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It is not the season-opening race of the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship, but the upcoming tests Feb. 22-25 and March 1-4 at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya carries much of the expectation of a season opener as Haas F1 Team makes its debut.

 

After numerous press conferences and social media updates that chronicled the team’s progression from cool idea to tangible entity, Barcelona marks both a culmination and a beginning.

 

It has been 30 years since America last fielded a Formula One team. Ironically, that 1986-era team was owned by Carl Haas, who has no relation to Gene Haas, owner of Haas F1 Team and founder of the team’s title partner, Haas Automation, the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America.

 

That an American entity is back in Formula One is no small feat. Consider that Haas F1 Team was awarded a Formula One license in April 2014, and it is February 2016 when the team gathers for the first time to put its car on the racetrack. In that time, more than 100 people have been hired, spread across bases in three countries – Kannapolis, North Carolina; Banbury, U.K.; and Parma, Italy. A technical partnership with Scuderia Ferrari was formed, with the most successful team in the history of Formula One providing Haas F1 Team its power unit, gearbox and overall technical support.

 

Experienced drivers in Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez were signed and, along the way, transporters were built, tools were ordered, parts were machined, firesuits were made and those pieces and many others were logistically organized to circumnavigate the globe from February’s first test in Barcelona to November’s season finale in Abu Dhabi.

 

It all comes together in Barcelona, where the first racecar Haas F1 Team has ever built is literally put to the test. While nearly two year’s worth of work will be on display on the 4.655-kilometer (2.89-mile), 16-turn circuit, it’s really just the start of Haas F1 Team’s Formula One endeavor. Two four-day tests spread over 12 days is all Haas F1 Team has to ensure its racecars for Grosjean and Gutiérrez are up for the first of 21 grand prix race weekends in 2016.

 

The longest schedule in Formula One history begins March 20 in Melbourne, Australia. Between the travel from Barcelona back to Haas F1 Team’s European base in Banbury and the outfit’s arrival in Melbourne prior to the race weekend, only 10 days are available to the team. In that time, the lessons learned from Barcelona are applied to their cars before they’re loaded up for a flight to the land down under.

 

Spain’s motto is “Plus Ultra” which translated from Latin means “Further Beyond”. It is a fitting motto for Haas F1 Team too, with the American team needing Barcelona to take it further beyond testing and into the cauldron of a grand prix weekend. 

Haas F1 PR

Eighteen-year old rookie William Byron, in his Daytona debut and third overall ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards career start, finished second behind race winner John Wes Townley in Saturday’s Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire season opening event.

Byron, driving the No.55 Liberty University Toyota Camry for Venturini Motorsports, matched his ARCA career best finish of second. Byron gained valuable superspeedway experience, which he will undoubtedly need for Friday night under the lights when he makes his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) debut at Daytona International Speedway driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM).

“I was really looking, watching my mirrors to see what we might be able to do,” said Byron, the 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion. “I came over the radio to see if I could back up to anyone to get a run, but by then we were only in a tight pack of three, so I had to sit tight. I’m thrilled with our finish. The win would’ve been nice, but I accomplished my goal of completing every lap and gaining experience for next week’s truck race.”

“I just want to thank Venturini Motorsports. They gave me a great racecar all weekend. I was really just learning all day, trying to stay patient and learn the process of drafting in the pack. When it got three-wide, you had to learn on the fly and put your trust in the guys around you.”

For the second consecutive year Venturini Motorsports plays the role of bridesmaid at Daytona. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Daniel Suarez, also in a Venturini Motorsports prepared Toyota, finished second in 2015’s ARCA opener.

Venturini Motorsports newcomer Tom Hessert qualified fourth and ran up front most of the afternoon before cutting a right rear tire taking him out of the mix and relinquishing the veteran driver to a disappointing 28th place finish in the No.25 Florida Lottery-Bullet Products Toyota.

“We had a good starting point and got shuffled around before we settled in the first couple rows. We had a good day going before our tire went down and that pretty much spoiled the rest of our day,” said Hessert.

