All posts by ARP Trish

IMSA WEATHERTECH SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIPROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA

NO. 4 CORVETTE C8.R MEDIA AVAILABILITY TRANSCRIPTJANUARY 12, 2021
Corvette Racing drivers Tommy Milner, Nick Tandy and Alexander Sims – teammates in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R – met with members of the media during a Zoom conference call Tuesday to discuss the new-look lineup in the No. 4 Corvette for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the transitions of Tandy and Sims into Corvette Racing, the outlook for the 2021 Rolex 24 At Daytona and other topics. FULL TRANSCRIPT:
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.RTHE OUTLOOK FOR ROLEX 24 AND 2021:“There are lot of big changes on our side of the team with Nick and Alex. I’m excited about it. I’ve raced against those guys in GT for many years, and I know how tough they are as competitors. I’m happy I don’t have to race against them now and can race with them. I’m excited to get Year Two of this Corvette Racing program going again with the C8.R. Last year was a pretty big success with lots of race wins and the GTLM championships. We’re looking to equal that, and getting some of the highlight race wins is a pretty big program goal – Daytona, Sebring and beyond that. We’re looking forward to getting the season going again and seeing how it all shakes out.”
CHANGES WITHIN THE PROGRAM, INCLUDING BEING WITH NEW TEAMMATES:“We had one test at the end of the year where both Nick and Alexander were able to get some laps in the car. That was good for them to get their feet wet, and as expected they both were quick. With those formalities out of the way, we can show up to Daytona for the Roar and the race and be focused on getting the car ready to go and not some of the house-keeping stuff that you try to take care of at the first test. They’re both such professionals and have been doing this for such a long time. There are details of driving a new car, which will obviously take them a couple of races to understand what the car wants and needs. From a pace perspective and a teammate perspective, both those guys have been great so far.“There have been some changes within the team, but from our side and what we’ve seen, the difference as been none. Of course, Doug (Fehan) should be mentioned for sure. He’s been with this program from the beginning and is a guy who had a big role within Corvette Racing. His leadership and his role within the team have been very evident for a long, long time. The team and Chevrolet have shifted a little bit their programs and restructured them in some ways to encompass the racing side more under the engineering branch. There are lots of great people that are involved from the Corvette Racing side, the Chevrolet side and the Pratt Miller side. That hasn’t changed. There are lots of people who encompass Corvette Racing, and obviously Doug was a big part of that for a long, long time. He’s left his mark in many ways. His experience and who he is as a person will definitely be missed at the track. But he’s left a great legacy, and we can continue to push forward with the success that this team has been built on and continue that down the road.“As of right now, that role (program manager) hasn’t been filled. There are lot of people on the Chevrolet side who have been part of helping run and been involved with Corvette Racing, and the same at Pratt Miller. Doug had an all-encompassing role in many ways. I think the aim is to fill that role by the end of the month and hopefully before the race.”
THOUGHTS ON GTLM COMPETITION FOR 2021:“As always with this GT class, there are ebbs and flows with it. Some years we have nine or 10 cars racing and some years less than that. At Corvette Racing, fundamentally we of course enjoy that extra competition that we have had for many years. Missing the factory Porsche team is not ideal by any means, but still there is no reason to look past the WeatherTech guys. There will be some great drivers in that team looking for race wins. In some ways, they probably feeling like the underdog in some ways, so they will be working extra hard to try to beat us.
“Daytona will be a big challenge no matter what. That is our main focus for now. I would say the inner-team rivalry has grown over the years in many ways. We’ve seen in the past when it was just Corvette Racing in the GT1 class at that time that the racing was still pretty epic. Now without Fehan there, I think we can not have some inner-team contact on pit lane at Mid-Ohio as you saw one year there! More battles like what you saw at Daytona in 2016 where the two cars were racing nose-to-tail for the last hour-and-a-half of the 24-hour race with some great racing there. In some ways, we have to sort of race ourselves anyway. Both cars and both teams of drivers are always pushing ourselves constantly. So if we don’t have a lot of competition for the sprint races, once we go to Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans and when we have more competition again, we will be on the top of our game. We will certainly be pushing hard to beat those 3 car guys throughout the year and certainly those Proton Porsche guys as well.”
LEARNING FROM SUCCESS OF THE NO. 3 CORVETTE IN 2020:“Last year, both Jordan and Antonio were very consistent. We saw a couple of times at the start of races they were quite quick. So we’re learning lessons from last year and working with our engineer (Chuck Houghton) and understand why that was. So now with Nick and the two of us together – plus Alex for the long races – we’re trying to understand what those deficiencies were in some places, what they were doing differently and trying to find our own way with a few tricks and secrets here and there.”
IMPACT OF LMP3 INTRODUCTION ON GTLM BATTLES:“I think it will be a similar experience to what we had with the Prototype Challenge cars from years past. It’s a little bit lower horsepower prototype car, oftentimes with guys who are a little less experienced at times. I can’t imagine having them on the race track will make it whole lot different than that  experience. It will definitely make some things more challenging in some ways. With sports car racing and endurance racing, traffic ends up becoming a huge part of our race. Adding in those guys will add a little bit more trouble for us in the GT cars, but it will be the same for everybody. We will just have to learn to race with them and around them and understand where they are quick. As practice goes on, we will figure out which cars have good guys in them and which cars have guys that you have to be a little more careful of. Those are the kinds of details you find as the race weekend goes on.”
NICK TANDY, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.RTHE TRANSITION COMING INTO CORVETTE RACING:“For starters, I’m looking forward to going racing again. We get a little bit of an offseason after what is normally Atlanta but last season was Sebring. There’s often a bit of testing. It’s been a pretty quiet lockdown winter, but I’m looking forward to getting going. Obviously, I’m racing in familiar surroundings in IMSA and GTLM, but of course I have a new car and a lot of new people to work with. From this point of view, I’m looking forward to getting going, getting to know new friends and hopefully win a load of big races, like Tommy said, with new teammates.”
TRANSITIONING TO A NEW TEAM AND ONE ELEMENT THAT HAS BEEN A PLEASANT SURPRISE:“As Tommy mentioned, we had the opportunity to run a few laps at the back end of last year in the C8.R. I’ve been racing against the car for 12 months now. Compared to the previous cars I’ve been used to, it’s built to a similar set of regulations, runs a similar sort of tire and has similar power and weight. The thing that pleased me most is how natural the C8.R felt straightaway. There are, of course, many nuances and bits and pieces on how to extract time and consistency out of the car and the tires on which Corvette Racing compete. It felt pretty comfortable and familiar after a day’s running. This was a big positive for me.”
THE PROCESS OF MOVING TO A NEW TEAM:“Of course it feels weird. I had been with CORE Autosport for seven or eight years now, working with a group of people that you get to know. Yes, we’d been through various different cars so this doesn’t change things going forward. We went through different scenarios where we’ve gone and raced at Le Mans with CORE before. The biggest change will be adapting to working with different people and within a team of people. In the end, when the chance came about to join Corvette Racing, it was an easy decision to make. Yes, I loved my family at CORE and Porsche, but at the end of the day there was no option to go racing in GTLM and IMSA, which has been my favorite race series and my favorite racing across the globe over the last 15 years. GTLM and GTE is super competitive; the cars are great, it’s factory against factory and its great competition. It didn’t take long to say yes and come to an agreement that we’d go forward. It is a new challenge – same series with a similar car but the challenge will come with slotting myself into a champion team and one that has been successful for the last 20 years. It’s something I’m looking forward to. It’s not just the driving that a driver does on track, it’s how you integrate yourself into a team and be part of a team that works together. I’m looking forward to that challenge and hopefully looking forward to a lot more winning in the future.”
CROSSOVER OF SPORTS CAR TALENT INTO NASCAR RACES: “Honestly, I don’t see a lot of additional crossover. The way I see it, there are a lot less funded opportunities within stock car racing at the moment. It’s difficult for pro stock car drivers to get top-level drives. Even though there are a lot of road-course races, the guys that have a deal and have the opportunity to do the full season, they’ll do the full season. It’s not like it was 10 years ago when there would be additional cars entered for road course ringers. I don’t see that sort of crossover from our side. In sports car racing when there are additional entries at Daytona with four or five drivers per car, it’s great to include people that perhaps can’t do other races with it. This is great that we still have crossover. From my point of view, my joining Corvette Racing and Chevrolet was to win races in IMSA and championships. That is my full focus until we’ve done that and won four or five. But if the opportunity was there, I’ve said before I’m a fan of stock car racing. If it doesn’t impact any of the other programs we’re doing, I’d love to get involved.”
SPEEDING UP THE TRANSITION PROCESS WITH LIMITED TRACK TIME:“Ultimately you can’t get better than track time. The good thing is that we have the Roar test, which is great. We have three days before we get into the race week. So you can’t beat track time. But on the back of this, one of the things I’ve been introduced to within Corvette Racing and Chevrolet is the Driver in the Loop simulator that we have in North Carolina. I’ve been there already and I’m due to go back before the race at Daytona. This is something that helps you get used to working with the race engineers, getting used to strategies and working on getting used to different things you can change within the car. Actually getting used to the car, driving it and getting comfortable going 200 mph at Daytona, it’s only track time. The good thing is that we have five days of testing at Daytona before the 24 Hours. Of course we have the qualifying race at the end of the Roar. Hopefully both Alexander and I can get some laps and work with Tommy to figure out how to get the best out of all of all us before we have 24 hours of practice in the race.”
DIFFERENCE IN DRIVING STYLE BETWEEN C8.R AND PORSCHE:“There are slight differences. The thing with the 911s we had was the short wheelbase. As the cars got wider and wider, and with the team exploiting the aero, having a wide car with a short wheelbase does make a car edgy. This was one of the most pleasing aspects of getting into the C8.R. It has a slightly longer wheelbase so it’s slightly more stable in lot of places. This is just the basic architecture of the car. There are places where it’s a hinderance, but you look at the M8 which has an event longer wheelbase still. There are places where the short wheelbase helps – sometimes at Long Beach, for example. But it does make it edgy to drive sometimes. The Corvette was a breath of fresh air in some areas, to be honest. The consistency of how you can push the car is something I’m looking forward to exploit and not constantly being on the limit and going over it. It’s an endurance racing machine, and it’s designed for a reason: to be consistent and enable us guys as drivers to go out and push as hard as we can and try to limit mistakes.”
OUTLOOK ON 2021 GTLM FIELD AND CAR COUNT: “It is what it is at the end of the day. We are still hoping BMW will run the full season. This is a potential. It only takes two cars to make a race. Even rallying with one car is pretty interesting sometimes. It is great that WeatherTech and Proton have gotten together and are committed to a full season. It’s like Tommy said: you take the good with the bad. I remember a couple years ago when Ford was there with Ferrari; it was the best GT racing in the world. Yes this year there’s a car drop, but that’s not to say that it will lead to any less intense racing on track. I’m looking forward to Daytona for the start where there will be a few good cars and lots of stuff going on with P3 involved also, and then Sebring as well. Hopefully we can get some of the WEC cars there also for the Super Sebring weekend. Then you have to look forward and get on with what’s in front of you.”
OPTIMISM ON A PERSONAL LEVEL GOING INTO 2021 ABOUT MOTORSPORT IN GENERAL:“Yes, I am more optimistic than I was in June, let’s put it that way. It is great to see people committed to the LMDH and LMH categories. You have people, even though teams have left Formula E, you have manufacturers looking at that, plus Formula 1 through NASCAR, INDYCAR and sports car racing. We’ve kind of lost DTM which was probably the top-level championship in Europe, but that looks like it is taking on a new start and there are teams involved in that already. There are people who still want to go racing whether it is from privateers or manufacturers. As long as there are people who want to go racing then hopefully, once the tough days and tough times are behind us, people will want to go out and enjoy their motorsport again.”
ALEXANDER SIMS, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.RBEING BACK IN GTLM WITH CORVETTE RACING:“Ever since my participation in IMSA ended and going off to do Formula E, it was the single championship I was most driven to get back involved with. It absolutely was the top one that I’ve been involved in within GT racing that I’ve enjoyed. Competition-wise the tracks, the format of racing, competitors, everything about it is just fantastic. The opportunity to drive with Corvette was something that took very little time to consider. Having raced against them for a couple of years, you see the level at which they work as a team, the success they’ve had over the years. To join the program and be a part of that is a huge honor. Now I’m looking forward to getting into the nitty-gritty of going racing again. I’m really, really looking forward to getting back to Daytona.”
TRANSITIONING TO A NEW TEAM AND ONE ELEMENT THAT HAS BEEN A PLEASANT SURPRISE:“Nick kind of stole my answer, but the fundamental thing that was ultimately a question mark as a driver is how you’re going to feel when you get in the car. In terms of dealing with the team, speaking to people and understanding how things work, you can do that before you drive. Getting in the car was the last remaining thing that was to be checked off and such. Doing the first couple of laps at Sebring, the car started making sense pretty quickly to me. By Day Two and going on another couple of runs, it was really impressive how good the car was in so many different phases of the corner. It takes a little bit of adjusting to it, as all race cars do. It wasn’t a surprise because the car won so much last year, but to verify my feeling of the car was good as well was nice.”
ON ADJUSTING DRIVING STYLE FROM FORMULA E TO THE CORVETTE:“Driving a qualifying lap isn’t that much different actually. The tire takes some getting used to, but in terms of the fundamentals of driving a race car quickly, you’re still going through the same processes. There aren’t too many things that I would say would conflict in terms of jumping between two cars and series. It’s something I’ve done the last two years anyway. For me, jumping into a GT3 car is a little more difficult when you bring in ABS, but with the Corvette it should be pretty straightforward, within reason. It just takes a couple of laps to adapt. In terms of Formula E energy saving and strategy stuff you learn, there isn’t a huge amount that is massively able to be crossed over. Corvette always seemed to have a pretty good handle on that part of it, so I’ll work with the engineers on that as usual.”
HAS THE UK COVID LOCKDOWN IMPACTED LIFE MORE THAN THE LAST NINE MONTHS:“The news just recently about having to have a negative test coming to the U.S. and another coming back to the U.K. as well is a small logistical thing that we need to sort out. There’s nothing radically different other than quarantine on return to the U.K. will be necessary. There’s not a huge amount that we’ve had to get our head around.”
ADDING A FACTORY GT PROGRAM TO FORMULA E EFFORT:“It was honestly a factor in my Formula E situation. I was keen to pursue things with Mahindra because from the outset there was a clear position that they would be happy for me to do some GT racing and have no restrictions on manufacturers. That in it itself was massively appealing to me. I’m really enjoying my time in Formula E and I want that to continue, but at the same time I’ve done GT racing for many  years. It’s so unique in the enjoyment you get out of it… the physical fatigue that you get in a 24-hour race. You just can’t replicate that in a sprint race. Knowing IMSA was the championship that I have enjoyed the most in GT racing over the years, it was my primary aim to get back involved. It obviously wasn’t just down to me picking and choosing where I go. It was fortunate timing that Corvette was interested in talking to me, and things moved quickly.”
DID YOU KNOW OPTIONS FOR GT RACING WITH BMW WOULD BE LIMITED, AND DID THAT INFLUENCE YOUR FORMULA E PLANS?“This is talking about my Formula E situation, but it wasn’t part of my consideration in terms of my choice to leave BMW. I think the Formula E thing was rather separate, but one of the conditions in my head was that I wanted to be with a manufacturer that would allow me to do things like this and race GT cars at the highest level around this world if opportunities came up.  The situation unfolded perfectly, to be honest, to add this program with Corvette Racing along with my Formula E racing. It’s an absolute dream to come true in terms of my racing interests.”

