Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Steve Kinser will be inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame class of 2021. Due to COVID-19 pandemic concerns, the induction ceremony will take place concurrently with the Class of 2022 on a date to be announced later. 

The inductees’ stories of accomplishment are quite interesting.

Earnhardt Jr. is a third-generation driver, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Ralph Earnhardt and his father, seven-time Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt. During his 19-year career in the Cup Series, Earnhardt Jr. collected 26 victories (including two Daytona 500 wins), 149 top fives, 260 top 10s and 15 pole positions in 631 starts. He also has 24 Xfinity Series wins along with 70 top fives, 94 top 10s and 10 pole positions.

He has been voted NMPA Most Popular Driver 16 times. He is currently co-owner of JR Motorsports and has won Xfinity Series championships in 2014, 2017 and 2018 with drivers Chase Elliott, William Byron and Tyler Reddick.

Kinser won 20 championships in the World of Outlaws (WOO) Series during a long and successful career. He collected 577 feature victories in World of Outlaws competition as well as a record 12 victories at the Knoxville Nationals, considered the equivalent in the series to NASCAR's Daytona 500.  Kinser logged a record 56 feature wins in 1987, including 46 of 69 World of Outlaw events. All told, he has 755 victories to his credit in Sprint Car competition. Kinser also made five Cup Series starts in 1995 with team owner Kenny Bernstein.

Earnhardt Jr. and Kinser were selected on more than 65 percent of ballots cast by the National Motorsports Press Association membership, the percentage necessary for inclusion in the NMPA Hall of Fame.

The NMPA Hall of Fame is located on the grounds of Darlington Raceway and has been in operation since 1965.

NMPA PR

 

Eldora Speedway officials, following up on the declaration they were doubling-down in 2021, have announced the legendary high-banked .500-mile clay oval will host two Kings Royals in July.
 
The events are a part of a blockbuster four-day event offering the superstars of the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series two opportunities at a winner’s purse of $175,000-to-win. The first coming on Thursday, July 15 and the second on Saturday, July 17.
 
As a result of the loss of Eldora’s complete 2020 spectator event season, speedway officials reshuffled the hand they were dealt to create the formidable 2021 Kings Royal Week.
 
It all begins Wednesday, July 14, with the rescheduled ‘Jokers Wild’ paying $10,000-to-win.
 
The 38th running of the Kings Royal, the only event of the week that was scheduled to be part of the 2021 event, will be held Thursday night, July 15 and offer the first epic $175,000-to-win bounty.
 
The traditional Friday “Knight Before the Kings Royal” preliminary event has been rescheduled from 2020 to Friday night, July 16, 2021, and the night’s winner will take home the $10,000 prize.
 
The 37th Kings Royal has been rescheduled to Saturday, July 17, and will be the second marquee event of the week to pay $175,000 to the winner.
 
The announcement also marks the beginning of a new multi-year sanction agreement for the Kings Royal between Eldora Speedway and World Racing Group, the parent company of the World of Outlaws, DIRTcar Racing, and DIRTVision.
 
In addition to July’s Kings Royal Week, the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars and the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series will again share the spotlight on Friday and Saturday, May 7 and 8 at the #LetsRaceTwo Doubleheader Weekend.
 
The Outlaws will make their final Eldora appearance of 2021 on Friday, September 24 at the opening night of the 4-Crown Nationals Weekend. The BeFour The Crowns Showdown will feature full programs for the World of Outlaws, the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Championship, and qualifying for the USAC Silver Crown Champ Cars.
 
The Kings Royal from Eldora, and all World of Outlaws events, are livestreamed exclusively on DIRTVision.com
 
The customer service team from the Eldora Speedway box office will be reaching out directly to those patron accounts making the original purchase of tickets, campsites and/or pit passes for the 2020 Kings Royal with details on the 2021 Kings Royal Week prior to tickets and campsites resuming public sale.
 
For more information, patrons can visit: https://www.eldoraspeedway.com/kings-royal-week/
 
Eldora Speedway PR

Today, Hendrick Motorsports learned that team member William “Rowdy” Harrell and his wife, Blakley, were tragically killed in an automobile accident in Florida last night. The newlyweds were traveling to celebrate their honeymoon after being married on Saturday.

Harrell, 30, was a stand-out tire carrier for Hendrick Motorsports for the last eight seasons, most recently with the No. 88 NASCAR Cup Series team of driver Alex Bowman. He was also a two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion pit crew member with JR Motorsports.

“Our entire team is absolutely devastated at the loss of Rowdy and Blakley,” said Greg Ives, who was Harrell’s crew chief for the past six seasons. “They were such positive, giving and passionate people who could not have been a more perfect match. Rowdy had an energetic and infectious personality. He was the heart and soul of our team and always kept us motivated, no matter the circumstance. Rowdy shared his love with the people around him and was loved in return. Although he will be greatly missed, his memory will continue to inspire us always. Our prayers are with Rowdy, Blakley and their wonderful family.”

