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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A talented young winner in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series has been paired with a two-time Canadian champion, as Bill McAnally Racing brings a two-car effort to the UNOH Battle At The Beach at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 18 and 19.
Nineteen-year-old Sergio Peña – who was recently announced as the driver of BMR’s No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West for 2013 – will team with D.J. Kennington, who last year collected a second title to go with the 2010 championship he won in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1. Kennington of St. Thomas, Ontario, will pilot BMR’s No. 28 Castrol Toyota at Daytona.
Peña of Winchester, Va., and Kennington will participate in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series portion of the inaugural event at “The World Center of Racing” that will also include a combination race for the two NASCAR Whelen Modified tours and a late model competition for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. The event will be contested on a .4-mile oval on the backstretch at DIS.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to compete in this exciting new event,” said BMR President Bill McAnally. “We anticipate it will attract the best caliber teams in NASCAR regional touring and we are glad to be a part of it. We want to thank all of our sponsors who made this possible – NAPA Auto Parts, Toyota, NAPA Filters, NGK and Castrol.”
While Kennington earned a guaranteed starting position in one of the three races by virtue of winning the Canadian championship, Peña will need to race his way in through one of the heat races.
The event will provide Kennington a new Daytona International Speedway experience – one that he feels suits his skillset. As a result of being situated on the backstretch at DIS, the short track virtually will be flat, and that suits Kennington just fine.
“I love flat race tracks,” he said. “I really don’t know why. I’ve had some success, maybe that’s why.”
Beyond some inherently flat road-course venues, the Canadian Tire Series competes at Autodrome St. Eustache (Quebec), a .4-mile flat oval north of Montreal, at which Kennington has a win and two runner-up finishes in four Canadian Tire Series starts.
The primary difference between the Daytona short track and St. Eustache is the radius of the turns. The Quebec track is egg-like in shape while the UNOH Battle At The Beach circuit is more of a paperclip in shape.
“The turns, I suppose, will be very different,” stated Kennington. “Getting the car to rotate through the turns will be pretty similar on a flat surface, I think.”
Traveling to Daytona is nothing new to the veteran Kennington, who made three NASCAR Nationwide Series starts on the legendary 2.5-mile tri-oval. However, the thrill of competing during Speedweeks to kick off the 2013 season is not lost on him.
“Anytime you race in Daytona it’s a big deal,” he said. “The history there is enough to knock you over. Whoever can say they won a race in Daytona has done something.”
The K&N Pro Series cars are quite different from the Canadian Tire Series machines, but Kennington has quite a bit of experience in them. Including a second-place finish in the 2011 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, he has four career K&N Pro Series starts. He also has 48 NASCAR Nationwide Series starts to his credit which, at the time, used equipment very similar to what is currently employed in the K&N Pro Series.
Peña joined BMR last month following three successful seasons competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. He has been a member of NASCAR’s Next9 program since 2011, a season in which he scored three wins. Additionally, he has been named by FoxSports.com as one of the NASCAR drivers 25 and under to watch in 2013.
Peña’s first race with his new team will be in the UNOH Battle At The Beach.
“I’m super excited,” he said. “I guess I’m kind of impatient to get the season started just because I’m so anxious to get to know all the guys on the team. The more races we run, the better.”
Like other drivers, Peña is somewhat in awe of racing at Daytona for his first time.
“It gives me chills just thinking about it,” he said. “I know we won’t be running on the big track, but just to be able to be racing in a NASCAR race at Daytona – it doesn’t get any cooler than that. It’s so awesome.
“Just to think about it, a couple of years ago I was running formula cars on road courses,” he said. “Who would have thought I would be going to NASCAR? And now I’m going to be racing a NASCAR K&N Pro Series car at Daytona. I can’t believe it. I’m so excited.”
Peña knows, however, how tough the competition will be in Daytona, with drivers from the K&N Pro Series East and K&N Pro Series West.
“The series is tough,” he said. “It’s a developmental series, but there’s nothing easy about it. I think the Battle At The Beach will foreshadow the year and see how people are going to perform.”
The event marks a new chapter for Peña, meanwhile, as he moves to the West Coast.
“I’m going to miss everybody back East,” he said. “I’ve built such a great relationship with so many people the past three years racing out there. But I couldn’t be more excited about going to the West. There’s going to be more people to meet and new tracks to learn. It’s going to be pretty much a fresh start for me.”
