Sunday, September 6, 2009

Rolling Into The 55th Annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals

Welcome to the most prestigious drag racing event in the world. The oldest, largest, richest and longest-running Labor Day motorsports event in the United States. It's Sunday afternoon of the 55th Annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. And I'm here were all the action is going O'Reilly Raceway Park (where all the magic of motorsports occurs).

That's right, I'm back with the team as my former boss, Scott Smith-Smizzle, asked me to assist him with some PR and communications work for the weekend! I've been spoiled all summer long and now this! After U.S. Nationals, I will officially become a drag-racing, motorsports-loving lady.

Well, we may not have sunshine, the drag strip may not be dry...but we do have eager fans, media spectators, drivers and teams (and me!) waiting out the rain so qualifications and rounds can continue for the day.

So as we wait for this weather to pass, let me re-cap all the events that led us up to this point of the U.S. Nationals. Actually, let me rephrase that: I'll recap all of the events I got to partake in.

As the week progressed towards qualifications, O'Reilly Raceway Park was visited with FOX 59's Jeremiah Johnson, on Tuesday, as he interviewed and raced with Top Fuel driver, Larry Dixon.

Wednesday officially kicked off the week of U.S. Nationals with the Full Throttle Series Press Conference held at the Country Club of Indianapolis. This media luncheon consisted of five drivers from the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series who are competing in the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals: Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle), Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel) and John Force (Funny Car).

The entertainment carried into the evening of Wednesday with the Lucas Oil Kick-Off Party hosted at Champps Americana on Indy's Northside. The event featured a driver autograph session, display of race cars, live music and an appearance by the popular trackside big screen, ACDelco Vision. Driver appearances included Larry Dixon, Brandon Bernstein, Ron Capps, Jack Beckman and Morgan Lucas, among others.

Thursday also provide entertainment to fans of U.S. Nationals with the John Force RaceStation Open House and Car Show held here in Indy. Fans were greeted with a display of funny cars and autographs of the Force Racing team, including John Force and his daughter, Ashley Force-Hood.

The open houses continued into Friday as Don Shcumacher Racing hosted their own open house. The event featured a Car and Motorcycle Show, Vintage Nitro Car “Cacklefest”, driver autographs and a racing-themed memorabilia raffle.

Friday, along with the beautiful weather, had many action-packed events in store including live shots with WRTV's Dave Furst, live remotes with WIBC's Big Joe Staysniak and other activities you can only experience at O'Reilly Raceway Park during the U.S. Nationals.

And finally, catching up to speed...Saturday falls nothing short of a, once again, energetic & intense day of Top Fuel, Pro Stock Motorcycle, Pro Stock and Funny Car qualifications & rounds.

It's drag racing at its best!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

In Their Words

The 2009 VP Fuels E. T. Bracket Racing Series is in the books and the champions have been crowned in each class. Today we hear from Greg Dillman on the season.

What does it mean to win the class championship?
Now days, it's a pretty big accomplishment. With the quality of drivers and cars out there anymore, it's just hard to win a single round let alone a race or championship.

With this being such a long season what all needs to go right to end up on top at the end of the year? Luck! Everyone needs to have those 1 or 2 lucky rounds to get them by to the next round. Sometimes you've just got to create your own Luck. I know I've had my fare share this year.

Was there a time this year where you didn’t think you were going to pull it out?
Probably after the 2nd to last points race. Going out in the 1st round and watching Danny and Eddie go deep into the late rounds and pass me in points was hard to swallow. It's never a easy feeling having to wait a couple weeks and having to rely on mother nature that it doesn't rain just so you have 1 last chance to go more rounds than the people ahead of you.

How nerve racking was it going into the last race down by one point?
Pretty nerve racking. I've been fighting a engine miss for the last couple months and haven't been able to trace it down. Going into the last race and dealing with engine/electrical issues is not something you want going into the last day. But it all worked out.

Was this the first class championship you won and if not how many have you won?
My first championship was back in '93 or '94 when Jr Dragsters started. Since then, I've also won in Street, Pro, and S/Pro.

