Speedway Digest Staff
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Elite Chassis and Lethal Chassis have been among the most successful brands in recent UMP Modified history — accounting for 48 percent of all Feature wins recorded by the top-10 drivers in 2020 national points. But in 2021, a new challenger will look to end their reign.
October 2020 brought forth the formation of Longhorn Modifieds by Loenbro Motorsports into the DIRTcar realm, featuring the 2007 DIRTcar Nationals UMP Modified champion Steve Arpin and Longhorn Chassis proprietor Justin Labonte joining forces to start the production of Loenbro-unique chassis from within their shop in China Grove, NC. The brand immediately recruited several big-name drivers to their lineup, including a few of Elite’s biggest names.
Longhorn by Loenbro made its first on-track appearance in the Drydene World Short Track Championship at The Dirt Track at Charlotte with 8-time DIRTcar Nationals Feature winner Kyle Strickler at the controls. A $4,000 Feature win Saturday night verified the brand’s projected competitiveness and gave a glimpse into the future of the battle forming between Elite and Longhorn.
Two-time and defending Summit Racing Equipment American Modified Series champion Tyler Nicely, of Owensboro, KY, took the checkered flag in last November’s Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial at Volusia, besting Elite Chassis owner/fabricator Nick Hoffman and NASCAR regular Justin Allgaier in a 50-lap, $5,000-to-win throwdown. Hoffman and Allgaier drove their Elite Chassis to a 2-3 finish Saturday’s night main event, but could not catch Nicely, a former Elite pilot, making his debut in a brand-new Longhorn by Loenbro.
Their next heavyweight bout went down the very next weekend at 411 Motor Speedway in Seymour, TN, where Nicely took his Loenbro Longhorn to Victory Lane on Friday night with Allgaier and Hoffman again finishing 2-3. But Saturday night was Hoffman’s turn to get one for Elite, besting Nicely over 25 laps to keep the friendly rivalry going.
While their competitiveness was on full display in the fall of last season, the Loenbro Longhorns will face some decorated Elite and Lethal drivers at Volusia come February.
Hoffman, the two-time and defending DIRTcar UMP Modified national champion, has left Volusia in each of the last five DIRTcar Nationals with the Big Gator trophy and a total of 16 Feature wins in the event since his first in 2012. His triumph in 2020 kicked off one of the most dominant seasons in Elite’s history, featuring four of the top 10 drivers in DIRTcar UMP Modified national points standings at season’s end driving Elite Chassis – himself, Mike McKinney, Will Krup and Hunt Gossum. All four combined for 61 total Feature victories in DIRTcar-sanctioned competition.
Former NASCAR veteran David Stremme founded Lethal Chassis in 2014, serving several big names in the UMP Modified community that always bring tough competition into the state of Florida.
Stremme himself has two career DIRTcar Nationals Feature wins. Spencer Hughes pulled off a thrilling victory in last year’s Gator Championship on Monday night, passing Jason Hughes (no relation) on the final lap to bag the $5,000 prize. NASCAR Xfinity Series star Justin Haley scored his first DIRTcar Nationals victory in 2019, as did Michigan’s Curt Spalding last year. Floridian Modified veteran Devin Dixon and North Carolina’s Austin Holcombe are also projected to join Lethal’s roster at Volusia in 2021.
The 50th DIRTcar Nationals will feature a stacked lineup from Elite, including the regulars Hoffman, Allgaier and Krup. Kenny Wallace, who switched to Elite last fall, makes his first Elite starts at Volusia this year. Garret Stewart, Volusia's winningest driver in 2020, and Kyle Hammer, the Illinoisan making his first trip south for Florida Speedweeks this year, also bring Elites for 2021.
Longhorn by Loenbro will also bring a stellar lineup to Volusia in February, including Nicely and Strickler. Arpin will make his return to the seat of a UMP Modified for the first time since 2008, alongside Floridian Modified veteran Jeff Mathews. Plainfield, IL-wheelman Mike McKinney will also be making his very first trip south to compete at the 50th DIRTcar Nationals behind the wheel of a Longhorn after spending all eight of his first UMP Modified seasons with Elite, finishing second only to Hoffman in 2020 national points.
