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‘Motor Sports’ Articles

NASCAR Hall of Fame inducts five new members with 2020 Class

Induction Ceremony Honors Five NASCAR Legends

Baker, Gibbs, Labonte, Stewart, Wilson Officially Enshrined

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 31, 2020) – Five of NASCAR’s legendary competitors – three drivers, an owner and an engine builder/crew chief – were enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, tonight during the Induction Ceremony held in the Crown Ball Room at the Charlotte Convention Center.

 

Buddy Baker, Joe Gibbs, Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart and Waddell Wilson comprise the 11th Class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame – now home to 55 inductees.

 

Standing at 6 feet 6 inches tall, Buddy Baker was known as “The Gentle Giant.” During a test at Talladega in 1970, he became the first driver to eclipse 200 MPH on a closed course. Baker won the 1980 DAYTONA 500 with an average race speed of 177.602 MPH – a track record that still stands. He won 19 NASCAR Cup Series races, including the 1970 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway where he lapped the entire field. He also won consecutive World 600s at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1972-73.

 

A Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach with three Super Bowls rings, Joe Gibbs boasts five NASCAR Cup Series owner championships. His 176 Cup Series owner wins – including three DAYTONA 500 victories – rank third all-time. Three drivers have earned Cup Series titles for Gibbs: Labonte (200), Stewart (2002, 2005) and Kyle Busch (2015, 2019). Busch’s 2015 title the first in the Cup Series for Toyota. Gibbs claims two NASCAR Xfinity Series championships (2009, 2016) and is the winningest in owner in series history.

 

“The NASCAR family is just unreal,” Joe Gibbs said, describing his original concerns about being accepted in NASCAR when he left the NFL and joined the sport in 1992. “Everyone stretched out their arms. The fans, the fellow competitors … that meant so much as we took off in racing.”

 

Bobby Labonte was the first of four drivers to win a NASCAR Xfinity Series (1991) and NASCAR Cup Series (200) championship. In 729 NASCAR Cup Series starts, he recorded 21 wins, 115 top fives and 203 top 10s. During his 2000 Cup championship season, Labonte exceled on the biggest stages, earning two of his four wins in the Brickyard 400 and the Southern 500. He finished 255 points ahead of second-place Dale Earnhardt for the series crown. Labonte joins his brother Terry – a 2016 inductee – in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

 

“I must thank the France family and NASCAR, because as far back as I can remember, I wanted to race in NASCAR,” Labonte said. “I didn’t race to be in the Hall of Fame, I just wanted to race.”

 

Nicknamed “The People’s Champion,” for his blue-collar attitude toward racing, Tony Stewart earned three NASCAR Cup Series championships. Two of his titles came for Joe Gibbs Racing ((2002, 2005). His third title, in 2011, came as a driver-owner with his co-owned Stewart-Haas Racing team. A versatile driver, Stewart racked up 49 Cup wins – visiting Victory Lane on every style of track. He is best known for his clutch performance in 2011, when he won five of the 10 Playoff races – including the season finale – to win his third championship via tiebreaker over Carl Edwards. Stewart added a second owner championship with Kevin Harvick in 2015.

 

“I’m one of just 55 people to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame,” Stewart said. “And, considering that NASCAR has been around for more than 70 years, that’s kind of nuts. It truly is an elite group, and it’s incredibly humbling to be a part of it.”
A dual-threat as an engine builder and crew chief, Waddell Wilson provided the power to some of the greatest drivers to ever live, including NASCAR Hall of Famers Baker, David Pearson, Fireball Roberts, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip. As an engine builder he won three Cup championships (David Pearson, 1968 and 1969; Benny Parson, 1993), 109 races and 123 poles. As a crew chief, Wilson guided his drivers to 22 wins, including three DATONA 500 victories (Buddy Baker, 1980; Cale Yarborough, 1983 and 1984).

 

“I love racing and I appreciate the fans and all their support throughout these years,” Wilson said. “It’s an unbelievable honor to go into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, it’s a humbling night for me and my family.”

 

In addition to the five inductees enshrined today, Edsel Ford II was honored as the sixth recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.

 

A member of the Ford Motor Company Board of Directors and longtime executive of the company founded by his great-grandfather Henry Ford, Edsel Ford is always at the track checking on the Ford teams. His support of NASCAR has helped increase the level of competition throughout the industry. His leadership at Ford includes time as president and chief operating officer (May 1991-1998) and a director of International Speedway Corporation (Nov. 2007-Oct. 2015). Edsel is known as “The Godfather” of Ford’s racing program. He is on the Voting Panel for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

 

Prior to tonight’s Induction Ceremony, former pit reporter and magazine editor Dick Berggren was presented the eighth Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence.

 

A college professor by trade, Berggren reported from the NASCAR garage on television from 1981 through his retirement in 2012. He started his broadcast career as a reporter for ESPN and appeared on CBS, TBS and TNN NASCAR coverage before finishing his career with a 12-year stint as FOX’s lead pit reporter. A passionate supporter of grassroots short-track racing, Berggren also served as the editor of both Stock Car Racing and Open Wheel magazines. He founded Speedway Illustrated, which coined itself as “America’s favorite monthly short-track racing magazine.”

