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The Oval World Challenge is shaping up as a true unique world-championship caliber event. The French round of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, taking place in Tours on June 30 and July 1st will not just be the only NASCAR oval race held outside North America, but it will also feature a spectacular star-studded lineup, a unique format inspired from the Daytona 500 and a 10.000,00 € prize for the winner.
“What better place to prepare this very unique event than Daytona in occasion of the Daytona 500 week? This is amazingly inspirational and we continue to learn a lot from the best in the world at organizing motorsport events ! The Oval World Challenge in Tours is designed to become one of the best racing show in Europe for the coming years ! A true taste of american style racing and a must see for every motorsport fan,” said NWES President / CEO Jerome Galpin from Daytona, Florida.
The 0.4-mile banked short track built in downtown Tours will see drivers coming from all over the world and from many different motorsport disciplines challenge the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series stars to determine the Oval World Challenge Champion.
Tickets for the Oval World Challenge in the Tours Exhibition Center are now available online at http://www.tours-speedway.com/ with a special offer valid through February 28th and prices starting from 12€ for adults and 8€ for kids.
The event’s format will be inspired by the qualifying system used for the legendary Daytona 500 and will be valid for both NWES divisions, for a total of six Euro NASCAR races per day. After a timed session will determine the pole position on Friday, the field will be split in two groups. Each day the two groups will race separate Semi Finals and the top finishing drivers of each race will qualify for the day’s Final, which will feature the best 22 cars on track for a spectacular door-to-door battle.
It will be all or nothing in the OWC Finals: the best driver of the overall event will not only bring home a trophy especially designed to celebrate the Oval World Winner, but also, for the first time in Europe, a special prize of 10.000,00 €.
A provisional system will grant that the top-10 drivers of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series points standings will be able to compete in the finals.
The event’s on-track program will also include spectacular races : some of the best European drifters will compete the International Drift GP and over 30 cars from the French Legends Car Cup will make their debut in their first ever oval race, making it an action-packed weekend with over 8 hours of racing per day.
Race fans, their families and kids will also find plenty of trackside activities to make the Oval World Challenge an unforgettable weekend: they will be able to meet drivers and teams in Tour’s unique indoor paddock, walk on the grid minutes before the green flag waves and enjoy plenty of american-themed attractions. The list of trackside attractions will be revealed at a later date.
NASCAR Euro Series PR
Now that the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards has completed their season opening event at Daytona International Speedway, preparation has begun for the Music City 200 at Nashville’s (TN) Fairgrounds Speedway. The Track Enterprises promoted event has turned into a fan favorite, as three of the top Super Late Model tours will also be on track. The April 7th event is expected to draw some of the best fields of cars for short track racing in 2018.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is coming off of a season opening event at Daytona International Speedway that saw Michael Self claim the victory. The series drivers are looking forward to their first short track race of the season, taking them back to their roots. The versatile tour takes them to superspeedways, short tracks, road courses, and even dirt tracks.
Last year, Michigan driver, Chad Finley made a late race charge to the front, thanks to taking on four tires with pit strategy. The moved worked out beautifully as Finley went on to victory over Kyle Weatherman, Christian Eckes, Austin Theriault, and local favorite, Mason Mingus. A strong field of 32 drivers took the green in the nationally televised event.
When it comes to Super Late Model racing, this event draws some of the bigger fields of any event all season long. Last year’s race had 34 Super Late Models, with the event co-sanctioned by the ARCA/CRA Super Series powered by JEGS and the Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco. The 2018 edition will also see the CARS Super Late Model tour join in, pushing the possible car count up a little more.
Lawrenceville, Georgia driver Casey Roderick took the North-South Super Late Model Challenge 100 presented by Team Construction last year. He was able to fend off Augie Grill, Kyle Plott, Travis Braden, and Josh Brock. The entry list was a who’s-who of Super Late Model racing.
Hauler parking and Super Late Model practice is scheduled for Friday, April 6, while all racing festivities are set for Saturday, April 7 with practice beginning at 12:00, qualifying at 3:00, and racing at 5:45. General admission presale tickets are available for a $5 per ticket discount at https://market.myracepass.com/store/tickets/?i=1138614&store=17617 or by calling the Track Enterprises office at 217-764-3200.
Track Enterprises PR
Valvoline Inc. (NYSE: VVV) — a leading worldwide supplier of premium branded lubricants and automotive services — today announced the launch of its Fast Track to Fame contest celebrating the grassroots racing community by providing sponsorship opportunities for amateur racers. The contest opens on Feb. 15, 2018, at TeamValvoline.com/FastTrack.
