Speedway Digest Staff
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The battle for the 2021 NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Modified title at Grandview Speedway will feature some of best dirt track racers in action each Saturday night and six time champion Duane Howard is optimistic about his chances to win a seventh title. The NASCAR sanctioned track will be entering their 59th consecutive season of weekly racing under the promotion of the Rogers family.
Howard, winner of 78 Modified features at Grandview during his career, has teamed up with Butch Getz of Kunkletown, PA and they will be fielding two Bicknell chassis racers powered by Billy the Kid Performance Motors. The entries will sport Penske shocks.
This will be a new ride for Howard after parting ways with veteran car owner Norm Hansell at the end of the 2020 season.
The Oley, PA racer and Getz have decided to make Grandview Speedway their Saturday night home track. They will also be making some appearances at New Jersey dirt tracks along with participating in some of the Short Track Super Series events.
“I think we have a very good team put together and we are looking to have a great season at Grandview and at other stops on our busy schedule,” said the 57-year-old racer. “Grandview always gives us a great track especially for those of us coming from the back of the pack. The surface is well prepared and allows us to charge to the front.”
Howard’s two daughters, Erica and Jessica, are his two biggest fans. He is proud to point out that Erica is a first year golfer and she finished fourth in county standings.
Competition for Howard at Grandview will be tough as it always has been. He will be going up against 11 time track champion Craig Von Dohren, ten time champ Jeff Strunk, past champion Mike Gular, Doug Manmiller, Kevin Hirthler, Brett Kressley, Louden Reimert, Danny Bouc, along with many others.
For Sportsman 602 stocks there will be no sail panels allowed for the five special dates, the first one set for April 17. NASCAR licenses will not be required for anyone racing a 602 Sportsman. However if you are racing both a 602 and an Open Sportsman you will need a license in order to earn Grandview and NASCAR points. Any questions can be referred to Ed Scott at 484.239.7583.
First event on the schedule for 2021 is a doubleheader Enduro & Vintage car race on March 20th.
A free-to-the-public practice session takes place on Saturday, March 27th and features all forms of competition practicing. Fans get a chance to see what is new for 2021.
And on Saturday April 3rd the prestigious 4th Annual Bruce Rogers Memorial, paying $7,500 to win, will have Small Block and Big Block Modifieds racing in a 50 lapper. Sportsman will make up the second part of the doubleheader show.
Fans are reminded that season passes priced at $350, good for all Saturday night events, are available by sending payment for the passes wanted to Grandview Speedway, 87 Wilt Road, Bechtelsville, PA 19505. Enclosed a postage paid self-addressed envelope to speed delivery.
Grandview Speedway, a one-third-mile, banked clay track, is located on Passmore Road, just off Route 100, in Bechtelsville, PA, 10-miles north of Pottstown. For information check in at www.grandviewspeedway.com or telephone 610.754.7688.
Grandview Speedway PR
Coming from out of a Last Chance Showdown, Devin Dixon had a chance for the win on the final lap and wanted this one bad. The problem was, so did Drake Troutman.
With a high-acceleration charge out of Turn 2 and a deep dive into Turn 3, Troutman slid up in front of leader Dixon in Turn 4 and flew across the line to steal the DIRTcar UMP Modified Winternationals Round 4 Feature win and make his second trip to East Bay Raceway Park Victory Lane this week.
“Honestly, it’s unreal,” Troutman, of Hyndman, PA, said with a big smile after the race. “We went from not having any national wins with these guys, and now this week we have two. It’s amazing. This Is definitely one to remember.”
Even though he was beaten to the finish line, Dixon, of Apollo Beach, FL, was able to crack a smile after the race, knowing he still finished second after coming from 21st on the starting grid. From his seat, the tacky racing surface just pulled him a little too far into the corner on the final lap.
“Those last three or four laps, I was just trying to hit my marks. I just got in there a little too hot in Turn 1, jumped the cushion, and that gave [Troutman] a little advantage. You know he’s a hell of a wheelman, you can’t take anything away from him,” Dixon said.
When Dixon and the rest of the field took the green, however, the race originally appeared to be in the hands of someone else.
Thursday night winner Lucas Lee took the lead from the outside pole right at the drop of the green and led smoothly, even through the many caution flags in the opening stages. He sustained this lead until reaching the back of a slower lapped car at the tail of the field on Lap 21, when the two came together in Turns 3-4, sending him to the rear after spinning and bringing out the yellow.
