Speedway Digest Staff
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If it has wheels, you can pretty much guarantee you can watch it being raced on American soil.
Motorcycles are no different, with one of the fastest competitions on two wheels set to return to the Circuit of the Americas in 2024.
The Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas is considered to be one of the highlights on the calendar of what is the highest grade of road-based motorcycle racing on the planet – MotoGP, while its sister competitions Moto2 and Moto3 also feature on the schedule for an outstanding day of racing.
And, on April 14 2024, you’ll be able to watch the bikes hurtle past at incredible speeds of up to 227mph!
Blink and You’ll Miss Them
With a comfortable cushion at the top of the riders’ standings, Francesco Bagnaia is expected to convert his lead over nearest challenger Jorge Martin - making the Italian a two-time, back-to-back MotoGP champion in 2023.
Bagnaia was the favourite in the betting odds from Paddy Power from the start of the season, with many sportsbooks offering prices on the riders’ championships in the various MotoGP disciplines. Bettors can even wager each way – securing a payout if their chosen rider finishes in the appropriate places.
A betting calculator helps bettors to determine their return from a wager, with the numbers stacking up rather handsomely for those that have backed Ducati’s riders during the 2023 season – they won 15 of the opening 18 races of the MotoGP campaign courtesy of their highly talented stable.
But what is interesting is that neither Ducati nor Bagnaia have a particularly good record at the Circuit of the Americas, which means that bettors could have some unique opportunities to take on the favourites at the Red Bull GP in 2024.
Ducati have won just one of the ten editions of the America GP, while Bagnaia spurned pole position in 2023 – allowing Alex Rins, a Texan track specialist, to claim a second Circuit of the Americas victory amid his otherwise disappointing season.
And so the Red Bull Grand Prix of Americas could be one of the most exciting and unpredictable races on the 2024 calendar, which will make for prime viewing for the many spectators that will cram into the 120,000 venue.
The MotoGP class is contested by 900cc four-stroke bikes, which boast remarkable speed and power even from a standing start while handling corners like a dream.
As mentioned, they can reach a top speed of 227mph – recorded by Brad Binder at the Italian MotoGP back in June, ranking these bikes amongst the fastest two-wheeled vehicles on earth.
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Mind you, the bikes used in Moto2 and 3 aren’t too slow off the mark, either. In fact, the Moto2 bikes kick like a mule from 765cc of power, with three cylinders handing these engines plenty of heft.
This competition has provided a platform for many riders before stepping up to the top MotoGP class, with the likes of Bagnaia, Johann Zarco and Augusto Fernandez all winning the Moto2 title before tackling the faster bikes. It will be fascinating to see where the stars of 2023 end up in their own racing journey.
As for Moto3, the single-cylinder 250cc bikes still offer plenty of torque for those who know how to get the most from them – Martin, Binder and the legendary Marc Marquez are just some of those who served a racing apprenticeship in Moto3, so you can check out the stars of tomorrow when the Red Bull Grand Prix of Americas heads to Texas.
With all three races taking place on the same weekend, spectators are in for a treat.
What started as an unknown as far as title chase went ended in an inaugural ASA STARS National Tour championship for Ty Majeski.
With his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series duties paired with the daily lives of his Super Late Model crew members, hitting the final three races at Toledo, Winchester and Nashville was going to be a challenge. Ultimately, Majeski and his team were able to attend the final three races with the assistance of Michael Hinde Racing at Winchester, and the Wisconsin driver was able to claim the series title.
“I’ll be honest, we weren’t planning on running the whole series to start off. We were committing to racing through Kaukauna, which would’ve been the first seven,” said Majeski. “I knew the last three were going to be difficult for me to get to logistically with my race team. Toby (Nuttleman)’s our only full-time guy; we’re lucky to have a full-time guy but the rest of our guys have full-time jobs so it’s difficult to get to all these races. We were able to put together the last three races and make it work from a personnel standpoint and logistically.
“I thought it was a good first season for the ASA STARS National Tour in general. I felt like short track racing has had a craving for something like this for quite some time and it’s cool to see Bob (Sargent) put a team together to kick this thing off. It was something that I wanted to support.”
The first seven races of the season saw Majeski all but dominate the ASA STARS National Tour. He led the series in wins with his triumphs at Madison, Milwaukee and WIR, while also winning the most stages and scoring the most stage points out of anybody. Following race seven at the Gandrud Auto Group 250, his tenth-place run at North Wilkesboro was his only finish outside the top-five.
