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Trans Am drivers looking forward to this weekend's Gateway SpeedTour at World Wide Technology Raceway
This weekend, the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli heads to World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois, to compete on the 1.6 mile-infield road course for the very first time. As the longest-running professional road racing series in North America with a rich history of visiting some of the continent’s most storied tracks, it’s rare that Trans Am competitors get to race on a circuit for the very first time. While the series raced on the same raced property in 1985, at what was then called the St. Louis International Raceway, the facility has been completely renovated and competitors will be racing on a road course circuit that was constructed in 1997.
For the Gateway SpeedTour, the TA/XGT/SGT/GT classes will be joined by the Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series for an exciting combination race on Saturday afternoon. Here are some Trans Am drivers’ thoughts on visiting World Wide Technology Raceway.
Chris Dyson, No. 16 GYM WEED Ford Mustang – TA
“It’s always nice to go to new tracks. I think for us, certainly, it’s rare for us to get a brand-new track on the schedule. World Wide Technology Raceway has done a great job promoting events in the past. I’ve obviously watched oval races there. They say the place is pretty technical and demanding. Generally, when you do these tracks that are [road courses inside ovals], you have to get a car that can stop, turn and go. I think the GYM WEED car is going to be great out there. It’s an important round in the championship; we’re getting down to the home stretch, so every race matters a little bit more for us. I’m hopeful that we’ll go out and get a great race in. I have full confidence that the guys will give me a fast racecar.”
Looking to pad his series point lead, the two-time Trans Am champion is aiming for his fourth race win of the year at WWTR. Almost as much as the wheel-to-wheel challenge from his direct rivals in the headline TA class, Dyson will need to take care as he laps mixed classes with his No. 16 GYM WEED Ford Mustang over the course of Saturday’s 100-mile sprint race. In total, 29 cars, including those in the slower TA2 class, are scheduled to take the green flag on the 1.6-mile circuit that combines much of the banked oval with a tight six-turn infield section.
“I’m going for the win for sure. But I’m also keeping in mind that old racing adage that to finish first, first you must finish. The TA2 class is super competitive, and those guys are going to be having a hard race among themselves, fighting for their own championships. We have raced on track with both TA and TA2 classes before, and it's always action-packed and filled with more than a share of dicey moments, especially as we navigate a very short lap like WWTR. So, taking care in – and managing – the traffic will be at a great premium this weekend.
“Fortunately, between the optional test and regular practice sessions, we should have enough time to find the best balance. We are confident we have cured the electrical issue we had with our primary car two weeks ago at Watkins Glen, but for this weekend we will be bringing the spare car I used to finish second at the Glen. You need a car that can handle the G-loads on the banking but also can brake and put the power down well in the infield. If we have a good result this weekend I think that puts us in a very good position for our third straight Trans Am championship.”
Rafa Matos, No. 88 3-Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang – TA2
“It’s a completely new racetrack for everybody, so I’m pretty excited just to learn about the track. Obviously, it’s a [road course and oval combination], and it’s always fun to drive around those. The speeds on this style of track is usually pretty high, so we should expect some good action from the TA2 class. I’ve never been to St. Louis as well, so it’s a new place I’m going to get to know and learn some of the cultural things about the city. Overall, I’m looking forward to going.”
Ben Maier, No. 75 Silver Hare Racing/Gel Blaster Chevrolet Camaro – TA2
“I’m really looking forward to this year’s Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway because it’s new and it’s just a really cool track to be racing at. It’s going to be a new experience for everyone, and especially for me, because I’m still learning the cars, and every track is new for me, basically. I think this will be a really fun track to race at.”
Connor Zilisch. No. 7 Silver Hare Racing Chevrolet Camaro – TA2
“I’m looking forward to going to World Wide Technology Raceway because I’ve watched a lot of races there in the past, whether it’s INDYCAR or NASCAR, recently. It looks like it provides pretty good racing on the oval, so to go there and compete on both an oval and a road course should be pretty cool.”
Nathan Herne, No. 29 CUBE 3/Berryman Ford Mustang – TA2
“I’m real excited for the next round at World Wide Technology Raceway. I got to spend a bit of time in Missouri racing dirt late models on the dirt track down there. I’ve met a lot of great people out there, so to get down to St. Louis and do some racing is going to be awesome fun. It’s an even playing field for everyone; no one’s been there before, so I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be an awesome weekend.”
The Trans Am Series will first hit the track at WWTR on Friday for testing and practice and will qualify and race on Saturday.
For tickets and information, please call WWTR at (618) 215-8888 or visit www.WWTRaceway.com. Follow @WWTRaceway on social media.
Sammy Smith - No. 18 Allstate Peterbilt Group Toyota GR Supra Preview – Andy’s Frozen Custard 300 at Texas Motor Speedway
No. 18 Allstate Peterbilt Group Toyota GR Supra News and Notes:
- SMITH AT TEXAS: Sammy Smith will run his first race at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS).
- BRISTOL RECAP: Smith and the No. 18 team put together a solid run on Friday night at Bristol to kick of the NXS Playoffs collecting a stage point and his 11th top-10 finish of the season. Smith’s run at Bristol put him five points above the NASCAR Playoffs cut line for the Round of Eight.
- ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Smith is eligible to compete for the 2023 NXS Sunoco Rookie of the Year (ROTY). The other drivers competing for the title are Chandler Smith, Parker Retzlaff, and Blaine Perkins.
- ARCA EAST CHAMPION x2: Smith defended his 2021 ARCA Menards Series East (AMSE) Championship in 2022 on the strength of five wins and a top-five finish in all of the AMSE races. He also won four ARCA Menards Series races and one ARCA Menards Series West race in 2022.
- ON THE PITBOX: Crew Chief Jeff Meendering will head up the No. 18 team during the 2023 season. He has visited Victory Lane eight times as a NXS crew chief, most recently with Smith at Phoenix in March 2023. His teams have collected 57 top-five finishes, 121 top-10 finishes, and 11 pole positions under his leadership.
- JGR AT TEXAS: : JGR has 113 NXS starts at Texas 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 44 top-fives, 72 top-10’s, 10 pole awards, and 2,837 laps led.
- FOLLOW ALONG: Follow along for updates and a behind-the-scenes look at Smith’s 2023 NXS Seasons.
- RACE INFO: The NXS Andy’s Frozen Custard 300 at Texas is scheduled for 3:30 PM EST on Saturday, September 23. The race will be broadcast on USA, PRN, Sirius XM and available to stream on the NBC Sports app.
From the Driver’s Seat:
Sammy Smith: “We got the Playoffs off to a good start at Bristol so I’m looking to carry that into Texas. This will be my first time on the track, so I’m doing all the preparation I can so that we can have a good run this weekend. The guys are working hard in the shop to bring a fast Allstate Peterbilt Group No. 18 Toyota GR Supra. As long as we go out and put together a complete weekend, I think we will be in good shape going into the ROVAL in a couple of weeks.”
Sunday Race Info
Race: AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400
Date/Time: Sunday, September 24 / 3:30 p.m. ET
Distance: 267 laps / 400 miles
Track Length: 1.5 miles
Press Kit: Download the 2023 FedEx Racing press materials at www.fedex.com/en-us/racing/press-kit, including bios for Denny Hamlin, Chris Gabehart and Joe Gibbs Racing leadership, program highlights and statistics.
Round of 16 Recap: During the first round of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, Hamlin ranked second in the points standings behind Kyle Larson. The Chesterfield, Virginia native earned an additional seven playoff points thanks to his victory at Bristol and two stage wins at Darlington.
Leading the Way: In three playoff races, Hamlin has led 382 laps, including 142 laps in last Saturday’s win at Bristol Motor Speedway. During the 26-race regular season, the No. 11 driver led 389 laps total.
