Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Today, as part of Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Mission 600, Coca-Cola Family Racing driver Ryan Newman visited Camp Lejeune to learn from and train alongside members of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command (MARSOC). The day-long visit serves as a prelude to the upcoming Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day Weekend and to highlight the shared connections between NASCAR and the U.S. Armed Forces.

“It’s special, just to be close and in contact and hear the stories of the Marines, that’s what’s really special to me,” Newman said. “What hit me the most was the emotional side of the canine unit and the memorial to the people and the dogs that didn’t make it – what happens when we fight for our freedom… It’s important for me to pay attention, to spread the word and to make people understand because I know that I have taken a lot for granted when it comes to how and what goes into fighting for our freedom.”

The Roush Fenway Racing driver observed a demonstration at MARSOC’s David M. Sonka Multi-Purpose Canine Facility, featuring a group of highly trained dogs whose core capabilities range from explosive detection to tracking and protection. Charlotte Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Greg Walter donned a bite suit while Marines highlighted the mission capabilities of their K-9 unit in close-quarter scenarios.

An avid outdoorsman and hunter, Newman felt right at home on the MARSOC firing range, where he had the opportunity to fire a Glock-19 pistol and a powerful M4A1 rifle. After breaking for lunch, Mission 600 continued with a demonstration of equipment the unit would use to defuse an explosive device.

“Today was amazing because we were able to get a glimpse of what the Marines Special Operations Unit get to do every day,” Walter said. “What’s cool about Mission 600 is that we’re able to share that story – what they do to secure our freedoms – to put that against the backdrop of the Coca-Cola 600 and all that it represents.

“This unit has suffered a lot of losses since its formation because of the activities that they do. This makes you realize what Memorial Day is all about. You don’t want to lose sight of that as Americans, as NASCAR fans.”

The 2021 edition of Mission 600 kicked off at Arlington National Cemetery, where 2020 Coca-Cola 600 winner Brad Keselowski went to pay his respects last month. Newman joins fellow Coca-Cola Racing Family drivers Austin Dillon (Army Central Kuwait) and Daniel Suárez (U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Richard Snyder) in taking part in Mission 600. The final visit of this year’s campaign is scheduled for next week, when Joey Logano is slated to visit virtually with Armed Forces Network Japan.


Keep track of all of Charlotte Motor Speedway’s events during its 60th anniversary season by following on Twitter and Instagram or become a Facebook fan. Keep up with all the latest news and information with the Charlotte Motor Speedway mobile app.


Riley Herbst Notes of Interest


•  Riley Herbst and Dover (Del.) International Speedway are an appropriate pair. Herbst is the driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing and Dover is best known as the “Monster Mile”. At a track that can chew up and spit out even the most seasoned racers, Herbst has acquitted himself well on the concrete-clad, 1-mile oval. In three career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Dover, Herbst has scored two top-10 finishes with a best result of sixth on Aug. 22, 2020.


•  Herbst’s solid runs at the Monster Mile aren’t confined to the Xfinity Series. The Las Vegas native also has two starts at Dover in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. In the 2016 and 2017 races, he finished eighth and seventh, respectively.


•  From one nickname to another: Herbst’s most recent Xfinity Series race came at the “Track Too Tough To Tame” and now he heads to the Monster Mile. Herbst endured a roller coaster of a race last Saturday at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, which the track living up to its nickname. Herbst struggled throughout the race with a tight racecar, but was making some gains toward the end of the second stage. Crew chief Richard Boswell made the call to bring Herbst to pit road early when the yellow caution flag waved on lap 84, and while Herbst had to line up 27th for the lap-88 restart, he quickly picked off enough competitors to finish the stage in sight of the top-10. But in the final stage, Herbst earned a Darlington stripe when he brushed its iconic red-and-white wall. This led to a cut right-front tire that required an unscheduled pit stop. While Boswell tried to make up the lost track position through pit strategy, the green-white-checkered finish delivered the crushing blow, as Herbst was caught up in a last-lap incident that relegated him to a 27th-place finish.


•  The Dover 200 will mark Herbst’s 53rd career Xfinity Series start. His resume includes six top-fives and 24 top-10s. His best finish is second, earned twice – in February 2020 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, and July 2020 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. At just 22 years of age, Herbst has history on his side – the past six Xfinity Series winners at Dover were all series regulars and two of them came from Stewart-Haas Racing (Cole Custer in 2019 and Chase Briscoe in 2020).


Riley Herbst, Driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang


You’ve had some good runs at Dover in the past. In addition, the No. 98 team won there last August with Chase Briscoe. What are your thoughts heading into the race?

