The fourth and final day of the annual Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway kicked off with an announcement from NASCAR.com. The 24/7/365 NASCAR portal is going to enhance their portfolio of fan friendly offerings in 2011 with an improved Race Buddy and a new Live fantasy program which will offer even broader and more detailed data for fans updated continuously during races. Every Camping World Truck race will have a Race Buddy associated with it during the 2011 season.
NHRA is going to be celebrating 60 years in existence during their 2011 racing season. At each of their race events this year there will be a NHRA Legends program where classic and historical hot rods from the iconic history of the drag racing sanctioning body are going to be put on display and a famous driver is going to be celebrated at the event. The first event will celebrate Don “the Snake” Prudhomme’s career. It will take place at Pomona during the Winternationals February 24-27. The press conference today focused on Shirley Muldowney who scored the first victory by a woman in top fuel in NHRA some 35 years ago in Columbus, Ohio. Muldowney will be the historic figure whose life and accomplishments are celebrated during the 4-wide nationals at Zmax Dragway in Concord, NC.
*Roush Fenway Racing*
Jack Roush will be in his 45th year of racing Fords during the 2011 racing season. Roush emphasized that his sponsors recognize the value of advertising through NASCAR and still feel it is a great investment. Roush has all four of his Cup Series entries fully funded through the entire 2011 season. They currently have Carl Edwards Nationwide entry sponsored for half of the races this year. Roush joined the list of car owners who have commented that the economy is getting better and feels there will be better times ahead for the sport.
Roush Fenway is also working hard at making their organization as green as possible. In 2010 the organization recycled 96% of the race cars they fielded in the Cup and Nationwide series. They also recycled 200,000 pounds of steel, 66 tons of waste and reduced energy usage by implementing new lighting. The company has also eliminated using fuel to heat their shops by implementing a solar panel system that heats the floors of their race shops. The green initiative at Roush Fenway in 2011 is focused on cleaning the air. They have put in a new paint system that utilizes a water based system that will release zero fluorocarbons into the air. The other policy they have put into place for 2011 is a no idling policy for employees when starting their cars.
*Joe Gibbs Racing*
Joe Gibbs Racing is celebrating 20 years in the sport in 2011. Joe Gibbs reminisced about starting out in 1991 with 16 employees working out of a leased race shop. That operation has morphed into a 400 employee strong organization that has fielded three Cup Series champions. They have not only re-signed two of their major sponsors but they have also added another Nationwide team for the upcoming season. Jimmy Makar, one of Gibbs first employees, left Penske to come found the fledgling organization. He remembered purchasing a bunch of equipment from Hendrick Motorsports to get started. They had to design, find and build a race shop. Their first driver was Dale Jarrett who had never won a Cup Series event. They were able to win the Daytona 500 in 1993 for the first victory for Gibbs, Makar and Jarrett. Jarrett, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart all visited the facility for today’s event to look back at their careers racing for the coach.
*Quotes from the final day of the Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway*
Jack Roush on his 45-year relationship with Ford: “No matter how old
you get, there is somebody that is older that has done more. I think I have
been associated with Ford longer than anyone except the Wood Brothers. I am
very proud to be associated with Ford all these years.”
NHRA legend Shirley Muldowney on her racing career: “It is amazing
where this sport has taken me. Literally everywhere – at least 10 times. I
was able to go to Japan for NHRA, where I ran the fastest times they have
ever seen in a Top Fuel dragster. I’m told that record still stands. It’s
given me a lifestyle, wonderful friends, people that I’ve relied on. To be
part of the NHRA’s 60-year anniversary is an honor.”
J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR, on hiring Tony Stewart: “For 1997, we
wanted to form a second team. We asked all the guys to write down the name
of the driver they wanted the most and put it in a hat. There was one name
on every piece of paper. That was Tony Stewart.”