Friday, September 19, 2014

Bank set to take 'immediate and exclusive custody' of Rockingham Speedway

    A Richmond County Superior Court judge will hear a motion next week which, if granted, will allow The Finley Group - a managing agent for Farmers and Merchants Bank - to "take immediate and exclusive custody" of Rockingham Speedway.

   The Salisbury, N.C.-based bank is also seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the track's current co-owners Andy Hillenburg and Bill Silas from accessing the property. The bank claims Rockingham Racing Park LLC, co-owned by Hillenburg and Silas, owes more then $4.5 million.

   The motion is set to be heard on Sept. 25. 

   Hillenburg and Silas purchased the then-dormant track for $4 million in 2007 from Speedway Motorsports Inc. The track served as a testing site for NASCAR teams and hosted several lower-level series until 2012 when NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series debuted at the track. The series hosted another event in 2013 before the track was dropped from the series schedule.

   In an interview with the Observer in 2013, Hillenburg said, "We've got a number of issues that have to be resolved before we can host races again. These issues have been mounting over the last two or three years."

Read more here:

   The Pee Dee Post first reported the bank's court motion on Wednesday.  You can read it here

   To read more on NASCAR's return to 'The Rock' in 2012 from the Observer, go here.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Richard Petty Motorsports committed to running two fulltime Cup teams in 2015

   Despite losing driver Marcos Ambrose and sponsor Stanley Tools at the end of the season, Richard Petty Motorsports said in a statement on Wednesday that it remains committed to fielding two fulltime Sprint Cup Series teams in 2015.

   The organization said it will also remain with Ford and continue its alliance with Roush Fenway Racing.

   Twisted Tea Brewing Company will continue their primary sponsorship of the No. 9 team in 2015 as the RPM marketing and new business team continues various discussions with several companies.

   "First, we want to wish Stanley Black and Decker the best," commented Brian Moffitt, President and CEO of Richard Petty Motorsports. "Their commitment and support has been a critical component to the success of RPM. As with all good partnerships, we are proud that the Stanley and RPM partnership has benefited both companies. We are grateful for their support and they will always be a part of our family.

   "Today, we are excited to build new partnerships on the No. 9 team. We have a vision that our ownership group and sponsors support and believe in. We have built upon that vision in two short years to become championship eligible."


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Marcos Ambrose will be Penske's newest driver - in Australia

   Not long after Team Penske's Brad Keselowski opened the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup with a victory at Chicagoland Speedway, the organization released a statement announcing current Cup driver Marcos Ambrose would drive for the organization's new V8 Supercar team in 2015.

   Penske will form a partnership with Dick Johnson Racing, the longest-established motor racing team in Australia, to compete with Ford Falcons in the 2015 V8 Supercars Championship with Ambrose, who is leaving Richard Petty Motorsports at the end of the season.

   Ambrose is a two-time V8 Supercars champion; winning back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004. He transitioned to a winning career in NASCAR where he has earned seven wins and eight poles while competing in Cup, Nationwide and Truck series over the past nine seasons.

   “Team Penske is excited to partner with Dick Johnson Racing to compete in the V8 Supercars Championship starting next season,” said Roger Penske. “We believe in building our businesses through racing and our success on the track.

   "With our new business ventures in Australia, it makes sense to showcase our brands through the V8 Supercars Championship and the opportunity to work with DJR and Marcos Ambrose convinced us to go forward.”

   Ambrose, a native of Launceston, Tasmania, is one of the most successful drivers in the history of the V8 Supercars Championship. In the 65 rounds in which he competed from 2001 to 2005, he won 28 individual races.

   “This is a great opportunity to return home to a place that I love in a Series where I’ve experienced a lot of success,” said Ambrose, who earned two Cup wins. “It will be an honor to race for two motorsport legends in Roger Penske and Dick Johnson.”

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Marcos Ambrose will not return to Richard Petty Motorsports next season

   Team press release

   Richard Petty Motorsports announced Saturday the No. 9 team will move forward with a new driver in 2015. Marcos Ambrose, who has been with RPM since 2011, has informed the organization that he will return to his native home of Australia in 2015.  This was a personal decision by Ambrose. 

   At this time RPM is currently evaluating several driver opportunities to help drive the No. 9 team forward and will make a future announcement at the appropriate time. 

   Richard Petty, co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, is thankful for Ambrose and his dedication to the team. 

   “Marcos will always be a part of our extended racing family,” said Richard Petty, co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports.   “He came over to the United States with his family and dedicated his time here to giving it the best he had each week.  I couldn’t ask anything more from Marcos and his commitment on and off of the track to our race team and our partners.  Away from the track, he’s a family person first.  That’s something I respect and we’ll miss Marcos, Sonja and their children.” 

   Ambrose will depart the team as one of the most successful drivers to ever race under the Petty banner.  His NASCAR legacy will be cemented as one of the greatest to ever wheel a stock car on road courses, specifically the course at Watkins Glen International where he has six NASCAR wins.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Trouble ahead on DWTS? Michael Waltrip: 'I've never been a dancer'

   The newest season of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" was already going to take on a unique look with the addition of NASCAR driver and team owner Michael Waltrip among the hopefuls. It could prove even more interesting following Waltrip's admission on Friday that he has "never been a dancer."

    "I never have been a dancer and got into it that much, but over the last two weeks I’ve taken a crash course and it’s a good thing for my partner Emma (Slater) that the sheet was blank," Waltrip said.

   "The thing that I know for sure, when the music starts and it’s time for me to start dancing, I can’t take three or four steps and say, ‘Hold on a minute.’ It’s live and real, it’s just like a NASCAR race - when they throw the green, you’ve gotta go.”

   And you never know what's going to  happen.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Helmet ruled the culprit for Johnson's dehydration

A defective cooling system in Jimmie Johnson's helmet was determined to be the cause of the six-time Sprint Cup champion's severe dehydration following Saturday night's race at Richmond, Va.

"The team found an issue with the cooling system for my helmet. Basically, it was blowing warm air," Johnson said. "It’s nice to have a good idea as to what went wrong and why I got so hot in the race car. It’s a newer system that we’ve implemented, so we’re just going back to our old faithful system that’s worked for years and years. We should have the problem rectified.”

An earlier post-race analysis by Hendrick Motorsports on Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet used in the race had found all of the car's components were functioning properly.

After exiting his No. 48 Chevrolet on pit road after his eighth-place finish Saturday night, Johnson said he began to cramp and slumped to the ground. He stood back up and began to get dizzy, so he laid back on the ground near his car.

Medics took Johnson to the infield care center where he was released about an hour-and-a-half later after receiving five liters of intravenous fluids.

"I feel much better. I felt a lot better Saturday evening after the infield care center," Johnson said. "I attended the triathlon that my foundation put on Sunday morning (in Davidson) and then headed down to Charleston for a buddy’s wedding. But I’m doing much better and feeling good.”


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Jimmie Johnson's dehydration incident remains somewhat a mystery

   A post-race analysis by Hendrick Motorsports on Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet used in Saturday night's Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond, Va., found all of the car's components were functioning properly, a team spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday morning.

   The spokesperson also said she had exchanged text messages with Johnson on Monday evening and he said he was feeling much better. 

   Johnson is scheduled to take part in NASCAR's "Chase Across North America" tour and planning to visit New York City as part of the media tour.

   After exiting his No. 48 Chevrolet on pit road after his eighth-place finish Saturday night, Johnson said he began to cramp and slumped to the ground. He stood back up and began to get dizzy, so he laid back on the ground near his car.

   Medics took Johnson to the infield care center where he was released about an hour-and-a-half later after receiving five liters of intravenous fluids.