Steven B. Wilson
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Canadian driver and rising stock car star Raphael Lessard scored the biggest win of his career Sunday by taking the checkered flag in the 100-lap Super Late Model feature race at the Rusty Wallace Automotive Group Short Track U.S. Nationals at historic Bristol Motor Speedway.
Lessard, who drives the No. 51 Mobile 1 Toyota owned by Kyle Busch Motorsports, led 30 laps early in the race, hung back in the middle portion of the event and then retook the lead with less than 30 to go and put the hammer down and cruised to the victory.
The 16-year-old driver from Quebec finished in front of NASCAR Truck Series regular Stewart Friesen, Corey Heim and Mason Mingus to earn his first win in the Super Late Model division. Lessard led more than 40 laps en route to the victory.
“This is awesome to be here in Bristol, it’s amazing,” Lessard said in his noticeable French accent. “I can’t thank my team enough. Kyle Busch Motorsports has given me a great car all year. The Camry was really good.”
He made his final move for the lead late in the race when polesitter Trevor Noles was setting the pace in his No. 22 machine. Noles ran into lapped traffic before a tire rub took him out of the race. Noles eventually finished 15th.
“Trevor was really fast,” Lessard said. “I was trying to save as much as I can and keep up with him at the same time. I knew if I would save a little bit I would have a shot at it at the end. He got caught with a lapped car at the end and I thought that was my chance so I went for it.”
Lessard said winning at The Last Great Colosseum was a major thrill. He was enamored with the traditional gladiator sword that BMS presents each of its major winners in Victory Lane.
“When you see those names up in the stands, the drivers who have won here in the past, it’s really great,” Lessard said. “Now to know that you are part of it, it’s amazing. I can’t believe it.”
In other racing during the final day, Chuck Barnes successfully defended his Street Stock victory by racing to the checkered flag in the 50-lap event. Steve Vore scored the victory in the 50-lap Compact Series main feature and Dan Banker captured the 25-lap Street Stock B Feature victory.
Win-Tron Racing PR
Thad Moffitt and the No. 46 Empire Racing team finished 10th in Sunday's Menards 200 at the Toledo (Ohio) Speedway in the ARCA Racing Series. Moffitt overcame a spin on older tires to climb back to earn his first Top-10 in the series in only his sixth start.
As other drivers had tire problems, Moffitt got fresh General Tires after his spin and settled into his own pace. Moffitt became faster as the race came to a close and climbed the scoring pylon to finish 10th.
"I hate that we spun and lost a few laps, but everyone was having issues," said Moffitt. "I think it helped us. We were able to just race our own race and things came back to us."
Moffitt had a previous best finish of 11th in the ARCA Racing Series at the short track in Indianapolis. He now has his first Top-10 and is looking forward to more ARCA Racing Series starts on short and intermediate tracks.
"I'm 17, so I can't run every track," commented Moffitt. "But, we can run Pocono and that's going to be our first start on a big track. Today really gives us a lot of confidence as we prepare for my Pocono debut."
Moffitt, the 2016 Southeast Limited Late Model Champion from Trinity, North Carolina, is the son of Brian and Rebecca Petty-Moffitt. He started racing a go-kart and a quarter midget before moving to a Limited Late Model and now a Late Model and the ARCA Racing Series. A high school student, Moffitt grew up going to the track with his grandfather ("The King" Richard Petty) and also watching his uncle, Kyle Petty, race.
Moffitt has primary sponsorship from Performance Plus Motor Oil, Transportation Impact and associate sponsorship from Hostetler Ranches.
You can follow Moffitt through his Facebook page (Thad Moffitt Racing), Twitter (@ThadMoffitt) and Instagram (moffitt_thad).
Meridian Speedway honored past, present, and future members of the armed services Saturday, May 19, as the quarter-mile oval hosted Military Appreciation Night. The Project Filter Pro-4s, Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks, Pepsi Crate Cars and ISRL Super Sixes, Coors Super Stocks, and Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets filled a Saturday night slate of good, old-fashioned short track racing.
