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It’s safe to say no driver is looking forward to returning to Salem Speedway for this weekend’s ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic 200 more than the driver of the No.15 JBL Audio Toyota, Christian Eckes.
Eckes, already a two-time ARCA Series winner, thrilled onlookers back in April with a late race, side-by-side battle with teammate Chandler Smith before capturing the checkered flag for his first series victory.
“Winning at this level, in this series is not easy, winning at Salem is even tougher,” says Eckes. “I’ll always remember my first win. I’m excited to get back for another shot. Kevin Reed (Crew Chief) and this JBL Audio team has been on point all season long. Saturday night will be tough – you can expect another strong field of cars but we’ll be ready to defend.”
The Middletown, NY native has a lot of reasons to like his chances of repeating. Eckes has been on a roll this season. In addition to capturing his first ARCA Series win at Salem, the 17-year old driver repeated as a series winner last month at Springfield. He also won his first General Tire Pole award at Elko back in July.
Saturday night’s race will mark Eckes’ fourth career start on the high banks of Salem. During his first track appearance back in the Spring of ’17 he led 91-laps before settling for an 8th place finish. He led another 72-laps earlier this year on his way to victory lane.
Over the course of his 11-races entered on the ’18 season Eckes has led laps in six events for 250-laps. Averaging a fifth place starting spot the college freshman has notched five top-5’s and six top-10’s on the season campaign.
The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic 200 presented by Meadow View/Salem Crossing from Salem Speedway is slated to go green Saturday, September 15 at 7:15pm. MAVTV will carry live broadcast coverage starting at 7:00pm. Spectator gates open on Saturday at 11:15 a.m., with practice getting underway at 12-noon. Qualifying is set for 3:00pm. All times Eastern Standard Time.
The upcoming ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic 200 at Salem Speedway will have a decidedly local flavor with four hometown favorites entered.
Will Kimmel (No. 69 FASS Diesel Fuel Systems Ford), of nearby Sellersburg, Indiana, enters Salem fresh off a career-best second-place finish at DuQuoin.
The Kimmel family, including family patriarch Bill Kimmel, Sr., brothers Frank and Bill, and cousins Frankie and Will, all established themselves as winning drivers on the short tracks of southern Indiana. Bill, Sr. has three career ARCA wins, Frank is the all-time leading ARCA winner with 80 wins and 10 national championships, and Bill served as Frank's crew chief for the vast majority of those wins and series titles. Frankie has transitioned into a spotter and driver coach, while Will is still in search of his first career ARCA Racing Series win.
"Finishing second, for a team like ours, was almost like a win," Kimmel said. "We go up against these bigger teams that race with much bigger budgets and we're able to compete with them at places like DuQuoin. We always run good at Salem too. It's an important race for us and we always put a lot of attention and effort into it."
Kimmel's father, and team owner, Bill will field a second entry for seventeen-year-old Baden Stewart (No. 68 Stewart Automotive Ford). Stewart, who resides in Salem, has been a regular competitor in Salem's Great American Stocks division, picking up his first win in a 50-lap feature in August. He currently sits second in the division's point standings with just two races remaining, including a 50-lapper immediately before Saturday's 200-lap ARCA race.
"This is a dream come true," Stewart said. "For a kid from Salem to get a chance to come and race in the ARCA race with the Kimmels is something I only dreamed about. The goal is to go out and run all 200 laps, stay out of trouble, and see where we end up. If we can do that, I think we'll have a good chance to finish in the top ten."
Both drivers will do double duty on Saturday, as they will also compete in the Meadow View/Salem Crossing 50 for the Great American Stocks.
Jack Dossey III (No. 99 Munn's Construction/Norton Trucking/Hart's Auto Toyota) will make his second series start on Saturday. Dossey, from nearby Wanamaker, finished 18th at Salem in April. Dossey, currently second in the CRA Jegs All-Star Tour championship standings, believes his small family-owned team can contend for a top-ten finish at Salem.
“I have a lot of laps at Salem,” Dossey said. “I've run pretty good there in our late model stuff. I am pretty confident going in. The race in the spring didn't go as planned, but I think we can go out and contend for a top ten finish. A top five would be like getting a win. We don't have a huge budget; we do a lot with a little, so to go out and run with the best in the business is huge for us.”
Series regular Mike Basham (No. 34 Darrell Basham Racing Chevrolet) will be in search of his second career top ten finish and the first ever at his home track. The Basham family, a part of the ARCA Racing Series since 1973, races out of Henryville, Indiana. The ARCA races at Salem have been a family tradition for as long as he can remember.
