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November 29, 2014

The Emergence of NASCAR in Australia And The Naughty Side

 

Bob Jane’s AUSCAR (Australian Stock Car Auto Racing) has accredited professional racing in Australia, of course with the permission of U.S. NASCAR.
Melbourne’s Calder Park Thunderdome required some construction extensions during its initial completion, pushing the first major NASCAR race to 1987. This was followed quickly by the Goodyear NASCAR 500 in early 1988. At first, many professional American drivers, though usually 2nd tier competitors, frequented this raceway. However, this habit unfortunately fizzled out over time, as the more famous American drivers began participating at bolster fields instead.

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The concept of both American and Australian drivers interchanging races was very popular at that time. Both Dick Johnson and Allan Grice were two of the Aussie supporters who went to the U.S. to compete in the Winston Cup series.

Even though Australian NASCAR popularity eventually faded away, the initial emergence was met with great praise. Aussie fans openly embraced NASCAR at the time, due to the fact that the Australian Touring Car Championship failed to popularize its V8-powered sedan vehicles. Therefore, NASCAR’s arrival played on the Australian fans’ disappointment of the existing organization.

Once sanctioned, NASCAR night racing began in 1991. This garnered the attention of various Aussie racing fans, allowing professional racing to be hugely popular for the next five years. However, there was only one major racetrack available that the time, which prevented the sport from expanding and remaining successful.

The only way NASCAR drivers were able to compete outside the Calder Park Thunderdome circuit was to manoeuvre their ways into the CART event. This race was held at the Surfers Paradise Street Circuit, and allowed Australian NASCAR drivers to participate during its earlier years. Doing so was possible because at the time, CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) permitted separate categories and turned a blind eye to the race meetings.

The parties at the old Indy 500 use to be legendary, however tourists and locals still have their fair share of fun at the V8 supercar, with many hiring out expensive apartments with beautiful ocean views and direct access right to the V8 track. Some gentlemen have private parties, many hiring promotional and glamour models and the more adventurous opt to employ the services of gold coast escorts, and the fun continues well into the night and the next day. If you need a lady for an event, please be sure to check out this website. http://goldcoastescorts.org/

The CART event was a sort of haven for NASCAR racers who were sick of the Thunderdome, at least until 1992. Of course, they also had the option to race at Adelaide International Raceway as well. However, the racing area for them was limited to the bull-ring, which was a small area at the end of the raceway. This was not fit for NASCAR drivers who needed a diverse, national viewership.

Near the end of the 1990s, founder Bob Jane parted ways with NASCAR, which meant the end of the relationship with Calder Park’s Thunderdome as well. The sport itself was rebranded as Stock Cars in order to start fresh, but ended up only lasting through the 2001 Power Tour. By the end of the season, the popularity of this motorsport was so low that attempting to revive it in the 2002 season was next to impossible.

The Emergence of NASCAR in Australia And The Naughty Side

 

Bob Jane’s AUSCAR (Australian Stock Car Auto Racing) has accredited professional racing in Australia, of course with the permission of U.S. NASCAR.
Melbourne’s Calder Park Thunderdome required some construction extensions during its initial completion, pushing the first major NASCAR race to 1987. This was followed quickly by the Goodyear NASCAR 500 in early 1988. At first, many professional American drivers, though usually 2nd tier competitors, frequented this raceway. However, this habit unfortunately fizzled out over time, as the more famous American drivers began participating at bolster fields instead.

v8supercarsgoldcoast

The concept of both American and Australian drivers interchanging races was very popular at that time. Both Dick Johnson and Allan Grice were two of the Aussie supporters who went to the U.S. to compete in the Winston Cup series.

Even though Australian NASCAR popularity eventually faded away, the initial emergence was met with great praise. Aussie fans openly embraced NASCAR at the time, due to the fact that the Australian Touring Car Championship failed to popularize its V8-powered sedan vehicles. Therefore, NASCAR’s arrival played on the Australian fans’ disappointment of the existing organization.

