NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fests 2010

December 16, 2009 by  
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Fans attending the NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fests have much to look forward to, including a sneak peek at the upcoming NASCAR season, the 52nd Daytona 500 and the Speedweeks 2010. During this time visitors can enjoy interactive fan forums, autograph sessions, displays, music, the Richard Petty Driving Experience and meet SPEED Channel personalities.

Date: 15 – 16 January 2010
Venue: Daytona International Speedway
City: Daytona Beach, FL
Country: United States of America

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.

Charlotte Motor Speedway

February 9, 2009 by  
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As of 2010 Lowe’s Motor Speedway became Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Stock car racing is extremely popular in South Concord, North Carolina. Designed and built in 1959 by O. Bruton Smith and the late Curtis Turner, Charlotte Motor Speedway (previously Lowe’s Motor Speedway) remains one of the premier racing locations in the United States.

Smith and Turner, together they built their dream of a 1.5-mile super-speedway on the outskirts of The Queen City and, on June 19, 1960, the first World 600 was run at this new facility. It took nearly 25 years for Lowe’s Motor Speedway to come of age. The Smith Tower – a 135,000-square-foot, seven-story facility connected to the speedway’s grandstands – was erected and opened in 1988. The building houses the speedway’s corporate offices, ticket office, souvenir gift shop, leased office space and The Speedway Club, an exclusive dining and entertainment facility.

Another innovation was a $1.7 million, 1,200-fixture permanent lighting system developed by MUSCO Lighting of Oskaloosa, Iowa. The revolutionary lighting process uses mirrors to simulate daylight without glare, shadows, or obtrusive light poles. The lighting system was installed in 1992, allowing Lowe’s Motor Speedway to be the first modern super-speedway to host night auto racing.

In addition to the 1.5-mile quad oval, the Charlotte Motor Speedway complex includes a 2.25-mile road course and a six-tenths-mile karting layout in the speedway’s infield; a quarter-mile asphalt oval utilizing part of the speedway’s front-stretch and pit road; and a one-fifth-mile oval located outside turn three of the super-speedway.

With those kinds of track conditions, it’s no wonder the schedule of racing events at Charlotte Motor Speedway reads like a Who’s Who of NASCAR: The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events, two NASCAR Busch Series races and a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event are among the major events held on the 1.5-mile super-speedway. The Richard Petty Driving Experience and the Fast Track High Performance Driving School also use the track extensively throughout the year.

Most recently, the track added a new garage area for the NASCAR Busch Series, a new state-of-the-art media facility and additional restrooms and showers for use by those enjoying the action from the speedway’s infield. These additions are all part of a long-term project calling for additional grandstand seating, infrastructure improvements, spectator amenities and the development of adjacent land for possible commercial real estate ventures.

Charlotte Motor Speedway: tradition only takes you so far. After that, it’s a matter of speed and innovation. Oh, and a seating capacity of nearly 170,000 doesn’t hurt either.

Martinsville Speedway

February 9, 2009 by  
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The history and development of Martinsville Speedway and NASCAR are closely intertwined. Auto racing at Martinsville predates NASCAR, though with very humble beginnings and small spectator capacity. The Martinsville Speedway has matched NASCAR lap by lap, meeting new technology and safety standards, while also providing for the rapid growth of fans for the sport. Every serious NASCAR fan must visit Martinsville at least once, because your appreciation of the auto racing phenomenon in the United States will not be complete without it. Great car racing spirits reside at the Martinsville Speedway, and you can feel decades of NASCAR traditions permeate your bones when you join untold numbers of spectators at this famous site.

History and traditions apart, a special feature of NASCAR events at the Martinsville Speedway is the tent facility, where spectators can interact with top drivers. The question and answer sessions are special treats, and you can treasure your moments in close proximity to your heroes. These sessions can also add to your auto racing enjoyment, because you get to learn of key strategies and tactics drivers employ even as they move at such incredible speeds around the track. The whole thing is conducted in a spirit of friendly competition, and you might find that you enjoy this part of a Martinsville visit most!