After a rousing opening ceremony that included a fresh class of military recruits being sworn into service, eleven Project Filter Pro-4s kicked off main event action with the first of their twin 25 lap features. On the break Alex Duda went wheel-to-wheel with Wes Summers for two laps before the Eagle, Idaho racer took his Boise Boys Transportation, TS Fuel and Oil machine to the lead. Hot on Duda’s trail was Jordan Harris, who used the outside line to relieve Duda of the top spot two laps later.
Next to break free from the crowd was Boise, Idaho’s Brendon Fries, who stuck his Chick-Fil-A of Meridian, ATS Inland racer in the inside groove. Harris used the momentum of the high lane to keep his Kim’s Kars, H&H Auto machine out front as laps wound off the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard.
A caution with twelve laps to go lined Fries up beside Harris when the green flag flew. Fries got to the gas pedal first and rocketed around Harris for the lead. Nampa, Idaho racer Ryan Bailey followed Fries past Harris, then set to work on the new leader. Bailey ducked low, but Fries held station in the high lane.
With just three circuits left Bailey got the drop on Fries in turn two and stole the lead. Fries ran out of time to mount a comeback, and Bailey parked his Specialty Supply, Les Schwab Downtown machine in the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle.
The Teleperformance Claimer Stocks rumbled to green for their 25 lap main event. Josh Fanopoulos made the high lane the place to be as he stormed to the lead on lap one. Behind Fanopoulos’ Certified Services, A-1 Towing entry, Pat Tully, Kendra Occhipinti, and quick-qualifier Taylor Occhipinti parted the pack and pulled into second, third, and fourth on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard.
Before Tully could mount a challenge on Fanopoulos, siblings Kendra and Taylor Occhipinti pulled to the runner up’s rear bumper. With the top four separated by less than a second something had to give, and with six laps left it was Kendra Occhipinti that stepped out of line to challenge Tully in her Marv’s Tire Service, Dillon Performance Engines racer.
Kendra’s bid for second ended when she slid sideways and allowed younger brother Taylor Occhipinti to take the final podium position spot. But no one could catch Fanopoulos, who sped across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first.
A full field of fourteen TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks crowed the quarter-mile oval for a 25 lap main event. The inside line was quick early and Meridian, Idaho’s Terrell Daffron used it to take his 208Tire.com, The Wrap Shop entry to the early lead. But Billy Shipp was on the move, and the Melba, Idaho pilot squeezed around the outside to claim the top spot on lap three. Shipp’s turn up front was short-lived as defending division champion Jason Sanders stormed from his mid-field starting spot to the front one circuit later.
Next to emerge from the pack was Jayson Wardle, who immediately started to trim Sanders’ lead. With ten laps to go Wardle’s Lazee Days R.V., Catapult 3 machine filled Sanders’ mirror, and two laps later Sanders lost control spun to the infield.
This left Wardle in the lead with Ian Michael Pedersen, Luke Wolverton and Fred Vigil in hot pursuit. The race restarted and Pedersen sped into turn one with Wardle along side. For a full lap the lead pair battled, but when they reached turn one again, an oil slick awaited. When the smoke cleared six cars sat sideways in turn two, but somehow all avoided serious damage.
The restart was retried, and Wardle resumed his place up front with Pedersen and Vigil behind him. Vigil applied heavy pressure to Pedersen’s SSLP Racing, HYLA North America machine, and as the two raced for second Wardle scooted out to a two second lead. That was all the Kuna, Idaho driver needed and Wardle flashed across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe for his second division win of the season.
The Pepsi Crate Cars and Idaho Sprintcar and Roadster League Super Sixes battled through a thirty lap main event. Boise, Idaho’s Brandal Glenn was quick out of the blocks to lead lap one, but Kuna, Idaho racer Pat Young had his sights set on the top spot, and piloted his Dick’s Chevron, Sticker Mafia machine to the top spot on lap two. An early race caution brought Caldwell, Idaho’s Justin Segura to Young’s inside, and when the green flag waved the battle for the lead was on.
Young held the high line while Segura scooted around the low side. After three hard fought laps Segura secured the top spot in his TEAM Mazda Subaru, PBT Auto Sales sprinter, and brought Mike Anderson and Rob Grice with him to the front. Anderson wasted no time and immediately jumped into the high groove, but Segura withstood the challenge and kept the lead.
