Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Sheldon Creed, No. 2 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet Silverado

Richmond Raceway Camping World Trucks Stats

- Starts: 1, Best start: 12, Best finish: 13

2021 Camping World Trucks Stats

- Starts: 5, Best start: 2, Best finish; 2, Top 5s: 2, Top 10s: 3, Laps led: 63

Notes:

- Chassis history: Sheldon Creed and the No. 2 team will compete with chassis No. 327 this Saturday in Richmond. This is the same chassis that Creed took to victory lane at Phoenix Raceway in November, claiming the 2020 Camping World Trucks championship.

- Playoff outlook: Creed is currently third in the championship standings, 21 points back from the leader and 81 points above the playoff cutoff line.

- Consistency is key: Creed has led laps in 10 of the last 11 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races.

Quote:

"I'm excited to get back to Richmond and improve on our performance from last year. I think we'll have a good truck this weekend and hope we can have a solid run and gain some more points in the championship standings."

Zane Smith, No. 21 Chevrolet Silverado

Richmond Raceway Camping World Trucks Stats

- Starts: 1, Best start: 9, Best finish: 11, Laps led: 44, Stage wins: 1

2021 Camping World Truck Stats

- Starts: 5, Best start: 6, Best finish: 6, Top 10s: 3

Notes:

- Track history: In addition to his Camping World Trucks start in 2020, Zane Smith scored two top-10 finishes in two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Richmond Raceway in 2019.

- Chassis history: Smith and the No. 21 team will utilize chassis no. 325 this weekend in Richmond. Smith led 157 laps and finished in the top 10 five times in seven events with this chassis in 2020, including leading 44 laps and capturing the Stage One win in the September event at Richmond.

- Playoff outlook: Smith is currently seventh in the championship standings, 74 points behind the leader and 28 points above the playoff cutoff line.

- Crew chief corner: Kevin "Bono" Manion has one victory as crew chief at Richmond Raceway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with Dale Earnhardt Jr in 2002.

Quote:

"Richmond is probably one of my favorite places we race at. This will be my fourth time there now and I feel like I've been in strong equipment every race. I thought we had a strong Silverado last year, we were on a strategy that just didn't work out for us. I look forward to any short track we have on the schedule and Richmond is no exception."

Chase Purdy, No. 23 Bama Buggies Chevrolet Silverado

Richmond Raceway Camping World Trucks Stats

- No prior starts at Richmond Raceway.

2021 Camping World Trucks Stats

- Starts: 5, Best start: 4, Best finish: 18, Laps led: 4

Notes:

- New kid on the block: Chase Purdy is set to make his first start at Richmond Raceway in Saturday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.

- Chassis history: Purdy and the No. 23 team will compete with chassis No. 313 Saturday in Richmond. The 23 team had two top-five finishes in three outings with this chassis in 2020 including a fourth-place finish at Richmond in September.

- Championship Outlook: Purdy is currently 19th in the championship points standings, 40 points behind the playoff cutoff line.

- Crew chief corner: Jeff Hensley is no stranger to success at Richmond Raceway, visiting victory lane twice in three Camping World Trucks series races atop the pit box at the track including the series return to the circuit in 2020.

Quote:

"I'm really excited about going to Richmond! I'm ready to race at a short track and looking forward to the challenge of running someplace I've never been. I feel like we have a lot of speed and we can come out of there with a solid finish."

Raphael Lessard, No. 24 CANAC Chevrolet Silverado

Richmond Raceway Camping World Trucks Stats

- Starts: 1, Best start: 7, Best finish: 26

2021 Camping World Trucks Stats

- Starts: 5, Best start: 5, Best finish: 3, Top 5s: 1, Laps led: 17, Stage wins: 2

Notes:

- Sponsor spotlight: CANAC returns as primary sponsor of Raphael Lessard's No. 24 Chevrolet Silverado for Saturday's Camping World trucks race at Richmond Raceway.

- Chassis history: Lessard and the No. 24 team will utilize chassis no. 312 this weekend in Richmond. GMS competed with this chassis at Gateway in 2020, leading 45 laps and finishing seventh.

- Playoff outlook: Lessard is currently 14th in the championship standings, 12 points back from the playoff cutoff line.

Quote:

“I'm really excited for Richmond, we should be starting in the top 10 for once this season so that's a plus. We need to take advantage of that track position at the beginning of the race and just keep moving forward. We are hading in the right direction after Bristol and we'll just do our best. I'm sure we'll be really fast for Richmond this weekend."

Tyler Ankrum, No. 26 LiUNA! Chevrolet Silverado

Richmond Raceway Camping World Trucks Stats

- Starts: 1, Best start: 11, Best finish: 5, Top 5s: 1

2021 Camping World Truck Stats

- Starts: 5, Best start: 11, Best finish: 18, Laps led: 6

Notes:

- Track history: Tyler Ankrum's first start at Richmond Raceway in 2020 was memorable for the San Bernardino, Calif. native. Ankrum finished in the top five and locked himself into the Camping World Trucks playoffs for the second consecutive season in last September's event.

