New Hampshire Motor Speedway Magic Mile Notebook: STP 500

PRESS RELEASE: New Hampshire Motor Speedway

**LOCAL TIDBITS**

Jimmie Johnson Martinsville 2013 Getty

Eventual race winner Jimmie Johnson leads the field to green in last year’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway (Photo: Getty Images)

Speedway Star Search Begins
New Hampshire Motor Speedway is in search of New England’s best vocalists for what is expected to be the biggest and most competitive Speedway Star competition to date. Speedway officials have started accepting entries for the fifth annual singing contest. The Speedway Star competition will be held at the Mall of New Hampshire on Saturday, April 26. Prospective contestants are asked to submit a DVD, CD, .wav file or .mp3 file of them singing “The Star Spangled Banner” a cappella style (without music or other accompaniments). Submissions will be accepted until Friday, April 11 at 5 p.m.

NHMS Unveils New Ticket Program
In an effort to introduce the thrill of NASCAR racing to a younger demographic, New Hampshire Motor Speedway has developed a new school ticket program to attract children to experience the racing action in-person at the track. In addition, a portion of the ticket proceeds – sold to other family members – will go back to local schools. The “Speedway for Kids” Program will offer elementary, middle and high school students an opportunity to attend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 and/or SYLVANIA 300 for free. The free ticket voucher, which will be distributed to more 21,000 students throughout 60-plus schools in New England, will also offer discounted tickets for parents and/or guardians who wish to attend either or both races with the student. For each additional $25 ticket purchased, New Hampshire Motor Speedway will give one dollar back to all participating schools. The voucher is good for one free student ticket, with additional discounted tickets available for adults at $25 per race and children 12 and under at $12.50 per race.

Trucks Return to Magic Mile
Anchored by its two traditional NASCAR Sprint Cup weekends, New Hampshire Motor Speedway will welcome the return of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in September. Absent from the Magic Mile since 2011, the UNOH 175 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event will run on Saturday, Sept. 20, the day before the OSRAM SYLVANIA 300 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship event on Sunday, Sept. 21. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series full-time driver Kyle Busch won the last three Truck Series races at the Magic Mile from 2009-11.

Border War: Northern, Southern Mods Invade Magic Mile
The debut of a new, all-star shootout event for NASCAR National and Southern Whelen Modified Series will create one of the biggest and most diverse pole days on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule on Friday, July 11 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Long known as the Super Bowl venue for the exciting NASCAR Whelen Modified Series, the Magic Mile will be the stage for the inaugural $25,000 shootout event. The special event will feature 20-24 cars, representing previous winners and champions from the national and southern touring series along with the 2013 Sunoco Rookies of the Year for both tours. The 30-minute race will pay $4,000 to win and $800 to start in the $1,000-lap shootout.

Win On Sunday, Sell on Monday: Toyota Renews with NHMS
If there’s a company that knows how to “win on Sunday and sell on Monday” at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, it’s Toyota. Speedway officials recently announced that it has renewed its relationship with the popular manufacturer, retaining Toyota as the speedway’s “official vehicle” through 2016. Toyota has been the speedway’s partner since 2011, and has enjoyed tremendous success both on the track and throughout the Boston region marketplace. Drivers have piloted Toyota Camrys into victory lane in three straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races dating back to 2012, while the manufacturer continues to be a leader in American automotive production, maintaining 10 manufacturing plants throughout the United States.

Global Appeal
New Hampshire Motor Speedway ticket officials have sold tickets across the globe for both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekends in 2014. Fans in Canada, Austria, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Hungry and New Zealand have all purchased tickets for either/both the Camping World RV Sales 301 (July 10-13) or the OSRAM SYLVANIA 300 (Sept. 18-21). The Magic Mile has also sold tickets to all 50 states in North America.

**NATIONAL STORYLINES**

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will make its first of two stops at Martinsville Speedway this weekend:

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Next Race: STP 500
The Place: Martinsville Speedway
The Date: Sunday, March 30
The Time: 1 p.m.
TV: FOX, 12:30 p.m.
Radio: MRN, Sirius XM Ch. 90
Distance: 263 miles (500 laps)

Key stats from last week at Auto Club Speedway

Winner: Kyle Busch

Margin of Victory: 0.214 seconds

Cautions: 9 for 42 laps

Lead Changes: 35 among 15 drivers

Most Laps Led: Jimmie Johnson 104 of 206

Top 16 Driver Points:

(1) C. Edwards 186; (2) D. Earnhardt Jr. 185; (3) J. Gordon 184;
(4) B. Keselowski 182; (5) M. Kenseth 179; (6) J. Johnson 165;
(7) Kyle Busch 158; (8) R. Newman 150; (9) A. Dillon 150;
(10) J. Logano 146; (11) D. Hamlin 140; (12) J. McMurray 138;
(13) B. Vickers 137; (14) P. Menard 134; (15) R. Stenhouse Jr. 132; (16) K. Larson # 131.

