Arteaga proof NASCAR knows no boundaries

By Ron Lemasters Jr.

Jorge Arteaga hails from a little farther south than is usual for a NASCAR driver, but he grew up wanting to be in the field of 43 at Daytona just like a kid from Alabama or Georgia.

“When I was very young, I remember watching the Daytona 500 and I knew then I wanted to be in that race someday, like those racers,” the 24-year-old Arteaga said recently before competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season opener at Bristol Motor Speedway. “I started doing some racing in Mexico and, fortunately the next year, NASCAR came to Mexico and began sanctioning races there creating an opportunity for me.”

Jorge Arteaga (NASCAR Home Tracks)

That opportunity right now is with Drive for Diversity and the Rev Racing team, which fields four cars in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Division. Rev Racing is coming off the most successful season in the history of NASCAR Drive for Diversity, which is in its ninth season as one of NASCAR’s leading on-track initiatives.

In 2011, Rev Racing collected six wins in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and had three drivers finish in the top 10 in series points. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West is the highest level of NASCAR’s developmental race series, and many drivers have used it as the stepping stone to the three national NASCAR series.

So, how does a racer go from Aguascalientes, Mexico, to Bristol, Tenn.?

A lot of hard work, a good bit of talent and a whole lot of drive is the way it worked for Arteaga.

“I came from the NASCAR Mexico Series, and it’s just a matter of learning all I can from my crew chief and my teammates,” said Arteaga, who earned a spot on the Rev Racing roster via the D4D combine. “I’m the first Hispanic driver to be accepted into the program and now have the chance to be trained, coached and developed by an American NASCAR team. It’s a different experience for me, because in Mexico we don’t get the opportunity to race NASCAR as frequently as we can here in the U.S.

“This program gives me the opportunity to race more and develop my skills under NASCAR trainers. Hopefully that will be there when I take the next step up, too.”

Arteaga’s already made impressive strides as a driver. He has 12 top-10s in 49 career NASCAR Toyota Series starts in Mexico. And there’s a little bit of rock star to him, as well.

During the 2010 racing season, Arteaga was filmed for a reality TV series entitled NASCAR Mexico 24/7, which followed the behind-the-scenes happenings of NASCAR from the perspective of the FCV Racing team. It was broadcast on Speed TV in Latin America during race weeks.

In 2008, Arteaga founded a charitable program called Equipo Nutricion (the Nutrition Team) in partnership with La Huerta and Red Baron to provide support to Mexico’s poor and malnourished. He and his sponsors have donated 12 tons of food to local food banks in each NASCAR Mexico race city and raised awareness for malnutrition and obesity by conducting chats in schools.

While Arteaga is used to the constant travel that goes hand-in-hand with racing as a profession, there are a few things he’s working hard to improve.

“English all the time is something I had to get used to,” he said with a grin. “One of the smaller changes, I guess, was just getting used to the change in weather between here and my home in Mexico. In Mexico, it’s always warm. But here I have to get used to driving in colder conditions, too. The training here is a bit tougher via the coaching and workshops that teach us drivers to endure a four-hour race without being nervous or tired. But, I love the training here and it’s really working for me.”

Mexico has always had a proud racing tradition. Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez were huge stars and are still spoken of with reverence. But they were open-wheel and sports-car racers. Arteaga chose NASCAR.

“I like the culture and I like the cars themselves,” he said. “I enjoy some Formula One racing, which is popular in Mexico, too, but I enjoy NASCAR more. I enjoy the feeling of teamwork and how the racers likeJimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. work with the fans. In fact, one of the best things about NASCAR for me is enjoying the fans. The fans follow you all the way — no matter where you start or no matter where you finish, the fans will always be there.

“It’s kind of a relationship between the fans and the racer. In Formula One racing, the fans may support a team overall, but in NASCAR, the fans support the driver. They cheer for the driver. They support us and we are really grateful for that.”

Speaking of Earnhardt, Arteaga has won three consecutive most popular driver awards in the NASCAR Mexico Series and is known as the “Dale Earnhardt Jr. of Mexico,” a fact he chuckles upon hearing.

“That’s what I appreciate so much from the fans,” he said. “NASCAR is fairly new in Mexico. It only started in 2008, and the first driver to win it was my teammate Carlos Contreras. The following years, I was really surprised to win that [most popular driver] award because there have been drivers who have been racing 30 years, and I’ve only been racing for four. So, this is real appreciation from the fans, for me and for NASCAR. The fans are truly important.”

