Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Marcus Lemonis, best known for his long running hit show CNBC's "The Profit," wants to challenge Americans to give back to their local restaurants and help those who are food insecure during this holiday season and the continued COVID-19 pandemic. Lemonis is kickstarting the "Plating Change" program through The Lemon-Aid Foundation with a $1M donation and a newly formed partnership with Grubhub.

The "Plating Change" program will work with Grubhub to give back to World Central Kitchen, supporting its Restaurants for the People program, not only helping independent restaurants by purchasing meals and driving direct revenue, but also employees of the business itself and the entire food ecosystem - all while also providing meals for communities in need. A $500,000 donation through Lemonis' The Lemon-Aid Foundation will jumpstart the program and help World Central Kitchen and Grubhub take immediate action in New York City, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, and Philadelphia, bringing food to those who need it most. Over the next couple months, Marcus will donate the remaining $500K to additional charitable organizations that fight food insecurity as well as local restaurants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"When you work tirelessly to try and do good and create bridges, you find that there are always people along the way who want to help in your mission," said Marcus Lemonis.  "My friends at MLB, NASCAR and NHRA are seeing the tremendous impact that we're making in the community for both small business restaurant owners and those in need of food aid and want to help make a larger impact in their lives. I'm grateful for their support." 

MLB, NASCAR and NHRA have each dedicated to being an extension of the "Plating Change" program through their donations and commitment in raising awareness. Their contributions to World Central Kitchen will help the fight to keep small business restaurant owners in business and Americans in need fed. 

As part of the "Plating Change" program, Grubhub is giving consumers the opportunity to get involved and give back. Now through December 31, consumers can take part while ordering in by opting-in to Grubhub's Donate the Change, rounding up their order total and donating the difference to World Central Kitchen. Grubhub will also be donating an additional $100K to World Central Kitchen through their Sound Bites concert series and for members of the Grubhub+ membership program, Grubhub will also match all eligible Donate the Change donations. Additionally, by going to wck.org/platingchange, people across the country can donate to World Central Kitchen in support of the program, whether it's a single meal (value of $10) or more. 

The "Plating Change" program falls under the newly launched The Lemon-Aid Foundation where Marcus pledged $50M to champion his charitable mission of supporting and investing in underserved communities and small businesses.  These investments will be in the form of loans and equity investments and will be designed to have measurable charitable impact on the communities and businesses being served by the foundation. The foundation also intends to make grants to other charitable organizations that share the same mission and goals. Lemonis intends to apply the same type of rigor that he applies in his own investments to the impact investing of the foundation.

Marcus Lemonis PR

The yuletide season tradition that is Gift of Lights at Texas Motor Speedway celebrates its 10th year with the annual Thanksgiving opening night kicking off 39 days of one of the Lone Star State’s largest holiday light shows.
Beginning Thursday, November 26 through Sunday, January 3, families will enjoy two miles of light displays throughout the speedway. The display is open every day during that time period, including Christmas Eve and Christmas day, from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.
Drive-through guests will be captivated by the more than two million lights spread across the circuit, the result of more than 1,100 man-hours of setup by holiday display giant Winterland, Inc., the company responsible for similar light shows at the speedways in Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Charlotte, New Hampshire, and Phoenix. The in-vehicle event has always been socially distanced so guests’ safety will be seamless.
“This has definitely been a year where our spirits have needed lifting so there’s no better way to close out 2020 than celebrating all we have to be thankful for and creating wonderful memories through the Gift of Lights,” said Texas Motor Speedway President and General Manager Eddie Gossage. “We’re proud to host Gift of Lights for a 10th year and to have created a holiday season tradition for the entire region.”
A number of special discount days are scheduled including:
  • November 30: Crazy Car Day – Decorate your vehicle to receive $10 off at the gate.
  • December 1: Crazy PJs Day – Wear your pajamas to receive a $10 discount at the gate.
  • December 2: Military, First Responder and Health Care Worker Night – Free admission for anyone with a valid ID
  • December 7: Bring Your Pet Day - $10 discount at the gate to those who bring their pet
  • December 8: Crazy Christmas Sweater Day - $10 discount at the gate for those who wear a crazy Christmas sweater
Tickets to 'Gift of Lights' are available online (giftoflightstexas.com) for $30 (cars/trucks), $50 (RVs/truck trailers), and $60 (bus of 20 people). Passengers must remain in their vehicles due to COVID-19. Motorcycles and passengers in truck beds and trailers are prohibited.
A $1 donation from each ticket sold will benefit Speedway Children’s Charities – Texas Chapter.
Texas Motor Speedway expects to see record numbers of vehicles at this year's show so the best routes to enter the 'Gift of Lights' without traffic issues are detailed on the map below.

