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Announced today from the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) trade show in Indianapolis, sixteen-year old Christian Eckes will return to Venturini Motorsports (VMS) for nine short track races in the upcoming 2017 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season.

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of Christian Eckes’ dramatic super late model victory earlier in the week at the prestigious 49th annual Snowball Derby.

Eckes, a native of Middletown, New York, made four starts with VMS in 2016.

“We got to race with Christian a little bit last year and he demonstrated a lot of potentiation and raw speed,” said Billy Venturini, VMS team owner and general manager. “Towards the end of 2016 he was able to further demonstrate those abilities and turn them into impressive late model wins. We feel very confident going into the 2017 season that Christian is going to have great success.”

Eckes will rejoin VMS driving the No.15 Toyota Camry starting in Nashville on April 8. Eckes’ 2017 ARCA schedule will also include; Salem Speedway (April 30), Toledo Speedway (May 21), Elko Speedway (June 3), Madison International Speedway (June 23), Iowa Speedway (July 8), Lucas Oil Raceway (July 21), Winchester Speedway (August 6) and Salem Speedway (September 9).

“I’m happy to announce my return to the ARCA Series with Venturini for next season,” said Eckes.

“Coming off a few big wins in the last couple of months I’m excited to start focusing on next season’s efforts. The Venturini team is a great organization to be aligned with and I’m confident we’ll enjoy success. Last season we made a handful of starts together and I learned a lot – making the transition from the super late models to the ARCA car has definitely been a learning experience but overall a smooth transition. I’ve got a lot of confidence in myself and this team - I’m determined to come out and compete for wins and top-five’s right away.”

Veteran crew chief Jeff McClure will coordinate efforts for Eckes and the 15-team during the 2017 campaign. Since joining Venturini Motorsports in 2013, McClure has gone to victory lane three times (Todd Gilliland ’15 and twice with Christopher Bell ‘16). Sponsorship for Eckes will be named at a later date.

Eckes a high school Junior honor student split his 2016 season running multiple series including ARCA, NASCAR K&N, CARS Tour and the PASS Series along with a variety of high profile late model and super late model events.

Proving to be a very demanding schedule Eckes completed his 37-race breakout season with an impressive stat sheet earning three wins, 17-Top 5’s and 25 Top-10 finishes. His three wins coming in succession to wrap up his season came via three of the year’s most prestigious Late/Super Late Model races of the season – the Myrtle Beach 400, Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park and most recently the 2016 Snowball Derby.

Entering their 35th year of ARCA Series competition, Venturini Motorsports is widely-known for their driver development success, recording 43-team victories during their longstanding series involvement. Thirty of VMS’s all-time victories have been recorded since 2008.

For more information on Christian Eckes visit ChristianEckesRacing.com, Christian Eckes (Facebook) and @ChristianEckes (Twitter).

VMS PR

Kumpen Edges Haley For NASCAR Champion Karting Honors

Written by
Published in Racing News
Friday, 09 December 2016 08:00

Anthony Kumpen flew more than 4,000 miles to be part of the NASCAR Champions activities in North Carolina this week. And after 15 laps around the 11-turn, 0.7-mile GoPro Motorplex Thursday, Kumpen walked away with bragging rights by the slimmest of margins.

How narrow? Try .053 seconds.

Kumpen, the two-time NASCAR Whelen Euro Series champion, edged NASCAR K&N Pro East champion Justin Haley by a mere few feet at the finish line to claim the checkered flag of the eighth Champions Karting Challenge.

In the Media / Champions race, it was NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion Matt Bowling and Motor Racing Network’s Kyle Rickey. It was Rickey’s third win in the event. He previously teamed with George Brunnhoelzl III in 2012 and Kumpen in 2014 to victories.

Haley was looking to become the sixth NASCAR K&N Pro Series East winner since the inaugural event in 2008 at K1 Speed in Anaheim. He jumped to an early lead before Kumpen got by as they battled with K&N Pro West champion Todd Gilliland. Haley used the draft to keep close to the Belgian, and then dove inside on Turn 9 of the final lap to take the lead.

Kumpen got him back in the final corner to take the win.

“I thought he was going to catch me in the last corner, so I was expecting that,” said Kumpen. “But he did it in the third to last corner, so I said, okay, now I have two corners to go for it. So I tried it in the last corner and I made it. But he ran a great race.”

“We were right there at the end, it was a pretty close finish at the start-finish line,” said Haley, “So it was a heckuva show.”

Gilliland recovered from a mid-race spin to finish third.

