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Racing News from around the World
“I’ve officially finished my freshman year at Iowa State and we’re ready to really get after it,” said the 18-year-old driver from Lakeville, Minnesota. “First up on our schedule now is heading down to Cedar Rapids for the season-opener at Hawkeye Downs on Saturday afternoon. It’s just a regular show for their late models, but we’re looking to use it in preparation for when the Big 8 Series heads back there in a few weeks (for the June 3 ‘Clash at the Downs’).”
In his only start so far this season, Ostdiek qualified fifth (of 30 cars) and finished sixth in the April 17 Spring Classic Big-8 Late Model battle at Rockford Speedway.
“It was only two weeks after we learned we had been added to the KDDP (Kulwicki Driver Development Program) roster and we hoped to have a good run wearing their decals and patches for the first time,” said Ostdiek. “When you consider that our power steering went out early in the feature and we held on to finish sixth, it was a pretty solid showing. It was my best finish in three races there.
“One of the coolest things that happened that weekend was that so many of the Big 8 regulars and all the fans had picked up on the news that we were now one of the seven KDDP drivers,” Ostdiek said. “So many of the folks look to Speed51.com in getting their racing news and it was gratifying to see how many people were coming up to congratulate us for making the program. It was a really big deal for us, but also great to have one of the series regulars being among the seven drivers.
“What was extra special to me personally is that the announcer (Eric Huenefeld) was on the PA system referring to me as ‘the Kulwicki Kid’ and then others began picking up on it and calling me that. With a name like Michael Ostdiek, there’s not much that rhymes so I’ve never really had any nicknames. If it’s ‘Kulwicki Kid’ that sticks with me as my nickname, I’ll be flattered. I’m truly honored to be a part of the program and I am doing all I can to learn as much as possible about Alan. I want to represent him and the KDDP in a manner that he would be proud of.”
As for his challenge this weekend at Hawkeye Downs, Saturday’s race will mark Ostdiek’s third start on the half-mile oval. He already has fond memories of competing on Eastern Iowa’s premiere motorsports venue.
“My first trip there was back in my rookie year and I finished a strong third,” said Ostdiek. “The very next night we made the haul back up to Elko and won my first limited late model feature. We went back there for the Big 8 feature last year. It was the very next day after I graduated from high school. We qualified sixth and finished sixth in the qualifying dash. We were competitive the entire race and finished 11th.”
Ostdiek’s schedule for the remainder of the 2016 season will see him run races on at least eight tracks including Rockford, Hawkeye Downs, Elko, Madison, State Park, Wisconsin International and LaCrosse.
“We finished fourth in the Big 8 points last season, so we’ll be running all their races this year, plus we’re looking to add races in TUNDRA and ARCA Midwest Series competition,” said the former Elko Speedway Driver of the Year and 2015 NASCAR Whelen All American Series Minnesota Rookie of the Year. “Plus, we have several tracks we’ve never raced on that we hope to make it to this season. We want to do some traveling over in Wisconsin and race at tracks like Marshfield, Golden Sands and Slinger.
“The additional funding from the KDDP will allow us to add more races this year,” said Ostdiek. “I am proud of the progress we continue to show. We’re more competitive every time we return to a track and our fan base is really growing. When our season is over, I hope we’ve been able to win races and get the consistency going where we’re looked at as serious threats to win every time out. We want to leave a favorable impression as to what our future holds and have the KDDP and the other sponsors proud of what we’ve accomplished.”
All of which are realistic and reachable goals for racing’s new “Kulwicki Kid.”
"She has impressed me and a lot of people here at one of the toughest short tracks on the east coast. She's got as much talent and desire as any racer we have worked with and we have worked with some of the biggest names in the sport" This is high praise coming from one of the biggest names in late model racing.
Amber Balcaen PR
BRANDed Management PR
When Chris Ragle addressed a sea of CARS Tour competitors at SRI Performance a little over a year ago, he promised better use of technology in all facets of the new series and, so far, has yet to disappoint. The latest step in the technological train, a dedicated CARS Tour channel for Roku®, was promised for the first part of the 2016 season and is now available.