 

About NASCAR

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States and owner of 16 of the nation’s major motorsports entertainment facilities. NASCAR consists of three national series (NASCAR Cup Series™, NASCAR Xfinity Series™, and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series™), four regional series (ARCA Menards Series, ARCA Menards Series East & West and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour), one local grassroots series and three international series. The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. NASCAR also owns Motor Racing Network, Racing Electronics, Americrown Service and ONE DAYTONA. Based in Daytona Beach, Florida, with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information visit www.NASCAR.com and www.IMSA.com, and follow NASCAR on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (‘NASCAR’).

 

NASCAR Hall of Fame from CCC by Groupuscule - Own work. 2012 Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Josh Hamilton; COURTESY NASCAR INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS


 

Fan favorite Tony Kanaan to retire from NTT IndyCar Series after 2020 Season

 

INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 30, 2020) – Tony Kanaan’s most emotional moment in his illustrious INDYCAR career came at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2013 when he finally captured the prestigious but elusive Indianapolis 500 crown.

On Thursday at the world-renowned motorsports facility with the Borg-Warner Trophy by his side, yet another emotional scene transpired for the ever-popular 45-year-old Brazilian entering his 23rd season of competition. Kanaan, an Indy 500 winner and 2004 series champion, announced that the upcoming 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season will be his final as a primary driver.

Kanaan is set to compete in the five oval races of the NTT INDYCAR Series season driving the No. 14 Chevrolet for AJ Foyt Racing. He is scheduled to begin his final campaign, which will be called the “TK Last Lap,” with the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 24. Kanaan will then run Saturday night races at Texas Motor Speedway (June 6), Richmond Raceway (June 27), Iowa Speedway (July 18) and World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Aug. 22) to close out his final season.

He did leave open the possibility of returning for a future Indianapolis 500, but not for another partial or full NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.

“I look back at all these years racing in INDYCAR and the first thing that comes to my mind is how fortunate I’ve been to be in the top level of the sport for this long. I walked into this sport as a 23-year-old with lots of hopes and dreams and I can say, without a doubt, that I accomplished everything I wanted,” Kanaan said. “I’m 45 now; I have fans, wins, podiums, records, a championship and an Indy 500. I feel and know I can still do this for a long time, but like everything else in life there is also a cycle in racing. For a long time, I’ve been asked when I would retire, and my answer was always the same: The day I wake up in the morning and feel like I can’t do this anymore, that’s when I’m going to retire.

“Unfortunately, there are other things one should take into consideration when planning the future, and probably the most important one is what are the options that are available. For 2020, my best option was to race the five ovals of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, the sport that gave me so much and that I will always love. I’m not done with racing, that’s for sure. I decided that this year I would step back a bit and enjoy these five races, have time for my family (wife Lauren, sons Leonardo, Max and Deco, and daughter Nina) and my fans, and also give back to the sponsors that always stood by me.”

Kanaan has amassed 17 wins, 15 pole positions and 78 podium finishes in his 377 career starts, which rank second all-time only to the 407 starts made by the legendary Mario Andretti. He also is the “Ironman” of the sport, holding the active record for most consecutive starts at 317 that began at Portland International Raceway in 2001.

His INDYCAR career began in 1998 with Tasman Motorsports after capturing the Indy Lights championship for the organization the previous year. He achieved success quickly at the top rung of the sport, winning CART Rookie-of-the-Year honors with Tasman that year. In his second season, he earned his first pole position at Long Beach in April and then his inaugural win at Michigan International Speedway in July.

One of his major career accomplishments came with Andretti Green Racing in 2004 when he captured the IRL IndyCar Series championship. He won three races, recorded top-five finishes in 15 of the 16 races and completed every lap on the season en route to the title.

The most significant moment came in 2013 with KV Racing Technology when he won the Indy 500 in his 12th attempt. The average speed of the race – 187.433 mph – remains the fastest Indianapolis 500 in history, and the 68 lead changes also remains a standing record. Kanaan has made 18 Indy 500 starts, with a win, pole position (2005), eight top-five finishes and having led 361 laps.

Kanaan has driven for seven teams in his career, beginning with Tasman Motorsports his rookie season. He followed with Forsythe Racing (1999 when Tasman was sold to Gerald Forsythe), Mo Nunn Racing (2000-02), Andretti Green Racing (2003-10), KV Racing Technology (2011-13), Chip Ganassi Racing (2014-17) and AJ Foyt Racing (2018-present).

In addition to his INDYCAR accomplishments, he added two prestigious sports car championships to his resume. He won the LMP2 division of the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2007 and then captured the overall race victory of the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2015.

So, what does the future hold for Kanaan?

“For the future, who knows?” he said. “I’d love to still be involved with INDYCAR to some degree. I’ve also had offers to race in a number of different series, but that’s not my priority at the moment.”

