Speedway Digest Staff
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For the first time at the iconic Circuit of The Americas, three former NASCAR Cup Series champions shook down the 20-turn, 3.41-mile long course in stock cars on Tuesday. Part of a Goodyear tire test in preparation for the inaugural May 23 EchoPark Texas Grand Prix, the showcase of speed saw Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. provide a preview of what to expect when NASCAR’s best battle on the series’ newest circuit.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING:
Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports
“The track’s fun. It has a lot of character to it, I feel like. I’ve never been here, never seen it in person before today and really haven’t watched a ton of races here, so it’s really been a pretty steep learning curve for me, trying to piece together all the different parts of the track and understand where you need to be good and how to make it flow. I’m trying to learn, but it’s been fun. I hope people (fans) will come out and give it a chance. It’s a different type of racing.”
Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Ford for Team Penske
“One of the things about this track here in Austin, it’s got a couple of key action spots. Turn 1 is designed as though a fan said, ‘how can I have the most calamity in that corner on the start?’ So there’s a couple of things – first off, it’s up hill, which helps the car stop, so it encourages the driver to try to out-brake another driver, which is big on a restart or a start because all of the cars are already so close together. Second thing is, it’s really wide on entry, so it’s almost impossible to block because there’s just a lot more racetrack. And then, of course, the third part is it’s a super slow corner meaning you have to use a lot of brakes to get through there. So, like I said, almost like it was intentional – I’m sure it was intentional – to create some epic starts. I think you’ll see that here.”
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the No. 19 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing
“I feel like this is kind of part Sonoma, part Watkins Glen. There’s some fast sections, some slow sections. It’s got the older asphalt, wearing tires out more like Sonoma, but it’s got the really high-speed straights and the really hard braking zone like Watkins Glen going down the backstretch. It’s a mix of both. It’s got a little bit of a blind corner, up-and-down elevation change like Sonoma. It’s a pretty unique place … It’s all about markers and points on the track and when you turn in and what gear you’re in and how much speed you’re carrying and finding the brake points and all those things. It takes over two minutes to get around here, so if you make a mistake, you’ve got to wait two minutes to correct it, and you can’t forget it when you come back around. It was interesting to do that and a lot of fun to do that.”
Click here for a full transcript from Tuesday’s driver availability.
The first-ever NASCAR at COTA race weekend will feature a jam-packed three-day schedule of activity. FEVO Friday on May 21 will feature NASCAR Xfinity (NXS) and Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) practice sessions plus IMSA-sanctioned Lamborghini Super Trofeo Series practice. The schedule for Saturday, May 22, includes NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) practice, plus NXS qualifying and the Pit Boss 250 NXS race, as well as NCWTS and Lamborghini qualifying and races. Sunday, May 23, will be the culmination of the weekend featuring NCS qualifying, a second Lamborghini race and the first NCS race in COTA’s illustrious history, the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix. Announcements regarding on-track timing for the complete weekend schedule will be made at a later date.
Single-day tickets start at just $25 for FEVO Friday, $30 on Saturday and $70 on Sunday. Three-day packages for adults start at only $99. Kids 12 and under get in free on Friday and Saturday and for just $10 on Sunday.
Fans can purchase tickets online at NASCARatCOTA.com or by calling the ticket office at (833) 450-2864.
Notes of Interest
● After coming oh-so-close to his first top-10 finish of the season, 23-year-old Cole Custer and his No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for their first of back-to-back NASCAR Cup Series weekends in the Desert Southwest. Sunday’s 400-mile event on the 1.5-mile oval will be Custer’s 43rd career start in the series and his fourth at Las Vegas. The series will race at Phoenix Raceway the following Sunday, March 14.
● Custer, the reigning Cup Series Rookie of the Year, ran in the top-five for a majority of the final stage of last Sunday’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway and was running eighth with two laps to go when a tire issue dropped him off the pace. He took the checkered flag with a disappointing 23rd-place finish. The native of Ladera Ranch, California, heads to Las Vegas 14th in the driver standings with 68 points, 71 markers behind leader Denny Hamlin. Still, he is 12 positions higher in the standings after the first three events than he was in his inaugural Cup Series season of 2020, when he was 26th. He went on to earn a berth in the NASCAR playoffs with his July 12 victory at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
● In his first three Cup Series starts at Las Vegas, Custer has a best start of 17th in last year’s February race and a best finish of 16th last September. Las Vegas was where Custer made his Cup Series debut in the March 2018 race, when he started 30th and finished 25th in the No. 54 Rick Ware Racing Ford.
