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The NASCAR Sprint Cup, Camping World Truck, and Xfinity series have wrapped up their respective events at Michigan International Speedway and Road America for the Pure Michigan 400, Road America 180, and the Careers for Veterans 200. Here are five takeaways from this weekend’s events:
- Schedule: On Saturday, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race was delayed by rain, and was ran during the Xfinity Series event at Road America. This was a nightmare for fans who wanted to watch both events. Motor Racing Network broadcasted the race from Road America, and will replay the Truck race sometime this week. Even if the events were ran at their respective times, there was a small window for fans to switch to events barring the first one get placed under a red flag. I understand that the events were held in two completely different venues, but it was a logistical nightmare for fans. TV probably played a role in the start time of the events, but hopefully it will be looked at scheduling wise to allow fans the chance to watch both races.
- First Time Winners: This weekend was a first in NASCAR history. All top-three national series experienced first time winners. Brett Moffitt in the Trucks, Michael McDowell in the Xfinity Series, and Kyle Larson in the Cup series. It is pretty cool, in my opinion, to be witnessing so much history happening in 2016. This makes me excited for the future of this sport, the sport I love and grew up on.
- 2017 Aero Package: The aero package that is expected to be used in 2017 needs some work. Kentucky and Michigan 2 provided lackluster racing, which resulted in a snoozefest, in my opinion. I wish this test was going to be used at track like Darlington because it has an abrasive surface, unlike Michigan and Kentucky. The first Michigan race where this package was used provided some fantastic racing, but it failed to produce in the next two events it was used in. I applaud the sanctioning body for trying to make the racing great again, but there needs to be some look on this package tested out.
- Road Course Racing: I absolutely love road course racing. Although the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series is finished with road course racing, fans get to see the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Mosport in Canada next weekend. Road course racing is some of the best of the season. Names in the Xfinity Series were certainly made over the past month with the three road course races and short tracks. Hopefully, we will continue to see the resurgence of road course racing. Every road course provides its own challenges, which is something that some ovals need!
- Youth Movement: The future of NASCAR is bright. Three of the top-five finishers in the Pure Michigan 400 are and were rookies within the past three years. We are beginning to see the changing of the guard to a new youth movement. “Kids Drive NASCAR” is a huge youth initiative started by NASCAR to attract the younger fans to the sport that many of us grew up on. I applaud NASCAR for their continued efforts in trying to reach a younger demographic. Much to the demise of the “older” NASCAR fans, you have to embrace change in order to keep the sport relevant. I applaud the efforts by the sanctioning body in trying to keep NASCAR relevant.
What are your five takeaways from the events at Michigan and Road America?
Riley Herbst led the charge for Bill McAnally Racing at Douglas County Speedway on Saturday, finishing third in the Toyota / NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 – an event that marked the return of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West to Roseburg, Oregon.
It was Herbst’s third straight third-place finish, a career-best mark for the 17-year-old rookie from Las Vegas who pilots the No. 19 NOS Energy Drink Toyota Camry.
“We had to battle to get to the bottom the whole race, it felt like,” Herbst said of the preferred lower groove around the 3/8-mile track. “It was like we could never catch a break, but when we got to the bottom we were moving forward – passing cars left and right. I felt like it might be our race to win. We needed one more caution to get by the 9 and the 27.”
Herbst’s BMR teammate, Julia Landauer, also matched her career-best mark – with her fourth fifth-place finish of the season. Landauer, a 24-year-old New York native, drives the No. 54 Curb Records Toyota Camry.
BMR’s Todd Gilliland won his sixth pole of the season on Saturday and dominated much of the event, but saw his hopes of a fourth consecutive series win dashed when he and teammate Chris Eggleston tangled while battling for the lead on Lap 114. The incident opened the door for Ryan Partridge to take the win. Gilliland, who drives the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, and Eggleston, in the No. 50 NAPA Filters/H20 Fire Protection Toyota Camry, recovered to finish sixth and seventh, respectively.
Gilliland – a 16-year-old from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina – retained his lead in the championship standings, by a five-point margin. He has five wins, eight top-five, and nine top-10 finishes in 10 series starts this year. The NASCAR Next driver also leads the chase for this year’s rookie title.
Eggleston of Erie, Colorado remains third in the standings, with two wins, seven top-five, and eight top-10 finishes this season.
Herbst is sixth in the overall points and second in the rookie standings, with five top-five and eight top-10 finishes.