The UNOH Battle At The Beach will feature qualifying races for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Models and a 150-lap feature on Feb. 18, while the racing on Feb. 19 will include a similar schedule of qualifying races and 150-lap races for both the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tours and K&N Pro Series.
|EVENT:||UNOH Battle At The Beach|
|PLACE:||Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway|
|DATE:||Monday-Tuesday, Feb. 18-19|
|TIME:||Mon., Feb. 18: 7:15 p.m. ET (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series); Tues., Feb. 19: 7:15 p.m. (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour), 8:30 p.m. (NASCAR K&N Pro Series)|
|TV SCHEDULE:||SPEED, 7 p.m., Feb. 18-19; NASCARHomeTracks.com internet video stream, 9 a.m. on Mon., Feb. 18 and 10:45 a.m. on Tues., Feb. 19|
|RADIO SCHEDULE:||MRN, 7 p.m., Feb. 18-19 with simulcast on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and at motorracingnetwork.com|
|TRACK LAYOUT:||.4-mile oval|
|2012 WINNER:||Inaugural event|
|2012 POLESITTER:||Inaugural event|
|EVENT SCHEDULE:||Mon., Feb. 18: 9-11 a.m. NWAAS practice; 11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. NWAAS final practice; 12:40-2:05 p.m. NKNPS practice; 2:15-3:40 p.m. NWMT practice; 2:30 p.m. NWAAS autograph session; 4 p.m. NWAAS qualifying races; 6:50 p.m. NWAAS driver introductions; Tues., Feb. 19: 10:45-11:30 a.m. NWMT practice; 11:35 a.m.-12:20 p.m. NWMT final practice; 12:30-1:15 p.m. NKNPS practice; 1:25-2:10 p.m. NKNPS final practice; 1:30 p.m. NWMT autograph session; 2:20 p.m. NKNPS autograph session; 3 p.m. NWMT qualifying races; 4 p.m. NKNPS qualifying races; 6:35 p.m. NWMT/NKNPS driver introductions. CLICK HERE TO VIEW COMPLETE SCHEDULE|
|TRACK CONTACT:||Lenny Santiago (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Andrew Booth (email@example.com); (386) 947-6782|
|EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG:||#NASCARBattle|
|NASCAR IMC CONTACT:||Jason Christley, (386) 310-6094 or firstname.lastname@example.org|
The Race: This is the inaugural UNOH Battle Of The Beach event.
The Procedure: The starting field for each of the three races is 34 cars and each race is 150 laps covering 60 miles.
• The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Models will have four 25-lap/25-minute qualifying heat races for which the lineups are determined by fastest lap in final practice. The four fastest drivers in final practice will start from the first position in the respective four qualifying races. The first 28 starting positions for the feature race will be determined by the highest finishers in the four qualifying races and those having ‘Protected’ status. The four qualifying race winners will participate in a random draw to determine the first four starting positions. Positions fifth through 28th will be assigned by the finishing order in the four qualifying races with the second-place driver in the first qualifying race getting the fifth starting position and so on. Entered drivers with ‘Protected’ positions in this race are the top-10 finishers in the 2012 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship point standings that include: C.E. Falk III, Nate Monteith, Deac McCaskill and Adam Royle. The remaining six positions for who did not qualify in the top 28 will be determined by a 25-lap/25-minute last chance race.
• The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will have two 25-lap/25-minute qualifying heat races for which the lineups are determined by fastest lap in final practice. The two fastest drivers in final practice will start from the first position in the respective qualifying races. The first 28 starting positions for the feature race will be determined by the highest finishers in the four qualifying races and those having ‘Protected’ status. The two qualifying race winners will participate in a coin toss to determine which is awarded the pole position and which qualifying race finishers will start from the inside and outside rows. Entered drivers with ‘Protected’ positions in this race are the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion (Doug Coby) along with eligible 2012 race winners from each of the two tours which includes: Danny Bohn, Justin Bonsignore, Donny Lia, Jason Myers, Ryan Preece, Bobby Santos, Ron Silk, Mike Stefanik, Andy Seuss and Brandon Ward.
• The NASCAR K&N Pro Series will have two 25-lap/25-minute qualifying heat races for which the lineups are determined by fastest lap in final practice. The two fastest drivers in final practice will start from the first position in the respective qualifying races. The first 28 starting positions for the feature race will be determined by the highest finishers in the four qualifying races and those having ‘Protected’ status. The two qualifying race winners will participate in a coin toss to determine which is awarded the pole position and which qualifying race finishers will start from the inside and outside rows. Entered drivers with ‘Protected’ positions in this race are the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion (Kyle Larson), NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion (Dylan Kwasniewski), NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 champion (D.J. Kennington), NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series champion (Jorge Goeters) and Euro-Racecar NASCAR Touring Series champion (Ander Vilarino) along with eligible 2012 race winners from each of the two series which includes: Cale Conley, Corey LaJoie, David Mayhew, Greg Pursley, Tyler Reddick, Michael Self and Derek Thorn.
