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Eckes Chasing More Playoff Points in St. Louis
Garcia Returns to Familiar Ground at Gateway
Rolex Celebrates 100 Years of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
Grandview Speedway Hosts Triple-Header Racing Card on A.D. Moyer Lumber Company Night This Saturday
The month of June gets under way with a triple-header racing program this Saturday night at Grandview Speedway, which will be run as part of the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series.
The month of June begins with A.D. Moyer Lumber Company sponsoring the Saturday, June 3 racing program featuring the T.P. Trailer NASCAR Modifieds, T.P. Truck Equipment NASCAR Sportsman, and the Wingless Super Sportsman.
The Wingless Super Sportsman will be making their only visit of the season to the high-banked speedway, in a program that features qualifying events for all three classes leading into the 30-lap T.P. Trailer Modified feature and 25-lap features for the T.P. Truck Equipment Sportsman and the Wingless Super Sportsman.
The Wingless Super Sportsman will be making their fourth visit to Grandview, with Steve Wilbur winning in 2019, Eric Jennings in 2020, and Brett Perigo capturing the 2022 event. Two events were lost to weather, one in 2021 and one early visit last May. A strong field of competitors will be on hand to tackle the one-third-of-a-mile high-banked speedway.
On Saturday, June 3 pit gates will open at 4 pm. with grandstand gates opening at 5:30 pm. warm-ups starting at 6:15 pm. and racing starting at 7:30 pm.
Adult grandstand admission is $22, students 10-15 with ID are $12, while children ages 9 and under are admitted free of charge. Pit admission is $35 for NASCAR members and $45 for non-members.
A.D. Moyer Lumber serves Southeastern Pennsylvania from four locations across three counties and is a fourth-generation family owned and operated business founded in 1939 on strong family values with fortitude, foresight, honesty, and integrity. They are committed to offering higher-quality building materials at a fair price and having the most experienced people on staff.
A.D. Moyer Lumber – with locations in Gilbertsville, Pottstown, Bethlehem, and Kutztown – has been serving Southeastern PA with quality lumber, building materials, decks, windows, doors, kitchens, millwork, service and MORE!
For more information about products and services visit A.D. Moyer Lumber on the web at admoyer.com.
Jeff Strunk continues as the T.P. Trailer Modified point leader after another top five finish last Saturday night. Brett Kressley remains in second position in the standings after a runner-up feature finish, Craig Von Dohren sits third in points after finishing third last week, Jared Umbenhauer sits fourth in points after another top ten outing, and Doug Manmiller is fifth in points after recording his second feature win of the season last Saturday, becoming the first repeat feature winner this season.
The top ten in the T.P. Trailer Modified points standings are 1. Jeff Strunk – 1370, 2. Brett Kressley – 1342, 3. Craig Von Dohren – 1327, 4. Jared Umbenhauer – 1287, 5. Doug Manmiller – 1150, 6. Eddie Strada – 1142, 7. Tim Buckwalter – 1138, 8. Ryan Watt – 934, 9. Bobby Trapper Jr. – 878, 10. Jesse Leiby – 872.
Young Logan Watt has been having a great start to his Grandview Speedway career and continues to lead the T.P. Truck Equipment Sportsman point standings despite not recording a top ten finish last week but did record a Thunder on the Hill non-point win in last Sunday’s special program.
Kyle Smith became the fifth different winner in Sportsman action last week and moved into second place in points, followed by Brian Hirthler who also did not score a top ten outing last Saturday, but scored a win in Sunday’s special Modified 50-lap special Thunder on the Hill event. Cody Manmiller and Brett Gilmore round out the top five in the standings after both persevering through trying nights last week.
The top ten in T.P. Truck Equipment Sportsman points are 1. Logan Watt – 1344, 2. Kyle Smith – 1218, 3. Brian Hirthler – 1089, 4. Cody Manmiller – 1048, 5. Brett Gilmore – 1004, 6. Adrianna Delliponti – 925, 7. Jesse Hirthler – 892, 8. Addison Meitzler – 891, 9. Logan Bauman – 868, 10. Parker Guldin – 859.
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.
UPCOMING EVENTS –
Saturday, June 3 – A.D. MOYER LUMBER NIGHT - T.P. Trailer NASCAR Modifieds, T.P. Truck Equipment NASCAR Sportsman, Wingless Super Sportsman – 7:30 pm
Fri. June 9 – Outlaw Racing Series Enduro, Outlaw Racing Series Vintage, Xcel 600 Modifieds – 7 pm
Sat. June 10 – T.P. Trailer NASCAR Modifieds, T.P. Truck Equipment NASCAR Sportsman – 7:30 pm
Tue. June 13 – THUNDER ON THE HILL RACING SERIES –JESSE HOCKETT CLASSIC EASTERN STORM – USAC National Sprint Tour, 358 Modifieds* - 7:30 pm - PIONEER POLE BUILDINGS NIGHT
Sat. June 17 – T.P. Trailer NASCAR Modifieds, T.P. Truck Equipment NASCAR Sportsman plus TRIVIA NIGHT – 7:30 pm
Sat. June 24 – BACK TO THE 90’S NIGHT - $10 GRANDSTAND ADMISSION - T.P. Trailer NASCAR Modifieds, T.P. Truck Equipment NASCAR Sportsman – 7:30 pm.
Grandview Speedway PR
Chevrolet Indycar at Detroit: Team Chevy Race Advance
Returning to the streets of Detroit for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Presented by Lear, the NTT INDYCAR Series heads to the Bowtie brand’s backyard at the original home of open wheel racing in the Motor City. It is the first time in over 30 years Indy cars will race around downtown Detroit.
With the series competing on famed-Belle Isle from 1992 to 2022, the Team Chevy drivers and teams have their eyes set on capturing Chevrolet their potential ninth win since 2012 in Detroit in the V6 2.2-liter twin turbo direct injected era.
"Coming off an exciting Indianapolis 500 win by Team Chevy, Josef Newgarden, and our engineers, our Chevrolet-powered teams are prepped and ready for our hometown race on the Streets of Detroit,” said General Motors IndyCar Program Manager Rob Buckner. “I am so happy and proud of our staff at GM Motorsports and our partners at Ilmor Engineering for their efforts and results in the year’s biggest event.
“Moving from the familiar Belle Isle to the unknowns of the Streets of Detroit presents a new and different challenge,” continued Buckner. “With our history of success on other street courses, we feel as prepared as possible for the race. The split pit lane will add a new twist to the event and excitement for the fans. It will be an all-new event, and our Chevrolet teams and drivers are ready to bring home another win for the hometown fans.”
After racing to his first Indianapolis 500 victory, as well as capturing Team Chevy’s 12th in history, Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, said of this weekend’s Detroit Grand Prix, “I think the event is going to be A+. I can't deny I loved Belle Isle, but I really think from an event standpoint it's going to be a home run. If you're there for the fans, the engagement, the community, what they're doing is going to be amazing,” exclaimed Newgarden. “It's really going to be amazing. [The track is] short. It's technical because it's mostly tight corners. It seems like Nashville, if anything, but it's also different than Nashville. They're not totally similar, but if there's any track that it's most close to, it'll be that.”
The 1.7-mile, nine-turn street circuit will race counterclockwise along Jefferson Avenue, Bates Street, Atwater Street, St. Antoine, Franklin Street, and Rivard, with 100 laps, or 170 miles, determining the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix victor. Adding a new twist to the event is a split pit road for drivers to navigate, adding excitement for race fans and Chevy-powered teams alike.