Landauer, also a NASCAR Next driver, is seventh in the overall standings and third in rookie points – with four top-five and nine top-10 finishes this year.
Activities leading up to the Toyota / NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 included driver appearances by BMR drivers in the local community. In addition, NAPA VIPs got a first-hand look at the track in the two-seater NAPA Toyota on Friday evening.
The Toyota / NAPA AUTO PARTS 150, the 10th event on a 14-race schedule, will be televised on NBCSN on Sept. 2 at 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET).
The next event on the series schedule will be a double-header weekend at Utah Motorsports Campus in Tooele, Utah on Sept. 10-11.
Ryan Partridge won the Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 at Douglas County Speedway Saturday night after a late race entanglement gave him the opportunity he was waiting for.
Partridge, 28-years-old from Rancho Cucamonga, California, battled to stay in the top-three for 113 laps, falling as low as third to Bill McAnally Racing teammates Todd Gilliland and Chris Eggleston. It was on the next lap, that the course of the race changed and propelled Partridge to the top of the board.
Gilliland and Eggleston were battling side-by-side for the top spot when the defending NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion made contact with the Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate causing them both to spin. Partridge managed to avoid serious damage and took control of the lead.
Despite damage to his hood, the series veteran held off a charging Gracin Raz and Riley Herbst the remaining 36 laps to earn his second victory of the season. Raz and Herbst finished second and third, respectively.
Noah Gragson, Julia Landauer, Gilliland, Eggleston, Blaine Perkins, Ron Norman and Nicole Behar rounded out the top 10.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will make its return to Utah Motorsports Campus on Sept. 10 & 11 for a road course doubleheader.
The Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 will air on NBCSN Friday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
Raphael Lessard, 15, has signed his second victory of the season at Concord Speedway in North Carolina in the CARS Tour Super Late Model Series and maintains its hold on first place in the championship . with qualifying canceled due to rain, the drivers took the start of the race according to their position in the championship. the young of Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce, therefore sprang from the pole position, which he kept during most of the race.
From the beginning, Raphael imposed on Quin Houff, second, with whom he fought for a few laps. Still driving his Toyota Camry # 99 FRL Express / Team Coach Imaging / Toyota / JBLAudio prepared by the team David Gilliland Racing , Raphael Lessard, again, led a perfect race, saving quickly platoon 14 cars and digging a lead of nearly 4 seconds Houff.
"It was my first race on the Concord Speedway and the track is made of a very special way. It was also my first time I went in pole position side by side with another driver. Initially I tried a maneuver that I thought would work, but finally I hit the wall hard enough and I was afraid of having a flat tire, but the car has been good and competitive despite the impact. The yellow flag at the 25th round I was a little upset since they had a good lead, but I had a great car prepared by David Gilliland Racing team and my chief engineer Seth Smith. Still, the recovery was successful. This victory is for my father, because it is his party tomorrow and he has done so much for me, for my career, since I was little so I owe him that! "Said Lessard.
Raphael currently sits top of the standings with a comfortable lead, "I try not to think of the championship points, I think I do my best at the races, and I finished well, I amassed more points. I would like to thank my family, my team, FRL Express, Imaging Team Coach, Toyota, JBL Audio and all who follow me! "
While there are only three races in the season, Raphael extended his lead in the drivers' championship. It is also difficult to ignore the commentators of the race, from the beginning of the season, are only wonder at the talent of the young Canadian. They also predict a long future in motorsports.
The next race in Lessard Raphael CARS Tour Super Late Model Series round will be on Saturday September 3rd at Southern National Motorsports Park in Lucama in North Carolina.
Raphael Lessard PR
The 100-lap race, LEAD 2 REAL ESTATE GROUP 200, will be broadcast live on the CARS Tour TV website (paid option). You can also keep an eye on Raphael's on-track performance - free of charge and in real time - on Race-Monitor.com.
The Concord Speedway is a tri-oval half- mile (0.8 km) racetrack, which held, in the late 1950s, a dozen NASCAR Grand National races (now called the Sprint Cup Series). Turns 1, 2 and 3 have, respectively, a 14°, 11° and 14° bank and the front straight has an 8° bank.