Texas Notes: Denny Hamlin is a three-time NASCAR Cup Series winner at Texas Motor Speedway. In 32 career starts at the 1.5-mile track, he owns seven top-five finishes and 15 top-10s, including three consecutive top-10 results dating back to 2020. Last fall at Texas, Hamlin was running solidly inside the top five before being spun under caution during the final stage. The ensuing chain of events resulted in Hamlin losing his track position and having to make a late charge to earn a top-10 finish.
Gabehart Effect: Since being paired with crew chief Chris Gabehart at the start of the 2019 season, Hamlin leads the Cup Series with 20 victories, 77 top-five finishes, and 4,902 laps led. During their time working together, the duo has won at eight of the 10 playoff tracks, including a win at Texas Motor Speedway in March 2019.
Texas Tire Test: Hamlin and the FedEx Racing team participated in a two-day tire test at Texas Motor Speedway on July 11-12.
Track: Texas Motor Speedway
Laps Led: 292
Avg. Start: 12.8
Avg. Finish: 13.6
Hamlin Conversation – Texas
How do you approach this weekend and this round as a whole?
“Texas is an important race for everyone competing in the Round of 12 because you can’t count on being great at Talladega. You can be great and get taken out there. At the ROVAL, now that they’ve added the stage cautions, you could get taken out on a restart there, so you just never know. We tested a new tire at Texas this summer, so I feel like we should be pretty good there. Our mindset is that we want to get the work done early in this round and not be sweating points going into the ROVAL.”
John Hunter Nemechek – No. 20 ROMCO Equipment Toyota GR Supra Preview – Andy’s Frozen Custard 300 at Texas Motor Speedway
No. 20 ROMCO Equipment Toyota GR Supra News and Notes
- NEMECHEK AT TEXAS: John Hunter Nemechek owns victories at Texas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. His Xfinity Series win came driving for Joe Gibbs Racing in October 2021 after leading 92 of 200 laps. That same year, Nemechek led 64 of 147 laps on the way to victory lane in the Truck Series race at the 1.5-mile track.
- BRISTOL RECAP: Nemechek began his pursuit of the Xfinity Series championship with a solid third-place finish last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. After starting second, he finished fourth and sixth in the opening stages before ultimately claiming his third consecutive top-three result at the end of the night.
- STOUT PERFORMANCE: In 16 starts this season on oval tracks two miles and less in distance, Nemechek’s performance has been phenomenal. He owns six wins, 12 top-five finishes, 16 top-10s, 905 laps led, a 6.1-average starting position and a 3.3-average finishing position in those 16 races.
- BESHORE AT TEXAS: Crew chief Ben Beshore has enjoyed his own success during his time atop the pit box at Texas Motor Speedway. In four Xfinity Series starts, Beshore’s teams have scored a pair of wins (Kyle Busch in 2019 and Harrison Burton in 2020). In those four starts, his teams have posted three top-five finishes and four top-10s.
- ROMCO EQUIPMENT: Nemechek’s No. 20 Toyota GR Supra will feature ROMCO Equipment as the primary sponsor for Saturday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway. The Dallas-based company serves the earthmoving, ground engaging and material handling markets by providing a full line of construction and mining equipment. ROMCO and Nemechek have a longstanding partnership dating back to 2017. The combo has proven to be a strong one with many highlights, including Nemechek’s Xfinity Series win for Joe Gibbs Racing at Texas Motor Speedway in October 2021.
- JGR AT TEXAS: Joe Gibbs Racing has claimed 16 Xfinity Series victories at Texas Motor Speedway. In 113 combined starts at the track, the organization has tallied 44 top-five finishes, 72 top-10s, 10 pole awards, and 2,837 laps led. Christopher Bell, Harrison Burton, Kyle Busch, and Erik Jones join Nemechek on the list of drivers who have driven JGR entries to victory lane in Texas.
- TUNE IN: Coverage of this weekend’s Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway is scheduled for Saturday, September 23, at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA Network, PRN Radio, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
John Hunter Nemechek, Driver of the No. 20 ROMCO Equipment Toyota GR Supra
What are your thoughts about racing at Texas?
“I definitely enjoy going to Texas. Being able to have a win there and a lot of great runs over the past couple years, not only in the Xfinity Series, but also the Truck Series, makes Texas a place that I look forward to going to every single year. Racing there forces you to adapt really fast. Turns 1 and 2 are so different from (turns) 3 and 4, so trying to get your car to work on both ends is pretty difficult. If you’re able to hit the balance, it’s a lot of fun. In the two times I’ve been there with JGR, we’ve had really good speed and obviously won two years ago, so I expect us to have a good shot this weekend.”
Rackley W.A.R. has reached a decision to make a driver change for its No. 25 NASCAR Craftsman® Truck Series (NCTS) entry for the remaining three (3) events of the 2023 race season, including Talladega Superspeedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Phoenix Raceway.
The team, in its third year as a full-time NCTS team, sponsored by Rackley Roofing Co, Inc. and W.A.R. Shocks, will release further details of the transaction once they are finalized.
Rackley W.A.R. PR
Trevor Bayne / No. 19 Interstate Batteries Toyota GR Supra Preview - Andy’s Frozen Custard 300 at Texas Motor Speedway
- BAYNE AT TEXAS: Trevor Bayne is set to make his third and final scheduled start of 2023 in the No. 19 Toyota GR Supra this weekend in the Andy’s Frozen Custard 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. Texas is the site of Bayne’s first career NXS victory, which came back in 2011 in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge. Saturday will mark his 10th career NXS start at the one-and-a-half mile tri-oval, where he has tallied his aforementioned win, one top-five, one top-10, an average finish of 16.3, and 25 laps led throughout his NXS career. Bayne also has 17 NCS starts at the track, where he’s led 16 laps and accumulated an average finish of 22.5.
- BRISTOL RECAP: Bayne put on a quality showing last weekend in the He Gets Us Toyota GR Supra. After qualifying 12th, Bayne methodically worked his way into the top-five en route to a pair of fifth place finishes in both stages. Through strategy, Bayne and the No. 19 crew managed to get as high as second place during the final stage, but fresher tires proved invaluable as Bayne ultimately finished seventh on the night. The strong and consistent run moved the No. 19 up to fourth in the Owner’s Points standings with two races remaining in the Round of 12.
- RACING FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP: The No. 19 continues their push for an Owner’s Championship this weekend in Texas, the second race in the NXS Round of 12. The collective effort from the seven different drivers to pilot the No. 19 this year has led the car to fourth in the standings heading into this weekend. Currently, the No. 19 has just an 18-point cushion over the cutoff line, making this weekend a crucial moment in the team’s championship journey. With Bayne, Myatt Snider, and Joe Graf Jr. slated to run the rest of the season, the fight for the owner’s championship is in their hands.
- ON THE PITBOX: Bayne will work alongside storied NXS crew chief Jason Ratcliff, who sat atop the pit box of the No.18 Toyota GR Supra for Bayne last year and has led the charge for the No.19 throughout the 2023 season. The duo immediately clicked last season as they kicked off their rapport with a third place in Fontana and continued to impress with two runner-up performances in Nashville and Loudon. Out of all drivers with at least nine starts in 2022, Bayne posted the second-best average finish (8.0) under Ratcliff’s leadership. Ratcliff is in his 18th season under the JGR banner. He won the 2009 Xfinity Championship in tandem with Kyle Busch after an eight-win season. The championship-winning crew chief has 56 Xfinity wins, including three this year with Ryan Truex, Ty Gibbs, and Denny Hamlin. He also has 15 NCS wins as crew chief between two former JGR drivers – Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano.