The NASCAR drivers were paired with media members in a relay race based on their practice times Thursday morning. The champions kicked off the race before turning the wheel over to their media teammate.

Kumpen also led the first portion of that race before handing the steering wheel over to Dom Fugere of RDS. Zack Albert of NASCAR.com also briefly led before Rickey completed his charge to the front to drive away with the win.

“It was fun,” said Bowling. “I have to pick up a little bit. But luckily I have a good partner in Kyle. He made it happen. It was pretty cool.”

Said Rickey: “Matt was a great partner. We had a good pit stop (to change drivers), which is a key element to this event. It was fun; a good time out there.”

The champions were also honored Wednesday evening at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. In addition to receiving their special commemorative NASCAR Champions helmets, they also saw their names added to the Whelen Wall of Champions – the room at the hall that boasts a list of every touring and national series champion in the history of NASCAR.

The awards ceremonies are set to begin Friday with the top finishers and special awards winners receiving their trophies and recognition during the annual Grand Champions Breakfasts at the Westin in Charlotte on Friday (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series) and Saturday (NASCAR Touring Series). For the second year in a row, these events will be simultaneously streamed live on FansChoice.tv and NASCARHomeTracks.com.

The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards will take place Friday night. Among those honored will be Bowling as the 2016 national champion in addition to his South Boston Speedway late model title.

The awards will also recognize the Division I champions from 58 tracks across the United States and Canada, state and provincial champions and top rookies, Div. II-V national champions, and other special award winners.

On Saturday evening, NASCAR’s touring series champions will be recognized at the traditional NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards.

Honorees will include the champions from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, NASCAR Pinty’s Series, and NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. In addition, the series championship car owners and crew chiefs will receive their trophies, as well as the Most Popular Drivers and rookies of the year.

Champions/Media Karting Challenge

YEAR

WINNER

SERIES

CHAMPION/MEDIA WINNERS

TRACK

2008

Brian Loftin

NWSMT

 

K1 Speed, Anaheim, Calif.

2009

Ryan Truex

NKNPS East

 

Victory Lane Indoor Karting, Charlotte, N.C.

2010

Bobby Santos

NWMT

Alex Hayden (MRN) (eighth, top media finisher)

Victory Lane Indoor Karting, Charlotte, N.C.

2011

Max Gresham

NKNPS East

Jay Pennell (FOX Sports) (second, top media finisher)

Victory Lane Indoor Karting, Charlotte, N.C.

2012

Kyle Larson

NKNPS East

George Brunnhoelzl (NWSMT) / Kyle Rickey (MRN)

GoPro Motorplex, Mooresville, N.C.

2013

Not held

 

 

 

2014

Ben Rhodes

NKNPS East

Anthony Kumpen (NWES) / Kyle Rickey (MRN)

GoPro Motorplex, Mooresville, N.C.

2015

William Byron

NKNPS East

Chris Eggleston (NKNPS West) / Samuel Reiman (FOX Sports)

GoPro Motorplex, Mooresville, N.C.

2016

Anthony Kumpen

NWES

Matt Bowling (NWAAS) / Kyle Rickey (MRN)

GoPro Motorplex, Mooresville, N.C.


NASCAR PR

2017 Schedule Announced For Pinty's Series

Written by
Published in Racing News
Thursday, 08 December 2016 14:54

Coming off an historic inaugural season with a new entitlement partner, the NASCAR Pinty’s Series is primed to capitalize on that momentum with a 2017 schedule that includes traditional marque events and several unique changes.

The NASCAR Pinty’s Series will open on Sunday, May 21 with the popular Victoria Day weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ont. The series will make a second stop at the road course on Sunday, Sept. 3 in conjunction with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. And the Toronto Honda Indy weekend will again feature Canada’s national stock car championship series in the event held by Toronto’s Lake Ontario waterfront on the Exhibition Place street course. The series will be the headliner on Saturday, July 15.

“From Cayden Lapcevich’s memorable championship campaign, to the thrilling battles between Quebec’s favorites Andrew Ranger, Alex Tagliani, Kevin Lacroix and Alex Labbe, the 2016 NASCAR Pinty’s Series was one for the record books,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president of weekly & touring series. “With the newly released schedule, the 2017 season is shaping to take that excitement to the next level. The mix of world-class road courses and challenging ovals will provide a great test for drivers and teams, and excite fans across Canada.”