This handed the lead over to second-place Nick Allen with Dixon right behind him. On the restart, a battle ensued between the two, which lasted several consecutive laps. Dixon was content to running the cushion while Allen rolled the bottom. Back-and-forth they swapped the lead at the stripe several times before Dixon was able to pull away with only a handful of laps remaining.
“He stayed in his line, I stayed in mine and it was a hell of a race. He’s a hell of a wheelman, too. I’m glad he finished where he did,” Dixon said.
By this time, Troutman was already beginning to gain momentum back in third. He had closed the gap to second-place Allen under eight car lengths with five-to-go and was getting faster every lap.
“I just saw [the flagman] show five-to-go, and I knew I had to go,” Troutman said. “I was going as hard as I possibly could. The car was great.”
When the white flag dropped, Troutman pulled the trigger, shot around Allen for second and drove it hard into Turn 1. Dixon appeared to get into Turn 1 just a tiny bit harder than necessary, which may have given Troutman the single ray of light he needed to make the move.
“Dixon went in there and he got a little bit tight and looked like he sheared it, broke loose up here in [Turns] 1 and 2, and that helped me some,” Troutman said.
Troutman got the holeshot on Dixon out of Turn 2 and beat him to Turn 3, setting up his magical slide job in Turn 4 to take the win.
For having such a fast car, it seemed unlikely to find Dixon’s Lethal Chassis in a Last Chance race to punch his ticket in. This immediately put him behind in the Feature, and by lap 11, he had already cracked the top-five. But despite his great effort to climb all the way up to the top spot, Dixon said the charge may have taxed his equipment too much, too early.
“We just had to start so far back, and when the racetrack’s like that, it’s heavy, pretty hammer down and you’ve gotta use your stuff up early just to get by some guys. Even though we’re points racing, you’ve still gotta be smart and try to get to the front as fast as you can,” Dixon said.
Troutman now leads all 53 entered drivers in overall event points by 60 points over closest Jason Hughes. The top-six drivers are now locked into Saturday’s 75-lap, $5,000-to-win main event, which includes Troutman and Hughes, Dixon, Tyler Nicely, Kevin Adams and Dave Hess Jr. They will redraw for their Feature starting spots during Saturday’s program.
He’s won two Features this week, but neither have been anywhere close to 75 laps in length. However, Troutman’s confident he can contend for the win, so long as he can get the car to come-in again towards the end of the race, just as it’s done nearly every night this week.
“I feel like we definitely have the car to do it because the longer runs, the longer races with this thing this week, we’ve just been great. That seems to be whenever my car comes in. So, we’re gonna roll with what we’ve been doing,” he said.
UMP Modified Feature (35 Laps) 1. Drake Troutman Hyndman, Pa. 2. Devin Dixon Brandon, Fl. 3. Nick Allen Wheatfield, In. 4. Dave Hess Jr Waterford, Pa. 5. Kevin Adams Cameron, Wi. 6. Jason Hughes Watts, Ok. 7. Eric Moon Zephyrhills, Fl. 8. Tyler Nicely Owensboro, Ky. 9. Jeff Mathews Riverview, Fl. 10. Lucas Lee Paris, Tn. 11. Brayden Berry West Portsmouth, Oh. 12. Jimmy Lennex Jr Maysville, Ky. 13. Brandon Kinzer Lexington, Ky. 14. David Pollen Lakeland, Fl. 15. Spencer Hughes Meridian, Ms. 16. Lj Grimm Seffner, Fl. 17. Brad Deyoung Wheatfield, In. 18. Tyler Clem Tampa, Fl. 19. Mavrick Varnadore Dover, Fl. 20. Seth Daniels Jackson, Oh. 21. Dale Kelley Plant City, Fl. 22. Seth Geary Bradenton, Fl. 23. Matt Altiers Lewis Center, Oh. 24. Travis Varnadore Plant City, Fl.
DIRTcar Series PR
Elite Chassis and Lethal Chassis have been among the most successful brands in recent UMP Modified history — accounting for 48 percent of all Feature wins recorded by the top-10 drivers in 2020 national points. But in 2021, a new challenger will look to end their reign.
October 2020 brought forth the formation of Longhorn Modifieds by Loenbro Motorsports into the DIRTcar realm, featuring the 2007 DIRTcar Nationals UMP Modified champion Steve Arpin and Longhorn Chassis proprietor Justin Labonte joining forces to start the production of Loenbro-unique chassis from within their shop in China Grove, NC. The brand immediately recruited several big-name drivers to their lineup, including a few of Elite’s biggest names.