● In five NASCAR Xfinity Series outings at Las Vegas from 2017 through 2019, all behind the wheel of the No. 00 SHR Ford, Custer started on the pole in each of the last three, and he posted top-10 finishes in each of the last four with a best of third in the September 2018 race. He also led a total of 54 laps in Xfinity Series competition at Las Vegas.
● In Custer’s lone career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series outing at Las Vegas, he started and finished third in the October 2016 race, driving the No. 00 entry for JR Motorsports.
● Season 1 of the new Netflix series “The Crew,” the NASCAR-themed comedy starring Kevin James as an old-school crew chief, debuted this month on the streaming channel, and Custer is one of three drivers who filmed cameo appearances for the show’s inaugural season. Ryan Blaney and Austin Dillon are the others, and the cameo lineup also includes FOX NASCAR pit reporter Jamie Little. There are 10 episodes now available for streaming.
● Returning to Custer’s No. 41 Ford Mustang for SHR is team co-owner Gene Haas’ newest holding, Haas Tooling, which was launched as a way for CNC machinists to purchase high-quality cutting tools at great prices. Haas cutting tools are sold exclusively online at HaasTooling.com and shipped directly to end users. HaasTooling.com products became available nationally last July, and the cutting tools available for purchase at HaasTooling.com have proven to be even more important during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as CNC machines have become vital to producing personal protective equipment. Haas Automation, founded by Haas in 1983, is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools. The company manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers. All Haas products are constructed in the company’s 1.1-million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Oxnard, California, and distributed through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets.
Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing
You’re headed to Las Vegas, which is one of those tracks where the surface has aged and it seems to be quite racy. How does that affect the complexion of a race there these days?
“Yeah, it’s huge. Whenever you see these tracks that are wearing out more and more, it just makes them racier and racier, in my opinion. We’re able to slip and slide around and you’re able to do more. You’re able to move around the track and you’re able to kind of find some things that are better than the guy next to you, so it’s something that’s really fun and I think it’s something that every single driver gets excited about when the pavement gets wore out.”
How does Las Vegas compare to other tracks that are worn?
“It’s a track that’s kind of transitioning into that field, I guess you’d say. It’s getting there. It’s starting to get a little more worn out but, also, the big thing there are the bumps. The surface might not be extremely worn, but they have huge bumps, so it does bring a huge challenge into how the driver is going to make it through the bumps and how the team is going to set the car up through it.”
How do you feel about your first three races this year?
“Right now, I think we’re honestly in a pretty good spot. I was happy with our runs at Daytona. We ran a lot of the race in the top-10. I think we just need to keep building off that. We had a good run going late in the race at Homestead. We were in the top-five for a long time and were two laps away from a top-10 finish when a tire started coming apart. That was disappointing, but if you can run in the top-10 and get stage points and not make the big mistakes, you’re going to find yourself in some pretty good spots and you’re going to find yourself right in the middle of the points battle to make the playoffs. I think it’s just a matter of taking it week by week and making sure we keep progressing, but I think we’re in a pretty good spot right now.”
We saw a couple of first-time Cup Series winners in the first two races, and then William Byron won his second career race last weekend at Homestead. How does that affect the playoff picture, in your mind?
“It’s definitely not ideal, but at the same time it’s probably too early to know how that is all going to work out. At this point, you just try and keep being consistent, keep trying to work up to it, and run in the top-10 and get stage points and try to get as many points as you can. It’s something where, halfway through the year and you’re in that spot, it’s where you don’t want to be, you’re right on the bubble, you might have to be more aggressive. But at this point it’s too early to tell. I feel like you just have to keep trying to be consistent.”
Is there a point in the regular season when you really have to start pacing yourself?
“I think, starting off the season, you’re just trying to make sure you don’t put yourself in a hole. That’s the biggest thing, at least from my standpoint. From there, you just try and build it and you try and get more and more confident, more comfortable with what’s going on, just because we don’t have the practice to work through a lot of things as a driver. So, limiting the big mistakes and kind of working into it is probably a smart idea. And then, once you get into the summer months, you’re trying to perfect it more and more and get more and more aggressive. It’s just a matter of working up to it. That’s the biggest thing.”
