Racing News (9351)
Racing News from around the World
Thirteen-year-old Ryan Rackley completed a successful week by driving to victory lane on Friday night in Legends car competition at Anderson Motor Speedway.
The phenomenon that is the Trenton Indoor Dirt Nationals just keeps on getting bigger with over 100 of the 600cc wingless Micro Sprint entries already confirmed for the expanded three days of racing. The second annual event, sponsored by Oliver Communications Group, Hoosier Racing Tires, and VP Racing Fuels will again be held at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton, N.J. with racing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night December 13th – 15th.
Tickets for the Thursday and Friday split nights of preliminary qualifying races and Saturday’s main-event night are now on sale one-line or at the stadium box office. Racing will start at 7 PM on Thursday and Friday, 5 PM on Saturday.
The massive Micro Sprint field will be split in half for Thursday and Friday evening programs. All cars will compete during Saturday’s main event program. The Thursday and Friday events will feature heat races and A-Qualifier main events. The top two finishers in each feature will go directly into Saturday, December 15th main event. Points earned throughout each night programs will be used to lineup alphabet mains for Saturday night’s main event program.
Promoter Len Sammons emphasized that the limit of 120 entries, due to the physical limitations of the arena, is absolute. A list of what drivers are presently competing each night is posted and will be updated as they are received at indoorautoracing.com.
The Thursday program will also feature Slingshot competition, consisting of two heats and a 20-lap main event. Friday’s support class will be the Champ Karts running a similar program. The top 20 drivers in the 2017 Indoor Auto Racing Series have been invited to the Slingshot and Champ Kart invitational event. Additional entries, if needed, will fill in the 20 spots.
A range of different price tickets are available for the three days. Thursday will feature $15 adult general admission with children under 12 just $5.
On Friday and Saturday lower and upper level reserve seats are offered. General admission upper-level seating, where children are admitted for just $5, is available as a less costly alternative without the guarantee of specific seats. Front row or suite tickets are available Friday and Saturday. A special pit area tour prior to the start of racing action is a bonus for those premium seats on Saturday.
Tickets are also on sale for the 2019 Indoor Auto Racing Series Fueled By VP Racing Fuels opener on the concrete floor of Allentown’s PPL Center on Friday and Saturday January 4th and 5th. The series then stops in Atlantic City, N.J.’s Boardwalk Hall on January 25-26, 2019.
The NASCAR Foundation today announced that it has partnered with Feed the Children to provide aid and relief to the victims of Hurricane Florence. As a result, trucks filled with food, hygiene products and cleaning supplies are deployed in needed areas beginning with Belhaven, NC.
The NASCAR Foundation has also launched a Hurricane Disaster Relief donation page that provides NASCAR Nation with one place to band together and make donations to the many affected by Florence and its aftermath. One-hundred percent of the financial contributions made at www.nascarfoundation.org/hurricane will be used toward storm relief efforts.
“Many in the Carolinas are still suffering and our hearts go out to all of the victims of Hurricane Florence,” said NASCAR Vice Chairman and The NASCAR Foundation Board Chairman and President Mike Helton. “Feed the Children is a great organization that gets much-needed food and supplies to those impacted by natural disasters. "We encourage all of the NASCAR Family to lend a hand in any way they can. Whether it's by volunteering, donating or helping spread the word through social media…Every effort helps!”
“We are committed to helping those affected by the devastation of Hurricane Florence in their recovery efforts,” said John Ricketts, Director of Disaster Services at Feed the Children. “We continue to work with our partners, like NASCAR, to distribute much-needed food and supplies. We are calling on communities and partners across the U.S to help our neighbors in their time of need.”
SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Ch. 90 to Host Special
On Wed., Sept. 26, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Ch. 90 will dedicate the 10 a.m. ET hour during “The Morning Drive” to help encourage donations and raise awareness for the victims of the storm and highlight the efforts of the industry as well as The NASCAR Foundation. Hosts Mike Bagley and Pete Pistone will speak with an assortment of special guests.
Industry Also Joining Relief Effort
Today’s announcement complements work already underway across the NASCAR industry. For example, Brad and Paige Keselowski are collecting donations that will be used toward the purchase of fuel for first responders. Krissie Newman sent a fleet of trucks to help rescue and relocate pets. Brett Moffitt is hosting a fundraising campaign where one lucky donor will receive a trip for two to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finale in Miami.
In addition, several tracks in the southeast are opening campgrounds for those displaced by the storm including Charlotte Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.
As far north as the Granite State, NASCAR fans are pitching in to help. The touring series will be collecting supplies during the three races being held this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. These items will be combined with a collection of supplies from NASCAR and Roush Yates Engines employees in the Greater Charlotte area and Motor Racing Outreach (MRO) will be delivering them to Goldsboro, NC, to provide aid to the five surrounding counties. Additionally, MRO – along with the Waltrip Bros Charity Championship – will deliver trucks from Feed the Children to Jacksonville, N.C., Leland, N.C., and to Camp Lejeune.
The upcoming weekend will be an historic one for the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. For the first time since the championship became the official European NASCAR series, two Euro NASCAR drivers will be racing in the United States on two different tracks against the best in the sport.
On Saturday night, reigning NWES champion Alon Day will return to the biggest stage in NASCAR, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, at Richmond Raceway to pilot the #23 BK Racing Toyota sponsored by Best Bully Sticks. The Israeli will make his first Cup start on oval at the famed 0.75-mile short track in the Federated Auto Parts 400, the second round of the 2018 Playoffs.
A few hour earlier and 600 miles away, reigning ELITE 2 Champion Thomas Ferrando will make his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East debut at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway at the wheel of the #25 Nextgen Motorsports Toyota against some of the best upcoming talents in NASCAR. The Frenchman will collect this way his prize for the 2017 ELITE 2 title and inaugurate a driver exchange that will bring Dale Quarterley to race at the NWES Circuit Zolder Finals on October 20-21.
Ferrando and Day will be the third and fourth drivers to cross the Atlantic to compete in NASCAR in North America in 2018, an all-time high for the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, which provides more and more quality opportunities for its drivers to compete in the United States.
“Wow, two NWES drivers racing NASCAR in the USA the same day, including one at the highest level, is definitely another huge milestone for our organization!” said NWES President / CEO Jerome Galpin “We work very hard with our friends at NASCAR USA to multiply chances for our drivers and there will be many more to come in the future. At a time where lots of young drivers have difficulties spending high budgets for very few opportunities in GTs or formulas, this shows everybody in Europe that NASCAR is a very good option for their career ”.
Both Day and Ferrando compete in Europe in the ELITE 1 Division. After a thrilling Semi Finals weekend in Germany, the Israeli, who brought his score to 15 wins and 25 podium finishes, sits second in points by just two markers, while Ferrando, who is battling for the Junior Trophy, is currently seventh overall.
The European NASCAR Championship attracts drivers from all over the world, all willing to battle on track with the best drivers of the Old Continent. Over 20 different countries have been represented on track in 2018, including the United States thanks to NASCAR legend Bobby Labonte, who competes full-time in search of a title that would be historic and Truck Series driver Jennifer Jo Cobb, who raced in the season opener in Valencia, Spain.
Ferrando’s K&N Pro Series debut in the Apple Barrell 125 will be streamed live on Fanschoice.tv on Saturday starting from 7:45 pm CET. Day’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series oval debut will be live on NBCSN on Saturday night from 1:30 am CET. The Federated Auto Parts 400 will be broadcasted in Europe through several TV partners and the NASCAR Trackpass service.
