Wednesday, Jul 06
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Spire Motorsports announced today veteran racer Dylan Lupton will steer the team’s No. 7 Chevrolet Silverado in Saturday’s inaugural O’Reilly Auto Parts 150 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
 
Lupton will carry sponsorship from Lupton Excavation as he makes his first Camping World Truck Series start of 2022.
 
“I am very thankful for this opportunity to drive for Spire Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course,” said Lupton. “Every time they have hit the track at a Truck Series race in 2022, Spire Motorsports has been a front-runner.
 
“I’d like to continue that pace this weekend. I have experience at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and with my road course background, plus with the leadership of Bono (Manion, crew chief), I think we can surprise a lot of people on Saturday afternoon.”
 
Since 2015, Lupton has made multiple starts across NASCAR’s Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series. The 28-year-old Wilton, Calif., native has logged 14 Truck Series starts across his career, earning one top-five and four top-10 finishes.
 
In two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at the famed 13-turn, 2.258-mile Lexington, Ohio road course, Lupton has a track-best finish of ninth in 2015 driving for Athenian Motorsports.
 
Spire Motorsports has fielded an entry in six Camping World Truck Series races in 2022 with an All-Star driver lineup including Austin Hill (Daytona), Alex Bowman (Austin/Sonoma), William Byron (Martinsville), Chase Elliott (Bristol) and Rajah Caruth (Madison, Ill.), earning one win (Byron) and a pair of top 10s.
 
The team is led by championship-winning industry veterans Mike Greci and Kevin “Bono” Manion.
 
“Dylan Lupton has shown a lot of promise over his career so we’re eager to see what he can do this weekend at Mid-Ohio,” commented Spire Motorsports co-owner T.J. Puchyr. “He’s a good, hard-nosed road racer and having the leadership and wealth of knowledge between Mike (Greci) and Bono (Manion) will be important for Dylan. He’s done well at Mid-Ohio in the past, so we think we’ve got a strong combination heading into Saturday.”
 
The O’Reilly Auto Parts 150 will be televised live on FS1 Saturday, July 9 beginning at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The 15th of 23 races on the 2022 Camping World Truck Series schedule will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

Spire Motorsports PR

Neme'chek' the Facts:
 
  • John Hunter Nemechek and the No. 4 Mobil 1 team head into Mid-Ohio with their sights set on closing the gap in the Camping World Truck Series regular season championship standings. After a ninth-place finish at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway, Nemechek dropped one spot in the standings and finds himself 21 tallies behind points leader Zane Smith with just two races remaining in the regular season.
 
  • Nemechek will be pulling double-duty this weekend at Mid-Ohio, making his first career ARCA Menards Series start behind the wheel of the No. 55 Toyota Camry for Venturini Motorsports. He has previously made just one start at Mid-Ohio in the Xfinity Series, where a mid-race incident relegated him to a 31st-place finish. 
 
  • The second-generation driver has finished inside the top-10 in 10 out of the last 11 events and leads NASCAR Truck Series regulars in poles (four) and average starting position (6.9). He also ranks second in driver rating (102.3) top-10 finishes (10) and average running position (9.027) and sits fourth in laps led (188).
 
  • The Toyota Racing driver spent his off weekend from the Truck Series making his sixth Xfinity Series start of the season piloting the No. 26 GR Supra for Sam Hunt Racing at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin where he brought home an 18th-place finish.
 
  • Nemechek is a 12-time winner in Camping World Truck Series action, winning at least one race each season from 2015 to 2018 for his family-owned team, NEMCO Motorsports, and returning to victory lane in 2021 and 2022 with KBM. Across 138 career starts in NASCAR’s third division, he has compiled six poles, 1,369 laps led, 46 top-five and 76 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.4.
 
  • Eric Phillips returned to lead the No. 4 team in 2022. His 42 career Truck Series victories make him the winningest crew chief in Truck Series history, with 33 of those coming while at KBM including five last year. Phillips led the No. 18 team at KBM in its debut season in 2010 and helped build the organization into one of the premier teams in all of NASCAR before departing at the end of the 2014 season. Under his guidance, the No. 18 team won eight races in its inaugural campaign and became the Series history to capture an owner’s championship in its first season of competition. In 2014, the Illinois native led the first team in Truck No. 51 team to an owner’s championship and his team’s 10 wins spearheaded KBM to a single-season Truck Series record of 14 wins. Phillips has been atop the box for four Xfinity Series starts at Mid-Ohio with a best finish of 11th in 2015 with Daniel Suarez. Across six Camping World Truck Series starts on road courses, his drivers have tallied 17 laps led, four top-five and 10 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 5.0. His best finish came with John Hunter Nemechek in 2021 at Watkins Glen International where they finished second.
 
  • The world’s leading synthetic motor oil, Mobil 1, will adorn the hood of the No. 4 Tundra TRD Pro this Saturday at Mid-Ohio. Mobil 1 returns as the primary sponsor of Nemechek’s Toyota for two more races in 2022 on Oct. 1 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and Sept. 9 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.
 
 
John Hunter Nemechek, Driver Q&A:
 
How beneficial will it be running the ARCA race before the Truck Series race this weekend?
“I think running laps this weekend is going to help with the limited track time. I’ve been able to at least run a Xfinity Series race at Mid-Ohio and it’s one of my favorite racetracks to go to. It’s an awesome race and I think reps are huge for this weekend.”
 
You’ve raced at Mid-Ohio in the Xfinity Series; how does it compare to the other road courses we’ve raced at in the Truck Series this year?
“Mid-Ohio is different than the other road courses we’ve been to this year in the Truck Series to me. There’s some tight roller sections and a couple long straightaways but a unique track in itself.”
 
