Larson to Honor Sabates at Darlington

Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) revealed yesterday the throwback paint scheme on the No. 42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet SS, driven by Kyle Larson, for the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. The paint scheme will honor current CGR co-owner Felix Sabates. Credit One Bank will turn back the clock to 1995, and feature a scheme that was raced by Kyle Petty while driving at SABCO Racing for Sabates. The original design has been updated to include the Credit One Bank logo on the hood and quarter panel, but otherwise remains intact from when Petty was behind the wheel.

Menards to Sponsor Blaney in 2018

Team Penske and Menards announced today that the industry-leading home improvement store company will sponsor driver Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 Ford Fusion for 14 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) races in 2018. The partnership follows the recent announcement that Blaney will race a third Team Penske entry in the Cup Series beginning next season. Menards will also be a sponsor on the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing entry, which will be driven by Paul Menard, starting next season.

“Having a company like Menards, and a businessman like John Menard, be a part of the growth with the No. 12 team is terrific for our organization,” said Roger Penske. “Menards has a winning tradition in motorsports and Team Penske looks forward to adding to that legacy. We have enjoyed a productive relationship with Menards through our INDYCAR program, and they were a key part of our championship effort last season. We are excited about the opportunity to grow with them in NASCAR beginning next season.”

The partnership between Team Penske and Menards began in 2016, with the company serving as a primary sponsor on the No. 22 Indy car for five races with driver Simon Pagenaud. The company expanded its relationship in 2017, sponsoring the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series Champion for 10 races. Next season will mark the company’s first foray into NASCAR with Team Penske.

Menards plans to continue its sponsorship of Penske’s INDYCAR program into 2018 and beyond as well.

“Working with an organization like Team Penske means you are always going to be in contention for race wins and championships,” said John Menard. “And winning races and championships puts your brand in front of a lot of people. We’ve had a great run in motorsports over the years and with that has come a lot of success. Now, we are excited to keep that going with both NASCAR and INDYCAR programs with Team Penske.”

Chase to the #9 & Byron to the #24 in 2018

When a new NASCAR season begins in February, rising star Chase Elliott will be reunited with the number synonymous with his legendary racing family and rookie William Byron will take the wheel of one of the most iconic cars in motor sports history.

In 2018, 12-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports will introduce the #9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro to its four-car team with Elliott in the driver’s seat. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native raced the #9 to the 2014 NASCAR Xfinity Series title, and his Hall of Fame father Bill Elliott memorably drove it to 38 Cup-level wins and the 1988 series championship.

“I wasn’t sure I’d ever drive the ‘9’ again,” said Chase Elliott, 21, who is currently in his second season driving the #24 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports. “It’s a huge deal to my family and everyone back home (in Georgia), and I hope all of our fans will be pumped to see it back on the racetrack. There’s a legacy attached to that number, and I want to carry it on. I think it’s awesome that Hendrick Motorsports and NAPA wanted to do this. It’s impossible not to be excited.”

When Byron starts his first career Daytona 500 next year, it will be in the iconic #24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet made famous by four-time Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon and his storied Rainbow Warriors team. Byron will begin his 2018 rookie season at the same age Gordon was (20) when he made his Cup debut in 1992.

“Jeff and Jimmie (Johnson) are the drivers I’ve always watched most closely and tried to learn from,” said Byron, 19, who grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and signed with Hendrick Motorsports in August 2016. “I didn’t think I could be more motivated, but when Mr. (Rick) Hendrick called to tell me (about driving the #24), it took things to another level. I have so much respect for all the people who have contributed to the success of the ’24.’ I know it’s rare to have the chance to be part of something like this. I’m going to make the most of it.”

Next season, Elliott and Byron will team with the #48 of seven-time Cup champion Johnson, 41, and the #88 of 24-year-old newcomer Alex Bowman in the Hendrick Motorsports stable.

“I know what the ‘9’ means to Chase and his whole family,” said Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “They’ve contributed so much to our sport, and I’m happy we can honor that history by bringing the number back. I think fans will really love seeing it out there. I told Chase we’d only do it if he promised to win a bunch of races, so I’m going to hold him to that.

“The ‘fit factor’ is something I’ve always believed in, and that’s what I see with William and our organization. He reminds me a lot of Jeff at that age with regard to being a special talent and having a great head on his shoulders. But William is also his own person with his own career ahead of him. It’s going to be fun to watch him jump in the ’24’ and show what he’s capable of.”

The debut of the #9 will mark the first time in nearly a decade that Hendrick Motorsports will field a new car number for one of its full-time teams. The most recent addition was the No. 88, which was added in 2008 when driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. joined the organization.

“I’m excited about the future,” Hendrick said. “We’ve made some management decisions recently that I feel really good about. Looking at next year, Jimmie will continue to be a leader and help set the tone. Alex is chomping at the bit and ready to go. When you add the (new) Chevrolet Camaro race car into the mix, it’ll definitely be a new look for us. Everyone’s energized.”

Following the 2017 season, Hendrick Motorsports will withdraw its No. 5 car number from competition. It was the organization’s first car number and has run full-time since the team was founded in 1984. The No. 5 was raced to Hendrick Motorsports’ first victory at Martinsville Speedway during its inaugural season, and Terry Labonte drove it to a Cup Series championship in 1996.

“That was by far the hardest part (of the car number decisions),” Hendrick said. “The ‘5’ means so much to everyone at Hendrick Motorsports and to a lot of our fans. The memories and the history will always be there, and I won’t rule out bringing it back some day. Never say never.”

Next season, Elliott and the #9 will be fielded by his current #24 team while Byron and the #24 will be fielded by the current #5 team.

Multiple drivers interested in the #77 for next year

The continued impressive performance of Erik Jones has done more than help solidify Furniture Row Racing as a potential powerhouse in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. It also has elevated interest in the #77 Toyota for 2018.

“There have been some really good drivers that are looking around and that have inquired about the car because I think it is obvious the performance of the car is something any driver would like to be in right now,” Joe Garone, president of Furniture Row Racing, told NASCAR.com. “It hasn’t shocked me; it’s a compliment to the team some of the drivers that have talked to us.”

The potential for an open seat exists because Jones, 21, is headed to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2018 to take over the #20 Toyota currently driven by veteran Matt Kenseth.
Garone didn’t name names, but it’s likely both Kenseth and Kasey Kahne are among those who have expressed interest in the ride since neither will be back with their respective teams next season. While Kenseth is being replaced by Jones, Kahne is being released with one year remaining on his contract with Hendrick Motorsports as that organization puts William Byron in its #5 Chevrolet in ’18.

“It’s 100 percent relying on sponsorship,” Garone said on whether the organization will field the #77 next year. “We certainly never got into this to run just one year. A set of circumstances presented itself that we’re having to deal with. It’s late in the year and we’ve known for a little bit that we were possibly going to be facing having to find another sponsor.”

Ryan Ellis set to drive the #07 at Road America

Ryan Ellis will be joining SS-Green Light Racing this weekend driving the #07 Superlite Cars/Bachtel Excavating Chevy at Road America. This will be Ryan’s 46th start in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and 75th NASCAR start. Ellis, who came from a road course racing background, will be making his first Xfinity start of the season.

“I think a lot of people forget that I have done a ton of road racing in the past between NASA/SCCA/Grand-Am and my experience with Superlite Cars. Once I entered this sport mostly full-time I think I just got tagged as another NASCAR driver, but I still consider myself a road course guy. I’ve raced Road America many times, but I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited to get behind the wheel of a racecar. I can’t thank Bobby Dotter enough for giving me this opportunity on our off-week, we’re going to do all we can to get a good run and keep the car in one-piece. I wouldn’t be able to do this without my great friends and sponsors at Superlite Cars and Bachtel Excavating.”

Ryan was the primary driver for Superlite Cars from 2011-2014 and worked at their shop back in 2012 as well. Since meeting Fran Hall, the owner of Superlite Cars in 2011, Ryan and Fran have become great friends. Fran is even a groomsmen at Ryan’s wedding later this year and has supported Ryan and his racing many times. Ellis said, “Fran is basically family to me. He’s been so important to my racing career and has been instrumental in getting me to where I am in this sport. I called him for a lot of advice over the offseason before taking the Public Relations position at Go Fas, and I’m so lucky to have someone like him on my side.”

Bachtel Excavating first sponsored Ryan at Mid Ohio last year, where the Rick Ware Racing team and Ryan brought home an 18th place finish for the new sponsor. Ellis said, “I got the opportunity to meet Matt Bachtel and some of the other guys from Bachtel Excavating last year at Mid Ohio. They’re such a great group of people and it was so much fun giving them an introduction to NASCAR sponsorship. I’m very proud that he has come back on board with us and helped me get another great shot at a good finish this weekend. It means a lot to me that they are willing to help us out this weekend, because I know it is a good distance away from their Ohio headquarters. Hopefully I will get to see Matt and his group very soon.”

SunnyD announces contract extension with Stenhouse

SunnyD has announced a contract extension with Roush Fenway that will see the iconic brand extend its relationship with the team and driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. through the 2019 season, with additional races added each season. SunnyD has served as a primary partner on Stenhouse’s #17 Ford Fusion for multiple races over the past two seasons.

“We’ve had a great time partnering with SunnyD the last two years,” said Stenhouse. “It’s one of the coolest paint schemes on the track and we’ve had a lot of fun promoting their classic brand. I’m excited that we have extended our relationship and I can’t wait to see how much fun we can have with SunnyD in victory lane.”
In addition to on-track success, Roush Fenway and SunnyD have teamed together in several unique social programs and promotions. This season’s ‘Race with Ricky Sweepstakes’, offers fans a once in a lifetime opportunity to race against one of NASCAR’s up and coming stars, and has received just under a half a million entries to date.

