Category Archives: Uncategorized

Burton Qualifies 13th for the Clash at the Coliseum

February 5, 2023

Harrison Burton and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang were 13th fastest in qualifying for Sunday’s Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. 

Burton’s quick trip around the quarter-mile temporary track inside the Coliseum means he will start fourth in the first of four 25-lap heat races.

The top-five finishers in each heat race will earn starting spots in Sunday’s 150-lap main event. The remainder of the line-up will be determined by two 50-lap last chance races, with the top-three finishers in those events advancing to the feature race.

Sunday’s program starts at 2 p.m. (5 p.m. Eastern) with the four 25-lap heat races, followed by two 50-lap last chance races. 

The 150-lap main event begins at 5 p.m. Pacific (8 p.m. Eastern), with Sunday’s coverage on FOX.


Thornton Claims Point Lead with All-Tech Victory

ELLISVILLE, Fla. (February 4, 2023) – In a race that saw five lead changes among three drivers, Ricky Thornton Jr. emerged victorious on Saturday night at All-Tech Raceway. Thornton passed race leader Max Blair after a lap 29 restart and went on to win his second Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series race of the season. For the first time in his career, Thornton has taken over the top spot in the championship point standings after his seventh career series win. Tim McCreadie, the two-time and defending series champion, came from the 12th starting spot to finish in second. Brandon Sheppard, who started eighth came him in third, followed by 14th starting Devin Moran. Tyler Erb completed the top five to earn the Todd Steel Buildings Hard Charger of the Race after he started 21st on the grid. Thornton started on the outside of the front row and grabbed the lead at the start of the 50-lap main event. He quickly built a sizable lead in the opening laps of the race until Shane Clanton, who started alongside Thornton on the front row was able to close the gap and take over the point with eight laps scored. Clanton would hold the lead until lap 17 when Thornton regained the top spot. At the halfway mark it was Thornton still in front followed by Clanton and Max Blair, who was now up to third. Blair then went to second on lap 27 and two laps later took the lead away from Thornton to become the third different leader of the race. A caution came out with 29 laps complete with Blair out in front. On the restart Thornton swung to the outside as he pressured Blair and completed the pass heading down the backstretch. Thornton then had to withstand two cautions in the waning laps, one with nine laps to go and one with just two circuits remaining, holding off McCreadie both times. In Lucas Oil Victory Lane, the 32-year driver who continues to be the most consistent driver to start the 2023 season said: “I really didn’t know what to do tire wise. I knew Max [Blair] and Kyle [Strickler] were on softer tires. I told Max to go soft and it lasted a while for him. I didn’t know if there was really a line there in one and two. It was kind of a do or die. I was like I really want to win this pretty bad, so I was trying really hard on that restart, and it worked. I kept missing the bottom there in three. It was getting tight. Luckily, we held them off.” McCreadie moved into third in the championship chase with his runner-up finish. “This Paylor Motorsports team just keeps battling. One of these days we’ll be able to start near the front maybe and put some pressure on them early so they have to work a little harder than they are working. That’s the way it goes. We keep passing as many cars as we can. They are not going to slow this team down.” Sheppard, who finished second in last year’s championship standings continues to make strides with his new team. “That was typical All-Tech right there. That was a lot of fun. It was tricky and slippery all over the place. You could chase the brown a little bit. It was a good night. We’ve been needing this for sure. That practice night this week helped us a lot. I learned a lot of stuff on the car.” The winner’s Todd and Vickie Burns, SSI Motorsports-owned, Longhorn Chassis is powered by a Clements Racing Engine and sponsored Big River Steel, Hoker Trucking, Sub-Surface of Indiana, Dyno One Inc., West Side Tractor Sales, D&E Outside Services, Certified Inspection Service Co. Inc., Murty Farms, Sunoco Race Fuels, and Bilstein Shocks. Completing the top ten were Hudson O’Neal, Max Blair, Shane Clanton, Kyle Bronson, and Spencer Hughes.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Race Summary Winter NationalsSaturday, February 4, 2023All-Tech Raceway – Lake City, FL
Allstar Performance Time TrialsFast Time Group A: Spencer Hughes / 18.170 seconds Fast Time Group B: Ricky Thornton, Jr. / 17.691 seconds (overall)
Penske Shocks Heat Race #1 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 25C-Shane Clanton[4]; 2. 11-Spencer Hughes[1]; 3. 20-Jimmy Owens[6]; 4. 46-Earl Pearson Jr[7]; 5. 16-Tyler Bruening[5]; 6. 10-Garrett Smith[3]; 7. 31-Tyler Millwood[8]; 8. 66JR-Eddie Carrier Jr[2]; 9. 44D-Dalton Cook[9]; 10. 86-Kyle Beard[10]; 11. 01-Jason Garver[11]; 12. 23-Chad Walter[12]
Summit Racing Products Heat Race #2 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 8K-Kyle Strickler[2]; 2. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[1]; 3. 96V-Tanner English[4]; 4. 19M-Wil Herrington[7]; 5. 89J-Jeff Choquette[6]; 6. 19R-Ryan Gustin[3]; 7. 1T-Tyler Erb[9]; 8. 76B-Blair Nothdurft[8]; 9. 5-Mark Whitener[5]; 10. 99B-Boom Briggs[10]; 11. 14W-Dustin Walker[11]
Simpson Race Products Heat Race #3 (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[1]; 2. 111B-Max Blair[4]; 3. 1H-Hudson O’Neal[3]; 4. 99-Devin Moran[8]; 5. 40B-Kyle Bronson[5]; 6. 17SS-Brenden Smith[7]; 7. 58-Garrett Alberson[6]; 8. C4-Freddie Carpenter[10]; 9. 21-Billy Moyer Jr[9]; 10. 76-Brandon Overton[2]; 11. 4S-Danny Snyder[11]
AP1 Insurance Heat Race #4 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 18D-Daulton Wilson[4]; 2. B5-Brandon Sheppard[1]; 3. 39-Tim McCreadie[5]; 4. 22*-Payton Freeman[8]; 5. 12-Ashton Winger[7]; 6. 49-Jonathan Davenport[11]; 7. 3S-Brian Shirley[10]; 8. 1Z-Logan Zarin[9]; 9. 7-Ross Robinson[6]; 10. 25Z-Mason Zeigler[2]; 11. 89-Logan Roberson[3]
Fast Shafts B-Main Race #1 Finish (10 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 16-Tyler Bruening[1]; 2. 19R-Ryan Gustin[4]; 3. 1T-Tyler Erb[6]; 4. 5-Mark Whitener[10]; 5. 10-Garrett Smith[3]; 6. 76B-Blair Nothdurft[8]; 7. 89J-Jeff Choquette[2]; 8. 31-Tyler Millwood[5]; 9. 66JR-Eddie Carrier Jr[7]; 10. 86-Kyle Beard[11]; 11. 44D-Dalton Cook[9]; 12. 99B-Boom Briggs[12]; 13. 01-Jason Garver[13]; 14. 23-Chad Walter[15]; 15. 14W-Dustin Walker[14]
UNOH B-Main Race #2 Finish (10 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 17SS-Brenden Smith[3]; 2. 40B-Kyle Bronson[1]; 3. 3S-Brian Shirley[6]; 4. 76-Brandon Overton[11]; 5. 89-Logan Roberson[14]; 6. 21-Billy Moyer Jr[9]; 7. C4-Freddie Carpenter[7]; 8. 7-Ross Robinson[10]; 9. 58-Garrett Alberson[5]; 10. 49-Jonathan Davenport[4]; 11. 4S-Danny Snyder[13]; 12. 1Z-Logan Zarin[8]; 13. (DNS) 12-Ashton Winger; 14. (DNS) 25Z-Mason Zeigler
Winter Nationals Feature Finish (50 Laps):
Race Statistics Entrants: 45Terminal Maintenance & Construction Pole Sitter: Shane ClantonLap Leaders: Ricky Thornton, Jr. (Laps 1-7); Shane Clanton (Laps 8-16); Ricky Thornton, Jr. (Laps 17-28); Max Blair (Lap 29); Ricky Thornton, Jr. (Laps 30-50)Wieland Feature Winner: Ricky Thornton, Jr.Arizona Sport Shirts Crown Jewel Cup Feature Winner: n/aBrandon Ford TV Challenge Feature Winner: n/aMargin of Victory: 0.428 secondsStop-Tech Brakes Cautions: Wil Herrington (Lap 29); Earl Pearson, Jr. (Lap 40); Earl Pearson, Jr. (Lap 48); Jonathan Davenport (Lap 48 Restart)Series Provisionals: Garrett Alberson; Ross RobinsonFast Time Provisional: n/aSeries Emergency Provisionals: Jonathan Davenport; Garrett Smith; Logan RobersonTrack Provisional: n/aBig River Steel Podium Top 3: Ricky Thornton, Jr., Tim McCreadie, Brandon SheppardPenske Shocks Top 5: Ricky Thornton, Jr., Tim McCreadie, Brandon Sheppard, Devin Moran, Tyler ErbTodd Steel Buildings Hard Charger of the Race: Tyler Erb (Advanced 16 Positions)Wilwood Brakes Lucky 7th Place Finisher: Max BlairDeatherage Opticians Lucky 13th Place Finisher: Dennis Erb, Jr.Earnhardt Technologies Most Laps Led: Ricky Thornton, Jr. (40 Laps)Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Ricky Thornton, Jr.Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: Brandon OvertonO’Reilly Auto Parts Rookie of the Race: n/aEtchberger Trucking Fastest Lap of the Race: Ricky Thornton, Jr. (Lap 1 – 19.614 seconds)MD3 Tough Break of the Race: Jonathan DavenportOuterwears Crew Chief of the Race: Anthony Burroughs (Ricky Thornton, Jr.)ARP Engine Builder of the Race: Clements Racing EnginesMiller Welders Chassis Builder of the Race: Longhorn ChassisDirt Draft Fastest in Hot Laps: Hudson O’Neal (18.185 seconds)Time of Race: 29 minutes 21 seconds
The Big River Steel Chase for the Championship Presented by ARP Point Standings:

BOO-YAH: Lee Dominates for Second Career East Bay Winternationals Finale Victory

Florida Speedweeks action resumes Monday, Feb. 6 at Volusia for DIRTcar Nationals

TAMPA, FL – Feb. 4, 2023 – On the heels of a drama-filled past 24 hours, Lucas Lee served his critics a dominating performance in the conclusion to DIRTcar UMP Modified Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park.

Lee led all but the first six laps of the 75-lap Feature Saturday night, passing polesitter Drake Troutman for the top spot on Lap 7 and fending off all challenges from that point forward to bag the $5,000 grand prize for the second time in his career.

From inside the second row, Lee wasted zero time making a break for the head of the field. He had already advanced two spots after the first trip around the 1/3-mile oval, and by Lap 3, had only Tuesday night winner Troutman left in front of him.

Troutman, the 17-year-old Modified sensation from Hyndman, PA, redrew the pole starting spot as high-point man through the first four races of the week. Though he carried speed in the opening laps, Lee was stronger on the bottom, and got a great bite out of Turn 2 and zoomed past Troutman into the lead on Lap 7.

“I was gonna ride, but when you’ve got Drake [Troutman] and Tyler [Nicely] up there, it’s like – how do you ride? You’ve gotta try and get in front of them,” Lee remarked on his early race strategy.

“I knew my shot with Tyler would be to get him on the bottom quick because he could roll that middle pretty good. I kinda figured Troutman wasn’t going to be able to hold that bottom. I got by them before I got to the lapped cars, which I kinda didn’t want to do, but I’m glad it worked out.”

For all 75 laps, Lee hugged the bottom of the racetrack, even in the thickest of traffic – some of which came before the first caution flag was displayed on Lap 31. For the next restart, and each of the numerous ones that followed, Lee kept his speed up on the bottom and middle lanes, more so than any other driver. He reflected on his 2019 victory in the event and recalled similar track conditions to Saturday night, which he said may have played into his favor.

“In 2019, it kinda did the same thing,” Lee said. “It went through a transition and cleaned-up really well. When it cleaned-up, I was in the right place at the right time. It was kind of a similar racetrack.”

Lee’s biggest challenge came from two-time Winternationals winner Rodney Wing in the Jeff Mathews Motorsports #33W. Wing, the racer and track owner/promoter from Meridian, MS, drove from the seventh starting spot to second by Lap 23 and began to work on finding a way around Lee.

He tried looking to Lee’s outside for a shot at the lead on multiple restarts but was unsuccessful on all attempts. Lee was simply too quick on the bottom.

“I was up beside him a couple of times, so really, I just needed to handle a little better through the corner,” Wing said. “I kept having to break traction to get it through the corner. If I had been able to circle the corner a little better, I think I could have got him.”

Though Wing never got close enough to seriously put Lee in danger of losing the lead, Lee did acknowledge his presence. Throughout the race, Lee’s car was finding considerably more traction than any of his fellow competitors through the bottom-middle lane, which aided in his efforts to keep the lead.

“I left the car free,” Lee said. “I knew I had to get [to the bottom lane] pretty quick, and I could circle that bottom when it had traction down there. Luckily, Travis [Norden, crew member] told me [Wing] was out there and I moved up.”

After multiple top-10 and top-15 finishes throughout the week, Wing took home second when all was said and done. Though he hadn’t piloted a Modified in succession like at Winternationals, he was slowly getting more used to the car as the week went on.

“Every night, we’ve been inching up on the setup more and more to my liking,” Wing said. “That’s been the main thing – just got it closer and closer.”

Crossing the stripe in third was Illinois ringer Allen Weisser. The DIRTcar regional champion stayed inside the top-10 the entire race and spent the second half battling his way through the top-five. In the end, he had to settle for third, as Lee and Wing were too far out in front.

Despite the struggles, Weisser is still finding success on the Speedweeks circuit, and takes a strong point total into Volusia Speedway Park next week.

“This is probably the best Speedweeks we’ve ever had,” Weisser said. “These tracks are just so different from what we’re used to running. We’ve just kinda struggled down here, but this car has been really good.”