“The first season as an entitlement sponsor with NASCAR exceeded our wildest expectations,” said Tony Spiteri, Pinty's senior vice president, marketing, research & development. “Pinty’s Foods is proud to be part of the top racing series in Canada, and to have our brand represented at some of the best racing tracks in the country.”

The annual West Coast swing will feature a new look: The NASCAR Pinty’s Series will visit Wyant Group Raceway in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, for twin features on Wednesday, July 25, and then travel to Alberta’s Edmonton International Raceway on Saturday, July 29. The three championship events will mark the halfway point of the 2017 season.

The series’ seventh trip to Circuit ICAR, on the grounds of Montreal’s Mirabel International Airport, will also feature a new look. The road-course event will be run under the lights on Saturday, July 8. The 13-race schedule includes a return to Ontario’s Delaware Speedway, as well.

Other highlights of the 2016 schedule include:

• The season will conclude on Saturday, Sept. 16 at Kawartha Speedway in Fraserville, Ontario. The .375-mile oval has hosted the final race of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series in each of the previous 10 seasons.
• One of the most anticipated races each year is the Circuit de Trois-Rivieres, and the series will take to the Quebec street course on Sunday, Aug. 13.
• The penultimate race of the year will take place at Quebec’s Autodrome St-Eustace (Sept. 9), and the series will again visit the high-banked action-packed Riverside International Speedway in Nova Scotia (Aug. 19) and feature an early-season showdown at Quebec’s Autodrome Chaudiere (June 17).
• In addition to Toronto, which is in its second of a three-year agreement, NASCAR has signed three-year sanction agreements with Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Riverside and Circuit de Trois-Rivieres.

The NASCAR Pinty’s Series television broadcast schedule on TSN and RDS will be announced at a later date.

2017 NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES SCHEDULE
Date Track Location
21-May Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Bowmanville, Ont.
3-Jun Delaware Speedway Delaware, Ont.
17-Jun Autodrome Chaudiere Chaudiere, Que.
8-Jul Circuit ICAR Mirabel, Que.
15-Jul Exhibition Place Toronto, Ont.
25-Jul Wyant Group Raceway* Saskatoon, Sask.
25-Jul Wyant Group Raceway* Saskatoon, Sask.
29-Jul Edmonton International Raceway Wetaskiwin, Alb.
13-Aug Circuit Trois-Rivières Trois-Rivières, Que.
19-Aug Riverside International Speedway Antigonish, N.S.
3-Sep Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Bowmanville, Ont.
9-Sep Autodrome St-Eustache St. Eustache, Que.
16-Sep Kawartha Speedway Fraserville, Ont.
*100-lap twin features
SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

NASCAR PR

2017 Schedule Announced For K&N Pro

Written by
Published in Racing News
Thursday, 08 December 2016 14:35

NASCAR fans have been thrilled in recent years by the achievements of the sport’s rising stars – from Joey Logano’s DAYTONA 500 win in 2015 to Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson joining him in the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Daniel Suarez won the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship this year and William Byron led the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in wins.

They all have one thing in common. They cut their teeth in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series before breaking into NASCAR’s national series.

With the announcement by NASCAR of the 2017 schedules for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West, fans across the United States will get to see up close the next wave of young drivers looking to make their impact.

The calendars for NASCAR’s top developmental series feature several can’t miss events to highlight those next superstars. The schedules cover 27 races, anchored by the annual combination race with the East and West at Iowa Speedway in July.

“The NASCAR K&N Pro Series have been an exceptional proving ground for our sport’s up-and-coming drivers,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president of touring & weekly series. “The 2017 schedules for the East and West feature an assortment of tracks that will test the drivers and provide a platform to showcase their talents.”

The season will open with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at New Smyrna Speedway on Sunday, Feb. 19 as part of the Florida track’s 51st Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. The event will be part of a day that starts with Coors Light Pole Award Qualifying for the DAYTONA 500 at nearby Daytona International Speedway.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West begins its season with a unique four-race swing that parallels the NASCAR premiere series swing out West. The opening race will be at Tucson Speedway on Saturday, March 18, as the premiere and XFINITY Series visit Phoenix International Raceway. The West will then run at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, Calif., on Thursday, March 23, before racing in twin 100-lap features at Irwindale Speedway on Saturday, March 25. The premiere and XFINITY Series will be competing at nearby Auto Club Speedway that weekend.

Like their California counterpart, Virginia’s South Boston Speedway has a reputation in racing as a top-flight facility. Similarly, South Boston – which has undergone a multi-million dollar improvement process, including a track repave this offseason – will host twin 100-lap championship events for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East on Saturday May 6.

