Lottery renews sponsorshipwith Kansas Speedway

5/9/2014

By RANDY COVITZ and BLAIR KERKHOFF

By RANDY COVITZ and BLAIR KERKHOFF

The Kansas City Star

(MCT) — Kansas Speedway and Kansas Lottery officials have announced a five-year extension of the Lottery's title sponsorship of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race through 2019. The Kansas Lottery 300 will return to Kansas Speedway on Oct. 4.

"The first partner we had as a partner before the track even opened was the Kansas Lottery," said Kansas Speedway president Pat Warren, "and the Kansas Lottery over the last year generated over $74 million that went back to the state, and $50 million went to economic development. What you see around this track and with the things that are around here, are the result of the vision our leadership had in the state and local government 15, 16 years ago."

Before beginning sponsorship of the Nationwide race in 2007, the Kansas Lottery sponsored ARCA and IndyCar races at Kansas Speedway.

5-hour Energy, which this week extended its sponsorship of Clint Bowyer's No. 15 Toyota for three years, is also the title sponsor for Saturday night's Sprint Cup race, the 5-hour Energy 400 Benefiting Special Operations Warrior Foundation. As part of the sponsorship, five cents from the sale of every specially marked bottle of cherry flavored 5-hour Energy will be donated to the foundation that supports the military's special operations forces and their families through college scholarships, family services and financial stipends.

In 2012, the organization provided $3.9 million in scholarships and aid to families of fallen Special Operations personnel.

An engineer views the track

Ryan Newman graduated from Purdue University with a degree in vehicle-structure engineering, so he gets plenty of queries about racing dynamics. He was asked Friday about the impact of hard winters on tracks in the north and Midwest. Kansas Speedway, for instance, was repaved after the spring race in 2012. Track officials then said it was necessary after a series of rough winters.

But Newman went the other direction.

"The race track here just gets covered up with snow and just sits, it's insulated," Newman said. "It gets a jacket on all winter. But if you look at place like Talladega, which to me has aged quicker than some of the other race tracks ... the heat is more of a factor with respect to the oils and the aggregate and it affects the way a track ages."

Blaney eager for Cup debut

Ryan Blaney is making his first of two planned Cup series starts on Saturday night but he won't be in totally unfamiliar territory.

The bulk of the Team Penske No. 12 team Blaney is working with this weekend is from Penske's No. 22 Nationwide series team, with which Blaney, 20, has made several starts.

"They work well together and I have worked with that team a lot between this year, last year and 2012," he said. "You wait your whole life for this opportunity and you have to make the most of it. I am fortunate that Penske was kind enough to give me this opportunity."

Questions for Roush Fenway

It's been a rough couple of weeks for Roush Fenway Racing. Will it get better? Driver Carl Edwards of Columbia remains unsigned beyond this season, as does Greg Biffle. In an interview this week with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's Claire B. Lang, Biffle acknowledged he had other options if he or his sponsor did not remain with Roush after this season.

Last week, Nationwide Insurance announced it would be sponsoring Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the Cup series beginning next season, rather than Roush driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush may have some positive sponsorship news soon regarding Stenhouse, but what of the organization's well-being if Edwards or Biffle — or both — end up leaving?

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