"Amateur racers demonstrate their passion and pursuit of excellence every time they race, and Valvoline wants to celebrate those values through Fast Track to Fame," said Heidi Matheys, Valvoline chief marketing officer. "We believe in the 'Never Idle' spirit and we are looking for someone who lives it.'
Valvoline™ has been engrained in professional racing since its North American inception in 1895 and further cemented itself in the culture introducing the world's first racing oil in 1965. The brand continues its support today with involvement in IndyCar, NASCAR, NHRA, Formula Drift and several other major national touring series.
Valvoline invites grassroots racers from asphalt, dirt, motorcycle, snow and a variety of other classifications to enter for the chance to win the grand prize package valued at up to $50,000 in cash and prizes. The contest will operate in two rounds driven by public voting and judged criteria and housed on TeamValvoline.com/FastTrack. In round one, driver entrants are encouraged to share their entries with their friends and family to gain votes. In order to qualify for finalist consideration, each driver entrant must receive a minimum of 50 votes from 50 unique voters. The top four finalists will be chosen by a combination of public vote and a judging panel to move to the next round. Finalists may be featured in a video series, filmed at the finalists' hometown tracks, to give voters an up-close-and-personal look at the finalists' racing dream, struggles and successes. The driver with the most fan votes at the conclusion of round two wins the contest and will be announced July 10 on TeamValvoline.com/FastTrack.
The three runners-up will receive incremental prizes including cash and Valvoline product.
This opportunity is made possible by sponsors including Speedway Motors, One on One Brand, TSMGI and iRacing.
Valvoline Inc. PR
As spectators and fans travel near and far to witness first-class racing, the eleventh annual NASCAR Drive for Diversity Awards will further fuel the anticipation of events.
Industry leaders and personnel will gather Thursday morning at Daytona International Speedway to honor pioneers of diversity.
“The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Awards offer an outstanding platform to recognize individuals and organizations whose significant contributions drive our efforts of inclusion and strengthen the future of our sport,” said NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France. “Our commitment to diversity is part of our core values and it’s our sincere pleasure to recognize this year’s outstanding group of winners for their efforts and achievements.”
The NASCAR Drive Diversity Awards is the leading means to identify accomplishments in diversity and inclusion throughout the motorsports industry. The awards highlight exceptional accomplishments by drivers, motorsports professionals, industry facilities and organizations, as well as graduates of highly competitive programs, NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development and Pit Crew Development and the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program (NDIP).
Past notable awardees include Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers and NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduates Kyle Larson, Daniel Suárez and Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr.
The program will air live on FansChoice.tv at 10 a.m. ET.
2018 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Award recipients:
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Driver Joey Logano will receive the National Series Driver Award, given to a NASCAR national series driver who demonstrates leadership both on and off the racetrack while making contributions to the advancement of the sport.
NASCAR K&N Pro Series driver Jesse Iwuji will be presented with the NASCAR Diverse Driver Award, awarded to a minority or female NASCAR development driver that exemplifies outstanding performance both on and off the race track in encouraging awareness and interaction with NASCAR and motorsports.
PEAK will be honored with the NASCAR Partner Award, presented to a company that demonstrates a commitment to NASCAR diversity and inclusion goals through its program support and engagement with NASCAR.
Pit crew member Kevin Richardson will receive the NASCAR Diverse Crew Member Award, given to a minority or woman crew member that inspires awareness of NASCAR through competitive performance and outreach activities.
Isabella Robusto, a member of the 2018 NASCAR Drive for Diversity driver class, is to receive the NASCAR Young Racer Award. The award highlights a minority or female youth between the ages of 8- 15 years old that has partaken in some form of competitive racing and has overcome adversity in pursuit of his or her dream of participating in the motorsports industry.
Sam Belnavis will be presented with the NASCAR Industry Ambassador Award. The award honors a representative who displays a personal effort to incorporate multicultural initiatives as part of his/her job.
Precious Makuyana and Jorge Jones will be presented with the NASCAR Diversity Intern Award. The award is given to students who have exhibited outstanding performance and leadership skills in academics as well as during their internship in the NASCAR Diversity Internship.
The Jason Taylor Foundation will be awarded the NASCAR Institution Award. This award spotlights the organization that demonstrates a commitment to NASCAR diversity goals through their program support and engagement.
The NASCAR Track Award will go to Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The award is given to the track that demonstrates support of programming to engage with a multicultural fan base and identifies and activates programming with staff support and track assets.