Bristol Motor Speedway has a reputation the world over as a tough track to get around, and while Arteaga was confident going in, the world’s fastest half-mile had the advantage. Arteaga was involved in a crash on the front stretch on Lap 30 of the Pro Series East race and finished 30th.

Undeterred, Arteaga is ready to move on and compete.

“I want to be racing cars in the biggest leagues of NASCAR eventually,” he said. “I really want to race in Daytona one day. Right now, I’m racing in the local series, but I’m looking forward to moving up the ranks. When I was a child, I said I would race at Daytona and it’s my dream.

“I also hope to be able to encourage more Hispanics to support our people’s representation in this sport. I want to be a Mexican driver — a Hispanic driver who’s not only representing my country, but also my dreams.”

Indeed, NASCAR knows no boundaries.

Statistical Advance: Analyzing The Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 At Greenville Pickens

By Jason Cunningham, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The second event of the 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season is set for this Saturday, March 31, at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway with the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150. Below is a statistical look at the performance of selected drivers in the series:

Select Driver Highlights:
Jorge Arteaga (No. 8 Rev Racing Toyota)
• Has four career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts with a best finish of 10th at Lee USA Speedway in 2010.
• This will be his first career NKNPS East appearance at Greenville Pickens Speedway.
• Has 12 top 10s in 49 career NASCAR Toyota Series starts in his native Mexico.

Chase Elliott (No. 9 Aaron’s/HendrickCars.com Chevrolet)
• Has seven top 10s in 13 career NKNPS East starts.
• Recorded finishes of fourth and third in his two previous starts at Greenville – the two best results of his career.
• Led 40 laps and finished 10th in the 2012 season opener at Bristol Motor Speedway.
• Has three Late Model wins so far in 2012.

Duarte Ferreira (No. 16 LS Sports/Sonagol Toyota)
• Will attempt to make his NKNPS East debut at Greenville. It would also be his first career stock car race.
• Would become the first driver from Angola to compete in a NKNPS East race.
• Finished eighth in the 2011 Indy Lights season standings with 10 top 10s in 14 races and a best finish of third at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Ryan Gifford (No. 2 UTI/NTI Toyota)
• Has a pole and 12 top 10s in 27 career NKNPS East starts.
• Will be the highest-raking championship contender heading to Greenville with the two drivers ahead of him in the standings not entered.
• Has an average finish of ninth and a best finish of fourth in three previous starts at Greenville.

Carlos Iaconelli (No. 15 Bienvenidos a NASCAR Toyota)
• Finished 25th in his NKNPS East debut on March 17 at Bristol.
• This will be his first career appearance at Greenville.
• Competed in the NKNPS West 2011 finale and 2012 opener at Phoenix International Raceway and registered finishes of 12th and sixth, respectively.

Ben Kennedy (No. 96 Ben Kennedy Racing Chevrolet)
• Has a pair of top 10s in 14 career NKNPS East starts, including a best finish of third at Bowman Gray Stadium in 2011.
• Has finishes of 11th and 22nd in two Greenville appearances.
• Finished sixth in the 2012 opener at Bristol.

Dylan Kwasniewski (No. 20 Toyota)
• The 2011 NKNPS West Sunoco Rookie of the Year has two wins, two poles and nine top-five finishes in 14 starts in that series.
• Will attempt to make his NKNPS East debut at Greenville in the first of a planned limited schedule in the series this year.

Corey LaJoie (No. 07 Sims Metal Management Ford)
• Has a pole and 10 top 10s in 20 career NKNPS East starts. The pole came at Greenville in September 2011.
• Has finishes of 20th and 13th in his first two Greenville races.

Eddie MacDonald (No. 71 Grimm Construction Chevrolet)
• Has six wins, two poles and 63 top 10s in 145 career starts.
• Has an average finish of 11th and a best finish of third – in 2009 – in six career starts at Greenville.
• His six starts at Greenville are the most among active drivers.

Brett Moffitt (No. 11 Kobe Toyopet Toyota)
• Has seven wins, four poles and 24 top 10s in 34 career starts.
• Is the defending winner of the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150, which he captured from the pole.
• Has an average finish of eighth in four previous appearances at Greenville and is the only driver in NKNPS East history to earn two poles at the track.

