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Racin’ Notes: KHI Hires Crew Chief For Piquet

| , RacinToday.com Monday, January 10 2011

Kevin Harvick has named a crew chief for his third Camping World Truck Series team. (Photo coutresy of NASCAR)


In Racin’ news for Monday, Jan. 10th:

Kevin Harvick Inc. announced Monday that veteran Chris Carrier will lead the organization’s third Camping World Truck Series team as crew chief in 2011. The addition to the KHI stable, which will carry the No. 8, will be driven full time by Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet Jr.

Carrier, who has more than 30 years of experience in the sport, has wins as a crew chief in each of NASCAR’s top-three series. The Bristol, Tennessee native began his career in grassroots racing at the local level as a teenager and graduated from East Tennessee State University with a degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology. Carrier has served as crew chief at Morgan McClure Motorsports, Andy Petree Racing and Penske Racing. The 50 year old most recently led Penske’s driver development program with driver Parker Kligerman.

“I’m really looking forward to this experience with Nelson Piquet Jr.,” said Carrier. “I enjoy working with young drivers and I have a lot of respect for Nelson. Coming from Formula 1, I know that he has a lot of talent, he has good car control, and he won’t be afraid to go fast. I’m excited to get started.”

For KHI, the choice of the No. 8 also carries significance for both the driver and co-owner Kevin Harvick. “The No. 8 was my very first go-kart number when I started racing, so it was always a number I wanted our team to use,” said Harvick. “Nelson had also mentioned to me that he liked the number since he grew up racing the No. 33, and the curves of the No. 8 are reminiscent of that number. All in all it seemed like a good fit.”

Piquet will begin his full-time Truck Series effort in the No. 8 on February 18 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway with sponsorship to be announced at a later date.

Driver of the Year president Barry Schmoyer named two new members to the DOTY voting panel.

The two are Holly Cain and Marty Reid.

Reid has been broadcasting motorsports on television several decades. 2011 will be Reid’s 30th year with ESPN, where  he is play-by-play announcer on Sprint Cup broadcasts. He is the first and only person to do play-by-play for all five major American motorsports series; NASCAR Sprint, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series, Indycar and NHRA Drag Racing.

“It is an honor to be asked to serve and it is not lost on me the responsibility each of us has in the selection process,” Reid said.

Cain, the senior motorsports writer for AOL Sports – FanHouse, is an award winning writer. Before joining AOL Sports in 2009, she served as lead reporter/columnist for the the Tampa Tribune, Dallas Morning News and Seattle Post-Intelligencer and has spent two decades covering all forms of the sport, from sports cars to the NHRA, to IndyCar to NASCAR.

Cain said she was “honored to be a panelist for Driver of the Year,” and was looking forward to working with the panel in the future.

Leaving the panel is Chris Economaki of National Speed Sport News, the last original member of the group. Economaki had been a panelist for 45 years.

“I’m sorry that Chris is no longer involved, and we certainly owe a great debt to him,” Schmoyer said. “No journalist and broadcaster covered the broad spectrum of racing like Chris did. He is an icon and we are very grateful for his contributions to the DOTY Award.”

In its’ 45th year, the Driver of the Year Award is unique and the oldest of its type.  A panel of 20 leading journalists from across the U.S. determines the winner.  In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4,3,2,1 basis. The winning driver receives a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch.

Information on the award may be obtained from the Driver of the Year Foundation, PO Box 49827, Sarasota, Florida 34230 or from (941) 379-2318 or email: barrydoty@yahoo.com

Tyler, Texas natives Bob Leavine and Lance Fenton have partnered up to form Leavine Fenton Racing. The team said it will compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as well as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series during the 2011 season.

Leavine Fenton Racing will run Fords from their Concord, N.C. based shop.

The team will run the No. 95 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Drivers, crews and sponsorship will be announced soon, the team said.

Leavine is the owner of WRL General Contractors, Ltd. and has been involved in racing for years. Leavine’s most recent involvement in NASCAR was sponsorship in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series during the 2010 season.