Roush Fenway Racing will receive the NASCAR Team Award, highlighting the team that engages drivers, OEMs and sponsors to effectively reach fans on and off the track in support of NASCAR’s diversity and inclusion goals.
The 2018 NASCAR season kicks offs at the Daytona International Speedway with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with the NextEra Energy Resources 250 on Friday, February 16, followed by the debut of the NASCAR Xfinity Series with the POWERSHARES QQQ 300 on Saturday. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Daytona 500 will air on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET.
The battle for the European NASCAR title will have one more contender with a brand new team joining the grid in Valencia for the season opener: 20-year-old Dutch talent Loris Hezemans will enter the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in the ELITE 1 Division at the wheel of the #50 Ford Mustang fielded by Hendriks Motorsport.
After spending the last couple of years developing into a top driver in TCR and GT series, Hezemans had the chance to drive a Euro NASCAR car in one of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Recruitment Days in December and figured immediately among the quickest drivers on track.
“I was really surprised by how the car handled and how funny it is to drive, but also by the potential of the series and future opportunities it offers. If you look at the budgets involved and what you get in return, it is very interesting. To have the chance to go racing in the US is fantastic. NASCAR is completely new for me and I want to have a shot at making a career there,” said Hezemans, who also plans to take part in an extensive GT program in 2018. “I think I adapted well to the NWES car, we are tied with the right team with Hendriks Motorsport and I can’t wait to drive the car again. I look forward to a great season!”
Hezeman’s car will be owned by a motorsport icon: his father Toine Hezemans. A winner of all the most prestigious endurance races between the 60’s and the 70’s, including the 24 Hour Of Le Mans, the 24 Hours of Daytona and the legendary Targa Florio, Toine Hezemans believes the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series is an ideal proving ground for Loris to develop his talent.
“After the test Loris was really happy with the car and was among the fastest drivers out there. I love racing and I have always liked to be personally involved, so we decided to take this step. Personally for me it’s all about the fun and the love for racing,” said the 74-year-old veteran, who also has a vast experience as a team manager, especially in the FIA GT Championship. “I think the whole NASCAR Whelen Euro Series concept is great. The field is very competitive, performances are high and the costs are kept very low with clever choices by the organization.”
Strong of its many oval racing successes in the Netherlands, Hendriks Motorsport will make its NASCAR debut fielding the #50 Ford Mustang and will face a new challenge in preparing the car for road course racing. The team is poised to prove its worth in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and is currently scouting for an ELITE 2 driver to share the the car with Hezemans and will undergo the first test session of 2018 in Italy at the Autodromo di Franciacorta on February 28th.
“We have done many projects with Mr. Hezemans and when he decided to buy a NWES car, it was a perfect match for us to be the ones to prepare it,” said team co-owner Roy Hendriks. “We have been to some Euro NASCAR races in the past to study what the best teams are doing. The level is high and it’s all rather new for us, but we have podium ambitions so we will need to adapt very quickly and I’m confident we can do it.”
The first event of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will be held at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain on April 14-15.
NASCAR Euro Series PR
It was a magical week for 20-year old rookie driver Natalie Decker who started on the pole position and finished a career best 5th in last weekend’s ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
“I don’t know what to say – I’m just so happy right now,” said Decker. “My first time at Daytona and I sat on the pole and finished fifth. It’s amazing. I think It’s going to take a few days for all of it to sink in. What a great way to start the season and none of this would be possible if it wasn’t for the support I continue to receive from N29 Capital Partners, Venturini Motorsports, Toyota and of course my fans.”
Decker, performing on racing’s biggest stage, added her name to the record books becoming just the third woman in ARCA’s history and fourth in Daytona’s 59-year track history to start a race from the pole position. Decker joins Patty Moise and Erin Crocker as the only female General Tire pole winners at Daytona.
The Eagle River, WI native driving Venturini Motorsports’ flagship No.25 N29 Capital Partners – Yamaha Power Products Toyota Camry also picked up the series’ SCOTT Brand rookie of the race honors as top finishing rookie driver of the race.
“That was a crazy race – that’s all I can say,” added Decker. “I made a few mistakes but fortunately got away with them I learned a bunch. Honestly, Dave Leiner (Crew Chief) and Eddie D’Hondt (Spotter) deserve a lot of credit. They kept me calm and really helped me out there today. There’s no place quite like Daytona – it’s a total team effort.”
After leading the field to the green flag Decker gave up the lead and settled inside the top-3, running up front during the early stages around Daytona’s intimidating 2.5-mile superspeedway. Staying in the lead pack early Decker fell back to the 24th position after pitting twice during the midway point of the race.