Travis Pastrana (No. 99 Boost Mobile Toyota)
• Has an average finish of 22nd in four career NKNPS East appearances.
• His best finish in those four starts was 12th, recorded in the 2012 opener at Bristol.
• This will be his first career appearance at Greenville.
• NASCAR schedule for 2012 includes 11 of 14 NKNPS East events and seven NASCAR Nationwide Series races.

Sergio Peña (No. 1 JMS Toyota)
• Has three wins and 10 top 10s in 23 career NKNPS East starts.
• Won the last NKNPS East race in Greenville in September 2011, and has an average finish of 12th in three previous appearances at the track.

Dylan Presnell (No. 26 American Mountain Rentals Toyota)
• Has four top 10s in seven career starts.
• Best career finish of seventh came in the September 2011 Greenville race.

Dale Quarterley (No. 32 Van Dyk Baler Chevrolet)
• Is the active career leader in starts (150), top fives (31) and top 10s (66).
• Despite having more starts than any other active driver, this will be his first appearance at Greenville.

Daniel Suárez (No. 14 Telcel/Finsa/Roca Acero Toyota)
• Has three top 10s in eight career starts with a best finish of fifth at Columbus Motor Speedway in 2011.
• This will be his first career appearance at Greenville.
• Also competes in the NASCAR Toyota Series in his native Mexico.

Darrell Wallace Jr. (No. 18 Coca-Cola Toyota)
• Has five wins, three poles and 18 top 10s in 23 career starts.
• Recorded a win and top 10s in all three of his previous appearances at Greenville and has the best average race finish – fourth – among active drivers with three or more starts at the track.
• His win in the 2010 opener at Greenville marked the first series win by an African-American and also made him the youngest race winner in NKNPS East history.

Up to Speed:
• The 2012 season is the 26th for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
• The 2012 schedule features 14 races at 12 different tracks across 10 states.
• The NKNPS East season opened with the inaugural series event Bristol Motor Speedway on March 17. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Nelson Piquet Jr. made a spot-start in the event and won from the pole.
• Following the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 at Greenville Pickens Speedway, the NKNPS East will be idle until the Blue Ox 100 on April 26 at Richmond International Raceway.

At Greenville Pickens Speedway:
History
• Opened on July 4, 1946 as a dirt track. The race surface was converted to asphalt in April, 1970.
• Held 29 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races from 1951-71, including the first flag-to-flag televised event.
• David Pearson (1959) and Ralph Earnhardt (1965, 66) are among the famed drivers that have won championships at the track.
Notebook
• The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East held its inaugural Greenville Pickens Speedway race on June 6, 2006 and has returned every year since.
• There has yet to be a multi-time winner in the first seven NKNPS East events at Greenville, and Brett Moffitt is the only driver to capture two poles.
• In the first seven events there have been two drivers that have won from the pole: Joey Logano (2007) and Moffitt (2011). Moffitt also set the track qualifying record in the first 2011 event.
• Logano, Austin Dillon (2008) and Darrell Wallace Jr. (2010) earned their first career NKNPS East wins in events at Greenville.

Greenville Pickens Speedway Data
Race: #2 of 14 overall, #1 of 2 at GPS
Track Layout: .5-mile asphalt oval
• Race Length: 150 laps (75 miles)
• Banking/Corners: 5 degrees
EVENT SCHEDULE  |  ENTRY LIST

Qualifying/Race Data
2011 pole winner: Brett Moffitt
2011 race winner: Brett Moffitt
Track qualifying record: Brett Moffitt (87.659 mph, 20.534 seconds, 4/2/11)

NKNPS East Race Winners at GPS
June 6, 2006 … Sean Caisse
April 28, 2007 … Joey Logano
April 19, 2008 … Austin Dillon
April 11, 2009 … Brian Ickler
March 27, 2010 … Darrell Wallace Jr.
April 2, 2011 … Brett Moffitt
Sept. 10, 2011 … Sergio Peña

NKNPS East Pole Winners at GPS
June 6, 2006 … Mike Olsen
April 28, 2007 … Joey Logano
April 19, 2008 … Peyton Sellers
April 11, 2009 … Brett Moffitt
March 27, 2010 … Cole Whitt
April 2, 2011 … Brett Moffitt
Sept. 10, 2011 … Corey LaJoie

Laps Led at GPS – Active Drivers
Brett Moffitt … 150
Sergio Peña … 83
Corey LaJoie … 57
Darrell Wallace Jr. … 22
Eddie MacDonald … 4

Greenville Up Next For NASCAR K&N Pro Series East

By Jason Cunningham, NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The second event on the 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule will be at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway on Saturday, March 31 with the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150.