Disaster would then strike the final three races. Engine issues ended his day early at both Toledo and Winchester, closing what was a 93-point gap after WIR to just eight going into the finale. He did collect a stage win at Nashville, but an accident knocked him out of winning contention at Nashville. He was able to limp his way to an 11th place finish five laps down, which was enough to beat Cole Butcher for the championship after the Canadian fell out of the race late.
The 2023 season also saw Majeski return to Super Late Model racing on a more regular basis with a championship run in the ASA STARS National Tour, something he says helped his program to make up lost ground.
“It was not an ideal last three races with basically three DNF’s, but we did finish Nashville limping around. We ended the season with pretty much three DNF’s but we did barely sneak out the championship. It was a pretty up-and-down season but overall I thought it was good for the series and a good season for my team as well getting back to racing a little bit more.
“I took a backseat to Late Model racing a little bit in 2022 and that caused our program to fall behind a little bit. I feel like we got our edge back and our racecars pretty good again.”
Along with winning the ASA STARS National Tour championship, Majeski also competed full-time with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, where he finished eighth in the final points standings while winning a race at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. Balancing the two championship chases throughout the year was important, though made easier than in years past.
“It was a lot easier this year because I’m no longer a full-time engineer at ThorSport. I’m able to spend more time at the shop with Toby and Joe (Shear Jr) and my engineer had the Truck side handled. It’s just a balance and making sure you’re putting the right amount of effort into all facets, whether it’s my family, the Late Model side or my Truck side. Making sure I spend enough time at home but still putting full effort into everything that I do. If I couldn’t have put a full effort into running ASA then I wouldn’t do it. And if I couldn’t put a full effort into running the Truck Series with running ASA, I wouldn’t have done it either. At the end of the day my priorities lie with the Truck Series, that’s where I make my living. It was making sure I spent enough time at ThorSport and with Toby back at home and I feel like I found a pretty good balance with that this year and had a lot of success in all fronts.”
Majeski is at a point in his career in which he is content with what he is doing with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Super Late Model racing around the country. With full support from ThorSport Racing, he looks forward to what the 2024 season will bring.
“I really look forward to doing a lot of the same stuff. I really enjoy what I’m doing with my career in general, being with ThorSport with the Truck Series and being able to run a decent amount of Super Late Model races. It’s really been a dream come true for me. Duke and Rhonda (Thorson) really enjoy me going out and running with ASA and it’s something they get invested in and watch and follow. It all works, and I hope to be doing something very similar next year.”
For more information on the ASA STARS National Tour, please visit the series website at starsnationaltour.com, or be sure to follow the series on social media (Facebook: ASA STARS National Tour | Twitter: @racewithstars | IG: @starsnational).
ASA STARS PR
The 2023 Hickory Motor Speedway track champion is no stranger to the historic 4/10-mile Diamond of the Southeast short track. Last season, Brown captured the Florence Motor Speedway track championship, which aided him in conquering the South Carolina State Championship.
With more than 40 Late Model Stock Car competitors looking to add a Florence crown jewel to their trophy cases this weekend, Brown would love nothing more than to capture another checkered flag in his anticipated penultimate race of the season.
"I feel really good about heading into this race weekend," said Brown. "Anytime you can return to a track where you have much experience is already a positive. This weekend's race, though, isn't a weekly show; it will be one of the season's toughest Late Model Stock Car races.
"I feel confident in our team that we will not only be able to step up to the challenge but, like Hickory Motor Speedway last weekend, have an opportunity to be a serious contender for the race win."
Over the past two seasons, Brown has visited Victory Lane at Florence Motor Speedway seven times, including a victory earlier this season. With his third South Carolina 400 on deck for Saturday, November 18, and looking to improve on his 14th-place result last fall, Brown hopes to utilize some of the same track fundamentals in his quest for his eighth track triumph.
"Even though the race is 250 laps, I feel like you can apply a lot of the fundamentals of a traditional weekly show into the South Carolina 400," explained Brown. "You definitely have to keep up with the
track changes, lap traffic, and, of course, tire conservation is pivotal.
"There will be comers and goers on Saturday night, but whoever has the best balance and who can keep their momentum up while working both lanes of the race track when needed should be in a good spot. Luckily, we know where we need to be when we unload, so we'll see how practice goes and go from there.