“Daytona is great, I want to win here real bad, I think we had a real good shot today but it just didn’t work out. I’m disappointed but bottom line is all 20-races pay the same amount of points and we’ll be back at Nashville for another run.”

Hessert, the only full-time driver for Venturini Motorsports, will pilot the No.25 Toyota for the duration of the 2016 season.

Cartersville, Georgia’s Mark Thompson, driving the No.66 Phoenix Air Toyota, had a rough start after getting tagged in a lap-2 incident involving seven cars and again on lap-14 before pulling it into the garage settling for a 33rd place finish. Thompson, running a limited schedule, will return to the track at Talladega Superspeedway when the series visits the Alabama track for the forth race of the season on April 29th.

The ARCA Series will pause for nearly two-months before returning to action at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville on April 9th.

VMS PR

John Wes Townley wins at Daytona

Written by
Published in Racing News
Sunday, 14 February 2016 10:03
John Wes Townley's victory in Saturday's ARCA Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire at Daytona International Speedway was historic for many reasons.

The 26-year-old Townley became the first winner of a stock car race at the newly-minted World Center of Racing, the first motorsports facility to feature stadium-styled seating.

He also became the first driver to take General Tire, the new official supplier of tires to ARCA teams, to victory lane.

Townley, the 2013 winner of the Lucas Oil 200, remains the lone Georgia driver to win an ARCA race at Daytona during a rich history that stretches 53 years.

"There's so much to be thankful for," said Townley, after being made aware of the significance of his win. "The guys at Athenian Motorsports, and I mean every one of them that travel with us and all of them that work so hard in the shop, gave me a fabulous Zaxby's Chevrolet.

"(Crew chief) Kevin Reed and (team engineer) Skip Pope did a masterful job calling the race from the pit box. And my spotter, Terry Cook, is the best in the business."

So how does winning for the second time at Daytona compare to last year's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory in Las Vegas?

"Oh, my gosh," Townley said. "That's a tough question. When you're at this level, it's so hard to win these races. So, I certainly take nothing for granted. But if I had to pick two places to win races, I don't think you could do much better than Daytona and Las Vegas."

Townley will have little time to celebrate his win.

He and his Athenian Motorsports team are already working to apply what they learned on Saturday to the season openers in Daytona for NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series.

"I think I've become pretty decent at working the draft and I'm going to have to draw on all of my experience and knowledge to run well on Friday night (in the Truck) and Saturday (in the Xfinity Series race)," Townley said.

"We're running for the championship in the Truck Series and will only run a handful of races in the Xfinity Series and here's what I'm excited about...Michael Shelton will be the crew chief for us in all of those races. And we've got everybody on the road team that was with us in 2015 back this season.

"I'm so excited because we started jelling as one unit during the second half of last year. That gives me a lot of confidence that we'll be strong right out of the gate. I can't wait to get the NASCAR season started."

Athenian Motorsports PR

ARCA: John Wes Townley Wins Lucas Oil 200

Written by
Published in Racing News
Saturday, 13 February 2016 19:30

The ARCA Racing Series invaded the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway for the Lucas Oil 200 presented by General Tire. The race served as the season opener for the racing series in 2016 and will serve as ARCA’s 64th season of competitive racing. Two different drivers dominated the 80-lap race with one of those scoring the win.

John Wes Townley will leave the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway with his second career Lucas Oil 200 victory. Townley shuffled the lead all afternoon with Cole Custer in his No. 05 Zaxby’s Chevrolet. The Georgia native led the final 30 laps of the race after passing Will Kimmel on the final restart on lap 48.