After opening the current campaign with the inaugural visit to the high concrete banks of Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, the K&N Pro Series East will return to familiar territory at the historic half mile in Pickens County. The series has raced at GPS each year since 2006, which marks the third-longest association among the tracks on the 2012 slate and NASCAR’s top developmental series.

While the veterans of the K&N Pro Series East have plenty of familiarity with the half mile at GPS, which is nearly flat, it will still be quite a change in driving style from the first race of the season on the 33-degree banks at Bristol. One of those veterans, Ryan Gifford, sees a definite challenge in transition from Race 1 to Race 2.

“A place like Bristol you get in the corner with quite a bit of speed then you have to slow yourself down, where at Greenville you really have to back the corner way up and roll for a long ways,” Gifford said. “It’s going to be a challenge mentally to say ‘you’ve got to slow down to go faster’.”

For all intents and purposes, Gifford is the season points leader heading to Greenville. Gifford finished third at Bristol behind Nelson Piquet Jr. and Ryan Blaney. Bristol was a one-off deal for Piquet while Blaney is running just five races this season and will not be in attendance at GPS.

Now in his fourth season of competition in the series, Gifford has a pair of runner-up efforts in his career and carries an average finish of ninth in three previous starts at GPS, with a best finish of fourth in the 2010 opener.

After a few near misses in his K&N Pro Series East career, Gifford hopes to break through for his first win in the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150.

“After talking with my crew chief, Dennis [Connor], I think we’ve got a really good shot at it,” Gifford said. “They spent a couple days at TRD at the pulldown getting everything right – and [me] knowing how to save tires there plays into it a lot.

“I want to go get my first win there, and if not, hopefully we can keep the car clean and come out of there with a top five,” Gifford said.

Race Notes
No multiple winners:
  In seven previous K&N Pro Series East races at Greenville Pickens, there has yet to be a driver reach Victory Lane twice. This year three drivers will have a shot: Brett Moffitt and teammate Sergio Peña along with Darrell Wallace Jr. Two drivers have come as close as you can to a second win at GPS without ending up in the Winner’s Circle – Sean Caisse was the runner up in 2007 following his win the previous year while Moffitt finished second to Peña last September after his win in the 2011 opener.

First-time winners: Greenville Pickens has a habit of producing first-time winners in its brief association with the K&N Pro Series East. Previous Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 race winners Joey Logano, Austin Dillon and Wallace all nabbed their first series win at the track.

Kwasniewski to make East debut: NASCAR K&N Pro Series West sophomore Dylan Kwasniewski will attempt to make the first of a handful of K&N Pro Series East starts this weekend at GPS. Kwasniewski registered two wins, two poles and nine top 10s in 13 West races last year to capture Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors. He will pilot the No. 20 Toyota for owner Steve deSouza, a vice president at Joe Gibbs Racing.

The first of two:  Greenville Pickens is one of two tracks that will entertain the K&N Pro Series East for a pair of races in 2012 along with Iowa Speedway, which has added a second combination race with the K&N Pro Series West. GPS added a second date – which is on the Monday of Labor Day weekend – for the first time in 2011.

Bell and Gibson Continue To Improve At Hickory Motor Speedway

HICKORY, NC. (MARCH 25, 2012) – In only their second race of the 2012 season, Rev Racing drivers Mackena Bell and Trey Gibson made another impressive showing at the famed .363 mile oval here last night.

 

After running strong during practice, both Bell and Gibson had difficulties finding their line during qualification and would start the night in 16th and 13th position, respectfully.

 

“I didn’t quite qualify where I would have liked,” said Bell, who started the night 5th in points.  “I couldn’t hit my line on the fresh tires but I knew I had a car to get me to the front during the race.”

 

With thunderstorms all around the track, the seventeen Late Model drivers and NASCAR officials were all concerned about even getting the race in.  Officials adjusted the race schedule and moved up the Bojangle’s Late Model race in an effort to avoid the approaching weather.