- Chassis history: Tyler Ankrum and the No. 26 team will compete with chassis no. 329 on Saturday in Richmond. Ankrum had one top-10 finish in two races with this chassis in 2020.

Quote:

“I feel pretty confident in our chances this weekend in Richmond We haven't had the finishes we would've hoped so far this season, but our luck has to turn at some point. Richmond was a good race for us last season, we finished fifth and locked ourselves into the playoffs. I'm looking forward to another strong run on Saturday."

GMS Racing PR

Neme'chek' The Facts:
 
  • After a two-week break and a disappointing 39th-place finish on the dirt at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, John Hunter Nemechek and the No. 4 Safeway team return to action Saturday afternoon in the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. After five races, Nemechek sits at the top of the Camping World Trucks championship standings, six tallies ahead of Ben Rhodes.
  • Since the Camping World Truck Series last raced, Nemechek became a father. He and his wife Taylor celebrated the birth of their first child, a baby girl, Aspen Palmer Nemechek, on March 31.
  •  Saturday will be Nemechek’s first Camping World Truck Series on the 0.75-mile oval. In 2020, Nemechek made his sole NASCAR Cup Series start at Richmond, where he finished in the 30th position. In NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, Nemechek has three career starts with a best finish of seventh in April 2019.
  •  Nemechek is a seven-time winner in Camping World Truck Series action, winning at least one race each season from 2015 to 2018 for his family-owned team, NEMCO Motorsports, and returning to victory lane this year with KBM. Across 107 career starts in NASCAR’s third division, the second-generation driver has compiled two poles, 752 laps led, 31 top-five and 54 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 13.1. The North Carolina native qualified for the Camping World Truck Series playoffs in each of his two full-time seasons, finishing eighth in the championship standings in both 2016 and 2017. He was voted the series most popular driver in 2015.
  •  The 23-year-old driver produced three top-10 finishes and an average result of 22.4 while competing for rookie of the year honors in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2020. He recorded a career-best eighth-place finish twice, both coming at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, earned the Sunoco Rookie of the Race award four times and finished 23rd in the championship standings.
  •  Eric Phillips returns to KBM to lead the No. 4 team this season. Phillips led the No. 18 team at KBM in its debut season in 2010 and helped build the organization into one of the premier teams in all of NASCAR before departing at the end of the 2014 season. Under his guidance, the No. 18 team won eight races in its inaugural campaign and became the first team in Truck Series history to capture an owner’s championship in its first season of competition. In 2014, the Illinois native led the No. 51 team to an owner’s championship and his team’s 10 wins spearheaded KBM to a single-season Truck Series record of 14 wins. His 38 career Truck Series victories make him the winningest crew chief in Truck Series history, with 28 of those coming while at KBM. At Richmond, Phillips has two career starts with a best finish of 31st in 2004 with Travis Kvapil.
  •  All three KBM Tundras will carry a special decal on the B post this week promoting Autism Awareness that includes the website address of NASCAR Sammy (NASCARSammy.com), an avid NASCAR fan autism advocate. Fans can visit his site to purchase a decal and help support his mission.
 
John Hunter Nemechek, Driver Q&A:
 
You recently became a father. How is that going for you?
 “It’s all going good. Being a dad is something that has definitely been very exciting and amusing. It’s something I don’t think anyone can explain until it happens to them. It’s a pretty amazing experience so far. Aspen has been doing good. Taylor is doing very well. Hopefully, we can get her to victory lane soon. I’m excited to get her out to the racetrack.”
 
What does it take to be successful at Richmond?
 “To be successful in a Truck at Richmond, I don’t know. I will let you know come Saturday. For us, it’s going to be pushing the limits of our truck and to not make any mistakes. We start kind of far back from our whole Bristol dirt deal, so we have to drive up through there. We have to maximize stage points and make the right adjustments. It will be the first time I’ve driven a truck at Richmond. It’s the first time I’ve been in any type of vehicle that has downforce at Richmond. Everything that I’ve driven there from the Xfinity and Cup car has always been low downforce. It’s a whole new task for me, but I look forward to learning and being a part of the journey.”
 
John Hunter Nemechek Career Highlights:
 
  • Seven-time winner in Camping World Truck Series action, winning at least one race each season from 2015 to 2018 for his family-owned team, NEMCO Motorsports. Across 107 career starts in NASCAR’s third division, has compiled two poles, 752 laps led, 31 top-five and 54 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 13.1.
  • Qualified for the Camping World Truck Series playoffs in each of his two full-time seasons, finishing eighth in the championship standings in both 2016 and 2017.
  • Produced three top-10 finishes and an average result of 22.4 while competing for rookie of the year honors in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2020. He recorded a career-best eighth-place finish twice, both coming at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, earned the Sunoco Rookie of the Race award four times and finished 23rd in the championship standings.
  • Across 51 career XFINITY Series starts, has totaled one win (Kansas Speedway, 10/20/18), one pole, 225 laps led, 12 top-five and 30 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 11.6.
 
