Steven B. Wilson

Steven B. Wilson

Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest

NASCAR® is collaborating with Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh on a feature film entitled Logan Lucky, starring Channing Tatum alongside Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Adam Driver and Seth MacFarlane. Depicting a theoretical heist at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the project will mark Soderbergh’s first feature film since announcing his retirement from the film industry in 2013. Soderbergh, who also directed heist film Ocean’s Eleven, is best known for his work on the critically acclaimed Traffic and Erin Brockovich, which garnered him two Oscar nominations and the accolade of Best Director.

This will not be Tatum’s first experience working with NASCAR or Soderbergh. He and 22 Jump Street co-star Jonah Hill served as grand marshals for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ Pocono 400 in 2014, while Tatum and Soderbergh previously teamed up for the Magic Mike films, Haywire and the 2013 thriller Side Effects, which was the most recent film project led by the acclaimed director.

"We are excited to work with Steven, Channing and all of Logan Lucky’s incredible cast and producers," said Zane Stoddard, NASCAR vice president of entertainment marketing and content development. "It’s a big-hearted, fun story that showcases NASCAR and Charlotte Motor Speedway as the world-class sports entertainment property and venue that they are, much like the Bellagio in Steven’s Ocean’s Eleven."

Logan Lucky is tentatively scheduled for release in Fall 2017. Mark Johnson, Gregory Jacobs and Reid Carolin are producing. Zane Stoddard is executive producing for NASCAR.

Pre-production filming will begin this weekend at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600, which airs live on FOX at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 29.


On the heels of yesterday's historic sellout announcement, Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials unveiled the 2017 Indy 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil logo today alongside an exciting "Race to Renew" campaign for current ticketholders. 

The red, white and blue logo captures the patriotic nature of America's greatest Memorial Day Weekend tradition and projects the forward motion that drives both the Indy 500 and the Verizon IndyCar Series onward. 

"This has been a year of growth and opportunity for the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles said. "The 100th Running has been a powerful reminder that the Indy 500 will always be so much more than just a race. The challenge and opportunity for the 101st Running is to ensure this momentum fuels progress in 2017 and beyond. I'm confident we'll get the job done." 

The buildup for the 101st Running starts with "Race to Renew." Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, May 30, fans will have 500 hours to purchase their tickets for the 2017 Indy 500. Those who do so will be able to lock in their current seats at the most recent price or be first in line for upgrades. They will also receive a number of other benefits including: 

  • A commemorative 2016 Indy 500 DVD
  • IMS concert pre-sale access
  • Special insider access to events and experiences
  • Commemorative tickets and packaging (reorders only)
  • Access to a party 101 days out

"Hundreds of thousands of fans know the Indy 500 is the only place to be on Memorial Day Weekend," Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said. "'Race to Renew' is the best way to ensure our current ticketholders, both newcomers and veterans, can lock in their seats and apply for upgrades first. I'm confident the 101st Running is a race they won't want to miss." 

The "Race to Renew" reaches the finish line on June 8 at 8 p.m. More information can be found at

Click here to see a video explanation of the 101st Running logo and click here to watch the official "Race to Renew" promo video. 


Tom Hessert, a native of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, will return to action this weekend at his home race track competing in Saturday’s Unique Pretzels 150 at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP).

NJMP, located within an hour drive of Hessert’s hometown, would be a special place for the 30-year old driver to earn his sixth career ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards victory.

“It’s always great to return to New Jersey,” said Hessert. “It’s my home track and we’ve come really close to winning the last couple of seasons. I can’t think of anything better than winning on a road course in front of our hometown fans.”

Hessert, a nine year series veteran, will be the only driver in Saturday's ARCA field to have raced in every New Jersey event since the inaugural race in 2008.

Adding to his desire to win on a road course is the fact Hessert’s father, Tom II, is a decorated racer who has won countless road course events during his career including winning the prestigious 24 Hours of Daytona three times. Since 2007, Hessert had made eight career starts at NJMP, finishing second twice (2013 & 2015) and recording 4 top-five finishes overall.

Hessert, who drives the No.25 Venturini Motorsports Toyota, enters the weekend third in the ARCA Series championship point standings.

