Speedway Digest Staff
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Here we go again.
For the third consecutive year, Clint Bowyer’s chances of advancing to the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs comes down to his performance in the third and final Round of 16 race, when four drivers will be eliminated from 2020 championship contention.
Unlike the last two seasons, when the final race of the opening round took place on the 17-turn “roval” at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Saturday night’s race will be on the treacherous half-mile, high banks of Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
Bristol is chaotic during the regular season. Now that it’s a playoff transfer race for the first time in NASCAR history, it’s obvious why drivers are nervous and fans are excited for short-track racing with so much at stake.
“This is what the playoffs are all about and supposed to be all about,” said Bowyer, who has scored 10th-place finishes in the Round of 16’s first two races at Darlington (S.C.) and Richmond (Va.) Raceway. “You want the nerve-wracking, nervous, pressure-packed races. I’m a fan and that’s what I would want if I was sitting in the grandstands or watching on television.”
Bowyer arrives at Bristol 12th in the 16-driver playoff standings, just three points ahead of 13th-place driver William Byron in the battle for the final transfer position.
“We’ve got to go to Bristol and perform,” he said. “I like the track. We’ve got some top-10s going and we’re definitely better, but we’ve got to be great this week. We can do it. That’s a good track for us and a lot of fun and a track that I feel like I can win at some day, so there’s nothing to be scared about going to a track like that. You’ve just got to go there and have fun with it like you always do on a short track and race your a**** off and hopefully that will be enough.”
While he owns a three-point cushion for the final transfer spot, Bowyer is just 15 points out of ninth. This playoff pressure is becoming old hat to Bowyer.
Last year, Bowyer entered the final race in the Round of 16 on the Charlotte roval four points shy of the final transfer position. He racked up 16 bonus points in the first two stages of the race while surviving three- and four-wide racing before finishing fourth. It boosted him to ninth in the final Round of 16 points and easily advanced him to the next playoff round.
In 2018, Bowyer entered the opening round’s final race 13th in points, just four markers outside the top-12 cutoff. A third-place finish was enough to propel Bowyer to the Round of 12.
“For me, yeah, it’s nerve-wracking or whatever, but it’s also fun,” he said. “It’s fun to feel that way. It keeps you alive. That’s what racing is all about. That’s what competition is all about. You go into a weekend and if it’s just no big deal, hell, that ain’t any fun.”
Bowyer couldn’t pick a much better track to stage the Round of 16 finale in 2020 than the iconic Tennessee short track. He owns eight top-five finishes and 16 top-10s in 29 starts there, including five consecutive top-eight finishes. In this year’s May race there, he staged a late run that saw him move from ninth to second in the last 30 laps to post his best finish of the season.
Bowyer’s No. 14 Ford will carry a Rush Truck Centers/Cummins paint scheme for the most important race of the season Saturday night.
Rush Truck Centers has been the primary partner for the No. 14 team since Bowyer arrived at SHR in 2017 and has been with the organization since 2010. With Bowyer’s background working in his dad’s towing service in Emporia, Kansas, Bowyer understands the importance of keeping trucks up and running.
That is why Rush is proud to partner with Bowyer and support the trucks that haul the racecars, as well as customers across the country with its total service management package, RushCare Complete. This all-inclusive solution provides dedicated concierge service, vehicle telematics, mobile service, express routine maintenance, real-time service updates and a comprehensive source for all-makes parts.
Cummins makes its third appearance of the 2020 season with Bowyer. The Indiana-based company from car owner Tony Stewart’s hometown of Columbus is no stranger to victory lane with its racing lineage dating back to the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911, when company founder Clessie Cummins was on the pit crew of the race-winning Marmon Wasp of driver Ray Harroun.
Since its founding in 1919, the company now employs approximately 61,600 people and serves customers in about 190 countries and territories through a network of some 8,000 wholly owned and independent dealer and distributor locations. While Cummins is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions, it is best known for its diesel truck engines.
For Bowyer the strategy Saturday night is clear-cut.
“We have to get some bonus points the first two stages and be there at the end,” he said. “We can’t make any mistakes and have to avoid getting taken out by somebody else’s mistakes. That all sounds easy, but 40 other maniacs are thinking the same thing. It’s going to be a pretty wild Saturday night.”
Hopefully for Bowyer, it will be a third consecutive year of turning in a great performance when it’s most needed and advancing to the Round of 12.
Last week there was a Tiger and a Kangaroo on the loose in Eastern Tennessee, but as far as NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series regular season champ Austin Hill is concerned, the biggest, baddest animal of them all in this part of the country is the legendary Bristol Motor Speedway.
The iconic all-concrete high-banked half-mile bullring will bare its teeth when it hosts the first race in the Truck Series seven-race Playoffs on Thursday, Sept. 17, with the UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics. The race, which will not have fans in attendance, will be broadcast live on FS1, MRN Radio and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio starting at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Hill, who had a solid regular season in his No. 16 Hattori Motorsports entry with one victory, eight top-fives and 14 top-10s, is ready to get the Playoffs rolling, but admits anything can happen at Bristol Motor Speedway, and it usually does. He says trying to tame that track is a heck of a challenge.
“Bristol is one of those animals that we haven’t really figured out yet,” Hill said. “We ran in the back half of the top 10 all night long last year. That’s one of those unknown races for us that we’re going into and just try to get as many points as we can. We’ve been working really hard on our short track program and I think it showed at Gateway and at Richmond. Hopefully we can keep it up.”
Before Hill’s track-best effort of 10th last season, he had posted Bristol finishes of 19th, 22nd and 21st in his three previous attempts. With crew chief Scott Zipadelli calling the shots in the pits, and the regular season trophy on his shelf, Hill heads to Bristol with more confidence than ever.
“Track position means a lot at Bristol, and I have struggled on the long runs there making speed,” Hill said. “I worked a lot on my racecraft over the off-season and all of this year on what I can do as a driver to be better at Bristol.”
Hill has emerged on the scene as a contender week in and week out this season and says there’s no overnight sensation chapter in his story. He says he is in championship contention through lots of hard work and perseverance.
“After winning Daytona last year we went through a really bad spell with engine issues,” Hill said. “This year we’ve hit our stride. Every weekend we felt like we’ve been in contention for wins. The consistency this year has been good. It’s great to have a year under your belt with your crew. We’ve been jelling really good. It’s nice to have the regular season championship, but we still want to get that trophy at the end of the season too.”
In this Playoff run, Hill is hoping to improve on his career-best sixth-place points finish from a year ago.
“As the regular season champ, it’s really nice to have those extra bonus points in the playoffs to lean on,” Hill added. “That’s one thing that we didn’t have last year and it kinda bit us in the Round of 6. We missed the final four by just a couple points.”
One of Hill’s biggest challengers is Grant Enfinger, who won the regular season finale at Richmond last weekend for his third victory of the season. The 2019 series runner-up could be hitting his stride at just the right moment. He has a solid record at Bristol with two top-fives and another top-10, but admits the team has been working to improve their short track program.
“We love the short tracks but we’ve struggled on them a little bit and haven’t been able to contend for wins at short tracks so it was nice to have some speed (at Richmond),” Enfinger said. “It’s nice to get a win at Richmond. Not only for the momentum it gives us in the Playoffs, but to also check a box for the feel that I’m looking for at a short track.”
One of the hottest drivers in the Truck Series is veteran Ben Rhodes in the No. 99 ThorSport Racing entry. Rhodes won at Darlington two weeks ago and feels like he had the truck to beat at Richmond this past Thursday night after leading a race-high 66 laps, but finishing third. He certainly feels like momentum is on his side heading to Thunder Valley.
“Richmond really lit a fire under all my guys since we feel like we should’ve won it and didn’t,” Rhodes said. “They’ve been working their butts off, and we hope to keep the momentum going.”
Rhodes has posted four top 10s in five career Truck Series starts at Bristol. His track-best effort of fifth came during the 2017 UNOH 200. He’s looking to improve on his career-best series championship finish of fifth which he has achieved twice – last year and in 2017.
“The next seven races is going to be the meat grinder,” Rhodes said. “It’s going to chew a lot of guys up and spit them out. We need to keep focusing on what we’ve been doing and being consistent and getting points. We don’t need to be in that path. We need to stay true to what we’ve been doing, and keep it steady like we have been here lately.”
The remaining seven drivers in the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoff field includes Sheldon Creed, Zane Smith, defending series champ Matt Crafton, Todd Gilliland, Christian Eckes, former champ Brett Moffitt, and Tyler Ankrum.
Many of short track racing’s rising stars, like Hailie Deegan, Ty Gibbs, Sam Mayer and Drew Dollar, will hit the track following the Truck Series race to compete for the win and an opportunity to earn a coveted BMS Gladiator Sword in the Bush’s Beans 200 in the ARCA Menards Series. Race officials announced recently that this race, which is scheduled as the 9:30 p.m. nightcap on Thursday, will be increased by 50 laps to a 107-mile distance. The Bush’s Beans 200 will be televised live on FS1.
Gibbs, the grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs, has been strong this season in his No. 18 machine with four victories, while Mayer has claimed four wins in his No. 21 Chevy. Mayer won both K&N East Series races at Bristol last year and has been strong at short tracks so far this year with three victories at Toledo Speedway, including one this past weekend, and a victory two weeks ago at I-44 Speedway in Lebanon, Missouri.
Bret Holmes took over the points lead with a fourth place finish this past weekend, and is followed by season long leader Michael Self, who claimed two wins at Daytona this year, but dropped to second in points after a seventh place effort Saturday. Deegan, Dollar and Thad Moffitt round out the top-five. Mayer, who has only competed in 11 of the 15 events to date, moved to seventh in points with the win. Mayer is expected to pull double-duty on Thursday at Bristol, competing in both the Truck and ARCA races.
One other top contender in the ARCA race at Bristol is Chandler Smith, who finished second to Mayer Saturday night in Toledo. Smith has two wins and seven top fives in the ARCA Series this year in his No. 20 entry owned by Billy Venturini. Like Mayer, Smith also will pull double-duty Thursday and drive the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports entry in the UNOH 200.
West Coast racer Deegan, who is a fan-favorite in the series in her No. 4 machine, has posted three top-fives and 13 top-10s this season. In two K&N Series starts at Bristol in 2019, Deegan posted finishes of 16th and 9th.
“I feel like this is the most I’ve ever learned on the East Coast, racing from the back to the front,” said Deegan after her second of two starts at BMS in 2019. “Hopefully, I will be racing at Bristol for years to come.”
In addition to the Trucks and ARCA races, the race weekend also will feature the iconic Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, which is the first cut-off race in the NASCAR Playoffs as well as the regular season finale in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, the Food City 300.
Today’s crop of NASCAR Cup Series stars will be looking to create some wow moments at Bristol Motor Speedway during round number three of the NASCAR Cup Playoffs on Saturday night, Sept. 19 during the 60th running of the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race (7:30 p.m., NBCSN, PRN Radio, Sirius XM Radio).
The race will begin with 16 of the best Cup Series drivers racing for championship glory and will finish with only 12 remaining in pursuit of the 2020 season crown. As the first cut-off race in the NASCAR Cup Playoffs, four drivers will see their championship dreams end that night under the lights at The Last Great Colosseum.
NASCAR’s best drivers will beat and bang on each other – NASCAR Playoff style – and only the strongest will survive 500 laps of mayhem and chaos inside the high-banked, all concrete bullring. In the Cup race, you’ll get to see all of your favorite drivers doing what they do best, including reigning Cup Series champ Kyle Busch, defending event winner Denny Hamlin, Food City Supermarket Heroes 500 winner Brad Keselowski, All-Star Race winner Chase Elliott, two-time BMS winner Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Bubba Wallace, and Bristol fan-favorite Matt DiBenedetto, among others.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers, headed by Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe, Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson and Ross Chastain, will battle to improve their positions for the Playoffs in what promises to be a dramatic and exciting regular season finale, Friday night, Sept. 18, during the Food City 300 at 7 p.m. (NBCSN, PRN Radio, Sirius XM Radio). When the checkered flag falls, the 12 Playoff drivers will be set in the Xfinity Series.
For ticket information about Friday night’s Food City 300 Xfinity Series race, please visit the BMS website.
Consistency had great rewards for Craig Von Dohren and Brian Hirthler. Even though they each only won one feature this season in each of their divisions of competition they were each able to walk off with Grandview Speedway championships.
For Craig Von Dohren the 2020 T.P.Trailers NASCAR Track Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series marked the 11th time in his storied career that he was able to walk off with the title wheeling the Harring Transportation entry. The last time the Oley, PA racer walked off with the title was 2017. With a total of 3153 points Von Dohren topped his Oley neighbor Duane Howard who was the defending champion. Howard also won a feature and was able to tally 2906 points with one feature win. Doug Manmiller grabbed third with 2694 followed by Jared Umbenhauer with 2691 and rounding out the top five was 10 time champion Jeff Strunk with 2669 points. A total of 50 racers earned points.
In the T.P.Truck Equipment Sportsman division Brian Hirthler survived a difficult night of racing that almost cost him the championship after having led most of the season. Hirthler, a champion in 2017, earned 2258 points with one feature win to his credit with the Alpine Truck Repair entry. The Green Lane, PA racer edged out Brad Arnold by just five points. Others who finished close to the champion were Ryan Beltz with 2230 counters, Kyle Lilick earned 2227 points while Jack Butler tallied 2114. Close to 60 racers competed in the Sportsman division with only Kyle Lilick winning more than once.
The excitement is continuing to build for two big nights of auto racing action, September 18 and 19, at the popular banked clay oval topped by the 50th Annual Freedom 76 Modified Classic that rewards the winner with $35,550 plus lap money on Saturday night. This race is expected to attract many of the top names in dirt track Modified racing.
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 in the first turn pavilion area and will feature music by Maddie Pearl a group that includes front man Colby Knappenberger, Roger Knappenberger (1973 Freedom 76 winner), Pete Knappenberger and young Rian Stevens. 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.
ATTENTION RACE TEAMS: Due to the right rear tire shortage. The tire stamp will be open for Friday, Sept 18th Sportsman 38er, and Saturday Sept 19th, Freedom 76. It must be an American Racer, Grandview tread pattern and compounds. Right rears 48 and 50. Any questions please reach out to Ed Scott at: 484-239-7583. We have been told from the distributor we will have tires available at the track this weekend.
Full information on the weekend of racing is available at www.grandviewspeedway.com, Facebook or telephone 610.754.7688. Racers will find entry information the website.
Grandview Speedway PR
Two-time ARCA Menards Series (AMS) winner Gus Dean (@gusdean) will return to the series for at least two more races this season beginning with Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Sept. 17 and Memphis (Tenn.) International Raceway on Sat., Sept. 26 respectively.
Dean will continue to drive for Kevin Cywinski’s Win-Tron Racing aboard the No. 32 Chevrolet SS with industry veteran Jamie Jones leading the team as crew chief. Bristol will mark Dean’s return to ARCA since competing at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in June.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to the race track,” said Dean who has spent the summer also competing in his Super Late Model.
“Short track racing is what its all about and it doesn’t get any better than Bristol.
“I’ve never been there in an ARCA car – but do have experience there last year in a Truck. Having a limited amount of practice on our hands, I’m hopeful that the extra track time will help and we can get a good finish for Kevin, Jamie and everyone on this Win-Tron Racing team.”
Always a contender in ARCA competition, Dean’s No. 32 Chevrolet will be backed by MASHONIT Apparel Co.
MASHONIT Apparel Co. is a brand for those that live life wide open. The people that look at something normal and think, "That's not good enough,” “It can go faster" or "Let's see what this thing can do."
Those that have the hunger inside that keeps them just south of normal.
That never-ending hunger for speed and adrenaline that allows you to find the thin line between being heroic and insane, giving them a perspective on life that few are lucky enough to find. – That’s MASHONIT.
Following Bristol, Dean and the team will trek to Memphis, where the Bluffton, SC. native is a previous track winner in 2014 while competing in the X-1R Pro Cup Series.
Jones is also a former winner at Memphis in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series in 2005 with driver Brandon Whitt.
Together, Dean and Jones hope to rekindle their separate magic and lead Win-Tron Racing back to Victory Lane.
“I’m stoked about going to Memphis, obviously,” added Dean. “It’s a fun race track and it brings a lot of memories from 2014 – where I beat some of the best of the best in Late Model competition.
“I know Jamie (Jones) is hungry to win there again and I hope we can go out for these next two ARCA Menards Series races and have a good showing and bring home some checkered flags.”
Veteran spotter and close friend Tyler Monn will spot for Dean at Bristol. Monn guided Dean to his second career ARCA victory at Elko Speedway in July 2018. The 26-year-old Dean will also return to the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series this season with details being announced at a later date.
Since 2016, Dean has 53 ARCA Menards Series starts with two poles, two wins, 14 top-five and 30 top-10 finishes driving for just two teams Mason Mitchell Motorsports and Win-Tron Racing.
For more on Gus Dean, please visit GusDean.com, like him on Facebook (Gus Dean Racing) and follow him on Twitter (@GusDean).
For more on Win-Tron Racing, please visit WinTronRacing.com, like them on Facebook (WinTron Racing) and follow them on Twitter (@WinTronRacing).
For more on MASHONIT Apparel Co., please visit MashOnIt.com, like them on Facebook (MashOnIt Apparel Co.,), follow them on Instagram (MashOnIt_Clothing) and follow them on Twitter (@MashOnIt Apparel Co.).
The Bush’s Beans 200 (200 laps | 106.6 miles) is the 16th of 20 races on the 2020 ARCA Menards Series schedule. Group practice begins Thurs., Sept. 17, 2020 with a forty-five-minute practice session from 6:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. The race is set to take the green flag shortly after 9:30 p.m., televised live on FOX Sports 1, while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire day’s festivities. All times are local (Eastern).
The Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 from Memphis (Tenn.) International Raceway is set for Sat., September 26, 2020.
Gus Dean PR
Mini Stocks from far and wide packed the pit area Saturday, September 12, as Meridian Speedway hosted the Season Opening and Championship event for the Northwest Mini Stock Tour on Big Al’s Night at the Races. Joining the many Mini Stocks were the Pit Stop USA NASCAR Modifieds, Pepsi Crate and ISRL Sprint Cars, Project Filter Pro-4s, and the Junior Stingers as they battled for their Anderson 68 Racing Feature Flags.
A full field of 24 Mini Stocks rolled to green for the night’s 75 lap main event behind Payette, Idaho’s Travis Pavlacky and Lacey, Washington’s Ron Wilbur. Pavlacky got to the gas pedal first and piloted his FVC, Price Painting pickup to the lead while Wilbur fell into the clutches of third row starter Don Trafford. This fight for third went sour on the second lap when the two made contact and Wilbur’s Preston Racing machine ended up backwards in front of the field.
In the jam up Josh McMillan, winner of the 2019 Northwest Mini Stock Hard Luck Award, was turned headlong into the backstretch wall. After a wild ride on two wheels McMillan landed his Blaine Sign Shop, Northwest Kent Collision machine on all fours, but the Puyallup, Washington driver was forced to retire from the race with heavy suspension damage.
On the restart Drew Crenshaw hooked the inside line and took over the top spot on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard in his Valton Racing, CG Racing Mini Stock. But Crenshaw wasn’t safe up front as Ogden, Utah’s Justin Carson, Karl Smith of Coquille, Oregon, and Spokane, Washington’s Scott Murphy stormed by and took over the top three spots.
Once Murphy had his One Tree Hard Cider, Zips on Market machine out front he set sail and opened a comfortable lead over Smith. Smith had bigger issues as fast Washington racers Rick Ackerman and Brad Rhoads pulled to his rear bumper.
Ackerman wasn’t satisfied with a podium spot, and the Roy, Washington racer powered by Rhoads and to the back bumper of Murphy. Ackerman pounded on the leader, but couldn’t make a lane for his Elevacity Coffee, Olympic Sign and Awning racer to take the top spot. But the strain on Ackerman’s machine was too much, and with thirty circuits left he lost power and was forced to park in the infield.
Next to test Murphy was Melba, Idaho’s Fred Vigil. With his Ben’s Auto Glass, Larry H. Miller Collision racer on the low line Vigil challenged Murphy on a late race restart before his attention turned to third place runner Terry Armstrong, Junior and his Racers Against Child Abuse, Sappy Q Rubs and Spices entry.
As the laps wound down the leaders sped into a knot of lapped traffic. After close calls nearly claimed Murphy and Armstrong, Junior, Vigil and Morgan Trammel came together on the back stretch. Trammel’s Trammel Construction, Touchdown Automotive machine spun into the side of Wilbur and the crowd slid into turn three.
When the smoke cleared all involved were able to drive away from the accident scene, but Vigil, Trammel, and Wilbur were relegated to the back of the pack for bringing out the caution.
The green flag waved for the last time over Murphy and Armstrong, Junior for a twelve lap shootout. Murphy got out of the blocks first to take the lead while Armstrong, Junior fell into the clutches of third place Carson.
But it all happened behind Murphy, who sped across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe for the victory.
Meridian Speedway point leader Pavlacky finished sixth, second place runner Luke Wolverton eleventh, and third place point man Don Trafford came home nineteenth after an eventful evening.
“What a hell of a race,” Murphy said as he collected the Anderson 68 Racing Feature Flag.
Pit Stop USA NASCAR Modified point leader Brendon Fries, at the controls of his ICON Credit Union, Boise Boys Transportation racer, took home the division’s first of two Big Al’s Night at the Races main events. Division newcomer Josh Fanopoulos dominated race number two to take home a convincing win in his Certified Services, A-1 Towing modified.
The Project Filter Pro-4 ranks were turned upside down in practice Saturday as point leader Jordan Harris tangled with Ray Bolinger’s Mulder’s Auto Machine, Leisure Time, Inc. Racer. The contact slammed Harris’ Allan Marsh RV and Marine Center, Kim’s Kars entry into the turn one concrete before it hopped onto the barrier and slid to a stop.
Both drivers were okay after the spectacular accident, but both cars were sidelined for the night. Harris was able to start the main event in a car borrowed from Colton Nelson, but could only muster a second place finish behind Athena, Oregon’s Cody McDonald and his Holton Secret Labs, Diamond Eye Manufacturing mount.
Bryan Warf charged to the head of the Pepsi Crate and ISRL Sprint Car field in his Allan Marsh RV and Marine Center, CF Floor Covering sprinter to score his third victory in the division’s last four main events.
With an eighth place finish in his Fat Guys Fresh Deli, BLG Blue, CSI Shocks sprinter, Boise, Idaho’s Rob Grice claimed the Idaho Sprint Car Racing League championship presented by Battery Systems and Allan Marsh RV and Marine Center.
Dylan Wardle’s reign of dominance continued as the fourteen-year-old won yet another Junior Stinger feature behind the wheel of his TraBar Custom, Impact Motorz machine. John Clever took the runner up spot in his GoGo Squeeze, Kart Idaho racer and Aaden Fanopoulos came home third.
This Saturday, September 19, Meridian Speedway plays host to Eve of Destruction XII. Alongside the KOA Trailer Races of Destruction, The BEAST Jet Car Meltdown, and the Hornets versus The Gauntlet race, the NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Late Models speed through two main events to find a season champion, while the Mulder Engineered Race Engines Junior Late Models, Coors Super Stocks, Teleperformance Street Stocks, Firehouse Pub and Grill Bombers, and Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets go door-to-door for valuable late-season points. Tickets are going fast! Log on to www.meridianspeedway.com to secure your tickets now! General admission for adults is just $19, seniors and military members $17, kids 7-11 $7, and as always kids 6 and under get in free. Can’t make it to the track? Check out all the Eve of Destruction XII action on SpeedCast.tv starting at 6 p.m. We’ll see you under the big yellow water tower this Saturday, September 19, for Eve of Destruction 19 at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.
Meridian Speedway PR
For the first time ever, Sully Erna and Aaron Lewis, two of the most acclaimed frontmen in rock -- the voices of multiplatinum rock bands Godsmack and Staind -- will perform their hits together, side-by-side, in an intimate and unplugged evening on The American Drive-In Tour, including a concert at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, Oct. 24. A multi-stop cross-country tour, the American Drive-In Tour is one of the first 2020 drive-in live rock concert events planned across several cities, and promises a once-in-a-lifetime event for fans, featuring a special evening of hits, covers and conversation with Aaron and Sully appearing together on stage.
Godsmack’s Sully Erna said, “Me and Aaron Lewis? Onstage together…acoustic? Do I need to say more? Just don’t miss it! It may never happen again.”
“Sully and I have been friends for 25 years. We’ve been talking about doing something for the last 10 years,” said Staind’s Aaron Lewis. “The time has finally come. I couldn’t be more excited to be bringing this to you in such strange times."
Erna is the accomplished founder, vocalist, guitarist and songwriter for the multiplatinum rock band Godsmack, selling over 20 million records worldwide, enjoying four Grammy nominations and eleven #1 singles at mainstream rock radio. In May, Godsmack’s “Unforgettable” became the fourth #1 rock track from their latest album When Legends Rise (BMG). This accomplishment makes Godsmack one of only four rock acts to reach this milestone. Erna also released his latest solo album Hometown Life in 2016.
Lewis, who fronts and founded the wildly-successful rock group Staind, has sold 17 million albums worldwide and has enjoyed four consecutive top three debuts on Billboard’s Top 200. The single “It’s Been Awhile,” remains the most-played rock song of its decade. His solo material includes the platinum selling hit “Country Boy” and 4 albums of tried-and-true, twang-heavy Outlaw Country tunes, including his most recent album, State I’m In.
Tour producers Danny Wimmer Presents have worked closely with both artists and all venues to create a live concert environment that will bring rock fans back together in unique setups that promote social distancing for a safe experience. The show will feature a barrage of hits, covers, conversation and laughs that will create a true sense of unity for audiences across the country.
“We're eager to get back to what we love, and we’re determined to keep the music alive and keep the rock community strong during these times,” comments DWP President Joe Litvag. “Aaron and Sully on stage together like this is something that none of us have seen before but have always hoped would happen one day. We’re thrilled to be a part of it.”
The nationwide trek will follow current local health guidelines for fans’ safety and enjoyment.
Tickets go on sale beginning this Tuesday, September 15 at Noon local time at www.aaronandsully.com. More dates will be announced in the coming weeks.
Brad Keselowski called it when he predicted the No. 2 Ford Mustang would run well at Richmond and be in victory lane. And that is exactly what happened. Keselowski led a race high 192 laps out of the 400-lap race on his way to collecting the NASCAR Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 trophy at Richmond Raceway, Saturday night. In addition, securing the second spot in the Round of 12 for Ford Performance.
“Congratulations to Brad, Jeremy, and the No. 2 crew,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “Brad and the No. 2 team executed all night, on the track and in the pits. It was all about executing their plan and the team did an outstanding job. We are proud to celebrate our 100th NASCAR win with Team Penske and to have two Ford Mustangs secured in the next round of the Playoffs.”
After battling Team Penske teammate Joey Logano for the better half of Stage 2, Keselowski was able to make a late stage pass to take the Stage 2 win and put his team in a good position for the final stage of the race. The No. 2 team split the final stage up into a two-pit strategy. The team executed on pit road and Keselowski passed for the lead on lap 48 for the final time. The No. 2 finished with an impressive 2.568-second margin of victory over Martin Truex Jr. for the win.
When asked how awesome his Ford was, Keselowski commented, “It was really good. Our Mustang was really hauling. This car was really strong, and I really got a great rhythm out on the racetrack. You’ve got to get a really precise rhythm for how you get around here and I was able to find that very early on, put a lot of thought into what I was gonna do and it paid off.”
Five Ford Mustangs finished in the top-10. Following Keselowski was Team Penske teammate Joey Logano in P3 and Stewart-Haas teammates Kevin Harvick P7, Aric Almirola P8, and Clint Bowyer P10.
With one race left in the Round of 16, five Ford drivers find themselves above the cut line. Harvick is on top of the leader board in P1, Keselowski P2, Logano P4, Almirola P10, and Bowyer P12. Cole Custer, Matt DiBenedetto, and Ryan Blaney will be putting it all on the line to make it into the Round of 12.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series held their last double-header of the season in Richmond. The Ford Performance drivers Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe competed well, but finished P4 and P11 respectively in Friday night’s Go Bowling 250. At the completion of the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 250 on Saturday, Cindric finished P10 and Briscoe P16.
At the conclusion of Saturday’s race, Cindric with five wins, 16 top-5s and 20 top-10s on the year, was awarded the Xfinity Series Regular Season Championship. The No. 22 driver collects 15 bonus points for the playoffs and will be the No. 1 seed going into the Xfinity Playoffs at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in two weeks.
“We sat down as a team at the beginning of the year and we all wrote down our top-three goals.” Cindric commented. “I am not a big proponent of setting goals, but we put something on paper and my number one was the regular-season championship. From the outside looking in that was maybe a lofty goal, but we have a lot of speed and a lot of fight and I am really proud of that effort.”
The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs head to Bristol for the final race before the Round of 12 cutoff. In addition, the Xfinity Series wraps up their regular season at Bristol and looks forward to starting the Xfinity Playoffs at Las Vegas.
Jeremy Nichols has done plenty in his career as a stock car racing driver. He's won races; he's won championships. He's raced in nearly every division the track has offered. In a Sunday night special at Macon Speedway, Nichols won two races with the same car on the same night.
In the recent of years, Macon Speedway fans have seen drivers like Mike Pickering grace victory lane in the Street Stocks and the Sportsman on the same night. However, "Jimbo" had a racecar for each division. Nichols raced and won in the Archer's Alley Street Stock feature with a car that's engine was popping and making a variety of noises. Holding off Terry Reed, Bobby Beiler and Guy Taylor was quite difficult but Nichols managed to make it happen. After making sure the engine was corrected as good as it was going to be, Nichols took the track in the special Tim Bedinger Classic Sportsman division feature and won from the pole position.
Winning from the pole position is a common attraction to racing but when a Street Stock can outrun and stay ahead of a Sportsman car knowing the Sportsman car has more horsepower and engine power, that's the big surprise. Most fans are aware of the speed and skills of drivers such as Dennis Vandermeersch and Wes O'Dell so for Nichols to stay ahead of them and truly dominate the 15-lap race was quite amazing. However, the night ended early for Vandermeersch. After racing on the top, the car locked towards the turn three wall and blasted into the concrete. That hit was only the beginning as two other cars came barreling towards him and smashed into his car. After taking the first five features and a consecutive streak that continued through the 2019 season, the winning ways ended for the Vandermeersch racing team on a night when the feature was dedicated to his friend and racer, Tim Bedinger--who passed away early in the 2020 calendar year.
The Hornet division was promoted as the special race of the week as the Ed Cain Trucking Hornet World Championship was featured. The race lived up to expectations as the 25-car field featured top Hornet drivers such as Mike Eskew, Brady Reed, Jeremy Reed, Joe Reed and Billy Mason. With the race starting with accidents and cautions and Hornets falling off to the pits or on the back of tow trucks, the field shrunk and that helped keep the action moving as Mike Eskew and Brady Reed battled for the full 15 laps. Reed bumped on the back bumper of Eskew for many laps trying to loosen up the Springfield native but to no avail and Eskew would be the winner of the race.
Jake Little used the top side of the 1/5th mile dirt oval to win the Pro Late Model feature race. The track was quite fast on the top and that's where Little felt comfortable for the 20-lap race.
Tommy Sheppard, Jr. once again found victory lane in the BillingsleyRewards.com Modifieds. Two straight weeks of feature wins and closing in on the points leader Billy Knebel has allowed Sheppard to inch closer to a chance at a third straight Modified division title. Knebel was involved in a last lap incident with the car trailing him. The points standings could have a much tighter look to them in the final weeks to come.
Devin Feger blasted away to win in the Micro Sprint feature Presented by Bailey Chassis. Trevin Littleton and Molly Day were close but not at the same speed on the night as Feger as he took his first feature win at Macon Speedway for 2020.
The Pro Modified feature can be described as a nightmare. Cautions for accidents and wrecks and spinouts slowed the 15-lap event down to a snail's pace as the drivers couldn't get together to complete green flag laps. But when they were able to get it going, Billy Knebel outran Kevin Crowder, Ryan Hamilton and Maxx Emerson for the checkered flag. The division's heat races were also plagued with accidents, wrecks and spinouts. It was a tough night for the Pro Modifieds division during the night.
The Sunday night special at Macon Speedway was made possible due to Saturday rainfall that was moved to Sunday thanks in part to Macon Speedway officials for adjusting the schedule and adding Sunday as a rain date. The 75th Anniversary Celebration was sponsored by the Decatur Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. 75 consecutive years of racing at the World's Fastest 1/5th mile dirt track is a major accomplishment and Macon Speedway continues to strive to bring exciting racing to its fans and community on a week-in and week-out basis.
Macon Speedway opens the gates again this week for its usual Saturday night race event. This Saturday will be the 6th Annual KerbyStrong Event Presented by 98.1 GRIZ-FM. Pro Late Models, BillingsleyRewards.com Modifieds, Sportsman, Archer's Alley Street Stocks, Pro Modifieds and Hornets will make up the night's action.
Macon Speedway PR
The 2020 Grandview Speedway racing season shortened by the virus has been a series of ups and downs for two time former Modified point champion Ray Swinehart.
Numerous occasions Swinehart had his No. 33 hooked up and appeared to be on the way to a possible victory only to be hampered with some form of problem that eliminated his chances.
Saturday night in the activities sponsored by Hope Mortgage Team that sponsors Sportsman drivers B.J. Joly and Lex Shive, Swinehart took the early lead in the 30-lap T.P. Trailers Modified NASCAR Advance Auto Parts feature and stayed there until the drop of the checkered to go home $3,850 richer for his first win of the year. He received $2,500 to win, plus $300 from T.P., $1,000 from Hope Mortgage and an extra $50 for third in the Cash Dash also from Hope Mortgage.
Kyle Lilick took advantage of the lane leader Jesse Landis opened up with one lap remaining in the 25-lap T.P. Truck Equipment NASCAR Sportsman feature and went on to claim his second triumph. The win, his second of the season, was worth $1,800 – $600 to win, $200 from TP and $1,000 from Hope Mortgage.
The highlight of the evening activities was the crowning of the point champions in each class.
Craig Von Dohren finished fifth in the Modified feature, but it was enough to rack up his 11th title with a total of 3133 points which was 227 points ahead of runner-up and defending champion Duane Howard.
The Sportsman chase had a closer point difference between first and second. Brian Hirthler had to fix two broken axles while in the pits under caution in the feature and was one lap down, but with an 18th place finish he was able to finish with 2258 points, just five points ahead of second place finisher Brad Arnold.
At the onset of the Modified feature Swinehart was off and running with John Willman, recently released by the doctors to race following a gall bladder surgery; Justin Grim, Rick Laubach and Ron Kline in tow.
Within seven laps Swinehart had a comfortable lead built up leaving a three-way battle for second between Willman, J. Grim and Laubach. Attempting to get in the mix were Craig Whitmoyer and Ryan Grim.
By the Dan’s Deli ½-way hoagie mark the order behind Swinehart was now Laubach, Willman, Mike Gular and J. Grim.
The first caution was brought out on the 17th lap when Louden Reimert slowed in the fourth turn with a right rear flat tire. The restart was void after Meme DeSantis and Joe Funk III tangled in turn four. Swinehart continued his rapid pace when action continued, but by this time Laubach, Brett Kressley, Gular and J. Grim held down second through fifth. Von Dohren was trying aimlessly to move into fifth, but to no avail.
Even though lapped traffic was among the front runners Swinehart could run the top and bottom lanes to get by them.