Santa Pod announces 2021 season schedule


Santa Pod Raceway has unveiled a full 2021 season of events running from March to December and embracing its usual array of championship drag races, modified car shows, specialist and family events, together with public track days (Run What Ya Brung) and regular mid-week dates (Drift What Ya Brung).
In a normal year, 400,000 people pass through Santa Pod’s gates to attend more than 75 events. 2020’s planned programme was halted abruptly by the pandemic’s arrival.
From July, however, Santa Pod began staging reduced-scale events and developed Covid-safe protocols which allowed spectators to attend in limited, socially-distanced numbers under strict local authority supervision, at a time when most other sports venues across the country were shuttered. Supported by this experience, Santa Pod offers a 2021 programme of full-scale events with the proven ability to ‘downsize’ again should necessity demand.
Santa Pod’s CEO, Keith Bartlett, said: “Last summer, Santa Pod worked hard to become a truly Covid-secure venue and successfully operated many events throughout the continuous changes in government guidelines. Despite spiralling costs, Santa Pod offered a full action programme on and around the track. Grandstand viewing, show-car displays, catering and trade stands, and even our popular camping provision, were all executed in an approved, Covid-secure manner. This year we are pushing ahead with a full season of events and adding some new ones too.”
2021 highlights will include the opening and closing rounds of the FIA/FIM European Drag Racing Championships, in May and September, and national championship rounds throughout the season, all featuring competition on two and four wheels. STP Oil & Fuel Additives returns to Santa Pod to present the STP Sportsman Series, comprising four of the national championship rounds. July’s Dragstalgia will headline a trio of historic ‘Nostalgia’ drag races.
On the festival front, summer weekends will host Bug Jam, the Volkswagen headliner, and USC (Ultimate Street Car). Along with regular marque-specific occasions, celebrations of national car culture – as exemplified by Japanese events and the recent German addition, Das Auto Show – will be joined by newcomers Le French Fest (voulez-vous voiture avec moi, ce soir?) and, honouring the products and inventions of our own, sovereign sceptred isle, the Best of British Show.
At all times, Santa Pod will observe current Covid restrictions and regulations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all in attendance.
Key events:
Championship drag races:
2-4 Apr:        Festival of Power (Rnd.1, Motorsport UK and national championships)28-31 May:  The Main Event (Rnd.1, FIA/FIM European Championships)9-12 Sep:      FIA/FIM European Finals
STP Sportsman Series:
24-25 Apr:    STP Springspeed Nationals17-18 Jul:      STP Summer Nationals21-22 Aug:    STP Greenlight Nationals25-26 Sep:    STP National Finals
‘Nostalgia’ drag races:
7-9 May:       NSRA Nostalgia Nationals9-11 Jul:        Dragstalgia17-19 Sep:    NSRA Hot Rod Drags
Festival events:
28 Mar:       Best of British Show (new)2 May:         Le French Fest (new)23-25 Jul:    Bug Jam6-8 Aug:      USC (Ultimate Street Car)
Tickets go on sale on Monday 1st March, supported by a new ticket insurance scheme provided by TicketPlan, a leading provider of event ticket insurance. The full event calendar and comprehensive information about Santa Pod are available at www.santapod.co.uk.

Chevy racing–12 championships in 2020

Chevrolet Racing Wins 12 Championships in 2020Chevy Earns Titles in NASCAR, IMSA, NHRA and BITD
DETROIT (Dec. 17, 2020) – Chevrolet ended 2020 with a dozen manufacturer, team and driver championships across four of North America’s racing series.  “The 2020 racing season is one that no one will forget,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet vice president of Performance and Motorsports. “The pandemic changed the way we all operate. We are proud of how our Chevrolet teams and drivers persevered and focused on ways to improve performance every time they showed up at the track.”
Chevrolet, highlighted by Chase Elliott’s late-season dash to his first NASCAR Cup Driver’s Championship, won manufacturer and driver titles in NASCAR, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and NHRA. 
The Cup Series and IMSA titles were noteworthy as Chevrolet debuted new racecars in each: The Camaro ZL1 1LE in the NASCAR Cup Series and the much anticipated mid-engine Corvette C8.R in the WeatherTech Championship’s GT Le Mans (GTLM) class. Additionally, Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and Silverado both won Best in the Desert (BITD) class championships. During a season in which on-track testing was severely restricted, teams and drivers from NASCAR, IndyCar and IMSA spent increased time at Chevrolet’s Driver-in-the-Loop (DiL) simulator in Huntersville, N.C., to prepare for competition.  “Winning championships is a goal we set every season, no matter the adversity,” Campbell said. “Our Chevrolet teams overcame obstacles through teamwork, preparation and execution. The technical learnings from the race track help us build better vehicles and powertrains for the showroom.  “Winning races and championships also help elevate Chevy’s brand opinion and image, which means consumers are more likely to place our vehicles on their shopping list.” A quick look at Chevrolet’s successes:• NASCAR Cup Series: Elliott won the last two races of the season: First at Martinsville to qualify for NASCAR’s Championship 4, and then at Phoenix to clinch the title. Elliott’s championship was his first in the series and Chevrolet’s 32nd. In addition, Elliott was named Most Popular Driver in the series.• NASCAR Xfinity Series: Chevrolet won 10 times in 33 races to take its 22nd Manufacturer title. Justin Allgaier claimed Most Popular Driver honors.• NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Sheldon Creed won five of Chevrolet’s 10 races for the brand’s 14th Driver Championship and 10th Manufacturer crown. Zane Smith, part of Chevrolet’s Driver’s EDGE development program, won Most Popular Driver.• IMSA: Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor dominated the WeatherTech Championship’s  GTLM category, winning a class-high five races in the No. 3 Corvette C8.R en route to winning the Drivers and Team championships, and helping Chevrolet to its 13th Manufacturers title in GT competition. It is the third time since 2014 that Corvette Racing and Chevy swept the three full-season crowns in the same year.• NHRA: Pro Stock driver Erica Enders, in her Chevrolet Camaro SS, made history by becoming the first female driver in series history to win four championships, Aaron Stanfield won Factory Stock Showdown in his COPO Camaro, and Chevrolet won the Manufacturer’s Cup for the 25th time, more than any other manufacturer.• IndyCar: Rinus VeeKay won Rookie of the Year honors in Chevrolet V6-powered IndyCar. He is Chevrolet’s third ROY in open-wheel and first since 1992.• BITD: Colorado ZR2 (mid-size production truck) and Silverado (full-size production truck) won class championships as the ZR2 completed every mile of every race in 2020. Chevrolet competes in Best in the Desert to develop and validate Chevy Performance Parts on production ZR2s for further tech transfer.
“While we’re proud of our successes and accomplishments this year, in racing there is always room for improvement,” Campbell said. “We are not resting. We are looking forward to the 2021 season. We continue to prepare to pursue wins and championships.” Chevrolet’s first races of 2021 is BITD’s Bluewater Resort Parker 425 in Parker, Ariz., on Jan. 13-16, followed by IMSA’s Rolex 24 At Daytona (Fla.) on Jan. 30-31.

Night 2 K&N Filters Rumble by the River – Presented by Optima Batteries Tonight on MAVT

Batavia, OH (December 17, 2020) – Night 2 of the K&N Filters Rumble by the River – Presented by Optima Batteries from Port Royal Speedway, in Port Royal, PA is on MAVTV Motorsports Network, tonight at 9 PM EST, with a re-airing at 12 AM EST. 

Night 2 at “The Speed Palace” was what some might say “unusual” or “unexpected”, while others might use words like “only a matter of time” but no matter, all were left in awe. A four man battle for the win left the winner making a huge statement in victory lane, “No doubt this is probably one of, if not the biggest wins ever of my career.” The broadcast will include driver interviews, in-car cameras, and various technical segments.
Owned and operated by Lucas Oil Products, MAVTV Motorsports Network is a television network deeply rooted in the automotive world. MAVTV is available to over 35 million homes on U-verse, DIRECTV (channel 214), Fios by Verizon, Vidgo, TIKILIVE, fuboTV, YouTubeTV, Spectrum, and other nationwide providers. MAVTV will broadcast 5 live events and 34 original tape-delayed airings. To find a full list of providers, visit: mavtv.com/get-mavtv/providers.