Once sanctioned, NASCAR night racing began in 1991. This garnered the attention of various Aussie racing fans, allowing professional racing to be hugely popular for the next five years. However, there was only one major racetrack available that the time, which prevented the sport from expanding and remaining successful.

The only way NASCAR drivers were able to compete outside the Calder Park Thunderdome circuit was to manoeuvre their ways into the CART event. This race was held at the Surfers Paradise Street Circuit, and allowed Australian NASCAR drivers to participate during its earlier years. Doing so was possible because at the time, CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) permitted separate categories and turned a blind eye to the race meetings.

The parties at the old Indy 500 use to be legendary, however tourists and locals still have their fair share of fun at the V8 supercar, with many hiring out expensive apartments with beautiful ocean views and direct access right to the V8 track. Some gentlemen have private parties, many hiring promotional and glamour models and the more adventurous opt to employ the services of gold coast escorts, and the fun continues well into the night and the next day. If you need a lady for an event, please be sure to check out this website. http://goldcoastescorts.org/

The CART event was a sort of haven for NASCAR racers who were sick of the Thunderdome, at least until 1992. Of course, they also had the option to race at Adelaide International Raceway as well. However, the racing area for them was limited to the bull-ring, which was a small area at the end of the raceway. This was not fit for NASCAR drivers who needed a diverse, national viewership.

Near the end of the 1990s, founder Bob Jane parted ways with NASCAR, which meant the end of the relationship with Calder Park’s Thunderdome as well. The sport itself was rebranded as Stock Cars in order to start fresh, but ended up only lasting through the 2001 Power Tour. By the end of the season, the popularity of this motorsport was so low that attempting to revive it in the 2002 season was next to impossible.

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Honoring Hillsborough’s rich history

In 1947, while Bill France was flying over the town of Hillsborough, he saw that there was a dirty horse-race track right next to the Eno River. He soon purchased this track and transformed it into the Occoneechee Speedway, changed to the Orange Speedway in 1954. This track became the location for NASCAR’s third race.

Craig, who would visit the track at just 5 years old with his father, remembers how huge this was for his small town. He still recalls how he would stand up on his tiptoes to watch the cars buzz by his seat in 1957. The track was built in a way that allowed the audience to truly feel close to the race, and allowed them to meet the drivers in the same environment afterwards.

Craig’s father was a security guard at the races back in the day, but even after his passing in 1967, Craig’s appreciation remained strong. In fact, this love for racing led him to start the Historic Speedway Group later on. The organization’s race reunion is held every year, and has been highly attended since its start in 2007.

Mayer Tom Stevens claims that the reunion is probably one of the most exciting events the town experiences. It’s a family-friendly, fun time that really reflects Hillsborough’s history.

Gene Hobby, retired driver and president of the Historic Speedway Group, claims that people from all over the coast attends these annual events. He says that people in the area know that Hillsborough is the best place to meet older drivers and just have a great time appreciating NASCAR history.

Recollections of the old-time racers

Gene Hobby, current president of the Historic Speedway Group, began racing professionally in 1964. He still has great memories of his experiences all those years ago. According to Hobby, the Hillsborough location was called the superspeedway of dirty back then. It was right along the Eno River without any fences.

Another NASCAR hall-of-famer is Ned Jarret, who currently lives in Newton, N.C. He actually raced 12 times on that speedway, where he won the top spot two times. Jarrett has a simple reason for enjoying his time at the Hillborough track – he’s won there.

Jarrett recollects all the specific disadvantages he faced on the track during his racing days. He says that the Hillsborough track was probably the longest dirt track available during that time. All drivers had to be careful of the speeds their cars had when reaching the turns, since they were a lot shorter compared to the longer straightaway areas.