Is there anyone you would like to thank?
Parents, Dana & kids, Automotion Race Cars, Camping World, and Quinlan Automotive.

Friday, July 24, 2009

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: The Need for Speed...Fest.

Well, it's day number 2 here at the 2009 Kroger SpeedFest at O'Reilly Raceway Park, and I must say to those who aren't joining us...BUMMER to you!! And yes, I'm totally "geeking" out. (fyi: "geeking" = freaking out in a completely geeky manner). Currently, I am sitting in the media center of O'Reilly Raceway Park's oval looking over the insane view I have. Drivers walking the pits, crew members prepping the trucks and fans overwhelmed with excitement, much like myself.

Qualifications are over, and the excitement builds as we come closing in to the main event. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series AAA Insurance 200, presented by J.D. Byrider race starts approximately in 1 hour, 30 minutes. Right now, drivers and crew cheifs are having a meeting, trucks are lined up, people are scrambling to find seats and I am sitting cozy with a front row seat in the media center (yes, what a burden for me....)

And after all the minor drama around here, (low toner in the printer and losing the golf cart key for a brief second) I need a break!! Hahaha...this is me totally kidding. Yes, I continue to love my internship and it never falls short of surprising me with more interesting people to meet and entertaining gigs to do! SpeedFest, by far, blows ALL other events I have EVER been to right outta the water.

Continuing on my note of all the interesting people I have met... This list includes Gary, The Copy Guy; Dale & his trusty side kick, a.k.a. The Gate Keepers; John "My Brotha", Caterer Extraordinaire; and last...but certainly not least, my boss: G Fabulous, Scott Smizzle. These people had made my time here extra special, and I have learned a lot from some...and a little from most (haha...I kid, I kid!!). But, never the less my time here has been memorable and I'm glad I'm able to share these experiences with you all!

But, here's to looking forward to the future (but, not too far..) and living in the moment! Well, this blog has officially taking me to the beginning on Driver Introductions..nice! I'm out

More to come soon...I promise!


Friday, July 17, 2009

Excitement Before SpeedFest: The Countdown Continues

Well the sun is shining bright and the workers are working hard here at the O'Reilly Raceway Park this morning. And naturally, the orderly madness (ha...that's an oxymoron) continues as O'Reilly Raceway Park workers strive tirelessly to create and set-up an amazing scenery for the Kroger SpeedFest weekend. ..And I'll tell you something, it's looking pretty good!

Tents for the Hospitality Village are coming up, track sponsors and logos are being painted on the track and the stands used for Kroger SpeedFest are being assembled at record speeds. But, then again, are you really surprised at how fast-pace work at the track can be? After all, speed and precision is the name of the game in this industry...only makes sense our workers here at O'Reilly Raceway Park keep up with the pace.

So I've talked about what's going on outside of O'Reilly Raceway Park, and now it's time to go inside where a lot of the magic happens. That's right; I'm going to give you an "exclusive" look of what happens inside the offices at O'Reilly Raceway Park. Have I got your attention yet? Good. This morning has been nothing less of chaotic, yet efficient.

First and foremost we've got our fearless leader, Ron Anderson (the General Manager of O'Reilly Raceway Park), holding down the fort and overseeing EVERYTHING that goes on around this place...and man...that's a lot of responsibility. Next is Scott Smith, our Senior Communications Manager (a.k.a. MY big boss man). He's pretty cool and very sarcastic, which if you know me...we get along very well! On the other side of the office is Michelle Sieradzki (Hospitality and Group Sales Manager) and Wes Collier (Marketing Services Manager), along with their intern, Jennifer Werner (a.k.a. "Giggles" because this is what she does best!) Everyone keeps everyone pretty entertained around here... We are all good-hearted and hard workers. Which is the best kind of atmosphere to be around while "working"...haha, I love my internship.

Ok, as promised, here are the pics. And wow...these folks are sure photogenic :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

SpeedFest: Rapidly Approaching

The driver introductions for the 2008 Kroger 200, NASCAR Nationwide Series Race.