“The 2017 schedules are a perfect blend of short tracks, road courses and national series companion events, that really bring out the best in the competitors in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series,” said Jesse Spungin, chief marketing officer of K&N Engineering, Inc. “We are excited to be involved in the series and are looking forward to what the new year brings and seeing NASCAR’s next generation of drivers battling it out across the country.”

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will also make its first trips to Memphis International Raceway (June 3) and Berlin Raceway in Michigan (July 1); and will be featured in a throwback weekend at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Saturday, July 8. Thompson has held 27 K&N Pro East events, dating back to the series’ second year (1988) when it was the NASCAR Busch North Series.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will feature its 54th trip to Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., on Saturday, Aug. 12 and a return to Washington’s Spokane Country Raceway on May 13. The series will crown its champion with a second trip to Kern on Saturday, Nov. 4.

Other highlights of the 2017 schedule include:

• The K&N Pro Series will be part of five companion weekends with the NASCAR national series, including road-course events for the East at New York’s Watkins Glen International (Aug. 4) and for the West at Sonoma Raceway in California (June 24). In addition to the combination race at Iowa, the K&N Pro East will also race at Bristol Motor Speedway (April 22), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 15) and complete the season at Dover International Speedway (Sept. 29).

• Leading up to the finale at the high-speed half-mile at Kern, K&N Pro Series West championship contenders will have to navigate a string of bullrings in the second half of the season, beginning with Evergreen before traveling to Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg, Ore. (Aug. 26), Idaho’s Meridian Speedway (Sept. 30) and All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif. (Oct. 14).

• The K&N Pro East will make its traditional spring stop at South Carolina’s Greenville Pickens Speedway. One of the oldest tracks in NASCAR, Greenville has proven to be a title test in recent years. The eventual series champion has won at Greenville in each of the last four seasons.

• Orange Show Speedway in San Bernardino, Calif. (May 20), Colorado National Speedway (June 10) provide an early season test for the K&N Pro West, while the K&N Pro East will host its penultimate race of the season on the road course at New Jersey Motorsports Park (Sept. 16).

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series television broadcast schedule on NBCSN will be announced at a later date.

2017 NASCAR K&N PRO SERIES EAST SCHEDULE

Date Track Location
19-Feb New Smyrna Speedway New Smyrna, Fla.
8-Apr Greenville Pickens Speedway Greenville, S.C.
22-Apr Bristol Motor Speedway Bristol, Tenn.
6-May South Boston Speedway* South Boston, Virginia
6-May South Boston Speedway* South Boston, Virginia
3-Jun Memphis International Raceway Millington, Tenn.
1-Jul Berlin Raceway Marne, Mich.
8-Jul Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Thompson, Conn.
15-Jul New Hampshire Motor Speedway Loudon, N.H.
28-Jul Iowa Speedway Newton, Iowa
4-Aug Watkins Glen International Watkins Glen, N.Y.
2-Sep TBA TBA
16-Sep New Jersey Motorsports Park Millville, N.J.
29-Sep Dover International Speedway Dover, Del.

 

*100-lap twin features
 
2017 NASCAR K&N PRO SERIES WEST SCHEDULE

Date Track Location
18-Mar Tucson Speedway Tucson, Ariz.
23-Mar Kern County Raceway Park Bakersfield, Calif.
25-Mar Irwindale Speedway* Irwindale, Calif.
25-Mar Irwindale Speedway* Irwindale, Calif.
13-May Spokane County Raceway Airway Heights, Wash.
20-May Orange Show Speedway San Bernardino, Calif.
10-Jun Colorado National Speedway Dacono, Colo.
24-Jun Sonoma Raceway Sonoma, Calif.
28-Jul Iowa Speedway Newton, Iowa
12-Aug Evergreen Speedway Monroe, Wash.
26-Aug Douglas County Speedway Roseburg, Ore.
30-Sep Meridian Speedway Meridian, Idaho
14-Oct All American Speedway Roseville, Calif.
4-Nov Kern County Raceway Park Bakersfield, Calif.

 

*100-lap twin features
SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

NASCAR PR

NWES Drivers Flying To The NASCAR Hall Of Fame

Written by
Published in Racing News
Thursday, 08 December 2016 10:59
Twelve NASCAR Whelen Euro Series drivers are flying to Charlotte, North Carolina, to take part in a series of activities in the heart of NASCAR that will culminate in the NASCAR Night Of Champions Touring Awards on Saturday, December 10 at the NASCAR Hall Of Fame.

