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Hitting their stride at the end of the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) season, Rette Jones Racing (RJR) and Tyler Dippel head to New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway for Sunday night’s Jet Tools 150 looking to open the season with a popular win.

Dippel enters his third season of K&N East competition looking for his second career win and the first for Rette Jones Racing.

Last February, Dippel and the team had a strong car and contended for a top-five finish before being eliminated in a late-race accident.

The Wallkill, New York native though isn’t focused on what happened last February, but instead is prepared to look out the windshield of his No. 30 D and A Concrete Contractor / TYCAR Trenchless Technologies Ford Fusion.

“I’m looking forward to getting back in a K&N car this weekend, said Dippel who will make his 28th career start in Sunday night’s season-opener. “At the end of last season, we were really starting to put up some really good finishes and I think we can go to New Smyrna and pick up right where we left off.”

During the off-season, the RJR team put a huge emphasis on inspecting their Ford Fusions with a fine-tooth comb – knowing that Dippel needs all the components to contend for the K&N championship.

“The guys have worked hard since October and I’d like to repay them with a good finish on Sunday.

“It’s important for us to get off on the right foot at New Smyrna. It’s not an easy track though. You must carry the speed off the corner and prepare to make your move down the straightaways before you get back to the corner.

“My debut there in 2016 was pretty good and we had a shot at a good finish last year and got wiped out. Anything less than a top-five this weekend and I’d we’d all be disappointed. We’ll just have to see what happens.”

Team co-owner and crew chief Mark Rette says his Mooresville, N.C.-based team is ready for battle on Sunday night and believes the experience that Dippel has acquired will pay dividends.

“2018 should be a good year for us and we’re looking forward to New Smyrna with Tyler,” spoke Rette. “Tyler has a good track record there and he should have a strong No. 30 D and A Concrete Contractor / TYCAR Trenchless Technologies Ford to leave his mark.

"Hopefully, it’s in Victory Lane!”

In addition to D and A Concrete Contractor and TYCAR Trenchless Technologies serving as the title marketing partners for the opening round of the season, Rette Jones Racing also welcomes Jones Group International, J-AAR Excavating, Goodridge Fluid Transfer Systems and Russo’s Tinting as associate partners for the first short track race of 2017.

They join Ford Performance and JRI who join RJR as technical partners this season.

RJR is co-owned by Canadian entrepreneur and race car driver Terry Jones.

In 27 career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts, Dippel, 17, has earned one victory (Mobile Speedway, 2016), achieved three top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. The teenager has also 139 laps led in event competition.

The Jet Tools 150 (150 laps / 72 miles) is the first of 14 races on the 2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule. An optional practice run is open for teams on Saturday, February 10 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Official practice begins for the one-day show on Sunday, February 11 from 2:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. A final practice session has been etched in from 3:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Group qualifying is set for later in the day at 5:05 p.m. The event will take the green flag just after 7:30 p.m. that night. The event will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on NBC Sports Network with a to-be-announced time and date.

For more information on Tyler Dippel, please check out TylerDippel.com, his Facebook page (Tyler Dippel Racing) or on Instagram @tylerdippel.

Dippel tweets too. Follow him @Tyler_Dippel.

The latest on Rette Jones Racing is available at RetteJonesRacing.com, the team’s Facebook page or Twitter @RetteJones30.

RJR PR

Rette Jones Racing development driver Grant Quinlan heads to Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway this week for Saturday afternoon’s Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 driven by General Tire looking for a big finish in his ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.

Of course, Quinlan admits that his Rette Jones Racing team can’t fly under the radar this weekend after the team’s exceptional performance last February that left team co-owner Terry Jones with a career-best second place finish.

While Jones is taking the weekend off, he has given the steering wheel to a fellow Canadian driver hoping that he can pick up right where he left off and deliver RJR their first career ARCA victory.

“I’m feeling the jitterbugs, but I’m sure they’ll be gone by the time I climb in the car for practice on Thursday afternoon,” said Quinlan, a native of Maidstone, Ontario Canada.

“Daytona can be intimidating for anyone, especially a rookie like me, but thankfully I have a good team that is surrounded by veterans who have a lot of experience and should help make my ARCA debut a smooth one.”

Led by former championship crew chief Mark Rette, RJR participated in the sanctioning body’s open test session at the 2.5-mile speedway last month. While the team made steady gains during the two-day session, the 19-year-old says what his team did back at the shop since then should make them even better for Saturday afternoon’s 80-lap shootout.