Before his NASCAR career, Harrell won three national championships as a walk-on middle linebacker for the University of Alabama football team. The native of Moundville, Alabama, held a degree in human performance and exercise science from the school.

Memorial arrangements have not been made at this time.

HMS PR

ARCA and Talladega Superspeedway announced today that for the 59th time in series history, the ARCA Menards Series will compete at the biggest and baddest track on the planet – Talladega Superspeedway – on Saturday, April 24.

 

The event will be a part of a Saturday doubleheader with the NASCAR Xfinity Series and will take place the day before the Sunday, April 25, GEICO 500 where Ryan Blaney will seek to defend his victory earlier this year. Kids 12 and younger will be admitted free to Saturday’s ARCA Menards Series & NASCAR Xfinity Series races.

 

The ARCA Menards Series first competed at the 2.66-mile venue during the track’s inception year of 1969 in the Vulcan 500 where Jim Vandiver took the checkered flag. Except for a four-year stretch (1971-74), the ARCA Menards Series has been a staple at the iconic track. Drew Dollar became the 18th driver to earn his first victory in the ARCA Menards Series event on Talladega’s 33-degree banking this past summer while 2020 Series Champion Bret Holmes, from nearby Munford, AL, had his best finish at his home track with a third-place result.

 

Justin Haley, a former ARCA winner at Talladega, swept both of the Talladega Xfinity Series races held this past season, cementing his place in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs. He wound up being a playoff contender for the title in the Championship four. NASCAR Hall of Famers Red Farmer, Davey Allison and Mark Martin won ARCA Menards Series races at Talladega while noted current motorsports competitors Ty Dillon, Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett have also gone to Gatorade Victory Lane at the world’s Most Competitive venue. 

 

Fans wishing to attend the GEICO 500 are urged to secure their tickets early which will provide economic savings with a host of advance-priced opportunities (for a limited time) for both grandstand seating and camping options. Multi-day grandstand seating packages start at just $60 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and younger. Fans can get information on how to claim their reserved spots by calling 877-462-3343 (Go2-DEGA) or visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.

 

For the latest news and 2021 schedule information for the ARCA Menards Series, log onto www.ARCARacing.com. Start times and television networks for the NASCAR Cup, NASCAR Xfinity, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and ARCA Menards Series will be announced at a later date.

 

Fans can keep up with all the happenings at the biggest, baddest race track on the planet by following Talladega Superspeedway on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

 

TSS PR

Raphael Lessard Racing announced today that the young Quebec driver will race in select races in the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). He will drive a Silverado prepared by the dominant GMS Racing organization that finished in the top three places in the championship in 2020. The agreement with GMS Racing covers 12 races to be determined over the season. In parallel, Raphael Lessard Racing team members are working to find the necessary financing to participate in all 22 events on the 2021 calendar.

The first race of the 2021 NCWTS season will be part of the traditional "Daytona Speed Week," and will be held on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.

“We are very excited to have Raphael join GMS Racing for part of the 2021 season,” said Mike Beam, President of GMS Racing. “I believe Raphael will be a great addition to our GMS stable and I look forward to seeing him wheel one of our Chevrolets."

Review of the 2020 season and outlook for 2021

Raphael Lessard ended his 2020 season on a high note, accumulating in the second half of the season one win, four top-five and six top-10 finishes. In addition, he managed to improve from his starting to his finishing position in the incident-free races by 67 places, compared to 14 places in the first eight races of the season.

Q: Raphael, are you satisfied with the progress you made 2020? 

“I learned an incredible amount in all aspects of racing during the 2020 season, about pure driving skills, race strategies, aerodynamics, passing and legally making it difficult for others to pass me, adapting my driving to compensate for any handling issues and helping the team understand any issues to fix them at the next stop, focusing better on my driving despite any adversity. The win at Talladega certainly helped the team and myself gain confidence, and also convinced us that we were able to race with the best and win.”

Q: What does it mean to you to be at GMS Racing for 2021?

“Finding myself with the best team of the 2020 season is unbelievable. They won the championship! I can't wait to show what we can do aboard such great machines. The team knows how to bring potential winners at every race, a key to a great season. Our team will be great, and I can’t wait to be back on track.”

Q: What is your first goal for the 2021 season?

“To do as many races as possible. I would like to win races and above all finish in the top five in every race, as well as continue to improve my driving.”

GMS Racing PR

Marcus Lemonis, best known for his long running hit show CNBC's "The Profit," wants to challenge Americans to give back to their local restaurants and help those who are food insecure during this holiday season and the continued COVID-19 pandemic. Lemonis is kickstarting the "Plating Change" program through The Lemon-Aid Foundation with a $1M donation and a newly formed partnership with Grubhub.