Intern Jennifer and I at O'Reilly Raceway Park getting ready for SpeedFest!

I'm back...and busier than ever. It's the most wonderful time of the year (and I'm not talking about the holidays, folks). This is the moment I, as an intern at O'Reilly Raceway Park, have been waiting for. Doing promotions at various events including PINKS All Out was great, creating the program for SpeedFest was fun...but nothing could prepare me for one of the most exciting and adrienaline-pumping races of the season. As a self-proclaimed NASCAR-baby, I can't explain the how COOL (yes, for the lack of a better term) the O'Reilly Raceway Park's fast-pace atmosphere is around here. From spectating the coordination of events to watching the cars hit the track for some action-packed practicing & racing...there is ALWAYS something keeping me entertained. Wow, once again I make my internship sound rough, huh?

But, I can't lie. It's been great working here at O'Reilly Raceway Park, especially with these amazing staff (yes, my boss paid me to say that) ..And with the SpeedFest only 2 weeks away, it's a very bitter-sweet feeling. I think that's what I love most about this's all about...well...the love. The appreciation of the cars and the love for the sport, itself. Pretty respectable. And so I don't get too cheesy (whoops, already happened), I'll switch the subject back to SpeedFest.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at O'Reilly Raceway Park.
NASCAR Nationwide Series cars in the pits.

Whew! Just the name sounds intense...which it is. This year marks the 2009 Kroger SpeedFest featuring three nights of action packed racing under the summer lights on the famous O'Reilly Raceway Park oval. The weekend kicks off with exciting USAC open-wheel action on Thursday July 23rd. On Friday night, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series takes the track for 200 laps of fender-to-fender battles. Past winners include Rick Crawford, Ron Hornaday, Carl Edwards and last year's winner Johnny Benson. And on July 25th (Saturday), the weekend concludes with the running of the 28th annual Kroger 200, NASCAR Nationwide series race. Past winners of this fierce event include Kevin Harvick, Brian Vickers and defending race winner, Kyle Busch.

One of the three new 2009 Kroger SpeedFest Program covers. This one features the NASCAR Nationwide Series race.

So, there you have it...the reason why my summer has been completely and utterly amazing. And the best part is, there's more to come at O'Reilly Raceway Park! I will be updating more often as SpeedFest rapidly approaches ( you can't get rid of me yet!!)

Gotta run...literally,
Intern "K"

~Ps. Keep up with any and all action happening at O'Reilly Raceway Park by following us on many social media Web sites: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and of course this fabulous blog: In the Groove with O'Reilly Raceway Park on BlogSpot.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Margin of victory for NASCAR Nationwide series races

The 2009 installment of Kroger SpeedFest is rapidly approaching and as always the weekend will conclude with the running of the Kroger 200, benefitting Riley Hospital for Children. This race is always ultra competitive and the record book reflects this in the margin of victory.

Since 1993 the closest margin of victory was .147 seconds when Greg Biffle bested Jason Keller for the victory. Interestingly enough Jason Keller is involved in the largest margin of victory as well but again on the losing side of it. In 2003 Brian Vickers won the race by 2.296 seconds over Keller. Don't feel too bad for Keller though as he does have 2 career wins O'Reilly Raceway Park in 1995 and 1999.

With the competition level high as always in the Nationwide Series, it is a safe bet the margin of victory will again be close.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-884-6472.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Kroger 200 fast fact

As the Nationwide Series prepares for the Winn-Dixie 250 in Daytona the staff at O'Reilly Raceway Park is working on the upcoming Kroger 200 on July 25th .

A little trivia for the day... Morgan Shepherd has the most wins at O'Reilly Raceway Park in the Nationwide series with 3 and most poles is held by Randy Lajoie with 2.