Gene Hobby raced on the dirt track around four times, both in fall and spring seasons. On March 14, 1965, Hobby had a huge accident there when he lost control of his 1964 Dodge. It happened just halfway through the entire race, where he was holding 7th place. Hobby wasn’t hurt, fortunately, and blames the short turns for his accident. The car ended up rolling around five times, eventually landing right up to the grandstand. The reason why Hobby wasn’t hurt during this rough accident was due to NASCAR’s rule of wearing a shoulder harness. In fact, 1965 was the first year this rule was implemented. Without that shoulder harness, Hobby assumes that the accident would have left considerable damage to him.

Even with this unfortunate memory, Gene Hobby feels saddened that this is the only dirty track still remaining today. He says that dirt tracks are so much more fun for both drivers and audience, and that NASCAR should think about using them again.

A great location for the community

The Hillsborough track is fully cleared now and has regular maintenance. Mayor Stevens says that it’s a great recreational spot for the community, as well as a wonderful area where residents can get their exercise.

The track is now an open park that is open for anyone to visit on a daily basis. It plays an integral role for the community of Hillsborough.

Even so, Major Hobby says it took quite some time for the track to become such a welcoming place. The residents of Hillsborough didn’t realize right away what the volunteers and other contributors had done with the place. In order to popularize the track, the annual reunion events were therefore held there so that people in the area would finally see what exactly had been improved. The townspeople had a new area to visit, and the town’s revenue rose as people all over the area visited for the annual events.

During the event, attendees have access to the free events like “Cruise-In with a Twist,” as well as the historical exhibit available to the public until Oct. 31. Visitors can view this at the Orange County Historical Museum. Brandie Fields, the museum director, says that this year’s exhibit focuses on Colonial history. She says that most people she encounters only thinks that events over 50 years is history, but that isn’t the case. Fields is very excited for all the new visitors who will visit the museum on their trip to the annual racer’s reunion.

Hillsborough’s valuable status in NASCAR’s history

The new tournament-style bracket design for NASCAR’s Sprint Cup championship is viewed, even by Dick Vitale, as being a substantial improvement to the event.

Drivers normally move on to the next round of the competition after being successful within a round of three races. The winners of these rounds end up in the finale at Homestead, where these last four drivers race for the winning title of the Sprint Cup.

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Drivers don’t necessarily have to win to get to Homestead, however. Some might move on to the finale by simply accumulating their points.

Kevin Harvick prefers to win at least three games in the season at Stewart-Haas Racing to solidify his record. However, Harvick would much rather substitute his wins for a chance at his first Sprint Cup, as long as he gathers up enough points in the first nine races before the finale.

According to Harvick, drivers can pretty much win the championship without winning any races. He claims that they just have to be the first out of four cars at Homestead to finish and gain points.

Harvick has sought out wins in various races this past season, and has gained six poles – a number matching that of his entire career up until this recent season. Harvick has reached a high second place ranking for the entire 1,265 laps he’s raced, just behind Brad Keselowski. He placed fifth at Chicagoland’s Chase opener last week, and also won titles at Darlington and Phoenix.

As of now, the championship title is rumoured to come down to Team Penske versus Hendrick Motosports, but Harvick’s determination might just lead to allowing him a fighting chance at the finale.

Harvick claims that winning in this championship is overrated. He understands that everyone wants to win, but drivers shouldn’t take too many risks – the point system helps out instead.

This mindset was evident this past July during his New Hampshire race. Harvick had two wins early on in the season at that point, and already had enough points to get into the Chase. He could win or lose the rest of the season and still have a chance in the finale – all he had to do was finish the race. Harvick unfortunately ran out of fuel by the time other drivers were passing by the green flag, but he didn’t risk the chance of not finishing and simply coasted through at 30th place.

This same game plan, however, does not stay true anymore. With the new bracket system, Harvick claims that the connection between the short-term risk and reward isn’t available this time around. However, he still thinks that no matter what people say about the new design, drivers don’t have to win their races to succeed.

In attempts to solidify Harvick’s chances at his first Cup win this year, Stewart-Haas Racing has provided Harvick with Tony Stewart’s 2011 championship crew to help him out.