With a stacked field of competitors for Saturday night's race, including NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr., 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year candidate Josh Berry, Stewart Haas Racing's Ryan Preece and Late Model stalwarts Stephen Nasse, Brenden Queen and Sam Yarbrough, among others.
"In such prestigious races like the South Carolina 400, it is important to know who you are racing with," added Brown. "I always try to race my competitors with respect because I would like that same respect in return. It's also an opportunity to learn from some of the best of the best.
"There are a lot of great race car drivers that are chasing the same checkered flag as me on Saturday. I continue to learn as much as I can with every race. The goal remains the same each race, but the opportunity to strengthen my craft never changes and when you race drivers among the likes of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Josh Berry, Preece and Josh Williams, you inhale every piece of intel you can."
ValAsta, Carolina Driveline, Race City Steel and Puryear Tank Lines will be the primary partners on Brown's No. 23 Chevrolet for the Saturday night showdown.
"I am lucky to have great partners that allow me to go out there all year and live a dream," explained Brown. "Without them, this weekend and this season would not have been possible. Celebrating in Victory Lane for the second consecutive weekend is the biggest thank you that I can give them and a return trip there on Saturday night is what I am aiming for."
Following his 29th race of the season, Brown is tentatively scheduled to complete his season in the Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park on November 25, 2023.
The 2023 South Carolina 400 at Florence Motor Speedway will be shown exclusively on FloRacing, the streaming home of all NASCAR Roots properties.
FloRacing's coverage of Saturday's action is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. ET. That's when qualifying will begin for all three divisions (Street Stocks, Mini Stocks and Late Models).
Pre-race ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, immediately followed by feature racing. Twin Late Model heat races will begin the feature action, followed by the Street Stock and Mini Stock races.
The 250-lap Late Model feature will close the night.
Brown's plans for the 2024 racing season will be announced in due course.
Kade Brown PR
While unpredictable at times, Wickens’ comeback was predicted. During his recovery, Wickens appeared at an IndyCar race in March 2019 and talked about returning to racing with a car equipped with hand controls for the brakes and throttle.
“There have been so many remarkable drivers that have succeeded with hand controls,” Wickens said then. “It makes me believe that regardless of how my progression goes, I will be in a race car again. It’s just a matter of which car.”
It happened in 2022, in a specially equipped Hyundai from Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian. At first, Wickens felt he was making rookie mistakes. As time went on, though, he became sharper, quicker and more precise. At 34, he became a champion with an unlimited future.
“I would be more than happy to return back with (team owner) Bryan (Herta) and Hyundai and try to fight to protect our championship,” Wickens said. “I would love the opportunity to get into the (IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship) in some way, shape or form.”
The details of his future are unknown, but the recent past was all about consistency. Wickens and Gottsacker pieced together a championship without winning a race in the No. 33 BHA Hyundai. Six runner-up finishes in a 10-race season have a way of adding up to a championship.
“It just goes to show how strong we were as a team,” Wickens said. “We went through a lot of adversity. We didn't have a perfect season, but we had very good damage limitation when we needed it. I think that really was the deciding factor.”
A few other deciding factors were there, too: A racer who wouldn’t stop racing. A racer who’s still fast and skilled. A racer who has a championship in hand and an immeasurable future ahead. The championship brought it all together – past, present and future.
“For me it hit pretty deep because of what I had to come through over the past five years with injuries, learning a new life and trying to get back to the career I once had,” Wickens told CTV. “I’m not in the business of motivating or encouraging people, but I love the fact that I can raise awareness for spinal cord injury through competing, not through just being there and representing. I want to represent the community by winning championships and competing and showing an injury doesn’t have to define who you are. You can do anything you set your mind to.”
As the championship celebration last month at Michelin Raceway slowed down, BHA chief operating officer Sean Jones put everything into perspective.
“We’ve won a few, but this one is a bit special,” Jones said. “Everyone knows Robert’s story.”
Martinsville Speedway and the YMCA Team Up to Host Holiday Run Festival to Support 29th Annual Toy Drive
Martinsville Speedway is partnering with the YMCA to host a Holiday Run Festival on Saturday, Dec. 2, the same day as the annual Christmas Toy Drive. The track announced the double feature event earlier this year; however, updates to the schedule have been made and are noted below.