Have a great July 4th!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Kroger SpeedFest TV commercial

An exclusive sneak peak of our 2009 Kroger SpeedFest TV ad can be found on our YouTube channel. It won't start airing until later this month but we wanted to share it with our friends of the facility.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

When the green flag drops on the AAA Insurance 200, presented by J. D. Byrider on July 24th it is a safe bet that the racing will be thrilling, hard fought and the winner will come from near the top of the field. In the past 14 races the winner has come from no deeper than 8th in the field and that was done last year by Johnny Benson. In fact the winner has come from the pole position five times in the history of the race.

No matter where the winner comes from, the victory will be hard earned and the driver will have outlasted 35 other racers to get the win.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by going to

Monday, June 22, 2009

Carl Edwards continues to run strong in the Nationwide Series

Carl Edwards outlasted the competition in Milwaukee on Saturday night to win the NASCAR Nationwide race even with flying back and forth from Infineon Raceway. In doing so Edwards sits in second place, just 127 points behind leader Kyle Busch as the Nationwide Series motors into a tough summer stretch.

In just 5 races the series returns to O’Reilly Raceway Park and Edwards returns to a track that he is not only familiar with but has won at during his career.

Edwards first came to the track a teen when he raced in the Baby Grands series. The Baby Grands were cars that looked like a smaller, more compact Sprint Cup style car and raced on the oval and portion of the infield chicane.

In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Edwards has one win, in 2003 when he came from the fifth starting spot to get the victory.

With his success at the track it is certain Edwards will be looking to continue his strong finishes this year in the Nationwide series.

Tickets for all three nights of racing are currently on sale and can be found, here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Kroger SpeedFest NASCAR weekend is rapidly approaching

The 2009 installment of Kroger SpeedFest is less than five weeks away and we are preparing to make this year’s event better than ever. Intern K is busily putting the race program together and we will offer sneak peaks of pages as it nears completion.

New for 2009 are exciting ticket packages that will allow fans of O’Reilly Raceway Park and Indianapolis Motor Speedway to take in action at both tracks and save money while doing so. Information on the promotion can be found, here.

In driver news, we found out this week that not only will Jason Leffer be behind the wheel of his Nationwide machine but he will also be racing in the USAC race. Leffler will be racing in the midget race and has 4 career victories at the track, with his last one coming in 2002. He does have a more recent victory at the track and that came in the Nationwide series in 2007. With that victory he gave Toyota their first win the Nationwide series.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Weekend Upates: June 5th-7th

Hey everyone! It's Katie, again. Just wanted to re-cap some of the exciting events that happened at the track this past weekend. Let's take a trip down memory lane...

On Friday, the 4th Annual Jeramy Schmitt Moon Light Madness Memorial drag race took place at O'Reilly Raceway Park. This event is held every year in memory of the 2005 Cathedral High School senior . Before his tragic passing, Jeramy and friends frequented O'Reilly Raceway Park's Tuesday Night Street Legals and Moonlight Madness events. To celebrate the life of Jeramy and drag racing, Friday night consisted of enthusiastic spectators, determined racers, a "Show & Shine" contest and a "Sound System" contest. Thanks again to all that came out and support Jeramy, his family and friends, and the track! All proceeds from the evening will benefit the Jeramy Schmitt Memorial Scholarship fund offered to any student that would like to attend Cathedral High School.

Another event that took place on Friday was The Race it Indy Nationals, hosted by the Mustang Club of Indianapolis. They presented their 30th annual Mustang and All Ford Show this past Friday through Sunday. Big Mustang fan, like myself?...then THAT, my friends was the place to be. Missed all of the action? No's a lil preview:

Now on to Saturday. Now I'm not sure about you folks reading this, but this event is some of the stuff that I grew up on...On Saturday the 2009 FASS Diesel Nationals came to O’Reilly Raceway Park for a day of drag racing, sled pulls, dyno competition and the crowd favorite (as well as mine)... the burnout contest. Some good stuff.. and if you couldn't go, then bummer for you. I would suggest checking out the latest schedule so you don't miss out on this great event, again!