 

The first caution of the night occurred on lap 10 of the scheduled 50-lap event.  Bell had already moved up two spots to 14th.  After the restart, only two laps were completed before the night’s second caution flew.  With just twelve laps in the books, Bell was in 11th position and Gibson was solidly in 12th. By lap 15, both Gibson and Bell had cracked the top-10 and were holding their own in positions 9th and 10th.

 

For most of the night the two Rev Racing and NASCAR Drive for Diversity drivers showed they had the cars and ability to be contenders.  When a caution came out on lap 44, Gibson was in 7th and Bell in 8th.  With only six laps remaining, both drivers were poised for a strong finish in their Toyota Camry’s.

 

“I knew we had a top-5 car,” said Gibson. “I didn’t know if I could catch the leader, but I knew if I could get a few clean runs, I could move up a few positions.”

 

Those few clean runs would not materialize.  On the restart, Bell’s Toyota Camry lost pick-up in turn two and showed the first signs that the car might have a problem.  A caution on the restart allowed Bell the opportunity to drop into the pits for a quick check under the hood. With no visible issues, Bell was sent back out with hopes of holding on to her eight-place position for the final four laps.  However, as the green flag flew, Bell’s car came to a complete stop in turn four on Lap 47, with an apparent alternator issue.  Bell would end the night in 15th position.

 

On the final restart Gibson would get around Chandler LeVan and bring his Toyota Camry home for a sixth place finish, as 2011 Track Champion, Jesse LeFevers would win the night’s event. Gibson’s finish gives Rev Racing a top-5 and a top-10 finish in the first two NASCAR Whelen All-American Series races at Hickory Motor Speedway.

 

“Trey and Mackena have both started the year off strong,” said Jefferson Hodges, Rev Racing’s Director of Competition. “We’re going to work on improving their qualifying runs.  When we get them in a position to start the races at or near the front, look out!”

 

The next Rev Racing NASCAR Whelen All-American Series race at Hickory Motor Speedway is scheduled for April 14, 2012.

Bryan Ortiz Survives Wild NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Opener at Bristol

“Puerto Rican rookie overcomes challenges to finish 14th”

 

Bryan Ortiz

Bryan Ortiz

Bristol, TN. (March 17, 2012) … Bryan Ortiz made his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East debut at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Widow Wax 125. The event marked the first race of the 2012 season for the NASCAR K&M Pro Series East.

 

The Bayamon, Puerto Rico native begins his second season in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program and Rev Racing. Last year, Ortiz competed in NASCAR Whelan All American Series Late Model Stocks before moving to the K&N Pro Series East for 2012.

The 23-year old was making his first career start at the .533-mile high banked concrete oval and learned quickly just how fast this track can be. After two very good practice sessions on Friday, March 16, Ortiz and his Rev Racing Toyota team were set to qualify Saturday afternoon.

However, Ortiz broke a sway bar mount exiting turn four as he came to take the green flag on his qualifying run. Fortunately, Ortiz did not make contact with the retaining wall and drove his Toyota to the pits. The Rev Racing crew quickly diagnosed the problem and began the repairing process. With very little time between qualifying and the 125-lap race, the crew had to race against the clock in order for Ortiz to race. Repairs were made and Ortiz would start 33rd.

It didn’t take long for Ortiz to show that he had a very fast car as he raced his way to 26th in only ten laps. When caution waved on lap 14 for a spin on the front stretch, Ortiz commented that his car “was a little loose, but pretty good”.

Restarting in 23rd on lap 19, Ortiz would work race traffic and move into 19th position at the halfway point of the race. During the 10-minute break, Ortiz told his crew that his Toyota was “still loose coming off the turns”.

With fresh tires, Ortiz restarted 19th on lap 70 and began his march toward the top 15. With a very competitive field of cars in front of him, Ortiz moved to 18th by lap 100.

“My car is starting to run hot,” Ortiz radioed to his crew on lap 107. Trying to “nurse” his car through the final 18 laps, Ortiz got a break on lap 119 when a multi-car crash in turn three brought a seven minute red flag. The accident happened between several cars racing directly in front of Ortiz, and the rookie displayed the ability of a veteran to avoid the spinning cars. His ability to avoid the collision earned Ortiz the Coca-Cola Move of the Race honors.