All the suspension changes tried throughout the year which was a learning curve paid off for Swinehart as he pulled into victory lane for the first time since September 1, 2018 when he won the Forrest Rogers Memorial race. Placing second was Laubach, for his best finish, trailed by Kressley, Gular and Von Dohren. Sixth through tenth were J. Grim, last week’s feature winner Kevin Hirthler, Whitmoyer, Dillon Steuer and Jeff Strunk. Jared Umbenhauer who started 27th and finished 16th received $250 as the Hard Charger from Hope Mortgage.
Qualifying heat winners were J. Grim, Louden Reimert, Swinehart and Ryan Grim. Dylan Swinehart and Doug Manmiller won the consies. R. Grim won the Hope Mortgage 3-lap Cash Dash for $300.
Polesitter Bryan Rhoads led the Sportsman feature for seven laps until Steve Young, who previously won the Hope Mortgage Cash Dash for $300, passed him on the outside on the restart needed when Brandon Edgar stopped in turn one.
Hirthler pulled into the homestretch infield close to the edge of the track on the ninth lap, but it wasn’t until the 10th lap the yellow was thrown putting him a lap down. Hirthler went pit side and in that time the red was thrown for a fire in Chris Esposito’s car ending his night. This mishap allowed Hirthler more time to work on his car and return. Young remained first with Landis trying to overtake him.
Landis became the new leader on the 12th lap restart needed when Tommy Scheetz Sr. and Scott Kohler tangled in the second turn. Behind him Cole Stangle, Lilick, Young and Ryan Beltz diced for the remaining top five positions.
The yellow was waving again on the 14th lap after Brett Gilmore stopped in the fourth turn. Hirthler went pit side once again and while he was in the staging lane along the back pits waiting to return modified drivers Jeff Strunk and Mike Lisowski noticed a broken axle and along with brother Kevin Hirthler quickly changed it and he came back out. On the Dan’s Deli ½-way restart Landis was now being chased by Lilick, Beltz, Young and Stangle.
Lilick made several bids to take control, but Landis, in search of victory, kept him behind.
With one lap to go Landis opened up the proper line which was the break Lilick needed and got past him.
Lilick never looked back and went on to his second win of the season followed by Landis, for his best finish, Beltz, Stangle, the highest crate engine finisher earning an extra $100 from the track and Jack Butler. Rounding out the top ten were Kyle Smith, Lex Shive, John McGovern, Mark Kemmerer, who started 23rd and received $250 from Hope Mortgage as the Hard Charger, and Brad Arnold. Lilick was the only repeat feature winner of the season in the Sportsman division.
Esposito, Young and Shive won the heats. Consi winners were Dylan Hoch and Kenny Bock.
Coming up on Friday, September 18 is the Freedom 38 for Sportsman with the winner earning $3,550. In addition to the regulars several visitors are expected to test their talents with action set to get under way at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 19 the 50th Annual Freedom 76 Modified race that rewards the winner with $35,550 plus lap money. The action set to start at 7 p.m. Fans are invited to enter the speedway grounds between 9 a.m. to 12 noon to reserve seats. Saturday action will include qualifying events, the $1,000 to win Kirsten Snyder Web Design & Photography Cash Dash, the Schaeffer Racing Minuteman 20 topped off with the 50th Annual Freedom 76.
Bobby Gunther Walsh and his sponsors will sponsor the Hard Charger Award worth $500. Bob Hilbert Sportswear will present a jacket to the winner.
Hope Mortgage Team Night T. P. Trailers Modified Feature (30-laps): 1. Ray Swinehart, 2. Rick Laubach, 3. Brett Kressley, 4. Mike Gular, 5. Craig Von Dohren, 6. Justin Grim, 7. Kevin Hirthler, 8. Craig Whitmoyer, 9. Dillon Steuer, 10. Jeff Strunk, 11. Ryan Grim, 12. Duane Howard, 13. John Willman, 14. Ron Kline, 15. Brad Brightbill, 16. Jared Umbenhauer, 17. Louden Reimert (provisional), 18. Doug Manmiller, 19. Bobby Trapper Jr., 20. Brad Grim, 21. Richie Hitzler, 22. Carroll Hine III, 23. Joe Funk III, 24. Mike Lisowski, 25. Kenny Gilmore, 26. Meme DeSantis, 27. Mark Kratz, 28. Dylan Swinehart, 29. Ryan Lilick. DNQ: Mark Levy, Mark Kratz, Eric Biehn, Ron Haring Jr., Bobby Gunther Walsh, Dan Waisempacher, Colt Harris and Darrin Schuler.
Hope Mortgage Team Night T.P. Trailers Truck Equipment Sportsman Feature (25-laps): 1. Kyle Lilick, 2. Jesse Landis, 3. Ryan Beltz, 4. Cole Stangle, 5. Jack Butler, 6 Kyle Smith, 7. Lex Shive, 8. John McGovern, 9. Mark Kemmerer, 10. Brad Arnold, 11. Nathan Mohr, 12. Brett Gilmore, 13. Brandon Edgar, 14. Dylan Hoch, 15. Dakota Kohler, 16. Scott Kohler, 17. Ryan Rhoads, 18. Brian Hirthler, 19. Steve Young, 20. Jesse Leiby, 21. Nate Brinker, 22. Tommy Scheetz Sr., 23. Chris Esposito, 24. Kenny Bock. DNQ: Parker Guldin, Derrick Smith, Mike Schneck, Tom Miller, Tyler James, Troy Conrad and Cody Manmiller.
Grandview Speedway PR