Dylan Kwasniewski

Ganassi’s Sound Garage Social Media concert returns for 2015

1 Comment

After a smash hit debut last year with Cassadee Pope with the next generation of Chip Ganassi Racing drivers, the Ganassi Sound Garage will return for an encore in 2015.

Here’s the full team release:

On the heels of the wildly-popular and first-of-its-kind event for millennials last Fall, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (CGRT) announced today the return of the Ganassi Sound Garage featuring Big Machine Label Group’s (BMLG) recording artist A Thousand Horses at the team’s Concord, N.C., headquarters on Oct. 5Ganassi Sound Garage will be hosted by a diverse sampling of the team’s millennial driver lineup, including Kyle Larson (NASCAR), Sage Karam (INDYCAR), Dylan Kwasniewski (NASCAR) and Brennan Poole (NASCAR).

Last year’s inaugural social media concert showcased the talents of Big Machine Records recording artist and season 3 winner of The Voice Cassadee Pope and won an industry award for NASCAR’s “Most Creative Use of Social/Digital Media”. This year’s event will once again be streamed live on www.nascar.comwww.indycar.com and www.ganassisoundgarage.com for fans all around the world to enjoy.

CGRT hosted over 200 social media savvy millennials and influencers last year, and expects to more than triple the turnout this year with a target audience that includes influencers, curators and heavy social media users. The event will also have increased partnership involvement from brands like Target, McDonald’s, Clorox, Kimberly Clark, Unilever, Energizer, Coke, Chevrolet and DC Solar– who are all focused on speaking to the millennial demographic.

Additionally, attendees will have the chance to join CGRT at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the NASCAR XFINITY Series race later in the week (Oct. 9), connecting their VIP experience from the stage to the race track.

NOTES OF INTEREST:

  • How do I get in?: The event is invitation only from CGRT, but opportunities to attend will be given away by the drivers and A Thousand Horses via social media outlets. Attendees will mix and mingle like a VIP, taking selfies with all the stars along the red carpet and have a chance to show off their style. Fans will also have the opportunity to show their social influence to the world by using #soundgarage in posts which will be displayed on duel screens flanking the stage during the event. Fans can even win a chance to travel 1000 miles to see A Thousand Horses as part of a special sweepstakes through www.ganassisoundgarage.com – the official website for event updates, ticket giveaway information, live streaming and more.
  • A Thousand Horses: A Thousand Horses is a fresh fusion of classic sounds – a hybrid of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers, Black Crowes and Exile on Main Street-era Rolling Stones – wrapped up in a modern-country context. Their first single “Smoke” went to #1 on both the Mediabase and Billboard Country Airplay Charts after making Country Aircheck history as the highest debut for a new artist’s first single. They also became the first band (with at least three members) to send a debut single to #1 on Billboard Country Airplay Chart this decade. With Michael Hobby leading vocals, Bill Satcher and Zach Brown on guitar and Graham Deloach on bass, the band initially gained momentum playing clubs across the South. Rolling Stone Country hailed the foursome as the Best Up-and-Comer at 2014’s Austin City Limits and USA Today named them one of 2015’s Artists to Watch and an On the Verge ArtistTheir first album on the Big Machine Label Group, Southernality, is now available on iTunes and the second single from the album, “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial is currently making its way up the Country charts. The band was also recently nominated for a CMT Music Award for “Group Video of the Year” for their hit single “Smoke.” A Thousand Horses is currently on the road with Darius Rucker’s Southern Style Tour. For more information and tour dates, visit www.athousandhorses.com.
  • About the Drivers: CGRT drivers in attendance will include: Kyle Larson – 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year, 2013 NASCAR XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year and 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion; Sage Karam – Verizon IndyCar Series Rookie, 2013 Indy Lights Champion, 2011 Star Mazda Champion and 2010 US F2000 Champion; Dylan Kwasniewski – 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Champion; and Brennan Poole  – NASCAR XFINITY driver and six-time ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards race winner.

QUOTEBOARD

Steve Lauletta, President, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams: “The return of Ganassi Sound Garage has been met with tremendous support and I’m happy to say this year’s edition will be bigger and better than its debut with the participation of partners like Target, McDonald’s, Chevrolet, Coke, Kimberly Clark, Unilever, Energizer, Clorox and DC Solar. With A Thousand Horses headlining, we plan to deliver another unique social media experience focused on attracting millennials and exposing them to our sport, drivers and team.”

Scott Borchetta, President and CEO, Big Machine Label Group: “Big Machine’s partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing continues to create engaging and exciting events for music and racing fans alike. We are proud to collaborate once again for an incredible night at Sound Garage this fall!”

