Monday, Dec 04
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Charles Leclerc is the first pole sitter at the Las Vegas Strip Circuit. The Ferrari driver dominated qualifying, fastest in all three mini-sessions. Proving the Maranello marque’s superiority is the fact that Carlos Sainz was second fastest, just 44 thousandths behind his team-mate: 1’32"726 for the Monegasque, 1’32"770 for the Spaniard. However, Sainz must take a ten place grid penalty following the change of battery pack for his power unit. Therefore, it will be Max Verstappen (1’33"104) lining up alongside Leclerc after he just snatched third, beating George Russell by a mere eight thousandths in Q3.


This was Leclerc’s 23rd pole position, his fifth this year. For Ferrari it’s number 249, its seventh this season.



It was clear in the third free practice session that the track being reopened to road traffic overnight had significantly reset the condition of the track surface. Therefore, throughout the session, lap times came down considerably as the track evolved and this continued into qualifying to the extent that by the end, the fastest time was not that far off the one predicted by earlier simulations.


The Pirelli Pole Position Award was presented to Leclerc by the American actor, Patrick Dempsey, recently voted by "People" magazine as the sexiest man of 2023. While he is best known for his role in the popular TV series "Grey’s Anatomy", Dempsey is also involved in motor racing as a driver who has taken part in many GT races, including finishing second in 2015 in the GTE category at the Le Mans 24 Hours and as a team owner. Confirming his close ties to racing, he has also played the role of racing driver Piero Taruffi in the film "Ferrari" directed by Michael Mann. 



"This was definitely a spectacular evening, with some surprises as well as some predictable results. From a purely technical point of view, we saw a qualifying session in which teams adopted various different approaches. There were some who did a preparation lap after their out-lap and others who pushed hard right away, which allowed for a long run in Q1, doing one quick lap, followed by one or two cool down laps, while others tried to make the best use of the greater grip offered by new rubber. It’s hard to say which method proved most effective because track evolution was very significant, more important than any other factor. This was entirely predictable, partly because it was clear that the track was almost back to the condition it was in at the start of yesterday, mainly down to the fact it had been reopened to normal traffic.


Looking ahead to tomorrow night’s race, it’s clear that the Hard and Medium are the compounds best suited to tackle the scheduled 50 laps. There are various options on the table, both in terms of which sets the teams will choose to give back at the end of the day, and based on the impact of graining, which was significant again today, because of the aforementioned comments on the state of the track. If tomorrow, this phenomenon becomes less of a factor as the track rubbers in, then the one-stop should be quickest, otherwise a two-stop could prove to be competitive. Then, the choice of which compound to use the most will also depend on choices made today and, maybe, it could also open a window for the Soft for the final part of the race."


Pirelli Motorsports PR

Saturday’s running of the Hangtown 100 has been postponed to Sunday, November 19, at California’s Placerville Speedway.


Morning rain and a forecast calling for a 100 percent chance of precipitation throughout the remainder of Saturday forced postponement of the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship event.


On Sunday, pits will open at Noon Pacific and front gates open at 2pm with the drivers meeting set for 2:30pm and cars hitting the track for action at 3:30pm. The event will culminate with the only 100-lap USAC Midget event of the season.


During Friday night’s Hangtown 100 opener, Kyle Larson (Elk Grove, Calif.) raced to the feature victory. Larson (2019) is also one of three past Hangtown 100 winners who’ll be in this Sunday’s lineup along with Justin Grant (2021) and Buddy Kofoid (2012).


Reserved and general admission ticket packages for the Hangtown 100, along with single night tickets, are available at Tickets will also be available at the gate on race day.



Kyle Larson took the lead on lap six and proceeded to run away from the field on night one of the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series’ Hangtown 100 at Placerville Speedway, Friday. 

While Larson stretched out more than a three-second lead up front, the biggest battle of the night was positions two through five. Buddy Kofoid battled second-place Logan Seavey for much of the night for the runner-up spot before having to hold off a late run by his Keith Kunz Motorsports teammates Jade Avedisian and Taylor Reimer for the third position. Kofoid would maintain his position and then began to close on Seavey in the final laps, but came up just short as Kofoid finished third, followed by Avedisian and Reimer to give Toyota-powered drivers four of the top-five finishing positions.

Toyota-powered drivers also earned positions six through ten as Gavin Miller placed sixth, followed by Jacob Denney, Justin Grant, Tanner Carrick, and Spencer Bayston.

