Speedway Digest Staff
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While Kyle Busch hails from Las Vegas, Sunday’s AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth is a home game of sorts for the driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR). That’s because the headquarters for Interstate Batteries, which returns as primary sponsor on the No. 18 Toyota for the final time in 2022, is located just 35 miles from the 1.5-mile Texas oval as the company is celebrating their 70th Anniversary year.
Busch, the two-time Cup Series champion, first drove the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for JGR to victory lane at Texas in April 2013, giving the brand its first win at its home track. The win ended a streak of 19 Cup Series races in which Interstate had competed at Texas without a coveted victory. Busch followed it up with Texas wins in Interstate Batteries colors in April 2016 and 2018. He added a fourth Cup Series win there in November 2020.
On top of his four Cup Series wins at Texas, Busch has been a frequent visitor to victory lane there in other NASCAR series. He reeled off a string of five consecutive NASCAR Xfinity Series wins there from April 2008 to April 2010, then scored five more wins in April 2013, November 2014, and April 2016, 2019, and 2021. Add his five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins in November 2009, 2010, 2014, 2019 and 2020, and Busch hits town this weekend with 19 NASCAR national series wins in Interstate Batteries’ backyard.
This weekend’s race at Texas marks the opening of the Round of 12 of the 2022 Cup Series playoffs. Unfortunately for Busch, who made the 16-driver elimination-style playoff field for the ninth year in a row, his strong runs Sept. 4 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and last Saturday night at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway were thwarted by engine issues that led to his early exit from this year’s championship chase. It marks the first time he did not advance beyond the Round of 16 since the current playoff format was instituted in 2014.
With Interstate Batteries on Busch’s No. 18 for the final time this season, and as fall is in full swing with winter quickly approaching, Busch is encouraging race fans to stop by a local Interstate dealer to get their vehicle batteries checked, stressing that the cold weather of winter can adversely affect a car’s battery.
Seven races remain in the 2022 season, and the task at hand during this weekend’s “home game” for Busch and the Interstate Batteries team is their charge toward yet another win in the Lone Star State sporting the Interstate Batteries scheme for the final time in 2022.
JR Recovery Adds $1,000 in Bonus Money for SK Light Modified Invitational at the NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final
The 49th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final will be headlined by the 80-lap, $15,000 to win, Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series event but also on the schedule is the SK Light Modified Invitational. A unique twist on SK Light Modified racing, the 20-lap feature will be open to any SK Light Modified competitor that has not won a race at Stafford in 2022.
JR Recovery has posted $1,000 in bonus money for the September 24th event which will be distributed amongst the top 3 finishers; $500 for the winner and $300 for 2nd and $200 for 3rd. With the bonus money the race will pay $1,250 to the winner, $750 for 2nd, and $675 for 3rd.
With nine different SK Light drivers already scoring a victory this season, Saturday’s SK Light Modified Invitational is anyone’s for the taking. Four of the top 10 in the SK Light point standings have yet to win a race in 2022 including Bob Charland, Amanda West, Meg Fuller and Jason Chapman, all should be a factor on Saturday afternoon.
The NAPA Fall Final is set for Saturday, September 24 and tickets are available now online at StaffordSpeedway.com/tickets and tickets will also be available for purchase at the admission gates. If you are unable to attend the event, tune into the live stream on FloRacing, the official streaming partner of Stafford Speedway.
Stafford Speedway PR
"I think our entire building is excited to build off the momentum we created at Bristol. The 12th-place finish didn’t quite reflect the race and speed our team had, and left everyone hungry for more going to Texas. Jeffrey has always gotten around [Texas Motor Speedway] well, and I have confidence we will bring a fast piece to the Lone Star State."
-- Sam Hunt, Owner of Sam Hunt Racing
No. 20 Rheem Toyota Camry TRD News and Notes:
- BELL NCS AT TEXAS: Christopher Bell will make his fourth NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) start at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) this weekend in the No. 20 Rheem-Smurfit Kappa Toyota Camry TRD for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR). Bell’s last two runs at TMS resulted in back-to-back third-place finishes.
- HOMETOWN TRACK: Bell is originally from Norman, Oklahoma, which is just over two hours away from TMS.
- NXS HISTORY AT TEXAS: Bell has made five prior starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) at TMS. In 2019, Bell found his way to victory lane in the fall after qualifying third and leading over half the laps. In addition to his win, Bell has earned two poles, three top-five and four top-10 finishes at Texas.
- TEXAS TRUCK SUCCESS: Bell has five Truck Series starts at TMS and found his way to victory lane in 2017. In addition to the win, Bell has two top-five and three top-10 finishes at TMS.
- RHEEM GUESTS AT TEXAS: Rheem will host over 75 guests at Texas this weekend, including those from: Smurfit Kappa and the Water Heater Division’s Southwest and Mountain Regions.
- RUUD GUESTS AT TEXAS: Ruud will host over 55 guests from INSCO Distributing this weekend at Texas.
- SMURFIT KAPPA – FEATURED ON THE NO. 20: Smurfit Kappa is one of the leading providers of paper-based packaging in the world, with operations in 23 European countries and 13 countries in the Americas. For more information visit: https://www.smurfitkappa.com/
- INSCO – FEATURED ON THE NO. 20: Just by doing business with Insco Distributing you already have an advantage. Insco's services, incentives, training and support help to set you apart from the competition. Insco has 35 branches throughout Texas and in Oklahoma City and employ over 250 personnel. For more information visit: https://www.insco.com/
- HONORING CANCER HEROES: Bell will have Mikel and Kim riding along with him Sunday at Texas through the Martin Truex Jr. Foundations “Honor a Cancer Hero” fundraiser with The NASCAR Foundation. Mikel and Kim have been friends for years. Kim is a three-year survivor of Cholangiocarcinoma and Mikel has been fighting metastatic breast cancer.
- CBELL’S MICRO MANIA: Bell partnered with TMS for the inaugural CBell’s MICRO MANIA event on the renovate’ Lil' Texas Motor Speedway 1/5-mile dirt track. The four-day event, which features Micro Sprint race cars, will open with practice Wednesday and culminate with mains and finals on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 24th.
- BRISTOL RECAP: Bell finished fourth Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway after starting eighth. Bell finished second in stage one and first in stage two. Bell led 143 laps but a flat tire cost him some track position late in the race, he was able to pit for tires and earn a top-five finish.
- JGR AT TEXAS: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) owns nine NCS victories at TMS. In 128 combined starts at the 1.5-mile track, JGR has racked up 35 top-five finishes, 60 top-10s, five pole awards and 2,212 laps led. Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, and Tony Stewart have all driven JGR entries to victory lane in Texas.
- RACE INFO: The Auto Trader EchoPark Automotive 500 at TMS begins at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 25, 2022. The race will be broadcast live on USA, Sirius XM 90, and PRN Radio.
From the Cockpit:
Christopher Bell: “The two ends of the track are completely different. We have the All-Star race under our belt with the NextGen car and turns 3 & 4 have lots of throttle time, tons of banking, and lots of grip with the repave and turns 1 & 2 have lots of grip but they don’t have the banking to hold you. Drastically different corners for sure. Long runs are where we’ve been really good and I’m excited to kick off the next round of the Playoffs at my home track.”
Brandon Jones / No. 19 Menards/Pelonis Toyota GR Supra Preview - Andy’s Frozen Custard 300 at Texas Motor Speedway
No. 19 Menards/Pelonis Toyota GR Supra News and Notes:
- JONES AT TEXAS: Brandon Jones has 13 NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) starts at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS). Jones has two top-five finishes, six top-10 finishes, 49 laps led, an average start of 6.3, and a 16.5 average finish at the track. In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), Jones has two starts with one top-10 finish at TMS.
- FEATURED ON THE HOOD: The No. 19 Menards Toyota GR Supra will carry the Pelonis logo on the hood this weekend at Texas. For more information, visit https://www.menards.com/.
- HONORING A CANCER HERO: The No. 19 Menards/Pelonis Toyota GR Supra will carry the name Sherri Jewell Edwards on the passenger side this weekend through the “Honor a Cancer Hero” program put on by the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation and The NASCAR Foundation. Edwards lost her battle to Acute Myeloid Leukemia in 2014 and is the mother of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) employee Brittany Edwards.
- BRISTOL XFINITY SERIES RECAP: Jones finished second Friday night under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway. Jones gave it his all in the final few laps but came up one spot shy of the victory. Jones started the race 11th and in stage one had to pit for a loose window net under an early caution. The team capitalized on pit strategy throughout the race and got Jones back in position to contend for a win.
- JGR AT BRISTOL: JGR has 110 NXS starts at TMS with 16 of those starts ending in Victory Lane. The last JGR NXS driver to win at Texas was John Hunter Nemechek in the 2021 fall race. The team has combined for 43 top-fives, 71 top-10’s, 9 pole awards, and 2,774 laps led.
- FOLLOW ALONG: Follow along for updates and a behind-the-scenes look at Jones 2022 NXS Season.
- RACE INFO: The NXS Andy’s Frozen Custard 300 will start at 3:30 PM ET on Saturday, September 24. The race will be broadcasted on USA, PRN Radio, SiriusXM Radio, and available to stream on the NBC Sports app.
From the Cockpit:
Brandon Jones: “I’m excited to go to Texas this weekend and start our playoffs run. We’ve struggled at Texas a little bit recently. We have had good runs but struggle with closing the race, but we’ve got good notes and are working on getting better. I’ve had that one circled to work on for a while to do what I can to improve our run. We’re feeling confident after coming off a really good run last week at Bristol so hopefully we can take that momentum and get a win this weekend in the No. 19 Menards/Pelonis Toyota GR Supra.”
Homestead-Miami Speedway announced today that RVnGO is the Official RV Rental Partner of the historical 1.5-mile South Florida race track for all of your RV rental needs. The announcement comes as Homestead-Miami Speedway returns to the NASCAR Playoffs with a tripleheader weekend, Oct. 22-23. RVnGO RV rentals are available from Oct. 21 through 27 for the Dixie Vodka 400 NASCAR Cup Series race, which will culminate the anticipated weekend.
“We welcome RVnGO to the Homestead-Miami Speedway family, and also welcome what they will bring to the Homestead-Miami Speedway camping experience for our fans,” said Speedway President Al Garcia. “RVnGO is an innovative company that will make it easy for fans to enjoy our GEICO Campgrounds during our Oct. 21-22 NASCAR weekend.”
RVnGO makes it easy for fans to enjoy the at-track camping experience by connecting existing RV owners with renters who want to camp in an RV on any given race weekend. The company’s free online rental and sales platform eliminates non-value-added service fees or hidden fees between owners and renters. Through this new partnership, RVnGO creates new turn-key packages for fans to experience future events at the track.
“RVnGO is thrilled to be working with Homestead-Miami Speedway,” said RVnGO Founder and Chief Executive Officer Paul Kacir. “At RVnGO we believe in bringing people together and we're doing it with the world's first free person-to-person online platform for RV rentals where you can rent RVs directly from RV owners for all race events and beyond. And since the platform doesn't charge extra “service” fees you get the best prices and selection."
The Oct. 21-22 NASCAR Playoffs weekend kicks off on Saturday, off with a doubleheader featuring the Baptist Health Cancer Care 200 (1:00 p.m. ET), the “last chance” race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs Round of 8, followed by the Contender Boats 300 at 4:30 p.m. ET for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs Round of 8. Fans can catch the full-fledged competitive nature of NASCAR’s Next Gen car in the Dixie Vodka 400, which is set for a green flag start on Sunday.
For more information, including 3-race ticket packages, camping, and hospitality, visit homesteadmiamispeedway.com or call (866) 409-RACE (7223).
as well as the all-new NASCAR Tracks App for the latest speedway news.
The Motor Racing Network (MRN) and FloRacing will broadcast the nation’s biggest, richest and most prestigious NASCAR Late Model Stock Car race, ValleyStar Credit Union 300 on Saturday, Sept. 24.
“As the best late model stock car racers compete in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway, the outstanding at-track experience will only be enhanced with ‘The Voice of NASCAR’ on MRN and FloRacing calling the fierce flag-to-flag action,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. “We are proud to welcome the Motor Racing Network and FloRacing to broadcast the nation’s biggest, richest and most prestigious NASCAR Late Model Stock Car race.”
On MRN, veteran announcers Alex Hayden and Dave Moody will call the action from the booth with Tim Catalfamo in the turns and Steve Post providing analysis and pit reporting. MRN’s broadcast coverage will start at 6:30 p.m. ET. The broadcast will be available on participating affiliates as well as MRN’s digital platforms.
“Martinsville Speedway is one of the toughest tracks in motorsports and continues to be the perfect backdrop to test the best drivers and teams in Late Model Stock Car Racing,” said Motor Racing Network President Chris Schwartz. “Each year the Motor Racing Network team looks forward to being on hand to call the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 and this year’s format will surely raise the level of competition for the biggest payout in NASCAR Late Model racing!”
The ValleyStar Credit Union 300 coverage on FloRacing will be available starting at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24 to FloSports subscribers. Fans can subscribe via FloRacing to gain access to nearly 2,000 races annually, including all live events from the ARCA Menards Series, ARCA Menards Series East & West, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Pinty’s Series, and NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series, for $150 a year. The subscription also unlocks premium FloRacing content including exclusive interviews, behind-the-scenes access with drivers, news, analysis as well as archived races and highlights that fans have come to expect from the FloRacing platform. To learn more, visit www.floracing.com.
The ValleyStar Credit Union 300 is NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious Late Model Stock Car Race, paying a total purse of more than $110,000 with the winner receiving $32,000 and the coveted Martinsville grandfather clock. Last year’s ValleyStar Credit Union 300 winner, Landon Pembelton, will defend his title against notable drivers Peyton Sellers, Timothy Peters, Layne Riggs, Ty Mejeski, Corey Heim, Rajah Caruth, Mark Wertz, and 15-year-old Katie Hettinger in another impressive field at Martinsville Speedway.
On Friday, Sept. 23, practice for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 will be held from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. followed by single car qualifying under the lights beginning at 8:00 p.m.
On Saturday, Sept. 24, the Fan Garage/Pit Experience (i.e. driver autograph session) will be free to all fans with a ticket from 12:45 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Heat races will begin at 3:00 p.m. Pre-race festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. with the feature ValleyStar Credit Union 300 green flag at 7:00 p.m. The Campbell Family Foundation will host a fireworks extravaganza following the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 feature.
Tickets for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 are $30 unreserved. Youth 12 and under are free with a paying adult. Pit passes are $60. GA camping is available for the weekend for $40. Reserved camping is sold out. SkyDeck passes are $59 and Club47 passes are $149. Parking is free for the event. Coolers are allowed, but must be softsided and no larger than 14”x14”X14”. Tickets are available for purchase at the ticket office, via phone at 877-RACE-TIX or online at martinsvillespeedway.com.
For more information on the ValleyStar Credit Union 300, visit www.martinsvillespeedway.com/
Martinsville Speedway PR
Top Gun: Maverick Co-stars Jay Ellis, Lewis Pullman & Danny Ramirez Named to Dignitary Roles for Sunday’s Autotrader Echopark Automotive 500
- The traditional weekend schedule is on tap this weekend with practice and qualifying on deck for Saturday in group format, which will determine the starting lineup for Sunday.
Buescher at Texas
- Buescher returns to his home state this weekend for his 13th Cup race from Texas. He has a 22.8 average finish and a best finish of 15th (2018).
- His average qualifying effort is 24.3 with a career-best 10th-place start last fall.
- Buescher also made five Xfinity starts at Texas with a best finish of ninth (2015).
Scott Graves at Texas
- Graves will be atop the box for his 11th Cup race at Texas on Sunday. He has a best finish of 11th with Ryan Newman in the 2019 spring race.
- Graves has three career top-10 qualifying efforts at TMS including a career-best sixth in 2017, and a 15.9 overall average.
- Graves also called six Xfinity races at Texas with two top-10s and a best finish of fifth in 2016.
Buescher on racing at Texas:
“We’ve had a great week celebrating and taking in everything associated with the Bristol win, but I’m just as excited to get back to my home state of Texas and see friends and family, and give our Fastenal Mustang another good run this weekend. We put together a solid plan for the All-Star Race this spring and had good success, so our goal is to capitalize on that even more and keep the train rolling this weekend.”
Last Time Out
RFK dominated the Bristol Night Race leading a combined 278 laps, with Buescher leading 169 en route to his second NASCAR Cup Series victory. It marks Fastenal’s first win in the Cup Series, and snapped a five-year winless streak for the company.
On the Car
Fastenal, in its 12th season with RFK in 2022, makes its 16th appearance with the No. 17 this weekend. In its early days with RFK, Fastenal originally was a partner with the No. 99 team before moving over to the No. 17 team since. They were also the primary partner on the No. 60 Xfinity Series entry that captured the owner’s championship in 2011.
Fastenal will feature top suppliers Honeywell, Seco Tools, Krylon, Mechanix Wear and Widia on Buescher’s No. 17 this weekend. For more information on these suppliers, visit Fastenal.com, and stay up-do-date on social @FastenalCompany.
RFK will participate in the Honor A Cancer Hero (HCH) Program this weekend at Texas, which benefits the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation (MTJF) and the NASCAR Foundation. Buescher will run the name of Reuben Heckenlaible on the driver side of his No. 17. Heckenlaible, a native of Pierre, South Dakota, passed away from cancer on April 14, 2014, and was nominated by his grandchild.