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Columbus Blue Jackets present NASCAR-Themed "Nationwide Night" this Friday at Nationwide Arena

by Blue Jackets Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, OHIO – In recognition of the official start of the NASCAR racing season this weekend at Daytona and Nationwide's involvement as title sponsor of the NASCAR Nationwide Series, the Columbus Blue Jackets present a racing-themed "Nationwide Night" for fans attending the Friday, February 13 game against the Detroit Red Wings. Game time is set for 7 p.m. and doors open at 6 p.m.

To kick off the night, the first 15,000 fans in the building will receive a Blue Jackets cooler compliments of Nationwide Insurance. A select number of fans who receive coolers containing a Blue Jackets player autograph will participate in an on-ice contest for a chance to win a trip to the Kentucky Motor Speedway to attend an upcoming NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Fans will also have a chance to win lunch with two Blue Jackets players by registering at the Nationwide Gazebo located on the main concourse at Section 110.

In addition, fans can test their driving skills in the Nationwide Series Race Simulator on the main concourse and have photos taken with Nationwide Series Show Car throughout the evening. Finally, a post-game skate on the main ice is open to everyone in attendance. Free skate rental will be available.

Holbrook Bests LaCosta in Blue Jackets-Media Nationwide NASCAR Challenge

Click here to watch the video recap of the Blue Jackets-Media Nationwide NASCAR Challenge.

Ted Holbrook of Sports Radio 71.1 The Fan bested Blue Jackets goaltender Dan LaCosta in the finals of the Blue Jackets-Media Nationwide NASCAR Challenge held Wednesday afternoon at Nationwide Arena. The challenge featured Blue Jackets players, personnel and members of the media taking laps and swapping paint at the Daytona Motor Speedway via the Nationwide Series Race Simulator.

The event was held in advance of Friday’s Nationwide Night when the Jackets host the Detroit Red Wings. The first 15,000 fans in attendance will receive a free Blue Jackets lunch cooler courtesy of Nationwide. A select number of fans who receive coolers containing a Blue Jackets player autograph will participate in an on-ice contest for a chance to win a trip to the Kentucky Motor Speedway to attend an upcoming NASCAR Nationwide Series race. In addition, fans can test their driving skills in the Nationwide Series Race Simulator on the main concourse prior to the game and check out the Nationwide Show Car throughout the evening.

Prior to Wednesday’s competition, Blue Jackets Radio Play-By-Play Announcer George Matthews and Nationwide Insurance’s Ryan Stalzer set the rules as a total of 12 drivers were divided into six pairs. Following a pace lap, each pair of drivers went head-to-head against each other and the field for two laps. The fastest lap time of each driver was recorded with the two fastest at the end of the day squaring off in a two-lap final.

The first pairing featured Christine Simpson of The NHL Network and Versus (1:10.04) against Beau Bishop of the Ohio News Network (1:12.03). The second pairing featured Jackets forward Jared Boll (1:37.49) and NBC 4’s Jerod Smalley (0:57.76), who was the first competitor to post a sub-one minute lap. The third pairing was a Sports Radio 97.1 battle between Scott Torgerson (disqualified) and Ted Holbrook (0:51.37) in which “The Torg” appeared to blow away the field, but after “video review” it was determined that he did so after passing every car during the pace lap. The result was the challenge’s first disqualification.

The fourth pairing included Tom Reed of The Columbus Dispatch (0:56.35) and “Mr. High School Sports” Larry Larson of 610 WTVN (disqualified) with the latter becoming the second racer disqualified from the competition. Up next was 10 TV and FOX Sports Ohio’s Jeff Hogan (0:55.42) and Blue Jackets goaltender Dan LaCosta (0:49.82), who the day after registering the first shutout of his NHL career vs. the Colorado Avalanche posted the first (and only) sub-0:50.00 lap of the day. The final challenge pairing featured Blue Jackets forward Jason Chimera (0:54.65) and (a last-minute substitution) club VP of Public Relations Todd Sharrock (0:54.26) in what was the closest head-to-head race of the day as the two were separated by just 0:00.39. LaCosta and Holbrook, who raced to the two-fastest times in qualifying, met in the finals with Sports Radio 97.1’s Holbrook beating the Blue Jackets rookie 0:51.00 to 0:54.00.

BLUE JACKETS-MEDIA NATIONWIDE NASCAR CHALLENGE RESULTS
Place, Driver (Time)

1. Dan LaCosta, Blue Jackets Goaltender (0:49.82)
2. *Ted Holbrook, Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan (0:51.37)
3. Todd Sharrock, CBJ VP of Public Relations (0:54.26)
4. Jason Chimera, Blue Jackets Forward (0:54.65)
5. Jeff Hogan, WBNS 10 TV (0:55.42)
6. Tom Reed, Columbus Dispatch (0:56.35)
7. Jerod Smalley, NBC 4 (0:57.76)
8. Christine Simpson, NHL Network/Versus (1:10.04)
9. Beau Bishop, Ohio News Network (1:12.03)
10. Jared Boll, Blue Jackets Forward (1:37.49)
11. Scott Torgerson, 97.1 The Fan (DQ)
11. Larry Larson, 610 WTVN (DQ)

*Won final race between top two qualifiers.

Tickets for 2008-09 regular season home games are on sale now at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office, FOX Sports Ohio Blue Line at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing, The Chiller Ice Rinks and all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers. Fans can purchase tickets by phone at (800) 745-3000 or online at www.BlueJackets.com and www.ticketmaster.com. For information on season tickets, mini-plans or group tickets, call (614) 246-PUCK or 800-NHL-COLS.

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