Bloomquist claims 5th Topless 100 Victory

Scott Bloomquist became the first five-time winner of the COMP Cams Topless 100- Presented by Crop Production Services on Sunday afternoon at Batesville Motor Speedway.

Bloomquist inherited the lead on lap-66 when race leader, Austin Rettig had to pit for a flat tire. Bloomquist then led the remaining laps to score the $40,000 victory in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and COMP Cams Super Dirt Series-sanctioned event.

Tim McCreadie led the first 63 laps of the race until Rettig rolled around him to take the lead. Rettig led two laps until a caution came out. Under the caution, Rettig’s right-rear tire went flat, relinquishing the lead to Bloomquist.

Bloomquist entered the weekend tied with Billy Moyer – each having four career wins in the crown-jewel event’s history. He led the remaining 34 laps unchallenged to get the victory. “The car was awesome. Once we moved outside, I got by a bunch of cars. I had to take it easy on the tires. We were looking for somewhere around lap-40 to pit and it worked out for us,” said Bloomquist, who started the race in the 23rd position.

“I just kept watching those lead cars. They were starting to have trouble around lap-60. I knew we had enough for them at the end. I just had to keep the car straight and smooth. The Andy Durham Racing Engine ran great. I can’t thank everyone enough, especially all my help, the sponsors, and all the fans. I followed the 94 car [Rettig] through there, but he was burning the tires up. I would sweep wide on the straight-aways and go low in the corners. That was the fastest groove. I wasn’t worried about being passed at the end. I was just worried about tire wear to finish the race. I didn’t push it nearly as much as I could have there at the end.”

Bloomquist’s, Sweet-Bloomquist Chassis is sponsored by Crop Production Services, Reece Monument Company, Mark Martin Automotive, Sweet Manufacturing, Horton Coal, Sorbera Chiropractic, Petroff Towing, Crossfit by Overton, and Penske Shocks.

Briscoe to run Xfinity Series in 2018?

Ford Performance is hoping to move Truck series competitor Chase Briscoe to the NASCAR Xfinity Series next season.

Briscoe, 22, currently competes full-time in the Camping World Truck Series with Brad Keselowski and is a member of Ford’s driver development program.

“Chase has done a great job in the BKR trucks in 2017 and we are fully committed to his continued development and progression in NASCAR,” Ford Performance Global Director Dave Pericak told Motorsport.com in a statement.

“We have already been active in working with our Ford teams to place him into the right Xfinity program for 2018, but right now we want his focus to be on winning races and competing in the playoffs for a championship in the Camping World Truck Series.”

The most likely Ford Xfinity options for 2018 are likely to be with Roush Fenway Racing or Stewart-Haas Racing.

Larson/CGR unveil New sponsor & Paint Scheme

Chip Ganassi Racing announced today that First Data, a global leader in commerce-enabling technology, will partner with Kyle Larson and the No. 42 Chevrolet SS team for two upcoming Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Seriesraces at Talladega Superspeedway and Martinsville Speedway. This expands on a relationship that began last season when First Data joined Jamie McMurray and the No. 1 Chevrolet SS as a partner for the Fall Martinsville race. Additionally, First Data returns this year on McMurray’s car at Martinsville as an associate sponsor. First Data also recently announced a three-year agreement with Martinsville to be the entitlement sponsor for the track’s fall MENCS race, starting with the First Data 500 on October 29.

Larson New

Emerling dominates at Bristol, scores first career NWMT victory

Patrick Emerling swept his way to Victory Lane with a near-perfect performance at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday.

The Orchard Park, New York, driver was fastest in practice, won the Coors Light Pole Award and proceeded to lead 148 of the 150 laps en route to his first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory.

“It’s just a dream come true,” said Emerling following the win at the historic track dubbed ‘Thunder Valley.’ “It’s incredible. We only run a handful of the Whelen Tour races and to come down here and win practice, catch the pole and lead every single lap, it’s an incredible feeling for us as a team.”

The win for the 24-year-old came in his 78th career start and just his third of 2017. He held off challenges from Chase Dowling and Justin Bonsignore on restarts in the first half of the race, then held off four-time tour champion Doug Coby in the dash to the finish.

He crossed the line 1.239 seconds ahead of Coby. Prior to Wednesday, Emerling’s best career finish was a second at New Hampshire in 2015.

For Coby, the second-place finish was the third straight in Whelen Modified Tour competition and it helped him claw back towards the top of the championships standings.

Timmy Solomito, who was caught up in a Lap 68 accident, came home 15th to maintain a two-point edge on Rowan Pennink. Ryan Preece finished fifth and is nine points behind Solomito, while Coby is 17 points back.

Justin Bonsignore finished third and is 19 points out of first. Chase Dowling and Preece rounded out the top five at Bristol.

Andy Seuss was sixth, followed by Pennink, Ronnie Williams, Bobby Santos and Matt Swanson.

Monster Energy to re-evaluate sponsorship in NASCAR?

Monster Energy is coming up on a crucial period, as it is determines whether to extend its title sponsorship with NASCAR and its team deal with Stewart-Haas Racing. The energy drink company’s deal with SHR expires after this year, while the title sponsorship is slated to run through ’18. Sources said that Monster is contractually obligated to let NASCAR know by sometime in December whether it will pick up a two-year option on the original two-year, $20M annual deal that would then extend through ’20.

Sources said Monster is looking at recalibrating its investment in the sport next year, as it looks to find an overall spend that it deems as more of a returnable figure. Cuts could come on both the team side and entitlement activation side.

Monster has dealt with growing pains in its first year as the entitlement sponsor, as could be expected, and sources said that has continued in recent months amid issues with driver participation in Monster’s marketing and track activation assets like signage and suites. While execs close to the deal concede there have been growing pains, a source disputed that it would lead to any early exit after this season. The source added that such growing pains should be eased significantly next year. NASCAR in recent months has said that it believes it will earn a renewal from Monster, and Covington’s public comments on the deal have been almost entirely positive aside from conceding that it has been an adjustment for the company to get used to NASCAR’s structure.

Photo Credit: NASCAR/Getty Images

Bubba gets redemption in Truck series return

Darrell Wallace Jr. prevailed in his return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on Saturday afternoon, holding on at Michigan International Speedway.

Wallace led the final 11 laps in the 100-lap LTi Printing 200, his No. 99 Chevrolet holding just a .176-second lead at the checkered flag. Wallace’s deal with MDM Motorsports was announced just this week.

Wallace took the lead for the first time on Lap 90, making a bold move past Christopher Bell and Austin Cindric. The sixth win of his Truck Series career was his first at the 2-mile track.

“It’s been so long since I’ve been in Victory Lane,” Wallace said. “I try to hold a positive mindset over it, and everybody in my family knows it eats at me every day. Emotional Victory Lane, for sure. First time back in three years, so it’s so cool.”

Bell, the series points leader, salvaged second place in the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 Toyota. Kyle Busch, Ryan Truex and Cindric rounded out the top five, with pole-sitter Matt Crafton scored in sixth.

Busch led a race-high 47 laps and won the opening two stages, but dropped back in the pack after suffering left-front damage in a Lap 65 restart. That contact was triggered by a three-wide battle with Wallace and Cody Coughlin, who took the brunt of the incident.

John Hunter Nemechek, a two-time winner this year, crashed heavily into the Turn 2 retaining wall on Lap 4. His No. 8 Chevrolet broke loose after battling with Chase Briscoe, relegating him to a last-place finish in the 30-truck field.

Flange Fit Bodies coming to Xfinity Series

NASCAR XFINITY Series teams will have the option of using a flange-fit composite body at three races later this season as the series moves toward incorporating the body into competition full-time by 2019.

XFINITY Series director Wayne Auton said that teams will have the option of running the composite body at Richmond, Dover and Phoenix this year, and it is expected to also be optional for ’18 at all tracks other than superspeedways.

Approximately 90 percent of the teams expected to compete in the Richmond XFINITY Series race have already indicated they will compete with the new composite body.

Teams in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series have competed with the composite body for two years and Auton said officials learned much from that process. While the bodies themselves will be similar, Auton said additional bracing has been added for cars competing in the XFINITY Series.

Five Star RaceCar Bodies, based in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, will supply the various body parts, other than the hood, upper nose and fenders, which will continue to be supplied by the three OEMs – Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota.

Unlike steel bodies which are welded to the chassis, composite bodies are bolted via bracing onto the chassis and can be removed and replaced much easier

The laminate blend material can be broken, but for the most part it retains its shape when struck.

From an inspection standpoint, Auton said initially nothing should change although as the car is put through the rigors of competition, some tweaks might become necessary.

The current templates will continue to be used in the inspection process. There are also markings on the outside of the car where a laser system will be used, starting at Richmond, to ensure the body is square to the frame.

There will be no additional practice time because of the new piece.

Bubba gets new ride ahead of Michigan

Article By: Josh Parrish

Darrell Wallace Jr. will be making his return to NASCAR competition this weekend at Michigan International Speedway in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition.

Wallace will drive the No. 99. MDM Motorsports entry in Saturday’s LTI Printing 200 with sponsorship from Maestro’s Classic, a company that specializes in beard care products.

Wallace, a former truck series regular, competed in the series full-time in 2013 and 2014. Over those two years, He collected five wins, 14 top-fives, 26 top-10’s, and three poles. Since then Wallace has competed in the NASCAR XFINITY Series until Pocono earlier this year when the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing entry suspended operations as Wallace subbed for the injured Almirola.

