Posted on: February 12, 2011 11:12 am

Skinner lands Daytona truck ride

Posted By Pete Pistone
From Team Telease
Denver, N.C. (February 12, 2011)-- Eddie Sharp Racing announced veteran NASCAR driver Mike Skinner will pilot the No. 45 Cushman Toyota Tundra at Daytona International Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event on February 18.
“I’m thrilled for the opportunity to have Mike Skinner drive for us at Daytona,” said team owner Eddie Sharp. “To have someone of his caliber drive for our young truck program is exciting. I have known Mike for many years, and I am thankful for his trust in our program and his relationship with Toyota. I’m really looking forward to working with him.”
The former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion will compete for the eighth time at the 2.5-mile speedway in the NCWTS.
“Eddie Sharp and I have been friends for a long time, and I have watched him win big in the ARCA Racing Series over the past few years,” said Skinner. “He came to me a few years ago and told me about his goal to move into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. I think it is exciting to be able to work together and help him accomplish this dream in his first full season in NASCAR.”
Skinner will continue to drive a Toyota Tundra with Cushman on board as sponsor. Cushman vehicles are used worldwide to transport personnel, materials and equipment at manufacturing facilities, warehouses, resorts, and other commercial and industrial facilities. Cushmanbrand and product lines are owned by Textron, a global multi-industry company based in Providence, R.I. Cushman is a sister brand to such powerful brands as Cessna, Bell Helicopter, E-Z-GO, Greenlee and Jacobsen. 2011 marks the 110<sup>th</sup>anniversary of the company.
“I’m excited to have Cushman on board for Daytona, and I’m ready to get on the track,” said Skinner. “We are currently working on sponsorship for the rest of the season, and I really hope that we can put together something to be able to run the full NCWTS schedule. I have a great relationship with Toyota, and we have really helped each other throughout the years- good and bad. It is a win-win situation for both myself and Toyota, and through our relationship, we are able to work with people like Eddie Sharp.”
Jefferson Hodges will be the crew chief the No. 45 Cushman Toyota. Hodges, who served as crew chief for veteran Steve Park in several NCWTS in 2010, provides years of experience in the NASCAR garages, including experience as crew chief for Kevin Conway in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, car chief for Paul Menard in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He also won the NASCAR Weekly Series National championship with Mark McFarland.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with Mike Skinner,” said Hodges. “We’ve prepared a great truck to bring for Skinner, and it’s going to be a great opportunity to work with a driver that has such stature and knowledge. His experience will accelerate our learning curve in our first year in the series, and I really am looking forward to working with him.”
Skinner will join Craig Goess in the ESR lineup at Daytona International Speedway. Goess, a NCWTS rookie, will drive the No. 46 Greenville Toyota of N.C. Tundra in the event.

Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 11, 2011 9:53 pm

Earnhardt on Shootout pole

Posted By Pete Pistone

Starting line-up for Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout. Drivers drew random numbers to determine starting positions:


#88-Earnhardt Jr., Chevy, chose 14th, starts 1st/POLE

#14-Stewart, Chevy, chose 7th, starts 2nd

#99-Edwards, Ford, chose 4th, starts 3rd

#11-Hamlin, Toyota, chose 2nd, starts 4th

#4-Kahne, Ford, chose 21st, starts 5th

#47-Labonte, Toyota, chose 13th, starts 6th

#33-Bowyer, Chevy, chose 12th, starts 7th

#39-Newman, Chevy, chose 18th, starts 8th

#64-Cope, Toyota, chose 17th, starts 9th

#15-Waltrip, Toyota, chose 16th, starts 10th

#16-Biffle, Ford, chose 6th, starts 11th

#24-Gordon, Chevy, chose 10th, starts 12th

#42-Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevy, chose 22nd, starts 13th

#1-McMurray, Chevy, chose 19th, starts 14th

#31-Burton, Chevy, chose 11th, starts 15th

#97-Conway, Toyota, chose 20th, starts 16th

#22-Busch, Dodge, chose 9th, starts 17th

#29-Harvick, Chevy, chose 3rd, starts 18th

#17-Kenseth, Ford, chose 5th, starts 19th

#5-Martin, Chevy, chose 15th, starts 20th

#18-Busch, Toyota, chose 8th, starts 21st

#20-Logano, Toyota, chose 23rd, starts 22nd
(since Logano is not 21 years old, crew chief Greg Zippidelli chose the bottle)

#48-Johnson, Chevy, chose 1st, starts 23rd

#78-Smith, Chevy, chose 24th, starts 24th/last

Posted on: February 11, 2011 7:41 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2011 9:14 pm

Speeds over 203 mph in Shootout practice

Posted By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Any questions about how Daytona's new asphalt racing surface would impact racing were answered in Friday night's final practice session for Saturday's Budweiser Shootout.

