Speedway Digest Staff
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AdventHealth, one of the nation’s largest faith-based health systems, is set to compete again in the Great American Race. Former Daytona 500 Champion Jamie McMurray will pilot the No. 77 Chevrolet Camaro entry from Spire Motorsports as AdventHealth, a current team partner with Chip Ganassi Racing, sponsors a car in the NASCAR Cup Series season opener for the second consecutive season.
McMurray, a current NASCAR analyst on FOX, last competed in the Daytona 500 in 2019 following his retirement in 2018 from full-time NASCAR Cup Series racing. McMurray’s start in the 63rd Annual Daytona 500 will be his 18th career start in the race and comes exactly 11 years since he won the prestigious race, earning him the title of Daytona 500 Champion.
With 50 hospitals in almost a dozen states, iconic racetracks like Daytona International Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway are each located in close proximity to an AdventHealth market.
In addition to the sponsorship on the car, AdventHealth has been a Founding Partner of Daytona International Speedway since 2014. As the Official Healthcare Partner of Daytona International Speedway, AdventHealth cares for more than 1,000 patients each year on-site. In the event of an emergency, there are 11 AdventHealth ambulances, two care centers and nine first aid stations standing ready to care for drivers and fans alike. The AdventHealth injector– or gate entrance – at the Daytona Beach, Fla., track is a 20,000-plus-square-foot oasis. The health system’s injector features messages of health, well-being and wholeness, as well as interactive games that naturally tie the sport of racing to health and wellness, testing race fans’ hand-eye coordination – a vital skill on the racetrack.
NOTES OF INTEREST:
- • Back Together: McMurray and AdventHealth are no strangers. In addition to partnering together for the 2019 Clash at Daytona, McMurray had a relationship with AdventHealth while racing full-time with Chip Ganassi Racing. An avid runner and fitness advocate, McMurray joined AdventHealth during Speedweeks in 2018 to celebrate the grand opening of the Fit Park at ONE DAYTONA.
- • Stars Aligning: The last time the Daytona 500 ran Feb. 14 was in 2010, and that race was won by Jamie McMurray. In another turn of serendipity, as McMurray goes for his second Daytona 500 win, he will have the same spotter from his 2010 win guiding him around the track.
- • The Heartbeat of Racing: As the season opener for NASCAR and one of the most prestigious events in motorsports, the Daytona 500 is not lacking for heart-pounding moments as drivers race bumper-to-bumper around Daytona International Speedway towards the checkered flag. This year, McMurray is putting his nerves on display throughout the race by wearing a heart-rate monitor that will be shown during the race, giving fans a glimpse into how the body reacts to the stresses of racing. Additionally, the information shown throughout the Valentine’s Day race will help grow awareness for cardiac health during American Heart Month.
- • Feeling Whole, On and Off Track: AdventHealth continues to support the Human Innovation and Development Lab (HIDL) at CGR. The HIDL features tools, technology and unique training to improve the performance of drivers and help them prepare for upcoming races both mentally and physically. In preparation for the Daytona 500, McMurray is working with Driver Performance Manager Josh Wise to utilize the resources available in the HIDL.
- • David Banks, AdventHealth Chief Strategy and Organizational Transformation Officer: “We have enjoyed a wonderful relationship over the years with Jamie, who is so well-respected as a person and a driver, and it is exciting to see him return to racing. The Daytona 500 is one of the premier events in all of sports and having the AdventHealth car on the track for this iconic race with Jamie behind the wheel is truly special.”
- • Jamie McMurray, Driver No. 77 AdventHealth Chevrolet Camaro: “It doesn’t get any better than the Daytona 500, and I am so excited to have the opportunity, thanks to AdventHealth, to run this race one more time. I have enjoyed my time out of the car as an analyst covering NASCAR, but nothing can replace the feeling of actually racing. And it’s great to be partnering with a company like AdventHealth for this race. We share a lot of the same goals about health and fitness, and I’m looking forward to using this opportunity to talk to race fans about the importance of staying healthy and feeling whole.”
