For Immediate Release                                        ACT – 032111-14


        Waterbury, VT – The American Canadian Tour (ACT) will open the 2011 season at the Lee USA Speedway on Sunday, April 17, 2011 with many new faces in the pits.


Two veteran Oxford Plains Speedway competitors plan to start their 2011 ACT seasons at Lee. Shane Green, South Paris, ME will drive the Geoffrey Low entry, and Dennis Spencer from Oxford, ME both have a lot of experience with ACT racing. Oxford Plains has presented 22 ACT Late Model races, plus four non-point TD Bank Oxford 250s. Both drivers have participated in most of those events and Spencer participated in the second annual ACT Invitational at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) last September.


A long-time competitor from Massachusetts will make his first point race starts at the opening event in 2011. Peter Yetman, Peru, MA had a solid first time ACT outing at the recent New Smyrna Speedway in Florida this past February. Yetman was introduced to ACT racing by third-year competitor Jeff Zuidema. After making the trip to Florida this past February, Yetman told the staff at ACT, “I am friends with Jeff and he told me that racing with the group from ACT was respectful and a lot of fun. He and I raced at the Thompson Speedway together, and he was right about the racing in ACT. Florida was a great trip and I am anxious to start the season at Lee USA.”


Tom Carey, Jr. from New Salem, MA is a much-respected veteran competitor from the former NASCAR North and Busch East Series. “I am looking forward to having some fun. Joining up again with old friends Brian Hoar, Jamie Aube, Eddie MacDonald, Brad Leighton and Dennis Demers (all former NASCAR competitors with Carey) is really going to be a lot of fun for our team. I have a new Ford program, a new ACT car, and an enthusiastic owner and team. We can’t wait to get started and love the opportunity to race a couple times at NHMS, and of course, the Oxford 250 and Milk Bowl are both ‘must do’ events on any short track racer’s menu,” said Carey.


Joining Carey and the other former NASCAR North stars will be Mike Bruno from Rutland VT. Mike was a former dirt racer who joined ACT Late Models in the late 90s, moved to some NASCAR North racing, back to dirt, and has now found his way back to ACT Late Models. Bruno has only had two outings over the past year, but both were very successful. His home track outside Rutland is the newly paved Devil’s Bowl Speedway and he and Thunder Road Champion Dave Pembroke, from Montpelier, VT opened the track last May racing for the win in one of the most competitive events of the season. Bruno also made the trip to New Smyrna and led the second 100-lap event for over 25 laps.


“It felt great leading some laps in both of my first two events back, but mostly just being competitive was the goal. I know we have some work to do to get back to form, but I have really enjoyed the first couple events on my return to ACT. I can’t wait to get things started for real this year and am really looking forward to Lee and then getting back to Thunder Road on May 1st, said Bruno.


Ray Parent from Riverton, RI is a former Pro Stock competitor from one of New England’s most historic and successful short tracks, the Vendetti family’s ‘cement palace’, Seekonk Speedway. Parent hauled his team to New Smyrna and secured a major sponsor with Amtrol, a major North American manufacturing company. “We are really excited to be able to open up some partnership opportunities for Amtrol through the ACT network,” said Parent.


“I met a lot of the ACT teams while in Florida, and the trip certainly helped me get ready for the season opener at Lee in a few weeks. We are really glad to be a part of this season, although I know it will be a bit of a learning curve from the Pro Stocks, I sure liked how competitive and respectful the racing was at New Smyrna. I raced once with ACT at Lee a couple years ago and finished 9th, so I hope we can have that kind of run to open the season,” concluded Parent.


The twenty-sixth season of ACT racing will take green at the Lee USA Speedway on Sunday, April 17, 2011. Over 40 of the best Late Model teams in the US and Canada are expected to open their race seasons in the 150-lap New Hampshire Governor’s Cup. The winner will also be awarded the first coveted spot in the third annual New Hampshire Motor Speedway ACT Invitational to be held on NASCAR Cup Chase weekend on September 23-25, 2011. 


For additional information contact the ACT office at 802.244.6963, www.acttour.com, or media@acttour.com.







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‘Change Is the Only Constant’



INDIANAPOLIS (March 22, 2011) – Named after St. Petersburg, Russia, Florida’s “Sunshine City” is also home to the opening race on the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule – Sunday’s Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.



