Speedway Digest Staff
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Emerson Axsom led the first 21 of 30 laps on the way to a second-place finish to lead Toyota on night one of the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series’ West Coast Swing at Bakersfield Speedway, Tuesday. It was Axsom’s fifth runner-up showing of the 2023 USAC season.
Right behind Axsom were fellow Toyota-powered drivers Justin Grant in third, Cannon McIntosh in fourth and Carson Macedo in fifth to give Toyota four of the top five finishers. By finishing third it marks the third consecutive podium finish for Grant, who had won the previous two races in the BC39 at the Dirt Track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Grant currently sits second in the point standings.
Fast qualifier Taylor Reimer placed seventh with Jade Avedisian eighth and Jacob Denny was ninth as Toyota-powered drivers earned seven overall top-10 finishes on the night.
Next up for the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series West Coast Swing is the Hangtown 100 at Placerville Speedway, November 17-18.
Emerson Axsom, Keith Kunz Motorsports Toyota: “I broke my momentum with a lapped car and he ripped it around the top. I wasn’t expecting it. This is the fifth time we’ve run second this year. We’re going to get a win here soon hopefully. Thanks to Keith Kunz Motorsports, Toyota and Lynx Chassis and everyone who gave me a great car tonight. I hope we get a win here on the West Coast Swing. I think as long as we’re in the hunt every night we’ll get one of them.”
Justin Grant, RMS Racing Toyota: “I felt like we jumped to the top right out of the gate. The track had a lot more grip than I thought it was going to be. I still had a very good car. We’ll keep going on, just got it a little bit too tight tonight.”
Toyota-Powered Drivers USAC Bakersfield Speedway Tuesday Feature Results
Emerson Axsom – 2nd
Justin Grant – 3rd
Cannon McIntosh –4th
Carson Macedo – 5h
Taylor Reimer – 7th
Jade Avedisian – 8th
Jacob Denney – 9th
Bryant Wiedeman – 12th
Ryan Timms – 13th
Buddy Kofoid – 14th
Cade Lewis – 16th
Mariah Ede – 20th
Gavin Miller – 21st
An all-time record crowd turned out for last January’s Rolex 24 At Daytona, setting the tone for a record-breaking season throughout the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
That all-time record could already be in jeopardy with today’s news that the preliminary team and driver lineup for the 62nd Rolex 24 At Daytona is now available – more than two months prior to the race weekend scheduled for Jan. 25-28, 2024.
The preliminary lineup of drivers includes 56 Rolex 24 At Daytona winners and a plethora of champions from the WeatherTech Championship to the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and 24 Hours of Le Mans. The field also includes several Indianapolis 500 winners and IndyCar Series champions and one Formula 1 World Champion piloting some of the most technologically advanced race cars anywhere in the world, which should inspire race fans to make their plans to attend now.
A total of 60 cars have been entered for the twice-around-the-clock battle on the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway. The Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) field includes 10 hybrid-electrified prototypes from four different manufacturers, with an expanded, 12-car grid expected in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class.
GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) sees a record-tying 13-car field – from 10 different manufacturers – planning to compete. And the GT Daytona (GTD) class continues as the largest in the WeatherTech Championship with 25 cars on the list representing 11 different manufacturers.
“We could not be prouder to release this preliminary list of participants for the Rolex 24 At Daytona significantly earlier than we ever have before,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “Looking up and down the lineup, we will have a tremendous field of teams, cars and drivers and no shortage of compelling storylines to develop and follow in the next two months as we lead up to the race. With such a stacked field, it would be impossible to identify a favorite in any of the four classes.”
Let’s take a closer look at each class.
Grand Touring Prototype (GTP)
The GTP class sees the return of Acura, BMW, Cadillac and Porsche for the second year of the hybrid platform. Acura will be going for its fourth consecutive Rolex 24 overall victory with a pair of ARX-06 machines fielded by Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti.
Included in WTRAndretti’s driver lineup in the No. 10 Acura are previous Rolex 24 overall winners Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque, Brendon Hartley – a 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) champion – and 2022 Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson. The team’s No. 40 entry is just as stacked, with previous Rolex 24 winners Jordan Taylor and Colton Herta, rising sports car star Louis Deletraz and 2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button slated to compete.
A pair of Cadillac V-Series.R machines also return in 2024 with a bevy of previous Rolex 24 winners in the driver lineups. The No. 01 Cadillac Racing machine prepared by Chip Ganassi Racing includes three previous Rolex winners – two-time Rolex winners Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande along with four-time Daytona winner Scott Dixon – who also is a six-time IndyCar Series champion and 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner.
The driver lineup for the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac Racing entry includes reigning WeatherTech Championship GTP champion and previous Rolex 24 winner Pipo Derani, two-time defending Rolex 24 winner and 2022 WeatherTech Championship champion Tom Blomqvist, and another sports car racing rising star in Jack Aitken.
Porsche Penske Motorsport represents half of a four-car field of Porsche 963 entries in the GTP class. The factory-backed team features highly accomplished Porsche factory aces Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet, who each have Rolex 24 victories on their résumés, alongside Le Mans winners Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor – also a previous WeatherTech Championship titlist – in the No. 6 machine.
Matt Campbell and Felipe Nasr – both WeatherTech Championship champions and Rolex 24 winners – and Porsche factory ace Frederic Makowiecki are named on the team’s No. 7 Porsche alongside Josef Newgarden – the 2023 Indianapolis 500 winner and a two-time IndyCar Series champion.
JDC-Miller MotorSports – which won the Rolex 24 in 2016 in the Prototype Challenge (PC) class – will field the No. 5 Porsche 963 for Tijmen van der Helm, Phil Hanson, Ben Keating – who is again pulling double duty in the Rolex 24 with an LMP2 entry also – and previous Rolex 24 winner Richard Westbrook. Proton Competition is also lined up to compete in the No. 59 Porsche 963 with Gianmaria Bruni – who earned an LMP2 class victory with Proton in 2023 – and Neel Jani so far confirmed for its driver lineup.
BMW M Team RLL brings its two-car BMW M Hybrid V8 program back to Daytona with yet another stout lineup. The team’s No. 24 machine includes a pair of previous Rolex 24 class winners in Jesse Krohn and Augusto Farfus alongside Dries Vanthoor and an additional driver to be named. The No. 25 BMW has another previous Rolex 24 class winner – Connor De Phillippi – sharing the car with Nick Yelloly, Maxime Martin and another driver to be announced.
Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2)
The second prototype class expands to an even dozen entries in 2024 and will witness chassis constructor competition for the first time since debuting as a standalone class in the WeatherTech Championship in 2019.
In addition to driving in the GTP class, Ben Keating is back to defend his 2023 LMP2 championship, albeit with a new team. He has joined United Autosports USA’s two-car effort and will team with 2020 Rolex 24 LMP2 winner Ben Hanley, Nico Pino and a driver to be named in the No. 2 ORECA LMP2 07. United’s No. 22 ORECA will be manned by Dan Goldburg, Paul di Resta and two drivers to be named.
George Kurtz returns in the No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR ORECA, in which he finished second this year at the Rolex 24 and in the final LMP2 standings as well as earning the Jim Trueman Bronze Cup and an invite to next June’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. At Daytona in January, Kurtz will team with three-time and defending overall Rolex 24 winner Colin Braun, along with two drivers to be named.
Steven Thomas and Mikkel Jensen, who took third in the 2023 LMP2 championship, return in the No. 11 TDS Racing ORECA and will be joined by rising New Zealand racer Hunter McElrea and a driver to be named.
The No. 18 Era Motorsport ORECA features familiar returnees and 2021 class winners Dwight Merriman and Ryan Dalziel, the latter also the overall Rolex 24 victor in 2010. Their two co-drivers will be named later.
Gar Robinson and the Riley team, fresh off winning the final Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) championship, move to LMP2 in the No. 74 ORECA in 2024. Felipe Fraga and Josh Burdon, who each assisted in winning the LMP3 crown, will co-drive with Robinson at Daytona along with a fourth driver to be named.
Sean Creech Motorsport also joins the LMP2 class after competing in LMP3 and is the only team running the Ligier JS P217 chassis. Joao Barbosa, a four-time Rolex 24 winner including three times as the overall champion, heads the lineup in the No. 33 along with Lance Willsey and two drivers to be named.
Paul-Loup Chatin, who shared this year’s LMP2 title with Keating, joins the No. 99 AO Racing ORECA lineup with PJ Hyett and two drivers to be named. Other LMP2 entries (all ORECAs) include the No. 8 Tower Motorsports (all drivers to be named), No. 20 High Class Racing (Seth Lucas, Dennis Andersen, two to be named), No. 52 Inter Europol by PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (Jakub Smiechowski, three to be named) and No. 88 AF Corse (Luis Perez Companc, Niklas Nielsen, Lilou Wadoux, one to be named).
GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO)
In addition to the 10 manufacturers battling in this highly competitive field of primarily factory-backed GT3 programs, this class features 15 drivers with at least one previous Rolex 24 class victory.
Ford returns to WeatherTech Championship competition for the first time in five years with a pair of Mustang GT3s loaded with successful drivers. Mike Rockenfeller, the 2010 overall Rolex 24 winner, joins Harry Tincknell in the No. 64 Ford Multimatic Motorsports Mustang, with a pair of past Rolex 24 winners, Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller, in the No. 65 Mustang. Additional drivers for both Mustangs will be announced later.
Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports also has a pair of entries to renew the Ford vs. Chevrolet on-track competition. Three-time Rolex 24 winner Antonio Garcia, 2023 GTD PRO Rolex 24 winner Daniel Juncadella and 2023 GTP season champion Alexander Sims will ride in the No. 3 Corvette Z06 GT3.R, with Tommy Milner and Nicky Catsburg – each a past Rolex 24 winner for Corvette – paired with 2019 WeatherTech Championship champion Earl Bamber in the No. 4 Corvette.
The No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 begins defense of its 2023 WeatherTech Championship GTD PRO driver, team and manufacturer championships with its lineup intact. Ben Barnicoat, Jack Hawksworth and Kyle Kirkwood are back to drive at Daytona with a fourth driver to be named.
Paul Miller Racing ran away with the GTD championship this year and will move to GTD PRO with the No. 1 BMW M4 GT3 starting at Daytona. Champion co-drivers Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow, each also a past Rolex 24 winner, will be joined by Neil Verhagen and Sheldon van der Linde at Daytona.
Pfaff Motorsports made the switch from Porsche to McLaren for 2024 and the driver lineup in the No. 9 McLaren 720S GT3 Evo features a pair of Rolex 24 overall winners in Oliver Jarvis and 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi. Rounding out the lineup are McLaren factory ace Marvin Kirchhoefer and IndyCar driver/TV commentator James Hinchcliffe.
Iron Lynx had an impressive Rolex 24 debut last year and brings back three of the drivers – Mirko Bortolotti, Andrea Caldarelli and Franck Perera, all past Rolex 24 winners – who finished third in GTD PRO. The fourth driver in the No. 19 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 will be Jordan Pepper.
Alessandro Pier Guidi, the 2014 GTD Rolex 24 winner, heads the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3 driver stable, joined by Davide Rigon and Daniel Serra. The No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 team added speedy former Acura driver Mario Farnbacher to pair with returning Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas at Daytona.
In addition to its LMP2 entry, AO Racing is entering the GTD PRO class with Seb Priaulx, Laurin Heinrich and a driver to be named in the No. 77 Porsche 911 GT3 R. Kellymoss with Riley also is fielding a Porsche with its drivers to be named, as is the case with the No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.
GT Daytona (GTD)
Another huge field of cars – 25 to be exact – is slated for the GTD class in the 2024 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Returning to defend its 2023 victory is the No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 squad. Three-fourths of the team’s winning lineup – Roman De Angelis, Marco Sorensen and Ian James – is back in the No. 27 alongside team newcomer Zacharie Robichon, who claimed a Rolex 24 GTD class victory in 2022.
The GTD class also includes another group of 2023 Rolex 24 winners in the No. 17 AWA Corvette Z06 GT3.R. Co-drivers Anthony Mantella, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill were part of the team’s winning lineup in the LMP3 class earlier this year.
In January, they’ll be joined by Charlie Eastwood as they go in search of a repeat win. The Canada-based AWA team will bring a pair of brand-new customer Corvettes to Daytona, with Orey Fidani, Matthew Bell, Lars Kern and a driver to be named set to share the No. 13 Corvette.
More previous Rolex 24 winners can be found in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 with two-time Rolex winners John Potter and Spencer Pumpelly teaming once again with Andy Lally and a fourth driver to be announced. Lally has more Rolex 24 wins than anybody in the 2024 field, with five visits to Daytona’s hallowed victory lane.
Four other cars in GTD have previous Rolex 24 winners in their lineup.
Kenton Koch, who won the Prototype Challenge (PC) class in the 2016 Rolex 24, returns in 2024 in the No. 32 Korthoff/Preston Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 alongside co-drivers Mike Skeen, Mikael Grenier and Mercedes-AMG factory driver Maxi Goetz. The Korthoff/Preston team also heads into the season as defending IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup champions.
Another Mercedes-AMG entry in GTD – the No. 57 Winward Racing machine – includes a pair of previous Rolex 24 winners in Russell Ward (GTD-2021) and Daniel Morad (GTD-2017) alongside two drivers still to be announced.
Misha Goikhberg – who co-drove with Koch to the PC class victory at Daytona in 2016 – also returns to Daytona in the GTD class aboard the No. 78 Forte Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 with Loris Spinelli as his lone named co-driver thus far.
Looking elsewhere in the GTD field, Katherine Legge and Sheena Monk – who competed full-time in the 2023 WeatherTech Championship in the No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 – are slated to return in 2024 with as-yet-unnamed co-drivers.
The No. 83 Iron Dames Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 will once again feature an all-female driver lineup at the Rolex 24 with Michelle Gatting, Sarah Bovy and Rahel Frey set to share the car with another driver to be named.
Among manufacturers, Porsche will have the most GTD entries with five, followed by Ferrari and Lamborghini with four each, three Mercedes-AMG entries, two apiece from Aston Martin and Corvette, and single entries from Lexus, Ford, Acura, McLaren and BMW.
The stakes will be raised in Las Vegas on December 1st and 2nd with the Riskon360! Open Wheel Showdown heading for the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with the world’s best pavement open wheel racers competing for a record $50,000-to-win Winged Sprint Car purse. $10,000 will be on the line for Midgets while the Speed Tour Super Modifieds battle for $5,000 to win. Over 100 teams from across North America are expected at the .375-mile short track in search of the lucrative prizes of over $250,000 up for grabs.
The Riskon360! Open Wheel Showdown is promoted by Davey Hamilton, Jr., who will also be competing in the Winged Sprint Car portion of the event. RiskOn360! Global Success Conference takes place November 19th and 20th at the Ahern Luxury Boutique Hotel following the F1 weekend. Renowned investor Todd Ault, with deep ties to supporting motorsports in North America, will be the featured speaker at the event.
SPEED SPORT will have live pay-per-view coverage of the Open Wheel Showdown. Both General Admission and Pit Passes will include access to the main grandstands all weekend.
The Winged Sprint Car main event on Saturday night is a 100-lap contest paying $2,500 to start while Midgets race in a 50-lap feature for $1,500 to start and Super Modifieds battle for 40-laps and $1,200 to start. Friday action features heat races and qualifying for the Winged Sprint Cars. Thursday will be open for practice for the Winged Sprint Cars only.
Double-duty racers in Sprints and Midgets will include the all-time winningest USAC Silver Crown driver Kody Swanson of Kingsburg, Calif., 2023 Little 500 winner Jake Trainor of Medway, Mass., and 12-time USAC Silver Crown winner Bobby Santos of Franklin, Mass.
“What they’re doing for sprint car racing is huge,” Santos said. “Typically, when you go to a Winged Sprint Car event you can honestly count on one hand the guys you’re going to be racing against for the win. In this event, you’re going to have 20 guys with a legitimate argument that they could win this race.”
The nearly 75 paid Winged Sprint Car entries reads like a who’s who of the past, present, and future of the division.
Davey Hamilton, Jr. will be joined by his 11-time Indianapolis 500-starting father Davey Hamilton, Sr. Former star of The Bachelor Arie Luyendyk, Jr. makes his Winged Sprint Car debut, carrying on the legacy of his two-time Indianapolis 500-winning father. Three-time King of the Wing national champion Eric Humphries of Chowchilla, Calif. and 2023 Must See Sprint Car champion Jason Blonde of Litchfield, Michigan bring Winged championship gold into Las Vegas. The last eight winners of the wingless Little 500 are entered, featuring Swanson, Santos, Trainor, and Plymouth, Indiana’s Tyler Roarhig.
Canadian drivers Aaron Willison, Jason Conn, Richie Larson, Brad Aumen, Ryan Litt, and Geoff Wade are also entered along with numerous teams from Idaho, California, and Florida. In total, 11 states are represented on the entry list.
Multi-car Midget efforts from across the country will travel to the Open Wheel Showdown as well such as Tim Bertand Racing from Connecticut and Indiana-based teams from car owners Jeff West and Nick Bohanon. All three outfits are bringing all-star casts to race for the $10,000 victory with Santos, Tanner Swanson, and Trainor competing for West. Bohanon and RMS Racing will field two-time defending USAC National Sprint Car champion Justin Grant of Ione, Calif. Kody Swanson is the captain of the three-car Bertand Motorsports squad.
2014 USAC National Pavement Midget champion Kyle O’Gara of Camby, Indiana, California’s Cody Jessop, Idaho’s Michael Daniels, and Washington’s Garrett Mclees and Tony Seidelman are also entered.
“Having a $10,000 to win, $1,500 to start midget race for us pavement racers is unheard of,” O’Gara said. “This not only gives us something big to chase up front, but it gives all teams a chance to go to the race track and not lose money. We all know there isn’t a lot of money to be made midget racing, so if you can go to the track and break even at worst case, that’s a win in a lot of team’s books.”
Davey Hamilton, Sr., 2023 Harvest Classic winner Bryan Warf of Meridian, Idaho, and Indiana’s Nathan Byrd are entered to race double-duty in both the Speed Tour Super Modifieds and Winged Sprint Cars, taking on one of the largest and most diverse Super Modified fields on the west coast in several seasons.
The longest tow of the entire Open Wheel Showdown will come from Oswego, New York’s Dave Danzer. Danzer travels West on the heels of a $20,000 victory in the 67th Oswego Classic in September. Mark Sargent, son of the Hall of Famer Marshall Sargent, will compete as well.
Pit pass sales and assigned hauler parking opens on Wednesday before on-track activity begins on Thursday with Winged Sprint Car practice. Practice begins at 2pm and runs until 8pm. On Friday, pit gates open at 9am with grandstands opening at 12:30pm. Time trials for the Winged Sprint Cars are set for 2:45pm. Opening Ceremonies are at 5:00pm with the 12-lap Winged Sprint Car heat races to follow.
Saturday’s championship night includes qualifying for the Midgets and Super Modifieds and all features. Open Ceremonies are at 4:30pm followed by the Winged Sprint Car Dash, C- and B-Mains, and the 100-lap feature. It will also include the 50-lap Midget and 40-lap Super Modified features. Grandstands open at 12:30pm
General Admission Tickets are on sale though the Las Vegas Motor Speedway ticket office and online. Details can be found at both www.LVMS.com and the Open Wheel Showdown website. Adult tickets are $25 and kids 12 and under are free!
Pit Pass sales will be available at the gates on race weekend and include access to the grandstands. Pit passes are $150 for a three-day pass or $105 for a two-day pass.
The event will be telecast through Speed Sport with a monthly access pass available to view both nights of the excitement live!
Registration is moving quickly for the inaugural Open Wheel Showdown, with just 75 spaces available for the Winged Sprint Car division. Drivers can learn more at www.OpenWheelShowdown.com
The lights, sights and sounds of Speedway Christmas presented by Atrium Health have played a part in bringing the magic of the holidays to visitors for the last 14 seasons. This year the lights are brighter and the show even bigger as the new nearly four-mile course is illuminated by almost 5 million lights featuring a new concourse, tunnels and Christmas Village attractions.
Here’s a look at some of the new attractions waiting to greet visitors when Speedway Christmas opens Friday:
The classic Christmas cruise around portions of the historic oval and through the iconic road course is receiving a revamp. Fans will enjoy classic Christmas lights as dozens of new displays bring to life this year’s theme, Santa’s Beach Party. Revelers can see animated lights showcasing a wakeboarding Santa, a whale ride and a Bonfire Jam.
The newly designed and configured concourse by Light Up The Nights Productions will take guests through new tunnels, more than 600 illuminated orbs and dazzling candy canes as they journey from a winter wonderland to outer space and land at Santa’s workshop.
The Christmas Village, open every Thursday through Sunday, will host a weekly rotation of area craft vendors, artisans and merchants. Stroll through a larger-than-life candy wonderland trail filled with eye-catching lollipop trees, a five-foot-tall candy bar, a candy throne and so much more. The picture-worthy moments don’t stop on the trail as Victory Lane will play host to a 360-selfie camera perfect for capturing the magic of Speedway Christmas.
Charity Christmas Forest:
The Christmas village will be home to a unique forest of Christmas trees, as 15 trees will be decorated by local charities making an impact in the greater-Charlotte area and around North Wilkesboro Speedway. Fans will be able to vote for their favorite tree each night the village is open, with the winning tree receiving an additional grant from Speedway Children's Charities at the end of the year.
Cook Out Tubing Hill:
New for 2023, the Fan Zone will feature four 250-foot tubing lanes for individuals of all ages to enjoy. The Cook Out Tubing Hill will open on Black Friday and will follow the schedule of the Christmas village, open every Thursday through Sunday from 6 pm to 10 pm. Admission for unlimited rides down the thrilling Cook Out Tubing Hill is $20 per person, $15 for those who have gone through the Speedway Christmas show and $10 for kids 12 and under. Admission to Speedway Christmas is not required to enjoy the tubing hill.
Speedway Christmas presented by Atrium Health is open nightly from Nov. 17 to Jan. 7 (closed Christmas Eve), with tickets per vehicle starting at $35 Monday-Wednesday, when the Christmas Village is closed, and $45 Thursday-Sunday, when the Christmas Village is open. Guests can skip the lines and beat traffic with the Fast Pass Lane, accessible off of Morehead Road at entrance P. The Fast Pass Lane ensures a smooth ride at $75 per vehicle on Thursday-Sunday.
Get your tickets online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or grab them at the gate.
Every November, the Reutimann family and its historic motorsports legacy are honored in one of the most prestigious DIRTcar UMP Modified events of the year. The 10th edition of the Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial writes another chapter this Friday-Saturday, Nov. 17-18, at Volusia Speedway Park.
A $10,000 grand prize and the signature toy tractor trophy awaits the winner of the 50-lap main event Saturday night – held in memory of Emil Reutimann Jr, Dale Reutimann and family friend Gordon Stone, who were victims of a drunk driving crash while traveling to a race in September 1973.
With the recent cancelation of Thursday’s practice session, the UMP Modified program will now begin Friday, Nov. 17, with Hot Lap/Qualifying and $500-to-win Showdown Features alongside a complete show for local 602 Late Models, Street Stocks and Thunder Stocks. UMP Modified redraw, Last Chance Showdowns and the 50-lap Feature are on-tap for Saturday, while DIRTcar Pro (604) Late Models and 3/4-Modifieds support the show.
Here are the drivers to watch and storylines to follow this weekend:
GUESS WHO’S BACK – For the first time in over a year, 2021 Reutimann Memorial winner Nick Hoffman will return to the seat of a UMP Modified this weekend in pursuit of the $10,000 grand prize and his second career tractor trophy.
Hoffman, the three-time DIRTcar national points champion from Mooresville, NC, is set to pilot the Federated Auto Parts, Elite Chassis #7 – owned by longtime customer and NASCAR Xfinity Series veteran Justin Allgaier. Hoffman has made several starts in Allgaier’s Modified in the past, piloting the car for an entire summer en route to the 2020 DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals championship in which he won 12 of the 27 contested races.
Since 2016, no other driver has shined in Volusia’s biggest UMP Modified events like Hoffman. Twenty-three career DIRTcar Nationals Feature wins and an unprecedented seven-straight Big Gator points championships in the event have set him far apart from his competition at the half-mile oval – several of which he’ll race against this weekend.
KING AND HIS CROWN – One year ago, Ethan Dotson made his first trip to Volusia to compete in the Reutimann Memorial and left with the big check and tractor trophy. He and the Longhorn Chassis house team are set for a return to VSP this weekend in defense of their crown.
Dotson, the 24-year-old Dirt Modified standout from Bakersfield, CA, dominated last year’s event, taking the lead five laps into the main event and leading the rest of the way unchallenged. His prowess at the half mile continued into 2023 as well, winning three of the five Features he contested at DIRTcar Nationals in February.
For most of the 2023 regular season, Dotson has been cutting his teeth in the Super Late Model ranks, piloting cars for Chris Bragg Racing and Coltman Farms Racing. However, he has made intermittent appearances in a UMP Modified this year, winning a total of seven DIRTcar-sanctioned Features, including the marquee Plowboy Nationals at Spoon River Speedway in September.
HOME GAME – A host of weekly Volusia racers are set to defend home turf against an army of invaders this weekend, including newly crowned UMP Modified track champion Dalton Lanich and the Reutimann family legend himself, Buzzie Reutimann.
Lanich, 33, of Bunnell, FL, won two of the four UMP Modified races contested during the regular season and clinched the track points title for the first time in his career. He transferred into the Reutimann main event last year by way of a third-place finish in his Showdown Feature on Friday, and started 10th on Saturday’s Feature grid, but retired before the first lap was complete after being involved in a multi-car incident on the first lap.
Reutimann, the 82-year-old motorsports legend from Zephyrhills, FL, won the first Last Chance Showdown before driving from 21st on the starting grid up to finish 12th in last year’s main event. He previously clinched the 2022 Volusia track championship by way of one Feature win last year.
JUST WING IT – Ashton Winger, of Senoia, GA, made his UMP Modified debut in last year’s Reutimann Memorial and impressed, starting on the outside pole and holding strong up front to finish second in the Mathews Motorsports #33.
The 23-year-old Super Late Model regular is slated to be back in the seat of a UMP Modified for Florida team owner Jeff Mathews this weekend, alongside Mathews himself. Mathews is a past winner of the Reutimann Memorial, taking the checkered flag in 2017 when the race was held at Bubba Motorsports Park in Ocala, FL.
Since teaming up with Mathews at the end of the 2022 season, Winger has been strong in the team’s flagship Super Late Model, capturing the 2023 DIRTcar Summer Nationals championship with six Feature wins in addition to multiple Crate-engine Late Model wins and his first national Super Late Model win at East Bay Raceway Park in February.
SUPER INVADERS – The trend of Super Late Model talent invading the Modified ranks continues with Mason Zeigler making his Volusia UMP Modified debut this weekend in the Elite Chassis #5z for car owner Glenn Elliott.
Zeigler, of Chalk Hill, PA, was a regular of the national Super Late Model circuit for several years but has since scaled back to favor a more regional schedule over the past few seasons. He recently joined forces with Elliot, his car owner, to pursue a small handful of UMP Modified races this fall for a bit of fun and testing.
In his first race out for Elliott, and only his second career start in a UMP Modified, Zeigler took the checkered flag in one of Pennsylvania’s newest marquee Modified races – the DJ Troutman Memorial at Bedford Speedway – besting a large field loaded with talent to bag the $4,000 grand prize. Most recently, Zeigler impressed in the World Short Track Championship at The Dirt Track at Charlotte three weeks ago, running second in the main event before tangling with a lapped car.
• 2014 – Austin Sanders
• 2015 – David Reutimann
• 2016 – David Reutimann
• 2017 – Jeff Mathews
• 2018 – Kyle Strickler
• 2019 – David Stremme
• 2020 – Tyler Nicely
• 2021 – Nick Hoffman
• 2022 – Ethan Dotson
DIRTcar Series PR
The inaugural ASA STARS National Tour introduced stage racing to the Super Late Model world. In lieu of competition cautions for most of the races, stage racing was introduced as a way to give teams a chance to earn bonus points and money.
Each stage paid 10 points to the winner, with points decreasing by one all the way down to the tenth-place finisher, who earned a single point. Additionally, the winner of each stage received a $1,000 bonus.
2023 ASA STARS National Tour champion Ty Majeski had the most stage wins by far, with seven. Cole Butcher, Bubba Pollard and Jesse Love were the only other drivers with multiple stage wins, all earning a pair respectively. Majeski was the only driver to sweep the first two stages during a race, doing it in back-to-back events at Milwaukee and Anderson.
Additionally, Majeski led the series in total stage points, with 159. Series runner-up Cole Butcher was just behind him with 154 points. The top-four in the final standings also were the top-four in stage point earners with Gio Ruggiero and Bubba Pollard scoring 122 and 112 points. Despite contesting only the first five races of the season, Casey Roderick still had 81 stage points, good for fifth in the series.
Five Flags Speedway: Matt Craig/Bubba Pollard
Madison International Speedway: Ty Majeski/Jacob Goede
North Wilkesboro Speedway: Bubba Pollard/Chase Elliott
Hickory Motor Speedway: William Byron/Jesse Love
Milwaukee Mile: Ty Majeski x2
Anderson Speedway: Ty Majeski x2
Wisconsin International Raceway: Ty Majeski/Jonathan Eilen
Toledo Speedway: Cole Butcher/Jesse Love
Winchester Speedway: Cole Butcher/Stephen Nasse
Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway: Gio Ruggiero/Ty Majeski
- Ty Majeski – 159
- Cole Butcher – 154
- Gio Ruggiero – 122
- Bubba Pollard – 112
- Casey Roderick – 81
- William Byron – 55
- Gabe Sommers – 52
- Austin Nason – 49
- Jesse Love – 46
- Stephen Nasse - 45
For more information on the ASA STARS National Tour, please visit the series website at starsnationaltour.com, or be sure to follow the series on social media (Facebook: ASA STARS National Tour | Twitter: @racewithstars | IG: @starsnational).
ASA STARS PR
Grandview Speedway Releases Some Important Dates for 2024 Season Schedule, 2024 Season Passes Now Available for Christmas Gifts
Grandview Speedway will continue to present professional auto racing action on the one-third-of-a-mile high-banked clay oval under the direction of the Rogers Family for the upcoming 2024 racing season.
Speedway management will once again be offering the always popular season passes. The season pass is a great Christmas idea for those who are looking for that special gift. The grandstand passes cover all Saturday night events, from the season opening Bruce Rogers Memorial Money Maker through to the Freedom 38 Sportsman and Freedom 76 Modified championship races in September. The season pass does not include the Rogers Family/Bob Miller promoted Thunder on the Hill special events, or the Outlaw Enduro/Vintage Series race events.
Season passes, priced at $400 per pass, can be ordered by sending a check or money order to Grandview Speedway, 87 Wilt Road, Bechtelsville, Pa. 19505. When ordering please be sure to indicate the name of the pass holder. To speed up the delivery process, please send along a self-addressed stamped envelope.
The 2023 season may have ended in October, but the Grandview Speedway track crew has been busy getting the Speedway and facility ready for next season before winter sets in. The track crew added 25 truckloads containing over 550 tons of fresh clay onto the racetrack last weekend in preparation for next season. In addition the exit of turn four was widened slightly as well.
Grandview track management would like to thank Bob Kershaw Excavating for the use of their excavator to load the clay for the racetrack.
The Saturday night racing schedule for the 2024 season will look similar like past seasons with the two division Modified and Sportsman shows with an occasional third division added to the schedule.
The traditional Free-to-the-public open practice session will kick things off on Saturday, March 30 starting at 12 Noon, allowing racers the opportunity to test their race cars before the official start of the new season. Fans will also be able to see the new race equipment for the new season with free grandstand admission.
The following Saturday, April 6, will feature the opening of the 62nd season of professional stock car racing with the 7th annual Bruce Rogers Memorial Money Maker for Modifieds joined by the 602 Sportsman, honoring the late track owner and promoter who passed away in 2017.
Two Thunder on the Hill Racing Series dates have been confirmed so far for 2024, with the USAC National Sprint Tour arriving on Tuesday, June 11 for the Jesse Hockett Classic.
Also returning will be the ever popular Pennsylvania 410 Sprint Car SpeedWeek Series race on Tuesday, July 2, featuring the $10,000 to win Hodnett Cup for the powerful 410 Sprint Cars.
As has been tradition for many seasons, the schedule will wrap-up with the Freedom weekend of racing in September. The 11th annual Freedom 38 Sportsman race will be staged on Friday, September 20, followed by the 54th annual Freedom 76 Modified Championship on Saturday, September 21. The Freedom 76 carries a rain date of September 28.
All competitors are reminded that the 2024 Grandview Speedway rule book has been updated, and can be found online on the track’s website at www.grandviewspeedway.com under the rules and forms tab.
Race teams are reminded that they can have their engines sealed prior to the upcoming race season. To do so they can contact Ed Scott at 610-298-2408 for information or to set up an appointment. The cost of sealing the engines will be $225
Members of the media who wish to cover events at Grandview Speedway in 2024, are asked to visit the speedway website at www.grandviewspeedway.com click on the rules/forms tab, fill out the media credentials form and return it to Tina Rogers no later than February 28, 2024. A huge thank you to the members of the media who covered events at the Speedway during the 2023 race season.
Since the 1960’s, Grandview Speedway has been presenting exciting wheel to wheel NASCAR stock car racing every Saturday Night starting in April and running through October, plus special events. Grandview Speedway is located at 43 Passmore Road, Bechtelsville, Pa. 19505, just off Route 100, ten miles north of Pottstown, Pa.
Information is always available at www.grandviewspeedway.com or on Facebook, or by telephone at 610.754.7688.
2024 SPECIAL EVENTS:
Saturday, April 6 – 62nd annual Opening Night – 7th annual Bruce Rogers Memorial Money Maker
Tuesday, June 11 – USAC National Sprint Car Series Eastern Storm
Tuesday, July 2 – Pennsylvania 410 Sprint Car SpeedWeek Series
Friday, September 20 – 11th annual Freedom 38 Sportsman Championship
Saturday, September 21 – 54th annual Freedom 76 Modified Championship
Grandview Speedway PR
Dominic Scelzi added another track to his win's list last Saturday when he captured the finale of the Keith Bryan Memorial doubleheader at Central Arizona Raceway.
It was his 13 th victory of the season and second career with the ASCS Southwest Region.
The weekend began on Friday when Scelzi advanced from sixth to fourth place in a heat race. That ranked him ninth in overall points, which was only one spot shy of making the feature redraw.
"We went down and were the fastest car both nights," he said. "The track was incredibly wet on Friday night. It was everything we could do to make sure we didn't get into any trouble in the heat race. We went sixth to fourth and that was about as good as we could do."
Scelzi lined up on the inside of the fifth row in the A Main.
"We stayed out of trouble and ended up finishing second behind Terry (McCarl)," he said. "The track had grease for the bottom five feet and then a patch of grip. The top of the track was rough and choppy. I tried to stay patient. It was better to start on the bottom than the top. Guys would hit the grease and slide across and I could cut underneath them. And guys up top would bike up. I just ran a line to stay out of trouble. We were right there with Terry, but he didn't make any mistakes."
The run from ninth to second place was tied for the second-most positions gained.
Scelzi wrapped up his weekend at the dirt oval on Saturday. He maneuvered from sixth to third place in a heat race to garner enough points to make the feature redraw. Scelzi grabbed the No. 1 during the random draw to score the pole position for the main event.
"We drew the No. 1, started on the pole and led all 30 laps," he said. "We had a decent amount of yellows early. When we got to traffic it was kind of wild, but once we could put a couple of cars a lap down we were unchallenged. I ran the top on both ends. As it slicked off more and more in (turns) three and four we got better."
The triumph snapped a string of three straight runner-up results at the track.
Scelzi will take this weekend off before tackling his final race of the year on Nov. 22 at Merced Speedway in Merced, Calif., where he was victorious in April.
QUICK RESULTS -
Nov. 10 - Central Arizona Raceway in Casa Grande, Ariz. - Heat race: 4 (6); Feature: 2 (9).
Nov. 11 - Central Arizona Raceway in Casa Grande, Ariz. - Heat race: 3 (6); Feature: 1 (1).