Tonight’s victory marked the 37th national midget feature win by a Toyota-powered driver in 2023.

The USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series returns to Placerville Speedway Saturday night for the Hangtown 100’s 100-lap feature event. The event will mark the midway point of this year’s West Coast Swing featuring six events in 12 nights culminating in the Turkey Night Grand Prix at Ventura Raceway, November 25.


Buddy Kofoid, Keith Kunz Motorsports Toyota: “It was a dogfight for third. I got to racing with Logan for second and I tried to move up and then I was back racing for third and fourth. Then I got back to third and tried to get back to the bottom and try to take advantage if Logan made a mistake. KKM gave me a really good Mobil 1 Toyota 67K. Overall, not a bad day and it puts us in a good position for tomorrow. Hopefully, we can get another Hangtown 100.”

Toyota-Powered Drivers USAC Placerville Speedway Friday Feature Results

Kyle Larson – 1st

Buddy Kofoid – 3rd

Jade Avedisian – 4th

Taylor Reimer – 5th

Gavin Miller – 6th

Jacob Denney – 7th

Justin Grant – 8th

Tanner Carrick – 9th

Spencer Bayston – 10th

Cannon McIntosh – 12th

Ryan Timms – 13th

Emerson Axsom – 14th

Carson Macedo – 17th


Abacus Racing announced today that Indianapolis, Indiana native Tyler Courtney will pilot the #57 entry in the 2024 Lucas Oil Chili Bowl.

Courtney is the 2019 USAC National Midget champion, 2018 USAC National Sprint Car Champion and 2-time series champion of the All-Star Circuit of Champions (2021 and 2022). With an extensive resume that includes 26 USAC National sprint car wins, 13 USAC National midget wins and 2 USAC Silver Crown Wins, Courtney is excited to bring his experience to a team that is currently leading USAC National Midget series points.    

“I have had a lot of success in racing, but until you get a Golden Driller, you will always feel that there is a void on your trophy shelf.  To drive for Abacus (Racing) at the 2024 Chili Bowl Nationals with the year they are having, I know I have a good chance” said Courtney

Brent Cox, Team Principal for Abacus Racing, knew he was going to have a void to fill in the #57 car with current USAC National Midget Points leader Logan Seavey driving for Kevin Swindell in the 2024 Chili Bowl Nationals to defend his 2023 Chili Bowl Nationals win.  Said Cox, “Logan let us know early in the year that he was committed to Kevin for the 2024 Chili Bowl Nationals, so we knew it was very important for us to find an experienced driver to fill that seat.  We feel very confident we have done that with Tyler.”

The package that Abacus Racing will run for the Chili Bowl is one that Tyler is familiar with from his midget days with Clauson-Marshall Racing.  “One plus is the year they are having, but another plus is that they run a Spike Chassis with CSI Shocks and a Stanton SR-11x engine so it is a package I am familiar with”, continued Courtney.

Primary sponsorship will come from long-time Courtney sponsor NOS Energy Drink.  Other sponsors will include Carrington Homes, CG CPAs, Indy Custom Stone, Dozerz Nutz & Boltz and Forecheck Marketing. 

“I have had some success at the Chili Bowl in prior years, winning rookie of the year in 2011 and a prelim(inary) night win in 2017, but the goal is to make that A-main on Saturday night and work to finish the night on the top step of the podium” continued Courtney.  “I believe that Abacus (Racing) can give me that chance, but to get there a lot of things need to go your way along with having a great car.  I look forward to getting to Tulsa to see what we can do as a team.”

The Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals will begin on January 7, 2024 with practice with qualifying nights starting on January 8 and concluding with its feature events on January 13, 2024.

Abacus Racing is headquartered in Indianapolis, IN. 

Abacus Racing PR

23-year-old Nathan Byrd of Litchfield Park, Ariz. will take on the inaugural Riskon360! Open Wheel Showdown with a triple-duty campaign, racing in the $50,000-to-win Winged Sprint Car, $10,000-to-win Midget, and $5,000-to-win Super Modified divisions at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Byrd will be making his Winged Sprint Car and Super Modified debuts during the event that runs from November 30 through December 2.

Byrd is a fourth-generation racer but the first in his family to pursue a professional driving career. His great grandmother started the Byrd Racing tradition of owning, preparing, and sponsoring race cars. Byrd Racing is most well-known for its exploits at the Indianapolis 500 and Nathan Byrd joins Davey Hamilton, Jr. and Sr. along with Arie Luyendyk, Jr. among entrants with ties to the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. The strong entry list and record-breaking purse have the Open Wheel Showdown set to be one of the biggest events in pavement open wheel racing in many years.