What is Roku? Roku is a device that connects traditional television sets to the internet and allows users to access content from all their favorite providers such as Netflix, Hulu and now the CARS Tour. In 2015, Roku streamed 5.5 billion hours of content and ended the year with 9 million monthly active accounts. Roku streaming players are available in most popular retail stores such as Walmart and Best Buy and also come bundled with some newer TVs. In other words, Roku has now put the excitement and thrills of the CARS Racing Tour into nearly 10 million households.
"There's no question this is the wave of the future," said Chris Ragle, director of operations for the CARS Tour. "More and more people are 'cutting the cord' and transitioning to devices like Roku for their entertainment, and we're thrilled to now be part of that product offering. We quietly did a soft launch around a week ago to iron out any bugs and get initial feedback, and already over 1200 accounts have installed CARS Tour TV. I think that's pretty impressive."
The free CARS Tour TV channel for Roku can be found by visiting the channel store and searching for "CARS Tour TV." For a limited time, it will also be available in the "new channel" and similar listings within Roku. The channel features hours of content including on-track racing action, the new CARS Tour Today magazine show, on-board segments, post-race reactions and other original content as produced by Pit Row Media.
"We tried to make this simple to use and entertaining while also showcasing the series," said Tony Stevens of Pit Row Media, the group who worked with the CARS Tour to develop the channel and the series' digital media presence. "We have more things planned for the future, but we want to take baby steps first. As the logistics with providers evolve, we will expand the in-channel content for CARS Tour fans, so the possibilities will be endless as time goes on. Roku was our first choice to launch for various reasons, one of which is the fact that it is the most popular service on the market."
The CARS Tour joins the NHRA and USAC as one of very few racing series to have a dedicated Roku channel available and is the first major stock car series of any type to have one.
Stars from the CARS Tour hit the track again this Saturday night for the Hickory Soup Kitchen Race to End Hunger 250 at the legendary Hickory Motor Speedway. Tickets are only $20 and the show begins at 7pm. Advance tickets may be purchased through the Hickory Soup Kitchen where five dollars of every ticket sold through the organization is donated back to their efforts.
For more information on the CARS Racing Tour, visit their website at www.carsracingtour.com. Fans are encouraged to "like" the CARS Tour on Facebook in addition to following them on Twitter (@CARSTour) and Instagram (@CARS_Tour).
Fans looking to purchase a Roku device have a handful to choose from, the most recently-released and cost-effective being the new Roku Streaming Stick® designed for streamers who are looking for the ultimate in power and convenience in a sleek, pocket-sized form. Priced at just $49.99, it has 8x more processing power than its predecessor to get consumers to their favorite CARS Tour entertainment fast with smooth and responsive navigation. It’s also the first Roku device to offer private listening through the Roku Mobile App.
CARS Tour PR
The new 2016 NWES car perfectly lived up to the expectations surrounding its racing debut, giving drivers the perfect tool to put up four exciting races thanks to its improved handling and performances, as poleman Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) demonstrated by improving the qualifying track record. The new body, inspired from the US NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars, also delivered a modern and spectacular look, magnified by the teams’ efforts to present great-looking paint-schemes.
“The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series opener at Circuit Valencia had the best of everything: top drivers, beautiful race cars, enthusiastic fans, and exciting racing action,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president of touring and weekly series. “This is shaping up to be another outstanding season of hard-fought competition and fun-filled events.”
“We are very proud of our sponsors, track-partners, teams and drivers”, said Jerome Galpin, President CEO NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. “Everybody has worked so hard this winter to make this season a success. Very few series have presented a grid mixing this field quantity and quality, as well as a very high international level as we did in Valencia. NASCAR continues definitely to grow in Europe to become one of the most exciting form of racing for fans, teams and drivers.”
Drift competitions, truck displays, cheerleaders, stuntmen and acrobatic bike shows, kids entertainment and live music were among the American-themed attractions that delighted the Spanish crowd in the third edition of the Valencia NASCAR Fest, together with the unparalleled access to drivers and teams that NWES grants to fans all over Europe.
“The Valencia NASCAR Fest has a great mix of ingredients to exalt its American flavour and it is a perfect product to work with and you can see the public loves it. It is entertainment for the entire family,” said Gonzalo Gobert, Circuit Ricardo Tormo Managing Director. “It is a pleasure to work with the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series to create this event.”