In addition to your experience at Mid-Ohio, Eric Phillips (crew chief) has been on the box for four Xfinity Series races there. How beneficial will the experience he has a crew chief there be this weekend?
“I think having experience on the pit box from Eric calling a race there and knowing what the factors are and being there for rain races and dry races depending on the conditions will help. Knowing some of the backstory on Mid-Ohio and just having experience there is going to be very beneficial to go against those who have never been there before.”
 
 
John Hunter Nemechek Career Highlights:
 
  • Twelve-time winner in Camping World Truck Series action, winning at least one race each season from 2015 to 2018 for his family-owned team, NEMCO Motorsports and returning to victory lane with KBM in 2021 and 2022. Across 138 career starts in NASCAR’s third division, has compiled six poles, 1,369 laps led, 46 top-five and 76 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.4. Registered a career-high and series-leading five victories in 2021, earned the NCWTS Regular Season championship and finished third in the final standings after qualifying for the Championship Four for the first time in his career.
  • Produced three top-10 finishes and an average result of 22.4 while competing for rookie of the year honors in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2020. He recorded a career-best eighth-place finish twice, both coming at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
  • Across 62 career XFINITY Series starts, has totaled two wins, one pole, 510 laps led, 17 top-five and 36 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 11.9. 
 
 
John Hunter Nemechek's No. 4 Mobil 1 Tundra TRD Pro:
 
KBM-61: The Mobil 1 team will unload KBM-61 for Saturday’s race at Mid-Ohio. Nemechek has piloted this Tundra to two top-10 finishes this season, finishing second at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) back in March and eighth at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in June. Overall, KBM-61 has made six road course starts resulting in three top-five and four top-10 finishes with an average finish of 8.2. 
 
 
KBM Notes of Interest:
 
  • Across 38 starts on road courses, KBM drivers have earned two wins, 15 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes, with an average starting position of 9.3 and an average finish of 11.7.
  • Owner-driver Kyle Busch earned his organization’s most recent road course win in June at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. Erik Jones picked up KBM’s first road course victory in 2015 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ont.
  • KBM holds the Camping World Truck Series records for most career wins (95) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). With his victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 19, Corey Heim became the 18th different driver to win a Truck Series event for KBM. In addition to collecting a series-record seven Owner's Championships, the organization has produced two championship-winning drivers: Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017).
  • The No. 4 has 17 career victories at KBM and was the number for both of the organization’s driver championships.

KBM PR

No. 18 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota GR Supra News and Notes:

  • TRUEX AT ATLANTA: Ryan Truex has raced twice at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with one top-10 finish, an average starting position of 9.5, and an average finishing position of 10th.Truex also raced once at Atlanta in the NASCAR Cup Series and four times in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.  
  • 2022 XFINITY SERIES: This will be Truex’s last race of the 2022 season for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR). He previously drove the No. 18 at Las Vegas, Martinsville, Darlington, and Texas collecting two top-10 finishes in those races.  
  • JGR AT ATLANTA: JGR has run 60 NXS races at AMS with five wins, 19 top-fives, 32 top-10s, and five poles. JGR’s last win at the track came in March of 2022 as Ty Gibbs won his second race of the season. 
  • FOLLOW ALONG: Follow along for updates on Truex’s 2022 NXS Season.  

Twitter: @Ryan_Truex I Facebook: Ryan Truex I Instagram:  @ryan_truex 

  • RACE INFO: The NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 250 is scheduled for 5:00 PM EST on Saturday, July 9. The race will be broadcasted on USA, MRN, Sirius XM and available to stream on the NBS Sports app.    

 

From the Driver’s Seat: 

Ryan Truex: “I am looking forward to getting in the No. 18 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota GR Supra one more time this year. We had a good run in Texas finishing sixth and I’m excited to be back with Joe Gibbs Racing to try and get the win this weekend. The team has had fast cars all year and I know this weekend will be no different. This will be the first time I’ve raced an Xfinity car on the reconfigured Atlanta, so I plan on working to adapt to the track quickly. It’s going to be hot down in Georgia. The track should be slick making for a good race and another opportunity for a great run with the No. 18 team.” 

JGR PR

Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart

Atlanta Motor Speedway

NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)

Sunday July 10 at 3 p.m. ET on USA

 

  • In the 2022 NCS season, Kaulig Racing has earned one top five, four top-10 finishes and has led 22 laps
  • Atlanta Motor Speedway will become just the fifth track in the NCS that Kaulig Racing has raced at multiple times
 

Noah Gragson, No. 16 Gold Fish Casino Slots Camaro ZL1

  • Noah Gragson has an average finish of 26.2 in the 2022 NCS season across six starts
  • Gragson's best finish in the NCS came at Kansas Speedway earlier this season with Kaulig Racing (18th)

 

“I’m super excited to be in the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Camaro ZL1 this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but this time with Gold Fish Casino Slots onboard. Atlanta is the place I made my first start with this team, and since then, we’ve really made some great gains as a team to improve each race we’ve run together.”

 

- Noah Gragson on Atlanta Motor Speedway

 

Justin Haley, No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Camaro ZL1

 

  • Justin Haley has made three starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NCS
  • His best finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway (11th) came earlier this season with Kaulig Racing
  • He has earned one top five and eight top-15 finishes in 2022
  • Haley’s third-place finish at Darlington was Kaulig Racing’ first top-five not at a superspeedway or road course
  • Haley has led 20 laps in the 2022 season

 

“I’m excited to get to Atlanta, because I feel confident in our Speedway program and our ability as a race team to go out there and compete for a win this weekend. We typically do really well and have speed at these types of tracks, so hopefully we can be there at the end."