Wallace also mentioned that MDM Motorsports still has some open race weekends, but nothing was set in stone.

Erik Jones gets encumbered finish among other teams with penalties

Several penalties were issued following the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Camping World Truck Series races at Pocono Raceway and the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Iowa Speedway:

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series:

#77-Jones: Section 20.14.2 Rear Suspension I-4 f. Truck Trailing Arm Spacers/Pinion Angle Shims. Spacers/pinion angle shims must conform to the following drawing: A-008-01016d-16 REV. A. Notes: 6 The Truck trailing arm spacer / pinion angle shim mating surfaces must be planar and must be in complete contact with corresponding mating surfaces at all points and at all times.

Race finish is encumbered per Section 12.10 Encumbered Race Finishes.

Crew chief (Chris Gayle) has been fined $50,000 and suspended for two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship Points Events. Team has been assessed with the loss of 25 owner points and 25 driver points.

#18-Busch: Sections 10.9.10.4: Tires and Wheels. Note: Lug nut(s) not properly installed. Crew chief (Adam Stevens) has been fined $10,000.

#17-Stenhouse, Jr: Sections 10.9.10.4: Tires and Wheels. Note: Lug nut(s) not properly installed. Crew chief (Brian Pattie) has been fined $10,000.

#6-Bayne: Sections 10.9.10.4: Tires and Wheels. Note: Lug nut(s) not properly installed. Crew chief (Matt Puccia) has been fined $10,000.

NASCAR XFINITY Series:

#16-Ryan Reed: Sections 10.9.10.4: Tires and Wheels. Note: Lug nut(s) not properly installed. Crew chief (Phil Gould) has been fined $5,000.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

#52-Stewart Friesen: Sections 10.9.10.4: Tires and Wheels. Note: Lug nut(s) not properly installed. Crew chief (Trip Bruce) has been fined $2,500.

Craig dominates to win at SNMP

Matt Craig took the lead from Matt Wallace on lap 28 of Saturday night’s 150 lap PASS South Super Late Model race and never looked back, as he scored his second Southern National win of the year in dominant fashion.

“That’s really cool to sweep the season in PASS, both races,” Craig said after the race. “The car has just been phenomenal. We have a good setup under our piece right now and I think it was a good race. I wish we had a few more cautions there, got strung and my car kept getting a little better and some other ones were fading. It was a lot of fun. I love this track a whole bunch and hope we come back here next year.”

Early in the race, Matt Wallace pulled away with a big lead, until the caution came out for rain. Craig, who had been saving tires, was able to get by and then pull away. He would go on to survive a series of late race restarts to pick up the win, his fourth win of the season in PASS South competition.

“We were just letting off at the flagstand,” Craig explained. “He was running a little hard and I’ve done it before. It takes a while to learn your lesson about that. With five to go, I wasn’t real worried. My crew was giving me the lap times and we felt safe.”

Maine driver Dave Farrington finished the race in second while fellow northern driver Trevor Sanborn was third. Rounding out the top-five were Jared Fryar and veteran Jay Fogleman.

Photo By: Josh Parrish

Sam Hunt ready for NKNPS race at Langley

Sam Hunt is relatively unknown to most in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series (NKNPS) although he has been competing for 5 years. Hunt, now 23 years old, starting racing at the young age of 6, where he started racing Karts. After karts came the transition to asphalt with Limited Late Model and Late Model Stock Car competition. Hunt grabbed a few wins during his LMSC career at Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, NC and Shenandoah Speedway in Shenandoah, VA.

Hunt began competing in the NKNPS at the age of 18 where he has since racked up multiple Top 10’s and Top 15’s in the series.  In 2016, he joined forces with Peyton Sellers to create HSR which granted him the title of the youngest NASCAR team owner at the age of 23. Currently, Sam is a full-time student at Virginia Commonwealth University, and he plans to graduate in the summer of 2017 with a degree in Finance.

Hunt spoke with our own Andrew Fuller about the upcoming NKNPS race at Langley Speedway in September. Hunt was competing at the Hampton Heat this past Saturday along with future late model races at Langley in preparation for the event.

“We are doing this race and another race to kinda get ourselves ready for the K&N race and to get my self some time on the track. I feel that the laps will be valuable and we’ll be ready come time in September” said Hunt.

Hunt came home in the 15th position at the Hampton Heat 200 on Saturday out of 31 cars that started the event.

Photo by: Andrew Fuller

Blaney to Penske, Menard to Wood Brothers

Ryan Blaney got his start with Team Penske in 2014, and after three years of racing with Wood Brothers he will be back with Penske as the team’s third driver starting in the 2018 season.

Team Penske announced the move in a press release Wednesday.

“This is a huge opportunity for me and my career,” Blaney said. “I’ve had some great moments with both Team Penske and the Wood Brothers over the last few years. I know for a fact I wouldn’t be where I am today without Roger (Penske), Eddie and Len (Wood) and the opportunities their organizations have given me. I’m excited about the future.”

Blaney will join Penske staples Brad Keselowki and Joey Logano. Penske signed up the two of them to long-term extensions earlier this season.

Paul Menard will move over to Wood Brothers racing to take over the spot vacated by Blaney.

“To get the chance to drive the iconic No. 21 for the Wood Brothers is the coolest thing I’ve ever got a chance to do,” Menard said. “I’m looking forward to working with the team, working with Roush Yates, Ford Performance and Team Penske to see what we can do. Ryan (Blaney) has done a fantastic job and is a constant threat to run up front. Hopefully, we can do the same thing and keep the momentum going into 2018 and beyond.”

 

PASS set to return to SNMP this weekend

Following the cancellation due to thunderstorms last race, the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Models will get another chance to tackle the high banks of Southern National Motorsports Park. PASS officials announced today that the south’s oldest Super Late Model tour will now return to Southern National on Saturday night, July 29th.

Many of North America’s best Super Late Model racers are already making plans to attend the biggest and newest event of the year, the Mason-Dixon MegaMeltdown 300 at Hickory Motor Speedway in November, paying $15,000 to the winner. The top three finishers of the 150 lap PASS South Super Late Model race at Southern National Motorsports Park will receive guaranteed starting spots in the Mason-Dixon MegaMeltdown 300, which will also be nationally televised on MAV TV. The only stipulation is that teams receiving these guaranteed spots must have their entries and entry fees submitted or postmarked by August 1.

Former 2-time PASS National Champion, Jay Fogleman, will make his return to the driver’s seat at Southern National for the first time in over a year. Fogleman plans to compete, alongside his son and fellow former champion, Tate, at Southern National and then at South Boston Speedway in August in preparation for competing in the 44th Annual Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway.

The Foglemans will be joined at Southern National by PASS South points leader, Matt Craig, along with championship contenders Kodie Conner, Dave Farrington, Jr., Tyler Church, Roy Hayes, and Sarah Cornett-Ching. Local favorites Bradley McCaskill, Jeff Batten, Jody Measamer and Trevor Noles have also filed entries along with the Georgia duo of Kyle and Jordan McCallum.

The popular Mid-Atlantic Street Stocks will join PASS for the big night of racing at Southern National Motorsports Park. An updated schedule for Southern National will be posted on ProAllStarsSeries.com later this week.

JR Motorsports with solid finishes at OCS

Josh Berry and Anthony Alfredo both had solid nights at Orange County Speedway on Saturday, finishing third and sixth, respectively, in the 100-lap Mid-Atlantic Classic CARS Late Model Stock Car Series event on the three-eighths-mile oval.

Berry, the all-time leader in CARS LMSC victories, qualified on the pole for the 100-lap event and led the first laps before local star Deac McCaskill got past on a restart. Berry’s No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet was tight to begin with and did not get any better over the 100-lapper, and he lost second to Ronald Hill near the halfway mark. He finished a solid third.

Berry said, “I feel like the track changed a good bit between practice and the race, and we just missed it for the race.  We were too tight from the start, and it never got any better.  Overall, it was still a solid night, and we closed in some more on the points lead.  We are headed to two really good tracks for us with Hickory and Concord, so I am excited for those next two races.”

Alfredo started seventh and his No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet had the same problem as Berry, starting off way too tight. He pitted on lap 16 under caution for an adjustment to loosen his car up, falling to the back of the field. Over the remaining laps, the young Connecticut driver passed all the way up to sixth and was battling with current CARS LMSC point leader Layne Riggs for fifth when the checkered waved. Alfredo and Riggs are battling race to race for the series point lead. Alfredo and Berry (third in points) trail Riggs in the season-long grind by single digits.

“We were confident in the handling of the car and didn’t want to chase the changes of the race track like we had in the past. Unfortunately the car was really tight from the drop of the green flag. I didn’t want to give up our current track position at a place that’s so hard to pass but my crew chief Bryan Shaffer made a good call to come down pit road because we would have probably faded in the long run anyway. We made our way back up into the top ten and were fighting for a top five against the current point leader at the line. The guys have been working really hard and I need to thank them for that. The battling in the points is close, so hopefully we can go get another win at Hickory and take over the lead.” said Alfredo

-JR Motorsports PR-

McCarty claims Hampton Heat Victory

For longtime fans of  Langley Speedway, the ninth annual Hampton Heat Late Model 200 appeared headed for a finish that locals would remember for years. On consecutive laps, track legends C.E. Falk and Nick Smith, both former Heat winners, would make contact multiple times in a battle for another trophy and the $10,000 winner’s check.

But it wasn’t to be. In the midst of their battle, Bobby McCarty, racing at Langley for the first time, passed them on lap 190 and went on to win by about a half-straightaway over second-place Brenden Queen.