NASCAR: Sprint car standout Rico Abreu to enter K&N East Series in 2015

5 Comments

Three days after Rico Abreu captured his first victory in the prestigious Chili Bowl, the reigning USAC National Midget Champion is set to go into stock car racing this year.

As first reported by ESPN’s Ryan McGee, HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks will run the 22-year-old in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2015, expanding the team to a five-car operation.

The team confirms that Abreu will compete in all 14 series events in the No. 98 car while also continuing his open-wheel career.

“Joining HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks is a great opportunity for me,” Abreu said in a team release. “As a full-time open-wheel driver on dirt, I’m aware that there will be a learning curve for me this season.

“Knowing that Harry and Justin have faith in me to be successful in stock cars is a great confidence boost. I’m up for the challenge and look forward to learning from my teammates and making the most out of this season.”

Mardy Lindley, who guided current XFINITY Series driver Dylan Kwasniewski to the 2013 K&N East crown, will serve as Abreu’s crew chief for his program in the latter division.

Abreu may only be 4-foot-4 and weigh 95 pounds, but the sprint car set has long known that behind the wheel, he’s 100 percent dynamite.

A native of Rutherford, California, Abreu earned 26 wins across more than 100 open-wheel races last year that involved not just the aforementioned USAC midgets but also 410 (winged and non-winged) and 360 (winged) sprint cars.

His rise is all the more remarkable considering that his career in top-tier sprint car racing only began four years ago. As he admitted last summer in an interview with The Des Moines (Iowa) Register, he’s still new to it all.

“I don’t come from a racing background. I learn as I go. It’s been an adventure for sure,” he said to the Register.

Now, his adventure is about to get even bigger. His new K&N East bosses, Harry Scott Jr. and Justin Marks, are both ready to see where it leads.

“Rico has remarkable talent and is a great fit for this organization,” Scott said in today’s team release. “The addition of Rico to our stout lineup of drivers raises our level of excitement even higher going into the 2015 season.”

“Rico is a driver that has already proven to himself on so many levels in his young career,” Marks chimed in. “I can’t wait to see what Rico and his fellow teammates accomplish this year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.

Dylan Kwasniewski looks to rebound from 2014 struggles, even with only a part-time ride in 2015

5 Comments

Dylan Kwasniewski’s first season in the then-Nationwide (now Xfinity) Series didn’t exactly go the way he likely expected.

The Las Vegas native came into the series as a highly touted graduate of the NASCAR Next program, in addition to being the star of a much-hyped, made-for-digital reality series that chronicled his life and racing career.

But Kwasniewski’s bid for a great year, including his attempt to win NNS Rookie of the Year honors, fell far short:

* He started all 33 NNS races, had zero wins and zero top-five finishes, and just three top-10 finishes.

* His best showing was eighth in both the season opener at Daytona and also on the road course at Mid-Ohio. He was also ninth in a race at Iowa Speedway.

* He also had four DNFs, an average per-race finish of 17.7 and finished on the lead lap less than half the time (16 out of 33 races).

By the end of the season, Kwasniewski finished 11th in the final standings. It was a first effort, but not necessarily a great first effort, either, he recently told the Las Vegas Review-Journal (LVRJ).

“(Last season) definitely taught me a lot, very humbling, for sure,” Kwasniewski said. “Next year (2015) is what we’ve been looking forward to. We treated last year as a learning year, and now we can go out there and compete and try to get really good finishes.”

After racing for Turner Scott Motorsports in 2014, Kwasniewski has joined a brand new team for 2015, HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi. HScott is Harry Scott Jr., former co-owner of TSM.

For now, it’s a one-car operation, but unfortunately for Kwasniewski, it’ll be a two-driver team.

In other words, he’ll be sharing the No. 42 Chevrolet with reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year, Kyle Larson.

As of now, it’s unclear how many races each driver will be behind the wheel. But Kwasniewski is taking it all in stride.

“It’s still a lot of races,” Kwasniewski told the LVRJ. “I think we’re going to have better results. You’re running up front with the guys you’re going to race for the rest of your life. I think that’s better than running midpack.

“We’re going to show up to win every race. That will benefit me more and show people that I have talent more than running in the middle of the pack for the rest of the year.

“Even though it’s less races, I think it’s going to be a good deal.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

NASCAR: Ganassi, HScott team up on 1-car XFINITY Series program

Leave a comment

Chip Ganassi Racing will have a bigger role in NASCAR’s No. 2 national series next season.