The ARCA 150 presented by Unique Pretzels at New Jersey Motorsports Park is Saturday, May 28, marking ARCA’s ninth consecutive trip to the state-of-the-art facility in Millville, N.J. The ARCA 150 will also mark the first leg of ARCA’s prestigious Bill France 4 Crown championship, which represents ARCA’s diverse schedule of events. The NJMP road course joins Lucas Oil Raceway (paved short track), the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds dirt-mile and Chicagoland Speedway as part of the Bill France 4 Crown in 2016.


Smithley headed for Charlotte

Published in Xfinity Series News
Thursday, 26 May 2016 10:20
After several strong races in a row, Garrett Smithley returns to the cockpit of the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller No. 0 Chevrolet in Saturday’s Hisense 4K TV 300 Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Smithley will be sponsored by Instalco and Hero Box in Saturday’s 300-miler, the 11th race of the Xfinity season.

In the past three Xfinity races, Smithley has finished 20th, 12th and 24th. It’s his rookie season in the series.

“We’ve had really good cars lately, and we’ve put together some good runs,” Smithley said. “I’m looking forward to Charlotte, a track I like a lot, and seeing what we can do there.”

Smithley has raced in the Camping World Truck Series at CMS.


On the heels of his career-best NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) finish two weeks ago at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, team owner and driver B.J. McLeod looks to carry the much welcomed momentum in Saturday afternoon’s Hisense 4K TV 300 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

In fact, the last two NASCAR races have been full of success for the 32-year-old avid racer.

Before earning his first top-20 of the season at Dover, McLeod wrestled his No. 07 SS Green Light Racing Chevrolet Silverado to a career-best truck series finish of 15th at Kansas Speedway earlier this month.

The recent spike of on-track results has given the Wauchula, Florida native a positive outlook heading into the 11th race of the season and his third start at Charlotte’s 1.5-mile speedway oval.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have two really good pieces to drive at Kansas and Dover,” said McLeod. “Both teams have worked incredibly hard not only to put a competitive car on the track, but also their faith in my ability as a driver to make the most of it.

“Dover was a blast. I had never been there in an XFINITY car before, but it’s something I won’t soon forget. The car was really good from the moment we unloaded. We didn’t make a lot of changes. We missed the setup a little bit for qualifying, but when the race rolled around, we went forward.”

As an owner and driver on the XFINITY Series tour this season, McLeod doesn’t shy around the fact that at times he may not have raced as hard as he wanted too, but the team’s overall performance at Dover instantly proved that their concessions are now paying off.

“We had to be conservative at times to make sure we made it to the checkered flag, now that we have some breathing room, we’re able to make some gambles,” added McLeod. “At Dover, the car was just really good. We adjusted, the car reacted and we found ourselves finishing in the top-20.

“This weekend at Charlotte is a huge race with a lot of heavy hitters, but we’re still going there with the intentions of backing up what we delivered at Dover. A top-20 is for sure realistic, but I think our main goal is to keep going to the track and making gains and tallying points. As long as we continue to do that, we’re doing good.”

After having NASCAR veteran Travis Kvapil as a teammate for the last three XFINITY Series races, Cody Ware will pilot the No. 15 JJ Aim Right Gun Shop Ford Mustang in a collaborative effort with Rick Ware Racing (RWR).

“Travis really did a lot over the last couple of weeks to help both programs and he’ll be back, but I’m excited to work with Cody again,” he added. “Cody brings a lot of ideas to the table as well as positive vibes both in and outside the garage. He’ll be making his Charlotte debut this week, so I look forward to chatting with him and helping him where I can.”

Veteran industry crew chief George (David) Ingram Jr. will call the shots for the No. 78 B.J. McLeod Motorsports Ford Mustang for the 11th race of the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series season.

BJ McLeod Motorsports PR

Preece ready for Charlotte debut

Published in Xfinity Series News
Thursday, 26 May 2016 10:18
Ryan Preece is ready for his first shot at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“Charlotte is a track I’ve heard and read about my whole life,” Preece said. “I’m really anxious to get there and get on the track and see what it’s like in a fast car.”

Preece will drive the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller No. 01 Flex Seal Chevrolet in Saturday’s Hisense 4K TV 300 at CMS.

The race will be Preece’s first on the 1.5-mile course.