Next to try Segura was Grice, who wheeled his A.R.T. Speed Equipment, BLG Blue entry around the low side of the track. Segura slammed the door on Grice to keep the top spot until the race’s halfway point, when Grice cut below the leader in turn three. Next to Segura’s tail tank was Tony Ackerland, who searched high and low for a way around the second place runner. With four laps to go Ackerland seized his opportunity and took the second position in his Kick’s Chevron, Ackerland Construction entry. But it all happened behind Grice, who parked his sprinter in the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle.
As shadows fell over Meridian Speedway the Project Filter Pro-4s rolled back onto the track for their second 25 lap main event. On the green Kuna, Idaho racer Kenny Chandler zipped to the top spot with first main event contenders Jordan Harris and Ryan Bailey in pursuit. After mechanical issues plagued the veteran campaigner throughout the first feature, Chandler quickly opened a three second gap over the battle for second place.
Chandler looked to be unbeatable until lap sixteen, when his engine expired in a plume of smoke. This would have left the lead to Harris, but a fuel leak under caution sent him to the pit area and left previously fourth place runner Brendon Fries in the lead.
Fries didn’t waste his opportunity as he sped into the lead on the restart. But Brandon McLean wouldn’t settle for second, and the Meridian, Idaho racer pinned his Traditional Electric, Kenny Chandler Racing machine to the low line and ripped around Fries to take his turn atop the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. Behind the leaders Harris turned up the wick on his repaired Kim’s Kars, Challenger Auto racer and marched forward. Harris made significant progress, but could only muster third at the checkers behind Fries and winner McLean.
The Coors Super Stocks had 25 short laps to find a Military Appreciation Night winner. Boise, Idaho’s Ron Hayes blew by Hunter Gates to claim the early lead, but Josh Jackson was the man on the move. The Nampa, Idaho racer made short work of the field and sped into the second spot on lap three with Melissa Arte and Pat Tully in tow. Jackson wouldn’t wait, and on lap eight he took his Jackson Built Racing, Motor Mayhem Chassis Dyno machine to the point.
As Arte chased Jackson the handling on her Marv’s Tire Service, Dillon Performance Engines racer soured, which left Jackson alone up. As the white flag waved lapped traffic slowed Jackson to a crawl. Arte saw her opportunity and ran to the leader’s rear bumper, but wasn’t able to make a move and was forced to settle for second behind Jackson.
The Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets had ten minutes to find a feature winner. Ron Compton led the charge up front while James Pahl set the pace for the second pack. Pahl tangled with a back marker early, which left the second group to chase Lynn Sharp. By lap nine Sharp made his way around Compton for the overall race lead, but was soon under siege from a resurgent Pahl.
Pahl slid around the high side of the track as he worked to reel Sharp in, then unleashed his machine in the race’s closing minutes. On the white flag Sharp slid into Pahl on the backstretch. Though Pahl was momentarily airborne he never lifted and sped across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe less than one foot ahead of Sharp.
Meridian Speedway honors the racing legends that put the quarter-mile oval under the big yellow water tower on the map with a Memorial Day double header this Saturday and Monday, May 26 and 28. Saturday night’s action includes the Naylor Classic for the Mountain Dew Interstate Winged Sprintcars, Pepsi Crate Cars, the Dee Forrey and Don VanSchoiack Memorial for the Coors Super Stocks, the Austin Christopherson and Eldon Cahill Memorial for the Domino’s Legends, the TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks, and the Super Modified Reunion. General admission to Saturday night’s action is just $13.50 for adults, $11 for seniors and military members, and $6.50 for kids 7-11. Monday night the NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodels contest the Bill Crow 50, the Project Filter Pro-4s battle for the Sean Miller Memorial, and the Teleperformance Claimer Stocks race in memory of LeeRoy Nelson. The PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds, Rebel Modifieds of Idaho, High School Tuners and Junior Stingers round out Monday’s slate of races. General admission is $11.50 for adults, $9 for seniors and military members on Monday. We’ll save you a seat this Saturday and Monday under the big yellow water tower at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.
Meridian Speedway PR
Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards/Knauf team didn’t advance out of Saturday’s Monster Energy Open into the All-Star race, but they did do a commendable job of helping showcase a new set-up package for the Monster Energy Cup Series cars.