 

- Justin Haley on Atlanta Motor Speedway

Alsco Uniforms 250

Atlanta Motor Speedway

NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS)

Saturday, July 9 at 5 p.m. ET on USA

  • Kaulig Racing has earned two wins, 11 top five and 27 top-10 finishes in the 2022 NXS season
  • The team has led 245 laps in the 2022 NXS season so far
  • Allmendinger: 197 laps            
  • Hemric: 48 laps
 

Landon Cassill, No. 10 Carnomaly Chevrolet

  • Landon Cassill has an average finish of 15.4 in 2022 in the NXS
  • Cassill has earned one top five and has an average finish of 18.0 across six starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway

 

"I am looking forward to racing in Atlanta this weekend after a tough break at Road America. With the similarities Atlanta has to a superspeedway, Kaulig Racing showed a good amount of speed there in the spring, and we were able to bring home a fifth-place finish. We’ve been working hard to get better each week, so hopefully we can have another solid finish in the No. 10 Carnomaly Chevy."

 

 

- Landon Cassill on Atlanta Motor Speedway

 

Daniel Hemric, No. 11 AG1 Chevrolet

  • Daniel Hemric has an average finish of 15.9 in 2022 in the NXS
  • Hemric has earned one top five, three top-10 finishes and has an average finish of 16.3 across six starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway
  • He has led 45 laps at Atlanta Motor Speedway

 

"As we all went to Atlanta to run the reconfiguration for the first time back in the spring, all drivers and teams were presented with a challenge that none of us had really ever been faced with before. Very quickly, we all identified what type of racing it was going to be and had fast Kaulig Chevys. Now as we approach it for the second time, in the heat of the summer, we are kind of being presented with a different challenge and list of unknowns. Everyone at Kaulig Racing is continuing to work their tails off to try to move our program in the right direction. We are up for the challenge and ready to go have some fun in Hot-Lanta!"

 

- Daniel Hemric on Atlanta Motor Speedway

 

 

AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Action Industries Chevrolet

 

  • AJ Allmendinger has a win in four-consecutive NXS seasons
  • Allmendinger has earned multiple wins in three-consecutive NXS seasons
  • Allmendinger has an average finish of 6.5, the best of any full-time NXS driver in 2022
  • Allmendinger has 14 top-10 finishes, the most of any full-time NXS driver
  • Allmendinger has one win, three top fives and has led 80 laps at Atlanta Motor Speedway

 

 

"The last time we went to Atlanta it was definitely an interesting race with the new reconfiguration. There was a lot of pack racing. I felt like our cars actually handled really well there, and we had pretty good speed to give ourselves a chance to win. I think handling is going to be especially important with all the heat that we're going to have there. The track definitely got slick when it was hotter the last time. Some of it is a bit of the luck of the draw when the wrecks happen and staying out of it. Hopefully we can stay up front all day and keep ourselves clean and give ourselves a chance at winning the race."

 

- AJ Allmendinger on Atlanta Motor Speedway

AMS PR

No. 19 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota Camry TRD News and Notes

  • TRUEX AT ATLANTA: Martin Truex Jr. has posted nine consecutive top-10 finishes at Atlanta Motor Speedway, including an eighth-place run earlier this season. In 25 starts at the 1.54-mile quad-oval, he has registered six top-five finishes, 13 top-10s and 356 laps led. In this race last July, Truex was forced to start from the rear of the field and rallied his way to a third-place finish.
  • ROAD AMERICA RECAP: Truex started 15th and finished 13th in last Sunday’s race at Road America. He raced his way into the top 10 at one point during the race before slipping back a few spots late as he was forced to conserve fuel in the closing laps.
  • AUTO-OWNERS: Auto-Owners Insurance will be featured as the primary sponsor of Truex’s No. 19 Camry TRD for Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Lansing, Michigan-based company offers multiple lines of insurance, including life, home, auto and business to customers in 26 states. 2022 marks Auto-Owners’ fourth year with Joe Gibbs Racing as they will once again be featured for eight races on the No. 19 Camry TRD. To learn more about Auto-Owners, visit www.auto-owners.com.
  • JGR AT ATLANTA: Joe Gibbs Racing owns 11 NASCAR Cup Series victories at Atlanta Motor Speedway. In 123 combined starts at the track, the organization has tallied 41 top-five finishes, 59 top-10s, four pole awards, and 2,836 laps led. Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Bobby Labonte, and Tony Stewart have all driven JGR entries to victory lane at the 1.54-mile speedway.
  • TUNE IN: Coverage of this weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway begins Sunday, July 10, at 3 p.m. ET on USA, PRN Radio, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

Martin Truex Jr., Driver of the No. 19 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota Camry TRD

What do you expect going back to a track for a second time with this car?

“I think the race will be pretty similar because we’re going to run pretty much flat out. Handling may come into a play a little more this time just because it’s going to be a lot hotter. Overall, I think everyone has a better handle on the car and you have an idea what worked and what didn’t work in that first race. It was pretty hard to pass the first time because everybody got side by side and there wasn’t much room to go anywhere, so qualifying is going to be very important to start up front up and try to stay up front all day.”

JGR PR

No. 11 Coca-Cola Toyota Camry TRD News and Notes

  • HAMLIN AT ATLANTA: Denny Hamlin owns one NASCAR Cup Series victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway (2012). Overall, the Chesterfield, Virginia native has recorded six top-five finishes, nine top-10s, one pole award and 421 laps led at the 1.54-mile track. Earlier this season, Hamlin was running solidly inside the top five late in stage two before being involved in an accident that ultimately ended his day prematurely.
  • ROAD AMERICA RECAP: Hamlin started 14th and finished 17th in last Sunday’s race at Road America. He was hovering just outside the top 10 during stage one before a penalty for driving through too many pit boxes sent him to the rear of the field to begin stage two. After running as low as 32nd, Hamlin rallied his way back up to 17th by the time the checkered flag waved.
  • COCA-COLA: For the first time in his career, Hamlin’s Toyota Camry TRD will feature the Coca-Cola colors in Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The 2022 Coca-Cola 600 winner has been a member of the Coca-Cola Racing Family of drivers since his rookie season in 2006.
  • JGR AT ATLANTA: Joe Gibbs Racing owns 11 NASCAR Cup Series victories at Atlanta Motor Speedway. In 123 combined starts at the track, the organization has tallied 41 top-five finishes, 59 top-10s, four pole awards, and 2,836 laps led. Kyle Busch, Bobby Labonte, and Tony Stewart join Hamlin on the list of drivers who have driven JGR entries to victory lane at the 1.54-mile speedway.
  • TUNE IN: Coverage of this weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway begins Sunday, July 10, at 3 p.m. ET on USA, PRN Radio, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

Denny Hamlin, Driver of the No. 11 Coca-Cola Toyota Camry TRD

What do you expect going back to Atlanta for a second time with this car?

“I think you’re going to see a lot of what you saw the first time. But it’s not as simple as just bringing a superspeedway car like you’d take to Daytona or Talladega. You’ve got to handle good, especially with how hot it is going to be Sunday. I feel good about how strong our car was in the spring. We didn’t get the result we would have liked, but I was able to make moves on the top and bottom, so that gives me a lot of confidence that we can be a real contender on Sunday.”

JGR PR

Zane Smith, driver of the No. 38 Boot Barn F-150 for Front Row Motorsports, goes into this weekend’s inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Mid-Ohio with a 21-point lead in the standings.  Smith was a guest earlier today on the weekly Ford Performance media Zoom call with motorsports reporters and spoke about his goals with two races remaining in the regular season.

 

ZANE SMITH, No. 38 Boot Barn F-150 – HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR POSITION AND IS IT A TIME TO BE MORE AGGRESSIVE AND GO AFTER THOSE PLAYOFF BONUS POINTS?  “I think our main focus right now is this regular season championship, just with how valuable it is to win it, especially in a case like ourselves where we’ve already had a strong start to the year with three wins.  If I don’t get anymore wins in between now and two races left, and I do win the regular season championship, it’s equivalent to three more wins and those points carry you a long way, so we’ve had a really strong start to the season.  I feel like it says a lot about our team even after our Las Vegas incident with the lugnut, and I feel like if it wasn’t for that I’d have a huge buffer, so to bounce back from that I feel like it says a lot about our team and we’re ready to attack these next two races.”

 

HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR MID-OHIO THIS WEEKEND?  “I feel like I’ve put in a lot of hours on the Ford sim and I feel like my engineer and I have worked closely and getting our truck better.  The simulator is one thing and real deal is a whole other, but you typically get a general read for it and, as of right now, I’m really happy with how everything has been going and I’m excited to get to Mid-Ohio.  I’ve never been there.  I’ve never seen the place.  I’ve heard mixed opinions on it, but I have enjoyed it so far.  I feel like it should be fun and obviously hoping for another good points day and to leave there hopefully with the trophy and an even bigger points cushion.”

 

DO YOU FEEL WINNING THE REGULAR SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP MAKES MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE IN GETTING TO PHOENIX FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP RACE?  “Yeah, it makes a huge difference.  I’ve been in way worse situations than I am now.  I feel like if you get those extra bonus points it just goes such a long way, but I’ve been in way way worse situation before and having to win in my last possible chance, so I’m happy where we’re at as a team.  We have a new truck being built for the playoffs and obviously some good tracks coming up for us as well, but I feel like we’ve had the speed.  The hard part of the eight-week stretch is over, so the fine detail kind of gets to be put into our trucks as it always is, but even more detail now.  I feel like that’s what really separates people, so I’m super excited to get these playoffs rolling and hopefully we end up in Phoenix again.  How championships are won now is just whoever is the best in Phoenix, so obviously we want to get ourselves locked in as soon as possible and put our biggest preparation into Phoenix if that day comes.”

 

IS THERE A TRACK THAT HELPS BEST PREPARE FOR PHOENIX OR ARE YOU TAKING IT RACE BY RACE?  “I want to take it race by race, but it’s hard for me not to look forward to Kansas in the playoffs just with how our first Kansas went.  I feel like the Fords in general have been really strong and I feel like we’ve done a pretty good job of executing races and staying consistent.  That’s what it takes to get to Phoenix.”

 

YOU WERE FIRST AT COTA AND SECOND AT SONOMA, SO IS THIS WEEKEND ONE YOU’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO?  “Absolutely.  I feel like road courses, I said in COTA, I think it was to Jamie Little but road courses in my opinion is almost, I don’t want to say an off weekend but a fun weekend because if you’re off a little bit I feel like the driver can make the difference in a way, so I like that part of it and I grew up road course racing.  I’ve never seen MId-Ohio, but what I know of it so far on the simulator and watching it, it seems like a lot of fun, so I’m super excited about it.”

 

IT’S A LONG WAY UNTIL THE END OF THE PLAYOFFS IN NOVEMBER.  HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SUCH A LONG PLAYOFF SEASON?  “I feel like the most difficult part is if you have a bad weekend we have a huge break, I want to say it’s in August, and that part is the hardest part.  I feel like the Xfinity and the Cup, obviously the Cup level is the Cup level, but for Xfinity to compare apples to apples, you could have a bad race to start the beginning of your year and be all right because I think Xfinity still has close to eight or nine races and, for us, if you have one bad race it hurts and so I feel like it’s really tough to make the playoffs in general for the Truck Series and then, like I said about the breaks once the playoffs get going, is really difficult.  The past two years have worked out for me and I enjoy when the playoffs come around just because of the win you’re in mindset.  Executing on peoples’ bad days is a big key to it.  It takes everything to get to Phoenix.  It’s almost a championship in itself getting there and then running the best out of everyone else is a whole other thing, so hopefully that’s the case this year.”