Falk, a three-time Heat winner, finished third, inaugural Heat winner Smith was fourth and Justin T. Carroll was fifth. The win was the second in as many weeks for McCarty, who won at his home track of South Boston a week before.

“The 12 (Smith) and 40 (Falk) started racing so hard and they slipped up the track, and I took my opportunity,” said McCarty, who is from Summerfield, N.C.

McCarty’s win, and even Smith’s late challenge, were unexpected because Falk was so dominant. The all-time leader in Heat history coming into the race with 665 laps led, Falk added 187 more to that total.

He won the pole and led all 100 laps before the 15-minute break at the halfway mark. He and second-place starter Philip Morris banged doors on the front straight at the end of the first lap, but Falk came out ahead.

Morris challenged Falk multiple times for the lead in the first half of the race without success. Morris, a four-time NWAAS national champion, would fade early in the second 100 laps due to a poor handling car.

“I don’t know what everybody else’s car is like,” Falk said at the halfway point, “but mine drives pretty good.”

Smith was Falk’s main challenger on most of the six restarts in the caution filled second half. Falk held him off easily until the final restart on lap 179, when, his tires worn, he could not shake Smith.

Photo by Andrew Fuller

Kahne wins at Indy, Unsure of future at HMS

With a 102-race winless streak hanging over his head more than halfway through the 2017 season and only three top-10 finishes in the first 19 races of the year, the rumor mill has been swirling on what exactly Kasey Kahne’s future would be behind the wheel of the No. 5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports in 2018 and beyond.

On Sunday afternoon, Kahne silenced the noise surrounding his future by willing his way to a win in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis, holding off Brad Keselowski for the victory and punching his ticket into the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

“It feels good to win, you know? For all these people that work so hard, it feels good to get into Victory Lane and show that we can do it if things go our way,” said Kahne in victory lane.

Prior to Indianapolis, there were talks throughout the sport on whether Kahne still had what it took to win in NASCAR’s premier division, prompting Kahne to tweet out a message in June that he wasn’t through yet. Fast forward to Sunday, Kahne’s message rings even more true after his Brickyard win.

So, what did car owner Rick Hendrick have to say about Kahne’s win and future with the team?

“Puts him in the Chase, in the Playoffs,” said Hendrick. “You know, we’re excited about that.  I hope this turns the corner.  The team’s had a lot of bad luck.  Pocono is a good race for Kasey and Keith.  We’ll go up there and try to do it again.”

“Our plans are not set for the 5 car.  So, you know, you guys asked me that this morning, and I told you, you know, that we hadn’t made any plans yet.  There’s nothing concrete or done, and that hasn’t changed. We’ll see how things shake out, you know, the rest of the year.  There’s a lot of things involved, sponsors and a lot of things we look at.  We’re going to try hard.  But there’s no decisions made at this time.”

While Hendrick danced around whether Kahne would be in the car next season, Kahne was more optimistic about his future going forward.

“I think this just shows I still want to win races,” said Kahne. “This shows that I gave it all that I can to get a win.  It shows that I’m passionate about driving stockcars, that I can still win races, too.”

“I have a deal through 2018 with Hendrick Motorsports.  Hear a lot of things, but tough to say exactly what’s going to happen because I don’t know at this point this time.  I know me and Mr. H will figure it out.”

“But I think this just shows that I want to do it, and that I still have the drive and passion to do it, and I enjoy it.  So I’m going to keep trying hard, I know that.”

Brett Moffitt Joins GMS ahead of Iowa

GMS Racing officially announced today that Iowa native, Brett Moffitt will fill the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) No. 96 Northland Foundations Inc. Chevrolet Camaro entry at Iowa Speedway.

This event will mark Moffitt’s second NXS event at his hometown track of Iowa Speedway. In his first NXS start, Moffitt collected a top-10 finish at the 7/8-mile track in 2012.

“I am really excited to be racing in my home state again,” said Moffitt. “I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity with GMS Racing and I’m very grateful of the support that the Iowa community has shown and put in to support this race. It would be really awesome to bring home a solid finish in front of my hometown fans.”

The No. 96 has been entered into four NXS events this season with Ben Kennedy behind the wheel.

“We are thrilled to have Brett Moffitt in the No. 96 at Iowa (Speedway),” said Mike Beam GMS Racing General Manager. “We are always looking to grow our program and the more drivers we can get in the seat the better. Moffitt is a class act and a very talented driver, we are honored to have him behind the wheel at his home track.”

Moffitt and the No. 96 Northland Foundations Inc. Chevrolet Camaro will take track for the US Cellular 250 Presented by American Ethanol on July 29th at 3:30 pm Central at Iowa Speedway. The event will be broadcasted on NBC and the Motor Racing Network.

Crafton breaks winless streak, wins at Eldora

Using a late-race restart 18 laps from the finish and a strategy to “go where the others aren’t”, Matt Crafton muscled past veteran dirt racer Stewart Friesen to win Wednesday night’s fifth annual Eldora Dirt Derby 150 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway.

Over the last forty laps of the race, Crafton patiently worked his way from the bottom of the top-10 and took advantage of a Lap 127 caution to position himself to challenge a dominant Friesen for his first win since Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway last May.

“My first dirt win – a lot of fun,” said Crafton, who picked up his 14th career win. “In the second part of that race we down-right just stunk. It was my fault. We over-tightened it a little bit in the first run. It got free and we just went back to the way we started the race.

“I knew I was getting beat down low. Finally, at the end, I said, ‘Well, we may have to tear the right side off to get the win.’ I started doing it and this truck became a rocket ship.”

Friesen, who finished second to earn his career-best finish in the Truck Series, accepted defeat with dignity.

“Congrats to Matt, he’s been doing his homework on the dirt and it paid off,” said Friesen who led a race high 93 laps.

“We didn’t come here to run second that’s for damn sure, but I’m proud of these guys. They worked hard to get this truck dialed in. We had a great truck, he (Crafton) just got rolling on the top, it cleaned up, I was so committed to the bottom and go there in the middle and he just found a line and got us. It burns.”

Pole-sitter Friesen led his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series laps and extended his lead to nearly two seconds when a multi-truck accident ignited in Turn 3 on Lap 19 after Sheldon Creed spun and collected at least six other trucks in the process.

With a competition caution set at Lap 20 to allow teams to clean their windshields and grilles of the mud and dirt sprayed during the first run, NASCAR utilized the second yellow flag of the night to serve as the competition caution.

On the Lap 33 restart, Friesen found himself under attack from two-time series champion Crafton who swiped the lead away on Lap 34 and held it through the conclusion of Stage 1 which ended under caution after pre-race favorite Christopher Bell spun and was hit by Kaz Grala.

The start of Stage 2 saw the lead exchange twice in a period of three laps as Friesen grabbed the lead back from Crafton only to be passed by John Hunter Nemechek two laps later. Friesen, however, proved that he had one of the strongest trucks in the field by reassuming the lead on Lap 53 and collecting the Stage 2 victory.

Under yellow for the Stage 2 break, Friesen’s spotter noticed that he had a right-front tire going down forcing the No. 52 Halmar International Chevrolet down pit road for four tires and fuel. The unexpected stop handed the lead to 2015 Eldora winner Bell for the Lap 93 restart.

Restarting sixth, Friesen stormed back though the field and eventually caught the heavily damaged truck of Bell on Lap 115 to reassume command at the front.

When it seemed that Friesen was settling into his comfort zone and potentially sailing towards his first career victory, Crafton using a quicker top lane overpowered him on Lap 133, with the pass setting the tone for the final lead change of the night.

Behind Crafton and Friesen, Chase Briscoe in a backup truck finished third ahead of Grant Enfinger and John Hunter Nemechek. Late model dirt specialist Bobby Pierce finished sixth while Noah Gragson, Justin Haley, Bell and Austin Cindric comprised the remainder of the top-10.

Next up for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is a trip to Pocono Raceway for the Pocono Mountains 150 on July 29.

Eldora: Holman fastest in Final Practice as Burton and Sauter tangle

#75-Caleb Holman was fastest during final practice for Wednesday’s Dirt Derby 150 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway with a speed of 90.045 mph.

#4-Christopher Bell, #99-Ty Dillon, #88-Matt Crafton, #8-John Hunter Nemechek, #21-Johnny Sauter, #29-Chase Briscoe, #27-Ben Rhodes, #33-Kaz Grala, and #63-Bobby Pierece were the remainder of the top-10.

#21-Sauter was involved in a spin near the end of the session, collecting #51-Harrison Burton. Both teams are attempting to repair their trucks.

#29-Briscoe made heavy contact with the wall, forcing NASCAR and the track to make fast repairs to the wall following the impact. Briscoe’s crew pulled out the backup.

34 trucks are entered and all 34 practiced during the session.

Preece steals the show in NXS race at Loudon

Kyle Busch may have won the Overton’s 200 on Saturday at New Hampshire, but it was Ryan Preece who stole the show.

The 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion was widely impressive in his first race since last season and finished second to Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch. Preece spent all of last season with JD Motorsports but this was his first chance in a quality ride. He made the most of it too.

“This one’s for all the short track guys,” said the 26-year-old Berlin, Connecticut native.  “I work hard week in and out with that modified, so to be able to have this opportunity means a lot to me.”

Preece left JD Racing in December and returned to the Modified Tour because he wanted to win. He believes he can do the same at the highest levels of the sport, but simply needed the right equipment to get there.

Preece ran up front for the entirety of the 200-lap event. He even led for a couple laps at the start of the second stage. While a victory would have been outstanding, Preece understood the significance of a second-place finish.