“I thoroughly enjoy Dover. It’s such a cool racetrack and it’s been good to me in the past. I would say Dover is one of my favorite tracks on the Xfinity Series circuit. We had the doubleheader last year and I was able to score two top-10 finishes, which is awesome when you think about how we didn’t even have practice. The No. 98 team got a win in the second race last year, so I’m ready to leave the bad luck behind us and see what kind of speed we can bring this weekend.”


The 2021 season has had its share of ups and downs for you the No. 98 Monster Energy team. Talk about your season so far.

“It’s frustrating. This year, we’ve run good and we’ve had some good speed. Either I’ve made a mistake or we’ve just had some unfortunate luck that took us out of our running positions. We’ve had the speed, but we just haven’t been able to finish where we’ve been running due to incidents.”


Heading into Dover, you’re about a quarter of the way through the 2021 season. What’s it been like for you to get acclimated at Stewart-Haas Racing during these first nine races?

“I really enjoy it. It’s definitely a different environment from where I came from last year with it being a single-car organization in the Xfinity Series. I came from having a lot of teammates to none, but I’ve been working with Richard Boswell (crew chief) and the guys. The relationships in the No. 98 camp have been good. I wish we could’ve had some more success during this first quarter of the season, but we’re nowhere near hitting the panic button because of the speed we have in our Monster Energy Ford Mustang.”



Event Overview


●  Event:  Dover 400 (Round 13 of 36)

●  Time/Date:  2 p.m. EDT on Sunday, May 16

●  Location:  Dover (Del.) International Speedway

●  Layout:  1-mile, concrete oval

●  Laps/Miles:  400 laps / 400 miles

●  Stage Lengths:  Stage 1: 120 laps / Stage 2: 120 laps / Final Stage: 160 laps

●  TV/Radio:  FS1 / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio


Notes of Interest


●  Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, comes into Dover (Del.) International Speedway for the 13th race of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season riding a streak of three straight top-10 finishes. Harvick has totaled nine top-10s so far this year with a best finish of second, secured two races ago at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.


●  Harvick is streaking at Dover, too. The Bakersfield, California-native hasn’t finished outside the top-10 at Dover since a 17th-place result in October 2017. That’s a run of six straight races, bookended by a win in May 2018 and a victory in the NASCAR Cup Series’ last race at Dover on Aug. 23, 2020. During this stretch, Harvick’s worst finish is sixth, earned in October 2018. The driver of the No. 4 hasn’t finished worse than fourth in his last four Dover starts.


●  Harvick will make his 41st career NASCAR Cup Series start at Dover when he takes the green flag on Sunday. The only other active driver with more Cup Series starts at Dover is Kurt Busch, who made his Cup Series debut at Dover on Sept. 24, 2000, giving him one more Dover start than Harvick. The all-time leader in Cup Series starts at Dover is Ricky Rudd with 56. Rudd made his Cup debut at Dover on May 16, 1976 and his last start at the track came on June 4, 2007, a span of 31 years.


●  No active driver has led more laps at Dover than Harvick. His 1,666 laps led are 453 more laps than next best Kurt Busch. That difference is more than an entire race distance at Dover. No other active driver has cracked the 1,000 laps led mark at Dover. However, the all-time lap leader at Dover is seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson with a staggering 3,113 laps led.


●  Dover’s nickname is the Monster Mile, due to its propensity to chew up and spit out even the most seasoned veteran, yet Harvick has seemingly tamed the Monster. Beyond his three wins, 10 top-fives, 21 top-10s and 1,666 laps led, Harvick has only one DNF (Did Not Finish) at Dover – and it wasn’t even a crash. It was an engine failure in the 2006 Dover 400.


●  Harvick has been running at the finish in the last 60 NASCAR Cup Series races. His last DNF of any kind was back on Aug. 17, 2019 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway when a broken clutch ended his night 244 laps into the 500-lap race.


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


You’ve won at Dover three times and have finished in the top-10 in more than half your starts there. What is it that makes you so good there?

“Dover is one of those racetracks where if we don’t win, we feel like we’ve let everybody down. It’s been a great racetrack for us and we’ve had some really dumb luck there with lug nuts and valve stems, but outside of those few races, it’s been a very successful racetrack for us. I think that was Rodney’s (Childers, crew chief) goal when we got to Stewart-Haas Racing (in 2014), because he loved racing at Dover and it was always my worst racetrack when I was at RCR (Richard Childress Racing). Ever since the very first day that we’ve gone to Dover at Stewart-Haas Racing, it’s been a good racetrack for us and we’ve run well. Dover is just one of those grind-it-out-type of races. The harder you can drive it and the more aggressive that you can be lap after lap after lap by being more aggressive and consistent, you can grind a lot of them into the ground there just because 400 laps around Dover, staying focused, and being able to grind away with your racecar that hard for that long is tough mentally and physically. It’s a fun race.”


