The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series tour is on its West Coast Swing, where the oldest Major League Baseball park (Dodger Stadium) dates to 1962.
Nevertheless, the Green Monster reared its head during driver media sessions at Auto Club Speedway on Friday, when the subject of Kyle Busch’s career milestone came up.
And, no, we’re not talking about Fenway Park. We’re talking about the Green Monster in the colloquial sense.
“It almost makes me mad how good he is,” Blaney said of Busch, who has two chances this weekend to reach a combined 200 victories across NASCAR’s three national series. “As a competitor, I don't like seeing him win. It frustrates me how he is able to find a way to be better than everybody else a lot of weekends.”
It also makes Blaney jealous.
“He’s very smart at knowing what his car needs, and you see him (often) get so much better throughout the race. He knows what he needs as the race progresses, and that’s a hard thing to do. He has figured it out—him and (crew chief) Adam Stevens—and it's really impressive.
“You have to admire it. Even though I'm jealous of it. You have to admire it. He's definitely up there with one of the greats, for sure, as race car drivers that will go down in history. So it’s pretty neat to watch him do it, even though I would like to be in the same spot.”
With 52 wins in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, 94 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and 53 in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series—the latter two of which are series records—Busch comes to Fontana with 199 combined victories.
Blaney has finished second to Busch five times, twice in the Xfinity Series and three times in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series. In particular, one of those second places sticks in Blaney’s craw.
“Yeah, Indianapolis 2015 in the Xfinity car,” Blaney said. “I passed him on the restart. Led the last, I think it was 23 to go … I led the last 22-and-a-half laps, and it was my mistake how he beat me.
“Yeah, that one I will always think about. Yeah, second five times to him. I didn’t know that. It pisses me off even more. You have to appreciate what he’s done. It’s pretty spectacular.”
At this point, NASCAR history properly teed-up, Kyle Busch is simply ready to buckle up, fire up, and hopefully raise a 200th trophy up.
The 33-year old has combined to win 199 times in NASCAR’s three national series – Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck Series. The historic mark could come with a win either in Saturday’s Production Alliance Group 300 Xfinity race at California’s Auto Club Speedway or Sunday’s Auto Club 400 (at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Or perhaps. … he even eclipses the milestone all in one weekend winning back-to-back races and becoming the first driver in NASCAR history to score 201 victories in the three combined series.
Fans and historians are eager to see if and when he sets the mark. Busch figures he’s more ready than anyone to see where his fortunes take him. But then again, he stressed Friday, his desire to win races has little to do with historical numbers and everything to do with personal high expectations.
“It doesn’t change anything," Busch said of being on the verge of win No. 200 this weekend. “Just come out here and we’re entered in both races. We come out here and try to do the best we can to win. If we win on Saturday and that’s win 200, then so be it. It is what it is.”
And, he added, “If it happens on Saturday, maybe a hat or something in Victory Lane. Other than that, we go onto the next one. There’s not going to be much celebration around it because it’s just going to be focused on the next race which is going to be the next day."
Certainly Busch’s record at the two-mile Auto Club Speedway – located a little more than three hours from his Las Vegas hometown - should provide plenty of confidence and optimism.
Busch has three Monster Energy Series wins at the track – including his very first series win in 2005. He has a record six Xfinity Series wins too – including three consecutive from 2010-11. And he is a perfect two-for-two in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series at the track too, even though the Trucks aren’t racing this weekend. Busch’s 11 combined national series victories at Auto Club Speedway make him the winningest driver at the facility and that’s not a bad stat to carry into a potentially sport-changing race.
And his 200 wins are as varied as his work at this particular track. He has 52 Monster Energy Series wins (11th-most all-time) and his 94 Xfinity wins and 53 Truck Series victories are most ever in those respective series. He won both the Xfinity and Cup race just last week in Phoenix. He swept the two series at Auto Club Speedway in 2013.