The Holiday Run Festival will feature the Southside 10K and the Youth in Motion 5K, with a portion of each entry fee going directly towards the Toy Drive’s fundraising efforts, benefiting Grace Network of Martinsville and Henry County. This will be the 29th year Martinsville Speedway has hosted the toy drive giving fans the opportunity to drive around the historic half-mile by donating to the cause.
“As we announced earlier this year, the Annual Toy Drive is back at Martinsville Speedway, and this year we’ve expanded our efforts in bringing the greater community together with the help of our partners at the YMCA,” said Clay Campbell, Martinsville Speedway President. “As we get closer to the event, we look forward to welcoming all our friends, families and neighbors to our historic short track for a full day of festive celebrations this holiday season.”
Those in the greater Martinsville region can start their morning with the Youth in Motion 5K, beginning at 9 a.m., or the Southside 10K, beginning at 10 a.m., then trade their running shoes for tires during the track laps event at the speedway, now taking place from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Community members can donate a new unwrapped toy or $25 for the opportunity to drive laps around the iconic Virginia track in their personal vehicles.
For laps around the track, drivers must sign waivers and be 18 years of age or older with a valid state-issued driver’s license. All participants must adhere to Virginia state laws regarding the usage of seat belts and child safety restraints.
"The team at Miles in Martinsville is very excited to partner with Martinsville Speedway to present the 2023 Holiday Run Festival,” said Joe Philpott, an official of Miles of Martinsville. “We have historically run a December 5K for the benefit of our local Youth in Motion program. The program is designed to develop fitness and self-esteem in young people through the use of mentors and running. This partnership will allow us to add a 10K competition and create a true festival atmosphere. We think that the opportunity to run at the Speedway will be attractive and exciting to runners of all ages."
The donated toys and monetary donations will be distributed to area children through Grace Network of Martinsville and Henry County, which is a faith-based, first-stop center for resources for families in crisis. The organization supports those in the community who need support to keep a roof over their heads, homes warm and lighted, and food on the table with short-term assistance and long-term solutions. To learn more about the Grace Network of Martinsville and Henry County, visit gracenetworkmhc.org.
Martinsville Speedway will also host multiple racing events in 2024, including two NASCAR race weekends in both the spring and fall, The Valley Star Credit Union 300 and more.
To view the 2024 event schedule and to purchase tickets online, please visit martinsvillespeedway.com or call 877-RACE-TIX.
The milestone 40th year of DIRTcar Racing saw one of the most competitive and lucrative seasons in weekly dirt track racing history. And with the final checkered flag having fallen, we recognize those who shined the brightest in each division.
Nine kings of their respective divisions, plus special award winners, are set to be honored for their yearlong efforts at the 2023 DIRTcar Racing Awards Banquet on Saturday, Jan. 6 at the Springfield Crowne Plaza in Springfield, IL.
Late Model and UMP Modified drivers finishing inside the top-50 of national points, plus any driver in the top-20 of all other divisions, are eligible to receive their points fund check and trophies at the banquet. The top-10 of each division’s region are also eligible for recognition during the ceremony.
Tickets for award winners and drivers receiving points fund checks will be available for purchase in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to DIRTcar Racing social media for updates and more information on how and when to purchase.
Congratulations to each of DIRTcar’s 2023 national points champions:
Late Model – Jason Feger (Bloomington, IL)
For the first time since 2009, Jason Feger is king of the DIRTcar Late Models.
Sixteen Feature victories in DIRTcar competition topped the win column in addition to a nation-high 66 starts he made this year. Eight of those wins came in MARS Late Model Championship action en route to the 2023 points title, making Feger the third driver from the State of Illinois to win the series championship.
“This is the most wins we’ve had since probably 2012 or 2013,” Feger said. “There’s a lot of races [going on]. There’s midweek shows, the Summer Nationals and now the MARS Series – there’s just so many races, so we get to race more.”
Feger topped fields at nine different DIRTcar tracks this season, including marquee victories on the DIRTcar Summer Nationals trail at Brownstown Bullring, Lincoln Speedway and Paducah International Raceway in addition to two weekly points titles. He and veteran crew chief Jason Palubicki have spent the past two seasons conforming to their current setup after multiple chassis changes over the past few seasons and have since reaped the big rewards.
“[It’s my] second year in a Longhorn [Chassis] car; it just fits me really well,” Feger said. “We’ve just had a really good balance and we’ve got a good notebook. Pretty much everywhere we unloaded, we were fast. We were just making good decisions, we know what to do, and it just comes from working hard.”