Is there something specific about Dover that augments your driving style?

“Dover is a racetrack that everything about it is unique. The concrete, itself, all the way around the racetrack, is unique. Dover is a racetrack where you can get away with being aggressive every single lap. You have to drive the car as hard as it will go every single lap, and that’s hard to do there because there are all the little bumps that come with the concrete, the change of elevation as you go in and off the corners, and all the banking in the corners – it’s just a really, really fast racetrack. It’s also a very physical racetrack just because of all the G’s and the bouncing and everything that comes with driving around Dover. It’s a racetrack where you have to have your hands gripping on the steering wheel and gritting your teeth all at the same time in order to go fast every single lap. When your car’s off, there’s just nowhere to hide there. You wind up going a lap down, probably two laps down because you pit early and then the caution comes out. It’s a beast of a racetrack and there’s a reason they call it the Monster Mile because you can get yourself in trouble really quick.”


Dover has a very unique trophy. It’s the track mascot, Miles the Monster, and he’s got the winning car held in the air. Is it one of the sport’s best trophies?

“My kids love Miles. There are so many racetracks that have terrible trophies – the plastic trophies – I feel like they smash up and I’ll take them home and Keelan will be like, ‘Man, Dad, that’s a terrible trophy.’ That is not the case at Dover. They have a very unique trophy that is easily known as to what racetrack it came from and that’s what every racetrack needs.”


We had fans back last week at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and we’ll have fans again this Sunday Dover. What’s the atmosphere like with fans in the grandstands after almost a year of racing in a vacuum due to COVID-19?

“I’m just like those fans. I’m ready to get out and do things, and I think as you see those fans in the grandstands and you hear that enthusiasm and excitement and cheering, just the noise of the fans moving around even when they’re not doing anything, is way better than the pure silence we had at so many of the racetracks for most of the season last year. I’m excited to see these racetracks starting to open back up. I just saw that Pocono is opening up to 100 percent. I think it’s time for everybody to open back up to 100 percent and get these fans back in the stands and enjoying everything that’s going on at the racetrack.”


Can you talk about your longstanding relationship with Hunt Brothers Pizza, as the 2021 season marks the 12th year of your partnership with them?

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


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



This Friday night, May 14th, will see Stafford Speedway host the first of 4 Open Modified events during the 2021 racing season.  Here we take a look at each driver entered into the CBYD Open 81 and offer their driving stats at Stafford.


Dylan Izzo - #04 MacLean Woodworking Chevrolet – Izzo has 10 career SK Modified® starts at Stafford with one top-10 finish and he has 2 Open Modified starts with a best finish of 19th in 2019.


Patrick Emerling - #1 Superior Refinishing, LLC. Chevrolet – The defending R.O.C. Modified Champion heads into the CBYD 81 looking to continue his 2021 hot streak.  Emerling won the NAPA Spring Sizzler Whelen Modified Tour feature at Stafford on April 30 and he won the R.O.C. race last weekend at Chemung Speedrome.


Burt Myers - #1 Citrusafe Cleaners Chevrolet – The 10-time Bowman Gray Stadium and 2-time Whelen Southern Modified Tour Champion is still a relative newcomer to Stafford.  Myers made 2 Whelen Modified Tour starts at Stafford in 2018 with a best finish of 10th, he finished 10th in the 2020 Tri-Track Series feature at Stafford, and he finished 15th in his only career SK Modified® start in 2020.


Matt Galko - #3 AAA Consulting, LLC. Chevrolet – Galko is a former 2-time SK Light Champion at Stafford with 2 career SK Modified® and 8 career SK Light feature wins.  Galko has made 3 Whelen Modified Tour starts at Stafford with a best finish of 12th in 2019 and in 8 career Open Modified starts at Stafford Galko has posted 6 top-5 and 8 top-10 finishes.


Jeff Gallup - #4 Ceravolo’s Auto Chevrolet – Gallup has a pair of Modified Racing Series podium finishes at Stafford, finishing 3rd in 2016 and 2nd in 2018 and has led laps in several other Stafford races.  Gallup is still in search of his first Stafford victory.


Trevor Bleau - #4 Xtreme Auto Body & Collision Center, LLC. Chevrolet – The Troy, NH native is a virtual Stafford rookie driver having only made 2 starts in the Modified Touring Series in 2017 with a best finish of 14th.  Bleau failed to qualify for last year’s Tri-Track Modified Series event at Stafford.


