Hendrick Motorsports

February 9, 2009 by  
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The story of Hendrick Motorsports started in 1984. Rick Hendrick was a businessman with a passion for racing, and a dream to be a part of the racing world. Harry Hyde, a veteran racing driver, was not ready to retire from the sport he loved. Together, they created All Star Racing, just a small company that would only compete in a few events. But All Star Racing was not destined to take a back seat. Hendrick Motorsports, or HMS, raced only Chevrolets, and were seen in the Busch Series and the Nextel Cup circuits.

With nine Sprint Cup Series Championships, one Busch (now Nationwide) Series crown and no less than three Craftsman (now Camping World) Truck Series titles, Hendrick Motorsports has become one of the leading and celebrated racing organisations in the world of stock car racing. Starting with only one entry into a series, HMS now boasts four Sprint Cup Series vehicles.

Situated in Concord, which is in North Carolina, is the 250 000 square meter HMS complex, where all their racing cars are built from scratch. The entire manufacturing process takes place here. Each year, more than 550 engines are either built or rebuilt at this facility, with other NASCAR outfits leasing them from the team.

At present, HMS has over 500 employees that each contribute to the success of the company. They are the people who manage, take care of the team store, do the marketing, ensure the licensing, stay on top of the merchandising, run the public relations department, update the company’s website, and look after the HMS museum, which is 1400 square meters in size.

The drivers of the cars and the sponsors such as Corporation, Pepsi, Go Daddy, Lowe’s, DuPont, Delphi, National Guard and Carquest all play an important role in the success and growth of the company. It never occurred to either Rick Hendrick or Harry Hyde that the little “All Star Racing” company would grow up to be the mighty Hendrick Motorsports, but just as with many success stories, it started with a dream, loads of passion and a strong sense of commitment.

Petty Enterprises

February 9, 2009 by  
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Petty Enterprises merged with Gillett Evernham Motorsports in 2009 to form Richard Petty Motorsports.

Petty Enterprises is one of NASCAR’s many racing teams and is owned by Richard Petty as well as his son Kyle Petty. Petty Enterprises is based in Randleman, North Carolina. Richard and Kyle supervise the operations of their two NEXTEL Cup Dodge Chargers: the number 45 Marathon Petroleum Company Dodge, which Kyle Petty drives himself and the number 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge, driven by Bobby Labonte. It was 1969 when the team was officially named Petty Enterprises. Throughout NASCAR’s history, Petty Enterprises has always been know and famous for its success, but in recent years they have been struggling.

The team has been operating as far back as 1949 when Richard Petty’s father, Lee Petty, first formed Lee Petty Engineering as a NASCAR Grand National Division team with the number 42. Not only was the company formed that year but also the team won their first win at Heidelberg Raceway, finishing second in points that season. 1950 and 1951 saw Petty’s team win one race each season with a victorious three wins in 1952. With this success the team expanded by incorporating another vehicle, the Plymouth, which Jimmie Lewallen drove. The following years saw a major increase in races won by Petty Enterprises. By 1979 the team had won 10 championships in NASCAR premier series.

From 1980 to 1984 Richard Petty drove hard and won several races, but from there on till his retirement he did not win another race. This bad fortune did not stop there, it continued after Richard’s retirement with Petty Enterprises only winning another three races. In 2006 Petty Enterprises hired Bobby Labonte, after he won the NEXTEL Cup, to drive the #43 car and hired Robbie Loomis, who had served as a crew chief for Jeff Gordon, to be executive vice president.

The Petty Family created the number 43 car, hence its name Petty Blue. The blue color is distinct and was created apparently by mistake because of not having enough paint to cover the whole car. It was rumored that the famous paint scheme came about when Richard Petty would not allow sponsors to sponsor his car unless they agreed to keep part of the car blue and the rest they could paint STP Red.

Roush Fenway Racing

February 9, 2009 by  
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Roush Racing became Roush Fenway Racing in February 2007, when the Fenway Sports Group obtained a 50% partnership in the team.

One of the NASCAR’s most successful racing teams is undoubtedly Roush Racing. Starting as a small branch of an already successful automotive engineering and road-racing equipment business, it was founded by owner Jack Roush in 1988. His operation is in Livonia, in Michigan, but the cornerstone of Roush Racing is located in Concord, situated in North Carolina, and home to their NASCAR operations.

Since the start of Roush Racing they have only competed in cars that carry the Ford badge. In the Nextel Cup, Roush competes with the Ford Fusion, and the Ford Fusion can also be seen in the Busch Series. For the Craftsman Truck Series, Roush competes with a Ford F-150. Roush Racing is also the proud winner of the Nextel Cup Championship consecutively for two years. Matt Kenseth brought the win home in 2003 and Kurt Busch was responsible for the win in 2004.

