Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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NTT INDYCAR Series driver Santino Ferrucci turned in a strong debut in the prestigious Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma while fellow drivers Conor Daly and James Davison are on deck.

Ferrucci drove from 11th to fifth in Wednesday night's C-Main race at Tulsa Expo Raceway, just missing advancement to the next round in the preliminary night won by Rico Abreu. The fifth-place finish was quite impressive for the versatile Ferrucci, who was competing in a midget race for the first time in his life.

"I thought I did really well," said Ferrucci, coming off a successful 2019 rookie campaign with Dale Coyne Racing. "Before my heat I only had 10 (practice) laps, so obviously I knew I was going to struggle at times. But my heat was pretty stacked, so I don't feel so bad."

Davison, a five-time Indianapolis 500 starter from Melbourne, Australia with plans to compete in the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 in 2020, is set to compete in Thursday's preliminary round, Daly will race Friday night. 

Daly, who will be handling the road/street course NTT INDYCAR Series schedule for Ed Carpenter Racing's No. 20 entry as well as a third team entry in the Indianapolis 500, will be making his second Chili Bowl appearance. He made his debut last year.

Davison only has turned a handful of laps in practice and, like Ferrucci, has minimal dirt-track experience. But Daly had a tip for both.

"I just started to get the hang of it by the end of the main event that I was in," Daly said of last year's event.

The three NTT INDYCAR Series drivers will be part of Saturday's final rounds, although their starting positions are still to be determined. There are 360 drivers competing in this 34th edition of the Chili Bowl, representing 40 states and six countries. Among them are seven former Chili Bowl champions, plus NASCAR Cup standouts Ryan Newman, Kyle Larson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Christopher Bell and Alex Bowman. Larson was Tuesday's overall winner, while Bell is the three-time defending champion of the event.

Ferrucci, Daly and Davison are driving with help from David Byrd, whose inspiration for supporting talented open-wheel drivers comes from his father, Jonathan, who helped Rich Vogler and Stan Fox compete in Indianapolis 500s. David Byrd also helped Bryan Clauson compete in the 500 in 2015 and '16.

Weeknight action of the Chili Bowl can be viewed online by pay-per-view at racinboys.com. Saturday's final feature races will air on the MAVTV Motorsports Network. Results can be found at chilibowl.com.

NTT IndyCar PR

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is pleased to announce the generous support of more than 140 donors has resulted in a fully-funded restoration initiative for the groundbreaking 1963 Lotus 29/1 that Dan Gurney qualified and drove in the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race.
The IMS Museum Lotus Restoration Project requires $103,000 to restore the No. 93 Lotus powered by Ford entry, in which Gurney qualified 12th and finished seventh. Incredible progress is underway on the restoration: Noted auto restoration expert George Lyons is returning the car body to its original, glorious white-and blue paint livery, while IMS Restoration is completing engine and suspension work, and new wheels have been sourced from the United Kingdom.
While subject to change, the Museum’s goal is to debut the Lotus 29/1 during 2020 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge activities in May.
Jack Brabham drove a rear-engine Cooper in the 1961 “500” and Gurney drove a rear-engine car for team owner Mickey Thompson in 1962, but it was the 1963 arrival of Lotus founder Colin Chapman, his drivers Jim Clark and Gurney, and three Lotus 29 entries that signaled the groundbreaking transition to rear-engine race cars at the Indianapolis 500. Years of historic technological and safety innovation in Indy car racing would follow.
Clark started fifth with Lotus chassis 29/3 and finished second to Parnelli Jones in the 1963 “500.” Gurney crashed his primary car, the Lotus 29/2 in practice, and switched to the 29/1 for his successful run in qualifying and the race. Scotland native Clark, a two-time Formula One World Champion with Lotus during his Hall of Fame career, took the “500” the pole in 1964, and with the new Lotus 38, delivered the first Indy victory for a rear-engine car in 1965.
Video: For a visual update on the Lotus 29/1 project from our Curator of Vehicles Jason Vansickle, please see our latest update on the IMS Museum YouTube channel by clicking here.
Future Restoration Projects: With the Lotus 29/1 restoration in the homestretch, the IMS Museum soon will announce three exciting new restoration projects that will return to life three legendary engines of the Indianapolis 500. Details will be released soon. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization operated separately from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, support from donors will be essential for the IMS Museum Restoration team to complete timely and impactful restorations, just as they will soon do with Dan Gurney’s Lotus 29/1.
IMS Museum PR

Prior to the 62nd annual DAYTONA 500 on Sunday, Feb. 16 at Daytona International Speedway, through an exclusive ticket package, race fans will be able to hear from Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott as he kicks off his fifth full-time season in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Recently voted NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver for the second straight year, the 24-year-old driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet has three wins at the “World Center of Racing”, but is still looking to capture his first points-paying victory in the Cup Series on the 2.5-mile tri-oval.

