Speedway Digest Staff
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway played host to Indiana’s first COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic today, with thousands of Hoosiers coming through famed Gate 2 and receiving a vital shot of hope and comfort.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and IMS President J. Douglas Boles both received their vaccines in the early morning. Joining them were Congressman Andre Carson and his father, along with Indiana General Assembly members Roderick Bray, Greg Taylor and Robin Shackleford.
The clinic opened this morning and has been extended through Monday evening, with almost 17,000 Hoosiers pre-registered to receive the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. All participants are receiving drive-through vaccinations in IMS garages and will exit the facility traveling alongside the same world-famous racetrack that plays host to the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
“This is a momentous and exciting day for the Hoosier State that IMS is proud to be a part of,” Boles said. “We know getting a vaccination at racing’s greatest cathedral was extra special to so many people who have family history and life-long memories here. I encourage all Hoosiers to receive their vaccine as they become eligible so that Indiana can continue getting back on track.”
Among the many individuals receiving their shots at IMS today were INDYCAR President Jay Frye and NTT INDYCAR SERIES team owner and former Indy 500 driver Michael Andretti.
Holcomb, ever the race fan, described his vaccination as an easy “2.4-second pit stop.”
“Do it. Just do it,” he encouraged Hoosiers. “This is going to help us beat COVID-19.”
Hoosiers 50 and older are eligible for vaccination in the state of Indiana. To learn more, go to: www.ourshot.in.gov.
DIRTcar Pro Stock dynamo Luke Horning maintained the focus of a heavy-weight title fighter throughout the turbulent 2020. He captured his first Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship in addition to the prestigious Albany-Saratoga Speedway track championship, and aims to carry the momentum of that success into the 2021 season.
Horning, from Gloversville, NY, racked up a total of eight DIRTcar Pro Stock wins at three tracks: Glen Ridge Motorsports Park, Utica-Rome, and Albany-Saratoga Speedway. Not only did he park the #2H in Victory Lane across New York throughout the season but was also enviably consistent, accumulating 26 top-fives in 32 starts.
He’s proud of the foundation of success that he and his team have built and they are coming in prepared to defend their Albany-Saratoga track championship.
“All those tracks are great to win at,” Horning noted of his 2020 season stats. “Winning at Malta is great because that place is standing room only every week and to get a win there you are beating the best of the best. Lyle [Devore] does a great job there. The facility is top-notch and the track is great. Even if it rains all day they’ll get the race in. A lot of tracks have six-seven drivers that can win. Malta has 15 that are really good and 10 that can go out and win anywhere they go. Getting through traffic is tough but the racing up front is great. They put in that inside jersey barrier in so you can’t dive bomb into the mud anymore and it creates great racing.”
With Glen Ridge Motorsports Park coming into the DIRTcar fold, they have made Fultonville, NY a Pro Stock hub on Sundays with their widened, banked quarter-mile oval. Horning is looking to build a legacy at Glen Ridge.
“Glen Ridge is a tight bullring where you are up on the wheel so to get a win there is a big deal too,” he noted. “I’ll never leave Glen Ridge. Ray from West End and those guys have supported me since the street stock days. We’re now the all-time winners there in the Pro Stocks. You go to Fonda and you hear about Kenny Gates and you go to Malta and you hear about Joe Santoro. That’s something that in a couple of years people will hear about me and Glen Ridge. A lot of these tracks have already been racing for so many years, but I started on the ground floor at Glen Ridge to build my resume.”
Despite all of the success, there was one race Horning wanted back and that was the widely watched OktoberFAST presented by DIRTVision finale at Weedsport Speedway. He started the Feature deep in the field and came a lap away from the signature victory.
“That deal at Weedsport was tough,” Horning said. “I set the fast time in the Time Trials, won the Heat Race, and then started in the back after a bad draw. I really wanted to catch [Nick] Stone on the last lap. That one still bothers me a little bit. You are trying to get through traffic, the track is slick, but you’re running out of the laps. When that race stretched out on green flag laps the leader is gone, you get through traffic.”
Race fans can catch the #2H once again at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Glen Ridge Motorsports Park, and on the DIRTcar Pro Stock Series tour in 2021.
DIRTcar Series PR
Silverton Casino Hotel has renewed its support of Josh Williams and will serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 92 Chevrolet Camaro during Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Silverton Casino Hotel offers 300 deluxe rooms and suites and world-class amenities, all located within an upscale resort. Located at I-15 and Blue Diamond in Las Vegas, this is the company’s third season partnering with Williams in NASCAR’s second-highest division.