“We were somewhat satisfied with our results at the test,” added Quinlan who hopes to run more ARCA races with Rette Jones Racing following Daytona. “Mark and the team kept making adjustments and with every change, we kept getting better.

“When it comes to a championship crew chief like Mark (Rette), he’s never going to be satisfied unless he’s at the top of the board. We made some good gains in the draft and when push comes to shove that’s where the speed will be most important.

“We’ll see how the cards fall and hope we can find our No. 30 Rette Jones Racing / International Tool & Mold Ford Fusion in contention when it counts the most.” Quinlan has made six NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts with RJR, including his most recent race at New Jersey Motorsports Park this past September where the Canadian delivered a solid eighth place finish. He is also a veteran of the ARCA / CRA Late Model Series.

Saturday, however, will be the biggest race of his career, thus far.

“We haven’t really set a goal for the race, yet,” added Quinlan. “A lot can happen man. One minute you could be at the front, the next you’re in the back and so on. A lot of Daytona seems to come down to luck and patience.

“I hope to have both. I know that my spotter is going to mean everything this weekend and I plan to spend a lot of time with him.”

Quinlan’s run in the Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 is the start of a busy weekend for the Mooresville, N.C.-based team. In addition to the ARCA race, RJR will also be competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season-opener the following night at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway with driver Tyler Dippel.

Dippel also turned laps during the open-test at Daytona in January in hopes of making his superspeedway debut in February 2019.

For Rette, another good weekend at Daytona could make all the difference in the world on how the team’s participation in the ARCA Racing Series shapes up for 2018.

“It’s great to have Grant back in one of our cars,” said Rette. “He did a really good job at the test and we’ve been thrashing on this Ford getting ready for battle this weekend.

“I think people are going to be really surprised by Grant’s demeanor and focus for Daytona. He wants to go out there and earn the respect of his peers and hopefully find himself with a shot for a good finish this weekend. We know that the stars really aligned last year to put us in a good position to win the race.

“It can happen again with Grant and even Tyler on Sunday in the K&N East race too. We’re just happy to be racing!”

While Rette will be busy with the team’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East program, Logan Yiengst who normally serves as the car chief on the K&N side will call the shots for Quinlan for his superspeedway debut.

Additionally, the team welcomes Huntilar Corp., a Pennsylvania-based construction company specializing in custom home building, townhouse developments and excavation who joins RJR as a new major associate marketing partner for the 2018 season.

“Logan is going to do a great job on Saturday,” added Rette. “He has all the experience he needs to showcase his potential as a crew chief in ARCA. And the addition of Huntilar just shows the growth of Rette Jones Racing and that’s very exciting.”

The Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 driven by General Tire (80 laps / 200 miles) is the first of 20 races on the 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Thurs., Feb. 8 with a two-hour session from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. A final practice session has been etched in on Fri., Feb. 9 from 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Group qualifying is set for later in the day at 3:30 p.m. The season-opener for the 66th consecutive ARCA season is set to take the green flag on Sat., Feb. 10 shortly after 4:30 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities.

The latest on Rette Jones Racing is available at the team’s Facebook page, while also active on Twitter @RetteJones30.

Quinlan also tweets. Follow him @GQuinlan28.

RJR PR

Putting an emphasis on enhancing their on-track performance from a limited ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season last year, Codie Rohrbaugh and Grant County Mulch Racing (CGR) head to Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway upbeat and confident about their chances in Saturday afternoon’s Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire.
 
The former NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) competitor has leaned on the support of his veteran crew chief Mark Huff who has assembled a fleet of No. 7 Grant County Mulch Chevrolets not only ready for Daytona, but a majority of the ARCA season.
 
Daytona, however, is a prime focus for the Petersburg, West Virginia native who returns to the “World Center of Racing” seeking redemption after being eliminated in the winding laps of last season’s ARCA season-opener.
 
The team’s determination to finish what they started in this weekend’s race is evident after the team showcased speed during last month’s preseason testing at the 2.5-mile speedway.
 
While officially posting the 27th quickest lap of 62 participants during the two-day session, Rohrbaugh says his Mooresville, N.C.-based team was holding back and plans to showcase their full potential when practice starts Thursday afternoon.
 
“Our No. 7 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet is going to be pretty good this weekend at Daytona,” said Rohrbaugh who will make his 11th career start and second at Daytona on Saturday.
 