UMP Modified – Tyler Nicely (Owensboro, KY)
Two years ago, he ranked third. Last year, he came up one spot short in second. But this year, Tyler Nicely is the 2023 DIRTcar UMP Modified national champion.
A nation-high 27 Feature wins this season put the 28-year-old Kentucky racer on top of DIRTcar’s most populated division for the first time in his career. He began the year with five wins during UMP Modified Florida Speedweeks in January-February and continued his excellence throughout the summer, winning five times in 17 starts en route to his first DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals championship.
Nicely was also the early favorite to win the inaugural MARS Modified Championship, but Late Model duty called later in the summer aboard the Hatcher’s Auto Sales, Longhorn Chassis #6, shuffling his priorities and taking him out of contention for the points title. Still, he notched a total of three victories in MARS competition this year en route to a fifth-place finish in points.
“The main thing was just [me being] comfortable and having a good group behind me that kept the car going and do what we set out to this year,” Nicely said. “At the beginning of the year, we wanted to win the national title, the [Summit Modified title], and we were leading the MARS championship too when I got the Late Model ride.
“To do what we did with both series, it’s kind of hard to believe.”
Pro Late Model – Jose Parga (New Berlin, IL)
Twenty Feature wins in 22 starts. A 19-race win streak. A fourth national points championship. Jose Parga has had quite the 2023 season.
The 26-year-old racer dominated the Pro Late Model division like none before him have, winning over 90 percent of the races he started.
“I thought three years ago was the best year I would’ve ever had,” Parga said. “And then to sit back and really look at everything we’ve done this year, it’s like, wow. Now we definitely don’t think we’ll be able to do what we’ve done this year again.”
Parga made the switch to a BMF Race Car for 2023 and made the most of it, going a perfect seven-for-seven at Farmer City Raceway and six-for-six at Lincoln Speedway in weekly competition. Near perfection at this level requires immense talent and attention-to-detail, and Parga devotes a lot of the credit for keeping up with those details to his crew who worked throughout the season to keep him on top.
“I firmly believe races are won in the race shop, not at the racetrack,” Parga said. “Me and my crew chief, Alex [Zuniga]… he’s picked up on a lot of things. I wouldn’t necessarily say I do all the work; he does a lot of it. It’s just a deal where I’ve got to teach him the right and wrong way that we do things.
“I could trust him to go, ‘Hey, do this,’ and it gets done. It just makes life a lot easier as a driver, not having to worry about other things on the race car. All I have to do is worry about driving.”
Pro Modified – Deece Schwartz (Ashmore, IL)
Twenty-year-old Deece Schwartz had big shoes to fill when he began his career a short time ago. His grandfather – 2006 DIRTcar UMP Modified national champion Denny Schwartz – and father – famed Illinois veteran racer Danny Schwartz – watched him as he began racing in the Pro Modified ranks around DIRTcar’s staple Illinois tracks with aspirations of success.
They’ve since watched Deece transform as a driver in the Crate-engine-powered Modified division, winning his first national championship last year and now a second in 2023.
“It’s great because I’ve always wanted to do something my dad and grandpa have never done,” Schwartz said. “My grandpa’s won a [UMP] Modified national championship, so that’s kinda hard to beat. But it’s something he hasn’t done, dad hasn’t been able to do, and it’s something I’ve wanted to do and I could only dream of doing my whole career.”
Schwartz also notched both the Kankakee County Speedway and Charleston Speedway track championships with a total of 25 Feature wins in DIRTcar-sanctioned action.
UMP Sportsman – Josh Litton (Paragon, IN)
Deep in the heart of Indiana dirt track racing country lies a hotbed for DIRTcar UMP Sportsman racing and the home tracks of 2023 national champion, Josh Litton.
Litton, 28, of Paragon, IN, collected his first career DIRTcar national points title on the back of eight Feature wins, spread between two Indiana dirt staples – Lincoln Park Speedway and his home track, Paragon Speedway.
He defeated nearest rival Larry Raines by only 22 points in the final standings. Raines was one of several tough competitors Litton raced on a weekly basis this year and credited him for the challenge throughout the season.
“There were nights we had all of the top-10 from Indiana at the track,” Litton said. “Larry Raines – he’s one of the best there is – it was just great competition over there.”
Stock Car – Jerrad Krick (Earl Park, IN)
After winning a three-peat of national DIRTcar championships in 2006, 2007 and 2008, Jerrad Krick endured a dry spell of championship gold.