After the track was cleared, the red flag was replaced by the yellow caution flag and the competitors would have a two lap dash to the finish. Ortiz did an outstanding job of working through traffic in the final laps and finished in 14th position.

“My Toyota was pretty drivable considering the problem I had qualifying,” Ortiz said after the race. “The team did a good job making repairs. I had plenty of opportunities today to not finish this race. Several times, another driver would ‘chop me off’ entering the turns. Then, the car started running hot late in the race. The last adjustment the crew made to the car really helped. All-in-all, a pretty good start to our season when you consider everything that happened.”

The next race for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will be Saturday, March 31st at Greenville Pickens Speedway in Greenville, South Carolina. The Kevin Whitaker 150 will be the second of fourteen races on the 2012 schedule for the series.

– Performance Sports Partners Press Release

Bristol Widow Wax 125 Race Report For Nascar Drive For Diversity and Rev Racing

BRISTOL, TN. (MARCH 18, 2012) – The 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season started in a familiar fashion for NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program and the Rev Racing team of drivers with two finishing inside the top-ten here, at the world’s fastest half mile, last night.

Ryan Gifford piloted his No. 2 Universal Technical Institute/Toyota Camry to a third place finish and his teammate, Kyle Larson, fought a loose condition but managed to secure a ninth place finish for his No. 6 Toyota Camry in his first career K&N start.

“We had a really good UTI/Toyota Camry all week,” said Gifford. “It was a great start to the season and I’m excited about what’s in store for the rest of the year. My crew chief (Dennis Conner) did a super job giving me a very fast car. I didn’t get it to the top this time, but we’ve got the team in place to make that happen soon enough”

The night started with a few challenges for the Rev Racing program as Gifford’s teammate, Bryan Ortiz, a native of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, had a track bar bracket break during the qualifying attempt in his No. 4 Toyota Camry and had to start at the rear of the 35 car field. Larson qualified sixth, Gifford seventh and teammate Jorge Arteaga, a native of Aguascalientes, Mexico, one of three Rookie-of-the-Year contenders from Rev Racing, started the night in the twenty-third starting position.

Arteaga brought out the second caution of the night on lap 30 when he made contact with the front stretch retaining wall while trying to avoid a sliding car off of turn four. While the damage was repaired, Arteaga went several laps down and finished the night in thirtieth position.

At the caution Larson was in third position, Gifford in fifth and Ortiz had already moved up eleven spots to twenty-fourth. They continued to battle for top positions until the halfway break at lap 69. At the break Gifford was still in fifth, Larson had dropped to ninth and Ortiz had moved up to nineteenth.

After the break, Gifford, Larson and Ortiz continued to display their talent and at the night’s last caution on lap 119, all three found themselves inside the top-fifteen.

If a rookie debut at Thunder Valley, and the first ever K&N Pro Series East race at the venue, wasn’t enough excitement then a Green, White, Checkered finish no doubt had the hearts pounding for the young NASCAR Drive for Diversity drivers.

“After the start we had, I was just happy to be in the race and to be in a good position at the end,” said Ortiz.

Ortiz moved up twenty positions to fiftieth before the final restart and ended the night in fourteenth position, earning him the Coca-Cola Move of the Race Award.

“All of the drivers did a very good job at one of NASCAR’s most challenging tracks,” said Jefferson Hodges, Rev Racing’s Director of Competition. “A top-three; a top-ten; making up twenty-one positions on this track, as a rookie driver, and in your debut race and for another rookie driver to remain competitive after a wreck on lap 30; what more can I say? I’m extremely proud of this entire team. This is going to be an exciting year for Rev Racing and the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program.”

NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Program Revved up at Hickory Motor Speedway

HICKORY, NC. (MARCH 10, 2012) – The NASCAR’s Drive For Diversity Program and Rev Racing saw its first action here on Saturday night.  Drivers Trey Gibson and Mackena Bell saw action at the famed venue.

Bell drove her Toyota Camry to a fifth place finish and established herself as a driver to be watched this season.

“The car was great tonight,” said Bell. “It felt good to come away with a Top 5 in the season opener”

Bell credits her sponsors, team members and Rev Racing Director of Competition, Jefferson Hodges, who also served as her spotter, for the good results.