Five-time USAC Silver Crown champion and three-time Little 500 winner Kody Swanson will drive a super late model and a pro late model fielded by Team Platinum in the 55th annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing Feb. 4-13 at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
The event is one of the premier short-track events held during Speedweeks. New Smyrna Speedway is a half-mile, 23-degree banked track located less than 15 miles south of Daytona International Speedway. Many of the current and former top names of NASCAR have competed in the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, and it continually draws top talent from around the United States and Canada. Some of its drivers, like Ryan Newman and Geoff Bodine, have gone on to win the Daytona 500.
The primary sponsor of Swanson’s cars will be Fatheadz Eyewear, the leader in oversized eyewear for men and women, both in prescription glasses and sunglasses.
Team Platinum, headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, is owned by Myna Burba and led by veteran crew chief Marc Metz. Among the team’s many accomplishments are winning the championship in the JEGS/All-Star CRA series in 2015; the Winchester 400 at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in 2016, and the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla. in 2019. It primarily competes in the ARCA/CRA Super Series and the JEGS All-Star Series, as well as other high-profile late model events.
Swanson’s participation is a direct result of his desire to expand into forms of racing that are new to him.
He has proven to be a quick learner. In 2020 Swanson, the winningest driver in the history of USAC’s top series, USAC Silver Crown, won in his first start ever in the Indy Pro 2000 formula-car series. The latter is part of IndyCar’s Road to Indy program. He also made his ARCA Menards stock car series debut, and finished eighth at Iowa Speedway. He also debuted in late model stock cars at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway and finished second in only his second event. He has also won and finished on the podium in vintage sports car events at Daytona.
"This year my focus is to continue working further into more forms of racing,” said Swanson, a native of Kingsburg, Calif., who currently resides in the Indianapolis area. “I'm looking forward to competing with Doran Racing in the asphalt USAC Silver Crown events and large asphalt sprint car events, and Kevin [Doran] is actually who really helped get this conversation started. His relationship with Marc [Metz, Team Platinum’s crew chief] helped introduce the idea. After meeting with him and Myna [Burba, team owner], we were able to move forward and get this all set up.
“I'm very excited to work with everyone on Team Platinum,” Swanson continued. “They have proven to be a great team, with fast cars and many talented people all pulling in the same direction. I'm excited to run at New Smyrna at the World Series too. With so many races it is a great opportunity to gain a lot of experience in a short period of time, and all before the rest of the season starts in the Midwest. I haven’t run at New Smyrna before, nor driven either of these cars. From a suspension standpoint they are very different than even the late model I ran last year at Hickory, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
“Fatheadz Eyewear, owned by Rico Elmore, has been so supportive of me moving into new opportunities, and I'm thankful that they're willing to continue building that relationship and direction,” Swanson continued. “In addition I'm thankful to have support from our friends at Radio Hospital and Rosewood Machine and Tool, along with our other partners.”
"Kody is a great ambassador on and off the track, and we are proud to have him on Team Fatheadz,” said Elmore. “I have full faith in his talent behind the wheel as he expands his racing experience, and I can’t wait to see him carry the Fatheadz colors in Florida."
Associate sponsors will include Radio Hospital, Rosewood Machine and Tool, Brands Truck Insurance, Platinum Express, McGunegill Engine Performance, Duncan Oil, Alt & Witzig Engineering, Eibach Springs, Allstar Performance, FK Rod Ends, K&N Filters, Image Express and Roof Co.
Team Platinum is also looking forward to working with a driver who has rewritten USAC’s record books.
“I’m excited to work with Kody,” said Metz, its crew chief. “I’ve watched several of his races since this deal started to come together. There is no doubt in his ability to get the job done behind the wheel. I’m sure his learning curve will be short. Communication and feedback will be a big part of the puzzle, but I have a good feeling about that as well. All the guys here at Team Platinum are excited to get to Florida and turn some laps.”