His competitors do not doubt that Busch may score win 200 this weekend. And at the young age of 33, with a multi-win pace established for the past 15 years, Busch will likely add many MANY more victories – and probably more championships - to his future NASCAR Hall of Fame trophy total.
“I hate to see Kyle Busch win as much as anybody does," 2017 Auto Club Speedway winner Kyle Larson said with a laugh.
“It’s just amazing to see how good he is in all types of series and race cars and his win percentages are unbelievable even with all the restrictions that you have now with the amount of races you can run.
“He still wins just as much, if not more. For him to be as good as he is at every race track is pretty spectacular. You can look at most drivers and pinpoint their best race tracks, and I don’t know if you can really do that with Kyle Busch.
“Every race track is his best race track.”
As reverent as Busch has been regarding his win total and where it places him historically in the sport, he is quick to remind that he just wants to win. Period. The headlines, record books and buzz about the accomplishment is not what has motivated him - even though he conceded trackside Friday afternoon, it will be a special moment to claim 200.
“Certainly, I have had a few of my friends and stuff send me some links of things they saw this week of some articles and things," Busch said. “I read what [200 Cup race winner] Richard [Petty] said the other day which was cool. He talked about how if I was thrown back in their era with [David] Pearson and Petty, I could compete with those guys.
“That’s very respectful and I appreciate that. I am honored he said that. I feel I’d like to think the same way that I could do it. It doesn’t matter. It’s a different time and place. Overall, excited to just continue on and keep winning."
Austin Dillion won the pole for Sunday's Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway and didn't even have to post a speed in the final round of qualifying to do so.
Dillon along with the other 11 drivers waited too late to post a lap in the final round of qualifying.
None of the 12 drivers who advanced into the final round did not reach the timing/scoring line before the five-minute clock expired, which left all 12 drivers without a qualifying speed in the final round. With that occurrence, the lineup would be set based on speeds in Round 2, where Austin Dillion had the fastest speed.
This would mark Dillion's first pole of his career.
"That was fun right there. That goes back to Round 2 when Andy Houston did a great job getting us a hole," Dillion told Fox Sports.
"Our car has been good all day. I felt like we had the fastest car here. It feels good to get that pole. That was wild right there. Everybody was fighting for it."
Rounding out the top five were Kevin Harvick in second, Aric Almirola in third, Kyle Busch in fourth and Joey Logano in fifth.
Rounding out the top ten were Denny Hamlin in sixth, Ryan Newman in seventh, Chase Elliott in eighth, Clint Bowyer in ninth and Ryan Blaney in tenth.
Live coverage of Sunday's Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway begins at 3:30 p.m. Eastern on FOX.
With NASCAR announcing the enforcement of pit road speed limits during qualifying, a couple of things are certain: pit road will be safer and less chaotic, and strategies will become more complicated.
For one thing, drivers won’t be able to hustle down pit road to slot into a specific “hole” between cars trying to post qualifying laps. The new policy also is likely to discourage drivers from waiting until the absolute last moment to make a run.
Precise communication between drivers and spotters may be at an even bigger premium than it already is.
“It’s a logical rule change,” seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson said Friday morning at Auto Club Speedway, site of Sunday’s Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
“It’s just kind of weird timing in my opinion. We’re packing our bags and getting ready to head to Fontana and we’re five races into the year and the rule comes. I’m like what? Why didn’t we start the year like this? Again, it’s a logical rule.”
And Johnson already has come up with a solution to potential speeding when he’s trying to work the No. 48 Chevrolet into an advantageous qualifying position on the track.
“It’s just going to be silly if you’re at the end of pit road trying to get into a hole, and your time isn’t going to count because you went over the speed limit,” Johnson said. “I think the way I’m going to prevent doing that is I‘m going to go down past the last orange line (at the end of pit road) and sit.
“Well, at Martinsville, you’re sitting on the race track. At different tracks, that line is at a different spot. Understanding the intentions of this rule is going to be beneficial for everybody, and we can adjust to it.”
