Fans are guaranteed to get more bang for their buck at South Boston Speedway with a rule change for 2019.
The track announced today that caution laps would not count in races that are 150 laps in length or shorter. In the past, that rule was in effect only for races 75 laps or shorter.
“We do our best to always put our fans first,” said South Boston Speedway General Manager Cathy Rice. “By not counting the caution laps in races 150 laps or shorter, fans will get to enjoy more laps of racing every race. It should make race nights much more fun for everyone.”
With the new rule in place, the only race in 2019 where caution laps will count will be the 200-lapper celebrating Independence Day on June 29.
Driver expect the change to help in the grandstands and the pits.
“It’s going to help the fans get their money’s worth. They know they are going to get a set number of laps,” said Thomas Scott, who finished third in the 2018 Late Model Stock points race at South Boston. “From a safety standpoint for the crews, if you are involved in something on the track and have to come in and change a tire or fix something, you don’t have to worry about rushing to get out without losing a lap. It’s going to make pit road safer.”
Peyton Sellers, who won his fourth South Boston Speedway championship in 2018, believes limiting caution laps will make the title chase tougher in 2019.
“It’s going to keep more people on the lead lap and it’s going to make the points race closer,” said Sellers. “When you have trouble and pit under caution, you’re not automatically going laps down like in the past and that will tighten things up.”
The 2019 South Boston season will kick off on Saturday, March 16 with an afternoon of racing featuring twin 100-lap Late Model races, a 50-lap Limited Sportsman race, a 30-lap Pure Stock race and a 15-lap Hornets race.
Tickets are $10 for adults with children 12-and-under admitted free with a paying adult.
Austin Dillion started 2018 in the biggest way possible – by winning the Daytona 500 and the historic Harley J. Earl trophy.
As driver of the famed No. 3 heads into 2019, he is turning his attention to another iconic piece of NASCAR history: the famed grandfather clock trophy at Martinsville Speedway.
“That’s our main goal,” Dillon said. “It’s one of my favorite trophies of the year. I got to look at it a lot, because my grandfather (car owner Richard Childress) has one in his house, so I’ve got to step up and get one.”
The 28-year-old from nearby Welcome, N.C. said he loves racing on the “Half-Mile of Mayhem,” a track he grew up coming to as a kid.
“It’s short-track racing.” he said. “You’re going to see guys pushing and shoving. It’s aggressiveness. It’s an awesome track to see a race from. You can see the whole track and that’s what’s cool about it.”
While his 2018 results, a pair of 30th place finishes, don’t show it, Dillon feels like strong runs in the past are a good indicator of future success at the historic Speedway.
“We’ve finished in the top-5 there a couple of times now,” Dillon said. “I love going to Martinsville. We had a good run going there last year and I blew a right front tire. I can’t wait to get there and hopefully make it a place we win at.”
With the departure of Ryan Newman and arrival of Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Daniel Hemric, Dillon, who enters in his sixth full-time season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, will become the elder statesman for Richard Childress Racing, a role he is looking forward to.
“I think it’s a great thing for me,” he said. “I love the leadership role and hopefully Daniel and I can make some noise together as teammates. If I’m that guy, I’m fine with it. I love that pressure to keep RCR (Richard Childress Racing) running strong.”
Dillon and the rest of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will return to Martinsville Speedway March 22-24 for the STP 500 weekend.
The weekend starts of Friday, with practice for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series and continues on Saturday with the 250 lap Truck Series race and practice and qualifying for the STP 500.
The STP 500 is Sunday, March 24.
The STP 500 is the first race short-track race of the season and is the first race back on the East Coast after the series’ “West Coast Swing.”
Tickets start at $46 and youth 17-and-under are $25 regardless of location.
Tickets are on sale now. To purchase tickets call 877.RACE.TIX or visit www.martinsvillespeedway.com.
Martinsville Speedway PR
Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced today that Auto-Owners Insurance has signed a multi-year agreement to serve as a primary sponsor of Martin Truex Jr.’s No. 19 Toyota Camry in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Auto-Owners Insurance, one of the nation’s largest insurers writing more than five million policies, joins JGR after a successful three-year partnership with Truex that has resulted in victories each season. Truex will pilot the No. 19 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota Camry in eight races this season with the first coming at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 7, 2019.