In the ELITE 1 Division Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) and Alon Day (#54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) reached the Victory Lane in Spain at the end of two incredibly tight 16-lap battles, run at qualifying pace, both edging a strong Frederic Gabillon (#3 Tepac RDV Compétition Ford Mustang) and Borja Garcia (#1 SPV Racing Ford Mustang), with at least six drivers from five different teams capable of winning until the closing stages of each round. A PK Carsport / CAAL Racing battle took place in the ELITE 2 division, as Stienes Longin (#11 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) prevailed in both races on Salvador Tineo Arroyo (#54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS), but the competition was so tight that on Sunday the Spaniard crossed the finish line just 33 one-thousandths of a second before his teammate Guillaume Deflandre (#56 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) and Hugo Bec (#3 Tepac RDV Compétition Ford Mustang) won the dash for fourth by 18 one-thousandths of a second over Roman Mavlanov (#15 Dexwet Renauer Team Ford Mustang), Martin Doubek (#5 Dexwet Renauer Team Ford Mustang) and Eric De Doncker (#98 Motorsport 98 Ford Mustang).
Representatives from NASCAR USA and series’ sponsors Whelen Engineering, Michelin, Nexteer Automotive, Dexwet and Knauf visited the Spanish event and witnessed the constant growth of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series both on and aroud the track, experiencing the unique relationship between the fans and the European NASCAR series.
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will return to action on May 15-16 for much anticipated Autospeedway American Style, the first oval race of the season at Raceway Venray the “Fastest Half Mile Oval In Europe” .
The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA) announced today that International Speedway Corporation (ISC) CEO Lesa France Kennedy will serve as honorary chairperson for its 28th Annual Induction Ceremony Presented by Bridgestone on June 29 in Daytona Beach.
Kennedy, also ISC’s vice chairperson and executive vice president/vice chairperson of NASCAR, will be part of an illustrious list of attendees for the hall of fame’s first induction ceremony in Daytona Beach since its recent move from Novi, Michigan to Daytona International Speedway. The MSHFA now will be housed in the Speedway’s ticket and tours facility that greets thousands of motorsports fans each year at the “World Center of Racing.”
The first phase of construction and development is expected to be completed by June. That completion will coincide with this year’s debut of the $400 million “DAYTONA Rising” project which has created the world’s first true motorsports stadium. The site for the induction ceremony will be announced in the near future.
“It will be a true honor to be involved in the very first Motorsports Hall of Fame of America induction ceremony in Daytona Beach,” said Kennedy, the granddaughter of Bill France Sr., founder of ISC and NASCAR. “We are proud to welcome the hall of fame to our community and to Daytona International Speedway. It’s a great fit with an exciting future in store for all of us.”
A seven-person class of 2016 inductees will enter the MSHFA: AMA motorcycle great Everett Brashear; NASCAR champion team owner Richard Childress; land and water speed-record legend Gary Gabelich; multi-discipline auto racing champion owner Chip Ganassi; NHRA announcing legend Dave McClelland; competitor and broadcaster extraordinaire Sam Posey; and 1955 Indianapolis 500 champion Bob Sweikert.
Raphaël Lessard PR
Bryan Clauson is used to running a lot of races, but this year he is taking that passion for racing to a new extreme as he looks to run a schedule consisting of 200 races.
Four of those races will take place this Friday and Saturday as he takes part in Eldora Speedway’s famous #LetRaceTwo, featuring the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car series and the national sprint cars from the United States Auto Club (USAC).
Tickets are just $28 each night, with kids 12 under getting in for free. Admission gates will open at 2 p.m. (EDT), with hot laps 6 p.m. and a complete racing program beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be bought at www.EldoraSpeedway.com, by phone at (937) 338-3815 or at the box office at the race track.
“Whether they were winged, non-winged, Midget, it didn’t really matter,” Clauson said. “I just wanted to go run them. It’s a balance of making sure you’re at all the races you want to be, but to get to that number, there’s a lot of nights where you need to double up like this weekend at Eldora. It’s kind of a balance of making sure you hit marquee events, making sure you hit your numbers, and also then making sure you do it in a way that makes sense for your race team.”