Harrold Annett, father of JRM driver Michael Annett, died yesterday after a brief illness.
The elder Annett, chairman of TMC Transportation, the nation’s largest employee-owned open-deck transportation company, was a huge supporter of motorsports for many years in varying series. Perhaps most famously, TMC Transportation was the sponsor for driver Sammy Swindell in the No. 1 TMC sprint car. Swindell drove the car - adorned in the black-and-gold colors - to 89 World of Outlaws Sprint Car victories and 145 overall from 1988-93.
TMC came aboard at JRM in 2017 with the arrival of Michael Annett to the driver lineup and has been on the No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet in varying degrees ever since as both primary and associate sponsor. The younger Annett won his first NASCAR Xfinity Series pole at Talladega in 2019 driving the familiar black and gold TMC paint scheme with the logo on the hood and quarterpanels.
“We are heartbroken at the news of Harrold Annett’s passing,” said Kelley Earnhardt Miller, general manager of JR Motorsports. “Our hearts go out to Michael and his family, and to the family at TMC Transportation, which has been a big part of our team in so many ways. As a huge supporter of motorsports, we have lost one of its true champions in Harrold Annett.”
TMC Transportation, based in Des Moines, Iowa, also helped JRM move its four-car team from Mooresville, N.C. to the West Coast races by supplying reserve drivers for the consecutive cross-country trips alongside JRM’s transport personnel.
Harrold Annett purchased dormant The Mickow Corporation trucking company in 1972 and in short order began delivering freight around the Midwest. In the coming years, the elder Annett built TMC into the largest privately-held flatbed carrier in the nation. In 2013, Annett established an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) and TMC became an employee-owned company.
To honor the elder Annett, the No. 1 Chevrolet driven by Michael Annett will feature a tribute decal on the roof rail for the remainder of the season, and the three other JRM cars will carry it this weekend at Las Vegas. In addition, all four of JRM’s Peterbilt transporters will carry a special decal for the season’s entirety. The No. 1 team’s Featherlite trailer will have the decal prominently displayed for the remainder of the season as well.
There will be a change in the way fuel is provided to racers at Grandview Speedway this season and the official tire supplier will be Grandview Speedway with American Racer remaining as the official track tire.
Tires will be available from Tina Rogers at 72 Wilt Road, Bechtelsville, located just down the street from the speedway on Saturday, March 6th, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. During the season there will be days and times announced when tire purchases can be made through Rogers. Tires will also be available at BFP Specialties in Bethel, PA to help racers in that area.
As for fuel, Rich Perone and Kelly Fuels will no longer be the fuel supplier due to the rising costs of business, moving fuel, along with more racers now taking care of their own fuel. Rich is not abandoning the teams who use Kelly fuel. Racers will be able to obtain trackside fuel support delivered to their garages. If there are any questions please feel free to contact Rich Perone.
Racers planning to compete at Grandview should make arrangements to bring their own fuel which many have been doing in recent seasons until a new fuel supplier is contracted.
The annual free-to-the-public practice session is set for Saturday, March 27th with a 12 noon starting time. This is test and tune session for all racers and a great opportunity for fans to see what their favorite racer will be driving in 2021.
A full schedule of events can be found at www.grandviewspeedway.com. For information the track number is 610.754.7688.
Grandview Speedway PR
Notes of Interest
● Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 Ford Performance Racing School Mustang, is fresh off his second top-20 finish in just his third NASCAR Cup Series start. Briscoe’s 18th-place finish last Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway positions the No. 14 team to build all-important momentum early in the season, beginning this Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
● Las Vegas has been one of Briscoe’s more successful tracks. He swept both NASCAR Xfinity Series races at the venue during the 2020 season and both wins aided in his pursuit of the championship. The first win on Feb. 23 secured Briscoe’s spot in the 12-driver playoff field, and the follow-up win in October locked him into the Round of 8. The No. 98 team went on to win once more at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City to advance to the Championship 4.
● Briscoe has five career Xfinity Series starts at Las Vegas with two wins and three top-10s. He also made a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series appearance at the 1.5-mile oval in September 2017, starting third and leading the first 40 laps before finishing third in a Ford F-150.
● Just two races into his inaugural Cup Series campaign, Briscoe leads the Rookie of the Year standings by 19 points over Anthony Alfredo. With Rookie of the Year honors in the Truck Series (2017) and Xfinity Series (2019), Briscoe is looking to join Erik Jones and William Byron as only the third driver in history to claim the title in all three of NASCAR’s national touring series.
Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 Ford Performance Racing School Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing
How has it been working with crew chief Johnny Klausmeier so far?
“Johnny has been super pumped up. He’s been keeping me in the game as far as letting me know that, even though we’ve had damage or had to work back from being multiple laps down, we’re still doing really good. Like at the Daytona road course, we were still up in the mix there at the end and I felt like that was really our first attempt for me and Johnny to work together and actually make adjustments. He’s done a great job making adjustments for the situations that we’ve been in and the cars have been phenomenal. We’re just trying to stay focused on continuing to learn as much as we can about each other and build that notebook. Johnny has done a good job of keeping me motivated and telling me that it’s going to be hard in the beginning. We understand there are going to be challenges and learning curves to overcome. My entire team has done a really good job of understanding that it’s going to take a little bit of time to be consistently running up front, and it’s going to probably take tearing up racecars and making mistakes to learn not to do certain things anymore.”
Last week was the first real chance to get an idea of what you’ve got on the intermediate tracks that we’ll see throughout the season. How has that affected your outlook for this weekend at Las Vegas?
“Stewart-Haas Racing has always been strong at Las Vegas and, so far, the No. 14 team has done a great job having the cars set up close to what I need when we unload, so I feel good about this week. I’m still learning, though. Last week was a good chance to see what we had for 1.5-mile tracks, but you can only learn so much that carries over. Homestead and Las Vegas race so differently. I have a better idea of what it’s going to be like further back in the field and I’ll probably still take some time in the beginning to feel things out, but Las Vegas is a track I enjoy racing at and it definitely helps me to feel more comfortable knowing that I have had good results there in the past.”
Kyle Busch is set to return to his hometown this weekend, but what makes Sunday afternoon different than the previous 19 times the Las Vegas native has raced in the NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is another sweet piece of Las Vegas will be riding along with him.
For the first time ever, the craft chocolate division of Mars Wrigley – Henderson, Nevada-made Ethel M Chocolates – will be a primary sponsor of a Cup Series car. The hometown duo has teamed up for Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 as Ethel M Chocolates celebrates its 40th anniversary of making handcrafted chocolates in the desert and serves as primary sponsor of Busch’s No. 18 Ethel M Chocolates Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) this weekend.
To further commemorate Ethel M Chocolates’ 40th anniversary and celebrate its first foray into NASCAR, the brand will also be donating 40,000 meals to Three Square Food Bank in Las Vegas, using its involvement in the race weekend to help those in the Las Vegas community who are most in need.
Ethel M Chocolates is a marquis offering, manufactured by Mars Wrigley North America and dedicated to creating premium chocolates with fresh ingredients and no artificial preservatives. 2021 marks the 40th Anniversary of Ethel M Chocolates, a momentous milestone for the brand.
For Busch, he is focused on getting back to victory lane at Las Vegas after crossing off an all-important hometown win in 2009 in just his fifth NASCAR Cup Series start at his hometown track and having just missed out on a few others since then. This weekend, Busch looks to bring home career Cup Series win No. 58 to add to his growing list of accomplishments.
The 2002 honors graduate of Durango High School in Las Vegas would like to double his number of Cup Series wins at the desert track after having brought home that emotional first win there 12 years ago.
Driving the yellow M&M’S Toyota that day, Busch qualified on the pole but was forced to start at the rear of the field because the team needed to change engines during Friday practice. Unfazed, Busch remained patient on race day as he and the M&M’S team worked their way to the front of the field by the 54th lap. Busch went on to lead three times for 51 laps en route to claiming what he called at the time the biggest win of his young career.
While Busch has NASCAR Xfinity Series wins in 2016 and 2019 and Camping World Truck Series wins in 2018, 2019, and 2020 to go with his 2009 Cup Series win on the intermediate oval, he already was no stranger to winning on Las Vegas Motor Speedway property. From 1999 to 2001, he earned more than 65 wins in Legends cars while racking up two track championships at the Bullring, which existed for several years before the NASCAR track was built. When Busch moved up to Late Models, his winning ways continued with 10 victories at the Bullring in 2001.
So as he returns to Las Vegas this weekend, Busch is hoping the “Born in Las Vegas” combination will be just what he needs to celebrate Ethel M Chocolates’ 40th anniversary in style right at “home” in victory lane.