Johnson says he’ll also have to change his mind-set, because there are clear reasons to try to push the speed limit on pit road during qualifying.
“In most circumstances, the spotters are trying to put us into holes on the track, and you don’t want to impede somebody that’s on a run,” Johnson said. “So spotters have visual marks, the drivers are used to seeing something in the mirror, and when they’re told which car to follow, we start rolling off of pit road and try to get up to speed to fill that gap.
“The other piece to it is that we need every foot of race track to get these cars up to speed to do our qualifying in one lap. So, if you can leave pit road as hard as you can, that also helps. You have those two elements that you’re trying to play.”
Johnson is a six-time winner at Auto Club with an average finish of 7.2 at the track closest to his El Cajon, Calif., home. He earned the first of his 83 career victories at the two-mile track in 2002 and won most recently here in 2016, his record-tying seventh championship season.
In qualifying trim, Johnson was fastest in opening Cup practice on Friday, posting a top speed of 179.386 mph on the first of his five laps in the session.
It’s not as if Kyle Larson needs any extra motivation.
One of NASCAR’s most popular recent breakout stars, Larson has enjoyed a good six-year run in the big leagues. Approaching the fifth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of the 2019 season, he’d like to regain form and regain his footing as a perennial can’t-miss player in the championship.
What better place to restore winning ways than his home state’s Auto Club Speedway – about a seven-hour drive south from the small Elk Grove community where he grew up and began his career. Two years ago he won the Auto Club 400 (Sunday, 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) from the pole position – one of the most popular victories in the track’s history.
He’d love to repeat that this weekend to get back in the win column for the first time in two seasons and regain that title form. He figures there’s no better place. He has two runner-up finishes (2014 and 2018) and a victory (2017) in five starts at California.
“We won here a couple years ago and ran second here last year, got my first Xfinity win here and I have a [Cup] pole," Larson said. “It’s been a good track for me, it’s Southern California and I’m from Northern California – about six hours away. I still have a lot of Central and Southern California sprint car fans that are here walking the garage and taking pictures and I sign a lot of autographs of sprint cars I ran in the past.
“It’s cool to have support anywhere you go, but your home state is nice. I guess it gives me a little bit of extra motivation maybe to go out there and win for all the California people out there."
After earning Rookie of the Year honors in 2014 with 17 top-10 runs in 36 races. He claimed his first Monster Energy Series trophy two years later (at Michigan) and put an exclamation point on the showing with a four-win 2017 season, when he swept both Michigan races and had a win from the pole position at this week’s Auto Club Speedway venue.
He was championship bound – a title favorite - in 2017 only to have four consecutive DNFs in the 10-race playoff portion of the schedule from Kansas to Phoenix.
Last year was a challenge for Larson’s No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet team. He had a healthy total of top-fives (12) and top-10s (19) but winless for the first time in three years and ended up ninth in the Playoff run.
This season Larson has stealthily been a big time player. He’s been ranked seventh or better all year in the championship with top-10s in the Daytona 500 (seventh) and last week at Phoenix (sixth). In fact, for the first time in team history Larson and his new teammate Kurt Busch (ninth) have both been ranked among the top-10 in the standings all season long.
Larson led a race high 142 laps at Atlanta – and won the first Stage - only to finish 12th after receiving a heart-breaking pit road speeding penalty late in the race.
Only championship leader Kyle Busch (227) and Ryan Blaney (148) have led more laps than Larson’s 142 this season.
He’s been a legitimate contender in every race and wonders what the outcome might be if not for little missteps along the way. The encouraging thing is how far up in the standings he is – even with the extra work of overcoming miscues.
“We haven’t had the greatest last three weeks when it comes to execution," Larson said. “We just try to learn from it, talk about it and figure out how not to make it again.
“I think I had only one speeding penalty all last year then I sped at Atlanta (three weeks ago).