Kanaan will be promoting the hashtag “TKLastLap” during the course of the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, which opens Sunday, March 15 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. For announcements and updates on Kanaan’s next steps, be sure to follow his social media channels – @tkanaan on Instagram and @tonykanaan on Twitter and Facebook.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Benito Santos; COURTESY KANAAN RACING INC.

 

Eldora Speedway announces 2020 Major Events Ticket Renewals are now available

2020 MAJOR EVENT TICKET RENEWALS
DEADLINE THIS WEEKEND!
The deadline for renewing your major event tickets for the 2020 season is Sunday night at 11:59 PM EDT. Anyone who purchased advance tickets or campsites to the 2019 major events is eligible to renew those seats for 2020.
RENEWING IS EASY:
Renewing your 2020 major event tickets is quick and easy. You can renew by logging into your account online, by phone (937) 338-3815, or by mail.
ADD & EXCHANGE DAYS:
The popular “Add & Exchange Days” will be December 2-3-4. Fans who complete their renewals by the November 24th deadline will be offered the opportunity to participate in the exclusive “Add & Exchange Days,” which allow loyal customers the ability to add or upgrade to seats not previously renewed. All “Add & Exchange” orders must be completed over the phone.
PUBLIC SALE INFORMATION:
The public sale kickoff for major events will begin Saturday, December 7 at 10:00 AM. Tickets will be available for purchases via online, phone, and walk-ins.
HUNGRY FOR MORE RACING ACTION?
Fix your appetite by watching some memorable moments below from the 2019 season!
Eldora Speedway | 13929 State Route 118, New Weston, OH 45348 Phone: 937-338-3815

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF ELDORA SPEEDWAY COMMUNICATIONS

IndyCar to conduct first on-track test of Aeroscreen this Wednesday at IMS

 

IMS Front entrance with fans entering 2018

 

WHAT: First on-track test for the INDYCAR Aeroscreen driver safety innovation that will be implemented for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season.
WHO: Five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing, 2014 series champion Will Power of Team Penske, INDYCAR President Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing Business Development Engineer Andy Damerum.
WHERE : Indianapolis Motor Speedway
NOTES:
* INDYCAR announced in May that the sanctioning body formed a partnership with Red Bull Advanced Technologies to design an Aeroscreen for enhanced driver cockpit protection that will be implemented for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season.
* The Aeroscreen is being developed to reduce the risk of driver injury from debris or other objects striking the cockpit area. The driver safety innovation that will surround the cockpit consists of a ballistic Aeroscreen anchored by titanium framework.
* The RBAT design will be a poly carbonate laminated screen that will include an anti-reflective coating on the interior of the screen, anti-fogging device through an integral heating element and possibly tear-offs, all of which will be produced by integrated third-party companies. Another feature for the drivers will be a cockpit cooling option that will be designed by Dallara in conjunction with RBAT.
* The titanium framework will mount in three areas around the cockpit – the chassis center line, two rear side mounts and roll hoop integration – to provide enhanced load-bearing capabilities.
* This will be the first of three on-track tests in three weeks for the Aeroscreen. Additional tests are scheduled for Barber Motorsports Park on Monday, Oct. 7 and at Richmond Raceway on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
* The Aeroscreen is the second phase of INDYCAR’s objective to further enhance driver safety in the open-cockpit race cars. INDYCAR debuted the Advanced Frontal Protection (AFP) device for the INDYCAR Grand Prix that was held May 10-11 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and it was used throughout the season. The AFP is designed to help deflect debris away from the cockpit area and the driver.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

NHRA announces tickets on sale for 2020 Southern Nationals

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GLENDORA, Calif. (Sept. 26, 2019) – Tickets are now on sale for the 40th annual NHRA Southern Nationals. This fan-favorite event marks the seventh stop on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour and is sure to showcases drag racing at its finest.

The series rolls into Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, GA May 15-17, 2020 for the NHRA Southern Nationals and promises to deliver all the intense racing action fans in the region have come to expect from the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) raced to titles at this event in 2019.

Along with 11,000 horsepower nitro cars coursing through the track and the ever-thrilling Pro Stock Motorcycle division, the super sophisticated Pro Stock class makes its return to Atlanta Dragway. Fans can meet their favorite Pro Stock drivers including Erica Enders, Greg Anderson and Jason Line.

The ultra-competitive Factory Stock Showdown class will make its debut at Atlanta Dragway. Competitors will line up against each other, for a head-to-head battle of their factory-built vehicles.

NHRA fans can take part in the Mello Yello Walking Tour to see the cars and teams hard at work in the pits. Fans can also attend Pro Stock School and Nitro School to learn how the cars operate and reach their thrilling speeds. Atlanta Dragway will also host a Mello Yello autograph session and allow fans to meet their favorite drivers as well as the Cruising with Castello Sealmaster Track Walk hosted by NHRA announcer Joe Castello. Another can’t-miss experience is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes. NHRA fans are invited to congratulate the winners of the event as they celebrate their victories.

To purchase reserved or general admission seats, visit NHRA.com/tickets or call 800-884-6472.

About NHRA
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and E3 Spark NHRA Plugs Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to www.NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.
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