“I have been going to Salem my whole life,” Basham said. “I can remember going to Salem when the grandstands were covered and they had a bridge to the infield. I have watched dad race here many times and it is like coming home. My dad was track champion here a few years in a row he even caught the grass on fire once. My uncle, brother, and cousins have all raced at Salem as well. My mom, dad, step mom, uncles, cousins, daughter, and granddaughter will be there and it doesn't get any better than that. I want to run as hard as I can while still trying to take care of the car and try to beat Hillenburg's cars.”
The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic 200 is scheduled for Saturday, September 15 at Salem Speedway. Practice is set for 1 pm ET, with General Tire Pole Qualifying slated for 4 pm ET, the one-hour on-track driver autograph session is set for 5:45 pm ET, and the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic 200 will go green at 7:15 pm ET. The race will be televised live on MAVTV; ARCARacing.com will have live timing & scoring, track updates, and scanner audio throughout the day for registered users.
ARCA Racing PR
The excitement has been building all season as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West heads to Las Vegas this week to compete on a dirt track for the first time in nearly 40 years.
The Star Nursery 100 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track on Thursday has attracted a lot of attention since it was first announced when the 2018 series schedule was released.
Bill McAnally Racing will field five entries for the race, with two stars of NASCAR returning to the series for this special event. Christopher Bell and Brendan Gaughan will join BMR’s current lineup of drivers – Derek Kraus, Cole Rouse, and Hailie Deegan.
Bell, who competed with BMR in two K&N West events in 2015, will drive BMR’s No. 60 NAPA Belts & Hoses Toyota Camry at Las Vegas. The Norman, Oklahoma native made a name for himself as a teenager racing sprint cars on dirt tracks across the country. He has quickly made his way up the ranks in NASCAR, winning the championship in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2017 and battling for this year’s championship in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
Gaughan, who hails from Las Vegas, won back-to-back K&N West championships with the Bill McAnally-led team in 2000 and 2001. He went on to compete in all three national divisions in NASCAR. Gaughan will be driving the No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Toyota Camry at Las Vegas, as many members of his championship team return with him for the race.
Kraus, who drives BMR’s No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, is coming off a major win as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series made its inaugural visit to Gateway Motorsports Park last month for an East-West combination race. The 17-year-old from Stratford, Wisconsin is third in the K&N West championship standings, 29 points out of first. He has three wins, four poles, six top fives, and eight top 10s in 10 starts this season.
Rouse, driver of the No. 99 NAPA Filters Toyota Camry, finished in the runner-up spot at Gateway to give BMR a 1-2 finish in the combo race. The 21-year-old Fort Smith, Arkansas driver is fourth in the standings, three points behind Kraus. He has five top-five and nine top-10 finishes this season.
Deegan – a 17-year-old rookie from Temecula, California – is second in rookie standings and seventh in the overall championship standings. She has three top-five and eight top-10 finishes behind the wheel of the No. 19 Mobil 1/NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry.
Kraus, who won last year’s rookie title in the series, and Deegan are members of the NASCAR Next program that spotlights NASCAR’s rising stars.
Activities with NAPA AUTO PARTS at the track on Thursday include the NAPA Los Angeles Distribution Center bringing a group of guests through incentive programs. They will be treated to a VIP experience – with dinner at the track, a meet-and-greet with the BMR drivers, and an opportunity to attend the drivers meeting.
Thursday’s event in Las Vegas is the 11th event on a 14-race schedule. It’s scheduled to be televised on NBCSN on Sept. 21 at 11:30 a.m. PT.
The K&N West race is part of big weekend of NASCAR racing at LVMS, that includes competition on the 1.5-mile speedway with a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event on Friday, a NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Saturday, and the South Point Hotel & Casino 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event on Sunday.
The K&N West last raced on a dirt track at Ascot Park in Gardena, California in 1979.
Three of the brightest talents of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, representing three different countries and three different teams are tangled in a furious battle for the Junior Trophy entering the September 15-16 Semi Finals at the iconic Hockenheimring. 2017 ELITE 2 Champion Thomas Ferrando leads 2015 ELITE 2 Champion Gianmarco Ercoli by 5 points, while rookie Loris Hezemans sits just 3 points further back, a situation that will surely make for some explosive action in the four double-points playoff races.
Despite being still looking for his first win in the top division, with five top-10s and only one finish outside the top-15 Ferrando has been the most consistent of the trio and leads the classification rewarding drivers less than 25 years old. The Frenchman and the whole Knauf Racing Team are poised to climb on top of the podium in the last part of the season and dedicate a win to the memory of Knauf’s General Manager Denis Kleiber, who recently passed away.
“I’m happy lead the Junior Trophy, but in the first part of this season we weren’t as good as we wanted and we had many troubles during the Tours Speedway event. We’ve done consistent results with the Knauf Racing Team, but I’m sure we can do better in the playoffs,” said the driver of the #37 Knauf Racing Team Ford Mustang. “We want to be on the podium in every race and of course go on the top of it!”