After a practice day on Feb. 4, the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing is held on the following nine days. Swanson’s two divisions are scheduled to be featured on eight of them, with the only exception being on Monday, Feb. 8. His biggest race in the series will be the Orange Blossom Super Late Model 100 on Saturday, Feb. 13. Four-time ARCA Midwest Tour champion Ty Majeski, who won the Snowball Derby last month and has driven in NASCAR Xfinity and Truck series races, is the defending winner.
The cars Swanson will drive in Florida will be number 26. The team’s engines are prepared by McGunegill Engine Performance (MEP) of Muncie, Ind.
Live streaming of the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing will be available through a network that will be announced soon by New Smyrna Speedway officials.
Team Platinum PR
Officials from the Chowchilla Barn Burner have announced a partnership with Delta Speedway in Stockton, Calif. for a four-race kart and Outlaw Kart series, Sunday afternoons beginning on January 31. Other series races on the 1/7th mile oval at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds are scheduled for February 14, February 28, and March 7. Events will be limited to competitors only with seven divisions competing including Beginner Box, Box Stock, Pure Stocks, Clones, 250 Outlaw Karts, 500 Outlaw Karts, and Sportsman.
Delta Speedway has gained a reputation as one of the top Micro Sprint facilities in the nation with racing on Saturday nights from March through October. Outlaw Karts have appeared at the speedway on several occasions including most recently in 2018. 2020 Cycleland Speedway champion Landon Brooks picked up the 500cc Outlaw Kart win on that day, topping a 32-car turnout.
Chowchilla Barn Burner has been silent this winter due to the Coronavirus Pandemic and will take its show on the road to Delta Speedway. The combination of a strong competitor base, a great facility, and a schedule that complements the other kart offerings in California is expected to be a success. Races will be held as afternoon shows with karts on the track no later than noon.
For more information, visit Chowchilla Barn Burner on Facebook. Pit gates will open at 9:00am with drivers meeting at 11:30am. Driver and kart will cost $60 with all other pit passes $20. For questions, contact Evan Sanders at: (559) 577-3804
Delta Speedway PR
The Drydene Xtreme DIRTcar Series schedule is being taken to a new extreme in February with Lake View Motor Speedway and Cherokee Speedway highlighting new event dates en route to the championship finale.
The Drydene Xtreme DIRTcar Series, on Feb. 20, will make its debut at the 4/10-mile Lake View Motor Speedway, in Nichols, SC, for a $7,000-to-win show.
The new event will be followed by the Frostbite 40 at Cherokee Speedway – postponed from Jan. 9 – now taking place on Sunday, Feb. 21. It’s now the penultimate event of the season before a champion is crowned, Saturday, Feb. 27, at Modoc Raceway for the epic championship finale.
Defending Series champion Chris Madden is the current points leader, but recent first-time World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model winner Kyle Strickler is only 17 points back, leading to an exciting championship battle in the final three events of the season.
Georgia’s Senoia Raceway was originally scheduled to host the Xtreme Series on Feb. 20, but a recent change in management created a cancelation of those plans.
Drydene Xtreme DIRTcar Series PR
Ally to be title sponsor of Nashville Superspeedway’s inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race on Father’s Day 2021
Ally Financial will make history in June as the presenting sponsor of the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway, track and company officials said today.
Ally, a leading digital financial-services company and the primary sponsor of Alex Bowman and the iconic Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet, will be a NASCAR race sponsor for the first time with the Ally 400 NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, June 20 (2:30 p.m. CT, NBCSN, #Ally400 on social media), capping a spectacular Father’s Day weekend at Middle Tennessee’s home for racing and entertainment. Tickets for the entire June 18-20, 2021 NASCAR tripleheader weekend are available to the general public starting today.