Clauson has already run 45 races this year with 10 wins and 22 top five finishes. Now he brings his “Chasing 200 Tour: Circular Insanity” to the legendary Eldora Speedway.
“I’m excited,” Clauson said. “I love racing both my sprint cars, but to be able to race both of them at Eldora on the same night is going to be a lot of fun.”
While racing two different types of cars in the same night can come with its challenges and adjustments, Clauson is still able to take what he learns in one car and apply it to the other.
“It’s certainly quite a bit different,” he said. “But on the big tracks like Eldora, I actually think my wing racing really helps my non-wing racing because it’s all about keeping the car straight, not making mistakes and carrying as much speed as you can in the wing car. It slows the non-wing portion down so you feel a lot more on top of the car.”
Clauson, 26, from Noblesville, Indiana, is no stranger to success in open wheel racing, claiming more than 170 career wins across various divisions. He has more than 70 USAC wins, two USAC National Sprint Car Championships, two USAC National Midget Championships and three USAC National Drivers Championships. He’s also found victory lane a few times at Eldora including wins in the Four Crown Nationals in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
“I’m still a little bit new on the winged side of things, but I’ve finally got a year under my belt,” Clauson said. “Eldora’s a place that I haven’t necessarily had the best finishes, but I’ve had a lot of speed. We had the quick time at King’s Royal last summer, so we’re excited to be there. With the non-wing portion of it, I’m hungry for a win at Eldora. I’ve been close the last few times I’ve been there, but actually haven’t ever won a non-winged sprint car race there, so that’s something I’d certainly like to knock off the list this weekend.”
While Clauson’s attention is focused on Eldora this weekend, an event he will attempt to run later in May is also gaining a lot of attention.
On May 16, Clauson will head to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he will attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in the No. 88 Dale Coyne/Jonathan Byrd’s Racing entry. He has two starts in the race under his belt in 2012 and 2015, and he’s hoping that experience can help him earn a better finish this time around.
“It’s really exciting, especially since this is the year that everybody wants to race it,” Clauson said. “Not that there’s ever a year where everybody doesn’t want to run the Indy 500, but there’s obviously some added incentive to be there being the 100th running. There’s a lot of hype and excitement around the race this year, even more so than normal. I’m definitely excited to be a part of it.”
It will be the only INDYCAR race for Clauson this year, as he will return to sprints after the 500. Clauson also plans to return to Eldora later in the year for both the 33rd Kings Royal and the 35th Four Crown Nationals.
To follow Clauson’s success on his Chasing 200 Tour, you can visit his website at www.BryanClauson.com.
Eldora Speedway PR
Venturini Motorsports (VMS) and Jake Griffin Racing jointly announced today the pairing for two ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards races in the No. 15 Toyota Camry.
The Quincy, Illinois native will make his debut on Aug. 21 in the running of the Central Illinois SuperChevyStores.com 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Two weeks later, he’ll return to the seat at the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds for the annual Labor Day weekend General Tire Grabber 100 tradition on Sunday, Sept. 4.
“I’m excited to take this take leap in my racing career by pairing with Venturini Motorsports for the dirt races later this summer,” said Griffin. “We didn’t give it much thought when we decided that we wanted to take the next step. Venturini Motorsports’ record in the ARCA Racing Series speaks for itself and I hope I’ll able to contribute to it at Springfield and DuQuoin.”
Considering his background in dirt track racing, the 17-year-old feels like he’ll be right at home, despite the varying difference between an ARCA car and what he’s accustomed to on a weekly basis.
“Yeah, there’s a big difference, but I’m eager to experience the dirt in a stock car,” offered Griffin. “I’ve made plenty of laps in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Eldora, but the format for ARCA is completely different, but I’ll think I’ll adjust fine. The team knows what they are doing on dirt and I’m confident with the help of my teammates we can put our cars near the front.”
With the addition of the ARCA Racing Series to his resume and once he takes the green flag in Aug., the rising star will have competed in at least 17 different racing sanctions with an impressive resume that boasts many wins and several podium finishes. Some of those sanctioning bodies include: ARCA / CRA, IMCA, NASCAR, PCA, USAC, UMP and USRA.