It is not surprising that Roush has the biggest Nextel Cup Series operation that includes a part time team and five teams that are full time. When Roush Racing was founded, they had established the company around the ownership of five cars. This does not only benefit the Roush Racing team, but assists other teams with the sharing of information and of resources, including the improvements that are made to performance. A partnership between Robert Yates Racing and Roush Racing led to the 2004 season car being provided with Roush-Yates Engines. This team effort is now known to produce some of the most impressive engines that NASCAR has seen.

Roush Racing’s very first car that raced in NASCAR was their No.6 Stroh’s Light Ford. The year was 1988 and the race was the Daytona 500. After suffering engine failure after 19 laps, driver Mark Martin found himself finishing in 41st place. This unfortunate event did not discourage Martin in any way, and later in the season he had won a pole position and found himself achieving ten finishes in the top 10. In 1989, with one year of experience, Martin and Roush showed the NASCAR world exactly what they were up against by taking six pole positions, increasing their top 10 position finishes to 18 and securing a win at the North Carolina Speedway. In addition to these successes, the championship points put them in third place.

And as the old saying goes: ‘The rest is history’. Roush Fenway Racing is a name that is known worldwide and has grown into one of the biggest success stories of all time. It is a name that has delivered only the best, and has left its mark on NASCAR for years to come.

Phoenix International Raceway

February 9, 2009 by  
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Built in 1964, the Phoenix International Raceway was originally designed to be one of the best American open wheel racing tracks available. The raceway was carved out of the Estrella Mountains giving the racetrack an incredibly picturesque backdrop. This meant that the new track, which is located at Avondale in Arizona, not only replaced the old one at the Arizona State Fairgrounds but quickly became a favorite amongst racing greats at the time. What’s more, the development of the track further spurred on the developing tourism industry, which meant that it contributed to the economy of the local community in quite a significant way. However, things only really started to take off at the track in 1988 when the Phoenix International Raceway was chosen to host some NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. Suddenly racing legends could be found in every corner of the town and the whole of America discovered just what a great track the Phoenix International Raceway was.

The Phoenix International Raceway is one mile (1.6 km) in length and takes the form of a D-shaped tri-oval. It has a seating capacity of 76 800 and is currently owned by the International Speedway Corporation. Because the track was built right at the foot of a rocky mountain range, it had to be designed around its geographic location. Thus there is a curve in the middle of the backstretch which is situated between turns two and three. This curve is a rather unique feature and is commonly known as ‘the dogleg’. The ‘dogleg’ design allowed the designers to include an external road course and a drag strip into the overall design of the track. Turns 1 & 2 have an 11-degree bank while Turns 3 & 4 have a 9-degree bank. The front straight has a 3-degree bank while the back straight has a 9-degree bank.

Today things at the Phoenix International Raceway are somewhat different from what they originally were. The external road course gave way for an infield road circuit. The crossovers that were originally built to access this infield circuit were sealed off in 2005 after construction of a tunnel under turn four. The drag strip is also seldom used, but the raceway continues to be a popular venue for racing in general. Unfortunately, the raceway was unable to host the Indy Racing League in 2005 which brought to an end a long history of hosting this premier event. Still the raceway continues to enjoy its unmatched tradition of hosting 58 IndyCar events including the Fall NASCAR weekend, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the Busch Series, Craftsman Trucks Series and Featherlite Southwest Series.

Auto Racing Industry

February 9, 2009 by  
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Humanity in general has, throughout its long history, had a love for competition. The desire to win is hard-wired in our genes and the attraction to speed… well, that just reflects our love of excitement and good old-fashioned fun! The invention of the automobile provided the perfect opportunity – and vehicle, literally – for people to challenge one another on early racetracks and road courses as they had previously done before with horses. Auto racing was also seen by perceptive car manufacturers as a great way to advertise – provided their cars were winners, of course. The saying “race on Sunday, sell on Monday” exemplifies the business of auto racing and the ever-expanding industry of racing, promotion and parts marketing that has grown up around it.

The auto racing industry has progressed quite a ways from its earliest days. Formula One racing, for example, has become a multi-million dollar sport with high-tech cars, generously paid drivers and big business sponsorships. NASCAR racing proves that “the business of America is business”, both on and off the track. The names of NASCAR events and entire series like the Nextel Cup indicate the need for big-time sponsorship and the copious flow of funding it provides the organizers, teams and drivers. Try to think of a racing car that doesn’t have logos and advertisements on it – bet you can’t, unless it’s a vintage race car.

Auto racing has truly become a big business. Besides sponsorships, revenue comes in from ticket sales and merchandising. This industry seems likely to continue its phenomenal rate of growth as people will never lose their love of thrills, spills and racing excitement!

Check in with Autoracing.com regularly to keep up to date on the latest auto racing industry developments.

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