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chevy racing–indycar–indianapolis 500 Fast Friday

CHEVROLET IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES INDIANAPOLIS 500 INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA TEAM CHEVY FRIDAY PRACTICE REPORT MAY 17, 2024 CHEVROLET SHOWS STRENGTH AND SPEED DURING INDIANAPOLIS 500 FAST FRIDAY PRACTICE AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY Team Chevy closed Fast Friday practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with seven drivers and teams in the top-10 of best one-lap speeds, with Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 17 HendrickCars.com Arrow McLaren Chevrolet leading the Bowtie brand at 234.271 mph.Chevrolet additionally captured the top-five four-lap average results, in addition to eight of the top-10, with Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 Shell Team Penske Chevrolet leading at 234.063 mph.Larson continued to impress while going the fastest he’s ever had in a racecar, logging 34 laps for the day and clocking the fastest Turn 2 exit trap speed at 231.178 mph.At the checkered flag on Fast Friday, Chevrolet completed 456 laps of the 990 overall on the day, with 2,409 total laps of 5,189 during the first week of preparation for the 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500.Armed Forces Qualifying weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway kicks off Saturday with practice at 8:30 a.m. ET, followed by qualifying at 11 a.m. ET. Saturday’s events will stream live on Peacock. TEAM CHEVY TOP-10 PRACTICE RESULT (FOUR-LAP AVERAGE):Pos.   Driver1st      Josef Newgarden (234.063 mph)2nd    Scott McLaughlin (233.623 mph)3rd     Will Power (233.451 mph)4th     Alexander Ross (233.355 mph)5th     Pato O’Ward (233.043 mph)8th     Agustin Canapino (232.875 mph)9th     Santino Ferrucci (232.867 mph)10th   Kyle Larson (232.549 mph) TEAM CHEVY TOP-10 PRACTICE RESULT (ONE-LAP BEST SPEED):Pos. Driver2nd    Kyle Larson (234.271 mph)3rd     Josef Newgarden (234.250 mph)4th     Scott McLaughlin (234.102 mph)5th     Alexander Rossi (234.006 mph)6th     Will Power (233.864 mph)7th     Pato O’Ward (233.748 mph)10th Santino Ferrucci (233.412 mph)
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING (Quotes):Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:“It was a rollercoaster of a day for us today, but I ended up quite happy with the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevy, and I think we’re ready for qualifying tomorrow. We ended the day strong.” Callum Ilott, No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:“We had a bit of a stronger finish to the day than the start. We built things up a lot the whole way through and had some good speed. Now, it’s just about unlocking it. I think we’ve got a better baseline for tomorrow than what we started with today. I’m looking forward to it.” Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:“It was a good Fast Friday. I always love when we get to turn up the boost around here. I think the car is very close. It’s competitive as always out there, but I think we have the ability to fight for it tomorrow.”
Kyle Larson, No. 17 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:“I think I have to play it by ear and see how much you’re off or whatever. The Penske cars seem really fast, (Alexander) Rossi seems fast. I feel like the McLarens are the next best to the Penske cars. Just kind of see where you are on speed and then adjust. I felt like the one run where I felt closer to the limit, I would’ve made it a fourth lap. I guess that’s not a fun feeling being on the limit, I guess, in this place. Overall, I thought it was a decent day. Good to have it go smooth for once with no weather delays, or anything pop up. Just happy about today.” “I think our car balance was in a comfortable spot that allowed me to be a little bit calmer in the car. If I went out there and felt on the limit of the rear tires, I would have felt like I was probably going a lot faster. I think they did a good job to deal with the balance and keeping me comfortable.” What goals do you have for Qualifying weekend?“I’m not sure. I think it’d be pretty neat to make the Fast 12, and then the Fast Six. I think that’d be pretty neat, but being a rookie, I don’t know if that’s to be expected but it’d be pretty cool to make that and be in the front couple of rows of the race. Just want to get a good, smooth run in and make the show first. Being the top rookie in qualifying would be cool as well.” Gavin Ward, Team Principal at Arrow McLaren:“We are in the mix. Now, it is going to be about getting the details right for tomorrow. We had a good day and are focused on a strong qualifying tomorrow.” Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet:“Friday was fast. I think we’ve got some speed for tomorrow. Still got some left. Hoping for a good draw since it will be hot tomorrow. Let’s make sure we get to do it again on Sunday.” Christian Rasmussen, No. 33 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet:“I got used to the boost quick! I thought the car had good balance. In the afternoon, when it warms up, everything was a little more dicey. I think we had a lot of wind this afternoon as well. That definitely makes a bit impact, but a lot of valuable lessons learned today. Got comfortable with the high boost and ready to go into qualifying. We’ll see what happens!”
KYLE LARSON, NO. 7 ARROW MCLAREN CHEVROLET and JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET– End of Day Press Conference:THE MODERATOR: We’re going to begin our end of day news conferences, Josef Newgarden and Colton Herta will be on their way up. We’ll start with Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 17 Hendrickcars.com Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. Kyle picked up the second quickest lap of the day at 234.271 miles an hour. Kyle, before you got up there you said it felt like a much smoother day today for you. Describe that a little bit.
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, today went a lot smoother. Just more so as planned. Where yesterday did not. I thought with the weather being — the forecast being good, I would get lots of laps, but did not. Was pretty frustrated with things yesterday.Yeah, it all went smooth and was good to just get some reps with the boost and feeling all that. Yeah, happy with how it all went.
THE MODERATOR: Josef Newgarden also joins us who had the quickest four-lap average during all the qual sim runs that were happening. 234.063 miles an hour, back driving the No. 2 Shell Powering Progress Team Penske Chevrolet, set to qualify for your 13th Indianapolis 500. Your thoughts on — seemed like a pretty good day for a lot of teams today.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, it’s always interesting to see how this shapes up. Friday is one deal, and then tomorrow is going to be where it really comes together and you’re going to see where the field truly stacks up. But I think today is a good indicator, and we feel like we’re in a decent spot. We’re definitely in the mix, which is great to see. We’ve been working the last four years to try and get back into the mix in qualifying.
Really proud of the team. I think they’ve built fast cars. That’s what happens when you’re quick in qualifying here. It’s about a team effort and building fast cars. It doesn’t matter how good you are. You can’t will the car faster through ability. It is a team effort at Indianapolis.
The race is one deal, but qualifying really shows the true nature of the build quality. I think everybody at our shop should be really proud. They’ve done a good job over the off-season, and we’re excited for tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Josef also the top no-tow speed today, 234.260 miles per hour.
Q. Kyle, the fact that you work with Brian Campe at Hendrick Motorsports on the stock car side but he has a tremendous understanding of INDYCAR having worked at Team Penske, how huge of an asset is that for you in this endeavor?KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I think it’s good just having somebody that I’ve gotten to be around the last couple years on the stock car side of things, somebody I’m comfortable with, and with his experience here at Indy as well as working with others, winning championships and big races and stuff, I know he’s been very excited to be a part of this opportunity. It’s been fun working with him and seeing him catch up with old friends and stuff.
He’s been a little rusty, though. He sent us out the first day a couple times looking for a pack. Just I’m out there all alone. Then today the first run he called me in after the third lap instead of making it four laps. I was joking with him that he’s a little bit rusty.
Either way, he’s a very intelligent person I feel like, and we’re lucky to have him at Hendrick Motorsports.
Also lucky that they loaned him for the couple weeks here.
Q. Josef, you worked with Brian Campe and Gavin Ward when they were both over at Team Penske. The fact that you realize he’s got them in their corner, how valuable do you think that is for what he’s trying to do?JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I think they’re super valuable. They’ve both been my race engineer at some point in time, so I know them very well. Great guys, super — to Kyle’s point, very smart individuals, and no surprise to see where they are in their careers. Different paths but both super successful.
I think the strength on this team beside us is showing today. They all look very strong, and I think we’re going to have possibly a good fight this weekend. We’ll see how it ultimately shapes up.
It’s tough. There’s a lot of good talent in this series. Just to speak about my team, we feel like we’re in a good spot. We’ve got a lot of really good people. It’s also bigger than one person. We preach that at Team Penske. It’s a group working together trying to get the most out of each other, and when one person either moves on or we lose somebody, we try and just fill it in with our strength, and I think we’re pretty good at doing that.
Q. Josef, do you feel like a favorite for tomorrow or for the weekend now after putting in that run? It looked like an on-rails kind of run. I don’t know what it was like from the cockpit. Can you put yourself in a favorites role at this point?JOSEF NEWGARDEN: No, I don’t think at Indianapolis. I’ve never felt like a favorite here, and I don’t know that I ever would. There’s so many good-quality teams nowadays. This race has changed from where it was 20 years ago. Just to speak recently. Certainly changes from 30, 40 years ago.
I think you could really choose who had the fast car throughout the month or who had the fastest cars.
Qualifying is still one thing. It shows general car speed. But you can’t ever get ahead of yourself here. That’s been my experience the last 12 years running at this place that stuff surprises you. There’s so many good quality teams and drivers that I just don’t think you can ever feel too confident and comfortable.
I think we’re in a good spot. There’s no doubt. I just wouldn’t consider ourselves a favorite. I think we’ve just shown up prepared and ready, and now we need to execute tomorrow and Sunday.
Q. Kyle, what was it like getting the extra horsepower today? Did it feel like a different beast? What was it like to drive that with more horsepower?KYLE LARSON: For me, surprisingly, it didn’t feel as different as I was expecting it to be. It’s obviously different. You can tell you’re going faster and you’re a little bit more on the limit of things.
But I was expecting like from what I’ve heard or just from watching Indianapolis stuff in the past, the commentators do such a great job of making it seem like it’s like, boom, you’re going 100 miles an hour faster.
It didn’t feel way different, so I was happy about that. I think our car balance was in a comfortable spot, too, that allowed me to be a little bit calmer in the car, where I think if I would have went out there and felt on the limit of the rear tires, then yeah, I would have felt like I probably going way faster.
I think they did a good job today with the balance and keeping me comfortable.
Q. Kyle, going back to the frustration of yesterday and feeling like, hey, we got a lot of time here to make laps, can you walk us through that? Was it just the engine change in the morning and then things compounded from there and caught the team out?KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I’m not sure all the setbacks throughout the day, but I know that — we knew on — what was yesterday, Thursday? Tuesday, that we were going to have to change. So I was all ready for that. I don’t know, I think it all just took longer than anticipated. I was told we were going to be ready about 45 minutes after, and then it ended up being like another 45 minutes later, and then we went out and had to do our install stuff. I made just one run by myself to get familiar with things, and then we tried to go out there in a little draft run, but there wasn’t much of one, and then everybody left to go swap over to Q trim, so then we did, and then that took a little bit longer than expected.
By that point, the rain was approaching. I just didn’t get a lot of time, which I felt like I’ve missed out on some good opportunity of people drafting.
That just is what it is, and I know there will be more chances on Monday and Friday hopefully if weather cooperates. But yeah, I was just expecting — like hey, Thursday has got the best forecast of this week, so I thought I was going to — I think my optimism was too high, I guess. You never know what’s going to happen with weather here and issues that pop up.
I just thought that I was going to run a lot more. But nobody’s fault. I wasn’t mad at anybody. I was just mad that I didn’t get to run more.
Q. Today how comfortable were you with the tools? I know you said you practiced that with the knobs and the buttons. Was that easier than you thought? I think Townsend and Hinch were saying on the broadcast they noticed one time the shifting pattern might have needed a little bit of improvement or the precision of the weight jack. Are they working with you on that stuff a little bit?KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I don’t do very good multitasking at all. Like it was okay when I went out there and just ran sixth gear the whole time and I could just worry about the weight jacker and my balance was in a good spot. I didn’t even feel like I needed to adjust the car at all. But then there was other runs where I had to adjust the bar, and then I hit the weight jacker, then I adjusted the bar, then I go down the straight, like oh, shit, I have to hit the button again, and then I’m about to the corner.
It’s just more than what I’m used to doing. But I think each run I got a little bit more comfortable and we got to kind of adjust moving some buttons around and playing with the colors of things. I think that was all coming to me a little bit.
But thankfully, again, the balance was in a comfortable spot, so I didn’t really have to be super busy in the cockpit.
Q. Kyle, this is the fastest you’ve ever been in a race car, but you’ve driven sprint cars that have a lot more horsepower. Did that feeling of acceleration — how different did that feeling of acceleration feel when you’re going that fast, when you get up to speed, compared to being in a sprint car or something like that?KYLE LARSON: Well, it’s just so different. When you’re in a sprint car, you’re 950 horsepower, 1,400 pounds on a quarter mile with the gear to match that. So yeah, that acceleration is different.
But I feel like the acceleration in an INDYCAR is pretty incredible for what I’ve gotten to ever feel in a two-mile track or whatever, two and a half mile, whatever this is. Just like going through the gears, it accelerates way faster than a stock car does. That’s fun, feeling that.
But it’s hard to compare between a sprint car and an INDYCAR.
Q. Josef, hearing Kyle talk about all the different buttons and the tools and the adjustments, does it remind you of everything you had to experience when you were learning about all the different things from an INDYCAR, when you were adjusting from Indy Lights? Any flashbacks of that?JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, definitely. First time I drove an INDYCAR was really the first time I drove anything professionally. I’m sure it’s a little different experience for Kyle. He’s coming from a different place and background.
But it’s a process for sure to learn this specific form of motorsport. I can only imagine going to the NASCAR side would be similar in that there’s a lot to learn. Maybe the process is different, tools are different. But —
KYLE LARSON: There’s no tools.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: There you go, there’s no tools. But it is true nowadays, you get to — top levels of everything, everybody is so in tune and specialized at what they do, and they know it so well. Regardless, I think it’s a lot to take in and master quickly.
I think that’s the challenge for sure is you’re coming up in a — Kyle has got an opportunity to compete against people that are doing this all year, just trying to maximize this form of racing. It’s a fun challenge I’m sure. I can only imagine trying it the other way. It’s cool to have him here. Obviously for us, we want to have the best of the best running in this race, and Kyle only adds to that, which is fantastic.
Q. Kyle, this race has a lot of traditions and pageantry and stuff like that, and one of the first ones is the qualifying draw that comes up next. A couple years ago Tim Cindric picked for Josef and Scott and got booed off the stage. Last year Scott picked on his own and stormed off in a rage at what he drew. Who’s picking for you, and do you have any idea of where you want to be when that thing flips?KYLE LARSON: So my son is drawing, Owen. But we’ll see. I’m sure him and Audrey might fight over it here shortly.
I don’t know. I mean, it sounds like the track will be a little bit cooler, I think, when we start, so I think you would want to go out earlier. But you also would like to have some teammates go out before you, I believe.
I don’t know, somewhere in the first eight with a couple teammates in front of you would be nice. But I don’t know.
Q. Do you plan on milking the cow next week?KYLE LARSON: What? Is that a thing?
Q. The rookies have to milk a cow.KYLE LARSON: What? Where is this?
Q. Josef will fill you in.KYLE LARSON: Oh, my gosh. Yeah, I guess I will.
Q. That hasn’t changed your decision to do the Indianapolis 500, has it?KYLE LARSON: Do we get to glove up?
Q. I was talking with your dad earlier and he said one of his fondest recent memories of this race is he thought the 2012 race he thought you guys — you ran the night before the 500 and you went off to Ohio the next day and Sato and Dario had their thing, but he said it was a fond moment of you guys huddled together and watching on a phone screen of this race. Do you have any recollection of that day?KYLE LARSON: Kind of. Now that you mention that, I just remember we were in the car driving. Did Sato win? Yeah. I just remember — I can’t believe we had live streams back then. Yeah, I think I remember watching on the screen, and he just did like a late move to the inside of Dixon, I believe —
Q. Dario.KYLE LARSON: Okay. I remember it being a Ganassi car, and yeah, spinning. I’m half Japanese, so I remember cheering for Sato in that moment and was a little bit bummed that he didn’t win.
I was happy for both — I guess I was Ganassi then. But I was conflicted in who I was cheering for. I just remember — I don’t know if they feel the same way, but I remember watching it, like Sato was crazy. That was fun.