John Hunter Nemechek's No. 4 Safeway Tundra:
 
KBM-058: The No. 4 Safeway team will unload KBM-058 Saturday in Richmond. The chassis was previously run at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway earlier this year where Nemechek captured his first win of the 2021 season. In 2019, Kyle Busch captured the chassis’ first win at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
 
 
KBM Notes of Interest:
 
  • KBM drivers produced an average finish of 18.7 in last year’s event at Richmond, the first time that the organization competed in the Camping World Truck Series at the venue. Kurt Busch picked up the team’s lone NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at the Virginia track in April of 2012.
  • KBM holds the Camping World Truck Series records for most career wins (83) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). With his victory at the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track, Martin Truex Jr. became the 16th different driver to win a Truck Series event for KBM. In addition to collecting a series-record seven Owner's Championships, the organization has produced two championship-winning drivers: Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017).
  • The No. 4 has 12 career victories at KBM and was the number for both of the organization’s driver championships.

KBM PR

The Sullivan County Regional Health Department will be pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine effective immediately per recommendations from the FDA and the CDC and relocating their April 14-16 mass vaccination event originally scheduled for Bristol Motor Speedway to nearby Whitetop Creek Park, where they will administer the Pfizer vaccine.

Appointments are preferred, but not required at Whitetop Creek Park for the vaccination event and the hours will run from 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. each day. Please use https://vaccinate.tn.gov/ to schedule an appointment. If assistance is needed, please call the Sullivan County Health Dept. call center at 423-279-2777. Additional information is available at www.sullivanhealth.org/vaccines.

These vaccinations are open to anyone 16 and older regardless of residence. Those who are under 18 will need to bring a parent or guardian, as well as a form of identification. Plenty of vaccine is available so please do not arrive early.

Those who have a second dose Pfizer vaccine scheduled on April 15th or 16th will also visit the Whitetop Creek Park site as originally scheduled.

Whitetop Creek Park is located just north of the Bristol Dragway entrance off Hwy 394 at 100 Sportsway Drive, Bristol, TN 37620.

Please contact Rachel Dean at 423-279-2638 or Mark Moody at 423-279-2690 if further information is needed.  Visit the Sullivan County Regional Health Department online at www.sullivanhealth.org.

BMS PR

Notes of Interest

 

●  Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, enters Sunday’s Richmond 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond (Va.) Raceway in a three-way tie for the second-most top-10 finishes this season. Harvick has scored six top-10s in the eight races held this year, tying him with Kyle Larson and William Byron. Only championship leader Denny Hamlin has more top-10s (seven). All four drivers finished in the top-10 in the series’ last race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

 

●  Harvick will be going with the flow Sunday at Richmond, Flowcode that is. The hood of Harvick’s No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang will feature a 27.5-inch pizza-inspired, next-generation QR code from Flowcode, the offline to online company that builds direct connections for brands and consumers. The custom-branded, ultra-fast scanning Flowcode provides Hunt Brothers Pizza with an interactive activation. Just by opening up a smart phone’s camera and scanning the hood of Harvick’s No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang whenever it’s prominently featured during FOX’s broadcast of the 400-lap race will give users a “Scan to Win” experience with instant and direct access to win prizes. The grand prize is two tickets to a NASCAR Cup Series race of the winner’s choosing during the 2021 or 2022 season. Twelve additional winners will receive a fan pack loaded with Harvick and Hunt Brothers Pizza merchandise including T-shirts, hats, floor mats, racing flags and koozies. Viewers can scan the Flowcode directly from their TV screen. There’s no need to hit pause on the racing action. The “Scan to Win” Flowcode will also be featured on the in-car camera that Harvick will carry with him during the Richmond 400.

 

●  Harvick has made 726 career NASCAR Cup Series starts, with 119 of those starts coming on short tracks. And of his 58 Cup Series wins, seven have been at short tracks, with Richmond accounting for three of those victories. Harvick scored his first Richmond win in September 2006, his second in September 2011 and his third in April 2013.

 

●  Harvick joined SHR in 2014 and has since recorded 35 of his 58 career NASCAR Cup Series wins. However, none of them have been at Richmond. But Harvick has remained stout at the .75-mile oval. In his last 13 starts at Richmond as a member of SHR, Harvick has two runner-up finishes, eight top-fives and 10 top-10s. He has never finished outside the top-15. 

 

●  Harvick has led 15,582 total laps in his NASCAR Cup Series career, with 1,180 of those laps coming at Richmond.

 

●  The Richmond 400 will mark Harvick’s 40th NASCAR Cup Series start at the Virginia short track. His first start came on May 5, 2001. That race was won by SHR co-owner Tony Stewart, who beat then three-time champion Jeff Gordon by .372 of a second. Harvick finished 17th. It was Harvick’s 10th career Cup Series start and nine of the 43 drivers in that race have since been inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame – Stewart, Gordon, Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett, Ron Hornaday Jr., Bill Elliott and Terry Labonte.