“We had it planned out from the beginning and very rarely at these racetracks does it ever work out as planned,” said one happy John Wes Townley after the race. He later commented on drivers not using the outside line in the closing laps. “I was a little worried to begin with that when I pull down there that they were going to search for it but it ended up working out for us. And from there we played that to our advantage for the rest of the night”

William Byron found himself in the runner-up position when the checkered flag waved after 80-laps of racing. Byron, making his third career ARCA start, came into the day looking to learn as he will run next Friday’s Nextra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona. The second-place finish ties his best career finish in the series at Lucas Oil Raceway Park last season. Byron finished 0.209 seconds behind the race winner.

Kyle Weatherman had some work to do behind the wheel of his No. 58 machine after starting the race in 32nd. Weatherman will leave Daytona with his 16th career top five and 24th top 10 finish in the series. The Missouri native entered the weekend looking to capture his second career ARCA Racing Series win.

Pole sitter Cole Custer took his No. 54 Haas Automation Chevrolet to a 10th-place finish after leading nearly the first half of the race. Custer would then have to pit for fuel after the caution on lap 44 involving the No. 25 of Tom Hessert. He would then restart in 13th and would only gain three more spots in the final 32 laps.

POS

DRIVER

1

John Wes Townley

2

William Byron

3

Kyle Weatherman

4

Chase Briscoe

5

Frank Kimmel

6

Bo LeMastus

7

Kevin Thomas Jr.

8

Willie Mullins

9

Gray Gaulding

10

Cole Custer

 

The start of the Lucas Oil 200 became very hairy after the field came around the tri-oval for the first time of the day. A 10-car wreck started that took out six-time Lucas Oil 200 winner Bobby Gerhart. The wreck also included Terry Jones, Jairo Avila, Shane Lee, Austin Wayne Self, Gus Dean, Cole Powell and Mark Thompson. Another multi-car wreck occurred about 18 laps later that involved Matt Kurzejewski, Mark Thompson, Dylan Lupton and Derrick Lancaster.

The ARCA Racing Series will take a two-month hiatus. Their next race will take place at Nashville Fairgrounds on April 9. Fans can follow live coverage of the event on ARCARacing.com as no television coverage will be available.   

Gianmarco Ercoli Solid In New Smyrna Debut

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Published in Racing News
Saturday, 13 February 2016 12:09
Gianmarco Ercoli, the 2015 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series ELITE 2 Division Champion, finished a positive 11th in his debut in the Pro Late Model Division at the New Smyrna Speedway on Friday, February 12.

He entered the race thanks to the Nexteer Road to Daytona Program, the program built by NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and Nexteer Automotive to bring European drivers to race in NASCAR in the United States.

After a day of testing with NASCAR legend Mike Skinner as coach on Thursday, The 20-year-old Italian showed a good pace in practice, posting the 9th and 7th fastest times in the two sessions. Finding the limit in qualifying with two flying laps is always tricky, but he went on to earn a good 13th place on the grid in the opening night of the World Series Of Asphalt Racing.

Ercoli battled with a tight racecar during the race, but smartly coped with the situation, bringing home a solid 11th place finish that bodes extremely well for his future.

“All in all, it was a good race and a fantastic experience. It is a shame not have managed to express our potential in the race, but I learnt a lot and I hope to go back to States soon and build on this result,” said the Rome-native. “Many thanks to the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and Nexteer Automotive for this opportunity! Now we’ll focus on the EuroNASCAR season, I can’t wait for Valencia!”

Ercoli will now head back to Europe to focus on the 2016 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season, as he aims to take another step in his NASCAR career by moving to the ELITE 1 Division, at the wheel of the #9 Double T by MRT Nocentini Ford Mustang. The first event of the season will take place on April 23-24 at Valencia, Spain, where Ercoli won his first career race in 2015.

NASCAR PR

SCOTT® Brand Products Extends ARCA Sponsorship Program

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Published in Racing News
Saturday, 13 February 2016 11:39
Kimberly-Clark and its line of SCOTT® Brand Products, announced today the continuation of their sponsorship with the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards for 2016. 
 
Kimberly-Clark and Menards have grown their strong business partnership through the sponsorship of the ARCA Racing Series since 2013. Kimberly-Clark is an official company sponsor of the Series, and will continue to be the entitlement sponsor of an ARCA Racing Series event, to be announced in the near future.
 