Victories:
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1)
Kevin Harvick (1)
Brad Keselowski (1)
Carl Edwards (1)
Kyle Busch (1)

This race last year
Winner: Jimmie Johnson
Pole Sitter: Jimmie Johnson
Margin of Victory: 0.627 seconds
Lead Changes: 12 among 5 drivers
Most Laps Led: Jimmie Johnson 346 of 500
Top-Five: Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Gordon,
Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch.

30 Rocks: Hendrick Hoping For A Happy Anniversary
Hendrick Motorsports is good. The NASCAR team is 219 wins good. Eleven NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships good. Fourteen overall NASCAR national series owner championships good. And its success has lasted three decades – with winning roots extending all the way to the site of this weekend’s race, at Martinsville Speedway. In 2014, Hendrick Motorsports is celebrating its 30th anniversary in NASCAR – and this weekend, specifically, its first win in what is now the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. On April 29, 1984 at Martinsville, Geoffrey Bodine took his No. 5 Chevrolet to Victory Lane for a single-car operation then known as All-Star Racing. A year later, the team changed its name to Hendrick Motorsports. Three decades later, that tiny operation has evolved into a four-car juggernaut that has three of its drivers in the current top six in points. No other major American professional sports organization has more championships than Hendrick Motorsports since 1984. In that time, the Los Angeles Lakers have won eight NBA championships and the Chicago Bulls have recorded six. Both the New York Yankees and Edmonton Oilers have tallied five titles apiece since ‘84. Two of its drivers – Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson – sit atop the active wins list at Martinsville, with eight apiece. Johnson won last year’s spring Martinsville race, and Gordon won the fall race at the shortest race track in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

6-For-6? Sounds About Right
Five different drivers have won the first five races of the 2014 season. That happened last year, too. But what hasn’t happened in the 10-year history of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – six different winners in the first six races. The way the beginning of this season has unfolded, a record seems ready-made. Here are the last six winners at Martinsville: Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson (twice), Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin. Of that group, only Kevin Harvick has won a race thus far in ‘14. That suggests one thing: Get ready for 6-for-6.

Sunoco Rookies Approaching Their Toughest Challenge
The Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle is just that. The anticipation surrounding Austin Dillon’s entry into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been followed-up – big-time – by the sudden emergence of NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate Kyle Larson (No. 42 Target Chevrolet). Dillon came into NASCAR’s premier series after winning championships in both the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. But for anyone thinking Dillon (No. 3 Dow Chevrolet) was a lock for the top rookie honor, it’s time to re-think. Larson’s second-place finish this past Sunday at Auto Club Speedway – on the heels of a breakthrough victory the day before in the NASCAR Nationwide Series – has him leading the rookie standings over Dillon, 58-54.

Earnhardt Rates High At Martinsville
On the subject of Dale Earnhardt Jr., his winless record at Martinsville belies the fact that it’s one of his best tracks. And as far as driver rating is concerned, it’s the best for him, with a 98.9 number – fourth-highest in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville. This can more-or-less be viewed as a microcosm of Earnhardt’s career – lots of strong runs but surprisingly few victories. At Martinsville, a breakthrough appears imminent, especially considering his strong start to this season. Earnhardt, second in series points behind Carl Edwards (186 to 185), has five top-10 runs in his last seven Martinsville starts. His overall statistics showing 10 top-fives and 15 top 10s in 28 Martinsville races – that’s why Earnhardt has the solid driver rating at a track that has kept many drivers, over the course of many years, from visiting Victory Lane. This success is perhaps indicative of Earnhardt’s affection for short-track racing, which he reminded people of two weeks at Bristol Motor Speedway, saying, “this is where it’s at.” Earnhardt finished eighth last fall at Martinsville, during a late-season rush that formed the foundation for his immediate rise to contention this year. But he’ll be looking for better luck than he had a year ago at Martinsville’s spring race when he came in leading the series standings but finished 24th and lost the lead to Jimmie Johnson.

Gas ’N Go
– The Kyle Busch countdown continues. Busch led five laps on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway, bringing his career total to 9,938. He needs 62 more to become the 15th driver in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history to reach 10,000 career laps led.
– Twelve of the last 13 races at Martinsville that have finished under green have had a margin of victory of less than one second.
– David Stremme will return to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this week, driving the No. 33 Circle Sport Chevrolet. His last start came at Richmond last September; he finished 38th.

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