The list of European drivers attending the traditional end-of-the-season celebrations is longer than ever. It starts with the 2016 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Champion Anthony Kumpen and includes two-time Junior Trophy winner Alon Day, ELITE 2 Champion Stienes Longin, Challenger Trophy winner Dario Caso, Legend Trophy Winner Jerry De Weerdt, Rookie Cup winner Riccardo Geltrude and Lady Cup winner Arianna Casoli, but also Bert Longin, Thomas Ferrando, Ulysse Delsaux, Marconi De Abreu, Justin Kunz and Renzo Calcinati.

“This NASCAR prize-giving ceremony week is really special,” said NWES President Jerome Galpin, “It is clearly at the highest level you can find in Motorsports and we are very proud that our Euro drivers are part of it to celebrate their accomplishments with the whole NASCAR family. At the NASCAR Hall of Fame, you truly feel part of the 68 years of NASCAR history and you know what it means to be a NASCAR driver.”

“It is a huge honor to have my name immortalized in the Whelen Hall Of Champions once more, alongside names that made NASCAR’s history, in a place where my grandchildren will be able to see it. The entire week is a great experience and I am definitely looking forward to it,” said Kumpen, whose #24 Chevrolet SS will be showcased in the NASCAR Hall Of Fame. “The first time in 2014 I was really astonished by how huge NASCAR is, but it keeps impressing me even I know better what to expect. I am honored to represent the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.”

The Champion, who unveiled his name in the Whelen Hall of Champions for the second time in three years, will engage in a unique series of activities in the Champions Week, including the Dec. 8 annual NASCAR Champions Karting Event at the GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville. 

Kumpen will then join the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series delegation on Friday to visit the NASCAR R&D Center in Mooresville and the Roush-Fenway Racing headquarters before heading to the Charlotte Motor Speedway for lunch and a special tour of the world famous 1.5 mile track.

Saturday, December 10 will be entirely dedicated to rewarding drivers and teams for their success in the 2016 season. Touring Grand Champions Breakfast & Awards will take place in the morning at the Westin hotel in downtown Charlotte, while the evening will culminate with the traditional NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Series Awards at the Charlotte Convention Center / NASCAR Hall of Fame in North Carolina. 

The awards will be broadcast live on FansChoice.tv and on NASCARHomeTracks.com, in English, Spanish and French.

NASCAR PR

Gus Dean; GREE join Win-Tron Racing for 2017 ARCA season

Written by
Published in Racing News
Thursday, 08 December 2016 08:46

Days after announcing a multi-year agreement with GREE, the world’s largest manufacturer of specialized Cooling & Heating Products, Gus Dean will drive full time for Win-Tron Racing next season in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.

Dean will drive the team’s flagship car, the No. 32 GREE Toyota Camry for a full 20-race season championship effort beginning with February’s season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway on Sat., Feb. 18, 2017.

Motorsports veteran Todd Myers will serve as Dean’s crew chief for his first full season of ARCA competition.

“Man, I’m thankful to have this opportunity to join Win-Tron Racing for the full 2017 ARCA Racing Series schedule,” said Bluffton, S.C. native Gus Dean. “I really believe that we will have the chance to go out and compete to win races and ultimately compete for the ARCA championship.”

GREE joined 22-year-old Dean for a limited ARCA Racing Series schedule this past season through a relationship with its master distributor for the US market, Tradewinds Climate Systems. In their debut at Talladega Superspeedway on Apr. 29, Dean driving the No. 98 GREE Chevrolet for Mason Mitchell Motorsports (MMM) set the fastest time in practice, qualified second, led 21 laps before edging Josh Williams for his first career ARCA victory in just his second career start.

From Talladega, the partnership blossomed and elevated to new heights with additional exposure and support. Tradewinds Climate Systems will return for the 2017 season, as well as a number of their regional wholesalers, salespeople, and most importantly, fellow race fans. The company, which ranked 385th in Forbes’ Global 2000 possesses 18,000 active patents for products sold in 160 countries.

“We’re happy to announce this partnership today with Win-Tron Racing for 2017,” said Tradewinds president Dave Pearson. “We were fortunate to have a lot of viable options on the table for next year, but the program that Win-Tron Racing built last season and the outlook for the future made perfect sense for us to be a part of. We’re eager to get down to Daytona to test in January and kick off the season with a strong showing for the race in February.”

