Speedway Digest Staff
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The history-making Bristol Throwdown featuring the Super DIRTcar Series and the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars is ready to launch this week. The Big Blocks are set to shake down The Last Colosseum on Thursday night before 40-lap, $10,000-to-win NAPA Super DIRT Week qualifiers on Friday and Saturday.
Over $88,000 are up for grabs for two nights of racing and Saturday’s Feature is $1,000-to-start.
“It’s Bristol, baby” is the tagline everyone knows. But what makes it so special? Bristol Motor Speedway, the pride of The Volunteer State, is a NASCAR legacy track with a reputation for massive speed in close spaces and memorable, career-making finishes.
The Last Colosseum it may be, but as one of the United States’ largest sports facilities, Bristol has stood the test of time. Size and capacity do not alone make the track great. Names like Earnhardt, Gordon, Labonte, and Waltrip have all left their marks on the colossal half-mile in their own ways — and sometimes by any means necessary.
Hair-raising speed is one of the time-honored elements of racing that appeals all to drivers and fans of racing. Race fans are encouraged to bring earplugs because the roar of 28 Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds coming to life has never been heard in the hallowed halls of Bristol. The sound of the engines at the end of the straightaways echoing off The Last Colosseum may bring race fans back to the epic sound of the engines at the New York State Fairgrounds.
Drivers are gearing up for their time in the Bristol spotlight. Nearly 30 of the confirmed drivers were on hand at the April 10 Series points-opener at Can-Am Speedway. Stewart Friesen took the win with Tim Fuller in tow. Lightning Larry Wight in the Gypsum Express #99L was third, which made him the highest-finishing championship contender.
Seven-time Series champion Matt Sheppard had a solid run in the first Series points at Can-Am and finished seventh. The Bristol doubleheader is a huge opportunity for Super Matt to make up some vital points in the early season. The #9S is ready for the challenge.
“Any time you can go to a place like Bristol and race it’s exciting,” Sheppard said. “I personally have never been there. I’ve heard so many stories about the place. To think that we’ll be down there actually racing on it is pretty awesome. It’s definitely an intimidating-looking place. I don’t know how our modifieds will take to it, but I am looking forward to the challenge.”
The only driver Sheppard is chasing on the all-time championship win list is Brett The Jet Hearn, the legend from Sussex, NJ. While his NASCAR career never took him to Bristol, Hearn has been a fan of the race track for decades.
“I’ve never seen the place in person, but I’ve watched it plenty of times on TV,” Hearn said. “I know there are a lot of people excited about it. It’s great for dirt modified racing.”
Younger drivers like Jack Lehner are looking forward to testing their mettle at Bristol like the veterans and legends of the past tested theirs at the New York State Fairgrounds one-mile race track. The Saratoga Springs, NY driver is a burgeoning fabricator and is excited about the potential for improvements on the high-speed track.
“Air is going to be a big thing,” said Lehner. “It’s going to make a difference. That’s good for me building bodies because maybe I can do a few things that I think will be better for a track like that. I think we will see some stuff that you might have seen at Syracuse. We’ll be doing things a little differently because it’s a different animal.”
An eastern New York neighbor to Lehner, Demetrios Drellos, weighed in on what it means to race Bristol. The driver from Queensbury, NY operates the #111 machine and has one Series win to his credit.
“I feel very fortunate that I get to go to Bristol Motor Speedway,” Drellos said. “It feels great to be able to go to a NASCAR facility with my own race car. That right there is pretty cool. From what I have seen in the videos is that it’s going to be awesome. There are no cons. It’s only good for us.”
Forty-two Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds are set to join the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series at Bristol for three days of speed. Buy tickets here, and if you can’t make it to the track pick up your FAST PASS at DIRTVision.com.
Plus, an additional sponsor bonus has been added to the event, specific to the Super DIRTcar Series. SRI Performance is awarding $500 to the driver that redraws position number one for Friday’s and Saturday’s Features, adding more incentive to race into a redraw position.