 

●  Harvick is the winningest NASCAR Xfinity Series driver at Richmond with seven victories. (Kyle Busch is next best with six wins.) Harvick finished among the top-10 in all but six of his 21 career Xfinity Series starts at Richmond.

 

Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing

 

Short-track etiquette – what’s OK and what isn’t in this day and age?

“It depends on how mad you are. I think a lot of that just depends on the situation. When you’re not running well, there’s a lot more that’s OK in your mind because the day’s screwed up anyway and you feel like you want to run into somebody just to take your aggression out on the day. A lot of that just depends on who you’re racing and how that guy’s raced you that day, if you’ve had trouble and you’re trying to get back to the front and it’s late in the race, or at the end of a stage – it’s just different things at different times that are OK. In the end, it’s just like every other race, you’ve got to somehow be able to get to the finish with the best result you can get that day.”

 

Where did you learn short-track etiquette, and is it still applicable today?

“It’s applicable, and a lot of times there are still a lot of guys who don’t apply it and they wind up getting themselves in trouble – tearing their cars up and putting themselves in a bad spot. I think part of our success is being able to race like that when we need to race like that and understanding how that works. In my book, it’s just being smart. In today’s day and age, a lot of it is just go as hard as you can go and screw the other guy. In the end, there are a lot of guys who think that way, but there are a lot of guys who tear their stuff up, too. So, it’s a fine line, but you have to go on the restarts in today’s world. You have to just throw caution to the wind on the restarts because that’s when most of it happens. Once we get strung out and get to the racing part of it, that’s usually when you have to apply some of that and there is some give-and-take. But on the restarts, I would say all those rules go out the window because of how important the restarts are in today’s world.”

 

Who were the elder statesmen you learned from when you started racing in the NASCAR Cup Series?

“A lot of that I would credit to Richard Childress just because of the fact he put so much emphasis on finishing races. I think most of that comes from the RCR mentality when I started of you have to finish the race, no matter what the cost or what you have to do, you have to finish the race. I would say that’s where most of that came from.”

 

What is it about short tracks that makes you passionate about racing?

“I’ve been fortunate to be able to do a lot of things and, really, the thing that’s made me most passionate lately is racing with my son, Keelan, just because of the fact it makes me realize why I love racing. And being able to go and see people learn and being able to help people – that’s something I really enjoy, not only with Keelan, but being able to help the other kids. Sometimes it’s just the simplest things like steering wheel height, or pedal height – there are so many little things you do on a daily basis that you don’t even think about anymore. That has really reminded me why I love racing and why I love what I do. But being able to share that knowledge with people, whether it’s go-karters, or Cup racers, or whoever it is, that’s something I get a lot of satisfaction out of.”

 

When you provide help like that, does it give someone who maybe was uncomfortable in a racecar an “aha” moment?

“It’s steps, right? Whatever that situation is, it gets them comfortable to be able to progress to their next ‘aha’ moment. In the progression, there are a whole bunch of those moments that lead to a point where you can race at a high level. When you look at Brent Crews, who’s won like 12 national karting championships and is now running midgets and sprint cars, it’s obvious he can drive. He’s an amazing talent who can do anything he wants to do, as long as he learns how to be a professional. In going from the short-track side of things and the dirt side of things, whatever you race, that step when you get to whatever it is from the Cup side, the Xfinity side, the Truck Series, even on down into the K&N and ARCA stuff, it’s really about learning how to be a professional, and that comes with doing the sponsor stuff, it comes with being able to speak well, it comes with how to handle yourself on social media and off the racetrack, and looking at data when it comes to being inside the car and being able to communicate with your crew chief and your team and the people around you. There are so many elements to it, and when you look at a kid like Brent, he’s got all the talent, he’s going to be able to be taught how to drive whatever it is he has to drive. It’s how does he handle all those things outside the driving side of it that really makes or breaks you when you get to a high level of racing.”

 

You mentioned the sponsor side of the sport – can you talk about your longstanding relationship with Hunt Brothers Pizza, as the 2021 season marks the 12th year of your partnership with them?

“Our fans are pretty loyal to the brands that are on our cars. Many of my pictures come from the standees in the store. People take selfies next to them. There are a number of reasons you have sponsorships – you want that brand recognition, the brand integration. Hunt Brothers Pizza is a very family-oriented company and we’re a very family-oriented group. Those relationships you build through the years with brands that recognize and reflect what you believe in are few and far between. We’ve grown with the Hunt Brothers Pizza brand. They’ve grown with us and been very loyal to us and I think our fans are very loyal to Hunt Brothers Pizza. It’s fun to see that brand recognition and that understanding of loyalty and partnership. You realize how many Hunt Brothers Pizza stores there are as you drive to racetracks.”

