Clements confident ahead of Myrtle Beach 250 weekend

Article by: Josh Parrish

(Myrtle Beach, SC) – Swansboro, NC native Brandon Clements is one of the most well known Mini-Stock competitors on the East Coast. He has scored a total of 21 wins so far this season at multiple tracks in both North Carolina and South Carolina. Clements nearly captured the Track Championship at Wake County Speedway this year after leading the points for the majority of the season, but just fell short after being caught up in an incident in the season finale.

On November 11th, Clements will try and add another win to his already impressive 2017 season while competing in the Mini-Stock portion of the Myrtle Beach 400 at Myrtle Beach Speedway (MBS). Clements has had success at MBS, as he has scored 4 wins there in the past.

We asked Clements about his confidence going into the event. “Going in to it very confident, we had a really good car there earlier this year scoring two wins. We are going with a different car but it should be even faster.” said Clements.

The final race at MBS is known to attract some of the greatest Mini-Stock drivers on the east coast.  Clements said, “I think the Thrasher Racing team will be bringing two really strong cars and as always A.J. Sanders will be quick, but this year hearing that the field will be stacked with really fast cars from all over”

The one thing that is synonymous with the speedway is the presence of extreme tire wear. When someone mentions the track, the first thing that comes to most people’s mind is tire conservation. “Picking a good spot to ride to keep the fenders on it and not burning the tires up is key and then going at the right time” said Clements, when asked about the key to winning at MBS.

To learn more about the Myrtle Beach 400, Visit http://www.MyrtleBeachSpeedway.com

To get updates from the November 9th-11th at MBS, visit FB.com/ShortTrackCentral

 

 

Up and Down the ranks with Cale Gale

Article/Photo by: Brad Newman

Cale Gale may be a household name for some, but not all. To your average spectator, Saturday’s Truck race at Martinsville is just another race where a rich kid can buy a seat and try to compete at a short track. For Cale Gale, this time, it’s something different. Gale hasn’t sat in the seat of a Camping World Truck since the 2013 season, since then he has raced in just about everything BUT the NASCAR’s top three series.

Cale Gale got the call from Shane Huffman, MDM Motorsports and his longtime partner Rheem about a month ago asking him if he’d like to pilot the #99 machine around the paperclip for the Fall Martinsville race. Of course, Cale said yes. But let’s rewind a bit to the 2012 NCWTS Season where Cale had a full-time ride with ESR with Rheem has his exclusive sponsor. He ran well that season, it wasn’t his first shot in the NWCTS, but, it was his first full-time season. In the final event of 2012 Cale and crew chief Jerry Baxter pulled off an amazing strategy call, which earned Cale his first and last NCWTS victory. Cale Gale beat Kyle Busch in his own playground, at his own game that night. And, unfortunately even with an emotional victory lane speech and an excellent showing of talent on the track, Gale remained in limbo for the 2013 season.

During the next calendar year, Cale competed almost full time at the famed Bowman Gray Stadium running Sportsman, and winning races. While doing this he also had the birth of his first child, Camber Gale. Cale continued to crew chief and mentor Brandon Jones in ARCA and K&N, while juggling a newborn and helping his father Bubba run their business, Gale Force Suspension Management. He started a couple NCWTS races near the end of the year and had great showings, finishing thirteenth at Kentucky, sixth at Phoenix and tenth at Homestead. But even with having an entire year off, hopping in and showing he can still compete at NASCAR’s highest level, nothing came of it.

Since that 2013 season, Cale has run everything from a 602 Super Limited all the way to a NASCAR Whelen Modified. I had a chance to ask him what exactly is the learning curve from driving all different types of race cars compared to a NASCAR Truck, “A tour type modified does everything it’s supposed to do. Got big ole tires, a real low center of gravity, nice and wide tread width, lightweight, and plenty of motor.  A truck is more sluggish. Higher center of gravity, heavier, smaller tires.” But this task is nothing Cale can’t handle, he assured me. During these off years, Cale was hired by Roush Fenway Racing as a shock-man, which as many of you know has Gale written all over it. But recently Cale has been kind of the five-tool player of the RFR shop doing everything from simulations to testing with the team at the track.

