Speedway Digest Staff
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The Music City Grand Prix, in partnership with INDYCAR, is bringing a new sound to Nashville. The Music City Grand Prix announced today that the newest NTT INDYCAR SERIES race will debut Aug. 6-8, 2021, in Nashville, Tennessee. The three-day international festival of speed and sound will be staged on a temporary grand prix circuit in downtown Nashville and around the Nissan Stadium campus.
Attendees can look forward to the best Nashville has to offer, including live music performances by top artists, best-in-class chef-curated food experiences and entertainment that centers on speed in a way only Music City can serve up.
“The Tennessee Titans and Nissan Stadium are excited to partner with the Music City Grand Prix to bring the NTT INDYCAR SERIES to Nashville and the stadium campus,” said Burke Nihill, president and CEO of the Tennessee Titans. “This is in keeping with our organizational goal of making our city, this venue and our organization as versatile and as busy as possible.”
Never-Before-Seen Track Features
With Nissan Stadium serving as the paddock for the race, the 2.17-mile temporary track will race across the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge into downtown Nashville and back, making the Music City Grand Prix one of the only events in motorsports to cross over a major body of water.
The first street course added to INDYCAR since 2013, it features 11 turns and plenty of straightaways for drivers to pass. These and other dynamic features will create an exhilarating experience for both drivers and fans.
“The Music City Grand Prix will be a one-of-a-kind NTT INDYCAR SERIES experience anchored in the heart of Nashville’s action-packed, exhilarating downtown corridor,” said Mark Miles, president and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp. "Nashville is a world-class city and global entertainment capital that provides an exceptional platform for our Series. From professional sports teams and top live music acts to a burgeoning food and culture scene, it is a perfect home for a racing event of this magnitude. Urban street festivals have become a huge part of our DNA at INDYCAR, and this three-day festival—complete with a course that pushes the limits—will highlight everything Nashville and the sport have to offer, providing international travelers, racing enthusiasts and local thrill-seekers alike with an experience of a lifetime.”
A Local Event With an International Draw
“Nashville continues to serve as a world-class entertainment and event destination, so adding an urban racing festival of this caliber is a logical next step for the city,” said Butch Spyridon, president and CEO of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation. “From the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Finals to the 2019 NFL Draft, Nashville knows how to host sporting events of all kinds while making them a party. The Music City Grand Prix underscores why Nashville was named Best Sports City in 2019, and we look forward to the national and international marketing it will bring to the city.”
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES features talented and charismatic drivers from around the globe, including legendary Scott Dixon from New Zealand, two-time Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato from Japan and Nashville native and resident Josef Newgarden, a two-time Series champion.
“Nashville is a special place, and the announcement of the Music City Grand Prix truly marks a huge step forward for our community as we look to the future and a return of our thriving and unique entertainment scene,” said Nashville Mayor John Cooper. “This announcement could not have come at a better time. The event represents a tremendous private investment in the city and a catalyst to our economic recovery.”
In keeping with true Nashville community, the Music City Grand Prix has forged key partnerships in order to bring this privately funded event to fruition. Music City Grand Prix is appreciative for the collaboration with INDYCAR, the Tennessee Titans, the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation, Metro Government of Nashville & Davidson County, the State of Tennessee, the Nashville Sports Council and the Middle Tennessee State University School of Concrete and Construction Management.
Club RPM and the Founders Experience
While the event will feature a variety of affordable and attractive ticket options to ensure all attendees experience a weekend unlike any other, the Music City Grand Prix is currently offering two distinctive membership initiatives. Club RPM is a premium VIP experience. Early members will gain access to concierge-style service for entertainment reservations, valet parking and entry into the Club RPM lounge at the Bridge Building. Additionally, fans can become a Music City Grand Prix Founder and receive reserved seating, exclusive discounts and priority purchase opportunities on parking, hotels and more.
Additional information, including the Music City Grand Prix schedules, artist lineup, food experiences and more, will be released at a later date. Visit www.musiccitygp.com to find more details on the event, sign up for Club RPM or become a Founder.
NTT IndyCar Series PR
With a dominant showing of 12 Feature wins, 16 top-fives and 16 top-10s across the 18 events he started with the tour this year, Nick Hoffman has officially clinched the 2020 DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals championship. But his drive isn’t done just yet.
This weekend, the now three-time Summit Modified champion takes his Federated Auto Parts #7 into the Bluegrass State to close out the tour, chasing the all-time single-season Feature wins record of 13, which he established last year.
