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NASCAR Shakes Up Its Competition Department

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Tuesday, December 18 2012

NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton announced major changes to his department on Tuesday. (File photo courtesy of NASCAR)

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NASCAR announced Tuesday several revisions to its Competition personnel structure.

The following changes will take effect in 2013:

– Joe Balash, who has served as the NASCAR Nationwide Series director since 2004, will be assuming a new role as International Competition Liaison. This position will be the NASCAR point of contact for competition-related matters relative to the NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, the Euro Racecar, NASCAR Touring Series and other international competitions and series in which NASCAR may be involved and/or considering involvement. Balash now will report to Richard Buck, who has been promoted to managing director, Competition GRAND-AM and managing director, Touring Series NASCAR.

– Wayne Auton, who has served as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series director since 1995, will assume the role of NASCAR Nationwide Series director. Auton will continue to report to John Darby, managing director, competition and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director.

– Chad Little, currently NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series director and director of Racing Development, Mexico, will serve in the role of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series director. Little also will report to Darby.

– Brad Moran, currently NASCAR Canadian Tire Series director, will serve in the role of director of Touring Series, NASCAR, reporting to Buck.

With the increasing integration between NASCAR, GRAND-AM, American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and Euro Racecar, NASCAR Touring Series, these moves are designed to strengthen all of the sport’s racing series, both at the national and international levels, NASCAR officials said.

“We recently completed a thorough, strategic review of all of our racing series and believe the changes we’re announcing today will further strengthen our overall racing and offer us the best opportunity for growth,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “Joe is terrific at building relationships with track operators, sponsors and other key stakeholders, and he will be an excellent fit in his new role. I’m also pleased our system allowed us to promote our talent up the ranks, as is the case with Wayne (Auton), Chad (Little) and Brad (Moran). I think this shows that we have a great deal of depth in our series director leadership roles and these moves reflect that depth and versatility.”

George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president regional and touring, said that the moves will aid NASCAR as it continues to focus on expanding its reach beyond the United States.

“Our sport is ever-evolving and we plan to grow in regions of the world where an increasingly strong appetite exists for NASCAR racing,” said Silbermann. “Joe (Balash) certainly will help us achieve our international goals which not only include conducting our existing series at a best-in-class level but also attracting new partners for global exhibitions and/or series.”

Kyle Busch Motorsports announced that the team has signed 22-year-old Parker Kligerman to compete for the

Parker Kligerman signed by Kyle Busch. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Harold Hinson)

2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series driver’s championship. Kligerman will drive the No. 77 Toyota Camry for the entirety of the 33-race schedule.

In his second full-time Camping World Truck Series campaign, Kligerman earned his first career NASCAR victory at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in October, captured two pole awards and collected eight top-five and 15 top-10 finishes en route to a fifth-place finish in the final Truck Series driver’s point standings.

The Connecticut native has registered five top-10 finishes in 18 career Nationwide Series starts. He posted two top-10 finishes in three starts this season, including a career-best seventh-place finish in the July race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.

In October of 2009, at the age of 19, Kligerman captured the pole in his first-ever Nationwide Series start at Kansas Speedway, becoming the 10th driver in series history to accomplish the feat. That same year, he earned the 2009 Rookie of the Year award in the ARCA Racing Series after winning a series-high nine races and finishing second in the final point standings.

“When you think of Kyle Busch and Kyle Busch Motorsports, you think of an owner and a team that have established a tradition of winning and pride themselves on it, so I feel honored to be given the chance to come in and continue in that tradition,” Kligerman said. “I feel that running full-time in the Truck Series the last two seasons and coming close to a championship last season has prepared me to be able to do the same in the Nationwide Series next year. With the personnel that KBM has in place and what they were able to accomplish in their first year in the Nationwide Series combined with all the support they have from Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development), I see no reason why we can’t compete for wins on a weekly basis and be a top-five team in the final point standings at the end of the season.”