chevy racin–nascar–north wilkesboro–kevin harvick

NASCAR CUP SERIES NORTH WILKESBORO SPEEDWAY TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT MAY 17, 2024
Kevin Harvick met with the media in advance of the practice and qualifying session for the NASCAR Cup Series’ All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway, where Harvick will be filling the seat of the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1.  Media Availability Quotes:  This double duty is a little different than what it probably meant to you before…“It’s definitely not the attire that I thought I would be wearing this year. But it’s been a fun process. Sometimes there are phone calls that you react to different than others. When Rick (Hendrick) called and said what he needed and I said OK, everyone at FOX was kind enough to let us take the day to do what we needed to do. It’s been a fun process to be able to go through everything with Cliff (Daniels) and everybody at Hendrick. They’ve been true pros about it. SHR has been great to give us our seats and seat rails and make the fitting process a little bit less complicated. So it’s gone well. But definitely not something I expected to be doing this year.”
When you stepped out of the car at Phoenix, how does that affect your sense of finality in terms of how your driving career came to a close last fall?“Obviously my full-time career is over. I think that sometimes there are just things that pop up that are fun. This’ll be fun for me, it’ll be fun for Cliff and it’ll be fun just to relate and talk to Kyle about what’s happening here today. Obviously he has a lot going on. So to get back in the car six, seven, eight months later, whatever it’s been, you’re definitely not as sharp as you would have been than if you had gotten right back in and run all the races. This is really more to help those guys out in this scenario. I think they were just looking for somebody who had been in a car. This car is a lot different to drive than an Xfinity car or any of the other cars that you would run. Really just having a good time with it, and we’ll see how it goes.”
You spent about 20 years driving a Gen 4, Gen 5, Gen 6 chassis, which were all kind of related to each other before the Next Gen. Is it more difficult to get back in this car and take to it knowing it is so different from what you ran for all but two years of your Cup career?“I’ll let you know in about an hour. I don’t know that answer.”
Was there ever a point where Mr. H called to ask you to drive one of his racecars over the last 20 years? And how much of this is kind of a personal accomplishment to say that you’ve now driven for Mr. H?“Any time that these conversations had come up in the past, I had been in the middle of a situation that I was happy with and good with. It’s always been a casual conversation about things. Rick being involved in Stewart-Haas Racing when I started, there obviously was a conversation that happened there to go to SHR. To have that relationship with the engine shop and all the sharing of the information, he still had to be good with it. I did have to sit there and put my Xfinity deal together in Rick’s office and let him work all that out. It’s not the first time we’ve had interaction. But it’s the first time it’s worked out to get into one of his cars and drive it on the Cup side. It’s fun.”
Does it feel different that you’re driving the 5?“I don’t know. I’ve climbed in and out of it at the shop. The last time I got into one of these vehicles for the first time was 2013 at the open test that was basically all Hendrick with Rodney (Childers) working on the car for the first time. It’s different because I’ve been sitting in the booth watching the 5 car do what it does on the racetrack. My only job today is to get it into the pit box and try to understand the difference in the tires. It’s fun to see how the guys have approached it with something that is literally for one 50-minute practice. But we’ve approached it like we’re going into a race weekend because they want to do everything they can do to get Kyle prepared to come from the back of the pack to try to win the All-Star race. It’s been very methodical with how they’ve gone about everything. I’ve sat in all the team meetings and been in the simulator and done all those things as we’ve led up to like they were preparing for the race. Hopefully I can do my part.”
Your thoughts on the All-Star race coming back here, and is this a good venue for it?“Seeing the venue lit up last year with all the changes and the event itself, and everybody loves the short tracks and North Wilkesboro has been talked about for a long time… so I think with the repave, now it’s what North Wilkesboro is going to be as we go through this year and next year. I guess it will be our last race of the season next year. It’s close to home, so that’s a good thing.”
Compared to SHR and elsewhere, has anything struck you or stood out about how HMS does things?“I heard from the owner twice in two weeks, so that’s different! It’s interesting to see just the race shop, the structure and the way that everybody goes about it differently… there’s a million different ways you can do things. The thing that sticks out for me about Hendrick Motorsports in general, it’s truly run like a business that is part of an actual structure of how things flow and who you talk to. There’s just the depth of the business side and the racing side, it’s deep. That’s pretty eye-opening – just the structure from the whole thing. And I like structure. That’s something that has been good to see.”
To see behind the scenes at Hendrick and to have the success that you did knowing that you at times were able to beat them…“The 4 team itself was very structured. We had a great group of people that communicated well and did a lot of little things well, but also took the burden of some things that weren’t as structured within the organization. To be able to do those things and still run well was a burden for all the guys on the team. I had a very special group of people that succeeded in a structure that wasn’t as structured as what we’re in currently in this situation. I had a lot of success at Stewart-Haas Racing and all the things we did, I’m super proud of. I love the relationships that we had. It’s just vastly different cultures.”
How important is it for you in the analyst chair to know what’s going on with these cars and translate it for the people at home?“It’s priceless. This sport evolves quickly. To be understand the tires, the scenario that goes with how long these tires will last, how fast they go, what the feeling is and what all the scenarios are… listening to someone else’s team, I took my team for granted because we had been around for so long. To hear other people’s thoughts and process and understand all those things to be able to relate to the fans, it’s a pretty big deal to get a mid-year check of things that go with the evolution of our sport. It evolves quickly and can leave you behind quickly. To be still engrained in it and understand where everything’s at is always good.”
Going from a part-time broadcaster to full-time, what’s been the biggest challenge?‘It’s just a different group of people. I’m intrigued with how to communication with people and how things are structured. On the television side, it’s a lot of people. To be able to know and understand how that process works and be able to work with different people… I just have a different team that I work with. I’ve been fortunate to not to have to get to know Clint (Bowyer). Mike (Joy), I’ve not known personally, but to get to know him and be able to be comfortable in the booth, we’ve had a good time calling the races and have been able to evolve and get better as the year has gone on. It’s been very different living outside the infield. The things I’ve been had to worry about the most this year is where we’re going to eat dinner at night. It’s much different than how you function in the infield.”
How much do you appreciate or are you intrigued with how another team operates?“Like I said earlier, I was fortunate to have a very, very good race team at Stewart-Haas. To walk into another very, very good race team and see the things that go on and happen, it’s fun to get a look behind the curtain. Kyle is very good at whatever he races, but Cliff is also very understanding the fact that he’s off racing other things. How they talk about things and when they go through things with Kyle is very interesting. It seems like they want him to keep being Kyle. To be able to talk about the things they need in their car, how they structure things with Kyle and when they meet with him and why they do, that part to me is very insightful because we all tick a little different. Kyle likes to race all the time. Some guys don’t want to race all that. They just want to race the Cup car and show up on the weekend and do that. Some guys like to race the Xfinity car. There’s a balance for everybody that gets the most out of them. It seems they’ve leaned into letting Kyle be Kyle. That’s not always the case with everyone that drives in the Cup Series. Letting Kyle do Kyle things is surrounded by a group of people that want to be there because of him and how good he is.”
It’ll be a benefit for you to be in the car to stay current on how it’s reacting, but what about the repave and knowing how the track feels when you go back to the booth?“All that. If we run this race on Sunday on slick tires and you’ve got the tires going on and off, just understanding how far the soft tires will go… There’s a good possibility that if you do that and the soft-tire guys have to come to pit road under green, just all the little nuances of little things. The more detail that we have, the more we have to talk about and relay to the people and you guys to understand. I look at it that we want to teach people about what our sport is, as well, and the things that are happening. There’s a number of things that go into that in order to make the car go around the racetrack that people just have no idea.”

chevy racing–nascar–north wilkesboro

NASCAR CUP SERIES NORTH WILKESBORO SPEEDWAY TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT MAY 17, 2024

 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 North Wilkesboro Speedway.  Media Availability Quotes: Did you hear the announcement about the tournament bracket that they’re going to have for next year? “Yeah.. I don’t know probably every single detail about it, but I have heard of it. Yeah, it sounds interesting, especially starting at Atlanta (Motor Speedway) with it now being a speedway thing. But yeah, I think it has potential to add some excitement to our year and doing something a little different. I don’t have any issues with that.”
Should they give a playoff spot to the winner?“A playoff spot to the winner? They’re already going to be in.”
This place for so long was lost relic. Last year, everyone was so excited to see this place be revived and revitalized. Coming back this year and to know that we’re coming back for the All-Star Race next year, as well, what is it like now to come to North Wilkesboro and know that it’s normal for us to be racing here? “Yeah, I think it’s a good thing. This place has been around for a long time. It’s kind of in the heart of ‘NASCAR land’, with Charlotte being right down road and all that stuff. So yeah, I think it’s a good thing. Personally, I was excited to see that NASCAR or whoever spent a bunch of money to repave the place because that just told me that it was going to be around for a while, and they made that commitment pretty quickly. Yeah, I think it’s all positive. The fan turnout was great last year, and I hope that continues. I’ve seen a couple times in my career where we’ll have something new; it’ll go really good the first time and then it won’t after that. So, I just hope that this continues to be a positive event because it was last year, and I think that led to the money being spent on the racetrack, the resurface and all that stuff. Seemingly, it’s sticking around, so I hope the fans’ support and excitement continues now that the racetrack got the support that it needed to live on.”
You were a part of the first attempt to revive this place back in 2010. That revival was pretty short-lived. What do you think is the biggest difference between that and now what SMI and NASCAR has done with it? “Just money.. They have the money to spend and the resources to support it like it needs to be supported. Nowadays, asphalt racetracks across the country that aren’t affiliated with NASCAR, ISC, SMI or whatever you want to call them, struggle. They just do and I hate to say that, but a lot of them do. This place needed NASCAR’s involvement to become what it once was.” 
If Richmond goes away and we take that race to Mexico City or whatnot..“So Richmond will go away totally.. that’s the rumor?”
Well one of the two.. so, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had said on his podcast that he felt like it was the beginning of this kind of movement to get away from short-track racing again. The 1.5-mile racing is so good.. Are you worried as a short-track, pavement guy, that even at the Cup Series level, we might be getting rid of more short-tracks to have more 1.5-mile tracks, more road courses, stuff like that? “Yeah, I could kind of see where he’s coming from on that, right? Because the short-track racing has been so bad the last couple of years. And we all see it – the races at the mile-and-a-half tracks have been really good. But I don’t think that’s always a reason to get more of them. I always feel like less is more. The Bristol night race is a perfect example of less is more because you go there once a year; it’s super exciting and everybody loves the Bristol night race. And it’s because it only happens one time a year and it makes it special. Road course racing was really special and really cool because we used to do it twice, and now we do it 12 times, seemingly, a year and it’s become not-so-cool. So, I just think that the more that you do that, you lean into a direction and you just add more, more, more.. You can easily make things that are really exciting and neat still really quickly. So, I think we just need to be careful not to do that and put enough emphasis and importance into making our short-track package better because we do have great short-tracks around the country that we can lean into and race at. We just need to make our cars structured into a position that we can put on better shows, and I think we can do that. There’s no reason why we can’t. We’ve had it before, so why can’t we recreate that moving forward? So, I would rather see just a better product on the short-track stuff than taking them away, for sure.
And I don’t think they’re taking them away, but I would hate to see a movement away from that, just because it’s an important part of our sport.”
How excited are you to get back into a super late model? “I’m looking forward to it. The last time I guess was New Smyrna there at the beginning of the year, so I’m excited to go run with those guys again. I hope we continue to progress and improve. It’s tough hitting one every two or three months, but I am excited to go and hopefully have a little fun. We’ll see.”
A lot of professional athletes, you can go and look at their contracts or look at their money situation. Where do you fall in that idea? “I don’t have a preference. It’s not up to me, I guess, at the end of the day, but I don’t really care one way or another.”

Max McLaughlin Ready For Memorial Day Weekend Doubleheader With Super DIRTcar Series, World of Outlaws Late Models


“Mad Max” Starts his weekend racing in North Carolina, before heading to New York

WEEDSPORT, NY (May 17, 2024) – One of the most versatile drivers in motorsports will try to complete “the double” on Memorial Day weekend. But not the one you’re thinking of.

Max McLaughlin will race in two different Series May 24-26. He’ll start the weekend at Ultimate Motorsports and RV Park in Elkin, NC, with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models, May 24-25, before flying to Syracuse to race with the Super DIRTcar Series at Weedsport Speedway on May 26.

It’s the second time McLaughlin will get behind the wheel of a Big Block Modified since last year’s World of Outlaws World Finals in November.

He said he’s taking some notes from his last time in a Modified as a lesson of what not to do at Weedsport. 

“We were competitive at Port Royal,” McLaughlin said. “I made some stupid adjustments trying to treat it like it’s a Late Model, but it’s not. We had speed there. The biggest thing is I’m relying on (Heinke-Baldwin Racing crew members) Brandon (Ford), Emmett (Waldron), and Jimmy (Phelps) to do their thing with the car, and I’m going to show up and drive. 