Gale told me at this point in his career, he hasn’t raced for points in much of anything since 2003. With that being said, he would love the opportunity to compete for a championship in whatever it may be that he races next. He has pondered the idea of possibly running for a championship at the famed quarter mile, Bowman Gray. But, like most things in his racing career, this isn’t set in stone. He had the chance to tell me it’s “truly humbling and unbelievable to be the guy that can still get that call or text in today’s time.” I asked him if he exceeded expectations this weekend, did he believe anything could come of this opportunity. He simply said, “I do have a slight hope that if I do my job that is possible.” And in today’s racing world, that’s all you need…..one opportunity.

CCS announces $25,000 to win LMSC race & 2018 Schedule

The schedule is headlined most notably by the CARS Late Model Stock Tour race on Saturday, June 23rd.  The CARS Tour race will be the first time the series has raced at the Swansboro, North Carolina track which is located just a few miles inland from the Crystal Coast beach on Emerald Isle.

“This is going to be an exciting year,” Carteret County Speedway track owner Bobby Watson said on Thursday.  “We’ve got the CARS Tour coming and it’s an honor to have them here, and we might get a second race if there’s an opening in their schedule.”

In addition to the CARS Tour, Carteret County Speedway will race on Halloween weekend with what they are promising will be the biggest race in the track’s history.  Watson said he plans to host a $25,000-to-win Late Model race which is tentatively scheduled to be held on Saturday, October 27th or on Sunday, October 28th.

“We’re going to do one of the biggest Late Model races in North Carolina and South Carolina,” Watson remarked.  “That will probably be on Halloween weekend.  That will be $25,000-to-win in the Late Model class.  We already have a sponsor, we just haven’t announced it yet.”

As Carteret County Speedway has done every year since its opening in 2015, they will race on Sunday night on Labor Day Weekend with this year’s Labor Day Classic being held on September 2nd.  Carteret County Speedway will also have races on Memorial Day Weekend, also a Sunday night race, and on Wednesday, July 4th.

“This will be our tradition, racing on Labor Day Weekend on that Sunday,” Watson explained.  “The schedule is out and it is tentative to change but we wanted to get the schedule out.  The ladies are excited about going to the beach and we wanted to give people time to make hotel reservations.”

Carteret County Speedway will open their season on Saturday, April 14th.  Races will also be held on April 28th, May 12th, (Sunday) May 27th, June 9th, (Wednesday) July 4th, July 7th, July 28th, August 11th, August 25th, (Sunday) September 2nd, September 15th, September 29th, October 6th and October 27th or 28th.

Watson also said Carteret County Speedway has a new campground facility at the track, and he will also be putting new grandstands up during the winter months, addressing the visibility issues from the frontstretch grandstands.

Huffman partners with Plan B Sales ahead of Martinsville Debut

(CONCORD, NC)- Plan B Sales, Inc., the largest distributor of Lionel die-cast collectibles, will partner with Landon Huffman as his primary sponsor for the Texas Roadhouse 200 presented by Alpha Energy Solutions at Martinsville Speedway Saturday, October 28. Huffman will pilot the #83 Chevy Silverado.
“I can’t thank Brent and everyone at Plan B Sales enough for coming on board this weekend,” said Landon. “I am excited about creating this new partnership and being part of their marketing program.”
“We are extremely excited to partner with Landon for the Martinsville truck race,” says Brent Powell, owner of Plan B Sales. “It is refreshing to see young short track racing talent get the opportunity on a national stage. Landon has a bright future and we are happy to be involved with him in the early stages of his promising NASCAR career.”
Plan B Sales was founded in 2010 by Brent and Ladonna Powell and quickly became the largest distributor of Lionel die-casts. Based in Concord, N.C., Plan B Sales also provides the retail market with products from Lionel, Chase Authentic, Auto World, Greenlight Collectibles and Wincraft Racing for licensed Motorsports related product lines.
21-year-old Huffman, of Claremont, NC, made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at the Bristol Motor Speedway earlier this season, collecting a Top-20 finish.
“Landon did a phenomenal job at Bristol and we’re excited about Martinsville,” notes CM2’s Michael Boswell. “Landon jumps in with the crew to work on the race truck, is wonderful with sponsors and the fans sure enjoyed spending time with him at Bristol.”
Joining Plan B Sales in support of Landon Huffman are Wrench Rags, Catawba Valley Reclamation, and One Wraps Designs. Additional support comes from associate sponsors ® Spanesi-Americas, Timken, Cyclops Gear, Champion Oil, MARADYNE High Performance Fans, ® Timken, WIX Filters, Redback Boots, Mayhew Tool, Reikken, MARADYNE High Performance Fans, Champion Brands, Excel Bottling / Ski Soda, MechanixWear and WIX Filters.