The "Plating Change" program will work with Grubhub to give back to World Central Kitchen, supporting its Restaurants for the People program, not only helping independent restaurants by purchasing meals and driving direct revenue, but also employees of the business itself and the entire food ecosystem - all while also providing meals for communities in need. A $500,000 donation through Lemonis' The Lemon-Aid Foundation will jumpstart the program and help World Central Kitchen and Grubhub take immediate action in New York City, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, and Philadelphia, bringing food to those who need it most. Over the next couple months, Marcus will donate the remaining $500K to additional charitable organizations that fight food insecurity as well as local restaurants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"When you work tirelessly to try and do good and create bridges, you find that there are always people along the way who want to help in your mission," said Marcus Lemonis.  "My friends at MLB, NASCAR and NHRA are seeing the tremendous impact that we're making in the community for both small business restaurant owners and those in need of food aid and want to help make a larger impact in their lives. I'm grateful for their support." 

MLB, NASCAR and NHRA have each dedicated to being an extension of the "Plating Change" program through their donations and commitment in raising awareness. Their contributions to World Central Kitchen will help the fight to keep small business restaurant owners in business and Americans in need fed. 

As part of the "Plating Change" program, Grubhub is giving consumers the opportunity to get involved and give back. Now through December 31, consumers can take part while ordering in by opting-in to Grubhub's Donate the Change, rounding up their order total and donating the difference to World Central Kitchen. Grubhub will also be donating an additional $100K to World Central Kitchen through their Sound Bites concert series and for members of the Grubhub+ membership program, Grubhub will also match all eligible Donate the Change donations. Additionally, by going to wck.org/platingchange, people across the country can donate to World Central Kitchen in support of the program, whether it's a single meal (value of $10) or more. 

The "Plating Change" program falls under the newly launched The Lemon-Aid Foundation where Marcus pledged $50M to champion his charitable mission of supporting and investing in underserved communities and small businesses.  These investments will be in the form of loans and equity investments and will be designed to have measurable charitable impact on the communities and businesses being served by the foundation. The foundation also intends to make grants to other charitable organizations that share the same mission and goals. Lemonis intends to apply the same type of rigor that he applies in his own investments to the impact investing of the foundation.

Marcus Lemonis PR

The yuletide season tradition that is Gift of Lights at Texas Motor Speedway celebrates its 10th year with the annual Thanksgiving opening night kicking off 39 days of one of the Lone Star State’s largest holiday light shows.
 
Beginning Thursday, November 26 through Sunday, January 3, families will enjoy two miles of light displays throughout the speedway. The display is open every day during that time period, including Christmas Eve and Christmas day, from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.
 
Drive-through guests will be captivated by the more than two million lights spread across the circuit, the result of more than 1,100 man-hours of setup by holiday display giant Winterland, Inc., the company responsible for similar light shows at the speedways in Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Charlotte, New Hampshire, and Phoenix. The in-vehicle event has always been socially distanced so guests’ safety will be seamless.
 
“This has definitely been a year where our spirits have needed lifting so there’s no better way to close out 2020 than celebrating all we have to be thankful for and creating wonderful memories through the Gift of Lights,” said Texas Motor Speedway President and General Manager Eddie Gossage. “We’re proud to host Gift of Lights for a 10th year and to have created a holiday season tradition for the entire region.”
 
A number of special discount days are scheduled including:
  • November 30: Crazy Car Day – Decorate your vehicle to receive $10 off at the gate.
  • December 1: Crazy PJs Day – Wear your pajamas to receive a $10 discount at the gate.
  • December 2: Military, First Responder and Health Care Worker Night – Free admission for anyone with a valid ID
  • December 7: Bring Your Pet Day - $10 discount at the gate to those who bring their pet
  • December 8: Crazy Christmas Sweater Day - $10 discount at the gate for those who wear a crazy Christmas sweater
Tickets to 'Gift of Lights' are available online (giftoflightstexas.com) for $30 (cars/trucks), $50 (RVs/truck trailers), and $60 (bus of 20 people). Passengers must remain in their vehicles due to COVID-19. Motorcycles and passengers in truck beds and trailers are prohibited.
 
A $1 donation from each ticket sold will benefit Speedway Children’s Charities – Texas Chapter.
 
Texas Motor Speedway expects to see record numbers of vehicles at this year's show so the best routes to enter the 'Gift of Lights' without traffic issues are detailed on the map below.
 
TMS PR

Ryan Newman’s post-Daytona 500 crash has been well documented, and his story is once again featured in national headlines as he is featured in NASCAR 2020: Under Pressure, a multi-part documentary that tells the story of the 2020 NASCAR season.