The first race of every season is always full of hope after a team or a driver makes any offseason changes. Conversely, teams or drivers coming off a successful season try to do as little as possible to change what worked right for them the previous year. Alex Tagliani fits into both of those categories as he approaches round one of the 17-race IndyCar Series schedule.


By all appearances, little has changed in or around Tagliani’s No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins Dallara/Honda/Firestone Indy car and his team. The key ingredients that carried the first-year IndyCar Series team to a solid inaugural season still remain. The same crew members, the same cars, the same sponsors and the same driver have all returned for the second season. That consistency is what the team was hoping to carry through the offseason and into 2011.


In a famous quote, however, female racing pioneer, writer and author Denise McClugagge seems to say change is to be expected and embraced: “Change is the only constant. Hanging on is the only sin.”


One thing did change for Tagliani and team in the offseason. It was a big change, and it’s a change that has this team infused with confidence and optimism.


When the No. 77 is unloaded from its transporter in the St. Petersburg paddock, it will be a car that’s now part of Sam Schmidt Motorsports (SSM) after Tagliani and his co-owners sold the team to Schmidt just three weeks ago. It’s a change Tagliani and crew embrace. Owned by former driver Sam Schmidt, SSM is one of the most successful teams in the INDYCAR paddock.


SSM has won more championships (four) and races (37) than any other team in the stepping-stone Firestone Indy Lights division. The team also has experience in the IndyCar Series as it has qualified 10 cars in the Indianapolis 500 and has one IndyCar Series pole position. As a racing team, SSM is celebrating its 10th anniversary. And, what better way to kick things off than with a brand new team in its stable?


Alex Tagliani, Driver of the No. 77 B&W Dallara/Honda/Firestone for Sam Schmidt Motorsports:


How is the transition going from being an owner-driver back to just being a driver?


“Things have changed, even though it’s business as usual with the same guys and the same everything. Being the second year, we’re looking forward to building on what we started and learned last year. It was a discovery last year pretty much everywhere. Part of our season, we were trying to build a team more than we were trying to make our car go fast. This year, we’re on a different program and we’re excited to start. With Sam, we have a boss. We have somebody who has experience in racing. He has won championships and has been successful in Indy Lights. He brings a lot of intensity to the team because everybody knows where he’s from and what he’s been through. Everybody has this little extra edge inside looking to give him his first win in IndyCar. I don’t think it’s illogical to think we have the capability to try to get a win or two this year. For sure, we need to get our stuff right. There are going to be some tracks that are going to be better for us than others. We have to throw a lot of things at the car to understand and to improve ourselves and build our ‘toolbox,’ like the engineers say. I think the first four races are good races for us and I think we can do really well.”


What is your mindset entering the first IndyCar Series race in more than a year as just the driver?


“I’m actually happy to not be the guy in charge and just focus on my driving and let the team do what they do best. In this world of INDYCAR, especially this year, with so much more time on the broadcasts, you need to provide more content, be able to expose your sponsors and to help the branding of the team. So it already takes so much time outside of the cockpit to represent the team well and represent the sponsor well, commercially, that it’s better if you don’t have too many hats to wear.”


How did you get together with Sam Schmidt, and how is it to work with him?


“(Wife) Bronte and I had the chance to spend a little time with Sam. I had a lot of fun. He’s a really cool guy. He’s actually quite funny, I would say, kind of easy-going. What I liked the most is the fact that, when racing gets closer and closer, you can see he’s a passionate guy for the sport and he really wants the team to succeed. His level of interest in our team was that he saw a little bit of success and speed right away and it was giving him the feeling that, at some point, he could get back into the ownership with a strong entity, a strong group. This team did well in year one and, with him now, I think we are more motivated than ever to bring some success to him and please him in his first year back as a fulltime owner at the IndyCar level.”


What does Sam bring to the team?


“He has a lot of experience, and he’s bringing a lot of passion and intensity to our team. We feel great to have him as a leader. Last year, I was seen as one of the team owners but, obviously, I was not so much there to be the head guy. I was happy to take my driver spot and I was happy with that. Basically, Sam is bringing spirit to the troops. It’s basically the duty of a head coach and general manager and motivator. He came to the shop and, from his first speech, he brought motivation to us. From the first race on, we really want to showcase who we are, what we have, and showcase him as a team owner in the IZOD IndyCar series.”


What expectations have you placed on yourself and the team this year?