Alfredo prevails at Hickory’s Fall Brawl

Anthony Alfredo drove to victory Saturday night in the annual Fall Brawl 200 at Hickory Motor Speedway, his third Late Model triumph of the season. The 18-year-old Connecticut driver swept both ends of a CARS Late Model Stock Car doubleheader at Hickory in May for the other two victories.

After qualifying eighth for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series event, Alfredo stuck to his pre-race strategy, which was to be patient and save his left-side tires for the second half of the 200-lap event. The race was split into two 100-lap runs and the teams were allowed to change right-side tires at the break.

Despite his plan to take positions only when possible, Alfredo was fifth just 40 laps into the event without pushing very hard. He advanced to third place 10 laps later and ran there until the lap-100 break. He took his right-side tires and the team made no adjustments so as to keep the handling of the car the same for the final 100-lap segment.

The plan was the same for the first 47 laps of the final 100, but at that point it was time to go. Alfredo picked up the pace on the final restart at lap 147, battling for five laps with Ty Gibbs for second place. He got past and settled in a car length behind leader Austin McDaniel for the next 20 circuits. With 25 laps remaining, Alfredo ducked to the inside of the leader off Turn 4 and raced side-by-side for two laps before making the pass. He was never headed the rest of the way and won by a straightaway.

Hickory Motor Speedway has been a very good place for the JR Motorsports Late Model team the past two seasons. Alfredo’s three victories in 2017 lead the way, and teammate Josh Berry has two more this season to make it five triumphs for the team. Berry won five races himself in 2016, including the Fall Brawl.

Photo: Corey Latham/Race22

Huffman to compete in Fall Brawl at Hickory

Off the heels of announcing his second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) start at the end of the month, Landon Huffman will strap-in behind the wheel of his Landon Huffman Racing (LHR) Toyota this weekend at Hickory Motor Speedway for the Cosmo Motors Fall Brawl presented by Calico Coatings.
“Last time out with my car we finished third without any practice,” said Landon. “We made a few changes and I am excited to go 200 laps this weekend. Two big weekends ahead of me and I am enjoying what the good lord gives me.”
The No.75 LHR Toyota Camry Late Model Stock will be adorned by the teams’ sponsors: Wrench Rags, Catawba Valley Reclamation, Huss Bail Bonds, and Sigs Tire.
Huffman, 21-years-old, hopes to conquer the “Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars” for a third time this season when the Bojangles Late Model Stock division takes to the track on Saturday.
Spectator gates open at 5:00 p.m. (ET.) along with the start of qualifying. Pre-race ceremonies are set for 6:15 p.m. (ET.) and racing to follow promptly at 7:00 p.m. (ET.)
Fans can view a detailed schedule of events at hickorymotorspeedway.com

Dodson joins Empire Racing / RPM Development Team

Empire Racing Group, and Grumpy’s Performance, Inc., a Richard Petty Motorsports Development Team is proud to announce signing driver, Devin Dodson, for the remaining 2017 season. ERG and Grumpy’s will field two Late Model Stock Cars this weekend at Myrtle Beach Speedway for the “BattleBack WildCard Night” on Saturday night. Dodson will pilot the #9 ERG Ford as teammate to Thad Moffitt at the wheel of the #46 ERG Ford.

The team will be led by Empire Racing Group Crew Chief Mike” Grumpy” Cheek.

“I am excited to bring Devin on board to the ERG camp. I have watched Devin perform and I look forward to working with him and assisting Devin in his endeavors to get to the next level of his racing career. I feel confident that Devin will be an excellent addition to the team and a good teammate for Thad, Together we have the opportunity to put some good racing on the track for the fans.”

