Sunday, January 25, 2009
Fastenal will be the primary sponsor of the No. 5 Chevrolet for 14 races, bringing the team's total number of races in 2009 to 21. The partnership will kick off at Texas on April 4 with team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. behind the wheel. Earnhardt will make one other start in the No. 5 at Daytona in July.
Fastenal joins Unilever (four races), GoDaddy.com (two races), and Delphi (one race) as primary sponsors of the No. 5 team in 2009.
"Everyone here at Fastenal is thrilled to be working with Dale Jr. and JR Motorsports to help continue the success of the No. 5 team," Fastenal president and CEO Will Oberton said. "We're looking forward to a great year on the track, and an opportunity to associate the Fastenal brand with one of the most popular drivers in the history of motorsports."
Additional drivers and races for the No. 5 team will be announced at a later date. The No. 5 team earned two victories last year, with Mark Martin winning at Las Vegas and Ron Fellows winning at Montreal.
"We've worked really hard putting a program together that will keep this No. 5 car on the track, and we are extremely pleased to bring Fastenal into the JR Motorsports fold for 2009," Earnhardt said. "This team was a two-time winner last season, and I feel all the pieces are in place to keep that momentum going."
Monday, January 19, 2009
iRacing Announces 2009 World Cup as Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Joins Competition Committee
Annual Club Championship Features Global Tournament for Internet Racing
BEDFORD, Mass., Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The World Cup of iRacing(TM), a global, team-style, annual internet-racing competition, was announced today by John Henry, chairman of iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations, LLC. Henry also announced that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has joined iRacing's Competition Committee, the group charged with overseeing the new tournament and other internet racing activities.
"The World Cup of iRacing represents a new aspect of the sport of internet racing," Henry said. "In addition to all of the individual racing opportunities that iRacers enjoy, the World Cup of iRacing gives each of our members around the world the chance to compete as part of a geographically-based club, working throughout the year with their teammates toward a common goal, one that would be out of reach for the vast majority of people racing on their own - a true world championship."
Details of The World Cup of iRacing are available on iRacing's public Web site (www.iracing.com). Henry also noted that Earnhardt's assumption of a position on iRacing's Competition Committee formalizes a relationship that began several years ago.
"Dale's passion for motorsport is recognized by sports fans everywhere, and his keen interest in auto racing simulation is well known," Henry said. "As one of our cadre of volunteer alpha and beta testers, Dale's input was invaluable during the initial development of the iRacing simulation software and racing service. He's continued to be an important source of technical input as we've developed our stable of stock cars. Now, as a member of the Competition Committee, he's helping us shape the newest form of motorsport - one that is fun, inexpensive and easily available to virtually anyone with a broadband internet connection anywhere in the world. We're thrilled to have Dale join us in this new capacity."
Earnhardt has used the iRacing.com service to prepare for real-world test sessions and races, but his regular participation in race series organized by iRacing's sanctioning body, FIRST, is primarily about personal enjoyment and a love of competition. Earnhardt will have a continuing voice in the development of a form of motorsport competition that is easily accessible not only to veteran racing drivers, but to fans as well.
"It's a great honor to join the iRacing Competition Committee," Earnhardt said. "Simracing is a major part of my life and I hope to be involved in helping iRacing bring the community the best simulation possible. I look forward to being an asset to the committee and iRacing as a whole as the development continues. It's an amazing time to be a simracer."
The inaugural World Cup of iRacing begins February 1st, with the start of the first of four 12-week 2009 iRacing competition seasons. It will be contested by 35 clubs, which encompass the entire iRacing membership and are organized by global geographic region. Clubs will compete through the four quarterly seasons, followed by a regional runoff and then on February 6, 2010, a one-day, winner-take-all day of racing to determine the World Cup of iRacing champion.
iRacing.com was founded in September of 2004 by Dave Kaemmer and John Henry. Kaemmer was co-founder of Papyrus Design Group, developers of award-winning racing simulations including NASCAR Racing: 2003 Season and Grand Prix Legends. Henry is principal owner of the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Sports Group - the co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing - as well as an avid simracer. The iRacing team combines more than 100 years of real-world racing experience with more than 50 years of successful racing simulation development. The company has developed numerous corporate relationships in the motorsport industry, including agreements to develop track simulations with International Speedway Corporation, Speedway Motorsports, and Panoz Motor Sports Group and vehicles with General Motors, Riley Technologies, Radical Sportscars, and 600 Racing. iRacing is the official simulation partner of the Star Mazda Championship and the Skip Barber Racing School.
Monday, January 12, 2009
"You sit around and you got a couple months off, you really get used to being a bum at the house. This really starts to bring you back to getting to the racetrack," Junior said of the meet-and-greet event with the fans. "I'm excited about going racing at Daytona. But this really sort of makes you -- it's a little bit of a tease. You're kind of ready to get there now.