“This series is so tough you have to be perfect all weekend long," he continued. “From Friday to Sunday you can’t make any mistakes. You’ve got to make all the right decisions just to maximize your potential of winning. Putting us back and starting 31st last week hurt us. We could have a lot more points right now and be top-three or four in points, but didn’t do a great job. Just have to clean that stuff up. And I’m confident our team can do that."
Strong Rookie Classes In Cup and Xfinity Series REady To Challenge The High Banks of Bristol Motor Speedway in 201915 Mar 2019 Written by Steven B. Wilson
A rookie driver winning a Monster Energy Cup Series race is an extremely rare thing. So rare, in fact, that during NASCAR’s modern era, only 20 rookies have claimed a victory at the Cup level.
That stat becomes even more amazing when you consider how many Cup races are run per season and that the modern era dates all the way back to 1972. With that in mind, it truly puts a spotlight on just how difficult it can be for rookies to tame the ultra-challenging high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway in their maiden season.
Quite literally, it just doesn’t happen. Well, except for that one time.
In the 1979 spring race, rookie Dale Earnhardt defied the odds and caught lighting in a bottle. Or, so some thought at the time. He outlasted veterans like Cale Yarborough, Buddy Baker, Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison, just to name a few, on the tough East Tennessee bullring to win his very first NASCAR Cup Series race.
He drove a sponsorless baby blue and yellow No. 2 Chevy Monte Carlo to victory that afternoon for California team owner Rod Osterlund.
And we all know exactly what happened after that special moment in NASCAR history. Earnhardt went on to win the coveted NASCAR Rookie of the Year title that year, a Cup Series championship crown the very next season and as they say, the rest is history.
Fans who attend the Food City 500 on April 7 at The Last Great Colosseum will be looking for the next amazing NASCAR phenom to make a statement and emerge from the pack to become an overnight sensation. And ultimately, perhaps, a NASCAR legend.
As 2019 season has unfolded, there are several talented rookies looking to earn that distinction and make a name for themselves. Nothing builds a strong reputation for a young driver than working some short track magic at The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.
Certainly, three of the top contenders for NASCAR’s Rookie of the Year award, Daniel Hemric, Ryan Preece and Ryan Tifft, have demonstrated during their rise up through the racing ranks that they have the talent to deserve a shot at the premier level of the sport. Virginia short track specialist Quin Houff, Legends and midget racing veteran Tanner Berryhill and third-generation driver Cody Ware have also announced their intentions to compete for top rookie honors.
Hemric, who earned five poles and 23 top-five finishes over the last two seasons in Xfinity Series competition, is driving the revered No. 8 for Richard Childress Racing. This season he has a qualifying best of fifth and his best race finish is 18th at Phoenix.
Hemric has ran well at Bristol in the past, posting two top-five finishes in the Gander Outdoor Truck Series and three-top five finishes in four Xfinity Series starts.
He is still looking for a breakthrough NASCAR victory, however. His consistent style of finishing races, posting solid finishes and taking care of his equipment could give him the edge in the season-long battle for rookie bragging rights.
When he and other rookie hopefuls see the names on the roster of past Rookie of the Year winners, like Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch and defending series champ Joey Logano, to name just a few, it makes them want to join the exclusive club even more.
“Being able to carry that title goes so far considering the people who have won that award in the past,” Hemric said. “That’s a huge, huge honor to carry that. Hopefully when it’s all said and done we’re the guys to carry it.”
Preece is an old school throwback driver who cut his teeth racing in the tough modified classes in New England. He invested in his career last year when he drove the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Xfinity Series car to great success on a limited schedule. One of his victories came at Bristol, where he pocketed the $100,000 Xfinity Dash 4 Cash bonus.
This year he is piloting the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Chevy Camaro and has a season-best finish of eighth at the Daytona 500.
“It’s a huge honor to be Rookie of the Year,” Preece said. “You see some of the names that have claimed Rookie of the Year, it would be cool to put my name on that list.”
Tifft, who finished seventh in points with six top 10 finishes in the Xfinity Series for RCR last year, announced his intentions to join the Cup rookie fray during the off-season and is driving the No. 36 Front Row Motorsports machine.
“It’s an exciting rookie class and a fun group that has been together in the past,” Tifft said. “So I think that is the exciting part about it.”
The battle for the Rookie title in the Xfinity Series is going to be just as tough. Six rookies are expected to battle for the victory in the Alsco 300 on April 6 and the accompanying $100,000 Xfinity Dash 4 Cash bonus. The Xfinity Series rookies include several top contenders who have graduated from the Gander Outdoor Truck Series, including Noah Gragson, Justin Haley, John Hunter Nemechek and Chase Briscoe.
In less than three weeks, NASCAR fans will have their first chance to witness short track racing at its best and see the top NASCAR stars such as Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Logano and Busch in action during the April 5-7 Food City 500 weekend. In addition to Sunday’s Food City 500, the event also will showcase a Saturday doubleheader with the Alsco 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race and the Zombie Auto 150 NASCAR K&N Pro Series race. On Friday, the Cup Series stars will try to break the BMS track record of 131.668 mph (Denny Hamlin, Aug. 2016) as they qualify during Bush’s Beans Pole Day. Friday afternoon’s Food City Family Race night, held at the track, is one of the longest running fan events on the NASCAR circuit.
During the Food City 500 weekend you’ll definitely want to take advantage of so many activities to make a complete weekend of family fun, including great video entertainment provided by Colossus TV, the world’s largest center-hung video screen, premium VIP experiences like the Chairman’s Experience, tailgating, on-site camping, concerts, great food and beverages in the concession stands throughout the property, and so much more.
And for families who want to bring the entire clan, Bristol Motor Speedway officials are making it easier than ever for kids to have an awesome experience. Kids’ tickets (12 and under) are free and adult tickets are $10 for Friday’s (April 5) Bush’s Beans Pole Day. On Saturday (April 6), kids’ tickets are free and adult tickets start at $30 for the Alsco 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race and the Zombie Auto 150 NASCAR K&N Series event. On Sunday (April 7) adult tickets start at $50 for the Food City 500 and kids’ tickets are $10. For all races, each child must have a physical ticket in hand to enter the gates. The Bristol Motor Speedway ticket office is the only authorized location that can produce the free kids’ tickets.
To purchase tickets to the Food City 500, please call 423-BRISTOL or buy them online at www.BRISTOLTIX.com. Tickets can also be purchased directly from any neighborhood Food City store.
With less than a month to go before cars hit the track in East Tennessee, drivers from the stock car and drag racing worlds arrived at Bristol Motor Speedway & Dragway on Wednesday, March 13th, to preview the upcoming season.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Corey LaJoie, NASCAR Xfinity Series rookie Justin Haley, NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series champion Brett Moffitt and NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series star Robert Hight were on hand to meet with media, chat with regional business leaders, industry sponsors, Bristol ticket holders and more. The quartet also spent time on the main stage for Q&A sessions with Sirius XM and Performance Racing Network host Brad Gillie.
The cities of Bristol, Kingsport and Johnson City were well represented at the 2019 Season Preview as business leaders got an in-depth look at what’s to come in 2019.
Following the event, a few lucky winners were able to take the ride of a lifetime during a session of track laps with LaJoie, Haley and Hight.
LaJoie may be a relative newcomer to the NASCAR Cup Series, but he’s no stranger to the high banks of BMS. The driver of the No. 32 machine for Go Fas Racing made his Bristol debut at age 14, driving a Pro Challenge Series event. The experience prepared him well for the intensity that is The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.
“After a race here, your neck and lower back are sore and your pride is sore after getting smoked by Kyle Busch,” said LaJoie, referencing the winningest driver in Bristol Motor Speedway history. “I love just driving to Bristol because when you come down the road and turn a corner you are like ‘holy cow, there she is.’”