Chevy racing–nascar–erik jones

NASCAR CUP SERIESTEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPTDECEMBER 15, 2020
 ERIK JONES, DRIVER OF THE NO. 43 RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE, met with media via teleconference to discuss his anticipation going into the 2021 season, how the team has been preparing for their first season together, and more. Full Transcript:  BEING IN THE CLASH IS GOOD BEING WITH A NEW TEAM, BUT HOW MUCH MORE IMPORTANT IS IT NOW THAT THERE’S GOING TO BE A RACE THERE A FEW WEEKS LATER?“Yeah, like you said, it was going to be big either way – thinking about going there and now really having any practice. Just getting in a new car, there’s going to be a lot of different things – from the way the motor runs, brakes, steering, everything is going to be totally different for me. So, just being able to get on track, have some laps on something other than the superspeedway at Daytona. Especially a road course, you have to really try out every system in your car. So, I think that’s going to be really important. And plus, now going into the road course after Daytona, is even bigger for me. We’re going to be able to take what we’ve learned in that race and, hopefully, improve on it.”
“There’s going to be stuff that’s different for me, obviously, and different for the team – a new driver for them and every driver has different preferences, feels, and things they want out of a car. So, it’s going to be pretty big for both of us.”
THE TEAM HASN’T ANNOUNCED SPONSORS YET FOR NEXT YEAR. THERE’S A LOT OF SOCIAL CHATTER – WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN, SO FAR, FROM BEING AT THE SHOP AND EVERTYHING THAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT NEXT YEAR?“Well, I think the sponsor announcements are going to come here, hopefully, soon. For me, I’ve been to the shop a lot. I was actually up there this morning doing some stuff, checking things out and doing some final fitting stuff in the car itself. For me, it’s encouraging just seeing the alliance that they have with RCR. I actually went down and saw their shop – I hadn’t been to RCR up until today. So, just to see all that stuff – see what they’re totally capable of is really encouraging. I’ve had a lot of conversations with Jerry (Baxter, crew chief) about the car and the engineers about what I like in a race car, what I like before the race, as far as pre-race driver reports and information for myself. So, there’s a ton of stuff to go over and we’re still going over a lot of stuff, and there’s going to be more to go over after Christmas and New Years – everyone is going to take a couple weeks off here. It’s been pretty busy and a lot of communication with the team. For me, it’s really encouraging. I think there’s a lot of things that we’re going to be able to accomplish next year that are probably going to surprised people. I think the equipment is there and very capable.”
NASCAR, OUT OF THE PANDEMIC, A LOT OF GOOD STUFF HAPPENED. OBVIOUSLY, YOUR DEAL, WHICH IS A GOOD DEAL FOR YOU. BUT, ONE OF THE BIG THINGS IS MORNING CONSULT CAME OUT WITH A LIST, RECENTLY, ABOUT THE FASTEST GROWING BRANDS OF 2020. AS NASCAR TRIES TO APPEAL TO THE YOUTH, HAVE THEY MENTIONED ANYTHING ABOUT THIS TO YOU GUYS ABOUT HELPING THAT TO CONTINUE TO RIDE THIS WAVE?“Yeah, I really haven’t heard too much from them yet. I think it’s been pretty respectable and admirable, the job that they’ve done this last year in making that connection and making that growth. That was really cool for me to see – I read it there on Twitter a few days ago, maybe last week I guess now. It’s exciting for me. I think people in my generation and my age, definitely maybe in the last few years, haven’t paid much attention to NASCAR. But, obviously looking at that, it’s definitely growing and that’s a great thing for us. It’s a tough market right now. I think everybody being kind of held up indoors maybe opened their eyes up to a new sport, watching new things, and for a while, NASCAR was really the only thing on TV. So, I think a lot of people tuned in that maybe had never watched a race before and realized that there’s so much more to it than us just racing and being on the track – there’s so much strategy to it and lot of the things that are pretty unique in our sport that make it pretty exciting. I haven’t talked to NASCAR about what we can do to keep it going, but I would definitely be interested in that – in what I can do in my field to keep connected with the younger fans, keep them interested and keep bringing them in.”
ALL NASCAR TEAMS HAVE THE SAME BASIC THINGS – CREW CHIEFS, TEAM MEMBERS AND ALL THAT. PETTY HAS SOMETHING DIFFERENT THAT YOU PROBABLY HAVEN’T EXPERIENCED IN THE FORM OF RICHARD PETTY. HAVE YOU TALKED TO HIM? DO YOU THINK HE’S GOING TO HELP MENTOR YOU IN ANY WAY? IT SEEMS LIKE THAT WOULD BE AN ADDED BENEFIT BECAUSE HAVING TALKED TO MR. PETTY MYSELF, I KNOW HOW MUCH KNOWLEDGE HE HAS.“Yeah, I’ve talked to him actually quite a bit through all this – when we were trying to get the deal done and since we’ve got the deal signed and done, I’ve chatted with him quite a bit. It’s really neat for me to see how in-tune he is with everything that’s going on. You don’t really know until you spend time with somebody how much they’re really involved and what they’re doing. With The King, with his team, he’s all in. So, it’s been really neat to see and just get some advice from him right off the bat about dealing with sponsors, dealing with fans and things he’s done over his time in the sport to really nurture those relationships and build strong relationships with sponsors and fans. I’ve definitely enjoyed the time I’ve gotten to talk to him so far. For me, I’m looking forward to continuing that through the year and just being able to go to him, ask questions and get advice about something he’s been around his whole life. And most the time the sport has been around itself, he’s been involved too. I’m excited to grow that relationship and get to chat with him about racing and obviously hope to make him proud on the track. Running well is what he really cares about – he wants his car to go out and be successful and I hope we can do that.”
JERRY BAXTER (CREW CHIEF) SAID THAT THE STEP THE TEAM TOOK LAST YEAR, JUMPING UP SIX SPOTS IN POINTS, HE’S LOOKING TO DO THAT AGAIN NEXT YEAR WITH YOU. MAYBE THAT’S BEING A LITTLE GREEDY, BUT HE WANTS TO GET INTO THE TEENS. FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, IS THAT A REALISTIC GOAL? WHAT ARE YOU SHOOTING FOR, IN TERMS OF WHERE YOU THINK THIS TEAM CAN BE POINTS-WISE?“I think that’s a realistic goal. The top-20 is the goal, for sure. They took a huge step last year, obviously like he said, and I think they’re just continuing to grow that relationship with RCR and that’s continuing to make them stronger. I think there’s even more stuff we can do this year that’s going to make us better. Hopefully, I can bring some knowledge from what I’ve done over at JGR and their group and continue to help RPM. It’s going to be interesting to see. Obviously, it’s a little tough with the development freeze – we’re not really able to go in and make parts and make things that are better than what they’ve had. But there’s still some aero development and stuff there that we can go out and hopefully work on.”“Yeah, I’m excited. I’ve talked to Jerry a decent amount about next year. I think his excitement level matches mine in what we can go out and do next year. It’s just kind of a fresh start for everybody – it’s a fresh start for me, obviously it’s a fresh start for RPM with myself as a new driver and just a different group. It’s going to be fun to see. I’m excited to just be with a small group. It’s unique for me – I already know all the guys in the shop, which at JGR, I don’t know that I had the chance to meet every single person face-to-face through the time I was there. I’m excited and I think that’s a realistic goal to get in the top-20 in points.”
JERRY SAID IT’S PROBABLY GOING TO BE A LITTLE BIT OF A CULTURE SHOCK FOR YOU, GOING FROM A COMPANY AS BIG AS JGR TO RPM. I KNOW YOU SAID YOU’VE BEEN UP THERE A LITTLE BIT TO GET ACCLIMATED. WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE TO JUST SEE HOW THEY DO THINGS AND BE AMONG A SMALLER GROUP? WAS IT AS MUCH OF A CULTURE SHOCK AS MAYBE HE THOUGHT IT WAS? “It’s a lot different. It just kind of brings me back to short track racing to me more than anything – what I grew up doing in Late Models and stuff there. Obviously, that was my family team, so it was really just me, my dad, we had a crew chief a couple of times and that was it. The rest was help that was around us growing up in Michigan, local people. It reminds me more of that. I’ve enjoyed it. It’s nice to just be able to walk into the shop and right off the bat get to say ‘hi’ to everybody and there’s nowhere to walk around all day trying to get to see everybody that you need to see. So, I’ve enjoyed it. The communication is really easy – talking to Jerry (Baxter), talking to Philippe, everybody there that kind of makes the world go around. I’m excited for next year, just having one car to focus on. It’s all for us at RPM – we’re trying to go out and make the No. 43 run the best we can, which I think is pretty neat.”
YOU’VE ALWAYS BEEN A GREAT INTERVIEWER, ERIK. IS IT JUST ME OR AM I SEEING YOU ON SOCAL MEDIA MORE? YOU AND YOUR DOG, YOU READING STORIES AND WHATNOT. IT’S ALWAYS BEEN EASY TO TALK TO YOU, BUT I WONDER, ARE YOU KIND OF STEPPING UP THE SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE?“Yeah, I mean it’s been intentional – you’re not just imagining things with that. It’s definitely been a work-in-progress over the last year and a half, just getting more active on social media. It’s not something that I was always heavy into. I didn’t share a lot from my personal life, I guess, on social media. But the world of motorsports is changing a lot in the last couple of years in what sponsors are interested in and what teams are interested in, and I think social media is a big part of that change. For me, it was kind of evolve or move on. So, I started to really push through social media and try to make it a bigger part of my life in a way that wasn’t overwhelming or overbearing for me, I guess.”
“It’s still a challenge at times. I don’t always think of things to share for what people want to see. The more you post, the fans are really interested in you sharing anything from your life, so I try hard to keep what I have going on day-to-day out there. We’ve done some cool stuff, obviously with the reading initiative that I’ve been doing for kids; reading some of the children books, which we started right at the start of the pandemic, which was not intentional. But it worked out really cool, people being at home and kids not being in school, being able to read some of those books and take some suggestions along the way. So, just some cool stuff we’re doing and I’m trying to think everyday of new things we can do on social media to keep interactive and keep it interesting.”
WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE OFF-SEASON NOW, ARE YOUR FEELINGS DIFFERENT THAN THEY WERE A YEAR AGO? OBVIOUSYLY, EVERYONE ALWAYS SAYS THEIR EXCITED AT THE START OF THE YEAR AND IF YOU’RE AT A NEW PLACE, YOU HAVE TO SAY THAT, AND I SURE YOU ARE. BUT DO YOU HAVE A DIFFERENT FEELING ABOUT ANYTHING THAN YOU DID A YEAR AGO?“I think I feel re-invigorated more than anything – just excited to get the year started. I know you said everybody says they’re excited, but not lying and being totally truthful, I probably haven’t been this excited since my rookie year – coming into the Cup Series and just having a fresh start, a new group, something to build and roll together with is fun for me. When you feel like you’re really bringing something to an organization, that’s rewarding and I’ve felt that so far in being at RPM – just feeling valued, wanted and that I can bring something to the table in myself, help improve and, as a group, grow and get better. I think that’s probably, more than anything, more exciting for me and what’s energized me to get the season started. It seems like a lot of times you get to the off season and you’re thinking ‘man, I’m ready for that month or two off’. And this year, I was just ready to get to Daytona with those guys. I was over there right after Phoenix at RPM – getting to meeting everybody, spending time there, eating lunch with them. It’s just been a different feeling this off season for me and I think it’s been a good thing.”  
YOU MENTIONED THE TRANSITION GOING TO A SMALLER TEAM AND OPERATION. HAS THERE BEEN A MAJOR ADJUSTMENT ALSO IN MOVING TO THE CHEVROLET SIDE OF THINGS, AFTER SPENDING SEVERAL YEARS OF YOUR DEVELOPMENT IN THE TOYOTA SYSTEM?“Yeah, in a few ways. Obviously, names and faces are new and you’re trying to meet everybody and figure out what everybody’s role is in a short amount of time. Beyond that, it’s the simulation stuff – the simulator, how that works, who runs it, where it’s at, when do you get on it and how much can you use it, stuff like that. And just the processes, it’s just so different. The race team is the race team – at the end of the day, they’re all kind of ran the same way, they’re just smaller or bigger, this or that. But the manufacturers I think are pretty different and they all have different ways of thought and train of thought in how they run things and how things are accomplished. For me, it’s just been a learning process with Chevrolet to figure that out.”
“The easy thing with Chevrolet for me is just my connection with them from my whole life. Growing up around the Corvette company we had and that side of things. I had a ton of family that worked at GM – generational workers at GM. So, there’s a lot of things that are easy and natural for me with Chevrolet and GM. But figuring out the processes of how everything works internally with the race team side has definitely been an adjustment and a learning curve.”
YOU MENTIONED SOME OF THE CONVERSATIONS YOU’VE HAD WITH RICHARD PETTY, SO FAR. HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO WRAP YOUR HEAD AROUND THE HISTORY OF JUST EVERYTHING HE’S BEEN ABLE TO CONTRIBUTE – JUST THE MAGNITUDE OF THE NO. 43, PETTY BLUE, ALL OF THOSE THINGS?“It’s a little bit hard to totally grasp the impact that Richard Petty has had on NASCAR and the No. 43 itself. I never got to see The King race, so that’s kind of an interesting thing I think for me. But I know obviously his impact on the sport, what he means to NASCAR and what he means to NASCAR fans. Growing up, my grandmother was and still is a huge Richard Petty fan and there’s a lot of people that are really excited to see me in that car from back home. So, it’s been hard to wrap my head around that a little bit and really think about all the history in that car and what it’s meant to the sport. But I hope I can go out and do it and its fans proud. I know there’s a lot of fans of that car, just from back when Richard was driving it himself, so hopefully we can go out and make those fans happy.”
I JUST WANTED TO ASK YOU ABOUT THE LEVEL OF SECURITY YOU FEEL NOW BECAUSE THE LAST TWO YEARS, YOU WERE WORKING ON A ONE-YEAR CONTRACT. JUST TO KNOW YOU’RE SOMEWHERE THAT YOU’RE REALLY WANTED, YOU’RE NOT NECESSARILY IN A PECKING ORDER WITH ALL THE STAR POWER YOU HAD SURROUNDING YOU. HOW DOES THAT HELP YOUR CONFIDENCE GOING INTO 2021?“It definitely helps a lot. You’re not so much worry about that. Obviously, I put a lot of pressure on myself to go and perform, and in the situation I was in, there was a lot of pressure to perform just naturally. Not just because they have fast race cars and that they win races, but the other drivers you’re surrounded with, as well. Obviously, the goal is to compete with those drivers and be able to go out and beat them, but it’s not an easy thing to do. I’m excited to get over to RPM and not be thinking about that – just be able to go out and voice my opinion on what I feel like the cars are doing, what we feel like we need to do better and be better at from my side of things. So, that’s exciting for me. And just not having to worry about everything else that’s going on outside is going to be kind of a relief. It’s just a group of true racers. Guys at that shop want to be there, want to race and they want to go to the track and succeed and run well. I think that’s kind of the same mentality for myself – I don’t want to go to the race track and just race and that’s kind of it. Hopefully, we can go and do really well, but definitely more excited for Daytona than I’ve been in a while. Like I said earlier, I feel energized about it and ready to get to the race track.”
I ASKED BRAD KESELOWSKI ONCE WHY THERE WASN’T MORE RACERS FROM MICHIGAN SINCE THEY HAVE SUCH A CAR CULTURE AND YOU CAN RELATE TO THIS SINCE YOU AND YOUR DAD’S LOVE FOR CORVETTES AND WORKING ON CARS. HE SAID GUYS LOVE CARS TOO MUCH TO WANT TO WRECK THEM ON A RACE TRACK. FROM A SOMEWHAT LONG LIST OF GUYS THAT HAVE COME FROM MICHIGAN, JUST THE CAR CULTURE – YOU TALKED ABOUT CHEVROLET, THERE’S GOT TO BE A SENSE OF PRIDE. YOU TALK ABOUT FAMILY PRIDE – MY GRANDFATHER WORKED A CHEVROLET. TALK A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THAT AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR A MICHIGAN GUY TO BE IN WITH A COMPANY THAT’S SO STEEP IN HISTORY LIKE PETTY ENTERPRISES. “Yeah, I think it goes hand-in-hand. Getting to talk with some of the guys from Chevrolet on the phone over the last couple of weeks and just tell them my story was pretty fun. I don’t think those guys really knew, other than what I’ve been able to do in racing on the race track, kind of my history in being from Michigan. Being from just outside of Flint, which was obviously a huge manufacturing hub for General Motors for many years, it was cool to share that. And just the love of cars, that’s an easy thing to talk about and those guys are car guys. They have their own cars and stuff that they work on and are interested in. I shared some of the projects that I’ve done over the last few years, with the 1969 Corvette I restored, my dad’s Corvette – all that stuff was really a natural fit for me. Being from Michigan, there’s definitely people that are heavily ingrained in Chevy culture and I think that’s kind of what helps the transition be a little bit easier for me. But it was definitely cool to share the story with them, kind of my family and the history that we’ve had with General Motors and in the Flint area was pretty cool.”

NARC NEWSLINE – DECEMBER 13, 2020

December 13, 2020 Jim Allen

NARC NEWSLINE, December 13, 2020, By Jim Allen …  As you have probably already seen, the 2021 NARC King of the West Fujitsu General Racing Series has been published for the masses.  The broad overview of this sprint car campaign is simple, featuring 20 410 sprint car events at 10 different dirt oval tracks … assuming this COVID-19 pandemic rides off into the sunset and never returns.

In fact, just about every track and sanctioning body has rolled out their 2021 plans, all with their fingers-crossed, praying that the world will become a healthier place in just a few short months.  And let me tell you, and not to be the soothsayer of doom, but it needs to happen, or dirt track racing at State and County Fairgrounds in California is going to go the way of the cassette tape. You might be able to find one, but it will be a severely antiquated model. It appears that politicians in Sacramento and some local county fair boards have put targets on fairgrounds and dirt tracks because they are not generating much-needed revenue, totally not understanding how the whole process works in the first place. That’s like asking me to give you all the money out of a locked cash drawer (and I don’t have the key.)

So how much revenue did California promoters generate without a single “spectator” in the grandstands this year?  Unless you skipped math class entirely, you were taught that anything multiplied by ZERO is still ZERO. And since revenue pays operating expenses and racer’s purses, ZERO doesn’t work unless you are talking about the number of politicians that serve motorsports best interests in the Golden State.  The best quote would come from 90’s hair band Ratt, who had an appropriately named single entitled “Nobody Rides for Free.”  That applies to racing promotion at fairgrounds also.  You can’t fault the likes of a Scott Russell, or John Prentice, or Steve Faria for yelling at their flat screens as they watch Floracing and Dirtvision races playing out in front of full grandstands in other states. Yet just one paying spectator in the grandstands in California is still a crime that threatens their livelihood and our sport.

Along those lines, we were about to roll out a 21-race schedule for 2021, but one dropped out at Calistoga Speedway at the last moment.  It was scheduled for the popular June 4-5th NASCAR weekend.  As you are aware, Calistoga is still stuck in the middle of what can best be described as a “WWE Battle Royale” of political and budgeting bureaucracy.  Pick your confusing scenario of the month, and I’ll guarantee it will change again before you finish Christmas shopping. The County wants to sell it, the City wants to buy part of it, somebody might want to lease it, a private entity might want to buy it, some local businesses and residents want to close it, and developers are drooling all over it – or something like that.  And stuck right in the middle is promoter Tommy Hunt who just wants to put on some racing shows – some revenue-generating, fairgrounds-saving, fan-pleasing, developer-chasing, controversy-free racing events. That seems like a reasonable objective.  Why can’t they make that happen?  It’s not that tough.