“To win today, it was going to take beating Kyle Busch,” he said. “I watch him win a lot of races in the Xfinity Series sitting on my couch at home. To be able to finish second to him today was a great accomplishment, and something to build on. But Iowa’s the next task, next goal. I gotta do as much as I can to prepare so we can have another solid finish.”

Preece will get one more shot with Gibbs at Iowa in two weeks. Before then, he needs to figure out what he has to do differently to get everything he can out of such an opportunity.

“I don’t know if I’m overdriving it and building the right front air pressure too quick,” Preece said. “The car seems to be really neutral and then it tends to get on the snugger side. I’m going to get some feedback from Chris (Gabehart), my crew chief, and hopefully from Toyota and Joe Gibbs to see something that I can make better in the future.”

There shouldn’t be any Cup drivers in Iowa to stop Preece next time. That could be what it takes for him to get what would be an emotional first victory.

Schrader set for Eldora return

During a recent interview, racing legend Ken Schrader mentioned that he’d like to run the 5th annual NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at Eldora Speedway. Schrader has participated in the summer classic each year since its inception. Eldora is the only dirt race scheduled among NASCAR top-tier series.

Almost immediately, his phone was ringing with offers from several truck teams. A call from Jeff Bolen, owner of the #66 Chevrolet Silverado and Bolen Motorsports, was the ideal call. Schrader will race with crew chief Paul Clapprood making the calls from the pit box. Eldora marks the first race in which Schrader and Clapprood will work together. “When it comes to dirt and putting a driver behind the wheel with experience, you can’t beat this opportunity with Schrader,” said Clapprood.

“With Ken’s history on dirt and success at Eldora Speedway, we knew that he would give our team a great chance to win,” Bolen said. “This is our team’s second full season of competition and having Schrader in the truck at Eldora will help continue the successes so far.”

Schrader’s stats at Eldora Speedway includes running all eight years of The Prelude to the Dream race in which he has five top-10 finishes; two USAC midget victories; a USAC Silver Crown victory and three UMP modified wins. Schrader also holds the track record for his 2013 Pole position in the NCWTS.

Midwest Logistics Systems and K & L Ready Mix will return this year as partners on the truck. These two Ohio-based companies have been with Schrader for a few years both on his truck entries and with his modified team.

“We are thrilled to be running Eldora again this season,” Schrader said. “It is truly a classic event and I enjoy every aspect of the race – the fans’ excitement, the level of competition and the fun of running at this iconic track. Driving the Bolen Motorsports Silverado will be a blast. As a track owner myself, I see and appreciate what Tony Stewart and his team have done to create such a Midsummer Classic!”

— Bolen Motorsports —

Erik Jones to JGR in 2018

Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced that driver Erik Jones will drive the #20 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Camry for the organization beginning in 2018.

Matt Kenseth, who currently pilots the #20 Toyota Camry for JGR, will not return to the organization following the 2017 season.

“Matt (Kenseth) has been a tremendous asset to our organization over the past five seasons both on and off the track,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “He’s been a great teammate and a great ambassador for our sponsors. We have a great deal of respect for him and we are working hard to get the 20 team into the playoffs to make a run for the championship. We have a great deal of confidence in his abilities to do just that.

“At the same time it’s exciting to have Erik back to run fulltime with us starting next season. When a number of circumstances made it clear over the past few weeks that a second year for the 77 car was probably not viable at this time for Erik, we all agreed that we wanted to keep him in the Toyota racing family and felt it was the right time to make this transition. He is an exciting driver that has already proven to have the ability to compete at the highest level of our sport. He is also shown to be a great representative to our partners and we believe he is at the beginning of a long and successful career.”

Currently competing full time in the NASCAR Cup Series for Furniture Row Racing, Jones sits 14th in the point standings and leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Standings. Jones made his Cup Series debut in 2015 filling in for the injured Kyle Busch at Kansas Speedway where he led one lap before a mid-race accident derailed a strong finish in his first-career start. With 21 Cup Series career starts, Jones has led 32 laps and earned one top-five finish and five top-ten finishes.

“This is a really exciting time in my career for me to make the move back to Joe Gibbs Racing full time in the Cup Series and continue to have the success I’ve had with them over the last few years. I will always be grateful for the opportunity given to me by Barney Visser and everyone at Furniture Row Racing this year for my first full year in the Cup Series. I’ve learned a lot this year and I’ve had a great group of guys around me each week to lean on as I figured out my rookie season and how to make my way in the Cup Series. The 77 team, from myself, crew chief Chris Gayle and every crew member, we’ve come a long way since February and we still have a lot to accomplish this season. We’ve hit our stride the last few weeks with strong finishes and while it’s nice to have my plans for 2018 announced, I’m focused on continuing to improve and get this team a win before the season ends.”

Frazier grabs first win of the season

(Lucama, NC) The Bandolero division took to the 4/10 mile oval of Southern National Motorsports Park for the 5th time in 2017. Parker Frazier, from New Hill, NC, is in his 3rd year of Bandolero competition. Frazier showed great speed in practice and would go on to the claim the pole ahead of the 15 Lap feature. Matthew Gurganus qualified 2nd with Josh Speas clocking in at 3rd.

The race got off to a rocky start when a huge crash started behind the leaders as they headed into turn 1 on the first lap. This crash brought out the Red Flag as Stanley Hayes and Kaleb Bradley both made hard contact with the outside wall. Hayes was taken away from the wreck on a stretcher and put into the Ambulance. Camryn Rice was also involved but spun without sustaining much damage and was able to continue.

As the Race got back underway Frazier would continue to lead until lap 14 when 3 cars were involved in a wreck in turn 4 coming to the white flag. The cars involved included Ethan Johnson, Matthew Gurganus, and Josh Speas.

From there it was a shootout to the finish. Frazier would continue to lead, but not without a late race challenge from Johnson who was able to clear Rice on the restart. Johnson closed the gap by a few car lengths but was unable to catch the #17 of Frazier. Frazier lead all 15 laps and grabbed the victory.

We talked to Parker after the win and asked him what he has worked on so far this year to improve. “The biggest thing I had to work on this year is studying the line of the track and how to compete for position with other drivers”

This was Frazier’s first win of the year and he became third different driver to win at SNMP this season.

Race Results:

Bando Result

For More info about SNMP, visit http://www.snmpark.com

 

Keselowski expresses frustration after Kentucky

Heading into Saturday night’s race at Kentucky Speedway, Brad Keselowski was considered by many as one of the favorites given his three wins at the track in the past six years, but after an early exit, Keselowski did not hold back on his thoughts about everything that had transpired, giving everyone some valid points to ponder for the future of the sport.

Starting the day in 10th place, Keselowski struggled in the first stage, failing to finish in the top-10, but things would get even worse for the 2012 series champion early in Stage 2.

On lap 89, Keselowski entered Turn 3 and lost control of his No. 2 Ford, collecting Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson in the aftermath. Keselowski’s day would be done for as his chances to repeat as victor on Kentucky’s repaved 1.5-mile track were gone.

“I just got in an aero wake and it pulled me around,” said Keselowski. “I knew I was in a bad spot. I was trying to lay up but there is only so much you can lay up here because you get ran over from behind. The air pulled me around. It sucks. I feel bad for everyone on the Miller Lite Ford team and I think I tore up two or three other guys and that sucks for them. I don’t know. It is kind of a tough spot to be in on these tracks where they are kind of one groove. You can’t just lay up every time. You give up too many spots or get ran over from behind. If you drive in with someone close to you the car just spins out. It just sucks but it is what it is. We have to find a way around it and we didn’t today.”

“I just wrecked it. It stinks. I got loose into three. I was underneath the 14. I was trying to lay up and give room but just spun out as soon as I got anywhere near the corner. I wrecked myself and a bunch of other guys.”

As expected, Keselowski was frustrated with the early exit, but the comments he made following the crash raised some eyebrows throughout NASCAR as he made some valid points on the current state of the sport.

“The way this car is, it needs a lot more help than a Tire Dragon. It is a poorly designed race car and it makes racing on tracks like this very difficult to put on the show we want to put on for our fans. You do what you can to gouge and claw on the restarts and get everything you can get. You have to put yourself in bad situations to do that and that is where we were. If you don’t make those moves on the restarts, then you run in the back. Or you have a bad day. The scenario that the car design, more than the track.”

“It is time for the sport to design a new car that is worthy of where this sport deserves to be and the show it deserves to put on for its fans.”

Keselowski’s comments on the current car design echoes those of many throughout the garage that have been calling for change to the Gen-6 car to allow for better racing on the various tracks on the circuit by making the cars much less aero dependent.

NASCAR has made strides in helping with the competition aspect of the sport by taking away copious amounts of downforce over the last couple of years, but there is certainly more that can be done, as evidenced by Keselowski’s thoughts on Saturday night.

So, what exactly can we do to fix things? Well, Keselowski elaborated further on Twitter later in the evening, noting that we should look to the past to advance things for the future.

Kes tweet

Ferguson Clinches First LOLMDS Victory

(Fayetteville, NC) Chris Ferguson made his home-state fans proud on Thursday night as he won his first-career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event in the Dunn-Benson Ford Wayne Gray Memorial – presented by Campbell University at Fayetteville Motor Speedway. The 27-year-old completed a dream night by setting fast time, winning his heat, and leading all the way to become the 15th different driver to win a LOLMDS race in 2017.

Gregg Satterlee; in his first ever appearance at the track; came home in second, and he was followed by G.R. Smith, who recoded his best career LOLMDS finish with a third place. Completing the top five drivers were Josh Richards and Steve Francis. With his finish tonight, Richards has taken over the points lead from Scott Bloomquist by just 10 points heading into Cherokee Speedway on Friday night.