 

(Hunt Brothers Pizza is the nation’s largest brand of made-to-order pizza in the convenience store industry and has sponsored Harvick for years in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Hunt Brothers Pizza joined Harvick fulltime in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2019 and has been a mainstay in NASCAR’s premier division ever since. With more than 7,800 locations in 30 states, Hunt Brothers Pizza offers original and thin-crust pizzas available as a grab-and go Hunk, perfect for today’s on-the-go lifestyle or as a customizable whole pizza that is an exceptional value with All Toppings No Extra Charge®. Celebrating 30 years of serving great pizza to convenience store shoppers through its store partners, Hunt Brothers Pizza is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, and is family owned and operated. To find a Hunt Brothers Pizza location near you, download the app by visiting app.HuntBrothersPizza.com.)

 

 

TSC PR

The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway gets back in action this Saturday after a year-long absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bullring, in its 37th season (and 21st in its current configuration), is set to resume under the supervision of TJ Clark, a former driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and previous instructor at the Bob Bondurant Driving School.

The Bullring has produced many great talents, including Kurt and Kyle Busch, Brendan Gaughan, Noah Gragson and Riley Herbst. Clark and his son Spencer raced in the Kyle Busch era, before Spencer lost his life in an automobile accident shortly after his successful NASCAR Busch (now Xfinity) Series debut in Las Vegas in 2006. Clark, who considers the Bullring his “home track”, has spent the past 10 years since Spencer’s passing propelling other young drivers in their racing careers, through the Spencer Clark Driven Foundation. TJ is taking on his new role as Bullring manager to ensure that short-track racing continues and is available to other racing star hopefuls.

“I’m thankful that (LVMS President) Chris Powell believes in grassroots racings and has given us the opportunity to keep the Bullring going,” Clark said. “I believe short tracks are the heart of racing and we as a community need to support local grassroots racing and the Bullring. We’re lucky. I’ve seen a lot of tracks all across the country, and our Bullring is premier compared to a lot of the others.”

Taking the green on the 3/8-mile paved oval will be all NASCAR classes and the USLCI Legends and Bandoleros.  This Saturday kicks off a 10-event schedule, with the NASCAR 602 Modifieds anchoring the night with a 40-lap feature. NASCAR Pro Late Models have a 35-lap race on tap for the season-opener, with both the NASCAR Super Late Models and NASCAR Bombers on the slate with 25-lap features.

In addition, the action kicks off for the Late Model Truck Series, a traveling series that will also make three other visits to the LVMS short track over the course of the season. NASCAR Super Stocks will show up for 20 laps and the popular and exciting Skid Plate cars, cars with no rear wheels but “skid” plates instead, will slide around for 15 laps.  

Gates open at 5 p.m. Pacific Time, immediately starting with Late Model Truck Series Heat races, then NASCAR Pro Late Model qualifying and NASCAR 602 Modified qualifying. Opening ceremonies will take place at 6:45 p.m. This weekend’s event is the first of 10 points races for the track’s 10 major classes and the season continues through championship night on Saturday, Oct. 30, with an Open Show post-season on Nov. 6.

Children 12 and under will be admitted free with a ticketed adult on Saturday and throughout the 2021 Bullring season. Purchase tickets in advance by visiting or calling the LVMS ticket office at 800-644-4444 or online at LVMS.com.

 

The Bullring Opening Night schedule

Saturday, April 17

 

5:30 p.m.   Spectator gates open

Late Model Truck Series Heat race 1 (6 laps)

Late Model Truck Series Heat race 2 (6 laps)

NASCAR Pro Late Models single-car qualifying (2 laps)

NASCAR 602 Modified single-car qualifying (2 laps)

 

6:45 p.m.  Opening Ceremonies/National Anthem

 

USLCI Bandolero Bandits/Outlaws feature – 12 laps (15 minutes)

NASCAR Skid Plate Cars feature – 15 laps (15 minutes)

USLCI Legends feature – 20 laps (20 minutes)

NASCAR Super Stocks feature – 20 laps (20 minutes)

Late Model Truck Series feature – 30 laps (30 minutes)

NASCAR Bombers feature – 25 laps (25 minutes)

NASCAR Super Late Models feature – 25 laps (25 minutes)

NASCAR Pro Late Models feature – 35 laps (35 minutes)

NASCAR 602 Modifieds feature – 40 laps (40 minutes)

 

** ** Schedule is subject to change ** **

 

LVMS PR

Pennzoil® has become the Official Motor Oil and Lubricant Partner of INDYCAR and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, a new and dynamic multi-year partnership that begins this weekend with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst at Barber Motorsports Park.

The expansive agreement also includes Pennzoil becoming the sponsor of the Pennzoil Technical Inspection area at all 17 NTT INDYCAR SERIES events this season. Pennzoil branding will be placed on INDYCAR’s technical inspection transporter.

“Pennzoil has participated in the INDYCAR SERIES for many decades and during that time enjoyed much success, including the popular Pennzoil-sponsored Indianapolis 500 winners driven by Johnny Rutherford in 1980 and Rick Mears in 1984 and 1988,” said Patty Lanning, vice president, North American Marketing, Shell Lubricants. “At Pennzoil, we are proud to become the Official Motor Oil of INDYCAR to build on our success and legacy on and off the track in one of America’s premier motorsports series.”