SEASON STATS -
55 races, 13 wins, 38 top fives, 44 top 10s, 49 top 15s, 53 top 20s
UP NEXT -
Nov. 22 at Merced Speedway in Merced, Calif.
MEDIA LINKS -
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT - Sparco
Sparco is a leading manufacturer of racing gear, including suits, gloves, helmets, shoes and more. For additional information, visit http://www.SparcoUSA.com .
"They are by far the most comfortable racing suit on the market," Scelzi said. "They are the safest suit you can possibly buy and they are the best looking. I can't thank Sparco enough for everything they do for me and my brother every single year."
Scelzi would like to thank Red Rose Transportation, Inc., Scelzi Enterprises, Whipple Superchargers, System 1, Fuel Delivery Services, Inc., Red Line Oil, FK Rod Ends, Schoenfeld Headers, Roth Motorsports, K&N Filters, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, NAPA Auto Parts, Todd Jorgensen, Sparco, Allstar Performance, Meridian Steel, Auto Meter, Kenny's Components and Worldwide Bearings for their continued support.
Inside Line Promotions PR
For their first full season together, Kyle Weatherman will pilot DGM Racing’s No. 91 Chevrolet Camaro. After serving as his primary sponsor at Texas Motor Speedway, DriveSmart Warranty has signed on as an anchor partner for Weatherman’s 2024 NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) season with DGM Racing.
“I can’t express how grateful I am for the opportunity to run DGM Racing’s No. 91 full time next year!” Weatherman shares. “The men and women at DGM put their all into racing, and I am happy to call this team home for the next 33 races. We’ve had a lot of great runs together, and I’m confident we will carry that momentum into next season.”
Despite being taken out of five races, Weatherman and DGM Racing have claimed six Top 20s in thirteen starts together, including Weatherman’s career-best finish of eighth at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2022. They are looking to build on this success going into 2024.
“Kyle is a well-rounded racer with a lot of knowledge and speed! His dedication to the sport is unmatched, and I am really looking forward to having him join us in the shop and at the track for a full season,” said DGM Racing Owner, Mario Gosselin. “I’m proud to partner with DriveSmart, an organization that shares the same family values as we do, and I look forward to achieving new milestones with their support.”
DriveSmart, a leading national provider of extended warranty in the automotive industry, will serve as the primary sponsor for at least ten races, starting with the first race of the season at Daytona International Speedway. Created to save customers money on unexpected auto repairs, DriveSmart provides multiple vehicle service contracts with benefits including towing assistance, car rental assistance, roadside assistance, and trip interruption.
“After the Texas Motor Speedway race together, I was really impressed by the DGM Racing team, Kyle Weatherman, and their undeniable commitment on the track!” says DriveSmart CEO, Dan Rodd. “We at DriveSmart have a special appreciation for family-owned businesses, and this family-oriented team resonated with us, making our partnership even more meaningful. I knew at that moment there was no other place I would rather be for 2024.”
Weatherman and DGM Racing will hit the track in the DriveSmart Chevrolet at Daytona International Speedway at 5:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 17, 2024. The race will be televised on FS1.
Halmar Friesen Racing has made three crucial additions as its No. 52 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro team and driver Stewart Friesen prepare for the 2024 season.
Jimmy Villeneuve, a veteran of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, was selected as the team’s Crew Chief. Joining him is Dustin Dunn as Race Engineer and Tim Packman was hired in September as HFR’s Commercial and Communications Director.
Villeneuve, from Auburn, NH, brings 20 years of experience to HFR coming from Kyle Busch Motorsports as the crew chief for its No. 4 Toyota team. Prior to his tenure at KBM, “Jimmy V” worked at Wood Brothers Racing and Kevin Harvick, Inc.
“I am looking forward to working with Stewart Friesen,” Villeneuve said. “He is a winning driver in Trucks, Dirt Modifieds and pretty much all he has driven. My goal is to work with the incredible team he currently has and return HFR and Stewart back to a championship-contending team.”
Dunn has a Mechanical Engineering degree from UNC Charlotte and comes from KBM, as well. Before that, he was part of McAnally-Hilgermann Racing as a race engineer. The native of Jupiter, FL has been in motorsports more than two decades starting with go-karts at age 5 and then Super Late Models in Florida for 18 years.
Packman, a native of Akron, NY, is a 30-year motorsports veteran who, coincidentally, got his start from Friesen’s uncle, Alex Friesen, at Lancaster (NY) Motorplex and Ransomville Speedway as an announcer and Public Relations for the tracks. From there, he worked his way to the NASCAR ranks as part of NASCAR.com, Dale Earnhardt, Inc., MRN Radio and Richard Childress Racing. He was also a track promoter at Lancaster for three years.
“To say I’m already looking forward to the 2024 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season is an understatement,” Stewart Friesen said. “Bringing on these three industry veterans will help us achieve the goals we have been striving for the past few years.
“We talked to a lot of people to fill these positions and we know the best ones were hired for HFR. I like winning and have a lot of confidence that Jimmy V and Dustin will help make that happen with the already-great team we have in place.”
These moves are a continued effort by HFR and Halmar International, LLC owner Chris Larsen to keep improving the team.
“I’m very proud of what this HFR team did in 2023 and adding Jimmy, Dustin and Tim shows the commitment we’re making to turn into a champion for years to come. I can’t wait for Daytona,” Larsen said.