Longhorn by Loenbro made its first on-track appearance in the Drydene World Short Track Championship at The Dirt Track at Charlotte with 8-time DIRTcar Nationals Feature winner Kyle Strickler at the controls. A $4,000 Feature win Saturday night verified the brand’s projected competitiveness and gave a glimpse into the future of the battle forming between Elite and Longhorn.
Two-time and defending Summit Racing Equipment American Modified Series champion Tyler Nicely, of Owensboro, KY, took the checkered flag in last November’s Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial at Volusia, besting Elite Chassis owner/fabricator Nick Hoffman and NASCAR regular Justin Allgaier in a 50-lap, $5,000-to-win throwdown. Hoffman and Allgaier drove their Elite Chassis to a 2-3 finish Saturday’s night main event, but could not catch Nicely, a former Elite pilot, making his debut in a brand-new Longhorn by Loenbro.
Their next heavyweight bout went down the very next weekend at 411 Motor Speedway in Seymour, TN, where Nicely took his Loenbro Longhorn to Victory Lane on Friday night with Allgaier and Hoffman again finishing 2-3. But Saturday night was Hoffman’s turn to get one for Elite, besting Nicely over 25 laps to keep the friendly rivalry going.
While their competitiveness was on full display in the fall of last season, the Loenbro Longhorns will face some decorated Elite and Lethal drivers at Volusia come February.
Hoffman, the two-time and defending DIRTcar UMP Modified national champion, has left Volusia in each of the last five DIRTcar Nationals with the Big Gator trophy and a total of 16 Feature wins in the event since his first in 2012. His triumph in 2020 kicked off one of the most dominant seasons in Elite’s history, featuring four of the top 10 drivers in DIRTcar UMP Modified national points standings at season’s end driving Elite Chassis – himself, Mike McKinney, Will Krup and Hunt Gossum. All four combined for 61 total Feature victories in DIRTcar-sanctioned competition.
Former NASCAR veteran David Stremme founded Lethal Chassis in 2014, serving several big names in the UMP Modified community that always bring tough competition into the state of Florida.
Stremme himself has two career DIRTcar Nationals Feature wins. Spencer Hughes pulled off a thrilling victory in last year’s Gator Championship on Monday night, passing Jason Hughes (no relation) on the final lap to bag the $5,000 prize. NASCAR Xfinity Series star Justin Haley scored his first DIRTcar Nationals victory in 2019, as did Michigan’s Curt Spalding last year. Floridian Modified veteran Devin Dixon and North Carolina’s Austin Holcombe are also projected to join Lethal’s roster at Volusia in 2021.
The 50th DIRTcar Nationals will feature a stacked lineup from Elite, including the regulars Hoffman, Allgaier and Krup. Kenny Wallace, who switched to Elite last fall, makes his first Elite starts at Volusia this year. Garret Stewart, Volusia's winningest driver in 2020, and Kyle Hammer, the Illinoisan making his first trip south for Florida Speedweeks this year, also bring Elites for 2021.
Longhorn by Loenbro will also bring a stellar lineup to Volusia in February, including Nicely and Strickler. Arpin will make his return to the seat of a UMP Modified for the first time since 2008, alongside Floridian Modified veteran Jeff Mathews. Plainfield, IL-wheelman Mike McKinney will also be making his very first trip south to compete at the 50th DIRTcar Nationals behind the wheel of a Longhorn after spending all eight of his first UMP Modified seasons with Elite, finishing second only to Hoffman in 2020 national points.
The rosters for each side are set. Every driver knows the score. When the teams pull into Volusia to compete for seven-straight nights, the gloves will come off in search of dirt racing’s most prized trophies. There’s no telling what kind of history will be made in the 50th edition of DIRTcar Nationals when the ironmen hit the track.
Don’t miss the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds in action at Volusia Speedway Park, Feb. 2-8. Tickets are on sale now at DIRTcarNationals.com or by calling 844-DIRT-TIX. If you can’t make it to the track, watch all the action live from the comfort of your home with a Platinum Fast Pass subscription to DIRTVision!
DIRTcar Series PR
Joey Gase is proud to announce that Joey Gase Motorsports will be running a new Late Model Development team based in Cornelius, NC. The team’s first race will be February 20th at Dillon Motor Speedway in the Carolina Pro Late Model Series with plans to run the full CPLMS schedule with additional races. The team currently has two cars in their fleet. Jasec Holladay will be driving one full time and the team is looking for another driver to field the second.