As of right now, the next time the lights turn on at the historic half-mile will be the September 4-5th Louie Vermeil Classic.  Assuming it happens, that will represent a lengthy two-year span between events.  Heck, that’s substantially longer than my first marriage.  By the time we race, they will have to cut the weeds down on the track with a corn harvester (just exaggerating a little bit.)

On the other side of that burnt Napa Valley hill, Rick Faeth is trying to keep Petaluma Speedway operating as a local entertainment choice.  He’s got a couple of years remaining on his lease, but the local population is beginning to put the squeeze on the track.  If the mall across the street gets any closer, we’re going to have an Applebees, a Nike Outlet store, and a Zales Jewelers in the pit area next season.  And when I say local population, I really mean builders and developers, who fantasize about Zillow land values with the same self-gratifying methods as their Pornhub subscriptions.  At the same time, dollar signs are flashing in the heads of local officials who would love to balance their budgets with local taxes, rather than on the back of dirt track racing.  That’s a hard battle to fight and even tougher one to actually win.

Meanwhile over in Chico, one of the big questions I’ve been asked is why Silver Dollar Speedway isn’t on the 2021 schedule.  The quarter-miler was home to the Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial race for 29 years, before Mrs. COVID-19 showed up.  The event has been moved to Placerville Speedway and here’s the reason behind it:  Dianne and Dave Durica, who have spearheaded the lucrative fund-raising efforts for the duration, announced in 2019 that the 30th annual event would be their last.  They plan to fade away gracefully into a well-deserved retirement. That’s the bad news!  The good news is the Bradway/Tuccelli family announced that they are going to assume those responsibilities and wanted to move it to Placerville; a track where their family cut their racing teeth.

As a result, the 30th Bradway race has been relocated and rescheduled for June 12th, where it is now part of a big King of the West/Sprint Car Challenge Tour combo show at the quarter mile bullring.  Chico’s Dennis Gage, who (unofficially) has the worst lease agreement and fairgrounds support among all the aforementioned promoters, needed the marketing viability of the Bradway event to get people in the grandstands.  Without it, it’s not a profitable venture – hence no King of the West races at Chico for the first time since Ronald Reagan was president.  Just in case nobody noticed, the grandstands at Silver Dollar Speedway don’t fill up like they did in the years past and the number of high-profile racing events has dropped.  Rumor has it that Troy Hennig had to get a real job. As a side note, NARC visited the SDS 10-14 times a year in the late 90’s.  Nobody is fond of change – me included, but the good old days of 2019 are gone. Bottom line:  No Chico in 2021.  Doesn’t mean we can’t go back in 2022.

Contrary to popular belief, there’s not a single promoter in California who has a business card printed up that states they are a “non-profit organization” – and rightfully so because they’ve got some serious bills to pay:  Lease payments, lights, water, track prep, equipment maintenance, payroll, insurance, security, marketing, officials, trophies, clean up, and of course the racer’s purse. Track improvements like improving lighting and hauling in new dirt, fixing catch fences, remodeling bathrooms, and general facility maintenance are on top of that.  Let’s not forget the part where they need to earn a decent living.

As a result, the way California’s track promoters must operate their business has probably changed forever. They have been forced to hop off the grader and become lobbyist in order to stage events. That means dumping the 1995 Gold Cup t-shirt and jeans in favor of a dress shirt and pair of slacks to glad hand (fist bump in pandemic times) the mayor, the health department, the ABC, BBB, CoC, the City Council, the fair board and God only knows who else just to stage a practice day.  And the voting isn’t exactly democratic – try to act surprised – because it usually only takes one “NO” to override multiple “YES” votes.  That’s because everybody is afraid of getting sued, which happens often in a state with the second most lawyers in the nation.  I just remembered … we do this for fun … right?

With all that in mind, please be patient and stay healthy.  Everybody associated with dirt track racing in California is working towards a common goal and that is a return to normalcy.  It may look a little different than the normal of the past, but it will be the new standard of excellence.  We may need you to assist with petitions and letter writing campaigns, or to attend city council meetings in the future so stay in touch on social media.  Along those lines, PLEASE keep things positive on social media.  If your opinion is that you think your states Governor or local politician is a self-serving, money-grubbing crook or douchebag, you are probably right, but please post that opinion on your personal site – not the racing organizations (or risk being blocked forever.)  We want to keep things professional to help encourage sponsorship participation by corporate America.  Thank you.

OTHER SCHEDULE NOTES:  There are only five NARC King of the West races scheduled during the first half of the year. That gives us a little safety margin to enjoy a normal schedule, assuming the new vaccine works out as planned. …  March 20th is the Salute to LeRoy Van Conett season opener at the Stockton Dirt Track. … The “Fastest Five Days in Motorsports” will feature races at Placerville (August 25th), Merced (August 26th), Ocean (August 27th), Stockton (August 28th) and Petaluma on August 29th. That is guaranteed to be one great roadshow. …  We’ve got two races scheduled at Santa Maria Raceway.  One will feature a wheelie contest, the other a pit crew competition. … October is loaded up with the Morrie Williams Legends Tribute and the stout $21,000 to win Tom Tarlton Classic, both at Hanford. That’s freaking awesome! … Just in case you’ve been in a cave the past year, there will be two – yes, two – Trophy Cup extravaganzas in 2021.  The first one represents the rescheduled 2020 event and will encompass the Memorial Day weekend.  The second one is on its normal October dates at Tulare. … We tried to work Antioch Speedway on our schedule, but it is still a year away.  Promoter Chad Chadwick has done a phenomenal job restoring the place, but feels he needs to do a lot more before making his primetime debut with the NARC King of the West series.  They need to add an electronic scoring loop.  Fair enough. … Look for the NARC King of the West Fujitsu Racing Series to make a four-race adventure to the Pacific Northwest in 2022.  It will be centered around the Memorial Day weekend (assuming the Trophy Cup doesn’t get postponed again.) …

NARC NOTES: Justin Sanders captured the Tribute to Gary Patterson at Stockton to end our four-race season.  Maybe we should say the “new and improved” Justin Sanders, who spent most of the year touring through the country racing in Larry Antaya’s Maxim.  Both proudly said they learned a lot from their adventure, which should make them championship contenders next season. … Congratulations to Rodney Tiner for winning the Billy Albini Mechanic of the Year award.  It was presented at Stockton along with $1000 cash and MoY ring by Mike Andreetta and Chris “Cajun” Good.  It was much deserved and overdue. … The top eight finishers – the only finishers – at Stockton were Sanders, Rico Abreu, DJ Netto, Bud Kaeding, Austin McCarl, Justyn Cox, Matt Streeter and Mark Barroso.  That would be “best ever” finishes for Streeter and Barroso.  It was a rough night on equipment.  Blake Carrick and Chase Johnson both destroyed cars in scary accidents.  Both were shaken, but both walked away under their own power. … Turns out some fans figured out what a “COLD PASS” was at the Stockton Dirt Track.  Saw many of them sitting in the main grandstands!  …

… By the way, have you ever noticed the 90 or so trailers that are parked in a row outside of the Stockton Dirt Track back straightaway?  Want to guess what is in them?  Chances are you will be wrong.  All 90 are owned by the State of California and are filled with hand sanitizer. Yup, they are leasing the space to store 90 trailers of hand sanitizer!  State officials have even hired guards to protect the contents just in case someone is looking to fill up their swimming pool or something. … Just in case you need the answer to the trivia question that will be asked in 2030, here it is … Bud Kaeding claimed the mythical four-race drivers title and Joshua Bates/Roger Hamilton were the alleged car owner championship team.  Due to having less races than fingers on one hand, we did not crown official 2020 champions. …

With that, we are all caught up on one of the strangest years in existence … 2020.  My wish to all of you is that you stay safe and healthy this Holiday Season.  May you enjoy a Merry Christmas and to all of us … a Happy New Year.  See ya!

chevy racing–indycar–rinus veekay

DETROIT (Dec. 11, 2020) – Rinus VeeKay, driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, is coming off a remarkable first season. The Dutch driver captured the 2020 INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the Year – the first for a Chevrolet driver in nearly 30 years. 
Along the way, he claimed his first IndyCar pole position at October’s Harvest Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, finished third in that weekend’s first race and recorded two more top-five finishes in 14 races with Ed Carpenter Racing.
VeeKay – full name Rinus van Kalmthout – talks below about winning Rookie of the Year, working with Chevrolet and the benefits of using the Chevrolet Simulator during an unpredictable 2020 season
RINUS VEEKAY INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTYOU’RE THE NTT INDYCAR SERIES ROOKIE OF THE YEAR NOW, ALONGSIDE ARIE LUYENDYK, NIGEL MANSELL, ALEX ZANARDI, TK (TONY KANAAN), (SCOTT) DIXON, (SEBASTIEN) BOURDAIS, AND  (ALEXANDER) ROSSI… HAS IT HIT HOME THAT YOU’RE NOW ON THAT LIST OF THOSE GUYS?“Well, it’s pretty cool that I’m on that list now, and it seems that most of the Rookies of the Year go on to be successful in IndyCar. I’m very happy to be on the list and especially with a Chevy, which hasn’t happened in many years. So I’m very happy with that, and I cannot wait to not be a rookie next year and fight with those guys again.”
THE LAST ONE FOR CHEVY WAS 1992.“I was minus-eight back then, so that’s pretty crazy. I had to do a video for TK, everyone had to do that and I’m like, ‘Well, I actually didn’t really know him back then.’ I met him of course, but we were not personal or friends or anything. And then I’m just like, ‘Well, Tony you’re in IndyCar since I was like, minus-two or minus-three!’”
LIMITED LAPS, NO TESTING, LIMITED PRACTICE THIS YEAR… HOW MUCH HAS HAVING THE CHEVROLET SIMULATOR AND ANY OTHER TOOL THAT CHEVY GIVES YOU HELPED YOU AT LEAST GO INTO THE WEEKEND FEELING LIKE YOU’RE SOMEWHAT PREPARED?“The Chevy team really helps me. Of course, we spent a lot of time in the simulator on setup work, not only driving. We tried setups In the sim, and we bring them over to the race track. And it works exactly the same as in the simulator. So it’s verifiable, you can try a lot, there’s no there’s no damage or anything. So you can try everything in every way. So it’s a big advantage.”
WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT IT TRANSFERRED SO WELL TO WHEN YOU LOAD IT ON THE CAR AT THE TRACK?“Yes. I’m was very surprised of course. I’ve driven different simulators before, but the setups were never really the same. But then the one from Chevy, it just translated the same way from the simulator to the racetrack. So very surprising, very good.”
DO YOU THINK YOU WERE MORE PREPARED THAN THE OTHER ROOKIES THIS YEAR? IS THAT MAYBE WHY YOU WON THE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR, PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY?“Well, you never know for sure, but I think it’s definitely played a role, with the new Aeroscreen, which is very, very warm. If some guys get fatigued, and I can stay sharp then of course there is an advantage.”
WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE WORKING WITH A MANUFACTURER LIKE CHEVROLET, WHERE IN ROAD TO INDY YOU’RE JUST WITH YOUR TEAM, NOW YOU’VE GOT YOUR TEAM AND YOU’VE GOT A MANUFACTURER TO HELP YOU OUT. IS THAT HARD TO GET USED TO?“It’s actually really nice to have Chevy with us and they really support you. When I made the Fast Nine qualifying in Indianapolis, all the Chevy engineers were there to just cheer on the other Chevy car. So it’s not like there is a rivalry. It’s just working for the brand of Chevy and making sure the brand is doing as well as possible.”
IS THAT SOMETHING THAT YOU’VE ENJOYED HAVING? NOW YOU’VE GOT YOUR TEAM, YOURSELF, AND A MANUFACTURER IS THAT ADDED PRESSURE?“It doesn’t really add pressure. It’s just very nice to have different kinds of data, an extra engineer who is from Chevy and just a lot more preparation before the race.”

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Speedweeks 2021 Schedule Amendment

Batavia, OH (December 12, 2020) – As 2020 comes to an end, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and our staff look forward to new beginnings and a new year, however, due to COVID-19, some of the challenges from this past race season will carry over into the new year.
Since 2014, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series has kicked off Speed Weeks with the Super Bowl of Racing at Golden Isles Speedway. However, due to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in their region, the team at Golden Isles Speedway has decided to cancel the event for 2021.  Golden Isles Speedway officials stated, “It’s been a very difficult decision to cancel the 2021 Super Bowl of Racing. We feel that we must prioritize the health and safety of those that make such an event great – drivers, crew members, spectators, sponsors, vendors, and other patrons. We are disappointed in this development, but we feel it’s something we must do. We look forward to working with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series to host the Super Bowl of Racing in 2022 – as we all know and love.” 

The Series supports and respects the Golden Isles decision and looks forward to returning to Brunswick, GA again, next season.

For 2021, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Speedweeks will now begin with practice at East Bay Raceway Park, on January 24th. 
To see a full schedule of events visit https://lucasdirt.com/events/2021-tour-schedule

2021 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Speedweeks Schedule:

DateTrackEventLocationTo Win
1/24/2021East Bay Raceway Park45th Annual Wrisco Winternationals Presented By Lucas OilTampa, FLPractice
1/25/2021East Bay Raceway Park45th Annual Wrisco Winternationals Presented By Lucas OilTampa, FL$5,000
1/26/2021East Bay Raceway Park45th Annual Wrisco Winternationals Presented By Lucas OilTampa, FL$5,000
1/27/2021East Bay Raceway Park45th Annual Wrisco Winternationals Presented By Lucas OilTampa, FL$7,000
1/28/2021East Bay Raceway Park45th Annual Wrisco Winternationals Presented By Lucas OilTampa, FL$7,000
1/29/2021East Bay Raceway Park45th Annual Wrisco Winternationals Presented By Lucas OilTampa, FL$12,000
1/30/2021East Bay Raceway Park45th Annual Wrisco Winternationals Presented By Lucas OilTampa, FL$15,000
2/1/2021Bubba Raceway ParkWinter NationalsOcala, FL$10,000
2/2/2021Bubba Raceway ParkWinter NationalsOcala, FL$10,000
2/3/2021All-Tech RacewayWinter NationalsLake City, FLPractice
2/4/2021All-Tech RacewayWinter NationalsLake City, FL$10,000
2/5/2021All-Tech RacewayWinter NationalsLake City, FL$12,000
2/6/2021All-Tech RacewayWinter NationalsLake City, FL$15,000

NARC Releases 2021 KWS Schedule

(12/11/20) Sacramento, CA … The Northern Auto Racing Club has rolled out its 2021 King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series schedule, featuring 20 racing events at 10 different dirt tracks throughout California.