A Feature 1 (75 Laps): 1. 12-Lucas Lee[5]; 2. 33W-Rodney Wing[7]; 3. 25W-Allen Weisser[10]; 4. 145-Kyle Hammer[18]; 5. 5-Drake Troutman[1]; 6. 14-Mavrick Varnadore[16]; 7. 25-LJ Grimm[8]; 8. 54J-Jason Jack[19]; 9. 25A-Jason Altiers[23]; 10. 1H-Ben Harmon[24]; 11. 205-Travis Varnadore[13]; 12. 69B-Bryan Bernhardt[11]; 13. 21CZ-Benji LaCrosse[20]; 14. 25N-Tyler Nicely[2]; 15. 17-Chris Wilson[12]; 16. 5X-Joe Godsey[17]; 17. 2-Devin Dixon[4]; 18. 40-Kevin Adams[3]; 19. 23B-Scott Bane[25]; 20. 99-Blake Brown[14]; 21. 72-Todd Neiheiser[21]; 22. 2A-Matt Altiers[22]; 23. 24-Zeke McKenzie[9]; 24. 90-Tim Gay[15]; 25. 20-Brian Skaggs[6]



  Three Team Chevy Drivers Take Heat Race Pole Positions 
·       On-track action at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum got underway this afternoon with a practice session. Alex Bowman led Chevrolet drivers on the speed chart, clocking in a fourth-fastest lap overall in his No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL1. 
·       Single car qualifying determined the starting lineups for tomorrow’s four heat races, with the top-four fastest cars securing the pole position for each heat race. 
·       Justin Haley and the No. 31 Celsius Camaro ZL1 team topped the leaderboard in qualifying, securing his first career NASCAR Cup Series Clash pole win.  
·       Three of the top-four fastest cars in qualifying came from the Bowtie brigade. Joining Haley in securing a heat race pole position included Kyle Busch, No. 8 BetMGM Camaro ZL1 (second-fastest), and William Byron, No. 24 Camaro ZL1 (fourth-fastest). 
·       FOX will telecast from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sunday, February 5, starting with qualifying heat races and last chance qualifying races at 5 p.m. ET, followed by the main event for the 45th running of the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum at 8 p.m. ET. Live coverage can also be found on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.  
TEAM CHEVY PRACTICE LEADERBOARD: POS.   DRIVER4th      Alex Bowman, No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL17th      Ross Chastain, No. 1 Worldwide Express Camaro ZL110th    Justin Haley, No. 31 Celsius Camaro ZL113th    Kyle Busch, No. 8 BetMGM Camaro ZL114th    William Byron, No. 24 Camaro ZL119th    Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL122nd   Austin Dillon, No. 3 Get Bioethanol Camaro ZL123rd    Daniel Suarez, No. 99 Jockey Camaro ZL124th    AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Action Industries Camaro ZL125th    Corey LaJoie, No. 7 Animal Control FOX Camaro ZL126th    Kyle Larson, No. 5 Camaro ZL127th    Erik Jones, No. 43 Allegiant Camaro ZL128th    Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 47 Food 4 Less / Velveeta Camaro ZL129th    Noah Gragson, No. 42 Sunseeker Resort Camaro ZL132nd   Ty Dillon, No. 77 NASCAR Fan Rewards Camaro ZL136th    BJ McLeod, No. 78 Celsius Camaro ZL1 
TEAM CHEVY UNOFFICIAL TOP-10 QUALIFYING RESULTS:   POS.   DRIVER1st      Justin Haley, No. 31 Celsius Camaro ZL12nd     Kyle Busch, No. 8 BetMGM Camaro ZL14th      William Byron, No. 24 Camaro ZL16th      Austin Dillon, No. 3 Get Bioethanol Camaro ZL18th      AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Action Industries Camaro ZL19th      Alex Bowman, No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL110th    Kyle Larson, No. 5 Camaro ZL1
Justin Haley, No. 31 Celsius Camaro ZL1, Press Conference Transcript – Q. You got your first career NASCAR Cup Series pole here. Talk about that advantage heading into tomorrow. “It’s obviously key. We fired off here last year and we were pretty good. Obviously, we had some trouble during the race.  I felt like we had a pretty good No. 31 Celsius Chevy in practice. I just felt like I wasn’t getting the full potential out of the race car, and then obviously in qualifying, our lap was just dominant.  I feel pretty confident about where we are. It’s a good place to start the season. I’m not sure why we’re so good here. I wish I had this much talent at all of the races, but I’m pretty thankful. It’s pretty cool to get Kaulig Racing their first NASCAR Cup Series pole; my first pole as a driver in my second year here; and get Celsius their first pole.” Q. Any difference in the track? How it handled, characteristics? “No, it’s the same. It probably doesn’t look fast, but yeah it’s pretty similar. I wouldn’t say anything is noticeably different.” Q. Did you come with the same setup that you started with here last year? “No idea. They do not let me know any details on setups. I couldn’t tell you a single air pressure or a single spring. That comes from Chris Rice. He just wants me to drive the race car. I have no idea if I have four tires on the race car or three.  I would assume we’re close. We’re obviously pretty good. I wish I had a better answer for you, but I honestly don’t know details like that.” Q. What do you think suits you about this track? “I don’t know. I’m terrible at Martinsville (Speedway). Martinsville might be my worst race track.  I just feel like we’ve been good. Obviously, the car is a lot of it. It’s cool that we’re good here. We just have to figure that out everywhere else.” Q. Did you ever end up having a conversation with (Kyle) Larson? “Yeah, I did right after the race.  Right after the race, I went up to him when he was getting out of the car. I was pretty calm and I was just like, ‘hey, what was that’. We just had a conversation, he said he messed up. I said ‘cool’ and that was it. No reason to hold a grudge or anything. Obviously he’s an excellent race car driver and we’ve been good ever since. Today at our seminar we had, I asked him what kind of jeans he bought because we’re pretty similar in fit and leg length in jeans. Yeah, we’re good friends.” Q. I was talking to Chris (Rice) earlier today about the amount of coverage you get, or lack thereof. How important was it for you to beat out a lot of more high profile drivers during qualifying? “Yeah, that’s a tricky line to say. Obviously the better we run, the more coverage we’re going to get. There was a race last year in the Playoffs at the (Charlotte) ROVAL where we ran in the top-five all day and didn’t get an interview afterwards. I think that he’s always been pretty upset about that. We weren’t a playoff car and we have to run better week in and week out to get talked about.  We’re also a young team. Matt Kaulig is building this thing from the ground up. He didn’t buy a race team that was already pre-built. He’s done it all from the ground up and you have to respect that about him. We have to earn our name in the sport, earn my name in the sport. I have to feel like I belong, which has been tough for me. It was a very humbling year last year trying to figure out if I belong at the top or not. Yeah, it’s been hard, but having moments like this solidifies it a little bit more.” Q. You said no grudges held with Larson, but is there still payback owed? “No, it’s terrible to intentionally wreck another race car driver.” Q. Is there a chip on your shoulder with the strong showing you had here last year? “I feel like I have to prove myself every week and we have to prove ourselves as a race team. We have to go out there every week and prove that we’re a team worthy of being here, and that I’m a driver worthy of being in this field.  I think the biggest thing last year was just respect. I think towards the end of the year, I gained a lot of respect from other drivers. I started talking with a lot of them a lot more. It’s hard being a new driver in a top series. It’s tough, but I kind of feel like I’ve earned that respect now and I’m pretty good friends with a lot of the other drivers.” Q. Talk to us about how the track changed between practice and qualifying, and what does that tell you about tomorrow between the heat races and the main event? “I think it was pretty similar. The tough part is obviously just getting heat in the tires. You see us all playing all kinds of weird games to do so. Honestly, I felt like we were better on the long runs. I thought we were going to struggle in qualifying and I told AJ (Allmendinger) that. I thought we were going to qualify around the 20’s. But I don’t think the track really changed. It being new asphalt, it definitely had some oils and grease in it. But I honestly can’t say that I felt like it was any different.”  Q. Talk about your crew chief and your team. “I have the exact same team as I did last year, with Trent Owens as my crew chief. Darren is my car chief and Garrett is my engineer. The only change we had this year was an interior guy.  The No. 16 team helps a lot. We all go to the simulator together and we all share very similar setups at Kaulig Racing. We usually go to the race track identical. It’s very important to have AJ (Allmendinger) on full-time this year. He was professionally racing when I was born, so just to have his expertise, all of his knowledge and everything he’s been through.  I feel like we’re pretty strong. We’re still a very little team. Our pit crews are still leased out from Trackhouse, so we don’t have that in-house, and we have an alliance with RCR.” Q. How important is it to just focus on what is at hand, focus on driving? “Usually the cool part about this race is that there’s nothing to lose. We’re just out here not points racing or anything, and just putting it all out on the line. That’s definitely a different mentality going into it. I think the heat race format is cool. Still haven’t lost a heat race. I don’t want to jinx myself, but I won both of them last year. So we’ll try to keep that streak going. Tomorrow is going to be a long day and I’m excited for it.”

chevy racing–nascar–los angeles coliseum–kyle busch





FEBRUARY 4, 2023

KYLE BUSCH, NO. 8 BETMGM CAMARO ZL1; ROSS CHASTAIN, NO. 1 WORLDWIDE EXPRESS CAMARO ZL1; AND DANIEL SUAREZ, NO. 99 JOCKEY CAMARO ZL1, met with the media in advance of the NASCAR Cup Series practice and qualifying session at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Press Conference Transcript: 

Q. Daniel, where are your expectations for Trackhouse Racing after such a successful year that you and Ross both had in 2022? 

Daniel Suarez: “The expectations are definitely higher than last year. Last year, our team was working very hard. We didn’t know where that would take us, but we were hoping it would take us somewhere good. I feel like now, it’s a little bit different because we know what we’re capable of doing. We know that we’re capable of winning and we know that we’re capable of racing with some of the teams that have been doing this for a long time.

We have to go out there and just continue to work because in my opinion, if we do exactly the same thing that we did last year, it won’t be enough. Everyone is always evolving, so we have to continue to work and show up every weekend with the best that we can do.” 

Q. What was your personal experience with this event last year and the atmosphere that comes along with it? 

Suarez: “Last year was probably one of the most amazing events I have ever been a part of. NASCAR, you guys the media, and the teams knocked it out of the park. The event was unbelievable. The fans were super amazing. The energy was unbelievable, as well. I have never felt so much excitement from the fans during driver introductions like we did last year. It was quite special. 

For me, racing here in L.A. is similar to racing at home. There are a lot of Hispanics here, so it’s extra exciting for me to race here, where I can call it almost home.”

Q. For Daniel and Ross, are you guys ready to start the season? The off-season is over. Are you glad to be getting back in the race car? 

Ross Chastain: “Yeah, I’m ready.”

Suarez: “I personally, honestly, I had the best off-season I’ve ever had. Normally in the past, I would be dealing with moving from one team to another. This off-season was the first time ever that I was really able to disconnect from racing for a few weeks, and that really made me recharge my batteries 110 percent. It was very, very good for me to have some time off. We came back excited and ready to go race again. Everyone in November is tired, very exhausted. So for me, it was very important to be able to take that time.”

Q. Ross, earlier this week, the official rule came out on your move last season at Martinsville Speedway. Any thoughts on that? 

Chastain: “I’m glad I don’t have to do it again. That was the longest wreck of my life. It was successful, but I have no desire to ever do that again. Selfishly, I’m glad I get to be the only one that goes down in history as the only driver to successfully do it. It really mattered and it really paid off.”

Q. Kyle, this event and the format – the eliminations, smaller field, this track – could this be a points race? 

Kyle Busch: “I mean, it can, sure. We do it at Bristol (Motor Speedway). You’ve got heat races there and then you have a feature and things like that. It certainly could, but I feel like what it is – the way the format is designed initially when we came here last year and the way the show was – was super enticing for the fans. I felt like it was really good for the drivers that hit it and that were up front most of the time, like myself, (Joey) Logano, (Tyler) Reddick. We did a good job early on in the weekend with practice, qualifying,  everything to set yourself up and we were able to stay up front. I don’t know that it needs to be a points race, but it certainly could be.”

Q. Ross, is there any sense of pride that NASCAR made a rule on a move that you did? 

Chastain: “(laughs) Yeah, there is. I am proud. Proud that I was able to take advantage of it like I did. Looking back, neither one of them were planned. Yes, I’m proud of it, but I never want to do it again though.” 

Q. Daniel, following up on a comment made earlier. I know this is an important race to get some laps in before the season starts, but how important is it to have that party atmosphere for the fans and the sport? 

Suarez: “It’s definitely very important. This is a venue like no other. We are racing at such a historical place and we get to put a show on. Walking into this facility, all you see is history. All of the major events that have taken place here. It’s quite special. I, personally, feel that the first time was a tremendous success and the expectations this year are higher. I think we are going to see another amazing event by NASCAR, you guys and all of the racers out there. I’m excited to start the season at a place like the L.A. Coliseum.”

Q. Kyle, was this off-season any different for you than prior off-seasons? Obviously having to change teams from JGR to RCR, but also converting KBM to a Chevrolet team, as well. 

Busch: “Yeah, it was very busy. I heard Suarez when I walked in talking about how he got a chance to be off and not have to worry about much and recharge his batteries. Not quite the same here. Obviously, just changing teams; getting into the system and working with all of the RCR guys, and kind of understanding how they do it and what they do as the Chevy-way. As well as just what I’ve been accustomed to and try to implement some of the stuff that I’ve been doing the last 15 to 18 years. Just try to help the overall program. It’s been really good. We’ve had some really good discussions. There have been some things that have come out of it that I’ve learned and they’ve learned. Obviously, too, the swap over to Chevy at KBM. That’s been pretty seamless. The guys over there have been really great to work with and help us through some of that stuff. All of the hardware of the trucks and all of that is kind of the easy part. The software with the simulator, the data and all that, that’s going to be a bit more challenging and trying to get that where we want it.”

Q. Kyle, who do you think the G.O.A.T. in NASCAR? 

Busch: “I’d say there’s probably a toss up between five guys at the top, in my opinion.”

Q. How do you think that gets sorted out.. era? Car?

Busch: “It’s tough. I think with the different eras, you always have the career statistics that particular driver may have over another driver because of X, Y and Z. Like Richard, many of his earlier years prior to probably ’80 was 90 percent of his success, right? But he still raced into the ‘90s. There were 12 or 13 years there where you could argue success wasn’t great. You look at (Jimmie) Johnson who obviously was great all the way through.. his last few years were maybe a little slower. (Dale) Earnhardt’s was short-lived, not quite able to fully execute his career. 