Haley is embarking on his first season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, having joined Kaulig Racing before the start of the season. The rookie is no stranger to Victory Lane, having won three races last season in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
Haley will arrive at the Alsco 300 on April 6th for his first official NXS start at Bristol. The driver of the No. 11 Chevy Camaro could be eligible to win an additional $100,000; the Alsco 300 serves as the first race for the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash program.
The defending NASCAR Trucks Series champion, Moffitt, enters 2019 with a boat load of confidence. The driver of the No. 24 Chevy Silverado for GMS Racing is extra motivated for Bristol for a new reason: the UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics serves as the opener to the 2019 Truck Series playoffs. A win in the first playoff race would go a long way to help Moffitt in his attempt to repeat.
A two-time Funny Car champion on the NHRA tour, Hight is no stranger to success at Bristol Dragway. The John Force Racing Chevy Camaro SS driver won the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in 2011 and is always a threat.
The Father’s Day weekend date for the drag race holds a special significance for Hight: his daughter, Autumn, is a rising star on the NHRA Junior Drag Racing scene. A win at Thunder Valley would provide a special father-daughter moment. After winning the season opening race in Pomona, Hight very much looks like a threat at Bristol this season.
“I just love the atmosphere and the setting here at Bristol Dragway,” said Hight, the current NHRA Funny Car points leader after winning the season-opening Winternationals in California and posting two No. 1 qualifying efforts. “I’ve loved coming to Bristol ever since we raced here in the ‘90s with the Winston Showdown. John Force won that race and I was a crew member on that team and it was at the time the sport’s biggest payout and a very special win for us.”
Tickets are available for the many exciting events at Bristol Motor Speedway & Dragway. Tickets for the Food City 500 (Sun, April 7) start at only $50, with tickets to the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race (Sat, Aug. 17) starting at just $60. Add on tickets for the Alsco 300/Zombie Auto 150 (Sat, April 6), Bush’s Beans Pole Day (Fri, April 5), Food City 300/Pinty’s Qualifying (Fri, Aug. 16) and UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics/Bush’s Beans 150 (Thurs, Aug. 15) and you have two full weekends of NASCAR racing at its best.
Want to bring the whole family? Kids 12-and-under are only $10 to NASCAR Cup Series races and free to NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series events. This year, BMS also announced the addition of teen pricing. Teens ages 13-19 are half off with the purchase of an adult ticket.
Tickets to the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals start at only $30, with kids 12-and-under free. Guests will want to check out Friday night qualifying and one of the most popular fan fests on the circuit on Saturday following nitro qualifying. Everyone is invited to celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday with Doughnuts for Dad and the official Track Walk. As a reminder, every ticket is a pit pass, allowing guests up-close and personal access to see their favorite drivers and teams work on these 10,000 horsepower machines.
To purchase tickets, visit www.BristolTix.com or call 423-BRISTOL.
Racing Virginia, an unprecedented collaboration among motorsports venues in Virginia, enters its third year supporting grassroots racing across the Commonwealth. For the new season, the program will continue its mission of encouraging collaborative support among all Virginia tracks to raise driver awareness, increase ticket sales, and grow sponsorship opportunities.
“As Racing Virginia enters its third year, the program has become a true partner with local tracks to amplify race information and share the stories of motorsports with race fans across the region,” said Richmond President Dennis Bickmeier. “We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with motorsports venues across the Commonwealth to support grassroots racing.”
“Who’s Your Driver?”, which is a public information and education campaign targeting 21 to 35-year-old male drivers in Virginia, will continue to be the presenting sponsor of Racing Virginia. The “Who’s Your Driver” program is a partnership between DRIVE SMART Virginia, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, and Richmond to encourage people to choose a sober driver and buckle up. “Who’s your Driver?” is also the presenting sponsor of Martinsville Speedway’s STP 500 Race Weekend on March 23-24 and Richmond’s NASCAR Playoff Race Weekend on Sept. 21-22.