In a continuing effort to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) in conjunction with the State of New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, will host New Hampshire’s first mass vaccination clinic this Saturday through Monday, March 6-8. The state hopes to administer over 10,000 Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccines to eligible New Hampshire residents during the three-day clinic.
“We have been working closely with the State of New Hampshire to take the next step in putting the COVID-19 pandemic in the rearview,” said David McGrath, executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “Hosting this vaccine super site falls right in line with our drive to help our community, and we’re proud that we’re able to use our awesome speedway property to achieve that.”
Appointments are required to receive a vaccination, and the state will proactively reach out to individuals with later first-dose appointments in April and offer them the opportunity to move up their appointment to this weekend. Vaccinations for eligible individuals will be distributed at NHMS from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, March 6 through Monday, March 8.
Those who have an appointment are encouraged to arrive no more than 15 minutes prior to their scheduled appointment time for check-in and screening. After receiving the vaccine, each patient will proceed to an observation area where medical staff will closely monitor for any potential reaction. The entire process will take place without people leaving their cars.
Hundreds of volunteers from hospitals, first responder agencies, police, fire, EMS, regional public health networks and community emergency response teams throughout New Hampshire will spend their personal time this weekend to help vaccinate community members.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway becomes the fifth facility operated by parent company Speedway Motorsports to serve as a mass vaccination site. To date, more than 91,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to eligible recipients at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.
“We are always more than willing to utilize our facilities to support a need in the community,” said Marcus Smith, president and chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports. “Hosting mass vaccination clinics at our venues is crucial in the race to beat this pandemic, and this weekend, thousands of New Hampshire residents will cross that finish line.”
Eligible individuals should visit NH.gov/COVID19 for more information about upcoming vaccination opportunities and all the latest on COVID-19.
Keep track of all of New Hampshire 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 NHMS mobile app.
otes of Interest
● History at Las Vegas Motor Speedway: In 15 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Las Vegas, Almirola has earned three top-10 finishes, earned consecutively in his first three starts at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018 and 2019.
● In last year’s two visits to Las Vegas, Almirola finished 21st and 17th, respectively. To see the full race reports, click here for the Feb. 23, 2020 race and here for the Sept. 27, 2020 playoff race.
● 1.5-mile history: In Almirola’s last 10 starts at 1.5-mile tracks, he has one top-five, four top-10s, and has led 164 laps with an average finish of 13.4.
● Last weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Almirola battled handling issues throughout the race and ran as high as 10th before contact on lap 201 dropped him three laps off the pace.
● Power Bites giveaway: Almirola will sport a special Power Bites paint scheme this weekend while hosting a giveaway campaign via Twitter. At the end of each stage, fans can tweet using the hashtag #PowerBitesHere to enter for a chance to win prizes like a Pit Boss Grill with Smithfield grilling items, Almirola’s signed race-worn firesuit, and a VIP race experience at Phoenix Raceway.
● Smithfield Foods celebrates 10 years of partnership with Almirola this season with a special campaign called Taste Victory.As one of the most active partners in NASCAR, Smithfield plans to engage fans all year long by hosting a microsite that provides the opportunity to win when Almirola wins or finishes inside the top-10. When Almirola wins, one fan will win $10,000, and 10 fans will win a gift card for each top-10 finish. The microsite also doubles as an Aric Almirola fan page and entertainment source where fans can get behind the wheel of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford with a custom racing game, and learn more about Almirola with fast facts, favorite recipes and custom content about his life on and off the track. Visit www.tastevictory.com to learn more. Thanks to Almirola’s Feb. 11 win in the Duel qualifying race for the Daytona 500, one lucky fan has already won $10,000.
● Beyond the 10 YouTube Series: In 2021, Almirola continues to share his life beyond the No. 10 Smithfield Ford with season three of his award-winning YouTube series. Fans and media can subscribe on YouTube to see Almirola’s personality on and off the track. Episodes have already featured life as a dad, a husband and an athlete, and it gives fans a unique perspective on what goes on in the life of a professional NASCAR driver. Fans can also follow Almirola’s social media channels: @Aric_Almirola on Twitter and Instagram, and @AricAlmirola on Facebook.
● The Smithfield Ford team sits 26th in the championship standings with 40 points, 99 behind leader Denny Hamlin.