 

WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR MID-OHIO?  “I’m a huge fan of road course racing.  Our track record so far this year on the road courses has been really good with a first at COTA and a second at Sonoma, so a first and a second is a good start.  I feel like at Sonoma I had a shot at the end, but I just wasn’t close enough to Kyle.  I feel like Mid-Ohio from what I hear, talking to Michael McDowell and Joey Hand, it seems like it’s my style of a rhythm type road course and I like that.  I actually feel like a place like COTA, where it’s really heavy braking ares isn’t quite my strong suit, but rhythm places and keeping your momentum up I would say is my strong suit road course-wise, so I can’t wait to get down there.”

WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE SPORTS MOMENT?  “It was pretty cool watching Jimmie Johnson win his seventh championship.  Racing is all I’ve ever known.  Besides racing, I’m a huge Tom Brady fan.  I really enjoy seeing his success at such a high level and all the people that talk crap about him and how he shuts them up.  That’s just really cool to see, whether he played football, golf or baseball it don’t matter for me.  Other than that, Jimmie Johnson winning a seventh championship was pretty cool.  Anything racing involved is always cool to watch, especially when the odds really are in their favor.”

 

HOW DID YOU ENJOY YOUR CUP DEBUT AT GATEWAY SUBBING FOR CHRIS BUESCHER?  “When I ran the 17 Cup car it was an experience I’ll never forget.  It was about as last-minute as it could possible get, but I had a ton of fun getting to, I don’t know, I guess to see that and be a part of it.  That was what was so cool.  Ever since you’re a little kid in any professional sport you always want to get to the top level and it’s crazy once you get to do that, especially for your first time, so that was pretty crazy.  Just the atmosphere difference was so much different than anything I’ve ever experienced and obviously the competition level taught me so much.  It was cool to race against those guys that I’d grown up watching, a lot of them, and so hopefully there will be more in the near future.”

 

ARE YOU DOING ANYTHING DIFFERENT THIS YEAR THAN PREVIOUS YEARS?  ALL OF YOUR STATS ARE BETTER.  “I wouldn’t say there’s anything I’m doing different.  I just feel like everything is clicking well.  The communication between myself, crew chief, engineer, our whole team is just really good right now.  I feel like just race car drivers in general, once you have a few years under your belt it just really shows once you’ve been to the places and you’ve gotten to experience so many different things and I feel like that’s the case for me.  A lot of times I feel like I’ve experienced so much, so I can’t imagine 10-plus years racing.  I’m having a ton of fun this year.  It’s been cool to collect some trophies and be in contention to win races pretty much week in and week out and we’ll try to keep it up in these playoffs and see if we can end up in Phoenix.”

ANY ADVICE FOR KIDS OUT THERE WHO LOOK UP TO YOU?  “It’s obviously been super cool to see, especially last year and this year all of the support I’ve gotten from the fan’s side.  I feel like that’s super cool to see.  I try to be as relatable as possible, but as far as advice I’m still figuring myself out.  But as far as racing advice, if you’re trying to make it professionally, I would try to race anything and everything you get your hands on and take advantage of every opportunity you’re given and just roll with the punches and see what it gives you and have fun with it.”

 

CAN YOU TALK MORE ABOUT WHAT JOEY HAND IS HELPING YOU WITH?  “Joey helped some at COTA and I’m not sure if he helped at Sonoma, but I’ve been really impressed with Joey and super thankful for his help that he and Ford have provided us.  I obviously haven’t been able to apply it yet at Mid-Ohio, but his COTA help was tremendous and I just feel like little things he’s showed me at Mid-Ohio has helped me a ton.  I feel like it’s really easy for people that come in, I don’t want to sound bad here, but people who think they’re helping but they don’t understand the stock cars that we race and the things that they say don’t make sense or isn’t necessarily true, but that is not the case with Joey.  With him he is spot on and I feel like the communication between him and I has been great.  As soon as he talks about something, I don’t know if it’s because we come from a karting background or he just has so much road course experience he just knows, but as soon as he talks about something I pick it up right away with him and that’s been really cool.  He’s a super cool guy.  Obviously a freaking wheel man, and hopefully I get to use him some more whenever I get the chance.”

 

IS IT JUST CONVERSATION WHERE HE HELPS OR DO YOU LOOK AT VIDEO?  “What he did for COTA and Mid-Ohio is Ford will send him down to North Carolina for at least a day and he’ll work with me for a couple hours.  I’ll pretty much run for 20 minutes and he’ll have a track map and mark down all these notes of his thoughts and opinions and I feel like that’s what makes him good is because he makes it clear these are his thoughts and his opinion, you don’t have to do it and you can take what you want from it.  I feel like that’s how you should go about things and with Joey I’ve taken about 99 percent of them just because I feel like they’ve all really applied well with what I’m trying to do.  His help in the simulator has been tremendous and hopefully we can apply it on Saturday.”

 

WILL THE REGULAR SEASON TITLE AND 15-POINT BONUS THAT COMES WITH IT MAKE YOU MORE HESITANT TO STICK YOUR NOSE INTO A TIGHT SITUATION WITH THAT THOUGHT IN THE BACK OF YOUR MIND?  “For sure, especially when you take those away from guys they’re gonna be racing in the playoffs a lot more conservative, so you’ve got to take advantage of those situations.  That’s where my head is at.  I’m sure that’s where the other guys’ heads are at that also have pretty good playoff points, so we need to get there first, but a great first step would be winning on Saturday.”