Woody Pitkat - #6 Twisted Tea Chevrolet – Pitkat ranks second on Stafford’s All-Time Winners List with 78 career wins spread across the SK Modified®, Late Model, Street Stock, Whelen Modified Tour, Modified Racing Series, and Open Modified divisions with a track championship in the SK Modified® division and 2 championships in the Late Model division.  Pitkat won the Twisted Tea Open 80 at Stafford last season and will be looking for his second consecutive open modified victory at Stafford.


Ryan Preece - #6 Call Before You Dig Chevrolet – The NASCAR Cup Series driver has 35 career feature wins at Stafford in the SK Modified®, Whelen Modified Tour, Modified Racing Series, and Open Modified divisions.  Preece will be looking for his second Open Modified victory after winning the Twisted Tea open 80 in 2019.  Preece was in contention to win the NAPA Spring Sizzler on April 30 before a crash left him in 17th place.


Michael Christopher, Jr. - #7 Baldwin Motorsports Chevrolet – Christopher enters the CBYD 81 fresh off of his 6th career SK Modified® win at Stafford last Friday night.  In 5 career Open Modified starts at Stafford, Christopher has a best finish of 2nd in the 2020 NAPA 100 and he will be looking for his first win working together with Tommy Baldwin, Jr.


Cam McDermott - #8 Maybury Material Handling Chevrolet – The Canterbury, CT native is still in search of his first career Stafford victory.  McDermott has 3 second place finishes in SK Light competition, a best finish of 5th in the SK Modified® division, and in 7 career Open Modified starts, he has posted 4 top-9 finishes.


Earl Paules - #8 Adams Glass Chevrolet – The Palmerton, PA native will be looking to make his first career start at Stafford in the CBYD 81.  Paules is the winningest driver in Mahoning Valley Speedway history with 61 career wins.


Chase Dowling - #9ct S & S Asphalt Paving Chevrolet – The 2021 season has gotten off to a slow start for Dowling in the SK Modified® division but Dowling has 17 career Stafford feature wins.  Dowling’s 17 Stafford wins includes the Tri-Track Modified Series race last October driving Ben Dodge’s #9ct car, a Modified Racing Series win in 2019, 8 SK Modified® wins, and 7 SK Light wins.

Tom Abele, Jr. - #9 Moe’s Moving Chevrolet – Abele is still relatively new to Stafford Speedway, having made 4 Whelen Modified Tour starts in 2008 and 2009 with a best finish of 17th and he ran 11 SK Modified® races in 2017 with a best finish of 4th on two different occasions.  


Max Zachem - #18 Lu-Mac’s Package Store Chevrolet – Having piloted his family owned car in selected SK Modified® and Open Modified races at Stafford from 2018-2020, Zachem will look for his first Stafford win behind the wheel of Larry Westgate’s #18 car.  Zachem’s best finish in two Open Modified starts was 6th in 2019 and he finished 16th last October in the Tri-Track Modified Series feature.


Joey Cipriano - #25 Call Before You Dig Chevrolet – A new combination for the 2021 Open Modified season at Stafford.  Cipriano is a Stafford veteran with 7 career SK Light wins and 1 career SK Modified® win at Stafford.  Cipriano has come close to victory several times behind the wheel of Ted Anderson’s #1 Open Modified and he will be driving Gary Casella’s #25 car, which has won 3 Modified Racing Series events at Stafford with Rowan Pennink behind the wheel.


Anthony Flannery - #25ct Fowlers Auto Wrecking Chevrolet – Flannery has started all 9 Open Modified feature events held to date at Stafford with 2 top-10 finishes.  Flannery has also made 2 SK Modified® starts at Stafford, finishing 18th in 2020 and 12th in 2019.


Kevin Iannarelli - #27 iRacing.com Chevrolet – Iannarelli made his Open Modified debut at Safford last season, posting finishes of 22nd and 25th in his two starts.


Noah Korner - #31 Midstate Site Development Chevrolet – Korner is the 2016 Legend Cars champion at Stafford and he has 8 career Legend Cars feature wins to go along with 2 SK Light feature wins.  Korner will be looking to build on his victory in the Tri-Track Modified Series B-Main feature last October at Stafford.


Andrew Charron - #31 DM Charron & Son Tri Axle Trucking Chevrolet – Charron is another virtual Stafford rookie heading into the CBYD Open 81.  Charron has 4 career starts in the SK Modified® division with a best finish of 11th in 2015.


Michael Gervais, Jr. - #33 Gervais Brothers Roofing Chevrolet – Gervais is 2009 SK Light track champion at Stafford and he has 4 career SK Modified® wins.  In 5 career Open Modified starts at Stafford, Gervais’ best finish is 11th.