Harvick has already expressed his disappointment in the No. 4 team’s performance during pit stops this season. This problem had to be dealt with if Harvick was going to have a fighting chance in the Chase, so the crew at Chicagoland was a great addition to Harvick’s overall performance.

What Harvick wants is a crew that can take a leading driver and send him off still leading the race.

There are several pieces of information people should know about the Sunday race held in New Hampshire:

Brad Keselowski has a definite spot in the next round of the Chase, as well as Sunday’s winner if anyone can beat Keselowski out of his top spot. However, Chase drivers shouldn’t be too worried. If any driver beats Keselowski, others who have a 45 point lead on the driver who has the 10th highest loss will move on as well. If Keselowski or a non-Chase driver does win, any driver that has the same 45 point lead on the 11st highest driver without any wins will move on. It’s fairly simple, and allows for other drivers to have a chance in the next round.

Jimmie Johnson, the six-time champion of the Cup, occasionally goes through rough patches. Drivers who would normally have no chance of beating Johnson get their chances when this happens. In this case, Johnson hasn’t won a single race since June 15 at the Michigan race. He was 12th at the Chase opener in Chicagoland, in fact.

Johnson knows his performance hasn’t been to par, and states that his No. 48 Chevrolet hasn’t truly reached its potential during this last portion of the season. The Hendrick Motorsports team has been working hard to try and make the Chevrolet run faster and help Johnson win the races he knows he can dominate.

According to Johnson, his crew isn’t in the best mood so far. However, he knows that he and the team have to have higher expectations and work hard to perform at those levels.

Keselowski is only 4th in the points-determined race, but has already impressed the other drivers that he is one to look out for in the next round.

Johnson, while he has not performed well in recent races, has made it into the cut-off for the next Chase round. Even though he only placed 42nd in New Hampshire because of some tire problems, he still has three wins from previous races. At the game on Sunday, Johnson will start 6th. The next stop is at Dover, which is Johnson’s favorite track. In June, he led all of 272 laps out of 400 there. He even reached his own ninth win record at the Dover race!

Baby alert! Lorra, Clint Bowyer’s wife, is due for a baby any day now – this is the couple’s first. Bowyer has two wins from New Hampshire already, and will have Matt Crafton on standby. Crafton, the Truck Series champion, has not yet practiced in Bowyer’s No. 15 Toyota, but will need to act as substitute next week if Bowyer is unavailable.

Jeff Gordon is one of the contenders for the entire championship. In fact, he’s already talking that it in his interviews. Gordon is a three-time winner in this recent season, and has consistently performed well as a runner-up. Both times he didn’t finish first were when he was beaten out by Keselowski.

Gordon hasn’t avoided talking about how well he thinks the No. 24 Chevrolet will do to help win its fifth championship, a feat never achieved in the Chase championship. Gordon has a different mindset from other drivers; who often blame underperforming cars, slumps, or superior drivers. In Gordon’s mind, these are just excuses.

In no way does Gordon believe he and his crew has the best car on the track. However, he claims that his team is certainly skilled enough to win the race this Sunday.

It’s true that Gordon hasn’t won anything between 1998 and the three wins he took at New Hampshire. He’s the only one who has started every single race there.

Venturini’s Debut! Wendy Venturini makes her first appearance as a co-anchor for the Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire. She will join the Performance Racing Network booth this Sunday, as is the first time a woman has joined that broadcast. Venturini has been with SPEED and Fox Sports 1 since 2004, and has been a solid pit reporter for the past three NASCAR national series championships.

It’s very hard to believe that the Hillsborough racetrack was once a great NASCAR speedway. It’s located just next to the Hillsborough Walmart, surrounded by trees and a long dirt trail. The track now only looks like an abandoned speedway with nothing to offer, but its figure now wouldn’t have even happened if it weren’t for the Occoneechee-Orange Historic Speedway Group.