“Auto-Owners has been an incredible partner for a long time,” said Truex. “It means a lot to me for them to join us in the move to Joe Gibbs Racing this year. Auto-Owners has been very supportive as both a sponsor of our racing program and also the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation. We’ve had great success the past few years and we’re looking forward to continuing that this season as well.”
Auto-Owners is based in Lansing, Mich. and offers multiple lines of insurance, including life, home, auto and business to customers in 26 states. In addition to supporting Truex on the track, the company has also become a key partner supporting the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation through multiple initiatives such as “Ride With Martin”, a fundraising program started by Auto-Owners that allows company associates to have their names placed on the hood of Truex’s race car in exchange for a donation to the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation.
“To us, Martin is more than just an awesome driver and spokesperson for Auto-Owners, he has truly become a dear friend to our team,” said Mary Pierce, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Auto-Owners Insurance. “We are excited to have the opportunity to continue our partnership with Martin and look forward to working with Joe Gibbs Racing and the No. 19 team as we root Martin on to another championship.”
Race car driver and NYU student Joe Graf Jr. donates portion of race winnings to Craniofacial Organization, myFace08 Jan 2019 Written by Steven B. Wilson
New Jersey native Joe Graf Jr. spent most of 2018 racing cars at some of the country’s most prestigious race tracks.
While Graf Jr. was making waves as an up and coming driver in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, his younger sister was quietly blazing a different path. Andreah Graf, a senior in High School was soundlessly raising money for a cause she felt was not getting the proper attention.
AMA Pro Racing announced recently that it welcomed longtime NASCAR veteran Mike Helton to its Board of Managers. Helton – who continues in his current role at NASCAR as Vice Chairman – joins David Atlas, Tom Bledsoe, George Silbermann and Mark Raffauf on the Board, which leverages 150-plus years of motorsports experience as it helps guide and assist the AMA Pro Racing organization.
Helton brings wide-ranging and multi-faceted experience to the Board, much of which comes from his decades of experience at NASCAR and within the motorsports community. Since 2015 he’s served as Vice Chairman of NASCAR, held the position of NASCAR President beginning in 2000, and been intimately involved with the sanctioning body since 1994.
“Mike Helton brings a lifetime of Motorsports experience to American Flat Track during a period of rapid growth for the sport,” said Michael Lock, CEO of American Flat Track. “We welcome Mike to the Board and are looking forward to the benefit of his insights and guidance.”
Helton’s duties today involve overseeing competition, helping guide NASCAR leadership in its strategic planning, and expanding the sport’s reach, both nationally and internationally. Helton is a current member of NASCAR’s Board of Directors, as well as a member of the company’s Executive Council.
Helton is also Chairman of The NASCAR Foundation, a charity that raises money and encourages volunteerism as it supports nonprofit causes around the country. Additionally, his career includes operational stints at two major racing venues, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway – and he’s also spent some time in a race car himself.
“I’m excited about becoming a part of AMA Pro Racing’s Board of Managers,” Helton said. “I’ve been a motorcycle enthusiast for most of my life and really am impressed with the direction American Flat Track is going. I look forward to being a part of their increasing role in motorsports.”
Born and raised in Bristol, Va., Helton resides in Ormond Beach, Fla. with his wife Lynda.
After a two-year absence, Kennedy Racing is returning to the 2019 American Flat Track (AFT) series in the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines class. With veteran rider and proven race winner Brandon Robinson, and former AMA Pro Racing Tuner of the Year Brent Armbruster, the team already poses a formidable threat to other AFT Twins competitors.
"Having a realistic shot at winning the 2019 AFT Twins Championship is the only reason we put this team back together," said Jerry Kennedy, team owner of Kennedy Racing.
Kennedy Racing will compete on a stable of brand-new Indian Scout FTR750s - a proven race-winning machine. During the last two AFT Twins seasons, the Indian Scout FTR750 has become the platform of choice on which to base a winning privateer team.