The track at the Martinsville Speedway is not exceptional, but it is adequate by NASCAR standards. The length is only about half a mile, and the inclines on the oval do not even reach 15 degrees at any point. These are good conditions for drivers who like to go flat out. NASCAR fans, who know Richard Petty to be a top owner, will be delighted to know that he has driven to victory fifteen times at the Martinsville Speedway.

Since Virginia enjoys so much NASCAR activity, you can combine a NASCAR event at the Martinsville Speedway with trips to other auto racing tracks in the State. On the other hand, the beautiful Virginia countryside is replete with a host of outdoor recreation opportunities. Martinsville has a long history, and people with interests in the Aleutians and the colonization of North America will find plenty of interesting stuff to go nicely with the NASCAR excitement at the Speedway.

Talladega SuperSpeedway

February 9, 2009 by  
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It took two men of vision (William “Bill” France along with Bill Ward) to look beyond the bare dirt expanse and abandoned buildings that stood before them, to see the potential for what would ultimately become the biggest, fastest and most competitive super-speedway in the world – Talladega Speedway.

There were several possible sites in the Southeastern United States for the proposed speedway. Talladega, Alabama emerged as the top choice thanks to it’s accessibility to the interstate, and being in the middle of a population base of at least 20 million people within 300 miles. Over 20,000 acres of available land to construct on didn’t hurt either!

Back in 1969, the Super Speedway was called the Alabama International Motor Speedway, and in 1989 the name changed. But long before then, the track had surpassed every initial expectation in terms of sheer size, speed and competition.

With Bill France as the guiding force, construction began on the site on May 23, 1968, with the first race being the ‘Bama 400 Grand Touring race several months later on Saturday, September 13, 1969. Ken Rush drove his Camaro to Victory Lane in that event. The next day, Richard Brickhouse won the first Grand National race – the Talladega 500 (now known as the UAW-Ford 500), edging Jim Vandiver and Ramo Stott.

Putting that first race weekend on the record books wasn’t as easy as it may sound. The practice and qualifying speeds were so high (Charlie Glotzbach won the pole at 199.466 mph) that the tire companies – try as they might – could not in the time available come up with a compound that held together for many laps. The Professional Drivers Association (PDA), led by Richard Petty, declared the situation unsafe, and left the track Saturday afternoon.

It was not long before the Talladega Speedway came into its own with unprecedented speeds and unparalleled competition. The combination of the two also played a major role in the development of many drivers’ careers as they built reputations for setting records and taking wins at what quickly became known as “the largest, fastest and most competitive track on the circuit.”

The track at the Talladega is 2.66-miles long, four lanes wide and is banked 33 degrees on each end, with 18-degree banking in the tri-oval. This layout has produced some of the fastest and most competitive racing in history. The backstretch is nearly 4,000 feet long, and stock cars have reached speeds in excess of 220 miles per hour in competition.

The grandstands seating capacity at the Speedway is 143,231 including the most recent expansion of the O.V. Hill South Tower. The 212-acre all-reserved infield holds many thousands more.

Many stars have raced around the track’s challenging curves, but the track’s true dominator was Dale Earnhardt, who posted 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup wins at Talladega over the years. Earnhardt’s first victory was in the 1983 UAW-Ford 500, driving for Bud Moore. He won again the next year in his first season with Richard Childress. When he captured the 1990 UAW-Ford 500, he became the first three-time winner of that event, then added UAW-Ford 500 wins in 1991, 1993 and 2000.

Earnhardt also had victories in the 1990, 1995 and 1999 IROC races, as well as the 1993 Aaron’s 312 Busch Series race, to give him a total of 14 career victories at Talladega. That put him ahead of Davey Allison, who had four ARCA triumphs and an IROC win to go with his three Aaron’s 499 victories.

Fans know that flag-to-flag competition is the name of the game at Talladega Super Speedway, and the record book backs this up.

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