Steven B. Wilson


Steven B. Wilson

Steven B. Wilson

Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest

Dixie Chopper, home of the “World’s Fastest Lawn Mower” and for decades the nation’s leading mower company, will sponsor driver Jeffrey Earnhardt in Saturday’s Lilly Diabetes 250 Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

JD Motorsports team owner Johnny Davis made the announcement Friday at the team’s Gaffney shop.

“We’re very pleased to have Dixie Chopper on board with us for Indy,” Davis said. “It’s one of the biggest races of our season, and having the Dixie Chopper folks to partner with makes it an even bigger event for us. We’re looking to do well.”

Dixie Chopper vice president and general manager Chris Vernon expressed delight at joining the festivities at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the world’s most famous race track.

“We are thrilled to sponsor Jeffrey Earnhardt in the JD Motorsports No. 4 Chevrolet for this weekend’s Nationwide Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” Vernon said. “Aligning Dixie Chopper, an Indiana-based company that manufactures ‘The World’s Fastest Lawn Mower,’ with one of the most respected and successful names in motorsports is a natural fit.”

Earnhardt’s secondary sponsor for the weekend is Bad Boy Buggies. Other Textron companies represented on the 4 car include Jacobsen, Cessna, Greenlee, Bell Helicopter E-Z-GO and Cushman.

“What a great group to be affiliated with,” Earnhardt said. “Indy is always one of our spotlighted races. Having Dixie Chopper on board just makes it all that much more special. We’re ready to race.”

JD Motorsports PR

The Mattioli Foundation, Pocono Raceway’s official charitable foundation, will host a 50/50 raffle to benefit the NASCAR Foundation during the 400 race weekend August 1-3. Additionally, remaining spots to participate in the Third Annual Pocono Celebrity Charity Poker Showdown on Thursday, July 31 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, PA, are filling up fast. 

The weekend-long 50/50 raffle should yield an estimated jackpot of nearly $30,000, where one lucky winner will take home a 50% share of the total. June’s raffle winner took home over $16,000. Pocono Raceway attendees can donate to win by locating one of our 50/50 volunteers, who will be onsite and wearing bright green shirts.

The Celebrity Charity Poker Showdown, benefiting the NASCAR Foundation and Armed Forces Foundation, will feature NASCAR drivers including Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, Alex Bowman, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Todd Bodine, Spencer Gallagher, Joey Coulter and Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief Steve Letarte. Additional players will include local celebrities, racing personalities and race fans. A limited number of playing spots are still available but are filling up quickly. Fans can choose from four donation options, which can be found by visiting The top-finishing fan will receive a choice between two exciting prizes - a VIP Race Experience at Pocono Raceway or a VIP Stay and Play Experience at Mohegan Sun.

Pocono Raceway PR

Joey Coulter drove GMS Racing’s No. 21 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet Silverado to a 14th-place finish on Wednesday night in the second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) 1-800-Carcash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway. Coulter qualified 17th and finished second in his heat race to advance to the feature event and start seventh. By Lap 10 Coulter was digging through the pack in ninth-place. Under the first caution on Lap 28, Coulter reported being tight in and through the center and that the track was ‘icy,’ which prompted crew chief, Jeff Stankiewicz, to start building out a pit road plan, knowing the first NASCAR mandatory caution would be on Lap 60. By the time officials displayed the caution flag signaling the end of the first of three pre-designated segments, the 24-year-old driver was in 12th-place. During the break, the Stankiewicz-led crew pitted for four tires with an air pressure adjustment and one can of fuel. Following the Lap 64 green-flag restart for the second segment set for 50 laps, Coulter continued to adapt to evolving track conditions as the Allegiant Travel team restarted from 12th position. The Miami Springs, Fla., native even had to battle in three-wide racing, when handling issues prevented Coulter from being able to run his preferred bottom line. When the competition caution was displayed to signal the end of the second segment on Lap 110, Coulter was in the 15th spot, and the team chose not to pit to save track position. By Lap 140, Coulter had his Chevrolet Silverado in 16th-postion but ultimately worked his way up to 14th when the checkered flag waved.


Coulter currently sits ninth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver points standings, only 57 points back from first.


Start – 7          Finish – 14         Laps Led – 0


Joey Coulter Quote:

"I had a lot of fun tonight at Eldora Speedway and enjoy racing on dirt. After finishing fourth in last year’s event, this was not the finish I was looking for, but I was happy that our No. 21 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet Silverado was able to gain a few positions there at the end and managed a top-15 finish for GMS Racing.”