“I would love to be able to have a strong championship result and finish in the top-five. That would be absolutely outstanding. What happened to us last year, we had lots of really outrageous performances, like qualifying on the front row at Brazil, qualifying fourth in Sonoma, finishing fourth at Mid-Ohio, sitting on the pole three-quarters of the day at Indy, qualifying fifth at Kansas, sixth at Iowa. We know we have what it takes to be in the top-five. We know we can do it. We need to find a way to understand why we were so fast here and not so fast there. I think the day we get that understanding is the day we will be able to put together a much more consistent result and a much more consistent car for the full season. And that will make it easier to answer the question of when we can aim for a top-five finish.”


As a team, where do you think you’ve improved over last year?


“The thing that was upgraded with the fact that, in the wintertime this year, the team worked on improving, and it improved by knowing what the data was on the track. Last year, in the wintertime, it was basically painting the floor in the race shop, installing air lines, basically building a structure and a team more than developing a racecar – doing parts inventory, things like that. The team looked more like a race team this winter with development in mind. Now, year two for us and year one for Sam Schmidt Motorsports will be building on everything we learned from the data we accumulated last year, looking back at St. Pete, looking back at Long Beach, and approaching these races with a little bit more knowledge than we had last year. Last year, at Long Beach, we had absolutely nothing to look back on. We were blind, and that’s where our lack of consistency showed since we weren’t fast at that place and we didn’t know how to make it fast at that place.”


What are your thoughts on the IZOD IndyCar Series on the eve of the first race of the season?


“Timing is great, since IZOD joined the series, Randy (Bernard, president of INDYCAR) has worked very aggressively with IZOD, and making sure the series is on the rise. We’ve seen a lot of movement. We’ve seen a lot more attention. It’s pleasing the sponsors. We have a great group of drivers in the series. So, I think it’s where it needs to be. There’s always room for improvement, but it seems like the series has made huge steps in a lot of areas this season. That’s why the timing seems perfect for SSM to join the series. I think we can be in the lead group of the series but, again, St. Pete is going to be the reality check.”


Were you surprised on what transpired with Firestone over the last month?


“I’m very excited Firestone is back next year and the year after. When the original announcement came out that they were leaving, I was pretty shocked because I never imagined myself driving on anything else besides Firestone and Bridgestone. Since I started driving Indy cars, that’s all I’ve ever driven on. That’s the only tire I’ve ever been on. I think it’s great they decided to continue with the league. I think it would’ve been a big disappointment for them to leave. I think they’re a great company and they have great supporters in the league. They have helped us, as teams, to create a better commercial platform for sponsors, and I think they’re going to continue in that direction. They know what we need, they know the tracks, so they are the company that has the most amount of experience in the racing tire business for Indy cars. Racing is a business where it’s very important to have stability and, by them coming back, it’s great for our stability and I think it’s great for the series.”


What advice would you give Sebastien Bourdais as it appears he is returning to the series?


“It’s difficult to give him advice because he’s driven so many different kinds of cars. He’s more experienced than a lot of the guys out there. He’s driven Formula 1 and prototypes and Le Mans and Indy cars and Champ cars. He had more experience than me when I got here because he already drove the Indy 500 with Newman-Haas. He was doing that race plus the whole season in Champ Car. It’s great that he found a spot in our series, and I’m looking forward to getting back on the track with him and fight. This car is a little bit different. I thought the Champ car to the Indy car, the normally aspirated engine without the turbo, the way the car wanted to be driven, I thought there were a lot of things this car had that I wasn’t used to. But, after a couple of races as a driver, you get used to it and, as a professional, you learn to adapt. That’s what makes a good driver – the ability to adapt. I think he’ll do just fine.”


Rob Edwards, Team Manager of the No. 77 B&W Dallara/Honda/Firestone for Sam Schmidt Motorsports:


Where do you see the team heading into the season opener compared to this time last year?


“Last year, while we had high expectations, internally, we were off everyone else’s radar. Going into our second season, we have a year’s worth of knowledge from working together last season. Alex has the same people around him in 2011 as he did in 2010 and we have worked through an aggressive development program in the offseason. Once we get to St. Pete, what we achieved last year will mean nothing if it was not the foundation for greater success this season. The ingredients are there, we have to execute.”


With the purchase of the team by SSM, have you adjusted any goals for the season? What are some of the goals for the season?