Ten drivers went over 200 mph during the session, which was interrupted once when a bank of lights went out in the second turn and down the backstretch.

Joey Logano was the fastest of the field with a lap of 203.087 mph. That was the highest Sprint Cup Series speed at Daytona since Bill Elliott's pole-winning run of over 210 mph when he won the pole for the 1987 Daytona 500, the last time restrictor plates were not used at the track.

Kyle Busch , Logano's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, was second on the charts with a lap of 203.085 mph.

Speculation about whether NASCAR would issue a smaller restrictor plate to lower the speeds for next week's Gatorade Duel qualifying races and the Daytona 500 began after the session with no official word from the sanctioning body.

Budweiser Shootout Second Practice

1. Joey Logano 203.087 mph

2. Kyle Busch 203.085 mph

3. Michael Waltrip 202.152 mph

4. Bobby Labonte 201.839 mph

5. Greg Biffle 200.951 mph

6. Denny Hamlin 200.947 mph

7. Jeff Gordon 200.835 mph

8. Kevin Harvick 200.835 mph

9. Carl Edwards 200.209 mph

10. Matt Kenseth 200.000 mph

11. Kasey Kahne 199.641 mph

12. Mark Martin 199.641 mph

13. Regan Smith 199.159 mph

14. Kurt Busch 199.155 mph

15. Jimmie Johnson 195.712 mph

16. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 195.707 mph

17. Kevin Conway 193.220 mph

18. Derrike Cope 180.719 mph

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Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 11, 2011 6:13 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2011 9:15 pm

Earnhardt tops first Shootout practice

Posted By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Dale Earnhardt Jr. paced the 24 drivers who took part in Friday's first practice session for Saturday's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. Earnhardt turned a lap just below 200 mph with a run of 199.862 mph.

Budweiser Shootout Practice One

1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 199.862 mph

2. Mark Martin 199.853 mph

3. Jimmie Johnson 199.636 mph

4. Clint Bowyer 199.835 mph

5. Kyle Busch 198.706 mph

6. Jeff Burton 198.702 mph

7. Ryan Newman 198.684 mph

8. Denny Hamlin 198.680 mph

9. Greg Biffle 198.238 mph

10. Joey Logano 198.234 mph

11. Tony Stewart 198.111 mph

12. Jamie McMurray 197.833 mph

13. Juan Pablo Montoya 197.833 mph

14. Kurt Busch 197.589 mph

15. Carl Edwards 197.481 mph

16. Kevin Harvick 197.477 mph

17. Michael Waltrip 197.351 mph

18. Matt Kenseth 197.278 mph

19. Kasey Kahne 197.230 mph

20. Jeff Gordon 196.416 mph

21. Bobby Labonte 196.177 mph

22. Regan Smith 196.031 mph

23. Kevin Conway 186.668 mph

24. Derrike Cope 172.970 mph

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Posted on: February 11, 2011 5:01 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2011 9:17 pm

Annett on probation until year's end

Posted By Pete Pistone
News Release
DAYTONA BEACH , Fla.  (Feb. 11, 2011)  – NASCAR announced today that it has placed Michael Annett , driver of the No. 62 car in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, on probation until Dec. 31, 2011.

Annett violated Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the 2011 NASCAR Rule Book. The violation occurred Feb. 6.

In addition to the steps already underway by Rusty Wallace Racing, Annett will be evaluated by a certified substance abuse professional at NASCAR’s discretion and will be subject to random alcohol and drug testing.

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Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 11, 2011 2:41 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2011 3:48 pm

2011 Bud Shootout preview

Posted By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The first on-track competition of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is set Saturday night when the Budweiser Shootout takes the green flag.