Super DIRTcar Series World of Outlaws Bristol Throwdown 2021 roster
X - Chad Phelps, Mexico, NY
1 - Tyler Dippel, Wallkill, NY
1 - Jackson Gill, Plessis, NY
2L - Jack Lehner, Saratoga Springs, NY
2A - Mike Gular, Green Lake, PA
R2 - Rusty Smith, Bethlehem, PA
3 - Justin Haers, Phelps, NY
3 - Chad Brachmann, North Tonawanda, NY
3J - Marc Johnson, Guilderland, NY
4* - Kevin Root, Geneva, NY
5H - Chris Hile, Oswego, NY
8 - Rich Scagliotta, Hillsborough, NJ
9S - Matt Sheppard, Savannah, NY
14W - Ryan Watt, Boyertown, PA
17 - Marcus Dinkins, Watkins Glen, NY
19 - Jessey Mueller, Olmstedville, NY
20 - Brett Hearn, Sussex, NJ
21A - Peter Britten, Brisbane, Queensland, AU
22 - Brandon Walters, Sidney, NY
23 - Kyle Coffey, Caledonia, NY
25 - Erick Rudolph, Ransomville, NY
27J - Danny Johnson, Rochester, NY
28 - Jordan McCreadie, Watertown, NY
32C - Max McLaughlin, Mooresville, NC
35 - Mike Mahaney, King Ferry, NY
42P - Pat Ward, Genoa, NY
43 - Jimmy Horton, Neshanic Station, NJ
43 - Keith Flach, Ravena, NY
44 - Stewart Friesen, Niagara-by-the-Lake, Ontario, CAN
48Too - Dave Rauscher, Waterloo, NY
66X - Carey Terrance, Hogansburg, NY
83 - Brian Swartzlander, Leechburg, PA
83Jr. - Tim Sears Jr., Clay, NY
84 - Gary Tomkins, Clifton Springs, NY
88 - Olden Dwyer, Shaftsburg, VT
88 - Mat Williamson, St. Catharines, Ontario, CAN
91 - Billy Decker, Unadilla, NY
93 - Craig Mitchell, Poughkeepsie, NY
98H - Jimmy Phelps, Baldwinsville, NY
99L - Larry Wight, Phoenix, NY
111 - Demetrios Drellos, Queensbury, NY
118 - Jimmy Britt, Newtown Square, PA
Stay up to date with the Super DIRTcar Series at SuperDIRTcarSeries.com with features, highlight videos, race reports, results, and more. For even more Big Block coverage, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where for links to our stories, great photos, and behind-the-scenes videos.
Super DIRTcar Series PR
Today, M&M’S unveiled a throwback paint scheme to celebrate the brands 80th Anniversary. The M&M’S 80th Anniversary Camry, that will appear at Darlington on May 9, features a throwback M&M’S design that includes an old-school Yellow and Red, alongside the iconic M&M’S lentils and a special anniversary message.
M&M’S has so much to celebrate beyond the brand’s 80-year history, which includes quite a few successes on the track with longtime partners NASCAR and Joe Gibbs Racing. This includes two NASCAR Cup Series championships with JGR and Kyle Busch in 2015 and 2019.
The brand is celebrating the monumental milestone with several exciting moments focused on delivering better moments and more smiles around the world, including to the NASCAR community through the 80th Anniversary paint scheme and through the launch of new M&M’S MIX which is available for purchase and will continue to feature on the No.18 Camry through the summer.
Spire Motorsports announced today the Fraternal Order of Eagles (F.O.E.) will sponsor the team’s No. 77 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE with driver Justin Haley in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
The F.O.E. is an international non-profit organization uniting fraternally in the spirit of liberty, truth, justice, and equality, to make human life more desirable by lessening its ills and promoting peace, prosperity, gladness and hope.