- THE 19 IN 2023: The JGR No. 19 will have a rotating schedule of drivers throughout the 2023 season. Drivers who have raced the No. 19 as of Texas are Myatt Snider, Ty Gibbs, Connor Mosack, Ryan Truex, Denny Hamlin, Joe Graf Jr., and Bayne. With three wins on the year from Truex, Gibbs, and Hamlin, the group of drivers have carried the No. 19 Toyota GR Supra to fourth in the owners’ points standings.
- JGR AT TEXAS: In 113 cumulative starts at Texas Motor Speedway, Joe Gibbs Racing has collected 16 NXS wins, with the most recent coming in 2021 with John Hunter Nemechek. Additionally, the team has combined for 44 top-fives, 72 top-10s, 2837 laps led, and 10 poles since their first NXS race at the track in 1998.
- FOLLOW ALONG: Follow along for updates and a behind-the-scenes look at Bayne’s 2023 season:
- RACE INFO: The Andy’s Frozen Custard 300 at Texas Motor Speedway is scheduled for 3:30 PM EST on Saturday, September 23rd. The race will be broadcast on USA, PRN, SiriusXM and available to stream on the NBC Sports app.
Trevor Bayne, Driver of the No. 19 Interstate Batteries Toyota GR Supra
What’s your mindset going into this race as you join the Interstate Batteries family of drivers this weekend?
“It’s always exciting to race a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in their Xfinity program. I’ve won a couple of poles and led laps in those cars, so I’m going into the weekend knowing that we will have what we need to be successful. The Interstate Batteries car is legendary in our sport and it’s kind of surreal for me to say I’m getting to drive that car. It’s certainly an honor, and to be able to run that scheme at Texas – their home track – is even more special.”
Chandler Smith, No. 16 Quick Tie Products Chevrolet Camaro
"I know everyone likes to circle Bristol or the Roval as the two races that can catch you out in the Round of 12, but Texas is just as important to get right. Our intermediate package was really strong earlier in the season, and we've tried to get back to that point over the last couple months. If we can get out of there with some stage points and a solid finish, we'll be sitting nicely heading into Charlotte."
- Chandler Smith on Texas Motor Speedway
Kaulig Racing PR
Kody King is set for a tripleheader weekend at Dells Raceway Park.
King is set to compete on three consecutive nights at the 0.333-mile asphalt oval as part of the Dells Raceway Park Midwest Championship Showdown beginning Friday night, Sept. 22 and concluding Sunday afternoon, Sept. 24.
“This is going to be a really fun and exciting weekend,” said King. “You really can’t beat three consecutive nights of racing at one of the best short tracks in the state of Wisconsin.”
It all starts on Friday night, Sept. 22 when King joins the field for the UMA Pro Late Model event that headlines Dells Raceway Park Championship Night. Qualifying is slated for 5 p.m. CT, with racing beginning at 6:30 p.m. CT.
King will be back on track on Saturday, Sept. 23 when he rejoins the Big 8 Late Model Series field for the Dave Rottiger Memorial 68. King currently ranks seventh in the Big 8 Late Model Series standings. Qualifying Saturday is slated to begin at 3 p.m. CT, with racing scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. CT.
The weekend will conclude on Sunday, Sept. 24 with the running of the Icebreaker 100 featuring the Alive for 5 Super Late Model Series. King will once again drive the Pathfinder Chassis house car as he makes his second Super Late Model start against some of the Midwest’s top Super Late Model competitors. Qualifying begins at 12:30 p.m. CT, with racing to follow at 2 p.m. CT.
Fans unable to attend the Icebreaker 100 in person will be able to watch it live by visiting PitRow.TV.
“I’m really excited to make another Super Late Model start with the guys from Pathfinder Chassis,” said King, who finished seventh in his Super Late Model debut at Hawkeye Down Speedway earlier this year. “I’ve really got to thank Brett Coltman, everyone at Coltman Farms Racing, the folks at Corneiller Fireworks and the team at MPM Marketing for making this weekend possible. We’re going to run the Coltman Farms dirt late model scheme again because without them, we wouldn’t be able to do this.”