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Aspen Dental named 'Official Dentist of NASCAR ,' expands SHR partnership
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary RELATED: Aspen Dental, NASCAR , Patrick grow relationship NASCAR ® and Aspen Dental , one of the largest and fastest-growing networks of independent dental care providers in the United States, announced today a multi-year official partnership, designating the brand as the "Official Dentist of NASCAR ." The announcement coincides with the launch of Aspen Dental's "Get Started" awareness building health initiative with NASCAR and Stewart-Haas Racing driver Danica Patrick. "Aspen Dental's level of dedication to drive awareness and educate fans about the importance of dental health, especially as it relates to quality of life for everyday Americans is inspiring and contagious," said Chad Seigler, vice president, business development, NASCAR . "We welcome Aspen Dental to our family of Official Partners and look forward to adding our voice to amplify the important message behind Aspen Dental's 'Get Started' initiative." This partnership is important because nearly 150 million Americans didn't visit a dentist in the past year, due to barriers like access, fears and lack of insurance. For many of these everyday Americans, poor oral health has resulted in chronic pain and inflammation, limiting many from living a healthy life, and sometimes, impacting other health conditions. Aspen Dental's "Get Started" initiative will help NASCAR fans take a simple step to start or restart and gain control of their oral health by seeing a dental professional. Aspen Dental-branded practices offer patients a safe, welcoming and judgment-free environment to get the full range of dental care they need along with the convenience and speed of onsite denture labs. "Our goal is to help race fans through Aspen Dental practices and encourage them through this official partnership with NASCAR to 'Get Started' on their road to better oral health and make dentistry easier," said Bob Fontana, chairman and CEO of ADMI. "Together, with the help of Danica Patrick, we want to tell race fans that all you need to do is 'Get Started' to gain control of their oral health." Aspen Dental has been a partner of Stewart-Haas Racing since 2012 and aligned with Patrick since 2014. This year, the brand will serve as the lead sponsor of Patrick's No. 10 Ford Fusion for a double-digit slate of races. Patrick has shined a spotlight on oral health across multiple channels, promoting Aspen Dental's Healthy Mouth Movement – a community-giving initiative which has delivered more than $7.5 million in donated dentistry for veterans since its inception. Additionally, she has appeared in "A Taste of the Future" – a hidden-camera video campaign designed to raise awareness about the long-term consequences of delaying dental care. "I'm really excited about working with Aspen Dental to support them in breaking down the barriers to better care, better smiles and better lives," said Patrick. "Starts and restarts are part of our sport. The same is true for gaining control of your oral health. Through 'Get Started,' we will encourage NASCAR fans to get started – or restarted – on their own road to better oral health." Fans can visit AspenDental.com/GetStarted to be entered to WIN an all-expense paid, VIP trip experience for two to the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race November 5, 2017 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth for a VIP experience and a meet-and-greet with Patrick. 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.
Getting started: Aspen Dental, NASCAR partnership expands
RELATED: Aspen Dental expands role with Patrick " Aspen Dental named 'Official Dentist of NASCAR' Five weeks ago, Aspen Dental expanded its backing of Stewart-Haas Racing and driver Danica Patrick by boosting the number of NASCAR races for its primary sponsorship into double digits. Friday, the company took another step in increasing its exposure through the sport. NASCAR and Aspen Dental announced a multiyear agreement Friday that makes the Syracuse, New York-based network of dental care providers the "Official Dentists of NASCAR ." The partnership dovetails with the advent of Aspen Dental's "Get Started" initiative, a program that promotes oral health awareness with the help of Patrick and NASCAR . Michelle Vaeth, Aspen Dental Management's vice president of communications, recalled sitting at a conference table with NASCAR officials several months ago in the sanctioning body's Charlotte, North Carolina, headquarters. The lively discussion turned to the 150 million Americans who avoided dental visits last year and how the company's next initiative, a program which would eventually become "Get Started," planned to combat that treatment gap.