Born with spina bifida, Samuel Sawyer overcomes adversity each day and inspires all around him, including his father, Mike, who has served in the Navy for over 25 years. Friday, Eckrich and Richard Petty Motorsports honored the family and Samuel with an unexpected gift at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway 


Samuel, 11, was surprised by "The King" Richard Petty and current driver of the No. 43 Eckrich Ford, Aric Almirola, with a custom-made power wheelchair designed like the No. 43 paint scheme that Almirola will race this weekend. The chair was Petty blue and Eckrich green with the famous No. 43 on the back of the chair, giving Samuel the most unique and fastest power wheelchair available. Even "The King" Richard Petty himself and Almirola autographed the power wheelchair for Samuel. Making Samuel's day better, the chair is specifically manufactured to allow his dream come true to play power soccer.


Continuing to enrich and honor the Sawyer family, Eckrich announced they will pay the cost needed for Samuel to attend Victory Junction this summer, a children's camp founded by the Petty family thatprovides life-changing camping experiences that are exciting, fun and empowering, in a safe and medically-sound environment. In addition, Kroger stepped in to surprise the family again by announcing the family will receive free groceries for one entire year at Kroger courtesy of Eckrich. It was all unexpected to the Sawyer family.



The new wheelchair, groceries and trip to Victory Junction are part of the continued Eckrich "Operation Inspiration" campaign, which supports and honors military families. Almirola enjoys seeing the smiles during the surprises, especially when they come from a Victory Junction camper.


"Victory Junction is such a special place full of special kids like Samuel," said Almirola. "And to have Eckrich help fulfill a dream for him and to give back to our military families is really heartwarming to be a part of. It's very emotional to see the look on Samuel's face when he saw the new wheelchair and can go to Victory Junction and be treated like any other child. It's a great thing that we do with Eckrich and 'Operation Inspiration' to honor the whole family. It's also great that they are receiving groceries for a year at Kroger. That will go a long way. I'm honored to be a part of it."


Eckrich, part of the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, Inc., is in its third year of partnership with Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit that provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors.Eckrich has already raised more than $750,000 in donations for the charity.


"Today was truly an inspiring day for all us on the Eckrich team," said Charles Gitkin, vice president, marketing, innovation and R&D for the John Morrell Food Group. "To see the excitement of Samuel and his family really defines what our campaign is all about. We are thankful for the partnership with Richard Petty Motorsports and Operation Homefront in making this day happen for the Sawyer family."


Samuel could not be any more excited to go to Victory Junction with his new wheelchair and participate in activities with his fellow campers.


"Wow, I can't believe it,"said Samuel after reveiving the wheelchair.  "It was really cool to have Mr. Petty and Mr. Almirola give this new wheechair to me.  I love going to the camp and playing soccer so this is just really awesome.  I just keep sayng, 'Wow' because I still can't believe it."


Richard Petty Motorsports, Almirola and the No. 43 Eckrich Ford will race Sunday afternoon while the Sawyer family will immediately head to North Carolina to visit Victory Junction.



Jimmie Johnson revealed today the special Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope design he will wear during this weekend’s Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The helmet scheme features the five winners of the 2014 Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope, a program that allows fans and consumers across the country to nominate and vote for not-for-profit (501c3) organizations that support K-12 public education.

A $25,000 grant is part of the prizing for each of the winners. The five winners are:

  • Crayons to Classrooms in Dayton, Ohio
  • Champions for Learning in Naples, Florida
  • HEART Tutoring in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Le Mars Community Schools Foundation in Le Mars, Iowa
  • Reading Partners in Denver, Colorado

The final five were selected via public vote. Approximately 438,658 votes were cast for the 10 semi-finalists during the voting period.

“The helmet looks phenomenal,” Johnson said. “The five winners are each very deserving organizations. I will wear their logos with pride. Chandra (wife) and I are very proud of the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope Program.  The partnership with Blue Bunny enables us to support some great organizations that assist K-12 public education. We are very grateful.”

In addition to a $25,000 grant and placement on Johnson’s race helmet at Indianapolis, each of the five winners will receive a Blue Bunny ice cream party. To date, the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program has contributed more than $560,000 to 71 different charities.

“After the submission of so many quality nominations, the thousands of votes cast and the amazing effort by the winning five organizations to secure voting it will be exciting to see the helmet on the track in what’s sure to be an exciting race,” said Mike Wells, president and CEO, Wells Enterprises, Inc., maker of Blue Bunny ice cream. “We are extremely proud to once again support the incredible work and commitment displayed by each of the organizations to assist K-12 public education.”