“I’m blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of a racing family and brand that has its roots in Indy,” Byrd said. “It’s cool because I’m technically the first Byrd racer that’s raced at a professional level.”

“It’s really awesome that (Davey Hamilton, Jr.) has been able to make this happen. It’s going to be the biggest Winged Sprint Car show ever and a really special event. I’m grateful to be a part of it,” Byrd said.

Byrd has had one of the most varied racing careers in North America over the last two or three years, racing road courses and short tracks in both open wheel and closed wheel machines. At the Open Wheel Showdown, he will test his adaptability in a Sprint Car fielded by Jimmy Waters, a Super Modified owned by Jim Birges, and a pavement Midget for the juggernaut Bertrand Motorsports.

“That’s been my whole training method, jumping back and forth with different cars,” Byrd said. “Working up the limits in a safe and proper manner. It usually takes me a few laps to adjust to the next car. (At the Open Wheel Showdown) there’s not going to be that much time to do that. I’m going to have to be on it really hard from the get-go.”

The young racer has set realistic expectations for himself, knowing the quality of equipment he will have underneath him against over 100 of the top Open Wheel drivers in the world.

“It’s going to be very interesting to see how I stack up among the Sprints and Super Modified since I’m going in as a newbie and relying on my adaptability,” Byrd said. “I think all the cars I’m driving are going to be very competitive and as long as I do my work as a driver, I definitely hope to be in the conversation and show I deserve to be there.”

Pit pass sales and assigned hauler parking opens on Wednesday before on-track activity begins on Thursday with Winged Sprint Car practice. Practice begins at 2pm and runs until 8pm. On Friday, pit gates open at 9am with grandstands opening at 12:30pm. Time trials for the Winged Sprint Cars are set for 2:45pm. Opening Ceremonies are at 5:00pm with the 12-lap Winged Sprint Car heat races to follow.

Saturday’s championship night includes qualifying for the Midgets and Super Modifieds and all features. Open Ceremonies are at 4:30pm followed by the Winged Sprint Car Dash, C- and B-Mains, and the 100-lap feature. It will also include the 50-lap Midget and 40-lap Super Modified features. Grandstands open at 12:30pm

General Admission Tickets are on sale though the Las Vegas Motor Speedway ticket office and online. Details can be found at both and the Open Wheel Showdown website. Adult tickets are $25 and kids 12 and under are free! More information is available at

Pit Pass sales will be available at the gates on race weekend and include access to the grandstands. Pit passes are $150 for a three-day pass or $105 for a two-day pass.

The event will be telecast through Speed Sport with a $24.99 access pass available to view both nights of the excitement live! For more info, visit www.SpeedSport.Live


Renee Wilm, CEO of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, and Stefano Domenicali, CEO of Formula 1, today issued the following statement:

“Our top priority at Formula 1 is the safety and security of our drivers, employees, and fans. Responsibility for the oversight of a Formula 1 event falls with Formula 1 as the commercial rights holder of the sport, the FIA as the regulatory body, and the local promoter, in this case the Las Vegas Grand Prix. This is important for those who are new to racing to understand.

“Last night, approximately nine minutes into the first Free Practice session, a water valve cover broke on the straight on Las Vegas Boulevard. At that time the FIA, which is responsible for the safe running of the activities on the circuit, stopped the session so that we could look at the broken water valve cover and inspect the track. This has happened on occasion at other tracks at other races around the world.

“The precautionary step of removing all of the water valve covers on the entire track and filling them with sand and asphalt was undertaken. The entire process, from determination of the issue to remediation, took approximately five hours.  The decision to remediate in this way was taken out of an abundance of caution and because the safety of drivers, trackside marshals and officials and our fans is always our highest priority. We thank the contractors who worked expeditiously to resolve the situation so quickly.

“As a result, the first Free Practice ended early. We moved ahead with the second Free Practice session at approximately 2:30 AM PT for 90 minutes.

“The decision to run the second Free Practice session at 2:30 AM PT was supported by all parties to ensure the sporting integrity of the remainder of the event.

“We would like to thank the drivers, mechanics and all the teams for their patience and commitment last night to ensure that we could run the session successfully.

“Now, let us turn to the fan experience.

“The delay in the start of the second Free Practice session from midnight to 2:30 AM PT created risks for our employees and our fans.