The rosters for each side are set. Every driver knows the score. When the teams pull into Volusia to compete for seven-straight nights, the gloves will come off in search of dirt racing’s most prized trophies. There’s no telling what kind of history will be made in the 50th edition of DIRTcar Nationals when the ironmen hit the track.
Don’t miss the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds in action at Volusia Speedway Park, Feb. 2-8. Tickets are on sale now at DIRTcarNationals.com or by calling 844-DIRT-TIX. If you can’t make it to the track, watch all the action live from the comfort of your home with a Platinum Fast Pass subscription to DIRTVision!
DIRTcar Series PR
Joey Gase is proud to announce that Joey Gase Motorsports will be running a new Late Model Development team based in Cornelius, NC. The team’s first race will be February 20th at Dillon Motor Speedway in the Carolina Pro Late Model Series with plans to run the full CPLMS schedule with additional races. The team currently has two cars in their fleet. Jasec Holladay will be driving one full time and the team is looking for another driver to field the second.
“I am very proud to be starting our own development team and excited to have Jasec Holladay as one of our drivers,” said Gase. “Jasec drove our open wheel modified last year at Hawkeye Downs and LaCrosse Speedway during Oktoberfest. He always had great speed and finished 2nd to me in the “Be A Hero 30” race at Hawkeye Downs. I can’t wait to see what he can accomplish this year being in a late model full time. My dad, Dave from Page Construction and I came up with this idea last year. We want to be able to give back to the racing community and give up and coming drivers a chance to show what they can do and lead them on the right path. I am extremely fortunate to be where I am today thanks to my family, friends and sponsors and I want to help others dreams come true as well. I made it a very different way than most without having millions of dollars in family money and I want to help others do the same thing.”
Page Construction will be the primary sponsor for Jasec Holladay to start off the season. “I am super excited to get this new venture under way and look forward to the 2021 season,” said Dave Page, owner of Page Construction. “We are thrilled to have Jasec Holliday, a young upcoming driver that we believe will be a contender for years to come.”
Joey Gase Racing PR
It was with sorrow that our family learned of Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron’s passing. He was a trailblazer who thrilled sports fans, shattered baseball's color barrier and changed the face of the nation. With the addition of Aaron to the board of directors of Medallion Financial Corporation as well as his friendship with the Mursteins, our partners in Richard Petty Motorsports, our family had the opportunity to experience his commitment to change the sports world. Moments before the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series DAYTONA 500 he provided words of encouragement to our driver. “Always believe in your dreams and anything is possible.” That moment was a testament to the gentlemen and great person he was. Our condolences to the Aaron family.
When Mahoning Valley Speedway promoter Keith Hoffman introduced the Rookie Hobby Stock class last season, at the time little did he or anyone else know the impression it would have with such an influx of young racers looking to drive stock cars.
From the very beginning the division saw an amazing array of up-and-comers, good car counts that stayed steady all year and even a class sponsor in E. Schneider and Sons Inc. Scrap Metal and Recyclers of Allentown.
“I wanted these kids, young and old, to get the feel of racing in a stock car and also what it felt like to win a race at Mahoning Valley and be greeted by a large cheering crowd,’ explained Hoffman.
“We accomplished that and in the process paved the way for the next generation of stars to race here.”
That was indeed the case as eight different winners graced Victory Lane in 11 events held. Hallie Muffley, who never raced a car prior to that, came out as the top winner with three victories while Paul French, Jr., was hailed as the very first class champion.
2021 will see a host of those talents take the step up, which is exactly what the focus of the class is designed for. However, there will be some who may not be quite ready to make that advancement and feel another year of getting better adjusted to the surroundings will be in their best interest.
Parents and guardians agree too, which is what led track management to institute a “Futures” class.
Although those racers not moving up are no longer a rookie with the first year under their belts, the Futures class will combine them with Rookies. Each feature will see two winners, one Rookie and one Futures.
“This was the best course of action that we felt was the right thing to do,” offered Hoffman.