Preece, in his Xfinity rookie season, is 18th in series points entering Saturday’s event.


Chastain ready for Charlotte

Published in Xfinity Series News
Thursday, 26 May 2016 10:17
After a weekend off, the NASCAR Xfinity Series returns this weekend with one of its biggest races of the season.

The Hisense 4K TV 300 is scheduled Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and Ross Chastain will be challenging the track in the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller No. 4 Dream Water Chevrolet.

“Every Xfinity race at Charlotte is a big deal because the track is so close to us and everybody wants to win there,” Chastain said. “I’ve raced there enough to where I feel like I have a really good grip on where I should be when, so I’m looking forward to giving the Dream Water Chevrolet a good ride this weekend.”

Chastain is 15th in Xfinity points entering the race. He has raced six times at CMS, a record that includes a ninth-place finish in a Camping World Truck Series race in 2013.


Set to make his fifth NASCAR XFINITY Series start of the season, Cody Ware will carry a new marketing partner for Saturday’s Hisense 4K TV 300 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

Entering into their first foray into NASCAR, Fort Mill, South Carolina-based JJ Aim Right Gun Shop will back the 20-year-old in the No. 15 Ford Mustang at his hometown track.

JJ Aim Right Gun Shop is based in a small, hometown store based in the heart of Fort Mill off Massey Street. Founded by owners Thom Nalley and James DeBus, the company is utilizing Saturday’s XFINITY Series race to not only bring additional exposure to their growing business, but also continue to educate the public on gun safety.

“This is a great opportunity for us to not only enter the NASCAR XFINITY Series, but partner with Rick and Cody Ware,” said co-founder Thom Nalley. “We hope that this experience will open new doors for us, while also have the opportunity to educate others on gun safety. We believe in Cody and his ability and look forward to a great race and a terrific finish for the No. 15 JJ Aim Right Gun Shop Ford.”

JJ Aim Right Gun Shop currently buys, sells and trades for used guns. They also stock new handguns, rifles and shotguns from most of the major manufacturers. In addition, they also offer a full line of accessories and ammunition as well as a limited stock of knives, including custom knives by local maker Chuck Taylor.

Through its partnership with Massey Mountain Training, JJ’s also offers basic to advanced gun safety training classes and CWP (Concealed Weapon Permit) classes for North and South Carolina.

“I’m excited to make my NASCAR XFINITY Series start at Charlotte with the support of JJ’s,” said Ware. “It’s always important to try to make the best of the opportunity to race at your hometown track and the guys have been really working hard on the car, so I’m anxious to see what we can do.”

Rick Ware Racing is celebrating its 25th anniversary of Motorsports competition and for car owner and father Rick Ware, the chance to have his son race during the season is adding to the legacy.

“I’m really proud of Cody,” said Ware. “He has fought for every opportunity to race and now he’s able to cross another track off his list with a start at Charlotte. It’s not an easy race by any means, but his determination is second to none and we’re going to go there this week and give it our best and hope for a solid finish in return.”

In addition to JJ Aim Right, Lilly Trucking, Carport Empire and Robin Builders will serve as associate marketing partners for Saturday’s event.

In a continued collaborative effort with B.J. McLeod Motorsports (BJMM), Jason Houghtaling will serve as a crew chief.

“We can’t thank B.J. and his team enough for their help this weekend,” said team principal Rick Ware. “They have been great to work with and I know they are just as eager as we are to get on the track and have a good finish.”

The Hisense 4K TV 300 (200 laps / 300 miles) is the 11th of 33 NASCAR XFINITY Series on the 2016 schedule. Practice begins on Thursday, May 26 from 3:30 p.m. – 4:25 p.m. A final practice has been etched in from 5:30 p.m. – 6:50 p.m. Qualifying is set for race day, Saturday, May 28 beginning at 11:15 a.m. The 40-car field will take the green flag shortly after 2:30 p.m. with live coverage on FOX Sports 1, the Performance Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90). All times are Eastern.   


It seems like an eternity since Young’s Motorsports and their young driver Reid Wilson have competed in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.  

That eternity though will come to an end this upcoming Monday when the duo returns to competition and sets their sights on Monday’s ComServe Wireless 150 at Dominion (Va.) Raceway aboard the No. 66 TruNorth Warranty Programs / MDA Summer Camp Chevrolet.