NASCAR Euro Series PR
For NASCAR’s regional touring series, what’s old is new once again at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Saturday’s New England short track showdown will host three different divisions in a unique tripleheader aimed at highlighting three of the best short track divisions from both the United States and Canada. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR Pinty’s Series join the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour for the event which harkens back to the days before New Hampshire Motor Speedway ever hosted its first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in the mid-1990s.
When the 1.058-mile speedway first opened in 1990 — the largest in New England, both then and now — it did so with regular doubleheaders featuring the former Busch North Series and the Whelen Modified Tour. In those days, names like Mike McLaughlin, Steve Park, Ricky Craven, Mike Stefanik and Reggie Ruggiero made trips to Victory Lane.
While the track hosted two Cup Series events annually for a 20-year span from 1997-2017, it recognized its history at the grassroots levels of the sport. With an open September weekend on its schedule this season, the time was perfect for NHMS to return to its roots.
“It certainly is in our DNA,” NHMS General Manager David McGrath said. “Always has been, always will be. We certainly see the value, and we are thrilled that fans come out for all those races.”
The weekend is more than just the racing, too. With limited garage access during tightly-managed Cup weekends, the track is promising fans much closer proximity to drivers and cars during the New England Short Track Showdown.
And while the event is not the first tripleheader in the track’s history, having held standalone NASCAR Xfinity Series races with the K&N Pro Series and Modifieds on the undercard in the past, Saturday will still mark a first.
RACING-REFERENCE: Previous Whelen Modified & K&N Pro Series races at New Hampshire
The Musket 250 for the Whelen Modified Tour will be the longest race in series history and the most lucrative with a purse of over $25,000.
“It’s always huge when we can be the premier division at races. Even when we’re not, we usually put on the best races,” Whelen Modified Tour point leader Justin Bonsignore said. “I think it’s a really good opportunity for our series, for K&N and for Pinty’s to be the lead divisions at an event and have the fans come in and get to know the drivers better.”
“Let’s put it clearly, the Whelen Modifieds put on one whale of a show at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and I think that the fans are absolutely ecstatic about this 250-lap (race),” McGrath said. “They’re going to put on a great show for our fans and we are so happy about it. We’re not backing off.”
On the K&N Pro Series side, the Apple Barrel 125 will be the first series race at NHMS not held on a Cup weekend in nearly two decades. The race will be the longest at the track for the series since 2011, the last year it visited Loudon twice in the same season.
“It will be a little different being there without one of the top three series, it’s a little weird,” said Tyler Ankrum, the California rookie who leads the K&N Pro Series East standings with four wins — one of them at Loudon in July. “Every NASCAR track we’ve gone to all year, the Cup Series is there with us. You need to still be on top of your game, though — you should be on top of your game no matter what. You want to feel like a Rick Hendrick or a Joe Gibbs is watching you at these types of tracks, and they should be watching us. We’re the next thing — along with the Modifieds and the Pinty’s guys.”
Ankrum, though just 17 years old, is keenly aware of the series’ history at NHMS.
“The call it the Magic Mile, because it’s magical,” Ankrum said with a laugh. “As awkward and childish as it sounds, it’s true. I think it’s really cool that it was a road course before (Briar Motorsports Park). When we won there at the beginning of the year, my grandfather who’s 70-something, even he didn’t know that. I think that’s a really cool thing about the place.”
While Saturday’s race marks the 69th in series history for the Modifieds, and the 73rd overall for the K&N Pro Series East, it’s a first for the Pinty’s Series. The Canadian series has never raced at New Hampshire.
In fact, the Visit New Hampshire 100 will mark the first series race in the United States.
“I’m very proud of our Canadian national series and the fans are going to be treated to … side-by-side battles and action all over the track,” said Pinty’s Series point leader L.P. Dumoulin. “There are at least 10 or more drivers with the equipment and talent to win, and the race is going to be awesome.”
With late-season point battles, extra distances and plenty of purse money on the line on a big standalone stage, all three races which are part of the inaugural New England Short Track Showdown promise to deliver.
