The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will race at Talladega Superspeedway today for the first time, and it is making an impression on some of the veteran drivers. Ron Hornaday Jr., a two-time Truck Series champion and driver of the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado for Kevin Harvick Inc., was 16th fastest in practice at the 2.66-mile tri-oval on Thursday. “You know what? I have raced in a lot of places,” Hornaday told the Sporting News, “but I have never raced on anything this smooth.” The track was recently repaved for the first time in 26 years. The NASCAR Truck Series and Nextel Cup Series are scheduled to race at Talladega this weekend. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe joys and headaches of holiday travel: John PhillipsMike Skinner posted the fastest time in Truck Series practice sessions. His fastest lap was at 193.980 mph. Skinner’s time was more than 5 mph faster than the pole-winning time for the Cup Series race in the spring. Elliott Sadler won the pole at 188.511 mph. Talladega is the biggest track for NASCAR races. The next biggest is Daytona International Speedway in Florida. Mark Martin won the pole for the Truck Series race in February at Daytona at 178.628 mph. Irwindale Speedway: The NASCAR Late Models open invitational will offer the largest purse of the year to the winning driver tonight at Irwindale Speedway. The winner of the Late Model open invitational will earn $2,000. This will be the only 100-lap Late Model race of the year and could attract drivers from all over the West Coast to enter. Any car that meets the track’s requirements for entry into its Late Model division will be allowed to enter the race. The Late Model entries will be making a switch in tires for the open invitational. The track is requiring cars have Hoosiers instead of Goodyears for the race. Late Model teams have used Goodyear tires all season and in every season since the track opened in 1999. One driver said he thinks the track will make the switch permanent next year. Canyon Country’s Aaron Staudinger, the top rookie in the Late Model division, said the open invitational is a great opportunity for Hoosier to collect data from the teams and supply tires to the track. The track made the NASCAR Super Truck drivers switch to Hoosiers earlier this year. The decision to change tires was not popular with the Super Truck drivers. Staudinger said the change, in particular with his car, will have its benefits in the open invitational. “From where we’re sitting, we’re a top-five car looking for any little bit to put us out front,” Staudinger said. The track is not letting the Late Model teams test the Hoosiers before the race and will not be supplying tires to teams until the day of the race. Newhall’s Travis Thirkettle, winner of eight Late Model races at Irwindale Speedway this year and the track’s division champion, is expected to be one of the regulars entered in the race. Acton’s Chris Houwen and Valencia’s Dana Moore have entered Late Model cars in races at Irwindale Speedway this year. The NASCAR Super Trucks, Mini Stocks, Pure Stocks and the Cisco Burger Figure 8 Championships are scheduled to race tonight at Irwindale Speedway. Gates open at 4 p.m. Races start at 7. American Le Mans Series: Lowe’s Fernandez Racing announced its driver line-up for its American Le Mans Series team that will begin competition in 2007. Adrian Fernandez, owner of the No. 15 Acura-powered team, will be joined by Luis Diaz in the LMP2 prototype entry for the 2007 season. Honda Performance Development, based in Santa Clarita, is providing engines and technology development for the Acura-powered teams in the American Le Mans Series. It is Acura’s first year competing in the ALMS. “I am thrilled to announce that Luis and I will be teammates in the ALMS next season,” Fernandez said at the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta last Saturday. “We tried to put a program together a few years ago where Luis and I would compete together, so this has always been in the back of our minds.” Diaz, a 28-year-old driver from Mexico, won the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series championship with co-driver Scott Pruett and Chip Ganassi Racing. In addition to announcing its 2007 driver line-up, Lowe’s Fernandez Racing also unveiled the team’s Acura Lola, which will make its competition debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March. Honda Performance Development will be preparing engines for three ALMS teams in 2007. Honda Performance Development currently provides engines for every team in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series, including for both of Fernandez’s teams. “We are happy to welcome Luis to the Acura family,” said Robert Clarke, president of Honda Performance Development. “We first met Luis when he substituted for Adrian in the 2002 Mexico City race and later did some test driving for Fernandez Racing. His obvious talents in sports car competition the past few years alongside those of Adrian’s will be a valuable asset for not only our winter testing program but a strong effort next season.” firstname.lastname@example.org (818) 713-3715 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES John Deere 250 Site: Talladega, Ala. Schedule: Today, race (Speed Channel, 12:15 p.m.). Track: Talladega Superspeedway (tri-oval, 2.66 miles, 33 degrees banking in turns). Race distance: 250 miles, 94 laps. Last race: Mike Skinner raced to his first victory of the year, passing Ted Musgrave with 20 laps to go and holding on to take the Smith’s Las Vegas 350 on Sept. 23. The victory was his first since Sept. 8, 2005, in Richmond. Fast facts: Series leader Todd Bodine finished 12th last race and has a 91-point lead over Johnny Benson with six races left. … Skinner has won six poles this season. … Joe Nemechek has entered the race, his first Truck Series start since January 1998. … Mobile native Rick Crawford will be the only home-state driver in the race. … Mark Martin has started nine of the series’ events this year and has won four of them. Martin has won two Nextel Cup Series races (April 1995, May 1997) and one Busch Series race (April 1997) at Talladega. Next race: Kroger 200, Oct. 21, Martinsville, Va. On the Net: www.nascar.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Young people must stand alongside older generations in honouring those who made wartime sacrifices for Britain, The Duke of Cambridge has said.Prince William Talks To School children from WatfordCredit/Copyright: DukeAndDuchessOfCambridge.orgSpeaking at a gala dinner in London to mark the 10th anniversary of the charity SkillForce, The Duke of Cambridge said Remembrance “must never become the preserve or responsibility of one generation”.He added: “I was privileged to be able to visit the poppy installation at the Tower of London in its early days.“Even then, before it was as famous as it is now, the people observing the poppies came from every generation.“The young there were just as moved as the old. Their grief and thanksgiving for the sacrifice of previous generations was just as real.”He was speaking three days after joining The Queen to lay wreaths of poppies at the Cenotaph in London’s Whitehall to commemorate those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.Since 2009, The Duke has been Patron of SkillForce, which matches former servicemen and women with youngsters – often from troubled backgrounds – to offer them encouragement and inspiration.He attended the function at the Imperial War Museum to celebrate the launch earlier this year of the organisation’s Junior Prince’s Award, a programme to help primary-age children prepare for the step up to secondary school through character-building projects and activities.The Duke of Cambridge met youngsters who were taking part in the scheme and was shown their First World War Remembrance projects.“It was clear that they, like those children who gather at the Tower of London or at Remembrance Day parades, are grasping something that will instil hopefulness and commitment about a better future in themselves and in their generation,” he said. “This is no small achievement.”“Only by pointing to all that Remembrance means can we have any chance of making our society a better place and giving these young people hope, which is the fuel for all the work they will need to do to fulfil their potential.”Source:DukeAndDuchessOfCambridge.org