The series, which will feature Fujitsu General as the title sponsor, is backloaded to the second half of the year in hopes of escaping the COVID-19 pandemic, which has crippled grass roots racing operations in the Golden State.  Only a handful racing events are scheduled during the first six months of the year.

The newly-configured Stockton Dirt Track is slated to hold the “Salute to LeRoy Van Conett” season opener on March 20th,  The track will also host the Championship Night “Tribute to Gary Patterson” series finale on November 6th.

The centerpiece of the King of the West campaign promises to be the “Fastest Five Days in Motorsports.”  The five-race blitz kicks off at Placerville Speedway on Wednesday, August 25th and continues on to Merced Speedway, Ocean Speedway (Watsonville), the Stockton Dirt Track and Petaluma Speedway on consecutive nights.

“We are anxious to get back to business,” states series GM Jim Allen.  “We only had four events in 2020 and everybody is hoping for a return to normalcy in the very near future.  We feel we have a solid racing schedule on tap which will prompt race fans to get re-engaged with dirt track racing as we recover from this pandemic.”

The month of May will feature the lucrative $11,000 to win Peter Murphy Classic at the Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway on May 15th.  A week later, the traveling series will invade Petaluma for the first of three races at the “Salute to First Responders” which will pay tribute to all of the local heroes that have battled wildfires in the wine country.

June will feature the first of a trio of “two-race” weekends with a short track doubleheader at a pair of action-packed quarter mile ovals.  Ocean Speedway will host the 33rd Annual Pombo-Sargent Classic on June 11th, followed by the 30th Dave Bradway Jr. Race at Placerville Speedway on the 12th.  This marks a venue change for the Bradway event, which had a solid foundation at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico throughout its existence.  Chico is not on the 2021 NARC-KWS schedule.

Ocean Speedway will be showcasing the ever popular Howard Kaeding Classic on July 17th.

Santa Maria Raceway features a pair of spots on the new calendar.  The first “Winged-Madness” event will take place on July 24th and will include a fan favorite Wheelie Contest.  The September 25th winged madness edition will also dish up a pit crew competition.

Calistoga Speedway will finally be back in action after being sidelined by fairgrounds lease negotiations and the coronavirus for what will be two-years.  The last event held at the facility took place in September 2019.  On September 4-5th, the historic half-mile oval is scheduled to host the Louie Vermeil Classic, featuring both the winged King of the West 410’s and the USAC-CRA non-wing machines.  There is a possibility that the track will try to schedule additional events later in the year.

October promises to be a lucrative month, headlined by the $30,000+ Morrie Williams Legends Tribute, which features a pair of twin-20 main events.  The first main will be lined up straight-up by qualifying times and the second completely inverted based on the finish of the first.  The month will also include the eye-opening $21,000 to win Tom Tarlton Classic on October 29th, which is expected to draw some of the best driving talent from around the country.  The Dirt Track at Kern County Raceway Park will host its only event on the schedule on Saturday, October 30th.

Hanford, CA driver DJ Netto is the defending 2019 NARC King of the West Fujitsu Sprint Car Series champion.  A champion was not crowned in 2020 due to the overall lack of events.

Schedules can be downloaded and additional information can be found at NARC410.com.  For more information, call 714-397-7417.

A separate announcement on series sponsors and the championship point fund will be released in the weeks to come.

2021 NARC KING OF THE WEST FUJITSU GENERAL RACING SERIES SCHEDULE

March 20 – The Stockton Dirt Track – Salute to LeRoy Van Conett
May 15 – Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway – Peter Murphy Classic
May 22 – Petaluma Speedway – Salute To First Responders
June 11 – Ocean Speedway – 33rd Annual Pombo-Sargent Classic
June 12 – Placerville Speedway w/SCCT – 30th Annual Dave Bradway Jr. Race
July 10 – Petaluma Speedway – Salute to Baylands Raceway Park
July 17 – Ocean Speedway – 11th Annual Howard Kaeding Classic
July 24 – Santa Maria Raceway – Winged Madness w/Wheelie Contest

“Fastest Five Days in Motorsports”
August 25 – Placerville Speedway – Gold Country Showdown
August 26 – Merced Speedway – Thursday Night Thunder
August 27 – Ocean Speedway
August 28 – The Stockton Dirt Track – Champions Classic
August 29 – Petaluma Speedway

September 4 – Calistoga Speedway w/USAC-CRA – Louie Vermeil Classic
September 5 – Calistoga Speedway w/USAC-CRA – Louie Vermeil Classic
September 25 – Santa Maria Raceway – Winged Madness w/Pit Crew Competition
October 9 – Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford) – Morrie Williams Legends Race
October 29 – Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford) – $21,000 Tom Tarlton Classic
October 30 – The Dirt Track at Kern Country Raceway Park (Bakersfield)
November 6 – The Stockton Dirt Track w/SCCT – 38th Annual Tribute to Gary Patterson

November 7 – Championship Celebration – Brookside Country Club (Stockton)

Schedule subject to change without notice.

Jimmy Owens Named 2020 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Champion

 
Batavia, OHIO (December 8, 2020) – Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN clinched the 2020 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Championship, becoming only the second driver to have four Lucas Dirt Championships on his résumé. Owens became the fifth and final point leader of the series this year, after the final race of the Reopening Tour on May 27th at East Bay Raceway Park. 

Due to challenges presented in trying to have a banquet during the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 year-end banquet was cancelled. During the final series event, the Dirt Track World Championship, Owens and his team were celebrated by fellow competing teams, fans, and officials. Teams lined up on the track to show their respect for the four-time champion before he backed on the stage and was presented with championship hardware. 
Owens will receive several cash and product awards for his Championship and other contingency programs, including: $75,000 cash for his Championship, $10,000 Lucas Oil Champion bonus, $500 Cash and $250 product award for Allstar Performance Most Laps Led, $1,000 cash for Big River Steel Most Podium Finishes, $5,000 cash for 2nd place in Arizona Sport Shirts and DirtonDirt.com Crown Jewel Cup, $10,000 cash for 1st place in the GEICO TV Challenge Points, $1,000 cash for 1st place in Midwest Sheet Metal Point Leader Spoiler Challenge, $1,000 cash and a product certificate for Penske Shocks Most Top Five Finishes, $500 cash and $500 product award for PFC Brakes Most Pole Awards, $500 cash and a new helmet for Simpson Race Products Most Heat Race Wins, $3,000 cash for winning the Sunoco Race for Gas Points, $2,500 Sunoco Race Fuels bonus for highest finishing Sunoco driver in the Lucas Oil Show-Me 100, $1,000 cash for winning the Wrisco Industries Most Feature Wins, and a product award from Swift Springs for winning the championship (grand total of $111,000 in cash-plus product awards and certificates).

Tanner English Wins 2020 Eibach Springs Rookie of the Year

 
Batavia, OHIO (December 7, 2020) – The 27-year old from Benton, KY, Tanner English finished out the year as the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Eibach Springs Rookie of the Year and took ninth in the Series Championship points. English finished the season with two appearances on the Big River Steel Podium and 18 top ten runs. The 2020 Rookie of the Year had this to say, “At the beginning of the year, we set a goal to be a contender for Rookie of the Year. We kept our sights set and never gave up. It wasn’t easy at times but the end result was extremely rewarding. It has always been a dream of mine to run with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and I want to thank the Riggs family for making that possible. It takes a lot to run with this level of competition and without them it wouldn’t have been possible. I also have to give a big thank you to my dad (Terry), Justin, Tanner, Kevin, and my wife Mallorie for all the hard work and support this year. I would also like to thank Lucas Oil and Eibach Springs for putting up the extra contingency money and points fund to run for. We look forward to starting 2021 off with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series at Golden Isles Speedway, in January and have already begun preparing for a run at the Lucas Oil championship and our sophomore year on the tour!”
English will receive $10,000 in cash for Rookie of the Year honors, including: Earnhardt Technologies Group ($500 Product Certificate), Fast Shafts (a carbon drive shaft), Keyser Manufacturing ($500 Product Certificate), Performance Bodies ( MD3 Nose Graphics), Slicker Graphics (a Full Wrap), Thermo-Tech (Product Certificate), Tiger Rear Ends (Product Certificate), Wrisco Industries Inc. (Ten Sheets of Aluminum). 
English went on to say, “I would like to thank Riggs Drilling Solutions, Best One Tire & Auto Care, Wiles Racing Driveshafts, Allstar Performance, Rocket Chassis, Schaeffer’s Racing Oil, Slicker Graphics, Swift Springs, AFCO, Base Fuels, Hoosier Racing Tires, Pro Power Racing Engines, Jay Dickens Racing Engines, Budda Transmissions, Frankland Racing Supply, Peterson Fluid Systems, Awesome Racewear, PRC, Micro-Armor, and Waterman Racing Components.”
Previous Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Rookie of the Year:2019 – Tyler Erb
2018 – Mason Zeigler2017 – Hudson O’Neal2016 – Colton Flinner2015 – Brandon Sheppard2014 – Jason Hughes2013 – Billy Moyer Jr.2012 – Jonathan Davenport2011 – Jared Landers2010 – Chris Wall2009 – John Blankenship2008 – Terry Casey2007 – Justin Rattliff2006 – Steve Casebolt2005 – Scott James