Raphaël Lessard PR
Houff, who drives a house car for LFR Chassis, started off the season strong with a victory in the CARS Tour lid lifter at Southern National Motorsports Park in April. Since then, though, the young driver has struggled with mechanical troubles and has had a hard time finishing races. “We have really had an up and down year,” said Houff. “We got that early win, and felt really good about where we were, but ever since the Nashville Southern Super Series race, the car just hadn’t been the same.”
A serious accident at the last CARS Tour race at Orange County Speedway back on July 30 has forced the LFR team to roll out a new piece for this weekend’s race. “Our team has never given up,” said Houff. “I have a lot of support from Jeff Fultz, Cody Jones, and all the LFR guys. It’s great that we have a new car for Concord. After Tuesday night’s test, I think we have top-3, top-5 car. We finished fifth there last year and there’s no reason why we can’t do that again.”
Houff and his LFR team have only a handful of races remaining this season, including two big ones; the Winchester 400 and the Snowball Derby. “Turning the season around this weekend will give us a good boost as we head into the fall,” said Houff.
While Brandon Setzer has yet to win a race in 2016, he finds himself in a very good points position in the CARS Super Late Model series headed into this weekend. Setzer is just four points behind leader Raphael Lessard and feels like he has a good shot to pass the young Canadian before season’s end. “The car has been really good the last couple of races, but we have just had terrible luck,” said Setzer. “We felt we had a car to win at the PASS South race at South Boston and had a track bar adjuster break just eight laps into the race.” Through the first half dozen CARS Tour races, Setzer has just one finish outside of the top 10; an 11th-place finish in the April 3 season-opener at Southern National.
Despite the race results not being where they want, both Houff and Setzer have really stepped up their community and charity involvement in the past few months. Houff, whose mother was recently declared cancer-free, has worked closely with the Duke Cancer Center and their #beatincancer campaign, raising over $10,000 at the midpoint of the season. “We have really had a great year with Duke, made even better by mom’s improvement,” said Houff. “We’re proud to wear that pink ribbon on our car each time out and hope that we can raise some more funds for cancer research this weekend at Concord.”
Setzer is a dedicated volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club in his hometown. He recently took a group of young people, many of whom reside in a homeless shelter, to Hickory Motor Speedway for a lesson in auto racing. “The kids were so excited to go to the track, see my race car and watch me turn some hot laps out there,” said Setzer. “It does so much for us just to see them smile.” When he isn’t bringing the kids to the track, he drops by the Club on a regular basis to play dodgeball with them.
Recently, Setzer and his girlfriend, Terri Crider (sister of 2015 KDDP participant Justin Crider), held a 50/50 drawing to raise money for the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital, raising nearly $500. “Terri and I really hustled it at Orange County, trying to sell tickets for the 50/50,” Setzer said. “We had a great time and were so thankful for everyone’s donation.” Just last week, Setzer visited the hospital, spending time with patients and staff and presenting a check to the hospital administration.
Friday’s open testing from 1:30 p.m. till 5:30 p.m. kicks off the schedule at Concord Speedway. Saturday’s schedule sees alternating practice sessions beginning at 1:00 p.m. Qualifying is set for 5:15 p.m., with Fan Fest (drivers greeting fans) scheduled from 6:45 p.m. till 7:15 p.m. The LMSC 100-lapper is scheduled to get the green flag at 8:00 p.m., followed by the 100-lap feature for the SLM division. Grandstand admission for Saturday night is only $20. Youth tickets (ages 7-12) are $10 each and children 6 & under are admitted free of charge.
According to SpeedwayMedia.com, Bobby Hamilton Jr., a former NASCAR driver with 354 career starts across all three national series, is under fire this week after allegedly breaching contracts with at least two up and coming drivers.
The two drivers, Cassie Gannis and Kevin Hinckle, say Hamilton Jr. didn’t live up to his word. Hinckle says, in court documents according to SpeedwayMedia.com, that the two met last season with plans of starting his very own team in 2016 while racing in the ARCA Racing Series with Carter 2 Motorsports. The two drivers got together as a deal with Hinckle and Carter 2 Motorsports fell through.
Hinckle says he and Hamilton Jr. signed an agreement to run 18 of the 20 scheduled ARCA races in 2016. That excluded the season opening race at Daytona and the fourth race of the season at Talladega Superspeedway. SpeedwayMedia.com says that Hinckle also claimed in court documents that High Performance Motorsports is a non-existing team or even registered to do business in the state of Tennessee.