The annual all-star event has been part of Daytona's "Speedweeks" activities since 1979, when it was known as the Busch Clash and featured the original idea of a preseason non-points race made up of the previous year's pole winners. The race evolved over the years into the Bud Shootout and became a fan favorite because of its unique qualification criteria and the wide-open style of racing.

However when Anheuser-Busch ceased its sponsorship of Sprint Cup pole qualifying NASCAR and Daytona officials were forced to amend the rules to qualify drivers for the race. This year's criteria includes drivers from last year's Chase plus others who have been successful at Daytona over the years including former 500 winners and July Sprint Cup race champions. In all 30 drivers were eligible for this year's edition and a field of 24 will line-up on Saturday night.

Kevin Harvick looks to win his third straight Budweiser Shootout, which would be an opportune accomplishment given he'll fly the brewery's colors and logos on his No. 29 Chevrolet this season.

Here's a closer look at Saturday night's 2011 Budweiser Shootout:

Driver Eligibility

Twelve drivers from 2010 Chase

Past Sprint Cup champions

Past Budweiser Shootout winners

Past Daytona points race winners

Sprint Cup rookie-of-the-year drivers from 2001-2010

Drivers will hold a random draw Friday night to determine starting spots

Race Format

A total of 75 laps broken into an opening 25-lap segment and a closing 50-lap finish

Green and yellow flag laps count

A ten-minute pit stop between segments for teams to add fuel, change tires and make routine adjustments

Race Tidbits

Buddy Baker won the first race then known as the "Busch Clash" in 1979.

A field of 24 cars will start Saturday night's race. A low of seven took the green flag in 1981 while a high of 28 started the 2009 event.

Only five times in the 32-year history of the race has the winner gone on to win the Daytona 500; Bobby Allison (1982), Bill Elliott (1987), Dale Jarrett (1996 and 2000) and Jeff Gordon (1997)

Kevin Harvick would become the first driver in race history to win three straight Budweiser Shootouts if he takes Saturday night's checkered flags after his 2009 and 2010 triumphs. Three other drivers have scored back-to-back wins; Tony Stewart (2000-01), Ken Schrader (1990-91) and Neil Bonnett (1983-84)

By the Numbers

.08 - Margin of victory in seconds by Dale Earnhardt over Sterling Marlin in 1995, the closest in Budweiser Shootout history.

1 - Laps led by Rusty Wallace (1998), Neil Bonnett (1983-1984), Dale Earnhard t (1980), Dale Jarrett (2000 and 2004) and Kevin Harvick (2009) in their Budweiser Shootout victories.

14 - Number of different leaders in the 2009 event the most in race history.

44 - Laps led by Greg Biffle in 2005, the most by a driver who did not win the race.

47 - Laps led by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2008, the most by any driver competing in the Budweiser Shootout.

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Posted on: February 11, 2011 2:01 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2011 2:13 pm

NASCAR tours get green-white-checkers

Posted By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - NASCAR's top three divisions won't be the only ones using the multiple attempt at a green-white-checkered flag rule in 2011.

All of NASCAR's regional touring circuits will also employ the policy in 2011 ensuring that no race will end under caution without three attempts at a green flag finish.

NASCAR put the rule into play last year and announced the three tries policy during "Speedweeks" at Daytona.

This season the sanctioning body will incorporate the GWC policy into the K&N Pro East and West late model stock car circuits as well as both its northern and southern open wheel modified divisions.

In the past the regional tours ran an open-ended number of green flag finish attempts and race distances were increased accordingly. The new policy now mirrors what's used across NASCAR's top divisions.

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Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 11, 2011 1:21 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2011 2:14 pm

NASCAR partners for fuel injection

Posted By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - NASCAR took another step toward introducing fuel injection to the sport on Friday when the sanctioning body introduced McLaren Electronic Systems and Freescale Semiconductors as partner companies to assist with the process.

NASCAR and its two new partners made the announcement Friday at the Daytona International Speedway media center.

The change from engines with carburetors to fuel injection will take place in 2012 with testing and development of engine packages taking place during this season.

NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton promised the move to fuel injection would not take place before 2012 and Friday's announcement finalized the timetable for the new engine configuration.

The engine development will only be for the Sprint Cup Series while the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series will remain utilizing carburetors.

