On Saturday, Sept. 6, reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski made a late race move to defeat NASCAR Nationwide regular Brian Scott and win the 1000th race in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. In a way, this race began way back on February 13, 1982, when the late, great Dale Earnhardt crossed the finish line first in the Goody’s 300 at Daytona International Speedway to win the inaugural race in what is now known as the NASCAR Nationwide Series, paving the way for twenty-three champions and 136 race winners.
Through the years, drivers, owners and fans have witnessed some of the best racing in motorsports in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, beginning with Jack Ingram’s championship run in 1982, the series’ inaugural season.
Ingram drove the self-owned No. 11 Pontiac to seven wins that season, followed by five victories in 1985 to claim his second title. On Friday at Richmond, Elliott Sadler piloted the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota carrying a paint scheme honoring Ingram’s upcoming enshrinement into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Jan. 29, 2014.
“The NASCAR Nationwide Series always has been a perfect blend of young and veteran drivers, providing some of the most compelling and entertaining racing in motorsports,” said Mike Helton, NASCAR president. “We are very pleased with the progress the series has made over the last 32 years and continues to make in terms of competition, technology and providing a truly memorable experience for its legions of fans.”
As one of the stars of the future for NASCAR, Kyle Larson and his SNICKERS® Bites car battled for victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in Richmond on Saturday. Larson, who has already been tapped to take over the No. 42 machine for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (EGR) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2014, maintains a stellar 25% winning record in his professional career.
In addition to the Virginia 529 College Savings 250, SNICKERS® Bites will also return to sponsor Larson in the Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola on September 15 at Chicagoland Speedway.
“We’re thrilled to partner with such a storied organization as Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, as well as build upon our longstanding position as the official chocolate of NASCAR,” said Roy Benin, Chief Consumer Officer at Mars Chocolate North America. “We’ve been involved in this amazing sport for more than 20 years, so we’re well aware of the value this partnership offers for SNICKERS® Bites.”
SNICKERS® Bites are a new hunger-satisfying innovation introduced earlier this year that offers the trademark SNICKERS® combination of chocolate, peanuts, caramel and nougat shrunk down in small, no fuss milk chocolate cubes. The unwrapped treats are ideal for sharing, whether you’re watching a movie, attending a gathering or cheering on the No. 32 as it speeds towards victory lane. SNICKERS® Bites are available nationwide at club, convenience, drug, grocery, mass, specialty and value stores.
“We are very happy to make this announcement about a partnership with Mars and their SNICKERS® Bites brand,” said Steve Lauletta, President, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams. “We think they are a perfect brand fit for a young future star like Kyle Larson.”
Only 21, Larson has already found success on the track, securing the 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Championship, as well as the corresponding series Rookie of the Year award. Over the past season in the NNS, Larson has logged 14 Top-10s which includes two second place finishes behind the wheel of the No. 32 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro in just 24 races. He has also notched a win and a second place finish in just two races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driving the No. 30 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado in 2013. A Japanese-American, Larson is also a graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program.
“I’m very excited at the opportunity to run the SNICKERS® Bites Chevy Camaro in both Richmond and Chicago,” said Larson. “It is always great to run with such an iconic brand on your car and the SNICKERS® brand is huge. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel.”
The NASCAR Nationwide Series long has been a proving ground for drivers trying to earn a seat in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. There are eight NASCAR Sprint Cup champions who competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series before making their way to NASCAR’s top level: Alan Kulwicki, Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski. Keselowski is the only driver to have won titles in NASCAR’s top two series. Of course, former NNS champion Greg Biffle would love to add his name to this list, as would many other series champions currently competing in NASCAR's premiere level.
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