“I’ve always owned my own stuff, so I’m kind of leaving it to the HBR guys to set it up for me. I just have to worry about driving.”

McLaughlin’s Super DIRTcar Series return comes at a track he’s been successful at, scoring his first career Series victory at Weedsport during OktoberFAST in 2020. He’s also aiming to keep the momentum in a Big Block he had at the end of 2023, where he finished the season with three top fives and four consecutive top 10s in his last four races, including a runner-up finish at Super DIRT Week.

“[Weedsport’s] probably the place I’m most comfortable,” McLaughlin said. “I was pretty good at the end of the year everywhere we went. My crew chief at the beginning of the year was Tyler Murray. He’s a young kid, and he’s really sharp. Him and I work together really good and I thought if I stayed in the Modified we were going to start being a force. I would’ve liked to see what we would’ve done there.”

In his new venture with the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models, McLaughlin has already found success, winning a preliminary Feature during the Alabama Gang 100 at the Talladega Short Track in April.

Despite finding Victory Lane, McLaughlin said he knows he has a long way to go to compete for wins consistently.

“I still have a lot of proving to do,” McLaughlin said. “I haven’t really shown that I belong 100 percent. But the win was really cool. We’ve had some good success and some good speed. We just have to put whole nights together. When we do put a whole night together, we can do it. I just have to be smarter with my adjustments.

“We brought on Tyler now. He doesn’t know much about Late Models, but he didn’t know much about Big Blocks halfway through the year, either. I’m pretty confident in his knowledge that he can be a top crew chief in the sport. G.R. (Smith, the car owner) has been great. He’s taught me a lot about these cars so far, and it’s really helped speed up the learning process. I got a long way to go to put my name close to any of these guys yet, but it’s been a lot of fun.”

The two-day event at Ultimate Motorsports Park will be a home state race for the Mooresville, NC native, who lives less than an hour from the track. It’ll also be staged like Talladega with split Features on Friday and a massive finale on Saturday – paying $35,000-to-win/$3,000-to-start.

While McLaughlin isn’t running two different races in one day he’ll still have to manage a bit of traveling logistics.

“We land at like noon (on Sunday), and we’re going straight to the racetrack,” McLaughlin said. “I saw some pictures of everyone working on my new trailer up there. It’s pretty cool that they have a lot of interest and they’re putting a lot of effort into it. 

“It makes me want to go up there and run good. And I’m thankful to have a car owner like G.R. Smith that lets me do it.”

McLaughlin kicks off his weekend with the two-night World of Outlaws Elkin Late Model Showdown at Ultimate Motorsports and RV Park on Friday and Saturday, May 24-25. Then, he’ll head to Weedsport Speedway with the Super DIRTcar Series on Sunday, May 26, for the Heroes Remembered 100. For tickets, CLICK HERE.

If you can’t make it to the track, watch all Super DIRTcar Series and World of Outlaws Late Models action live on DIRTVision, either online or with the DIRTVision app.

THE SMOKEY SHOW: Chris Madden Conquers Raceway 7 For First Series Win of 2024

Madden led all 40 Laps at Raceway 7 to score his 37th career World of Outlaws win

CONNEAUT, OH (May 16, 2024) – In a Feature that included twists and turns across Conneaut, OH’s Raceway 7, Chris Madden showed the way for his first win of the 2024 World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models season.

Beginning the night with a win in Heat 3, Madden put himself in the redraw and drew the outside pole, starting on the front row next to Cade Dillard for the 40-lap Feature.

From the drop of the Gorsuch Performance Green Flag, “Smokey” quickly took the lead from Dillard on the high side, using his No. 44 machine to his advantage to create a gap between him and the stout field of Late Models.

Continuous packs of lapped cars hampered Madden’s chances of getting a large gap on the field, giving Brandon, FL driver Kyle Bronson a chance to take away the lead.

When Bronson had his only formidable chance to get by Madden, the only caution flag of the Feature flew with 15 laps to go. The cause was Brandon Sheppard, who blew a right rear tire, putting his points lead in jeopardy.

When the race resumed, Madden got a solid jump on Bronson and kept command of the race.

The closing stages of the Feature saw Bronson using every inch of the track to make his car work. But Madden was too strong and was the first to cross under the twin checkered flags to win the $10,000 bounty.

“We’ve been running good, we just had to get it all together and it hasn’t shown,” Madden said. “We’ve had the speed; we’ve just haven’t been able to put a whole night together. So, we did that and got the lead off the start there. Obviously, that was a big key to it by being in the right place at the right time, then the caution and lap traffic and our tire going down.

“Everything went the way we needed it to tonight for a change instead of going wrong. So, maybe our luck has turned around for a change. We had a great race car throughout the night. Hats off to my guys so that we we’re able to get it done.”

Bronson came home second, happy with the progress of the team as he looks forward to continuing the hunt for his first Feature win of 2024.

“I think we ran over something on the track from the caution about 15 (laps) to go,” Bronson said. “I had one chance to roll (Madden) on the outside there right before the caution came out, so I felt like we we’re gonna get by. But the tire was going down and I couldn’t really turn down the corner the way I wanted it to.

“Overall, I think our car is really good right now. We’re heading in the right direction, got a lot of good folks helping us out, and really looking forward to the next race. It’s been a long time since I’ve said that, but I really do look forward to winning some of these races and seeing what our car can do.”

Dillard rounded out the night’s podium, hoping to have held the lead after a strong night that included a Dirt King Simulator Hottest Hot Lap and Simpson Quick Time Award.

“We definitely had the car to win,” Dillard said. “Madden was good there and got me on the start. We had a third-place car in the Feature, and we brought it home third. We just keep on marching forward and eventually and hopefully the win will come.”

Nick Hoffman took the fourth-place finish after the Feature. With the finish, and Sheppard’s woes, Hoffman is the new leader of the points standings by a slight two-point margin.

MD3 Rookie of the Year contender Dustin Sorensen scored his first top five of the season with his fifth-place result in the Feature. With the result, he extended his points lead on Evans, GA driver Cody Overton by 16 points.

Lake Elmo, MN’s Brent Larson’s 10-pace climb in the Feature rewarded him the FOX Factory Hard Charger Award.

The Heat winners from Raceway 7 included Dillard (Heat 1), Madden (Heat 2), Bronson (Heat 3), and Hoffman (Heat 4).

Dave Hess Jr and Dennis Erb Jr made their way into the Feature with wins in the two Last Chance Showdown races.

Up Next: The World of Outlaws CASE Late Models cross into Pennsylvania for three more nights of racing over the weekend, with Bedford Speedway (May 17), Marion Center Raceway (May 18), and Path Valley Speedway (May 19) up next for the “Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet.” For more information and tickets, CLICK HERE.

Burton, Motorcraft/DEX Imaging Team Preparing For All-Star Weekend At North Wilkesboro


May 16, 2024


Harrison Burton and the No. 21 Motorcraft/DEX Imaging team are headed to North Wilkesboro Speedway for this weekend’s All-Star races.

It’s a familiar venue for the No. 21 team as the Wood Brothers ran 46 races there from 1957 until the track lost its Cup date in 1996. They had two poles there, both by the late team founder Glenn Wood (in 1958 and 1959) and two wins, both by the late Marvin Panch (in 1963 and 1964).

All told the team had 14 top-five finishes and 23 top-10s.

The 5/8-mile track lay dormant after the 1996 races and the prospects of racing there again seemed unlikely, but has experienced a revival in recent years, and this weekend’s event is the second straight All-Star race to be held there.

“Obviously it’s really cool to be racing again at such a historic venue as North Wilkesboro,” said Jeremy Bullins, crew chief of the Motorcraft/DEX Imaging Mustang Dark Horse, which is entered in the Open race as drivers in that preliminary event seek to earn a starting berth in the All-Star race.

Bullins said this year’s All-Star weekend events will be unique due to the different tires available to teams this year and because of the new pavement that has been added since last year.

Goodyear will offer a convention tire known as the “Prime” tire, and fans can identify them by the yellow lettering on the tires.

An “Option” tire will be offered as well. The Option tires are essentially a wet weather tire but with slick tread.

These tires, which will carry red lettering, are expected to offer more grip initially but wear quicker, leading to more fall off of lap times.

Then, if rain wets the track, there’s the regular wet weather tire, which will have visible treads and carry white lettering.

“This year, with the repave, is likely to look like a much different race,” Bullins predicted. “And everyone has a lot of questions about how the Option tire is going to drive and how long will it last.

“Hopefully we can learn what we need to in practice to race our way through the Open and get in the big show for the All-Star race.”

Practice at North Wilkesboro is set for Friday at 4:35 p.m. Eastern Time to be followed by Open qualifying at 5:40 and All-Star qualifying at 6:20.

The 100-lap Open race is scheduled to start just after 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. The top two finishers will advance to the All-Star race along with one driver selected by a fan vote.

The 200-lap main event should get the green flag just after 8 p.m. Sunday.

FOX Sports 1 will carry the TV coverage.

CHEVROLET TOPS INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRACTICE FOR SECOND DAY AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