CGR is joining forces with Harry Scott Jr.’s operation to field a single-car XFINITY Series program out of Ganassi’s North Carolina shop. The team’s No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro will run under the “HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi” banner.

Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson and upcoming XFINITY Series sophomore Dylan Kwasniewski will be part of the driver lineup for the No. 42 team, which will have Mike Shiplett as its crew chief.

Last season, Larson and Kwasniewski were the primary XFINITY (Nationwide) drivers for Turner Scott Motorsports. Kwasniewski had a tough rookie campaign with just three Top-10 finishes over the full 33-race schedule, while Larson scored 2 wins, 14 Top-5s, and 21 Top-10s in 28 races.

“The HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi partnership formalizes a relationship that has been in the making for a couple of years,” Scott said in a release. “This is a first step of a partnership that will further develop drivers and provide even more excitement in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.”

“We have had a great relationship with Harry over the past couple of years and bringing this program into our shop is something that we feel benefits both teams,” said Ganassi. “We feel that our expertise on both the competition and the business side can help grow the program both on and off the track.”

CGR previously ran an NXS program from 2004 to 2008. Those teams earned six wins, nine poles, 32 Top-5s, and 60 Top-10s in that timespan.

Keselowski earns pole for final Nationwide Series race at Homestead

Leave a comment

Brad Keselowski originally was not scheduled to compete in Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 season-ending NASCAR Nationwide Series race.

Joey Logano was originally slated to run the Team Penske No. 22 Ford, but with his focus on winning Sunday’s Sprint Cup championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Keselowski was a late replacement.

Even though he was thrown into it, Keselowski obviously didn’t mind. One week after winning the NNS race at Phoenix, Keselowski came back to earn the pole position for Saturday’s NNS race at Homestead.

Keselowski paced the field with a speed of 166.384 mph. It was his fifth NNS pole of the season and 19th of his career. Keselowski has five wins from the pole in that career, as well, including once at HMS.

“I honestly didn’t expect to get the pole,” Keselowski told Fox Sports 1. “My teammate, Ryan Blaney, was really fast the first two sessions.

“But we were able to just find a little extra speed, I got her dialed in and it’s going to be starting on the pole.”

Twice before, Penske Racing has earned the NNS pole at HMS and gone on to victory. Keselowski is gunning to make it three.

“I’d love to add a three to that, so hopefully we can get three wins,” Keselowski said.

Whether Keselowski or another driver wins the race, it will be historic: Saturday’s event will be the final race ever run under the Nationwide Series banner. The series will be rebranded to the Xfinity Series beginning in 2015.

Kyle Larson qualified second (166.353 mph), followed by Matt Kenseth (166.006), Elliott Sadler (165.827), Ryan Blaney (165.756), Kyle Busch (165.685), Brian Scott (165.269), Brendan Gaughan (165.158), Dylan Kwasniewski (164.870), Chris Buescher (164.224), Ryan Reed (163.969) and Josh Berry (162.660).

“We just missed it barely there at the end,” Larson said. “Hopefully, we can have a little better finish than we had last night. We came up just one spot short.”

Larson finished second to Darrell “Bubba” Wallace in Friday night’s Truck Series season finale.

There were a few surprises along the way, as well:

* Chase Elliott, who clinched the Nationwide Series championship last week at Phoenix, had issues with control on his Chevrolet, ultimately being unable to qualify any higher than 14th.

* Regan Smith, who had been Elliott’s chief chaser during the championship battle, also had issues, qualifying 15th. And Ty Dillon also had control issues, qualifying 21st.

Row 1: Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson
Row 2: Matt Kenseth, Elliott Sadler
Row 3: Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch
Row 4: Brian Scott, Brendan Gaughan
Row 5: Dylan Kwasniewski, Chris Buescher
Row 6: Ryan Reed, Josh Berry
Row 7: Trevor Bayne, Chase Elliott
Row 8: Regan Smith, Corey Lajoie
Row 9: JJ Yeley, Mike Bliss
Row 10: Dakoda Armstrong, Jeremy Clements
Row 11: Ty Dillon, Blake Koch
Row 12: Landon Cassill, James Buescher
Row 13: Ross Chastain, John Wes Townley
Row 14: Eric McClure, Jeffrey Earnhardt
Row 15: David Starr, TJ Bell
Row 16: Paul Menard, Ryan Sieg
Row 17: Ryan Preece, Jeff Green
Row 18: Jake Crum, Tanner Berryhill
Row 19: Matt DiBenedetto, Kevin Lepage
Row 20: Milka Duno, Carlos Contreras

Did not qualify: Derrike Cope, Joey Gase, Ryan Ellis, Johnny Jackson, Martin Roy.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski