Steven B. Wilson

Steven B. Wilson

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Michael McDowell and Leavine Family Racing (LFR) finished 24th in their final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The team had a phenomenal start to the weekend, finishing first and second practice eighth and 13th, respectively. McDowell finished the first round of qualifying 11th fastest on Friday, but had a slight mishap in the second round, securing a 23rd place starting spot for Sunday’s season finale race.

At the start of the Ford EcoBoost 400, the field only made it to the sixth lap under green flag before the first caution came out for a blown engine. McDowell reported that the handling of his No. 95 Rohto® Jolt™ Chevrolet SS felt fine, but that he did not want to burn up his tires too quickly, as the fall-off at Homestead is significant. McDowell pitted for a new set during the first caution, while the majority of the leaders did not.

McDowell made his first green flag pit stop on lap 40 and controlled the Lucky Dog position for a time. He then reported his No. 95 Rohto® Jolt™ Chevy was extremely tight handling but was able to finish the stage in 21st.

Within the first 10 laps of the second stage, McDowell reported a very tight handling car and went down a second lap on lap 114. He made his second green flag pit stop on lap 132, before a caution came out just under 10 laps later, allowing McDowell to take the wave around and gain one lap back. He went on to finish the second stage in 22nd.

McDowell pitted for tires and adjustments during the caution and was able to gain a spot on pit road to start the final stage in 21st and in position to race for the Lucky Dog spot. On lap 186, McDowell reported that he felt like one of his tires was beginning to go down. He made it just seven laps before the right front tire went completely flat, forcing the team to make an unscheduled green flag pit stop, which put them down a third lap.

In an effort to not lose any more spots, Crew Chief, Jon Leonard told McDowell to save fuel, as they could make it until the end of the race without pitting. The rest of the field began their green flag pit stops, allowing McDowell to gain one lap back. As the fifth caution of the day came out on lap 229, the team was able to take the wave around to put McDowell down only one lap.

McDowell restarted in 22nd as the field went green with 34 laps remaining. While he made it back up to 20th, McDowell ultimately ran out of fuel on the last lap, crossing the start / finish line in 24th.

“Not the day we wanted,” said McDowell. “We went a few laps down there and got off sequence with strategy there. Cautions didn’t fall our way either. We struggled today just being tight, and we just lost the balance a little bit. We did all we could and got a Top-25 finish again. I’m looking forward to next year!”

LFR PR

Ross Chastain, driving the No. 4 Florida Watermelon Association Chevrolet Camaro, finished out the 2017 NASCAR Xfinity Series season with a 17th place finish in the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Chastain will end the year 13th in Xfinity Series driver standings.

“It feels good to end the year 13th in driver standings,” Chastain said. “It’s a big deal for this team, and at the beginning of the year that was our goal. It’s been pretty incredible to outrun the cars that we did and to put together sponsorships all year. It’s not easy getting to the race track all year. There were times that, as a team, we were looking ahead one to three months and asking ‘How are we going to get to race track? How are we going to pay for this stuff?’ But the whole marketing team and everyone behind the scenes at JD Motorsports with Gary Keller was able to pull it off. They were able to put a car out on the track for me every week that was competitive, and we could go race against the group of cars that we were supposed to be behind. We ended up 17th tonight and beat the cars we needed to beat, so that’s a pretty solid finish to the year. We’re going to spend the off season putting on the new composite bodies, working on sponsorship, and we’ll come back even stronger next year.”

The 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series season will take the green flag on February 17th at Daytona International Speedway for the PowerShares QQQ 300.

JDM PR

It’s one of those rare times in the life of a weekly racer when the engines are silent, tools are put away and racing is secondary.

It’s a week of giving thanks and racers are no exception. They will gather around the Thanksgiving table Thursday with family and friends and count their blessings.

“This is the time of year to reflect on and appreciate another safe year of racing along with remembering those who we have lost this year,” said Peyton Sellers, who won his third South Boston Speedway Late Model Stock championship in 2017 while recording three wins. “Racing is a tough sport. We compete on the track and have out differences but when we unstrap we should realize we are a family, a brotherhood that will do anything to help each other. Our difference on the track is what makes us unique.”

South Boston Speedway General Manager Cathy Rice couldn’t agree more.

“We were blessed with another year of great racing surrounded by great friends and family,” said Rice. “We are thankful to be working in this sport at this wonderful race track. We are so thankful for the support we get from so many race fans and team. It all is truly a blessing.”

Bobby McCarty just wound down his best year of racing. Even though he finished second to Sellers in the South Boston Speedway Late Model points, he won four races at his home track. He also picked up a huge win in the Hampton Heat at Langley Speedway in late summer and contented for the Virginia Triple Crown title.

“I have a lot to be thankful for,” said McCarty. “I’m thankful for my son, my fiancé for dealing with all the late hours working on the race car, my family and friends.

“I’m also thankful for the way my racing career progressed this year. I’ve learned a lot and can’t wait to see what the future has for my team and me.”

It was a break-out season for high school senior Colin Garrett. He captured the Limited Sportsman championship at South Boston behind five wins. He also branched out to other tracks on nights South Boston wasn’t running and picked up his first Late Model Stock win.

“I definitely have a lot to be thankful for this year,” said Garrett, a senior at Halifax High School. “Obviously my wonderful family and being able to have the opportunity to race. I can’t thank everyone who’s been a part of this team all year to get us to the point we did.

“My mom and dad put a lot of effort into my racing as well as my partners and I can’t be thankful enough to them all.”

South Boston’s 61st season will open on Saturday, March 24 with twin 100-lap races for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Division, a 50-lap Limited Sportsman event, a 30-lap Pure Stock race and a 15-lap Hornets race.

For the full 2018 South Boston Speedway schedule, visit www.southbostonspeedway.com.

SBS PR

Those looking to give the gift of Daytona International Speedway will find options for fans of all forms of motorsports in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday Thanksgiving holiday ticket specials.

On Friday, Nov. 24 (Black Friday) and Monday, Nov. 27 (Cyber Monday), the “World Center of Racing” will offer the following $60 ticket package specials:

  • Rolex 24 At DAYTONA: General admission stadium and infield access for the 56th anniversary of North America’s most prestigious sports car race on Jan. 27-28 with a Rolex 24 event hat and garage access on Sunday, a savings of 32 percent.
  • DAYTONA 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger/Advance Auto Parts Clash: General admission stadium and infield access for the Sunday, Feb. 11 doubleheader with UNOH Fanzone/Pre-Race access, a savings of 33 percent.
  • Can-Am Duel: General admission stadium ticket and UNOH Fanzone/Pre-Race access for the 150-mile qualifying races on Thursday night, Feb. 15, a savings of 43 percent.
  • NextEra Energy Resources 250: General admission stadium ticket and UNOH Fanzone/Pre-Race access for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday night, Feb. 16, a savings of 29 percent.
  • PowerShares QQQ 300: General admission stadium ticket and UNOH Fanzone/Pre-Race access for the NASCAR XFINITY Series season-opener on Saturday, Feb. 17, a savings of 43 percent.

Kids 12 and under are FREE in general admission stadium seating and UNOH Fanzone for the above Speedweeks events.

There are also ticket package specials for fans of Bike Week At DAYTONA:

  • DAYTONA Supercross: General admission ticket and Trackside Access, which gets you closer to the action than anywhere else on the circuit, can be purchased for $45 – a savings of 31 percent. The longest continuous Supercross event in America takes place Saturday, March 10.
  • DAYTONA TT: Fans can have a premium hospitality experience during the Thursday, March 15 event with Rolex 24 Lounge admission for $99 – a savings of 34 percent – or they can sit atop the infield’s DAYTONA 500 Club with President’s Row Admission for $149 – a savings of 25 percent. The Rolex 24 Lounge option includes access to the Lounge, a stadium seat directly outside the Lounge, souvenir event program, priority parking, snacks and beverages. The DAYTONA 500 Club President’s Row option includes a reserved rooftop seat, dinner, priority parking, UNOH Fanzone and pit access, souvenir event program, snacks and beverages.

To take advantage of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday ticket specials, call 1-800-PITSHOP between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. or visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/deals.

DIS PR

This past weekend, the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season concluded at the Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway. Martin Truex, Jr. was crowned the champion.

Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) finished the year with driver Aric Almirola and 2017 lead sponsor's Smithfield Foods, U.S. Air Force, STP and Fresh From Florida. 

Sunday night, Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield team finished 18th. 
  
Almirola completed the season with three Top-Five finishes, highlighted by a fourth-place finish in the Daytona 500.  Almirola also collected six Top-10 finishes in 29 races after suffering a back injury at the Kansas Speedway in early May.  Prior to the devastating accident, the team had two consecutive Top-10 finishes at Richmond and at Talladega- where he finished fifth.

Almirola returned to the car at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in mid-July and one week later finished 13th in the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  The team found success late in the 2017 season with another Top-Five at Talladega and Top-10 results at Kansas and Phoenix.

Regan Smith competed in two races (Charlotte in May and Dover in June) in the No. 43, filling in for Almirola.  Smith was running in the Top-10 late in the Dover race before cutting a tire. Road course driver, Billy Johnson, raced at Sonoma.

RPM made history when Darrell "Bubba" Wallace, Jr. competed in four races in the summer.  Wallace finished 11th at the Kentucky Speedway in his final start.

The introduction to Wallace led the organization to hire him.  The announcement was made on October 25.  Wallace, 24, will compete full-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and for the Sunoco Rookie of The Year beginning at the 2018 Daytona 500.

The organization welcomed new partner, Click n' Close, in early November to join the many partners of Petty. 

Moving into December, RPM continues to gain momentum as they prepare for the 2018 season opener in Daytona.

RPM PR

IRG Sports + Entertainment (IRGSE), a leading marketer and promoter of sports and live entertainment experiences, announced today the recent acquisition of Bertil Roos Racing School.

As a pioneer in the industry, the Bertil Roos Racing School has been training students in the art of motor racing for over four decades. Graduates of the European-style, road racing school can be found at every level of racing, from the hobbyist up to the top levels of professional racing. All programs are "arrive and drive," where all you need to bring is a positive attitude.

Bertil Roos will continue to run programs at existing locations and will add resident driving schools at Palm Beach International Raceway, which began the week of Nov. 11, and at Memphis International Raceway in 2018.

"We are pleased to welcome Bertil Roos Racing School into the IRGSE family," IRGSE President and CEO Lou Partenza said. "When we looked for an acquisition, the focus was to find an organization that would add value by complementing IRGSE's existing assets while maintaining a strong culture of delivering value and service to its customers.

"Bertil Roos hit on all of these parameters with an added benefit of a strong, passionate leadership team that is committed to the continued growth and development of the company."

In addition, IRGSE acquired the complete Formula fleet and spares from the Skip Barber Racing School. These vehicles are undergoing complete overhauls and will be permanently situated at the Palm Beach and Memphis Bertil Roos Racing School locations.

Bertil Roos Racing School will service seven track locations in 2018 with a fleet of 45 open-wheel Formula cars and 20 full-bodied cars, along with offering trackside support. Corporate headquarters will be based in West Palm Beach, Fla.

"I am excited to be part of the IRGSE family," said Dennis Macchio, President of Bertil Roos Racing Schools. "Their track assets fit perfectly into our vision for the continued expansion of Bertil Roos Racing School and the residency driving school programs we have developed.

"The resources afforded to Bertil Roos through this venture will allow us to expand both geographically and through the development of additional programs and racing weekends."

For more information about Bertil Roos Racing School including gift certificates, holiday pricing and travel discounts, visit the website at www.racenow.com.

IRG Sports PR

Stage 1
Cole Whitt qualified 33rd to start the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway
 
Caution Lap 6 (incident): Whitt relayed the Rinnai No. 72 was tight in the center of Turns 1 and 2 and a little free in and off the corners. Whitt pitted for four tires and fuel. He restarted 32nd
 
Lap 42: Whitt was experiencing loss of rear grip and had fallen a lap down from the leader. He pitted under a green flag for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment to the Rinnai No. 72
 
Stage 1 Completion Caution Lap 80: Whitt completed the stage 30th, two laps down from the leader. He relayed the Rinnai No. 72 was really loose in, tight in the center and loose off. Crew Chief Frank Kerr called him to pit for four tires, fuel, air pressure and wedge adjustments
 
 
Stage 2
Whitt took the Stage 2 green flag restart 33rd, two laps down
 
Lap 122: Whitt continued to experience the same conditions reporting it had worsened. Under green flag, he came in for four tires, fuel, wedge and air pressure adjustments. He returned to the field 33rd, three laps down
 
Caution Lap 143 (incident): Having just pitted about 20 laps prior, Whitt stayed out on track to take the wave around. He too the green flag restart scored 30th, two laps down
 
Stage 2 Completion Caution Lap 160: Whitt completed the stage 29th, two laps down. He came to pit for four tires, fuel, and a wedge adjustment to the Rinnai No. 72
 
 
Stage 3
Whitt was scored 36th, two laps down for the start of Stage 3
 
As Stage 3 became a long green flag run, competitors were forced to make green flag pit stops. The Rinnai No. 72 continued to be loose in, tight in the center and loose off. Whitt came to pit on lap 207 for four tires and fuel. He rejoined the field 31st, four laps down
 
Caution Lap 229 (incident): Whitt was scored 30th, three laps down on the leaderboard. Crew Chief Frank Kerr requested he stay out on track to take the wave around and save fuel confident the Rinnai No. 72 had enough fuel to complete the race
 
Whitt took the green flag restart 27th, two laps down. He fell one position and ultimately closed out the season finale with a 28th place finish in the Rinnai No. 72 in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway 
 
Tristar PR

Cole Custer and Sam Hornish Jr. made it a Ford 1-2 finish in the Ford EcoBoost 300 Saturday afternoon, while Chase Briscoe won his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race in the Ford EcoBoost 200 to close out the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway Friday night.

“Congratulations to Cole and Chase on their first career wins in their series this weekend,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “We’re very proud to have powered the Ford Mustangs and Ford F-150 trucks this season as part of the Ford Performance team. Racing has a bright future ahead with drivers like Cole and Chase and we’re excited for the 2018 season."

Custer dominated the race in the No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang recording his first win in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Custer’s win is the ninth NXS win of the season for Ford Performance and the first in history for Stewart-Haas Racing. Custer is the 36th different driver to win a NXS race with Ford.

“We knew we were gonna be really good this weekend, but our Haas Automation Mustang was unreal,” said Custer in victory lane. “We really wanted to have a good showing at Ford Championship Weekend. We obviously have some good cars in the hunt, but everybody at Haas Automation, Code 3, Roush Yates Engines -- the engines have been unbelievable all year -- XFINITY, everybody at NASCAR, it’s just been unbelievable.”

Sam Hornish Jr. drove the No. 22 REV/Fleetwood Mustang to a second-place finish, giving car owner Roger Penske his fourth series owner’s championship in the last five years. A Mustang has now won at least one championship in six of the seven years it has competed full-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.

Briscoe, the No. 29 driver of Brad Keselowski Racing edged out Christopher Bell for the win in the NASCAR CWTS, marking the first by the Ford Performance driver. The No. 29 led a race high 77 laps of the 134 lap race and recorded his fourth pole of the season.

“This is a long time coming. I’m so proud of all these guys. Thank you so much to Ford for believing in me. I know that this year, at least by my standards and what I felt like I could have done, for those guys to continue to believe in me makes me feel so blessed and thankful to be here,” said Briscoe in victory lane.

To add to the celebration, Briscoe was named NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year on Friday.

Teammate Austin Cindric finished fifth and ended up third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship.

The Ford Championship Weekend wrapped up on Sunday. Kevin Harvick from Stewart-Haas Racing finished fourth and Brad Keselowski from Team Penske seventh in the Ford EcoBoost 400. After a tough fought race, the duo ended up third and fourth respectively in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship.

We look forward to the start of the 2018 season at the Daytona International Speedway.

RYE PR

Martin Truex Jr. capped off a dream season with a tenacious late-race drive to capture the NASCAR Cup Series championship Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Truex, who led four times for 78 laps in his No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota, held off a hard-charging Kyle Busch while leading the final 51 laps. His margin of victory over Busch was 0.681 seconds. Truex needed to finish ahead of Busch and the two other Championship 4 drivers — Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski — to claim the season title.

The victory was the eighth of the season for Truex, who now owns 15 career Cup wins. Thirteen of those wins have been with the Denver, Colo.-based Furniture Row Racing team.

The 2017 season for Furniture Row Racing also saw the No. 78 team win the regular season championship and Erik Jones of the No. 77 team win Rookie of the Year.

Truex was no doubt deserving of the title. In the 10-playoff races he won four times and scored nine top fives. The only non top-five finish was 23rd at Talladega where he was involved in a multicar accident.  His overall playoff average finish was 4.3.  Take away the Talladega result, his average finish in the other nine races was 2.2.

When the white flag waved at Homestead Truex knew the championship was his, and when he crossed the finish line the emotion of the herculean moment left him speechless.

“I balled like a baby, I couldn’t talk,” said Truex. “I was a wreck thinking about all the tough days, the bad days, the times where I thought my career was over and times when I didn’t think anyone believed in me. But the people who mattered did — my fans, my family and then when I got with this team they resurrected my career and made me a champion.”

Truex added, “This means the world. (team owner) Barney Visser 11 years of working towards this goal. He couldn’t be here tonight and we’re all thinking of him. Definitely wish he could have been here. I know he’s probably as much in shock as I am. Jim Watson, Cole’s best friend (Jacob Damen) and Sherry. This one is for all of you!”

Truex, started the 267-lap race second. He had some handling issues early, but as the race wore on, his Toyota Camry found more grip in a lane he never ran in the past on the 1.5-mile oval.

 “It’s the dumbest lane I’ve ever run here, but it worked, so I have to put it in the memory bank for later,” explained Truex. “Just all came together – it was meant to be. This whole year has been a dream year.

“We’ve got the best fans in the world and Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and everybody that puts so much into this -- Bass Pro Shops, Auto-Owners, WIX, 5-hour ENERGY, Furniture Row, Denver Mattress, the road crew and the guys back at the shop in Denver. The list goes on and on of people who help us do this and make it all possible. And Barney Visser back home had heart surgery last week and we’re missing him today. Thanks to everybody at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) for the chassis and cooperation and running one-two tonight was pretty awesome.”

According to crew chief Cole Pearn, the planning for Homestead started long before the championship race.

“We just focused on this race for a long time,” said Pearn. “We knew if we were going to be champions, we were going to have to get a lot better here. I can’t thank the number of hours that everybody put into this car and into this race. You know coming here and testing there are a lot of wives on our team who will be happy that this car made it and did what it did and it took every hour of it.

“We had to race three other great guys and the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) was really good. I think they were honestly a little better than us and Martin was able to dig down and get it done. I don’t really know how to comprehend it at this point. Just so so thrilled and be able to truly call ourselves champions is unbelievable.”

Truex and Furniture Row Racing will take center stage during Champion’s Week in Las Vegas, which will culminate with the NASCAR Awards Banquet at The Wynn on Thursday, Nov. 30.

Finishing positions 3-10 went to:  Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman.

FRR PR

After cutting a left rear tire late in Sunday’s Ford Ecoboost 400 while running in the 11th position, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. recovered to earn a 15th-place finish in the season finale of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Stenhouse finished a career high of 13th in the driver point standings.

“I’m disappointed because I thought we should’ve had a top-10 but unfortunately we hit something on the track that cut our tire,” Stenhouse said. “Our goal the past couple of weeks was to finish in the top 10, and we were close every weekend. This has been a great season for our No. 17 team and I’m definitely looking forward to carrying this momentum into the off-season and kicking off 2018 strong.”

The Fastenal Ford rolled off in the sixth position and lost a few positions on the start, but a quick caution was displayed a mere nine laps in to the 267-lap race. After choosing to stay out for track position, Stenhouse restarted in the sixth position but over time newer tires prevailed costing Stenhouse to fall to 20th before the green flag pit cycle began.  With only 13 cars on the lead lap, Stenhouse took the green checkered in the 15th position to end stage one and one lap down to the leaders.

The two-time MENCS winner restarted in the 15th position for the second 80-lap stage and steadily marched his way into the free pass position despite battling a machine that lacked rear grip. The much needed caution was displayed on lap 141 allowing Stenhouse to get back on the lead lap. The Olive Branch, Miss. native lined up in the 15th position for the final 10-lap shootout gaining four positions to take the green checkered in the 11th position to end stage two.

After working his way inside the top-10 with less than 70 laps remaining, the Roush Fenway Racing driver suffered a flat left rear tire a few laps after a scheduled pit-stop forcing Stenhouse to bring his Fastenal Ford to pit-road for two left side tires.

After falling back to the 23rd position, Stenhouse worked his way back up to the 15th position and was scored once again in the lucky dog position. Unfortunately, the race stayed green forcing Stenhouse to settle with a 15th-place finish.

RFR PR