CHEVROLET IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES INDIANAPOLIS 500 INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA TEAM CHEVY PRACTICE REPORT MAY 16, 2024 CHEVROLET TOPS INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRACTICE FOR SECOND DAY AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY Pato O’Ward, driver of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, and Scott McLaughlin, driver of the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet, led Team Chevy in first and second respectively on the third day of practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500.O’Ward’s fastest lap of 228.861 mph set speed over the NTT INDYCAR SERIES field, with McLaughlin trailing slightly with 227.316 mph.Chevrolet finished with five in the top-ten representing the Bowtie brand at the conclusion of Thursday’s practice session.A total of 1,896 laps were completed during Thursday’s on-track activity, with Chevrolet completing 878 laps.Friday’s practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is scheduled from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow.Fast Friday will see the boost turned up, where drivers and teams get a bump to 1.5 bar from 1.3 bar, adding approximately 100 horsepower ahead of Saturday’s practice and the first day of Indianapolis 500 qualifying. TEAM CHEVY TOP-10 PRACTICE RESULT:Pos. Driver1st      Pato O’Ward (228.861 mph)2nd    Scott McLaughlin (227.316 mph)5th     Josef Newgarden (226.684 mph)8th     Ed Carpenter (226.115 mph)9th     Will Power (225.675 mph)
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING (Quotes);Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:“That was a good day for us. The No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet team just keeps working hard to get the car in the window. We did some qualifying runs today, and while I wish we had more time for those, the rain had other plans. There are no big issues, though, so I’m happy. Tomorrow is Fast Friday; time to go fast.” Callum Ilott, No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:“That was a really good day for the team. The No. 6 NTT DATA Arrow McLaren Chevrolet team made some big improvements overnight and did a good job sorting everything out. We started the day with race runs, and the car continues to feel better and more comfortable. The afternoon was cut short a bit by weather, but I got a good feeling for our qualifying setup, as well. I think we’re in a good place going into tomorrow when everything gets turned up a bit. The team is working well together right now, and tomorrow we’ll see where we really stand.” Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:“We had another very good day today, and I’m leaving the day feeling pretty strong in traffic. The No. 7 VELO Arrow McLaren Chevrolet is in a good window. I’m looking forward to turning up the boost tomorrow for Fast Friday and focusing on qualifying.”
Kyle Larson, No. 17 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:“The day didn’t go as we hoped. When we wanted to do runs in a pack, there were no packs on the track. When we wanted to do single-car runs, cars would pull out in front of me. It was frustrating.”
Brian Campe, Technical Director at Hendrick Motorsports and Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 17 Arrow McLaren’s Indianapolis 500 Race Strategist:“We haven’t got as much running as we’d like to today, which happens around here with rain and things like that. We’re prepared. Kyle (Larson) is just working through all of the procedures for qualifying. We’ve got a lot of those boxes ticked there. Kind of got bit by some traffic, and then by the rain, so we haven’t got a full qualifying sim in but we’re trying to check as many boxes as we can.” You’ve worked with many great ones at the speedway. You’re talking about some of the most well-rounded drivers of the last ten years or so – Juan Pablo Montoya, Kyle Larson’s name comes to mind. Do you see similarities in the two?“Sure. I think you could easily draw the similarities. I think while you’re in it, you don’t realize it but in maybe a couple of weeks, we’ll talk about it in, and it’ll be come more clear. We’re focused on making the best qualifying effort with the weather. Not sure what’s going to happen the next two days. We’re just really focused on that.” When you were here with Juan (Pablo Montoya), including winning in 2015, you had the benefit of experience. He was a former winner. How different is the process with a true INDYCAR Rookie in Kyle Larson?“The driving part is well taken care of; the skill part is checked. It’s just the procedure differences – leaving pit lane, all the buttons to push and all those things, things to remember, and the fact he can actually adjust the car, which is just laps – he’ll get that figured out.” He adjusts his sprint car and midget a lot, but I don’t think he bothers…“I think that speaks to his skill and focus on his driving. We’ll certainly help him out here. We have the telemetry and we’ve been adjusting ourselves too, and just telling him what we think he needs to do and then he responds. So, it’s going well.” When you left Team Penske to join Hendrick Motorsports, did you think you would be back for the Indianapolis 500?“No. I never thought this would be a possibility, so I really appreciate the opportunity, Mr. Hendrick, Jeff Andrews, Gavin (Ward), Zak (Brown), and everyone at Arrow McLaren to put that trust in me to come back over here after being away for a while. I’m really enjoying it.” How much translation do you have to do with Kyle (Larson) from INDYCAR jargon into NASCAR dialect?“There is a little bit, but it’s a racecar, right? He speaks racecar pretty well, and everyone here understands. It’s just a racecar, right? Sure, they look different, but when you get down to the stuff that matters, it’s all the same.” You didn’t get the start today you may have wanted with the engine change and put you behind timing-wise. Where do you stand with qualifying looming?“I think we’re probably a run or two behind from where we want to be. You know, it happens. We had the unfortunate of changing an engine, but the reliability and power are most important. Chevrolet, we didn’t want to ruin a day by having an engine change in the middle of the session, so it the best thing for us to do and it’s just part of the month of May. Things come you don’t expect, and you just adjust.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 23 Dreyer & Reinbold Chevrolet:“Weather was another issue (today), a little bit of a stop and start, but we got through some things we needed to. Found a comfort level that I needed in the race trim. We came back out for qual sims, but of course it rained. Looking forward to going fast and left tomorrow a whole lot tomorrow with the added boost. Added horsepower, higher speeds, good times.”
Conor Daly, No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Chevrolet:“There’s a few bits and bobs and I think they know definitely know what it is (referring to issues on his run that ended his day). That’s good. We can fix it. It could have been way worse, so pretty thankful for that not being way worse. Honestly, that run alone makes me feel a lot better because that was our first time actually going into qual trim and the car was super easy to drive. It was pretty decent in qual trim. We didn’t even have to change gears or anything in the course of the qual run. Just to have that speed in it that we had, I think we’re not upset about it, and overall in the race running, we’re okay. We want to win this race, so we need to fight with the Palous and the McLaughlins, and those guys look really good. I haven’t seen Colton (Herta) out there yet, but he looks good as well. We just need a couple more pieces, but obviously now we’re in qual mode. We’ll see what happens. We’re going to gain, we just need a few more things.” Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet:“It was an awkward day and not totally how we planned it. We had an issue earlier in the day that cost us some track time which is frustrating. We were able to sort everything out, but I wasn’t able to get as many laps as I wanted to. My teammates were able to do more work on qualifying simulations so we will look at what they were able to do. We will be in a good place heading into tomorrow.” Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet:“We started the day with qualifying simulations, and it felt good. We checked off our list today and are continuing to work through everything we need to ahead of this weekend. We tried to get some race running in at the end, but the weather didn’t cooperate long enough to do that. Ready for Fast Friday!” Christian Rasmussen, No. 33 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet:“We didn’t get too much running in, but we were able to focus on our qualifying simulations. I am learning and practicing everything that I need to do during a qualifying attempt, and I am feeling good. Each lap it gets easier and easier to keep my foot flat. Everyone wished for a bit of traffic running towards the end, but the weather in Indy this time of year is unpredictable. We will take what we worked on today into the rest of the week before we go all in on Saturday.” 
Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet:“We finished the second day of (Indianapolis) 500 practice. We had good progress. We finished 26th today, which is better than the last day. We are going to try to do another step tomorrow and try to do a good qualifying (run) on the weekend.”
PATO O’WARD, NO. 5 ARROW MCLAREN CHEVROLET – Thursday Practice End of Day Press Conference Transcript:THE MODERATOR: Wrapping up this Thursday practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ahead of the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge looking ahead to Fast Friday tomorrow,
But P1 today overall, Pato O’Ward in his 56 laps turned, top speed of 228.861 miles an hour, at least a top average speed around this two-and-a-half-mile oval. Driver of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet set to qualify for his fifth Indianapolis 500, best finish was second a couple of years ago.
Did you get all the boxes checked and that sort of thing today?
PATO O’WARD: Yeah, we did. We got a pretty fat tow lap on the board, which was unexpected, I would say. But yeah, I’m happy with my car.
We did race runs. We did qualifying runs. Obviously it doesn’t necessarily translate perfectly to when the boosts come up just because the speed is so different.
But I mean, tomorrow if it does rain out, at least we got a bit of a feeling of what the car is tending to want to do on a bit more trim level.
Q. Looks like maybe rain ends towards the morning, maybe some afternoon running, so it could be crucial with another 100 horsepower tomorrow?PATO O’WARD: Oh, yeah, you feel it. It’s so cool. Honestly, it’s one of the coolest parts about the whole process is just those four laps in qualifying. They can be very enjoyable, but they can be miserable, as well. Like you’ve got to get it right, and puts a lot of emphasis on — you’ll really see a lot of the work that these teams go through in the off-season making those things go as fast as possible.
Q. When you get that extra boost, does the track visually look different because things are coming at you a little bit faster?PATO O’WARD: Yeah, I mean, everything just gets — you feel the difference. I think the biggest thing is there’s so much more speed that you’re carrying through the corner. Front right takes a bit more of a beating, and whenever it does decide not to give you that peak grip from lap 1 to lap 4, that wall comes fast, really, really fast.
Q. Alex said last week that you also can hear the speed because the wind sounds a little bit different going —PATO O’WARD: You can hear the engine. You can hear the different pitch of the engine that it’s producing. It’s freaking badass.
Q. Is that a pitch you’d like to have all the time here?PATO O’WARD: Oh, my God, those boosts for racing would be gnarly. Too gnarly I’d say. I wouldn’t say no. Why not?
Q. You should have seen the engines in the ’90s, early ’90s. With the lack of running on Tuesday, like 20-something minutes, and then a couple hours yesterday, what’s the level of frustration that you have knowing that this forecast is just stopping all this extra running that you could have done and checked even more boxes off instead of just doing almost everything today?PATO O’WARD: Zero, I’d say. I don’t mind it. If it rains, it rains. If it doesn’t rain, it doesn’t rain. I’m enjoying the process either way. It’s really cool to be a part of it, and I feel like every year it goes on, you really get to kind of see what it is to Indianapolis and what it is to the INDYCAR community.
No, I mean, if it rains, I’ll just go to my bus. I had a lot of hours at the bus yesterday.But when we’ve actually had some time on the track, it’s been pretty intense. Like I didn’t get out all afternoon basically until it started raining again, and we got quite a few running laps.
Then today, it was a beautiful day. Right now it got a little cloudy. We almost got through our whole list of testing.
Q. With the cars being a little bit lighter, how much different does the car handle, especially in traffic?PATO O’WARD: I feel like that’s very weather dependent. To be honest, at least from my side, I haven’t really been able to tell the difference of balance shift with this new lighter aeroscreen on the superspeedway. I felt it on the road course and street course car balance, but I haven’t really felt it on the superspeedway. It’s not like last year we were slower. We weren’t. I think the speeds are pretty much what — you’ll probably see the same thing as you saw last year. It would be cool to go a little bit faster. It always makes it better for the spectacle.
Yeah, not really, not much change I’d say.
Q. I’m trying to be an optimist, but if tomorrow there is no running, presumably they would give you some time with the boost before qualifying. How much practice would you need say —PATO O’WARD: Oh, yeah. We’re going to need to get a few runs in with the boost. You’ll see guys today getting super consistent four-lap runs, but as soon as those boosts come up, some fourth laps for people are going to be like — I mean, you feel it. It’s just so much faster.
The car just goes to a different dimension with the boost. It’s really almost incomparable to what it is now. Right now you try and pepper it in as good as you can, but you’re going way faster. It’s a lot more downforce, but you’re also trimming more. It’s a very different — yeah, very different car at that point.
Q. They need to give you at least a couple hours —PATO O’WARD: Yeah. I think everybody would like to get at least two outings I would say. Problem around here is that there’s 34 cars, and if there’s another car on track, you’re getting towed, no matter how far back you are. You try and have maybe two, maybe three cars on track at the same time, nicely spaced out, but sometimes you just can’t time it, or people obviously will put their program in front of yours.
But as long as we can get a read of what it’s like.
Q. I understand where you are. You’re obviously in a good place. You’ve got a good car. But your teammate Kyle Larson had an engine change. I don’t know how many laps he ended up with, but he only had like 11 through mid-afternoon before he got out there and did some qual sims. Do you feel empathy for those guys who haven’t had much experience who haven’t gotten a lot of time over the last three days and do you feel like you have an edge over them?PATO O’WARD: I didn’t know they were going to do an engine change, and then I asked around and it seemed like it was a mileage thing, like it was going to happen. But obviously it’s not ideal for them to not get the same amount of laps, considering he’s new to INDYCAR. He’s new to the Indy 500. He’s new to basically everything that has to do with the Indy 500 and with the car and everything.
For them, I do hope that it doesn’t rain much more because I’m sure they’ll enjoy to get some laps in.
But Kyle looks comfortable. I think he’s fine. Like I said, today guys can be looking so comfortable, but as soon as the boosts come up, it might completely change direction, or it might be, oh, I feel as good or even better. Really got to see tomorrow.
Q. Obviously you got a little bit of full-field action the past few days, but today just consistently with a more packed track, was that something that you were looking forward to just to be on the track with a lot of the other drivers, as well?PATO O’WARD: Yeah, I was. It’s always fun to go out there and start playing around with everybody and just seeing kind of what cars are fast, what cars are not as strong as you or stronger than you. Just every lap around here, you learn.
Q. You said that you were pleased with your car and it felt good. What about it felt good, and why do you feel like you were able to go so fast today?PATO O’WARD: Just when it’s not trying to kill you, it’s a lot more enjoyable.
Q. Pato, to piggyback, if Friday and Saturday are washed out, how crazy is Sunday going to be?PATO O’WARD: What happens if that happens? Do we just push everything back two days? Like Saturday would be Sunday —
Q. Full field qualifying on Sunday. We’ll see. Depends on television, too.ALEX PALOU: It’s TV, so we would –PATO O’WARD: Would they shorten up the 34 qualifying to get Fast 12 and —
Q. I’m sure we’d try to get it all in on Sunday.PATO O’WARD: Yeah, I don’t know. Yeah, it’s beyond my knowledge, I guess.
Q. Pato, you mentioned earlier about everybody needs to have a shot at the extra boost if it does rain tomorrow, but is the scheduled amount of practice Saturday morning enough?PATO O’WARD: For everybody to get a shot? Probably not. But we’ll just see. It’s Indianapolis, man. It could say it was raining and then it’s like, oh, cleared out, and we’ll get two, three, four hours of running. It is what it is.
Q. We’ve all been at this track for a lot of years. You are relatively new but you’ve been here long enough to know that it’s really rare when you get full days in consecutively. How difficult is that from a team standpoint, a preparation standpoint? I guess a lot of people say the downtime or the boredom is probably the hardest part to deal with for you guys.PATO O’WARD: Honestly, sometimes I think it’s not a bad thing to have the rain because sometimes there is so much time to be doing so many changes, it’s so easy to get out of rhythm. Yeah, it is what it is.

NEVER COUNT TJ ZIZZO OUT IN CHICAGO

CHICAGO, IL (May 16, 2024) — For over 20 years, Top Fuel racer TJ Zizzo has been rolling into Rt. 66 Raceway chasing a dream. The Chicago native racing with his family team owned by his father Tony Zizzo, also a drag racing veteran, has proven time and time they are serious competitors. This weekend at the Gerber Collision & Glass Rt. 66 Nationals, May 17-19, Zizzo and his Rust-Oleum sponsored Top Fuel dragster will be looking to continue a streak of success with a consistent goal in mind. The team has won rounds and captured upset victories on race day, but standing in the winner’s circle hoisting the famed Wally trophy on Sunday afternoon is the ultimate prize.
 
“We are a family-owned team with crew members that have been with us for over 30 years,” said Zizzo, from his Chicago-based shop. “We come out to the races with winning as our number one goal. We have worked throughout the offseason making our race car better. Last year we built a new race car and made a big jump but this year we are in an even better position to really make quick runs and win some rounds. This Rust-Oleum Top Fuel dragster has been so close, and I think we can get there. I have so much confidence and cannot wait to get to the track.”

 
TJ Zizzo and Rust-Oleum Top Fuel team ready to get their season started at Route 66 Nationals,
photo credit Auto Imagery/Gary Nastase

This year Zizzo Racing and the entire NHRA racing community will have a special person on their minds as they enter race weekend in Chicago. Over the off-season, Chicagoan and NHRA Hall of Fame driver and team owner Don Schumacher lost his battle with cancer. Throughout the weekend there will be several opportunities to celebrate Schumacher’s life and accomplishments on and off the track. For Zizzo the loss is especially hard because Schumacher was a great friend, mentor and supporter of his race team and family.
 
“Don Schumacher is one of the major reasons Zizzo Racing is still getting to do what we love at the highest level,” said Zizzo. “He was a great friend and mentor. His impact on racing and the Chicago business community was massive. I think about him every day and every time I go into the shop, I am thankful for every opportunity, every conversation, and the words of encouragement he gave me and our team. He was one of the iconic figures in our sport and this weekend will be a celebration of his generosity and impact.”
 
Last year Zizzo and the Rust-Oleum Top Fuel team which also added support this season from Dundee Heating and AC, Indak, Blager Concrete,Master Truck and Trailer and recently announced an extension with Button Transportation raced to the semifinals from the No. 16 qualifying position. This was the third time Zizzo won rounds as the No. 16 qualifier at the Chicago national event. He raced to the semifinals, his best effort at his home track in over two decades. The veteran team has proven that when the chips are down, they will not give up.
“Winning from the No. 16 spot is hard but also there is no pressure,” said Zizzo. “I do not put pressure on myself no matter where we are qualified. For our team we just need to get runs to get the best information and we use every round of qualifying to get better on race day we always surprise people. I do not care where we are qualified as long as we are in the show. There are a lot of good race cars that will be racing in Chicago, and we will be ready for whoever we have to race.”
 
Zizzo’s best qualifying effort came in 2018 when he raced to the No. 5 spot only to be upset in the first round by Scott Palmer. In 2017, Zizzo qualified No. 8 and took out Pat Dakin and Brittany Force in the first two rounds only to be ousted by eventual winner Steve Torrence in the semifinals. That finish would stand as Zizzo’s best effort prior to his semifinal finish last year, but not the most memorable race.
 
As the No. 16 qualifier in 2012, Zizzo upset No. 1 qualifier and fellow Chicagoan Tony Schumacher in the first round before losing to Hillary Will in the quarterfinals. The first round race was an epic effort for Zizzo who was first off the starting line against the sure-fire Hall of Famer Schumacher, .092 to .120, and he never trailed in the drag race. Prior to that race Zizzo was 0-5 versus the world champion. As Schumacher crossed the finish line, his engine let go in a huge fireball.
 
“We have had so many memorable moments in Chicago we want to make some new memories this year,” said Zizzo. “Last year we almost made it to the final. We ran great in the first two rounds and then smoked the tires against Josh Hart in the semis. You look at the competition now and it will be a fun weekend. I think you could see the quickest Top Fuel field in history if the weather cooperates so we will need to be prepared.”
 
Zizzo has raced at Rt. 66 Raceway more than any other facility on the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series tour. He will be surrounded by family and friends throughout the weekend. The added support is something that Zizzo enjoys and relishes.
 
“We love racing in Chicago,” said Zizzo. “It is our hometown track. Our sponsor Rust-Oleum is right up the road, so we get great support from them. I have family and friends from all over Chicago come to the races. The guys from the body shop come out. It will be an amazing weekend, and we want to put on a good show. I am so glad we are back here racing.”
 