Newman’s episode, Now or Never, debuted on Nov. 14, exclusively on the MotorTrend app. The episode picks up after a whirlwind summer when NASCAR returned to ‘The World Center of Racing’ for its final race in the regular season. As part of the episode, Newman returns to the site of his horrific crash in which he was mere feet away from his second Daytona 500 trophy, and picks up Newman’s life and outlook in the weeks and months following.

Produced for the MotorTrend Group by NASCAR Productions, NASCAR 2020: Under Pressure has something for everyone, from huge NASCAR fans who will appreciate the behind-the-scenes access, to documentary buffs who should find the mix of action and stress of navigating the unparalleled nature of this season highly entertaining.

As documented in the show, Newman went on to make a miraculous return, walking out of a Florida hospital just two days following the crash. When COVID-19 halted NASCAR – and much of the world’s schedule – the time off was a silver lining for Newman, as he was able to return to the track in May as part of the sport’s return, having missed just the three West Coast races immediately following the incident.

Plans for NASCAR 2020: Under Pressure to air on broadcast television will be announced at a later date. Additional episodes will continue to air until Dec. 12. With your free trial to the MotorTrend App you will also get access to over 3,600 hours of automotive entertainment, including shows from MotorTrend, Discovery Channel, live events and more. Start watching Under Pressure today.

RFR PR

After competing in a partial schedule during the 2020 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season (NCWTS), Ryan Truex will pilot the No. 40 Marquis Spas Chevrolet Silverado for Niece Motorsports for the full 2021 schedule.

“Last season was really a learning year for me with this team,” said Truex.  “I feel like we learned a ton every week.  We adjusted to working with no track time prior to racing, and I feel like we made our equipment better throughout the course of the year.  I am excited about the continuity we will be able to build, competing week in and week out.  I’m thankful to Marquis Spas for their support this season and as we move into next season.”

The Mayetta, N.J. native competed in nine races with Niece Motorsports throughout the 2020 season, with his best finish of 12th coming at both Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway.

Truex, who ran full time in the NCWTS in 2017, has two poles, 10 top-five finishes and 19 top-10 finishes in 51 starts in the series.  In addition to his experience behind the wheel in the Truck Series, Truex has 78 starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and 26 starts in the NASCAR Cup Series to his credit.

“We’re excited to bring Ryan full time next season,” said General Manager Cody Efaw.  “As a team, we are really excited about how our program is shaping up for next season.  We are working hard collectively to make our equipment the best it can be.  We are thankful for the support of great partners like Marquis and Chevrolet.  We look forward to contending for wins next year with Ryan.”

Marquis, an employee-owned company founded in 1980, offers creative and innovative designs that provide the ultimate soaking experience, cost less to operate, and require the least amount of maintenance.  Marquis spas are designed with cutting-edge features for supreme comfort and long-lasting enjoyment.  Marquis is proud to craft a spa designed to enhance health and well-being.

Last week NASCAR announced the 2021 NCWTS schedule, with highlights including the addition of Circuit of the Americas, Nashville Superspeedway, Knoxville Raceway and Watkins Glen International.

The 2021 NCWTS season will kick off at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, February 12.

Niece Motorsports PR

Texas Motor Speedway kicks off its 2021 ticket sales with incredible Black Friday deals for both the NASCAR All-Star Race in June and NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader in May to celebrate the Great American Speedway’s 25th season.
 
NASCAR’s best will put everything on the line June 13, 2021 at No Limits, Texas, for the opportunity to earn the $1 million prize and pull into SpeedyCash.com Victory Lane as the winner of the NASCAR All-Star Race. Race fans can be a part of it all for just $25 for grandstand tickets or 25% off all other price levels.
 
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will host its first scheduled weekend doubleheader at Texas Motor Speedway with the Texas Indy 300 on Sat., May 1 and Genesys 300 on May 2. For $25 race fans can purchase a weekend's worth of tickets, one each to Saturday's and Sunday's races. Tickets for all other price levels are reduced by 25%.
 
Texas Motor Speedway's 25th season Black Friday special offer begins Friday, Nov. 27, at 12:00 a.m. CT and ends Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. CT. Both offers are good while supplies last. Purchases can only be made at www.TexasMotorSpeedway.com (no Ticket Office calls or texts).
 
Black Friday ticket pricing remains for Cyber Week, Nov. 30-Dec.4, with additional savings for campers:
 
• $25 off NASCAR All-Star Weekend camping in the Lone Star Circle Campground and VIP Campground and 25% off ticket packages
 
• $25 off INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader weekend camping in the Lone Star Circle Campground and VIP Campground
 
Black Friday and Cyber Week discount offers may not be combined with any other offer and are available while supplies last. No refunds or exchanges are allowed.
 
Tickets for these events for kids 12 & under are still just $10.
 
MORE INFO:
Keep track of all of Texas Motor Speedway’s events by following on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Keep up with all the latest news and information on the speedway website and TMS mobile app.
 
TMS PR
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