“We’ve been second so many times, I didn’t know if I was ever going to get back to the top again or not before my career was over,” Krick said.
But 2023 was the 46-year-old veteran’s year, as he cashed in for a nation-high 13 Feature wins in 31 starts en route to his first national championship in 15 years. Krick joined forces with Stock Car dynasty owner Mike Alsop for 2023 and closed out the championship in the final weekend of the season at Charleston Speedway, where he also won the track championship with nine Feature wins in local competition.
“Mike Alsop Racing put me in good equipment, Cody Roberts at Bullet Chassis built me a hell of a racecar, and HP Machine had some awesome power to go with it,” Krick said.
Factory Stock – Trevor Isaak (Highland, IL)
The last four seasons of DIRTcar Factory Stock racing have been dominated by one man who continued his rule over the division in 2023 – Trevor Isaak.
Isaak, 33, of Highland, IL, collected his fourth-straight national championship – fifth of his career – this season on the back of 18 Feature wins in 25 recorded races. Boasting a win percentage of 72, Isaak has established a longstanding reputation of winning with the fans and in the pit area.
“I try not to get a big ego or a big head over it,” Isaak said. “I want to go out there and do the best I can at any given second and put on a show for the fans.”
The fans show up every week at his home track of Highland Speedway, where he’s now won the last six division track championships. Isaak greatly values the success he has at the 1/4-mile oval and knows the role it’s played in his quest for the national title each year.
“Highland’s always been one of those tracks when you talk to people like if you run well at Highland, you can run pretty decent at most tracks,” Isaak said. “That’s my backyard track, I’ve got thousands of laps around there, so that definitely comes into play.”
Sport Compact – Jimmy Dutlinger (Peoria, IL)
Another first-time national champion in DIRTcar’s 40th weekly racing season, Jimmy Dutlinger topped the Sport Compact division with a perfect, 20-win season in 53 recorded races.
Dutlinger captured both the Kankakee County Speedway and Charleston Speedway track championships en route to the national title, notching a combined 16 Feature wins between the two tracks.
Dutlinger becomes the sixth different driver in the last six years to win the Sport Compact national title.
Mod Lite – Jimmy Smith (Toboso, OH)
For the second-straight year, Jimmy Smith has captured the DIRTcar Mod Lite national championship.
The 38-year-old Ohio racer has raced Modifieds and Late Models before but has since found a home racing in the Mod Lite division. He dominated his competition this season with 18 wins in 31 recorded races; no other driver has more than nine Feature wins.
Thirteen of those wins in 2023 came at Hilltop Speedway, where he captured the track championship again, thanks in part to a chassis change from his 2022 setup.
“We switched chassis brands earlier in the year and it all just fell together,” Smith said. “I just feel more comfortable in the new car, and the people that are behind me – they treat me like family.”
DIRTcar Series PR
United Rentals Named Official Entitlement Partner for NASCAR Xfinity Series Race During Speedweeks Presented by AdventHealth
United Rentals is partnering with Daytona International Speedway for the NASCAR Xfinity Series season opener during Speedweeks Presented by AdventHealth, the track today announced.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series United Rentals 300 will take place Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, at 5:00 p.m. ET, with drivers tackling the 2.5-mile trioval at the World Center of Racing in their first on-track action of the new year.
“United Rentals has an established and respected partnership with Daytona International Speedway, and we’re excited to expand that relationship with the United Rentals 300,” said Frank Kelleher, President of Daytona International Speedway. “Speedweeks Presented by AdventHealth is one of the biggest events on the NASCAR schedule, between the amazing fans and the incredible competition, and we’re thrilled to showcase United Rentals’ involvement across global motorsports in the Xfinity Series season opener at the World Center of Racing.”
United Rentals was named the Official Equipment Partner of NASCAR in 2022 and has previously held the entitlement for multiple events across varying NASCAR tracks including the Xfinity Series United Rentals 200 and the Cup Series United Rentals, Work United race at Phoenix Raceway. Both Watkins Glen International and Martinsville Speedway have also hosted United Rentals races, with Daytona International Speedway becoming the latest track to feature a United Rentals entitlement.
“We are thrilled to partner with NASCAR and the Daytona International Speedway,” said Craig Schmidt, Vice President, National Accounts, United Rentals. “NASCAR’s focus on team based performance epitomizes how Untied Rentals works together with its customers. We are looking forward to kicking off another great season and giving our customers an unforgettable experience.”
