OFFICIAL RELEASE: AUGUST 30, 2016: Denny Hamlin / No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota Camry Preview for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway
No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota Camry News and Notes: TOO TOUGH TO TAME – OR IS IT?: Denny Hamlin returns to the famed Darlington Raceway for a Labor Day weekend full of action-packed racing. Hamlin will pilot the No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota Camry “Throwback Edition” during Sunday’s Bojangles' Southern 500. The special scheme, inspired by the No. 11 car driven by NASCAR Hall-of-Famer Darrell Waltrip in the 1980’s, will also be aboard Hamlin’s Sport Clips Camry in the XFINITY Series race on Saturday. The “Lady in Black” has been good to Hamlin throughout his 10-career Sprint Cup Series starts, claiming one win in 2010, as well as four wins in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. In last year’s caution-filled Southern 500, Hamlin led three times, for a total of 57 laps before settling for a third-place finish.
SPORT CLIPS HONORS MILITARY AT FT. BRAGG: In their fifth-consecutive year as the title sponsor of the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Darlington Raceway, the VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200, Sport Clips and Hamlin visited the Airborne and Special Operations Museum at Fort Bragg and presented 100 race tickets to local military families. In addition, Sport Clips presented a donation to The Patriot Foundation, which provides support to families of Fort Bragg, Fort Campbell, Special Operations Soldiers and other warriors in the form of scholarships, aid for families of fallen and disabled soldiers, job training and more.
JGR AT DARLINGTON RACEWAY: JGR has 72 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Darlington Raceway, visiting Victory Lane five times at the "Too Tough to Tame" track. The team has earned one pole-starting position, 19 top-five finishes, 42 top-10 finishes, and has an average start of 15.2 and average finish of 11.7. JGR has led a total of 1,233 laps and completed 24,127 of 24,593 attempted laps (98.1%).
From the Cockpit Denny Hamlin: "Darlington has always been a special track for me because I got my first start with JGR there in 2004. Statistically, it's my best track in the XFINITY and Cup Series as far as average finish, so I always go there thinking I can get a win. I’m looking forward to having Sport Clips back on the car this weekend. Gordon [Logan], the CEO, is from the Darlington area, so it’s always good to see him and the entire crew. I love our throwback paint scheme, too. I think the classic red, white and blue with the gold numbers is really going to stand out on the track, and hopefully in Victory Lane."
From the Pit Box: Mike Wheeler: "We’re definitely looking forward to the race at Darlington this weekend with our “Throwback” No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota. Denny has had a lot of success at this track and we’ve had some good momentum as of lately. Darlington is definitely a challenging track as far as drivers, cars, setups and pit stops go, but it's definitely one of the most prestigious races to win. We’re hoping to get another one this weekend."
No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota Camry / Joe Gibbs Racing Team:Driver – Denny Hamlin, Crew Chief – Mike Wheeler, Car Chief – Leo Thorsen, Engineer – Sam McCaulay, Engineer – Matt Beckman, Tire Specialist – Kerry Ferris, Mechanic – John Furino, Mechanic – Troy Welty, Mechanic – Sean Kerlin, Shocks – Drew Bible, Spotter – Chris Lambert, Engine Tuner – Steve Ritchie, Front Tire Changer – Dustin Necaise, Rear Tire Changer – Mike Hicks, Jackman – Nate Bolling, Front Tire Carrier – Brandon Pegram, Rear Tire Carrier – Heath Cherry, Gasman – Caleb Hurd, Pit Support – Tracy Duncan, Pit Support – Tom Peterson, Pit Support – Steve Larocque, Hauler Driver – Frank Hodel
About Sport Clips Haircuts: Sport Clips Haircuts is headquartered in Georgetown, Texas. It was established in 1993 and began franchising in 1995. The sports-themed haircutting franchise, which specializes in haircuts for men and boys, is ranked by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the “Fastest-Growing Franchises” and in the top 20 in its “Franchise 500.” There are more than 1,500 Sport Clips stores open in the U.S. and Canada. Sport Clips is the “Official Haircutter” of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), offers veterans preferential pricing on haircuts and franchises, and was named a “2016 Best for Vets: Franchises” by Military Times. Sport Clips provides “haircuts with heart” through its annual Help A Hero fundraiser that has given almost $4 million to the VFW; national partnership with St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants; and other national and local philanthropic outreach. Sport Clips is a proud sponsor of Joe Gibbs Racing’s NASCAR drivers Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards, and partners with numerous NCAA and professional sports teams. To learn more about Sport Clips, visit sportclips.com.
RACE INFO: The Southern 500 is scheduled for Sunday, September 4, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. ET on NBC. Listen live on Sirius XM Channel 90 and MRN Radio.
OFFICIAL RELEASE: TOLEDO, Ohio (August 29, 2016) - The deal came together fast, but the locals will be glad it did when Centralia, Illinois' Joe Cooksey marches through the gates at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds for the 63rd running of the General Tire GRABBER-Southern Illinois 100 Sunday, September 4.
As the crow files, Centralia is about 40 miles from DuQuoin. In a field already stacked with Illinois flavor, it got a lot tastier when Cooksey made a bargain on the fly with longtime ARCA team owner Wayne Hixson last weekend at Springfield.
"Got up to Springfield Sunday morning...walked up to Wayne (Hixson) and said, 'got my car done?'" Cooksey joked.