For the All-Star weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the cars were equipped with an aerodynamic package that significantly increased downforce. That was accompanied by restrictions on the engines that drastically reduced horsepower.
The result was a much slower Open, but the side-by-side racing and dueling for the lead had fans posting positive comments on social media as soon as the race ended.
From the start Menard and the No. 21 Fusion were among the fastest in the field of drivers without a guaranteed berth in the all-star race.
Menard started fifth in the opening segment after rain on Friday led to the starting line-up being set by car owner points.
Menard finished fourth in the first 20-lap Stage and eighth in the second after brushing the wall in the closing laps.
He lined up on the back row for the final 10-lap dash to the checkered flag but came charging forward and was in the battle for the lead by the halfway mark before settling for fourth place at the finish.
Team co-owner Eddie Wood said he saw some of the same positives about the All-Star package as the fans posting on Twitter.
“It was an interesting race,” Wood said. “I think NASCAR probably has something to work with, but I don’t know when we will see something like this again.”
Wood said the racing on Saturday was similar to restrictor plate races in an earlier era.
“It reminded me of the old Daytona,” he said.
The veteran team owner also said the Open showcased the talents of his current driver.
“Paul drove a great race,” Wood said. “It took some doing to come from the back to the top five in just 10 laps.”
Menard and the Menards/Knauf team now turn their attention to the Coca-Cola 600, which kicks off with practice and qualifying on Thursday, May 24, and the 400-lap finale next Sunday night, May 27.
He came, he saw, he conquered, he avenged.
Ryan Partridge, flexed his muscle, figuratively and literally, and dominated en route to the Sunrise Ford 150 victory on Saturday evening at Orange Show Speedway, his fifth NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victory of his career and first this season.
He also avenged his frustrating 2016 loss at this track, where he led 137 laps from the pole to see a sure win fall out of his hands due to a mishap with a lapped car down the stretch.
This time, he made sure he’d claim his checkered flag. Starting from the pole, the Rancho Cucamonga, California, native led the first 37 circuits before Derek Kraus was able to take the top spot away as the caution flag flew. Shortly thereafter, Partridge re-took the lead and never looked back, leading all the way to the finish.
“We let him lead for a couple laps,” Partridge said of his battle with Kraus. “(Then my) spotter came over the radio and said ‘I think it’s time to go,’ so we were able to wedge right by him and take the lead again. Probably the most nerve-racking moment of the race was when the No. 6 (Derek Thorn) got into the second position. He’s a veteran driver, he knows what he’s doing, and when he got up into the second position I knew it was time to go. Pedal down.”
“Thank god we didn’t have a restart after that when we really would’ve had to duke it out and take our gloves off. But man our Sunrise Ford Fusion was hooked up.”
Having finishes of fifth (Kern County), third (Tucson) and second (Tucson), it was only a matter of time before the 2016 series runners-up would find Victory Lane.
His Sunrise Ford teammate and championship points leader entering Orange Show, Thorn, was able to get by Kraus with 24 laps to go. The Lakeport, California native and 2013 series champion tried to put the pressure on Partridge, but couldn’t seal the deal.
“I was kind of writing ourselves off mid portion (of the race),” Thorn said following his runner-up result. “Car got really, really tight on the long run. I was behind the No. 16 (Kraus) and the No. 99 (Rouse), and hats off to them for racing me clean. I raced them a little rougher than I probably should’ve there trying to get up through the field.”
Orange Show marks Thorn’s third second-place result this season (Kern County and Tucson race No. 2). But despite the solid runs, he’s getting a bit impatient and frustrated with not breaking through.
“I’m not a big fan of being a bridesmaid this many times this year,” Thorn said. “Hopefully with this consistency comes some results, some wins. But from a team aspect, couldn’t ask for a better night.”
Cole Rouse tied his season-best finish of third when the checkered flag flew, but admitted he wanted more.
“I’m not mad about it, I’m not happy about it, I’m just kind of in between,” Rouse said. “I’m tired of third- and second-place finishes. I’m ready to get a win. I think we’ll have some shots later in this year, we just gotta get these cars turning a little better on these short tracks.”
Rouse’s Bill McAnally Racing teammates and newly minted NASCAR Next drivers Hailie Deegan (career-best finish) and Derek Kraus rounded out the top five.