“I am very proud to be starting our own development team and excited to have Jasec Holladay as one of our drivers,” said Gase. “Jasec drove our open wheel modified last year at Hawkeye Downs and LaCrosse Speedway during Oktoberfest. He always had great speed and finished 2nd to me in the “Be A Hero 30” race at Hawkeye Downs. I can’t wait to see what he can accomplish this year being in a late model full time. My dad, Dave from Page Construction and I came up with this idea last year. We want to be able to give back to the racing community and give up and coming drivers a chance to show what they can do and lead them on the right path. I am extremely fortunate to be where I am today thanks to my family, friends and sponsors and I want to help others dreams come true as well. I made it a very different way than most without having millions of dollars in family money and I want to help others do the same thing.”
Page Construction will be the primary sponsor for Jasec Holladay to start off the season. “I am super excited to get this new venture under way and look forward to the 2021 season,” said Dave Page, owner of Page Construction. “We are thrilled to have Jasec Holliday, a young upcoming driver that we believe will be a contender for years to come.”
Joey Gase Racing PR
It was with sorrow that our family learned of Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron’s passing. He was a trailblazer who thrilled sports fans, shattered baseball's color barrier and changed the face of the nation. With the addition of Aaron to the board of directors of Medallion Financial Corporation as well as his friendship with the Mursteins, our partners in Richard Petty Motorsports, our family had the opportunity to experience his commitment to change the sports world. Moments before the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series DAYTONA 500 he provided words of encouragement to our driver. “Always believe in your dreams and anything is possible.” That moment was a testament to the gentlemen and great person he was. Our condolences to the Aaron family.
When Mahoning Valley Speedway promoter Keith Hoffman introduced the Rookie Hobby Stock class last season, at the time little did he or anyone else know the impression it would have with such an influx of young racers looking to drive stock cars.
From the very beginning the division saw an amazing array of up-and-comers, good car counts that stayed steady all year and even a class sponsor in E. Schneider and Sons Inc. Scrap Metal and Recyclers of Allentown.
“I wanted these kids, young and old, to get the feel of racing in a stock car and also what it felt like to win a race at Mahoning Valley and be greeted by a large cheering crowd,’ explained Hoffman.
“We accomplished that and in the process paved the way for the next generation of stars to race here.”
That was indeed the case as eight different winners graced Victory Lane in 11 events held. Hallie Muffley, who never raced a car prior to that, came out as the top winner with three victories while Paul French, Jr., was hailed as the very first class champion.
2021 will see a host of those talents take the step up, which is exactly what the focus of the class is designed for. However, there will be some who may not be quite ready to make that advancement and feel another year of getting better adjusted to the surroundings will be in their best interest.
Parents and guardians agree too, which is what led track management to institute a “Futures” class.
Although those racers not moving up are no longer a rookie with the first year under their belts, the Futures class will combine them with Rookies. Each feature will see two winners, one Rookie and one Futures.
“This was the best course of action that we felt was the right thing to do,” offered Hoffman.
“We saw that some of the Rookies, even though they all did a great job, where not yet ready to make the step into the regular Hobby Stocks or higher and this will now provide a more safe and basic environment for them to do so.”
And, they will have adequate track time to improve and nurture with 21 race dates.
At the present time Hoffman noted that a three-year and out rule will be instituted for the Futures/Rookies.
The Futures/Rookie Hobby Stockers along with all others will get the first opportunity to get on track starting March 13, 20 and 27 with Test and Tune days in advance of the Saturday, April 3 Opening Day which is also race number one of the Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame Series featuring the Bill Teel Tribute.
Please log onto the official Mahoning Valley Speedway website at www.mahoningvalley-speedway.com or on Facebook at Mahoning Valley Speedway or Twitter @MahoningSpeed updated info and news. Mahoning Valley Speedway is located on PA route 443 just a few miles west of Lehighton.
Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource for vehicle pricing and valuations, has extended its sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports and 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott with a two-year contract renewal.
In 2021 and 2022, Kelley Blue Book will be featured as a two-race primary sponsor and full-season associate sponsor of Elliott’s No. 9 team. The company’s association with Hendrick Motorsports began with a one-race primary sponsorship in 2014 and expanded to two races in 2016 when KBB.com joined Elliott for his rookie year.
Elliott, 25, will pilot the No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series playoff races Sept. 11 at Richmond Raceway and Oct. 17 at Texas Motor Speedway.
“Chase is an extraordinary championship athlete who creates enormous excitement on and off the track, connecting with fans everywhere,” said Greta Crowley, vice president of marketing for Kelley Blue Book. “We’ve been proud partners alongside Hendrick Motorsports, and our organizations are both about driving results. Chase and Hendrick Motorsports strive for excellence, and we are looking forward to building an even stronger relationship with the team.”