I also look at guys like David Pearson, who I would put at the top of that list. He never won a championship, but yet he could win every single weekend that he was out there on the race track. He was always fast. A lot of times, he never ran a full season. I think it’s always up for debate. I think in other sports, you can kind of say in my opinion, there is one guy that’s the G.O.A.T. But ours, to me, it’s hard to pick just one in NASCAR.”

chevy racing–nascar–los angeles coliseum–kyle larson


  KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1, and CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1, met with the media in advance of the NASCAR Cup Series practice and qualifying session at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Press Conference Transcript:  
Q: With the backdrop here, looking as strong as it did last year and coming back a second year, how important is it for this event to be back a second consecutive, and with everything you’ve learned over the past year with this car?
Kyle Larson: “I think this is a great location for a race. It’s good to introduce our sport to [fans], and hopefully get some fans out of it. I thought last year’s event was amazing. I thought NASCAR and everybody did a great job pulling it off. The show aspect of it, too, was really good. Glad to have it back again for a second year. There’s a lot of things I’m sure NASCAR could learn from and apply to this year. I’m excited to get on track in a little bit and see a good show.”
Q: With stage breaks being eliminated, races will stay green at road courses, what are your reactions for later in the year?
Chase Elliott: “I would say I don’t have a problem with that. I feel like the strategy of the race is already pretty much done based on when the stage breaks were. We’ll have to kind of see. I haven’t really looked at what it’s kind of going to look like when you have to stop and things. I know that the stages really dictate a lot of the strategy. I don’t think it will be bad.”
Q: How important is it going into this season to have that strong start, build momentum, and start strong?
Larson: “I think it’s always important to start the year off strong. There’s been years where I’ve struggled the first year, and kind of like you’re digging yourself out of a hole from the very beginning. Although it’s a long season, it’s definitely important to get off to a good start and shape the scope of your season and how you prepare for each race, and how you call each race. The goal is to win every race, but early in the year, you want to finish to get off on the right foot.” 
Q: At the Cup level, the concept of sending people home and having guys not make the show for a race like this is still kind of new. What do you guys think of that? Could that be something that sticks around in other races at some point? Not every week, but, you know, for, for certain occasions.” 
Elliott: “I think it’s a good thing. I don’t see where it hurts anything at all. I’m fine with that, and I feel like, like Kyle {Larson] said, I thought the event last year was good and he ended up figuring it out itself out at the end, and I feel like most of the time it’s going to do that.” 
Larson: “I come from the land of B-Mains and stuff where people will miss the show. It makes those consolation races really intense, and as we saw last year, I think it adds a storyline. Even though it’s not nearly as intense as at Daytona, you see it every year in the Duels, and that’s really the coolest part about the Duels.. seeing those guys race and follow their pit strategy and pits stops. And if they keep up with the draft, it makes the Daytona 500 for those teams, and any team really, mean more and much more special to make it. You had to earn your way in. When you’re getting rid of cars, you see your fields big. That shows the sport is healthy. I think it’s good. And if we introduce those car counts where we send someone home every week, I think it’s something exciting.” 
Q: You won at Auto Club last year. What are your thoughts about the track being converted and also off the schedule for a year, maybe two years, before it returns after being converted to a short track? 
Larson: “It’s definitely a long process for them to reconfigure not only the track but a lot of the facilities. It’s pretty intense. I know with California and all the codes that you have to go through, it’s probably hard to have everything stay on schedule. I don’t know exactly the extent of what they’re doing with the track and how big it’s going be, the shape and banking and all that. I love the two-mile track. But I think the more shift tracks we can have, the better off our sports going to be. It’s neat that they’re investing that money to try and grow the growth racing in California, but also help NASCAR.” 
Q: For so many years, you’ve been around long enough. The debate is: how much is the driver? How much is the car for? You guys often say, probably like 80-90% of the car with this new car. How much more is does the driver have control of things? How much more is the driver playing a factor. Are you sensing or getting a feel of having more of input than when maybe when you first came in or early years with, with that crop?
Elliott: “That’s a really tough debate. I’m not sure you’ve ever heard me say those exact numbers, but, nonetheless, I think everyone has to have something good to drive no matter how good or bad of a race car driver you are. You can be in a really good car and not necessarily be putting yourself in positions to have as much success as you need to be doing too. I think you still have to have a horse to ride my opinion.” 
Q: With both of you being really successful in road courses in the past, what were your thoughts on elimination of stage breaks and how much of the difference is it going to make when you go there?
Larson: “I think it’s good. I always thought it was odd in a road course that you would pit early before a stage. That’s just not like racing to me. Being able to race from start to finish is good. I honestly haven’t even followed along with the rules updates. I don’t know the exact rules or whatnot, but I think that’s been something teams and drivers have been trying to get NASCAR to do the last few years. It’s nice that they listen, and I think it’s going to be better overall for the race.” 
QWho is the G.O.A.T. [greatest of all time] in NASCAR?
Larson: “I think my goat would be Jimmie [Johnson]. I guess the way I look at it, and I’m probably biased because I got to compete with him, but just the quality of competition and car. His era was, in my opinion, much more difficult. That’s why he would be. Anyone goes five in a row, that’s crazy.” 
Elliott: “I would agree. And I was going to mention the five in a row. I know the seven he’s talked about a lot, but that five in a row thing doesn’t get talked about enough, in my opinion. I know the format was different, but it makes it a little more possible to do. But still, that’s a tall order. That’s pretty impressive.” 

Lee Declared Friday East Bay Winternationals Winner After Troutman’s Penalty

Troutman, Lee, Nicely, Adams, Dixon, Skaggs locked into Saturday’s 75-lap, $5,000-to-win finale

TAMPA, FL – Feb. 3, 2023 – In a wild race to the checkered flag, Lucas Lee was declared the winner of Friday’s DIRTcar UMP Modified Winternationals Feature event at East Bay Raceway Park after track officials penalized Drake Troutman for jumping the final restart.

Lee, the 2019 Winternationals finale winner from Paris, TN, was the leader for the race’s final restart with two laps remaining. Troutman, the 17-year-old racer from Hyndman, PA, was sitting in the runner-up spot for the restart, and lined up Delaware double-file behind Lee on the outside lane.

The green flag dropped, and the field got on the throttle out of Turn 4. Troutman, who had been running nearly the entire race on the high side, got a big head of steam down the frontstretch and gave Lee a big challenge for the lead as they dove into Turn 1.

The two raced side-by-side for nearly the entire lap, but Troutman’s topside speed out of Turn 4 pushed him past Lee to take the lead as they crossed under the white flag. Troutman abruptly moved down to the low side of the track to defend the lead through Turns 1-2 and made it stick, slightly gapping Lee as they raced down the backstretch toward the checkered flag.

With Troutman cranking the RPMs on the high side and Lee steadily maneuvering the bottom, the two rounded Turn 4 nearly side-by-side and crossed the stripe – Troutman ahead of Lee at the line by .263 seconds.

After the checkered, Troutman began a victory lap around the 1/3-mile oval in celebration of what appeared to be his second win of the week, but was soon informed that he had been docked two positions for jumping the final restart. The penalty, in effect, moved Troutman back to third in the official Feature finish, handing the win over to Lee.

From his perspective, Lee was more concerned with Troutman’s maneuver in Turn 1 after taking the white flag.

“I’m sure he was hanging out there, but that’s what he’s gotta do,” Lee said. “I’m not saying it was right or wrong, but I wasn’t really worried about him doing that so much as I was him chopping the hell out of me in Turns 1 and 2 when he ran the top. Which, that’s racing also.”

Troutman did not share the officials’ view of the restart in question and instead pointed to a possible tire spin for Lee when the field got back on the throttle out of Turn 4.

“You start on the bottom at this place, and you’ll spin [your tires] from one end to the next on the frontstretch and the backstretch, too,” Troutman said. “I figured if I could fan-out and get a run… and [Lee] could probably tell you this, I felt like he probably spun.

“I got a really good run, but it’s one of them deals. [Lee] ran a good race, and congratulations to him. It just wasn’t our night.”

Leading up to the dramatic finish, Lee and Troutman put on another great battle in the final 10 laps.

Polesitter Lee led the first 22 of the 30-lapper before fifth-starting Troutman made up a 3.5-second advantage on him in eight laps, riding the high-side momentum as they worked through lapped traffic.

With several slower cars on the bottom in front of him, Lee managed to escape the bigger clusters, but got hung-up behind Shane Burrows on Lap 23 as Troutman sailed around him for the lead.

“I knew they’d be coming pretty hard,” Lee said. “I was just sticking down there and hoping [the flagman] would [show the move-over flag] and they would get out of the way, but they didn’t.”

“It was on the absolute ragged edge,” Troutman said. “[Lee] got caught up in lapped traffic, and I was just able to keep my momentum rolling up there.”

A caution was thrown later that same lap, restacking the field for the restart. Lee got strong speed as the green came back out and was able to retake the lead from Troutman in Turn 2.

“I knew I’d drive back by him because he picked me in lapped cars,” Lee said. “When my stick guy told me to stay on the bottom, I stayed.”

Lee maintained the top spot until the one final, fateful restart with two-to-go. Despite all that happened in the end, Troutman still found the positive in the situation.

“I love racing with Lucas,” Troutman said. “We always have good races, and we can usually race side-by-side all the time.

“He’ll get over it, I’ll get over it, we’ll move onto tomorrow, and I’m sure we’ll probably be racing side-by-side again tomorrow.”

Thursday night winner Tyler Nicely also benefitted from Troutman’s penalty and was moved from third up to second in the official Feature finish. Troutman was officially scored third, while Devin Dixon and Chris Wilson rounded out the top-five.

With all four preliminary nights now complete, the top-six in overall event points have been locked into Saturday’s 75-lap, $5,000-to-win main event. Those drivers currently sit as follows:

1. Drake Troutman (285)
2. Lucas Lee (260)
3. Tyler Nicely (241)
4. Buzzy Adams (233)
5. Devin Dixon (210)
6. Brian Skaggs (190)


The final night of DIRTcar UMP Modified Winternationals hits the clay of East Bay Raceway Park Saturday, Feb. 4, featuring Heat Races for all non-qualified cars, Last Chance Showdowns and the 75-lap, $5,000-to-win Feature.

If you can’t be at the track, Follow DIRTcar Racing on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram for live updates throughout the program.


A Feature 1 (30 Laps): 1. 12-Lucas Lee[1]; 2. 25N-Tyler Nicely[7]; 3. 5-Drake Troutman[4]; 4. 2-Devin Dixon[15]; 5. 17-Chris Wilson[10]; 6. 33W-Rodney Wing[3]; 7. 25W-Allen Weisser[11]; 8. 22-Austen Becerra[19]; 9. 25-LJ Grimm[6]; 10. 205-Travis Varnadore[24]; 11. 20-Brian Skaggs[16]; 12. 3F-Rob Fuqua[23]; 13. 16C-John Clippinger[14]; 14. 90-Tim Gay[13]; 15. 40-Kevin Adams[2]; 16. 69B-Bryan Bernhardt[8]; 17. 70B-Shane Burrows[12]; 18. 56-Chris Wilson[18]; 19. 99-Blake Brown[9]; 20. 2J-Troy Johnson[5]; 21. 145-Kyle Hammer[17]; 22. 54J-Jason Jack[21]; 23. 54-Jason Kinney[22]; 24. 130-Chase Allen[20]

chevy racing–indycar–california test– day 2 recap





FEBRUARY 3, 2023

THERMAL, CALIFORNIA – February 3, 2023 – After two successful days of testing on the 3.067-mile, 17-turn road course at The Thermal Club in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, California, the 12 full-time Chevrolet powered teams and drivers leave with a notebook full of learnings as they prepare for the season-opening race on the Streets of St. Petersburg on March 5, 2023.

Six Team Chevy drivers hovered in the top-10 both days as teams improved setups and performance. In addition, the debut of the Shell 100% Renewable Race Fuel in a competitive environment produced positive reviews from drivers, teams and manufacturers.

Callum Ilott, No.77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet was the overall quickest of the Chevy drivers. In a field that was separated by a mere seven tenths of a second, Will Power, No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet, Scott McLaughlin, No.3 Team Penske Chevrolet, Felix Rosenqvist, No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet and Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet all fell within that very tight window.

Although there were 27 cars in attendance, there were a few off-track excursions during the test. And no driver damaged a car in their mishaps.

Another two-day test will be held at Sebring mid-February before the 17-race season kicks off on the Streets of St. Petersburg. 

Josef Newgarden

Press Conference Transcript

THE MODERATOR: Josef, I guess you go back to Content Day on Wednesday, you were curious about how it was going to play out, but not get overly excited about a good performance, too down on a bad performance. How do you leave here today?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, I think that rings true, for sure. Productive for us. A lot of new people on the 2 car. Nice to have this competitive environment.

Everyone looked like they were pushing. Looked like typical INDYCAR, right? A couple 10ths on the top split. It was really productive. I was happy with the second half of the day. We were getting the car in a good window. I made a mistake about an hour to go, kind of ruined our last hour there. That was unfortunate.

These are things that happen. It’s good to have this type of environment to make that mistake and get ready for St. Pete. I leave here feeling really confident that we’ve got a team that can build together and try and push from the very beginning of the season.

THE MODERATOR: We’ll begin with questions.

Q. Josef, you had Jeremy (Millss) as an engineer for a while. Any tips and hints for Kyle?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: He’s a unique individual. I’ve never met anybody like Jeremy. He’s crashed four plans. He’s probably not telling people that nowadays, so maybe you only know two of them.

He’s a very unique man. He’s a very good engineer. I think you’ll have a good time with him. He’s great to work with.

Yeah, I don’t need to give Kyle advice. I think he’ll naturally probably get on a good page with Jeremy quickly. He’s easy to get along with, a lot of fun, great engineer. I’m sure they’ll have a good go.

Q. Nobody knew quite what to expect entering this test. What did you learn?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Well, about what?

Q. The track, what it can do, whether it’s capable of ever putting on a race here, the facility, anything about the car.

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I think it’s a first-class facility, no doubt. I think the entire facility here at Thermal really rolled out the red carpet for us. They did a tremendous job.

It was a fairly flawless test, I would say, for two days. I think the great thing about this was we had a two-day test, which was fantastic. You got to have this warmup, this pre-season build. That was the biggest positive for me, is that we were here, we were running cars. It was a great facility to do it at.

I think the track was a lot more fun than we anticipated. It was challenging, definitely technical. I don’t know how relevant it is. For us, it wasn’t really relevant to anywhere we’re going, but that’s okay.

In a lot of ways it is relevant. For us it was relevant for building the team up, trying to work in a competitive environment, be competitive together. That’s everything. So regardless of is the setup going to apply to a certain track or another, doesn’t really matter.

For us, it was applying the principles of how we’re going to work together. From that standpoint it was very productive for everybody. Race-ability-wise, it’s hard to say. It was chewing tires up. Big dropoff from run one to two. I think from a race standpoint, that would be quite positive. You’d have big tire deg here.

You’d have to do more work on runoff areas if we wanted to race here, but it’s possible. I don’t think it would take much effort to do the things to run an actual race.

Q. How good a race would it put on?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It’s hard to say. I mean, no one really ran together like that. It’s pre-season testing. Everyone is working on big gaps.

I couldn’t give you a good answer from my side.

Q. Josef, two days of testing, do you have a sense if you feel like things are going better at this point of the year in terms of everyone gelling together than maybe they were at this point a year ago?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I think similar. In a lot of ways, the first race last year was an anomaly. We had another thing going on during that weekend that we just were struggling to overcome, which had nothing to do with the chemistry or the cohesiveness of the team.

Then you saw second, third race, we win two right in a row. It was really a dream start for that group. No real lag time to get up to speed.

I feel no differently about this new group, as well. I think they’re very capable. I have the highest confidence in every individual that’s there. Really excited for Luke Mason. I think he’s an absolute star. I don’t want to just single him out because I think it’s everybody on the team. They’re all fantastic.