Five-time Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby is a firm believer that you don’t need Cup cars at New Hampshire to have a first-rate race weekend for fans in the northeast and Canada.
“We’ve always been the main event in our world,” said Coby, a four-time winner at NHMS. “This is just a beast that we’ve never tried to tame before. The race can go in a lot of different directions — and whatever direction it goes in, the cool thing is that if we keep doing this every year, it will be something different for the fans every year.”
Federal-Mogul Motorparts, through its Champion®, MOOG®, Fel-Pro® and Abex® brands, recently earned several prestigious advertising awards for their respective promotional campaigns.
Both Champion and MOOG were recognized with B2 Awards by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). The popular Champion brand was honored for its excellence in global brand strategy by earning the ANA B2 Award for Best Account-Based Marketing Program. Champion was recognized for its "There's a Champion in Here" campaign, which introduced Champion's expanded line of light maintenance products including automotive filters, wiper blades, batteries and lighting, in addition to its well-known spark plugs. Partnering with a well-known automotive retailer, "There's a Champion in Here" was brought to life with creative executions that appealed to automotive technicians and enthusiasts who acquire replacement parts from the retailer.
Federal-Mogul Motorparts' MOOG brand was also recognized with an ANA B2 Award of Excellence for its Data/Analytics use to build programs or campaigns. As the leading brand of chassis parts in the automotive aftermarket, MOOG's "Go the Extra Mile" program was launched to combat the idea that all chassis parts are created equal, and that the differences in quality amongst brands is not always readily apparent.
Federal-Mogul Motorparts' Fel-Pro brand joined Champion and MOOG as a recipient of several dotCOMM and Videographer awards. Fel-Pro, celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2018, won two dotCOMM Platinum awards for its "Know Your Leaks" campaign, featuring television personality Mike Rowe. Additionally, Champion earned a Platinum award for the "There's a Champion in Here" campaign, while MOOG won a Platinum and two Gold awards for its "What's in the Box" offering, also featuring Rowe, that drives home the fact that it's important to use quality parts in repair situations. Each of these brands also earned recognition for their eye-catching videos from Videographer, with Champion earning an Honorable Mention and two Excellence awards for its 30 second "Champion Chant" spot, in addition to another Honorable Mention for the "There's a Champion in Here" video campaign. MOOG received two awards of Distinction for the aforementioned "What's in the Box" series of videos, and Fel-Pro earned an Excellence award for the "Know Your Leaks" video campaign.
Fel-Pro and MOOG won additional marketing and advertising awards from Summit Creative, recognizing the best web, design, video, advertising, interactive, mobile, and social marketing from creative agencies worldwide. Fel-Pro earned a Gold award for the "Know Your Leaks" video series and a Silver award for its 100th anniversary logo. For its "What's in the Box" campaign, MOOG earned a Silver award as well.
Also receiving an award for "Outstanding Advertising" was Abex, Federal-Mogul Motorparts' braking brand for commercial vehicles. Fleet Management Magazine recognized Abex for its "Don't Crack Under Pressure" ad, citing excellent audience response.
"We are honored to be recognized by ANA, dotCOMM, Videographer, Summit Creative, and Fleet Management Magazine as we continue to support our brands with integrated marketing campaigns that resonate with technicians, shop owners, other customers and consumers," said Michael Proud, Vice President, Global Marketing, Federal-Mogul Motorparts. "Our brands consistently evoke strong emotional connectivity in the marketplace, whether it be from Champion's and MOOG's extensive motorsports and NASCAR® history, or Fel-Pro's and Abex's long standings as top brands in their respective product categories, and we're proud of the work we've done to make these brands more visible to the industry."