“We saw that some of the Rookies, even though they all did a great job, where not yet ready to make the step into the regular Hobby Stocks or higher and this will now provide a more safe and basic environment for them to do so.”
And, they will have adequate track time to improve and nurture with 21 race dates.
At the present time Hoffman noted that a three-year and out rule will be instituted for the Futures/Rookies.
The Futures/Rookie Hobby Stockers along with all others will get the first opportunity to get on track starting March 13, 20 and 27 with Test and Tune days in advance of the Saturday, April 3 Opening Day which is also race number one of the Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame Series featuring the Bill Teel Tribute.
Please log onto the official Mahoning Valley Speedway website at www.mahoningvalley-speedway.com or on Facebook at Mahoning Valley Speedway or Twitter @MahoningSpeed updated info and news. Mahoning Valley Speedway is located on PA route 443 just a few miles west of Lehighton.
Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource for vehicle pricing and valuations, has extended its sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports and 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott with a two-year contract renewal.
In 2021 and 2022, Kelley Blue Book will be featured as a two-race primary sponsor and full-season associate sponsor of Elliott’s No. 9 team. The company’s association with Hendrick Motorsports began with a one-race primary sponsorship in 2014 and expanded to two races in 2016 when KBB.com joined Elliott for his rookie year.
Elliott, 25, will pilot the No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series playoff races Sept. 11 at Richmond Raceway and Oct. 17 at Texas Motor Speedway.
“Chase is an extraordinary championship athlete who creates enormous excitement on and off the track, connecting with fans everywhere,” said Greta Crowley, vice president of marketing for Kelley Blue Book. “We’ve been proud partners alongside Hendrick Motorsports, and our organizations are both about driving results. Chase and Hendrick Motorsports strive for excellence, and we are looking forward to building an even stronger relationship with the team.”
In 2020, Elliott became the third-youngest driver in history to win a Cup Series title. At NASCAR’s top level, the Dawsonville, Georgia, native has already won 11 points-paying races and three consecutive Most Popular Driver awards. He has never missed the playoffs in his five full-time Cup seasons.
“Kelley Blue Book has supported me since I was a Cup rookie,” Elliott said. “They have been a big part of my career and our No. 9 team, and I’m proud we were able to deliver them a championship last season. Kelley Blue Book is a major partner for our program and for Mr. (Rick) Hendrick’s whole organization. I look forward to a lot more success with them in the years ahead.”
In addition to individual consumers, Kelley Blue Book’s variety of products and services are available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies, and governmental agencies. Partners include Hendrick Automotive Group, which utilizes Kelley Blue Book in each of its 131 automotive retail franchises across the United States.
“Kelley Blue Book is a key relationship for us,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman and CEO of Hendrick Automotive Group. “They believed in Chase when he was just starting in the Cup Series, and it has paid off with big wins on the racetrack and valuable business opportunities. We’re grateful for their terrific partnership in all aspects of what we do.”
Hendrick Motorsports PR
INDYCAR officials have announced the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season opener at Barber Motorsports Park has been rescheduled from Sunday, April 11 to Sunday, April 18.
The move results in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst being featured on NBC network television. A record nine events will air on NBC this season.
It’s the first time the 2.38-mile road course will host the opener for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. A return to the popular Birmingham, Alabama, racecourse leads an opening stretch of four races in 15 days with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (April 25) and a doubleheader at Texas Motor Speedway (May 1-2) to follow. NBC will air the first two races of the new season and six of the first eight from April to June.
“The schedule changes we’ve had, while partially prompted by ongoing pandemic conditions, give us a powerful start to the 2021 season,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said. “With six of our first eight races on network television and all in a more compact timeline, it’s an enormous opportunity to drive even more momentum as we deliver our exciting brand of racing to our fans.”
Barber Motorsports Park became an instant hit among INDYCAR drivers when the series first tested on the fast and undulating circuit in 2007. A fan favorite, as well, this year marks the 11th time the series will race there, a tradition that started in 2010. Two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Josef Newgarden is the winningest driver at Barber, with three wins. Two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Takuma Sato is the most recent winner.