Chevy racing-nascar–Rudy fugle


TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT DECEMBER 3, 2020

RUDY FUGLE, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS CREW CHIEF FOR WILLIAM BYRON AND THE NO. 24 CAMARO ZL1 1LE TEAM met with media via teleconference and discussed his new role beginning in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series. Full Transcript: TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT WILLIAM BYRON AND WHAT YOU THINK YOU LEARNED EARLY-ON FROM HIM THAT YOU CAN APPLY NOW TO A MORE CONFIDENT WILLIAM BYRON?“Our year of working together, I think one of the biggest things was just that you always learn how to push somebody and how to push their button the right way and how to motivate, encourage, and read their emotions. And that’s one thing about him. We can be pretty real with each other. I’m a pretty straightforward guy and William takes that really well. So, we have a really good communication style and it’s easy to be friends with him. “
WILLIAM BYRON HAS SO MANY ATTRIBUTES THAT YOU WERE LIKELY ONE OF THE FIRST TO DISCOVER. WE’RE SEEING HIS TALENTS NOW. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO TELL PEOPLE ABOUT THE WILLIAM BYRON YOU KNOW AND WHAT YOU THINK YOU CAN DO TOGETHER IN THE CUP SERIES?“I think there’s a whole bunch more talent to be seen. He’s done a really good job for the past three years gaining experience and having good runs; but I think there’s so much more. If you get to year two or three, you’ve kind of done everything at least one time; even though I’m new, the team is the same. And, I’m not really new because we know how to communicate with each other. The spotter is the same. It’s going to be a really good year. I think we’re going to start off being able to communicate and make the car better as we go and make good decisions. It’s so much about building this relationship and the cars at the shop now that we’re not having practice very often that we can sit and have meetings like we used to have and talk about all the things that didn’t go right last year and how we can make it better. I think I can apply those things of the race car with all the smart people here at Hendrick Motorsports and then make it go.”
YOU MENTIONED BACK IN 2016 AND YOU WORKING WITH WILLIAM BYRON (NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES), WHAT WERE YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF HIM IN GETTING TO KNOW HIM AND WHAT HE WAS ALL ABOUT?“Our first meeting in the office-season, where we were basically trying to decide who was going to work with William and who was going to work with whom, we were having some dinner meetings and going over things and just seeing what fit. Instantly he knew a lot more about the races that we were running and the season that we had the past year and all the races, and he was very knowledgeable about everything that a lot of young guys don’t have that depth of knowledge. And then as we started some races, he just realized the drive and the hunger that he’s got and that he’s self-driven, and whatnot. He’s just always kept getting better. It’s really fun to work with him because everybody on the team wants him to succeed. They want to do everything they can for him to make sure he succeeds. He’s a very likable person and it makes everybody on the team do whatever they can to make sure we’re all successful.”
WILLIAM BYRON TALKED ABOUT KIND OF MAKING A JUMP THIS YEAR FROM BEING A GUY WHO JUST WINS RACE AND CHASE ELLIOTT HAS KIND OF RAISED THE BAR FOR SOME OF THAT. WHAT’S IT GOING TO TAKE TO GET TO THAT NEXT LEVEL WHERE HE’S A CONTENDER WEEK IN AND WEEK OUT AND CAN SCRATCH THE WIN COLUMN MORE THAN ONCE A YEAR?“It’s applying all the knowledge from last year and applying some of the things that the No. 9 (Elliott) did well and just making good decisions on those things. It’s really hard to do. But, it’s not that many steps. It’s really only a couple of small, simple things that I think will get us there. So, discovering what those things are and doing them consistently; it’s just communication, which we’re doing really well on the No. 24 team right now. William was in here all morning long just going over stuff. It’s December 3rd so all that stuff is starting well. Things are going well. I think that, just in ourselves, and how good of cars we have here, we execute better than some of those things with his experience and my knowledge of William and how we can apply it to the team. Just three, four, or five spots weekly and that’s going to lead to more wins and easier to make it into the Playoffs and all those things that make the things easier to be aggressive and get those wins, three or four wins a year, or more, you know?”
HOW MANY PEOPLE WORK ON THE NO. 24 CAR? DO YOU KNOW? WERE YOU ABLE TO BRING ANYBODY? ARE YOU TRYING TO LEARN WILLIAM ON THE CUP-SIDE, BUT ALL THE PEOPLE THAT YOU’RE WORKING WITH?“I didn’t bring anybody with me. So, I was the new transplant, right? As Chad (Knaus) was showing me around the entire campus on day one, I ended-up knowing more than half the people. I either went to college with them or worked with them previously, or knew them from some race track somewhere. That’s one thing good about Kyle (Busch) is we were racing something somewhere all the time and you get to meet a lot of people. So, it ended-up being not as bad as I originally thought it might be in meeting new people. So, everybody on the No. 24, the majority of them were there last year. And I’m the new guy. And that’s okay. They’re showing me the ropes and everything they’re doing and I’m picking holes or what could be holes in the thing because I’m seeing it a different way than they’ve looked at it and trying to come up with a new way to solve a problem.”
HOW DO YOU APPROACH THE CLASH AND DO YOU LOOK AT IT LIKE OKAY, BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY ROAD COURSES ON THE SCHEDULE THIS IS A THING TO LEARN FOR LATER IN THE YEAR? OR, DO YOU LOOK AT IT LIKE YOU COULD RACE THERE OR RACE MORE ROAD COURSES AS THINGS GET SWITCHED AROUND?“Definitely. I think we all see that potential of what’s going to happen now and how good the country gets; and we know two of our road courses are in places where we couldn’t race last year. So there’s always that potential for something to get postponed or cancelled or moved to Daytona because that’s an easy fit. So, there’s definitely trying to build a notebook there; you’re also building notebooks for the Roval and a lot of these other road course races. So, the Clash is going to be fun. We have a plan of how Hendrick Motorsports has been doing things really well at the road course races. And then okay, there’s our Plan B and Plan C to how we beat Chase (Elliott) and how we beat the next people. So, Chase, the No. 9 team, was clearly the best road course team this year. But that doesn’t mean that everybody else isn’t working hard as well. So, just trying to not just sit there, but to go and just see if we can think of something better and then prove that it’s better before we go to the track, and say, are we going to try something new or try the same old stuff? So, there’s a lot to the Clash. And then there’s also just element of the fact that we’ve got a non-points event that I can have a Cup race at as a crew chief and the team can work together. William and I can work together and communicate and really, it is what it is. We all want to win. It’s a non-points even to it’s almost a dry run, or practice run if you take it.”
WHAT HAVE BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES GOING TO HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS? COULD IT BE DIFFERENT THAN WHAT YOU’RE USED TO?“Yeah, there’s a lot of change here. It is a big place. There’s lots of buildings and lots of people. The biggest thing is to not let yourself get overwhelmed since there are moments when I feel like there’s a lot to do and a lot to learn. But then, if you take a step back, you realize how many smart people are at each one of these departments and leading them and the experience they have; and all the experience to lean on (like) these other crew chiefs and Chad Knaus and Jeff Gordon. Let’s just take a step back and take one thing at a time and just not make it too complicated. So, that’s the biggest thing. It can get big. It can get complicated. But all the pieces are here. It’s just my job to manage it. When you move too fast or think about it too much, it gets overwhelming. But if you just tackle one thing at a time, it’s been great.”
ARE YOU GOING TO TRY TO USE THAT SAME PHILOSOPHY WITH WILLIAM? THAT COULD BE OVERWHELMING FOR A YOUNG MAN AS WELL“Yeah, I think that’s part of it. William does a great job of just focusing on what he can do to be his best and to maximize his potential. He’s always done that. And he didn’t care who he was racing against. It didn’t feel like oh, I’ve got to drive harder because I’m racing Kyle in the Trucks this week or I’m racing Brad Keselowski in Xfinity this week. He always did a good job of just making sure he was performing his best. But yeah, there’s always a perspective that we need to put ourselves into and be reminded of. All we can do is just focus on what we can today leading up to this week’s race, and then we start over. There’s definitely a little process, a schedule, and how we attack each day. That kind of is how I like to approach things and I’m going to try to bring him with me on that and how we do it week in and week out.”
AS YOU EMBARK ON THIS NEW GIG, MY FIRST THOUGHT IS WHAT KIND OF RESOURCES WILL YOU HAVE AT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS WITH CHAD KNAUS OVERSEEING THE COMPETITION-SIDE OF THINGS?“It’s great. Anytime you’re stepping up to a new role or a different level, it’s great to have somebody with that much success and experience, that’s got that much invested in Hendrick Motorsports to help make sure you’re successful. So, he’s got as much invested in this, and way more years than I do for the No. 24 to go fast and win races and compete for a championship. So, I’ve found that I’ve been lucky as I’ve moved up the ranks along the way that I’ve kind of had a mentor-type person at different levels where it’s helped me. So, I’ve had that experience before. I’m going to use him to help me as much as possible.”
IS THERE A SENSE OF INTIMIDATION, AS WELL? ARE YOU MORE IN SPONGE-MODE IN LISTENING TO EVERYTHING HE HAS TO SAY AND IN EXCHANGE OF IDEAS? HOW IS THAT GOING TO WORK?’“Naturally, I think I’m an inquisitive person and I’m confident in what I know. I’m definitely going to listen more than I speak when I speak to somebody like that, but I think that’s just respect, right? So, you have a huge amount of respect for people and for somebody that’s done what Chad has done. He’s a legend; just to even say it like that, he just is. You figure out how to talk to him and be respectful and I don’t mean that in the wrong way. What’s the best way to be prepared to get somebody’s time and then ask the inquisitive questions the right way I guess, is the right way to say that.”
THERE ARE MANY THINGS TO DO BETWEEN NOW AND THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON. WHAT WILL IT BE LIKE TO CALL A RACE? IS IT LIKE A RACE IS A RACE? OR, IS IT SOMETHING YOU’LL HAVE TO ADJUST TO? DO YOU HAVE TO ANALYZE WHAT SOME OF THE OTHER CREW CHIEFS DO TO KNOW THE COMPETITION EVEN BETTER?“Yeah, I’ve always done that. I think even at the Truck Series level, I’m watching the best people; and they might not even run the best but sometimes they make the best calls, or they make some good things. You’re watching every series almost every weekend just to learn how to be really good, you know? If you’re not doing that, you’re not doing better. I’m always studying and paying attention to what everybody is doing. But races are races. They’re longer. There’s going to be more strategy calls in every stage. They’re all different. More sets of tires. More chances for adjustments; and actually, different adjustments in some ways, too, and stuff like that. We’ll be prepared. But that’s the most exciting part. The most fun part of my job is that Adrenalin of calling races and sitting on the box. There’s a lot of fun things about being a crew chief. But that’s why we put in the hours is to be able to compete in the actual race. It makes it fun. And that rush and that moment of what you’re going to do when the caution comes out when you didn’t expect it to and that’s what drives us to do what we do. So that’s the most exciting thing.”
WHAT IS ON YOUR AGENDA? WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING ON DURING THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS?“I am trying to soak up as much information as fast as I can so that I can have intelligent conversations about this specific race car that we’re racing weekly. That’s the biggest thing. I feel like the racing-side of things is similar even from a Truck to a car.  The William and myself relationship doesn’t need a ton of work. It will come along. It’s just the cars are different aero and suspension and different things than the Trucks I’ve worked on. When you work with a team long enough, all that stuff is embedded in your brain and you know everything like the back of your hand. So, I’m trying to make it where I know all that stuff as much as possible so I can help make those decisions and know as much as possible to make things better when I’m asked upon. So, that’s where I’ve been spending more of my hours. And getting to know everybody is a big part of it during the normal hours and then before normal work hours and after normal work hours I’m learning as much as I can.”
FOR MOST OF THE RACES NEXT YEAR, THERE WON’T BE MUCH PRACTICE OR QUALIFYING TO WORK ON THINGS. DO YOU GIVE YOURSELF A GRACE PERIOD GOING INTO NEXT YEAR OR DO YOU FEEL LIKE WITH ALL THE TIME YOU’VE WORKED TOGETHER YOU’LL BE READY TO GO?“Yeah, I think we’re planning on starting the year strong and going. There might be some things that come up that it’s like man, I didn’t think I needed to know that, or I messed that up or whatnot. But for the most part, I feel like we’re going to be ready to go. Our in-race communication is going to be good. Our in-race adjustments, there are lots of smart people here to help me make those decisions. We’ve got a good pit crew. Hendrick Motorsports is putting out a good Camaro. So, I think we should be ready to go.”