In 1997, the France/Staley family bought the track, which was abandoned in 1968, but left it alone until 2006. It was at that time when a group of volunteers attempted to restore this historic dirt track. Bill France was one of NASCAR’s co-founders, and wished to rebuild the track into a modern superspeedway. However, the town refused to allow his intervention, so France abandoned his project to seek land in Talldega, Alabama.

One of the volunteers who stepped up in 2006, Laverne Zachary of Mebane, remembers how it felt like to visit the track in the ‘90s. Apparently, the track had been so abandoned that people weren’t even able to see the track itself under all the growth. The entire first year of the project was solely dedicated to just cleaning the place up.

Nowadays, the track is a public park that is enjoyed by joggers and dog walkers alike. Most people will view the location as a bunch of running trails, but people to know its history will be able to close their eyes and imagine a once roaring arena of up to 9,000 fans with racecars buzzing by.

The Hillsborough track, not the Orange County Speedway in Rougemont where races still occur, was the premiere track for NASCAR’s first season in 1949 to 1968. Though not an actual racetrack anymore, Hillsborough will host the eight annual racer reunion and car show held by the speedway group. This event is to celebrate the sport, as well as the track’s historical influence on it.

There will be free festivities starting from Friday evening at the track. These will begin with “Cruise-In with a Twist,” as well as a live performance by The Grass Cats. On Saturday, there will be a parade on the dirty track for all event-goers to enjoy. This show will be attended by up to 22 former drivers and families, and the public will be able to attend a meet-and-greet with the pros. In attendance will be Leonard and Glen Wood, both NASCAR hall-of-famers.

Event-goers can also use this time to appreciate all the word the volunteers have done to restore this historical track, and will also have access to ticket counters and concession stands. These volunteers have already been awarded for their efforts in Daytona, Florida this year by the Victory Lane Racing Association. They have done all they can to keep the track as historically accurate as possible.

The problem with this accurate restoration process is that all the trees in the areas have to be cut down, something the town does not desire. Zachary claims that the track can’t be what it used to because of the combination of NASCAR appreciators and environmentally-cautious folks. However, the volunteers strive to get people to remember what the town was like so many years ago.

Honoring Hillsborough’s rich history

16-year-old Cole Custer sets a new NASCAR record

Cole Custer made his mark in NASCAR’s record book with his first win at Loudon, New Hampshire. At just 16, Custer is the youngest ever winner of the NASCAR national series. Up until this victory, he has had seven Truck Series starts within his entire pro racing career.

Custer was able to outshine the other drivers right off the bat. At just 16 years and 7 months, he was able to remain in the lead while driving at 131.897 mph. He led 148 of all 175 laps, which made this win his 5th status in the top 10 this current season.

Custer has nothing but great things to say about this whole situation. He and his team are loving this win, as well as all the fans that support them. According to Custer, he grew up attending races at the track, and feels like quite an honor to dominate there.

After Custer were Matt Crafton, Darrell Wallace Jr., Johnny Sauter, and John Nemecheck. All these racers make up the top 5 winners of this race.
The previous record setter was Erik Jones, who became the youngest Truck Series winner last November. At this Phoenix race, Jones was only 17 years and 4 months. Obviously, Custer’s win made this record-breaking status obsolete.

Sprint racer Scott Semmelmann was killed at Beaver Dam Raceway in Wisconsin. The death was confirmed by Carolyn Mueller, the general manager of the raceway, along with Steve Sinclair, the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Car Series president. The car Semmelmann was driving during a practice run ended up making direct contact with another vehicle, flipping over three times and eventually crashing into the outer wall. The race that was to be had was subsequently cancelled.

Brendan Gaughan narrowly won the top spot in the 300-mile national series race held at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. He did this by defeating newcomers Ty Dillon and Chase Elliott after the final restart, which remained neck and neck until the end.
Scott Pruet eventually dominated the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Lone Star Le Mans race in Austin, Texas. Pruet chased past Joao Barbosa and Alex Brundle near the end of the race to finally get the lead.