The seventh annual Hope for Harlie event at Cedar Ridge Speedway, Sept. 18-19, will conclude the Summit Modified season on its championship weekend with two action-packed nights of DIRTcar UMP Modified racing and crown Hoffman with his third title in the last five seasons. A 30-lap, $1,500-to-win Feature is on deck for Friday while the big 40-lap, $3,000-to-win finale concludes the weekend on Saturday.
If Hoffman is able to make a sweep of the weekend, he’ll set the new single-season Feature win record at 14. Should he make the trip out to Kokomo Speedway for the Summit Modified portion of the Hoosier Dirt Shootuout makeup race on Friday, Oct. 23, he has the potential to make it 15 with a victory in the $5,000-to-win Feature there as well.
But for now, Hoffman is focused on the task at hand. Having won 22 Features in DIRTcar-sanctioned competition so far this year, he comes into the weekend as the clear favorite. However, several of the DIRTcar American Modified Series (AMS) regulars are expected to be in attendance, including one of Hoffman’s own customers at Elite Chassis, Tyler Nicely.
Nicely, the current AMS point-leader, comes into the weekend 34th in the national DIRTcar UMP Modified points standings with one win at Cedar Ridge back on July 18.
Nicely finished runner-up to Hoffman in the preliminary night of action at Cedar Ridge last year, just barely missing out on the $1,500 payday. Fellow Elite Chassis driver Will Krup scored the victory in Saturday night’s finale for his first career victory with the Summit Modifieds, becoming the 66th driver in tour history to win a Feature.
Each of these three drivers sports an Elite Chassis, fabricated by Hoffman at his shop in Mooresville, NC. Elite has accounted for 80 percent of the Feature wins on the Summit Modified tour so far this year and doesn’t appear to be backing down anytime soon. But the success for the brand isn’t just with the Summit Modifieds – it’s widespread.
“Right now, it’s going really well. Not just for myself, but for my customers that are out there winning. Obviously, you have McKinney, Krup and Nicely, who everybody expects to go out and win races. But guys like Derek Groomer, Jordan Wever, East Coast guys like Christian Thomas, Garrett Stewart, all picking up wins. It’s everywhere across the country,” Hoffman said.
This weekend, Hoffman and the Elite gang roll into the 3/8-mile, competition hungry and ready for war. While Cedar Ridge might not be one of Hoffman’s most familiar venues, he’s got his A-game ready to roll.
“The place is decently fast, actually one of the fastest places we go on the tour. It normally holds moisture all night, more of a red clay-type of racetrack and high banks. So, it’ll race pretty good,” Hoffman said.
Looking back on the incredible year he’s had thus far, Hoffman recalls one of his favorite victories of the season.
“For me to come back home and win in Pevely [MO] at I-55 [Raceway], winning that is really big and special for me,” he said. “I grew up in those grandstands, so to win that one is always special. It wasn’t the first time I’d won there, but it’s special. I watched my dad win what feels like 200 races there.”
Now armed with his third Summit Modified championship, several big-money victories this year and a chance at his second DIRTcar UMP Modified national points title at season’s end, this has been nothing short of one of the most dominating seasons in DIRTcar UMP Modified history. So, what’s next for the 28-year-old?
“It set out to be the best I can at whatever I do,” Hoffman said. “In the Modified ranks, I’ve been very successful and been able to win almost everything I’ve wanted to go after.”
“There’s still a lot more I want to be able to do in my racing career. I’d like to run a lot of Late Model races and be successful in Late Models too. We’re working on that, and I’ve had a lot of great opportunities with some great teams to run some Late Model races, I just need to get out and race some more.”
Until then, the three-time champ’s got a full weekend of work ahead of him.
Catch Hoffman and the rest of the DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals and American Modified Series field in-action this Friday and Saturday night at Cedar Ridge Speedway! Follow the tour on Twitter and like the tour page on Facebook @SummerNationals for all the updates throughout the weekend.
DIRTcar Series PR
The annual night race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway has long been a staple on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. In fact, many argue that the annual 500-lap race is quickly becoming a crown jewel race on the calendar. To add to the growing excitement for Bristol’s fall race, Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race will be a part of the Cup Series playoffs for the first time ever.
For one, Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Skittles Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), had this race circled on the calendar even before the season as he has at least eight reasons why he’s looking forward to Bristol being part of the 2020 Cup Series playoffs. His eight wins at the “Last Great Colosseum” are the most among active drivers, and only his older brother Kurt is close in the number of wins with six.
Nine Cup Series victories at Bristol would send the younger Busch brother into a tie with some all-time greats of the sport. Dale Earnhardt, Cale Yarborough and Rusty Wallace all ended their careers at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile with nine victories. If Busch was to achieve nine Bristol wins, the next milestone would be Darrell Waltrip’s all-time record of 12 wins at the Tennessee short track.