 

IS THERE A PARTICULAR AREA YOU FEEL YOU NEED TO IMPROVE ON AS A TEAM OR IS IT JUST REFINING WHERE YOU ARE?  “I feel like pit road needs to be better.”

 

SO THE MODIFIED PIT STOPS MIGHT PLAY INTO YOUR HAND?  “I feel like it’s not that it’s been completely horrible, it just needs to be more consistent, especially when these playoffs come around just because mistakes don’t get you to Phoenix.  I’ve gotten to experience that and fortunately we’ve been able to execute as late as you could possibly get it done, but I do not want to be a part of that again.  I would like to be able to breathe going into, I think it’s Homestead this year, so that’s our goal.  To be in the playoffs you need to be perfect.  I don’t want it to seem like we’re bashing anyone, but I feel like our pit road needs to be more consistent.”

 

WITH THE MODIFIED PIT STOPS THIS WEEK HOW MUCH EASIER IS IT TO KNOW YOU DON’T HAVE TO MAKE A DECISION ON WHETHER OR NOT TO COME IN BEFORE THE STAGE BREAK?  “I like that.  I feel like it’ll make for an exciting Pocono because we’re all gonna be racing for these stage wins because all the stages are pretty cut and dried.  There’s good and bad to it.  There’s good that way, but if you have a mistake early in the race, typically bad things on a road course you can short pit and still have a good day if you do something or make a mistake.  There is none of that anymore and I’ve heard Mid-Ohio is pretty tough to pass, so minimizing your mistakes are gonna be crucial and just being around at the end and not getting into anyone else’s mess is the key.”

Ford Performance PR

The Solar Car Challenge returns to Texas Motor Speedway from July 14-20, with three days of qualifying and four days of racing competition where all entrants’ vehicles are powered solely by the sun.
 
The Solar Car Challenge (https://www.solarcarchallenge.org/challenge/) is an education program designed to motivate students in science, engineering, and alternative energy. High school students are taught how to plan, design, engineer, build, race, and evaluate roadworthy solar cars.
 
Scrutineering of vehicles participating in the Solar Car Challenge will take place July 14-16, beginning each day at 8 a.m. Each day of the four-day competition, July 17-2, begins at 9 a.m. A media event will be held Friday, July 15 from 9:30-11 a.m. in the garage area at Texas Motor Speedway.
 
Car breakdowns, variations in weather, track conditions, and team experience limit the number of miles a team can drive each day during the four-day competition. The team driving the most miles accumulated over the four days of the event will be declared the winner in each racing division.  
 
The Challenge has 261 high school solar car projects located in 39 states, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Spain, Uzbekistan, and Hong Kong. The Solar Car Challenge is hosted by Texas Instruments, Oncor, and Lockheed Martin.
 
 2022 SOLAR CAR TEAMS
 
Classic Division
Ballard Bombers / Ballard Memorial High School / Barlow, Kentucky
Blazin’ Bulldogs / Delta School / Wilson, Arkansas
Dallas Solar Tigers / Harmony School of Science / Dallas
Holy Solars / Kent School / Kent, Connecticut
Pirate Ingenuity / Brazosport High School / Clute, Texas
Solar Crusaders / Keller Advanced Center / Keller, Texas
Solar Tigers / Harmony School of Innovation / Fort Worth, Texas
 
Advanced Classic Division
Covenant Cougars / Covenant Christian School / Colleyville, Texas
Los Diableros / Presidio High School / Presidio, Texas
Solar Falcons / Palmdale High School / Palmdale, California
Stony Point Solar / Stony Point High School / Round Rock, Texas
Winston Solar / Winston School / Dallas
Wylie East / Wylie East High School / Wylie, Texas
 
Advanced Division
Covenant Cougars / Covenant Christian School / Colleyville, Texas
RAHS Green Energy Team / Raisbeck Aviation High School / Tukwila, Washington
Houston Solar Team / Houston High School / Houston, Mississippi
Iron Lions / Greenville High School / Greenville, Texas
Oregon Solar / Bend Area School / Bend, Oregon
Plano Green Team / Plano Schools / Plano, Texas
Staten Island Solar / Staten Island Tech High School / Staten Island, New York
 
Electric-Solar Powered Division
Heroes’ Alliance / Heroes’s Alliance / Detroit, Michigan
Solar Falcons / Palmdale High School / Palmdale, California
Solar Jumpers / Somerset High School / Somerset, Kentucky
 
Cruiser Division
Solar Jumpers / Somerset High School / Somerset, Kentucky 
 
Texas Motor Speedway will play host to the 2022 NASCAR Playoffs on Sept. 24-25. The weekend will be highlighted by the NASCAR Xfinity Series Andy’s Frozen Custard 300 on Saturday, Sept. 24(2:30 p.m. CT on USA Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Ch. 90, PRN, and 95.9 The Ranch), and the NASCAR Cup Series Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 on Sunday, Sept. 25 (2:30 p.m. CT on USA Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Ch. 90, PRN, and 95.9 The Ranch).
 
TICKETS:
For ticket information for the September 23-25 NASCAR Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 weekend, please visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com.
 
MORE INFO:
Keep track of all of Texas Motor Speedway’s busy schedule by following on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Keep up with all the latest news and information on the speedway website and TMS mobile app.
 
TMS PR

Grant Enfinger, No. 23 Champion Power Equipment Chevrolet Silverado RST

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Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Stats

- Grant Enfinger will be making his first ever start at Mid-Ohio in any series this weekend.