“We made the decision to close the fan areas that are under LVGP’s purview at 1:30 AM PT and send fans home.

“Let us explain why.

“First, we were concerned about our public safety and security officials who had been in service for a long time and who are being asked to work for the next three nights. We thank Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Department of Public Works and other public safety officials for their incredible support during the event and also as we re-opened the track early this morning.

“Second, we were concerned about our transportation employees who are responsible for driving our fans back to hotels. By Federal law, they were bumping up against the amount of time they can legally and safely drive buses.

“Finally, our hospitality staff needed the ability to clean and resupply our guest areas to ensure that the fan experience is optimal for everyone over the coming days.

“We know this was disappointing. We hope our fans will understand based on this explanation that we had to balance many interests, including the safety and security of all participants and the fan experience over the whole race weekend.

“We have all been to events, like concerts, games and even other Formula 1 races, that have been cancelled because of factors like weather or technical issues. It happens, and we hope people will understand.

“So how will we address this tonight?

“We have worked overnight to adjust our staffing plans across security, transportation and hospitality to ensure that we can function and serve fans with the best possible experience in the event of an extended race schedule.

“We are excited about the racing today and thank our entire team and our fans for their support. We know this is going to be a great event. With that let’s get back to racing.”


Veteran Motorsports driver Gus Dean is ready to get down and dirty one more time this season as he is expected to partake in Saturday’s “Trucks Gone Wild” in Twitty’s Mud Bog in Ulmer, S.C. 


Dean, the two-time ARCA Menards Series winner, will showcase his massive Mud Truck nicknamed “Vengeance” as the Bluffton, S.C. native looks to deliver another podium finish to close out a competitive 2023 Motorsports season.


“Twitty’s Trucks Gone Wild is such an exhilarating event to be a part of,” said Dean with a chuckle. “It is very competitive, but it’s also a day where people smile and have a great time everywhere you turn.”



Expected to be a packed house on Saturday afternoon, Dean said his Dean Racing team relishes in the compliments of his “Vengeance” vehicles and utilizes the events to compete and educate.


Dean also hopes Saturday leads the opportunity to set a new personal best-eclipsed lap around the unique course. The popular driver added the Mud Truck, which boasts more than 1800 horsepower, to his Motorsports platform less than two years ago.


“Even when I’m turning circles with Late Models or ARCA, I always tell everyone about our Mud Truck,” he explained. “It is something everyone has to experience at least once. The synergy these events bring reminds me of a NASCAR weekend.


“Lots of people, plenty of cheering, excellent competition, and most of all cool looking race vehicles. I am fortunate enough to have my own cheering section, whether competing on Daytona International Speedway’s high banks or getting dirty in the mud.


“That’s something I never take for granted, and I continue to appreciate all the support, especially when racing locally. This weekend is another opportunity to keep digging and continue getting faster.”


Saturday’s “Trucks Gone Wild” event will conclude Dean’s 2023 Motorsports schedule. This season, the South Carolinian participated in Late Models, the ARCA Menards Series and Mud Truck competition.


Dean experienced success in all three series, including a runner-up finish at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in April and followed it up with another runner-up finish at Michigan International Speedway in August.


No matter what happens on Saturday, Dean is thankful to continue a racing career and will soon be ready for 2024.


“It’s been a busy year, especially my first year being married to my wife and best friend, but we’ve had a very competitive racing season too,” Dean added. “Our speed with Venturini Motorsports carried over to

the 2023 season, and I think we turned some heads.


“We showed some speed with our Late Model and, of course, the success in the Mud Truck too. It’s all part of the journey; I would not change it for anything.”


Dean already knows some of his racing plans for next season, which include returning to the potent Venturini Motorsports for the season-opening ARCA Menards Series race at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 17, 2024.


“Things are coming together for next season,” added Dean. “We’ll announce more in the future, but it’s great to know that with our Daytona plans set, we can go to Twitty’s Mud Bog on Saturday and have fun!”


For more on Gus Dean, please visit, like him on Facebook (Gus Dean Racing) and follow him on Instagram (@GusDean) and X | Twitter (@GusDean). 


Gus Dean PR

The SRX Racing Series will return to Stafford Speedway for the 5th time next July. Stafford Speedway and SRX officials have announced that the 2024 SRX series will once again open their season in Stafford Springs, CT on Thursday, July 11th. This marks the 3rd time SRX has kicked off their season at Stafford.