The United Rentals 300 is just one of many races taking place at Daytona International Speedway during Speedweeks Presented by AdventHealth.
The multi-day racing action begins on Wednesday, Feb. 14 with DAYTONA 500 Qualifying, setting the field for the Duel at DAYTONA, which occurs the following night on Thursday, Feb. 15, where drivers will battle it out for a spot in the coveted Great American Race.
The season opening races for all three NASCAR National Series as well as the ARCA Menards Series kicks off on Friday, Feb. 16, starting with the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Fresh From Florida 250. Saturday, Feb. 17 will feature an action-packed double-header with the ARCA Menards Series race followed by the Xfinity Series United Rentals 300.
Then Sunday, Feb. 18, drivers in NASCAR’s premier series prepare for an intense battle in the DAYTONA 500, closing out Speedweeks at The World Center of Racing.
Fans can purchase tickets to Speedweeks Presented by AdventHealth at www.
Kaulig Racing announced today that Josh Williams will drive the No. 11 Chevrolet in the 2024 NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) season. Williams’ long-time sponsor, Alloy Employer Services, will serve as a primary partner.
Williams began his national series career at the age of 16 and has made 186 starts in the NXS, earning three top-10 finishes in 2023. The Port Charlotte, Fla. native looks to capitalize on his biggest opportunity yet with Kaulig Racing.
“After only an hour in the shop, I already feel like it’s home,” said Williams. “I’ve known a lot of these guys for a long time, and I felt like coming over here would give us a good opportunity to get wins. That’s the goal, Trophy Hunting.”
“Josh Williams has fought tooth and nail for everything in his racing career, and we’re really excited to have him race for us,” said Chris Rice, president of Kaulig Racing. “We love his energy and passion at the track, and we think his personality and drive will fit right in with the Kaulig Racing culture.”
Alloy Employer Services, which focuses on proactive claims management for workplace injuries and risk management, began its relationship with Williams in 2020. The company creates cost reductions on premiums for employers that are complemented by long-term cost control.
“Josh Williams represents the spirit of racing as we know and love it,” said Alloy CMO, Chris Estey. “We are excited and confident in his potential for the 2024 season. His blend of competitive edge, skill and sportsmanship promotes a super opportunity for him and all his sponsors. For all of us to be aligned with Kaulig Racing produces a powerful recipe.”
Also joining Alloy Employer Services and Williams will be a host of long-term and new partners who have been with Williams throughout his NXS career.
Williams will make his first start for Kaulig Racing when the season kicks off at Daytona International Speedway in February. Additional partnership announcements will come at a later date.
Kaulig Racing PR
Rackley W.A.R. president and COO Willie Allen confirmed the drivers that will participate in the 56th running of the Snowflake 100 and Snowball Derby week at Pensacola Florida’s 5 Flags Speedway this morning, headlined by Luke Fenhaus in the team’s No. 26 Super Late Model.
Fenhaus, 19, of Wausau, Wisconsin was most recently crowned 2023 champion of the Alive for 5 Super Late Model series at Dells Raceway Park. He won 4 of the 5 feature races which are recognized as some of the most notable and prestigious events in the Upper Midwest region. This was his second series championship, the first driver in history to ever repeat that performance.
He also competed in the ARCA Menards East Series this season, where he claimed victory in 2 of the 8 events, at Iowa and Nashville and was ultimately runner-up to the series championship.
2021 was a breakout year for Fenhaus, winning both the championship at Wisconsin’s Slinger Speedway and that of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program. During that championship run, Fenhaus also picked up the win at the Slinger Nationals, securing him a spot in the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) race for the Slinger event.
As far as the 2023 Snowball Derby, this will be Fenhaus’ third visit to the prestigious event, and he expressed much gratitude and excitement to team up with Rackley W.A.R. for this pinnacle late model spectacular.
“I’m very excited for the Snowball and to be with the Rackley W.A.R. team,” he said. “I’m excited to work with a team where their late model programs have really shined this year. They’ve gotten their cars to be fast about anywhere. It’s also about the people and I’m excited to go work with great people and have great equipment behind me. I’m hoping for a good outcome that leads to more opportunities.”