NCWTS Road Course Stats (5 Tracks)

- Combined Starts: 8, Best start: 8th, Best finish: 4th (COTA 2021) Top 5's: 1, Top 10's: 3, Laps led: 1

2022 NCWTS Season Stats

- Starts: 14, Best start: 3rd, Best finish: 2nd (Charlotte), Top 5s: 3, Top 10s: 7, Laps led: 30, Current points position: 9th

- About Champion Power Equipment: Since 2003 Champion Power Equipment has earned a reputation for designing and producing the market’s finest power equipment. From our original headquarters in Santa Fe Springs, California, Champion has expanded its North American footprint to include facilities in Jackson, Tennessee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Toronto Canada. Today, Champion’s product line has expanded to include portable generators, home standby generators, inverter generators, engines, winches and log splitters. With over 2.5 million generators sold in North America, Champion is a market leader in the power equipment field. Visit ChampionPowerEquipment.com for more information.

- Chassis History/Info: Grant Enfinger will race GMS Racing chassis no. 138 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. This Silverado RST has been the No. 23 team's road course workhorse this season, racing in events at Circuit Of The Americas, where it finished 10th, and Sonoma Raceway, where it finished 11th. Sheldon Creed drove this chassis to two top-five finishes in 2021, when it was originally built.

- Crew Chief Change: Over the off weekend, GMS Racing officials announced that they would be making a crew chief change for the No. 23 truck. Jeff Hensley, a 35-year veteran of the sport, has rejoined the team to call the shots for Grant Enfinger for the remainder of the season. The duo have previous success from years past, earning a total of five wins during their tenure, including four wins and a Championship 4 appearance in 2020.

- Playoffs Outlook: Heading into this weekend's race at Mid-Ohio, Grant Enfinger remains above the playoffs cutline in ninth position. A late race crash in Nashville set the driver back a little ways, but Enfinger still has a 39 point gap to the final position with only two races left in the regular season. The No. 23 team is currently one spot out of the owners' points playoffs in eleventh position.

- Driver Appearances: Grant will be signing autographs along with several other NCWTS drivers on race day at Mid-Ohio near the Championship Row Super Pavilion area in the infield from 11:00 AM - 11:45 AM local time. Fans are encouraged to stop by, take a photo, and get some autographs before the race!

- Grant Enfinger Quote: “Racing at Mid-Ohio will provide us drivers with some new challenges, as most of us have never even seen the place before. I expect whoever can adapt the fastest will have a great shot at performing on Saturday. We have been working hard at our road course program on the No. 23 team, so hopefully we will be able to capitalize on that. These next two races at the end of the regular season are crucial for us, so Jeff and I have our heads down and are ready to give it our all with our Champion Power Equipment team.”

- Jeff Hensley Quote: “I'm excited to kick off and restart my relationship working with Grant and the GMS Racing team this weekend. Going into Mid-Ohio, we will have controlled pit stops, which will eliminate some of our traditional road course strategy opportunities, so we will be chasing after stage points to help build a cushion to that playoffs cutline. We look to have a strong Champion Power Equipment Chevrolet under us throughout the weekend so we can capitalize on gaining as many points as possible."

 

Jack Wood, No. 24 ChevyLiners.com Chevrolet Silverado RST

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Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Stats

-Jack Wood will be making his first ever start at Mid-Ohio in any series this weekend.

NCWTS Road Course Stats (3 Tracks)

- Combined Starts: 4, Best start: 27th, Best finish: 16th (Sonoma 2022), Laps led: 1

2022 NCWTS Season Stats

- Starts: 14, Best start: 10th, Best finish: 13th (Atlanta), Current points position: 24th

- About ChevyLiners.com: For ultimate interior protection, Premium All-Weather Floor Liners by Chevrolet Accessories are the solution. Offering precision coverage around interior trim, driver pedals, seat tracks, and door sills, they're constructed of quality materials that provide optimum carpet and interior trim protection, isolating debris and moisture while remaining removable for cleaning. Visit www.ChevyLiners.com to order yours today.

- Chassis History/Info: Jack Wood will compete with GMS Racing chassis no. 140 in Saturday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 150. The rookie has raced this chassis twice before, in events at Circuit Of The Americas and Sonoma Raceway, where he earned his best-career road course finish at last month. This Chevrolet was built for road course competition in 2021, and earned two top-10 finishes with Zane Smith at the wheel.

- Double Duty Once Again: Wood will be able to get some additional seat time ahead of this weekend's NCWTS race, as he is scheduled to compete in the ARCA Menards Series event on Friday. Bill McAnally Racing, who has an affiliation with GMS Racing in the Truck Series, will field the No. 21 entry for Jack in the Dawn 150. The ARCA race can be viewed live on FS1 or streamed on the FOX Sports App at 5:30 PM ET on July 8th.

- Sunoco ROTY Update: A promising night at Nashville came to an abrupt stop early on for Jack Wood and the No. 24 team, setting them back in the chase for Sunoco Rookie Of The Year honors. Wood has since dropped to fourth place in the running order, but is only 20 points behind rookie leader Lawless Alan heading into Mid-Ohio. In the tight rookie battle, Jack trails third place by ten points, and second place by twelve.

- Driver Appearances: Jack will be signing autographs along with several other NCWTS drivers on race day at Mid-Ohio near the Championship Row Super Pavilion area in the infield from 11:00 AM - 11:45 AM local time. Fans are encouraged to stop by, take a photo, and get some autographs before the race!

- Jack Wood Quote: "I'm looking forward to getting the opportunity to race at a new venue in Mid-Ohio this weekend. Road courses have been some of my favorite tracks to drive on, and earlier in the year, I was able to test a TransAm TA2 car at the facility and really enjoyed it. Running a double duty schedule this weekend is going to be a challenge no doubt, but I believe that having some extra track time will be a huge benefit heading into Saturday. I'm hopeful that we will have a good run and turn our No. 24 team's luck around."