For fans attending the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix in downtown Detroit, the Chevrolet Racing display, featuring 2023 models as well as t-shirt giveaways, will be open throughout the weekend starting Friday, June 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. The display will then be open Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, and Sunday race day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear kicks off with Practice 1 Friday, June 1 at 3 p.m. ET, with Practice 2 starting Saturday at 9:05 a.m. ET. Qualifications and the Firestone Fast Six also take place Saturday, starting at 1:15 p.m. ET. A final warm-up will start race day Sunday at 10 a.m. ET. All practice and qualifying will be live on Peacock, INDYCAR Radio and SiriusXM Channel 160. The 100-lap, 107-mile race Sunday, June 4 will take the green flag at 3 p.m. ET live on NBC.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING (QUOTES):
Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
“I’m thrilled to be here. It’s always nice to get back racing right away. Indy is always a tough grind for everybody, so we’re dragging a little bit coming into this weekend. But I think once we get on track, we’ll all be excited to be racing again. A new track is always a great opportunity to learn something quicker than everyone else, and try and prove yourself for the inaugural event, and I think the team has done a tremendous job. Excited to represent all of our partners, which most of them have a strong connection to Detroit. Thankful for all the effort that has gone in to move this race downtown.”
Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
“I’m actually really, really excited. The track actually it’s very different than what we are used to. We’re going to be in a new spot, so it’s an opportunity to hit the ground running and be quicker than most. I’m excited. I think it’s going to be cool, and a new rejuvenated race for Detroit.”
Will Power, No. 12 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
“I’m really excited to get on track this weekend. It has a lot of bumps, a lot of off-camber corners, great long straight, and I think you can’t get too wide in the hairpins. You won’t know until you get out there, but I think it’s going to race really well. The pit lane is pretty cool. For all the people who are in the chalets above are going to enjoy if we have a full course yellow and pit under that caution. It’s going to be interesting out of pit lane when everyone gets off the button. I think it’s really cool we’re racing around the Renaissance Center. It’s Chevrolet’s backyard, and I think the guys have done a great job with the track – the grinding and resurfacing. Pretty special, and I hope we get a massive crowd with half the track being free. I’m looking forward to getting out there on Friday.”
Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
"This is our first time going to downtown Detroit. It's a new track for all of us; everybody starts from zero. I've always enjoyed going to Detroit because I get to see a lot of the Latino community there. I'm certainly going to miss Belle Isle, but I'm sure the event this weekend will be awesome, so I'm looking forward to it. There are 11 races to go to chase this championship."
Felix Rosenqvist, No. 6 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
”It's awesome to go to downtown Detroit. I've been looking forward to hitting the streets all year. I think it will be a bumpy and challenging track in pure Detroit fashion. It's also a new challenge as no one has raced here before, but that's exciting for us. We will try to roll out of the truck as good as we can."
Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
”I'm looking forward to getting right back on track in Detroit this weekend. I know the amount of effort from the series and promotor that has gone into making this race a reality, and I cannot wait to get started. It is a completely new track for all of us, so everyone will start with a blank slate. I know the team is hungry to continue the success from the month of May."
Gavin Ward, Race Director at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
"New circuits always make for interesting weekends. We’ve done as much homework as we can to roll out with good cars from the start here, but with the many unknowns, we’ll adapt to what we learn in practice and try to give Chevrolet a big win in their home race and keep building up points towards the championship."
Conor Daly, No. 20 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:
"Chevrolet has a lot of momentum going into Detroit. Team Chevy won the Indy 500, so everyone will be very excited to get to this new track. We will do our best to make the Chevy family proud, as well as BITNILE.COM!"
Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:
“Detroit is going to be a lot of fun! I have driven it on the simulator and I cannot wait to get started there. A new track is always a great challenge! We had a great car at the Indy 500 and I am excited to turn right again."
Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:
"I've always enjoyed going to Detroit. It's where I started my IndyCar career (in 2018) and I've usually run pretty well there. I think I've grown a lot (as a driver) since then. Actually, I was going to have a top-10 in the first race but I got hit and put in the wall. And then the second race I crashed coming out of the pit but I still finished tenth."
Benjamin Pedersen, No. 55 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:
"I think since Detroit will be new for everyone it will level the playing field in a big way. While I was in INDY NXT, we went to a new track for everyone - Nashville - which will be like what we will experience in Detroit this week. At Nashville I was fast and picked up quickly, so I am confident we will do the same thing this weekend. I know Foyt has some great street cars and will work hard to achieve some great results."
Callum Ilott, No. 77 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:
“Detroit is obviously a brand-new track, and I understand that it’s going to be a challenge as it’s quite tight. It will be new for everyone, which means that it will be a level playing field and we will try to maximize our chances from that. I’m looking forward to getting a first look at the track, where we can hopefully continue the momentum from last week’s INDY 500. The data from our previous street races at St. Pete and Long Beach could potentially be useful this weekend. However, everything will be unique so until we turn some laps, we won’t know.”
Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:
“We are going to a new circuit for everyone, which is good for me since in my case, they are always new and this situation allows me to be less at a disadvantage. A difficult circuit is expected, but we have no information so far, so we will have to find out from Friday in the first practice. The objective will be to try to finish the race in the best possible place, as always, to continue learning within the category.”
CHEVROLET IN DETROIT:
Wins in Detroit (all on Belle Isle since 2012 in the V6 2.2-liter twin turbo injection era): 8
2014: Will Power (Race 1) and Helio Castroneves (Race 2)
2015: Sebastien Bourdais (Race 2)
2016: Sebastien Bourdais (Race 1) and Will Power (Race 2)
2019: Josef Newgarden (Race 1)
2021: Pato O’Ward (Race 2)
2022: Will Power
Pole Awards in Detroit (all on Belle Isle since 2012): 10
2012: Will Power
2014: Helio Castroneves
2015: Will Power (Race 1) and Juan Pablo Montoya (Race 2)
2016 Scott Dixon (Races 1 and 2)
2019: Josef Newgarden (Race 2)
2021: Pato O’Ward (Race 1) and Josef Newgarden (Race 2)
2022: Josef Newgarden
2023 CHEVROLET BY THE NUMBERS:
188: NTT INDYCAR SERIES races as V6 engine supplier since 2012 return to INDYCAR.
109: Wins in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES since 2012.
121: Earned poles since 2012.
7: Manufacturer Championships since 2012.
7: Driver/entrant champions since 2012.
12: Indianapolis 500 victories by Chevrolet at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
5: Indianapolis 500 wins by Chevrolet since 2012 in the V6 2.2 liter twin-turbo direct injected era.
26: Wins by Will Power since 2012 – all with Chevrolet power – most of any driver with the same manufacturer.
14: Consecutive seasons with at least one win by Will Power, including the past 11 with Chevrolet power.
9: Wins from the pole by Will Power with Chevrolet power since 2012, most by any driver.
44: Pole starts by Will Power since 2012 in a Chevrolet-powered car, most of any driver.
*Will Power’s career total of 68 poles makes him the all-time pole winner in INDYCAR.
21 Team Prepping for World Wide Technology Raceway
After a long but memorable Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Harrison Burton and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team are back on the road.
This weekend finds them headed to World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Ill., for Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300 on the 1.25-mile track formerly known as Gateway International Raceway.