"We are excited to be back as an official ARCA Racing Series partner alongside Menards this year," said Kimberly Brown, Customer Marketing Manager for Kimberly-Clark Professional. "This program has proven to be a successful sales and marketing initiative for our business over the past three years, and we look forward to continued success in 2016."
 
The sponsorship also includes naming rights to the "SCOTT® Rookie Challenge", ARCA's Rookie of the Year awards program for eligible rookie contenders. The 2016 SCOTT® Rookie Challenge will kick off with the annual ARCA race event at Daytona International Speedway, the Lucas Oil 200 Saturday, February 13.
 
As part of the SCOTT® Rookie Challenge, first-year ARCA competitors will compete for per-race cash bonus awards, as well as the year-end SCOTT® Rookie Challenge bonus of $10,000.
 
Last season, SCOTT® Rookie of the Year Kyle Weatherman put in a dominating performance during the season, earning the top rookie honors despite only competing in 15 of the 20 events.
 
"Many ARCA Racing Series rookies have developed into successes at numerous levels of racing. We are proud to have the SCOTT® Brand aligned with those drivers, the next group of young stars as they rise in their careers," said Mark Gundrum, VP of Business Development and Corporate Partnerships for ARCA.  

ARCA Racing PR

Local Support Propels Brett Hudson Back To Daytona

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Published in Racing News
Saturday, 13 February 2016 09:03

A year ago at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Brett Hudson earned a career-best finish third in the Lucas Oil 200.

The finish brought the feelings, joys and emotions that the historic track is meant to bring, even if was a few positions shy of celebrating in Victory Lane with a showering champagne spray.

Fast forward 12 months later clinging to the emotions of the brisk February day, Hudson and his Brett Hudson Motorsports (BHM) team are praying that history repeats itself.

With an entourage of local support from his native town of Owensboro, Kentucky, Hudson kicked off Speedweeks 2016 ARCA style on Thursday afternoon with two hours of practice for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.

The No. 15 Howard’s Post Frame Buildings / Hudson Machine Shop Dodge Charger was one of the first vehicles to take the green flag to officially kick off the season. With veteran support on the spotters standing from Kevin Huffines and ARCA winning crew chief John Hayden, Hudson quickly proved the team had equal speed from 2015.

Quickly bolting inside the top-10, the team elected to make a few more solid solo and light drafting runs before calling their day complete with Hudson finishing the day 20th quickest overall, well within the safe zone.

“We have a good car,” Hudson said. “That’s not surprising, because we knew coming back to Daytona we would be in good shape. We didn’t want to take the risk of tearing the car up, so we played our strategy and did it well and we’ll focus on Friday’s qualifying session.”

With group qualifying expected to play a crucial role in the starting position for the Owensboro, Kentucky native, Hudson said that partners will be the winning piece of the puzzle.

“We just have to align ourselves correctly, even if it’s not the cars we necessarily wanted to work with, but we’ll take what we have,” Hudson explained. “These Ilmor 396 motors get up to speed pretty quickly compared to the open motors and with little time to qualify compared to last year, it’s important for us to get after it – I’m just hoping it all works out and we can start somewhere in the top-10.”

Unlike last year where BHM was one of the few teams that opted to utilize the new-highly anticipated Ilmor 396 spec engine, the team was able to acquire one in the last couple of weeks and the 28-year-old noticed a different right away.

“It’s amazing what that Ilmor motor can do,” he sounded. “Last year, we knew that we were giving up some to stay with the open motor, but we were hoping that if we worked the draft right and let the race play out, we would be fine. And, we were.  But, we also realized that in order to have a better shot at winning – you need to have the Ilmor 396. We have one and for that we’re glad.”

And while a win in Saturday afternoon’s Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire would be the biggest win of his racing career, Hudson says the triumph would go deeper than that.