And finally, last but not least..Sunday at the O'Reilly Raceway Park, the VP Fuels E. T. Bracket racing series returned for a full day of points racing action. Live under a rock and haven't a clue what I'm talking about? ugh...then you're going to have to check out all of the excitement yourself:

Oh wow... so much to do, so much to say...but I'll call it quits for the day (ps. I did not try to pull a Dr. Seuss on that one, I promise) ha!

Until next time, I'm out!
~Intern "K"

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pinks All Out at O'Reilly Raceway Park

Hey everyone! Let me introduce myself…My name is Katie Gammon and I am the new Communications Intern at O’Reilly Raceway Park. I’ll have to start off by saying “wow” to an amazing start of the drag-racing season. As you may be aware, PINKS All Out (Speed TVs hit television show) has been touring the country and are visiting Indy’s own O’Reilly Raceway Park this weekend. I guess you could say as an intern, I’m in the right place at the right time. What luck for my second week on the job!

So as today’s drivers make their way to the track to test and tune for tomorrow’s show, I was fortunate enough to walk around, take in and capture the exciting and energetic atmosphere of the track this weekend. While some spectators anxious to see the cars on the strip, others more interested in the show (Seriously, I was asked about ten times if I was a PINKS crew member…ha!) But, as for the drag-race enthusiast, you couldn’t ask for a better event… the weather: beautiful, the crowd: massive and more importantly, the cars: wicked (and for those who don’t own a Katie-Glossary, wicked =awesome)

… I must be in intern heaven. Just take a look for yourself.

Intense, right? Well, there’s certainly more to come, but that’s it from me for now. I’m sure by tomorrow morning I’ll have plenty of more exciting info., updates and stories as I continue my experience at the O’Reilly Raceway Park. Oh, and don’t forget to stop by the O’Reilly Raceway Tent tomorrow from 12-8PM, and come say hi! Until then…

I’m out!

(And now for a shameless plug: O’Reilly Raceway Park tomorrow. You’ll wanna be there. ) Details:
Gates open at 9:00 AM
Time Trials start at 11:00 AM
Main feature will begin at 8:00 PM
And don’t forget…food, drinks and exhibition run makes for an all-day event.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bobby East looks towards Night Before the 500

Bobby East completed a two day test leading up to the Night Before the 500, presented by Comfort Suites of Brownsburg, and we were able to catch up with him before the test.

What are you working on and looking forward to?
We are just fine tuning a couple of things on our Ford racing Esslinger and looking forward to having a good car on a long run that is what we are going to focus on.

What are the keys to running well and winning at O’Reilly Raceway Park?
You got to handle really well because you are in the corners so long and you got to not be hard on your tires which sounds really easy to do but it’s not.

What is your best memory from racing here?
Last year was a really good year one, winning the Night Before the 500. I loved winning the Silver Crown race out here but so far last year was a pretty good one.

How has the season been going?
It has been going pretty good so far. We have two wins so far and second in the points and down a bit there but we are happy. We have a lot of confidence in our stuff and have a lot of racing left and things have been going pretty good so far.

How was being on the Bob and Tom show?
That was fun it was a cool experience those guys are cool and funny. It was just a cool deal.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

First oval race of the season

The first oval race of the 2009 racing season is taking place tonight, Saturday, as the Advance Racing Association returns for another year. These racers are people that truly enjoy the sport of racing and spend countless hours getting their equipment to perform to peak level. These people might be your co-workers, neighbors, friends, family, and if they invite you out to the track for a night of racing take them up on it. They always put on great races and would enjoy people seeing you in the stands.

The oval is a busy place during the month of May as we have another ARA race on the 16th and on the 23rd we have the Night Before the 500, presented by Comfort Suites of Brownsburg, USAC Midget Series race. This is the 64th running of the race and driver such as A. J. Foyt, Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon have all found victory lane during this event.

All of these events are very affordable for families and many take advantage of our hill outside of Turn 1. People bring blankets, chairs and picnics and make memories with friends and family during the course of the night. As I child I spent many a night watching racing at the track and now I enjoy watching families take advantage of this during the course of the year.