Dave Etheridge - #34 Warner Turf Equipment Chevrolet – Etheridge is a former weekly competitor at Stafford with 5 career ProStock wins from 1993-1997.  Etheridge has competed in 8 of the 9 Open Modified races run to date at Stafford with 1 top-5 and 4 top-10 finishes.


Andrew Molleur - #35 Able Motorsports Chevrolet – In a short amount of time, Molleur has already notched 4 career SK Light wins at Stafford in 2018 and he recorded his first SK Modified® feature win in 2019.  Molleur has made 2 Whelen Modified Tour starts at Stafford with a best finish of 18th and he has made 8 Open Modified starts with a best finish of 7th in 2019.


Dave Salzarulo #44 Johnson Chassis Chevrolet – Salzarulo is a former long-time modified veteran, racing in the SK Modified® division as well as selected Whelen Modified Tour and Modified Racing Series events at Stafford.  Salzarulo has made 1 Open Modified start, finishing 15th back in 2018.


Brett Meservey - #45 PMG / Shell Chevrolet – Meservey will be attempting to make his very first start at Stafford in the CBYD 81.


Craig Lutz - #46 Riverhead Building Supply Chevrolet – Lutz scored his first Whelen Modified Tour pole position at Stafford and he won his first Tour race at Stafford, taking the checkered flag in the 2019 NAPA Fall Final.  Lutz ran 3 Open Modified Shows last season and he finished 5th, 8th, and 6th.


Marcello Rufrano - #48 Wheelers Auto Service Chevrolet – Rufrano won his very first modified race at Stafford in the SK Light division in 2016 and he has since won 11 SK Light races and the 2018 SK Light Championship to go along with 2 Street Stock victories.  Rufrano was a shock winner of the Bud Light Open 80 last season and he will be looking for his second open modified victory in the CBYD 81.


Ronnie Williams #50 Empower Financial Advisory Ford – Williams has 24 career Stafford wins, including 18 SK Modified®, 4 SK Light, and 2 Open Modified victories.  Williams is a 2-time SK Modified® Track Champion at Stafford and he will be looking to add a third Open Modified victory to his resume in the CBYD 81.


Keith Rocco #57 M & M Stone Creations Chevrolet – Rocco is third on Stafford’s All-Time Winners List with 73 career wins spread across the SK Modified®, Late Model, Modified Racing Series, Open Modified, and Wild Thing Karts divisions.  Rocco is a 4-time Stafford SK Modified® Champion with wins in the Open Modified 80 in 2019 and the NAPA 100 in 2020.


Eric Goodale - #58 GAF Roofing Chevrolet – The Whelen Modified Tour veteran was the runner-up in the NAPA Spring Sizzler on April 30 and he has 2 career wins at Stafford; the 2017 NAPA Fall Final and the 2018 Bud Light Open 80.  Goodale won the season opening Whelen Modified Tour event at Martinsville and he will look to continue his hot start to the 2021 season in the CBYD 81.


Chris Pasteryak - #75 Dawley Collision & Custom Chevrolet – Pasteryak has made 17 Whelen Modified Tour starts at Stafford with 4 top-5 and 7 top-10 finishes.  Pasteryak won Modified Racing Series events at Stafford in 2011 and 2015 and after finishing 19th in the Tri-Track Modified feature last October, Pateryak will look to make his first Open Modified start in the CBYD Open 81.


Dana DiMatteo - #76 Island Cove Marina Chevrolet – DiMatteo is the 2014 Legend Cars champion at Stafford and he has 8 career Legend Cars wins.  DiMatteo has made 6 career Open Modified starts at Stafford with a best finish of 7th coming back in 2018.


Jon McKennedy - #79 Middlesex Interiors Chevrolet – McKennedy has 4 career modified wins at Stafford with 2 Modified Racing Series wins in 2012 and 1016 and he swept the pair of Modified Touring Series events in 2017 at the Connecticut half-mile.  McKennedy made 2 Open Modified starts in 2020 at Stafford driving for Art Barry and he finished 12th and 2nd.  


Todd Owen - #81 Cooker Construction Chevrolet – Owen has been racing at Stafford since the 1999 season starting in the Pro Stock division.  Owen recorded 7 Pro Stock wins in 2 seasons before moving into the SK Modified® division in 2002 where he has raced since.  Owen has 14 SK Modified® victories to his name with half of those wins coming in the last 2 seasons.  Owen has competed in 7 of the 9 Open Modified races held at Stafford with a best finish of 2nd in 2019.