The F.O.E. donates more than $10 million a year to local communities, fundraisers, charities and more. As part of its philosophy, the F.O.E. gives back 100 percent of monies raised in the form of grants. Fundraisers are conducted for eight major charities, including kidney, heart, diabetes, cancer and spinal cord injury funds, a children's fund, memorial foundation and the Golden Eagle Fund.
"The Eagles, Justin Haley and Spire Motorsports have a history of success in superspeedway races and we're excited for the opportunity to head to Talladega with the F.O.E. on the No. 77 car," said Dave Smith, F.O.E. Grand Worthy President. "We're proud to call Justin a fellow Eagle and our 650,000 members look forward to cheering him on this weekend."
Haley, a native of Winamac, Ind., drove Spire Motorsports’ No. 77 Chevrolet to its first NASCAR Cup Series win while carrying the F.O.E. livery in the 2019 Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
He is a two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series winner at Talladega after sweeping both events at the famed 2.66-mile superspeedway in 2020. Meanwhile, Haley took the checked flag last August at Daytona, affording him three of four superspeedway victories last year on NASCAR’s junior circuit. He currently sits fourth in Xfinity Series points seven races into the 2021 campaign.
In seven total Talladega starts, including NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series competition, Haley has earned one pole, two wins, three top-five and four top-10 finishes. The 21-year-old driver finished 11th in last October’s Yellawood 500. Haley has made six NCS starts for Spire Motorsports this season.
“I’ve had such a great partnership with the Fraternal Orders of Eagles and we’ve enjoyed a lot of success together,” explained Haley. “We’ve won a lot of races. I’ve done pretty well on superspeedways throughout my career and the Eagles were on board when we won the Cup race at Daytona in 2019. I’ve had this race circled on my calendar since the start of the season. Hopefully we can stay out of trouble and race our way to the front when it’s time to make it happen. Spire Motorsports has a proven track record on superspeedways so everyone is looking forward to getting down to Talladega to try and back up our previous success.”
The GEICO 500 from Talladega Superspeedway will be televised live on FOX Sunday, April 25 beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The 10th of 36 races on the 2021 NCS schedule will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
Spire Motorsports PR
It stands more than 38 inches tall, weighs over 130 pounds, and is called the Vulcan Trophy. Talladega Superspeedway’s tradition (that started in fall of 2016) is a locally made piece and will be found in Victory Lane after the checkered flag falls on Sunday’s GEICO 500 NASCAR Cup Series race (1 p.m. CDT, FOX, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
The trophy is a hand-made, miniature version of the colossal Vulcan statue – a 56-foot tall structure fastened to a 124-foot platform that stands tall over the city of Birmingham, Alabama – just 45 minutes west of the race track. It is the largest cast-iron statue in the world and is the main attraction at Birmingham’s Vulcan Park Museum (www.visitvulcan.com).
Vulcan, which pays homage to the god of fire in Ancient Roman myth, has overlooked Alabama’s largest city from atop Red Mountain since the 1930s. Birmingham, founded in 1871, is unique because it contains coal, iron ore and limestone, the raw materials for making iron and steel. Three items are unique to Vulcan, who made weapons and armor for all the gods.
His hammer and anvil that he used in his forge (shop where metal is heated and hammered into useful items) and the spear, which is a piece of his completed work that he held high and admired. For the winners of Saturday’s doubleheader – the General Tire 200 for the ARCA Menards Series and the Ag-Pro 300 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series, they will receive the smaller Hammer & Anvil Trophy.
Each trophy is handcrafted by local artists from Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, pouring hot iron into a created cast, then chiseled to perfection.
Team Penske driver Joey Logano was the inaugural recipient of the Vulcan Trophy after his triumph in the fall of 2016. “I was pumped to be the first driver to win one,” Logano said. “Trophies are one of the best parts of what we do, and some of them are just cooler and more special because of what they are. Talladega Superspeedway nailed it when they had the Vulcan Trophy made.”