In addition to the on-track activities, Zizzo will bring back his traditional Saturday morning pancake breakfast for the fans and his fellow competitors. The fan-favorite event is a way for Zizzo and his team to say thank you for the support and have some fun engaging with his fan base. The pancake breakfast will once again be held at the Rust-Oleum pit area on Saturday morning starting at approximately 8:30 a.m. and after the breakfast Zizzo will be the featured guest for Nitro School and interactive Q&A stage show with NHRA announce Alan Reinhart in the professional pit area.
 
“One of the many things that set NHRA drag racing apart from all other sports is the fan access,” said Zizzo. “On Saturday I will be serving pancakes to fans and then during Nitro School Alan and I will give fans insight into how the cars work. For long-time fans it is a chance to say hello again and for new fans we hope to give them tips to enjoy the race day a little better. I know I will be signing tons of hero cards all weekend and that is what makes NHRA unique.”
 
Qualifying for the Gerber Collision and Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals will begin on Friday, May 17 with two sessions of the four professional categories. On Saturday, fans will be treated to two more qualifying sessions. The quickest 16 race cars, dragsters and motorcycles will race for the famed Wally trophy beginning at 11 a.m. on Sunday. The race will be broadcast nationally on FS1 Sunday evening.
 

JJ Yeley to Make Xtreme Outlaw Midget Debut at Millbridge with Petty Performance Racing

2003 USAC Triple Crown winner continuing passion of dirt track racing with new team owner

CONCORD, NC (May 16, 2024) – J.J. Yeley has spent his last 20 Memorial Day weekends competing in the most prestigious races in motorsports and this year he’ll add a new event to that list.

The NASCAR veteran and former USAC champion will make his debut with the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota at Millbridge Speedway – Tuesday-Wednesday, May 21-22 – for the DIAEDGE Double Down Showdown.

“Regardless of where I am in my life and career, I’ve always been a dirt guy,” Yeley said. “That’s always been my passion. That’s where I started my career. Even though I’ve spent 20 years in NASCAR, I’ve run IndyCar, I’ve always kept the dirt side of things close to my heart. It didn’t matter if it was Midgets or Sprint Cars.”

Yeley, 47, of Phoenix, AZ, will get behind the wheel of the Avanti Windows & Doors-sponsored, Stanton-powered Ripper Chassis Midget for one of open-wheel racing’s newest teams – Petty Performance Racing (PPR), which was founded by fellow Arizona-native and Avanti CEO Jerry Petty in fall 2023.

Though it’s been roughly 20 years since he last competed full-time in the USAC ranks, Yeley has found pockets of time to be able to keep in touch with his dirt roots. He made scattered starts in the mid-2000s after taking on NASCAR full-time, but soon made efforts to scale back on the dirt after a hard crash sidelined him.

“The scheduling was always more difficult to do,” Yeley said. “After I was injured in 2009 at Lakeside (Speedway) in a USAC Non-Wing Sprint Car, I pumped the brakes a little bit on some of the events that I did, and then became more comfortable going back and doing it.”

In April, Yeley competed in a USAC CRA Sprint Car race in Arizona, piloting one of Petty’s Non-Wing Sprint Cars to an eighth-place finish.

Petty has been a supporter and investor of dirt track racing for many years, sponsoring multiple events and putting the Avanti logo on the side of several cars across the country. He’s had a strong connection with the Yeley family in sponsoring J.J.’s father Jack, who won several Midget championships around Arizona in the 1980s and 1990s.

Petty broke new ground on the foundation of his PPR race team for 2024, putting a Non-Wing Sprint Car operation together for Indiana racer Kyle Cummins, and a new Midget for Yeley’s own endeavors this season.

“Jerry Petty has been a sponsor of my dad for the last couple years, fantastic guy,” Yeley said. “He reminds me of a modern-day J.W. Hunt.”

Yeley debuted the Midget at the Chili Bowl Nationals in January but had limited results after experiencing mechanical issues during the week.

“It wasn’t a good barometer for what I feel the car has the capabilities of,” Yeley said.

He said he’s resolved those issues and will be ready to go at Millbridge, despite the limited time he’s spent on track with the car.

“Gonna go at it a little bit blindly, but it’s nothing new to show up to the racetrack and just have to make adjustments, see if we can find the speed and do what we need to win the race,” Yeley said.

He’ll race Millbridge next week as one of the only driver, mechanic and crew chief entrants in the field. Yeley said as far back as his days as a full-time USAC racer, he has always been most comfortable as the head wrench on his equipment – something he feels gives him an edge over the competition.

“As far as calling the shots, I’ve always been best doing that myself,” Yeley said. “If it’s not a good night, there’s no one to blame other than myself. If it came down to hard work, perseverance, the success comes from having to do it yourself and not necessarily relying on other people to get the job done for you.”

It’s been almost two years since his last national Midget series start, but he hasn’t forgotten how to wheel. Yeley is taking the two-day event at Millbridge seriously, armed with great equipment, a “DIY” attitude and the spirit of hard work.

“I’m showing up to win,” Yeley said. “There’s no participation trophy in my world; there never has been.”

See Yeley and his new Petty Performance Racing ride compete against the stars of the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota at Millbridge Speedway next Tuesday-Wednesday night, May 21-22, in the third annual DIAEDGE Double Down Showdown.

Tickets will be on sale at the gate on race day. If you can’t be there in person, stream every lap live on DIRTVision.

🥊 THE 2024 PFL SEASON PLAYOFFS 🚨 TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW

The first leg of the 2024 PFL Playoffs will be taking place at the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee on August 2nd. This is the PFL’s first visit to Nashville, and is sure to be an event to remember. Don’t miss your chance to watch Heavyweights and Women’s Flyweights punch their ticket to the PFL World Championship.
PFL NASHVILLE TICKETS
The second event of the 2024 PFL Playoffs will take place on August 16th at the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida. MMA’s League makes its long-awaited return to Hollywood, Florida with Light Heavyweights and Lightweights looking to secure their title shot. 
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The third and final event of the 2024 PFL Playoffs goes down on August 23rd at The Anthem in Washington D.C. After a successful D.C. debut back in 2023, the PFL looks to one-up itself with Welterweights and Featherweights fighting for the opportunity to close out the year with a $1 million prize at the 2024 PFL World Championship.
PFL WASHINGTON, DC TICKETS

chevy racing–indycar–indianapolis practice 5/15

CHEVROLET IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES INDIANAPOLIS 500 INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA TEAM CHEVY PRACTICE REPORT MAY 15, 2024 CHEVROLET LEADS THE SECOND DAY OF PRACTICE, FINISHING WITH FOUR IN THE TOP-FIVE Scott McLaughlin, driver of the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet, led Team Chevy and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES field with a fastest speed of 229.493 mph at the checkered flag of the second day of Indianapolis 500 practice.McLaughlin’s teammate Will Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, followed in second with his fastest speed of 228.767 mph to give the Bowtie brand lead of the top two positions on day two.Chevrolet finished with four in the top-five, five in the top-seven, and six in the top-10 at the conclusion of Wednesday’s practice session.A total of 2,084 laps were turned overall on Wednesday, with Chevrolet completing 979 laps at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.Thursday’s practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been extended to accommodate for shortened days due to inclement weather, with Chevrolet drivers and teams on track from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. TEAM CHEVY TOP-10 PRACTICE RESULT:Pos. Driver1st     Scott McLaughlin (229.493 mph)2nd    Will Power (228.767 mph)4th     Josef Newgarden (227.675 mph)5th     Alexander Rossi (227.484 mph)7th     Pato O’Ward (226.965 mph)9th     Ryan Hunter-Reay (226.490 mph)
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING (Quotes);Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:“The No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet feels good. I ended the day really happy with the car. Obviously, the rain hasn’t cooperated in a perfect manner these first couple days, but it’s just part of the process sometimes. I’m looking forward to tomorrow when we’ll get more running in; it looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day. With the rain in the forecast for Fast Friday, our focus tomorrow will probably be on getting our qualifying car setup in a good place.” Callum Ilott, No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:“It was a pretty productive day, and it was nice to get some proper running in, as well. The car feels good; it’s very comfortable. We’ve been working hard and chipping away at it. There are a couple of clear things that we need to look at overnight, and hopefully we can sort that out for tomorrow, but I think overall, it’s not a bad start.” Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:“I think we got through a lot of what we were trying to do. We were getting close to completing everything. That’s the way it goes. I think the Arrow McLaren cars are in a really good window. I think Chevy has done a good job with some of the developments in the offseason. We feel good.”
Kyle Larson, No. 17 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:“There’s plenty of track time, so trying to remember that. I’m glad to have got out there and get running. Still trying to figure a lot out, and kind of work through the car balance some, timing of runs and all that. Maybe the timing of runs will becoming easier when the car balance gets better. Just trying to play around with things and try to be able to make runs and pass people like I see some others are able to pass pretty easily. There’s a lot of guys that just seem stuck, maybe. Just trying to figure that out. Overall, pretty happy with the few hours we’ve got. We’ll go back and talk to the teammates now, and listen in on what they were working through, what they felt, and if it matches up with what I’m feeling as well. Good to get out there.” Do you feel confident in the feeling you want from the car, or is that something you’re still having to learn?“I feel like know what I need to feel in traffic to maintain those runs, but then it’s like if you miss that a little bit or get some clean air, and then you’re now like weirdly loose, I feel like there are moments where it’s a little bit unpredictable when I feel the couple of times I’ve had a loose moment. Just talking to them and see what’s normal and all that. Tony (Kanaan) has been a great help throughout this evening in talking to him, but it would be nice to hear what the guys’ thoughts who were also in traffic today.” Are you looking forward to getting a full day in tomorrow?“I am. Sounds like there may be some qualifying trim runs, which will be interesting in seeing how that feels differently without the boost turned up. I think Friday doesn’t look good, so getting into that and keep learning.” Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet:“Today wasn’t a full day, but after an abbreviated open test and short day yesterday, it felt like a full day of running. Today went well and we were quite strong, before the conditions changed towards the end of the day. We are in a decent spot and happy with what we learned today. Looking forward to carrying on the program and hopefully the weather cooperates tomorrow.” Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet:“It is nice to finally get some decent running in today. The first day is all about building confidence and getting the car into a window where you can follow close. We did that today and feel good after running a full stint on a set of tires. There is still time to gain and confidence to build, but I am in a happy place to finish our first official day of running. Onto tomorrow!”  Christian Rasmussen, No. 33 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet:“Today has been a learning process, but it’s been good. We made great strides and I am feeling more comfortable. We spent most of the day peeling out downforce and it was like we couldn’t do it quickly enough, which is a good sign. I feel good and a lot better having half a day under my belt. I am feeling confident, and I can’t wait to get into tomorrow!” Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet:“It’s a very hard-working day. We tried a lot of things, but I was in clean air, no tow, so this is our work for today. Trying to get a better car for qualifying, trying to get confidence. We tried many, many different settings, so it was a good day.” With the track so busy today, was it tough to find a clean lap?“Every time we were looking for a hole, trying to get distance with cars in front, especially when you have a big pack of cars, it’s difficult and hard to find a no-tow lap. We did a good job, I think. Of course, I am last because I didn’t have a lap with any tow, but we learned a lot today. I think it was a good way to start the Indy 500.” Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet:“It’s great. I love this place. It’s always a privilege to run an Indy car around here. I very much felt that the last couple of years. I’ve just tried to enjoy the opportunity. It’s just cool to be here in an Indy car. To win it, is a whole other thing and I’m so grateful to be able to do that with Team Penske last year. Get win No. 19 for Roger (Penske). Just being here, driving the car, being able to qualify for the race, that’s a huge deal. I enjoy it. I enjoy it a little more after last year now. I love this place. It’s the best racetrack in the world.”
Will Power, No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet:“It can be frustrating to sit inside on the first couple days of practice for the Indianapolis 500 because of rain. You’ve been waiting to get back here for almost a year so you want to see what you have. It was good to finally get the Verizon Chevy out for a run. Very happy with the speed so far, but obviously a long way to go.”
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN, NO. 3 PENNZOIL TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – Wednesday Practice End of Day Press Conference Transcript:THE MODERATOR: Wrapping up this Wednesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway ahead of PPG presents armed forces qualifying this weekend and obviously the 108 running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, joined by the two quickest of the day, Scott McLaughlin, P1 overall. Scott, driver of the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet, set to qualify for his fourth Indianapolis 500 a top speed of 229.493 miles an hour in the 78 laps that you turned today. Kind of a busy day for you guys in the limited time we had this afternoon.
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, it was a pretty busy day. Well, the start of it was pretty slow, and then once we got out there, it was hustle and bustle just getting out there and finding some space, and traffic running was probably what we were working on. Race car feels really good, basically straight out of the truck. Even yesterday when we had those limited running, I felt really good there just from a balance perspective, and just had that confidence today.
But yeah, ran some really good runs in pretty dirty air deep in the pack and was able to pass a few cars, and that’s always a good sign.
Q. So much anticipation to get out there, everyone hates waiting for the track to dry. Once you got out there, what was the feeling like?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: It’s awesome. So boring, there’s only so much Netflix you can watch. I was over it. I watched about three movies but then I was ready to go once we got going, and I was happy as. When the car is good straight away, that’s a nice feeling. I feel that anticipation, as well, because it is quite a bit of anticipation just getting ready to go. I think this is two years in a row we’ve lost opening day. It’s a nice feeling.
Q. What were the three movies?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: There was one about Wembley. It was Kevin Hart, his roast, and I can’t remember now. Survivor. I actually watched an episode of survivor. Caught up with it.
Q. Some anniversaries this year, 50th anniversary Johnny Rutherford drove that car to victory in the Indy 500, 40th anniversary that Rick Mears drove that car to victory in the Indy 500. Do you look at things like that and say maybe this is my year?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: No, at the end of the day Indy chooses you, as we all know. But pretty cool. I actually didn’t know about Johnny’s — 50 years since he won in this car, too. I knew about Rick, obviously. Super cool. We did some really cool stuff with that car this morning, and I think that’s going to be some really cool stuff come race week that Pennzoil are putting out.
I count myself pretty privileged to work with a guy that won 40 years ago, and I’m excited to actually add a bit of history, but at the end of the day there’s so much yet to go, and we all know, and I’ll keep working.
Q. Scott, everybody has got practice plans starting March and April, but of course the rain can always throw those away. How much have y’all been able to get through in the very limited running that we’ve had over the last few hours?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Well, it’s not a huge amount at all, really. You have plans, absolutely, but they change a lot when you’re here, especially at this time of year.
I think we’re in — for me, I look at it, it’s the same for everyone. It’s not like anyone else is going out there and running. We’re all in the same box together. You’ve just got to make the most of the track time that you have, and I felt like we had a really good day today with how much we got through. We were able to sort of put the car away at 6:00 instead of running all the way to 7:00, even though the rain didn’t stop, so that was always our plan anyway.
It’s nice to be in that situation, but at the same time it can change quickly if you let it. You get a little bit complacent or whatever, so it’s important that we stick with it and keep focused, and hopefully we’re there or thereabouts.
Q. How much fun was that out there today?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Always fun. It’s always fun around here.
Q. Scott, I believe if you want to include April’s open test and then the past two days, of like the 26 scheduled hours, there was only about six of green flag time. With that in mind, you had the fourth most completed laps today. Was that kind of the strategy you were looking for, just to complete a lot of laps in a limited time?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, it was just a plan. We just ran through — obviously running through a lot of race trim stuff, a lot of traffic stuff. A lot of it’s also, for me, I feel like I’m improving year in, year out, and you just never stop learning. Sometimes it take a little bit to get back into the rhythm of things around here and understanding the timing, and that’s how guys like Takuma have won this race is understanding that stuff, and I’m trying to get a handle on that pretty early.
We’ll work on qualifying here tomorrow and whatnot, but at the same time, I think we’re in a lot better shape. For me mentally, just I’m a bit more focused on the right things, not being blase on the little details because it takes every little detail to be good here, and I think we made the most of our time.
Q. Scott, I see you’ve got a Kiwi contingent coming over with the Scott McLaughlin experience. Talk about that and how cool that’s going to be for you.SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I think it’s just something that we just wanted to — I guess this is an amazing experience for anyone even if you’re in the States already, but anyone internationally to come and experience, and to have that option for people to come in and enjoy it from the inner sanctum with me, it’s exciting. There’s going to be people here for the whole week next week from — I think from Monday onwards, so they’re going to be doing bits and pieces throughout Indy and then seeing Carb Day, parade, concerts, all that sort of stuff.
It’s exciting. It’s cool to be able to bring a little bit of a vibe to the INDYCAR event from the New Zealand contingent and just appreciate the support from everyone, whether they’re here or not.
Q. Your fourth Indy, how are you feeling going into this one?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I feel really good. I understand the race a lot more for sure. I think you just build a bit of experience every year, and it’s just invaluable, that experience. Someone like Taku who’s done 15, you want to have that experience, but you just try and soak everything up like a sponge and understand what you want from the car, and I feel like I’ve got a pretty firm understanding of what I want from the car, especially on an oval. It’s just a matter of putting the pieces of the puzzle together, and I think I’m in that frame of mind and that experience level where I can really sort of take it to the next level. Hopefully we can do that this year.