“Man, thank you all so much, thanks to the fans for coming out tonight. I wasn’t sure about passing McCreadie, Once I couldn’t get to his outside I just rode around there. I slowed my pace down there towards the end. It’s taken a lot of hard work and sweat to get here [to Victory Lane]. I nearly won a Lucas Oil race at Cherokee back in ’09, but finished second or third. Hats off to my crew, my friends and family, and all my fans for sticking with us. There’s been a lot of ups and downs but they have always stuck with me,” said Ferguson.

Ferguson fought off all challenges from Satterlee and Smith to get the win. Despite heavy late-race traffic, Ferguson held the lead until the finish. “I have to thank Mark Richards at Rocket Chassis, and this is a brand-new Clements Racing Engine. Thanks to Lucas Oil and the track for putting this on. I have to actually get up and go work tomorrow, but we will be at Cherokee tomorrow night to try and make it two-in-a-row.”

Smith who narrowly lost out to Ferguson for overall fast time had his best career LOLMDS finish. “Oh, we are extremely happy. That’s our best run with these guys. They are the best in the business and it’s an honor to race with them.”

Completing the top ten were Earl Pearson Jr., Dustin Mitchell, Kyle Pierce, Scott Bloomquist, and Jimmy Owens.

Bell survives wild race, Claims third win of 2017

Christopher Bell survived an accident and an early spin to win Thursday night’s Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway.

Bell picked up his third victory of the season, his first at Kentucky and the fifth of his career, holding off runner-up Brandon Jones by .187 seconds at the end of a closing 32-lap green-flag run.

“This is pretty special,” Bell said in Victory Lane. “We had our ups and downs. Practice (on Wednesday) didn’t go very well, but we had a really fast Tundra, and (crew chief) Rudy Fugle made great calls from the pit box after I made a mistake and spun out.”

That mistake came on Lap 27, with Bell spinning out of control in his No. 4 KBM Toyota. But by the time pit strategies sorted out for a restart on Lap 83, Bell was back at the front of the field.

Jones had his own issues, going a lap down after NASCAR penalized him for failure to line up in proper position for a restart. But he returned to the lead lap with a free pass as the highest scored lapped car and took the fight to Bell for the final 35 laps of the race after passing John Hunter Nemechek for the second spot on Lap 114 of 150.

During the final 10 laps, Jones closed to the rear bumper of Bell’s Toyota, but couldn’t find a way around his him.

“I was trying everything I knew to do in there,” said Jones, who has three second-place finishes in the Truck Series but hasn’t won a race. “Just trying to play mind games with him and trick him out some, but he had a hotrod, too.”

Rookie Justin Haley finished third, followed by Austin Cindric and Stage 2 winner Noah Gragson, who passed his boss, Kyle Busch, in the closing laps to nail down the fifth spot.

Defending series champion Johnny Sauter finished ninth and retained the series lead by 28 points over Bell.

15-40 Connection Teams up with Grala for Kentucky

Heading to the “Bluegrass State” for the first time in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) career, Kaz Grala welcomes 15-40 Connection on board his No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado for the Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway.

33.jpg

Looking to teach people how to detect cancer early on, 15-40 Connection’s mission is to arm individuals with the necessary knowledge to give them a fighting chance. Knowing that discovering cancer symptoms early is a major key to effective treatment, 15-40 Connection has a three-step process that greatly improves chances of survival.

“When we ask people who have cancer if they noticed symptoms prior to their diagnosis,” said Jim Coghlin, Sr., Founder of 15-40 Connection, “the answer is no. Then we teach them what a cancer symptom can feel like and their answer changes. They realize there were signs, but they didn’t know what they meant. Cancer symptoms are health changes we recognize, but ignore. We are so thankful for Kaz being able to help us spread the word about 15-40 Connection.”
While this may be Kaz’s first NCWTS start at Kentucky Speedway, this mile-and-a-half has characteristics similar to freshly repaved Texas Motor Speedway (TMS). Kaz made his NCWTS debut at TMS earlier this season, where he qualified sixth and ran consistently within the top-five before going on to finish the night in the 10th position. Looking to build off that race, Kaz hopes a good run at Kentucky Speedway will help support 15-40 Connection’s mission of education.
“15-40 Connection is a great organization and I’m proud to be able to carry them onboard this week at Kentucky,” said Kaz. “Their lifesaving mission is to teach people how to detect cancer early by being in tune with their health just like I have to be in tune with my truck while on track. When something isn’t right, they need to work closely with their doctor to get the best treatment just like I do with my crew chief. Hopefully we can keep the No. 33 up front throughout the night to help spread their message throughout the NASCAR community.”
After nine NCWTS races so far in 2017, Kaz has accumulated two top-five, four top-10, and seven top-15 finishes, including a win at the season opener where he became the youngest pole sitter and winner in series history at Daytona International Speedway.

-GMS Press Release-

Sargeant Reveals New Sponsor & Paint Scheme

Dalton Sargeant and Cunningham Motorsports are proud to announce a new partnership with Performance Plus. This will begin with the branding of Sargeant’s No.77 Ford Fusion in the upcoming ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards event at Iowa Speedway. Performance Plus, the high quality motor oil brand of Kleen Performance Products, will also be featured in every vehicle at Cunningham Motorsports.

77.jpg

“I’m very excited to have Performance Plus as a new partner and kick things off at Iowa Speedway,” said Sargeant. “They have a huge presence and proven success in motorsports so it’ll be special to have them on the car this weekend and see the benefit of their products in the performance of our race cars.  Anytime you can make the team happy by introducing a better quality product and lubricant to the race cars, transporters and team vehicles it’s really a win win for everyone. I love the colors and scheme for the No. 77 Performance Plus Ford. I can’t wait for everyone to see it.  It’ll definitely grab your attention under the lights this weekend at Iowa Speedway.”

With the high demands of auto racing, race teams depend on oil and lubricants to keep their cars and transport equipment going strong.  This is why Cunningham Motorsports will begin to utilize Performance Plus Lubricants for their race cars most demanding components.  “We pride ourselves on having a high performance oil that race teams such as Cunningham Motorsports and Dalton Sargeant can rely on,” said Leigh Harrington, VP of Corporate Marketing for Safety-Kleen.  Some of the most significant stress we see on our lubricants comes from racing. Our high quality base oil and superior additive package means our oil not only provides better performance but also withstands the wear and tear of these cars and teams. We’re proud to partner with Sargeant and Cunningham Motorsports and wish him the best of luck at Iowa Speedway.”

With one win already this year, Sargeant has high expectations for this weekend. The 19-year-old competed with the leaders and came away with a top-five finish in his first attempt at Iowa in an ARCA Racing Series machine last season. Sargeant now heads to the track with a new partner, the defending race-winning team in Cunningham Motorsports, all with hopes to earn valuable points in a close championship battle where he currently stands in second position.

“It would be huge to be able to run well at Iowa this weekend,” said Sargeant. “We started off the season strong, hit a few bumps along the way, but the resiliency of this team is exceptional. No matter what has been thrown our way, we always come to the track ready to compete for the win. Over the years, I’ve raced at this track a good amount, Iowa Speedway is really fun to chase different grooves and adapt to changing conditions throughout the race.  The guys at the shop have been working hard on this No. 77 Performance Plus Ford Fusion and it’s a car we’ve had success with this season. I think we’re all confident going into the midway point in the ARCA Racing season.”

-Cunningham Motorsport Press Release-

Changes in 2018 for Stewart-Haas?

Stewart-Haas Racing could look a bit different in 2018

While Kevin Harvick signed an extension with Stewart-Haas Racing last May, and Clint Bowyer is in the first year of his contract, drivers Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick are not locked in for next season.

“Contracts are signed – and expire – at all different times,” Haas said. “It’s hard to say when one person’s contract is going to expire because there are options and things like that. I think that’s why they call it silly season. We kind of start looking at what we want to do. The drivers do the same thing. Sponsors do the same thing.

“In order for all the pieces to fall into place, you have to take all three parties – you’ve got to take the drivers, the owners and the sponsors and see if you can’t align all the stars up and get them to agree on something.”

Haas has no plans of eliminating any of his four Cup squads.

“I think, financially, running four teams makes sense, because with this new charter system we’re paid money to run the cars not only from NASCAR (purses) but with our relationship with Ford,” Haas said.

This season, Haas has subsidized two of his teams with the Haas Automation brand. Bowyer has run the Haas livery in 12 of the first 16 races. Busch, who was recruited by Haas and has carried the sponsor since joining SHR in 2014, split the branding with Monster in 15 races – including the Daytona 500.

Patrick, 35, is still searching for her first top-five finish after five seasons behind the wheel of the #10 Ford.

Busch, 38, has won five races – including the 2017 Daytona 500 – since joining SHR in 2014. He has also qualified for NASCAR’s playoffs each of the four years. Haas didn’t have a timeline for picking up Busch’s option.

“A sponsor, who will remain nameless, typically likes to negotiate in January, so it’s a problem,” Haas said. “You have to wait until…I know a lot of people have these options, but a lot of people don’t like to make a decision until a month after the last possible time you can make a decision.”

Interim crew chief fined after Sonoma

As expected, Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team was handed a penalty on Wednesday for unsecured lugnuts found at the conclusion of last Sunday’s race at Sonoma Raceway.

Following his fifth place finish in the Toyota/Save Mart 350, two lugnuts were found to be improperly installed on Busch’s Toyota, bringing with it a one race suspension and a $20,000 fine for interim crew chief Ben Beshore.