"Actually boy I just might," came back the quick reply from Hixson.
"I went up to him last year at Springfield and asked the same question...just sort of kidding around," Cooksey continued. "He told me that if I would have gotten with him a month earlier, he might have been able to make it happen."
The lesson learned here...the answer's still no if you don't ask. Cooksey asked, again, and this time the deal is done. Cooksey, who hasn't raced at either Springfield or DuQuoin since 2009, made a round trip trek to Chattanooga, Tennessee Saturday, picked up the car and pulled it home to give it a quick once-over before the race. Although it'll be No. 2 at DuQuoin, it's the same car (No. 11) that Eric Caudell drove at Springfield.
"The body's really nice on the car. I'm just going to do the things that I know work...a lot of little things we'll incorporate in the car. We'll get as good of a finish as we can without tearing anything up...under strict instructions not to tear it up. Obviously, I'm not going to win the race...just be there at the end and see where that brings us out.
"We won't take the motor out but take everything else out...shocks, springs, sway bar, gear. We'll put it on the pull-down that we use for our late model...get the front-end geometry right; then put it back together. If nothing else, it'll go around the corners good. We can't wreck it...same car he's gonna run at Chicagoland."
Cooksey finished a career-best fourth in ARCA national championship standings in 1999, the same year he finished a career-best second at Flat Rock Speedway. Outside of that, it was always the mile dirts where Cooksey excelled the most, finishing third four times between Springfield and DuQuoin. In fact, 10 of Cooksey's 16 top-five finishes came at Springfield and DuQuoin. The local favorite also earned the Menards Pole at DuQuoin in 2000. In 2003, a year that he finished third at DuQuoin, only NASCAR stars Tony Stewart and Ken Schrader finished ahead of him.
Despite having not raced at DuQuoin in years, Cooksey clearly understands the track. But, like all the rest, he'll race on the "Magic Mile" at night, under the lights, for the very first time.
"You have to remember, we're still going to start early in the day, so a lot of the laps Sunday will be in the daytime. I anticipate that early in the day, the track will fool some guys...normal DuQuoin...narrow. But later, once the sun goes down, enough moisture will come back to the middle and top. If you get up there, with enough guys working that groove, you could be really hauling the mail...high-wide and handsome."
As always, Cooksey's older brother Mike will be spotting.
"I think this night race deal's got everyone all excited. I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be kind of neat just to be a small part of it. All these years later, I'm a little more laid back now...that should help. We won't win the thing, but we're gonna have some fun."
The General Tire GRABBER 100 will mark Cooksey's 138th career ARCA start. He has 53 career top-10 finishes overall.
Past Championship Stock Car Winners at DuQuoin The past winners list of the General Tire Grabber 100 includes some of the most widely-recognized names in American motorsports. Jay Frank won the inaugural Southern Illinois 100 in 1950. Just some of the winners who would follow include Marshall Teague, Indy 500 winners Jimmy Bryan and AJ Foyt, Fred Lorenzen, Don White, Norm Nelson, Jack Bowsher, NASCAR champions Rusty Wallace and Tony Stewart, Bob Keselowski, Billy Thomas, Ken Schrader, Parker Kligerman, Chris Buescher and Grant Enfinger.
Raceday Schedule Practice for the September 4 General Tire Grabber 100 is scheduled from 2:30 - 3:30 p.m., with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell following at 5:30. The 63rd General Tire Grabber 100 starts at 8:00. All times are local.
Media Coverage The race will be tape-delayed on the American Sports Network. The race will also feature live timing and scoring and live chat for all on-track activity at ARCAracing.com, as well as live flag-to-flag audio race coverage.
SOURCE: For more on the ARCA Racing Series, arcaracing.com
OFFICIAL RELEASE: MOBILE ALABAMA - On September 10th the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards will return to Salem Speedway for the 100th ARCA race at the famed high bank half mile in Indiana. With Alabama’s Bobby Allison serving as the Grand Marshall for the Fall Classic, Thomas “Moose” Praytor and his Mobile, Alabama based raced team will salute the Allisons with a special Davey Allison paint scheme.
Praytor’s Salem paint scheme is a drastic departure from his normal black base to a white base throwback to Allison’s 1984 ARCA Rookie of the Year car. (inset)
“If you grow up racing in Alabama, the Alabama Gang is legendary. Allison, Farmer, Bonnet they put Hueytown and Alabama on the racing map,” said Praytor. “Really pumped up Mr. Bobby is going to be the Grand Marshall, maybe he can give me a few pointers on getting around Salem.”
The original Allison Scheme was a Miller High Life Scheme that has been altered to Moose High Life for the 100th ARCA running at Salem.
“We have been working on this project for months, Don Radebough at ARCA really helped out with some old pics from the archives, Advanced Collision painted the car and the guys at CGS Imaging went through a pain staking process of replicating the graphics. About the only thing we didn’t get was a Buick nose.”
The celebration of the 100th running of the ARCA Series at Salem begins on Friday morning September 9th with a golf tournament followed by a hauler parade in the afternoon for the teams to unload at the race track.
On track activity for the Eddie Gilstrap Motors Fall Classic presented by Meadow View/Salem Crossing is Saturday, with the Green flag at 7:00 CST. The race will be broadcast live on the American Sports Network or on americansportsnet.com. Live timing and scoring on arcaracing.com.