NASCAR

MIS names Jason Lucas as Director of Marketing and Communications

Jason Lucas has been named the director of marketing and communications at Michigan International Speedway.


Lucas joins MIS after serving as the director of consumer marketing at Daytona International Speedway since 2016. In that role he was responsible for the promotion and strategies for the speedway. He developed and implemented marketing plans across all media channels to promote the diverse schedule at the “World Center of Racing.”

“We are excited to have Jason join us as the director of marketing and communications,” MIS President Rick Brenner said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge to the speedway and is well positioned to lead the department.”

Daytona International Speedway was recently transformed into the world’s only motorsports stadium with DAYTONA Rising, a $400 million renovation. Thanks to the marketing efforts of Lucas and his team, the stadium was awarded the SportsBusiness Journal’s prestigious Sports Business Award for Sports Facility of the Year.

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Erik Jones has seen success at PIR.

Erik Jones and Furniture Row Racing’s No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota team look to add to his already impressive track record at Phoenix International Raceway in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Camping World 500. 

The Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate has earned three victories and three pole positions, as well as five top-five and eight top-10 finishes in just nine starts at the flat one-mile oval east of Phoenix. The statistics from eight of those races were achieved in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, where he won the spring race last season, and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series where he earned his first NASCAR victory in 2013 and then repeated the next year.

The ninth race took place in the Cup series (Nov. 15, 2015), when Jones subbed for Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. His strong seventh-place qualifying effort was followed by a very respectable 19th-place race finish despite it being just his third NASCAR Cup Series start.

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Three races into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Ryan Blaney rolls into Phoenix International Raceway in sixth place overall, seemingly on the cusp of victory.

Blaney was an ounce or so of American Ethanol shy of victory at Daytona last month and finished second. He was strong again, but snake-bitten, at Atlanta winding up in 18th. Then he spent all of last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the top 10, including the seventh-place finish.

 

Phoenix, the second leg of NASCAR’s three-race West Coast Swing, is a track that suits Blaney’s driving style. In his first two visits to PIR as a rookie last season, Blaney finished 10thin the spring and eighth in the fall.

Add those impressive results to his three consecutive Phoenix top 10s (2012-2014) in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and he’s never finished a race there outside of the top 10.

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NASCAR Notes: Phoenix

Mar 19, 2017
Hit: 34
Written by
The Cup series will tackle Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday.

Race details

Race Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV: FOX, 3:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 312 miles (312 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 75),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 150), Final Stage (Ends on lap 312)

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Drivers including Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Danica Patrick, and Clint Bowyer are involved in an on-track incident during the 59th Annual DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 26, 2017 in Daytona Beach, Florida.

If there’s one major talking point to come out of this wreck-filled Daytona weekend, it’s all about the race stages … and what people think of them.

As is often the case, anything new is instantly dismissed by a large group of NASCAR fans. Let’s go back to the 1972 rules, many of the don’t-change brigade will say.

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Kyle Larson tests at Phoenix International Raceway on Jan. 31. Larson and his competitors will have a whole new set of rules and formats waiting them when they return to race competition in 2017 starting next week at Daytona.

Hello NASCAR fans, and welcome to the new world.

You’re about to enter a season where everything is different – from the title sponsor to a host of new rules. About the only thing not different is we’ll have the same cast of characters battling it out on track.

Most notably, the basic format of the races we watch is changing, with the goal of more competitive racing through the entire duration of the race.

Before I let you know my thoughts on all this, let’s break down what the format changes are:

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The Penske team looks to contend for another Cup title in 2017, with Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski once again behind the wheel.

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion

YOU AND BRAD AND RYAN REALLY GET ALONG TOGETHER. WHEN AND HOW DID THAT CHEMESTRY COME ABOUT? “I think the three of us have a lot in common and we just naturally get along. I think we all really get the big picture and I think that is hard to find a lot of times. When you get teammates that all can see the big picture together and understand what we are there to do. Yes, we all want to win. Each one of us wants to win the race and have the trophies and all that but we also realize if we don’t work together none of us are going to raise the trophy up. I think everyone at Team Penske sees that, drivers included. You might see some of that throughout teams but then drivers don’t see it that way, but I think we have showed it a lot, especially superspeedway racing and the way we are able to work together and get ourselves up front and ultimately win races. It is important that Brad and I have grown into having a great friendship at this point. We talk about a lot of things outside of racing. I think that is valuable. I do the same thing with my crew chief Todd (Gordon) and I think those relationships are very valuable when they become more than a business relationship. It makes it easy to talk things out. I think it is hard to have that but I think it is very important.”

YOU HAVE RECEIVED YOUR FAIR SHARE OF BOO’S DURING DRIVER INTROS. DOES THAT BOTHER YOU? “I secretly love it. Don’t tell anybody. In all honesty, yeah I would rather be loved than hated but I would rather them say something than nothing. In all honesty, Martinsville is the race track that I think they dislike me the most. I can tell usually by the pick-up truck ride and counting the number of birds I get. All I can think of is how cool it would be to win there and do a big burnout. That would be the coolest. That is motivation to me. I do like that people like me and my fans that support me as a person and as a race car driver. I feel like they have gotten to know me, my personality and what I stand for. I also respect that some people don’t and that is okay. I am who I am and I am not going to change anything. Also I appreciate the passion that our fans have. Love it or hate it, love or hate me, they have passion and I think that is very important in sports. You see that in football, you see that in baseball and basketball. You have a team you like and you have a few teams you really dislike. That is part of it. I think that is good. I think that is healthy for our sport. As long as they are making noise.”

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IHRA drag racing returning to ESPN networks after 18 years

After an absence of 18 years, International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) drag racing action will return to ESPN’s networks in 2017.

 

The IHRA and ESPN have reached an agreement for two days of racing from events in the 2017 IHRA Summit Sportsman National Championship to stream live on ESPN3, ESPN's live multi-screen sports network. IHRA racing last appeared on one of ESPN’s networks in 1999.


ESPN3 will stream as much as eight continuous hours from the track on both weekend days for 13 events, much of it live, that will include on-track action, interviews and reports from the pits, features and more. The first event will be on the weekend of Feb. 4-5 from Immokalee (Fla.) Regional Raceway, with streaming on ESPN3 beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday and noon on Sunday.

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