“It’s only been two months, but it feels like two years,” said Wilson who plans to compete in his third career K&N Pro Series East race on Memorial Day. “The break has been good for us though.

“We’ve been able to work a lot on our No. 66 TruNorth Warranty Programs / MDA Summer Camp Chevrolet and get it ready for this weekend. Andrew (Abbott, crew chief) has some good ideas on what to unload with, so I can’t wait to get there and start rolling.”

Wilson, the former X-1R Pro Cup Series standout has every right to be excited about getting back to the race track. In his most recent race at Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway on Easter weekend, Wilson stormed into the spotlight with a career-best sixth place finish in the Kevin Whitaker 150 on March 26.

But, it was more than just his finish that had his competitors yakking, it was Young’s relentless effort in his second career start. 

After qualifying 10th, Wilson gutted throughout the race at a track where passing is at a premium, not to mention extremely difficult – but forced his way through the field and simply ran out of laps to make a dent at the top-five competitors. Even with a cautiously-aggressive driving style, Wilson earned respect from his peers, something he’s wanted from day one.

“The Young’s Motorsports team is giving me equipment that I can compete with and we proved that at Greenville-Pickens,” Wilson explained. “It’s only one race, but it was a huge step for us in the right direction and we have the confidence that we can pick up where we left off this weekend at Dominion Raceway. To have a lot of people come up and congratulate us since Greenville has really meant a lot.”

Indeed, the Mooresville, North Carolina-based team has a lot to look forward to this weekend. Not knowing anything about the tight Dominion (Va.) Raceway, the team knows that they are in the same circumstances as their competitors with the track being a new fixture on the circuit.

“It’s a new track, so the playing field should be pretty equal,” added Wilson. “NASCAR has given the opportunity for a lot of practice on Saturday with an open test day and then some time on Sunday to dial the car in. That will be extremely beneficial. I expect the race to be similar to any other short track – where qualifying and staying up front will be important and of course – being around for the end. Something I feel like we’ve done great as a team has been able to adjust our No. 66 TruNorth Warranty Programs / MDA Summer Camp Chevrolet to the track conditions. I think you’ll see more of the same at Dominion.”

Young’s Motorsports team manager and owner Tyler Young says having Wilson around in the shop has not only brought the K&N team closer together – but also a contagious wave of energy.

“Reid has been awesome in the shop,” said Young, a full-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver. “He’s eager to learn and more than willing to give his two-cents about what we should do to make the car better. His input has made our K&N team better. We had a sixth our last time out at Greenville. It sure would be great to leave Dominion on Monday with another strong run.”

Continuing his support of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), Wilson will host kids from the Richmond MDA who suffer from neuromuscular diseases.

Before Wilson treks north for Virginia, he’ll attend Speed Street on Thursday, May 26 in uptown Charlotte where he’ll sign autographs from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

The ComServe Wireless 150 (150 laps / 60 miles) is the sixth of 14 races on the 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule. Practice is set for Sunday, May 29 from 3:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. A final practice session has been etched in from 4:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Qualifying is set for later in the day at 7:00 p.m. The event will take the green flag the next day after 3:00 p.m. (ET). The event will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on NBC Sports Network on Thursday, June 2 at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Young Motorsports PR

Donahue Learns from the Masters

Published in Speedway News
Thursday, 26 May 2016 07:39
Wildwood's Kevin Donahue took everything he learned after competing in last week's Champion Racing Oil Master of the Pro's 144 presented by Empire Energy special event as the 21 year took the lead from Terry Limberopolous on lap 5 and never looked back in grabbing his first O'Reilly Auto Parts Pro Late Model feature of 2016. Donahue became the 5th different 2016 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series PRO Late Model winner in action Saturday night at the "High-Banks" of the Lebanon I-44 Speedway.
The caution free 30 lap feature had Limberopolous grab the opening lead from his pole position from outside front row competitor Brennon Willard at the start as Donahue quickly followed. Point's runner-up Brian Brown wasted no time in charging to 3rd spot keeping pace with the lead duo. The tight 3 car battle became 4 as point leader Jake Griffin joined the lead pack battle. Eyes were also on the back of the starting pack as 2-time champion Mike Slone was working from his 13th starting spot. On lap 5, Donahue worked to the inside of Limberopolous and grabbed the lead while Brown followed suit. Keeping pace with the leader, Brown would find Griffin glued to his bumper in a torrid battle for position as Donahue pulled away while the race for 5th spot included Willard, Kyle Donahue, a fast moving Slone and Joe Ross. With Donahue setting a quick pace, the battle for 2nd spot lasted for 12 laps between Brown and Griffin until Griffin finally made the pass for 2nd place. That placed the race for 4th between Limberopolous and Slone. Slone grabbed the spot on lap 22 and set his sights on Brown in which he charged to the third position on lap 26. As the checkered flew it was Donahue with a dominant win followed by Griffin, Slone, Brown and early leader Limberopolous.
"We had an issue with the car bottoming out early this season, but found the problem while competing last week in the Masters. It seemed as if everything went right tonight. We were 2nd quick in the final practice behind Mike and figured starting in row 2 we better get to the front quickly. Terry really ran strong those early laps and Brown was quick early also" said the excited winner. Qualifying heats went to Slone and Brown.
Defending Modified Champion Tim Swearengin started from the pole and never looked back in leading all 20 laps of the feature making it 4 consecutive feature wins. Ricky Icenhower would again finish in the 2nd position from the back of the pack, getting as close as 5 car lengths but never got close enough to challenge. Terry Taylor, Jimmy Poindexter and Brian Lewis followed the winner to the finish. Icenhower captured the heat race of the night.
Hoosier Tire Street Stock action saw opening night winner Michael Juergensen show the way in the 15 lap feature to grab his 2nd win of the season. Juergensen grabbed the opening lead from Nick Cherry as defending champion Jordan Nisbett, point leader Justin Allen, and Mopar driver Aaron Wilke followed. Juergensen was setting a fast pace and that helped the competition make several mistakes. The 1st caution flew on lap 5 as point leader Allen spun while racing for second place with Nisbett. On the restart, Juergensen had the car smooth in the corners as Nisbett and Wilke challenged. On lap 8, Nisbett spun trying to get under Juergensen bunching the field-up as Wilke now was running in 2nd place. A lap 11 caution flew for Allen who had his Ford coming through the field as he and Wilke were running hard. Juergensen who had found a bad ball joint on the car during the week would hold off the pack as Nisbett, Allen, Wilke and Cherry followed the winner. Heats went to Nisbett and Allen.
Coca-Cola Charger action saw another new winner as Jesse Poindexter would lead all 12 laps in the caution free event but not without several challenges. Poindexter got the opening lead from pole setter Nik Taylor to take the lead. With side by side action in the entire pack, Justin Gantt was on the move by lap 3 and on lap 4 was right on Pointdexter's back bumper until a brush with the wall ended his charge and out of the action for the night. Nik Taylor and uncle Ronnie Taylor closed ground quickly to challenge while point leader Jerry Ellis was in a battle with Japheth Nisbett, Billy Taylor, James Ellis and 11 year old Ty Allison. Poindexter would hold off Ronnie Taylor's charges in taking his first win of the season with R. Taylor, N. Taylor, Jerry Ellis and Nisbett completing the top 5. Qualifying heats went to Poindexter, R. Taylor and Nisbett.
"We had to rush tonight's show to get it in for the fans and racers with sprinkles a few times during features and rain on the radar at Lake of the Ozarks heading our way but our racers did a great job working with us to get the show in. " said General Manager Kevin Greven.

Sportsman action saw Ben Newell grab the lead from Jake Piel in taking his 2nd win of the season. Piel stayed steady to bring home his car to second place after severe damage was suffered 2 weeks ago as point leader Jimmy Fohn completed the top 3. Piel captured the heat race win.
Action continues Saturday night May 28th with Military Appreciation night as both active and retired Military along with family dependents with Military ID will be admitted free in the grandstand. Gates will open at 5PMwith Racing to start at 6PM.
For more information visit the website at and be sure to like us at Lebanon I-44 Speedway on Facebook for updated information on Missouri's only NASCAR sanction facility and the only weekly asphalt track within 300 miles.

I-44 Speedway PR