The multi-year agreement links Ally and Nashville Superspeedway for future NASCAR Cup Series races as well as upcoming community and NASCAR fan events.
“We plan to make the Ally 400 a premiere event for NASCAR fans and the Nashville community this summer with great racing and some other fun surprises we’ll announce soon,” said Andrea Brimmer, chief marketing and public relations officer, Ally. “It wouldn’t be an Ally event if we didn’t ‘Do It Right’ by making a lasting impact through donations to support first responders — like those who saved so many lives in December’s bombing — and to an organization that has long provided necessary assistance to this community.”
Initial highlights of the new relationship include:
- Ally will donate $25,000 to Box 55 Association, which provides support for first responders, and $25,000 to the Urban League of Middle Tennessee, a civil rights and urban advocacy organization providing direct services that impact thousands of people in underserved communities across the state.
- Fans can enter the Ultimate Ally 400 Sweepstakes, with a grand prize of a VIP package for two for the entire June 18-20 race weekend! Visit NashvilleSuperSpeedway.com/ally400sweepstakes/ for details.
- Fans will have a chance to help choose Alex Bowman’s No. 48 Chevrolet paint scheme for the Ally 400 NASCAR Cup Series race. Follow @allyracing on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more details to come.
- Look for details on more Ally-Nashville Superspeedway events in the coming months leading up to NASCAR’s return to the Nashville area.
The Ally 400 is the centerpiece of a full schedule of activities at Nashville Superspeedway on June 18-20, including a NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday, June 19 (2:30 p.m. CT, NBCSN) and a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday, June 18 ( 7 p.m. CT, FS1).
“We’re honored to team up with Ally for our inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race,” said Erik Moses, Nashville Superspeedway’s president. “Ally has heavily invested in NASCAR in recent years and given so much back to race fans with innovative contests and events. As we prepare to welcome America’s best drivers back to Middle Tennessee, we’re looking forward to working with Ally to present the best experience possible for our fans.”
On-track and off-track schedules for all three of Nashville Superspeedway’s NASCAR events will be determined and shared at a later date.
Keep track of Nashville Superspeedway’s latest news and updates at NashvilleSuperSpeedway.com via social media at Facebook.com/NashvilleSuperspeedway, on Twitter at @nashvillesupers and Instagram @nashvillesuperspeedway.
Nashville Superspeedway PR
Derrike Cope will pilot the No. 15 Rick Ware Racing (RWR) Chevrolet in his final DAYTONA 500 start at Daytona International Speedway. Jacob Companies, a long time sponsor of RWR, will be the primary sponsor on board the No. 15.
Jacob Companies, a Florida based company, is a multifaceted construction firm with a focus on construction, development and technology services. Jacob Companies has been a long standing partner in NASCAR, including primary partnership at RWR for the past three years.
“I am really looking forward to running this year's Daytona 500 with Rick Ware Racing,” said Derrike Cope, former 1990 Daytona 500 Champion and StarCom Racing Team Manager. “I have known Rick and his family for a long time and I am excited to have the opportunity to go to Daytona and race for another win! I am excited to have Don Perry with Jacob Company as the primary sponsor as well. I want to thank Mike and Matt Kohler and Bill Woehlemann with StarCom Fiber for making this all possible! I could not be more excited to get back to Daytona!
Derrike Cope has two career NASCAR cup wins, the 1990 Daytona 500 and the 1990 Dover spring race, one XFINITY victory at New Hampshire in 1994, as well as a dozen Winston West victories (now known as the NASCAR K&N Series). With 722 career starts in NASCAR’s top three series, Cope is eager to get back on the track for one last lick at the Daytona 500.
“We are excited to partner together with Derrike on his final DAYTONA 500 start,” commented team owner Rick Ware. “Derrike is a former DAYTONA 500 Champion, and has had a great career in NASCAR. I look forward to seeing the No. 15 Jacob Companies Chevrolet on track in a couple weeks!”
