Wednesday, Sep 28
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Kyle Busch Home Game

Wednesday, Sep 21

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.

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 

 

What are some of your best memories with Interstate Batteries over the past 15 years?

 

“Norm (Miller, Chairman) and everyone at Interstate Batteries treats me and my family like we are a part of their family. We won the race at Daytona back in 2008 and that was the first time Interstate Batteries had been to victory lane in a long time, and we’ve been able to add more for them over the years. Winning at Texas for the second time in 2016 was special, too. Any win is special. But, I’ll never forget how excited Norm was back in 2013 when we won the Cup race there, even though 2016 was cool, too. Norm had been trying for so many years and he really soaked it up the entire night in 2013. He and Joe (Gibbs) came up to the Speedway Club and told some stories about how long they had been trying to win there. So I was very proud to be able to do that for Norm. It’s also been nice to add other wins there since, and then win No. 200 in their colors a few years back.”

 

What are you expecting at Texas after what you learned in the All-Star Race there earlier this year?

 

“I don’t know, we obviously were very fast there in the All-Star Race until we had the tire issue. We’d like to think we can go out there and we’re fast and we have good strong racecars. As far as the track and the resin, I’m hoping we can dabble in it a little longer the outside way around, but it does seem to have grip and you can make some runs off the top of the corners and try to make some moves down the straightaway and such. Same old Texas, it looked to me there in the spring, from that standpoint.”

 

Looking ahead to Texas, did you learn anything from Kansas Speedway that will transfer over to Texas, especially when it comes to restarts?

 

“Restarts in (turns) one and two are certainly treacherous, just the way the banking is not quite there to hold you like it used to be. The track ends are very different in three and four, different than one and two. We’ve seen some late-race restarts and some problems for some guys in that race a couple of times and, for us, it’s no different. We learned some things I think at Kansas that helped our car and hopefully we can transfer some of that knowledge to Texas, and Homestead as well, with our Interstate Batteries Camry this weekend.”

 

Is there anything about Texas that particularly suits your style, and that of the other JGR drivers, outside of being a 1.5-mile layout given your dominance there in all three NASCAR national series divisions? 

 

“It’s always been a really good place for me, whether that was before the repave or after the repave. A lot of credit goes to Joe Gibbs Racing and the cars they bring there for me. We’ve had a lot of success at Texas over the years, whether that is in the Xfinity Series, winning five in a row as we did there, winning in the Trucks, and now we have four Cup wins there, too. It’s just been a really good place for me. Hoping we can get into victory lane there this weekend with our Interstate Batteries Camry.”

 

TSC PR

Notes of Interest

 

● Cole Custer and the No. 41 Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) feature Autodesk as co-primary partner for the fourth time this season and the second race in a row this weekend’s AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. San Francisco-based Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK), a leader in software applications for the engineering, manufacturing, construction, architecture, media and entertainment industries, kicked off its fifth season with SHR May 1 at Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway, then returned for the June 12 race at its hometown Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, then last month’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, and last weekend’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Autodesk returns to Custer’s No. 41 Ford a final time Oct. 9 on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval.

 

● The Autodesk partnership with SHR is more than skin deep. The team utilized Autodesk’s Fusion 360 design and manufacturing software extensively to create lightweight, but strong, components for its fleet of Gen 6 racecars. Autodesk’s generative design capabilities and its Fusion 360 software helps designers and engineers quickly find optimal solutions to design problems, like SHR’s brake pedal revision in its Gen 6 racecars, as chronicled in this video. The new pedal accounted for a 32 percent reduction in weight with a 50 percent increase in stiffness, with the optimized design being realized by Fusion 360. The entire project took just two months to complete – from initial design to simulation, additive manufacturing of the pedal, testing and finalized part. Just as importantly, it was all delivered within two weeks of the needed race date.

 

● Also riding along with Custer on his SHR Mustang this weekend is team co-owner Gene Haas’ newest holding, Haas Tooling, which was launched as a way for CNC machinists to purchase high-quality cutting tools at great prices. Haas cutting tools are sold exclusively online at HaasTooling.com and shipped directly to end users. HaasTooling.com products became available nationally in July 2020. Haas Automation, founded by Haas in 1983, is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools. The company manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers. All Haas products are constructed in the company’s 1.1-million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Oxnard, California, and distributed through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets.

 

● As part of this year’s Martin Truex Jr. Foundation “Honor a Cancer Hero” program, the name of Anastasia Vessell of Douglasville, Georgia, will appear above the passenger-side window of Custer’s No. 41 SHR Ford. She was nominated by her husband Jack, who called her an amazing lady and a fighter who “kicked cancer’s butt,” and with whom he is looking forward to a brighter future into their golden years. Anastasia’s lifelong battle with vertigo caused a diminished lifestyle from performing most motioned activities. After the couple married in 2020, she was diagnosed with breast cancer six months later. Numerous doctor visits led to her treatment plan, the last chemo treatment for which occurred this past April, and the last radiation treatment in June.

 

● Sunday’s 334-lap race around the 1.5-mile Texas oval will be Custer’s 105th career Cup Series start and fourth at Texas. His best finish there was 14th in November 2020 after an accident ended his day prematurely in the July race. He finished 19th there last November.

 

● Custer was victorious at Texas in the November 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series race, one of his six outings there in that series. He has three other top-five finishes and an eighth-place result in his most recent Xfinity Series visit to Texas in November 2019.

 

● In NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition at Texas, Custer has a best finish of ninth in the November 2016 race, driving the No. 00 JR Motorsports entry.

 

Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 Autodesk/HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing

 

You had a taste of racing at Texas with the NextGen car during the All-Star Race weekend in May. What are you expecting when you head back there this weekend for a 500-mile marathon?

“If you want to see some cars going really fast, then Texas is the place to go. I mean, it’s just a big track, a lot of grip, a lot of speed. We’re just going as hard as we can pretty much the whole lap and the whole race. I think from what we’ve seen this year with the NextGen, you can expect the racing to be exciting from the first lap through the last.”

 

What is it about Texas that makes it that way?

“Texas is just fast, wide open, and you’re trying to get as much speed as possible out of your car. It’s a place where you’re on the gas and on the throttle so much that it means a ton to have that car that can just make more speed than everybody else, and you’re going to see people trying to get there as soon as possible.”

 

What’s your favorite memory racing at Texas?

“For me, it was winning there in the Xfinity Series a few years ago. It actually catapulted us into the championship race. It was a last-second kind of really good, tight finish at the end, so it was a really cool one to win. Getting that cowboy hat in victory lane is definitely one of those prizes every driver wants. I think Texas has one of the coolest victory lanes. All of the flames, the cowboy hats, it’s a really unique place to win because they always do a good job. They do a good job of promoting the race and it’s obviously an important race in the playoffs.”

 

TSC PR

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

NXS TEXAS STATS

JEFFREY EARNHARDT

Starts: 9

Wins: 0

Top-5's: 0

Top-10's: 1

Best Start: 14th (2019)

Best Finish: 8th (2019)

SAM HUNT RACING

Starts: 3

Wins: 0

Top-5's: 0

Top-10's: 0

Best Start: 29th (Gdovic - Spring '21)

Best Finish: 19th (Earnhardt - Spring '22)

 

EVENT NOTES
  • Jeffrey Earnhardt returns to Texas Motor Speedway for the second time this season in the No. 26 Toyota GR Supra with Sam Hunt Racing. 
  • In the Spring, Earnhardt brought home 19th-place finish at the 1.5-mile track in Fort Worth, Texas.

  • Earnhardt will pilot the No. 26 YesWay / Allsup's Toyota GR Supra at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday for his ninth start with Sam Hunt Racing this season and 11th race overall in 2022.

 

  • Sam Hunt Racing will make its fourth career start at the 1.5-mile oval, marking its first start at the track with a repeat driver.

 

  • Earnhardt has nine career NXS starts at the track including one Top-10 and one Top-15 finish.

  • Sam Hunt Racing and Earnhardt are coming off a 12th-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway which tied Earnhardt's career highest finish at the track. 
QUOTES
 

"The Sam Hunt Racing guys brought a bad fast Toyota GR Supra to Bristol last weekend, and I"m excited to see how fast this week's machine is. We had a solid chance at a top-10 run in Bristol before we received a speeding penalty on pit road on the last caution, and I feel like we have a really solid opportunity for a top-10 or top-5 again this weekend. I'm looking forward to having YesWay and Allsup's on board with ForeverLawn. This race wouldn't be possible without them."

-- Jeffrey Earnhardt, Driver of the No. 26 Forever Toyota GR Supra

 

"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

SHR PR

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.”

JGR PR

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.  

Twitter:  @BrandonJonesRac I Facebook:  Brandon Jones Racing I Instagram:@brandonjonesrac 

  • 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.” 

JGR PR

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).

 

Fans can stay informed with up-to-date happenings at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as well as the all-new NASCAR Tracks App for the latest speedway news.

 

HMS PR

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/events/valleystar-credit-union-300.

Martinsville Speedway PR

Jay Ellis, Danny Ramirez, and Lewis Pullman, who star as elite pilots in the #1 film of 2022, Top Gun: Maverick, will experience a different kind of speed at Sunday’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway.
 
The trio will be featured in the key dignitary roles for the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500, the opening race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12 (2:30 p.m. CT, TV: USA Network, Radio: SiriusXM Ch. 90, PRN, 95.9 The Ranch locally).
 
Ellis, who plays Lt. Reuben “Payback” Fitch in the blockbuster movie, and Pullman, who plays Lt. Robert “Bob” Floyd, will serve as co-Grand Marshals and deliver the “Drivers, Start Your Engines” command to the entire NASCAR Cup Series field.
 
Ramirez, who portrays Lt. Mickey “Fanboy” Garcia, will serve as the Honorary Starter and wave the green flag from atop the starter’s stand to officially commence the 334-lap, 501-mile playoff race in NASCAR’s premier series.
 
In addition to Top Gun: Maverick, Ellis is known for his role as the fan-favorite ‘Lawrence’ on HBO’s critically acclaimed and Emmy®-nominated series “Insecure,” which earned him an NAACP Image Award in 2018. 
 
Other credits include FX’s Emmy-nominated limited series “Mrs. America,” a starring role on the hit BET series “The Game” from 2013-2015, and roles on “Masters of Sex,” “Grace & Frankie,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “NCIS: Los Angeles." He recently wrapped production on the Amazon feature, Somebody I Used to Know.  
 
Pullman currently has starring roles in Amazon’s hit series “Outer Range,” as well as the recently released adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. He also stars opposite Kathy Bates and John Malkovich in the upcoming Ken Kwapis film Thelma, which debuts Nov. 10 in the U.S.
 
Prior to Top Gun: Maverick, Pullman was known for his leading roles in the 2018 films The Strangers: Prey at Night and Bad Times at the El Royale. He also starred in the 2019 Sundance favorite Them That Follow, the 2020 film Pink Skies, and George Clooney’s Hulu mini-series “Catch 22” as Major Major.
 
Ramirez is well known for his portrayal of ‘Joaquin Torres’ from the Marvel series “The Falcon & The Winter Soldier” in which he co-starred opposite Anthony Mackie. He was recently seen in the Hulu suspense/thriller No Exit and in Netflix’s dual-timeline drama Look Both Ways.
 
Additional film credits include festival favorites such as Sam Levinson’s Assassination Nation (2018 Sundance Film Festival), Katherine O’Brien’s Lost Transmissions (2019 Tribeca Film Festival), and David Raboy’s The Giant (2019 Toronto International Film Festival).
 
Tom Cruise stars in the global phenomenon Top Gun: Maverick, which continues to break records, earning more than $1.4 billion at the global box office and still climbing. The film recently became the #5 highest grossing film in domestic box office history while simultaneously becoming the #1 Week-One Digital sell-through title of all time in the U.S. and in major territories around the world. The film can still be seen in theatres and was released for sale across Digital platforms on August 23. 
 
Texas Motor Speedway will play host to the 2022 NASCAR Playoffs this weekend. The NASCAR Playoffs doubleheader will be highlighted by the NASCAR Xfinity Series Andy’s Frozen Custard 300 on Saturday (2:30 p.m. CT on USA Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Ch. 90, and PRN), and the NASCAR Cup Series Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 on Sunday (2:30 p.m. CT on USA Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Ch. 90, PRN, and 95.9 The Ranch).
 
The newly renovated Lil’ Texas Motor Speedway 1/5-mile dirt track will kick off the weekend of racing with the inaugural C. Bell’s MICRO MANIA. The four-day event (Sept. 21-24) features practice on Wednesday, qualifying races Thursday and Friday, and mains and finals Saturday. Micro Sprints are smaller versions of full-sized sprint cars with side-mounted 600cc motorcycle engines that can generate 140 horsepower with similar chassis and body styles to the larger versions. NASCAR stars currently confirmed to participate include Christopher Bell, two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch and his son Brexton Busch, Sheldon Creed, Daniel Hemric, Brett Moffitt, and John Hunter Nemechek.
 
TICKETS:
For ticket information for this weekend’s NASCAR Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 playoff doubleheader, including individual day tickets for C. Bell’s MICRO MANIA, please visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com.
 
Season tickets and camping for Texas Motor Speedway’s 2023 major event season are on sale now. Save up to 33 percent versus buying individual tickets, take advantage of interest-free monthly payments, get the best seat selection and more. All-new reduced rates are available for the GEICO Infield, GEICO VIP and WinStar World Casino & Resort Lone Star Circle camping areas. Click HERE for more information and to purchase season tickets.
 
MORE INFO:
Keep track of all of Texas Motor Speedway’s busy schedule by following on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Keep up with all the latest news and information on the speedway website and TMS mobile app.
 
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ADVANCE NOTES

Weekend Format

  • 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.

 

QUOTE WORTHY
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.

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