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Local Sports News

Wednesday, 4 August, 2010 1:15 AM

NASCAR Driver Matt Kenseth previews the upcoming CARFAX race weekend in Dearborn

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

From left to right: MIS President Roger Curtis, The Henry Ford Museum's Christian W. Overland, Ford North American Motorsports President Jamie Allison and NASCAR Driver Matt Kenseth.
by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

DEARBORN, Mich. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Matt Kenseth made a special appearance at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. to promote the upcoming CARFAX 250 and 400 races at Michigan International Speedway on August 14 and 15. MIS President Roger Curtis and Ford North American Motorsports President Jamie Allison were also in attendance at the press conference. The Henry Ford Museum just began fundraising for a new $15-million permanent exhibit called "Racing in America," which is scheduled open at the museum in the next three to four years.

The announcement came one day after Roush Fenway Racing co-owner Jack Roush was involved in a plane crash at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wis. Roush was transferred to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. after having surgery for facial injuries. A press release from the team indicates he is in serious but stable condition. This was not his first plane crash -- he also survived a 2002 plane crash in Alabama.

"He did have an accident up there in Oshkosh," NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth confirmed. "It sounds like he's going to be fine when it's all said and done."

The CARFAX race weekend kicks off with the Meijer Pole Day on Aug. 13. The NASCAR Nationwide Series hits the track with the CARFAX 250 race on Aug. 14. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wraps up the weekend with the CARFAX 400 race on Aug. 15. Tickets are available for as low as $25 for the races and $10 for the pole day.

"I really look forward to going there, in the past it's been a really good track for us," Kenseth said about MIS. "The last two or three races not quite as good, but it's been a really good track for us. I really look forward to going there."

The new Ford Fiesta will serve as the official pace car for the CARFAX race weekend. It was unveiled during the press conference at the Henry Ford Museum. It is red in color with the blue Ford logo running across the side and the "Fiesta" logo on the hood.

"We've got the new Nationwide car that's going to be the debut, they've only ran four races this year and Michigan will be the fourth," MIS President Roger Curtis said. "We're excited to have the new Ford Mustang out there. We've got all of the Sprint Cup guys getting down to the Chase, getting close to the cut-off on Sunday. Last year, Brian Vickers won and that was what propelled him into the Chase so we'll see what happens this year."

IndyCar series driver Danica Patrick will race in the CARFAX 250 Nationwide Series race on Aug. 14.

"I didn't have to do what some of the other track presidents had to do and bribe her shoes or lobster or anything like that," Curtis joked. "She wanted to come to MIS so I think that speaks volumes about our track. She used to run out there in the IRL so she knows the facility really well. Obviously, completely different cars, but she probably knows it better than any of the other tracks she's raced at in NASCAR this year. I think she'll do really well."

Kenseth is currently eight in points and is working hard to finishing strong at the end of the season.

"I'm always concerned about our distance to 12th, especially to get in the chase," the NASCAR driver said. "That's always a concern. Really, we're just trying to run better, finish better, move up in the points. Hopefully, grab some momentum before the Chase starts if we can get in."

He won the NASCAR Championship in 2003. One year later, NASCAR implemented the new playoffs and points program known as The Chase for the Sprint Cup. It automatically resets points standings with 10 races to go, allowing only the top 12 drivers to win the championship. Drivers below 12th place become ineligible to win the season title. Some fans consider the new points system "The Matt Kenseth Rule."

"Everybody's going to have a different opinion, I enjoyed it the way it was because it was the way it was for so many years," Kenseth said. "It's been like that for a long time so I enjoyed that to be part of that group of history that won a championship like that. In the new era, in the new Chase era, certainly I think it's worked pretty well. I'd love to be able to win under that format as well."

The Henry Ford Museum kicks off funding for new permanent racing exhibit

Officials at the Henry Ford Museum are looking to raise $15 million to create a new permanent auto racing exhibit called "Racing in America." Staff members at the museum expect to raise the necessary funds in about two years and then the exhibit will take about 18 months to build after that. The new exhibit should be opening to the public in the next three to four years.

The Henry Ford Museum currently features some race cars within its building, however many more will be added to this new exhibit. A total of 20 race cars will be shown in the new permanent exhibit. It will include a 22,000-square-foot display inside the museum and 20,000-square-foot outdoor exhibition for live demonstrations with the cars and engines.

"'Racing in America' is all about the lens of innovation through American racing," said Christian W. Overland, The Henry Ford's Vice President of Collections and Experience Design. "It's about stock cars, Indy cars, sports cars, Sprint cars, go-karts, you name it. It's about the championship of paradigm changing cars in America and the spirit of innovation behind it. It's about people, the process of innovation, science and technology. It's the most comprehensive experience of racing in the United States.

Rick Hendrick, Jack Roush, Edsel B. Ford and Roger Penske are co-chairing the new exhibit.

For more information on the CARFAX Race Weekend at Michigan International Speedway, visit www.mispeedway.com.

For more information on the new Racing in America exhibit, visit www.racinginamerica.com.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A representative from the Henry Ford Museum introduces the panel of speakers.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

This special edition Ford Fiesta will serve as the pace car for the CARFAX race weekend at MIS.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A press conference was held inside the Henry Ford Museum on July 28, 2010.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

An artist's rendering of the new "Racing in America" exhibit.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Another artist's rendering of the new exhibit.

 

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