chevy racing–nascar–william byron

NASCAR CUP SERIES TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT DECEMBER 3, 2020
 WILLIAM BYRON, DRIVER OF THE NO. 24 CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE FOR HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS, MET WITH MEDIA VIA TELECONFERENCE TO DISCUSS HIS EXCITEMENT GOING INTO THE 2021 SEASON WITH RUDY FUGLE AS THE NEW CREW CHIEF OF THE NO. 24 TEAM, WHAT HE’S DOING TO PREPARE FOR THE UPCOMING SEASON, AND MORE. Transcript: WILLIAM, HOW ARE YOU?“I’m good, thank you.”
FIRST OFF, ONE, HOW’S YOUR OFF SEASON GOING? “It’s going good. Just been spending some time with my family. My sister is in town from New York, so I’m trying to spend a little time with them and enjoy a little bit of downtime. And also, get ready for next year. I’ve had a couple meetings with Rudy (Fugle, Crew Chief), so far. Just talking about some of the racing for the start of next year and trying to get prepared.” 
HOW DID THOSE CONVERSATIONS START? DID YOU FIRST REACH OUT TO RUDY (FUGLE)? DID YOU GO TO MR. H WHEN CHAD (KNAUS) WAS ANNOUNCING THAT HE WAS RETIRING, DID YOU GO TO HIM AND SAY ‘I WANT RUDY FUGLE AS MY CREW CHIEF’ OR HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT? “Yeah, so actually, the way it started was Jeff Gordon reached out to me, I think sometime in August, and was just like ‘Hey, we’re looking at Rudy (Fugle) as a possibility for your crew chief next year. Chad (Knaus) is moving onto a different role and they think Rudy would be a good option’. So, it honestly came from them. I know I kind of planted a seed a couple years ago with Chad about the possibility of Rudy being an engineer at HMS, but it never really materialized then. So, I was kind of surprised when they came to me and said that, but I was really excited. I still had to meet with Rudy and kind of figure out where his goals were, his aspirations, and also figure out if we really still mesh together, given a few years away from each other and kind of doing different things. Honestly, we clicked really well. We met at a restaurant in Concord and just really hit it off right where we left off.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU LEARNED FROM CHAD THAT YOU WILL TAKE WITH YOU TO PREPARE YOU FOR RUDY AND WHAT YOU THINK RUDY WILL LEND TO ADD TO WHAT YOU LEARNED FROM CHAD? “I think it’s two very different styles. I’ve worked with a variety of crew chiefs and, for better or worse, I’ve kind of been put with a lot of different crew chiefs because I’ve moved to different teams and I’ve grown up relatively fast in the sport. So, I’ve learned a lot of different styles. I think I’ve learned quite a few things with Chad that were different than maybe what I did with Rudy at KBM. So, it’s kind of meshing the two styles together. Definitely I feel, like Rudy said, that I’ve matured since I worked with him. I was really young and really kind of naive in the Truck Series at 17 or 18 years old. So, I think a lot has changed since then. But, at the same time, we can definitely apply a lot of the things that we did back then in our communication and our style together. So, I don’t think it’s going to take us too long to really kind of hit where we were back then and kind of apply some of the new things, too.”
DO YOU THINK YOU GAINED CONFIDENCE SINCE YOU STARTED IN THE CUP SERIES? THAT LENDS ITSELF TO HAVING RUDY WITH YOU NOW – YOU’RE MORE CONFIDENT NOW AS A LEADER FOR THE TEAM.“For sure. When I was with Rudy in the Truck Series, a lot of the time, it was him telling me ‘here’s how we used to do it’ or ‘here’s how Kyle did it’. Now, it’s more – OK, here’s my experience, here’s the things I focus on. He’s not having to tell me as much about certain things or certain ideas. We’re kind of on the same playing field when it comes to the things that we’re contributing. It was definitely a lot more of him contributing to my learning curve in the past versus, now, I think we’re closer to equal. I think that’s going to be a head start in itself.”
WHAT HAS BEEN THE FOCUS ON YOUR PREPARATION FOR 2021? HAVE YOU SAID GET ME ON EVERY ROAD COURSE SIMULATOR I CAN GET ON? ARE YOU LOOKING FOR ANY DIRT RACES TO DO? WHAT’S YOUR FOCUS?“Yeah, I think the dirt is probably the least important aspect, in terms of preparation, because it’s only one race. We do have to give some thought to it and kind of what I want to do there. But definitely thinking about some road course ideas – how to get a little bit more time in some form or fashion on some road courses in a similar style car. I think the biggest caveat to everything is trying to find a car that’s similar to a stock car on a road course is very hard. So, figuring out that. But yeah, Rudy and I have kind of gone through the first handful of tracks and tried to figure out some of the stuff we want to attack at those tracks. We’ve already talked today about Homestead, the Clash, the Daytona 500, obviously. Just trying to figure out some of the little details and nuances that we want to try to apply to those tracks. So, that’s been the main focus of it and Rudy has done a great job of kind of getting going. I think he’s been in here for two and a half weeks now. He’s done a good job getting going.”
I WANTED TO RE-WIND JUST A LITTLE BIT TO 2016 – THAT FIRST YEAR THAT YOU GUYS WERE PAIRED TOGETHER. YOU WERE JUST 18 YEARS OLD AND ENTERING YOUR FIRST FULL TRUCK SEASON. WHAT SORT OF INFLUENCE WAS RUDY ON THE START OF YOUR CAREER? WAS IT A RE-ASSURING VOICE IN YOUR EAR AS YOU WERE JUST GETTING STARTED?“Yeah, it was. I think, for me, I really have to think back a lot to how that year unfolded. But we had speed at the beginning of the year, which obviously cures a lot of issues and a lot of lack in experience, stuff like that. So, we had that. But I think as the year went on, I really started to develop as a communicator, as a driver and my level of aggression got higher, things of that nature. And then I kind of went out and went a completely different direction – went to Hendrick, JRM, and kind of learning some of the things there and tried to really grow myself. Yeah, I think there’s a lot of experience along the way at each race and each year that you learn and I’m definitely a lot different than I was then. And I’m sure Rudy is, too.”
DO YOU FEEL LIKE A VETERAN AT THE RIPE OF 23 YEARS OLD, GETTING STARTED FOR A FOURTH CUP SEASON?“Yeah, I definitely don’t feel like a rookie or inexperienced. I think there’s a lot less questions than there used to be about certain racetracks and certain things that I want to focus on those tracks. I feel like now is the time to get it together and perform really at a high level every week. That’s the goal this year – just to take a step from winning one race and try to take a step towards winning multiple. And even if not maybe the wins, just being in contention for multiple, which is definitely the next step.”
FOLLOWING UP TO WHAT YOU JUST SAID ABOUT NOW IS THE TIME TO STEP IT UP AND GET IT TOGETHER EVERY WEEK, WHEN YOU LOOK AT YOUR FIRST THREE YEARS AND GOING INTO YEAR FOUR, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES? WHAT’S YOUR SELF-CRITISIM THAT YOU HAVE TO PUT ON YOUR SHOULDERS GOING INTO YEAR FOUR?“I think the positives are easy to kind of identify. I think making the Playoffs the last two years has been great. The pole positions that we had in 2019 when we were qualifying was great. The race win, the Duel win – all those things are good things, which kind of establishes us as a contender. Somebody who can potentially win. But I think now, it’s just being a consistent threat and being somebody that each week and each track we go to is not really a weakness, and we can identify some of those small details that are going to take us to that top five or six group of teams that get to the Final Eight and, hopefully, the Final Four. So, yeah I think just figuring out how to make that next step to not just be kind of a one-time winner each year.”
SECONDLY, YOU SAID YOU AND RUDY SHOULD BE ABLE TO APPLY SOME OF THE THINGS YOU HAD BACK A COUPLE YEARS AGO. WHAT KIND OF AN INFLUENCE ARE YOU EXPECTING HIM TO HAVE ON YOU NOW COMING ON A CUP SERIES PARTNERSHIP AND INFUENCE YOU EXPECT HIM TO HAVE AS THE LEADER OF THIS TEAM?“Yeah, I think the influence has already been noticeable. We’ve met two or three times over the last couple of weeks and the influence has already been there, and we’ve kind of picked up where we left off with communication. We do have to be out on the racetrack to really see kind of the fruits of that, but you can plan accordingly and have a really good plan and that’s a good start. It doesn’t always go that well, but you can kind of plan those things out. I feel good about it. I feel like we’re going to pick up where we left off.”
IT FEELS LIKE OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS HAS TRANSITIONED ITSELF TOWARDS ITS FUTURE AND NOW IT FEELS LIKE THAT TRANSITION IS COMPLETE WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON OFF TO NEW ADVENTURES. I’M CURIOUS, HAS IT HIT YOU AND YOUR TEAMMATES THAT THE FUTURE HAS ARRIVED. IT’S DOWN TO YOU GUYS, THE YOUNG BUCKS, TO CARRY ON THE HENDRICK LEGACY. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE THAT CHAMPIONSHIP LEGACY ON YOUR SHOULDERS NOW?“It’s definitely hit us. I think seeing Chase (Elliott) go out there and win the championship like that was definitely a sign that obviously we’re capable. Yeah, the bar has been set, for sure. Things have really evolved – I think the first year when I was here in 2018, how many growing pains there were for me, but also the race team to kind of find out footing with really three new drivers and one veteran guy. So now, it’s four new guys. I feel like three of us have been here for awhile now and really established kind of our trends, our feelings inside the team and what we want in our race cars. I think the bar has definitely been set now and it’s about just going out there and trying to achieve that.”
WHERE DOES ONE GO WHEN THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE AN INTERVIEW WITH A POTENTIAL CREW CHIEF WHEN THEY’RE LOOKING FOR A RESTAURANT IN CONCORD? “Yeah, we went to TGI Friday’s (laughs). Rudy knows I’m a pretty picky eater, so he chose that one because they have chicken tenders and fries. So, it was perfect.”
BECAUSE THAT WAS AN UNIQUE AND NEW SITUATION FOR YOU AND YOUR CAREER, IN SITTING DOWN WITH A CREW CHIEF, WHAT WERE THE QUESTIONS? WHAT WERE THE THINGS YOU NEEDED TO COME OUT OF THAT MEETING TO KIND OF HAVE THAT COMFORT OR WHAT WERE THE THINGS YOU WERE SEEKING? “Yeah, I think when I was first working with him at KBM, it was more just surface-level questions about just the basics – things I needed to execute well, like getting on pit road. Really, some of the driving stuff was kind of left up to me or I would ask questions to Kyle. But a lot of the setup stuff and kind of the ideas behind it, I never really asked those questions. I wasn’t far enough along to really understand it. So, I feel like this time around, the conversations when we met back at the end of August, were much more detailed and more specific. So, I could ask more pointed questions about what I wanted to understand. We hit it off right away in terms of those things and he kind of opened up to me more about the details. I just wasn’t experienced enough to know that stuff when I was 18 years old. I kind of had to go out on my own, in a sense, and go through Xfinity and a few years of Cup to understand that stuff.”
YOU MENTIONED THE DRIVER STABLE THERE, WHERE YOU HAVE THREE GUYS THAT ARE PRETTY ESTABLISHED AT HMS, AND NOW YOU’RE WELCOMING ANOTHER GUY. THAT OTHER GUY IS OBIVOUSLY KYLE (LARSON) AND KYLE IS A GUY OBVIOUSLY THAT’S HAD A LOT OF SUCCESS, BUT HE ALSO COMES WITH WHAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR. HOW DO YOU GUYS AS A GROUP OF DRIVERS KIND OF WELCOME HIM IN? IT’S A DIFFERENT SITUATION FOR A TEAM IN NASCAR AS OPPOSED TO LIKE A BASKETBALL PLAYER BECAUSE BASKETBALL PLAYERS ARE TOGETHER ALL THE TIME. YOU GUYS AS DRIVERS AREN’T NECESSARILY TOGETHER ALL THE TIME – HOW DO YOU WELCOME HIM IN AND HOW DO YOU GUYS KIND OF DRAW FROM HIS EXPERIENCES AND HIS TALENTS?“I think Kyle (Larson) obviously has a lot of talent, but I feel like he’s going to be easy to work with because he’s pretty much all business, all racing. So, it’s not really going to be hard to pick apart his honest feelings about things. I think he’s going to be pretty honest and pretty upfront about a lot of stuff, so I think that’s going to help us in competition meetings, thinking about ideas for the next race, and stuff like that. Obviously, you’re going to have tracks that you can draw from that he’s always been good at. So, you think about Homestead or Chicago, places that are really good for him. It’s going to be cool to kind of pick his brain on that stuff. Anytime you can bring in somebody new that’s going to continue to push the bar I think is really good. You’re going from Jimmie Johnson to another guy that’s going to have a ton of talent, so it’s going to be a pretty easy transition I think.”
DO DRIVERS IN A MULTI-CAR TEAM NECESSARILY NEED TO BE BUDDIES OR IS IT STRICTLY PROFESSIONAL AND YOU GUYS GO THROUGH THE MEETINGS? IS IT MORE HELFUL MAYBE FOR THE FOUR OF YOU GUYS TO HANGOUT WHEN YOU’RE ALLOWED TO HANG OUT, ONCE WE GET THROUGH ALL THE COVID ISSUES?“Yeah, I might be closer to one or another at certain times, but I feel like we all kind of work pretty well together. Especially the way the meetings are structured, like where we all kind of sit together, you build some similarities between drivers that you might draw from for certain tracks. So, I feel like it’s more professional, for sure. I don’t know if we’d all just go out and have fun together all the time, but we learn from each other, for sure.”
YOU MENTIONED PRACTICE PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR, BUT DID YOU CONSIDER GOING DOWN TO COTA THIS WEEKEND FOR THE ENDURANCE EVENT AS SOME OF THE OTHER DRIVERS ARE DOING TO GET FAMILIAR WITH THE TRACK FOR NEXT YEAR? “I haven’t, but I’ve got some separate plans that are going to be road course related over the next month or so. I think definitely COTA is high on the list to try to get some laps on, but it’s more going to be kind of a one-on-one thing for me, instead of just watching. More kind of hands-on and getting in some kind of car. 

RACE REPORT: Rad Dan Burkett 2020 (FINAL Rd. 7&8)

EVENT RECAP: Round 7 & 8 
 


Although there were no fans, it was surreal to traditionally close out the Formula Drift 2020 season at Irwindale Speedway AKA “The House Of Drift.” With Irwindale being a home track for Dan, he kept it RAD and rode the walls of Irwindale like a Pro on his very first lap out! The final round was full of flames, wall rides, wrecks and even flying car parts…we have a great YouTube video coming together that will cover it all! On Friday; Round 7, Dan made his way into another TOP 16. He drove his heart out but overshot the last outer zone preventing him from moving on. On Sunday; Round 8, like many of the other hard charging drifters, we had a mishap getting caught up in the tire marbles sending Dan into the wall just enough to cause repairable damage. Team RAD hustled and worked in unison getting the car back on track. Even with successful repairs, we had terrible luck running without a front bumper on a high speed track causing our already damaged hood to catch air and fly off the car, in Formula Drift it is an automatic incomplete if anything latchable comes undone. Of course, even a hood flying open didn’t phase Rad Dan’s determination to complete his run, he was able to close the season with an entertaining lap to say the least. What a season! We can’t thank each of you enough for sticking through this year and keeping this wild show on the road. Team RAD is looking forward to pushing that much further in 2021. We are glad to have you and your brands be part of all of it with us! The fans love it and can’t seem to get enough of what Dan has to share with them throughout this journey and the goals he has set with his team.
 

RACE REPORT: Rad Dan Burkett 2020 (FINAL Rd. 7&8)

 
EVENT RECAP: Round 7 & 8 
 


Although there were no fans, it was surreal to traditionally close out the Formula Drift 2020 season at Irwindale Speedway AKA “The House Of Drift.” With Irwindale being a home track for Dan, he kept it RAD and rode the walls of Irwindale like a Pro on his very first lap out! The final round was full of flames, wall rides, wrecks and even flying car parts…we have a great YouTube video coming together that will cover it all! On Friday; Round 7, Dan made his way into another TOP 16. He drove his heart out but overshot the last outer zone preventing him from moving on. On Sunday; Round 8, like many of the other hard charging drifters, we had a mishap getting caught up in the tire marbles sending Dan into the wall just enough to cause repairable damage. Team RAD hustled and worked in unison getting the car back on track. Even with successful repairs, we had terrible luck running without a front bumper on a high speed track causing our already damaged hood to catch air and fly off the car, in Formula Drift it is an automatic incomplete if anything latchable comes undone. Of course, even a hood flying open didn’t phase Rad Dan’s determination to complete his run, he was able to close the season with an entertaining lap to say the least. What a season! We can’t thank each of you enough for sticking through this year and keeping this wild show on the road. Team RAD is looking forward to pushing that much further in 2021. We are glad to have you and your brands be part of all of it with us! The fans love it and can’t seem to get enough of what Dan has to share with them throughout this journey and the goals he has set with his team.
 

28th Annual COMP Cams Topless 100 – Presented by General Tire Tonight on MAVTV

Batavia, OH (December 3, 2020) – The 28th Annual COMP Cams Topless 100 – Presented by General Tire from Batesville Motor Speedway in Batesville, AR is on MAVTV Motorsports Network, tonight at 9 PM EDT, with a re-airing at 12 AM EDT. 

Tim McCreadie and Jimmy Owens were the first to cross the stripe on the two prelim nights at BMS, each pocketing $5,000 before the $40,000-to-win 100-lap main event on Saturday. The Topless 100 A-Main had excitement all the way to the end with a last lap heroic effort that fell just short, from the Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the race. The broadcast will include driver interviews, in-car cameras, and various technical segments.

Owned and operated by Lucas Oil Products, MAVTV Motorsports Network is a television network deeply rooted in the automotive world. MAVTV is available to over 35 million homes on U-verse, DIRECTV (channel 214), Fios by Verizon, Vidgo, TIKILIVE, fuboTV, YouTubeTV, Spectrum, and other nationwide providers. MAVTV will broadcast 5 live events and 34 original tape-delayed airings. To find a full list of providers, visit: mavtv.com/get-mavtv/providers.

The 2020 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series TV schedule can be found on the series website at: www.lucasdirt.com/schedule/tv-schedule/.