“Once Parker got behind the wheel of a Toyota halfway through the season, he proved that he was capable of running up front week in and week out in the Truck Series and comes to us with a lot of confidence,” KBM owner Kyle Busch said. “Since I started my truck series team in 2010, I’ve wanted the focus of our efforts to be on developing young talent and being able to create an identity for KBM without having to be behind the wheel myself. With the addition of Parker to our Nationwide Series program and Joey Coulter to our Truck Series program, we now have two of the sport’s most talented young drivers in our building.”

“Everyone at Toyota and TRD speaks very highly of Parker and they were a big part of why were able to bring him onboard here at KBM,” KBM General Manager Rick Ren said. “Although he has only driven a handful of races with these new Nationwide Series cars, he has participated in a lot of testing the last few years and we feel like he will be able to come in and be able to use that knowledge to help us to continue to make improvements to our program.”

In its inaugural Nationwide Series campaign, KBM registered one win, three poles, 15 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes en route to an eighth-place finish in the owner’s point standings. The team recorded eight top-five and 12 top-10 finishes over the last 13 races of the season.

“Our Nationwide Series program really seemed to hit its stride the last 10 races of the season – won a couple of poles, led a bunch of laps and were in contention for the win almost every week,” said Busch, who was behind the wheel for eight of the final 10 races. “We feel like we’ll be able to carry that momentum into next year and come out of the gates stronger than we did in our first season.”

Red Horse Racing has signed John Wes Townley to join the team in 2013.

John Wes Townley to drive for Red Horse. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Townley will drive the No. 7 Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra with Zaxby’s serving as the primary sponsor for the 22-race NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season.

After competing for Rookie of the Year honors in 2012 and collecting his best series finish of eighth at Pocono Raceway, Townley enters his second full-time season credited with 28 series starts.

“I’m a competitive race car driver, and I want to race and compete for wins,” said the 22 year-old, Georgia resident. “Red Horse Racing has worked hard and continues to excel in the truck series. The success that this Red Horse Racing organization was able to accomplish last season, is the same success we are looking forward to next year.”

Veteran crew chief Mike Beam will join John Wes Townley at Red Horse Racing on the No. 7 Toyota Tundra. Beam has been atop the pit box since the early 80’s and is credited with 25 national series victories.

“The Truck Series proved to be the most competitive series in 2012, said Beam. “I want to be a part of that, and be a part of one of the top-tiered teams in the series. Playing an integral part in John’s career is important to me and I’m anxious to see our results.”

Team Principal, Tom DeLoach adds, “John showed vast improvement on the track this past season. Red Horse Racing is eager to move him to the next level in his racing career. Pairing him with Mike Beam is a great way to give John the insight from Mike’s impressive background . We had a fantastic 2012 season and we are anxious to see what 2013 will hold.”

Jim Dunn Racing named Jeff Arend, as its driver of the Grime Boss Funny Car for the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

“The first thing we did when Grime Boss committed to being our primary sponsor was to immediately begin purchasing new engines, heads, blowers and the related components to increase our level of performance,” Dunn said. “Having a world-class driver, and fellow Southern California resident, like Jeff Arend pilot the car is something I’m really looking forward to this coming season.”

Arend began his drag racing career path with street machines in 1985 and moved up to the professional ranks by qualifying in Paul Smith’s Funny Car at the 1995 NHRA Gatornationals. Along the way Arend taught at Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing school and drove Funny Cars for Chuck Beal, Al Hoffman, Paul Smith, and Chuck Worsham before moving over to the Kalitta Motorsports/DHL Funny Car from 2008 to 2012. During the recently completed season he finished in the top 10 for the second year in a row, qualifying for every race and won the Funny Car title at the Route 66 Nationals in Joliet.

In 2012, Arend also qualified for the inaugural Traxxas Funny Car Shootout, posted a career best speed of 318.09 mph in Reading, Pa., and a career best elapsed time at 4:036 seconds during the NHRA Finals in Pomona, Ca.

“I am really excited about the upcoming season as well. The Dunn’s have made quite an investment in new parts and we are all expecting to have a great year together” said Funny Car driver, Jeff Arend. “I’ve known the Dunn’s for many years as fellow competitors and look forward to working with Hall of Fame Crew Chief and former driver, Big Jim Dunn.”

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Tuesday, December 18 2012
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