Eighteen-year-old, Devin Dodson who is a native of Bishopville, MD starting racing at the age of 5-years-old. He started racing go karts across the southeast and mid atlantics region with multiple wins and top 5 finishes. In 2015, Dodson moved to dirt modifieds with his accomplishments of multiple top 5’s, Rookie of the year 2015, 2 wins and in 2016, and finished 3rd in points in the Mid-Atlantic region. Dodson began to run late model stock in 2017 and in 8 starts has had five top 5 finishes.

Race Preview: PASS Visits Orange County

CHARLOTTE, NC – While the temperatures are pleasantly cooling, the action on track will be extra hot Saturday night as the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Models return to action at Orange County Speedway. The rich tradition of the Howler 150 dating back to 2008 moves from South Carolina to Orange County this weekend for the first time with a strong field of the South’s original Super Late Models expected. In addition to PASS South, the SMRS Tour Modified division will determine their champion and the Orange County Limited Sportsman will race for $2000 to win in the Donnie Carver Memorial.
Kannapolis, NC’s Matt Craig has been one of the hottest short track drivers in the country winning in his last three PASS South Super Late Model starts at Caraway, Southern National, and South Boston. While the field will be poised to end his win streak, Craig looks to be on his way to becoming the first two-time champion in PASS South’s 12-year history. And, Craig will be looking for his second straight Orange County win after a controversial last lap battle with Preston Peltier in March.
While Craig will be looking to add to his win tally, several drivers have been strong as of late and will be looking for their first wins of the season. Last year’s championship runner-up, Kodie Conner, has now moved up to second in the standings and appears to have the bugs worked out of his new chassis. Jay, ME’s Dave Farrington, Jr. has been one of the strongest drivers in the series as of late, scoring top three finishes in the last two races driving the Woodman Racing entry. And, local favorite, Tate Fogleman, despite a mechanical problem at South Boston that dropped him to fourth in points, has consistently been up front challenging Craig for wins.
Trevor Noles was the runner-up to Craig at South Boston and will be back with Coulter Motorsports for another run at the checkered flag. Tyler Church, the 2014 PASS South champion and former Orange County winner, makes his return looking to break back into victory lane for the first time in over two years. Canadians from opposite coasts, JP Josiasse and Sarah Cornett-Ching were both competitive at South Boston and are back, while Cornett-Ching will be bringing a teammate along from the Race 101 stables for the first time this season, Donnie Carlton.
Veterans Jody Measamer and Jeff Batten will each be seeking their first series wins, while Georgia brothers, Kyle and Jordan McCallum, look to build their Super Late Model racing resumes at Orange County.
All the action gets under way on Friday at Orange County Speedway with open practice for all competing divisions from 3 – 6 PM. On Saturday, practice will begin at 2 PM, with qualifying starting at 5:15 PM for the PASS South Super Late Models, SMRS Tour Modifieds, and Limited Sportsman, followed by main events scheduled to start at approximately 7 PM.

-Pro All Star Series Press Release-

50th Annual Snowball Derby early entry list released

Already highlighted by the return of 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch, the first list also includes several reigning Super Late Model champions from all over the country. Most notably, the list includes Southern Super Series champion Stephen Nasse, Midwest Tour champion Ty Majeski and CARS Tour champion Cole Rouse.

It also includes newly crowned NASCAR K&N Pro Series East titlist Harrison Burton, 5 Flags Speedway track champion Bubba Pollard and the winningest Late Model driver of 2017 in Casey Roderick.

It’s a fitting entry list for the 50th running of the most prestigious Super Late Model race in the country and it’s only going to grow as the weeks pass closer to the first weekend of December. The list for the 300-lap showdown includes drivers from 18 states and three Canadian provinces.

Previous winners are also represented in this first list.

In addition to Busch, the 2009 winner, the race has already approved the entry blanks from reigning winner Christian Eckes, 2014 winner John Hunter Nemechek and 2004 winner Steven Wallace.

Other NASCAR notables like Corey Lajoie and Grant Enfinger are Snowball Derby regulars and will once again make the trip to the Gulf Coast.

Race weekend is November 30 to December 3 this year. During that time span, the field will be whittled down by qualifying and a last chance race to determine the 37 drivers that will take the green flag.