“We worked really hard at the test with single-car speeds because we felt that if we could get the car maneuvering pretty good by itself, it would perform well in the draft.
 
“We saw signs of that in the limited drafting we did during the two days at the test. We went back to the shop, made some tweaks and I’m ready for another opportunity to race at Daytona.”
 
Knowing that Daytona is known for being unpredictable, Rohrbaugh and his team have one goal in mind, win.
 
“We’re going to have a good dose of ARCA races on our schedule this year, but we won’t be competing for the championship, so we can go to the race track every weekend and focus on just winning. It’s going to be tough, but I think we’ve shown the speed over the last 10 months or so to prove that with the right circumstances, we can be winners.”
 
The 24-year-old says while his team has the tools to be winners, the competition in ARCA is stiff. A plethora of strong teams with talented drivers means not much will be left on the table every lap when it comes to the winning trophy.
 
For the West Virginian though, that’s a challenge he gladly accepts.
 
“Typically, you can throw a blanket over the top-10 cars or so,” added Rohrbaugh. “It’s a strong group of cars and competitors. The competition is as close as ever – but that usually leads to good racing for the fans and that should be the case for the Lucas Oil 200.”
 
In 10 career ARCA starts, Rohrbaugh has a best finish of eighth at Michigan International Speedway (June 2017) after starting a career-best eighth at the same 2.0-mile speedway.
 
Marketing partnership opportunities are available for the No. 7 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet for the 2018 ARCA Racing Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series seasons and beyond. Interested inquiries are encouraged to contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
The Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 driven by General Tire (80 laps / 200 miles) is the first of 20 races on the 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Thurs., Feb. 8 with a two-hour session from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. A final practice session has been etched in on Fri., Feb. 9 from 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Group qualifying is set for later in the day at 3:30 p.m. The season-opener for the 66th consecutive ARCA season is set to take the green flag on Sat., Feb. 10 shortly after 4:30 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities. 
 
Codie Rohrbaugh PR

The 2018 Racing Season takes the green flag this weekend with both the ARCA Racing Series (ARS) Presented by MENARDS and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) in the sunny state of Florida. The ARCA Racing Series will make its season debut at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday in the Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire while the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East headlines NASCAR Speedweeks at New Smyrna Speedway on Sunday in the Race New Smyrna 175.

MDM returns to the ARCA Racing Series with a stellar lineup of drivers that includes Zane Smith, Chase Purdy and Sheldon Creed, while defending 2017 NKNPSE Champion Harrison Burton and Anthony Alfredo will compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.  As talented as the driver line-up is, it’s also duplicated with an impressive group of veteran and championship crew chiefs that include Mardy Lindley (Zane Smith), Jeff Stankiewicz (Sheldon Creed), Charles “Cully” Barraclough (Chase Purdy), Robert Huffman (Anthony Alfredo) and Shane Huffman (Harrison Burton).

Zane Smith, driver of the No. 41 ICON Vehicle Dynamics / La Paz Margarita Mix / Speed Vegas / Ultra Wheel Toyota will compete full time in the 2018 ARCA Racing Series and will be teamed up with NKNPSE Championship crew chief Mardy Lindley. “The biggest thing about Daytona is staying clear of the wrecks and surviving the storm. There are so many things out of your control during speedway racing. Zane’s never plate raced before so having someone like Derek Kneeland spotting for him will be huge for us,” said Lindley. Smith who ran three NKNPSE races in 2017 that included two poles, one third and a pair of runner-up finishes is ready to take on the new challenges for 2018 ARCA Season. Smith is a member of the NASCAR Next Class after cementing himself as a top young driver by winning the overall Super Late Model Championship at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car racing at New Smyrna Speedway.

Zane on Daytona: “I’m really looking forward to getting the season started, this is the first time I’ve ever ran for a championship, so balancing racing hard for wins and racing smart for points will be important all year and here is no different. Mardy, Marlin and the rest of my La Paz guys have put in a lot of work over the winter to get here.”

Chase Purdy, driver of the No. 8 Bama Buggies / Polaris Toyota will compete full time in 2018 ARCA Racing Series.  Purdy brought home a fourth-place finish in the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Championship that include four consecutive pole awards and five runner-up finishes. Purdy will continue to be paired with veteran crew chief Charles “Cully” Barraclough for the 2018 season and had this to say about Daytona. “It’s a tough race because the unknown factor is higher in plate racing. We have TJ Majors that will be spotting for Chase. I don’t think you could ask for someone better then him to help a young kid out, especially here. We’re just going to keep the nose clean and work our way to the front.” Purdy is also a member of the NASCAR Next Class that is highlighted by 2015 US Legends INEX National Championship and winning the 2016 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Rookie of the Year.