Win-Tron Racing team principal Kevin Cywinski commented on the partnership saying, “Win-Tron Racing is looking forward to competing for the ARCA championship next season,” he said. “Gus reminds me of myself when I raced. He is focused, talented and eager to learn. We’re proud of what we’ve built during the past year and look forward to continuing to enhance our program and see Gus Dean contend for race wins and ultimately the ARCA title in the No. 32 GREE Toyota.”

Already committed to proving their focus on Motorsports in 2017, GREE has confirmed an in-car camera for each ARCA Racing Series race televised on either FOX Sports 1 or FOX Sports 2 during the series’ 65th consecutive season beginning with the Lucas Oil 200 from the World Center of Racing at Daytona on Feb. 18.

Gus Dean PR

Kyle Petty will be featured at KDDP banquet

Written by
Published in Racing News
Wednesday, 07 December 2016 14:36
Kyle Petty, former driver-turned TV analyst for NBC Sports’ coverage of NASCAR racing, will serve as the featured guest speaker at the annual Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) awards banquet. The annual gala event is set for next Wednesday (December 14) in the Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway and will feature a live online broadcast.

“We are thrilled to have Kyle join us for the evening and speak to those in the audience and all the others across the world watching online,” said Tom Roberts, executive director of the KDDP. “Kyle had a very special and unique relationship with Alan and it promises to be a fun and memorable night. I can’t think of a more appropriate way of celebrating a fantastic sophomore year for our organization on what would have been Alan’s 62nd birthday.”

“I am really looking forward to it,” said Petty, an eight-time winner in NASCAR premier series competition. "Alan and I couldn't have been more different if we tried to be -- personality-wise. He was quiet and reserved. I was loud and flamboyant. I think that's why we got along so well.

“He was probably one of the most focused individuals I've had the pleasure of knowing,” Petty added. “Everything he did was focused on racing, his car, winning races and building a competitive team. In the end, that's exactly what he did."

Next Wednesday night’s activities will culminate with the awarding of the prestigious Kulwicki Cup trophy and check for $54,439 to 2016 KDDP Champion Alex Prunty.

KDDP PR

IHRA Announces 2017 Summit Sportsman Programs

Written by
Published in Racing News
Wednesday, 07 December 2016 11:09
The International Hot Rod Association (IHRA), the world's second-largest drag racing sanctioning body, is gearing up for 2017 with two National sportsman programs highlighting the season. The bracket racing based Summit SuperSeries will make its return to IHRA-sanctioned member tracks for the 16th season and the newly formed Summit Sportsman National Championship, which takes the place of the Summit Pro-Am Tour regional format, will make its debut for class racing competitors. The points funds for both sportsman programs will be greater than and pay more places than any other class racing series in existence.

 
The 2017 edition of the IHRA $200,000 Summit SuperSeries will be contested at nearly 100 IHRA member tracks. The program will feature the same format and structure as what was introduced in 2016 but with an increased and expanded national championship purse. IHRA Summit SuperSeries participating tracks will crown a Summit SuperSeries track champion and those champions are invited to compete in the Summit World Finals in Memphis, Tennessee at the end of the season. 

The increased points fund is as follows: the championship prize package in Top and Mod is $20,000 to win and $7,000 to the runner-up, sixth round $2,000, fifth round $1,000, fourth round $700, third round $600, second round $400 and first round $300. The Junior Dragster championship payout is a brand new turn-key JR Race Car junior dragster plus $3,000 to win, $2,000 runner-up, sixth round $1,000, fifth round $800, fourth round $500, third round $400, second round $400 and first round $100. 

The complete set of program guidelines and rules for the Summit SuperSeries can be found at - http://www.ihra.com/superseries-home

"Summit Racing Equipment is dedicated to supporting competitors at all levels and through a variety of different platforms" said Motorsports and Events Manager Jim Greenleaf.   "It takes the entire family of IHRA racers, member tracks, sanctioning body staff and Summit Racing Equipment working together to move the sportsman racing component of IHRA Drag Racing to the incredible level of support and enthusiasm we have today. We are thrilled to have just completed the 15th season of the Summit SuperSeries and we are looking forward to seeing how the new format of the Summit Sportsman National Championship is received by the class racers," Greenleaf continued.  
 
The Summit Sportsman National Championship will launch in 2017 and aims to move IHRA class racing away from a regional structure and focus on a national structure. The Summit Sportsman National Championship is designed to provide a more enjoyable and competitive program through an industry leading points fund, flexibility of schedule and claims structure. 

The new National Championship for class racers will be determined using points claims from the best seven of the first ten events the racer attends. Competitors will be scored against each other using a national points system and may race at whatever event they choose without having limitations based upon regional boundaries.