Said Selda Gunsel, vice president, Global Commercial Technology, Shell Lubricants: “The extreme stress put on an NTT INDYCAR SERIES engine provides the optimal test bed for modern motor oils like Pennzoil Synthetics. The highly efficient and powerful engine technology used in INDYCAR has presented Pennzoil with an opportunity to innovate and prove that our made-from-natural gas motor oils can make a difference on the track.”

Because Pennzoil is committed to technology and technicians and shares a passion for cars with the experts, it also will celebrate the best mechanic in the series in 2021. Included in the partnership, Pennzoil will sponsor the INDYCAR Chief Mechanic Award, which will provide $50,000 to the chief mechanic of the entry that wins the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship.

“Pennzoil has deep roots in INDYCAR racing and is part of the sport’s proud heritage,” INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. “Pennzoil is an industry-leading brand with huge name recognition and a fantastic partner that will engage with our fans in many unique ways, helping to bring the exciting action of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES to more people.”

Pennzoil has been used in competition in Chevrolet engines in INDYCAR since 2012, powering more wins than any other motor oil-and-engine combination in that time. Pennzoil engineers continuously work on the motor oil that goes into the race cars on the track. The on-track performance and data serve as a laboratory for the motor oil Pennzoil introduces for passenger cars, helping make sure that drivers get the most out of their vehicle. Pennzoil Platinum helps extend the life of your engine and protects it for up to 15 years or 500,000 miles, whichever comes first, guaranteed[1] . That’s the same distance it would take to run the Indianapolis 500 … 1,000 times! 

This year’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES season kicks off with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst on Sunday, April 18. NBC will provide live coverage starting with a pre-race show at 3 p.m. (ET), followed by the green flag at 3:30 p.m. Coverage also will be available on the INDYCAR Radio Network.

NTT IndyCar Series PR

Anticipation continues to build for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES opener Sunday, April 18 at Barber Motorsports Park, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst. Here’s a look at the year ahead and what’s new with North America’s premier open-wheel series:

 

Varied, Challenging Schedule

The season begins with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst, one of the many traditional events on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES calendar, which makes a return after the 2020 pandemic year.

A series of four races in three weekends will start the season, including the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, April 25 and a doubleheader weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, Saturday, May 1 and Sunday, May 2 for the Genesys 300 and the XPEL 375. Six of the first eight events on the calendar will air on NBC broadcast television, including the 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 30. A record nine events will air on NBC this season before the season culminates on the historic streets of Long Beach for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

“You could feel the energy in the paddock during last week’s Indy 500 testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said Mark Miles, president and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp. “Now we’re ready to end the offseason and wave the green flag on an exciting season of NTT INDYCAR SERIES action featuring our daring, fierce and competitive athletes.

“Starting the season with four races on three consecutive weekends is an ideal launch, with momentum carrying into the Month of May. The championship stretch also is exciting, with three consecutive West Coast races to wrap up the season, along with visits to Detroit, Road America, Mid-Ohio, Toronto, St. Louis and an inaugural event in Nashville. Combined with another road course event during another NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend at Indy, we are very optimistic about the success of the 2021 season and the continued growth of the series.”

Event weekends will feature a compact schedule in 2021, with practice and qualifying schedules built on lessons of efficiency from last season’s pandemic year. Street course events include a late afternoon practice on Fridays to allow more time to highlight support events. Road course weekends will feature a more impactful Saturday for race fans with two practices that day followed by qualifying, including the exciting Firestone Fast Six.

Rookie Class with Global Recognition

This season’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookies are anything but inexperienced. The class of 2021 features seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson as he fulfills a lifelong dream of driving in the INDYCAR SERIES. “7-time” has worked the last few years toward this opportunity and has been methodical in his adaptation to open-wheel racing. He’ll drive his famous No. 48 with Carvana sponsorship for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“To have someone like Jimmie join the INDYCAR SERIES, who could do whatever he wants to do at this point in his life, is a huge statement,” INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. “He has nothing to prove in his career. He’s the ultimate competitor. All he wants to do is go out and prove to himself that he can do this and compete at a high level.”

Formula One veteran Romain Grosjean cannot wait for his series debut. The 34-year-old French driver moves to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES after 179 career starts in the World Championship. He’ll drive the No. 51 Nurtec ODT Honda for Dale Coyne Racing with RWR.

Three-time Australian V8 Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin prepares for his first full season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The 27-year-old Kiwi ranks third on Team Penske’s all-time win list with 48 wins, all in Supercars, and will drive the No. 3 PPG Chevrolet.

Growing Car Counts

Thanks to expansion by some NTT INDYCAR SERIES teams, the car count is on the rise in 2021. Race weekends will see a steady 24 full-time entries with some races, excluding the Indianapolis 500, seeing as many as 26. Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske both will field four full-time cars for the first time since 2017.