The two parties agreed that Hinckle would pay $60,000 to compete for the newly formed racing team. The first payment would be $3,000 dollars with the remaining amount paid in installments over the course of the season. Hinckle was later given instructions by Hamilton Jr. on how to make the payments via wire and a check amounting to $17,000.
Hamilton Jr. would then contact Hinckle with a new proposal in September of 2015. The new deal, according to SpeedwayMedia.com, would give Hinckle an opportunity to run in the season opener at Daytona. They would both reach an agreement to the new deal.
Hinckle would travel to Daytona testing in December of 2015 for the series annual test at the 2.5-mile oval. The test provides two-three days of on-track activity to allow drivers to prepare for the season opener and allows rookies to get licensed to run on the plate tracks. It is used often times by rookie drivers in NASCAR to be approved for competition at Daytona and Talladega. The two would communicate a day before testing that Hamilton Jr. would be unable to attend.
Hinckle would show up to the test only to find one car and a seat unable to fit him. After bringing sponsors to watch testing and meet with team owner Hamilton Jr. – he was unable to test. The next morning, Hinckle would request Hamilton Jr. to put the contract in writing. That would not happen and Hamilton Jr. would call Hinckle “difficult to work with” and told the young driver that he would receive a full refund after the cancelation of the contract set forth by Hamilton Jr. and Hinckle.
That would not happen and Hinckle would take legal action.
Cassie Gannis is also taking legal action on Bobby Hamilton Jr. according to SpeedwayMedia.com as she was scheduled to make two ARCA Racing Series starts with Hamilton-Hughes. The two events that Gannis would be featured behind the wheel would be Talladega Superspeedway and Lucas Oil Raceway Park. Both parties agreed that Gannis would pay a $12,000 fee in two separate payments.
Hamilton Jr. would later say that there was a possibility that Gannis could run the full-season as he had a sponsor pending that could bring $200,000 if Gannis paid $60,000. If that deal were to take place – Hamilton Jr. wanted her to pay $20,000 following the signing of the contract and pay $40,000 by April 1. That would give her a total of four races or a full season with the sponsor willing to pay $200.000.
Cassie Gannis, Hamilton Jr., a team consultant and Kathy Gannis would all meet via Google Hangout. They decided during this hangout that the Gannis family could not come up with the $60,000 dollars and would stick to their original deal of two races.
Hamilton Jr. would then contact Gannis about changing the two race deal to four races because a sponsor came forward interested in Gannis for the races later in the year.
At Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway Hamilton Jr. would withdraw from the race so he could solely focus on his newly formed racing team. The Gannis family claim they tried getting ahold of Hamilton Jr. to check-in and had no answer. They would later find out that Hamilton Jr. competed at Talladega Superspeedway and still wouldn’t return their calls. The family then claims that Hamilton Jr. would respond with texts saying “call you later” or “in a meeting” and would stop all together later in June.
The Gannis family would be contacted in July of 2016 that Hamilton Jr. had been left out of his shop. That’s when Cassie Gannis and her family decided to pursue legal action on the former XFINITY Series winner.
You can read the full story on SpeedwayMedia.com by clicking this link: SpeedwayMedia.com
Looking to build on the monumental success achieved in fundraising efforts last year, the Seventh Annual Waltrip Brothers’ Charity Championship (WBCC) welcomes country music star, Army veteran and award-winning TV host Craig Morgan as the headliner for its Champion’s Dinner on Wednesday, Oct. 19, in Franklin, Tenn.
Morgan will kick off Darrell and Michael Waltrip’s two-day fundraiser that benefits Speedway Children’s Charities, American Diabetes Association and Motor Racing Outreach (MRO). In just six years, the WBCC has surpassed the $2 million mark, and in 2015, shattered its fundraising record for the fourth consecutive year with more than $600,000 raised.
NFL on FOX host and NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw will emcee the Champion’s Dinner after sudden illness sidelined him the night of the 2015 event. Joining Bradshaw as co-hosts are FOX NASCAR analyst Jeff Hammond and NASCAR on NBC host Krista Voda. Thursday’s “no mulligan” golf tournament at Vanderbilt Legends Club rounds out the WBCC.
“It’s hard to believe we’re gearing up for our seventh Waltrip Brothers Charity Championship,” Darrell Waltrip said. “What started out as a small effort has taken on a life of its own and raised a total of $2 million for some very worthy charities. We’ve brought on new benefactors this year with Speedway Children’s Charities and the American Diabetes Association joining Motor Racing Outreach, and we have every reason to believe we’ll shatter another fundraising record. With Craig Morgan as our headliner, it should be a fantastic night.”