Today, NASCAR driver Alex Bowman and his team, BK Racing, announce their support of a Bitcoin crowdfunding effort, named Bitcoin23, to bring a Bitcoin themed car to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The campaign starts today and runs until August 20, and will be instrumental in the continued growth of Bitcoin in new markets. If successful, the team and driver will run the Bitcoin car during the Labor Day weekend race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

With a goal of raising $100,000 for a full sponsorship, the organizers hope to ignite the interest of the Bitcoin community to get behind Bowman and BK Racing to introduce bitcoin to NASCAR. Today marks the launch of Bitcoin23, a month-long campaign via popular crowdfunding platform Crowdtilt. More excitingly, in addition to conventional funding methods, all contributors to the campaign will be able to make a pledge with Bitcoin.

“This is an exciting time and opportunity for the Bitcoin community. The monumental success of the sport and Bowman and his team have made bringing Bitcoin to NASCAR possible,” stated Adam Hofman, Lead Writer for Bitcoin Magazine. “The success of Bitcoin23 will provide an opportunity to build stronger relationships between users, fans and businesses, throughout each community.”

BK Racing and Alex Bowman have shown immense support for Bitcoin, the emerging payment technology; Bowman even participated in a promotional video for the newly-launched campaign.

“Bitcoin is changing the way people think about how they spend money and pay for things,” Bowman remarked. “With as much that is sold at the track, I believe that a technology like bitcoin has a place in the sport. Introducing Bitcoin to NASCAR will bring new fans to racing and help drive mainstream adoption.”

The aptly named Bitcoin23 campaign is seeking the help of the Bitcoin community to make the dream a reality. Individuals and businesses who choose to pledge will also receive a wide range of rewards including Alex Bowman merchandise, tickets to the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Minaal carry on bags and even the chance to put your company logo (or face) on the car.

To make your pledge to Bitcoin23, visit and click on your funding level. If pledging via Bitcoin, users will submit payment and receive specific instructions to claim the chosen reward.

To learn more about the campaign and attending the monumental event, visit For any further questions or for interview inquiries, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

BK Racing PR

After growing up racing dirt modifieds and sprint cars, Jimmy Weller has always dreamed of competing on Sprint Car racing's highest stage.  However, a horrific crash when he was just 18 years old re-directed that vision and left Weller dreaming of competing at NASCAR's highest level.  Now a fan of racing on both dirt and asphalt, the Hubbard, Ohio native will have a special kind of 'double duty' on Saturday, August 16.  On that day, Weller will race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Michigan International Speedway, and will immediately travel back to Hartford, Ohio to race a big block dirt modified at Sharon Speedway.

"This whole season has been so special to me," commented Weller.  "You just never know if you'll make it to the top levels of NASCAR, and I've really appreciated the opportunity to race in the Camping World Truck Series with SS Green Light Racing.  To make it even more fun, I have also been able to continue racing our big block dirt modified at Sharon Speedway most every weekend.  I've always loved racing on dirt, but racing on asphalt has been a lot of fun too.  I can't wait for the Michigan race weekend.  Having both of those worlds collide to race in both arenas--especially on the same day--is really cool."


Weller will race the No. 08 Geneva-Liberty Steel / Integrated Metal Products Chevrolet Silverado on Saturday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway.  It will be his seventh race of the season with SS Green Light Racing.  In February 2014, the team brought home Weller's career-best NASCAR Camping World Truck Series result--a ninth-place finish at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.  


Later that evening, Weller will race the No. 23 Liberty Steel Products / TFI Transportation / Hughes Construction dirt modified for his family's team at Sharon Speedway.  Weller has competed in 10 races at Sharon Speedway this season and has recorded seven top-10 finishes, including a victory on July 5.  It was Weller's first win at Sharon Speedway in nearly 10 years.  His last win at the track came in 2004 while racing a 410 Sprint Car.


Jimmy Weller PR

Ryan Blaney BKR Eldora Post-Race

Friday, 25 July 2014 09:16

Ryan Blaney (@RyanBlaney22), driver of the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150, grabbed the lead in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship standings with a third place finish in the 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic Wednesday night at Eldora (Rossburg, Ohio) Speedway.


Blaney grabbed his third consecutive top five and sixth in 10 races this season.  He enjoys a four point lead in the series standings and one point lead in the owner's championship standings.  Ryan scored his first top five in two races at Eldora.