Meyer Shank Racing continues its steady growth with the addition of three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves, who ranks 12th on the INDYCAR SERIES’ all-time wins list with 30 victories. He’s driving the No. 06 Honda to create an expanded two-car team for MSR in six races this season.

Speedway Program

NTT INDYCAR SERIES regulations require filling in the front-half of the “hole” in the underwing with a carbon fiber clam shell piece, which wraps around the structural strut of the underwing. The result creates downforce while reducing the reliance of the front wing. Ultimately, it will provide the potential for even more passing opportunities when cars are in traffic.

“We wanted to reduce the amount of work the front wing does,” INDYCAR Director of Aerodynamic Development Tino Belli said. “The amount of downforce necessary has grown over the years with the gradual addition of weight with the AK-18 side pods and the safety-inspired Aeroscreen. The new downforce created by the underwing has done exactly what it was supposed to do.”

The change is a culmination of 18 months of work, which also included safety considerations when cars are in extreme conditions.

“A lot of things we did for this season, we weren’t able to do last year because the pandemic,” Frye said. “The spring testing schedule has helped us out for this year and the results have been positive. Overall, the racing product has been very good. We wanted to make it even better.”

On the Horizon

This season will see historic moments for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Six-time series champion Scott Dixon returns to drive the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing. The 40-year-old will be attempting to tie the legendary A.J. Foyt for all-time INDYCAR championships with seven.

Nine former Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winners, representing 13 victories, will return for the 105th edition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on Sunday, May 30. The record for former “500” winners in the race is 10, set in 1992.

INDYCAR’s and IMS’ “Race for Equality & Change” initiative continues. Launched last July, new programs include Paretta Autosport, a female-led team that will field a Chevrolet-powered car for 2010 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Simona De Silvestro for this year’s Indy 500. The goal is to compete full time in the series in 2022. Meanwhile, the new Force Indy team will compete in USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires this season. Led by team principal Rod Reid and featuring rookie driver Myles Rowe, Force Indy was created to enhance opportunities for African Americans in the world of motorsports and build a more diverse talent pipeline inside as well as outside the cockpit.

All of these positive developments come as the series continues work toward a new engine package in 2023 with partners Honda and Chevrolet. Development continues with the 2.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 with hybrid technology, which is expected to produce a total of 900 horsepower.

“It has been a tremendous effort by everyone in the offseason,” Frye said. “Our NTT INDYCAR SERIES partners, promoters, staff and teams have been working tirelessly. 2021 will be an awesome show. We can’t wait to get started.”

NTT IndyCar Series PR

If winning at Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR’s biggest and baddest race track, isn’t enough, four drivers will have even more incentive – and 100,000 reasons – to claim their first triumph at the 2.66-mile track in the Ag-Pro 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday, April 24.

As a result of being the highest eligible finishers in last weekend’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Martinsville Speedway, Josh Berry, who won the event for his first career triumph, along with Noah Gragson, Daniel Hemric and Brandon Jones, will now make the trek to Talladega with a shot at the Dash 4 Cash program, which awards a $100,000 bonus to the highest finishing Xfinity Series regular in select races. It will be a battle between two cars from the JR Motorsports camp verses two machines from Joe Gibbs Racing. The Dash 4 Cash program started at Martinsville before moving to Talladega, then Darlington and Dover.

Each of the quartet will be vying for not only the extra cash but their first triumph at the iconic venue. Who has the edge? Jones has the most experience in the Xfinity Series at the 33-degree venue with six starts. Here’s a look at each:

  • Berry: The 30-year-old from Hendersonville, TN, is the driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, and is coming off his impressive victory - in only his 13th start in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. The 2020 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Champion has competed in 13 total NASCAR Xfintiy Series races, dating back to 2014. This season, he is running a limited schedule, but did compete for the first time on a “Super” Superspeedway in the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway. He started ninth and finished 27th after being caught up in an accident. The Ag-Pro 300 will be his first attempt at the biggest, baddest race track on the planet.

 

  • Gragson: The 22-year-old from Las Vegas, NV, pilots the No. 9 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports. With his runner-up finish at Martinsville, he pocketed the $100,000 bonus of the first leg of the Dash 4 Cash program. In four Xfinity starts at Talladega, he has an impressive resume with results of s third-place effort, a fourth, a 10th, to go along with an 11th. He currently sits ninth in the title chase.

 

  • Hemric: The 30-year-old Kannapolis, NC native drives the 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Not only will he hope to claim the big bonus, but a win would also mean his first career triumph in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He has five Xfinity starts at NASCAR’s Most Competitive track, with two top-five results, including a fifth last fall.  He currently sits second in the championship standings.

 

  • Jones: The 24-year-old from Atlanta, GA, will again be behind the wheel of his No. 19 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. He is coming off a fourth-place result from his last attempt at Talladega in October, which gave him his second top-five result in his six starts. He ranks 10th in his quest for the championship.