"This is the first interaction with the race fans in several months. They'll tell you about how excited they are about the season. They'll tell you about how they want you to have a good year. Sort of gets you back into the feeling of going back to the racetrack, getting excited about going back to the racetrack."
With the Daytona 500 just a little over a month away, Junior and other race car drivers from a number of different series had the chance to participate in the two-day Fan Festival and celebration of music and motorsports in Nashville.
Joining the drivers were several country music stars, like Junior's good friend Dierks Bentley. Bentley helped Earnhardt Jr. break in his new club, Whisky River, in May of last year with a CD release party.
Bentley isn't the only country music star who's friends with Junior. Earnhardt Jr. has built several lasting friendships with musicians from previous Sound and Speed Fan Festivals.
"I've had some pretty good friendships built up over the last several years with some of the guys that I was actually a big fan of," Earnhardt Jr. said. "The friendships are just equal admiration. They come out, see what we do. We see what they do. We all kind of have similar attitudes toward life, I guess, a little bit not taking stuff so seriously, just sort of enjoying yourself, having an opportunity to do something you love for a living."
The event is also a way for Junior to make some new friends in the world of country music. The event pairs drivers with musicians in autograph booths, and this year, Junior was able to enjoy the company of Big Machine Records recording artist Danielle Peck.
Depite having spent the day with Peck, though, Junior couldn't sing enough praises for one of his former booth partners, LeAnn Rimes.
"LeAnn, she's an amazing person. She's a lot of fun to be around. She's got a hell of a head on her shoulders. She's just a beautiful person. It's always great to see her no matter where you're at," Earnhardt Jr. said.
When asked which of the country music starlets Junior would prefer to date, he again put Rimes in the spotlight.
"That is definitely difficult when you have to narrow it down to just one. I think that LeAnn. Obviously she's married, but he's probably the luckiest man in country music," Earnhardt Jr. said.
After spending the weekend with old friends and new in country music's capital, Earnhardt Jr. is now tasked with having to share the memories with his family and friends in North Carolina.
"It's always fun to meet those type of people. My family back home is, you know, going to have a ton of questions for me every time I come out here to Nashville and meet some of these people. They get excited about it. Fortunately in the country music world the majority of the people you meet are down-to-earth and good people, so it's fun to be a part of it."
Earnhardt Jr. will have just a few days to answer those questions before hitting the road again to head to Daytona for this weekend's NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest. Fans can meet Junior on the second day of the festival, Jan. 17. Over 25 NASCAR drivers will participate in autograph sessions during the two-day festival.
The two-day extravaganza, which brings together the stars of NASCAR and country music for autographs, storytelling and question-and-answer sessions from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 10 at Nashville's Municipal Auditorium, features Earnhardt and Michael Waltrip and artists Josh Turner, Jason Michael Carroll and Richie McDonald, with more to be announced in the coming weeks. Montgomery Gentry, Rodney Atkins and special guest Julianne Hough will appear in concert at 8 p.m. on Jan. 9 at Nashville's Sommet Center.
Tickets for the concert and the Sprint Sound & Speed Festival are available through TicketMaster (www.ticketmaster.com) and through the Web site www.soundandspeed.org. Concert tickets are priced at $35 (Level 1), $25 (Level 2) and $17.50 (Level 3). Festival tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under. Combination tickets, good for the concert and the fan festival, are priced at $50 (Concert Level 1), $40 (Level 2) and $35 (Level 3).
For the fourth consecutive year, the Victory Junction Gang and the Country Music Hall of Fame will be the charitable beneficiaries of the event. The first three Sprint Sound & Speed events drew an estimated 40,000 fans and raised more than $800,000 for its designated charities.
At Saturday's Fan Festival, fans of racing and country music once again will have the opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with drivers, team owners and top-name artists. The blockbuster event also will feature show car and sponsor displays, as well as a charitable auction with memorabilia from the racing and entertainment industries. Among the NASCAR celebrities already scheduled to join Earnhardt and Waltrip at the festival are Kyle Petty, Ray Evernham, Reed Sorensen and David Stremme. Sports prototype road racing stars Wayne Taylor (three-time champion and owner of a racing team in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series), Max Angelelli and Brian Frisselle (co-drivers of the No. 10) also are part of the lineup.
Headlining this year's Friday-night concert, are the ever-popular Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry, known as the chart-topping duo Montgomery Gentry. The group's past 10 years in the limelight have produced more than 20 charted singles, five No. 1 singles, gold and platinum albums, CMA and ACM awards, as well as a Grammy® nomination. According to Billboard and Radio & Records year-end rankings for country radio airplay, Montgomery Gentry was the No. 1 duo. With anthems such as "Lucky Man," "Hell Yeah," "If You Ever Stop Loving Me" and "Something To Be Proud Of," Montgomery Gentry have become an indelible part of the honky-tonk landscape.
For more information, visit www.soundandspeed.org.
(Sorry it's been so long!!)