One issue that has always been a roadblock to NASCAR changing from carburetors to fuel injection system engines has been the ability for the sanctioning body to police things and keep teams from massaging the rules outside their guidelines.

But Pemberton is confident the system NASCAR will introduce in 2012 will not encourage cheating.

"We are confident with McLaren and with Freescale these systems will be bulletproof, will be cheat proof," said Pemberton.

Pemberton also said restrictor plates will still be used at Daytona and Talladega but will fit on the throttle body when the switch to fuel injection is made.

While McLaren has a long history of Formula One competition this is the company's first foray into NASCAR and the fuel injection system produced for the Sprint Cup Series will be exclusive and specific to stock car racing.

From Team Release
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 11, 2011) – The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced today a historic technology partnership with Freescale Semiconductor and McLaren Electronic Systems to develop and integrate fuel injection systems into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, targeted for the 2012 season.

Freescale will provide the processors for McLaren’s engine control units (ECUs) that will be used to manage the fuel and ignition systems in the engines for all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars, replacing carburetors which have been used in the series since its inception in 1949. NASCAR and its top series teams will test the technology during the 2011 season with the anticipation of the systems being rolled out for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.

The fuel injection system will bring increased technology and efficiency to the NASCAR Sprint Cup cars while at the same time complementing the car’s high performance. This announcement marks the most significant strategic change to NASCAR’s engine platform in decades. As part of this program, Freescale is designated as the “Official Automotive Semiconductor of NASCAR” and McLaren the “Official Engine Control Unit of NASCAR.”

“This move gives us an additional opportunity to incorporate the best technology in our race cars that will enhance the sport in a variety of ways,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “Selecting these two industry leaders reflects our commitment to this new technology which our manufacturers and teams have embraced. This is a positive step that will provide greater fuel efficiency and a greener footprint while maintaining the same great competition we have seen on the race track.”

For decades, most of the parts and equipment on NASCAR race cars have been highly customized for racing but at the same time relevant in standard automobiles. This move to fuel injection brings back an important synergy between these two vehicle types.

ECUs maximize each racing team’s ability to get the most performance and best fuel economy under all race conditions. With this announcement, plans call for every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race team to use a control system with Freescale’s advanced 32-bit Power Architecture <sup style="outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; padding: 0px; margin: 0px; border: 0px initial initial;">® </sup>  based engine management processors at its core, beginning in 2012. These same processors power millions of today’s most energy efficient engines.

The ECUs are tamper-proof, ensuring that only approved software may ever be run during a race weekend. Additionally, NASCAR will have special electronic tools at its disposal during every event to ensure the legality of all ECUs.

 “Freescale’s partnership with NASCAR and McLaren goes beyond a simple business relationship,” said Henri Richard, senior vice president and chief sales and marketing officer at Freescale Semiconductor. “It reflects our shared values in the automotive industry and our common dedication to technology improvement, high performance, energy efficiency and leadership in safety. It also continues to demonstrate the success of the Power Architecture as the leading microcontroller architecture in the automotive segment. NASCAR trusts us to provide cutting-edge automotive solutions for the next generation of engine management. Our products and technology will power every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race car next year and we are honored to be the sole automotive semiconductor provider for America’s largest motorsport.”

Since 1966, McLaren has a legacy of racing success in the United States, totaling 43 victories during its tenure in the Can-Am Challenge, 10 wins at the U.S. Grand Prix and three wins at the illustrious Indianapolis 500. In addition, McLaren Electronics Systems has been a supplier to NASCAR teams since 2005 and also provides the ECUs that will be available late summer 2011 in the McLaren MP4-12C high-performance sports car. Freescale technology has been at the heart of McLaren’s engine control and data systems racing technology since 2000 and it provides the power behind all of McLaren’s major racing programs. Freescale is the largest U.S. based producer of automotive electronics and its technology enables virtually all automotive innovation in use today, from advanced engine systems to navigation and active safety.

“We are excited to build on our existing relationships with NASCAR and Freescale for this critical technology,” said Peter van Manen, managing director, McLaren Electronic Systems Limited. “McLaren has been providing reliable, high performance electronics to professional motorsports and other high performance automotive applications in North America, Europe and Asia for more than 20 years and we are both proud and delighted to be bringing our ECU technology into NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series.”

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Category: Auto Racing
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