“Zoom Motorsports and Barber Motorsports Park jumped at the opportunity to have our event showcased on NBC network television” said Gene Hallman, CEO of Zoom Motorsports. “We are proud of the tremendous support that INDYCAR receives annually here in the heart of the deep south. The facility and museum are world class, and we look forward to highlighting George Barber’s vision in what has become a bucket list destination for all race fans.”
An updated listing of green flag times for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule will be announced at a later date.
Landon Cassill is set to make a return to the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller stables driving the No. 4 Chevrolet full time this NASCAR Xfinity Series season.
Cassill, who has driven for team owner Johnny Davis on a number of occasions over the years including full-time campaigns from 2013 to 2015, looks to break back into the spotlight after not competing in many races last season.
The Iowa-native veteran sports a solid track record in NXS competition, with one Top 5 and fourteen Top 10 finishes throughout his career. Landon has also made over 300 starts in the NASCAR Cup Series, and brings a wealth of knowledge to the Gaffney-based race team.
Last season, the No. 4 Chevrolet accounted for two of the team’s three Top 10 finishes at Pocono and Daytona. This season, the crew aims at improving that number with even more Top 10 runs.
Ahead of the year, Landon was quoted saying “Johnny and his team in Gaffney mean the world to me, and it is a great honor to be back in the No. 4 Chevy. We’ve done so much together, and look forward to accomplishing more this season. He’s got a great lineup of drivers to work with this season, and I can’t wait to see what we all get done together.”
The pairing of Cassill and Davis has a rich history that includes seven Top 10 finishes along with a best points finish of 12th in 2014. Both the driver and team owner believe they can turn some heads in 2021.
Sponsorship announcements for Landon Cassill will be made in the near future, along with one more driver announcement to complete the JDM lineup.
The 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season kicks off at Daytona International Speedway on February 13th. To keep up with Landon Cassill, follow his social media pages @LandonCassill, and visit his official website at www.LandonCassill.com. For all things JDM, follow along on our social media pages @JDMotorsports01, and visit the team’s official website at www.TeamJDMotorsports.com. #TeamJDM
Rellevate, Inc., a fintech company dedicated to empowering consumers through leading-edge financial and payment services, announced today a multi-year licensing and distribution agreement with Richard Petty. The partnership will allow fans to buy gift and reward cards depicting Richard Petty, "The King,” an American icon. Petty is the winningest driver in the history of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR).
“We look forward to bringing the Richard Petty Icon Gift and Reward Cards to fans by providing a mechanism for corporations to reward employee performance and build consumer promotions,” Jim Hannigan, vice president of licensing for Richard Petty Motorsports, said. “We will contribute a portion from each purchase to Victory Junction.”
“Every day, Victory Junction provides camp experiences for children with serious illnesses and chronic medical conditions,” Chad A. Coltrane, president & CEO of Victory Junction, said. “We appreciate the support that the partnership between Rellevate and Richard Petty will provide for our Victory Junction kids and families.”
“Rellevate is excited for the partnership with Petty, and in presenting the Richard Petty Icon Gift and Reward Cards to fans across the country. More importantly, we will be supporting Victory Junction,” Stewart A. Stockdale, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Rellevate, said. “The Rellevate management team has extensive experience in groundbreaking gift and reward card programs, including successful licensed products which have built the world’s largest Visa® gift card program. Petty's extensive and loyal fan base combined with Rellevate's expertise will be the catalyst for a winning performance.”
The Richard Petty Icon Gift Card will launch in January, in time for the DAYTONA 500 at the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February. Cards will be sold directly to consumers and to corporations for employees and consumer promotions. Soon to follow, the Richard Petty Icon Reward Card will be offered through Rellevate's network of employers as well as corporations closely aligned with motorsports.
Rellevate Visa® Gift Card is issued by Sutton Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc
As more people continue to become eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, a unique public-private partnership will host the first of several mass vaccination events in the community beginning today, Jan. 22, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Over the course of the three-day weekend period, Atrium Health will be administering over 16,000 vaccinations to people who are at least 65 years of age at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as the first of two announced mass vaccination sites at professional sports venues. Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Football Club, is planning to host a similar mass vaccination event in the near future.
