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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Kudos to ESPN for going “nonstop” with commercials; events abound during Charlotte Speedweeks

Thanks ESPN, for finally listening to the fans.

After far too many instances of important on-track action being missed due to commercials, many fans have been asking for years for the networks to show commercials side by side with the race.

This year, ESPN will do finally do it, letting viewers catch all the action.
The new “NASCAR Nonstop” format will be in effect for the races that make up the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, starting with the race at Chicagoland Speedway Sept. 18.

The format will show the ads on the left of the screen and racing action on the right side. Even better, ESPN’s scoring ticker will continue across the top of the screen, so you can still track the running order.

“Since we returned to NASCAR racing in 2007, one of the most common questions from our fans has been ‘why don’t you do the commercials side-by-side?’” said John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president, content. “We’re very pleased to be able to do it now with NASCAR NonStop and showcase the advertiser while still showcasing the race. ESPN’s mission is to serve sports fans and this is a way to give the fans more racing action during the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.”

Skipper said that ESPN worked with NASCAR to create the format for NASCAR NonStop.

"NASCAR has the most dedicated and loyal fans in the world, and we are constantly trying to enhance how those fans consume this great sport,” said Paul Brooks, president of NASCAR Media Group. “ESPN’s ‘NonStop’ format will ensure our fans maximize their viewing experience during the most intense and thrilling time of the season – the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.”

Events aplenty during Charlotte Speedweeks
There will be plenty of action in and around the Charlotte area this week and next week during Charlotte Speedweeks.

The seventh annual NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman will take place Thursday, May 19 at 7 p.m. at Time Warner Cable Arena (TV start time is delayed until 8 p.m.). This competition between the top 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pit crews has become a popular event among the fans and features the "unsung heroes" of the sport. The event’s finishing order determines pit selection for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. The No. 11 FedEx Toyota is the defending Pit Crew Challenge Champion.

-- Friday, May 20, NASCAR Day – The NASCAR community will unite with its inaugural NASCAR Day Car Wash For Kids, a national volunteer effort and fundraiser to support children’s charities across the country. More than 30 venues, including 15 NASCAR race tracks will hold car wash events. Proceeds from NASCAR Day Car Wash for Kids will benefit local children’s charities and The NASCAR Foundation. Limited-edition NASCAR Day pins are also available and support the mission of Victory Junction. The pins are available for a $10 donation at The Sprint Experience at-track and at WWW.NASCAR.COM/foundation.
-- Friday, May 20, 5 p.m., Charlotte Motor Speedway – NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Qualifying (for tickets call 1-800-455-FANS or log onto – SPEED to televise.
-- Friday, May 20, 8 p.m., Charlotte Motor Speedway – NASCAR Camping World Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 (for tickets call 1-800-455-FANS or – SPEED to televise.
-- Saturday, May 21, 7:30 p.m., Charlotte Motor Speedway – Sprint Showdown (top-two finishers qualify for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race). For tickets call 1-800-455-FANS or – SPEED to televise.
-- Saturday, May 21, 9 p.m., Charlotte Motor Speedway – NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (for tickets call 1-800-455-FANS or – SPEED to televise.
-- Sunday, May 22, NASCAR Hall of Fame – NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Fan Day, featuring Q&A’s and autograph sessions with Hall of Famers Junior Johnson and Richard Petty, and Hall of Fame inductees Bobby Allison, Ned Jarrett, Bud Moore and David Pearson. Also in attendance will be Maurice Petty, who will represent inductee, Lee Petty.
-- Monday, May 23, 7 p.m., NASCAR Hall of Fame – 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Allison, Jarrett, Moore, Petty and Pearson are officially inducted as the second class. The Induction Ceremony is open to the public. The historic event takes place in the Charlotte Convention Center’s Crown Ballroom, which is connected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and can be purchased through Ticketmaster or by calling 800-745-3000.

You can also keep up to date with all the events by following @NASCAR on Twitter (Hashtag: #SprintAllStar) and logging onto

Robby going back to his roots
Robby Gordon will compete in short-course off-road racing this weekend t the dual Glen Helen Raceway rounds of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. Gordon will race in the premier Pro 2 Unlimited class.

"Robby's from Southern California originally, and having him - a famous off-road and NASCAR racer - out on the track will only bring more fans and more competition to an already popular and competitive series," says Tony Vanillo of the Lucas Oil Off road Racing Series. "We're really excited to see how he fares out there against the best of the best in modern short-course racing."

Gordon said he looks at this as a chance to get back to his roots.

"Short-course racing is a lot of fun," says Gordon. "They're sprint races, so they aren't long, and I don't want to say there's a lot of beating and banging because I don't want to beat up my truck, but there is a lot of tight, wheel-to-wheel racing out there. It's a good show."

"Too much business, not enough fun lately," Gordon says, "But since we weren't in the All-Star Race [in NASCAR that weekend], and with the television package the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series provides, we figured it was a good opportunity to promote our product, Speed Energy, on our truck."

NASCAR brings back Wendell Scott Scholarship Program
He may not be getting much love from the Hall of Fame nominators, but at least Wendell Scott’s name lives on through NASCAR’s Wendell Scott Scholarship Program, which started last year and will return tin 2011.

The program is funded in part by UPS, and was established to provide financial support to deserving African-American and Hispanic students currently enrolled in college who are pursuing degrees in areas of study related to motorsports, including marketing, engineering and public relations. The scholarship program is part of NASCAR Diversity Affairs’ integrated initiative that includes a scholarship program, mentorship program and summer internship program.

“We are continually seeking ways to further engage students as fans and as future employees of the sport,” said Marcus Jadotte, NASCAR vice president, public affairs and multicultural development. “The goal is to create permanent employment prospects for diverse college students entering the work force through viable, real-world opportunities.”

The NASCAR Wendell Scott Scholarship Program provides annual scholarships administered by the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities (HACU) and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). In addition, NASCAR and UPS support a scholarship program for students attending the University of Central Florida, DeVos School of Management which offers a master’s program in sports management.

“UPS’s commitment to diversity extends beyond our workforce, and we’re excited to continue our support with NASCAR in this important initiative,” said Ron Rogowski, UPS vice president, global sponsorships & events.
The scholarships are based on the following award criteria:
-- 3.0 GPA requirement
-- Documented financial need
-- College juniors, seniors and graduate students with majors in: business, communications, engineering, mass media, public relations or technology

Wendell Scott was the first African American driver to win a NASCAR Cup race. He won in NASCAR's premier series on Dec. 1, 1963, on a 1-mile dirt track in Jacksonville, Fla. Wendell Scott made 495 starts during his career and posted 147 top-10 finishes before retiring in 1973. Scott died in 1990. As part of an ongoing effort to recognize trailblazers in the sport, Wendell Scott was recognized during the Las Vegas Race the weekend of March 4-6, 2011, which coincided with the 50th anniversary of his first start – March 4, 1961 in Spartanburg, SC.

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