Chase on Daytona: “I can’t wait to get this season going. I get to have another season with Cully which is great, his experience at tracks like this will cut my learning curve down. I’m just going to pay attention to what he and TJ (Majors, spotter) tell me to do, log laps, learn as much as I can, and hopefully we’ll be there at the end.”

Sheldon Creed, better known as “The Showstopper” will be in the No. 28 United Rentals / A.M. Ortega Construction Toyota. Creed, a five-time Stadium Super Truck Champion and X-Games Gold Medal winner, had a break out season in the 2017 ARS with five top-five finishes and eight top-ten in eleven starts, as well as a General Tire Pole Award at Kentucky Speedway. Creed has one goal in mind for 2018 and that is to win the Championship under the MDM Banner.

Sheldon on 2018: “I’m super stoked to be coming back to MDM to race for the ARCA Championship this year. They gave me great cars all year, and I feel really comfortable with them. They know that I give 100 percent every race and I know they do too, so it’s a great relationship,” said Creed.

Harrison Burton, will be back in the No. 12 RUDD/DEX Imaging Toyota for a number of select races for the 2018 season while also competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Burton, the defending 2017 NKNPSE Champion, took the checkered flag five times leading the series in victories and became the youngest NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion, less than two weeks before his 17th birthday. Harrison was selected as a NASCAR Next Driver and is the son of former Monster Energy and Southern 500 winner Jeff Burton.  Harrison began racing at the young age of 5 and is a three-time Quarter Midget Champion. Harrison will have Shane Huffman on top of the box calling the shots, “I'm really looking forward to being with Harrison, he's a proven winner, last year's champion, and my goal is just to keep it going for him. We're loaded for bear and hunting wins all season, it is going to be a fun year." said Huffman.

Harrison on 2018: "Last year was a dream year winning the K&N East Championship. But this year will be fun going after every win we can get. Shane and his guys have been together for a while and I see no reason why we can't pick up where we left off last year."

Anthony Alfredo will be behind the wheel of the No. 40 Ceco Building Systems Toyota. Alfredo is coming off a second-place finish in the 2017 CARS Tour Championship driving for JR Motorsports and is focused on bringing another NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Championship to MDM Motorsports. Anthony will be teaming up with Crew Chief and former Goody’s Dash Series Champion Robert Huffman.  “For as little racing experience as he (Anthony) has, I think he has done a great job in his career thus far. I’m looking forward to working with him all year, finishing second in the CARS Tour Championship by just a few points to someone like Josh Berry shows he already has the ability to run with top competition.”

Anthony on 2018: “I’m really excited about coming over to MDM Motorsports this year to race for the K&N East Championship. I want to thank them for this opportunity, along with my parents and partners for helping make this possible. I am looking forward to working with all of the great individuals that are a part of their team and can’t wait to get to New Smyrna Speedway for our first race on February 11.”

Additional information about MDM Motorsports is available at www.MDMmotorsports.com, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @MDMmotorsports.

MDM Motorsports PR

13-time Formula 1 grand prix winner David Coulthard put in a stunning performance to eclipse 19 fellow superstars of motor sport and win the Race Of Champions for the second time on a thrilling afternoon of non-stop action and entertainment at Riyadh’s King Fahad International Stadium.

Following Team Germany’s triumph in last night’s ROC Nations Cup, all cooperation went out of the window today. The individual Race Of Champions pitted some of the world’s best drivers in a range of identical cars – including the Vuhl 05 ROC Edition, Ariel Atom Cup, Xtreme Pickup, Whelen NASCAR, KTM X-Bow Comp R and the ROC Car – on a purpose-built parallel track featuring ROC’s iconic crossover bridge.

On a sunny afternoon in Riyadh, the best-of-three Grand Final boiled down to a battle between two legends of motorsport. But in the end Coulthard saw off double World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg in two straight heats to become Champion of Champions for the second time.

Solberg had never been in the Race Of Champions Grand Final before. Coulthard, by contrast, won the Champion of Champions crown in 2014 in Barbados and reached the Grand Final at Wembley in 2008 when he was pipped by Sébastien Loeb. This time it was the Scotsman’s turn for more glory again.