“I am excited about our new NASCAR Cup Team,” said Owner Bob Leavine. “There are some opportunities now in NASCAR that may never come around again, and we are blessed to be in a position to take advantage of those opportunities. There are several things I expect to get out of this venture but top on the list is to enjoy myself around a great group of people at NASCAR.”

Fenton is the owner of Fenton Motor Group in Tyler, Texas and Phoenix Design and Manufacturing, LLC in Oklahoma City, Okla. He has raced and owned race teams since the mid ‘80s. Last year, he made his debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

“This team is the realization of the vision of several great men,” Fenton said. “The owners, crew, and driver are all passionate, success driven individuals. I am truly blessed to be a part of this adventure. There is no doubt in my mind we will be victorious in our effort and have enjoyment while getting our mission accomplished. The No. 95 car will definitely be a factor at every event it enters. My Lord, my family, and my friends are all to thank for making this team a reality.”

Sheltra Motorsports has signed Milka Duno to run the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 ARCA Series race at Daytona International Speedway next mont

Duno, a veteran of the IndyCar Series, will pilot the No. 63 Dodge Charger at the newly-

Milka Duno plans to go ARCA racing. (Photo courtesy of the IndyCar Series)

repaved Daytona International Speedway for three days of testing January 11-13.

Crew chief, Jon Wolfe, will work with Duno throughout the test session to get her comfortable, fast and ready for the ARCA Racing Series season opener at DIS on February 12th.

“This is truly an exciting opportunity for all of us at Sheltra Motorsports.” said Wolfe. “We are aiming to carry our momentum of the 2010 championship season into 2011.”

“We are really excited to have the opportunity to work with Milka in Daytona and to give her a shot at being the first female to win a major event in stock car racing.” Sheltra said. “Our goal is to get her comfortable at the test, and I have no doubt she will have a great performance in the race.”

Brandon Hinson, owner of Hinson Sports Management and Director of Marketing for Sheltra Motorsports, has been working with Duno’s team for several months to bring the Venezuelan driver to Sheltra Motorsport.

“We made the commitment to give her the best equipment and opportunity possible to be successful.” Hinson said. “I believe that when she gets behind the wheel of the No. 63 this week, it will be the beginning of a great year for Milka.”

“I’m very excited and grateful for this opportunity to test with the 2010 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menard’s Championship winning team,” said Duno. “Patrick, Jon and Brandon head a very skilled and dedicated organization and having met with them and visited their facility it is easy to see why they are the 2010 champions!”

Sheltra Motorsports has worked all off-season to have a multi-car program in 2011, and things are beginning to shape up to make that a reality. More announcements are set to be made in the coming weeks.

Tim George Jr. returns to Richard Childress Racing’s driver lineup for 2011 as fulltime driver of the No. 31 RCR Chevrolet in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. George is also expected to compete in a limited NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule in 2011.

In addition to George, Ty Dillon will compete in the full 2011 ARCA Racing Series schedule this season, driving the No. 41 RCR Chevrolet. They join Paul Menard (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series), Kevin Harvick (NSCS), Jeff Burton (NSCS), Clint Bowyer (NSCS), Austin Dillon (NCWTS) and Joey Coulter (NCWTS) as drivers competing under the RCR banner this year.

George, who will once again pair with veteran crew chief Gere Kennon, will make his first ARCA laps of 2011 in an RCR entry this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as part of an ARCA Open Test at Daytona. The 30-year-old New York, N.Y., native also spent last weekend at the “World Center of Racing” behind the wheel of a Grand-Am Rolex GT Series car as part of that series’ test session for the 24 hours of Daytona, in which George is scheduled to compete.

In 2010, George’s first full season of competition as an RCR driver, he continued a progression into stock car auto racing that began in 2008 with his most successful season in ARCA to date. In addition to earning two top-five and five top-10 finishes over the course of the 20-race ARCA Racing Series season, highlights of the year included leading laps and battling for the win during the late stages of the series’ race at New Jersey Motorsports Park and leading laps at Talladega Superspeedway en route to a third-place finish.

(This notes package will be updated as news occurs today)

| , RacinToday.com Monday, January 10 2011
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