Beshore has been serving as Busch’s crew chief for the past three weeks as his normal crew chief, Adam Stevens, is still serving a four-race suspension of his own as a result of losing a wheel at Dover in early June. With the penalty for Beshore, the team will now be looking for their third crew chief in the last month for Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway as this weekend marks the final race that Stevens will have to serve his penalty.

As of now, Joe Gibbs Racing has not noted whether they will appeal the penalty or who would take Beshore’s place if they elect not to.

Almirola hopes to return to racing soon

Aric Almirola will have a scan on his broken back Wednesday and hopes to test a NASCAR Cup car in the next two weeks in anticipation of his return to racing in three to five weeks.

The Richard Petty Motorsports driver, in attendance Sunday at Sonoma Raceway, has rehabbed by running and swimming and is at the mercy of how fast the partially crushed vertebra in his middle back heals. The scan Wednesday will let him know whether it is feasible for him to return for the July 16 race at New Hampshire or whether he would have to wait for the following weeks at Indianapolis or Pocono.

“The biggest thing is just waiting for the clearance from my doctors that the bone is healed enough that I’ll have the confidence and the reassurance from them that if I get in another crash or if I get in an impact, that I’m not at more jeopardy,” Almirola told ESPN in the Sonoma garage.

Almirola went through an intense session last week on a “shaker rig,” which simulated a race track bumpier than any NASCAR track, as well as the jack dropping on a pit stop. Almirola said everything went well and he felt no soreness.

“I feel really good,” Almirola said. “Normal everyday activity is really back to normal for me. I’m just trying to wait on the bone to heal now. … As long as my results come back from the CT scan good, I think everything looks like it should be in order to get back in the race the next three, four, five weeks.”

Having missed four races after being injured in the May 13 race at Kansas, Almirola admitted he has had difficulty watching substitute drivers Regan Smith, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Billy Johnson in the No. 43 car. He has kept up with the team’s practices and listens to the in-car radio during races.

“It’s very frustrating because I’m a racer and I’m very competitive,” said Almirola, who had never missed a race because of an injury. “It kills me to watch other people drive my race car. They’ve done a great job, and I’m appreciative … but I want to get back in the race car.

“This is my team, this my group of guys, and I’m looking forward to getting back in the race car. It does bother me to sit and watch.”

Not under contract for next year, Almirola said he has continued talks with RPM and sponsor Smithfield about trying to stay at RPM, where he has spent the past six years. Almirola had two top-5s and three top-10s in the first 11 races this year.

“Everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports is working hard, and we’re trying to do everything we can to solidify all of our agreements with partners,” Almirola said. “It gets complex, but me taking two months off in the middle of the season certainly presents its challenges.”

When he comes back, Almirola said he doesn’t feel he has to prove anything.

Ford survives caution filled race in route to career best finish

(Raleigh, NC)

In his rookie year in the late model division at Wake County Speedway, Stephen Ford has competed in every race this season and racked up a total of four Top 5 finishes with one of those coming this past Friday. Although he is a rookie in the late model division, He is no stranger to the track. For the past few years he regularly competed in the Legend car division at the speedway and still competes in legends cars on dirt.

We asked Stephen about the transition from Legends to Late Models and he said, ” I believe the biggest adjustment has been that the car is a little bigger than a legend and will handle a lot better. I’ve learned that I still have to be up on the wheel every lap and get everything you can out of the car each lap.”

Ford qualified 5th in the Kid’s Ride-Along Night which featured a 60 Lapper for the Late Models. The night started off with Clay Jones leading the field to green alongside Zachary Marks. Jones would continue to show the way until lap 28 where Marks would take over the race lead. On lap 32 Alex Fleming would get turned by the #21 of Kevin Jefferys. After that the race saw a surge of cautions. At lap 38 Dylon Wilson went a spin after some contact as Zachary Marks continued to lead. At lap 44 the yellow would come out once more after Clay Jones went for a spin off the front bumper of Fleming.

After the string of cautions the field would reshuffle with Marks still in the lead followed by Cory Walker and Stephen Ford.

Ford was able to make his way by Cory Walker and take over the 2nd position. As he rode in 2nd, Clay Jones made his was from the back of the field up to 3rd and would try to make his way around Stephen. As the laps winded down the entire field began to loose grip and slide around the track. Drivers complained about fluid coming from the #17 machine of Marks but officials cleared him to continue despite the issue.

With 5 laps to go Clay Jones had reeled in the #86 of Stephen Ford, but at the end of the race Ford was able to fend off some hard challenges from Jones and come home a career best 2nd place finish

When asked about being able to hold of Clay Jones at the end of the race Ford said, “Being able to hold off Clay was a real big accomplishment for it to only be my fifth race in a late model. He has helped me out a lot also to help me get a little bit better.”

Wake County Speedway will be back in action Friday July, 14th

 

Keselowski without Crew Chief for Sonoma

#2 Team Penske has made plans for crew chief Paul Wolfe not to be at Sonoma this weekend so he can remain in North Carolina for the birth of his second child, a team spokesperson told NBC Sports on Wednesday.

Should Wolfe not be at Sonoma, team engineer Brian Wilson would serve as the crew chief. Wilson served in that role at Auto Club Speedway, Talladega and Kansas after NASCAR suspended Wolfe three races because Keselowski’s car failed the Laser Inspection Station after a fifth-place finish March 19 at Phoenix Raceway.

Wolfe missed the March 2014 Phoenix race for the birth of his first child.

Fontaine optimistic ahead of Madison

Ready to get back to good ole classic short track racing, ARCA Racing Series rookie Justin Fontaineheads to Madison International Speedway eyeing a career-best finish in Friday night’s Montgomery Ward 200.

With the support of AM Racing and their development team Win-Tron Racing, Fontaine heads to the track looking to shake off the disappointment of Michigan International Speedway last week.

Last weekend in Michigan, Fontaine powered to strong practice times and even showcased a better qualifying performance, but an oiled track sent the Asheville, N.C. native into the wall just seven laps into the 100 lap race, ending his day.

Fontaine is grateful for the experience, but ready to put last week in the rear-view mirror and focus out the windshield on racing under the lights Friday night.

“This Win-Tron Racing team has been able to bring some very fast race cars to the track for me to drive. Now, we just need some luck. I was a little too conservative in my ARCA return at Elko Speedway earlier this month, but I’ve learned from that. Now, I’m ready to go to Madison and see what we can pull off.”

Even though he doesn’t have any prior experience at Madison, the AM Racing developmental driver will lean on Win-Tron Racing team principal Kevin Cywinski and AM Racing crew chief Bill Henderson.

“I am really gelling with my team right now,” added Fontaine, the cousin of NASCAR Truck Series driver Chris Fontaine. “Bill knows what I’m looking for in our ProMATIC Toyota and I’m able to give him the feedback he needs to make the car better. Plus, Kevin’s a veteran of Madison hailing back from his racing days. I’m really optimistic that we can practice, qualify and race in the top-10.”

“The team I’m with is capable of winning and I think if I’m in the right position, I can win. We just need everything to come together to make it all happen. Maybe Madison will do the trick. I’m thrilled to race in tight quarters again.”

Currently 20th in the series’ standings, Fontaine has a career best finish of 11th which came at Elko earlier this month

While sticking with a heavy ARCA schedule for now, Fontaine’s focus is expected to turn towards the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series where he’ll compete in a limited schedule this summer in an AM Racing entry.

Rookie Stephen Broy discusses 2017 season

(Mooresville, NC)

Stephen Broy is a 19 year old Kart racer who races at Millbridge Speedway in the Predator 375 division. Millbridge, located in Salisbury, NC is a track known for big money races along with the Speed51 Open that is hosted there every year. Broy is originally from Bay Shore, NY and says he has been surrounded by racing his entire life.

Broy just started racing this season and says the biggest challenge has not only been racing, but also figuring out tires and prepping them.

“Prepping tires and learning on how to determine which tires and prep to use has been the biggest thing. Tires are everything you could have the best motor and the worst tires and do nothing”

Broy said for this year his main goal is to log laps and to get seat time. “My expectations for this year is to make every race and run as many laps as I can and finish top 10 in points”  Broy is currently tied for 9th in points out of 31 racers. Grayson Pope leads the standings in the Predator 375 Division. His best finish this season was 6th which came back in April

Stephen also would like to thank his sponsors – RSKKS Properties, RSKKS Lawncare, Bases Loaded Sports, and The Sign Post, Inc.

Hutchens to make truck series debut & pay tribute to Harry Gant

North Carolina State University sophomore Trey Hutchens will make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut on Friday, June 23, in the Iowa 200 at Iowa Speedway. Hutchens, the 2015 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Rookie of the Year, will pilot the No. 66 Bolen Motorsports entry.

“Making my Truck Series debut has been what seems like a three-year process to get all the stars to align since I turned 16,” Hutchens said. “First, ‘thank you’ to Jeff Bolen and everyone at Bolen Motorsports for this great opportunity. I know what lies ahead isn’t going to be easy, but I wouldn’t want to do it with any other group of guys. Iowa is a place I have quite a few laps on in a K&N East car, so at least one thing is going to be familiar.”

Bolen Motorsports has shown promise this season with solid qualifying efforts and finishes at the beginning of the year. The team will take the same truck to Iowa Speedway that finished seventh at Martinsville Speedway earlier in the season. “Glad that we could put things together with Trey and his dad for Iowa,” said team owner Jeff Bolen. “They run a similar operation with their Modified and K&N efforts and do more with less which matches up perfectly with Bolen Motorsports.”