A win Saturday night for the Skittles driver would not only add to his career total at Bristol, but also vault him directly into the Round of 12 of this year’s Cup Series playoffs. Heading into this weekend’s race at the .533-mile concrete oval, Busch sits 18 points above the cutline to advance to the Round of 12, set to start next weekend at Busch’s hometown Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Busch, the two-time and defending Cup Series champion, holds the distinction of being the only driver in NASCAR history to win all three national series races in a single weekend, which he’s done twice at the .533-mile Bristol bullring. He captured the “Bristol Triple” in 2010 and 2017, when he swept NASCAR’s Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, Xfinity Series, and Cup Series races. In addition to his eight career Cup Series wins, Busch has notched 13 top-fives and 18 top-10s in 30 career starts at Northeast Tennessee’s “Thunder Valley.”
While he is a factor any time he travels to Bristol, it’s interesting to note Busch didn’t immediately take to the place. During his rookie year in 2005, he posted finishes of 28th and 33rd. But his record since then has been impressive, to say the least. After bringing home finishes of eighth and second in 2006, Busch captured his first Bristol Cup Series win in March 2007. The track was resurfaced after that race and, from 2008 to 2011, nobody has been better at Bristol than Busch. He scored four wins and six top-10s from 2008 until another change to the track surface prior to the August 2012 race weekend. Busch has seemed to recapture the magic from his four years of dominance there as the new racing grooves there have better suited Busch’s driving style over the past several seasons.
This weekend, Busch will have Operation Gratitude on the back of his No. 18 Skittles Toyota at Bristol. Every year, Operation Gratitude sends 300,000-plus individually addressed care packages to soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and Coast Guardsmen deployed overseas, to their children left behind, and to first responders, new recruits, veterans, wounded heroes, and their caregivers. Each package contains snacks, hygiene products, entertainment, and handmade items, as well as personal letters of support.
So, as Busch and the Skittles team head to Bristol this weekend, a ninth victory there would not only put him alongside NASCAR Hall of Famers Earnhardt, Yarborough, and Wallace, but also send him to the next round of the playoffs so he can take another step toward successfully defending his 2019 Cup Series championship.
For the second year in a row, Bobby Santos took home 1st place at the Musket 200 presented by Whelen. As he crossed over the finish line in his ThinkLite sponsored car, the Santos-ThinkLite bond was solidified as a partnership destined to win.
ThinkLite, a globally recognized LED technology company headquartered in Natick, Massachusetts, has evolved its offerings into indoor air monitoring and purifying solutions. The 12-year-old organization is teaming up with Santos to fight back against COVID-19 and bring clean air to schools across the country.
Schools have been a hot spot throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for virus transmission, and like many other parents, Santos has been forced to navigate these unknown times for his own children. In his partnership with ThinkLite, they will be donating air quality monitors and clean air technology solutions to schools. This will allow students, parents and faculty to truly become aware and understand the level of pathogens and harmful germs in the air; and thereby provide the opportunity to address it. The air purifying solutions consist of energy efficient lighting, combined with a photocatalytic cleaner that is sprayed on all surfaces. The two elements activate each other and continuously cleanse the air in real time as students and faculty congregate in an area.
In addition to ensuring safety, this is a valuable opportunity to provide education to students on what exactly is in their air.
"I'm so thrilled to be a part of this bond with ThinkLite," said Bobby Santos III. "Their mission to provide clean air to schools, and to ensure the safety of our students and next generation is admirable and inspiring. I'm excited to be a part of this mission, and to see the impact it makes on schools across the country."
With the use of their air quality monitor, school facilities will be able to see the pathogens that are in the air, including COVID-19 particles. Along with monitoring, schools will have the option to target a high-risk area in their building and use the ThinkLite Clean Air Program to continuously cleanse their air of pathogens that could be dangerous for staff and students.
"We couldn't be happier about teaming up with Bobby," said Dinesh Wadhwani, CEO of ThinkLite. "As we have established ourselves as a leading technology company, we want to make sure we are always innovating to create high value solutions beyond energy efficiency. We are humbled to be able to offer our solutions to organizations that will truly benefit from our indoor air monitoring and purifying technology. We cannot wait to see the positive change our donations bring to students."
Martinsville Speedway (Martinsville) and the NASCAR Hall of Fame announce a renewal of the entitlement for the penultimate race of the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at The Short Track on Friday, Oct. 30. The name of the race will be the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 for the second consecutive season.
“The NASCAR Hall of Fame celebrates the history of our great sport, so it is fitting to have their name return on one of the most competitive races of the season at Martinsville Speedway,” said Martinsville President Clay Campbell. “We look forward to making history together with the NASCAR Hall of Fame on the penultimate race of the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series in the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200.”