I have a high level of confidence, but I’m also very aware of the increasing difficulty of this environment in INDYCAR. You can’t get too ahead of yourself. It’s one of the most competitive series out there and it gets harder every year. Every year takes shape differently.

I’ve said this before, but it’s hard to compare seasons because they all take their own form. It’s going to be interesting to see how this one shakes out, but I feel very good about my group specifically, then Team Penske overall. I think we got the best of the best.

Q. It seemed like over the two days we had someone off track, a red flag fairly frequently. Do you have any sense of why it seemed like things 


People were pushing. Everyone has been off for five months. You have everyone pushing like crazy. It’s the time to test the limit, get back in the swing of things.

Yeah, it was a challenging track in some respects, high tire deg, unfriendly offline. If you got a bit wide, dust and marbling was pretty high. That’s what happened to me. I pushed a bit hard in turn nine, I was basically asking to spin. I just let into it. I knew it was going to happen. I let it happen. Probably some others did the same.

Not surprising. This is the time to do it, to test the limits, try to get back into the rhythm and push things. I think a lot of people were doing that.

Q. Do you know whether you were running 2023 spec engines? The reason I ask is obviously there’s a lot of first-gear corners around here. Was it indicative of anything worthwhile, Honda top of each session?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I mean, I believe so. I don’t want to speak out of term. I’m pretty positive we’re carrying the engine that we just ran into St. Pete. I’m pretty positive, yeah. These are race spec engines. Yeah. This should be fresh. Everyone is on their first engines.

I felt really good with our package. The progress we made in 2022 was very evident here, very useful because of what you just asked about, first-gear corners, very big premium on traction, traction capability. I thought our drivability was fantastic.

I thought the performance on the 100% renewable fuel was fantastic. It’s a huge step that we’re making as a series with Shell to run 100% renewable fuel. The first series in the United States to be able to do that.

I didn’t notice any performance loss from the engine. I can’t speak highly enough about that step. We should be shouting that from mountaintops. It’s very cool what Shell has been able to provide us. I think the Chevrolet engine has adapted quite well to it. The drivability has been excellent.

Q. Did you notice anything about fuel mileage? Does it vary track to track, and you don’t get an idea of that here?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, probably a hard track for reference just because we have never been here so we don’t have a reference point.

I didn’t notice a big difference. I thought it was very comparable to years past.

Q. Josef, the drivers asked for it and Jay Frye delivered by eliminating the double points at Indianapolis. Now that the decision has been made, could you comment?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I mean, when I started at INDYCAR, this is what I looked like. It’s back to the beginning for me.

Q. In a lot of ways wasn’t it more of a deficit for anybody that finished below fifth than necessarily a bonus?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I know the implications of the double points, I can tell you that. If you look at the history the last five years, there would be some differences, for sure.

Q. From your veteran experience, watching some of the pre-season tests, do you feel like it’s common that younger guys, if it’s common to have some younger guys pushing all out, whereas veteran guys are honed in on trying to work through a checklist?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I wouldn’t shortchange the younger guys. I think they’re just excellent drivers. Kyle, he’s a good shoe. There’s some of that youthfulness where you’re just ready to attack. I remember when I first started, it was like 10/10ths every session. That’s not for everybody. I’m not trying to blanket everybody. But I think there’s something to that, for sure, when you’re young.

They’re also very good. You’re seeing them up at the top of the time sheets because they’re good drivers. When they get in a good car, too, it only makes a bigger difference. That’s more of it than anything, the fact that they’re just really talented.

chevy racing–indycar–california test–zak brown, sam schmidt, gavin ward, felix rosenqvist, pato o’ward and alexander rossi





FEBRUARY 3, 2023

Zak Brown, Sam Schmidt, Gavin Ward, Felix Rosenqvist, Pato O’Ward and Alexander Rossi

Press Conference Transcript:

LAUREN GAUDION: Good afternoon, everyone. We have a great audience here at Thermal. I’m Lauren Gaudion, director of communications with Arrow McLaren.

Joining me onstage we have No. 5, Pato O’Ward, No. 6 Felix Rosenqvist, No. 7 Alexander Rossi, McLaren CEO Zak Brown, racing director Gavin Ward, and team owner Sam Schmidt.

We’ll start with some opening statements from Zak, then move along to Gavin and open it up for questions.

Zak, you want to get us started.

ZAK BROWN: Certainly. It is officially good afternoon. So good afternoon, everyone. Excited to be here at Thermal for the first-ever INDYCAR spring training test.

Very excited to be here with our three drivers, our newest one here that we worked hard to get, Mr. Rossi, and of course our returning veterans now of Arrow McLaren, Felix and Pato. Great to be here with our partner Sam and our racing director Gavin Ward. We’re very excited about Gavin leading the team moving forward.

It’s been a very busy off-season, ultimately recruiting a lot of people for our expansion, then of course announced Tony joining us for the Indy 500 this year, and Kyle Larson joining us in ’24. We’re definitely thinking long-term about our commitment to INDYCAR racing.

I think we’re going to field very competitive racing cars with aspirations for them all being in a position to win races and compete for the championship.

That being said, we are still a pretty young team, especially with onboarding. The amount of people that we’ve onboarded over the winter will take some time to work through the experience of working together.

But we are very excited.

So let me turn it over to Gavin, who is ultimately responsible for leading the performance of our racing team.

GAVIN WARD: Gavin Ward here, racing director. Very happy to be here at Thermal. Very happy to be here getting some race cars back on track.

We’ve got very few days to get ready for St. Pete. So this is crucial time for us with the additions and growth of the team, to pull this team together and gel, get ready for St. Pete. It’s going to come up in a hurry.

So far been very happy with it. Blown away by the positive atmosphere and the great integration of Rossi into the team. Yeah, it’s been a neat venue for us.

For us, the approach here is not so much about going to win the test, but really about making sure we learn as a team, we nail our processes, we learn how to work together, and we learn about the development to the race car so that we can be more competitive once racing starts here.

LAUREN GAUDION: With that, we’ll starred taking questions from the field.

Q. (No microphone.)

ZAK BROWN: INDYCAR racing is different from Formula 1. I think we always have to be careful to think that bringing Formula 1 is some sort of magic to INDYCAR racing. INDYCAR racing is as competitive as any form of racing I’ve ever seen.

That being said, we do have aspects of our Formula 1 technology and know-how that we will ultimately long-term be beneficial to our INDYCAR teams.

So to have someone like Gavin who understands the capabilities of a Formula 1 team and an INDYCAR team is what you need to understand where are there areas that you can extract knowledge and know-how to the benefit of the INDYCAR team.

I think when we looked at Alex as a driver, it is great that he has Formula 1 experience. I’ve been following Alex prior to being in Formula 1. Alex and I first met in England. When we looked at Alex, alongside Felix and Pato, we thought it was the perfect complement of speed, experience and kind of global knowledge of motorsports. We think Alex will bring a lot to the table for what is still a pretty young team.

Q. Gavin, the ability to work with all three drivers as the race director, how important is that? What are some of the bigger-picture ideas you bring to the team that can help them increase even further?

GAVIN WARD: I think you kind of nailed it with the start of that question. To succeed in INDYCAR requires exceptional collaboration amongst drivers, engineers, crew. It’s interesting with how tight it is in this sport, we kind of have to raise the bar as a team working together.

I think that’s my big emphasis actually right there.

Q. Zak, how influential is it going to be having Tony onboard for the Indy 500?

ZAK BROWN: I think he’s got a lot of experience. He’s won the race, as has the guy sitting to my left. So I think, I don’t know, that’s probably one for the drivers because I think where he adds value is obviously with the team, but maybe ask Felix and Pato, who have yet to win Indy. Gotten really close.

Q. For yourself, Pato, Felix, go ahead.

FELIX ROSENQVIST: Yeah, I mean, Tony has been around for a very long time.

ZAK BROWN: I’ll tell him you said that (smiling).

FELIX ROSENQVIST: One of the first drivers I knew in INDYCAR. He’s a great guy off the track as well. I think he has the mentality where he always tries to help, is a team player. I think that’s more valuable than anything.

If we all want to do well, we’re all going to have to work very closely together. I think that’s already in the mentality with me, Pato and Alex. We don’t really hide anything. I think adding Tony, he will definitely be onboard with that.

He won the race. He’s had a lot of success there. He finished between me and Pato last year in P3. So, yeah, looking forward to having him.

Q. I was curious why did we pick Tony Kanaan to run the 500 this year?

GAVIN WARD: Tony, he’s super experienced, very capable, no doubts that he’ll be straight up to speed. For us, with a growing team, that’s an obvious choice for us to put in the car and build out our depth for the biggest race of the year, the biggest race in the world.

That would be the obvious one.

Q. Zak, motorsport is a business. With the number of New Zealanders you have driving for you, what does it mean to you culturally, significance-wise, having the name McLaren associated with the team?

ZAK BROWN: I mean, I grew up as a McLaren fan, as I think many people have. My earliest memories of McLaren date back to ’88 with Senna versus Prost, back when I was racing. I feel like I’ve got the second-best job in motorsports. I feel like the guy to my left, the two to my right, have the best job in motorsports.

I don’t know. Alex, you’ve been a fan of McLaren. I think the drivers can probably talk more to what it means to be a McLaren driver.

ALEXANDER ROSSI: Yeah, I mean, there’s a huge amount of obvious performance that’s synonymous with the team. And for us as individuals that are a part of it, it’s up to us to raise our game on and off the track to represent the brand.

There’s a huge privilege that comes with that, but also responsibility.

It’s early days for me, but very excited to be able to call McLaren home and look forward to pretty cool things we’re going to be able to accomplish together.

Q. Sam, in many ways what you did in the Indy Lights program was the foundation for where we are now. When you look back, does that make you very proud to know you created some of this?

SAM SCHMIDT: Overwhelmingly. Second only to being the father of two great kids, I think this is very similar.

As Zak mentioned, I’ve known Zak for over 25 years, we’re both racers as heart. That’s why we’re here. That’s why everybody in this room and on this paddock are here.

We want to win. Through 10 years of Indy Lights, seven championships and 80 wins, probably the biggest compliment I ever got was by the announcers being the Roger Penske of Indy Lights, right?

It still wasn’t good enough. You want to win the Indy 500, you want to win championships. After eight years of punching above our weight with guys like Simon Pagenaud, et cetera, I can tell you the guy at the other end, we tried to get him seven or eight years ago. This caliber of driver is what it takes to win. I believe we started strategizing with Zak right about 2018.

I want to be involved. It’s obviously difficult to travel all over the world. The competition with racing in multiple forms of series, Formula E, INDYCAR, Global Rallycross, you name it. I didn’t have the bandwidth to do that, nor the resources.

I think this is the perfect two-year engagement, now a bit of a marriage. Resource-wise it gives us the opportunity to have everybody you have sitting up here, lots of orange shirts in the paddock, you can’t miss us. Sorry, papaya. Have to get that right (smiling).

This is a dream come true. I can be associated with people like Arrow and Onsemi and Lucas Oil and NTT, pursue my dreams in a car again, do some things with the foundation that we couldn’t do, but also be a part of this going forward for a long time to come.

Thank you for the question. But, yeah, seems kind of weird coming from me, but I live the dream every day.

Q. I wanted to ask again about somebody who is not here, Tony Kanaan. If he wins the 500 this year, it’s going to be hard to get rid of him when you already signed Larson. Are you looking forward to running five cars at next year’s Indy 500?

ZAK BROWN: I hope we have to deal with the luxury, challenge of having one of our drivers drinking milk at the Indy 500.

I’ve known Tony for 30 years. We were teammates in 1993. We were laughing about it the other night. He didn’t really speak in English. That was before he came over to do Indy Lights.

I’m looking forward to us racing with Tony.

Q. Gavin, I wanted you to talk about how easy or difficult it was to expand at a time when we all know it’s really hard to find really good personnel. You chose this year to field three cars.

GAVIN WARD: That’s a great question.

Yeah, I mean, it’s a fight for talent out there. There’s no hiding that right now. Very happy with how our recruitment has come together in the off-season. We’ve had to get a little bit creative.

I think that’s actually how we always looked at it. We didn’t look at just wanting to bring in people from the INDYCAR paddock necessarily to fill the slots we needed to fill, we always kind of wanted to bring in a good mix.

We’ve got some great hires from other racing series. We have a great mechanic from World of Outlaws, a great mechanic from Williams F1. We brought in engineers in from Cup. We have an engineer from Boeing, one that has a Salesforce background. Happy with the amount of diversity we’ve brought in there.

Also a little bit of promoting from within. Chris Lawrence stepping up as engineer for Felix. Really happy to give him that opportunity and recognize his success and contribution with this team.

Q. Felix and Pato, how do you feel after the first day and a half of testing and where are you at after an off-season of hard work now?

FELIX ROSENQVIST: I mean, it’s hard to say. This track is very different from anything we do. I think it has some similarities to maybe Portland, some Indy GP. There’s some really slow corners that we don’t have in the calendar.

We try to learn where we kind of have a corner that are similar to what we normally do.

Honestly, the cars are so even now, they’re very equal to what we all ran for the past two years. It’s all in the details. I mean, we’ll be strong. We’re up there. But now is not really the time to judge if you’re going to be on pole or not in the next race. We’re just trying to learn. We have a master list of things to go through.

No, I’m very positive about it. It feels very good so far. As Gavin said, new engineer this year, Chris. Just getting up to speed with that, as well.

Everything feels good. But I can’t answer if we’re 5/10ths or 1/10th, plus 1/10th quicker than last year.

Q. Zak, some big news in Formula 1 with Ford coming onboard for Red Bull. Do you have any kind of opinion on that, what it means for Formula 1 and McLaren from your perspective?

ZAK BROWN: Yeah, I think it’s great. Formula 1 is growing in leaps and bounds at the moment. Long may it continue. Ford has a great history. Jim Farley, who I know quite well, is a racer at heart, as is the Ford organization.

I think it’s fantastic for the sport to see another big OEM come in and join our sport.

Q. Alex, we spent Content Day bugging you, asking you how you’re feeling, how are you getting acclimated. Now you have three sessions, how are you feeling after that?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: Yeah, we’re getting there. I mean, it’s a lot of new things. It’s obviously a new team, but there’s new people on the team, as well. I’m not the only new person. There’s new computers. Everything is new, right?

There were some bugs yesterday that we were sorting through. It’s a new manufacturer for me. It’s been a little bit weird because Felix and Pato don’t really have a benchmark of what the car should feel like here either, so we’re all kind of learning together in a strange way.

It’s been very productive. This morning was heads and shoulders better than how yesterday was going for us. I think we’re getting settled in and this afternoon should be another step better.

Generally happy. The big thing is, everyone has kind of faced adversity and everyone has just kind of dealt with it. There’s been no stress or panic. We’re kind of taking it one step at a time, which is very encouraging.