Mike Willis, Jr. - #83 Spirit Of Alaska Wilderness Adventures – Willis has yet to find victory lane at Stafford but he has been a strong contender in Modified Racing Series events.  In 14 MRS races from 2014-2019, Willis posted 4 top-5 and 10 top-10 finishes, including a pair of third place finishes coming in 2017 and 2015.


J.B. Fortin - #84 Peerless Boilers Chevrolet – Fortin is a Riverhead modified regular with 5 career Whelen Modified Tour starts at Stafford with a best finish of 12th in 2019.  Fortin will be looking to make his first Open Modified start at Stafford in the CBYD Open 81.


Brett Gonyaw - #87 Tri-State Contracting Chevrolet – Gonyaw is a former SK Light weekly competitor at Stafford and he has 2 SK Light wins to his name.  Gonyaw finished 5th in the 2017 SK Light standings and he has run 1 Open Modified event at Stafford, finishing 18th back in 2018.


Stephen Kopcik - #179 Jensen Motorsports Chevrolet – Kopcik has been racing modifieds at Stafford since 2014 and he has 5 SK Modified® and 3 SK Light feature wins along with the 2015 SK Light Championship.  Kopcik made 2 Open Modified starts in 2020 at Stafford, finishing 7th and 13th in the #179 car.


There are still tickets available for this Friday night’s CBYD Open Modified 81.  Stafford’s SK Modifieds®, Late Models, SK Lights, Limited Late Models, and Street Stocks will join the Open Modifieds in feature action.  General admission and paddock tickets can be purchased online at https://staffordmotorspeedway.com/tickets.  Any fans who can’t make it to the track to watch in person can watch all the action live on FloRacing, click here to subscribe.


For more information, visit www.staffordspeedway.com, checkout Stafford Speedway on Facebook or Twitter, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.

Stafford Speedway PR

Statement from Kelley Earnhardt Miller, general manager of JR Motorsports, regarding Roger Werners, the Final Appeals Officer, ruling to overturn the disqualification incurred by the No. 9 team from the race at Darlington Raceway.

“Everyone at JR Motorsports strives to bring four fast and competitive racecars to the track each and every week and we are happy to see that the ruling was overturned,” said Kelley Earnhardt Miller, general manager of JR Motorsports. “The No. 9 team put together a racecar that allowed Noah to win his third Dash 4 Cash prize and compete for the sweep this weekend at Dover International Speedway.”


The Final Appeal Officer today heard and considered an appeal of a race disqualification penalty issued on May 8 to JR Motorsports and driver Noah Gragson in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

The penalty concerns the following section in the 2021 NASCAR Rule Book: Section 20.14.c Suspension.

Upon hearing the testimony, the decisions of the Panelist are:

  1. That the Appellants did not violate the Rule(s) set forth in the Penalty Notice.
  2. That the original Penalty assessed by NASCAR is rescinded.

The Final Appeal Officer for this hearing was Mr. Roger Werner.

As this is a Race Disqualification Appeal, pursuant to Section 14.6.f, the decision of the Panelist will be considered final and there is no ability to appeal the decision to the Final Appeals Office.


The week leading up the Indy 500 will be a busy one again for dirt track racing fans, especially those heading to the Terre Haute Action Track, located at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds in Terre Haute, Ind.

May 26-28 will feature action from two top-tier USAC series as well as the NOS Energy Drink World of Outlaws Sprint Cars. Single day tickets are now available for the events in addition to a three-day SUPERTICKET, which features a sizable discount.

It all begins on Wednesday, May 26, with the 51st running of the Tony Hulman Classic, featuring the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars.

No annual event on the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car calendar has a history as rich or has the longevity of the Tony Hulman Classic at western Indiana’s legendary Terre Haute Action Track.  The milestone 50th annual running in 2020 was won by USAC career Triple Crown champion, Chris Windom, who joined the ranks of multi-time winners of the event.

Past Hulman Classic winners Chris Windom (2011 & 2020), Robert Ballou (2015 & 2016), Kevin Thomas Jr. (2017) and Chase Stockon (2019) will compete amongst USAC’s best for the coveted trophy rifle in victory lane.

On Thursday, May 27, the stars of the USAC Silver Crown National Championship will be on track for the Sumar Classic. The 100-lap event replaces the Hoosier Hundred, which has been held on the Thursday date in the past.

The Sumar Classic has proven to be the most competitive and most unpredictable USAC Silver Crown race on the circuit.  A different driver has won the race each year in a span of 12 races held between 2003 and 2018.  The past four winners of the event – Shane Cockrum (2015), C.J. Leary (2016), Chris Windom (2017) and Justin Grant (2018) – will all be competing in the event.

