Day three of the 29th annual NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway continued at NASCAR race central, Charlotte, N.C.
[media-credit name=”Brad Keppel” align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]The day began with a first for the media tour. A breakfast and presentation was held in the sparkling new retail outlet for Furniture Row sponsor of the No. 78 Chevrolet driven by Regan Smith.
The Furniture Row team is based in Colorado, not an ideal location for a NASCAR race team, but they are determined to make it work well with great preparation and a lot of trucking strategy.
The team is supported by Richard Childress Racing with engines, chassis and a very high level of technology. If they can secure sponsorship, a second team is in their plans.
Smith is confident with the strides the team made last year and stated, “I feel I can easily run top-10’s by the end of this year.” He added, “this is the most pumped I felt in an off-season.”
Richard Petty Motorsports showcased the No. 43 Best Buy Chevrolet that will be driven by AJ Allmendinger and the No. 9 Stanley car Marcos Ambrose will be driving.
Andrew Murstein of Medallion Financial is the business partner of Richard Petty and furnished the financial support for the reorganization of RPM. He used the similarities in business models of both companies by saying they were based on “great tradition and great integrity.”
Murstein is in the racing deal with Petty for the long run and said, “I promise the best is yet to come at Richard Petty Motorsports.”
Allmendinger looked at his No. 43 and said, “For a team that looked like it wasn’t going to make it, we have a lot of sponsors.”
The driver of the No. 43 joked with his teammate, the driver of the No. 9, saying, “Hope you won’t run into me near as much.” Ambrose responded, “If I run into you it is because you are going to slow.”
The light-hearted banter showed how happy all parties including the owners are to have a solid team that is anxious to go racing.
[media-credit name=”Brad Keppel” align=”alignleft” width=”225″][/media-credit]A luncheon at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Speedway Club included three very special guests, Bobby Allison, Bud Moore and Ned Jarrett who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame this year.
Jamie Allison, Director of Ford Racing, spoke briefly about this year being the 110th anniversary of Ford racing. He spoke of the relationship Ford has with Roush Fenway Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports and the Wood Brothers. As of now, Ford has 599 Cup wins and he hopes to see the 600th shortly into the season.
Rick Hendrick took the stage with his drivers, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin at Hendrick Motorsports.
Hendrick said, “Last year was the most competitive of all the years I have been in the sport.” He obviously is very pleased with the driver and team changes he has made with Earnhardt Jr., Gordon and Martin and looks forward to great results in 2011.
Mark Martin commented on 2012 by saying, “I am absolutely without a doubt going to be driving race cars.” He is happy with Lance McGrew as his new crew chief and recalled the win he got in the NASCAR Nationwide series with McGrew as his crew chief.
Jeff Gordon spoke of Daytona and said, “It may be the most exciting Daytona 500 we have ever seen.” He, like most drivers, believes simplification of the points system is a good thing.
The Daytona 500 will be Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s 400th start, but he didn’t think it seemed like a lot.
Mark Martin was laughing and Earnhardt joked that to him it wouldn’t seem like much. Junior said, “How many do you have, 4,000?” Everyone was laughing as Martin announced it was more like 800.
Jimmie Johnson of course wants his sixth title and will continue to remain focused under the guidance of his crew chief, Chad Knaus.
So that is about it for now from the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour. Tonight Brian France will unveil his announcements for the upcoming season at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
There will undoubtedly be a flood of attention given to his statements. Stay tuned!
Find more of Brad Keppel’s Photos of Day 3 here.