“This is a testament to the Northeast race fans,” explained Stafford Speedway CEO Mark Arute. “We were honored to host the SRX series the first time in 2021, now we are on SRX's fifth visit to Stafford. Our fans continue to show how much they love short track racing. Each time the SRX series has come to town the atmosphere in the stands is incredible. The Northeast has always been overlooked when it comes to the national auto racing spotlight but SRX has proved that these fans deserve events like this.”     

Past Stafford SRX winners include quite the mix of drivers with Ryan Newman winning twice in 2022 and 2023, Denny Hamlin taking home the win in his first SRX start in 2023, and local hero Doug Coby shocking the world and winning in the SRX series debut in 2021. If history is any indication, 2024 will be another event full of drama and surprises.

“I’ve known the Arute’s for a very long time, they wanted SRX back and we think it makes sense,” explained SRX CEO Don Hawk. “The ownership group, ESPN, and the drivers' reaction was similar - they run a first class race track and we pack the place every year. Why not reward that commitment and passion of the entire Arute Family with the return to CT.”

Ticket Information

Tickets for the July 11th event will go on sale January 6, 2024. Season ticket holders can now purchase SRX tickets as an add-on with their annual season ticket renewal.

Click here to sign-up to receive ticket alerts and event updates

Driver Lineup

Full driver lineup will be announced in early 2024. Past drivers include Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Bobby Labonte, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Preece and more. See all past SRX results on

SRX Racing PR

Toyota Racing Development (TRD) is pleased to announce a multi-year commitment to Jade Avedisian, which will see the California-native continue her development with dirt and pavement opportunities as a part of the Toyota Racing family.

For the 2024 motorsports season, Avedisian will compete in USAC National Midget and XTREME National Midget races with Keith Kunz Motorsports (KKM), while also running the complete Toyota GR Cup schedule with Nitro Motorsports to begin her development on pavement and give her experience in road course racing. TRD partner, ExxonMobil, will be featured throughout the season on Avedisian’s efforts, with additional sponsorship to be announced at a later date.

“I’m honored to continue my motorsports career with Toyota Racing and their driver development program in the years ahead,” said Avedisian. “Everyone at Toyota has quickly become family and have provided me with all the tools necessary to achieve my dreams in racing.  This commitment means so much, and I’m beyond grateful to the entire team at TRD for believing in me!”

The 17-year-old made history throughout 2023 as part of the KKM team. Avedisian started the season by becoming the first woman to finish on the podium on a Chili Bowl preliminary night before claiming Rookie of the Year honors as the only rookie – of more than 80 – to qualify for the main event. More recently, Avedisian became the first woman to earn a national dirt midget championship, winning the 2023 Xtreme Outlaw Midget title on the strength of five victories and 16 top-five finishes in 29 events.

“Toyota and TRD remain dedicated to finding and developing the future talent of our sport,” said Tyler Gibbs, GM, TRD.  “Jade has earned her place in our development program with her tremendous talent, work ethic and bright future. We are thrilled to make this commitment to Jade and her family and look forward to continuing to watch her succeed at the highest levels in years to come.”

Avedisian is a part of a celebrated Toyota Driver Development (TD2) program that includes graduates Christopher Bell and John Hunter Nemechek, who will compete in the NASCAR Cup Series next season. Further information on the 2024 TD2 lineup will come at a later date.


Due to substantial rainfall throughout the week continuing into Friday morning, officials have postponed the Friday portion of the 10th annual Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial to Saturday, Nov. 18, creating a single-day lineup of events leading up to the 50-lap, $10,000-to-win DIRTcar UMP Modified finale.


Pit gates are set to open on Saturday at 11:30am with a great weather outlook of sunshine and clear skies projected. Drivers meeting will commence at 2pm, followed by Hot Laps and Qualifying for all six divisions at 2:30. Once opening ceremonies are complete, UMP Modified Showdown Features will kick off the racing action, followed by necessary Last Chance Showdowns for 604 Late Models.


The 602 Late Models will start the Feature racing action, followed by the 3/4 Modifieds, UMP Modified Last Chance Showdowns, and the 604 Late Model Feature. The 50-lap Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial UMP Modified Feature will then take to the track, followed by the Street Stock and Thunder Stock Features to wrap up the program.


The full order of events has been posted in the updated competitor guide, which can be viewed here.


Those who purchased Friday-only tickets in advance through will be admitted for Saturday’s program. If you purchased a two-day package, you can request a refund by calling 844-DIRT-TIX or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


DIRTcar Series PR


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