Q. You talk about the new manufacturer. Often we see drivers switch teams. Have you felt any differences, nuances, that you can share?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: Yeah, they’re certainly different. I mean, I think it’s very public knowledge that Team Chevy and the teams that had Chevy engines worked really hard in the off-season 2021 and 2022 to close the gap of what the Chevy drivers felt like they were missing compared to the others. I think that was obviously proven last year with winning the drivers and manufacturers championship.

There is differences. There are some things that, me being so fresh out from the other side, I’m able to have a very clear black-and-white understanding of this is better, this is worse. Hopefully we can come out of here with a couple bullet points to continue and take forward going into St. Pete.

Q. Gavin, this is a bit of a different role than what you’ve done in the past. Has it been easy or difficult as an adjustment? If so, why?

GAVIN WARD: Yeah, so I’d say it’s been a pretty easy adjustment. Probably easier than I expected. I said it before, but I feel, although I come from an engineering background, and I’m still pretty hands-on in the engineering world here, this evolution kind of fits the way that my career has evolved, to be more people focused and more focused on the human performance aspects of the sport. As I’ve come to learn, at the end of the day that’s what really makes this happen or makes this sport tick. So yeah.

Q. In terms of the infrastructure at the team, have you had to change anything in that regard?

GAVIN WARD: Yeah, we have. I mean, the growth we’ve had, as everyone has talked about, is huge. From an infrastructure point of view, we’ve been building everything up, testing out some new systems here. As Alex mentioned, we had a few growing pains to work through yesterday, which I think we’ve made a lot of progress on.

We’re trying to turn this team. It’s quite difficult to develop, to grow and develop at the same time. I think we did a big sprint to get the right people in place. Now it’s all about building our processes, people working together well, gelling the team.

The culture is strong. I have no issues with that at all. We’re trying to hit that fast forward button, trying to do things in a number of weeks that might naturally take a bit longer here to get full stride, but also build the systems in the team so that not only are we going to hit St. Pete with competitive race cars, but aim to be able to continually bring performance through the year to try and really fight the Penskes and Ganassis out there.

Q. How beneficial is it to have three experienced drivers on the team? They all appear to have different driving styles. Is that beneficial for the team or not?

GAVIN WARD: Yeah, I mean, there’s nothing more important in INDYCAR to having a strong driver lineup. I think we’ve got the best one out there.

As for driving styles, I mean, I’m a believer that there’s as many driving styles as there are racing drivers. It’s up to us to give each of these drivers what they need to execute on the day.

We’re heads down trying to do that.

Q. Zak, you obviously move between a lot of different motorsports series. Where do you feel INDYCAR is on the commercial side of things? What kind of atmosphere is there for improved commercial aspects?

ZAK BROWN: I think lots of opportunity. We sat at a team owner meeting yesterday with the league, they laid out their plans, and they have big aspirations, which is great. Lots of new activity coming. Lot of focus on the drivers, which I think is great.

I know they met with the drivers, what was it, yesterday? All my days are running together now. Ultimately the drivers are the star of motorsports, not just INDYCAR.

Yeah, we’re here to support them. I think we can bring some value to the series as well. I think the new TV programming that they have will be excellent. It’s the best broadcast schedule that I think I’ve seen certainly in the recent times. Good schedule. Doing new things like testing here in spring training.

Q. Zak, last year Pato had a lot of testing in Formula 1. What is the plan for Pato in this season to try to prepare for Formula 1? What will be the main change in the team? Last two seasons Pato has been fighting for the championship. Unfortunately had some problems. What will be the main change in the team to try to resolve these problems?

ZAK BROWN: First thing is we want our three drivers to compete for the championship this year in INDYCAR. That’s priority number one.

We are still developing our Formula 1 testing plans for the balance of this year. Right now we’re focused on getting Oscar up to speed. Pato will be back in our Formula 1 car at some point later this year. But right now we want to be laser focused on the job at hand, which is getting the most out of our INDYCAR team.

Pato, I know you spoke with Andrea not too long ago. I don’t know. What do you think?

PATO O’WARD: I think it’s great (smiling).

I mean, the schedule in INDYCAR is so tightly packed. I know we don’t have a lot of testing before St. Pete. I feel like once we’re done here and once we’re done mid February in the Sebring test, it’s coming fast. Once that kind of ramps up, it’s pretty much non-stop up until September.

As I mentioned I think a couple days ago, the F1 stuff is more of an off-season project. The cars are very different. I think Zak is on the same boat as well as Andrea, we don’t want to take away from the energy and the hunger of the things we want to accomplish in INDYCAR to get a test in in the Formula 1 car. I think that will come later in the season, as Zak mentioned.

We’ve got a big ambitions for this year. I think these two test days have been really good to get all the little gremlins out. It’s definitely not been the smoothest, but I think session after session we’re just getting back into the flow of everything.

As Gavin mentioned, so many new people. That’s been really nice. I’ve really enjoyed just working together with everybody. I guess in a month, a little over a month, we’re going to be in St. Pete, yeah, starting the season.

Q. Alex, earlier in your career you knew what McLaren meant to that series. Now you’re a McLaren driver. What does it mean to you to be part of McLaren?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: Yeah, I mean, kind of as I said before, it’s a huge honor, but it’s also a big responsibility, right? There’s a lot of extra eyeballs that are on the organization because of the name and then the brand that’s associated with it.

For us, it’s very important to make sure that we dot our Is and cross our Ts, but at the same time show what McLaren is about. That’s about obviously performance, but also as Gavin mentioned, having the diversity aspect of hiring people from different aspects of life, bringing ideas from all corners of the team and organization in order to improve it.

I think that’s something that’s very unique to the INDYCAR paddock. On top of that, having the resource that we can rely upon back in England, assuming all Internet connections work. That’s a really positive thing (smiling).

Something I’m looking forward to continuing to evolve with as time goes by with the team. But, yeah, just incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to be here.

Southern Sprint Car Shootout Returns as Marquee Three-Day Event Jan. 25-27

BARBERVILLE, FL (Feb. 3, 2023) – After a successful inaugural Germfree Southern Sprint Car Shootout at Volusia Speedway Park, the event is expanding in 2024 to a high-paying three-day spectacular, Jan. 25-27.

Set to feature the best 360 Sprint Car drivers around the country, and beyond, the event will boast a more than $65,000 overall purse, paying $2,500 to win on Thursday and Friday, and then award a massive $10,000 payday on Saturday.

“After a great reception to the inaugural Southern Sprint Car Shootout, we saw the potential for it to be the next marquee 360 Sprint Car event in the country,” said Tyler Bachman, the event’s coordinator. “By expanding it to three days in 2024 and presenting an increased purse, we’re laying the groundwork for its continued growth for years to come.”

The inaugural event in January proved its future potential by attracting high-profile names like Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Anthony Macri, future stars like Ryan Timms and Gavan Boschele, international travelers from the United Kingdom and Canada and a plethora of the best 360 Sprint Car drivers in the region.

And along with the names, it produced two nights of thrilling action around “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile” with Timms, the 16-year-old standout, taking the inaugural victory. Then, Florida’s Tyler Clem won the main event on Saturday, holding off a stout field of drivers for what he called, “the biggest win of his life.”

The second running of the event in 2024 will host a practice night on Wednesday, Jan. 24. Then, there will be the three nights of Feature action for the Sprint Cars, which will be accompanied by 3/4 Modifieds.

Further details about the purse and format will be announced later.

To keep up with the latest information about the 2024 edition of the Southern Sprint Car Shootout, visit and follow the track’s social pages.

1 Month Alert: Tennessee Tipoff at Smoky Mountain Speedway on Tap for World of Outlaws Late Models March 3-4

A Potential $25,000 payday is on the line if a driver can sweep the weekend

MARYVILLE, TN – February 3, 2023 – A new challenge awaits the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series when it returns to Smoky Mountain Speedway for the 10th Annual Tennessee Tipoff, March 3-4. 

The two-day event will be the first-time drivers will see the track’s new configuration, shortened to 3/8-mile from its 4/10-mile size in the offseason.

A total of $115,000 is on the line in Feature purse money throughout the weekend.

It’ll be the 12th and 13th appearance for the Series at Smoky Mountain, the first Tennessee track to see Dennis Erb Jr.’s title defense, and one of the most exciting rosters in Series history.


Here’s What You’ll See:

A New Era: Like the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models, Smoky Mountain Speedway is moving into a new era in 2023. 

Track officials decided to shorten its length to 3/8-mile, meaning the first driver to reach Victory Lane in the Tennessee Tipoff will be the first driver to win in that configuration.

Money Time: The Tennessee Tipoff is the first trip to the Volunteer State for the Series in 2023, and drivers can grab a solid payday no matter where they finish.

While $10,000 is on the line on Friday, March 3, the prize is even higher on Saturday, March 4, as $15,000 will go to the winner. Any driver who sweeps the weekend takes home $25,000.

A total of $115,000 will be up for grabs between the two Features.

Volunteer State Glory: Tennessee’s Jimmy Owens has the chance to make history on night one of the Tennessee Tipoff.

The Newport, TN driver was the last World of Outlaws CASE Late Models winner on the 4/10-mile configuration and will be the first to win on both style tracks if he finds Victory Lane on March 3.

Joining him will be 2018 Series champion Mike Marlar of Winfield, TN, who won the event in 2020.

Current Series points leader Chris Madden has also had plenty of success at the Tennessee track, winning the Tennessee Tipoff in 2021 and the track’s Mountain Moonshine Classic last July. 

Eleven-time World of Outlaws winner Devin Moran will also be on hand for the Tennessee Tipoff after scoring back-to-back wins at Volusia Speedway Park’s Sunshine Nationals. He’s searching for his first World of Outlaws win at Smoky Mountain—a track promoted by his car owner Roger Sellers.


If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch every lap live on DIRTVision – either at or by downloading the DIRTVision App.

AN AWESOME TIME: Travis Pastrana’s Road to Daytona Starts With DIRTcar UMP Modifieds at DIRTcar Nationals

BARBERVILLE, FL (Feb. 3, 2023) – Having won numerous motocross and rally championships, co-created Nitro Circus and Nitro Rallycross, performed several miraculous stunts, and raced in NASCAR, amongst a plethora of other accomplishments, there isn’t much left on Travis Pastrana’s bucket list.

Except for the Daytona 500.

His plan to run the historic NASCAR Cup Series event with 23XI Racing and Black Rifle Coffee Company led to another unexpected venture, all hinged on a dollar bet.

Pastrana will kick off his Florida Speedweeks run with the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds during the 52nd Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park, Feb. 6-18.

Looking to do “really cool stuff” that involves the community and helps veterans and first responders, Pastrana said the group at Black Rifle Company approached him and asked what he’d like to do this year.

“And I said, ‘Daytona 500,’” Pastrana said with a joyous laugh. “They were like, ‘Well, that’s kind of the opposite.’ I said, ‘No, no, it’s good. We’re going to go down, we’re going to go hangout with (three-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion and DIRTcar UMP Modified racer) Matt Crafton, one of their drivers, we’ll go to Modified races and watch all the Late Models. We’ll watch the racing, and we’ll bring veterans down and hangout with (Longhorn by Loenbro boss and Rallycross driver, Steve) Arpin.’

“I told Crafton and he goes, ‘Ah, too much of a sissy to driver?’ I called Arpin, and said, ‘So, Longhorn, I heard you guys have vehicles that can kick the crap out of Crafton’s vehicle.’ [Arpin] said, ‘Yeah, if you don’t suck, you can beat him.’ I said, ‘Alright, I’m in.’”

Pastrana will drive one of Arpin’s Longhorn Chassis DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, sponsored by Black Rife Coffee Company, during the first week of DIRTcar Nationals – holding a dollar bet with Crafton on who will have the better finish. That first week will feature six UMP Modified Features a night, Monday (Feb. 6) through Friday (Feb. 10), and then the prestigious Gator Championship race on Saturday (Feb. 11). Pastrana hopes to run every night.

“He cares so much about the sport, so much about the people that are in the sport” said Arpin, who has six DIRTcar Nationals Feature wins in a DIRTcar UMP Modified. “He cares so much about the people that make the sport, that for us to have him drive for us… it’s like, the guy gets in a boat, he jumps out of hotels, it just doesn’t matter, he just does it. For us to get to put him in a car and have this be a bucket list thing for him is absolutely unbelievable.

“He just cares so much about the sport and the industry that he’s just the most kindhearted, big-hearted, normal guy that just happens to be a global celebrity and a talent beyond belief.”

While Pastrana is used to sliding sideways on dirt with his rallying experience, dirt track racing is an entirely new discipline for him. He made one previous dirt track start during the 2010 Prelude to the Dream at Eldora Speedway in a dirt Late Model but only made five laps.

In a two-day test in one of Arpin’s Modifieds, Pastrana joked he wasn’t sure if they were going to let him get back in the car on day two.

“[Arpin] showed up the second day after hearing how bad the first day was,” Pastrana said jokingly. “But he just told me, until you commit, it’s not going to work. Once I committed, it started making a lot of sense. But coming in, if you’re lifting off the gas while trying to turn, it just doesn’t turn and all your natural instincts say, ‘Don’t get on the gas.’ So, yeah, I feel like it should suit my driving style because I’m more of an aggressive sideways type of driver, but it was very difficult. Turning and sliding, I’m fine. Getting it there is not the easiest.”

Arpin attested to the difficulty of trying race a dirt car versus a rally car, having gone from racing Modifieds to rally cars in his career. However, after day two of testing, he said, “we’re pretty confident Crafton is going to have to run hard to keep his dollar.”

Like any athlete, Pastrana wants to be competitive – and as he put it, “kick Crafton’s ass.” But more so, he wants to have fun. He wants Aprin and the Longhorn team to have fun. He wants his sponsors to have fun. He wants his friends and family to have fun. And like with everything he does, he wants to put on a good show for the fans.

“How this all started was, it’s been an awesome ride for me, and I don’t have much left on my bucket list,” Pastrana said. “To do the 500 was something that felt like a now or never deal. You know, I have some great sponsors with Black Rifle Coffee Company, and Dixxon Flannel jumping on board. Even Wienerschnitzel jumping in. Basically, calling in all the favors from all my buddies. Everybody, long lost relatives, friends, family, sponsors from all the years of motorcycles to rally to NASCAR to everything. They’re all going to be there.

“It’s going to be an expensive weekend. Not everything is covered. If I crash anything it is going to be all on me. This is one of those things where I want to come down and have fun. I want to hang out with the crowd, I want to sign autographs and give high fives. Especially for the Modified crew, that’s the grassroots racing that I love and some of my friends are involved with. We’ll be camping down there with Arpin and all the Longhorn guys, just hanging out. I feel like that’s a great opportunity for us to bring a lot of veterans and bring people that are into racing and aren’t into racing, friends and family, and just have an awesome time.”

Friday’s Lucas Dirt Stop at All-Tech Washed Out, Saturday on Schedule

BATAVIA, Ohio (February 3, 2023) – Friday night’s portion of the Winter Nationals at All-Tech Raceway has been rained out. A steady morning rain has left the grounds heavily saturated.
Saturday’s program is still on as scheduled. The festivities will kick off with a Dirt Racing Outreach Service at 3:30PM ET. The pit gates will open at 2:00PM ET, followed by general admission gates at 3:00PM ET. Hot laps will begin at 5:30PM ET.
Saturday’s on-track action includes a complete show of Dirt Draft Hot Laps, Allstar Performance Time Trials, Heat Races, B-Mains, and a 50-lap, $15,000-to-win A-Main. The Pure Stock division will also be in competition on Saturday, chasing a $1,000 top prize.
For ticket prices, camping and event information, please visit
Track Information:
All-Tech Raceway
Phone Number: 386-754-7223
Location: 1024 SW Howell Rd, Lake City, FL 32024
Directions: Take Exit 414 (Lake City/High Springs), turn left on SR41 towards High Springs, go approximately 1/4 mile to SW Howell Rd. (next to Marathon Station), turn right, then go approximately 3/4 mile to the track on the left.

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Tire Rule:
Must use the same set of 4 tires for Time Trials, Heat Races, and B-Mains:
Left Rear/Fronts – Hoosier (90) NLMT1
Right Rear – Hoosier (92) NLMT2, (92) LM20

For the A-Main, competitors may use 3 new tires:
Left Rear/Fronts – Hoosier (90) NLMT1, (90) NLMT2, (90) LM20, (90) NLMT3, (90) LM30s
Right Rear – Hoosier (92) NLMT2, (92) LM20, (92) NLMT3, (92) LM30s

*Can cut and/or sipe any tire.
*Flat tire must be replaced with a used tire of the same compound and construction to retain starting position.

All-Tech Raceway Winter Nationals Event Purse:
Saturday 2/4 – 1. $15,000, 2. $6,500, 3. $3,500, 4. $3,000, 5. $2,500, 6. $2,400, 7. $2,300, 8. $2,200, 9. $2,100, 10. 2,000, 11. $1,600, 12. $1,400, 13. $1,300, 14. $1,200, 15. $1,050, 16. $1,000, 17. $1,000, 18. $1,000, 19. $1,000, 20. $1,000, 21. $1,000, 22. $1,000, 23. $1,000, 24. $1,000 = 57,050
BATAVIA, Ohio (February 3, 2023) – Friday night’s portion of the Winter Nationals at All-Tech Raceway has been rained out. A steady morning rain has left the grounds heavily saturated. Saturday’s program is still on as scheduled. The festivities will kick off with a Dirt Racing Outreach Service at 3:30PM ET. The pit gates will open at 2:00PM ET, followed by general admission gates at 3:00PM ET. Hot laps will begin at 5:30PM ET. Saturday’s on-track action includes a complete show of Dirt Draft Hot Laps, Allstar Performance Time Trials, Heat Races, B-Mains, and a 50-lap, $15,000-to-win A-Main. The Pure Stock division will also be in competition on Saturday, chasing a $1,000 top prize. For ticket prices, camping and event information, please visit Track Information:All-Tech RacewayPhone Number: 386-754-7223Location: 1024 SW Howell Rd, Lake City, FL 32024Website: www.alltechraceway.comDirections: Take Exit 414 (Lake City/High Springs), turn left on SR41 towards High Springs, go approximately 1/4 mile to SW Howell Rd. (next to Marathon Station), turn right, then go approximately 3/4 mile to the track on the left.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Tire Rule:Must use the same set of 4 tires for Time Trials, Heat Races, and B-Mains:Left Rear/Fronts – Hoosier (90) NLMT1Right Rear – Hoosier (92) NLMT2, (92) LM20
For the A-Main, competitors may use 3 new tires:Left Rear/Fronts – Hoosier (90) NLMT1, (90) NLMT2, (90) LM20, (90) NLMT3, (90) LM30sRight Rear – Hoosier (92) NLMT2, (92) LM20, (92) NLMT3, (92) LM30s
*Can cut and/or sipe any tire.*Flat tire must be replaced with a used tire of the same compound and construction to retain starting position.
All-Tech Raceway Winter Nationals Event Purse:Saturday 2/4 – 1. $15,000, 2. $6,500, 3. $3,500, 4. $3,000, 5. $2,500, 6. $2,400, 7. $2,300, 8. $2,200, 9. $2,100, 10. 2,000, 11. $1,600, 12. $1,400, 13. $1,300, 14. $1,200, 15. $1,050, 16. $1,000, 17. $1,000, 18. $1,000, 19. $1,000, 20. $1,000, 21. $1,000, 22. $1,000, 23. $1,000, 24. $1,000 = 57,050

AT LAST: Nicely Scores First Career East Bay Winternationals Feature Win

Bernhardt hard charges 24th-to-third, Troutman bags fifth-straight Speedweeks top-five

TAMPA, FL – Feb. 2, 2023 – Every January for the past six years, Tyler Nicely has made the journey from his home in Owensboro, KY, to East Bay Raceway Park for the annual UMP Modified Winternationals and been shut out of Victory Lane each time. That was, until Thursday night.

With a swift move to the outside of defending Florida Speedweeks champion Lucas Lee with less than 10-to-go, Nicely grabbed the lead and fended off pressure from Tuesday night winner Drake Troutman in the final laps to claim one of the longest-awaited wins of his career.

“In my heart, it’s the biggest,” Nicely said. “I’ve tried so hard for the last six years to get one here.”

The win’s significance in his career only grows the further back in history you look. In the 2021 Winternationals opener, he was passed by Troutman (making his East Bay debut) for the lead just past the halfway point. In last year’s opener, he spun out all by himself while leading in the opening laps.

On Wednesday night, Nicely rode the struggle bus, dropping from his third-place starting spot all the way back to 16th before retiring and taking a DNF at the hands of a broken rear-end component. Just when all hope seemed lost, Nicely looked deep into his bag of tricks and pulled out his most powerful weapon – experience.

“After last night, I wanted to just load up and get ready for Volusia,” Nicely said. “My dad just told me to keep my head down. Me, Ryan, my shock guy, and Chase, we just put our heads together last night at dinner and went back to everything we knew.”

The changes he and the crew made took a few laps to show a difference, but Nicely immediately felt it come Feature time.

“When the green flag flew, I actually had the feeling in the race car that I’ve been wanting all week,” Nicely said. “I just kept my head on my shoulders and took the positions when I could get them, and it paid off.”

Unlike Tuesday and Wednesday, Nicely did not win his Heat Race on Thursday, forcing him to come from ninth on the Feature starting grid. He took the green and immediately was on the move, cracking into the top-five in only seven laps.

At the head of the field, outside polesitter Denny Schwartz was on a mission, leading the first 22 laps of the 30-lap event. Lucas Lee was his biggest competition throughout and crept underneath him for the lead in traffic on Lap 23. As Lee took the position away and crossed the stripe, Schwartz made the frontstretch a bit too wide and made heavy contact with the wall, coming to a stop just before Turn 1.

This gave Lee the lead for the first time all week. Nicely restarted right behind him in third and made the most of it, getting a big run into Turn 3 on the high side and powering around the outside of Lee for the lead in Turn 4.

Then came Nicely’s toughest test. Troutman had been riding top-five all race, and on a restart with seven-to-go, shot around Lee for second and made a beeline for the leader. Nicely had taken notice and devised a plan to defend his lead.

“I wanted to make sure he was going to have to pass me on the bottom,” Nicely said. “I was just trying to make it a big circle as much as I could to keep the momentum up. My guys were motioning me to go to the bottom, but my front-end was just way too unstable for down there.”

And defend the lead he did. Try as Troutman may, Nicely was able to hold him off the rest of the distance.

“I just found a pretty good spot on the racetrack where I could take it and run with it,” Troutman said. “There wasn’t a whole lot of places on the track tonight that wasn’t slippery. I kinda found that spot where I could get a good run on [Nicely], but it just wasn’t good enough.”

Troutman did cross the stripe in second, however, making it three-straight top-five finishes at East Bay this week and five total top-fives in five Speedweeks starts. East Bay has, overall, been kind to the 17-year-old from Hyndman, PA, and it showed again Thursday night.

“It was very technical, but that’s the glory with this place,” Troutman said. “That’s what I love about it.”

Completing the podium was multi-time East Bay track champion Bryan Bernhardt, who made and incredible drive from dead-last 24th on the starting grid all the way up to third in 29 laps. The 21-spot improvement gave him his best finish of the week and will bode well for his Winternationals event points total, which will lock the top-six into Saturday’s 75-lap, $5,000-to-win finale at the conclusion of Friday’s events.


The fourth and final night of preliminary UMP Modified Winternationals action hits the dirt of East Bay Raceway Park Friday night, Feb. 3. Hot Laps are set for 6pm. If you can’t be at the track, Follow DIRTcar Racing on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram for live updates throughout the program.


A Feature 1 (30 Laps): 1. 25N-Tyler Nicely[9]; 2. 5-Drake Troutman[5]; 3. 69B-Bryan Bernhardt[24]; 4. 145-Kyle Hammer[4]; 5. 12-Lucas Lee[3]; 6. 2-Devin Dixon[6]; 7. 99-Blake Brown[7]; 8. 24-Zeke McKenzie[1]; 9. 40-Kevin Adams[10]; 10. 20-Brian Skaggs[8]; 11. 54-Jason Kinney[13]; 12. 18C-Miles Cook II[16]; 13. 33W-Rodney Wing[23]; 14. 1H-Ben Harmon[19]; 15. 90-Tim Gay[21]; 16. 9PG-Percy Gendreau[11]; 17. 5X-Joe Godsey[14]; 18. 7-Brad Deyoung[22]; 19. 25-LJ Grimm[20]; 20. 22-Austen Becerra[18]; 21. 21S-Denny Schwartz[2]; 22. 205-Travis Varnadore[17]; 23. 56-Chris Wilson[12]; 24. 70B-Shane Burrows[15]

chevy racing–indycar–california test–day one recap






FEBRUARY 2, 2023

Will Power, No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet, led the Team Chevy contingent after two sessions completing Day One of Preseason Testing at The Thermal Club in the Coachella Valley just south of Palm Springs, California.

Times around the 3.067-mile, 17-turn road course dropped as the day progressed with Power’s fastest lap of 01:39.372, 110.890 mph landing the defending NTT INDYCAR Series champion just two-tenths of a second down to fastest of the day.

The top-thirteen drivers ended the two sessions only six-tenths difference. All 27 drivers were able to get a solid amount of laps in under clear blue skies, with a 60 degree temperature and a slight breeze.

Day two of testing will start at 9:00 am PST and run until 4:30 pm.


Thursday, February 2, 2023

Callum Ilott

Press Conference

Callum Ilott, No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet, seventh quickest today:

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Wrapping up the first day of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES test day. The fastest in both sessions today, Colton Herta. Also joining us seventh quick in session two, Callum Ilott. Callum, you’re 24, the old guy of the group. Colton is like 22. This is like the next generation of young racers.

CALLUM ILOTT: You said I’m old?

THE MODERATOR: You’re old when it comes to the next generation.

Callum, your thoughts on a full day today? Obviously pretty successful in the Chevrolet.

CALLUM ILOTT: Yeah, starting off I was getting used to the circuit, also the team. It was all right. Not as good as him. I think he set a great lap straightaway.

Coming into the afternoon we had a couple items we needed to test and get through.

It was good. I like this place. It’s a big mix of slow speed, long corners, high speed. I think not very forgiving if you do go wrong. No one has put in the wall yet. That’s a good sign.

THE MODERATOR: You see some video, maybe some onboards of various sports cars that are here. Once you get out on the racetrack, was it anything similar?

CALLUM ILOTT: The only thing I found was an E92 M3. That was a good one. That was this track. Obviously, a few layouts. The angle of it was on the floor so you couldn’t see where you were going.

I don’t know. I don’t think anyone has this on a simulator. 

“It was a bit of a discovery process for everyone. It’s high speed. I think it’s a great place to start to get us active. To do two days here, yeah, we’ll see what tomorrow holds.

THE MODERATOR: We’ll go ahead and open it up for questions.

Q. What do you think about the possibility of doing a race here? Would it work?

CALLUM ILOTT: It sets a standard really of what we want to be doing with this series. It’s really, really high level, high tech. As a circuit, yeah, it’s got a little bit different corners.

I think the overtaking, we’ll find a way, we’re INDYCAR, someone always sends it down the inside. I think if we can extend the straight and get some maybe between turn six and seven some overtaking. It’s definitely a great circuit to drive and good fun and a bit different to the normal winter training we get in Florida. So I like the circuit.

Yeah, I think if we could, it would be good to race here once.

Q. Anything from a safety upgrade standpoint?

CALLUM ILOTT: I think the (indiscernible) might propose a little bit of an issue. Again, it depends on what angle you’re hitting them obviously.

It’s a pretty straightforward process to make it a bit safer and a bit more cushiony. I’m not in charge of that stuff. I just drive and try not to hit those things.

Yeah, I think it’s a straightforward process. To be fair, everyone has had a little moment today, spun and carried on. That’s a good start. Obviously there are anomalies, these things happen. So far, so good.

Q. Your teammate, do you know the problems he was having?

CALLUM ILOTT: Obviously it’s not easy to jump in these things. He did a good job by the end of the day.

We’re finding our way with the car. There were a couple things in the morning where I was really not happy with it. I know for me that that’s not how the car should behave, whereas he might go to push it a bit more because he doesn’t know on that side. I think that’s what happened on one of the places.

In the afternoon I think they kind of followed the way we’d gone. Yeah, I think he was all right. Look, you’ve always got to push it. A lot of others were making mistakes. I think he was 7/10ths off me by the end of the day. Not bad for the first day.

Q. Callum, last year you said Portland and Laguna was where it started coming together for you. You had experience on those tracks from the year before. When you got the front row at Laguna, was that a sudden breakthrough or because you knew your way around?

CALLUM ILOTT: No, we could go back to, like, Long Beach was one that I’d done before. I think we qualified even worse than the year before. It was put together last minute for the year before. It’s not always the case.

Obviously I know my way around Laguna. That helped a bit. It was one of those tracks that you always drove on Gran Turismo or something as well. I knew it on that side.

Barber was the first place it kind of clicked. At the end of the season I think that’s where we started to understand where we needed to start with the car and have a good baseline. It kind of reflected in those two.

Hopefully I would like to be able to do the same in St. Pete and come along. I think the street circuit car has always been a bit more difficult, a couple things we struggle with. I don’t know if we’ve solved them or not, so it will be interesting to see.

THE MODERATOR: Callum, your eyes lit up when Colton said seven first-gear corners.

CALLUM ILOTT: I’ll go a few second gears, but he was quicker so I might need to revisit that. If I get the blue lights, I’m going to shift.

All-Tech Raceway Next for Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

BATAVIA, Ohio (February 2, 2023) – After a brief break in the action, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series continues a busy Speedweeks schedule at All-Tech Raceway in Lake City, Fla. on February 2-4. The All-Tech Raceway Winter Nationals begins Thursday, February 2 with an Open Practice followed by two complete nights of racing. On Friday, February 3 teams will be vying for $12,000-to-win while Saturday, February 4 will offer competitors a top prize of $15,000. Both nights A-Main events will be 50-laps in distance.  Dirt Draft Hot Laps, Allstar Performance Time Trials, Heat Races, B-Mains, and an A-Main event will take place each day for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. The Pure Stock division will also be in competition on Saturday, February 4 paying $1,000-to-win.  The gates will open at 2:00PM ET on Thursday, February 2, with practice scheduled from 6:00PM ET to 10:00PM ET. On Friday and Saturday, the pit gates will open at 2:00PM ET, followed by general admission gates at 3:00PM ET. Hot laps will begin at 5:30PM ET. Saturday’s program kicks off with a Dirt Racing Outreach Service at 3:30PM ET. The Big River Steel Chase for the Championship – presented by ARP continues as teams battle all season for a chance at the record point fund of over $1,000,000. The 2023 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Champion will take home an industry record $200,000.  Brandon Overton leads the current Big River Steel Chase for the Championship – presented by ARP standings by 60-points over Ricky Thornton Jr. after five events. Jonathan Davenport is third, with Devin Moran and Tim McCreadie rounding out the top five. For complete, up-to-date standings, visit  For ticket prices, camping and event information, please visit For more information about the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series including event schedules, MAVTV broadcast dates, and live streaming via MAVTV on FloRacing, visit  Track Information:All-Tech RacewayPhone Number: 386-754-7223Location: 1024 SW Howell Rd, Lake City, FL 32024Website: Directions: Take Exit 414 (Lake City/High Springs), turn left on SR41 towards High Springs, go approximately 1/4 mile to SW Howell Rd. (next to Marathon Station), turn right, then go approximately 3/4 mile to the track on the left.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Tire Rule:Must use the same set of 4 tires for Time Trials, Heat Races, and B-Mains:Left Rear/Fronts – Hoosier (90) NLMT1Right Rear – Hoosier (92) NLMT2, (92) LM20
For the A-Main, competitors may use 3 new tires:Left Rear/Fronts – Hoosier (90) NLMT1, (90) NLMT2, (90) LM20, (90) NLMT3, (90) LM30sRight Rear – Hoosier (92) NLMT2, (92) LM20, (92) NLMT3, (92) LM30s
*Can cut and/or sipe any tire.*Flat tire must be replaced with a used tire of the same compound and construction to retain starting position.
All-Tech Raceway Winter Nationals Event Purses:Friday 2/3 – 1. $12,000, 2. $6,000, 3. $3,500, 4. $2,800, 5. $2,500, 6. $2,300, 7. $2,200, 8. $2,100, 9. $2,050, 10. $2,000, 11. $1,600, 12. $1,400, 13. $1,200, 14. $1,100, 15. $1,050, 16. $1,000, 17. $1,000, 18. $1,000, 19. $1,000, 20. $1,000, 21. $1,000, 22. $1,000, 23. $1,000, 24. $1,000 = $52,800
Saturday 2/4 – 1. $15,000, 2. $6,500, 3. $3,500, 4. $3,000, 5. $2,500, 6. $2,400, 7. $2,300, 8. $2,200, 9. $2,100, 10. 2,000, 11. $1,600, 12. $1,400, 13. $1,300, 14. $1,200, 15. $1,050, 16. $1,000, 17. $1,000, 18. $1,000, 19. $1,000, 20. $1,000, 21. $1,000, 22. $1,000, 23. $1,000, 24. $1,000 = 57,050

Burton, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team Have High Hopes for the Clash

February 2, 2022

Harrison Burton and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team are optimistic headed into this weekend’s Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and with good reason. 

For starters, they had a good run in the inaugural Clash, which is held on a temporary course inside the famed stadium. The team also is encouraged by the way it ended last year’s Cup Series season with a flurry of good finishes. To top it all off Burton is fresh off a win in an IMSA sports car race on the road course at Daytona International Speedway. 

“Last year’s Clash was a great event for the industry and for the No. 21 Ford,” said crew chief Brian Wilson, who like Burton is heading into his sophomore season in NASCAR’s elite division. “Transferring into the main event was a huge accomplishment for our young team.” 

“We’re looking to build from that and on the momentum we had to end 2022.” 

Wilson said the entire Motorcraft/Quick Lane organization was heartened by the late-season improvement, which was backed up by race statistics.

“Coming off the end of the season, everyone was excited with our step forward in competitiveness,” he said. “In three of the last four races we qualified in the top-10. This was a great sign that our hard work was paying off.”

Once the final checkered flag of 2022 had flown, Wilson and the team did a more thorough evaluation of their season, and liked what they saw.

“After the first four races in 2022 our average finish was 29th,” he said. “In the last four races it was 19th.

“That’s a large step forward in a highly competitive field. You could also see progress when you looked quarter by quarter at our stats.” 

“At the end of the year everyone could feel the change in performance, but it’s always good to see the numbers back that up.”

Wilson added that last week’s win by Burton at Daytona, where he teamed with fellow Ford driver Zane Smith to win the Michelin Pilot Challenge event. Burton took the checked flag over veteran sports car racer Spencer Pumpelly, making him and Smith the first NASCAR regulars to get the victory in that race.

“Harrison’s win in his Mustang was another boost of confidence, Wilson said. “The Wood Brothers team is excited to get to the track and continue to improve on where we ended 2022.”

Practice for the Busch Light Clash is set for Saturday from 3-5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (6-8 p.m. Eastern), to be followed by single-car qualifying. Both will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1.

Sunday’s program starts at 2 p.m. (5 p.m. Eastern) with four 25-lap heat races followed by two 50-lap last chance races.

The 150-lap main event begins at 5 p.m. Pacific (8 p.m. Eastern), with Sunday’s coverage on FOX.

Tickets Now on Sale for Progressive American Flat Track’s Return to Daytona International Speedway for ‘23 Bike Week Season Opener

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 2, 2023) – Progressive American Flat Track revives Daytona Bike Week tradition with the 2023 season opener returning to the Flat Track at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, March 9 and Friday, March 10, 2023. The DAYTONA Short Track will feature two back-to-back nights of bar-banging racing under the lights at one of the most iconic racing arenas in the history of the sport. Coming off the heels of last season’s spectacular five-way title fight, the 2023 Progressive American Flat Track season ranks among the most highly anticipated in recent memory. ReigningMission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle champion Jared Mees will look to continue his historic run. But to do so, he’ll once again have to go through the most talented collection of motorcycle dirt track racers in the world – including the likes of Briar BaumanDallas DanielsJD Beach, and Brandon Robinson. This season’s DAYTONA Short Track I & II resumes a hallowed tradition that saw the high-profile event serve as the opening round of the Championship from 1989 through 2016, with doubleheaders becoming the norm in 2006. Over the decades, the DAYTONA opener frequently saw the sport’s leading stars shine the brightest, with Hall of Famers Scott ParkerChris CarrWill Davis, and Kenny Coolbeth all earning wins in Daytona. However, the event is just as renowned for the unpredictable racing it has regularly produced. Several riders have scored upsets to secure their first-career premier-class victories there, including the aforementioned Bauman and Robinson. One rider yet to triumph at the venue, however, is Mees, who hopes to scratch off one of the few remaining unfilled achievements still left on his scorecard. The atmosphere is guaranteed to be electric. A half-million motorcyclists are once again expected to descend on Daytona Beach for this year’s 82nd annual Daytona Bike Week, and the DAYTONA Short Track I & II is primed to be one of the world’s largest motorcycle event’s premier attractions. A range of ticket options are available now, now starting at $25 each night, including Upper Rim Road – Standing Room OnlyReserved Grandstand, and Accessible Seating. And for an additional $40 ($20 for kids under 12) per night, Paddock Access Upgrades provide all-day access to the pits where fans can scope out the world’s fastest dirt track motorcycles and get up close and personal with the stars of the sport. 

Top Fuel Driver Josh Hart and Wife Brittanie Have Adopted a Baby Boy

The family announced the exciting news on social media in advance of the 2023 NHRA season.

OCALA, FL (February 2, 2023) —NHRA rising star Josh Hart and his wife Brittanie introduced their new son, Banks Nicolas Hart, to the world and NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series community this week in a series of social media posts.

“We are beyond excited to become ‘Hart party of four’ with the addition of Banks to our crew,” said Hart. “Brittanie and I thought the timing was right to welcome Banks to our family through adoption and we could not be more thrilled. This was a decision we have been praying on for some time and God blessed us with Banks at the perfect time.” 

Brittanie added, “Our hearts are full and we are so grateful for the love and support we have already received from the racing community. We have been blessed to be able to welcome Banks into our family and our hearts are bursting with love.”

Josh and Brittanie are also parents to three-year-old daughter Helen. According to the parents, their oldest child is more than excited to be a big sister. The Harts are positive advocates for adoption and encourage anyone with questions to reach out through the team’s social media channels.

“My life was positively impacted by adoption, and I am looking forward to helping other families grow through this process. We are fortunate to be able to provide a loving and positive environment for Banks. My adoptive parents are wonderful, and Brittanie and I are committed to raising and supporting Banks in the same way,” added Hart.

Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Los Angeles, California February 5, 2023

NASCAR’S RETURN TO THE COLISEUM The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) season will officially take the green flag at the renowned Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with the 45th running of the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum. The annual exhibition-style, non-points paying preseason event made its debut appearance at the .25-mile track built within the famed Los Angeles venue in 2022, marking the first time the Clash was held outside of Daytona Beach, Florida, since its inaugural event in 1979. The encore performance at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will set the stage for the 36 points-paying race schedule for NASCAR’s premier series, which kicks-off with the 65th running of the Daytona 500 two weeks later. Chevrolet will help get the 2023 NCS season underway, with the Camaro SS set to pace NASCAR’s premier series at the iconic Southern California track.  The 2022 Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum was not only the series debut at the track, but it was also the competition debut of the Next Gen Camaro ZL1. The manufacturer made a strong first appearance on-track, with five Chevrolet drivers from four different teams taking top-10 finishes in last year’s main event. 

LOOKING BACK ON HISTORYThe winningest manufacturer in NASCAR Cup Series history lives up to that prestigious honor in the Clash record books. In the event’s 44-race history, Chevrolet leads the way with 21 all-time victories. The Bowtie brand’s most recent trip to victory lane in the annual preseason event was with Jimmie Johnson behind the wheel of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in 2019. Johnson will return to the event in a new capacity this year as a team owner, with LEGACY MOTOR CLUB making its official on-track debut in the exhibition race.  A staple name in the Clash record books is career Chevrolet driver Jeff Gordon. The NASCAR Hall of Famer leads the series in most consecutive Clash appearances, competing in 22 consecutive events (1994 – 2015). Gordon took his first of two Clash victories in 1994, making him one of just five drivers in the event’s history to win in his first Clash appearance. Only six times in the event’s history has the Clash winner gone on to win the Daytona 500. Gordon was able to accomplish that feat in 1997. 

NEXT GEN CAMARO ZL1 BACK ON TRACKIt was one year ago at the renowned Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum where the major automotive brands of NASCAR’s premier series debuted their Next Gen models. Bringing the track and the street closer together, a collaboration among Chevrolet’s engineers, designers and its race teams developed the Next Gen Camaro ZL1. Taking its debut season by storm, nine drivers from four different Chevrolet teams collected a manufacturer-leading 19 victories for the Next Gen Camaro ZL1, ultimately leading Chevrolet to its 41st NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturer’s Championship title and continuing its legacy as the winningest manufacturer in NCS history. The Camaro ZL1 race car made its series debut in 2018, competing for two seasons before being replaced by the Camaro ZL1 1LE in 2020. The Camaro ZL1 1LE took on NASCAR’s premier series for two seasons, leading to the debut of Chevrolet’s latest race car – the Next Gen Camaro ZL1 – in 2022. In that timespan, Chevrolet recorded two NCS Driver Championships with Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott (2020) and Kyle Larson (2021); and back-to-back NCS Manufacturer Championships in 2021 and 2022.