“Man, we’ve been doing this for a long time and we’ve had a lot of support, which has made us like family,” Hudson explained. “It seems year after year, we are fortunate enough to gain more local support. It’s like one big family from Owensboro. It’s a cool thing. And a win at Daytona would be something, everything I’ve wanted to do in my racing career. That’s why we are here.”

Group qualifying was held Friday afternoon with Hudson posting the 27th quickest time overall earning that starting position for the 80-lap event.

In addition to Howard’s Post Frame Buildings and Hudson Machine Shop, Tim Pedley Truck & Trailer Repair Garage, Tommy Fischer, Fischer’s Towing, Mayfield Hodges Collision Repair, Hardy Brake & Electric, DMC Graphics, Jr’s Automotive, Sam Estes Painting, Bobby’s Truck & Trailer and Harley’s Auto Service.

In 32 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards starts, Hudson has produced four top-fives including a career best of third at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in 2015 and 13 top-10 finishes overall. Hudson has one career ARCA pole coming at Salem (Ind.) Speedway in 2005 driving the No. 62 Hudson Machine Shop Chevrolet.

The Lucas Oil 200 presented by General Tire (80 Laps / 200 Miles) is the first of 20 races on the 2015 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. The preamble for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ “Sprint Unlimited” is set to take the green flag on Saturday, February 13 shortly after 4:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1, while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities.

Brett Hudson PR

Saturday’s ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season opening Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire marks the beginning of Venturini Motorsports 34th year of series competition. Looking to duplicate their 2013 Daytona victory, the team returns to the beach with a three team effort led by 18-year old rookie William Byron who’s 188.139 mph (47.837) qualifying lap was second quickest behind pole sitter Cole Custer. Byron, driving the No.55 Liberty University Toyota, is making his third overall series start and first on the high banks of Daytona.

“We were fourth in the pack and I got a good run with Cole (Custer) behind me for our first fast lap,” Byron said. “We’re starting on the outside for the race. Hopefully, we can get in line early and stay with the fast pack. The outside line might hold up for awhile…it just depends on how the race goes.”

Byron’s teammate Tom Hessert, driving the No.25 Florida Lottery – Bullet Products Toyota, challenged the front row starters with a fast lap of 187.848 mph (47.911) good enough for fourth place on the starting grid of 40-cars. Hessert signed with Venturini during the off-season and will compete for the series championship in 2016. Mark Thompson qualified 18th driving his No.66 Phoenix Air Toyota.

Nine groups with five cars in each pack posted time and speed with no on-track incidents. Each group had four minutes to work with. Qualifying groups were determined by combining both practice sessions from Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.

The 53rd annual Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire at Daytona is live on Fox Sports 1 on Saturday, February 13 at 4:00 p.m. EST and precedes NASCAR’s same-night Sprint Unlimited.

VMS PR

Rev Racing Season Opener at New Smyrna

Written by
Published in Racing News
Friday, 12 February 2016 16:39
When K&N drivers take the green flag at New Smyrna for the inaugural race of the 2016 season, it will mark a new era for Rev Racing. With three fresh faces competing in the NKNPSE for Rev Racing in 2016, we welcome new talent to continue the momentum from last season’s finisher victory at Dover International Speedway. Leading the charge for Rev Racing will be Collin Cabre, the sole returnee from last year’s NKNPSE roster.
 
Collin Cabre (No. 2 UTI/NTI Toyota): After an impressive first year with D4D, finishing the season with a win at Dover International Speedway and multiple finishes in the top-10, the 22-year-old from Tampa will again compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
 
Rubén Garcia Jr. (No. 6 NTI/Special Smiles Toyota): At age 20, the Mexico City native won four races in the NASCAR Mexico Series en route to his first NASCAR championship. He brings his talents to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East for his rookie season with Rev Racing.
 
Jairo Avila (No. 42 Brialle Battery Toyota): The 20-year-old Colombian-American from Alhambra, Calif. made his NASCAR K&N Pro Series West debut in 2014 and achieved four top-10 finishes in five starts with his family-run team. He will compete in the K&N Pro Series East.
 
