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In Brief: Villeneuve; Reutimann; Twitter deal

22 May 2012

Jacques Villeneuve gets two Nationwide road race spots with Penske

Former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve will make a return behind the wheel of a NASCAR Nationwide Series car again this summer, when he will take charge of the #22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger Penske Racing car for the series' two road course outings this summer.

Villeneuve's first NASCAR race of 2012 will be at Road America in Wisconsin on June 23, before going on to race in his native Canada in the August 18 race at Montreal at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, named after his father and also the venue for the F1 Grand Prix of Canada. It's the second year running that Penske have called him up for the two events.

“I appreciate Penske Racing giving me the opportunity to get back behind the wheel of the #22 Dodge this season,” said Villeneuve. “Road America and Montreal are two of my favorite racetracks. I feel, after winning the pole last year at Montreal, that we can have a lot of success. A NASCAR victory is something I want.”

"Jacques is a première road racer that brings extensive experience to the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team,” said Penske Racing team president Tim Cindric. “He gave us two strong runs last year and we feel he can do the same this season. We would like to be the team that gives him his first NASCAR victory."

Parker Kligerman is the regular driver of the #22. Villeneuve has made 10 NASCAR starts over the past five seasons, including seven in the Nationwide Series. He's finished in a series-best third place at both Montreal (2010) and Road America (2011).

Reutimann joins BK Racing for eight Cup outings

David Reutimann has added eight new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series outings to his 2012 calendar, after signing with BK Racing to drive the #73 Burger King/Dr Pepper Toyota car in every race that he's not already scheduled to drive for Tommy Baldwin Racing, starting with this weekend's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

"Everyone at BK Racing is excited to solidify a third car on our team for David Reutimann," said Scott Gunderson, the president of BK Racing. Reutimann has already joined BK for the Daytona 500 and Darlington 500 races this season when the TBR car was taken by Danica Patrick.

"The #73 team has already proven to be a contender," said Reutimann. "We're already off to a good start and the team is continuing to improve. Travis and Landon are terrific teammates and I think having a third car among us will give us better information and more resources to keep strengthening."

Reutimann lost his full time ride with Michael Waltrip Racing at the end of 2011 when the team opted to sign Clint Bowyer and add Mark Martin to the line-up in a part-time capacity. Reutimann has also signed up to drive the #92 Ricky Benton Racing car in a part-time return to the Camping World Truck Series in 2012.

NASCAR signs strategic partnership with Twitter

NASCAR has signed a new digital partnership with social media network Twitter to enhance the sport's interaction with fans.

Building on the recent eye-catching Twitter activity of leading Penske driver Brad Keselowski, the series hopes to give fans a insider's view of the action as it unfolds on the track that compliments the live broadcasts of races n the US. The new service will be accessed by clicking on the #NASCAR hashtag or by searching for the term on Twitter, and is the first deal of its kind for the social network.

"Twitter has been an important piece of our effort the last several years to further engage our fan base and help grow the sport," said Steve Phelps, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of NASCAR. "This new, complementary live race experience product is an evolution of that relationship with Twitter, and we're excited about continuing to provide our millions of fans with greater access to our athletes and further engagement with our drivers, teams, tracks and executives."

"Twitter amplifies the excitement of live sporting events and gives NASCAR fans insider access to the drivers and teams they love," said Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. "Between the talented NASCAR personalities on Twitter and the fact that they have some of the most loyal fans in the world of sports, they were a natural choice to partner with as we experiment with ways to create the best experience on Twitter during a big event."

The #NASCAR page will use a variety of editorial and computer algorithms to select the best Tweets and photos from NASCAR insiders in an effort to bring the behind-the-scenes story to life during NASCAR race weekends, with Twitter's media team curating Tweets to highlight on the page come race weekend from a highly selective list of accounts from the world of NASCAR including drivers, pit crews, families, media, fans and NASCAR representatives.


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