Ryan Newman’s post-Daytona 500 crash has been well documented, and his story is once again featured in national headlines as he is featured in NASCAR 2020: Under Pressure, a multi-part documentary that tells the story of the 2020 NASCAR season.

Newman’s episode, Now or Never, debuted on Nov. 14, exclusively on the MotorTrend app. The episode picks up after a whirlwind summer when NASCAR returned to ‘The World Center of Racing’ for its final race in the regular season. As part of the episode, Newman returns to the site of his horrific crash in which he was mere feet away from his second Daytona 500 trophy, and picks up Newman’s life and outlook in the weeks and months following.

Produced for the MotorTrend Group by NASCAR Productions, NASCAR 2020: Under Pressure has something for everyone, from huge NASCAR fans who will appreciate the behind-the-scenes access, to documentary buffs who should find the mix of action and stress of navigating the unparalleled nature of this season highly entertaining.

As documented in the show, Newman went on to make a miraculous return, walking out of a Florida hospital just two days following the crash. When COVID-19 halted NASCAR – and much of the world’s schedule – the time off was a silver lining for Newman, as he was able to return to the track in May as part of the sport’s return, having missed just the three West Coast races immediately following the incident.

Plans for NASCAR 2020: Under Pressure to air on broadcast television will be announced at a later date. Additional episodes will continue to air until Dec. 12. With your free trial to the MotorTrend App you will also get access to over 3,600 hours of automotive entertainment, including shows from MotorTrend, Discovery Channel, live events and more. Start watching Under Pressure today.


After competing in a partial schedule during the 2020 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season (NCWTS), Ryan Truex will pilot the No. 40 Marquis Spas Chevrolet Silverado for Niece Motorsports for the full 2021 schedule.

“Last season was really a learning year for me with this team,” said Truex.  “I feel like we learned a ton every week.  We adjusted to working with no track time prior to racing, and I feel like we made our equipment better throughout the course of the year.  I am excited about the continuity we will be able to build, competing week in and week out.  I’m thankful to Marquis Spas for their support this season and as we move into next season.”

The Mayetta, N.J. native competed in nine races with Niece Motorsports throughout the 2020 season, with his best finish of 12th coming at both Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway.

Truex, who ran full time in the NCWTS in 2017, has two poles, 10 top-five finishes and 19 top-10 finishes in 51 starts in the series.  In addition to his experience behind the wheel in the Truck Series, Truex has 78 starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and 26 starts in the NASCAR Cup Series to his credit.

“We’re excited to bring Ryan full time next season,” said General Manager Cody Efaw.  “As a team, we are really excited about how our program is shaping up for next season.  We are working hard collectively to make our equipment the best it can be.  We are thankful for the support of great partners like Marquis and Chevrolet.  We look forward to contending for wins next year with Ryan.”

Marquis, an employee-owned company founded in 1980, offers creative and innovative designs that provide the ultimate soaking experience, cost less to operate, and require the least amount of maintenance.  Marquis spas are designed with cutting-edge features for supreme comfort and long-lasting enjoyment.  Marquis is proud to craft a spa designed to enhance health and well-being.