Tandy Set to Join Corvette Racing in No. 4 C8.R for Full-Season Run


· Sims to round out new additions as endurance driver alongside Milner, Tandy· Defending GTLM Drivers champions Garcia, Taylor back again in 2021 with Catsburg· Program focused on continuing development for second year with mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette C8.R
DETROIT (Dec. 3, 2020) – Corvette Racing’s lineup in its No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R will have a significantly different look for the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with the additions of sports car stars Nick Tandy and Alexander Sims alongside long-time Corvette driver Tommy Milner.
It’s a big change on one side of the Corvette Racing garage while the other stays intact from a driving perspective. Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor, the reigning GT Le Mans (GTLM) Drivers champions, will team again in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C8.R with Nicky Catsburg back for another season with the pair for the team’s long-distance events in IMSA. Catsburg and Sims will be part of the program’s events for the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans.
Tandy – from Bedford, England – steps into the role held by Oliver Gavin, who stepped away from full-time driving after 19 years with the program. A winner at practically every major sports car race around the world, Tandy joins a full-season lineup that already includes nine IMSA Drivers Championships and 42 race wins with Corvette Racing.
Tandy owns 15 career IMSA victories – all in GT racing – and has won the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans. In addition, he is a past overall winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring and the 24 Hours of Spa.
In Sims, Corvette Racing gets another proven race-winner for some of its most important events of the year. From Alcester in England, Sims is a five-time winner in IMSA competition in a brief but successful two-year, full-season stint in 2017 and 2018. He has a victory at Petit Le Mans to his credit along with 24-hour wins at Spa and the Nürburgring, along with two career starts at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The British pair join Milner, now Corvette Racing’s most experienced full-season driver. The two-time IMSA Drivers Champion boasts 15 victories with the program including wins at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring, among others. Milner has been a key component in testing and development of the Corvette C8.R and will begin his 10th year as part of Corvette Racing.
In the No. 3 Corvette, Garcia and Taylor are together again after taking five victories and combining for six pole positions in the 2020 GTLM season. The pairing won for the first time at Daytona in July for Corvette Racing’s 100th IMSA victory, and both are previous winners at such events like Le Mans, the Rolex 24 and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. 
Garcia won his fourth Drivers Championship in 2020 while Taylor captured his third Drivers title. Both are past winners at Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans. Catsburg also will return to the cockpit following a season in which he won the Nurburgring 24 Hours, among other high-profile events.
All six drivers will focus on bringing improvements to the mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette C8.R, which won six races and swept the full-season GTLM championships in the hands of Corvette Racing. In addition, the C8.R claimed seven pole positions and posted fastest GTLM race lap at six events.
The mid-engine C8.R and 2020 Corvette Stingray street car were developed simultaneously, and the race car and production vehicle share more technology and parts than any previous-generation Corvette. When initial Corvette C8.R design and development work began more than five years ago, Corvette Racing engineers worked closely alongside Corvette production personnel with a heavy emphasis on wind tunnel and simulation testing.
Corvette Racing will open its 2021 season with the Roar Before the 24 from Jan. 22-24 and the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 30-31.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “It is nice to have some continuity that we can carry over into 2021. The season Jordan and I had was incredible with the championship and winning a lot of races. Things definitely won’t be easier in 2021 for us, but we do have a year of experience together and with the C8.R. Looking back at 2020, the only thing we missed out on was a good result in the long-distance races. We had the pace to win at Petit Le Mans, but we weren’t expected to get a win at Daytona to start the year and we had our suspension issue at the Sebring 12 Hours. Getting a real endurance win would be key as a next target for the C8.R.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “It’s definitely going to be difficult to top what we accomplished in 2020, but rolling into 2021 and learning everything we did with the C8.R, we’ll roll off stronger than we did this season. It will be great to be back with Antonio and Nicky. With having such a strong lineup, it’s good to keep things consistent. We know how each other works and how our driving styles are like. The chemistry there is very strong. It’ll be great to have Nick and Alexander coming in on the No. 4 Corvette. They can bring a fresh perspective as guys who have driven different cars and give us some insight on the strengths and weaknesses of the C8.R that maybe we are used by now, having driven for a year now. I think we’re setting up for a very strong 2021.” 
NICKY CATSBURG, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “I’m super pleased that I’m able to come back again with Corvette Racing. My first year was very, very nice. I really enjoyed it… working with the team and with the C8.R. It seems to suit me and I’ve enjoyed it so far. Other than winning the championship, we didn’t score a victory in one of the endurance races so that’s a big goal for next year, along with winning the championship again for Chevy, Antonio and Jordan. Having Nick and Alexander is very, very cool. I know Alexander very well from races we’ve done and won together. He’s one of the best guys I know, and I think he will fit in right away. He’s a super funny guy as well, so I can’t wait to have him around. Nick is one of the fiercest competitors I’ve ever raced against. He needs no further introduction and he’s an awesome addition for Corvette Racing. This is a super strong lineup, and I’m proud to be part of it.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “Going into next year, expectations are very high. We know the C8.R is fast and competitive. We had a couple of small issues through the 2020 season, but they were things that were easily addressed by the engineers and mechanics. It’s a tall order to match what happened this year. We obviously want to win the championships again, but now we have the opportunity to get big wins at Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans. I’d love to get some of those big races under our belt.“I’m excited about my two new teammates. I’ve been racing against Nick for many years now. I know how strong a competitor he is. Obviously I’d much rather him be in my car and not have to fight against him! I’ve raced against he and Alexander quite a bit. They’re both true professionals, super fast on the track and their results speak for themselves. I’m excited to go race with them and work toward the goals we’ve set for 2021.”
NICK TANDY, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “Since I’ve been racing in IMSA and at Le Mans, Corvette Racing has been the team that everyone looks up to. Many operations aspire to get to the level that Corvette Racing operates at. It’s something I’ve always looked at, and it’s impressed me. The fact that the opportunity arose where I could join the team and stay racing within IMSA is a dream opportunity. You look at the history of Corvette Racing, and it’s been a team that has consistently been in top-level motorsport. And not just competing but winning races and championships wherever they go. It’s an appealing aspect. I hope I can add something to the party and continue that successful legacy that Corvette Racing has. I’d very much like to be part of the next chapter.”
ALEXANDER SIMS, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “During my two previous years in IMSA, it was clear the level that Corvette Racing is on. I have such fantastic memories of battling with some of the Corvette guys, and some of those battles went against me! My appreciation and respect for Corvette Racing certainly increased. It’s a team that always seemed to be able to achieve a result, even if the track wasn’t one that suited its cars perfectly. If someone was going to make something out of a difficult situation, it usually was Corvette Racing. Now, to have a chance to be in that fold and be part of the program with the absolute pros on this team is really quite special.”

2020 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Contingency Award Recipients Announced

Batavia, OH (December 2, 2020) – The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and the award recipients would like to thank all of the contingency sponsors for their continued support of the Series and its drivers. Not only were teams and drivers rewarded for their successes, but the top three engine builders and the chassis builder of the year also received cash, product certificates, and/or product. 
Jimmy Owens led 682 laps in A-Main events this season, to win the Allstar Performance Most Laps Led. Owens will receive $500 Cash, and a $500 Product Certificate from Allstar Performance. For more information on Allstar Performance, visit: www.allstarperformance.com
Cornett Racing Engines continued their success with the Lucas Dirt Series in 2020, winning their eighth ARP Engine Builder of the Year award. Cornett will collect $1000 Cash, plus – ARP Product Award, Brodix $200 Product Certificate, CP Carrillo Product Certificate, E3 Spark Plugs Product Certificate, K&N Filters Product Certificate, COOL-IT Thermo-Tec Product Certificate, and Xceldyne $750 Product Certificate. 
Second place in the ARP Engine Builder of the Year, Vic Hill Racing Engines will receive an ARP Product Award, Brodix $150 Product Certificate, CP Carrillo Product Certificate, E3 Spark Plugs Product Certificate, K&N Filters Product Certificate, and a Xceldyne $500 Product Certificate. Coming in third in the ARP Engine Builder of the Year, Durham Racing Engines will get a Brodix $100 Product Certificate and a Xceldyne $250 Product Certificate. For more information on ARP, visit: www.arp-bolts.com
The Big River Steel Podium became a familiar home for Jimmy Owens this season. Owens found himself on the podium 23 times, claiming the Big River Steel Most Podium Finishes and a $1,000 cash bonus. For more information on Big River Steel, visit: www.bigriversteel.com
Midwest Sheet Metal Point Leader Spoiler Challenge winner, Jimmy Owens will receive an extra $1,000 from Midwest Sheet Metal. Owens took the point lead on June 12th, after the 22nd Annual Grassy Smith Memorial, at Cherokee Speedway and never looked back. For more information on Midwest Sheet Metal, visit: www.msmfab.com
Miller Welders Chassis Builder of the Year, once again, went to Rocket Chassis. Rocket Chassis will receive a brand new Miller Welder Multimatic 215 Multiprocess Welder that is easy-to-use and versatile MIG, Stick and DC TIG welder. This welder comes with a color screen featuring Auto-Set™ Elite and is an all-in-one welder that connects to 120 or 240 volt input power, welding up to 3/8″ mild steel. For more information on Miller Welders, visit: www.millerwelds.com
Passing 251 cars, over the course of the 2020 season, Rookie of the Year driver, Tanner English wins the Optima Batteries Hard Charger award and a $500 cash bonus. For more information on Optima Batteries, visit: www.optimabatteries.com
Outerwears Crew Chief of the Year goes to the Crew Chief for Jimmy Owens/Ramirez Motorsports, Cody Mallory. Mallory will receive $1,000 for Crew Chief of the Year. For more information on Outerwears, visit: www.outerwears.com
With eight PFC Most Pole Awards in 2020, Jimmy Owens takes the PFC Pole Award of the Year, and will receive $500 Cash and a $500 Product Certificate from PFC. For more information on PFC, visit: www.pfcbrakes.com
Out of 47 feature events, Jimmy Owens finished in the top five 29 times, to take the Penske Shocks Most Top 5 Finishes in Year award, along with $1,000 Cash and a $1,000 Product Certificate. For more information on Penske Shocks, visit: www.penskeshocks.com
Simpson Race Products Most Heat Race Wins goes to Jimmy Owens, with a total of 24 heat race wins. For this award, Owens will receive $500 Cash, plus – a Product Award. For more information on Simpson Race Products, visit: www.simpsonraceproducts.com
Sunoco Race for Gas Points went to the highest finishing Sunoco driver in each A-Main of the season. First place, Jimmy Owens will receive $3000, second place finisher, Josh Richards will receive $2,000, and third place Tyler Erb will receive $1,000. For more information on Sunoco Race Fuels, visit: www.sunocoracefuels.com
The 2020 season Champion picked up 11 feature wins to take the Wrisco Most Feature Wins. Jimmy Owens will receive a $1,000 cash bonus from Wrisco Industries, Inc. For more information on Wrisco Industries, Inc, visit: www.wrisco.com
For more information about the Lucas Oil Late Model dirt series visit www.lucasdirt.com

Jimmy Owens Claims 2020 GEICO TV Race Challenge

Batavia, OH (December 1, 2020) – This year’s winner of the GEICO TV Race Challenge on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, had eight wins, 25 top five finishes, and 29 top ten finishes – out of the 38 events included in this point category. The 2020 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Champion, Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN, added a $10,000 bonus to his overall season earnings by winning this point category in 2020.  “I appreciate the opportunity to earn more money with the GEICO TV Race Challenge.  It’s a nice bonus at the end of the year,” stated this year’s National Champion. “I would also like to thank my crew, Cody Mallory, Jeff “Mullett” Strope, and Kurt Owens. I would also like to thank Melissa and Nathan, Leon, Becky, and Dereck Ramirez, Gary Williams, Justin Talley, Chris Fox, and all of my sponsors.” Owens’ Ramirez Motorsports Rocket Chassis is powered by a Vic Hill Racing Engine and is sponsored by Reece Monument Company, Tommy Pope Construction, Boomtest Well Service, General Tire, Red Line Oil, Ohlins Shocks, Champion Spark Plugs, and Midwest Sheet Metal. The TV Race Challenge awarded points to drivers at the 38 televised events, within the series schedule. Owens will receive a $10,000 bonus for his win in this point category, while Tim McCreadie and Josh Richards, who finished second and third behind Owens, will also receive $2,500 and $1,500 respectively.

Troy Coughlin Jr. to continue family’s Pro Stock legacy alongside crew chief Rickie Jones

DELAWARE, Ohio (Nov. 30) — In what could be described as the epitome of NHRA drag racing’s next generation moving to the forefront, Troy Coughlin Jr. will become the lead driver for Team JEGS in 2021 and beyond, driving the JEGS.com Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro tuned by Rickie Jones. 
Just one year after the inception of the Pro Stock class 50 years ago, JEGS Automotive joined the battle with company founder Jeg Coughlin Sr. grinding gears in his JEGS-sponsored car. Troy Coughlin Sr., one of Jeg Sr.’s four sons who now own and operate JEGS, was next to contest the factory hot rod class, running various yellow-and-black hot rods from 1994-2004. Then came Jeg Coughlin Jr., who won five world titles and 65 races in the class during a 24-year professional career.
Now it’s Troy Jr.’s turn to carry on the tradition set forth by his grandfather, dad and uncle, driving the same RJ Racecars Camaro owned by Mark Stockseth that Jeg Jr. drove to three wins this past season. 
“Competing in Pro Stock is who we are,” Troy Jr. said. “My dad, his dad, my uncle Jeg, it’s a pretty incredible legacy to follow and I couldn’t be more humbled and honored to move it forward.
“Drag racing is a unique part of what keeps our family together. It’s what we talk about at the dinner table. It’s what drives our customer base at JEGS. It’s everything for us. I think it’s really important to have a JEGS car in the professional ranks to constantly remind everyone we love it as much as they do. I’m so lucky to have this chance.”
When Jeg Jr. retired from full-time competition at the end of 2020, the door opened for Troy Jr. to take the reins after a successful, part-time effort with Elite that featured his first final-round appearance at the third Indy race. It also allowed Jones to rotate from tuning for Jeg Jr. to Troy Jr.
Like Troy Jr., Rickie Jones was born into the sport, following his father Rick Jones from drag strip to drag strip for as far back as anyone can remember. The elder Jones found success in the IHRA Mountain Motor class and later in Pro Stock Truck (where Troy Jr.’s uncles Mike and John competed), both as a tuner and driver. At the same time, he started building racecars, and his creations have since claimed numerous world titles, most notably with multi-time champions Warren Johnson, Greg Anderson, Jason Line and Erica Enders. 
As soon as he was old enough, Rickie became a part of it all, including the creation of the Jones’ other entity, Quarter-Max, where they manufacturer and sell a line of chassis and suspension parts, as well as components from several other vendors.
On the racing side of things, Rickie competed in Pro Stock and Pro Mod from 2008-2013, before joining his father on the tuning side of the equation. He’s spent the last seven years working on the cars of Enders, Jeg Jr., Aaron Stanfield and now Troy Jr., who is just three years his junior. As a side business, he also helps a variety of sportsman racers tune their cars.
“The similarities between T.J. and me are really neat,” Rickie said. “We were both pretty much born and raised at the races and both of our dads raced for many years. I know we share a real love for Pro Stock, plus we’re very alike as far as demeanor and personalities go. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun together, hopefully for many, many years.
“Both of us grew up dreaming about having these kind of chances, to try to win and win championships at the top level of the sport. Obviously, (team owner) Richard Freeman gives us everything we need to win so it’s up to us to put it all together. We’re real excited about having T.J. take this next step with us. He’s got all the potential in the world.
“I had an opportunity to work with him in preseason testing when he drove Jeg’s car at Bradenton. He took to it like a duck to water. He’s a natural. He asked a lot of great questions and has been a real student of the class ever since, watching a lot of the in-car camara video of his uncle’s runs. It’s really no surprise he’s done well considering all the cars he’s raced.”
Beginning in Junior Dragsters, Troy Jr. has raced in Super Comp, Super Gas, Top Dragster, several E.T Bracket cars, Pro Mod, Top Alcohol Dragster, Top Fuel and now Pro Stock. He won the Division 3 Super Gas title in 2013, the North Central region championship in Top Alcohol Dragster in 2018, and the East region Top Alcohol Dragster crown in 2019. He has 10 divisional/regional wins and eight more national event trophies.
“I’ve been lucky to race so many different cars through the years but nothing has been as challenging as Pro Stock,” Troy Jr. said. “It’s a constant challenge to try and make a perfect run each time down the track. I try not to set any expectations but I think we all know great things are within our grasp. We should continue to be major players in the class.
“Having Rickie as the crew chief is the best-case scenario for me. In testing he was always real calm on the radio, which I really liked, and during the season he was someone I could talk to about anything in regards to the runs I was making. He knows Pro Stock as both a driver and a crew chief, plus he drove in Pro Mod too, so we’re a lot alike in many ways. We’ve been down the same roads.”
Rickie knew he had a unique talent in Troy Jr. as early as that initial test session when after completing his first full run down the track, Troy Jr. admitted the car got his attention.
“Here’s a guy that drove a Top Fuel dragster and the first thing he says was how surprised he was by the Pro Stock car,” Rickie said. “He realized on that first run how much you need to be on top of these things. Drivers really have to drive a Pro Stock car. There’s a lot to do in those six seconds. Nothing can truly simulate a run and no one has ever jumped in a Pro Stock car and been perfect from the start. It takes time.
“I think T.J. took to it as quickly as he has because he’s been making runs in his head since he was a little kid. He’s watched his dad and uncle race so many times and it’s become embedded in his head. I personally think there are no limits to what we can accomplish.”