The Chase Elliott DAYTONA 500 ticket package includes:

  • Reserved ticket to the 62nd annual DAYTONA 500 on Sunday, Feb. 16
  • Chase Elliott-autographed souvenir
  • Exclusive Q&A session with Elliott in a Midway Suite

The Chase Elliott ticket package is available for $209 per person and capacity is limited. To purchase, fans can visit https://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.

Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat, and by downloading Daytona International Speedway’s mobile app, for the latest news throughout the year.

DIS PR

Schlüter-Systems, a world leader in the development of innovative installation systems for ceramic and natural stone tile, will hit the track in 2020 with a flaming new paint scheme for driver Corey LaJoie and the No. 32 Go Fas Racing (GFR) team.

The addition of blazing flames down the sides of the Roush Yates-powered machine overlays the familiar orange ditra-design synonymous with the Schlüter-Systems brand. 
 
"Schlüter-Systems is proud to partner for a fourth consecutive year with Corey LaJoie in his constant pursuit within NASCAR," stated Marco Ludwig, CEO & President of Schlüter-Systems, NA. "Corey has been an exceptional brand ambassador for Schlüter-Systems and we look forward to continued collaboration both on and off the track. We are excited to see what the 2020 season holds for Corey and his GoFas racing team, we wish them a safe and successful season."
 
With more than 900 employees across the globe, Schlüter-Systems has three locations in North America: Plattsburgh, New York, Montreal, Quebec, and Reno, Nevada, as well as six European offices, including its main headquarters in Iserlohn, Germany.

Team owner Archie St. Hilaire echoed the excitement of Schlüter returning with an increased presence in 2020. 
"Everyone at Go Fas Racing is excited to have Schlüter returning to support Corey and the team for 2020. They are a great group of people to work with and their products are the best in the business. I can't thank the whole Schlüter family enough for believing in the team and NASCAR going forward," said Archie St. Hilaire, team owner of Go Fas Racing.
 
Schlüter-Systems will have an expanded on-car presence during the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season as LaJoie sets out for his second full-time season under the GFR banner.
 
Corey LaJoie is just as excited to continue his relationship with Schlüter into the new season.
"I consider myself very lucky that Schlüter continues to grow their program and invest into my career," said returning Go Fas Racing driver Corey LaJoie. "Our goal is to provide their customers and employees with the best possible experience at the racetrack every week. The assets that Go Fas continues to build gives us a solid platform to provide with them great results on and off the track."
 
Be sure to catch the fiery scheme at a plethora of events on the 2020 schedule with the new scheme debuting at the second race of the season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube.
The scheme is also scheduled to be run at Talladega (I), Michigan (I), Daytona (II), Bristol (II), and Texas (II).

The new Schluter-Systems diecast will be available for fans through Lionel, through this link: https://www.lionelracing.com/drivername/Corey-Lajoie .
Visit Schluter.com to learn more about their products and availability.
GFR PR

It's a new year, and for Natalie Decker, that means new goals, a new number, same mindset.

Running multiple races in her rookie season, Decker has signed with Niece Motorsports after wrapping up her rookie year with DGR-CROSLEY.

Decker will be in a part-time ride in the Niece Motorsports No. 44 Chevy for her NASCAR Truck Season as she continues her journey towards competing in the NASCAR Cup Series. In 2019, she saw great success, finishing 19th in the series as a rookie in a part-time schedule.

Following her to Niece Motorsports will again be the backing of her main sponsor N29 Technologies.

“Natalie has shown a lot of talent and we’re looking forward to helping her continue to develop that. Last year was her first season in these trucks, so it was a big learning year for her. We are really excited about the schedule she is going to run this year because we feel like it will build on her strengths,” said Cody Efaw, Technical Director of Niece Motorsports.

