Speedway Digest Staff
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Cole Moore wrapped up his 2021 season by winning the Rookie of the Year title in the ARCA Menards Series West.
In addition to capturing the prestigious award, the driver of the Bill McAnally Racing No. 99 NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry finished third in the overall championship standings in the series this season.
Moore – of Granite Bay, California – notched four top fives and seven top 10s in nine starts this season. He had a career-best finish of fourth on two occasions – on the road course at Sonoma Raceway in June and at Colorado National Speedway in July. He had an average finish of 7.1 and completed 1,118 of 1,120 laps possible.
He becomes the eighth BMR driver to win the rookie title – following Jesse Love (2020), Hailie Deegan (2018), Derek Kraus (2017), Todd Gilliland (2016), Paulie Harraka (2009), Peyton Sellers (2006) and Andrew Lewis (2005).
Moore is a third-generation driver. As a youngster, he started racing on two wheels – competing in motocross. He transitioned to racing cars after turning 16. He raced full seasons in the Pacific Challenge Series Late Models in 2015 and 2016. He also raced in the ARCA West during that timeframe, recording three top-10 finishes while making eight series starts with BMR between 2015-2017.
Moore won the Rookie of the Year Award in the Spears SRL Southwest Tour in 2018. He captured the SRL championship the following year, becoming the only driver to claim the rookie honor and tour title in back-to-back years.
In 2019, he also qualified for the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Florida.
In 2020, Moore won a NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series championship in the Late Model division at All American Speedway in Roseville, California – with seven wins, 11 top fives and 12 top 10s in 12 starts.
In addition to competing at Roseville, he also raced a limited SRL schedule. Speed51, meanwhile, ranked him in the top 100 short track racers in the country for 2020.
As part of his driver development, Moore participated in the BMR Drivers Academy to get experience in full-size stock cars as he prepared for his rookie season in ARCA West.
Sam Hunt Racing (SHR) announced today that veteran engineer Allen Hart will join the company as crew chief and technical director for the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) season. Hart, who served as lead race engineer at JR Motorsports on the No. 7 car since 2016, has multiple years of engineering experience in the NASCAR industry. Prior to JRM, Hart spent time as an engineer at both Turner Motorsports and Penske Racing. In 2021, Hart made his crew chief debut with JRM, filling in for Jason Burdett due to COVID-19 Protocols.
Following an impressive season in the NXS, 28-year-old Sam Hunt, owner of Sam Hunt Racing, sees the addition of Hart as a vital step in SHR’s continued growth.
“I’m so proud to add Allen to our young, blossoming organization,” said Hunt. “Allen is an experienced, race-winning engineer and leader at the Xfinity level, and he will be a huge asset to our organization for years to come. We are ready to provide him with this opportunity to continue building our program, as well as our working relationship with TRD and the current staff we have. Andrew [Abbott] has done a great job for our program this year, and he is still a large asset to our team.”
Hart, 39-years-old, will inherit a full-time NXS crew chief role for the first time in his career. The Midland, Michigan native is optimistic about his move to the team.
“I am really looking forward to starting this new chapter with Sam Hunt Racing,” said Hart. “Sam and I have been friends for a long time now, and I’ve really enjoyed watching this team grow from afar. Becoming a crew chief has been a goal of mine since I first came into this sport, and to be able to have that opportunity with this group is extremely special. I can’t thank everyone at JR Motorsports and on the No. 7 team who helped me get to this point over these last eight seasons. Now it’s time to focus on 2022 and get the year started off on a strong note. I am ready to get going.”
More details regarding Sam Hunt Racing’s 2022 plans will be released in the coming months.
Longtime NASCAR broadcaster Bob Jenkins has been named the winner of the 2021 Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. He is the 10th recipient of the prestigious award named after Ken Squier and Barney Hall.
Jenkins served as the lead lap-by-lap announcer for NASCAR broadcasts on ESPN and ABC from 1981-2000. He passed away in August at age 73 after a battle with brain cancer.
“The voice of Bob Jenkins is synonymous with the many great NASCAR moments he called over two decades,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Jim France. “The broadcast team of Jenkins, Ned Jarrett and Benny Parsons is one of the most memorable in NASCAR history, it is fitting to see Bob honored in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.”
Jenkins will be honored during NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony festivities on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022 and featured in an exhibit in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Tickets and more information on the weekend’s events are available at www.nascarhall.com.
Jenkins was an original at ESPN, joining the network in 1979. In addition to announcing more than 400 NASCAR races, he spent 15 years as host of ESPN SpeedWeek, from 1983-1997.
Beyond his NASCAR work, Jenkins lent his iconic voice to various other forms of motorsports. The Indiana native had a special bond with Indianapolis Motor Speedway, serving several different roles over four decades including TV announcer, radio announcer and turn reporter, and public address announcer.
Jenkins won the American Motorsports Media Award of Excellence (then known as the Henry T. McLemore Award) in 2001 and the Bob Russo Founders Award in 2008.
He was one of eight nominees voted upon by a panel of NASCAR and NASCAR Hall of Fame executives, journalists, public relations representatives and former drivers. The Squier-Hall Award was created in 2012 to honor the contributions of media to the success of the sport. Chris Economaki, Tom Higgins, Steve Byrnes, Benny Phillips, Norma “Dusty” Brandel, Steve Waid and Dick Berggren also have won the award.
The other seven nominees for the 2021 award were:
Russ Catlin, one of the best-known early racing writers and historians; editor of Speed Age Magazine
George Cunningham, long-time beat writer for The Charlotte Observer, Atlanta Constitution and NASCAR Scene; is the namesake for the annual NMPA award for Excellence in Writing
Shav Glick, covered motorsports for the Los Angeles Times for 37 years bringing NASCAR coverage to the West Coast
Mike Harris, spent 30 years as the lead motorsports writer for the Associated Press
Bob Moore, spent more than 20 years as a NASCAR beat writer including stints with the Daytona Beach News-Journal and The Charlotte Observer
- Taylor Warren, best known for his three-wide photo of the 1959 Daytona 500 finish, he covered every Daytona 500 until his death in 2008.
Deb Williams, the first woman to receive the American Motorsports Media Award of Excellence.
Paving a racetrack, particularly one as steeply banked as the all-new Atlanta Motor Speedway, is no small undertaking.
“A lot of technology has gone into how and what we use to put down the asphalt," said Steve Swift, Senior Vice President of Operations and Development for Speedway Motorsports. "Any time that you’re putting machinery on 28 degrees – it’s not meant to be there. So there’s a lot of technology that goes into that to make sure the engineering is right, the angles are right, and you’re getting the proper compaction and you’ve got your weight distribution correct."
While that process is a challenge, it’s also a massive opportunity to improve the track from top to bottom. While many will notice the steeper, freshly paved banking, the new AMS also has some new features that’ll be hidden beneath the surface.
“In the last five years we’ve looked at how we take care of ground water," said Swift. "We’ve had races that have been postponed because of weepers.”
To mitigate these issues, the AMS project called for installation of a new drainage system all around the track and an Open Drainage Layer, or ODL. The ODL is a porous layer of asphalt is designed to better absorb ground water and lead it to the drainage system, away from the racing surface.
“The bottom line for our race fans is more time on track and less down time," said AMS Executive Vice President and General Manager Brandon Hutchison. "In the unfortunate circumstance we do get some type of weather, this ODL layer is going to quickly absorb the water as it hits the track and take it down to that drainage system. Which ultimately means we get back to racing quicker.”
The benefits aren’t limited to just race day.
“It’s a large investment for a company to put this ( asphalt) in. We want to make sure it lasts as long as it possibly can," said Swift. The ODL and drainage system will help ensure the longevity of the track by removing excess moisture beneath the racing surface. Left unchecked, moisture degrades an asphalt surface and limits its lifespan.
“Which is a big thing that you see on highways when you see potholes on your everyday drive and you see that they’ve gotta replace asphalt, it’s usually because of water and wear and tear," explained Swift.
To extend the life of Atlanta’s old racing surface, the speedway’s operations department had to work vigorously to limit the amount of moisture below the surface. Going forward with the new ODL, they’ll have a partner hidden beneath the racing surface removing excess water day after day and year after year.
“(The water is) not going to stay in the track. If it’s cold, if it’s hot – it isn’t going to expand, it’s not going to contract - which means a longer lifespan for our racing surface," said Hutchison.
“With the ODL and the drainage that’ll be in place, that takes care of any of that ground water that comes up so we don’t have weepers in the future and 10 years, 20 years down the road that ground water has somewhere to get out," added Swift.