NEW TO THE BOWTIE LINEUPThere will be a set of new faces added to Chevrolet’s full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver lineup in 2023, all of which will get their seasons officially underway in this weekend’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum. 
Noah Gragson, No. 42 LEGACY MOTOR CLUB Camaro ZL1
Noah Gragson will contend for NCS Rookie of the Year honors behind the wheel of the No. 42 LEGACY MOTOR CLUB Camaro ZL1. Gragson is coming off a strong season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS), collecting a series-leading eight victories and finishing in the runner-up position in the series’ driver points standings. While a series rookie, the 24-year-old Nevada native is no stranger to the series. In 2022, Gragson made 18 starts in NASCAR’s premier series, all made with Chevrolet teams Kaulig Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Beard Motorsports. The No. 42 LEGACY MOTOR CLUB Camaro ZL1 team will be under the leadership of Crew Chief Luke Lambert, who was also Gragson’s Crew Chief at JR Motorsports in 2022. 
AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Kaulig Racing Camaro ZL1
AJ Allmendinger has found his way back to full-time competition in NASCAR’s premier series, taking over the driving duties for the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Camaro ZL1 in 2023. Allmendinger retired from full-time NCS competition in 2018, going on to join Kaulig Racing to compete a part-time schedule in the NXS in 2019 and 2020. The 41-year-old California native went on to compete full-time in the series in 2021 and 2022, claiming back-to-back NXS regular-season championship titles. Allmendinger also ran a limited schedule in the organization’s second NCS entry the past two seasons. A highlight of those starts includes claiming the victory in the series’ debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course in 2021, marking Kaulig Racing’s first-ever win in NASCAR’s premier series. 
Kyle Busch, No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Camaro ZL1
The 2023 season will also see two-time NCS Champion, Kyle Busch, back behind the wheel of a Chevrolet-powered machine, piloting the No. 8 Camaro ZL1 for Richard Childress Racing. The 37-year-old Las Vegas, Nevada, native started his NCS career with Chevrolet, competing his rookie campaign with Hendrick Motorsports in 2005. From 2005 to 2007, Busch scored four NCS wins with Chevrolet, two of which came in his rookie season. A notable win for Busch came in the debut of the “Car of Tomorrow” at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2007, a triumph that also delivered Chevrolet its milestone 600th all-time NCS win. 
One of the most accomplished drivers in NASCAR’s modern history, Busch has recorded a series-leading 224 victories across all three NASCAR national series. 
TEAM CHEVY DRIVERS: WEST COAST BOUNDA new format was introduced to the Busch Light Clash last season, with heat races and last chance qualifiers setting the main event lineup for the first time in the event’s history. This year, the main event’s starting lineup will expand to 27 cars, with the top-five finishers in each of the four heat races and the top-three finishers from each of the last chance qualifier races securing a starting spot. The 27th and final starting spot will be given to the driver who finished highest in the 2022 points standings that did not race their way into main event.  With all 2023 NASCAR Cup Series chartered teams eligible to enter the Clash, 16 Chevrolet drivers will battle for their chance to compete in the 150-lap main event:  Ross Chastain, No. 1 Worldwide Express Camaro ZL1Austin Dillon, No. 3 Get Bioethanol Camaro ZL1Kyle Larson, No. 5 Camaro ZL1Corey LaJoie, No. 7 Animal Control FOX Camaro ZL1Kyle Busch, No. 8 BetMGM Camaro ZL1Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Action Industries Camaro ZL1William Byron, No. 24 Camaro ZL1Justin Haley, No. 31 Celsius Camaro ZL1Noah Gragson, No. 42 Sunseeker Resort Camaro ZL1Erik Jones, No. 43 Allegiant Camaro ZL1Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 47 Food4Less / Velveeta Camaro ZL1Alex Bowman, No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL1Ty Dillon, No. 77 NASCAR Fan Rewards Camaro ZL1BJ McLeod, No. 78 Celsius Camaro ZL1Daniel Suarez, No. 99 Jockey Camaro ZL1
FOR THE FANSFans can visit the Team Chevy Racing Display in the NASCAR Fan Fest area of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.Fans can check out Chevrolet vehicles on display at NASCAR Fan Fest, including a Corvette, Camaro ZL1, Tahoe Z71, 1500 Silverado ZR2, Equinox RS FWD, Bolt EUV Premier. Team Chevy Driver Appearances at the Display:Sunday, February 5Corey LaJoie: 10:30 a.m.Justin Haley: 11:30 a.m.Ty Dillon: 11:45 a.m.William Byron: 12:20 p.m. Chevrolet Display Hours of Operation: Saturday, February 4: 12 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Sunday, February 5: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Tune-In: FS1 will telecast the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum practice session at 6 p.m. ET, followed by qualifying at 8:30 p.m. ET, on Saturday, February 4. Live coverage can also be found on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90. FOX will telecast from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sunday, February 5, starting with qualifying heat races and last chance qualifier races at 5 p.m. ET, followed by the main event for the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum at 8 p.m. ET. Live coverage can also be found on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
Ross Chastain, No. 1 Worldwide Express Camaro ZL1What makes Trackhouse different?“I think it’s the people that makes the difference. It’s a breath of fresh air and it’s a place where people really have the opportunity to shine.”
Does it feel any different entering this season?“Last year there was so much unknown. The year before that I had just signed a contract Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR). The one thing about last year that made me feel a little bit more comfortable was that I had the same guys on the No. 1 at Trackhouse as I did on the No. 42 at CGR. The excitement was high last year and then we missed the main event at the LA Clash and finished last at the Daytona 500. That was a pretty humbling moment to stumble out of the gate like that. We did a reset and got ourselves regrouped for the rest of the season. I think things are a little calmer going into this season. I have the same group of guys again this year, and we have a year under our belt with this version of the car which is helpful.”
You had some bumps in the road last season along with a lot of success. How are you approaching this year?“I certainly learned a lot from last year. It was an arrival year, running in the top-five, top-10, winning a couple of races in the Cup Series. It’s such a small and special group of men and women who came before me and accomplished that. I’ve spent years trying to get here, trying to get my name out there enough to try and get hired to drive someone’s racecar. Maybe my name doesn’t need to be talked about every week (laughs), for some sort of action on the track. Maybe some weeks we can just fly under the radar, without any drama, get wins and top-fives.”
Austin Dillon, No. 3 Get Bioethanol Camaro ZL1You’re RCR Chevy was really strong in the Clash last year. Did the race exceed your expectations?“There were a lot of unknowns heading into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum last year. It was a brand new track – the smallest and tightest track we had ever raced on in the NASCAR Cup Series – and a brand new car with the debut of the NextGen Chevrolet. I think the race exceeded everybody’s expectations. NASCAR did a great job introducing new fans to the sport, and FOX did a great job with the broadcast window. Everyone knew we were there, and it was a solid move forward for the sport. From the competition side of things, it was good, fun racing. Our RCR Chevy was really fast in practice, and our long run speed was there during the race. I’m just disappointed I couldn’t get those next two cars and ended up finishing third. All-in-all, our sports’ inaugural race in L.A. was great, and we’re all looking forward to getting back there for this year’s event.”

Kyle Larson, No. 5 Camaro ZL1Larson on the Clash at the Coliseum: “I thought last year was amazing. NASCAR and everyone else involved did a great job building the track, making it proper for racing, creating excitement around the event and making it fun for fans. It was great to be a part of that historical event. I’m happy that we’re able to come back and put on another great show. I’m sure that it will be even better than the inaugural race was.”
Cliff Daniels, Crew Chief, No. 5 Camaro ZL1Daniels on the upcoming season: “People always say control what you can control. The good news for us is there are things that we (the No. 5 team) can control to make a difference and be better. A lot of those things we got right in 2021. We know that it is within us. We have the capability and talent. Now we just need to put it together and come out of the gates strong in 2023 to run a solid season. I’m confident that we will.”

Kyle Busch, No. 8 BetMGM Camaro ZL1What are the keys to running well at the LA Coliseum? “I feel like, obviously having a fast car is good but to have a fast car you have to be fast while going slow. You’re probably out of the throttle just as much as you’re in the throttle at the Clash and time in which you’re on the brakes is going to be very important to making sure you’re not on ‘em too much but yet you still get the car slowed down enough in order to make it turn for the middle of the corner and exit for the next straightaway.”
Can you compare racing at the Coliseum to any place you’ve raced at in the past?“I would say racing at the Coliseum is most similar to a place in Canada that I raced at once before, Autodrome Chaudiere which is a tight little quarter-mile track. It had a little bit of banking, so the Coliseum being so flat is a little bit new compared to that. There’s also another place in Los Angeles that’s not too far away which is called San Bernadino Speedway. There’s a little quarter-mile, flat racetrack there that I raced Legends cars at years and years ago. Had a lot of fun and won a race there. I feel like I’m using some of that for racing at the Coliseum.”
How challenging is it to qualify well at The Clash?“Last year for us it was really good. I was able to qualify first and ran second for majority of the race. Had a good race, unfortunately it came up a tick short. Qualifying well at the Clash is important as much as it is challenging because it’s only two laps and you’ve got to hit your marks. It’s hard to know how hard you hit the corner and how much you really give it on exit to not spin the tires too much. It is a challenge, but it’s also very important because it can set up your track position for the whole rest of the event.”
How important is it for NASCAR to kick off the season in Los Angeles? “I think it’s great to get an opportunity to go out to Los Angeles and kick off the season. I think that it kind of wakes the Los Angeles crowd up a little bit for when we come back out there for Fontana. Might get them a little interested to come back out and see NASCAR again at Fontana but it also gives newer fans people the opportunity to see us in LA and sometimes they won’t really venture out too far out to go somewhere to see an event so it’s nice to have one right there in the meat of the city and also get the attention of nothing really on television during that weekend with the NFL taking the weekend off before the Super Bowl.”

Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1Elliott on racing at the Clash: “The Clash was a good event last year and it was a unique way to kick off our season. It seemed like the fans were excited to be there and enjoyed all the festivities they had going on. It was just kind of a different vibe than what we usually have. Everyone that had a hand in putting it together and bringing it to life did a great job, and going back a second year, I think it will just be as good.”
Alan Gustafson, Crew Chief, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1Gustafson on heading back to Los Angeles for the Clash: “Last year was kind of surreal racing at such an iconic place where so many major events have been held. It’s just a cool venue and I’m looking forward to going back. Hopefully this year will be a little bit of a calmer experience and a little less stressful. Last year everything was brand new – the track, the format and the car. We’ll have a little bit better of an idea of what we’re going for this time around, but the track is so unique that even with going there last year, we’re still learning.”

William Byron, No. 24 Camaro ZL1Byron on starting the 2023 season at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum: “I’m excited to get out to Los Angeles. I’m just really ready to get the season started. We have our goals set to accomplish this year and the team has been preparing for the season to get back underway. While the Clash isn’t a points-paying race, it is a good way to get momentum going and really shake the dust off before the season ramps up in Daytona. The goal still remains to win every time we’re on track and show what we’ve learned.”
Rudy Fugle, Crew Chief, No. 24 Camaro ZL1Fugle on returning to the LA Coliseum: “Last year’s Clash really had a lot of aspects we had never done before – the Next Gen car, the track location, logistics in general. It all worked out, but I think we’re better prepared for even the little details this year. We’ve come so far with the car setup-wise from race one to the season finale. What we learned at last year’s Clash with the car is vastly different to what it will be this year. I’m really excited to go try those new things out though and see what may arise.”

Noah Gragson, No. 42 Sunseeker Resorts Camaro ZL1Entering your rookie season, you head to Los Angeles with a lot of momentum surrounding your team. Specifically for this event, what do you anticipate and what are some of your expectations for this weekend?“We’ve had a lot of great things going for us at LEGACY MOTOR CLUB, and I’m looking forward to starting our year on the right foot this weekend in Los Angeles. The Clash is a great event that NASCAR has put on; I watched the race on TV last year and was pretty excited about what I was able to take away as a fan of the sport. There’s certainly a cool atmosphere there, and it’ll also be a fun experience to join our new partner Hurley with their NASCAR drop. We’re even going to go up in the Goodyear Blimp before the weekend kicks off, which is something that I’m really pumped about. As far as expectations go, I think the key for us will be to make the race first and foremost, and then continue to learn about this new car before we start points racing. I’ve still got a lot to learn competing at this level, but I’m ready to get things under way with my No. 42 Sunseeker Resorts team.”

Erik Jones, No. 43 Allegiant Camaro ZL1“I’m excited to get the season started this weekend at the LA Coliseum with the Clash. Last year we went into this race not really knowing what to expect but were able to get a good finish. I think this year, we are a little more prepared and hopefully we can get the season started with a win and set the tone for the year. NASCAR and everyone involved have done a great job making this race a fun environment and bringing new eyes to our sport. It’ll be nice to get back in the No. 43 Camaro and kick things off for the 2023 season with LEGACY MOTOR CLUB.” 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 47 Food 4 Less/Velveeta Camaro ZL1“Last year, The Clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum was totally new for everybody, and no one knew what to expect. Coming through the tunnel was one of the coolest things ever for me. We made the race, and it was nice to be able to do that because not everybody made it. We know it will be more intense this year especially since everyone knows what to expect. It’s a great venue, and the crowd’s electric. We’re excited to be back in market for the Clash.”

Alex Bowman, No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL1Bowman on the start of the season: “I am excited to get back behind the wheel. The way last season ended and me having to be out of the race car has made me hungry to get back. I have spent the offseason training and preparing, so I think the shortened season in 2022 and focusing on being ready for this season has created a lot of excitement and anticipation for me. Blake (Harris) has brought a lot of energy to this team and I know the crew is super motivated to go compete. We will take it one race at a time, and it starts at the Clash this Sunday.”
Blake Harris, Crew Chief, No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL1Harris on the team’s approach at the LA Coliseum: “First and foremost, we have to make sure the team is clicking. Working on communication with Alex (Bowman) is the highest priority. It’s super unique how we go out there, being three eight-minute sessions for practice. We get a little extra time for changes compared to what our normal segments would be. Everything about that race is just different. The main thing we are going to try to take away is how we discuss changes that need to be made to the car and really just the communication between myself, Alex and the entire team for that whole practice session. Looking ahead to Daytona (International Speedway), we go right into a qualifying session and then qualifying races so between the heat races and all the practice at the Clash, a big portion of our focus is communication.”
Harris on his expectations for the race: “Last season, the No. 48 team didn’t reach the main event, so the first priority is having enough speed to qualify well and put ourselves in a decent position in our heat to not go to a last chance qualifier. Our next priority is going and building off of what Hendrick Motorsports had for a short-track package towards the middle-end of the year, which seemed to have a lot of speed. Hopefully, we can bring some of that speed back to Los Angeles.”

Daniel Suarez, No. 99 Jockey Camaro ZL1Are you ready for a new year?“Of course I am. We got some rest, visited family in Mexico and Brazil, visited Europe, got engaged to Julia (Piquet). It was a busy off season. But now it’s time to get back behind the wheel and race.”
What is the key to a good season?“We really must do more to meet expectations. Last year we were underdogs, working very hard, everyone was very hungry and success came. This year, we must make sure we stay humble and work even harder than last year. Success is going to come, but the worst thing that can happen is for us to feel entitled. You know, ‘Since we did great last year, we will do great this year.’ It doesn’t work like that. You must stay hungry, and you have to work harder than last year because everyone else is working harder to catch you. I think the expectations are way higher this year and I can’t wait to see what we can do.”
Is this your best career opportunity?“Back in 2020, when we made the announcement that I was going to drive for Trackhouse I told everyone this would be my best opportunity to grow as a driver. A lot of people didn’t know what I was talking about. I was seeing something that nobody else was seeing because (owner) Justin (Marks) and (president) Ty were telling me their plans and how they were going to do things. I think everyone sees that now. I feel very happy to have finally found a team that believes in me and gives me every single resource. I have had it in the past, but not to the extent as I do at Trackhouse Racing. If you want to beat the best of the best, you must have everything at the top of the game. We have been building that at Trackhouse. Every day the thought is what do we need to do to go faster.”
Chevrolet NASCAR Cup Series Statistics Manufacturers Championships:Total (1949-2022): 41First title for Chevrolet: 1958Highest number of consecutive titles: 13 (2003-15) Years Won: 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2021, 2022 Drivers Championships:Total (1949-2022): 33First Chevrolet champion: Buck Baker (1957)Highest number of consecutive titles: 7 (2005-11)Most Recent: Kyle Larson (2021) Years Won: 1957, 1960, 1961, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2020, 2021 Event Victories:Record for total race wins in single season: 26 (2007)                CHEVROLET IN NASCAR CUMULATIVE STATISTICS:Total Chevrolet race wins: 833 (1949 to date)Poles won to date: 734Laps led to date: 245,544Top-five finishes to date: 4,221Top-10 finishes to date: 8,712                                                                                                          Total NASCAR Cup Wins by Corporation, 1949 to Date:                    General Motors: 1,167           Chevrolet: 833           Pontiac: 154           Oldsmobile: 115           Buick: 65            Ford: 820                                                                      Ford: 720           Mercury: 96           Lincoln: 4            Fiat Chrysler Automobiles: 467           Dodge: 217           Plymouth: 191           Chrysler: 59            Toyota: 170