As she brings her infectious enthusiasm and focus to Niece Motorsports, she joins forces with Ross Chastain, new signee Carson Hocevar, and fellow Wisconsin native Ty Majeski. Natalie will be piloting the No. 44, sharing seat time with Chastain, who will make the full time jump to Xfinity after winning three truck races in 2019 and finishing 2nd in the race for the Championship in Miami.

“Change is inevitable. Change is expected and exciting, and change is also frightening! But this year is a year I’m ready for! I have never felt so prepared with, my health, in the gym, and mentally. With so many things to be excited about working with Niece Motorsports starting with my teammates Ross and Ty. I’m ready to learn from them and be 100% open-minded going into this season!”, says an exuberant Decker.

Decker's first race with Niece Motorsports will be this coming February 14th at Daytona International Speedway.

“We have high expectations for Natalie this year and are excited to get to Daytona with her!”, said Efaw.

In addition, Decker has announced she will again work with Tony Ave and AVE Motorsports running a full schedule in the SGT-Trans Am West Coast Series. She will race in a GT-4, with sites set on a championship, starting March 14th at Sonoma Raceway.

When asked about the upcoming season, Ave said “We are looking forward to running Natalie for a points championship this year, as well as having her help us develop some new equipment for the team. We’ve got some different things up our sleeve for 2020 and beyond, and Natalie is a perfect fit to both develop the opportunities and reap the benefits in the driver’s seat as well”

In total, Natalie has locked in 14 total races on her calendar in 2020, split between those two series. There are plans in the works for adding more as she progresses further into the year.

Decker remains focused and driven to continue the pursuit of her dream to race full time in the Cup Series, gaining traction of that one race at a time!

TDR PR

The 2019 Offshore Powerboat Association Class 6 World Championship winning boat will be on display at the Pioneer Pole Buildings Motorsports 2020 Racecar and Trade Show at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA this weekend, January 17-19.

Coming off their championship earned in Englewood Beach, Florida, this past November the team will return to the show after a few years sabbatical.   "We had a couple of years where we had major repairs to the boat that prevented us from coming to the show," said driver Pete Smith.  "This year, we are in great shape, with no major repairs, only our routine off season maintenance which we will start right after the show.  It is great to be coming back, we have been to the show since the early days in Valley Forge as exhibitors and as attendees.  It is a great way to kick off the 2020 season."

For more information about the team check out their Facebook page Smith Brothers Offshore Racing Team and their web site www.smithbrothersoffshoreracing.com

In addition to Powerboat Racing adding to the diversification of the show there will be the opportunity for show attendees to test their talents in go karts. Arnold’s Family Fun Center will give them the opportunity to drive an electric kart right there at the Expo Center in the C Hall. This is a chance to see if you just might have the talent to be a race car driver. The cost is just $10 and there is two seaters so the youngsters can be included in the fun with an adult.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett along with legendary NASCAR driver Kyle Petty will be appearing on Saturday during the show. Both Jarrett and Petty are part of the NASCAR Sports TV broadcast team. A large number of other well-known names in the sport will also be making appearances.

Middletown, New York’s Orange County Speedway 100th Anniversary display continues to grow becoming a major part of the popular show.

One of the most popular events during the three day show has been, and will again be, the Ms. Motorsports Pageant sponsored by Aqua Duck Water Transport.  One contestant will walk off with a $1,500 cash prize along with a poster deal. Best in swimwear, chosen by the crowd, will also receive $500. Entry blanks for this event as well as Little Miss Motorsports are available at the event website, motorsportstradeshow.com.

Many racing facilities and sanctioning bodies will be represented, using the show to announce their 2020 racing plans and schedules. Tracks already registered include Pocono, Dover, Lincoln, New Egypt, BAPS, Bridgeport, Mahoning Valley, Georgetown and Kutztown. Organizations include DIRTcar, Short Track Super Series, USAC East, URC, MASS, ATQMRA, Xcel and Slingshots by Tobias.

Hotel rooms are available at the nearby Valley Forge Casino Resort at the special show rate of $91 per night. Call 610.354.8118 and be sure to ask for the Motorsports Show Room Block in the Valley Tower.

PPB Motorsports 2020 opens on Friday, January 17 at 2 p.m., then at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The show closes at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

On Sunday, all children 12 and under are admitted FREE with a parent. A Little Miss pageant will be held as well as Big Wheel races.