chevy racing–indycar–practice 5/15

CHEVROLET IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES INDIANAPOLIS 500 INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA TEAM CHEVY PRACTICE REPORT MAY 15, 2024 CHEVROLET LEADS THE SECOND DAY OF PRACTICE, FINISHING WITH FOUR IN THE TOP-FIVE Scott McLaughlin, driver of the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet, led Team Chevy and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES field with a fastest speed of 229.493 mph at the checkered flag of the second day of Indianapolis 500 practice.McLaughlin’s teammate Will Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, followed in second with his fastest speed of 228.767 mph to give the Bowtie brand lead of the top two positions on day two.Chevrolet finished with four in the top-five, five in the top-seven, and six in the top-10 at the conclusion of Wednesday’s practice session.A total of 2,084 laps were turned overall on Wednesday, with Chevrolet completing 979 laps at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.Thursday’s practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been extended to accommodate for shortened days due to inclement weather, with Chevrolet drivers and teams on track from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. TEAM CHEVY TOP-10 PRACTICE RESULT:Pos.  Driver1st      Scott McLaughlin (229.493 mph)2nd    Will Power (228.767 mph)4th     Josef Newgarden (227.675 mph)5th     Alexander Rossi (227.484 mph)7th     Pato O’Ward (226.965 mph)9th     Ryan Hunter-Reay (226.490 mph)
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING (Quotes);Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:“The No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet feels good. I ended the day really happy with the car. Obviously, the rain hasn’t cooperated in a perfect manner these first couple days, but it’s just part of the process sometimes. I’m looking forward to tomorrow when we’ll get more running in; it looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day. With the rain in the forecast for Fast Friday, our focus tomorrow will probably be on getting our qualifying car setup in a good place.” Callum Ilott, No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:“It was a pretty productive day, and it was nice to get some proper running in, as well. The car feels good; it’s very comfortable. We’ve been working hard and chipping away at it. There are a couple of clear things that we need to look at overnight, and hopefully we can sort that out for tomorrow, but I think overall, it’s not a bad start.” Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:“I think we got through a lot of what we were trying to do. We were getting close to completing everything. That’s the way it goes. I think the Arrow McLaren cars are in a really good window. I think Chevy has done a good job with some of the developments in the offseason. We feel good.”
Kyle Larson, No. 17 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:“There’s plenty of track time, so trying to remember that. I’m glad to have got out there and get running. Still trying to figure a lot out, and kind of work through the car balance some, timing of runs and all that. Maybe the timing of runs will becoming easier when the car balance gets better. Just trying to play around with things and try to be able to make runs and pass people like I see some others are able to pass pretty easily. There’s a lot of guys that just seem stuck, maybe. Just trying to figure that out. Overall, pretty happy with the few hours we’ve got. We’ll go back and talk to the teammates now, and listen in on what they were working through, what they felt, and if it matches up with what I’m feeling as well. Good to get out there.” Do you feel confident in the feeling you want from the car, or is that something you’re still having to learn?“I feel like know what I need to feel in traffic to maintain those runs, but then it’s like if you miss that a little bit or get some clean air, and then you’re now like weirdly loose, I feel like there are moments where it’s a little bit unpredictable when I feel the couple of times I’ve had a loose moment. Just talking to them and see what’s normal and all that. Tony (Kanaan) has been a great help throughout this evening in talking to him, but it would be nice to hear what the guys’ thoughts who were also in traffic today.” Are you looking forward to getting a full day in tomorrow?“I am. Sounds like there may be some qualifying trim runs, which will be interesting in seeing how that feels differently without the boost turned up. I think Friday doesn’t look good, so getting into that and keep learning.” Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet:“Today wasn’t a full day, but after an abbreviated open test and short day yesterday, it felt like a full day of running. Today went well and we were quite strong, before the conditions changed towards the end of the day. We are in a decent spot and happy with what we learned today. Looking forward to carrying on the program and hopefully the weather cooperates tomorrow.” Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet:“It is nice to finally get some decent running in today. The first day is all about building confidence and getting the car into a window where you can follow close. We did that today and feel good after running a full stint on a set of tires. There is still time to gain and confidence to build, but I am in a happy place to finish our first official day of running. Onto tomorrow!”  Christian Rasmussen, No. 33 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet:“Today has been a learning process, but it’s been good. We made great strides and I am feeling more comfortable. We spent most of the day peeling out downforce and it was like we couldn’t do it quickly enough, which is a good sign. I feel good and a lot better having half a day under my belt. I am feeling confident, and I can’t wait to get into tomorrow!” Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet:“It’s a very hard-working day. We tried a lot of things, but I was in clean air, no tow, so this is our work for today. Trying to get a better car for qualifying, trying to get confidence. We tried many, many different settings, so it was a good day.” With the track so busy today, was it tough to find a clean lap?“Every time we were looking for a hole, trying to get distance with cars in front, especially when you have a big pack of cars, it’s difficult and hard to find a no-tow lap. We did a good job, I think. Of course, I am last because I didn’t have a lap with any tow, but we learned a lot today. I think it was a good way to start the Indy 500.” Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet:“It’s great. I love this place. It’s always a privilege to run an Indy car around here. I very much felt that the last couple of years. I’ve just tried to enjoy the opportunity. It’s just cool to be here in an Indy car. To win it, is a whole other thing and I’m so grateful to be able to do that with Team Penske last year. Get win No. 19 for Roger (Penske). Just being here, driving the car, being able to qualify for the race, that’s a huge deal. I enjoy it. I enjoy it a little more after last year now. I love this place. It’s the best racetrack in the world.”
Will Power, No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet:“It can be frustrating to sit inside on the first couple days of practice for the Indianapolis 500 because of rain. You’ve been waiting to get back here for almost a year so you want to see what you have. It was good to finally get the Verizon Chevy out for a run. Very happy with the speed so far, but obviously a long way to go.”
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN, NO. 3 PENNZOIL TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – Wednesday Practice End of Day Press Conference Transcript:THE MODERATOR: Wrapping up this Wednesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway ahead of PPG presents armed forces qualifying this weekend and obviously the 108 running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, joined by the two quickest of the day, Scott McLaughlin, P1 overall. Scott, driver of the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet, set to qualify for his fourth Indianapolis 500 a top speed of 229.493 miles an hour in the 78 laps that you turned today. Kind of a busy day for you guys in the limited time we had this afternoon.
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, it was a pretty busy day. Well, the start of it was pretty slow, and then once we got out there, it was hustle and bustle just getting out there and finding some space, and traffic running was probably what we were working on. Race car feels really good, basically straight out of the truck. Even yesterday when we had those limited running, I felt really good there just from a balance perspective, and just had that confidence today.
But yeah, ran some really good runs in pretty dirty air deep in the pack and was able to pass a few cars, and that’s always a good sign.
Q. So much anticipation to get out there, everyone hates waiting for the track to dry. Once you got out there, what was the feeling like?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: It’s awesome. So boring, there’s only so much Netflix you can watch. I was over it. I watched about three movies but then I was ready to go once we got going, and I was happy as. When the car is good straight away, that’s a nice feeling. I feel that anticipation, as well, because it is quite a bit of anticipation just getting ready to go. I think this is two years in a row we’ve lost opening day. It’s a nice feeling.
Q. What were the three movies?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: There was one about Wembley. It was Kevin Hart, his roast, and I can’t remember now. Survivor. I actually watched an episode of survivor. Caught up with it.
Q. Some anniversaries this year, 50th anniversary Johnny Rutherford drove that car to victory in the Indy 500, 40th anniversary that Rick Mears drove that car to victory in the Indy 500. Do you look at things like that and say maybe this is my year?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: No, at the end of the day Indy chooses you, as we all know. But pretty cool. I actually didn’t know about Johnny’s — 50 years since he won in this car, too. I knew about Rick, obviously. Super cool. We did some really cool stuff with that car this morning, and I think that’s going to be some really cool stuff come race week that Pennzoil are putting out.
I count myself pretty privileged to work with a guy that won 40 years ago, and I’m excited to actually add a bit of history, but at the end of the day there’s so much yet to go, and we all know, and I’ll keep working.
Q. Scott, everybody has got practice plans starting March and April, but of course the rain can always throw those away. How much have y’all been able to get through in the very limited running that we’ve had over the last few hours?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Well, it’s not a huge amount at all, really. You have plans, absolutely, but they change a lot when you’re here, especially at this time of year.
I think we’re in — for me, I look at it, it’s the same for everyone. It’s not like anyone else is going out there and running. We’re all in the same box together. You’ve just got to make the most of the track time that you have, and I felt like we had a really good day today with how much we got through. We were able to sort of put the car away at 6:00 instead of running all the way to 7:00, even though the rain didn’t stop, so that was always our plan anyway.
It’s nice to be in that situation, but at the same time it can change quickly if you let it. You get a little bit complacent or whatever, so it’s important that we stick with it and keep focused, and hopefully we’re there or thereabouts.
Q. How much fun was that out there today?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Always fun. It’s always fun around here.
Q. Scott, I believe if you want to include April’s open test and then the past two days, of like the 26 scheduled hours, there was only about six of green flag time. With that in mind, you had the fourth most completed laps today. Was that kind of the strategy you were looking for, just to complete a lot of laps in a limited time?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, it was just a plan. We just ran through — obviously running through a lot of race trim stuff, a lot of traffic stuff. A lot of it’s also, for me, I feel like I’m improving year in, year out, and you just never stop learning. Sometimes it take a little bit to get back into the rhythm of things around here and understanding the timing, and that’s how guys like Takuma have won this race is understanding that stuff, and I’m trying to get a handle on that pretty early.
We’ll work on qualifying here tomorrow and whatnot, but at the same time, I think we’re in a lot better shape. For me mentally, just I’m a bit more focused on the right things, not being blase on the little details because it takes every little detail to be good here, and I think we made the most of our time.
Q. Scott, I see you’ve got a Kiwi contingent coming over with the Scott McLaughlin experience. Talk about that and how cool that’s going to be for you.SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I think it’s just something that we just wanted to — I guess this is an amazing experience for anyone even if you’re in the States already, but anyone internationally to come and experience, and to have that option for people to come in and enjoy it from the inner sanctum with me, it’s exciting. There’s going to be people here for the whole week next week from — I think from Monday onwards, so they’re going to be doing bits and pieces throughout Indy and then seeing Carb Day, parade, concerts, all that sort of stuff.
It’s exciting. It’s cool to be able to bring a little bit of a vibe to the INDYCAR event from the New Zealand contingent and just appreciate the support from everyone, whether they’re here or not.
Q. Your fourth Indy, how are you feeling going into this one?SCOTT McLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I feel really good. I understand the race a lot more for sure. I think you just build a bit of experience every year, and it’s just invaluable, that experience. Someone like Taku who’s done 15, you want to have that experience, but you just try and soak everything up like a sponge and understand what you want from the car, and I feel like I’ve got a pretty firm understanding of what I want from the car, especially on an oval. It’s just a matter of putting the pieces of the puzzle together, and I think I’m in that frame of mind and that experience level where I can really sort of take it to the next level. Hopefully we can do that this year.

Todd Cooney Building World of Outlaws Dream in 2024 as Driver, Team Owner

Todd Cooney won his first World of Outlaws CASE Late Models Feature as an owner for Ryan Gustin at the Dairyland Showdown

CONNNEAUT, OH (May 15, 2024) – Before the conclusion of the 2023 World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models season at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, Ryan Gustin came to Todd Cooney looking for a fresh start in 2024. 

Despite having no resources to start with, Cooney took in his fellow Iowan, and Gustin’s tire specialist Noah Bushman to expand his team to two cars. 

A few months later, they were already in Victory Lane during the Ice Bowl at the Talladega Short Track in January. Then, again, during the King of the Mountain at Smoky Mountain Speedway in April. And then again in May for a $25,000 score at Mississippi Thunder Speedway during the Dairyland Showdown with the World of Outlaws Late Models. 