Last week NASCAR announced the 2021 NCWTS schedule, with highlights including the addition of Circuit of the Americas, Nashville Superspeedway, Knoxville Raceway and Watkins Glen International.

The 2021 NCWTS season will kick off at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, February 12.

Niece Motorsports PR

Texas Motor Speedway kicks off its 2021 ticket sales with incredible Black Friday deals for both the NASCAR All-Star Race in June and NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader in May to celebrate the Great American Speedway’s 25th season.
NASCAR’s best will put everything on the line June 13, 2021 at No Limits, Texas, for the opportunity to earn the $1 million prize and pull into SpeedyCash.com Victory Lane as the winner of the NASCAR All-Star Race. Race fans can be a part of it all for just $25 for grandstand tickets or 25% off all other price levels.
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will host its first scheduled weekend doubleheader at Texas Motor Speedway with the Texas Indy 300 on Sat., May 1 and Genesys 300 on May 2. For $25 race fans can purchase a weekend's worth of tickets, one each to Saturday's and Sunday's races. Tickets for all other price levels are reduced by 25%.
Texas Motor Speedway's 25th season Black Friday special offer begins Friday, Nov. 27, at 12:00 a.m. CT and ends Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. CT. Both offers are good while supplies last. Purchases can only be made at www.TexasMotorSpeedway.com (no Ticket Office calls or texts).
Black Friday ticket pricing remains for Cyber Week, Nov. 30-Dec.4, with additional savings for campers:
• $25 off NASCAR All-Star Weekend camping in the Lone Star Circle Campground and VIP Campground and 25% off ticket packages
• $25 off INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader weekend camping in the Lone Star Circle Campground and VIP Campground
Black Friday and Cyber Week discount offers may not be combined with any other offer and are available while supplies last. No refunds or exchanges are allowed.
Tickets for these events for kids 12 & under are still just $10.
Keep track of all of Texas Motor Speedway’s events by following on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Keep up with all the latest news and information on the speedway website and TMS mobile app.

20 years after he clinched a NASCAR Cup Series Championship, Bobby Labonte took a virtual look back at his storied career with some of his biggest fans and members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. At the same time, he previewed what 2021 will look like when he gets back on the track.

The Hall of Fame invited members to join Labonte and Executive Director Winston Kelley for a video chat, which started with a video montage of Labonte’s career and historic wins. It was a fitting end to an unusual NASCAR season, which endured delays, empty grandstands and unprecedented safety measures, and Labonte talked about how he’s looking forward to racing again next year.

“I’m excited about 2021. I’m going to drive some races for Ray Evernham and Tony Stewart for the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX); there are some great names in it and some preliminary tracks have been announced. Hopefully, I’ll also get to race again in the modified division at Bowman Gray Stadium, and we’re looking to get everything in order to get back to Goodwood, too.”

As Kelley guided fans through a look back at Labonte’s career over the last several decades, they discussed what racing meant to the Labonte family, and Bobby Labonte’s induction into the Hall of Fame earlier this year.

“The whole weekend of the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Charlotte was awesome,” said Labonte. “Reliving all the things you did to get there. I think about all of those races, not knowing at the time that what I was doing would lead me into the Hall of Fame.”

Labonte is the first driver to have won both the NASCAR Cup championship and the Busch Series championship in both series’ current, touring form. He also won the IROC title in 2001.

Labonte won four races in 2000, the year he took the Cup championship: the early-season race at Rockingham, the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis, the Southern 500 at Darlington and the fall race at Charlotte. He led the point standings for 25 weeks straight after taking over at California, and never relinquished it on the way to winning the Winston Cup championship - finishing ahead of Dale Earnhardt by 265 points and completing all but nine of the 10,167 laps that season with 4 wins, 19 top five finishes, 24 top ten finishes and 3 poles.

“It was a huge deal for us to be able to win that year. I probably didn’t appreciate it in the moment as I should have because I was always looking forward to what’s next and thinking about the next race,” said Labonte. “But now, thinking about how incredible it is that my brother Terry and I both ended up in the Hall of Fame is just so special.”

Bobby Labonte PR

Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced today that John Hunter Nemechek will compete for the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship behind the wheel of the organization’s No. 4 Tundra.

Nemechek is a six-time winner in Truck Series action, winning at least one race each season from 2015 to 2018 for his family-owned team, NEMCO Motorsports. Also, while driving his family-owned team, the North Carolina native qualified for the Camping World Truck Series playoffs in each of his two full-time seasons, finishing eighth in the championship standings in both 2016 and 2017. He was voted the series most popular driver in 2015.

The 23-year-old driver produced three top-10 finishes and an average result of 22.4 while competing for rookie of the year honors in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2020. He recorded a career-best eighth-place finish twice, both coming at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, earned the Sunoco Rookie of the Race award four times and finished 23rd in the championship standings.

“Kyle and Samantha with the support of Toyota have built an organization that has won races and championships on a consistent basis and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to carry on the winning tradition by getting back to victory lane in the Camping World Truck Series next year,” Nemechek said. “I can’t thank the partners that have supported my career through the years enough for their continued support and I’m looking forward to building relationships with new partners this year. Bring on 2021 -- Let’s Go Places!” “I began my XFINITY Series career with NEMCO and I’ve had a long-running relationship with Joe and the Nemechek family, so it’s cool to see things come full circle with being able to sign John Hunter to race at KBM,” Busch said. “John Hunter is a proven winner in the Camping World Truck Series, as well as the Xfinity Series, and someone who we are confident will be able to put the No. 4 Tundra up front on a consistent basis and compete for victories each and every race. Despite only being 23 years old, he has a lot of experience across all three series and with next year’s Truck Series schedule including a lot of events where it’s just show up and race, having an experienced driver in one of our full-time Tundras is going to be beneficial to our whole organization.”

In addition to his six Camping World Truck Series wins, Nemechek has one NASCAR XFINITY Series win, which came at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City in October of 2018. In 2019 he qualified for the playoffs and finished seventh in the championship standings in his lone full-time season after positing six top-five and 19 top-10 finishes.

Nemechek won two marquee Super Late Model events in 2014, the Snowball Derby at 5 Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., and the All-American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn. He also won the Snowflake 100 at 5 Flags Speedway in 2015.

Announcements on sponsors and who will serve as Nemechek’s crew chief are forthcoming.


The first two ARCA Menards Series West dates have officially been added to the 2021 schedule.

Races at Sonoma Raceway and The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway have been confirmed, with the Sonoma date set for Saturday, June 5 and the race at The Bullring slated for Thursday, September 23. Both races will be held in conjunction with NASCAR Cup Series races.

Noah Gragson won the last time the ARCA Menards West raced at Sonoma Raceway in 2019. The 2020 race was moved to The Bullring at LVMS due to the pandemic. Gracie Trotter became the second female to win a West race, and the first female to win in the ARCA Menards Series platform, with her victory in that race last September.

The races at Sonoma and The Bullring are the first of what is expected to be an eight-race schedule for the West Series. It will be the second season the series, which dates back to 1954, will be a part of the ARCA Menards Series platform.

Ticket information for both races can be found at SonomaRaceway.com and LVMS.com. For news updates on the ARCA Menards Series, log on to ARCARacing.com.

ARCA Racing PR

NTT DATA Services, a global digital business and IT services leader, announced a multi-year extension of its partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing that will expand to ranging sponsorship levels across the NTT INDYCAR Series entries of Scott Dixon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Kanaan and Alex Palou beginning in 2021.

Building on its longstanding partnership with one of INDYCAR’s iconic organizations, NTT DATA will have a range of engagements that incorporate: two of the most heralded drivers in all of motorsports, a fan favorite who has won a series championship and Indianapolis 500, and an upcoming talent in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

NTT DATA returns as the primary sponsor on the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda at multiple events for the 17-race season in 2021. Alex Palou, a 23-year-old Spaniard who replaces Felix Rosenqvist in this entry, will run the NTT DATA livery for the season opener at St. Petersburg, Fla. (March 7), Texas Motor Speedway (Race 1 on May 1), 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 (May 30), and the season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. (Sept. 19), along with several other races over the course of the season.

Palou finished runner-up for rookie-of-the-year honors this past season driving for Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh. His season was highlighted by three-top 10 finishes, including a podium at Road America in June, and qualifying seventh for the Indianapolis 500. Next season with Palou on board will mark the eighth consecutive year that NTT DATA has served as the primary sponsor of the No. 10.

NTT DATA also returns as the season-long associate sponsor on the No. 9 car of six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon. He posted four wins en route to this season’s championship, leaving him one shy of the all-time record of seven series titles held by A.J. Foyt. The four victories pushed Dixon’s career total to 50, which trails only Foyt (67) and Mario Andretti (52) and includes the Indy 500 in 2008. NTT DATA has been an associate sponsor on Dixon’s car since 2017.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s new, highly anticipated No. 48 entry signals the arrival of seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson to North America’s premier open-wheel series and the return of the 2013 Indy 500 winner and ’04 series champ Tony Kanaan to the organization. Johnson, who amassed 83 wins in his 20-year NASCAR Cup career, is scheduled to compete in only road and street course events for the upcoming NTT INDYCAR SERIES season while Kanaan will handle the No. 48 driving duties for the four oval events.

NTT DATA will be the primary sponsor for Johnson when he competes in the Honda Indy Toronto street circuit race on July 11. The event will mark the only race outside of the United States on the 2021 schedule and will be held in Canada’s largest city.

Kanaan, who spent the past three seasons with A.J. Foyt Racing, is quite familiar with NTT DATA Racing fans, having the company as the primary on his No. 10 Ganassi entry from 2015-17. He will have NTT DATA as a primary for the Aug. 21 race at St. Louis’ World Wide Technology Raceway and as an associate sponsor for the other three oval events, including the Indianapolis 500.

In addition to the association on three of the organization’s four entries, NTT DATA returns as the Official IT Services Partner to Chip Ganassi Racing’s INDYCAR program.

“This has been a tremendous partnership from a sponsorship perspective and from a technological standpoint over the years,” NTT DATA Services Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer David Croxville said. “Building and cultivating relationships with our clients is the foundation of our business. The partnership with a championship-winning organization that features unparalleled access to an incredibly talented group of drivers allows us to create unforgettable experiences with and for our clients and partners.”

The renewal extends a partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing that began in 2013 when NTT DATA sponsored the No. 8 entry of Ryan Briscoe in the Indianapolis 500. Headquartered in Plano, Texas, NTT DATA continued to expand that partnership with an INDYCAR organization that has amassed 13 series championships and 113 victories, including four prestigious Indy 500 crowns, in its 30-year history.

“NTT DATA has been and will continue to be a big part of who our company is, and what we represent as an organization,” team owner Chip Ganassi said. “Their involvement with our racing programs, from both a technology and business standpoint, has enabled us to deliver results on the track with multiple championships and race wins over the past eight years. Key relationships like this give us the ability to continue to push forward and achieve our goals.”

NTT DATA’s involvement in the sport also includes the return of its parent company, NTT, as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES entitlement partner for a third season in 2021.  For more information on NTT DATA Racing, please visit www.us.nttdata.com/en/about-us/content/ntt-data-racing.


Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) announced today an agreement with Indianapolis 500 Winner, NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion and 17-time race winner Tony Kanaan to a multi-year deal to pilot the No. 48 Honda entry for the four ovals on the calendar, complementing the 13 road and street course events being contested by seven-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson.


Kanaan will re-join CGR (2014-2017) alongside Johnson, former teammate, six-time and reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion and Indianapolis 500 Winner Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson and CGR newcomer Alex Palou.