Driving her way back up through the field Decker avoided the “big one” by impressively maneuvering her N29 Capital Partners Toyota through several wrecks to maintain her chances. Finding herself 10th after the first of two red flag stoppages Decker put herself in contention for the race win restarting fourth on the final restart with one lap remaining, but was unable to find the advantage.
Decker finished fifth behind race winner and teammate Michael Self and fourth-place finisher Tom Hessert. Leilani Munter, Decker’s fourth VMS teammate and the only other female driver in the field finished eighth.
Decker and Munter’s Daytona finishes marked the first time in ARCA Racing Series history that two female drivers finished in the top-10 at Daytona in the same race.
Participating in the full ARCA schedule with Venturini Motorsports, Decker will continue her pursuit of Rookie of the Year and Championship dreams next in the Music City 200 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville on April 7.
Willie Mullins and Mullins Racing came into the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season opener at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday as underdogs and almost left with the trophy.
Mullins avoided multiple crashes and piloted the No. 3 Crow Wing Recycling/Bugsy’s Auto Ford to a career-best second-place finish in the Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire after starting from the ninth position.
“It’s unbelievable,” Mullins said. “We’re still trying to wrap our heads around it. We finished second at Daytona. That’s not too bad for a little team based out of Virginia that only runs a few ARCA races a year. We couldn’t be happier.”
Mullins and his team decided to start from the rear of the 39-car field after qualifying ninth, preferring to take the cautious route until the first caution flag of the race waved for a multi-car incident on lap 22. Mullins’ crew chief Andy Belmont called him down pit road for fuel during the caution period.
“We decided to start in the back. We were just going to wait out all the wrecks and that’s basically what we did,” Mullins said.
From there Mullins slowly worked his way up through the field, picking off cars when he could as he avoided a multitude of incidents that took out contenders in front of him. Mullins was running just outside the top-10 on what was originally going to be the last lap when a massive multi-car crash on the backstretch happened in front of him. Mullins managed to dodge the mayhem, emerging from the smoke and debris in the 11th position.
“With one lap to go we were running about 14th and we thought we’d waited a little too long to make our run to the front,” Mullins said. “Then that wreck happened down the backstretch. I saw that car flipping through the air on my right, then I saw (Dave) Mader hit the 41 car in the side. I kind of just shot for the hole between the two big piles. I was down there digging, running through the grass and I put a little bit of right wheel in it right there by the chicane and the car hit the asphalt and we were good.”
When another car in front of him came down pit road, that put Mullins inside the top-10. With ARCA Racing Series rules requiring the race finish under green flag conditions, Mullins still had a shot at improving his finishing position.
The driver from Fredericksburg, Va., managed to gain a few positions on the restart as the leaders battled ahead of him. The battle for the lead soon turned disastrous as all four of the lead cars crashed in turns three and four, allowing Michael Self to emerge with the race lead while Mullins avoided the crashing cars to take over the second position.
“The seas kind of parted during that second wreck and we looked like heroes,” Mullins said. “Believe it or not I was calm. I was able to stay clear minded and I was able to get through all those big wrecks without tearing the car up at all.”
With at least one more restart coming, Mullins lined up second alongside Self, with veteran Tom Hessert and polesitter Natalie Decker directly behind the front duo.
When the green and white flags waved, Mullins attempted to get a good restart but he wasn’t able to get up to speed as fast as Self. That allowed Self to pull out to a comfortable lead as Mullins battled to hold on to the second position with Hessert, Decker and a fast closing Sheldon Creed.
Mullins stayed side-by-side with Hessert throughout the final lap and a push from Creed coming out of turn four allowed him to clear Hessert heading into the tri-oval. Self would win the race, with Mullins scoring an unlikely runner-up finish in his third career start at Daytona International Speedway.
“We had a longer third gear in the car, so that made it hard to get going on the restarts,” Mullins explained. “The car just wouldn’t get going. We had a Venturini car behind us and we needed someone to help push, but they obviously were going to protect since Self was also driving a Venturini car. Thankfully we got a big push from Sheldon Creed down the backstretch, which allowed us to get by Hessert and hold on to second.”
The No. 3 Mullins Racing Ford carried sponsorship from Crow Wing Recycling, CW Metals, Bugsy's Auto, Snap On by Timmy Brann, Morgan Lumber, County Waste, Sherwin Williams, Belmont’s Garage and Dinah Marie Photography at Daytona International Speedway.
Mullins Racing PR