Brian Wilson, crew chief on the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang, said there’s lots to feel good about around the team shop this week.
“Last weekend in Charlotte was another solid race for the No. 21 Ford,” Wilson said. “With such a long race you expect ups and downs. We certainly had that throughout the day.
“We ended up with a top-20, but know that we were capable of more than that. We’re all hungry to keep pushing for better results.”
Wilson also said he was happy to see Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 crew at Team Penske score a victory in the Coca-Cola 600.
“It was great to see our technical alliance partners get a win,” he said. “Everyone in the Ford camp has been pushing to improve our performance at 1.5-mile tracks, and I know every Wood Brothers fan enjoyed seeing the former No. 21 driver Ryan Blaney in Victory Lane.”
Wilson said that as he looks forward to the upcoming weekend, he believes he and the team can use what they learned last year to their benefit.
Last year, in the Cup Series’ first visit to WWT Raceway, the No. 21 team qualified ninth and ran in the top 20 for much of the race before finishing 25th.
“We believe that we can build on that performance and keep our upward trend of competitiveness going,” Wilson said, adding that the tire compound that will be used this weekend will offer crew chiefs some additional options as they make their calls from atop the pit box. “Last year’s event showcased a tire that allowed for some unique strategies.
“We’ll have the same tire combination from Goodyear for this race. This should allow teams to do two tires, stay out and flip strategies when opportunity presents itself.”
Practice for the Enjoy Illinois 300 is set for Saturday at 9 a.m. Central Time (10 a.m. Eastern) to be followed by qualifying at 9:45.
Sunday’s 300-mile race is scheduled to get the green flag just after 2:30 p.m. Central Time (3:30 Eastern). Stage breaks in the 240-lap race are set for Laps 40 and 140.
FOX Sports 1 will carry the TV coverage all weekend.
NASCAR National Series News & Notes - World Wide Technology Raceway & Portland International Raceway
NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Enjoy Illinois 300 Presented by TicketSmarter
The Place: World Wide Technology Raceway
The Date: Sunday, June 4
The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $7,425,976
TV: FS1, 2 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 300 miles (240 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 140), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 240)
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Pacific Office Automation 147
The Place: Portland International Raceway
The Date: Saturday, June 3
The Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $1,376,231
TV: FS1, 4 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 147.75 miles (75 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 25),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 50), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 75)
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series
Next Race: Toyota 200
The Place: World Wide Technology Raceway
The Date: Saturday, June 3
The Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $738,514
TV: FS1, 1 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 200 miles (160 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 35),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 70), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 160)
NASCAR Cup Series
Back For More: NASCAR Cup Series returns to World Wide Technology Raceway
After an outstanding debut last season, the NASCAR Cup Series will be returning to the World Wide Technology Raceway for this weekend’s Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter this Sunday, June 4 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio – the 15th race of the 26-race regular season.
World Wide Technology Raceway, located in Madison, Illinois just outside St. Louis, was originally built as a drag strip and road course in 1985 and was originally known as St. Louis International Raceway Park. In 1994, new ownership acquired the track. The existing tracks (drag strip and road course) were demolished over the course of 1995–1996 and a new oval speedway and drag strip were constructed.
The current 1.25-mile oval that is World Wide Technology Raceway has a unique shape and different degrees of banking in each set of turns. The backstretch is confined to run parallel with Illinois Route 203, making Turns 1 & 2 a tighter radius than Turns 3 & 4. Turns 1 & 2 have similar characteristics to New Hampshire Motor Speedway while Turns 3 & 4 are similar to Phoenix Raceway. The track's egg shape mimics the legendary Darlington Raceway. The facility now has more than 700 acres welcoming fans this weekend.
The first NASCAR national series race held at World Wide Technology Raceway was a NASCAR Xfinity Series race held on June 26, 1997 - Elliott Sadler won the event.
Though this will only be the second NASCAR Cup Series event this weekend at the 1.25-mile track, World Wide Technology Raceway has hosted 15 NASCAR Xfinity Series races from 1997-2010 and 22 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races from 1998-2010 and 2014-2022.
Team Penske’s Joey Logano is the defending winner of the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway – one of 19 different tracks the Connecticut native has won at in the series. Eight other drivers entered this weekend have won in either the NASCAR Xfinity Series or the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series at World Wide Technology Raceway, led by Kevin Harvick with three NASCAR national series wins at the 1.25-mile track (NXS 2000, 2001 and NCTS 2010); followed by Christopher Bell (NCTS 2016), Kyle Busch (NXS 2009), Ross Chastain (NCTS 2019), Justin Haley (NCTS 2018), Brad Keselowski (NXS 2010), Martin Truex Jr. (NXS 2004) and Bubba Wallace (NCTS 2014) each with one victory.
All the on-track action begins for the NASCAR Cup Series this weekend with practice and Busch Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday, June 3 at 10 a.m. ET on FS1.
NASCAR to ring in 100th National Series race in Illinois
NASCAR has a long history in the state of Illinois dating back to 1954, and this weekend the sport will run its 100th and 101st national series races in the state of Illinois at Word Wide Technology Raceway.
Returning for the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race, the Toyota 200, on Saturday, June 3 (race 100) and the NASCAR Cup Series’ second installment of the Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter this Sunday, June 4 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (race 101). World Wide Technology Raceway is the fifth different track in the great state of Illinois that has hosted a NASCAR national series event.
The NASCAR Cup Series first competed in the state of Illinois on Saturday, July 10, 1954 at Santa Fe Speedway, a half-mile dirt track located in Willow Springs, IL. The event had 23 cars entered and was scheduled for 200 laps (100 miles). Dick Rathman won the race driving a 1954 Hudson for car owner John Ditz.
It wasn’t until two years later that the NASCAR Cup Series returned to the state of Illinois, only this time it was at the famous Soldier Field in Chicago. On July 21, 1956, the NASCAR Cup Series saw 25 cars compete at the half-mile paved track inside the stadium for 200 laps (100 miles). The race was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Fireball Roberts driving a Ford for car owner Pete DePaolo.
The NASCAR Cup Series has also competed at Chicagoland Speedway from 2001-2019 for 19 races.
In total, there have been 99 NASCAR national series races in the state of Illinois among five different tracks. The NASCAR Cup Series has made 22 starts in the state of Illinois and has competed at four of the five tracks.
Breakdown of the NASCAR National Series races in Illinois (All-Time)
World Wide Technology Raceway
Chicago Motor Speedway
Santa Fe Speedway
Confluence Festival a nice weekend addition for fans at WWTR
This weekend’s NASCAR festivities at World Wide Technology Raceway, will be accompanied by the Confluence Festival, a showcase of innovation, talent and live entertainment that represents the region’s communities coming together in welcoming NASCAR to World Wide Technology Raceway.
Already announced 14-time Grammy-nominated Dierks Bentley will headline, playing a full set in what will be his only St. Louis appearance this year. He leads an impressive award-winning lineup:
Flo Rida - Five-time Grammy nominee Flo Rida is an American rapper and singer who 2007 breakout single “Low” was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for over ten weeks and remained in the top ten for over 20 weeks. Having sold over 80 million records worldwide, he is one of the best-selling musical artists in the world.
Brothers Osborne - Brothers Osborne is an American country music duo consisting of brothers T.J. Osborne and John Osborne. Eight-time Academy of Country Music Award winners and six-time Country Music Award winners, they won the 2022 Grammy Award for “Best Country Duo/Group Performance”.
Brittney Spencer - Brittney Spencer is an American Country singer/songwriter from Baltimore. Brittney has released three singles; “Sober & Skinny”, “More Than Perfect” and “Wake Me Up (A Fever Dream)”. She was nominated for Country Music Television Music Awards “CMT Digital First Performance of the Year” in 2022 for her performance of “Sober & Skinny”.
Bailey Zimmerman - From nearby Louisville, IL, Zimmerman is one of country music’s most exciting new voices with the 2022 release of his debut LP, Leave the Light On – the biggest streaming country debut of all time and the most-streamed all-genre debut of the year.
Rissi Palmer - Rissi Palmer was one of the first African American female country artists to chart on country radio with singles, “Country Girl,” “Hold On To Me,” and “No Air.” She has independently released a Christmas single, her first children’s album, Best Day Ever and an EP titled The Back Porch Sessions. Her most recent album, Revival, has been critically hailed as her most personal and uplifting work to date. While she made her mark in Country Music, she is equally at home in R&B music, bringing the entire spectrum of popular music to bear on music she calls “Southern Soul.”
Tim Dugger - A NASCAR favorite, country singer-songwriter Dugger returns for the 2023 Confluence Music Festival. After surpassing 15 million career streams, he released his new single, “Buy a Bar” this past February.
“We are so excited to deliver an impressive second-year experience for racing fans as they return to World Wide Technology Raceway,” said Curtis Francois, Owner and CEO of World Wide Technology Raceway. “We have so much to celebrate and live music entertainment is an important part of how we want to attract and delight our guests at the Enjoy Illinois 300.”
Special performances by BeBe Winans, Jazz St. Louis, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Madison High School Marching Band and The Muny Teens will put an unforgettable and uniquely local stamp on the event.
Regional acts scheduled to perform over the weekend include: Blinded By Stereo, DJ Mahf, DJ Big D, Dr. Zhivegas, Dylan Triplett, Funky Butt Brass Band, Lamar Harris, Malena Smith, Red and Black Brass Band, St. Boogie Brass Band, The Bobby Ford Band, The Mighty Pines – lead singer Neil Salsich is competed on NBC’s The Voice!, Vella La Vella, and We Are Root Mod.
“We were intentional about developing a line-up that is exciting, representative and true to the mission of Confluence,” said Kwofe Coleman, President and CEO of the Muny, and producer of the Confluence Festival. “Sharing the platform of Enjoy Illinois 300’s remarkable reach among local and national artists from various genres is a special opportunity to celebrate the concept of together and offer race-goers and attendees an unforgettable experience.”
Blaney becomes 10th different winner this season, sixth to knockout big winless streak
And just like that another large winless streak is snapped. Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney hustled to a crown jewel win in a rain-delayed Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway becoming the 10th different winner in the NASCAR Cup Series this season. Blaney also conquered a winless streak that had reached 59 races. He is the sixth different driver this season to snap a winless streak of 25 races or more, joining Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (199 races), Martin Truex Jr. (54 races), Denny Hamlin (33 races), William Byron (30 races) and Kyle Busch (28 races).
A total of 16 active drivers currently have winless streaks that date prior to the start of the 2023 season.
As the most recent winner in the NASCAR Cup Series, Ryan Blaney jumps off the winless list this season and has secured his spot in the Playoffs for the seventh-time in his career (2023, ‘22, '21 '20, '19, '18, '17). This year, the North Carolina native has posted one win (Charlotte), four top fives and eight top 10s. And to boot, Blaney is ranked second in the series driver standings, just one-point behind standings leader and Trackhouse Racing driver Ross Chastain.
As the series heads to World Wide Technology Raceway for the Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter this Sunday, June 4 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, watch for Ryan Blaney to continue to ride his wave of success. In last year’s inaugural Cup Series event at WWTR, he finished in the top-five (fourth) and led 12 laps. Loop Data also has him ranked in the top five in several pre-race categories: Average Running Position (6.780, third-best), Driver Rating (118.2, second-best), Fastest Laps Run (38, second-best), and Quality Passes (52, second-most).
Playoff Bubble: Just five postseason spots still open following Charlotte
Rolling into World Wide Technology Raceway this weekend, 10 different drivers have won in the NASCAR Cup Series this season. With a spot secured for the driver point standings leader without a win, currently occupied by Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain, that leaves just five spots available in 16-driver field to make the postseason.
The 10 drivers that have earned a spot in the Playoffs by virtue of their wins this season are William Byron, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Joey Logano.
Ross Chastain regained the points lead in the NASCAR Cup Series following Dover Motor Speedway and has held the top spot since, but he is winless and currently only has a one-point advantage over Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney in second.
The five drivers currently occupying Playoff spots on points are: 12. Kevin Harvick (+146 points over postseason cutoff), 13. Brad Keselowski (+102), 14. Chris Buescher (+76), 15. Bubba Wallace (+35), 16. Alex Bowman (+4).
It didn’t take Alex Bowman long to bounce back into Playoff contention. He returned from injury last week at Charlotte with a Playoff waiver and ranked 17th in points. After posting a 12th-place finish at Charlotte, he has now jumped to 16th, up four points over Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe in 17th – the first spot outside the Playoff cutoff.
Not far behind Bowman in the points are Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Ty Gibbs in 18th (-15 points) and Trackhouse Racing driver Daniel Suarez in 19th (-20 points).
In last season’s WWTR Cup race Bowman finished 13th, Briscoe finished 24th, and Suarez finished 23rd. This weekend will be Ty Gibbs first appearance in the NASCAR Cup Series at World Wide Technology Raceway.
Four of the drivers that finished in the top-10 in the NASCAR Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway last season are still looking for their first win of 2023 - Aric Almirola, Erik Jones, Ross Chastain and AJ Allmendinger.
NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
Corey LaJoie to pilot No. 9 for Hendrick Motorsports at WWTR – Following the announcement that Hendrick Motorsports’ driver Chase Elliott would be suspended for this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway, the organization has tapped Spire Motorsports’ driver Corey Lajoie to drive the No. 9 Chevrolet this Sunday.
“We are grateful to Corey for stepping in and to the team at Spire Motorsports for making him available,” the Hendrick Motorsports statement said this week.
This season, Lajoie has put up one top five and an average finish of 19.1 in 14 Cup Series starts.
In last season’s NASCAR Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway, Lajoie finished 36th (last) in the event due to engine failure driving the No. 7 for Spire Motorsports.
Carson Hocevar to make NASCAR Cup Series career debut at WWTR for Spire Motorsports – With Corey Lajoie getting the opportunity to drive the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in replace of a suspended Chase Elliott, Spire Motorsports has called upon rising NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series star Carson Hocevar to hop behind the wheel of the No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet at World Wide Technology Raceway to make his series career debut.
Though this will be Hocevar’s series track debut, he has made three starts in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series at the 1.25-mile track posting one top-10 finish (eighth in 2021).
Milestone Watch: Brad Keselowski to make 500th career Cup start – This weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway, RFK Racing’s Brad Keselowski will become the 46th different driver to make 500 or more NASCAR Cup Series career starts.
Keselowski has had quite the career in his previous 499 NASCAR Cup Series starts, putting up one Cup Series Championship (2012), two Championship 4 Round appearances (2017, ‘20), 10 Playoff appearances (2011, ’12, ’14, ’15, ’16, ’17, ’18, ’19, ’20, ’21), 35 wins, 142 top fives, 239 top 10s and has led over 9,000 laps.
This weekend, Keselowski will look to become just the third driver to win on his 500th NASCAR Cup Series career start, joining Richard Petty (July 12, 1970 at Trenton) and Matt Kenseth (September 22, 2013 at New Hampshire).
NASCAR Championship Weekend returning to Phoenix Raceway in 2024 – NASCAR has announced that Phoenix Raceway will continue as host of NASCAR Championship Weekend in 2024.
Four champions will be crowned over three days, Nov. 1-3, 2024, as the best drivers from the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series and ARCA Menards Series West will compete for season supremacy at Phoenix Raceway.
“This honor is a testament to our fans whose overwhelming support makes this a true championship-caliber venue,” said Phoenix Raceway President Latasha Causey. “They pack the grandstands, fill the hillside and create the best camping experience in all of NASCAR inside our breathtaking GEICO Gecko Campground. Now the onus is on us to exceed the already high standards we’ve set to continue building on this momentum and keep them coming back.”
The NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race completely sold out at Phoenix Raceway in 2021 and 2022, and only a limited number of seats remain for the 2023 NASCAR Championship Weekend at Phoenix Raceway, Nov. 3-5.
NASCAR Diversity Internship Program announces 2023 Class – NASCAR has announced its 22nd NASCAR Diversity Internship Program (NDIP) class welcoming undergraduate and graduate students to NASCAR. The class of 37 students completed orientation during the Coca-Cola 600 race weekend in Charlotte. Many in the group had the opportunity to experience their first NASCAR race, visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Hendrick Motorsports and the Motor Racing Network facilities.
The NASCAR Diversity Internship Program is a 10-week program that offers hands-on experience across various roles in the motorsports industry. NDIP provides practical, unique, hands-on experience in a variety of fields vital to the sport and business operations. Throughout the summer interns will receive mentorship, network with industry leaders and engage in a case study competition.
“This year we’re welcoming another exceptional class of college students eager to learn about our sport,” said Brandon Thompson, NASCAR’s Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion. “As a graduate of NDIP,
I know firsthand how crucial it is for students to have exposure to professional sports opportunities. We’re excited to welcome this year’s class and look forward to seeing them grow this summer.”
Launched in 2000, the highly competitive career development program has introduced over 500 college students to the NASCAR industry, and has grown to include several industry partners, providing a variety of career exposure opportunities. 2023 partners include Rev Racing, World Wide Express, 23XI Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing, Sonoma Raceway, Team Penske, Hendrick Motorsports and Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing.
NDIP is open to college students who are sophomores or above with a minimum 3.0 GPA representing the following races/ethnic minority classifications: Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Latino or Hispanic, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.
For the entire list of this year’s NDIP class, please visit NASCARMedia.com and the following: LINK
360° Fan Immersion Infield Experience awaits spectators at WWTR – Awaiting fans at the World Wide Technology Raceway is the all-new Gateway Garage Experience that enables fans to get up close and personal with the teams, cars and drivers, as they prepare to compete on the 1.25-mile oval. It’s the perfect combination of a party and NASCAR action. Passholders will have access to the following: pre-race opening ceremonies on-track; premium access to Saturday and Sunday Turn 1 concerts; tech inspection; driver Q&A’s; discounted food and beverage; free enhanced wi-fi; and the driver red-carpet walk. Fans in the Gateway Garage Experience will also have access to a NASCAR-approved viewing area behind the team pit boxes on pit road during the race. Other details include:
- The speedway has lengthened the existing garage space to allow fans a close look at the crews, cars and NASCAR’s biggest stars preparing for races on the track.
- The NASCAR Cup Series Drivers Meeting and VIP event space will now be held in a remodeled Clubhouse located adjacent to the garage area.
- The adjacent Fan Zone has been expanded and reimagined, featuring infield seating as well as shade structures, soft seating, additional vendors and multiple food options.
The infield experience is part of a multi-phase $100 million renovation and expansion project that includes significant land acquisition and expanded guest accommodations, including the infield fan zone project.
“Our fans are going to love the intimate experience of the new garage access,” World Wide Technology Raceway owner Curtis Francois said. “This is just the latest example of our commitment to building a world-class entertainment venue, investing more each year, responding to what fans want and showcasing hospitality at every turn.”
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Justin Allgaier snags a first JR Motorsports win of 2023; ready for some road course action
JR Motorsports’ driver Justin Allgaier has put up some impressive finishes at Charlotte Motor Speedway over the course of his career and was finally able to take to the checkered flag on Monday, bringing his numbers up to one win, six top fives, 12 top 10s and 160 laps led in his 21 starts at the 1.5-mile track.
The win marked his first of the season and the 20th in his NASCAR Xfinity Series career. It was also uncharacteristically the first win of the season for JR Motorsports. The victory also secures him into the Playoffs later this season, for a series leading eighth time in his career (2023, ‘22, '21, '20, '19, '18, '17, '16).
Allgaier will look to keep the momentum going at Portland International Raceway, a track that served him well last season. In the inaugural Xfinity Series race at the Portland road course last year, the 36-year-old driver put up a top-five finish (fifth).
Although there has only been one road course on the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule this season thus far (COTA), Allgaier has proved he hasn’t lost his road course racing touch as he posted a fifth-place finish in Austin.
Here is a look at Allgaier’s stats on other road courses coming up on the Xfinity Series circuit this season:
Road America: 11 starts – One win (2018), two top fives, five top 10s.
Indianapolis RC: Three starts – one top five, two top 10s.
Watkins Glen: 11 starts – four top fives, seven top 10s.
Charlotte Roval: Five starts – Two top fives, three top 10s.
Back to the Northwest: Portland International Raceway is up next
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will be heading back to Portland International Raceway for the Pacific Office Automation 147 on Saturday, June 3 at 4:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. This will be the second time the Xfinity Series heads to the 1.967-mile road course. The inaugural event last season saw road course ringer AJ Allmendinger snag the victory by 2.879 seconds after working his way up from the 10th starting position.
Allmendinger won’t be in the field this time around but the inaugural pole sitter, Anthony Alfredo, will be back in hopes of leading the field in the Pacific Office Automation 147 once again.
Last year’s runner-up on the Portland road course, Myatt Snider, will also be back to give the track another go. He’ll be behind the wheel of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota for his second start of the season with the team. He made his first start with the JGR organization at the season-opener in Daytona, where he posted a fifth-place finish.
Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill, who placed third in last year’s inaugural race, will be competing on Saturday as well. With three wins already under his belt this season (Daytona, Las Vegas, Atlanta), he’s hungry for a fourth. If he pulls off the victory, it’ll be his first road course win in the Xfinity Series.
Although the No. 21 Chevrolet driver, Hill, had some engine trouble earlier this season at COTA and ultimately finished 37th, he’s proved his skill on road courses. Last season, he posted a runner-up finish at COTA, a fourth-place finish at Road America, and a ninth-place finish at Indy RC.
Drivers will kick off their weekend with practice at 11:30 p.m. ET followed by qualifying at 12 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 3. Practice will not be broadcast but qualifying will be shown on FS1.