To learn more about Champion, please visit www.championautoparts.com; follow the brand on Facebook at www.facebook.com/championparts, Twitter (www.twitter.com/championparts), and Instagram (www.instagram.com/championparts). For more about Fel-Pro Gaskets and the brand's consumer awareness campaign, please visit http://www.felpro.com/stopsleaks.html or contact any Fel-Pro supplier. Like Fel-Pro on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FelProGaskets, follow the @FelProGaskets Twitter handle or connect with the brand on Instagram at www.instagram.com/FelProGaskets. Additional information about MOOG can be found at www.MOOGParts.com or by searching for MOOG on Facebook. Follow MOOG on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/MOOGParts, and Instagram, at www.Instagram.com/MOOGParts. To learn more about the Abex brand, please visit www.FMheavydutyparts.com or contact your local Federal-Mogul Motorparts representative.
Federal Mogul Motorparts PR
NASCAR America, NBCSN’s daily motorsports show, will air an exclusive first listen of NASCAR on NBC analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s new book, Racing To The Finish: My Story, next Monday, September 24 at 5 p.m. ET.
The first listen will feature NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver for an unprecedented 15 consecutive years narrating a chapter from his autobiography entitled “A Life, A Secret, and A Promise.” A first-person account, Earnhardt’s gripping book candidly brings readers through his eighteen years behind the wheel, his struggle and frustration with concussions the last several years of racing, his admiration for the woman who stood by him, and his determination to share his experience so that others don’t suffer in silence.
The full audio excerpt of the first listen will also be available on NBCSports.com’s NASCAR Talk. NBC Sports Group’s 24/7 website dedicated to up-to-the-minute news, video, and information on NASCAR drivers, teams and the motorsports industry.
Earnhardt first announced his new book, and revealed the cover, this past April during an episode of NASCAR America "Wednesdays with Dale Jr."
Racing To The Finish: My Story will be released on October 16, 2018 from the W Publishing Group, an imprint of Thomas Nelson. For more information click here.
NASCAR ON NBC
The official home of the NASCAR Playoffs, NBC Sports Group will present the final 20 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR Xfinity Series races, and select NASCAR Regional & Touring Series events in 2018. NBC Sports Group’s NASCAR programming also includes NBCSN’s daily motorsports show NASCAR America, coverage of NASCAR’s Awards Ceremonies, the annual NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony, as well as original programming specials.
You’d think Philip Morris would be used to this by now.
After all, the 53-year-old from Ruckersville, Virginia, has carved out a résumé nearly unmatched in NASCAR short-track racing history. And yet, when it was made official Wednesday afternoon with a congratulatory phone call from NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell, a reflective Morris was still awed by the moment.
“It means that much,” Morris said. “It’s as if we were winning our first national championship.”
It isn’t Morris’ first. It’s his fifth NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I national championship. And that puts him in rare company, matching NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee, the late Larry Phillips, for the most national weekly series championships in NASCAR history. Morris won his titles in 2006, 2008-09 and 2011 before taking a semi-retirement hiatus. He returned in 2016 and finished sixth in the points last year.
“I just have a much bigger appreciation for what was accomplished,” said Morris after his time away from chasing the national crown. “Plus, I get to be mentioned in the same sentence as Larry Philips. That’s always a good thing.
“I don’t think I deserve it, but I think it’s amazing. That guy is a legend. I’m just glad to be in his company.”
Morris accomplished the feat this year with remarkable dominance and consistency. He rolled off nine wins in his first 12 starts and led the national championship points standings wire-to-wire. He finished with 23 wins, 28 top fives and 31 top 10s in 35 Late Model Stock Car starts at Virginia’s South Boston Speedway and Dominion Raceway, North Carolina’s Hickory Motor Speedway and Southern National Raceway Park, and South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Speedway.
Morris also claimed his sixth Virginia championship.
RELATED: PHILIP MORRIS 2018 RACE-BY-RACE
Morris finished with 670 points, easily outdistancing fellow short-track stalwarts Steve Carlson (623) and Keith Rocco (621).