Trevor Huddleston, Kody Vanderwal, Todd Souza, Nick Joanides and Matt Levin completed the top 10.
Partridge now leads Thorn by three points and Kraus by 10, while Rouse (-12) and Vanderwal (-17) round out the top five.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will take one week off before heading to Colorado National Speedway in Dacono, Colorado, for the NAPA/Toyota 150 on Saturday, June 9.
The Sunrise Ford 150 will air on NBCSN on Thursday, May 24 at 6 p.m. ET.
Of the four Euro NASCAR races held in Italy at the Autodromo di Franciacorta in the last two years, Alon Day (#54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) won all of them in dominant fashion, including Round 3 and Round 4 of the 2018 season. On Sunday the Israeli won the fourth consecutive race of the season and the 14 of his NASCAR career by a whopping 7 seconds despite a couple of cautions in the first part of the race.
FIRST PRACTICE | FINAL PRACTICE | QUALIFYING | SUPERP
“It was pretty hot in the car but it was fantastic,” said Day, who won five of the last six NWES races going back to 2017. “The CAAL Racing team did a amazing job. I am so thankful and grateful for that, but when I think about Brands Hatch it’s gonna be very difficult. It’s not going to be that easy. I will have to train even harder every day. The championship grew a lot the last years and the competition is so tough. If you want to win you have to keep digging.”
Behind Day, the battle was incredible, with four drivers crossing the finish line in less than one second. Lucas Lasserre (#33 Mavi Mishumotors Chevrolet SS) overtook Marc Goossens (#91 Braxx Racing Chevrolet Camaro) with a tremendous pass at turn 11 in the last lap, scoring his first podium finish since returning to NWES in 2017.
“First of all I want to say that Marc was my idol when he was driving in Le Mans. It’s so amazing to be able to battle with him here in NWES. He has a lot of experience but so do I, It was a great fight. I really enjoyed it because it was totally fair,” said the 2010 Champion. I want to thank my whole team and my family. I dedicate this second place to Mishumotor’s Team Owner Mirco Schultis, who is currently in Florida with his family. He watched the race on our live streaming today. We have the right pace, so I am looking forward to Brands Hatch. It’s very important to start up front and to finish races. This is going to be the approach, to finish the race and score as many points as possible.”
Loris Hezemans (#50 Hendriks Motorsport Ford Mustang), who won the Junior Trophy, and Frederic Gabillon (#3 Tepac RDV Compétition Toyota Camry) rounded out the top 5.
Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) overtook Thomas Ferrando (#37 Knauf Racing Ford Mustang) in the last lap to grab the sixth spot, while Christophe Bouchut (#66 Dexwet-DF1 Racing Chevrolet SS), Martin Doubek (#7 Belgium Driver Academy Ford Mustang) and Alex Ciompi (#56 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) rounded out the top 10.
Marconi Abreu (#47 MRT Nocentini Ford Mustang) grabbed the win in the Challenger Trophy by finishing eleventh. Dario Caso (#8 Racers Motorsport Ford Mustang) and Kenko Miura (#2 Alex Caffi Motorsport Toyota Camry) joined him on the Challenger Trophy podium.
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will head to Brands Hatch, UK in three weeks for the fifth and sixth rounds of the regular season with Alon Day leading the standing and the Israeli, who won the title of King Of Brands Hatch in 2017, will once again be the man to beat in the sixth edition of the American Speedfest.
NASCAR Euro Series PR
Eleven rookies on this year’s Hoosier Hundred entry list have the opportunity of a life time to learn from two legendary drivers who competed in the big cars long before many of the rookies were even born! If the return of 1991 & 1993 race winner Jeff Swindell wasn’t enough news, the return of 1982 Silver Crown champion Ken Schrader has only added to the buzz created by the continued upward swing of USAC’s top tier series.
Swindell continues to hold the 60-mile track record set here in May of 1987 when he drove from the back of the pack to capture a spectacular race win in the Hulman 100 and went on to turn heads that year setting a world record at Springfield and nearly winning at DuQuoin. His performance led to a full-time ride with Tim Delrose and Bob Galas in 1990, and in 1991 they captured the first of two Hoosier Hundred races.
