Ends on Lap 70 Final Stage: Scheduled to end on Lap 150 </p>
Stefanyshyn details XFINITY race package for Indianapolis
NASCAR announced its race package for the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, one which includes the use of restrictor plates.
Auto Club is looking for your yearbook photos for 20th reunion
RELATED: Read more Inside Groove BUY TICKETS: See Auto Club race live Auto Club Speedway has produced so many moments that made a race fan say, "Wow" over its 20 years as a track on the NASCAR circuit -- and its marketing department now has given us another. To celebrate the track's 20th anniversary, the Fontana, California, track has launched a nifty retro campaign in which fans can upload a photo of themselves (preferably a high school yearbook shot) along with a class superlative. This mobile-friendly asset will encourage fans to "Join the Track Reunion" by uploading a past high school photo, prom photo or favorite race weekend photo. Fans have the ability to personalize it by adding their name and "claim to fame" by completing the title "Most Likely To…" In addition, fans will able to enter a contest to win NASCAR Auto Club 400 Terrace Suite Tickets, pre-race pit passes and more. One fan, sporting a No. 24 jacket, said he is the "Most likely to ... wonder where Jeff Gordon is ." Another, "Sneaky Pat," (I swear -- not me) said he's "Most Likely to ... sneak into the garage." At least he's living up to his name. But the best part -- the track also somehow managed to get a hold of a few drivers' yearbook photos, and they don't disappoint. Gordon sports quite the mustache and mullett combo, and Carl Edwards had some pretty slick Zack Morris-style hair, while Matt Kenseth's superlative is "Most likely to ... call cops 'pace cars.' " Sounds about right. Join in on the fun at www.acs20reunion.com and be sure to tune into the final leg of #NASCARGoesWest when the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series hits the track for the Auto Club 400 on March 26 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX).
For Buck, a life of racing, a life of learning
RACE INFO: Starting lineup " Race-day rundown AVONDALE, Ariz. -- The Buck stops here. Here being the nondescript, out-of-the-way Mexican eatery Raul and Theresa's located just a few minutes up the road from Phoenix Raceway. And Buck being Richard Buck, Phoenix native and managing director of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. It's a roadside stop that caters to the denizens of the area, although on any given race weekend, race fans and crew men from various teams fill the dining rooms. Buck rides the fence on this one as a former resident who now is deeply entrenched in the world of NASCAR. Sunday brings the Camping World 500 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) back to the 1-mile track and NASCAR's return has brought Buck back to his old stomping grounds. The 55-year-old grew up north of the city , but his first memories of racing came from another area institution -- Manzanita Speedway, located slightly southwest of Phoenix proper, just across the Salt River. "My dad worked at Motorola," Buck said. "One of the guys he worked with raced sprint cars. One night we went out to watch him at Manzanita Speedway. I don't remember how old I was. I was still in diapers; I was young." The friend, local standout and Arizona Hall of Fame member Will Schmink, won the trophy dash for the race and the victory resulted in a trip to the winner's circle for the toddler. "I remember going down through the mud and everything else, them setting me in the seat of the car in the Winner's Circle," Buck said. "And them telling me about the exhaust pipe, that it was hot, and me hanging on the steering wheel and that's when I was hooked." • • •
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