Tony Schumacher took the win at Top Fuel, while Matt Hagan claimed victory at Funny Car field. This gave way for Don Schumacher Racing to completely demolish its competition at the NHRA Carolina National finals in Ennis, Texas, even though the races were delayed due to excess rain.

NASCAR’s Michael Waltrip Wants to Duel it Out with Dale Jr.

Many people might already know this, but Michael Waltrip has joined the Dancing with the Stars cast for its 19th season. Waltrip made his dancing debut this week with a cha cha routine. He and his partner Emma were in the bottom four couples in terms of popular vote, but they will still be competing again in the next round.

After the elimination show, Waltrip and his partner did several interviews, one of these being with NASCAR.com. In this later interview, Waltrip claimed that the racecar community was very supportive of his dancing. He made a cheeky comment about Dale Earnhardt Jr’s tweet to him, where Waltrip says he wasn’t sure what Earnhardt Jr. was actually talking about when he wrote “cajones”.

When Waltrip was told what the word referred to, he challenged Earnhardt Jr. In fact, he even challenged Earnhardt Jr.’s fans as well! Waltrip says both he and Dale Jr. have claimed that Dancing with the Stars would be the absolute last thing they would ever do, yet he is in that position right now. So naturally, Waltrip called out Dale Jr. to strap on his dancing shoes and join the cast for Season 20 to see how well he’d perform when in Waltrip’s position.

Earnhardt Jr. probably wouldn’t have time to go on the show while he was still an active racer, or even if he’s seek to get on the show in the first place. However, it truly would be interesting to see him accept Waltrip’s challenge. The JR nation is so powerful and supportive that Dale Jr. would probably be able to stay in the competition on popular votes alone.

As part of his loving fans, what do you think Earnhardt Jr. should do? Would you like to see him put on his dancing shoes for DWTS? Would you watch and make sure to lend your support for him with your votes? Leave a comment below and lend us your thoughts!

NASCAR is the Past and Penske is the Future for Marcos Ambrose

Recently, Team Penske revealed that it has formed a partnership with DJR or Dick Johnson Racing, the longest-established racing team that Australia has seen. The partnership will lead to the formation of a V8 Supercar Team, and Marcos Ambrose is all ready to be a part of it in 2015.

Roger Penske, the owner of the team, said that he believed in building businesses with the help of racing, and that he judged success primarily on the basis of performance shown on track. Further, the owner said that showcasing their brands using the V8 Championship will benefit their new Australian ventures significantly. In addition, he added that it was the chance to closely work with Marcos Ambrose and DJR that made him take the bold step.

The team will drive Ford Falcons. Marcos Ambrose will take the No. 17 car. Ambrose was the winner of the V8 Championship in the year 2003, as well as in 2004.

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The two-time V8 Championship winner said that he was happy about the fact that he had the opportunity to get back to something that he loved and in which he tasted success in the past. The expert racing driver further stated that racing for legends like DJR and Roger Penske was his honor.

Being originally from Tasmania, Ambrose arrived in the USA in the year 2006, trying to make NASCAR a part of his career. Over the years, he climbed higher and higher consistently, from the popular Truck Series to the Nationwide, and then from there to the well-known elite Sprint Series. All these years, he insisted that he would love to get back to Australia someday, to allow his children to attend schools in his home country.

It was Chicagoland Speedway where he let the world know that this NASCAR season would prove to be the last one he would participate in. The sports racer also said that his decision to return to his native land, leaving Richard Petty Motorsports, was personal as well as professional.

The former V8 champion said to the media that while he enjoyed his years in the USA a lot, he felt that it was high time he returned to his homeland, to let his children grow up in the familiar Australian environment.

RPM did not want to part with Ambrose, and wanted him to continue his journey on the No. 9 Ford. Richard Petty, the owner of the team, left the final decision to Marcos, who had finished in the Top-10 44 times and won twice in his journey with RPM, starting from 2011.

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