Allen also confirmed that the team’s Pro Late Model drivers Dawson Sutton and Gavan Boschele are entered for the Snowflake 100, the preliminary event to the Super Late Model Snowball Derby. Boschele won the Pro Late Model feature at New Smyrna Speedway’s Governor’s Cup weekend last Saturday. This will be the first Snowflake 100 for each driver. He said the team is confident in its driver lineup for this year’s race and is looking forward to a big week for the middle-Tennessee team.
“We’ve had a really great year this year. 2023 has really been good for us from both a growth and performance perspective all-around. Dawson and Gavan have had exceptional years in the Pro Late Models and to add Luke to our driver roster has everyone pumped. This and the All-American 400 are definitely our premier events of the season and we are going down with the mindset to get the job done as always.”
The 56th Snowball Derby kicks off on Wed., Nov. 29 and runs through Sun., Dec. 3.
Rackley W.A.R. PR
Several controversies have surrounded the year's final sprint at Interlagos for the United States Grand Prix. From Max Verstappen seeing off Lando Norris to Mercedes's baffling struggles and rules, there have been several talking points from this series.
Verstappen winning this event after a surprise defeat to Oscar Piastri in Qatar is a major highlight. This win is the fourth one for this year after edging Lando Norris McLaren. The duo contested earlier at Interlagos, with Norris outshining the Dutchman in the initial stages.
However, this was a short-lived victory as Verstappen rose to his dominant position, roaring to a 17th win, which doubled up with the fourth sprint success.
Besides the Verstappen and Norris drama, Charles Leclerc was forced to pull through the Ferrari reliability misery. On the other hand, Fernando Alonso produced a masterclass defense to challenge Sergio Perez.
As for Mercedes, there is more to reconsider after the races. With major highlights crowding the event, such as F1's future tires and a calendar contract, there is more to be concluded from the Brazilian Grand Prix Final.
Before we dive into a detailed look into the concluded Brazilian Grand Prix, do you love motorsports and can predict the outcome of different clashes? Check out the GGBet official site for upcoming races, predictions, and odds. Below are highlights of the F1's San Paulo visit.
Verstappen in Quest to Break the F1 Record
Verstappen's latest victory is a campaign of dominance that could see him break the 1952 hit rate by Ascari. He is a real threat and a veteran with the potential to set a new record. Vestappen's victory (the 17th of the 2023 campaign) increased his GP to 85%.
The results imply the lowest he could score is 77.3% in the Abu Dhabi and Las Vegas championships. The ranks cannot compare to the 71-year-old record set by Alberto Ascari in 1952 with 75%. No one has broken this record, but Verstappen is the man to watch.
The Masterclass Defense by Alonso
Alonso is known for incredible comebacks, and the Brazilian Grand Prix was no exception. His unconventional strategy against Perez earned him a worth-to-mention accolade. How he helped Esteban Ocon move to victory while holding Lewis Hamilton in 2021 is still remarkable.
The concluded series featured another tactical defense that earned him a spot on the podium, summing up to an eighth title in 2023.
Engine Electrics behind Leclerc's Ferrari Reliability Distress
The F1 had another rarely seen sight: a top-line driver (Leclerc) crashing on the formation lap. According to Leclerc, he thought the hydraulics were faulty, and they cut power at the engine to inhibit steering. This impacted his defense in countering the unexpected rear locking and turn six.
It turned out later that the command system failed and switched off the engine and hydraulic, as cited by Fred Vasseur (Ferrari's team boss). Leclerc terms this an unlucky encounter – he had previously encountered engine problems at Bahrain's season opener, DNF.
Both scenarios have cost him the much-coveted podium finish. This now sparks the reliability question about engine electrics even as he looks forward to having contract talks with Ferrari.
More Durable Tires Are a Possibility
With the conclusion of the Brazilian race, Pirelli is embarking on a new project with FIA and F1 teams. The idea is to come up with low-degradation tires by 2025.
Drivers have been grappling with overheating that makes tires vulnerable. This makes it difficult to race against other competitors, even with the rains causing several rear-sliding episodes that needed careful management.
Pirelli is researching this and is bound to modify this by reducing degradation, according to Mario Isola. It is an option to work on if racers can be guaranteed durable and reliable tires.
Impending Race Format Changes in 2024
The just-concluded event in Brazil featured the sixth F1 2023 final sprint. The conclusion brought about a discussion with FIA to tweak the format for the third year after its debut. Proposals include the return of the GP qualification system happening on Saturday and the sprint later the same day. This means that the sprint shootout will happen on Friday afternoon. A change in the format creates more for drivers, fans, and organizers.