David Coulthard in action

Afterwards a delighted Coulthard said: “I had to work hard out there and my heart is beating hard now! So thanks to Petter for a great race. He’s a great sport and a great champion. When I went out of the ROC Nations Cup yesterday after winning just one race out of three my son switched off the TV because he thought ‘Daddy’s too old’ so I’m delighted to show him experience can be a good thing too… Today I pushed hard but it’s also about being clean. I touched the wall once over the course of the day but other than that I kept it on the track.

“It’s great to have been part of the first Race Of Champions here in Riyadh. It’s been a nice atmosphere and the people in the crowd have been treated to non-stop action. So thank you to Fredrik Johnsson and his team for yet another great event. To be honest I’m always surprised when Fredrik invites me because I don’t race any more, but I’m delighted when he does. The camaraderie with all the other drivers is special and we’ve had a wonderful welcome here.”

Solberg added: “First of all, congratulations to David. I was doing everything I could to win it, but it wasn’t quite enough today. David drove very well and he has the right mentality so this was very well deserved. He’s a better circuit driver than me, that’s for sure. I still like to be a bit more sideways! But I’m proud and happy to make it to the final against such a strong field.

“I’ve been coming to the Race Of Champions for many years. It’s incredible to get all these great drivers together and it was a great atmosphere again this time. So thank you to everyone watching in the stadium and around the world. We’ve been made to feel really welcome and the passion from everyone involved has been clear. Fredrik and his team have done a fantastic job. I always enjoy this event and I’ll be back…”

Petter Solberg in action

In the semi-finals, Coulthard beat ‘Mr Le Mans’ Tom Kristensen, who has been the Race Of Champions runner-up six times and still awaits his first ROC Champion of Champions crown. The other race saw the end of a spirited run by 2017 FIA World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson, who was beaten by his rallycross team-mate Solberg.

Kristensen earlier avenged last year’s Grand Final defeat by putting out the reigning ROC Champion of Champions Juan Pablo Montoya in the quarter-finals. Coulthard defeated 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay to join him in the next round.

The quarter-finals proved an unhappy round for the American open-wheel specialists as 2017 IndyCar Champion Josef Newgarden crashed out to allow Kristoffersson an easy run through. Finally Solberg defeated Sweden’s FIA European F3 runner-up Joel Eriksson to complete the semi-final line-up.

Joel Eriksson in the Whelen NASCAR at ROC Riyadh 2018

The drivers were earlier split into four groups of four, battling for the right to take part in the knockout stages.

Montoya dominated Group A with three wins out of three, while Hunter-Reay pipped fellow Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves to the runner’s up spot in the group after a very tight finish in their heat. That meant the Brazilian – who made last night’s ROC Nations Cup final for Team Latin America – exited the tournament alongside Mexico’s European Le Mans Series Champion Memo Rojas.

Coulthard was the man on top in Group B, going through with a perfect record of three wins. He was joined in the quarter-finals by Kristensen on two wins. McLaren World’s Fastest Gamer Rudy van Buren failed to progress despite a fine win against 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Timo Bernhard. Following his victory in yesterday’s ROC Nations Cup for Team Germany, Bernhard couldn’t repeat the feat today and he also went out at this stage.

Group C was the tightest of them all, featuring three of the reigning champions from major motorsport series. In the end three drivers all ended up on two wins each, but Kristoffersson and Eriksson made it through on fastest lap times at the expense of 2017 DTM Champion René Rast, fresh from his triumph in the ROC Nations Cup. 2017 European F3 Champion Lando Norris suffered a crash in his first race and also failed to progress.

Solberg stormed through Group D with three victories, and he was joined in the final stages by Newgarden. ROC Factor Saudi Arabia winner Ahmed Bin Khanen won the battle of the home heroes against WRC2 Rally winner Yazeed Al-Rajhi, but it was not enough for either of them to stay in the competition.

Drivers from ROC Riyadh

Kicking off the afternoon’s action, eight of the drivers were matched up in pairs for a series of Round 1 play-offs. Yesterday’s inaugural eROC winner Enzo Bonito went out at this stage at the hands of fellow simracer van Buren. Abraham Calderon was defeated by fellow countryman Rojas while ROC Factor competitors Mansour Chebli and Khaled Al Qubaisi were also knocked out.

Earlier the drivers took part in the ROC Skills Challenge, a special course set up near the King Fahad International Stadium featuring chicanes, slaloms, 360° turns and parallel parking. There was an early triumph for World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson who came out on top, beating Juan Pablo Montoya into second place.

There was also a virtual competition featuring simracers from the inaugural eROC and some of the professional racers. Montoya’s team of Eriksson, Kristoffersson, Kevin Leaune and Brendon Leigh came out on top, defeating Coulthard’s crew of Rast, Newgarden, Enzo Bonito and Alexander Dornieden. The Colombian then beat Solberg in a simracing head-to-head for good measure…

Before the racing the drivers unfurled a banner in conjunction with the institute for advanced research into brain and spinal cord injuries ICM in honour of ROC’s absent friend (and six-time ROC Nations Cup winner) Michael Schumacher as he continues his recovery from his skiing accident.

Today’s action at Riyadh’s King Fahad International Stadium marks the end of ROC Riyadh. We hope you enjoyed this festival of motor sport and entertainment and we look forward to welcoming you back for our next event. Keep up with all the latest news throughout the year at www.raceofchampions.com, Race Of Champions on Facebook and @raceofchampions on Twitter.

King Fahad Stadium

As the calendar flips to February and IMSA teams set their sights on next month's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts race weekend, a trio of teams have had a chance to catch their breath and reflect on an especially busy January - and December - competing in both the inaugural IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda race at Daytona and the Rolex 24 At Daytona:

Performance Tech Motorsports
The 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype Challenge champions arrived at Daytona International Speedway in early January with a fleet of cars for the Roar Before the Rolex 24: four Mazda Prototype Challenge (MPC) cars and one LMP3 entry for the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda race, and a brand new LMP2 ready to make its debut in the WeatherTech Championship Prototype class.
 
"It was a huge challenge," said team principal, Brent O'Neill. "We're usually not preparing cars for the first week in January, except for the one that runs at the Roar. For our entire team it was a battle not only trying to get the new P2 car ready, but also prepare four MPC cars and one LMP3 car to go and run a new endurance format in Prototype Challenge."
 
The small team out of Deerfield Beach, Florida, was up to the challenge. The IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda program showed speed out of the gate with young 17-year-old Wyatt Schwab scoring the pole in the MPC class.
 
That was followed up one day later by Dr. Robert Masson winning the race in the same class.
 
"If Wyatt Schwab doesn't hit a plank that came off one of the LMP3s we would have been first and second," O'Neill added. "Cameron Cassels, who is running with us in the LMP3 car, this is his first year in the series. He had contact with another car that took him out of contention, but I think he had a shot at a podium in his first race in the LMP3 car."
 
Five cars and the inaugural endurance race for the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented By Mazda was only half the weekend for O'Neill and the Performance Tech team. Over in the WeatherTech Championship paddock, the crew was feverishly working on its new No. 38 ORECA LMP2 for drivers Pato O'Ward, James French and Kyle Masson.
 
The offseason preparation and lessons learned from the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test showed in the results at the Rolex 24. O'Ward stunned the field by qualifying fourth, and ultimately finished eighth in the race capping off a satisfying month of January for O'Neill.
 
"Vince Lombardi always said, 'Winning becomes a habit,'" he said. "We didn't change anything we did from the end of 2017 and into 2018, the only thing difference was the car.
 
"At the end of the day we all know it's a big undertaking, but we've done it for so long we know the program, and we just put our head down and got the job done."
 
P1 Motorsports

P1 Motorsports didn't have that same luxury of experience when it attempted its own Daytona doubleheader in January, but the team left proud of everything it accomplished. A year after making its debut in the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda and winning the LMP3 championship with Colin Thompson, P1 Motorsports added a new Mercedes-AMG GT3 to its roster for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
 
With a full-time staff of eight at the shop, a number that grows significantly on race weekends, the team spent the offseason prepping three cars for the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda, along with its new entry in the WeatherTech Championship.
 
"It helps to make sure the shop is organized as can be," said team manager Alberto Pena of the offseason preparation. "Us having the car a few months, that really got us rolling as far as making sure we were prepared for the Roar, focusing on the LMP3 car knowing that the Mercedes is ready to go, just waiting for little things like wrap."
 
The IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda race didn't go as planned with Kenton Koch and Joel Janco carrying the banner for the team with a sixth-place finish in the No. 25 Ligier JS P3.
 