But the end result didn't come without its challenges.  Blaney made contact with the outside wall during the day's first practice session and the No. 29 Cooper Standard team worked hard to make repairs.  When he returned to the track for the final session, Blaney posted the quickest practice time.  Ryan used the inside line to win the fourth heat race and earn the fourth place starting position.


When the race started, Blaney had his hands full with his truck.  He fell back to ninth place when the competition caution came out on lap 60.  Moments later crew chief Chad Kendrick made a big chassis adjustment on the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford       F-150, a call that worked well.

Blaney fell in line 11th following the scramble on the lap 63 restart but began to work his way towards the front when the race settled down.  He was fifth by lap 90 and stayed in the top five for the remainder of the night.  During the final segment of the race he was moved up to fourth place and then advanced to third when a truck in front him encountered problems in the closing laps. 


Tyler Reddick BKR Eldora Post-Race

Friday, 25 July 2014 09:15
Tyler Reddick (@tylerreddick), driver of the No. 19 Broken Bow Records Ford F-150, scored a respectable 11th place finish in the 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic Wednesday night at Eldora (Rossburg, Ohio) Speedway.


Reddick turned in a solid performance throughout practice, qualifying and the race.  He scored a second place finish in the third heat race to earn the eighth place starting position in the main event. 


When the race went green, Reddick continued to run well, steadily working his way into the top five when the first competition caution waved on lap 60.  Tyler and Crew Chief Doug Randolph chose to pit for four tires and adjustments, the only stop the team would make all evening.


On the restart he was shuffled out of line with the three - and sometimes four - wide racing but once again began to steadily work his way up through the field.  He was 10th at lap 80.  He climbed back up to seventh place when the seventh and final caution waved on lap 129, setting up an 18 lap dash to the finish.


The final restart and a tight handling truck worked against Reddick's hopes for a top 10.  He made it through the final chaotic start and held on in the closing laps to finish 11th.

Ben Kennedy and the No. 31 team overcame an unlucky qualifying draw and a heat race spin to earn a top-15 finish in the Daytona Beach native's dirt track debut. After taking the green flag from the 21st position, Kennedy learned quickly over the course of the challenging race, bringing home a 13th-place finish in the second annual Mudsummer Classic.


After working hard to quickly learn the 0.5-mile dirt oval, Kennedy unfortunately was the last truck to make a qualifying run as a result of a random draw. The qualifying order affected the Silverado, given that 33 trucks had taken to the track since the dirt surface had been tended. As the 21st-fastest truck in the single-truck qualifying session, Kennedy earned a fifth-place starting spot in the first heat of the night, and a last-lap spin in the qualifying race put the 22-year-old 21st on the starting grid for the 150-lap main event. Taking the green flag after a four-wide fan salute, Kennedy reported that his machine was good on entry but lacking rear grip getting back on the throttle. Only permitted to make changes under the two competition cautions, Kennedy was forced to wait out the 60 laps of the opening segment before bringing his truck to pit road in the 13th position. After taking four sticker tires and fuel, Kennedy was 14th when the final competition caution came after 110 laps of racing. Crew chief Michael Shelton made the call to keep Kennedy out of the pits under the yellow flag, a strategy which gained him two spots on the racetrack for a 40-lap sprint to the finish. With tempers flaring and bold moves abounding on the track, Kennedy managed to keep his Silverado relatively damage-free in the closing laps. Scored in the 15th position on the final restart of the night on lap 133, Kennedy had fewer than 20 short laps to march to the front. Kennedy managed to pick up two more positions before the checkered flag waved, crossing the finish line in 13th.


Ben Kennedy on Eldora Speedway

"That was a blast. It was absolutely crazy out there, but so much fun. There obviously wasn't a whole lot of grip out there, but by the end I found a line that was working for me and I was able to control a lot with the throttle. I would have liked to have gotten the Chevy into the top 10, but considering that was my first time ever racing on dirt, I don't think that 13th is too bad. Heading to Pocono next week is going to be a huge switch, but that's a track I've looked forward to racing at for a long time. I had a chance to test an ARCA [Racing Series] car there earlier this year, so I'm hoping to get up to speed in the truck pretty fast."


Kennedy is seventh in the NCWTS Driver Point Standings, only 11 points outside of the top five. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series next heads to Pocono Raceway for the 11th race of the 2014 season. The Pocono Mountains 150 will air live on Saturday, August 2 at 1:00 p.m. EDT on FOX Sports 1.