With the water taken care of, the focus can stay on what we all enjoy: the racing.
“We know that this new design for Atlanta Motor Speedway is going to provide an entertaining racing package that no one in NASCAR has ever seen before. Never before has 28 degrees been on an intermediate track," said Hutchison. "We hope the fans come out to join us.”
The all-new Atlanta Motor Speedway makes its NASCAR debut in 2022. Tickets for both race weekends are available now at www.AtlantaMotorSpeedway.com.
Front Row Motorsports (FRM) ended their 2021 season this past weekend at the Phoenix Raceway. Michael McDowell, Anthony Alfredo and Todd Gilliland completed an historical year for FRM that featured a Cinderella-story Daytona 500 win and its first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory.
Beyond the organizations two wins, FRM earned continued respect on the track through its most top-10 finishes ever in the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. McDowell and the No. 34 Ford Mustang team led the way in the Cup Series with five top-10 and two top-five results. McDowell ended the year 16th in the championship.
Gilliland led FRM to a new high mark in its second year in the truck series. The team dominated the field at the inaugural event at the Circuit of The Americas and also earned 16 top-10 and 10 top-five finishes to end the season seventh in the championship standings.
"We are very pleased with the progress that both our programs made on the track this season," said Jerry Freeze, General Manager, Front Row Motorsports. "We feel our organization took another step in being more competitive and giving more value to our partners. We still need more consistency, but we can't take anything away from the success and hard work from the organization this year. We're very proud of that effort."
Moving into 2022, FRM will continue its efforts in the NASCAR Cup Series and will field the No. 34 and No. 38 Ford Mustangs. The organization continues to analyze its NASCAR Camping World Truck Series operation and Anthony Alfredo will explore other opportunities.
"We would like to thank Anthony for being an outstanding ambassador of our team as well as for our No. 38 partners," said Freeze. "He showed a lot speed in what was very difficult circumstances. He is a true professional and we wish him nothing but success in his future racing endeavors."
FRM will make further driver and partner announcements when finalized as the team continues to build it's fleet of Next Gen Mustangs and prepares to test on the track.
"We will have a very busy next three months as we build for 2022," concluded Freeze. "Our men and women are working hard as we usher in the next generation of NASCAR. It's an exciting time and we are embracing the challenge and excitement."
The 2021 Western Midget Racing presented by Masters Design and Construction championship will be decided on Saturday at Adobe Mountain Speedway in Glendale, Ariz. with Brentwood’s Blake Bower and Fresno’s David Prickett dueling for the title. Prickett must win the feature to win the championship. Any other outcome on Saturday night at the one-sixth mile dirt oval will turn the championship in Bower’s favor.
Each driver enters the 25th race of the year with seven wins out of their best 12 finishes. Bower has added five runner-up performances as well. Prickett’s current slate of best races includes three second place finishes and two third place runs. Out of a maximum 600 points for the season, a win for Bower at Adobe Mountain would leave him with a 592-point campaign. A victory for Prickett would earn him 590 points and set up a tie with Bower. Prickett’s eighth win would serve as the tie-breaker in the $1000-to-win championship.
Bower’s season has been augmented by a championship as a rookie in the USAC Western Midgets with a busy slate of USAC National Midget races in California on tap after this weekend’s WMR finale.
Prickett won the non-points season opener at Adobe Mountain this spring along with two wins and a runner-up finish in the Copper State. Bower’s lone appearance at Adobe on September 18 netted a victory, driving the No. 29 for Cory Brown. Bower will again drive for Brown in the series finale.
Brown has advanced within two points of Santa Paula’s Megan Moorhead in the battle for third in the championship. Brown has podiumed three times at Adobe this season including a win on April 10. Kala Keliinoi rounds out the top-five of the standings ahead of Las Vegas’ Kyle Hawse. Each of these six competitors have met the requirements to contend for the 2021 championship and have run at least 12 races as well.
For more information on Western Midget Racing, visit them at www.WesternMidgetRacing.com or follow them on Facebook!
Western Midget Racing is presented by: Masters Design and Construction, Rockwell Security, Rams Racing, Hoosier Racing Tire, Extreme Mufflers, FTK, Blud Lubricants, and West Evans Motorsports.
Bridget Burgess and BMI Racing loaded up the HMH Construction Chevrolet SS for the last time in 2021 and headed to Phoenix Raceway for the final race of the ARCA Menards West Series. The ARCA West race is a part of NASCAR’s Championship Weekend and held in conjunction with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Cup Series.
The day started early with the team entering the track at 5:30am, unloading the race car and heading straight to the tech inspection area. The practice/qualifying session started mid-morning and Bridget got straight to it. The series had brought a different compound tire to this round and for many of the west teams, it was the first time using them. At the end of the session, Bridget qualified 26th out of 34 cars.
The green flag waived signaling the start of the Arizona Lottery 100, and the field roared across the start/finish line. Bridget put in a solid effort throughout the race, avoiding trouble and making gains where she could, ultimately finishing the race in 24th.
The 2021 season delivered mixed results for Bridget and her HMH Construction Chevrolet SS, with top highlighting moments from Sonoma Raceway and Portland Raceway driving her way up into the top 5, to heartbreaking moments being on the receiving end of rough driving, as well as component failures.
Unlike many of the teams that Bridget competes against, BMI Racing has just one car for the season, that is primarily more suited to road course racing. Bridget along with her dad Adam Burgess, mom Sarah Burgess, as well as close friends Victor Franco and Samantha Penny sacrificed many hours in the race shop either making repairs to the car or switching it from an oval setup to a road course setup. Bridget wraps up the season as the only female driver to complete a full ARCA Menards series schedule and with two Top 10 finishes, and 9th in the ARCA Menards West Series Championship points standing.
A replay of the Arizona Lottery 100 will broadcast on NBCSN on Thursday, Nov. 11, starting at 5 p.m. ET.
Bridget Burgess Racing PR
NASCAR today announced the qualifying elements and race format for the first-ever Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, the unprecedented 150-lap main event highlighting two days of racing action at the iconic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, Feb. 5 and Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022.
On Saturday, NASCAR Cup Series competitors will take to the track for practice sessions prior to single car qualifying runs to determine the starting order for the four scheduled heat races. The field will be open to 40 entrants.
On Sunday, on-track action will begin at 5 p.m. ET on FOX, with four 25-lap heat races consisting of 10 cars each. Below is a breakdown on how the heat races will be filled out:
- The top four fastest qualifiers from Saturday’s single vehicle qualifying session will be on the pole for each heat race, while cars that qualified fifth through eight will make up the other half of the front row in each heat.
- The remainder of each field will be filled out using this methodology (Ex. – heat one will be made up cars with qualifying positions of one, five, nine, 13, 17, 21, 25, 29, 33, 37).
- The top four finishers (16 total cars) from each heat race automatically advance through to the Busch Light Clash (8 p.m. ET, FS1), with the winner of heat one winning the pole and the heat two winner earning the outside pole.
- The winners of heats three and four will fill out the second row, with the remaining order of these 16 cars being determined in the same manner.
The remaining six finishing positions from each heat (24 total cars) that did not advance will continue through to one of two 50-lap Last Chance Qualifying races. Below is a breakdown on how the Last Chance Qualifiers will be filled out:
- The starting order for these two events will be determined based on finishing positions in the heat races.
- Those that did not advance from heats one and three will make up the first Last Chance Qualifying race while the second race will be made of up those from heats two and four.
- The fifth-place finishers from heats one and two will be on the pole in their respective Last Chance Qualifying races. The fifth-place finishers from heats three and four will be on the outside pole.
- This pattern will continue to fill out 12 cars in each event.
- The top three finishers (six total cars) from both Last Chance Qualifying races will advance to the Busch Light Clash, filling out positions 17 - 22 of the 23 available positions.
The final spot in the Busch Light Clash is reserved for the driver who finished the highest in the 2021 points standings who does not transfer on finishing position in the heat races or Last Chance Qualifying races.
All other drivers will be eliminated from competition for the remainder of the event weekend.
“There has already been an enormous amount of buzz around next year’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, and we feel that this race format and the accompanying programming throughout the entire weekend will only build on that already established momentum,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR senior vice president of strategy and innovation. “The unprecedented nature of this event, coupled with the fact that our sport will be in the spotlight in the middle of downtown Los Angeles, makes this a can’t miss event when we get our 2022 season underway next February.”
“I’ve had the chance to drive on the track through iRacing and make some laps in the NextGen car at Bowman-Gray on a similar layout, and there’s no doubt that this race is going to be awesome,” said Clint Bowyer, longtime former NASCAR Cup Series driver and current FOX Sports analyst. “The different qualifying events and format for the Clash are only going to add to what will be an unforgettable weekend. This is definitely a race you’re not going to want to miss!”
The Sunday schedule of events is below:
Start Time (ET)
Sunday, February 6
Sunday, February 6
Heat Races and Last Chance Qualifying Races
Sunday, February 6
Sunday, February 6
NASCAR Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum
Tickets for the NASCAR Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum are on sale now. Tickets start at $65 for adults and kids 12 & under starting as low as $10. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum offers a variety of seating options from lower to upper bowl, midfield start/finish line seats to premium club seats with access to the exclusive Lou Galen Club Lounge. For tickets and all event information visit nascar.com/lacoliseum.
The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights at Bristol Motor Speedway Celebrates Milestone 25th Season of Spreading Holiday Cheer in Appalachian Highlands Region
The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights powered by TVA, a holiday light spectacular that serves as one of the primary annual fundraisers for the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities, returns for its magical milestone 25th season on Friday, Nov. 12.
Long hailed as the premier holiday display in the Appalachian Highlands Region, The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights powered by TVA spreads across a four-mile route illuminated by more than 2 million lights among 250 displays. A trip through the light show sends guests down historic Bristol Dragway and all throughout the speedway property, culminating with a lap around the iconic Bristol Motor Speedway half-mile oval.
“It’s amazing to think that we have been hosting The Pinnacle Speedway In Lights for 25 wonderful years,” said Claudia Byrd, executive director of the Bristol chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities, which raises money for child focused agencies throughout the Appalachian Highlands region. “What began all those years ago as a simple signature fundraising event has evolved into a mega holiday tradition for thousands of visitors each year.
“The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights continues to provide a much-needed opportunity for family, friends and loved ones to get together and enjoy a night out while creating wonderful memories,” Byrd continued. “The best thing about this event is that while our guests are enjoying a tour of this amazing holiday light show, they are simultaneously providing significant help for so many wonderful children throughout our 18-county service area.”
The Pinnacle Speedway In Lights route offers many popular displays, including two new displays for this year. The new displays are presented by East Tennessee State University (ETSU) and Hardee’s Restaurants. Guests will also get to enjoy many of their all-time favorites, including Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Sea of Illumination, the festive Ballad Health Hospital display, Mycroft Signs Race to Space, The Dueling Dragsters, Symphony in Lights, NASCAR Pit Stop, The Twelve Days of Christmas, Dinosaur Village and Ripley's Penguin Playhouse.
Also new this year, guests can download the free Bristol Motor Speedway App and use a special QR Code to participate in the Holiday in Lights presented by GEICO scavenger hunt. Throughout the Pinnacle Speedway In Lights route guests will search for the famed GEICO Gecko which will be hidden in three locations. Those who find all three Geckos along the route will be entered into a drawing to win $250 at the conclusion of the Pinnacle Speedway In Lights.
At the end of the route, guests can visit the popular Appalachian country-themed Christmas Village, located in the infield of the legendary oval, to take advantage of photo opportunities in front of several special holiday displays, roast marshmallows over an open fire, shop with many local vendors and check out some great arts and crafts. There will also be family-friendly midway rides (including a merry-go-round, pirate ship, bumper cars and more), hot chocolate and returning this year, the kids will once again get to visit with Santa Claus in the Barter Theatre Santa Hut.
After touring the Pinnacle Speedway in Lights route, guests are encouraged to visit the Tri-Cities Airport Ice Rink at Bristol Motor Speedway presented by Stateline Services. The Ice Rink is open from Friday, Nov. 12 until Sunday, Jan. 9. The Ice Rink will be closed on Mondays from Nov. 15-Dec. 13. Hours of operation vary from day to day, so please review the schedule on the BMS website in advance. Hours of operation vary from day to day, so guests should review the schedule in advance by visiting the BMS website.
The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights runs through Saturday, Jan. 1. The event costs $20 for cars from Sunday through Thursday and $25 on Friday and Saturday nights. For larger groups, vans are $50 and buses are $125. Visitors can take advantage of The Fast Lane presented by Citi, a speedy $50 option which provides a shorter wait time on select nights when traffic lines get long.
For more information about the Pinnacle Speedway In Lights powered by TVA, please visit the BMS website.