"The race was a rollercoaster to say the least," Pena added. "It wasn't our ideal weekend, but we did what we could. We showed we had speed there, it just didn't show in the results."
 
Speed was the theme of the month for P1 Motorsports. Not only did its LMP3 teams show speed early in January, the team had a near flawless Rolex 24 At Daytona, finishing 12th in the GTD class with a lineup comprised of its IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda drivers Koch and Robby Foley, and Loris Spinelli and team owner JC Perez.
 
"We had no crew penalties, the car never went to the garage other than a little brake issue, all the pit stops were great, and the drivers did an awesome job," said Pena. "It was best you can get without a podium. I'm very proud of the guys for that.
 
"It's incredible how we've only been in operations for a year and how fast we've taken off and how well we've done. Even if you're not a fan of us, it's something you have to tip your hat to, the amount of time and how much we've accomplished."
 
Extreme Speed Motorsports

The addition of an IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda race during the Roar Before the Rolex 24 may have been new, but for Extreme Speed Motorsports everything else was business as usual with three LMP3 cars entered, along with two championship-contending Nissan DPi entries under the Tequila Patrón ESM banner for the WeatherTech Championship.
 
"In the shop we have it so there is really only one full-time guy on the LMP3 side and then we contract someone to run that whole side of it," said team manager Erin Gahagan. "Last year was the first year we did it that way. Years before we had an in-house team and we found that it was hard to support that with there being a small number of races rather than contract it back out."
 
Gahagan says the LMP3 cars are maintained regularly and do a lot of testing, so it was a smooth transition getting them ready to race at the Roar, where the team ultimately finished third with Daniel Morad and Kris Wright in the No. 30 Ligier JS P3 - with Morad setting the race's fastest lap - and fourth with Max Hanratty and Michael Whelden in the No. 3 Ligier JS P3.
 
However, the Rolex 24 didn't produce the results the team wanted with both the No. 2 Nissan DPi of Scott Sharp, Ryan Dalziel and Olivier Pla, and the No. 22 Nissan DPi of Johannes van Overbeek, Pipo Derani and Nicolas Lapierre retiring early with mechanical issues.
 
The 2016 Rolex 24 winners showed speed throughout the weekend though, something the team hopes can carry into Sebring.
 
"We spent a lot of time in the offseason doing a lot of work to the electronics, which was a bit stressful because it was a lot work and we couldn't start until the season was over," said Gahagan. "The guys didn't get any time off at all from Petit [Le Mans] through now. We just keep trying to find things to improve on and we keep doing that."
 
Gahagan added that the team won't have much of a break between Daytona and Sebring.
 
"We're going testing next week, then the official test, and then Sebring," she said. "We're doing as much testing as we can, to be as competitive as we can, as quickly as we can."
 
The busy schedule continues for these three teams with another IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda and WeatherTech Championship doubleheader on tap at Sebring March 14-17. 

 

For more information about the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda, visit www.imsa.com, follow hashtag #IMSAPC and @IMSA on Twitter or IMSA on Facebook.

Three months after unveiling her 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards full season schedule the day has finally arrived for 20-year old rookie driver Natalie Decker.

Decker, driving for Toyota aligned Venturini Motorsports (VMS), kicks-off the new season this weekend in ARCA's premier season opening Lucas Oil 200 - Driven by General Tire event at Daytona International Speedway.

Driving VMS' flagship No.25 Toyota Camry, Decker's journey begins Saturday when the dynamic driver showcases sponsorship support from N/29 Capital Partners and YAMAHA Power Products during her highly anticipated Daytona debut.

Aiming for a national championship and rookie of the year honors, the popular Eagle River, WI driver is taking the extra attention in stride.

"This is a dream come true," says Natalie Decker.

"A year ago at this time I was back home in Wisconsin watching this race and working on trying to put a deal together to run a few ARCA races with Venturini Motorsports. Today I'm at Daytona with a full season ride, getting ready to compete in the biggest race of my career. It's just crazy."

"I've been preparing myself for this moment as long as I can remember. It's easy to get distracted with all the extra hype surrounding Daytona. But right now my only focus is doing my job. I'm really excited. VMS built me a fast Toyota and now it's time to drive it."

Decker received her first taste of Daytona's famed 2.5-mile track when she participated in last month's series open test. During the two-day session Decker impressed topping single car practice run speeds.