To create the Vulcan Trophy, sculptors start with an original wax pattern, and after it is created, a rubber mold is designed and then molded in sand. Hot, melted iron is then poured into the mold. After complete cooling, the iron pieces are removed from the sand mold. The last step is the finishing area. There, the statue is heated with torches to remove moisture from the iron. Finally, a wax finish is applied to the Vulcan, which cools down the piece before more wax and a clear coat is applied prior to it receiving a final brush up.
While the Vulcan and Birmingham are forever linked together, Talladega Superspeedway also has a longer history with the two dating back decades. In 1969, one month after the running of the first NASCAR Cup Series race at the 2.66-mile mammoth speedway, the ARCA series took the track in the Vulcan 500, and Jim Vandiver took the checkered flag. A year later, Ramo Stott was victorious in the Vulcan 500.
Now, more than 51 years later, the connection between TSS and Vulcan continues with the Vulcan Trophy. This incredible piece of history awaits the winner of the GEICO 500 at the biggest and baddest track on the planet, amid the cheers of adoring fans and under the watchful eye of the iconic Vulcan Trophy.
Here’s the “Tale of the Tape” for the Vulcan Trophy:
Weight: 130 pounds
Height: 39 inches (26 inches Vulcan, 13 inches base)
Base width: 14 inches
Spear length: 6 ½ inches
Anvil length: 5 ½ inches
Hammer length: 5 inches
Hammer back: 4 ½ inches
Foot size: 3 ¼ inches
Head: 3 ¾ tall, 2 ¾ wide
Thumb: ¾ inch
Toe: ½ inch
The GEICO 500 is set for a 1:00 p.m. CDT start on Sunday (April 25), but the action-packed weekend begins on Saturday (April 24) with the General Tire 200 at 12:00 p.m. CDT and the Ag-Pro 300 at 3:00 p.m. CDT.
Limited admission options remain for the GEICO 500 and fans are encouraged to log onto www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA for details. Tickets are available for Saturday’s doubleheader, with kids 12 and younger admitted free (with a paying adult) to grandstands/towers.
To learn more about the spring NASCAR event weekend at Talladega Superspeedway and its safety protocols, visit https://www.
South Boston Speedway is taking another major step in increasing its digital footprint by livestreaming its remaining NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series events starting with the track’s first night race of the season, the SoBo Livestreaming Night At The Races Presented By SoBoSpeedway.tv on Saturday, May 1.
South Boston Speedway’s first night racing event of the season will get the green flag at 7 p.m. and will be livestreamed at SoBoSpeedway.tv, a service by SpeedSport, a leader in grassroots racing news and streaming. The livestreaming platform was developed by NASCAR and SpeedSport for grassroots weekly short tracks.
South Boston Speedway’s NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series events will be streamed on a pay-per-view basis with a low price of $19.99 per event, the cost of just two advance tickets to an event.
“We are very excited to now offer a streaming service for our NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series events,” said South Boston Speedway General Manager Cathy Rice.
“Fans all across the country have been asking for this for some time and we couldn’t be happier to offer it to them. This service will allow individuals across the world to stream our events. It will provide increased exposure for the speedway and its sponsors. Our drivers and their sponsors will also be adding value to their partnerships.”
South Boston Speedway Assistant General Manager Chase Brashears noted that the speedway has already put the system to a test.
“Before we went full blast with livestreaming our events, we put it to the test this past Saturday and offered some fans the opportunity to watch the race live,” Brashears explained.
“It went over well and fans from throughout the country tuned in, so we look forward to presenting our program to more fans across the nation.”
Brashears also detailed the process for watching an event live.
“Watching an event is simple and inexpensive,” Brashears pointed out.
Individuals can also go back and watch a full event at a later date for a special price.