In his third full-time ELITE 1 season after winning the ELITE 2 title in 2015, Ercoli broke through at Brands Hatch with a fantastic performance and became the first ELITE 2 Champion to win in the top class. Despite amassing also 2 top-5s and 5 top-10s, the competitive Italian expected more from his regular season.
“We lost too many points. I would have preferred to be closer to the top of the standings. At Valencia weren’t on top of our game, from Franciacorta onwards we have been very strong, then we hit troubles again at Tours. At Brands Hatch we finally got our first ELITE 1 win and it confirmed us we have been working in the right direction,” said the Italian. “I like the next two tracks very much and I hope to bring the #9 Jeikey Racers Motorsport Mustang to the front again because the whole team deserves it and we showed we have the potential.”
Ferrando and Ercoli racing door to door make for a familiar sight for the Euro NASCAR fans as the two have been among the protagonists of the ELITE 2 division since their debut. Their high level of competitiveness in the top division testifies how formative the ELITE 2 Division is for drivers coming straight from karting.
Coming from GT racing through the NWES Drivers Recruitment Program, Hezemans has been lighting quick since the very beginning of the season, but early DNFs costed him precious points in Valencia and Franciacorta. From Round 4 on, the Dutchman notched three podium finishes and never finished outside the top-10.
“I’m very happy about how quickly we adapted to the car and the series with Hendriks Motorsport. We already led a race and went on the podium. Pace-wise we’re there, we have the win in us and we showed it. There have been to many dnfs and that’s a shame, but we learnt from them,” said Hezemans. “I’ll take a slightly different approach for the playoffs. I’ll focus heavily on qualifying and then on finishing the race scoring as many points as possible. The goal is to finish all the races, grab as many points as possible and hopefully be able to win the Junior Trophy and a race in the US in my first year.”
British rookie Alex Sedgwick is not out of the picture as the Braxx Racing driver sits just 30 points behind Ferrando despite racing only 6 out of 8 regular season races in the ELITE 1 Division. Sedgwick scored 2 top-5s and 4 top-10s between Franciacorta and Tours.
The battle for the Junior Trophy will be even more exciting with such different characters involved. The three main contender agree on one thing though: each of them wants to be the winner.
“It’s going to be a great show for the fans,” said Ferrando. “Ercoli already won once and he could do it again and Hezemans is so fast he already went on the podium, but I’m confident we can beat the both. We have done a great job and we will continue to do it!”
“It is going to be a good battle with Thomas and Loris, but I believe we are faster than both and we are not in the lead because we left too many points on the table. Hezemans seems to have a stronger pace but he has less experience. We are determined to win, that’s the goal,” Ercoli said of his rivals.
“I respect both Ferrando and Ercoli, they are young and fast and they’re both very strong. Ferrando was very consistent, even if sometimes he wasn’t running as high as we were. Ercoli showed he is very fast and both will pose a great challenge, but I really hope to be the one who comes out on top!” concluded Hezemans.
The Euro NASCAR playoffs will begin on Sept 15-16 with four exciting races at the Hockenheimring, Germany. All the action will be streamed live on on Fanschoice.tv, Motorsport.tv, the NWES Facebook page and Youtube channel and a vast network of websites and social media profiles around the world.
NASCAR Euro Series PR
Lee Faulk Racing and Development driver Austin Green delivered his third victory of the season on Saturday night in late model stock car competition at Hickory Motor Speedway.
The second Annual East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals has been expanded to a third night of racing to accommodate new racers interested in competing. The event featuring the 600cc wingless Micro Sprints will again be held at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton, N.J. with racing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night December 13th - 15th. Racing will start at 7PM on Thursday and Friday, 5PM on Saturday.
Entries will be split into two preliminary night programs on Thursday and Friday evening. The first two nights of action will set the line-ups for Saturday’s main event program where all entered racers will compete.
“We have already received close to 90 entries for the event and its 3 1/2 months away from race day,” said promoter Len Sammons. “The great dark clay racing surface and awesome three wide groove action at the inaugural event caught the attention of racers from different forms of racing that want to be involved. The split preliminary night schedule will allow us the pit space to expand the entry list to 120 cars with 60 competing each night.”
A list of what drivers are presently competing each night is posted and will be updated as they are received at indoorautoracing.com. Entries will be limited to 120, so teams are urged to enter quickly to avoid being left out.
New entries have already been received from many including Ryan Flores, the 2018 TQ Midget Car winner of the Indoor Auto Racing Series race held on the concrete floor of Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall. Erick Rudolph, a multi-time TQ indoor winner who currently is second in points on the Super DIRTcar big-block Modified series, is also a new entrant. Another dirt Modified driver, Dom Buffalino has landed a ride to join the action.