For more information on Rick Ware Racing, visit www.wareracing.com, or follow along on social media.
BJ McLeod Motorsports (BJMM) announced today that Vinnie Miller will return to the team with a part time schedule in the No. 99 NASCAR Xfinity Series entry in 2021.
Miller, who is no stranger to BJMM, signed with the team entering the 2019 season and had his career-best finish of 11th that year at Daytona International Speedway.
“I’m looking forward to my fourth year at BJMM,” says Miller. “Although I won’t be competing full-time this year, I’m excited to get the season started and continue to actively search for sponsorship to add races on to the limited schedule I already have.”
“Having Vinnie return to drive for us is something I’m really proud of,” says BJ McLeod. “He’s been with us for three years and is a part of the family and foundation that our team has built on.”
This year will be Miller’s fourth competing in the NXS. Miller is well He grew up racing on the short tracks of Michigan and has ARCA Menards experience.
BJ McLeod Motorsports will once again field three full-time NXS entries in 2021. In addition, BJ and Jessica (McLeod) have partnered with Matt Tifft to form Live Fast Motorsports (LFM), operating under the charter that Tifft and McLeod obtained alongside Joe Falk. LFM will field the No. 78 Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2021 with a strategic partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing.
The 33-race NXS season will begin with the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida on Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. ET live on FS1 and MRN Radio.
Sponsorship and other details regarding Miller’s 2021 NXS season with BJMM will be announced at a later date. For more information about BJ McLeod Motorsports, including sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.bjmcleodmotorsports.com.
BJ McLeod and Travis Braden join forces to develop a distinctive short track racing program, BJ McLeod Motorsports with Travis Braden. The program plans to provide a professional and turnkey, top-performing environment for developing drivers’ skills as they progress their careers. McLeod and Braden’s decades of experience in asphalt oval track racing compliment their mutual goal to assist drivers in reaching their full potential both on and off the track. The broader scope of what their program has to offer is a direct career path to NASCAR which separates the team from many other programs.
Travis Braden, the 2019 Snowball Derby winner and BJ McLeod, a 2010 World Series of Asphalt Champion, see the advantages of partnering together to bring extensive knowledge and experience that contribute to developing each driver that joins the team to be a champion-caliber asset. McLeod, who has tackled the racing ladder hands-on, owns and operates three full time Xfinity Series teams in addition to co-owning Live Fast Motorsports, a NASCAR Cup Series team with a debut in the 2021 season. McLeod has over 260 starts in NASCAR and is on the forefront of elevating his teams to perform at a higher level each season.
“I’m looking forward to this endeavor with Travis and the opportunity to return back to where it all started, super late models, which is our roots,” McLeod said. “Our goal is to bring top performing equipment and stellar coaching to enable drivers the opportunity to develop in the sport of short track racing, and Travis’s hands-on approach and success over the recent years will prove to be very valuable to the team.”
From the age of eight, Braden has worked his way up the racing ladder as an “outsider,” gaining years of experience while building a foundation for his racing career. Braden has spent recent years competing as a late model standout, collecting wins at marquee events such as the Snowball Derby, Winchester 400, and Kalamazoo Klash. Now, he wishes to build from his successes and continue giving back to the racing community. “I’ve got a huge desire to expand my involvement in short track racing for years to come as I pursue the next phase of my driving career, working to compete in NASCAR,” Braden explains. “I want to see this sport continue to grow and watch the next generation flourish. When I came through the ranks, it was hard to progress without having any established names validating me to their audiences. I can help change that now.” He added, “If I can help other drivers and brands maximize their value in this sport, it benefits everyone.”
The team will utilize Fury Race Cars to ensure top performance and safety for drivers. Collaborating with Fury, an organization focused on performance and dedication to top-of-the-line competition will give BJ McLeod Motorsports with Travis Braden the foundation to stand out amongst other programs.
Followers can also expect to see BJ, Travis, and other established racers behind the wheel at a number of events each year, an integral part of ensuring that the team’s brand is well established and provides the largest possible platform for drivers and partners to capitalize on.
Follow BJ McLeod Motorsports with Travis Braden news and updates on www.bjmcleodmotorsports.com/driver-development.com and keep track of the latest announcements via social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Motorsport is reaching 194 countries all across the world. There aren’t many sports out there that are able to reach this kind of global fame. Social media has a lot to do with this, and it is incredible to see how much things have changed over the years. If you want to find out more about that then simply look below.
The revolution of social media really has changed the way that motorsport content is shown. Now, anyone can upload videos or even pictures of what they have seen to a bigger audience. This means that broadcasters do not have as much control over what people see. They have to offer their viewers additional kinds of coverage too and this could include behind the scenes footage or even technical content. The fans of this day and age are desperate to see things like this and it is something that a lot of people have a huge appetite for. That being said, it’s important to know that there needs to be a balance between providing technical coverage as well as educating fans. The era of media is also increasing the total coverage that Motorsport has. This sport can be streamed online, or it can be showcased through the media channels that are now out there. This is incredible to say the least and it just goes to show how much things have changed so far. If you go onto Unibet New Jersey, you will also see that there are car-themed games available which just goes to show how much the fans have rocketed the business overall.
There has been a handover from Bernie Ecclestone to the famous Liberty Media. This has created a lot of media anticipation in the pit lane and it would seem that everyone is keen to see how the sport is going to be modernised overall. Fan engagement are clear priorities when you look at what happened at F1 London. At the same time though, it would seem that F1 need to try and maintain their status as being the pinnacle of tech. For a lot of years, F1 suffered from not having any kind of clear structure and they have also continually worked with moves that were referred to as being knee-jerk reactions. In order to make sure that all of the right avenues are being considered, it would seem that groups have been allowed to take some time to gain insight and now professionals are developing new or radical ideas. By targeting the entire 2021 season it would seem that the groups are not being restricted by the confidentiality or even the agenda that they would suffer with if they are discussing any of the changes that may take place next year. This ultimately means that it is the ideal opportunity for people to try and design the new formula.
Who knows what the future holds, but right now, it seems that more and more people are putting in the work to ensure that this year is the biggest one yet for motorsport.
Dale Inman is the 2020 recipient of the Wood Brothers Award of Excellence, the National Motorsports Press Association announced on Tuesday.
Determined by the vote of a committee that includes members of the Wood family, the Wood Brothers Award of Excellence honors crew chiefs, crew members, engine builders and race engineers who make outstanding contributions to NASCAR racing through on-track success.
A 2012 inductee into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Inman won 193 races and eight championships as a crew chief—both records in NASCAR’s foremost Cup Series division. Inman earned seven of his titles while paired with stock car racing legend Richard Petty, in 1964, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1979.
The 1967 season was particularly noteworthy. Petty and Inman won a single-season record 27 races, 10 of them consecutively, also a series record.
In 1984, Inman won his final championship with driver Terry Labonte and team owner Billy Hagan. He is the second recipient of the Wood Brothers Award. Leonard Wood was honored with the inaugural award last year.
“The Wood Brothers Award is quite an honor, as long as they’ve been in racing,” Inman said. “And I guess, with me connected to the Pettys, I’m still in racing to a certain degree. What an honor it is. To be the second recipient of it is great. To be following Leonard Wood, who was one of the great ones, is another honor.”
Throughout their respective tenures, Leonard Wood and Inman were fierce competitors, but they raced with consummate respect for each other.
“I guess we’ve been friends over the years, but to be as competitive as we have been, with David (Pearson) as their driver—of course, they’ve had more drivers than that—but I think (Pearson) and Richard ran first and second 60-some times, and it turned out pretty equal…
“I was fortunate enough to be connected with the Pettys, but so many close races. It’s unreal—and such an honor.”