“Oh man, I started this deal with myself (last year),” Cooney said. “Then, Ryan and I talked in October of last year. But after Charlotte, we didn’t have a truck, a trailer, race cars or motors. We didn’t have anything for him starting off. It was just me, him, and Noah. We had a dream that we were gonna make this deal happen. Noah found Tim Douglas to be the crew chief, and he fully believed in what we were doing, knowing we had nothing to offer. 

“So, to build a team from nothing against the best Late Models in the country and go out there to compete and win, it feels like a fairytale, to be honest. I really don’t know how to explain it because I’m emotionally at awe. It still doesn’t feel real. I can’t think of anyone who built a team in this amount of time and can run with these guys. I’m speechless. I just tell everyone that this is a dream.”  

“The Reaper” was on Cooney’s short list of drivers he’d trust to drive his cars. With their families crossing paths through multiple generations, Cooney said he’s excited to continue the journey with Gustin for years to come. 

“There’s only a few people I’d ever want to drive for me, and Ryan is one of them,” Cooney said. “When he said he wanted to do something different, I was completely bluffed that he would even consider driving for me. I’ve known Ryan since he was super little. I raced with his dad and our grandfathers raced together, so our family ties go way back. He knows how passionate I am about the sport. He believes in what we’re doing and it’s going to pay off in the long run.” 

Shortly after the 2024 season commenced, the Todd Cooney Racing team made the change to Infinity Chassis by Wells Motorsports – becoming the first national touring Late Model team to pilot the new car. While still working out some kinks, Cooney is certain they will make it work with the help of the Wells family on their side. 

“Before the World of Outlaws, nobody knew who I was,” Cooney said. “I talked to Eric Wells and the whole family made me feel like home. They treat you like a million dollars and do what they say they are going to do. We knew this car was being made about a year and a half ago. Of course, we had to keep it under the radar. I told him I wanted to play ball and be a part of it. He’s done exactly what he said he would do. The process is much different to the other chassis builders. 

“The teamwork has been unreal. Eric and Tim (Douglas) speak almost every day. Tim, [Infinity Chassis driver Brandon Overton] and Ryan speak all the time. Brandon has helped Ryan out by giving him ideas to try on his Late Model and it’s went well. I don’t care what anyone says, [Brandon] is a team player and he is awesome. I’d like to think we’re giving back a little with Tim sharing things to Eric, and it’s been a whole team effort between all of us. 

On April 14, Todd Cooney Racing announced that three-time World of Outlaws CASE Late Models champion Billy Moyer will drive a No. 21 Late Model for Todd Cooney Racing in select races this year. Cooney said he hopes that the veteran’s experience and knowledge can help push the team further into developing a powerhouse team for the future. 

“We hope to do some (trophy hunting) with (Billy),” Cooney said. “Hopefully, he can bring the wealth of knowledge so we can learn some things off of him. I think we’ll give him some new ideas or teach new things and hopefully we’ll have the team running good. At the end of the day, Billy Moyer is Billy Moyer. He doesn’t forget how to drive; you just need to have him in the right position and the right people helping out.” 

Gustin, in his No. 19R ride, and Cooney, in his No. 30 car, will return to trophy this week with the World of Outlaws Late Model during the Series’ 2024 Ohio-Pennsylvania swing, which features four races in four straight days. They include Raceway 7 (Thursday, May 16), Bedford Speedway (Friday, May 17), Marion Center Raceway (Saturday, May 18) and Path Valley Speedway (Sunday, May 19). To see more information about the events, CLICK HERE

If you can’t make it to the tracks, you can watch every World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model race live on DIRTVision

Cruz Pedregon–chicago advance

Cruz Pedregon

NHRA Route 66 Nationals – Chicago

Pre-Race Report

Quotes for the upcoming Chicago race– 

Cruz Pedregon, two-time Funny Car World Champion

I’ve been fortunate in my career to win races throughout the country, at some tracks more than others. But there are a few races that have eluded me, and I’d really love to get that first win at Chicago. 

It’s a great facility, really beautiful, state of the art, and we love the fans there. It’s like a home game for our primary sponsor, Snap-on with its headquarters right up the road in Kenosha, Wisconsin. So, for many reasons, we would love to get a win there. 

The car and the team are rolling right now, and the last race is proof we can go the distance. We have a car that lost a close last race, but we know it’s capable of winning.

We are definitely looking forward to Chicago, and the team has been working hard prepping for the busier part of the schedule this time of year with back-to-back races coming soon…and we’ll be ready.

Name on the side of Cruz’s car – Snap-on Nitro Franchisee 

·       Check out the side of Cruz’s car for the name of Snap-on Nitro Franchisee Bill Knippenberg who has been in racing, himself, for more than 30 years.

·       He drives late model and dirt modified race cars after decades of racing asphalt late models. When he’s not working with his Snap-on franchises, he works with a dirt oval track much like the one where Cruz got his start.

·       Bill has his name on the Snap-on Makers and Fixers Dodge® and he took Cruz along one of his routes this week to meet makers and fixers in the shops his team calls on in the area.

·       If you’re a maker and fixer like the customers Cruz visited with this week, Snap-on is asking you to follow Makers and Fixers on Instagram and share your own stories @Makersandfixers or makersandfixers.com.

Follow Cruz and Snap-on on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

To see the latest Cruz news, like his Facebook page, on Twitter, and Instagram.

RETURN TO CHICAGO CHANCE FORJOSH HART RESURGENCE

OCALA, FL (May 15, 2024) — Last year Josh Hart and the R+L Carriers Top Fuel team raced to the final round of the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals. This year the team will be looking to add one more round win and race into the winner’s circle for the first time in 2024. The business owner from Ocala, Florida, has been battling the Top Fuel competition since his rookie season of 2021 and the multi-time national event winner is eager to return to the windy city.
 
“We have been working through some issues since the beginning of the season and the lay off after Charlotte only has me more eager to get to Chicago and start racing again,” said Hart. “We made some significant changes and we need to make passes to build up some data. Everyone lost qualifying rounds early in the year, but I don’t know if anyone made as many adjustments as us. I know we will figure it out, but it never happens fast enough.”


 Josh Hart will be racing for his first victory of 2024 at the Route 66 Nationals this weekend,
photo credit Auto Imagery/Gary Nastase

This season Hart has raced to the quarterfinals at the season opening Gatornationals and the Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals. Early round exits in Pomona, Phoenix and Charlotte and frustrated Hart and his R+L Carriers team but they are far from discouraged. The upcoming four qualifying sessions in Chicago and a favorable weather forecast has the team that is regarded as a sleeping giant ready to go.
 
“The races that have been effected by weather have hurt us,” said Hart. “You can look at our ETs and our Sunday morning times are considerably quicker than our best qualifying efforts, but we lost some runs in qualifying. If we had had all the qualifying runs, we would have been higher in the order and that could make a huge difference. When we can get four qualifying runs, I am totally confident my crew chief Ron Douglas can put us in a position to go rounds.”
 
Hart has dedicated himself over the last season to improving his reaction times and the work has paid off for the accomplished Top Alcohol Dragster driver turned Top Fuel pilot. Hart is second in the class when it comes to reaction time average.
 
“It takes the whole team working together to get win lights,” said Hart. “The guys in the pits have to put the car together correctly, Ron has to make the right calls and I have to be at my best on the starting line. We have had two of the three elements come together but we need to get all three parts working together on Sunday. We have all the right pieces but sometimes it just takes time to get everything to gel.”
 
With only five races off the schedule Hart knows he has time to move up in the Top Ten and position himself for a run at his first Top Fuel championship. As a student of the class he has seen veteran drivers like 2023 Top Fuel world champion Doug Kalitta struggle for two seasons only to start hitting on all cylinders in the Countdown. Hart knows that the key is continuing to do the work and not go negative.
 
“We want to just keep improving round by round and race by race,” said Hart. “This season is a marathon that turns into a sprint during the Countdown. You want to get to the regular season finish line positioned with the top teams. You don’t have to be at the top, but we need to be moving in the right direction. I know we will keep grinding to make the right adjustments.”
 
Hart and the R+L Carriers team will get their first chance to make passes on Friday afternoon and evening when qualifying for the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals get underway. There will be two more qualifying sessions on Saturday with final eliminations for the 16 quickest Top Fuel dragsters commencing at 11 a.m. on Sunday. The race will be televised nationally on FS1 Sunday evening.
 

2024 Progressive AFT Season Finale Set for 18th Annual Lake of the Ozarks Bikefest

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 15, 2024) – Progressive American Flat Track, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, is excited to confirm that the 2024 Grand National Championship season finale will be waged at Lake Ozark Speedway in Eldon, Missouri, on Saturday, September 14.  The inaugural Lake Ozark Short Track is destined to be a centerpiece attraction of the 18th Annual Lake of the Ozarks Bikefest, which will draw more than 125,000 motorcycle enthusiasts to the Lake of the Ozarks to celebrate the area’s beautiful scenery and incredible twisty roads from September 11-15. This will also mark the first occasion the series will visit Lake Ozark Speedway. The venue, which opened in 2004, is a 1/3-mile semi-banked clay oval with seating for more than 5000 spectators. Progressive American Flat Track will serve as one of the title partners of Bikefest to maximize awareness of what promises to be one of the most highly anticipated finales in recent memory as living legend and reigning Mission AFT SuperTwins king Jared Mees makes his bid for immortality via an unprecedented tenth Grand National Championship. Ed Schmidt, Bikefest member said, “We’re thrilled to bring Progressive American Flat Track racing to this year’s Lake of the Ozarks Bikefest. The racing is incredible and should prove to be a hit alongside all the other new attractions we have on tap. With more than 300 bars and restaurants, over 50 live music and entertainment shows, a Harley-Davidson giveaway, and tons of vendor areas, we have every expectation that 2024 will be the largest Bikefest yet.” Lake Ozark Speedway Owner Kenny Brown said, “We’re extremely excited to host Progressive American Flat Track for the very first time. These are the greatest motorcycle dirt trackers on the planet without question, and we absolutely cannot wait to witness the show they put on.” Tickets for the 2024 Progressive AFT finale are available for purchase. General Admission tickets are just $40 (kids 12 and under $5 with a paid adult General Admission ticket), while the Pit Pass Upgrade adds access to the pit area for $50. New for 2024 is the Opening Ceremonies Trackside Fan Experience ($150 all ages). This ticket option provides reserved seating with Pit Pass access, a guided tour of, and photo opportunities at, the infield podium and start/finish line, infield viewing of Opening Ceremonies and the heat races, and a track talk and photo opportunity with a special guest. Visit https://www.tixr.com/groups/americanflattrack/events/lake-ozark-short-track-104135 to reserve your seats today. For more information on Progressive AFT visit https://www.americanflattrack.com.

Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown Returns to Chicago with Full Field

CHICAGO (May 15, 2024) — The popularity of the Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown Series has been on a steady rise since the launch of the multi-manufacturer backed door-slammer class in 2017. The heated competition between Chevrolet COPO Camaros, Ford Mustang Cobra Jets and Dodge Mopar Challenger Drag Paks will be front and center this weekend at the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Ill. A full field of Chevrolets, Fords and Dodges will be racing for the coveted Wally winner’s trophy as well as points for the Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown world championship. Mark Pawuk and his Dodge Drag Pak sit No. 1 atop a stacked list of competitors heading into the fourth race of the 2024 season.
 
“We picked up the win at the Gatornationals and raced to the semifinals at Winternationals,” said Pawuk, driver of the Empaco Dodge. “This will be a special weekend celebrating the life of my friend Don Schumacher. We have been honoring him on our race car all season. He was a giant in drag racing as a driver and team owner. I would love to put on a good show in his memory.”


 Mark Pawuk (foreground) will be looking to extend his Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown points lead in Chicago, photo credit Auto Imagery/Gary Nastase

Right behind Pawuk in the points standings sits Stephen Bell, winner of Winternationals and runner-up for the season opening Gatornationals. Bell was also the Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown championship runner-up in 2023. The businessman from Shreveport, La., would like to collect his second win of the season and first title at Route 66 Raceway with a strong performance in his Chevrolet COPO Camaro.
 
“There are so many tough competitors out here like Mark (Pawuk), David Janac, David Davies, Ricky Hord and so many guys,” said Bell. “We went a couple rounds in Chicago last year and so far this season we have been running pretty good. I just need to keep doing my job on the starting line. We are almost to the halfway point of the season and I just want to be in the mix for the championship when we get to the end.”
 
Last year at the Route 66 Nationals, Doug Hamp was runner-up to Lenny Lottig, who drove his ITI Trailers & Truck Bodies COPO Camaro and won his second consecutive Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown race at the Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals. This year with Lottig racing in Factory X class, Hamp is hoping he can power his Hamp Racing Camaro into the winner’s circle.
 
“I am excited to get back to Chicago,” said Hamp, a two-time Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown runner-up. “Ever since we hooked up with Stanfield Engines, Aaron and Greg Stanfield have been awesome. We tested last week in Dallas and figured a few things out. My driving has improved and this has just been a great move. I am looking forward to getting to Chicago since it is closer to our home in York, Pa.”

1 MONTH ALERT: Knoxville Welcomes World of Outlaws For June Doubleheader

KNOXVILLE, IA (May 15, 2024) – Two months before World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series drivers contend in “The Granddaddy of Them All” at Knoxville Raceway, they’ll get two days of racing at the premier facility in June.Knoxville will welcome the best Sprint Car drivers in the country for the Premier Chevy Dealers Clash, Friday-Saturday, June 14-15.

The two-day event will feature two $12,000-to-win races and valuable lap time for World of Outlaws drivers before the NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals, Aug. 7-10.

Knoxville has ran two weekly shows, so far, this year with Aaron Reutzel picking up the season-opening win and Dusty Zomer scoring the most recent win at the track on May 11.

When the World of Outlaws were last at Knoxville Raceway, Kyle Larson scored his second Knoxville Nationals title. David Gravel finished second with an impressive 22nd to second run, and 11-time Knoxville Nationals winner Donny Schatz finished third.

The Knoxville Nationals was voted the second best motorports race in USA Today’s 10Best poll this year.