Bell to compete full-time in Xfinity Series in 2018

Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces today that Christopher Bell will compete in NASCAR XFINITY Series full time in 2018.

The 22-year-old is currently running full time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) and remains in contention for this season’s championship. He currently leads the point standings entering this weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway with five race wins and seven stage wins providing him a Series high 47 points.

“Christopher has proven himself at every level of racing and we are excited to have him run full time in our XFINITY Series program starting in 2018,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “He has shown great maturity both on and off the track and we think he is ready for this opportunity. We look forward to watching his continued progress in the sport.”

Bell started 2017 on fire by winning one of NASCAR’s marquee events, the Chili Bowl, and followed it up by dominating and winning in the Camping World Truck Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Oklahoma native also picked up wins in his Toyota Tundra at Texas, Kentucky, Pocono, and New Hampshire.

“All of us at Toyota and TRD are proud to see Christopher continue through the ranks as he now takes on the NASCAR XFINITY Series fulltime with JGR for 2018,” said David Wilson, president of TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development). “Christopher has been a part of the TRD driver development program for many years dating back to his USAC championship in 2013 and he’s certainly been an integral part of our continued success to bring young drivers through the ranks of motorsports. Christopher has been successful in every form of racing and we’re confident that he’ll add his name to the list of drivers to put a Camry in victory lane.”

Before racing on pavement, Bell was crowned the United States Auto Club (USAC) National Midget Champion in 2013 and accumulated 26 feature wins on dirt in 2014, including the Turkey Night Grand Prix Midget race. He also enjoyed success in Super Late Models, winning prestigious races at New Smyrna Speedway, South Alabama Speedway and Southern National Motorsports Park.

“I can’t express how excited I am about the opportunity to drive full time for Joe Gibbs Racing in the XFINITY Series,” said Bell. “This has been a tremendous year for me and obviously I remain focused on finishing the Truck Series season strong and hopefully bringing a Championship to Kyle, Samantha and everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports. I don’t think I could ask for a better place to take the next step in my racing career. I’m already comfortable with everyone at JGR and I think the experience I have with them this year should help me at the start of 2018.”

Joe Gibbs Racing will announce additional details for its 2018 NASCAR XFINITY Series program, including sponsors, car number and crew chief assignments at a later date.

— Joe Gibbs Racing

JGL Racing parts ways with Armstrong, suspends operations on #28

JGL Racing announces that it has suspended driver duties effective immediately with Dakoda Armstrong. Armstrong has piloted the team’s #28 Toyota entry in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for the 2017 season with sponsorship for the program. However, due to lack of sponsorship payments, JGL Racing has been forced to make this drastic move for the rest of the 2017 season.

“We really hate that it has come to this,” said James Whitener, owner of JGL Racing. “However, this business is driven by sponsorship and when payments aren’t made then we cannot continue to race out off our own pocket. I hate this for our race team as well as Dakoda. We all appreciate the effort he has put into the growth of JGL Racing and wish him nothing but the best of success moving forward.”

The #28 entry will not go to Dover for this weekend’s event but instead will re-focus on the remaining events on the 2017 schedule. The team’s #24 entry will continue for the remainder of the season with Corey LaJoie (youtheory) and Dylan Lupton (Nut Up Industries).

“We will focus on finishing out the season with our programs on our #24 Toyota,” added Whitener. “We will explore future options for the #28 entry as well as focusing on finalizing programs for both cars for the 2018 season.”

Kahne to LFR in 2018

Leavine Family Racing (LFR) has announced that Kasey Kahne will pilot the #95 Chevrolet Camaro for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season.

Kahne, who has driven for Hendrick Motorsports since 2012, has signed on to be LFR’s primary driver for the 2018 season.

LFR has recorded impressive finishes as a single-car team during the 2017 MENCS season and feels that Kahne, winner of the Brickyard 400 in 2017, would not only be a top driver for the team in the MENCS series in 2018, but also be instrumental in assisting the team to attract new sponsorship in the future.

“I want to thank Leavine Family Racing for this opportunity and will work as hard as possible to help them continue improving,” said Kahne. “I am ready for this challenge and look forward to making a fresh start. Bob and everyone at Leavine Family Racing put a lot into their program and I’m excited to become a part of it.”