 

The greatest race track in the world will host the Ag-Pro 300 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series as well as the General Tire 200 for the ARCA Menards Series on Saturday, April 24 before the weekend culminates with the GEICO 500 for the NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday, April 25.

The Saturday doubleheader starts with the General Tire 200 at 12:00 p.m. CT. The Ag-Pro 300 gets the green flag at 3:00 p.m. CDT. Sunday’s anchor event, the GEICO 500, is scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. CDT start. Kids 12 and younger are admitted free (with a paying adult) to grandstands/towers on Saturday.

 

To learn more about attendance opportunities for the weekend, including camping options, the modified Talladega Garage Experience, along with the new GEICO Grounds Blue Drive-In Experience (Sunday only) located in the infield, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.

 

Fans are encouraged to keep up with all the happenings at the biggest, baddest race track on the planet by following Talladega Superspeedway on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

TSS PR

Derek Kraus and crew chief Mark Hillman will team up in their first race together as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Virginia’s Richmond Raceway for the ToyotaCare 250 on Saturday.

 

The addition of Hillman to the McAnally-Hilgemann Racing No. 19 team was announced April 1.

 

The MHR team is working hard to gain ground on their competition, as they did at this point in the season a year ago. Beginning with the sixth race in 2020, Kraus notched top-10 finishes in five of his next six races. His performance propelled him to ninth in the championship standings.

 

Kraus and Hillman are focused on having a strong performance at Richmond with the No. 19 IncredibleBank Toyota Tundra, as they work to start building similar momentum to contend for a spot in this year’s playoffs.

 

Hillman, a 41-year-old from New York state, has worked as a crew chief in all three of NASCAR’s national series levels. His resume includes being a crew chief for multiple teams in the NASCAR Cup Series from 2014 to 2019. He most recently worked with MBM Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

 

Derek Kraus – About this week

What are your thoughts about Richmond?

“I’m excited about Mark Hillman joining the team. We want to get off to a great start together at Richmond. The entire crew is working hard.”

 

BMR PR

Good results can do a lot for a young racer’s confidence. That is true for 16-year-old Jacob Borst, a rookie competing in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Stock Car Division at South Boston Speedway.

The Elon, North Carolina resident sits in third place in the South Boston Speedway NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Stock Car Division point standings. He has two top-three finishes that include a second-place finish in his most recent outing and a pole win in his first three starts this season. That strong start gives Borst a lot of confidence as he and his fellow Late Model Stock Car Division competitors eye Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Late Model Twin 75s at “America’s Hometown Track.”

“The second-place finish (in the 100-lap race on April 3) means a lot,” the Virginia NASCAR Rookie Of The Year contender remarked.

“It means a lot to finish second. Being that close kind of frustrates you but being able to race with all these guys gives me a lot of confidence. This gives us a lot of confidence going into the rest of the season.”

Borst has enjoyed success at South Boston Speedway in the past. While competing in South Boston Speedway’s Limited Sportsman Division in 2019 Borst scored three wins, won five poles, led a total of 246 laps and finished third in the final division point standings.

The young high school student did not compete in either Limited Sportsman or Late Model Stock Car Division competition in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, his strong past performances at South Boston Speedway laid a strong foundation he could build upon this season.

“We came into the season just wanting to keep the fenders on the car and finish in the top five,” Borst explained.

“In Late Model there are so many good cars, and everybody has the same equipment you do. I learned a lot this past race, just little things that I can improve on for the next race. Those little things will help me get the win.”

Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Late Model Twin 75s racing program at South Boston Speedway includes six races and is headlined by twin 75-lap races for the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Stock Car Division. Also included in the afternoon’s racing action are a 50-lap race for the Limited Sportsman Division competitors, a 30-lap race for the Budweiser Pure Stock Division and a 15-lap race for the Budweiser Hornets Division.

Along with the races for South Boston Speedway’s four regular racing divisions fans will get to see vintage racing at its best as the regional touring Southern Ground Pounders series will make the first of its two scheduled 2021 visits to South Boston Speedway. The Modified and Sportsman cars of the Southern Ground Pounders series will compete in a 25-lap race.

Saturday’s race day schedule has registration and pit gates opening at 9 a.m. Practice starts at 11 a.m. and grandstand gates will open at 12:30 p.m. Qualifying will begin at 1 p.m. and the first race will get the green flag at 2 p.m.

Advance adult general admission tickets for Saturday’s race are priced at $10 each and may be purchased online on South Boston Speedway’s website www.southbostonspeedway.com through Friday night, April 16. Adult general admission tickets at the gate on race day are priced at $15 each. Kids ages 12 and under will be admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult.

The speedway will be following COVID-19 mitigation mandates set forth by the federal government and the Commonwealth of Virginia during the event. Masks will be required for fans entering the speedway. Social distancing and additional mitigation measures will also be followed.

The latest news and updates about South Boston Speedway and its racing events can be found on the South Boston Speedway website and on the speedway’s social media channels.

SBS PR