In 2020, Elliott became the third-youngest driver in history to win a Cup Series title. At NASCAR’s top level, the Dawsonville, Georgia, native has already won 11 points-paying races and three consecutive Most Popular Driver awards. He has never missed the playoffs in his five full-time Cup seasons.
“Kelley Blue Book has supported me since I was a Cup rookie,” Elliott said. “They have been a big part of my career and our No. 9 team, and I’m proud we were able to deliver them a championship last season. Kelley Blue Book is a major partner for our program and for Mr. (Rick) Hendrick’s whole organization. I look forward to a lot more success with them in the years ahead.”
In addition to individual consumers, Kelley Blue Book’s variety of products and services are available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies, and governmental agencies. Partners include Hendrick Automotive Group, which utilizes Kelley Blue Book in each of its 131 automotive retail franchises across the United States.
“Kelley Blue Book is a key relationship for us,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman and CEO of Hendrick Automotive Group. “They believed in Chase when he was just starting in the Cup Series, and it has paid off with big wins on the racetrack and valuable business opportunities. We’re grateful for their terrific partnership in all aspects of what we do.”
Hendrick Motorsports PR
INDYCAR officials have announced the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season opener at Barber Motorsports Park has been rescheduled from Sunday, April 11 to Sunday, April 18.
The move results in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst being featured on NBC network television. A record nine events will air on NBC this season.
It’s the first time the 2.38-mile road course will host the opener for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. A return to the popular Birmingham, Alabama, racecourse leads an opening stretch of four races in 15 days with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (April 25) and a doubleheader at Texas Motor Speedway (May 1-2) to follow. NBC will air the first two races of the new season and six of the first eight from April to June.
“The schedule changes we’ve had, while partially prompted by ongoing pandemic conditions, give us a powerful start to the 2021 season,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said. “With six of our first eight races on network television and all in a more compact timeline, it’s an enormous opportunity to drive even more momentum as we deliver our exciting brand of racing to our fans.”
Barber Motorsports Park became an instant hit among INDYCAR drivers when the series first tested on the fast and undulating circuit in 2007. A fan favorite, as well, this year marks the 11th time the series will race there, a tradition that started in 2010. Two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Josef Newgarden is the winningest driver at Barber, with three wins. Two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Takuma Sato is the most recent winner.
“Zoom Motorsports and Barber Motorsports Park jumped at the opportunity to have our event showcased on NBC network television” said Gene Hallman, CEO of Zoom Motorsports. “We are proud of the tremendous support that INDYCAR receives annually here in the heart of the deep south. The facility and museum are world class, and we look forward to highlighting George Barber’s vision in what has become a bucket list destination for all race fans.”
An updated listing of green flag times for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule will be announced at a later date.
Landon Cassill is set to make a return to the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller stables driving the No. 4 Chevrolet full time this NASCAR Xfinity Series season.
Cassill, who has driven for team owner Johnny Davis on a number of occasions over the years including full-time campaigns from 2013 to 2015, looks to break back into the spotlight after not competing in many races last season.
The Iowa-native veteran sports a solid track record in NXS competition, with one Top 5 and fourteen Top 10 finishes throughout his career. Landon has also made over 300 starts in the NASCAR Cup Series, and brings a wealth of knowledge to the Gaffney-based race team.
Last season, the No. 4 Chevrolet accounted for two of the team’s three Top 10 finishes at Pocono and Daytona. This season, the crew aims at improving that number with even more Top 10 runs.
Ahead of the year, Landon was quoted saying “Johnny and his team in Gaffney mean the world to me, and it is a great honor to be back in the No. 4 Chevy. We’ve done so much together, and look forward to accomplishing more this season. He’s got a great lineup of drivers to work with this season, and I can’t wait to see what we all get done together.”
The pairing of Cassill and Davis has a rich history that includes seven Top 10 finishes along with a best points finish of 12th in 2014. Both the driver and team owner believe they can turn some heads in 2021.
Sponsorship announcements for Landon Cassill will be made in the near future, along with one more driver announcement to complete the JDM lineup.
The 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season kicks off at Daytona International Speedway on February 13th. To keep up with Landon Cassill, follow his social media pages @LandonCassill, and visit his official website at www.LandonCassill.com. For all things JDM, follow along on our social media pages @JDMotorsports01, and visit the team’s official website at www.TeamJDMotorsports.com. #TeamJDM