“Silverton is pleased to renew our partnership with Josh Williams and be part of another thrilling NASCAR weekend,” said Rob Kunkle, President of Silverton Casino Hotel. “Given the recent state of the economy, we are beyond excited for this electrifying event and to have the ability to offer our continued support.”
During Silverton’s ride with Williams last March in Las Vegas, the Port Charlotte, Fla., driver scored what was then his best finish on a downforce-style race track in Xfinity Series action – a 13th-place run.
Williams considers Las Vegas one of his better venues and hopes to be able to drop that mark into the single digits this year with his first top-10 finish of the season.
“We’ve made a ton of strides as a team over the last year, and we’re racing against some of the best competition in the Xfinity Series now on a regular basis,” Williams said. “We’ve put in a lot of work to make our package better, and I think that showed at the end of last year when we broke into the top 10 a few times. That’s where our goals are now, and we strive to be there every week.
“Las Vegas is a fun track to race at and we kept ourselves in the mix all day last year; that’s what you have to do at this level,” Williams added. “We’ve had some good speed already this year and we expect that to continue. We’re in a good place and just want to keep building momentum here early on.”
Williams sits inside the top 20 in driver points through three of 33 races this season, hoping to build on a career-best year from 2020 as he challenges for a maiden Xfinity Series playoff berth.
With the support of Silverton Casino Hotel, Williams hopes to take a major step toward that goal this weekend.
“We’re excited to have Silverton Casino Hotel back onboard with us and we’re glad to support the city as they rebound from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Williams said. “It’s a big weekend, with NASCAR being in Las Vegas, and we hope to give them a strong result on Saturday.”
Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 300 airs at 4:30 p.m. ET, live on FS1, the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
Josh Williams PR
Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County and Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) have entered into a letter of intent to renovate historic Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway (NFS) for the potential return of NASCAR events at the legendary racetrack.
The Speedway is the second-oldest operating motor speedway in the United States, dating back to 1904. It has a storied connection with racing, including being a showcase for legendary drivers such as Dale Earnhardt, members of the Petty family and our own Darrell Waltrip.
Subject to approval by the Board of Fair Commissioners and Metropolitan Council, Bristol Motor Speedway would have a long-term contract to lease, manage, and operate Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, as well as assume financial responsibility for track renovations and ongoing maintenance.
“The goal of the partnership is to bring our historic racetrack back to life as a valuable and exciting part of the Fairgrounds,” said Mayor John Cooper. “We have an obligation to maintain the track, so it is smart for Nashville to engage a strong, long-term partner from the auto racing industry to operate it successfully. The business terms in this LOI protect Nashville, with multiple revenue streams to make this a financial success. We can put this landmark back on the national stage. I look forward to working with the Fair Board and the Metro Council in the months ahead.”
Mayor Cooper’s intention is to bring back high-level racing at no cost to taxpayers, and even generate excess revenue from what is currently a money-losing operation. The renovation of the Speedway will be supported by multiple revenue streams including user fees and taxes paid by patrons of the venue, lease payments, a potential naming rights deal. In addition to NASCAR, Metro anticipates revenues from non-racing events, such as concerts and other entertainment events, including events sponsored by the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation. This letter of intent follows a planning process for the site that includes greenway access, ADA compliance, connectivity to Fairgrounds facilities and integration with the soccer stadium.
Bristol Motor Speedway is a wholly owned subsidiary of Speedway Motorsports, which owns and operates eight state-of-the-art sports entertainment venues nationwide.
Key terms of the letter of intent, signed late Thursday by Mayor Cooper and Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith, include:
- Metro would issue no more than $50 million in bonds for racetrack renovations, as is already specified in the Capital Improvements Budget. Debt service and project-related expenses would be fully covered by revenues generated from racing and non-racing event activities held at the track, including lease payments, and taxes and fees generated by track event patrons.
- Under a lease and management agreement, BMS would pay Metro an annual lease payment for track management and operations and share a percentage of revenues from events. Additionally, for four weeks a year, BMS would lease all Fairgrounds property (except for the MLS stadium and commercial developments) for $1 million annually to host major racing events.
- BMS, which possesses decades of major auto racing design, construction, and operations experience, would serve as development manager for track and facility renovations. Improvements would include safety upgrades, spectator amenities, and new ancillary facilities for both racing and non-racing experiences.
- Noise mitigation would be an integral part of the redesign and track improvements.
- BMS is committed to an extensive community engagement process with neighborhood residents and Nashville organizations.
- The new operating model for the speedway will provide the neighborhoods around the track with schedule certainty so residents know in advance when racing and practice will occur.
- BMS will renovate the racetrack to meet NASCAR safety and design standards necessary to host national series events and modernize NFS as a multi-function facility for non-racing special events to generate tourism-related revenue that is healthy for Nashville.