The May 1 SoBo Livestreaming Night At The Races Presented By SoBoSpeedway.tv racing program will be headlined by a 100-lap race for the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Stock Car Division. Twin 25-lap Limited Sportsman Division races, a 30-lap race for the Budweiser Pure Stock Division and a 15-lap race for the Budweiser Hornets Division round out the night’s five-race card.
The Saturday, May 1 race day schedule has registration and pit gates opening at 2 p.m. Practice will begin at 4 p.m. and grandstand gates will open at 5:30 p.m. Qualifying will start at 6 p.m. and the first race will get the green flag at 7 p.m.
Advance adult general admission tickets for the Saturday night, May 1 race are priced at $10 each and may be purchased online on South Boston Speedway’s website www.southbostonspeedway.com through Friday night, April 30. Adult general admission tickets at the gate on race day are priced at $15 each. Kids ages 12 and under will be admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult.
The speedway will be following COVID-19 mitigation mandates set forth by the federal government and the Commonwealth of Virginia during the event. Masks will be required for fans entering the speedway. Social distancing and additional mitigation measures will also be followed.
South Boston Speedway is participating in the Advance Auto Parts My Track Challenge, a contest for NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series tracks. Fans have the opportunity to vote for their favorite NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series track through Tuesday, April 27 and can vote up to three times a day. When fans cast their vote, they will be entered to win NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series prizes. Votes for South Boston Speedway can be cast at bit.ly/VoteForSoBo.
The six tracks that receive the most votes after April 27 will be part of a two-day final round of voting that is scheduled to start on Sunday, May 9.
A $50,000 prize will be awarded to the winning track that can be used toward facility enhancements and community-based programs. The runner-up track will receive $15,000 and the third-place track will receive $10,000.
The latest news and updates about South Boston Speedway and its racing events can be found on the South Boston Speedway website and on the speedway’s social media channels.
This weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, Live Fast Motorsports honors NASCAR Hall of Famer Red Farmer, adorning the No. 78 in Farmer’s Long-Lewis Ford paint scheme.
“Racing and Red Farmer have been a part of the Long-Lewis heritage for more than 50 years and so has the strong friendship between Vaughn Burrell and Red,” said Todd Ouellette, Owner and President of Long-Lewis Auto Group. “To have these two legends actually at the Talladega race on Sunday watching our Cup Series car run in honor of that relationship, will be a day I will never forget! I cannot wait!”
Long-Lewis started sponsoring Farmer in 1962, and the iconic gold and white paint scheme will hit the high banks at the superspeedway once again for Sunday’s race in the Geico 500.
“It’s nice to have Long-Lewis on the 78 car this weekend,” said Charles ‘Red’ Farmer. “I’ve had that gold and white car since 1955 and Long-Lewis started sponsoring me in ’62 and have been on my car ever since. Talladega is a great place for me, I call it my home-town track. I won two Arca 500’s on that track and a bunch of others. Glad to see a cup team running my colors again there.”
“It’s so important to look back and reflect on the history of our sport, especially as being one of the newest teams in NASCAR,” said team owner Matt Tifft. “There are no more legendary than that of Red Farmer and his dedication to this sport that put NASCAR on the map.”
“Bringing a partner like Long-Lewis and their partners together on this Mustang gives a great sense of pride, and with our consistent runs over the last few months and speed we are finding, we are ready to push towards our best finish of the year. Talladega is a wildcard race, and always of excitement and survival, so we are ready to take on that challenge!”
Live Fast Motorsports PR
Panini America is breaking from its primary Panini Trading Cards paint scheme that has been a constant on Xfinity Series races the last three years and planning to pack a punch at Talladega Superspeedway on April 24 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Ag-Pro 250 with a bold, new paint scheme for Gray Gaulding and his No. 52 Camaro (Jimmy Means Racing). The new paint scheme celebrates Panini America’s exclusive partnership with UFC®, and the upcoming release of the 2021 UFC Prizm trading card product that arrives in hobby shops and online at www.paniniamerica.net on April 28 and at Walmart and Target in early May. The Talladega unveiling also coincides with the highly anticipated UFC® 261: USMAN vs. MASVIDAL 2, which takes place at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla., that afternoon.