The industry leading Summit Sportsman National Championship points fund will be greater than and pay more places than any other class racing series in existence. The Top Sportsman, Top Dragster, Super Stock, Stock, Quick Rod, Super Rod & Hot Rod National Champion will be awarded $15,000, runner-up $5,000 and third-place $3,000. Junior Dragster will be comprised of one class with a $2,000 grand prize to the Champion, $1,500 runner-up and third-place $1,000. 

The IHRA was the first organization to live stream the entire series of class racing events and in 2017 will build upon that platform by announcing a new media partnership with a major network provider.   The new partnership will provide unprecedented live stream coverage of each Summit Sportsman National Championship event in its entirety with an industry leading provider of sports content. This partnership will be announced shortly and will further demonstrate IHRA's dominate role in providing national exposure to sportsman competitors. 

The 2017 Summit Sportsman National Championship schedule includes: 

Feb. 3 - 5  Immokalee Regional Raceway  Immokalee, FL  1/8-mile 
Feb. 10 - 12  Bradenton Motorsports Park  Bradenton, FL  1/8-mile 
March 3 - 5  State Capitol Raceway  Baton Rouge, LA  1/4-mile 
March 17 - 19 San Antonio Raceway  Marion, TX  1/4-mile
March 24 - 26  Darlington Dragway   Darlington, SC  1/8-mile  
May 5 - 7   Maryland Int'l Raceway   Budds Creek, MD  1/4-mile 
TBA  TBA   TBA  1/4-mile 
June 9 - 11  US 131 Motorsports Park  Martin, MI  1/4-mile 
June 9 - 11  Farmington Dragway  Mocksville, NC  1/8-mile 
June 23 - 25  Piedmont Dragway  Julian, NC  1/8-mile 
July 7 - 9   Keystone Raceway Park  New Alexandria, PA  1/4-mile 
Aug. 18 - 20  Empire Dragway  Leicester, NY  1/8-mile 
Aug. 18 - 20  Memphis Int'l Raceway  Millington, TN  1/4-mile 
Sept. 1 - 3  Carolina Dragway  Aiken, SC  1/8-mile 
Sept. 22 - 24  Dragway 42  West Salem, OH  1/4-mile 
 
The complete information package for the new Summit Sportsman National Championship can be found at - http://www.ihra.com/sportsman-national-championship-tour-home 

"IHRA continues to build, value and showcase sportsman racing programs at every level and the Summit programs are the foundation on which the IHRA thrives" said IHRA vice president Skooter Peaco. "No matter what changes a new racing season may bring our way, our member tracks and sportsman racing programs consistently remain at the top of our priority list. 2017 will be another great season of racing within the IHRA member track family and I'm looking forward to seeing the hard work that our team puts into these programs come to life in less than 60 days from now". 

The IHRA is owned and operated by IRG Sports + Entertainment™, a TPG Specialty Lending company, and promotes professional and sportsman racing for drivers of all levels. The IHRA sanctions nearly 100 motorsport facilities in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Bahama's and welcomes 80,000 racers annually to their IHRA-sanctioned facilities. The IHRA oversees multiple sportsman racing programs including the Summit Sportsman National Championship, Summit Racing Equipment SuperSeries, and Summit Racing Equipment Tournament of Champions. 

For more information about the IHRA and to become a member, please visit www.IHRA.com, or follow along on social media - www.Facebook.com/IHRA Motorsports, @IHRA on Twitter and @IHRADRS on Instagram.
In the midst of the excitement of the Ferrari Finali Mondiali at Daytona International Speedway, Scuderia Corsa drivers raced their 458 Challenge cars to podiums three times last weekend claiming second place in the world Finals Ferrari Challenge title.
Capping an impressive season in the Trofeo Pirelli class, Wei Lu captured a second-place finish in the World Championship race which put the best North American drivers against the best drivers from the Europe and Asian Pacific championships. 
Cooper MacNeil scored double-podium in the final two rounds of the North American Trofeo Pirelli class, with Danny Baker, Martin Fuentes, Karl Williams and Francisco Longo also recording strong performances while Scuderia Corsa captures the Coppa Team award for the second time this season.
More than 30 friends from Ferrari Beverly Hills/Los Angeles/Silicon Valley/South Bay joined the festivities arriving in Daytona in a rally from Miami and enjoying the exclusive Ferrari-only Concours d'Elegance as well as XX Programme demonstrations. Dozens of clients and team guests - including Ricardo Guadalupe, the CEO of HUBLOT - were treated to action-packed Ferrari Challenge racing which featured six Ferrari 458 Challenge cars from Scuderia Corsa. 
  