Ali Kern (No. 4 MSI Toyota):
The 22-year-old from Fremont, Ohio had her best NASCAR D4D Combine last year after turning in strong performances in previous combine events. A second-place finisher in the ARCA/CRA Super Series, Kern will compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
 
Under Rev Racing owner and CEO Max Siegel’s leadership, NASCAR D4D aligns drivers with a team of executives, athletic directors, crew chiefs and mentors tasked with helping drivers achieve career successes. “This year's NASCAR Drive for Diversity class is extremely talented. We are excited to get the season started at New Smyrna,” said Siegel. “Our ultimate goal is to prepare these minority and female drivers for success at the K&N level and eventually the national series. Every year presents new opportunities for growth and we look forward to carrying over last season’s momentum into 2016.”
 
From the Drive for Diversity Program’s start, Rev Racing has had 17 wins, 63 top-5, and 120 top-10 finishes in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, with drivers finishing in the top-10 in points in every season.
 
Rev Racing will get back to the track on Sunday, February 14th, 2016 at New Smyrna Speedway. Qualifying will begin at 6:00pm, followed by the autograph session at 7:00 pm and the Jet Tools 150 at 8:00 pm EST.

Rev Racing PR
After wrecking both superspeedway cars in the open test less than a month ago, Kimmel Racing had to go into scramble mode to prepare a car in time for Saturday's 53rd running of the Lucas Oil 200 Driven By General Tire at Daytona Int'l Speedway.

Today, the Clarksville, Indiana-based team scrambled right to the top of the leader board in final practice Friday morning. 

"This is really a moral win for me and dad (Bill Kimmel, Jr.)," Kimmel said. "It's been a long three weeks."

Kimmel, in the No. 69 E3 Spark Plugs-SO Contracting-SCCY Chevrolet, circled the 2.5-mile superspeedway in 47.543 seconds, for an average speed of 189.302 mph. The speed that Kimmel put up was the exact same speed that rookie Chase Briscoe put up as the fastest speed in practice Thursday. Ironically, it was Briscoe who helped get Kimmel to the top of the board.

"Chase Briscoe and the guys from Cunningham Motorsports were committed to helping us today. They got behind me and pushed us up there. The car was good...it's a good piece. We had no idea what to expect from a car we had never been on the track with. You just don't know until you get here. We like it so far. I want to thank my sponsors E3 Spark Plugs, SO Contracting and SCCY."

Kimmel's career-best finish at Daytona was third in 2012.

Briscoe, fastest in practice Thursday, was second on the charts at 189.266 mph in the No. 77 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge.

"We definitely learned some things between yesterday and today," Briscoe said. "We figured out how to time our runs better. We figured out when it's best to suck up and get the most out of it. I even got to practice pit stops today...that's something I'm not used to. Sprint cars don't make pit stops."

Briscoe's Cunningham Motorsports teammate Kevin Thomas, Jr. was third fastest.

"We learned quite a bit today in a short amount of time...it was very helpful," Thomas said.

"We sucked up better today than we were yesterday. Paul (Andrews/crew chief) made some changes and it worked a lot better today. I learned that it's going to be key to have a teammate on your side."

Both Briscoe and Thomas are making their superspeedway/Daytona debuts.

Tom Hessert, in the No. 25 Florida Lottery Toyota, was fourth fastest at 188.810 mph. John Wes Townley, the 2013 Daytona winner, was fifth at 188.675 mph in the No. 05 Zaxby's Chevrolet.

Menards Pole Qualifying is next at 3:30 p.m. ET Friday afternoon. Follow it on Live Timing and Scoring and Live Chat at arcaracing.com.

The 53rd annual Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona is live on FS1 Saturday, February 13 and precedes NASCAR's same-night Sprint Unlimited. ARCAracing.com will feature live timing and scoring and live chat for all on-track activities.

ARCA Racing PR
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