“I’ve been fortunate to be able to racing around the United States with success,” added Griffin. “Without the help of my family and sponsors though, none of this would be possible. Hopefully, our ARCA experience will be something that is not only beneficial but proves that I’m taking the right path in my racing career. I’d definitely like to explore more options of running more ARCA races in 2016 or 2017.”
Sponsorship for Griffin’s ARCA races will be announced at a later date.
Follow Jake Griffin on Twitter @JakeGriffin08 or visit jakegriffin.net.
Chad Finley is coming home.
After spending the past year or so in the heart of NASCAR country, Mooresville, North Carolina, Chad Finley has returned to his home base of Dewitt, Michigan where he and his family-owned Chad Finley Racing (CFR) have set sights on a limited schedule in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.
Finley, who last competed on the tour in 2010 will return to the series’ for an open-test session at his hometown track of Michigan International Speedway in three weeks, while returning for the Corrigan Oil 200 on Jun. 10 aboard the No. 51 Auto Value Certified Centers / Air Lift Company Toyota Camry.
Finley’s father, Jeff, the team manager, recently acquired their equipment from Sandusky, Ohio’s ThorSport Racing, the 2013 ARCA Racing Series champions.
Veteran industry leader Bruce Cook also has joined CFR to serve as crew chief.
“I am really pumped to do some ARCA Racing Series racing this year,” said Chad Finley who owns 10 ARCA starts overall. “We have been building some really nice cars and they are just about complete and ready to go. Bruce (Cook) has been great to work with in the shop. Working side-by-side with each other hopefully will help speed up our communication process at the track.
“In addition to ARCA, we are going to do some of our Late Model races when time and funding allow us too. I’m also going to run my Uncle Doug’s dirt car, so that will be very cool to keep me fresh and learn more and more as well.”
Finley will also compete at Lucas Oil Raceway on Jul. 22, Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 15 and the season-finale at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 14. Finley will also throwback to his No. 42 scheme for the coveted Late Model event at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway on Jun. 12.
For the elder Finley, the trial in North Carolina wasn’t an experience they regret, but realized more could be accomplished within their own perimeter.
“For us it’s just a wise business move,” offered Jeff Finley. “With the budget we have to work with it is just not cost effective to operate a shop down there. We purchased some ARCA cars from ThorSport. When I got there and got the tour and seen how they operate and it got me thinking. Just like drivers there are race mechanics and hardworking people up here that want a chance in the upper ranks of the sport and hopefully we can make that happen for a few of those soon.
“Chad has a lot of talent not only behind the wheel but in the shop as well. While he lived there he learned a tremendous amount more of technology. This will help make are move to run some ARCA races and build a few cars much easier. We have also added veteran championship and winning crew chief Bruce Cook to our team for the ARCA races we will be running. He possesses a tremendous amount of knowledge on these big cars so we are looking forward to that.”
Despite running a limited schedule, Chad Finley emphasized the importance of unloading strong at the Michigan International Speedway test – but also backing it up for the team’s debut. Thankfully, they have ARCA experience at the 2.0-mile oval. In 2010, he finished seventh after starting 18th in the Racing for Wildlife 200.
Joining Auto Value Certified Service Centers will be The Airlift Company, long-time supporters of CFR.
“As many would expect, Michigan is very important to me,” Chad Finley added. “It’s important for any driver. But it’s important for us, because not only do I consider Michigan my hometown track, but a lot of our sponsors are from the area as well. It’s been six years since I ran an ARCA race there, but I have experience last year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, so I’m hoping that will be somewhat beneficial to us in a few weeks.”
Jeff Finley, who competed in ARCA during the 1990s and scored a popular win at the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds driving for team owner Ed Rensi agrees.
“We are truly grateful to our long term marketing partners Auto Value Certified Service Centers and The Airlift Company that help us in trying to achieve our goals,” he said. I believe in the direction we are headed and expect some more positive things to come our way over the next few years for sure. We are working hard to make sure we come out of the gate strong and can build and maybe add some more races before the season is done. We’ll take it one step at a time and just see how it goes.”
In 10 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards starts between 2009 and 2010 all for Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR), Chad Finley has mounted three top-fives and six top-10 finishes, including a pole at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway in 2009. Finley’s career-best finish is third, twice, including his most recent ARCA race at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway in Oct. 2010.
Follow Chad Finley on Twitter @Chad_Finley.