The excitement throughout the Ferrari weekend continued with the auction of the 500th LaFerrari that scored record $7M with 100% proceeds to benefit recent Italian earthquake, the largest parade of Ferraris in North America and the Ferrari SP333, GT and Formula 1 cars shows on Sunday afternoon. As part of that exhibition, IMSA GT Champions Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan drove no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 in front of Ferrari fans from all over the world. 
  
For Scuderia Corsa team owner Giacomo Mattioli, the Finali Mondiali was a good end to a memorable season for Scuderia Corsa.
 
"Wei Lui had a great drive at the World Finals," said Mattioli. "He passed nine cars and finished second overall in the world Finals as well as second in North America Championship. A big thank you to all our Ferrari Challenge drivers for a remarkable season!
  
"It was great to have everything together in one place in Daytona," Mattioli continued. "Our Championship-winning IMSA program, the Ferrari Challenge team and all of our clients and guests. Ferrari and Ferrari North America put together a first-class event, a truly unique platform combining what Ferrari is all about: 100% DNA of racing, driving experiences and hospitality. And with the unveiling of the new Ferrari 488 Challenge, the first ever turbocharged single make racecar, 2017 Ferrari Challenge season promises already to be a very strong and exciting one!"
 
Since 1975, world-renowned artists such as Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder, David Hockney and Jeff Koons have used BMW race cars as their canvas to create rolling works of art.

 

Several of these Art Cars were designed specifically as exhibits and never raced. Some competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans or major championships in Australia.

 

In 2017, however, a BMW Art Car will race in North America for the first time in the 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 28-29, the season-opening race for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Last night at Art Basel in Miami Beach, the No. 19 BMW M6 GTLM by John Baldessari – an American master of conceptual art and legend of the Los Angeles art scene – was unveiled at an exclusive reception at the Botanical Garden of Miami Beach.

 

“Given the history and prestige of the program over several decades, it is truly an honor for IMSA being selected to have the first BMW Art Car to race in North America in the field for the 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona,” said IMSA CEO Ed Bennett, who was in attendance at the Art Basel unveiling. “This car will race just once – in our season-opening race – before it becomes a treasured piece of art to be displayed in exhibitions and museums around the world.”

 

The car carries the No. 19 as it is the 19th BMW Art Car and will be co-driven in the Rolex 24 by Bill Auberlen, Alexander Sims, Augusto Farfus and Bruno Spengler. Baldessari described this project as a “rolling sculpture.”

 

“It is an honor to add this new masterpiece by John Baldessari to the BMW Art Car Collection today,” said BMW of North America President and CEO Ludwig Willisch. “As one of the most important contemporary artists working today, John joins an incredible group from Calder and Hockney to Warhol and Koons that has contributed to this collection over the past 40 years. He has used his signature aesthetic combining color, shapes and text to create a visually stunning work, which will stand out at both the museum and on the racetrack in Daytona early next year.”

 

The design of the car united Baldessari’s creative practices from the past 50 years. As a committed minimalist, he worked with the colors red, yellow, blue and green and with monochromatic dots. The right side of the car features a graphic reflection of the car in profile, while the left side features the word “FAST” as a central typographical element to make it visually accessible for viewers at the race track as well as the museum.

 

“I have done only one work in my life involving a car before, and that was an image of a car,” Baldessari said. “So for the BMW Art Car project, I entered uncharted territory, not just in terms of the subject, but also moving from two- to three-dimensional art, a challenge I did enjoy!

 

“The ideas came all at once. For instance, the red dot on the roof, so you can see it from above, FAST on one side and a picture of the car on the other side. I like the ambiguity, having two dimension and three dimension at the same time. Considering the car as an icon of contemporary life, my concept turned out playfully satirical, but also highlights some of the trademark ideas that I use. So you can say the BMW Art Car is definitely a typical Baldessari and the fastest artwork I ever created!”

 

The No. 19 BMW will be fielded by BMW Team RLL. Since 2009, the team and BMW Motorsport North America have won five titles and 12 races.

 

“It will be a great honor for us to present the 19th BMW Art Car on the race track – and especially to bring it to an event steeped in tradition such as the 24 Hours of Daytona,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “The design of this BMW M6 GTLM is absolutely unique. We will give our very best to ensure that this rolling work of art will not only provide a visual highlight but also be successful on the track.”

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