Rounding out the three-day racing extravaganza will be the Wabash Clash for the NOS Energy Drink World Of Outlaws Sprint Cars on Friday, May 28. The event will be the 29th visit for the series at the track with a former winner list that includes the likes of Doug Wolfgang, Steve Kinser, Mark Kinser, Danny Lasoski, Donny Schatz, Brad Sweet, Logan Schuchart, and more.

The Scott’s Custom Colors DIRTcar Modifieds will also be in action on Wednesday and Thursday with two full programs of racing. Special bonus money will be up for grabs for the two days as the top-five in combined average finishes will receive a sizable check. The top-five bonus amounts are $500-$400-$300-$200-$100.

Rounding out the classes in action will be the Schaeffer’s Indiana Racesaver Sprint Cars, which will compete on Friday night with the NOS Energy Drink World Of Outlaw Sprints. It will mark the second visit for the series, which also ran on the World of Outlaws night during the 2020 season.

Pits will open each day at 2:00 PM EDT, grandstands at 3:00, while hot laps will begin at 6:30 with racing to follow.

General admission will be $25 per ticket for Wednesday, $30 for Thursday, and $35 for Friday. Advance sale reserved tickets are available for the Friday event at a cost of $40, which also includes a pit pass. Infield admission is $15 for Wednesday, $20 for Thursday, and $25 for Friday. Pit passes will be $35 Wednesday, $35 Thursday, and $40 for Friday.

Track Enterprises, the promotion company for the Terre Haute Action Track, has also announced a three-day SUPERTICKET, which includes general admission for all three days for just $75, a $15 savings off the single day prices.

For advance sale Wednesday/Thursday tickets or the 3-day SUPERTICKET, visit www.tracpass.com. For Friday only tickets, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com. Tickets will also be available at the gates on each race day. 

Terre Haute Speedway PR

Every racer seeks perfection. So far this season, South Boston Speedway Budweiser Pure Stock Division competitor Nathan Crews is very close to being perfect.

The defending division champion has won all four of the races held in the division thus far, has won the pole for every event, has set a new division qualifying record, and has led 79 out of a possible 105 laps.

“I could never have dreamed of doing anything like what has been going on this year,” Crews remarked.

“We’re just very, very fortunate. I’m trying to enjoy it all because this will probably be my last season in Pure Stock. We just want to have fun, enjoy it, and spend time with friends and family.”

Crews’ record is made more outstanding in that he started at the rear of the field in two of his four starts and won.

“I’ve just been fortunate,” Crews pointed out.

“When you’re doing things like that you have to really be hitting your marks and being patient while at the same time being aggressive. Any little mess-up and the driver that is leading the race can be tough to catch.”

The Long Island, Virginia resident has made winning look easy this season. He quickly points out success does not come without hard work.

“It’s definitely a lot of hard work involved,” Crews said.

“It puts a lot of pressure on us to try to keep doing well every week. We’re at the shop every night, seven days a week working on the car, always trying to find things to get the car better. It takes a whole lot of work and staying on top of things just to make sure you have everything right.”

Crews said his fellow drivers and teams in the Budweiser Pure Stock Division are getting stronger.

“The other guys are catching up every single week,” noted Crews.

“Those guys have definitely stepped up. There are a lot of really good drivers in this class. Some of these guys just need a chance. They have definitely come a long way. It could be anybody’s game on any given night.”

Crews will have two opportunities to add to his win total Saturday night when the Budweiser Pure Stock Division competitors battle it out in twin 15-lap races that will be part of the First Responders Night at the Races event at South Boston Speedway.

The First Responders Night at the Races event at “America’s Hometown Track” will feature free admission for all police, fire and EMS with ID and a pre-race parade lap featuring area EMS vehicles.

A six-race card will highlight Saturday night’s First Responders Night at the Races. The night’s action will include twin 75-lap races for the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Stock Car Division and a 50-lap race for the Limited Sportsman Division. The Budweiser Pure Stock Division drivers will compete in twin 15-lap races and a 15-lap race for the Budweiser Hornets Division will round out the night’s racing card.

Registration and pit gates will open at 2 p.m. Saturday. Practice starts at 4 p.m. and grandstand gates will open at 5:30 p.m. Qualifying begins at 6 p.m. and the first race will get the green flag at 7 p.m.

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

Saturday night’s event will be livestreamed at SoBoSpeedway.tv on a pay-per-view basis with a low price of $19.99. Fans can go to SoBoSpeedway.tv or SouthBostonSpeedway.com to get started. Individuals can also go back and watch a full event at a later date for a special price.