 

“The guys had worked hard to get the car right,” added Bell. “With the help of my spotter Jefferson, I was able to run the right line and I tried to save my tires knowing it was a 100 lap race. But, we got spun and went back to last and then fought our way back toward the front for a fifth.”
“I want to thank Jefferson Hodges, and all the crew guys on the 4 car as well as my sponsors NASCAR, Toyota, Goodyear, TRD, and JRI,” said Bell. “ I look forward to this season and getting the #4 Toyota Camry in the winners circle at the historic Hickory Motor Speedway.”

 

While Gibson did not have the same results, his night was just as impressive until a mechanical issue brought it to an end.
“We didn’t have a great qualifying effort and I had to start in 18th position,” said Gibson. “But, we moved all the up to thirdand I had car capable of winning and was in a position to win until I had a tie-rod break. Unfortunately, those things happen in racing.”
“My crew chief Danny Johnson, and all the guys at the shop, did a great job getting this car ready to race,” added Gibson.  “We’re going to be a force to be reckoned with this year.”

 

About Rev Racing

Headquartered in Concord, N.C., Rev Racing is a division of Max Siegel, Inc (MSI) and brings together championship caliber executives, competition staff and equipment in a unique academy-style environment. Rev Racing competes in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR Whelen All‐American Series. In addition, Rev Racing manages a youth racing initiative that allows kids ages 8-14 to compete in the INEX Bandolero and INEX Legend cars. The team also trains aspiring female and minority pit crew athletes through the Drive for Diversity Crew Member Development program presented by Sprint.

Kicking Off the Fueling Your Dreams Tour, Miami Style! Calle Ocho 201

Rev Racing and NASCAR Diversity teamed up to bring the NASCAR Experience to the largest street fair in the country, Miami’s Calle Ocho.

Calle Ocho is the finale event of Miami’s annual Carnival and takes place along 26 city blocks in the heart of Little Havana. Local food and music are in ready supply and the 400,000+ festival-goers take it all in with fervor.

And Rev Racing was right in the middle of it all. Our Show Car was a main attraction and, along with the DJ, became the backdrop for a dance party that kept hundreds of partyers hanging out with us.

Bryan Ortiz and Jorge Arteaga, 2 of our K&N Series drivers) provided a relevant connection to the overall atmosphere, as they were able to relate to the mostly Latin American audience through cultural similarities. They were able to present their experience with NASCAR and managed to create a few new fans in the process.

CIAA, NASA and NASCAR teach area students about STEM fields

CHARLOTTE — Thousands of middle schoolers from Charlotte and the surrounding area packed the Charlotte Convention Center Wednesday for the CIAA’s seventh annual Education Day. This year’s theme was science, technology, engineering and math, better known as STEM.

It looked more like a pep rally than a science seminar, but make no mistake, students were learning.

“There is a shortage of future STEM professionals,” said Roger Hathaway, the director of education at NASA Langley’s Research Center. “And we want to encourage these students at this age level, make them aware of some of those opportunities.”

NASA engineers teamed up with NASCAR officials to show students how science and technology play pivotal roles in their fields–from the food astronauts eat in space to driver’s helmets.

“We get a whole lot of our technology from NASA,” said NASCAR driver Ryan Gifford. “When it comes to our fire suits, things to keep us safe whenever there’s a fire or hard impact or anything like that.”

That technology went to good use just this past weekend during a big crash at Daytona. As one of the a few black drivers in NASCAR, Gifford hoped to teach the teens another important lesson.

“I hope it does encourage more kids, especially more minorities, to join the sport because I think it will be a good thing for the sport and for everybody else,” he said.

Dozens of colleges and exhibitors were also on hand. For seventh grader William Greier, Wednesday’s fair was an opportunity to explore the field he plans to go into one day. “My dad, he works for Siemens and it’s an engineering type thing,” he said.

Michelle Starlaper, an eighth grader at West Rowan Middle School, also thought the fair was interesting even though she doesn’t want to make science a career. “You use technology in everyday life basically,” she said. “And technology is always improving and stuff like that and discovering new things.”

It was a little food for thought as the students contemplate their future.

Thursday, the CIAA will host the Food Lion Health and Wellness symposium at the Presbyterian Hospital Training Center from 11 a.m to 9 p.m.

 

By: Adrianne Flores

Read full article at News 14 Carolina