The Thursday and Friday events will now feature heat races and four A-Qualifier main events. The top two finishers in each feature will go directly into Saturday, December 15ths main event. Points earned throughout each night programs will be used to lineup alphabet mains for Saturday night’s main event program for all other racers. At the event last year, Wyoming, Delaware’s Luke Thomas rebounded from a problem on his qualifying night to advance from the D-Main to finishing seventh in the A-Main.
An invitational event will also be held on each of the two preliminary nights. The top 20 drivers in the 2017 Indoor Auto Racing Series Slingshot and Champ Kart point standings who accept an invitation to compete will run a heat races and a feature event. The Slingshots will be part of Thursday’s program, the Champ Karts on Friday.
Tickets for the events are on sale through a link at indoorautoracing.com or by stopping by the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton.
All tickets for the additional Thursday event will be offered as general admission open seating for just $15. Those who have already purchased a Friday night grandstand ticket, or do so by September 21, will receive a general admission ticket for Thursday as an added bonus at a later date in the same method the other tickets arrived. After September 21, all three nights will be sold as a separate ticket.
A range of different price tickets are available for Friday and Saturday action including lower and upper level reserve seats. General admission upper-level seating where children are admitted for just $5 is available as a less costly alternative, but without the guarantee of specific seats.
Saturday’s front row or suite tickets will also include a special pit area tour prior to the start of racing action.
Information about entering the East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals, technical and competition rules, and host hotel information is as posted on the web-site.
With six different winners in eight events, the Challenger Trophy will definitely be an highlight of the ELITE 1 Division in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series playoffs as Dario Caso leads the standings with a 7-point advantage on Kenko Miura entering the Sept 15-16 Semi Finals at Hockenheim, Germany.
Newcomer Mauro Trione emerged from Tours as a potential contender after scoring his first top-10 of the season and sits just 24 points behind Caso, a gap that could be easily filled in the playoffs with double-points paying races.
The only multiple winner of 2018, Caso is in the hunt for his second Challenger Trophy title after winning it in 2016 and finishing second in 2017. The Italian veteran grabbed the win in the special classification rewarding non-professional ELITE 1 driver a total three times at Valencia, Brands Hatch and Tours and made consistency his main weapon by finishing outside the top-15 just twice.
“The first part of the season was positive. I was aiming at a place in the top-10 but I didn’t succeed yet. I hope to move up in the last four races of the season,” said Dario Caso, who drives the #8 Racers Motorsport Ford Mustang. “With double points on the line, finishing races will be fundamental. We’ll have to finish and get good results too, trying to stay ahead of the competition, but first of all we’ll need to finish. I’d be really happy to grab a top-10 and that would surely help in the Challenger Trophy.”
Caso’s main rival Kenko Miura definitely agrees on the importance of reaching the finish line. The Alex Caffi Motorsports driver is in his first full-time season at the wheel of the #2 Toyota Camry after racing a part-time schedule in 2017. Miura hit trouble at Valencia and Franciacorta, but from there his season went progressing and he finished 11th twice at Brands Hatch and Tours and looks forward to two tracks he already knows to further improve.
“It is my first full season in Europe and it was extremely important to gain valuable experience and that’s what we did with my team in the regular season. This little gap allows us to shoot for the Trophy, but I’m generally aiming at improving my overall results and move toward the top of the ELITE 1,” said Miura. “It will be absolutely fundamental to finish every race and and take the best possible position.”
Caso and Miura faced each other at Hockenheim last year in the ELITE 2 Division and both times it was the Italian who finished ahead of the Japanese.
“Kenko is very good. Maybe he lacks just a little bit of consistency but that will come with together with the experience in this championship,” said Caso. “The battle for the Challenger Trophy against him is very interesting and I think it will go down to the last race of the season”
“Dario has a very aggressive driving style, but even if it doesn’t always work your way, going on the attack is what makes racing exciting. I respect Dario and the way he races.” Miura said.
The 2018 Euro NASCAR playoffs will get underway on September 15-16 with the NASCAR GP of Germany at the legendary Hockenheimring and all the races will be streamed live on on Fanschoice.tv, Motorsport.tv, the NWES Facebook page and Youtube channel and a vast network of websites and social media profiles around the world.
NASCAR Euro Series PR
Officials from Chad Bryant Racing (CBR) announced today that 2016 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards champion Chase Briscoe will return to the series’ and compete in a second-car for the organization in Friday night’s Shore Lunch 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway.
Briscoe, a native of nearby Mitchell, Ind. will have support from Indiana-based Nutri Chomps aboard his No. 22 Ford Fusion in his 23rd career ARCA start.