The Track: The .4-mile short-track oval is situated on the backstretch of the 2.5-mile tri-oval at Daytona International Speedway. This newest addition to the menu at “The World Center of Racing” was made possible following the 2010 resurfacing project. The track is virtually flat and has a paperclip-like shape.
The Records: The 2013 UNOH Battle At The Beach is a first-time event.
DAYTONA RACE NOTES:
Speedweeks Features All Levels of NASCAR: With the addition of the UNOH Battle At The Beach, the 2013 Speedweeks racing card at Daytona International Speedway now features all levels of the NASCAR ladder system. In addition to NASCAR’s top three national series that have traditionally raced at Daytona, the grassroots levels of the sport are now represented as well with the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly program and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tours at the regional touring level. NASCAR’s Grand-Am Road Racing series also competed at Daytona in January to open the 2013 racing season.
International Champions: All three of NASCAR’s international series are slated to descend upon the “World Center of Racing” for the UNOH Battle At The Beach. Jorge Goeters will represent the NASCAR Toyota Series as the champion from Mexico while D.J. Kennington will head to Daytona as the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 titlist and Ander Vilarino will get his first shot to race in the United States as the champion from the Euro Racecar NASCAR Touring Series. All three secured locked-in starting positions by virtue of their series crowns and will compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series race at the Daytona short track.
Full Agenda for Larson: Reigning NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion Kyle Larson will have a full plate of racing during 2013 Speedweeks, and for a driver that competed in more than 120 events in 2012, it should be business as usual. Larson will attempt to run all three UNOH Battle At The Beach races, the ARCA contest, and will attempt his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut – all in a span of eight days. For the UNOH Battle At The Beach, he’ll have one final ride with the Rev Racing team he drove to a title in the K&N Pro Series race – for which he has a locked-in starting position – and will drive Kevin “Bono” Manion’s No. 7 Chevrolet in the Whelen Modified Tour event. His Daytona short track experience will also include an attempt to make the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model feature.
Mod Drivers Plan To Double-Dip: The World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at nearby New Smyrna Speedway has long been an attraction for NASCAR Whelen Modified and Whelen Southern Modified Tour teams to travel south during the winter offseason. This year, with the addition of the UNOH Battle At The Beach in Daytona, the two events are benefiting from each other. Of the 33 current entries for the Whelen Modified race at Daytona, 15 have so far declared that they plan to run one or more of the nine nights of racing at New Smyrna. New Smyrna recently joined the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program and the World Series will be NASCAR-sanctioned racing.
Getting Some Experience: Of the 30 NASCAR K&N Pro Series entrants for the UNOH Battle At The Beach, only half competed in the series in 2012 with the team they will head to Daytona with. Among the other 15, three are newcomers who plan to run the series in the coming season, four are with different teams and eight are just making a spot appearance for this special event.
#NASCARBattle Social Media Events
Fans will have multiple opportunities to meet UNOH Battle At The Beach (#NASCARBattle) competitors and participate in exclusive experiences by staying informed of the event via social media. Select NASCAR Home Tracks drivers will participate in a fan Tweet-Up at the Sprint Fan Deck on Saturday, Feb. 16, during the 2 p.m. hour. Stay tuned in to all of the event activities with NASCAR Home Tracks social media outlets: @NASCARHomeTrack on Twitter and www.facebook.com/NASCARHomeTracks.
NEXT TIME OUT:
NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series: The NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series will also launch its 2013 championship season at Phoenix International Raceway on March 1 as part of the NASCAR weekend at PIR. The event will mark the first time for the series to compete at a U.S. facility.
NASCAR K&N Pro Series West: The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will kick off its championship season on March 2 at Phoenix International Raceway with the Talking Stick Resort 60, as part of the big NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend in the Valley of the Sun. David Mayhew led flag-to-flag in winning the season opener at Phoenix a year ago.
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East: The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East gets its championship campaign underway at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on March 16, the first event on a 15-race schedule for 2013. Nelson Piquet Jr., won last year’s season opener at Bristol from the pole.
NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour: The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour begins its championship season Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., on March 16. George Brunnhoelzl III led flag-to-flag in winning last year’s season opener at Caraway and beginning his successful march toward a third tour championship.
Euro Racecar NASCAR Touring Series: The Euro Racecar NASCAR Touring Series opens the 2013 season at Circuit Paul Armagnac in Nogaro, France on March 31. Ander Vilarino, who went on to win the series championship, won last year’s event from the pole in the inaugural season for the series under the NASCAR banner.
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour: The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will kick off its championship season with the traditional Icebreaker at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway on April 14. Ron Silk led 22 laps en route to taking the victory in last year’s season opener at Thompson.
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1: The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 has its season-opening event on May 19 on the road course at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario. Last season J.R. Fitzpatrick took the checkered flag in the event with eventual series champion D.J. Kennington finishing as the runner-up.