South Boston Speedway will continue to follow COVID-19 mitigation mandates. Masks will be required for fans entering the speedway. Social distancing and additional mitigation measures will also be followed.

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


Nine winners – just one shy of the event record – are among the field of drivers assigned to 35 cars entered for the 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 30 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Three-time winner Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002, 2009), two-time winners Juan Pablo Montoya (2000, 2015) and Takuma Sato (2017, 2020), plus single winners Scott Dixon (2008), Tony Kanaan (2013), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014), Alexander Rossi (2016), Will Power (2018) and Simon Pagenaud (2019) are the past winners aiming for another victory this year in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” The record for winners in one field is 10, set in 1992.

Castroneves will bid to become the fourth member of the elite four-time winner’s club featuring A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears. Sato, 44, will try to become the first repeat winner since Castroneves in 2001-02 and the first driver ever to win the world’s most prestigious auto race three times after age 40.

The field includes eight past INDYCAR SERIES champions: Sebastien Bourdais, Dixon, Hunter-Reay, Kanaan, Montoya, Josef Newgarden, Pagenaud and Power. Dixon is the reigning and six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion.

A talented trio will compete for Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge Rookie of the Year honors: RC Enerson, Pietro Fittipaldi and Scott McLaughlin. Fittipaldi is the grandson of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi.

2010 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Simona De Silvestro returns to the race for the first time since 2015, attempting to make her sixth start in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

Andretti Autosport has entered six cars, the most of any team.

Practice opens Tuesday, May 18 and runs through Friday, May 21. Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday, May 22 and Sunday, May 23. The traditional final practice, two hours again this year on Miller Lite Carb Day, will be held Friday, May 28.

Live Race Day coverage begins on NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network at 11 a.m. (ET), with the green flag set for 12:30 p.m.


Winners (9): Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Alexander Rossi, Takuma Sato

Rookies (3): RC Enerson, Pietro Fittipaldi, Scott McLaughlin

U.S. drivers (13): Marco Andretti, Ed Carpenter, Conor Daly, RC Enerson, Santino Ferrucci, Colton Herta, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Sage Karam, Charlie Kimball, JR Hildebrand, Josef Newgarden, Graham Rahal, Alexander Rossi

International drivers (22): Sebastien Bourdais, Helio Castroneves, Max Chilton, Simona De Silvestro, Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson, Pietro Fittipaldi, Jack Harvey, James Hinchcliffe, Ed Jones, Tony Kanaan, Dalton Kellett, Scott McLaughlin, Juan Pablo Montoya, Pato O’Ward, Simon Pagenaud, Alex Palou, Will Power, Felix Rosenqvist, Takuma Sato, Rinus VeeKay, Stefan Wilson

Engines (35): Chevrolet 18, Honda 17 (all cars use Dallara chassis and Firestone tires)


4-year-old Jade Avedisian of Clovis, Calif. continued a hot start to her 2021 season over the last three weekends, picking up four total victories including three consecutive in non-wing 600cc Micro Sprints. Avedisian’s wins have spanned two at Delta Speedway and a triumph at Lemoore Raceway, along with a Friday night Stock 600 victory at Visalia’s Keller Auto Raceway Plaza Park.

Avedisian’s winning ways at Delta Speedway in Stockton included thrilling last-lap passes for victory in each try. The driver of the #14 Driven Chassis passed multi-time track champion Brandon Carey on the inside of turn four to win on April 24. On May 1, she went around the outside of Medford, Oregon’s Ashton Torgerson in a near photo finish.

This weekend’s Mother’s Day weekend win at Lemoore Raceway saw Avedisian time in seventh quick before finishing third in the heat race. In the feature, she advanced into the lead by lap 13 to go on to win the 30-lap contest. She also competed in Super 600 for Driven Chassis. She qualified third and finished second in the heat race. Avedisian twice led laps in the feature before following stablemate Cody Christensen across the finish line.

Avedisian will have this weekend off before returning to POWRi Midget Racing for Chad Boat Industries. On May 21-22 she is slated to race at Charleston Speedway in Illinois before tackling Missouri’s Lake Ozark Speedway May 29-30.

Learn more about Jade Avedisian at http://www.JadeAvedisian.com

Jade would like to thank her sponsors CMT, Sheesh!, WHR, Eric Wright, Andy and Wanda Legate, Xtreme Products, Driven Performance, Harley Hollan Companies, Driven Midwest, Advanced Water Solutions,  Lineman Motorsports, Garlock Collision, Impact Racing.

For information on sponsoring Jade Avedisian, contact her parents Kim & Ryan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (559) 313-3982.

Jade Avedisian PR


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