Steven B. Wilson

Steven B. Wilson

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Sixteen year old Christian Eckes finished sixth in Sunday’s Herr’s Potato Chips 100 at Springfield’s historic dirt mile at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

As part of tradition the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards helped close out the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, IL. On the final day and under hot and humid conditions teams arrived early for what was a jammed packed Sunday schedule.

Unlike most race days, Springfield comes fast and furious with practice, qualifying and racing all within a four hour window. For Eckes, the fast moving schedule had no ill affect. With no prior dirt experience and only one hour of practice, Eckes turned in a solid effort during his maiden voyage.

Driving Venturini Motorsports’ prepared No.15 Illinois Truck and Equipment – TurnOne Toyota, Eckes qualified and started from the eighth position.

Taking the green flag Eckes hung with the lead pack and showed no signs of inexperience. In fact, Eckes who maintained his top-10 running position for most of the first half brought spectators to their feet as he moved his machine up through the field – passing hometown favorite AJ Fike in dramatic fashion for the lead just past the halfway point of the 100-mile race.

Eckes would lead the field around the 1-mile track for several circuits before sliding back to the third position. Riding inside the top-3 under caution Eckes would make an unscheduled pit stop late. The untimely stop pushed the teen back to the eighth position. Staying focused Eckes would pick off several spots during the final laps before finishing sixth at the checkered flag.

“Just an incredible experience out there today,” said Eckes. “We ended up running up front for some but a late race pit stop hurt our chances at a top-three finish. I still had a lot of fun and gained a ton of experience for next season. I can’t wait for another shot on the dirt.”

Eckes’ finish was his ninth consecutive top-10 finish of the season. He’ll rejoin the team for his final start of the season on September 9 for the running of the Eddie Gilstrap Motors Fall Classic 200 at Salem Speedway.

Follow Christian Eckes on social media by visiting @ChristianEckes on Twitter and Instagram, @ChristianEckesRacing on Facebook or visit his official website at www.ChristianEckesRacing.com.

VMS PR

Fans attending the Can-Am 500 on Sunday, Nov. 12 at Phoenix Raceway will be entertained with live music before the start of the race as multiplatinum rock band Sugar Ray will perform a pre-race concert in the DC Solar Power Pavilion at 10:30 a.m. (local).

Sugar Ray hit mainstream success when their breakthrough hit song “Fly” dominated the airwaves in the summer of 1997 and rose to No. 1 on the Modern Rock Tracks and Top 40 Mainstream charts. After their album “Floored” went double-platinum, Sugar Ray followed up with “14:59” that reached triple-platinum status with hit singles “Every Morning,” “Someday” and “Falls Apart.”

Hailing from Orange County, Calif., the group includes vocalist Mark McGrath, lead guitarist Rodney Sheppard, bassist Kristian Attard and drummer Dean Butterworth. The band, who has appeared numerous times on the Tonight Show, The Late Show with David Letterman, Carson Daly and The Today’s Show’s Summer Concert Series, has sold over eight million records worldwide.

The concert, which resulted from a partnership between Phoenix Raceway and Niner Sports & Entertainment, is just one part of race day excitement that is free to all fans with a grandstand ticket for the Can-Am 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. The Can-Am 500 is the semifinal race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. After the race, the field of championship contenders will be trimmed from eight hopefuls to the final four drivers that will race for the championship the next week.

Tickets to all events throughout the Can-Am 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series weekend at Phoenix Raceway are available online at PhoenixRaceway.com, by phone at 1-866-408-RACE (7223) or in person at the Phoenix Raceway ticket office.

PIR PR

Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) announced today that First Data (NYSE: FDC), a global leader in commerce-enabling technology, will partner with Kyle Larson and the No. 42 Chevrolet SS team for two upcoming Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) races at Talladega Superspeedway and Martinsville Speedway.

This expands on a relationship that began last season when First Data joined Jamie McMurray and the No. 1 Chevrolet SS as a partner for the Fall Martinsville race. Additionally, First Data returns this year on McMurray’s car at Martinsville as an associate sponsor. First Data also recently announced a three-year agreement with Martinsville to be the entitlement sponsor for the track’s fall MENCS race, starting with the First Data 500 on October 29.

CGR PR

Short track racing at Bristol Motor Speedway is always action-packed, but when the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series takes to the half-mile bullring at night, the atmosphere becomes electric. Unfortunately, Ty Dillon and his Germain Racing team were unable to use that energy to their advantage, as two pit road penalties hindered their performance, before a pair of blown tires ended the night early with just over 100 laps remaining.
 