“We want all of Virginia’s race fans to enjoy a great, fun, and safe experience when they head to their favorite motorsports tracks and events,” said Janet Brooking, Executive Director of DRIVE SMART Virginia. “This partnership has really helped us promote the message to drive sober and buckle up, and we have seen an improvement in safe driving statistics over the past three years. We love interacting with the fans and sharing the importance of safe, sober driving at all of Virginia’s tracks, and we can’t wait to continue those conversations again this year.”
In 2019, Racing Virginia will further expand its content offerings to showcase tracks, share schedule information, and highlight stories from the past and present on motorsports in the Commonwealth. Through its website, social channels, and podcast, the program will continue to focus on increasing awareness of all Virginia racing events. The master schedule on racingvirginia.com lists race events from all motorsports venues in the Commonwealth, so fans can review the calendar to see what races each are coming each weekend and learn how to purchase tickets.
“Since 2017, Racing Virginia has been nothing but positive for us,” said Bill Mullis, Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway Owner. “They have created an amazing platform that can reach an audience that otherwise we’d never be able to reach ourselves, and that is incredibly important to me. It’s absolutely necessary for all the tracks in Virginia to work together to help promote racing as a whole and Racing Virginia helps accomplish this goal.”
“Racing Virginia has been able to highlight the breadth and diversity of racing in the Commonwealth and show strength in our partnership,” said Connie Nyholm, Owner & CEO of VIRginia International Raceway. “With more than 20 tracks in total, guests can see world class racing whether their appetite is stock cars, sports cars, motorcycles, vintage cars, drag racing, late models, drifting and so much more. As we say at VIR is true to Virginia, if it has wheels it has a place here.”
The Racing Virginia Podcast returns for its second season as the preeminent weekly broadcast on racing in the Commonwealth. The Racing Virginia Podcast, which has already produced 40 episodes, is hosted by Richmond Raceway’s Vaughan Crittenden and Virginia Motor Speedway’s Dave Seay. The duo recaps the previous week’s races, promotes upcoming race weekends, and analyze what is happening on the national level each week. Special guests also join the show to share their insight on racing at local tracks in Virginia. Guests in the first season included including Elliott Sadler, Johnny Sauter, Matt DiBenedetto, Timothy Peters, Matt Hagen, and Rick Mast. The Racing Virginia Podcast is available to listen each week on racingvirginia.com and iTunes.
“We are honored to be a part of Racing Virginia and collaborating with other tracks around the state. The more we work together to expand the awareness of how great racing is in Virginia, the stronger we all become,” said Virginia Motor Speedway’s Director of Marketing, Dave Seay. “As one of the hosts of the Racing Virginia Podcast, I am proud to be a part of something that is helping highlight the tracks and phenomenal talent we have in the Commonwealth.”
As Racing Virginia enters its third year, the program will have a visible presence at tracks across the Commonwealth. Racing Virginia will make one or more visits to each track on an annual basis to promote grassroots racing, connect with race fans, and produce original content for online promotional support. The program will continue to grow its close relationship and collaboration among local tracks on dirt, drag, road or paved throughout the Commonwealth.
To learn more about Who’s Your Driver, visit whosyourdriver.org. For more information on Racing Virginia, visit racingvirginia.com.
Richmond Raceway PR
In two weeks, grassroots racers from across North America will finally be able to converge on Richmond Raceway for the long-awaited PASS Commonwealth Classic on Saturday, March 30. For many, it will be the chance of a lifetime to compete on one of the most historic short tracks in the country. But, for others, it will be the start of the 2019 Pro All Stars Series (PASS) National Championship Series.
Now in its 12th season, the PASS National Championship Series is the country's only national title to be awarded in Super Late Model racing. With two national championship points paying races for the PASS Super Late Models at Richmond, several drivers are looking to compete in both 75 lap races, each of which will pay $7,000 and $700 to start. One of those drivers is Uncasville, CT's, Ray Christian, III, who will be competing in both races.
"I think being able to race at Richmond is awesome," says Christian. "Any time weekly short track racers that are used to running on quarter-mile to half-mile ovals get the chance to run on the same track that the stars run on, you really feel like a superstar and I'm excited for it. It's PASS's first time at Richmond so I feel like that will make the competition really tight because no one knows what to expect. It's definitely going to be a show."
After competing locally in Connecticut and in sporadic ACT Late Model shows, Christian burst onto the national scene last year following a strong performance in Dillon, SC that saw him finish third behind PASS National Champions, Derek Griffith and Ben Rowe. Christian feels he and his team are ready to take the next step towards a championship beginning with Richmond.
"After our strong showing last year finishing second in national points as a rookie, we are definitely hungry to chase a national championship," says Christian. "It's definitely going to be a tough task. We came out of nowhere last year and nobody really knew who we were wherever we went. But I feel like now we're definitely on people's radar and they know that we are fast enough to compete for podium wins and a national title."
The total number of PASS Super Late Models is almost at 40 with entries still coming in. PASS veterans Jody Measamer, Jared Irvan and Reid Lanpher are now entered, along with Virginia driver Collin Garrett and Brandon Watson. On the other end of the spectrum, Kyle Reid will be making the long tow from Alberta to compete, while Dan McKeage will be heading down from Maine and PASS National Championship rookie contender Devin O'Connell will be coming from Connecticut.
The ACT Late Models will be competing in a 65-lapper at Richmond Raceway and has 36 cars entered as of today with a host of heavy hitters. Former Milk Bowl winners, Patrick Laperele and Joey Polewarcyzk are now entered, along with former Thunder Road champion and ACT winner, Bobby Therrien. The Tour-Type Modifieds will be making their return to Richmond for the first time since 2002, utilizing the popular rules package used at New Smyrna Speedway during Florida Speedweeks. North Carolina's Bryan Dauzat has filed an entry along with Connecticut's Jim Dolan, and Kris Watson.
The grassroots racing action as part of the PASS Commonwealth Classic will be completed by events for the MASS Street Stocks and North East Mini Stocks (NEMST), and both divisions have shown great support from competitors around the country. Over 30 Street Stocks are now entered from Maine to Florida, including David Cameron and Joe Gerrard. Frankie Kimmel will be looking to follow up a strong second place finish at Dillon's New Year's Bash, while Virginia's Justin Brown and Vermont's Adam Maynard will be looking for good finishes as well.
The largest field in NEMST history have filed entries with over 40 Mini Stocks expected to assemble. Drivers range from Maine to as far south as South Carolina and as far west as Ohio. Competitors will be racing for a minimum $1000 to win plus bonus awards and a $100 to start purse.
The PASS Commonwealth Classic weekend will begin on Thursday, March 28 with optional hauler parking and safety inspection from 12 - 4 PM. On Friday, March 29, rotating practice for all competing divisions will be from 11 AM – 5 PM. And then on Saturday, March 30, pit gates at Richmond Raceway will open at 7 AM, with practice from 9 AM – 12 PM, qualifying at 1 PM, and racing set to start at around 4 PM
Entry forms and rules contacts for PASS Super Late Models, Tour-Type Modifieds, and MASS Street Stocks are also posted at ProAllStarsSeries.com. PASS Super Late Model entry forms and the complete weekend schedules the inaugural PASS Commonwealth Classic at Richmond Raceway can be found at ProAllStarsSeries.com.
PASS Racing PR
With Bike Week in full swing at the world center of racing, Bell Helmets announced the launch of the 2019 Seasonal 1 series of helmets featuring new designs for some of their most popular models.
Among the new designs are collaborations with Fasthouse, on a new design for the Moto 9 FLEX, and Roland Sands Design on a new SRT Modular. In addition to these collaborations, the new line includes a handful of additional graphics that riders will love.
These and other helmets are available on their website.