Having ridden a variety of motorcycles over his racing career, National Number 44 Brandon Robinson has never been so optimistic about an upcoming season. "Jerry, Brent, and I last teamed up in 2016 when I had one of my most successful seasons, there is a deep bond between us with mutual respect," said Robinson. He believes the Indian Scout FTR750 is a great race bike and is looking forward to throwing a leg over the same motorcycle as the perennial front runners in the series. "Having Brent in my corner spinning wrenches would be a confidence booster for anybody,” added Robinson.
Tuner Brent Armbruster says returning to a team owned by Kennedy, stocked with four Indian Scout FTR750s, and with an incredibly skilled rider like Robinson, is a combination "that can go for the championship." Armbruster added that even with the 2019 rule changes, designed to keep parity among all motorcycle manufacturers, "the Indian Scout FTR750 will still be the bike to beat."
The prominent common thread amongst Kennedy Racing is that they reunited with the goal of winning races and be a leading contender for the 2019 AFT Twins Championship.
American Flat Track will kick off its 2019 season with its bar-banging DAYTONA TT in appropriate fashion - during the wild Bike Week festivities in Daytona Beach. The 2019 DAYTONA TT happens Thursday, March 14 once again under the lights of the iconic Daytona International Speedway. Tickets start at just $35 and are available now at https://tickets.americanflattrack.com.
No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R full-time co-drivers Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande, joined by third and fourth drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Fernando Alonso, closed the annual Roar Before the Rolex 24 Test Days Sunday by clocking the sixth-best lap among the 47-car field in a mock qualifying session used to determine race-weekend pit-road and garage locations. They will return to Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway for real less than three weeks hence for the 57th Rolex 24 At Daytona IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opening endurance marathon set for Jan. 26 to 27.
Taylor, van der Zande and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team, who followed up their dominating Rolex 24 win in 2017 by qualifying on the pole for last year’s event, had a relatively easy time acclimating Kobayashi, the former Formula One and current FIA World Endurance Championship star from Japan, and Alonso, the popular two-time Formula One champion from Spain, to their new surroundings and the iconic racetrack. The four drivers took turns clocking the team’s fastest laps over the first four practice sessions of the weekend Friday and Saturday.
Taylor’s lap of 1 minute, 36.407 seconds at 132.390 mph over the 3.56-mile, 12-turn superspeedway road course, was second-fastest overall in Friday’s opening session of the weekend. Kobayashi’s lap of 1:36.596 at 132.670 mph Friday afternoon was fastest overall. Alonso’s Saturday-morning lap of 1:35.052 at 134.825 mph was second-fastest overall, and van der Zande’s lap of 1:34.534 mph at 135.563 mph Saturday afternoon was fastest overall.
The team focused solely on driver changes rather than overall speed during Saturday’s traditional night session, when Kobayashi’s team-best lap of 1:35.398 at 134.336 mph was sixth-fastest overall. Taylor opened Sunday practice with a lap of 1:34.894 at 135.049 mph that was fifth-best overall before driving the 15-minute mock qualifying session. His best lap of the session was marred by an impact with the car’s floorboard as he negotiated the track’s backstretch chicane known as the Bus Stop, temporarily knocking out the car’s power steering system. He was able to continue and log the sixth-best overall lap of the session and the team’s best of the weekend – 1:34.431 at 135.711. The team opted not to run the weekend’s final practice session Sunday afternoon.
Mazda Team Joest’s Nos. 77 and 55 DPis dominated Sunday’s mock qualifying session, led by the the lap of 1:33.398 at 137.212 mph by Oliver Jarvis in the No. 77 Mazda DPi that was better than the existing track record. Teammate Harry Tincknell was close behind with a lap of 1:33.423 at 137.176 mph. Almost a full second behind was a pack of five DPi entries separated by 17 hundredths of a second, led by Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Team Penske Dpi, whose best lap was 1:34.261 at 135.956 mph.
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R logged 165 total laps during the three-day test, covering 587.4 miles.