On Jan. 14, Honeywell, Atrium Health, Tepper Sports & Entertainment and Charlotte Motor Speedway announced a unique public-private initiative with a bold plan of distributing 1 million doses of the vaccine by July 4, 2021. With support from the State of North Carolina and Gov. Roy Cooper, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and local governments, these organizations will work together to administer vaccinations, provide logistics and operations support, and offer venues for an efficient and safe initiative.
“The ability to launch the state's largest vaccination event so rapidly is a testament to the power of partnership,” said Eugene A. Woods, president and CEO of Atrium Health. “Our goal, simply stated, is to get as many shots in arms as quickly as we can, to save the lives of North Carolinians. And we thank Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen for their support of our partnership with Honeywell, Tepper Sports & Entertainment and Charlotte Motor Speedway as we take a critical step forward in defeating this virus and returning life to some semblance of normal.”
The mass vaccination clinics will run from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 22, through Sunday, Jan. 24. Appointments are required to receive a vaccination, and vaccinations will not be available without confirmation of a spot. This is to help manage the supply of the vaccine, given its ultra-cold storage requirements and limited shelf life after thawing. The current appointment slots are already full for this event, showing the desire by surrounding community members to receive the vaccine. After receiving their vaccination, each patient will proceed to a monitoring area where medical staff will closely monitor for any potential reaction.
“The Speedway will literally become victory lane for thousands of North Carolinians this weekend,” said Marcus Smith, president and chief executive officer, Speedway Motorsports. “This vaccination clinic is a crucial pit stop in the race to beat the pandemic. We’re modeling our efforts off the success we had last year partnering with Atrium Health to create a drive-up testing site. People will actually drive on the racetrack and pit road before entering one of 12 vaccination lanes in the garage area. The entire process will take place without people leaving their cars.”
“Honeywell has rapidly convened experts from our organization to work with our partners to implement enhanced logistics, ensuring a smooth and quick start to the effort to vaccinate thousands of people,” said Darius Adamczyk, chairman and chief executive officer of Honeywell. “Our work is only beginning. We and our partners won’t stop until we distribute 1 million doses by July 4. We believe the model we are developing in North Carolina, in close partnership with Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen and their teams, will also be helpful to other states as they look to accelerate their vaccine distribution efforts.”
Hundreds of Atrium Health teammates – including physicians and Advanced Practice Providers, along with additional volunteers from Honeywell and the Cabarrus Health Alliance – will spend their personal time this weekend to help vaccinate community members in a collective effort to get the population to a “herd immunity” status.
Appointments for all Atrium Health vaccination locations and events can be scheduled on its MyAtriumHealth platform on the health system’s website or via its app. Those who don’t have a MyAtriumHealth account can create one or schedule a vaccination appointment by phone, if assistance is needed. There are no out-of-pocket costs for patients to receive the vaccine. Those receiving their initial dose of vaccine this weekend will be asked to schedule their second dose three weeks from now. Those will also be administered at the speedway.
Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the best way for people to protect themselves, their families and their community. As larger portions of the population are vaccinated, the whole community becomes better protected. More information about Atrium Health’s vaccination plans for the public, including frequently asked questions and scheduling vaccine, can be found at AtriumHealth.org/
- Charlotte Motor Speedway becomes the first, major professional sports venue in North Carolina to open its gates for a mass vaccination event benefitting the public.
- On Jan. 14, Honeywell, Atrium Health, Tepper Sports & Entertainment and Charlotte Motor Speedway announced a unique public-private partnership with a bold plan of distributing 1 million doses of the vaccine by July 4, 2021.
- Over the course of the three-day weekend period, Atrium Health will be administering over 16,000 vaccinations to people who are at least 65 years of age.
- To support the mass vaccinations, Honeywell has integrated some of its most popular productivity and supply chain automation solutions, usually seen in warehouse and distribution center operations used by large ecommerce and retail companies, including solutions that help with data entry, traffic management, and handheld scanners and printers to assist with logistics.
- More information about Atrium Health’s vaccination plans for the public, including FAQs, can be found at AtriumHealth.org/