Custer, Dillon meet with NASCAR officials after Phoenix incident
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Auto Club FONTANA, Calif. -- A week after an on-track run-in with Austin Dillon, NASCAR XFINITY Series rookie Cole Custer, 19, maintained the two had found a version of racing Kumbaya. The two drivers met with NASCAR officials early Friday morning at Auto Club Speedway, spoke their minds and shook hands, both ready to move on and race. Custer acknowledged he mistakenly hit Dillon, 26, last week during the Phoenix race, which resulted in on-track retaliation by Dillon. NASCAR did not feel Dillon's retaliatory move warranted a penalty this week, instead calling the two drivers in for a meeting and detente. "I got into the corner way too deep," Custer acknowledged. "It was a mistake and I wish I didn't do it. "I probably got in a half-car length too deep. ... Took him out and it was a mistake and I wish I didn't do it. I didn't have much anxiety (going into NASCAR meeting with Dillon) because I didn't think we were on bad terms. I wasn't too nervous. It went fairly well." And he added with a slight smile, "I've been in the NASCAR hauler before. It's not a new thing." WATCH: Custer sends Dillon into wall, Dillon bumps back The Ladera Ranch, California, native has two top-11 finishes in four XFINITY races this year driving the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing and appeared eager to put the Phoenix incident behind him as he prepared to race at his "home" track Saturday. "Cost us and the 2 (Dillon) a good finish, 100 percent my fault. Happy with how much better we got our car, pretty good there at the end," Custer tweeted earlier in the week before meeting up with Dillon at Auto Club. Mostly, Custer is looking forward to his "home track" racing debut. "I'm really excited. I've never raced here, just excited to get on track," Custer said. "We've had some pretty solid finishes, had good enough cars for top-10. Hopefully we can start out the weekend good. "A lot of things translate from track to track. We're looking forward to seeing what we have unloading here. We should be pretty good. I'm confident. It's just me getting used to the track since I've never been here before."
That's a hoot! Owl interrupts NASCAR practice
RELATED: Read more Inside Groove NASCAR's latest brush with wildlife stopped practice Friday at Auto Club Speedway as an owl decided to set up camp on the racing surface during opening Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice. Practice was interrupted until safety workers were able to corral the bird, which initially took low-flying evasive action on the track apron. No word on whether NASCAR race official David Hoots or Chase Elliott sponsor Hooters were involved. Friday's incident marked the third consecutive year that nature has caused a disruption at the 2-mile California track. A swarm of bees crowded the Auto Club flag stand between practices last season. The previous year, bees were a menacing presence around Derrike Cope's hauler, trapping the team inside the transporter. MORE ANIMALS: Groundhog at Michigan " Bees at Auto Club
Suarez happy that NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series will start in hometown
Daniel Suarez, a native of Monterrey, Mexico, is happy that the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series will begin this weekend in his hometown.
What a hoot! Owl delays Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice
An owl flies onto to the track at Auto Club Speedway and delays Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice.
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.