The new paint scheme features the trading card industry’s most popular brand – PRIZM and includes imagery of several key trading cards from the upcoming UFC Prizm release. This marks the second time that Panini America has utilized its primary sponsorship of Gaulding to showcase Panini’s popular trading cards across all sports with a special paint scheme. In August of 2019, Panini America painted Gaulding’s No. 08 Chevrolet with a 2019 Donruss Football scheme featuring NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes who went on to win the Super Bowl that year.
“Timing could not have been better for this unique marketing activation,” said Jason Howarth, Panini America Vice President of Marketing. “The Talladega Xfinity race happening on the same day as UFC 261 and just a few days before the hobby release of our first UFC trading card product presented an opportunity to celebrate the partnership in a compelling way. We’re excited to partner with Gray to showcase our UFC relationship to passionate NASCAR fans.”
“Panini has been an incredible partner over the last three seasons, and I cannot wait for Saturday to climb into the Talladega ring with our No. 52 Panini America UFC PRIZM Camaro,” Gaulding said. “Just like in 2019 at Bristol when Panini ran Patrick Mahomes on my hood, I think fans will appreciate this amazing new PRIZM design that has become so popular with sports fans and trading card fans in all sports.”
Gray Gaulding PR
As the ARCA Menards Series heads to Talladega Superspeedway for the third race of the season, Eric Caudell and CCM Racing are preparing to return to the track for the first time since the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway in February.
Following a 16th-place run in the Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire, Caudell is hoping to improve upon that by earning his third career top-10 finish in this weekend’s General Tire 150.
“Superspeedways are 50/50 getting out undamaged but I am confident going to ‘Dega because we had a good car at Daytona, and almost finished top 10,” said Caudell, who will be competing in the No. 7 Doug Design Ford this weekend. “We came back and immediately began improving the car for Talladega. We are going there to run as hard as we can and try to be in the top 10 at the end.”
Caudell, who is both the owner and the driver for the No. 7 team, has raced at Talladega Superspeedway three previous times in the ARCA Menards Series, with a best finish of 14th in March of 2020.
The No. 7 CCM team is also looking ahead to the remainder of the 2021 season. As in previous years, the team will be running a limited schedule with a tentative plan including both races at Kansas Speedway (May 1st and October 23rd); Elko Speedway (July 10th); Iowa Speedway (July 24); Winchester Speedway (July 31st); Illinois State Fairgrounds (August 22); the Milwaukee Mile (August 29th); DuQuoin State Fairgrounds (September 5th); and Bristol Motor Speedway (September 16th).
“We have improved the program every year and now we are trying to run in the top 10 so we can set our sights on some top 5 finishes,” said Caudell.
Calling the shots on the pit box for the No. 7 team this season will be Jeremy Petty, who has served as crew chief for the team the last two seasons, including earlier this year in Daytona, and has 26 starts of his own as a driver in the ARCA Menards Series.
“Our goal this year is to be cautiously aggressive,” said Petty. “We have a limited inventory of cars, so it doesn’t make sense to put ourselves in a precarious position, so we will have to choose our battles.”
When it comes to Talladega, Petty says one of the main challenges is managing the draft and knowing when to call Caudell in for pit stops.
“We want to try and pit with some of the guys we are racing around,” said Petty. “If we pit with cars that are faster than us, we will lose the draft and our day is hosed. So I will have to be mindful of that as the race progresses.”
The team competed in seven races on the ARCA schedule last season, posting two top 10s, including a career best 8th for Caudell at Winchester Speedway.
The General Tire 200 will run this weekend on Saturday, April 24th at 1:00 PM ET. The race can be viewed on FS1 and Fox Sports Go. Radio coverage will also be provided by the Motor Racing Network.