Tickets are available daily at the door beginning one hour before the show opens. And the Expo Center offers a large number of FREE parking spaces. To stay informed on the latest show news to obtain booth information or enter one of the competitions, check in at www.motorsportstradeshow.com or call 609-888-3618.

AARN PR

Television coverage of Saturday night stock car racing will be returning to Grandview Speedway in 2020. For the 20th straight season Lehigh Valley, PA’s RCN/TV will offer television coverage of six dates of Saturday night stock car racing at the popular auto racing facility. Five dates will be NASCAR sanctioned while the season opening April 4th VP Racing Fuels Bruce Rogers Money Maker Memorial, featuring both small and big block Modifieds racing 50 laps for$7,500 to win, will not carry NASCAR sanctioning. Sportsman will be a second part of the doubleheader.

The coverage, shown on a delayed basis, will include qualifying action, features and winner interviews, all in one program on Tuesday nights. The coverage will be seen again on Friday night followed by another showing just before the next event being videotaped.

Included in the schedule of events to have coverage are April 4 (Bruce Rogers Memorial), May 9, June 6, July 11, August 1 (Forrest Rogers Memorial) and August 15th.

“The television coverage by RCN/TV is a great tool for our racers to use in attracting sponsorship. We are told the programming from Grandview gets very high viewer ratings,” said general manager Tina Rogers. “This also gives viewers that are not fans of the sport a chance to see what dirt track stock car racing is all about and perhaps serve as an incentive for them to come out and see the events live. It is pretty much a win-win situation for all involved.”

A few of the televised events are still available to businesses looking to benefit from sponsorship in motorsports. Details can be had by contacting Ernie Saxton at 215.752.7797 or on his cellphone at 267.934.7286.

Well respected Area Auto Racing News, Reading Eagle and Allentown Call writer Randy Kane will once again team up with veteran broadcaster Mike Feltenberger to provide expert commentary of the events. RCN-TV has been offering local auto racing coverage for 40 seasons

Grandview Speedway will kick off their 58th consecutive season of stock car racing on Saturday, March 28th, 12 noon, with a free-to-the-public practice session featuring all types of competition.

The battle for the lucrative point funds, will officially get underway with the first NASCAR point events of the season for the T.P.Trailers 358 Modifieds and T.P.Truck Equipment Sportsman racers on Saturday, April 11th, 7 p.m.

The complete Grandview Speedway schedule for 2020 can be found at www.grandviewspeedway.com.

Grandview Speedway, a one-third-mile, banked clay racing facility, is located on Passmore Road, just off Route 100, 10 miles above Pottstown, PA. Information is available at www.grandviewspeedway.com or telephone 610.754.7688.

Grandview Speedway PR

New York University (NYU) sophomore Joe Graf Jr. has joined SS Greenlight Racing as their fulltime driver for the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series season.

Their first race will begin at the prestigious Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway for the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 on Sat., Feb. 15, 2020.

Graf Jr. will drive the No. 08 Chevrolet Camaro and campaign for Rookie of the Year honors during the 33-race schedule this season with industry veteran Patrick Donahue serving as crew chief.

“To be racing fulltime in the NASCAR Xfinity Series is super cool. My boys at EAT SLEEP RACE are really pumped and I am looking forward to having them back on the car,” said Graf Jr.

“Bobby (Dotter, team owner) and Patrick (Donahue) prepare solid cars. To have the chance to get into a competitive race car for a full season is exactly what I need to continue developing at this level.

"My goal is to learn as much as possible, contend for strong finishes and maybe even earn a berth into the Xfinity Series Playoffs. I know I have a lot to learn, but I’m eager for the challenge and am ready to get to Daytona and getting the season underway.”

“I’ve been watching Joe for a little while now, especially when he ran a few NASCAR Xfinity Series races last season and I’ve seen he’s eager to learn and perform,” explained Dotter. “This is a big step for him, but he is determined to put the effort in and have a good rookie season.

“With Patrick’s leadership and the strength that our team has shown in recent seasons, there’s no reason that we can’t go out there and do the same with Joe in 2020. I’m looking forward to getting the year started.”

Graf Jr., 21, graduates to the NASCAR Xfinity Series full-time after spending the last two seasons in the ARCA Menards Series for Chad Bryant Racing. In 39 races, Graf earned seven top-five and 21 top-10 finishes including his first career series victory at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway.

He finished a career-high fifth in the championship standings in 2019.

Additionally, last season, