Riley Herbst (No. 18 Monster Energy/ORCA Coolers/Terrible Herbst/Advance Auto Parts Toyota) led the way in practice for the ARCA Menards Series General Tire 150 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday afternoon. Herbst, driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, turned a fast lap of 29.784 seconds/181.305 miles per hour to sit atop the leaderboard after the two-hour session.

Herbst led a Toyota sweep of the top three as Daytona winner Harrison Burton (No. 20 Fields-Sports Force Parks Toyota) and two-time 2019 winner and current series championship leader Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) were second and third. Burton’s fast lap was 29.876 seconds/180.747 miles per hour, while Self timed in at 29.879 seconds/180.729 miles per hour. Bret Holmes (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation Chevrolet), currently third in the series championship, was fourth at 30.015 seconds/179.910 miles per hour and Codie Rohrbaugh (No. 7 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet) rounded out the top five at 30.018 seconds/179.892 miles per hour.

Nashville winner Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota), currently fourth in the series championship, was sixth, Ty Majeski (No. 22 Chad Bryant Racing Ford) was seventh, 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock champion Tanner Gray was eighth, current NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series rookie contender Gus Dean (No. 32 Win-Tron Racing Chevrolet) was ninth, and defending ARCA Menards Series champion Sheldon Creed (No. 21 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet) rounded out the top ten.

Travis Braden (No. 27 MatrixCare/Consonus Health Care/Liberty Village Ford), currently second in the series championship, was twelfth fastest while Joe Graf, Jr. (No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford) was eleventh.

The session was slowed several times for minor incidents. Thad Moffitt (No. 46 Performance Plus Motor Oil Chevrolet) spun in the opening moments of practice without contact, and rookie Devin Dodson (No. 35 Vizion Motorsports Toyota) spun twice, making contact with the inside wall the second time and damaged the nose of the car. The car is being repaired with hopes of being ready in time for General Tire Pole Qualifying coming up at 5 pm ET.

General Tire Pole Qualifying is next, coming up at 5 pm ET, with the green flag on the race expected shortly after 9 pm ET. The race will be live on FS1, while ARCARacing.com will have live timing & scoring, live track updates, and live chat throughout all on-track activity free for ARCA for Me members. New users can register for free with a valid email address at ARCARacing.com/login.

ARCA Menards Series PR

Watkins Glen International Senior Manager of Group and Corporate Sales, Jose Cervantes, was chosen as the recipient of the 2018 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Industry Ambassador Award, NASCAR announced.

The award is in recognition of outstanding personal contributions and efforts in the incorporation of multicultural initiatives within NASCAR and the motorsports industry.

“I feel extremely honored to be part of NASCAR’s initiative to become a more diverse sport,” Cervantes said. “We’ve been working with Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver, Daniel Suarez for the past three years to introduce the Hispanic market in Upstate New York to NASCAR and have had great success.”

Cervantes continues to spearhead public and community relations initiatives with Suarez to grow awareness and interest in the sport throughout several Hispanic communities in Upstate New York including Buffalo and Rochester in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Both events featured proclamations for Daniel Suarez Day by Buffalo mayor Byron Brown and Rochester mayor Loveley Warren, meet-and-greets with Hispanic community leaders of the cities and visits to recreational and community centers.

“We are thrilled for Jose for receiving this incredible honor and his continued performance here at WGI,” Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup said. “He continues to go above and beyond in building relationships in our Hispanic markets.”

Cervantes joined The Glen in 2013 as a Sales and Marketing Intern before being hired on full-time as the Ticket Office Coordinator in 2014. He transitioned to the sales side of the company in 2018 and currently oversees group sales concentrating in deals to large corporations, motor coach groups and unions while also managing several corporate accounts as the Senior Manager of Group and Corporate Sales.

A native of Villa Emiliano Zapata, Jalisco, Mexico, he earned his bachelor’s in Business Management with a concentration in Marketing as well as his Master’s Degree in International Business from Keuka College.

Located within five (5) hours (~300 miles) of 25% of the US population, Watkins Glen International is the premier road racing facility in North America, three-times voted “Best NASCAR Track” by readers of USA Today. Keep up with The Glen on Facebook and Twitter. For tickets, camping, and additional information, call 1-866-461-RACE or visit www.theglen.com.

WGI PR

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Energy Systems Network (ESN), the advanced energy technology initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), are hosting some of the world's leading autonomous vehicle technology researchers at the Racing Capital of the World on Thursday, May 23 to explore the potential for a global autonomous vehicle competition to be hosted in Indianapolis.

Nearly 15 years ago, the DARPA Grand Challenge gave birth to the modern-day autonomous vehicle (AV) industry by awarding a $1 million prize to the team that could first complete a 132-mile course in the southwestern U.S. desert. Today, a group of more than 20 researchers from industry and academia is gathered to develop what may become the successor to DARPA, spurring a new wave of innovation and AV commercialization. The goal of the workshop is to develop potential objectives and rules for such a competition, and to discuss prospective timelines, vehicles and other core elements.

"The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was conceived and built more than 100 years ago as a proving ground for automotive innovation and discovery," IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. "This gathering at the Racing Capital of the World provides an opportunity to embrace our heritage and again serve as a catalyst for the next generation of vehicle technologies in both motorsports competition and wider consumer platforms."

"ESN is thrilled to be working with IMS to look for ways to bring technological innovations to the world's greatest racing venue, and beyond," said Paul Mitchell, president and CEO of Energy Systems Network.

The first phase of this exploration started in the fall of 2018 in Mountain View, California, with a gathering hosted by Sebastian Thrun, whose Stanford University team won the DARPA Grand Challenge in 2005. Thrun, the CEO of KittyHawk and co-founder of Udacity, is among a group of stakeholders advising the development of this potential new competition.

Reilly Brennan, a lecturer at Stanford's Center for Automotive Research, partner at Trucks Venture Capital and another competition advisor, said: "Competitions that demand the highest performance thresholds have shown the ability to reveal new thinking, new collaborations and new talent. Over a decade ago, the DARPA Grand Challenge kick-started an important wave of innovation in automated vehicles that spilled over into the private sector and reinvigorated the research community. I believe a new competition focused on high-speed automated vehicles has the potential to do the same."

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been an incubator and proving ground for automotive innovation since it opened in 1909. The facility originally was designed as a test track for the burgeoning automotive industry in Indianapolis at the turn of the century, and innovation began with the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911, when winner Ray Harroun equipped and used what is believed to be the first rear-view mirror in automotive history on his Marmon "Wasp" race car.

Since then, countless automotive and motorsports breakthroughs have been fostered at IMS, including the first use of a Pace Car (1911), what is believed to be the first mass rolling start of a race (1911), the first use of four-wheel hydraulic brakes (1921), the first installation of color warning lights (1935), the first mandatory use of helmets (1935) and the first use of crash-data recorders (1993). As the 21st century dawned on the Speedway, arguably the greatest invention to protect drivers in a high-speed crash, the SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) Barrier, was applied to the track's four turns, in May 2002.

ESN, which is managing the project, has focused on innovations in transportation (including electrification, Mobility-as-a-Service, and autonomous first/last mile solutions) since its founding in 2009, and recently released a report titled Emerging Mobility Technologies and Trends that delves into the rapid transformation of this industry. ESN sees the opportunity to advance the commercialization of connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies through the development of this competition. Strategy Analytics - a consulting, advisory, and strategic market research services company - expects this industry to be worth $800 billion by 2035 and $7 trillion by 2050.

"While self-driving technologies and performance have advanced radically in recent years, solving for so-called 'edge cases' - those extreme and potentially dangerous roadway conditions - has in many cases remained elusive," said Matt Peak, director of mobility at Energy Systems Network. "A competition that challenges the stability and control of autonomous vehicles at ultra-high speeds and in close proximity to each other would have real-world applicability in highway scenarios, and aid in the deployment of technologies that help vehicles avoid accidents and make our roadways safer."

The participants of the workshop are experts and researchers from:

Ariel University

Clemson University - International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR)

Dallara Automobili

Elevate Ventures

Georgia Institute of Technology

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)

Kennesaw State University

Kettering University

Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST)

LHP Engineering Solutions

Michigan State University - Autonomous and Connected Vehicle (CANVAS) Research Center

Ohio State University - Center for Automotive Research (CAR)

Purdue University

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI)

Toyota Mobility Foundation

University of Alabama

University of Florida Transportation Institute

University of Virginia

University of Waterloo

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) - Center for Advanced Automotive Research

IMS and ESN envision using the input gathered from the workshop to further refine the concept, examine a potential competition framework, and work to engage additional stakeholders to support its possible implementation. For updated information as it becomes available, subscribe for email updates at www.indyavchallenge.com.

ESN is an Indianapolis-based nonprofit initiative focused on the development of the advanced energy technology and transportation sectors.  ESN's mission is to leverage our network of global thought leaders to develop integrated energy solutions to increase quality of life for today and tomorrow.  Our collective focus is to: reduce costs, emissions and waste; influence policy; and advance technological innovation. For more information, visit www.energysystemsnetwork.com.

IMS PR

A business deal is in the works for long-time modified powerhouses LFR and Troyer Race Cars to combine forces and merge. 

The plan is for a new company to be formed, Troyer Manufacturing, which would focus on manufacturing.  Another company would be created - Troyer Dirt - to focus on the manufacturing and distribution of race cars for the Dirt racing customer base.  LFR and Troyer will continue their respective brands and combine forces to offer the best in manufacturing and distribution.

“It’s no secret that I have been trying to do something of this magnitude for quite some time now,” said Rob Fuller, owner of LFR. “The timing seemed right, so Billy (Colton, owner of Troyer Race Cars) and I came together and discussed options and put a killer package together.”

"I have tried several different avenues for manufacturing recently, and whether it was North Carolina or Canada, the Modifieds never were a priority,” said Fuller.  “Now they are a top priority in every sense of the word!”

“Tommy Baldwin actually called me one day and asked why Billy and I don't figure out something where we can work together, and it kind of hit me how much sense it made to do this!”

“The move is necessary in today’s market to be successful in all aspects of the sport,” continued Fuller.  “We will continue to service both LFR and Troyer dealers with a predetermined dealer structure.  Myself and the LFR staff will provide at-track support for all Modified customers.”

Recently, LFR chassis has dominated the top level of modified racing – securing four consecutive NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour titles (2015-2018). Justin Bonsignore, Chase Dowling and Doug Coby drove LFR cars to the top of the standings last year – with Bonsignore winning eight races on his way to the series championship.

Troyer owner Bill Colton, who has been involved in racing for 44 years, feels the timing is right for this type of change.

“Rob and I began talking just before the Thompson Ice Breaker about the possibility of doing some manufacturing for him, I guess that starting some talks that brought us to this point,” recalled Colton.”

“I believe that the timing is right for this - Rob has proven that he will do an outstanding job taking care of the customers, working to better the product and educate the racer. When we combine that with the team that we have at Troyer and our ability to manufacture the some of the finest race cars and components in the industry, I think this will prove to be a great move for all involved!”

LFR will distribute both LFR and Troyer products out of a brand new 7,000-square-foot facility in West Boylston, Mass. equipped to provide engineering and set-up support for modified race teams.  LFR will continue the distribution of the Troyer product line through much of the current well-established Troyer Dealer network.

“In talking with Rob, we both agree that it is very important to continue to offer the Troyer and LFR as their own brands,” said Colton.  “I believe that both the Troyer and LFR customers will benefit in this merger in several ways, between the tech support that will be available to them along with better inventory along with other product availability it seems like a definite win-win.”

Troyer Race Cars was stared in 1977 by Maynard Troyer. The company has built over 3,000 chassis during its 40+ year history. 

“I went to work for Maynard Troyer in 1981, I was 20-years-old but I knew that I wanted to work in the race car industry,” said Colton.  “I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to work for Maynard for the first eight years, and then to become a managing partner in 1989 then the owner of Troyer Inc. in 1999. I was able to learn a lot from Maynard and also forged some great relationships with a tremendous number of racers over the last 38 years. Even though my roles have changed a bit, I will still be active in our sport for some time to come.”

“This will be a big change for me,” said Colton, “but I am looking forward to my new role in the organization. I will be managing the manufacturing facility as well as Troyer Dirt for the next five years.”

“In order to ensure that the dedicated Troyer staff would not be affected in this merger, it was very important to me that the manufacturing stay in Rochester, and at this point I am proud to say that the entire staff will be joining Troyer Manufacturing!”

Fuller, who has a long family history in racing, is looking forward to the future.

"Maynard Troyer was my Elvis,” said Fuller.  “He was an innovator, designer and a heck of a wheel man. It’s an honor to be involved at this level with his brand and make sure it’s going to be around for a long time to come."

"My family has been involved with the Modified Series for decades,” said Fuller.  “I might not leave my mark from the cockpit like they did, but I hope when people discuss my legacy someday, they can say that I had some kind of positive impact on the Modified division and its evolution to what it has become today. The best racing in the country."

LFR PR

The Ritz-Carlton in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, played host to a spectacular 39th annual Speedway Children’s Charities Gala presented by Sonic Automotive and EchoPark on Wednesday night, with the far-reaching nonprofit raising more than $1 million for children in need throughout the greater Charlotte region.

“This year’s Speedway Children’s Charities Gala presented by Sonic Automotive and EchoPark saw our donations exceed $1 million on a night full of fun and festivities,” said Lisa Starnes, executive director of the Charlotte Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. “We are honored to have enjoyed such a productive evening, and it’s a credit to our many sponsors and supporters.”

The evening included a menu designed by world-class Chef Robert Irvine of Food Network’s “Restaurant: Impossible” fame and live music from country music star Justin Moore. The black-tie gala also featured a special recognition for NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton, one of NASCAR’s most significant leaders for five decades and a longtime supporter of and advocate for Speedway Children’s Charities.

“Mike Helton is one of the most influential people in NASCAR, a longtime supporter of Speedway Children’s Charities and a very deserving person to be honored,” said Marcus Smith, vice chairman of Speedway Children’s Charities. “Our gala gave us the chance to thank Mike for his commitments to the NASCAR industry and all of its stakeholders as well as Speedway Children’s Charities. It was a great night. Thanks to the generosity of everyone in attendance, their support will enable us to really further our reach toward helping kids in the greater Charlotte region.”

Other NASCAR dignitaries who attended the gala included Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Executive Chairman O. Bruton Smith; Sonic Automotive and EchoPark CEO David B. Smith; NASCAR President Steve Phelps; NASCAR Vice Chairperson of the Board of Directors Lesa France-Kennedy, and 2020 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Joe Gibbs – on the day he was voted into the Hall – as well as fellow NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Jarrett and Ken Squier. FOX NASCAR personalities including Adam Alexander, Shannon Spake, Michael Waltrip and Regan Smith were in attendance, as were Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera and all-pro linebacker Luke Kuechly and former NFL players Jason Sehorn and Kevin Donnalley.

Since Bruton Smith founded Speedway Children’s Charities in 1982, the organization has awarded $53 million to other nonprofits across the country. Speedway Children’s Charities are operated by Speedway Motorsports, Inc.

For more information on Speedway Children’s Charities or to see how to volunteer or make a donation, visit www.speedwaycharities.org.

SMI PR

Today, THOR Industries, Inc., the world’s largest recreational vehicle (RV) manufacturer, announced its partnership with Takuma Sato, professional IndyCar driver and winner of the 2017 Indy500.  While at the track throughout the 2019 IndyCar Series, Sato will live in a Thor Motor Coach 2020 Palazzo 36.3 Luxury Motorhome.  The luxury coach allows the former Formula 1 driver to control his environment while at the track, serving as sanctuary for his physio and pre-race rituals and improving focus before races.

As a lover of the RV lifestyle on and off the track, Sato will get the ultimate experience of a Thor Motor Coach luxury coach.

Including a stop at the Indy500 this Sunday, the Thor Motor Coach unit will travel with Sato through the below dates:

  • May 26 - The 103rd Indianapolis 500
  • June 1 - Streets of Detroit - Race 1
  • June 2 - Streets of Detroit - Race 2
  • June 8 - Texas Motor Speedway
  • June 23 - Road America
  • July 14 - Streets of Toronto
  • July 20 - Iowa Speedway
  • July 28 - Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
  • August 18 - Pocono Raceway
  • August 24 - World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway

“We are thrilled to partner with Takuma as a way to bring together one of the best brands in the RV industry and the world of racing,” said Bob Martin, CEO of THOR Industries. “With Takuma’s personal enthusiasm for RVing, it’s an honor to have him use a Thor Motor Coach unit as a way to prepare for each high stakes race.”

Currently residing in Indianapolis, Sato is a Japanese-born driver who has spent nine years racing in the INDYCAR series and seven years racing in Formula 1.  Currently, he races for the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team.  Fans can follow Sato at @TakumaSatoRacer on Twitter and @ThorIndustries on Facebook and Instagram .

“It is great to have a world leader like THOR helping me to prepare the perfect race winning environment,” said Takuma Sato.  “It is fantastic to partner with an Indiana company like THOR Industries.”

THOR Industries PR

On Saturday, June 15, Darlington Raceway will give race fans a unique opportunity to drive their personal vehicles on the high banks of the Lady in Black, and in turn, support our service members and veterans.

For a $30 cash donation per car, Darlington Raceway will allow fans to take three laps around the famed 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval. The Track Drive is scheduled for 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. on June 15.

For their donation, guests will also receive two (2) tickets to the August 31 NASCAR Xfinity Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 race (which will feature Dale Earnhardt Jr. racing in his only event of the season). With each $30 donation, $10 will benefit the VFW’s Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship program.

“We had a great turnout last year with the track drive here at Darlington Raceway and are excited to get our fans back again for the opportunity to take a few laps around the track while supporting our service members and veterans through the Sports Clips’ Help A Hero Scholarship program,” track President Kerry Tharp said. “We encourage our fans to come out to the track that day to participate in some family-fun activities for an extremely worthy cause.”

Since 2013, Sport Clips has been the primary supporter of the VFW’s Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship program, which provides scholarships for service members and veterans for use at post-secondary schools and trade schools. From October 14 through November 11, Sport Clips locations around the country will collect donations in-store to support the scholarship program. To date, nearly 1,300 scholarships more than $5.7 million have been awarded.

Scholarship recipients come from every part of the United States and represent every branch of service. Recipients are earning a variety of degrees including engineering, computer science, business, accounting, healthcare, and many more.

TRACK LAPS RULES AND RESTRICTIONS

  • Motorcycles will not be permitted. Passenger vehicles only.
  • All drivers must present a valid driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance at check-in
  • The driver of the vehicle must be 21 years of age or older
  • All participants must sign a waiver of liability (including all passengers)
  • All drivers and passengers must adhere to South Carolina state laws regarding the usage of seat belts and child safety restraints
  • Headlights must be on at all times
  • Fans must enter the track through the Gate 39A tunnel entrance off of Highway 151
  • Laps will be held at a maximum speed of 70 mph and regulated by Darlington Raceway personnel with a lead and chase vehicle
  • The event is weather dependent. In case of inclement weather, the track will issue an official weather statement on DarlingtonRaceway.com no later than Friday, June 14 and announce an alternate date at that time.

Darlington Raceway PR

MotoGator™, an exciting new automotive products brand launching this year during the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, has reached a partnership with Hulman Motorsports to become the Official Pit Stop Partner of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

As part of the agreement, MotoGator will become the title sponsor of the annual pit stop contest on Miller Lite Carb Day, Friday, May 24. The MotoGator Pit Stop Challenge at the Indy 500, which starts at 2 p.m. Friday, determines the fastest pit crew in the Indianapolis 500 and NTT IndyCar Series.

"The NTT IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge continue to be a powerful platform to promote brands and businesses, and we're pleased that MotoGator has selected both to launch their innovative new product line," said Mark Miles, president and CEO of Hulman & Company, the parent company of INDYCAR and IMS. "The annual Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge is one of the most popular events of the Month of May, and we're pleased MotoGator will launch its brand with us in such exciting fashion."

MotoGator™ was created to empower a new generation of DIY (Do It Yourself) automotive enthusiasts with new and leading-edge products enabling them to achieve Professional Grade Performance, "In a Snap!" 

Following in the tradition of many famous automotive brands first introduced to consumers through pro motorsports, the MotoGator Official Launch is taking place during the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 26. MotoGator is the primary sponsor of the No. 77 MotoGator Team Stange with Arrow SPM Honda driven by Oriol Servia in this year's race.

Loose It Up™ is the featured product of the MotoGator launch. Loose It Up is an industry-first penetrating "Super Lubricant" developed originally for pro motorsports to loosen pro race tightened or ceased components that ordinary lubricants are unable to free. With proprietary anti-friction agents, Loose It Up works in extreme heat or cold conditions to free rusted or ceased parts. It cleans, lubricates, displaces moisture and rust-proofs all metals. Unlike ordinary penetrating lubricants, Loose It Up is ideal for chains in saws, bikes and motorcycles. Loose It Up empowers DIY enthusiasts to Loosen Almost Anything - In a Snap!

For more information on MotoGator, visit www.motogator.com.

IMS PR

With an exciting weekend of racing ahead at Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR today will recognize the industry’s pioneers of diversity at the 12th annual NASCAR Drive for Diversity Awards hosted at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Industry leaders and personnel will gather Thursday morning in Charlotte, N.C., for an awards ceremony that will honor NASCAR drivers, pit crew members and industry partners and ambassadors for their work promoting diversity and inclusion across the sport.

“There is shared commitment across the NASCAR industry to champion diversity and inclusion, and the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Awards celebrate the individuals and organizations whose contributions are making a difference,” said Steve Phelps, NASCAR president. “We’re pleased to recognize this year’s award recipients whose efforts and accomplishments are helping drive our sport forward.”

This year marks the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Awards’ first ceremony at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte after several years at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.

The awards will highlight exceptional accomplishments by diversity champions from across the industry, including participants of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver and Pit Crew Development Programs and the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program.

Notable past award winners include Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers and NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program graduates Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez and Bubba Wallace, and NASCAR K&N Pro Series driver Hailie Deegan.

2019 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Award recipients:

 

National Series Driver Award: Martin Truex Jr. – The 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion established the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation in 2007 with long-time partner, Sherry Pollex, with a mission to support those who have been affected by cancer, specifically ovarian and pediatric cancer. The foundation began its partnership with Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., in 2015.

Diverse Driver Award: Ruben Garcia Jr. – K&N Pro Series East driver Ruben Garcia Jr. is a native of Mexico City and is in his fourth season with Rev Racing as a member of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program. A NASCAR Next alum, Garcia is the reigning two-time NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series champion and the youngest driver to win the series title.

Partner Award: Dow – Dow’s commitment to diversity is highlighted through its program support and engagement with Richard Childress Racing. Dow’s sponsorship of Austin Dillon and the No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team has provided a platform to highlight teamwork and diversity at trade shows and industry events across the country.

Crew Member Award: Derrell Edwards – Baltimore native Derrell Edwards is the first NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program affiliate to win the Daytona 500 as an over-the-wall crew member. Following a successful career as a basketball player at High Point University, Edwards became a jackman at Richard Childress Racing. Since joining the team, Edwards has embraced the sport and has served as a positive ambassador. He volunteers to attend partner and philanthropic events within the local community and uses his experiences to shine a light on NASCAR and the opportunities the sport has afforded him.

Young Racer Award: Lacy Kuehl – Sarasota, Fla., native Lacy Kuehl is a 13-year-old member of the 2019 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Youth Driver Development Program. In 2018, she raced in a dirt oval flat kart at tracks such as Florida Dirt Motor Speedway, Crossroads Motorplex, Ambassador Racing School and Space Coast Full Throttle Speedway. She and her family started the charity Drive for Diabetes Awareness, dedicated to Type 1 Diabetic Ketoacidosis education, after losing her younger brother, Rocco, to the disease at the age of one.

Outstanding Intern Award: Maxwell Miranda and Isaiah Wright – Maxwell Miranda and Isaiah Wright made an impact as standout participants in the 2018 NASCAR Diversity Internship Program. Miranda interned in NASCAR’s licensing and consumer products department where he excelled with key contributions around NASCAR’s gaming efforts and trackside reporting, as well as researching new business opportunities. Miranda received his Bachelor of Business Administration in Sports Marketing and Analytics from Mercer University in May and was recently hired to work full-time in NASCAR’s Analytics & Insights department. Wright interned at Richmond Raceway in the consumer marketing department. His commitment to diversity was displayed in his recruitment of Virginia State University classmates, fraternity brothers and professors to support the nearby track. His relationships led to more than 20 students working at Richmond Raceway throughout the season. Wright is a current graduate student at Old Dominion University.

Institution Award: The NASCAR Foundation’s Speediatrics Children’s Fund – The NASCAR Foundation’s Speediatrics Fun Day Festival began in 2017 as a small effort and grew to a multi-city program reaching hundreds of children. The event takes place in six race markets (Phoenix, Dover, Chicago, Daytona, Michigan and Martinsville) with more than 100 children participating in each. The Fund provides more than $100,000 in grant funding to local community organizations focused on the overall health and well-being of children, and directly impacts children in the community with NASCAR-themed programming.

Track Award: Richmond Raceway – Richmond Raceway’s relationship with Virginia State University, a nearby Historically Black University, grew rapidly in 2018. Richmond strategically aligned its marketing efforts to reach the local colleges and universities within its market through on-campus promotions and a pre-race concert with local artists. While the students received real-world work experience at the track, Richmond has found a valuable local community partner.

Team Award: Stewart-Haas Racing – Stewart-Haas Racing has continued to grow its reach into Hispanic markets with the addition of Daniel Suarez, driver of the No. 41 Ford Mustang. In the four months since Suarez joined the team, Stewart-Haas Racing has supported the Daniel's Amigos campaign at Auto Club Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. Returning Stewart-Haas driver Aric Almirola has continued his community involvement with partner Smithfield through its Helping Hungry Homes initiative targeting race markets such as Dallas/Ft. Worth, Charlotte and Las Vegas.

Industry Ambassador Award: Jose Cervantes, Watkins Glen International – Jose Cervantes has been instrumental in creating various relationships within the Latino community at Watkins Glen International. Since joining Watkins Glen, Cervantes has coordinated appearances with Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Daniel Suarez in each of the track’s key markets – Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse. He established a new partnership between the City of Buffalo, the Puerto Rican and Hispanic Day Parade of WNY Association and Watkins Glen International in 2017. As part of the partnership, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown proclaimed Wednesday, July 12 “Daniel Suarez Day” in Buffalo.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ Coca-Cola 600 will be broadcast live from Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 26 at 6 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90, with additional coverage on NASCAR.com.

NASCAR PR

Each Memorial Day weekend NASCAR Salutes introduces the sport and its fans to a long and esteemed list of fallen heroes - servicemen and servicewomen who have given their life while protecting our country.

The sport memorializes and honors them on this solemn holiday weekend featuring some of the world’s iconic races – a prime opportunity to show gratitude for these brave members of the military.

“NASCAR has always taken immense pride in honoring the military men and women who’ve bravely served our nation,’’ NASCAR President Steve Phelps said. “Each year, NASCAR Salutes unites our industry to celebrate these heroes and their families and recognize them for the sacrifices made to preserve our freedom.’’

For the No. 37 JTG Daugherty Racing team– the connection between the sport and a hero is especially close. The valiant person being honored by the team – Army Sgt. 1st Class David Moore – served eight years of his long and decorated career in the Indiana Army National Guard Unit where he was an officer and mentor for the No. 37 team’s lead engineer, Brian Burns.

Moore died February 4, 2008, of injuries he sustained while deployed in Iraq. And Burns couldn’t be prouder to have the opportunity to honor his late friend and former colleague this weekend in the Monster Energy NACAR Cup Series’ Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (6 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

“It means a lot, he was kind of a mentor when I was younger and first got into the military so it was  pretty neat to give back to the family and let them know how much I appreciated him and how much he affected me in my youth and made me a better person,’’ said Burns, who served with Moore for eight years in the Army National Guard.

Burns, who enlisted as a teenager in 1993 to earn money for a college education through the GI Bill, was assigned to a National Guard unit in Washington, Indiana, where Moore was an officer, a leader and a mentor.  And an inspiration.

The two men served alongside one another in the National Guard unit for most of a decade before Burns attended college at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).  He earned his engineering degree at the school and was hired by Chip Ganassi Racing in 2003 before taking his current job at the JTG Daugherty organization.

The Army veteran served as crew chief for the No. 47 and driver A.J. Allmendinger for five years (2011-15), leading the JTG Daugherty team to an emotional win at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International and a Cup Playoff berth in 2014. He currently serves as lead engineer on Chris Buescher’s No. 37 Chevrolet.

“Brian was one of my favorite people to work with in my career,’’ Allmendinger said. “He is very passionate, smart and more importantly easy to work with and always cared about his guys on the team. I’m so happy we were able to get a Cup win together. He is a family man and all-around great person.’’

The praise sounds very familiar to what Burns says of his friend Moore. One of Burns fondest memories in the sport is when his former Army colleague surprised him at Phoenix’s ISM Raceway during a 2005 race weekend.

“When I got out of the Army, it was pretty neat because he knew what I wanted to do and where I was wanting to go with it,’’ Burns recalled of Moore. “When I got out, David had been sent over there to Iraq for a while. He had a leave of absence and I was at the race track in Phoenix for a race weekend and he actually showed up on pit road.

“That was really neat. I didn’t even know he was going to be there. That was really cool. I got to hear some stories of what they’d gone through over there [in Iraq] and show him around the garage and pit road.’’

To honor Moore on the race car Burns engineers – to celebrate his friend’s life and pay credit to his ultimate sacrifice – is an important show of remembrance for Burns. And he looks forward to meeting Moore’s family and commemorating his service.

“In this kind of industry, most people’s day-to-day job, you’re just hustling and bustling and you forget to look up and see what’s going on around you,’’ Burns said. “[Memorial Day] is a day when you can kind of take a moment and reflect back on the sacrifices made so you can do what you want to do – enjoy life with your family and realize how good you have it.

“It’s more personal, because I’ve never met his family so this will be neat for me because I’ll get the opportunity to learn more about him and share some stories.’’

This very personal connection highlights a grid filled this weekend in honor of heroes. Also among them:

Landon Cassill’s No. 00 Chevrolet will carry the name of U.S. Marine Corporal Kyle Schneider who died at the age of 23 while serving in Afghanistan.

Kurt Busch’s No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet will honor U.S. Army Lieutenant General Timothy Maude who was killed Sept. 11, 2001 at the U.S. Pentagon – the highest-ranking U.S. officer killed by foreign action since World War II.

Chase Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet will honor U.S. Army Sergeant Bradley Marshall, who served in the 25th Infantry Division and was killed in Kalsu, Iraq, in 2007. Marshall’s son and his father will attend Sunday’s race and meet Elliott.

Aric Almorola’s No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford will honor fallen Vietnam War veteran John Patrick Bartone, a Warrant Officer in the U.S. Army who was killed in 1970 at the age of 21 in South Vietnam.

Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota will honor U.S. Navy Ensign Sarah Mitchell, 23, a Virginia native who was killed while on deployment in the Red Sea in 2018.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will carry the name of U.S. Air Force Captain John Graziano, who died in November, 2018 while conducting a training mission at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas.

These are a rich sampling of a Coca-Cola 600 starting grid that will be a full display of military heroism and an opportunity for the sport to pay tribute to those who sacrificed and the families and friends who loved them.

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