“We look at this as an opportunity to go to the next level,” said LFR team owner, Bob Leavine. “This deals partially with performance, because obviously, Kasey is a playoff-caliber driver. He has a wealth of information being with a larger organization like Hendrick Motorsports, and we think that will help us. We also look at this as an opportunity for marketing to be able to sell sponsorship.

Overall, we think Kasey is a good fit and felt we needed a change. There is absolutely nothing that Michael (McDowell) did, it was just a matter of us having to make some changes to help us move up the ladder and be a factor in the playoffs. I know Kasey will bring things that will help us, and I believe our environment will be conducive to his confidence level, which will in turn raise our confidence level. It just seemed like the right time and the right fit for our team.”

— Leavine Family Racing —

Smithfield Foods to be Primary Sponsor at SHR in 2018

Smithfield Foods Inc. announced earlier today it will join Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) as a primary team sponsor beginning in 2018. Details of the agreement, including the driver who will be added to SHR’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series lineup in 2018, will be provided at a later date.
“We’re very proud to have Smithfield Foods join the Stewart-Haas Racing family,” said Brett Frood, president, SHR. “Smithfield has activated heavily and successfully within the sport, and we’re honored to be a part of the brand’s forward initiatives and strategy. Although we’re not ready to announce the full details of the program, we look forward to this new endeavor while remaining focused on the upcoming playoffs and putting forth the best effort possible to win more races and contend for another championship.”

Geico Renews contract with Ty Dillon & Germain Racing

With his rookie season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series headed toward its finale in a couple of months, Ty Dillon’s future just got much brighter as he and Germain Racing announced a multi-year contract extension to keep him behind the wheel of the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet for the foreseeable future.

Along with Dillon and Germain announcing their deal, GEICO, which has sponsored the team since 2008, also announced that they will be a permanent fixture on the livery of Dillon’s car for years to come. The team also noted in their announcement that they will continue their technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing for 2018 and beyond.

“Being able to partner with GEICO all these years has been a source of great pride for our race team and for me personally,” said Germain Racing owner, Bob Germain, Jr. “They’re an incredible company and they support our sport in so many different ways. We’re very fortunate to be the team that gets to represent GEICO on the race track. I appreciate their support and I look forward to working with them in the years to come. Ty Dillon has given us some very exciting races in his rookie season. We have extended Ty’s contract, and look forward to crew chief Bootie Barker and Ty leading the team to more success. They will be supported by all of the same great team members who have helped build Germain Racing.”

Through the first 25 races of the 2017 season, Dillon has yet to break into the top-10, but has been a fixture in the top-20 at the finish of the majority of the races this season, with 16 finishes inside the top-20.

At both the May Talladega race and last Sunday’s race at Darlington, Dillon tied his career-best finish with a 13th place finish, a notable result for a team of Germain Racing’s caliber.

“GEICO is an amazing sponsorship partner and a great supporter of NASCAR as a whole, said Dillon. “I love having the chance to represent them and be a part of their widespread footprint in the sport, along with their long-standing relationship with Germain Racing. We’ve experienced success together during my rookie season and I’m excited for what the future holds for our No. 13 GEICO team.”

Subway terminates contract with JGR & Daniel Suarez with races still remaining

Joe Gibbs Racing confirmed that the Subway cancelation stems from a pre-race segment in July. Daniel Suarez was handing out Dunkin Donuts in said TV segment.

Subway has taken issue with the described skit. They have elected to terminate their deal with Daniel Suarez and Joe Gibbs Racing.

Subway had a 4 race deal with Daniel Suarez. So far, Subway has been seen on the machine in 3 races. A single race remained.

Joe Gibbs Racing received a letter from Subway declaring the early termination of the NASCAR sponsorship. It was delivered ahead of the Darlington Raceway weekend.

Dunkin Donuts is a competing restaurant to Subway.

“That’s part of racing,” Suarez stated before has was aware of the reason for termination. “Sponsorship comes and sponsorship leaves. There’s nothing we can do about it. I don’t really know the reasons, so there’s not a lot I can add to it.”

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