Road course racin’ with a twist
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will be heading to Portland International Raceway to make some left and right turns but pit stops may look a tad bit different:
GENERAL PROCEDURE RULES
- The field will be frozen at the time of caution
- All caution periods will be Quickie Yellows (when Pit Road has opened, ALL cars may pit)
- Fuel may only be added during the stage breaks
- Tires may be changed at any time during the event
STAGE BREAK PIT STOPS
- Stage breaks will consist of a THREE-minute break
- NASCAR Officials will announce the start of the THREE-minute break after the last vehicle has stopped in their pit stall
- No crew members on pit road until all cars are stopped and NASCAR has announced the start of the break
- Fuel may not be added, and tires may not be changed at the same time
- Tires must be changed first, then fuel may be added
- The lap in which pit road is open during the stage breaks will not count
- Teams that elect not to pit will stop behind the caution vehicle until the conclusion of the break
GREEN FLAG PIT STOPS
- Green flag pit stops, where tires are changed, must not be completed faster than the minimum time allotted from yellow line to yellow line: 60 seconds minimum
- In the event of flat tire(s) under green flag: If the tire(s) are visually flat when the vehicle enters pit road, the team may elect to change the flat tire(s) only and not be subject to the minimum time on pit road
RESTART LINE-UP (During stage breaks and all caution periods)
- Lead lap Cars that did not pit (Using Freeze the Field at Time of Caution)
- Lead lap Cars that pitted (Using Freeze the Field at Time of Caution)
- Lap(s) down Cars that did not pit (Using Freeze the Field at Time of Caution)
- Lap(s) down Cars that pitted (Using Freeze the Field at Time of Caution)
- Free Pass, Wave Around, and Penalty Cars (Using Freeze the Field at Time of Caution)
PIT STOP PENALTIES
- Restart Tail End:
- Pit crew members on the hot side of pit wall before the THREE-minute break has started
- Servicing the vehicle after the THREE-minute break has ended
- Vehicles not in the correct restart position when the one to go is given at Turn 8
- Not meeting the green flag minimum time limit on pit road
PIT CREW / PIT EQUIPMENT
- The Pit Crew Members will consist of:
- Road crew roster positions
- Five (5) Crew Members to service and fuel the vehicle (excluding the stage breaks)
- One (1) Driver Assist Crew Member to clean the windshield and assist the driver
- All pit crew safety equipment is required during any pit stops (excluding the stage breaks)
- Any compressed air-driven pneumatic pit gun or battery-operated electric pit gun may be used.
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Xfinity Sunoco Rookie of the Year update – The NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year competitors now have 12 races under their belts as they gear up for their series debuts at Portland International Raceway.
Kaulig Racing’s Chandler Smith continues to lead the competition with one win (Richmond), four top fives, five top 10s and 374 points. Earlier this season at COTA, he posted a 12th-place finish.
Not far behind is Joe Gibbs Racing’s Sammy Smith, who has racked up one win (Phoenix), three top fives, five top 10s and 350 points. He posted a fourth-place finish earlier this season at COTA’s road course.
Jordan Anderson Racing’s Parker Retzlaff has posted one top five and three top 10s this season, accumulating 243 points. He finished 17th at COTA earlier this season.
Closing out the competition is Blaine Perkins with 66 points.
Double dipping in Portland – A few NASCAR Xfinity Series regulars will be pulling double duty this weekend at Portland International Raceway and running in the ARCA Menards Series West’s Portland 112 on Friday, June 2.
Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Cole Custer and Riley Herbst will be amongst the list of drivers. Custer is set to pilot a second entry from High Point Racing while Herbst will drive an entry fielded by Jerry Pitts.
Kyle Sieg is also slated to join in on the double duty fun behind the wheel of the No. 46 for Lowden-Jackson Motorsports and Parker Retzlaff will get behind the wheel of the No. 02 for Young’s Motorsports.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series
All Rhodes lead to Victory Lane
During the final restart on Lap 111, ThorSport Racing’s Ben Rhodes managed to secure the lead from Carson Hocevar and pulled away to win the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, getting his first win of 2023 and snapping a 27-race winless streak.
The 2021 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion gave Ford its first Truck Series win at Charlotte.
Rhodes became the ninth different winner in 11 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races and took home a bonus of $50,000 for winning the first of three events in the Triple Truck Challenge – a program that provides the opportunity to win $500,000 for a driver who can sweep all three participating races.
In addition to the Triple Truck Challenge bonus, the 26-year-old Kentucky native has officially earned a spot in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs for the sixth-time in his career (2023, ‘22, '21, '20, '18, '17).
TRICON Garage’s Corey Heim, who led the most laps with 49, finished in second after winning the opening stage. Heim continued his string of strong results, collecting his fourth top five and ninth top 10 in 11 races. Finishing in third was TRICON teammate Dean Thompson. The driver of the No. 5 Toyota Tundra PRD recorded his best-career CRAFTSMAN Truck Series finish.
Triple Truck Challenge continues at World Wide Technology Raceway
The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series is returning to World Wide Technology Raceway this weekend for the 23rd running of the Toyota 200 and the second race of the Triple Truck Challenge (Saturday, June 3, at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Located in Madison, Illinois just outside of St. Louis, World Wide Technology Raceway was originally built in 1985 as a road course and was named St. Louis International Raceway Park. In 1996, the road course was demolished and transformed into the 1.25-mile oval and accompanying drag strip that are well-known today.
The inaugural NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race at the 1.25-mile track was held on September 19, 1998 – a race won by Rick Carelli, driving a Chevrolet for Marshal Chesrown.
The 22 previous races at World Wide Technology Raceway have produced 13 different pole winners along with 20 different race winners. Greg Biffle (1998, 2000) and Ted Musgrave (2001, 2005) lead the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series in poles with two each.
Additionally, Sheldon Creed (2020, 2021) and Ted Musgrave (2001, 2005) lead the series in wins at World Wide Technology Raceway with two each. TRICON Garage’s Corey Heim, who won last year’s Toyota 200, is the only previous winner entered this weekend.
Practice and qualifying for the Toyota 200 will begin Friday, June 2 at 6:00 p.m. ET on FS1.
Six competitors locked into NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs
With five races left in the regular season, here’s a look at the current CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff standings:
Six drivers have locked themselves into the 2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs by virtue of wins this season - Zane Smith (Daytona, COTA), Christian Eckes (Atlanta, Darlington), Carson Hocevar (Texas), Corey Heim (Martinsville), Grant Enfinger (Kansas), and most recently, Ben Rhodes (Charlotte).
Currently in on Points:
Two drivers have built up a points cushion of 35 points or more over the Playoff cutoff following Charlotte – Ty Majeski (119 points above the Playoff cutoff) and Matt Crafton (+35).
Seven points above the cutoff and ranked ninth in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff outlook is TRICON Garage’s Tanner Gray. Following Gray is Rackley W.A.R’s Matt DiBenedetto, just one point above the cutoff.
Outside Looking In:
Another ten drivers sit outside the Playoff position but still have plenty of time to race their way into the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs.
Halmar Friesen Racing’s Stewart Friesen is 11th in Playoff standings, one point behind Matt DiBenedetto in 10th. Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Nick Sanchez sits 11 points off the final Playoff position in 12th.
Following Friesen and Sanchez is Chase Purdy (-36 points back from Playoff cutoff), Jake Garcia (-48), Tyler Ankrum (-63), Hailie Deegan (-75), Rajah Caruth (-81), Colby Howard (-99), Daniel Dye (-100), and Dean Thompson (-102).
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Etc.