Meet the 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees
MORE: Photos of every 2018 nominee The late Davey Allison and NASCAR champion owners Roger Penske and Joe Gibbs highlight the NASCAR Hall of Fame's newest additions to a phenomenally accomplished nomination list. The NASCAR Hall of Fame announced the new slate of nominees Wednesday evening. It also will include Red Farmer and 2000 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte, along with Daytona 500 winner Allison and team owners Penske and Gibbs. The NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Day is May 24, when five more names will be selected for enshrinement. This year's class of nominees is again diverse with championship drivers, owners and a living legend set to be considered. Allison won the 1992 Daytona 500 and 19 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races before losing his life in a helicopter accident in July of 1993. The son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison, Davey was the 1987 Rookie of the Year and finished third to the late Alan Kulwicki for the 1992 championship in one of the most dramatic and highly contested season finales in NASCAR history. Fittingly, Allison's nomination coincides with fellow Hueytown, Alabama, racer, Red Farmer, who made NASCAR's highly respected list of its 50 Greatest Drivers. Although no one knows exactly how many victories the talented Farmer has amassed in a seven-decades long career, he did capture three consecutive championships in NASCAR's Late Model Sportsman division (1969-71) more than a decade after earning the NASCAR Modified title in 1956. Farmer ran 36 premier series races with a best finish of fourth (twice). The three-time Super Bowl-winning NFL Coach Gibbs, 76, has shown his leadership prowess extends from field to track, guiding his NASCAR teams to four Monster Energy Cup Series championships with three different drivers -- Labonte, twice with Tony Stewart (2002, 2005) and most recently Kyle Busch (2015). His teams have also won five owners titles in the XFINITY Series. Gibbs' 140 victories in the premier series already ranks third all-time in the owners' category in the history of the sport and includes two Daytona 500 wins and five Brickyard 400 trophies. Gibbs, who was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1996, has guided the career of some of the most successful NASCAR competitors, including fellow Hall of Fame nominee Bobby Labonte, as well as current Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett and Monster Energy Series champion Busch. PHOTOS: Allison, Gibbs, Penske through the years Joining Allison, Farmer and Gibbs is Labonte, 52, whose older brother Terry was a 2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee. The Labonte brothers are one of only two sets of brothers who both won Cup titles -- the Busch brothers are the other pair. Bobby Labonte was the first of only four drivers to ever win both the Monster Energy Series and XFINITY Series championships. He won 21 races and earned 26 pole positions at the premier-series level despite starting his career in the elite ranks at the age of 28. In his 2000 championship run, he won the Southern 500 and the Brickyard 400 and finished an amazing 265 points ahead of the late Dale Earnhardt for the season trophy. Labonte also won the IROC title in 2001. Concluding this list of the sport's potential Hall of Fame members is one of auto racing's greatest contributors, Roger Penske, a Cup champion owner as well as a XFINITY Series championship owner. "The Captain" as he is affectionately known, just celebrated his 50th season in racing in 2016. He has already left an indelible mark in the stock car world as a team owner and also a track owner (formerly at Michigan Speedway). And he built one of the circuit's most successful venues, Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Penske driver Brad Keselowski won the 2012 Monster Energy Series title and the organization has twice won the Daytona 500, including the 50th anniversary of the great race with driver Ryan Newman and then again in 2015 with Joey Logano. His teams have amassed 101 victories and earned 113 pole positions. And Team Penske's three consecutive XFINITY Series owners titles from 2013-15 ties a modern record. In 2016, Penske was awarded the prestigious Bill France Award of Excellence last year for his contributions to NASCAR . Hall of Fame voters will select five people for enshrinement out of a talented and diverse list of 20 nominees. Fifteen additional names remain on the Hall of Fame ballot and include 19-time winner Buddy Baker, NASCAR's first premier series champion Red Byron, three-time Monster Energy Series champion crew chief Ray Evernham, legendary crew chief and car owner Ray Fox and four-time truck series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. Harry Hyde, the 1970 championship crew chief joins 1992 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Alan Kulwicki, former NASCAR West Series champ Hershel McGriff, five-time weekly series national champion Larry Phillips and eight-time national series championship owner Jack Roush on the list as does 23-time race winner Ricky Rudd. Rounding out the talented and award-winning group of nominees is legendary radio and television broadcaster Ken Squier, nine-time NASCAR champion Mike Stefanik, three-time championship engine builder Waddell Wilson and Robert Yates, who won Monster Energy Series titles as both an engine builder and an owner. The Landmark Award for achievement in the sport also added two names to its nominee list, including NASCAR's Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors and Executive Vice President Jim France, who is also the Chairman of International Speedway Corporation, and Alvin Hawkins, NASCAR's first flagman, who was present with NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. at the Streamline Hotel during the earliest formation of the sport. He and France brought NASCAR to the famed Bowman Gray Stadium, one of the country's most popular race facilities even today. They join Janet Guthrie, the first woman to compete in a NASCAR premier series superspeedway race, Ralph Seagraves, who formed the groundbreaking partnership with R.J. Reynolds and NASCAR to create the Winston entitlement sponsorship and Squier, who is also the inaugural winner and namesake for the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. &lt;/p&gt;
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.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary See all of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victories.