"It really felt like we had some raw speed in our GEICO Chevrolet," said Dillon, after the race. "We had a couple pit road penalties and ended up three laps down. We earned one back and felt like we were fast enough to get more laps back. We got into the wall a little earlier on and probably weakened the ball joint a little bit. Once we hit the wall again, the car was done. It was a really rough night, but we did seem to have good speed in our car tonight."
 
After rolling from the 22nd starting position, Dillon ran inside the top-25 for the entirety of the opening stage before completing the segment in 24th-place. Misfortune would strike the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender on lap 133, as Dillon was forced to serve two pit road penalties for pitting outside the box and working on the car while serving his original violation. Despite these penalties relegating Dillon to the 33rd position, three laps behind the leaders, the GEICO Racing team continued to press on.
 
At the conclusion of stage two, Dillon had not only worked his way back inside the top-25, but also regained a lap, placing the No. 13 machine only a pair of circuits behind. While running in the 24th position, the right front tire on the GEICO Chevrolet blew on lap 354 to bring out a caution. The over-the-wall crew changed tires and fixed the minimal damage on pit road before allowing Dillon to resume. However, the misfortune continued to plague Dillon, as another right front tire blew on lap 397, forcing the car behind the wall. After surveying the damage, the Germain Racing team found an irreparable broken ball joint, which cut the race short and left Dillon with a 36th-place finish.
 
Dillon and his No. 13 GEICO Racing team will now enjoy a well-deserved weekend off, before returning for the final stretch of 12 races to end the 2017 season. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will take to the historic Darlington Raceway on Friday, September 1st for opening practice at 1:00 pm ET, with qualifying scheduled for Saturday, September 2nd at 2:00 pm ET.
 
The green flag will fly for the Bojangles Southern 500 on Sunday, September 3rd at 6:00 pm ET. NBC Sports Network will carry the live television broadcast, with the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 carrying the live radio broadcast.
 
PMI PR

Sheldon Creed’s experience racing on dirt paid off Sunday in the Herr’s Potato Chips 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.  The 19-year-old earned a fourth-place finish in his debut with Mason Mitchell Motorsports (MMM) piloting the No. 78 United Rentals Chevrolet.

Creed restarted in the second position on the afternoon’s final restart. Unfortunately, the outside line was not the line to be in and Creed fell back to seventh. The young driver raced like a veteran the last 15 laps turning laps quicker than the leader and working his way back inside the top-five to a fourth-place finish.

“We had a great racecar all day long, “Creed stated after the 100-lap event. “Unfortunately, we got stuck on the outside line for a majority of the restarts and if you couldn’t get to the bottom right away you lost spots. We needed the race to go green. We had way too many cautions that never allowed for a lot of green flag racing. I can’t wait to be back with these MMM guys at DuQuoin. They worked hard all day and made great adjustments to our car. We will have a great shot to win at DuQuoin”

Creed started the 100-lap event from the fourth position. When the green flag waved, Creed made a three-wide move to pass two cars in the first corner. Creed took the third position right before the first caution of the event waved at lap three.

When the race resumed Creed quickly moved into the runner-up position passing eventual winner Grant Enfinger at lap eight.

The first half of the 100-lap event was marred by the yellow flag as it waved four times. Creed made his first and only pit-stop before halfway taking four General Tires and a minor chassis adjustment. The No. 78 team had a great stop as Creed came off pit-road second but six drivers stayed out under the yellow flag. It only took Creed one lap has he passed four cars to move back into the top-five in the fourth position. The California native raced as high as second and proved to be a contender for the win.

On the days, final restart with 18 laps to go. Creed restarted from the second position but was stuck on the outside losing valuable track position and sliding back to seventh. He spent the next 15 laps driving his way back to the front of the field and working his way back inside the top-five earning a fourth-place finish as the checkered flag waved.

MMM PR

The dust has now settled on the 2017 racing season at Bowman Gray Stadium – and just as expected, the final night had enough fireworks to get the fans on their feet.

In the Brad’s Golf Cars Modified Series, Tim Brown of Tobaccoville qualified on the pole for Saturday’s Carolina Farm Credit 150. Brandon Ward of Winston-Salem started on the outside front-row but was unable to steal the lead away on the initial start.

