Race Weekend Central

Friday News and Notes

NL News Friday

Kids Get In Free to Nationwide Race In Atlanta

Saturday night’s Great Clips 300 will be a family affair, with children 12 and under admitted free with a parent holding a regular-price ticket to the race. Multiple children can get in with one paying adult as well. Atlanta Motor Speedway offered the same deal for Friday night’s Camping World Truck Series Race. There will be designated smoke and alcohol-free sections in order to better accommodate families in attendance.

Chevrolet Hosts Cancer Survivors at AMS

Chevrolet played host to 30 breast cancer survivors and their families at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday morning, beginning with pace car rides around the track with
Chevy drivers Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer, and Ron Hornaday, Jr. The Camaro pace cars are also distinctive with their pink paint schemes.

“As we like to say at Chevy,” commented the manufacturer’s assistant Marketing manager, Maria Stenbom, “we’ve been a part of people’s lives for a hundred years, even through the detours.” Chevrolet will donate $200 to the American Cancer Society for each caution lap in Sunday’s AdvoCare 500.

The survivors who joined the festivities on Friday were not all race fans prior to the event, but as Alice Ramsay said afterward, “I am now!”

“We’re all sisters,” Ramsay commented Friday. “We’re like sorority sisters but of a sorority we didn’t rush for and wouldn’t have picked.” The pink pace cars for the weekend’s events will serve as a reminder that while the prognosis for breast cancer is better than it’s ever been, there is still a long way to go. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and several teams will show off their pink cars then.

Office Depot Announces Small Business Finalists

Office Depot announced the finalists in its annual contest in which a company will become the Official Small Business of NASCAR for a year. Office Depot and 3M partner on the promotion, and will offer an extra incentive for drivers Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle this weekend: each driver is partnered with one of the finalists who will receive a $1 million bonus if the car with their logo wins the AdvoCare 500 on Sunday.

Stewart’s car features HuckleBerry Pets, a Daytona Beach-based company owned by Kacie Howard. Howard and her husband, Chris, created the company last year and make custom pet beds, which can be made to order and are especially beneficial to large or older dogs with chronic conditions such as arthritis.

Bales Mold Services, Inc. is on the rear panle of Biffle’s car. Sara Mortensen inherited the business when her father passed away in 2009. The company, which has just three full-time employees, produces a variety of coatings and finishes for use by mold-making industries, including consumer, medical, and automotive products.

Both businesses received $10,000 from Office Depot for a home office makeover. The winning company will have the exclusive use of the “Official Small Business of NASCAR, Courtest of Office Depot” logo for one year. “That’s not exposure that a small business could normally afford,” noted Howard.

Keselowski Tops Charts in First Cup Practice

Brad Keselowski picked up right where he left off last week, topping the speed charts in the only Sprint Cup Series practice on Friday night. Keselowski, who has won twice and finished no worse than third in the last four weeks, laid down a187.722-mile-per-hour lap to top the board. The rest of the top 10 cars included Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex, Jr., Mark Martin, Brian Vickers, Greg Biffle, AJ Allmendinger, Jimmie Johnson, and Kasey Kahne.

After last week’s comments by Kevin Harvick that the landscape at KHI will be drastically different next year people are wondering where that will leave Ron Hornaday. When asked about it in the garage at Atlanta he was very matter of fact, “I have no idea what I’m doing next year. I haven’t heard anything yet about what I’ll be doing.”

Joey Coulter is making his first start at Atlanta in his truck this weekend. Asked to explain what it was like running Atlanta he put it in terms that many of the local racers from the Charlotte area can understand. “This place is like running the dogleg at Concord constantly. The only difference is that you have about half of the grip that you do at Concord in a Late Model.”

Brendan Gaughan felt pretty good heading into the Truck race at Atlanta. “I feel pretty good about our Truck. I feel better than I expected. We haven’t been that good on speedways this year so considering our program this year I’m very happy.”

Many drivers are unsure about where their career is going to be next season. Timothy Peters is one of those drivers who does not know what the plan is for him at Red Horse for next season. “I don’t know what is in store for me next year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be back in this truck next season.” He was also asked if he’ll be running in the Late Model race at Martinsville where he won in the past and made a name for himself. “I’m not going to run the race unfortunately. You have to do it right and I’m focused on this truck so I can’t do the Late Model like I’d like to.” Finally he spoke about the fact that crate motors are going to be allowed in the Late Model race at Martinsville this year. “I really don’t think a crate can win that race. You have to keep a crate motor cranked up to be fast and you can’t do that at Martinsville. I may end up eating my words but I don’t think one will win it. I do think it will increase their car count which will be a good thing.”

Fronstretch caught up with a couple of the members of Shane Sieg’s pit crew at the start of the Truck race Friday night. They were asked about how Shane is doing after his suspension for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy. “Shane is doing good. He’s getting his stuff in order so he can start doing whatever it is that he has to do to get reinstated. We doubt he’ll get back this year but hopefully he can get everything done that they want him to so he can be back next season.”

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