● Crew chief Mike Bugarewicz is in his sixth fulltime season at SHR and his second with Almirola. To learn more, click here.
Aric Almirola, Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Power Bites Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing
Last year was your first year with crew chief Mike Bugarewicz. What improvements do you see heading to Las Vegas?
“Yeah. Last year was the first year for Buga (Mike Bugarewicz) and I. Vegas last year was our first real run together as a team after the Daytona 500, so we were still learning each other. After a full season together, I have full confidence we’re going to be a solid contender this weekend. We’ve already seen the pit crew doing a great job, and the communication couldn’t be better.”
What do you need to do to get the No. 10 Smithfield team’s momentum in the right direction?
“I’m going to have to work hard to get us out of this hole with stage points and some consistent finishes. We’re so early in the season that one or two races could put us back inside the top-16 and get us back in the direction we need to be in. Our No. 10 Smithfield Ford team is good. It’s a solid team. We haven’t even been able to show what we’ve really got. We did it last year in the middle of the season and went on a hot streak. We’ll get there.”
You were involved in an accident last weekend at Homestead after running up front. Talk about that experience.
“Last weekend at Miami was tough. We fought hard all day to get the car’s balance better. I got tight and made a mistake and slid up into the No. 12 and hit the wall. It put us back and we couldn’t recover. We did get the car better than where it started and we were able to run up inside the top-10, so at least we know we have the capabilities to make changes in the race.”
How significant of a role do intermediate tracks play during the season?
“It’s crucial to really excel at the intermediate tracks. We have so many of them on the schedule and, if you can get them figured out, they can make a huge impact on your season. We’ve seen it so many times where teams get something figured out at those tracks. Those teams start running up front every weekend. If you look at the schedule, a lot of the tracks on the circuit are intermediate tracks and the most important races if you’re in the hunt for a championship.”
Stefan Parsons and BJ McLeod Motorsports (BJMM) announce today that Dogecoin, the cryptocurrency company, will ride along with primary sponsor Springrates and driver Stefan Parsons at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) Alsco Uniforms 300.
Sean Taylor, founder and CEO of Springrates immediately saw a significant and relevant opportunity to bring back Dogecoin in NASCAR, as popularity and traction has increased on social media platforms through significant figures positively acknowledging cryptocurrency, such as Elon Musk.
“Lately, I have been obsessed with learning more about blockchain and the future of decentralized currency. I had the idea of including Dogecoin on the car for this race while chatting with Stefan following the season opener in Daytona,” said Taylor. “It was ironic because at the time, I wasn’t aware his dad’s team previously ran the Dogecoin car in 2014. Maybe it was fate.”
Fate it was. Although this will be the cryptocurrency’s debut in the NXS, it will not be the first time that Dogecoin has adorned a race car in NASCAR. In 2014, an online Dogecoin community on Reddit brought attention to the lack of sponsorship for Josh Wise, who at the time drove for Phil Parsons Racing then in the No. 98 Sprint Cup Series. Within a week, over 55K in funds were produced for Wise to be sponsored by Dogecoin for the Aaron’s 499 race in Talladega. After earning his second-best finish in the Dogecoin car, Wise announced that if he was able to win the Sprint Showdown or win the fan vote, requiring him to defeat Danica Patrick, he would run the ‘Moonrocket’ car for free at the 2014 All-Star Race. After Wise won the fan vote and was in the All-Star Race, it was clear that the Dogecoin community has a NASCAR interest.
“Dogecoin has such a great community and there is so much interest surrounding it. I’m drawn to it because it’s affordable, gaining a lot of traction, and has endless potential. Plus, who doesn’t love memes?” Taylor added
“Having the opportunity to run a scheme that has an incredible story from my Dad’s race team is something I am so proud to do. When Josh ran the Dogecoin car in 2014, I was much younger and remember being so excited at the fact that the Dogecoin community and Reddit came together to make it happen. At the time, I also wished it were me in the seat. So, to have the chance for Dogecoin to ride along with Sean and me in Las Vegas is a dream come true,” Parsons added.
In 17 starts in the NXS, Parsons has an average start of 26.9 and an average finish of 22. His best finish of the 2021 season was at Daytona International Speedway, where he finished in the 13th position after racing his way up and avoiding on-track incidents.
Coverage of the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube begins Saturday, March 6th at 4:00 p.m. ET. Live coverage will be on FS1, Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM. Race time, 4:30p.m. ET.