Carlson, the 2007 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion, had nine wins, 15 top fives and 19 top 10s in 22 starts racing primarily at Wisconsin’s LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway. He also raced at Wisconsin’s Madison International Speedway.
Like Morris, Carlson and Rocco have made their name as one of the best short-track racers in NASCAR history.
Carlson won his sixth Wisconsin championship and holds a four-point lead with one race remaining in his quest for a seventh Late Model title at LaCrosse. In addition, the 61-year-old driver from West Salem, Wisconsin, has five NASCAR championships in the former Midwest Series to go with four from its predecessor, the ARTGO Midwest Series, and was the 2009 ARCA Midwest Tour champion.
Rocco tallied 10 wins, 17 top fives and 21 top 10s in 27 starts in the SK Modified Division at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway and the Sunoco Modified Division at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
The 33-year-old Wallingford, Connecticut, driver claimed his 10th Connecticut championship. The 2010 national champion holds a 48-point lead heading into Thompson’s 56th annual Sunoco World Series in October as he looks to claim his 16th career NASCAR Division I track title. It would give him sole possession of second place all-time and put him one behind the record set by Nebraska’s Joe Kosiski (17 titles from 1985-2005).
It is also the 11th time in the last 12 seasons that Rocco has finished in the top five in the national standings, and marks the eighth time since 2009 that he’s finished in the top three.
RACING REFERENCE – NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES NATIONAL STANDINGS:
NASCAR uses a driver’s best 18 finishes from any sanctioned track within the state to determine the State Champion and the best 18 finishes from any sanctioned track in North America to determine the National Champion.
Division II through V national champions will be announced Thursday, along with the UNOH Youth Achievement Award national winner and track winners.
The crowning of U.S. state and Canadian province champions is a tradition that dates back to the earliest days of NASCAR and carried on until the advent of the weekly series in 1982; It was resumed in 2007. Past champions include Ned Jarrett, Glen Wood, Ralph Earnhardt, Wendell Scott and Richie Evans.
The fact that it was Carlson and Rocco chasing him weighed on Morris’ mind, even has he held a sizable summer lead.
“We worked so hard for every point,” Morris said. “That’s just the veteran side of me, where I’ve been in tight battles where we had a lead before and saw it close up at the end. Maybe we worked harder because of what I learned in the past.”
Morris put together a stretch run from 2006-11 when he won 74 of 159 races (46.5%) and his four titles. But following the final one, he stepped away from full-time competition to focus on his business, Trailer Town USA in Virginia. Over the next four year, he ran just 25 races. He came back and finished 32nd in the nation in 2016 before moving up to sixth last year.
This season, he focused on reclaiming his former glory.
It hasn’t been an easy comeback.
“I didn’t realize the price I’d have to pay, not just on the national level, but just to be competitive at our local track,” Morris said. “It as so much more work to get back to being competitive physically and mentally and the equipment. Keeping up with the tires and track surfaces and engines — it was like I was starting over.
“I’m not going to say I took it for granted. But I didn’t realize how important it was for me to continue.”
Morris didn’t win his hometown track title. That went to Peyton Sellers, who claimed won his fourth track title at South Boston. The 2005 national championship finished fourth in the national standings with three wins, 18 top fives and 18 top 10s in 21 starts at South Boston and Langley. Nick Panitzke, who is chasing Carlson for the title at LaCrosse, finished fifth with five wins, 14 top fives and 18 top 10s in 20 starts at LaCrosse and Madison.
Ronnie Williams finished sixth in the national standings and has already clinched the SK Modified title at Stafford.
A quartet of Modified drivers from North Carlina’s Bowman Gray Stadium rounded out the top 10: Tim Brown, Burt Myers, Jonathan Brown and Jason Myers. While Burt Myers won his ninth track title at the historic Winston-Salem oval, Brown claimed the North Carolina title by five points.
Morris, Carlson and Rocco will be joined by the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series U.S. state and Canadian province champions, track champions and other special award winners on Friday, Dec. 7, as part of NASCAR Awards Charlotte.
When it comes to racing safety, drivers, sanctioning bodies, safety organizations, clubs, series, track owners, circuit designers, safety personnel, equipment manufacturers, coaches/HPDE groups, insurance companies, journalists and every other motorsport constituent play an important role. Stakeholders may perform different jobs, but they all converge on a race course. That’s why a diverse group of safety advocates has united to form a cohesive, collective and more impactful voice for the greater good of everyone in motorsports.
Racing’s history is studded with shining moments, but is also fraught with terrible tragedies. There have always been heroes on the track, yet there have also been many others behind the scenes. Over the years, a handful of brave souls have championed for safety improvements and saved many lives, but progress has been painfully slow.
Because the industry is so diverse and siloed, safety changes don’t easily proliferate. Thus, the necessity for an all-inclusive platform comprised of influencers from an array of motorsport segments.
The idea to form an industry-wide advocacy group was originally spearheaded by RJ Valentine, a racer with over 400 pro starts, multiple podiums, top 10 finishes, and a 24 Hours at Daytona championship, who personally witnessed much devastation on tracks. The final straw was losing Jim Fitzgerald to basilar skull fracture and, since then, Valentine has been on a quest to evoke track safety improvements. He envisions a future where serious racing casualties are rare if not a thing of the past.
The working title for this unofficial alliance is Racing Safety United (RSU). Motorsports has many participants, but RSU has only one mission—To make racing as safe as possible, protecting lives and vehicles by reducing damage, injuries, concussions and casualties for drivers at all levels, and paving the way for the next generation.
RSU is currently made up of 27 members, but the list is growing by the day. Independently, each advocate is outstanding in their respective field, and many are safety leaders in their own right. Together, they form a dynamic force campaigning toward a unified safety goal.
- Jerry Nadeau – Monster Energy Cup Series Winner, 5-Time Barber Dodge Pro Series Winner, $100,000 Big Scholarship Winner, Former Teammate to Jeff Gordon & Jimmie Johnson
- Don Schumacher – NHRA Team Owner, Former Champion Funny Car Driver, Motorsports Hall of Fame of America Inductee, Concussion Legacy Foundation Brain Research Donor
- John Mills – SCCA GT3 Pro Racer, Race Car Fabricator, TBI Advocate & Survivor, Public Speaker promoting Brain Injury Awareness, Motivation and Inspiration
- Larry Dixon - 3-Time NHRA Top Fuel World Champion, Team Owner, Spokesperson
- Randy Pobst – Motor Trend Track Test Driver, SCCA Columnist & Champion Pro Racer
- Ian James – Champion Pro Racer & Ambassador for The Heart of Racing
- Darren Law – Flying Lizard Motorsports Championship Sportscar Racing Team Owner & Former Pro Racer
- Randy Lajoie – Safer Racer Founder, Former NASCAR Champion Driver & The Joie of Seating President
- Andrew Pilgrim - Traffic Safety Advocate/Public Speaker (www.tsef.org), Pro Race Driver, Contributing Writer to Automobile Magazine
- Dr. Preston C. Calvert – Pirelli World Challenge Medical Advisor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Assistant Professor, Neuro-ophthalmology Consultant, Champion Pro Racer, Published Author and former U.S. Army Medical Corps Major
- Chuck Lessick – IndyCar Ministry Chaplain, Former Belardi Auto Racing Team Manager & Indy Lights Crew Chief, Owner & Driver in USF2000 Series
- Kevin Butterfield, D.C. – BrainForest Center Founder/CEO, Wellness Racing Corporation Founder/CEO & Creator of AvOID System and ReTINA system, Cortical Impact Solutions Founder/CEO, Motorsports Safety Blogger
- Dr. Julia Daly, PT, DPT, ATC – Athletic Trainer, Physical Therapist, Motorsports Performance Specialty, Public Speaker & Creator of Return to Competitive Race Car Driving after Concussion
- Thomas Woods – Veteran, Warriors on Track Founder, The Brain Treatment Center Military Care Coordinator for MeRT (Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy) & Racer
- Mike Semel –U.S. Grand Prix Retired Fire Chief, Watkins Glen International Safety Director & CART IndyCar Safety Team Member
- James Penrose – Former FIA Driver Safety Environment Consultant, Initiated FIA 8860 Helmet & Hans introduction to F1 & FIA Series, Drivers/Teams Consultancy through Penrose Safety for Audi WEC, Level 5 & many others
- Charlie Frank – The Activation Group (TAG) Partner, Motorsports Event Marketing for BMW, NASCAR, Indy Car and Many Others, Former racecar driver
- John Gorsline – The Gorsline Company CEO, Driver Protection Insurance, Family Assistance, Scholarships & Logistics Support
- Bobby Seymour –Seymour Performance Products CEO, Former USAC Champion Driver & Racer’s Expo Co-Founder
- Kip Zeiter – International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) Outreach Coordinator
- Mike Brockman – Previous Motor Trend Road Test Editor for 13 Years, Former Pro Racer & GT Class Winner at 24 Hours of Daytona, & Connecticut’s Own Volvo Dealer Owner
- Tom Baker – Race Chaser Media Founder / CEO, Race Chaser Radio Host
- Joe Chisholm – Race Time Radio Owner/Host & Eastbound International Speedway Race Director
- Michael Cummings – Port Imperial Racing Associates CFO - Grand Prix of America Formula One Race Promoter, Motorsports Capital LLC Founder - Motorsports Financial Advisory & Capital Placement, SCCA National Competition License Holder
- Jay Heid – Summit Midwest Drag Founder & Promoter, ProQ Motorsports Management Software Founder for Events such as Sturgis Camaro Rally, etc., MotorsportsDirectory.com Founder (A Motorsports Safety Foundation Partner)
- Eric Bagdikian – Array Sports Motorsports Operations, Former CODE 3 Animal Disaster Response President, Retired Boulder County Sheriffs Reserve Lieutenant
- RJ Valentine – Champion Pro Racer, Race Track Owner & Founder of Impact Safety Systems
RSU initially plans to focus on track safety, particularly the need for improvements at race courses and speedways nationwide. The first order of business is to raise awareness about antiquated walls as the root cause of many injuries or fatalities. As expenses can be a sticking point, RSU has already begun working on financial aid options for underfunded tracks in need of safety upgrades. Another immediate priority is to identify ways of minimizing racing-related Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs). Additional RSU initiatives include research surveys, educational outreach, seminars, track safety analyses, creating guides and resources like comparisons or buffering strategies, consulting on safety product development, and other programs. RSU’s scope of services is expected to evolve as the group continues to expand.
The depth of member involvement will vary based on availability and expertise, but could include disseminating information, social media messaging, spreading the word via broadcast interviews or articles, presenting safety solutions to drivers or tracks, collaborating on proposed safety projects, public speaking engagements, medical advisement roles, etc. In turn for supporting the group’s racing safety cause, RSU will assist its advocates in furthering parallel safety initiatives, resulting in a cooperative ecosystem universally geared toward increasing driver protection.
Valentine recently created an RSU micro site, which also highlights its Medical Advisors, as well as advocates who are making inroads into preventing, diagnosing and treating motorsports concussions and TBIs. For now, this will be home to RSU details and developments. http://www.impactsafetybarriers.com/racing-safety-united-alliance.php
Though altruistic, the RSU alliance isn’t unrealistic about the industry’s adversity to change. Racing will continue to be inherently dangerous despite safety advancements. But every participant has an obligation to do what they can to eliminate unnecessary risk and preventable harm. RSU represents an outlet for safety activists, and all are welcome to join. The greater the number of voices, the better the industry will hear, and the more drivers will survive.