Racin’ Notes: NASCAR Issues Penalties To Busch, Harvick
In Racin’ news today, Tuesday, May 10:
NASCAR has penalized NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick as a result of rules infractions committed at last weekend’s event at Darlington Raceway.
Busch, driver of the No. 18 car, and Harvick, driver of the No. 29 car, have each been fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation for the next four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship points events until June 15 for violating Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing – involved in an altercation on pit road after the conclusion of the race).
“These penalties are a result of what occurred on pit road after the race was over,” said Kerry Tharp, senior director for communications, competition. “They are about maintaining a safe environment on pit road.”
Speedway Associates Inc. has announced that it will close historic North Wilkesboro Speedway.
The company cited the poor business climate and a lack of working capital for the move.
“Simply put, we made a lot of improvements to the speedway,” Speedway Associates Inc. PresidentAlton McBride Jr. said Monday. “We lined up some great events. However, even though we can project positive income from events at the speedway, we do not have the money needed on the front end to make those events happen. In spite of our complete investment in the speedway and in this community, we have run out of money necessary to go forward.
“Personally, I cannot say enough about the fans, competitors and businesses that have supported us. The companies that we have partnered with are incredible and we have a priceless relationship with each and every one of them. However, Historic North Wilkesboro Speedway has not experienced the support from several corporate and/or local businesses that either promised it or cheered the reopening of the facility. A lot was promised to HNWS, but only some of them followed through on their promises. SAI put a substantial amount of money into this motorsports venture and this historic facility with every intention of fulfilling its three year lease/purchase agreement.”
Despite the unexpected re-shuttering of the track after the 2011 season had begun, McBride said it was “not entirely a sad day” due to everything that had been accomplished, including receiving the North Carolina Motorsports Association’s industry award for the track’s contribution to motorsports in 2010.
Speedway Associates began its tenure at the five-eighths-mile track in November 2009 with an ambitious but strategic plan to reopen North Wilkesboro Speedway, which was closed after the fall NASCAR Cup race in 1996. Immediately, its name was adjusted to Historic North Wilkesboro Speedway in order to pay respect to the track’s place in motorsports history.
From Labor Day weekend 2010 through the 2011 season-opening richest-ever Pro All-Star Series race, the SAI team conducted six large and more than a dozen small successful events.
In 2010 PASS and SAI executives announced “The Race”, which guaranteed a minimum $75,000 to the winner. Approximately 80 drivers, including past Daytona 500 winners Sterling Marlin and Geoff Bodine, entered the event. Every region of the United States, as well as Canada, was represented in the history-making race.
“A lot of critics said we could never pull off the race, that it was impossible, but we made it happen and it was a stellar success,” McBride said. “It turned the industry on its ear and produced a crowd pleaser that fans couldn’t wait to return to in 2012. In just 1 ½ years, SAI’s fantastic team returned this wonderful, historic track to its rightful place as the most popular place for past and present industry icons to come and feel the history that was being kept alive by those who carry this speedway in their heart.”
The month of May for the Andretti racing family got off to a winning start this past weekend, and this time it was third-generation Jarett Andretti carrying the checkered flag for the first time in his young career. Jarett, the son of John Andretti and grandchild of Aldo Andretti won Saturday night’s 35-lap Ford Focus Midget feature at the famed Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
The 18-year-old high school senior grew up watching his father race both IndyCar and NASCAR-sanctioned events along with other national series including NHRA, CART and professional sports car racing. Jarett decided in mid-summer of 2010 to get behind the wheel, first starting in a go-kart. He quickly advanced to a Ford Focus Midget and competed in only a handful of events at the end of 2010. This year, Jarett is competing for the Eastern Ford Focus Midget Championship sanctioned by USAC. Saturday night’s win came in only the second race of the season. The win compliments his runner-up finish earlier this year at Dillon (S.C.) Motor Speedway.
“This is awesome to win here at this famed track and to win in the Ford Focus Midget Series,” said Jarett. “My team, Calico Coatings/Window World Racing, did a great job of giving me a fast car. We’ve been competitive all season and tonight everything just came together. Hopefully this win is a sign of good things to come for the Andretti family this month.”
Jarett will join his father and cousin Marco racing in Indianapolis later this month where he plans to compete in more midget races, but first will race his Ford Focus Midget at Ace Speedway located in Altamahaw, N.C. on Friday and back to Hickory Motor Speedway again this Saturday. Andretti also has plans to compete in sports cars, NASCAR modifieds and possibly the NASCAR Pro Series East later this season.
(This story will be updated as news breaks today)3 Comments