“We can work together to transform Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway into an amazing multipurpose entertainment destination,” said Smith. “We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and go to work to fully restore the speedway, recruit national events and breathe new life into a venue that has a legendary status in auto racing history.”
Partnering with Bristol Motor Speedway is an opportunity to preserve and reinvigorate one of Nashville’s unique entertainment assets. “The Historic Fairgrounds Speedway deserves an opportunity to rekindle its great reputation. The relationship with BMS racing is an incredible opportunity to restore this track and bring top tier racing back home,” added Butch Spyridon, President and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation.
If the partnership is approved, Speedway Motorsports would expand its nationally acclaimed Speedway Children’s Charities to include Nashville. The organization’s mission is to solve challenges affecting young people, including health, learning, homelessness, and other issues, by supporting local charitable partners. Since 1982, Speedway Children’s Charities has donated more than $60 million to nonprofit partners nationwide.
Joey Gase & Nevada Donor Network to Honor Local Donor Heroes and Their Families In Pennzoil 400 Cup Series Race
This weekend, for the Pennzoil 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, one car holds very special meaning. The images and/or names of 19 local organ donor heroes will adorn Joey Gase’s Nevada Donor Network car. In 2011, Gase’s mother, Mary, died of a brain aneurysm and helped save and heal the lives of 66 people as an organ, eye and tissue donor. Nevada Donor Network and Gase have partnered together since 2013 to promote the gift of life and health through donation by honoring local heroes and their courageous families each time he races at LVMS.
Below is the list of our incredible honorees.
- Kaylinn Marie Boling
- Richard Bryant Blue Jr.
- John Patrick Cronin
- Samuel Giovanni Lara
- Bruce Michael Munger
- Fred Frudden
- Douglas Truman Foremaster
- Chase Rauchle
- Clarence Joseph Sikkenga
- David Fernando Linares
- Brandon Reineck
- Donald Lee White
- Mary Jean White
- Thomas Randall McCurry
- Rick Alan Stelljes
- Garrett Richard Meriwether
- Kenani Kaimuloa
- David Michael Barrows III
- Emile Richard Alforque
Several Hand Prints of Hope with messages written by families of heroic donors will also be displayed on Gase’s vehicle, including:
Donor mom Jodi Boling’s tribute reads “One’s ending, is another’s beginning. Be an organ donor,” in honor of her daughter Kaylinn.
These special honoree tributes and messages of hope are intended to inspire Nevadans to say ‘YES’ to registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor. We all have the power to bring hope to the nearly 600 Nevadans and over 100,000 Americans in need of a lifesaving organ transplant.
“I am so thankful to Nevada Donor Network for teaming up with us this weekend so we can not only race, but, more importantly, raise awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation and honor all of these incredible heroes,” said Gase.
Joey Gase Racing PR
Standout Management Group (SMG) and NASCAR driver Gray Gaulding are pleased to announce new multi-race sponsorship with SVS Vision headquartered in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. Gray will be running the very first #52 SVS Vision Chevrolet Camaro in the Alsco Uniforms 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this coming Saturday, March 6th.
Gaulding is ready for the 300-mile race at Las Vegas after several good showings there over the past few years including a 7th place finish in September 2019. Since 2014, Gaulding has a combined 128 starts across NASCAR’s top three series.
“I cannot be more pumped about partnering with a high-quality optics provider like SVS Vision and showcasing their products and services to the NASCAR community”, says Gaulding. “The Stanns and Farrells are incredible owners that have built a very successful business based on integrity and care for their customers. Their story is one that inspires me to keep chasing my dream and to be the very best at what I do…race cars!”
“Ever since I saw the movie Top Gun, I always dreamed of flying jets or racing cars and having a sponsor partner that would enable me to wear a pair of Ray-Ban Aviators! That day has finally arrived, and I could not be more excited to represent SVS Vision throughout the 2021 Xfinity season!”
Ken Stann, president of SVS Vision stated, “Sometimes in life opportunities and relationships are developed in the most unusual circumstances. This was one of them. Lisa and I knew Gray had the “it” factor the moment we met him. Now that we are here, honestly, I am so fired up to watch Gray race in the SVS Vision car this season. I’m even more excited to broaden our relationship with such a great young man. His personality, love for life, and integrity make this partnership a natural.”
Additional sponsors for the Las Vegas race event include Panini America, Kuykendall Hearing Aid Centers and new associate sponsor Rootwell.com. Make sure to catch all the race action on FS1 starting at 4:30 PM Eastern Time Saturday, March 6th.
Gray Gaulding PR