Longtime CGR and Kanaan partner NTT DATA along with Bryant, also a longtime sponsor of Kanaan and former sponsor of CGR, return to CGR, and will both have primary paint schemes as well as associate-level relationships on the No. 48 Honda and other CGR entries that will soon be announced.




  • NTT DATA, TK and CGR: NTT DATA began its relationship with CGR in 2013 at the Indianapolis 500 partnering on the No. 8 NTT DATA entry. Kanaan first competed with CGR in 2013 in an NTT DATA-backed Daytona Prototype fielded in the Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he drove to a second-place finish. NTT DATA maintained an associate partnership with CGR on the No. 83 Indy car, became a primary partner on the No. 8 entry for the 2014 season, and then on the No. 10 entry, driven by Kanaan, in 2015 and has been on that car ever since. NTT DATA is also the official IT services partner to CGR.


  • About Bryant: Bryant has a rich tradition in auto racing and is the longest-standing non-automotive sponsor at the Indianapolis 500. Legends like Eddie Sachs, Roger Ward, Cale Yarborough, Scott Brayton, Chip Ganassi, Stan Fox and Janet Guthrie have all driven under the Bryant Racing banner, earning a total of 16 previous race victories on other tracks. The 2021 season will mark the 14th of 15 NTT INDYCAR SERIES seasons during which Bryant has worked with Kanaan.


  • By the Numbers: In 23 seasons of Indy car racing, Brazilian Tony Kanaan has 383 starts, 17 wins, 15 poles, 78 podiums and over 4,000 laps led. He began his career in 1998 and was the 2004 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 Winner. He remains the all-time leader in consecutive starts with 318 consecutive Indy car starts, having started every race since Portland in 2001 through the first race of the 2020 season in Texas. Kanaan has been a fan favorite for decades in the series and always maintains one of the largest followings on social media in the series.




David Croxville, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, NTT DATA Services: “We are thrilled to welcome back Tony to Chip Ganassi Racing and for NTT DATA to have the opportunity to reunite with him. Tony has been an outstanding ambassador for NTT DATA over the years and remains an integral part of our company’s legacy in the sport, including driving the NTT DATA car at Ganassi from 2015-17. All NTT DATA Racing fans will look forward to having one of the sport’s most popular drivers represent us again.”


Justin Keppy, President, North America Residential & Light Commercial, Bryant: “We’re excited to extend our relationship with Tony for the 2021 season. Bryant has been a long-time supporter of Tony, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and the Indianapolis 500 and we’re pleased that it will continue. Tony embodies all of the qualities that the Bryant brand stands for, including our mantra of always doing Whatever it Takes® in order to get the job done. Our racing sponsorship is something that our distributors and dealers really enjoy and we’re looking forward to sharing it with them next year.”


Tony Kannan, Driver, No. 48 Honda: “It’s hard to express in words how excited I am about this announcement. When Chip and I first started to talk about the opportunity to drive the ovals and share the No. 48 with Jimmie Johnson I couldn’t imagine that we would reach an agreement this fast. Chip Ganassi Racing is at the pinnacle of motorsports in North America and being able to be part of the program once again with such great drivers in their lineup is a dream come true. I've also been very fortunate to enjoy great relationships with my sponsors throughout my career and having companies like Bryant and NTT DATA supporting me once again is a testament to that. Both Bryant and NTT DATA have been with me through different teams, wins and even life events. Being able to continue to represent these companies is truly an honor.”


Chip Ganassi, Team Owner, Chip Ganassi Racing: “As the Indy car driver market trends younger and younger, experience is something that cannot be taught – especially at the Indianapolis 500. There is no one more experienced in the paddock than Tony, and when we needed the right fit for rounding out our oval program, it was clear he was the right choice. We are very familiar with NTT DATA and Bryant over the years and are excited to have both companies back with this program. Tony also knows our team, he knows our system and he knows our drivers. We expect the combination of him and Jimmie to give us the one-two punch we’re looking for in the No. 48.”


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