“It is an honor for us to be the entitlement sponsor once again this year for the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200,” said Winston Kelley, Executive Director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “With roots dating back to NASCAR’s inception, Martinsville Speedway is a perfect fit as a partner for us. Sponsoring the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series also serves as a fitting reminder that the NASCAR Hall of Fame honors the history and heritage of all aspects of the NASCAR legacy.”
The NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 will start the NASCAR Playoffs Weekend at Martinsville on Friday, Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. ET, which will be the first the series has run at night at The Short Track. The penultimate race of the Gander Trucks season will set the final four drivers competing for the series title over NASCAR Championship Weekend at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 6-8.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 will be televised nationally on FS1 and broadcast on MRN and its network of nationwide affiliates, in addition to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame, located in uptown Charlotte, N.C., celebrates the history, heritage and heroes of the sport. From NASCAR’s roots in moonshine to history-making moments in recent seasons, the NASCAR Hall of Fame brings to life the NASCAR experience from its beginnings to present day. The exhibits and interactive experiences are ever-changing as there is always something new to explore.
Today, the NASCAR Hall of Fame reopened to the public for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. To learn more and plan a trip to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, visit nascarhall.com.
Martinsville Speedway PR
Eddie Mumford won the first Freedom 76 Modified Classic back in 1971 and Mike Gular won the last one in 2019. It is anyone’s guess as to who will walk off with the trophy and the $35,550 pot of gold as winner of the 50th Annual Freedom 76 taking place at Grandview Speedway on Saturday, September 19th.
Quite an impressive list of racing talents are expected including two of the winningest Modified talents in the sport, Stewart Friesen and Matt Sheppard. Friesen, a Freedom 76 winner in 2014, also spends his time racing on the NASCAR Truck Series circuit and will be coming from the Thursday night race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Rising star Billy Pauch, Jr. (his father a six time winner) is entered as is Bobby Varin, Mike Maresca, Ryan Godown and a host of other visitors.
Track champion Craig Von Dohren will be seeking his sixth win, his first one coming in 1985. Jeff Strunk is a seven time winner while Duane Howard has five wins. Ray Swinehart, another past winner, will be looking for another victory as will Meme DeSantis, a three time winner.
A long list of Grandview regulars and visitors will be filling the pits as they try for a qualifying spot in the Classic, 76 laps around the one-third-mile, banked clay track.
The weekend kicks off with the action packed Freedom 38 for Sportsman stock cars paying the winner of the 38-lapper $3,550. This race is also expected to attract many visitors to test their skills.
Also on Friday night, action starting at 7:30 p.m., the Modified racers planning to participate in the Freedom 76 will be given practice time during the evening’s events.
Pits open at 3 p.m. and main grandstand gates open at 5:30 p.m.
Adult admission is $15 with youngsters 6 through 11 paying $5 and kids under 6 admitted free. Pit admission for Friday is $35 and there is no license required.
Tickets for the Freedom 76 will sell for $40. Youngsters, 6 through 11, on Saturday will pay $10 while kids under 6 are admitted free. Pit admission will be $45 with no license required. There are no advance tickets being offered.
Saturday will see pit gates open at 9 a.m. Ticket windows open at 3:00 p.m. Fans will be able to enter the speedway at the first turn and fourth turn spectator gates to reserve seats with blankets between 9am and 12noon.
On track action will get started at 7 p.m. as top Modified racing talents participate in qualifying events, the $1,000 to win Kirsten Snyder Web Design & Photography Cash Dash, the Schaffer Racing Minuteman 20 and top it all off with the 50th edition of the Freedom 76, “The Granddaddy of Modified Stock Car Classics”.
A large amount of lap money will be divided amongst lap leaders during the big race and the racer gaining the most positions during the 76 laps will receive $500 from Bobby Gunther Walsh and his sponsors as the Hard Charger.
Competition Carburetion Fast Lap of $50 will be awarded Friday, Sept. 18 for the Freedom 38 and for the Saturday September 19th Freedom 76.
All winners are entered into a random drawing at the end of the season for a Grand Prize of $500.00
Freedom Fest will take place from 10 AM to 12 NOON on Saturday in the first turn pavilion area and will feature music by Maddie Pearl. Race cars driven by Ryan Grim, Colt Harris and Dylan Swinehart will be on display.
Bob Hilbert Sportswear will present a jacket to the winner of the Freedom 76.
Check the website for information on camping regulations.
Information can be had at www.grandviewspeedway.com or telephone 610.754.7688.
Grandview Speedway PR