Carson Hocevar to make NASCAR Cup Series debut at Gateway – CRAFTSMAN Truck Series driver Carson Hocevar is set to make his NASCAR Cup Series debut in Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway. Hocevar will drive the No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet in Sunday’s event in place of Corey Lajoie.
“Carson has proven to be more than capable, and he’s done a great job in our No. 77 Premier Security Chevrolet in the NASCAR Xfinity Series,” said Spire Motorsports co-owner Jeff Dickerson. “This is a win for everyone involved.”
Jesse Love to make CRAFTSMAN Truck Series debut – Two-time ARCA Menards Series West Champion, Jesse Love, will make his NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series debut in the No. 1 TRICON Garage Toyota Tundra TRD at World Wide Technology Raceway. Love has won the last three ARCA Menard Series races this season (Talladega, Kansas, and Charlotte).
“A lot of time, sweat, and tears have gone into this opportunity and I’m looking forward to capitalizing on it,” said Love. “I think Gateway will be a great place to get started, so June 3 can’t come fast enough.”
Kaulig Racing Weekly Advance | World Wide Technology Raceway and Portland International Raceway
Chandler Smith, No. 16 Quick Tie Products Chevrolet Camaro
"We've been in a bit of a funk lately, and while I'd rather be going to another oval instead of a few road courses, I'm hopeful that I can learn from Jordan Taylor and AJ Allmendinger at Portland and Sonoma. I was so tired after COTA. It was a tough battle gaining as many positions as we did on the day, but I still think there's a lot left in the tank for me on road courses."
- Chandler Smith on Portland International Raceway
Kaulig Racing PR
Now in their second season of contingency program sponsorship at Stafford Speedway, Riley Generators will become the title sponsor of the extra distance 30-lap Limited Late Model feature event scheduled for Friday, June 9. Riley Generators will boost the normal 20-lap Limited Late Model purse to over $4,000 with the winner guaranteed to take home $700 from the purse and $825 with contingency bonuses factored in.
The 2023 Limited Late Model season has seen Matt Clement get off to a hot start with victories in two of the first three races of the season. Clement’s hot start sees him leading the points standings with last year’s Rookie of the Year and the 2023 season’s only other feature winner thus far, Kevin Cormier right behind him. Former 2-time Limited Late Model champion Jeremy Lavoie currently sits third in the standings with last year’s Limited champion Rich Hammann fourth. The top-4 drivers in the standings are separated by only 8 points, or 4 positions on the track. Rounding out the top-5 in the standings is this season’s leading rookie contender Adrien Paradis, III, who has made the move up from the Street Stock division.
Stafford Speedway PR
Zane Smith Gateway Advance Transcript
ZANE SMITH, No. 38 ARRMA Ford F-150 – HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE MONDAY’S PERFORMANCE AND DO YOU CONSIDER IT A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION? “Yes, definitely. Yes on all of those. Obviously, a very long race, so I had prepared pretty much this whole month of just trying to get ready for it and at the end of the Cup races I kind of battled with some seat insert issues, of just kind of being uncomfortable towards the end of the race, so we put some attention on that and I felt great after. I was happy about the training side of things and then on the performance side we got our car better every single stop and I just kind of learned and learned and learned as the race went on. Our goal initially was just trying to make it to the end on the lead lap, and then I was passing and running with some really good guys and then they would get really good track position and compete up front, so I knew that we just needed to be aggressive on restarts and try to get what we could and we were able to do so and get our car to fire off a little bit better than the beginning of the race. We found a happy medium to where we’d fall off and we came home with a top 10 finish. I was super excited with that, obviously. Everyone is really good on Sunday and the Coke 600 is a crown jewel event. I’ve always enjoyed going to Charlotte and it was a fun weekend.”
CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH A LAP AROUND GATEWAY AND WHAT DO YOU RECALL ABOUT MAKING YOUR CUP DEBUT THERE A YEAR AGO? “Gateway is a really fun place just to make laps at, so it’s a fun racetrack. On the harder side of things to race at just passing-wise and what-not. I think being able to put a good lap down at Gateway really comes in clutch in the race, especially on the truck side just because of how you don’t have a whole lot of time on the truck side. On the Cup side, you have plenty of time to learn and it was a good place, I thought, to make your debut and I feel like I got to experience the Cup cars in between a short track and a mile-and-a-half in a way, and I was shifting at both ends, so kind of got used to some of the shifting even though on the truck side we’re going from fourth to third, most of the guys are in one and two. The Cup car is just so much different than anything I think anyone has ever really raced, so that was a fun weekend looking back to last year when I did get to make that debut on such short notice. I was happy with our run there. I think we finished 17th, but learned so much throughout that day. And then on the truck side, I feel like Gateway has always been one of my best tracks, but I have really struggled to just put together a clean race and finish one off ever since my debut there on the truck side. Hopefully, just have a clean Saturday and see if we could have some good track position there at the end and go for a win and I’m pretty sure it’s a Triple Truck Challenge race, so some extra cash as well.”
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST THING YOU’VE LEARNED IN CUP SO FAR THIS YEAR? “We all know that Sunday is the best of the best, but I just feel like it’s not talked about enough on how good those guys really are from first to last pretty much. Everyone is just so good, so everyone is really hard to pass. It’s just hard racing for 600 miles, so it’s just kind of adapting to that and obviously the longer races and that one was extremely long, but I felt great after. I felt like I could go for another, which was surprising looking back at my other Cup races that I was just uncomfortable at at the end of them. They honestly race in a way similar to trucks, just the blocking and the dirty air is multiplied by a little bit, but they’re definitely a lot of fun and that was my first mile-and-a-half in a Cup car. Other than that I’ve just done short tracks and superspeedways and it’s definitely the most fun I’ve had in one, so my next one is on a road course, so road courses are kind of home for me and I hear good things about the Cup car on road courses nowadays, so looking forward to that one.”
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT SONOMA? “One, it’s at home for me. It’s a different piece of California, but it’s cool to get back to the home state and really just road courses in general. I'm so excited during the whole week of whenever it’s a road course race. I just really enjoy road course racing, especially in stock cars and Sonoma is a great racetrack. I had a lot of fun there in the truck and looking forward to a Cup car there.”
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE WHAT THIS LAST YEAR HAS BEEN LIKE? “It’s been crazy. Really, I had no offseason and then rolling right into this year. It’s kind of been like deja vu of winning Daytona again and COTA, so it’s definitely had its ups and downs throughout this year, just getting caught up in some things that are my fault, some things where we’re competing for another win and inches away and getting caught up in someone else’s mess on the truck side. And then had some things really not go my way at all on the Cup side starting out, so to have that good run at the Coke 600 really, I think, just fueled myself back up and everyone at FRM. It’s been a rough three weeks on the truck side. Darlington for one, having engine issues, and then kind of rebound at North Wilkesboro and had such a good truck after starting in the back and driving up to second and then me speeding on pit road during that final stop frustrated me even more. Then we went into Charlotte and I knew how important clean air was on the truck and we had a parts failure of gear oils spraying the rear tires running the truck race. I’m not blaming that on why I spun out, but I don’t think that really helped. We got to third in the truck race and spun out in front of the field and got more damage, so my truck guys have been working their butts off trying to fix all these trucks and trying to stay competitive. That Coke 600 run put our confidence back where it needs to be and firing everyone back up. We’ve got one more on the truck side until we get a little break, and it’ll be great that I just had that good run on the Cup side and only have one week off and then back in it at Sonoma.”
DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR PLANS ARE FOR NEXT YEAR AND DO YOU FEEL YOU ARE READY TO GO TO THE CUP SERIES FULL-TIME IF GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY? “Yeah, I do. I kind of regret not going there this year in a way, but, yeah, I do think I am ready. I feel like just putting myself racing on Sunday has taught me so much and has gotten me used to the longer races, but, no, I don’t have anything in place yet for next year. There are some things we’re working on for this year. We’ll see what happens.”
YOU STAYED OUT ON OLD TIRES AND IT WORKED OUT, BUT HOW MUCH DID THAT HELP IN TERMS OF UNDERSTANDING THESE NEXT GEN CARS? “I mean, talk about feeding me to the wolves. I felt like we were definitely from the start of the race had a top 20 car and then the second half of the race we had a top 15 car and then that final half I felt like had a top 10 car. Really, the top five were just faster than me in a couple of sections, but consistently I would say. Then, I don’t know what I really thought. I wasn’t too confident when I don’t know how many there were to go, I think there was like 40 to go, and we stayed out and I was gonna be the leader on my first mile-and-a-half and sixth Cup start, holding off two Hendrick cars that have obviously been fast all year. I knew that was gonna be a handful and just didn’t want to embarrass myself of wrecking in front of the field or getting wrecked or wrecking myself or whatever it may be. Fortunately, I was able to hold onto that track position as much as I could, and then those cautions fell and we pitted with three others and started 22nd. I was pretty frustrated then because we had a solid day and I knew we were better than 22nd. I didn’t want to get trapped back three, so I just went to the fence and I think I got eight guys in one lap and then that built me some time to get a few more and just get us track position. That’s just so much of what the Cup side is. You really don’t know who is great until you get them out front, so I guess it was cool to experience the front row for 500 to 1,000 feet maybe. It was short lived, but really cool to run up there.”
HOW HAS IT BEEN BETWEEN YOU AND TODD WITH SHARING THE 38 CUP RIDE? “It’s definitely a hard position FRM is in where they have three of us and two Cup seats, so we’re all aware of the situation and all understand how this racing world works. Todd is a great friend of mine. That’s the worst about our job is we all live the same life and we kind of all hang out with each other. We grew up racing K&N, ARCA, Truck, Xfinity and then eventually when it’s time to get to Cup there’s only so many seats, and when you hang out with people that are winning races, you guys are probably both gonna end up there or have a shot to one day. Unfortunately, our situation has kind of fallen in that boat, but we try to handle it the best we can. I didn’t intend on it being this way. It’s tough for everyone on the 38 team to share two drivers, especially with a rookie crew chief. It’s not only hard on Todd, I think it’s hard on that whole group.”
DO YOU STILL FEEL LIKE THE DEFENDING TRUCK CHAMPION? “I don’t go into it really like that. I know what myself and my team are capable of on the truck side. It’s just kind of unfortunate that circumstances cost us a few possible race wins and good finishes and a lot of points over the past three weeks, but we’re still digging and trying to get some momentum back. It would be a different story if we just flat-out sucked and we were wrecking trucks, but we’re at least going for it and that’s my intention of how I went into it this year of me hoping it’s my last year in truck. My full focus was trophies are the only thing that matters and unfortunately that’s kind of cost me some points and some wrecked trucks. It’s probably time to tone it back some and focus on points and just get some good runs in general.”
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU’RE WORKING ON FOR THIS YEAR? WOULD IT BE WITH RICK WARE RACING? “I don’t think I’m gonna be doing anymore races for Rick Ware Racing. It was a great learning day at Martinsville and experiencing Martinsville. What I meant by that is I’m just trying to race more in general. That was kind of my plan this year, whether it be on the IMSA side like we did at the beginning of the year. Obviously, getting my feet wet in the Cup Series and hopefully some Xfinity races or something.”
LAST YEAR AT GATEWAY IT WAS A LAST-MINUTE SITUATION TO GET YOU IN THE 17 CAR. DID THAT JUMPSTART ANYTHING TOWARD MOVING MORE TOWARDS CUP? “I definitely think any Cup opportunity that you get, and that one that I got for RFK Racing was a huge opportunity. I was super thankful for that, so I think that run we had got my stock up and then, honestly, getting the Truck championship helped that rise as well. I think just time in the Cup car is so important and I think once that new Cup car came out, people realized that you don’t have to do the route of Truck, Xfinity, Cup. The Cup car is, like I said, so far apart from anything, though it does kind of race like a truck, so I don’t think you need to go that round of Truck, Xfinity, Cup. I think a lot of people would agree with me on that, so I’m happy for these Cup starts that I’m getting. I’m happy for that one that I got last year at a place like Gateway. I think every time that you’re in one you learn a lot.”
IF YOU GET IN SOME XFINITY RACES, WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF THAT? “Just back to racing more. I think Xfinity is a little bit longer race. I think the more things you race and the more often you race, the better race car driver you’re gonna be. If there are any people out there that think, ‘What would he do in Xfinity?’ Hopefully, we could have a good run on the Xfinity side and put that to bed and move forward, but I don’t have any intentions of thinking, ‘Man, I’ve got to go Xfinty racing before Cup.’”
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THE MENTAL SIDE OF DRIVING ON THE CUP SIDE? “Definitely, and I think those good runs you have, and fortunately I was just able to experience one, which, that was my goal to kind of run up closer to the front with those guys and just see how it is. I think that just builds confidence of knowing that, ‘Hey, we can run up here.’ That was super important. Sunday just brings a whole different atmosphere in general of way more people. You’ve now made it, so you’re in position where people below you are trying to take your job now, and so it’s definitely a lot more pressure but I think it’s just like any professional sport. It’s really cut throat and if you belong, you belong.”
DID YOU KNOW IT WAS A CUT THROAT TYPE OF BUSINESS OR WERE YOU TOLD THAT? “I knew it and you at least hear about it, but it’s a whole other thing to experience it. So, typically if you experience it, it’s a really good thing – like you’re doing a good job. Obviously, I’m not full-time yet, so I’m fighting to be full-time and earn a good Cup ride and that’s our goal.”
DO ALL OF YOU YOUNG GUYS GET ALONG WITH EACH OTHER WHEN YOU’RE ALL TRYING TO ACHIEVE THE SAME GOAL OF A FULL-TIME CUP RIDE? “Yeah. It’s a very odd time in the sport. There are a lot of people reaching the end of their road on the Cup side, so there’s a lot of young drivers that are trying to fill those seats, so that’s why I think you see a lot of aggressive racing. Team owners, sponsors, everyone really only cares about race wins it seems like, so we’re just trying to put ourselves in position to capture these race wins. That’s where our focus has been to hopefully end up on Sunday.”
HOW MUCH ARE YOU ABLE TO PREPARE IN THE NEXT GEN CAR? “For the previous Cup races, I actually put a lot of sim time in, but for Charlotte I probably only had 30 minutes to an hour, so that’s kind of been my seat time. But, leaning on my teammates and other drivers in general and just looking back at past notes of what they had last year is kind of what I went through and gone about it. That’s my plan for Sonoma. Yes, it’s a completely different car, but it’s still road course racing, so hopefully my background in road course racing can still apply to the Next Gen. That’s how we’ll go about it.”
Ford Performance PR