GMS Racing PR

Halfway down, halfway to go. The 37th DIRTcar Summer Nationals Hell Tour has reached the midway point of the season with three weeks in the books and three more to go.

 

Illinois-Indiana Week schedule

Thursday, July 7 – Macon Speedway (Macon, IL)
Friday, July 8 – Farmer City Raceway (Farmer City, IL)
Saturday, July 9 – Highland Speedway (Highland, IL)
Sunday, July 10 – Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)

 

Tickets for each event will be available at the gates on race day. If you can’t make it to your favorite track, watch all the action live on DIRTVision – online at DIRTVision.com or with the DIRTVision mobile app.

 

Here are the drivers to watch for and the storylines to follow this week:

 

HELL TOUR CROWN JEWEL – Illinois-Indiana Week kicks off with the most prestigious race on the Summer Nationals schedule – the Herald & Review 100.

 

Macon Speedway hosts the Summer Nationals and Summit Modified stars on Thursday night in what has always been one of the most unique and exciting Dirt Late Model races in the world. Twenty-two Late Model drivers will take the green flag for 100 circuits around the 1/5-mile bullring for a shot at Midwest dirt racing immortality, and their photo in Decatur’s local newspaper – the Herald & Review.

 

Summer Nationals points leader Bobby Pierce is the defending winner. Only 24 men have conquered Mighty Macon in 41 previous runnings of the event, and with nine different winners in the first 16 Summer Nationals races this season, a 25th different name could be going in the Herald & Review 100 history books this year.

 

SHOWING OF SPORTSMANSHIP – After Sunday’s event at Lincoln Speedway, Bobby Pierce did something rarely seen in any sport – he gave up his pay to another driver.

 

After a collision between Pierce and Ryan Unzicker during their battle for the lead in Sunday’s Feature at Lincoln Speedway, both were sent to the tail of the field. The two were battling with Jason Feger and Shannon Babb for the top spot when Pierce entered Turn 3 slightly higher than Unzicker, who was hugging the bottom lane. Pierce hooked Unzicker’s right-side quarter-panel and turned him around, bringing out the yellow.

 

“I was going into the middle-bottom lane, tucking it in very close to Unzicker’s right side so I could try and get a good bite in that line of moisture and momentum around him through the turn,” Pierce said. “When his car started to apex, the quarter panel was right there. You see it happen a lot in Late Model racing with how big the noses are on these cars and the right quarter-panel sticks out.”

 

Though they both drove back to top-10 finishes, Pierce showed an act of sportsmanship after the race by declining his winnings and giving his check to Unzicker.

 

“I would want the same done for me,” Pierce said. “It’s just out of respect for the other racer.

 

“I figured if it could make his night a little better, then that’s fine with me.”

 

Both drivers are scheduled to compete Thursday and Friday at Macon and Farmer City.

 

DICE ARE ROLLIN’ – Heading into a race weekend with tracks like Highland Speedway and Farmer City Raceway on tap, Jason Feger picked the right time to build some momentum.

 

The 2010 champion from Bloomington, IL, is coming off a great end to Multi-State Week, scoring his first Summer Nationals Feature win of the season Sunday at Lincoln Speedway. He bested several of his fellow Illinois rivals that night, holding off the new all-time winningest driver Shannon Babb in the final laps to bag the victory.

 

He’ll likely meet several of those same foes again this week, but if history is any indication of his chances, he stands a great chance to win again. Three of Feger’s 22 Hell Tour Feature wins have come at either Highland (2015, 2020) or Farmer City (2016). Of the 10 seasons in which he’s won at least one tour Feature, seven of those have been multi-win seasons. This shows a trend that says once Feger wins, he’ll likely win again before the season’s out.

 

RETURN TO HAUBSTADT – It’s been since 2018, but this Sunday, the Summer Nationals stars return to The Class Track, Tri-State Speedway.

 

The famed quarter-mile oval in Haubstadt, IN, has hosted 23 Hell Tour events in its history, including its first in 1989. The last three scheduled appearances for the tours have been lost to rain, but forecasts for drier weather are projected to bring the tours back for an exciting night of action at one of Indiana’s most action-packed tracks.

 

LOCAL FAVORITES – Three of the four tracks on the docket this week host weekly DIRTcar-sanctioned racing and have their local contenders looking to defeat the Summer Nationals invaders.

 

Macon Speedway

While the track does not host weekly Super Late Model competition, it does feature DIRTcar UMP Modifieds. Coming into Thursday night – Guy Taylor, Rodney Standerfer and Alan Crowder are locked in the thick of a battle for the top spot in points, all with at least once win apiece.

 

Farmer City Raceway

Late Model racing in the weekly Friday Night Lights program has been topped by Super Late Model rising star Tommy Sheppard Jr. The cousin to 2013 Summer Nationals champion Brandon Sheppard, Tommy has won three Features thus far at FCR and has several starts on the Hell Tour trail already this season.

 

UMP Modified action has seen a variety of dominant forces this season, including Allen Weisser and Trevor Neville with three wins apiece, as well as defending track champion Michael Ledford with two Feature victories.

 

Highland Speedway

In bi-weekly Late Model action at Highland, Michael Kloos tops the points with three top fives in four starts, but Tommy Sheppard Jr. has been on a roll at the quarter-mile with two wins in two starts.

 

Six-time Summit Modified champion Mike Harrison has been a dominant force at Highland this year, winning three times in five starts, and has won the last three Summit Modified events at the track (2019-2021). Willy Myers is tied with Harrison for most wins there this season at three, currently sitting third in points, while Jimmy Cummins leads track points with top-10 finishes in every event contested thus far.

 

DIRTcar Series PR

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