A multi-faceted entertainer, Craig Morgan has made a name for himself as a country music icon, TV host, celebrated outdoorsman and patriotic Army veteran. One of country music's best-loved artists, the Black River Entertainment artist thrills massive crowds with signature hits, including “Bonfire,” Almost Home,” “International Harvester,” “This Ole Boy,” Wake Up Loving You” and the six-week #1, “That's What I Love About Sunday.” Morgan’s newest album, A Whole Lot More To Me, featuring singles “I’ll Be Home Soon” and “When I’m Gone,” released this summer. Morgan received one of country music's highest honors when he was inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2008. In addition to a prolific country music career, he hosts the award-winning TV show “Craig Morgan: All Access Outdoors,” now in its seventh season on Outdoor Channel. Prior to becoming a country music star and TV sensation, Morgan spent 17 years serving our country in the Army and Army Reserves. He is an avid supporter of America's military personnel and a recipient of the 2006 USO Merit Award. For more on Morgan, CLICK HERE.
“I am a huge Craig Morgan fan,” Michael Waltrip said. “We met at Texas Motor Speedway a few years back and became buddies. Just look at the names of some of his hits – “International Harvester” and “Redneck Yacht Club.” How cool and country is that? Then, of course, there’s his touching hit “That’s What I Love About Sunday.” Craig is the perfect blend of country, Americana and inspiration.”
Entertainment and sports stars will be among the more than 500 guests at the Champion’s Dinner that features a live and silent auction consisting of dozens of autographed items from sports, music and entertainment icons. A portion of the live auction proceeds will go to feeding needy families designated by Feeding America and to assist Samaritan’s Purse in building a new home for a family that was recently displaced. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Dialed in with Claire B. Lang” will broadcast live from the event.
Already confirmed are AMERICAN IDOL SEASON 4 runner-up Bo Bice; NASCAR drivers Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kenny Habul; FOX NASCAR host/play-by-play announcer Adam Alexander; two-time NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES champion and FOX NASCAR analyst Todd Bodine; FOX NASCAR analyst Larry McReynolds; FOX NASCAR reporter Hermie Sadler; and FOX NASCAR analyst Kenny Wallace.
Waltrip Brothers PR
NASCAR and Nickelodeon are joining forces again to take viewers inside the world of NASCAR racing with the return NASCAR Hammer Down. Premiering Friday, Sept. 23 at 9:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nicktoons, the third season of NASCAR Hammer Down features eight, 15-minute episodes hosted by Karsyn Elledge, granddaughter of Dale Earnhardt and daughter of Kelley Earnhardt Miller.
This season, Elledge will be joined by her sister, Kennedy Elledge, for driver interviews, goofy antics and behind-the-scenes insight into the technology and people that propel more than 90 annual NASCAR national series events. Ryan Blaney, driver of the No. 21 Ford for Wood Brothers Racing, and Bubba Wallace Jr., driver of the No. 6 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, also return as series regulars for the popular “Bubba & Blaney” segment.
Produced by NASCAR Productions, season three premieres with back-to-back episodes, the first of which emanates from the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The subsequent “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 Special” gives viewers an inside look at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 taking place on Sunday, Sept. 18 at Chicagoland Speedway. NASCAR Hammer Down will air regularly on Fridays at 9:30 p.m. (ET/PT) during Nicktoons’ NickSports TV block.
“Kids are a huge part of our sport, and we are excited to deliver a program like NASCAR Hammer Down to a very important audience for NASCAR,” said Zane Stoddard, NASCAR vice president of entertainment marketing and content development. “The personalities of Karsyn, Kennedy and our drivers combined with the NickSports audience, creates the perfect avenue for us to connect with a new generation of potential NASCAR fans.”
The return of NASCAR Hammer Down is announced as the sport celebrates Kids Drive NASCAR, a week-long youth initiative leading up to Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway. Karsyn Elledge helped kick off the special campaign on Monday during a kids-only press conference at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, streamed live by NASCAR via Facebook Live.
All week the NASCAR industry is hosting events and activities designed to introduce young fans to the sport. As part of Kids Drive NASCAR, NASCAR is also launching the first-ever NASCAR Acceleration Nation mobile app, a digital experience created just for kids.