Ward tried again during the first double-file restart, but he was caught on the outside row while James Civali of Davidson moved up to second. Civali began immediately applying the pressure to Tim Brown. On lap 27, Civali gave a strong shot to the bumper of Brown, sending him sliding to the outside row and falling back in position. Civali took over the lead.

However, Civali quickly began receiving the same pressure from Brandon Ward. A string of cautions gave Ward four chances to take to the outside and challenge for the lead. On the fourth attempt, Ward battled with Civali side-by-side for a full lap until eventually clearning Civali and stealing away the lead.

Ward then had to defend the top spot from Tim Brown, Bobby Measmer of Concord, James Civali, and Jonathan Brown of Winston-Salem. Through it all, Ward held strong and went on to win. The last time Ward had entered Winner’s Circle was last year’s season-ending Carolina Farm Credit 150.

“I hate it took us all year to win one again. We’ve had good race cars,” said Ward. “A couple mechanical issues put us behind, but these guys have worked super hard to get caught back up. Tonight’s the best car we’ve had.”

While the battle for the checkered was raging on, Burt Myers of Walnut Cove was making his way through the field on a mission for his eighth Modified championship. Myers moved up to third early in the race but was involved in a wreck that dropped him back. Despite the incident, Myers fought forward to finish fourth – more than enough to clear the rest of the field in the points standings.

“I used to sit right there in the stands - and to think about winning eight championships is just unbelievable,” said Myers. “You start out the season, you try to win as many races as you can. You try to do the best you can, be as consistent as you can. And we were just right there. God’s blessed me so much – me and my family.”

In the Texas Steak & Tap House Sportsman Series, John Holleman of Winston-Salem led the first few laps of Saturday’s 40-lapper. He seemed to be on the way to taking his ninth win – and potentially even the Sportsman title.

But Dylan Ward of Winston-Salem bumped him out of the lead. A few laps later, Zack Clifton of Walkertown banged fenders with Holleman – sending his car spinning along with his championship hopes.

Dylan Ward went on to take the checkered. Finishing a smooth second place was Derek Stoltz of Walkertown, who claimed the Sportsman championship.

The points battle in the Q104.1 New Country Street Stock Series was as tight as they come entering Saturday’s race. Jacob Creed of Dobson was tied for the lead with Jeremy Warren of Winston-Salem. Brian Wall of Winston-Salem was just eight points behind.

With hard racing and wrecks left and right, Warren and Wall were taken out of the race early. Their ailing cars weren’t enough to make it back to the front – but Jacob Creed was able to avoid any incident, finishing second and winning his first Street Stock Championship.

In the Law Offices of John Barrow Stadium Stock Series, Chase Hunt of Lexington was one lap away from winning the championship when disaster struck and Hunt began slowing due to a flat tire. He tried to continue the race, needing to preserve his position in order to win the title.

But on the white flag lap, Hunt fell back several positions. Wesley Thompson of Advance went on to win, boosting him past Hunt and A.J. Sanders of Mocksville in the points rankings and giving him the Stadium Stock title for 2017.

BGS Racing PR

Sheldon Creed had a challenging doubleheader weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course as he made his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut with JD Motorsports and returned to the Trans Am Series for the third time this season with Stevens-Miller Racing. It was Creed’s first-time racing at the challenging 2.25-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio circuit.

Very stormy weather on Friday limited Creed to one Trans Am practice session as Trans Am qualifying was cancelled as well as Xfinity Series practice due to lightning in the vicinity. Saturday then became an even busier day with a very early 8am Xfinity practice session, the Trans Am race at 9:30am, Xfinity qualifying at noon, and finally the Xfinity Series race at 3:30pm.

Creed hoped to get up to speed on driving the heavier Xfinity car around the very technical Mid-Ohio track in the early morning practice, however his gearbox jammed after just a handful of laps, leaving him with very little time to get the car set up before Xfinity qualifying. The lack of setup time showed in qualifying, resulting in a very disappointing 32nd position in the 40-car field for the #01 United Rentals/A.M. Ortega JD Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro.

Creed hoped to run a steady and clean Xfinity race and methodically move up the order for a strong finish.  Indeed he gained 8-10 places on the first half lap, but unfortunately suffered another jammed gearbox towards the end of the first lap; necessitating a trip to the garage area for repairs and the loss of 16 laps. The gearbox was freshly rebuilt before the weekend, which caused much head scratching among all concerned.  The JD Motorsports crew did an excellent job making the repair and getting Creed back on track where he showed good speed, running with the leaders after one race restart. Unfortunately, Creed suffered another mechanical gremlin later in the race and ended up running at the finish but 19 laps down in 34th place. It was certainly not the Xfinity Series debut Creed or the JD Motorsports team had hoped for, but they will have another chance in the Johnsonville 180 at Road America on Sunday, August 27th.

Creed’s experience in the #77 United Rentals/Speedlogix/A.M. Ortega Dodge for Stevens-Miller Racing in the Trans Am race was better, but still not without challenges. Despite being among the fastest 5-6 cars throughout practice, Creed would line up for the race in 13th because Trans Am qualifying was cancelled. When the green flag dropped for the 45-lap race, Creed was able to advance to 10th place in the opening laps.  Then, a bit of “agricultural racing” on lap 6 saw Creed go off course while avoiding a slower car and mow some of the beautiful Mid-Ohio grass, dropping down the order to 21st. Unfortunately, the off-course excursion ripped the splitter off the front of Creed’s car, impeding the handling of the car for the rest of the race. Despite that, Creed was able to claw his way back up through the field, ultimately crossing the line in 7th place behind former IndyCar driver, Rafa Matos. A post-race disqualification of another competitor promoted Creed to an official finish of 6th place, for his third top-10 finish from 3 starts in Trans Am this season. Creed will return to the Trans Am Series for the next round at Road America on August 26th, where he will again pull double-duty by competing in both the NASCAR Xfinity and Trans Am Series on the same weekend.

Creed’s next event will be this weekend when he will make his first start for Mason Mitchell Motorsports in the ARCA Racing Series Herr’s Potato Chips 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. This will be Creed’s first ever ARCA Series race on dirt and he will be behind the wheel of the No. 78 United Rentals/A.M. Ortega Construction/RTL Leasing Chevrolet. MMM are the defending winners of this race as Justin Haley took the checkers in the 2016 edition of the Springfield Mile. Creed will return to the cockpit of the #78 MMM Chevrolet for the General Tire Grabber 100 on the dirt 1-mile oval at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, in DuQuoin, Illinois.

Sheldon Creed on Mid-Ohio and Springfield:

“Mid-Ohio was definitely a tough weekend all around, and neither race really went the way we wanted, but the good news is that we get to run both of those cars again in a couple of weeks at Road America. We learned a lot at Mid-Ohio and I’m sure we’ll have a much better weekend at Road America. I’ve never been there before, but I’ll definitely be doing a ton of iRacing laps on my Sim to get ready! On Springfield and DuQuoin, I think my driving background will help for the two dirt races. It's going to be very slick and coming from dirt I'll have a good idea what to expect and different things you can do to get the car around the track.”

Sheldon Creed has a brand-new website, developed in conjunction with Race Face Brand Development. It features the latest news on Sheldon’s career, as well as lots of great photos, videos, and radio interviews. Check it out at www.sheldoncreedracing.com.

Practice for the Herr's Potato Chips 100 is scheduled from 9 - 10am CT, with General Tire Pole Qualifying following at 11am. The 55th annual Herr's Potato Chips 100 starts at 1:30pm CT.

The Herr's Potato Chips 100 is Live on MAVTV at 1:30 CT/2:30 ET. You can also follow live timing and scoring and live chat of all on-track activity throughout the afternoon at www.arcaracing.com.

Sheldon Creed PR

Riki Rachtman, the longtime host of MTV’s hit show Headbangers Ball and current host of the Racing Rocks! Radio Show, will serve as an honorary emcee for Darlington Raceway’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 weekend on Sept. 1-3.

In his role, Rachtman will emcee various events during the Labor Day throwback weekend, including in the fan hospitality and display areas and pre-race ceremonies. He will also introduce Poison frontman Bret Michaels, who will be performing the Bojangles’ Southern 500 pre-race concert.

“I’ve always thought that Darlington Raceway is the coolest race track. I came here as a fan in 1994 and have been here several times since then. It is an iconic place,” Rachtman said. “Darlington is special and to help with their throwback celebration is definitely something I’m looking forward to.”

“If you were ever a fan of hard rock music in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, Riki Rachtman and Headbangers Ball was a staple for fans of that genre of music,” track President Kerry Tharp said. “With Riki joining the likes of Bret Michaels, rock n’ roll music fans will be excited for our Bojangles’ Southern 500 race weekend.”

Rachtman got his first break with Headbangers Ball in 1989 when he began hosting the program as a guest host for the popular TV show, which featured music videos of some of the country’s most popular rock n’ roll and heavy metal acts. He would later go on to be the main host of the show from 1990-1995. But it all started in 1989. Previously, he emerged on the music scene in the late 1980’s when he opened the legendary rock n’ roll venue, The Cathouse, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in Los Angeles, Calif. in 2016.

“That was a memorable time for me and the hard rock/heavy metal music industry,” Rachtman said. “Headbangers Ball was a staple for millions of rock fans across the country.”

Racing Rocks! is a two-hour weekly music-intensive program that provides rock fans coast-to-coast with news, exclusive insights, interviews and dedicated coverage from the world of NASCAR, primarily the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The program debuted in 2003 and is syndicated throughout the United States. He was also a contributor on the SPEED Channel.

Rachtman visited Darlington Raceway today, Aug. 20, on his final stop of a 48-state solo charity motorcycle ride, notably called ‘Riki’s Ride.’ South Carolina was the final state on his journey, which took two months, over 13,000 miles and raised over $16,000 for cystic fibrosis.

“It made so much sense to end my epic ride at such an epic track,” Rachtman said. “Riki’s Ride raised thousands of dollars for a great cause. I’m looking forward to heading home to North Carolina today and being back here for the Sept. 1-3 Bojangles’ Southern 500 race weekend very soon.”

Darlington Raceway’s award-winning throwback campaign is now The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR featuring the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500® on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. The NASCAR XFINITY Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 will race on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. Tickets are on sale now by calling 866-459-7223 or visiting DarlingtonRaceway.com. Children 12 and under can get in free to Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race.

You can keep up with all of the latest news from Darlington Raceway at DarlingtonRaceway.com, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DarlingtonRaceway and on Twitter at Twitter.com/TooToughToTame. Fans are encouraged to post their Bojangles’ Southern 500 stories and memories using #TraditionContinues, #BojanglesSo500 and #SportClips200.

Darlington Raceway PR

Stage 1: Laps 1-125
«  Cole Whitt qualified in the 32nd position in the Bad Boy Mowers No. 72 to start the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race
 
«  Lap 15: running 32nd, Whitt relayed the "frontend was giving up"
 
«  Caution Lap 63: scored 29th, one lap down from the leader. Whitt stayed out to take the wave around to gain track postion
 
«  As Stage 1 was nearing end, Whitt, 29th, radioed something was wrong with the steering of the Bad Boy Mowers No. 72. He started losing track positon and fell back to 34th.
 
«  Lap 125: Stage 1 Completion Caution: Cole Whitt completed the stage in the 34th position. He stated he no longer had power steering. Crew Chief Frank Kerr called him to pit to assess the issue. It was determined the power steering line needed to be replaced. Whitt went out to make another lap when NASCAR made the call to have him exit the track and go to the garage for repairs. The power steering was repaired and Whitt returned to the field.
 
 
Stage 2: Ended Lap 250
«  Whitt returned to the track after on lap 140, posted 40th and 13 laps down from the leader.
 
«  Caution Lap 202 for an incident: Whitt was scored 40th, 14 laps down. He relayed the Bad Boy Mowers No. 72 was "getting loose into the corner and sideways getting in." He pitted for four tires, fuel and a round of wedge in the left rear. He cycled back to the filed 40th, 14 laps down from the leader.
 
«  Caution Lap 233: Despite Whitt lacking grip and control of the front and rear, Crew Chief Frank Kerr opted to keep Whitt out on track
 
«  Lap 250: Stage 2 Completion Caution: Whitt pitted for four tires, fuel, and a packer pulled from the left front. He took the green flag to start Stage 3 in the 38th position, 15 laps down from the leader.
 
 
 
Stage 3: Ended on Lap 500
«  As Stage 3 was underway, Whitt relayed the handling was tight from the adjustments made from the previous pit stop.
 
«  As Stage 3 progressed, Whitt continued to run 37-38th. He pitted under two additional cautions.
 
«  Whitt remained steady and consistent. Despite a challenging day, he managed to salvage a 33rd place finish in the Bad Boy Mowers No. 72 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
 
Tristar PR

Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay was re-evaluated by INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Geoffrey Billows this morning after sustaining injuries to his left knee and hip Saturday following a crash in ABC Supply 500 qualifying. Hunter-Reay has been cleared to drive.

VICS PR