While Hutchens may be a relatively new face to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the truck he will be driving will carry the familiar colors of Harry Gant’s 1996 ride. “My Grandpa co-owned the truck Harry Gant drove during the 1996 season, so it’s awesome to have our truck look like his did 21 years ago,” Hutchens stated. “It means the world to me carry on my family’s legacy, and I’m excited to unload this beautiful Chevrolet Silverado on Friday.”

The two-time NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Most Popular Driver will continue his relationship with Chevrolet, a partnership that dates to the beginning of the 19-year-old’s career. “It’s a big deal for me to make the next step of my career with the Chevrolet Bowtie remaining on my uniform,” Hutchens added. “I can’t wait to make my first laps in a Silverado.”

The Team posted a sneak peek of the scheme as seen below…

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The “Iowa 200” will air live on FOX Sports 1 at 8:30 p.m. EST.

PASS Mega-Meltdown Qualifiers to be hosted at SNMP

Although the Pro All Stars Series season is not quite halfway complete, drivers and series officials are already looking towards one of the biggest and newest events of the year, the Mason-Dixon MegaMeltdown 300 at Hickory Motor Speedway in November.

In advance of the MegaMeltdown, PASS and Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, N.C., announced that two events coming up in the month of July will serve as qualifiers for the MegaMeltdown.

As part of the agreement, the winner of the upcoming pro late model race at Southern National Motorsports Park on Saturday, July 8 will be awarded a guaranteed starting spot in the prestigious race.

Then, the following weekend on Saturday, July 15, the top three finishers of the 150-lap PASS South super late model event there will also receive guaranteed starting spots in the Mason-Dixon MegaMeltdown 300.

The only stipulation is that teams receiving these guaranteed spots must have their entries and entry fees submitted by Aug. 1.

Drivers from the Southern National events will join the top-two finishers of the Neal Newberry 125 at Wenatchee Valley Super Oval in Washington state on Sept. 23 as guaranteed starters during the Mason-Dixon MegaMeltdown 300.

“PASS has had a long history at Southern National dating back to the series inaugural season in 2006,” said PASS President Tom Mayberry. “Mike [Diaz] and the folks at Southern National have been great supporters of PASS and the MegaMeltdown at Hickory.  We expect this race to attract a lot of cars and these guaranteed spots at Southern National could be pivotal to a driver making the MegaMeltdown or not.”

The Mason-Dixon MegaMeltdown 300 will be held Nov. 18 at Hickory Motor Speedway, paying $15,000 to the winner and $1,000 to start.

With lap leader bonus money added in, the winner could take home more than $20,000.

CREDIT: Pro All Stars Series

Wilson eyeing first win of 2017 at “The County”

(Raleigh,NC)

Dylon Wilson is one driver who knows his way around Wake County Speedway, also known as “America’s Favorite Bullring” and has shown speed all season but still without a win in 2017. Wilson won the Metal Depot 100 “Big Money” Late Model race back in 2014 where he had to out run current points leader Clay Jones along with Bradley McCaskill and Randy Renfrow. So far this season, Wilson has recorded top 5 finishes in every event with two of those being runner-ups. He currently sits 3rd place in the standings behind Alex Fleming (2nd) and Clay Jones (1st).

“We’ve not had a chance to run much the last couple of years, honestly I’ve only been running late models/limiteds since 2013, and have only ran 2 full seasons since then, we won 3 times in 2014 including the 100 lapped at Wake County, (which is when I fell in love with the track).”

Since 2014 Wilson has only competed in about 12 race due to starting his new business (One Designs Wraps) along with building a house.

“Now that we’ve finally got our stuff back together we decided to avoid spending thousands of dollars on tires and testing every week at other tracks and come to wake County and buy just 2 tires and have a blast on a .25 mile bull ring. So with that being said, I feel like we’ve started off solid, we tried to come in with no expectations but with a worst finish of 4th through 5 races our expectations has went up dramatically. We are getting better every week, from practice to qualifying to the race we find a extra tenth it seems about every week, so this is the most confidence I’ve had in our program in a while.”

Wilson also talked about the racing this year and how the 1/4 mile bullring always produces non-stop action.

“The racing this year is great. On paper you might think it doesn’t seem great, averaging like 10 cars and Clay Jones has won all but one. What you don’t see on paper is how many passes is made, and the quality of racing, as a race fan I’ll take racing with guys like Clay Jones, Alex Fleming, and Cory Walker even if there is a total of 10 cars every week over a field of 18 somewhere else where there is only 2 cars with a legit chance to win. It just seems at wake, every week there is AT LEAST 5 cars that can win, so if you win there you are getting it done, especially with only 60 laps to do it.”
Late Models will be back in Action this Friday June 20th in the Kids Ride Along Night which will also feature racing from all of the regular divisions at WCS.
For more info about this weekend’s event visit: http://www.wcspeedway.com

Majeski ready for Xfinity Debut

Regarded as one of the most talented up-and-coming drivers in motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing developmental driver Ty Majeski will make his NASCAR debut in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race this weekend at Iowa Speedway. Majeski claimed ARCA Midwest Tour Championships in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and was one of 11 drivers named to the NASCAR Next 2016-17 class. iRacing.com, the world’s premier online racing game/simulation, will serve as the primary partner on Majeski’s Ford for the race.

“I’m really excited to make my NASCAR XFINITY Series debut with Roush Fenway at Iowa,” said Majeski. “From the first time you sit in a race car, your dream is to compete in NASCAR and this is the next big step in what we have been working towards.”

“It’s also really cool to have iRacing on board,” said Majeski, who is the No. 1 ranked iRacer in the world with over 830 wins in 1,112 starts. “I use it as a tool to keep my skills sharp and they have been a great partner, supporting me at many levels throughout my career.”

“We noticed Ty right away on iRacing with his winning so many races,” said Tony Gardner, president of iRacing.com. “Then after sponsoring his late model for the last three years, to sponsor his debut race in the XFINITY Series and be a part of his continued growth and development, is pretty special for us.”

Majeski, a senior in mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was chosen as the number one pick in Speed 51’s 2016 Short Track Draft. He recently moved to Concord, N.C. where he will work closely with Roush Fenway’s aerodynamic and shock departments. The move will allow the young driver to build on his educational background in engineering and the practical experience gained through racing late model cars across the country.

“I’m just trying to dig in and learn something new each day,” added Majeski. “Racing is an extremely technical sport and being able to relay the proper information from the car to the crew chief is critical. The more I can talk like an engineer, the better the adjustments will be in the car.”

Starting his racing career in go-karts at the age of nine, Majeski holds the Snowball Derby track record at Five Flags and has earned many of late model racing’s biggest wins, including the 2015 and 2016 Governor’s Cup and 2016 World Series of Asphalt Championship at New Smyrna Speedway.

In 2015, Majeski was one of seven drivers to compete in the first-ever class of Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP). Majeski not only excelled during his on-track performances – earning the maximum number of points in the competition – but also showed his dedication to the KDDP in how he represented the program off-track. In establishing his own driver development program for young go-kart drivers, Majeski highlighted the organization’s mission to serve young talent. Majeski’s outstanding performance in the KDDP led to him being crowned the inaugural Kulwicki Cup Champion for 2015.

GMS to compete in Cup in 2018?

GMS Racing is contemplating a move to the Monster Energy Cup Series.

Team owner Maury Gallagher said on Saturday the organization would like to make a decision in the next month.

GMS campaigns three full-time Camping World Truck Series programs and two Xfinity Series teams. GMS is the defending Truck Series champion with Johnny Sauter, who currently leads the standings.

“According to (general manager) Mike Beam, a Cup car can be made from an Xfinity car with a few changes,” Gallagher said. “So we’re building inventory that – assuming there aren’t major changes – can be easily converted. We’re just getting to the point where we’re getting a good stock of new cars. We’ve been working with some of last year’s stuff – we have an affiliation with JR Motorsports. So we’ve been using their stuff. Bought some cars, but we’re finally using our own stuff. Hendrick Motorsports is supplying the chassis.”

Hendrick would also provide the engines and equipment for GMS’s Cup effort “assuming they could work with us,” said Gallagher.

If Gallagher elects to compete in Cup for the 2018 season, the organization will make a trial run with Spencer Gallagher behind the wheel.

Whether GMS would field one or two cars in Cup depends solely on sponsorship. Gallagher is leaning towards one team if it happens due to the challenges associated with the move. There’s also a charter to consider as well as driver selection. Gallagher has heard rumors about Kasey Kahne potentially driving a Cup car for GMS in 2018. However, Gallagher says he has not personally spoken to the driver.

Hornish to compete in Xfinity Series for Penske

Team Penske announced Thursday that Sam Hornish Jr. will get behind the wheel of the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang for three races during the summer in the XFINITY Series.

His first two appearances will be at Iowa Speedway on June 24 and July 29 with his third event being the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Aug. 12.

“I’m really excited to return to Team Penske and get the opportunity to drive the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang in a few races this season,” said Hornish. “Team Penske continues to be one of the top teams in the XFINITY Series and I’m looking forward to once again working with them. Roger (Penske) and Team Penske have been a huge part of my racing career, so coming back here feels like home. I’m also really appreciative of everyone at Discount Tire for allowing me to take the reins of one of the most recognizable cars in the garage area.

Hornish has appeared in 114 XFINITY Series races with four wins, 35 top-five, 61 top-10 finishes and eight poles.

His most recent XFINITY Series win came in 2016 while driving the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing at Iowa.

In his career with Team Penske in IndyCar and NASCAR, Hornish earned eight wins, including the 2006 Indianapolis 500 and Verizon IndyCar Series championship in 2006. He also made 130 starts in the Cup Series with Team Penske.

There’s an opportunity for the team to add additional races to the schedule for Hornish as the season progresses.

-Team Penske PR-