EVENT INFO:
Date – Friday-Saturday, June 14-15
Location – Knoxville, IA
Track Record – 14.351 seconds by Brian Brown on May 22, 2021Times (CT) –
2PM Pit Gates open
5PM Grandstand Gates open
6:30PM Hot Laps & Qualifying
-Racing to follow

Tickets – Click HERE to purchase
How to Watch – Can’t make it? Watch every lap live on DIRTVision

Last Race Video Recap (Aug. 12, 2023) –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfJ66-l-pLYPrevious World of Outlaws Knoxville Winners –
2023 – Brian Brown on June 9, David Gravel on June 10, Kyle Larson on Aug. 12 (Knoxville Nationals)
2022 – Brent Marks on June 10, Brian Brown on June 11, Donny Schatz on Aug. 13 (Knoxville Nationals)
2021 – Carson Macedo on June 11, Carson Macedo on June 12, Kyle Larson on Aug. 14 (Knoxville Nationals)
2020 – David Gravel on May 8, Kyle Larson on June 12, Kyle Larson on June 13, Kyle Larson on Aug. 13, David Gravel on Aug. 14, Kyle Larson on Aug. 15
2019 – Brian Brown on June 14, Brad Sweet on June 15, David Gravel on Aug. 10 (Knoxville Nationals)
2018 – Donny Schatz on June 29, David Gravel on June 30, Greg Hodnett on Aug. 8, Brad Sweet on Aug. 9, Logan Schuchart on Aug. 10, Brad Sweet on Aug. 11 (Knoxville Nationals)
2017 – Brad Sweet on June 9, Donny Schatz on June 10, Donny Schatz on Aug. 12 (Knoxville Nationals)
2016 – Terry McCarl on June 10, Donny Schatz on June 11, Jason Johnson on Aug. 13 (Knoxville Nationals)
2015 – Donny Schatz on June 13, Donny Schatz on Aug. 15 (Knoxville Nationals)
2014 – Brad Sweet on June 14, Donny Schatz on Aug. 9 (Knoxville Nationals)
2013 – Donny Schatz on May 11, Donny Schatz on June 15, Donny Schatz on Aug. 10 (Knoxville Nationals)
2012 – Sammy Swindell on April 28, Kerry Madsen on June 9, Donny Schatz on Aug. 11 (Knoxville Nationals)
2011 – Sammy Swindell on June 11, Donny Schatz on Aug. 13 (Knoxville Nationals)
2010 – Brooke Tatnell on June 3, Jac Haudenschild on June 4
2009 – Donny Schatz on May 2, Terry McCarl on June 27
2008 – Donny Schatz on May 3, Shane Stewart on June 6, Donny Schatz on June 7
2007 – Donny Schatz on April 28, Terry McCarl on June 16
2006 – Joey Saldana on June 23, Donny Schatz on Oct. 7
2005 – Kraig Kinser on June 24, Steve Kinser on April 30
2004 – Craig Dollansky on June 26, Mark Kinser on May 1, Danny Lasoski on Aug. 14 (Knoxville Nationals)
2003 – Danny Lasoski on April 26, Danny Lasoski on July 5, Danny Lasoski on Aug. 16 (Knoxville Nationals)
2002 – Steve Kinser on April 26, Danny Lasoski on June 29, Steve Kinser on Aug. 10 (Knoxville Nationals)
2001 – Danny Lasoski on April 28, Stevie Smith on June 30, Jason Meyers on July 16, Danny Lasoski on Aug. 11 (Knoxville Nationals)
2000 – Danny Lasoski on April 29, Stevie Smith on July 1, Steve Kinser on July 19, Mark Kinser on Aug. 12 (Knoxville Nationals)
1999 – Sammy Swindell on May 1, Danny Lasoski on July 3, Danny Lasoski on July 21, Mark Kinser on Aug. 14 (Knoxville Nationals)
1998 – Jac Haudenschild on May 2, Jac Haudenschild on July 4, Jac Haudenschild on July 22, Danny Lasoski on Aug. 15 (Knoxville Nationals)
1997 – Mark Kinser on April 26, Jac Haudenschild on July 5, Mark Kinser on July 23, Dave Blaney on Aug. 17 (Knoxville Nationals)
1996 – Mark Kinser on April 27, Mark Kinser on June 22, Mark Kinser on July 24, Mark Kinser on Aug. 17 (Knoxville Nationals)
1995 – Mark Kinser on May 6, Mark Kinser on June 24, Steve Kinser on July 19, Steve Kinser on Aug. 19(Knoxville Nationals), Mark Kinser on Sept. 27
1994 – Dave Blaney on April 29, Steve Kinser on June 25, Steve Kinser on July 20, Steve Kinser on Aug. 20 (Knoxville Nationals), Jac Haudenschild on Sept. 23
1993 – Danny Lasoski on April 30, Mark Kinser on June 27, Steve Kinser on Aug. 21 (Knoxville Nationals), Stevie Smith on Sept. 24
1992 – Sammy Swindell on April 26, Steve Kinser on June 20, Steve Kinser on July 22, Steve Kinser on Aug. 15 (Knoxville Nationals), Steve Kinser on Sept. 26
1991 – Steve Kinser on April 27, Doug Wolfgang on June 22, Steve Kinser on July 24, Steve Kinser on Aug. 17 (Knoxville Nationals)
1990 – Doug Wolfgang on April 29, Steve Kinser on June 23, Sammy Swindell on July 25, Bobby Allen on Aug. 18 (Knoxville Nationals)
1989 – Sammy Swindell on April 29, Doug Wolfgang on June 24, Doug Wolfgang on Aug. 19 (Knoxville Nationals)
1988 – Steve Kinser on April 30, Steve Kinser on June 22, Steve Kinser on Aug. 13 (Knoxville Nationals)
1987 – Steve Kinser on April 25, Steve Kinser on June 22, Steve Kinser on Aug. 15 (Knoxville Nationals)
1986 – Sammy Swindell on April 26, Steve Kinser on June 25, Steve Kinser on July 23, Steve Kinser on Aug. 16 (Knoxville Nationals)
1985 – Sammy Swindell on April 28, Doug Wolfgang on Aug. 17 (Knoxville Nationals)
Doug Wolfgang on Oct. 6
1984 – Sammy Swindell on July 25, Doug Wolfgang on Aug. 11 (Knoxville Nationals)
1983 – Sammy Swindell on April 16, Sammy Swindell on July 27, Sammy Swindell on Aug. 13 (Knoxville Nationals), Sammy Swindell on Oct. 16
1982 – Doug Wolfgang on April 17, Danny Smith on July 21, Steve Kinser on Aug. 15 (Knoxville Nationals)
1981 – Steve Kinser on April 18, Doug Wolfgang on May 22, Sammy Swindell on May 23, Sammy Swindell on July 22, Steve Kinser on Aug. 15 (Knoxville Nationals), Doug Wolfgang on Sept. 12
1980 – Steve Kinser on April 19, Steve Kinser on April 20, Doug Wolfgang on May 31, Steve Kinser on Aug. 17 (Knoxville Nationals), Tim Green on Sept. 20
1979 – Sammy Swindell on April 21, Ron Shuman on Aug. 11 (Knoxville Nationals)
1978 – Doug Wolfgang on Aug. 12 (Knoxville Nationals)

Funny Car’s Chris King Eager to Show Off at Hometown Track and Route 66 Nationals

CHICAGO, IL (May 15, 2024) — It has been a year since Chris King and the Howards Cams/Competition Products Dodge Charger Funny Car hit the track at Route 66 Raceway. This weekend’s Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals will be a homecoming and relaunch for the Chicago firefighter and aspiring professional Funny Car driver. Last year King made a valiant effort and narrowly missed making the field. This season King and his revamped team have reason for optimism heading into their first race of 2024.
 
“We made some significant changes in the off-season, and I feel like we are starting the season in a much better position,” said King, who made his professional Funny Car debut in 2021. “Last year we raced in five races and we had our ups and downs. I have to thank everyone that has worked over the off season and beginning of this year to get us to this point. I haven’t gotten a lot of sleep in the past couple of weeks but when you are chasing a dream that doesn’t really matter.”

 
For King and his Howards Cams/Competition Products crew the goal for the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 Nationals is simple. They want to take advantage of every qualifying round and make improvements without damaging parts along the way. Throughout his young career King has been mindful of driving smart and listening to his race car.
 
“We don’t have a big budget, but we have more parts this season than we have ever had,” said King. “We are not going to go out and run low ET, but we can race smart and race the track. The Funny Car class is tough, but I love every second of the competition at the track. We have received a lot of support from other teams in the class. I am excited to get to the track and hit the throttle. I am really glad the NHRA and the Chicago track added the fourth qualifying session. That will really help our team.”
 
Prior to the start of the race King will host several professional drivers at a firefighter experience event on Thursday at the Romeoville Fire Academy. King held the first event like this last year and showing his fellow competitors what it’s like to be a firefighter was a thrill for King. As a long-time Chicago firefighter himself, King knows the physical strain and adrenaline boost has a serious crossover effect from firefighting to driving a 12,000-horsepower nitro Funny Car or Top Fuel dragster.
 
“The firefighter experience is something I have always wanted to do ever since I started racing Funny Cars,” said King. “You get a unique perspective when you are putting out a fire or knocking down a door with an axe. The similarities between the focus you need and the physicality of both jobs are so similar. I am excited to show a new group of drivers what my day job is like.”
 
On Thursday night King will host a dinner at Joliet Firehouse 1 with the support of Mission Foods and Fire Department Coffee. Mission Foods is donating a variety of their great tortilla and salsa products to produce a Mexican Dinner Feast for the men and women who protect the great Joliet area with King doing the cooking along with members of the firehouse. This is another way King has thought about using his platform as a professional race car driver to give back to the local community.
 
“I have been thinking about how I could give back to some of the firehouses across the country and I wanted to be sure and include Mission Foods, since they are an amazing sponsor for our series,” said King. “I pitched them the idea of hosting a Mexican Dinner and they jumped at the opportunity. Fire Department Coffee, another great NHRA sponsor, is also supporting so we will have a great dinner and say thank you to these brave community heroes before the race gets underway.”
 
When the race does get started King will face some of the toughest competition the sport has seen in recent memory. Since the beginning of the season the class has seen multiple winners and record setting times and speeds. The fact that King and his Howards Cams/Competition Products Funny Car will be wading into a competitive pool that will feature eighteen drivers vying for sixteen spots has King hyper focused on the task at hand.
 
“We have been working for months towards this race and putting our best foot forward,” said King. “When we come off the trailer on Friday, we want to just make a nice smooth run to shake the car down. We have a lot of new parts and we aren’t going to try anything crazy. We are going to race what the track gives us and hopefully at the end of the day on Saturday we will have one of the sixteen quickest times.”
 
In addition to racing and his work with the Chicago fire department King volunteers his time with public safety charities including Ignite the Spirit, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, The Ronnie Thames Foundation, and The Leary Firefighters Foundation. All these amazing groups dedicate resources and support to first responders and their families. King has seen firsthand the impact the job can have on men and women and their families.
 
“I have a personal connection to every charity I work with and that is one of the things I missed about not being at the racetrack, was the connection to something I loved,” said King. “When you are a member of the firefighter or first responder community it is a big family and racing is the same thing. I can’t wait to just be around the other drivers. They have all bene welcoming and supportive in the past. This year we will be doing more races, so I hope to get to know some of these guys even better.”
 
In 2021 King raced in three NHRA national events qualifying for the Mile High Nationals in Denver, The Kansas Nationals in Topeka and the Midwest Nationals in St. Louis. Last year King entered the Route 66 Nationals, the Mile-High Nationals in Denver, the Topeka Nationals, the Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd and the Midwest Nationals in St. Louis. This season King is looking forward to competing in five or six national events.
 
The Howards Cams/Competition Products Dodge Charger Funny Car and King will get their first chance to make passes on Friday afternoon and evening when qualifying for the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals get underway. There will be two more qualifying sessions on Saturday with final eliminations for the 16 quickest Funny Cars commencing at 11 a.m. on Sunday. The race will be televised nationally on FS1 Sunday evening.
 

HULL EXCITED FOR A SWEET TIME IN CHICAGO


LONG BEACH, CA (May 15, 2024) — Entering what you could consider as Q2 of the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series, Funny Car driver Buddy Hull is confident he has some strong momentum from the first five races of the year. As he prepares for this weekend’s Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals presented by PEAK Performance at Route 66 Raceway, just outside of Chicago, he is fired up to keep the momentum going.
 
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this season is a marathon and not a sprint,” said Hull, driver for the iconic Jim Dunn Racing team. “We’re five races in and we still have fifteen to go. We have nine races left until the Countdown, so we just have to keep buckling down, and improving bit by bit, which is what we have been doing.”

 
Most recently, Hull made his best qualifying start as a rookie Funny Car driver at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, entering race day in the No. 13 spot. During qualifying at the same race, he made his quickest and fastest run in his Funny Car to date.
 
“We had a lot of things go right for us in Charlotte,” said Hull. “Our goal for this weekend in Chicago is to take those things that went right during four-wide and build on them, so we have an even better qualifying position, to increase our chances of taking a few round wins. Nothing would make me happier right now than to see a win light. We are becoming a more competitive team with every race, and I want to keep that energy going. I want every driver I go against to know they are going to have to work hard for it, if they want to beat me.”
 
Outside of being a tough competitor, Hull is also becoming more of an ambassador for the sport. This weekend Hull and Jim Dunn Racing will be debuting their new Sweet Classics nitro Funny Car. Sweet Classics candy from Mondoux Confectionery in Canada is a traditional mix of high-quality candies that are peanut and nut-free, gluten-free and come in convenient resealable packaging.
 
“I don’t care if this is a cheesy thing to say, but this is quite literally a sweet ride,” said Hull. “Since we announced this new partnership last week, everyone I’ve talked to has commented on how incredible the car looks. It’s bursting with personality and just makes you want to smile. I am so excited to bring candy company Sweet Classics into the world of drag racing and introduce the sport to their base of consumers. Just like how they have a Sweet and Sour Mix, drag racing has a mix of sweet and sour personalities. I have quite the sweet tooth myself, so this is a perfect pairing in my book. I’m grateful every time that we can bring a new brand or company into this world, because it just keeps making the tent bigger.”
 
In addition to the bright car design, Hull and the Jim Dunn team will be repping Sweet Classics uniform shirts, and specialty hero cards have been made for the weekend. Chicago fans will also be able to see the Sweet Classics Funny Car up close and in-person on Thursday, May 16 at Menards (2524 W Jefferson Street, Joliet, IL, 60435) from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. There, Hull will be signing the specialty cards, posing for photos and talking with fans about the race.
 
“I can’t wait to interact with fans and get them excited for this weekend’s race,” said Hull. “Any time we can get an actual car away from the track and out in the world, it’s an opportunity to get current fans pumped up and introduce new fans to the sport. I’m proud to be that ambassador.”