Making her Superspeedway debut at Daytona, Decker will rely on the guidance of veteran crew chief Dave Leiner and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series spotter Eddie D'Hondt.

Splashing onto the ARCA tour midway through the 2017 season, Decker made six series starts highlighted by two top-10 finishes and a career best seventh-place finish at Road America.

Decker, the only woman running this year's full season schedule will become just the fifth female in ARCA history to compete for a series driver championship, joining Shawna Robinson (’00), Christi Passmore (’03 and ’04), Milka Duno (’13) and Sarah Cornett-Ching (’15).

The Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire is the first of 20 races on the 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Thurs., Feb. 8 from 4 - 6 p.m. EST. Final practice is Friday morning, Feb. 9 from 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Group qualifying is set for 3:30 p.m. Friday afternoon. The Lucas Oil 200, which begins the 66th consecutive season for ARCA, is set to get the green flag at about 4:50 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10. The race is live on FS1 beginning at 4:30. ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring and chat throughout the entire weekend festivities.

VMS PR

ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards rookie driver Daniel Sasnett hopes the biggest start of his racing career will deliver a strong finish in Saturday afternoon’s Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
 
The former Richard Petty Driving Experience instructor has turned hundreds of laps around Daytona’s high-banked 2.5-mile oval, with the dream of one day competing in a sanctioned event. On Saturday, his dream will come true as driver of the No. 33 Standard Sand & Silica Chevrolet SS for Win-Tron Racing.
 
“I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” said Sasnett, one of two drivers for Win-Tron in this weekend’s ARCA season-opener. “I can’t thank Win-Tron enough not only for the opportunity but working extremely hard to put this deal together in a few short weeks.”
 
While Sasnett is a new face to the veteran ARCA team, the Auburndale, Fla. native is familiar with the new speedway composite cars, a requirement for the Feb. 10 race. Last month, he participated in the two-day sanctioned test at the “World Center of Racing” with another organization.
 
After spending the first day in solo runs, Sasnett turned up the wick on the final day of testing and maneuvered the 12th quickest lap overall in preseason testing out of 62 drivers that participated.
“The test was pretty important to me,” added Sasnett. “Even though it was with a different team, our strategy was similar to Win-Tron’s. We worked on making sure the car was stable and then gradually made our way into the draft.
 
“I was fortunate to get with a good pack and turned a good time. Much of that will apply to Saturday’s race too. I need to find a good group to race with and make sure we do everything we can to be in the hunt for a good finish.”
 
Florida-based Standard Sand & Silica will back Sasnett’s ARCA debut.
 
Founded in 1945, Standard Sand & Silica is a leader in the manufacturing of silica sand.
Standard Sand & Silica supplies the Southeastern United States & Caribbean, along with Central & South America. Their products focus on the processing of sand materials for a variety of purposes, including ball field clays, golf course sands, fertilizer filler, grout and mortar sands.
 
“There’s a lot of people that helped make Daytona a reality, but without Standard Sand & Silica I would not have the opportunity to fulfill my greatest racing accomplishment yet,” he added.
 
“I’ll give everything I can behind the wheel. Hopefully, I’ll be able to work with my teammate Gus (Dean) and bring Win-Tron two strong finishes to the checkered flag.”
 
Team owner and principal Kevin Cywinski says Sasnett’s ability to get up to speed and be comfortable in the draft and talking with other drivers in the garage will prove to be extremely beneficial as his ARCA debut inches closer.
 
“Daniel has a quiet demeanor, but he is not afraid to ask questions to Gus, myself or even other drivers in the garage,” said Cywinski. “His experience at Daytona in the past should aid him in the quest for a good finish. We’re bringing him a really good piece and look forward to a good showing for both of our cars Saturday afternoon.”
 
For his superspeedway debut, Sasnett will steer the car that Dean posted the fourth quickest lap overall in preseason testing at Daytona in January.
 
Todd Myers will serve as crew chief. 
 
Learn more at Win-TronRacing.com, Facebook or on Twitter @WinTronRacing.
 
The Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 driven by General Tire (80 laps / 200 miles) is the first of 20 races on the 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Thurs., Feb. 8 with a two-hour session from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. A final practice session has been etched in on Fri., Feb. 9 from 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Group qualifying is set for later in the day at 3:30 p.m. The season-opener for the 66th consecutive ARCA season is set to take the green flag on Sat., Feb. 10 shortly after 4:30 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities. 
 
WinTron Racing PR