“We haven’t adjusted any goals with the purchase of the team by SSM, but we will be stronger because of it. Sam has a very successful Indy Lights team and our goal is to make sure he has a very successful IndyCar team to go with it. Sam will help our team to be stronger and more stable. Sam will be a benefit to Alex in ways that I cannot. Our goal is to maximize our result at each of the 17 races. If we can make our performance more consistent over the course of the season and pull our worst races from 2010 up to the level of our best races from 2010, then we will achieve our ultimate goals.”












Laps Led




Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (IndyCar)



Running, 100/100





Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (IndyCar)



Running, 99/100





Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (CART)



Accident, 3/105













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NASCAR - Analyzing The Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 At Greenville Pickens Speedway

For Immediate Release


Statistical Advance: Analyzing The Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 At Greenville Pickens Speedway


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 22, 2011) – The 25th season of competition for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will commence with the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway on Saturday, March 26.


At Greenville Pickens Speedway:
•  Opened on July 4, 1946 as a dirt track … Race surface was converted to asphalt in April, 1970.
•  Held 29 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races from 1951-71, including the first flag-to-flag televised event.
•  David Pearson (1959) and Ralph Earnhardt (1965, 66) are among the famed drivers that have won championships at the track.
•  The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East held its inaugural Greenville Pickens Speedway race on June 6, 2006 and has returned every year since.
•  There have been five-different winning drivers and five-different pole winners in each of the first five NKNPS East races at GPS.
•  In the first five years of the event, only Joey Logano has won both the pole and the race, which he accomplished in 2007.
•  For the first time in 2011, there will be two NKNPS East races at GPS. The series will return to the historic half mile on Sept. 5.


Greenville Pickens Speedway Data
Race: #1 of 12 (3/26/11)
Track Layout: Half-mile oval
Banking: Five degrees in the turns
Race Length: 150 laps / 75 miles


Qualifying/Race Data
2010 pole winner: Cole Whitt (86.726 mph, 20.755 seconds)
2010 race winner: Darrell Wallace Jr. (47.098 mph, 1:39.22)
Track qualifying record: Joey Logano (87.481 mph, 20.576 seconds, 4/28/07)


NKNPS East Race Winners at GPS
June 6, 2006 ... Sean Caisse
April 28, 2007 ... Joey Logano
April 19, 2008 ... Austin Dillon
April 11, 2009 ... Brian Ickler
March 27, 2010 ... Darrell Wallace Jr.


NKNPS East Pole Winners at GPS
June 6, 2006 ... Mike Olsen
April 28, 2007 ... Joey Logano
April 19, 2008 ... Peyton Sellers
April 11, 2009 ... Brett Moffitt
March 27, 2010 ... Cole Whitt


Up to Speed:
•  The 2011 season will be the 25th for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. The inaugural event was a combination race with the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Darlington Raceway on March 28, 1987. The first stand-alone race was held at Oxford Plains Speedway on April 26.
•  There will not be a title defense in 2011 as Ryan Truex – the 2009 and 2010 champion – has moved up to the NNS with Pastrana-Waltrip Racing. Last year’s championship runner-up, Brett Moffitt, has moved from Joe Gibbs Racing to take over for Truex at Michael Waltrip Racing.
•  Six of the top 10 finishers in the 2010 season standings will return full-time in 2011. Two of the four not returning, Truex and Cole Whitt, moved up to national series rides.
•  New to the 2011 NKNPS East schedule is the inaugural stand-alone race for the series at Richmond International Raceway and the first trips to historical NASCAR weekly tracks Bowman Gray Stadium, Columbus Motor Speedway and Langley Speedway.
•  NASCAR lowered the minimum competition age for drivers to 15 across all touring divisions. Chase Elliott will attempt to be the first driver to compete at the age of 15 this weekend at Greenville Pickens Speedway.


Selected Driver Highlights:
Michael Cherry (No. 8 Toyota)

•  Had two top 10s in three starts at the end of the 2010 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season.
•  Competed in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model division at Greenville Pickens Speedway in 2009.
•  Will compete for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors out of the Revolution Racing garage and the Drive for Diversity program.


Matt DiBenedetto (No. 15 Toyota)
•  Recorded two wins, three poles and five top 10s in seven NKNPS East starts in 2009 as a Joe Gibbs Racing development driver.
•  Finished 10th in the 2009 season opener at GPS.
•  Will compete for the newly-formed X Team Racing in 2011.
•  Earned two top 10s in seven combined NNS starts for JGR in 2009-10.


Chase Elliott (No. 9 Chevrolet)
•  The son of Bill Elliott, he will attempt to become the first 15-year-old to compete in a NASCAR touring series race with the minimum competition age lowered from 16 to 15 this past offseason.
•  Signed a multi-year contract with Hendrick Motorsports. He will receive technical support from HMS while competing out of the family shop in Dawsonville, Ga.
•  Earned 12 wins and 38 top 10s in 40 Late Model races in 2010.


Ryan Gifford (No. 2 Toyota)
•  Has a pole and seven top fives in 14 career NKNPS East starts.
•  Finished fourth in the 2010 opener at GPS.
•  Competes for Revolution Racing and Drive for Diversity, and is a development driver for Richard Childress Racing that competes in dirt and asphalt Late Models with Team Dillon Racing.


Max Gresham (No. 18 Toyota)
•  Has two wins, two poles and five top 10s in 13 career NKNPS East starts the two previous seasons with JGR.
•  Was involved in an accident and finished 23rd in the 2010 opener at GPS.
•  In addition to competing for the NKNPS East championship, he also hopes to make his NNS and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debuts in 2011, and some ARCA superspeedway starts.


Ben Kennedy (No. 96 Chevrolet)
•  Made NKNPS East debut with one start in 2010. He finished 24th following oil line failure at Gresham Motorsports Park.
•  Earned Pro-Truck and Late Model division titles at Orlando Speed World.
•  The son of Lesa France Kennedy and great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr.


Corey LaJoie (No. 07 Ford)
•  Has three top fives and an additional top 10 in seven career NKNPS East starts.
•  All four of his top-10 finishes have come at national series tracks. The best was a runner-up effort in the 2010 finale at Dover International Speedway.
•  Is the son of Randy LaJoie, two-time NNS champion.


Eddie MacDonald (No. 71 Chevrolet)
•  Has six wins, two poles and 56 top 10s in 131 career NKNPS East starts.
•  Has an average finish of 11th in four starts at GPS with a best effort of third in 2009.
•  The longest-tenured driver on the pre-entry list, this will be his 11th year in the series.


Brandon McReynolds (No. 37 Chevrolet)
•  Will look to make his NKNPS East debut at GPS.
•  Competed regularly in UARA from 2008-10 and earned two wins at Rockingham Speedway.
•  Made NNS debut at Gateway International Raceway in 2010.
•  The son of former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chief and current NASCAR on Fox analyst Larry McReynolds.


Brett Moffitt (No. 00 Toyota)
•  Has four wins, three poles and 16 top 10s in 21 career NKNPS East starts.
•  Finished third in points as a rookie with Andy Santerre Motorsports in 2010 and was the championship runner-up to Ryan Truex in 2010 with JGR.
•  Has finishes of fifth and 24th in two previous starts at GPS. He became the youngest driver in NKNPS East history – surpassing Joey Logano – to earn a pole in 2009 at GPS.
•  Will compete this year for MWR in the same car that Truex won the two previous championships.


Sergio Peña (No. 4 Toyota)
•  Had three top 10s in 10 starts as a rookie in 2010.
•  Finished 27th after an accident in his series debut at GPS a year ago.
•  This will be his second year with Revolution Racing and Drive for Diversity.


Coleman Pressley (No. 14 Toyota)
•  Will attempt to make his NKNPS East debut at GPS with X Team Racing.
•  Made 12 combined NNS starts in 2009-10.
•  Was the 2010 UARA Late Model champion.
•  Is the son of former NASCAR national series driver Robert Pressley.


D.J. Shaw (No. 60 Chevrolet)
•  Has five top 10s in 12 career starts.
•  Best finish of his 2010 rookie season was a fifth-place effort in the opener at GPS.
•  Is the son of 1994 NKNPS East Champion Dale Shaw, who is crew chief of the No. 60.


Darrell Wallace Jr. (No. 6 Toyota)
•  Recorded two wins and seven top 10s to finish third in overall points and earn Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in 2010.
•  Is the defending winner of the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150. The win made him the youngest and first African-American race winner in NKNPS East history.
•  Competes for Revolution Racing and Drive for Diversity. He is also part of the JGR driver development program.


For more information, contact:
Jason Cunningham, NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications


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