Swindell was mostly absent from the series after the 1993 season but returned in 2006 to run at Springfield and DuQuoin for Galas. Jeff came back to Indianapolis in 2010 and 2011, and again in 2016. In 2016 he was marching toward the front when caught up in an accident on lap 84. Later that year he led 55 miles at DuQuoin and finished second and nearly won at DuQuoin last year showing that there is still gas left in the tank of the Tennessee native.
1982 Silver Crown champ Ken Schrader made his series debut at Terre Haute ironically driving for Tim Delrose and Bob Galas. The 1979 USAC Stock Car Rookie of the Year and the 1983 USAC Sprint Car champ would eventually go on to become a NASCAR Rookie of the Year and multi-time NASCAR Cup winner before scaling back to run dirt tracks and a part-time ARCA schedule. He toyed with the idea of getting back into one of the dirt champ cars back in 2016. The idea became a reality when Springfield, Illinois car owner Dennis McQuinn offered him the seat of the familiar orange 14 and Schrader willingly accepted running both Springfield and DuQuoin.
Kenny first appeared on the Indy mile in the May, 1982 Hulman 100 starting second and finishing third while leading 37 miles. He finished ninth in the 1982 Hoosier Hundred, then won the pole in 1983 and led the first nine laps before blowing an engine in front of the grandstand on lap 33. His best finish in the event came in 1984 when he started seventh and finished there, his last appearance in a dirt car on the fairgrounds mile. He has since, however, won in ARCA stock cars and UMP modifieds at the fairgrounds.
The Hoosier Hundred is the second of three events in USAC’s “Week of Indy” featuring the Hulman Classic at Terre Haute Wednesday May 23, the Hoosier Hundred at the fairgrounds May 24, and the Carb Day Classic at Raceway Park on May 25.
A great deal is available for those who don't want to miss a single lap of "The Week Of Indy". A Superticket is being sold for a savings of 25% off of the regular three day prices. For just $60, a savings of $20, a fan will receive general admission at Terre Haute and Lucas Oil Raceway as well as a reserved seat for the Hoosier Hundred. To purchase a Superticket, visit https://usacracing.ticketspice.com/2018-week-of-indy or call 217-764-3200.
Track Enterprises PR
Charlotte Motor Speedway is only one week from dropping the green flag on the May 27 Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR’s toughest test of man and machine. Before the high-octane racing action kicks off, here’s a look at some things fans can’t afford to miss when taking in the sensory overload that is the most patriotic race weekend of the year at America’s Home for Racing:
Eli Young Band Pre-Race Concert
Get ready for the Eli Young Band to turn up the excitement prior to the legendary Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, May 27. The platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated country music superstars will amp up the most patriotic Memorial Day weekend event in sports, with the Coca-Cola 600 Pre-Race Concert electrifying a spectacular salute to the troops at America’s Home for Racing.
The concert takes place just hours before the stars of NASCAR compete in racing’s only 600-mile event and the toughest test of man and machine. Additionally, the Eli Young Band concert is FREE with the purchase of any Coca-Cola 600 race ticket. Known worldwide for chart-topping hits including “Crazy Girl” and “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” the Texas-based group will perform a rocking concert in front of a roaring crowd of race fans ready to salute America’s freedom on one of the year’s most patriotic weekends.
Coca-Cola 600 Military Salute
Charlotte Motor Speedway will incorporate all five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces in an unprecedented, spectacular pre-race Salute to the Troops. This year’s edition of the Memorial Day weekend celebration will highlight the Department of Defense’s “This is Your Military” initiative by paying tribute to each of the military branches, featuring special guests and showcasing vehicles and awe-inspiring displays of military prowess from the U.S. Army, the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Coast Guard. Fans and drivers will also get to #KnowYourMil through interactions with service members.
On race day, fans will be treated to aerial thrills and ground-shaking firepower as F-15 fighter jets and Blackhawk helicopters with a rappel team join Howitzers and Humvees in touring the iconic 1.5-mile superspeedway before NASCAR’s biggest stars take the green flag.
Dirt Roads are Open for Business
Racing action isn’t limited to the 1.5-mile superspeedway. On May 25 – the Friday before the Coca-Cola 600 – The Dirt Track at Charlotte hosts the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Cars in a dirt-flying slugfest of high-speed winged sprint cars. NASCAR luminaries including Tony Stewart, Kyle Larson and Kasey Kahne own Outlaw sprint car teams that will compete in the one-night-only event. Who knows? Maybe one of the stock car stars might throw on a helmet and driver’s uniform and take part in the race.
Join the Ultimate Race Day Pit Party
Want to get even closer to the action? Purchase a Coca-Cola 600 track pass and join in at the Pit Party. The Race Day Pit Party lets fans rub elbows with the stars of the sport before they engage in wheel-to-wheel action on Charlotte’s iconic 1.5-mile superspeedway. Before the Coca-Cola 600 rolls into high gear, fans will have the opportunity to take part in Q&A sessions with NASCAR personalities. For an added bonus, visit the Trackside Live stage for more driver appearances as well as live music.
Say ‘Cheers’ with Speedway Beers
Following last year’s historic rollout of 600 Ale, Charlotte Motor Speedway’s first craft beer, the speedway and Cabarrus Brewing Company turned things up a notch with the unveiling of Redneck Hill – a spectacular, smooth, American Ale. The new craft beer is named for Redneck Hill, the raised spot in the speedway’s infield between turns 1 and 2 which in the 1960s became race fans’ prime spot for watching the race, partying and grilling.
Country music legends Willie Nelson and Marty Robbins visited Redneck Hill, as did Pixar executives while they researched the movie that became “Cars.” Redneck Hill’s history as an iconic part of Charlotte Motor Speedway lore enters a new chapter with the craft beer, which will be on sale for just $8 per 16-ounce souvenir can at all major speedway events.
Grab a Souvenir Race Program
Souvenir programs remain one of the longest traditions – and most collectible items – fans can find during the 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder. Sam Bass, NASCAR’s first officially licensed artist, designed his 87th event program cover design for the speedway with this year’s Coca-Cola 600 program. The Coca-Cola 600 cover focuses on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s remarkable pre-race Salute to the Troops, the most patriotic display of military excellence on Memorial Day weekend. In addition to the armed forces’ pageantry, each member of the Coca-Cola Racing Family is prominently displayed: Kyle Larson, Bubba Wallace, Ryan Newman, Daniel Suarez, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and defending Coca-Cola 600 winner Austin Dillon.
Witness NASCAR’s Future Stars
The May 26 Alsco 300 puts the rising stars of the NASCAR Xfinity Series front-and-center at Charlotte. The historic event – one of the Xfinity Series’ crown jewels – features a mix of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veterans mixing it up with future champions like Christopher Bell, the driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Bell and up-and-comers like Tyler Reddick and Daniel Hemric will duel in the sun for a shot at glory.
ARCA is Back
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards will make a triumphant return to Charlotte on May 24, during Spectrum Pole Night. The first ARCA race at Charlotte since 2004 will bring stock car racing’s future standouts to a world-class stage during the 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder following qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600. The 150-mile race will provide drivers with a special opportunity to showcase their skills in front of the racing world’s most prominent teams.
Stroll Down Speed Street
600 Festival’s Circle K Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola runs May 24-26 in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, with attractions including rocking concerts, vendor displays and driver appearances from NASCAR stars. Speed Street takes place from 12-8 p.m. every day on Tryon Street with concerts beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Romare Bearden Park. Visit www.600festival.com for ticket information.
16,000 Square Feet of Awesome
Charlotte Motor Speedway has a multitude of ways to entertain fans throughout the 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder, including the giant Speedway TV, a monstrous 16,000-square-foot high-definition TV situated along the backstretch. Speedway TV has revolutionized the at-track experience by providing live leaderboard updates, replays, live in-car cameras and other interactive content for fans throughout the facility. With cameras roaming the pits and the grandstands, fans might even see themselves on the 200-foot-by-80-foot behemoth. And after the checkered flag falls on May 27, don’t forget to grab your tickets for the Sept. 28-30 Bank of America 500 on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s innovative ROVAL™ road course oval.
Tickets, camping and upgrades for every 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder event are available at the gates, by visiting charlottemotorspeedway.com/
Fans can connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway by following on Twitter and Instagram or becoming a Facebook fan. Keep up with all the latest news and information with the Charlotte Motor Speedway mobile app.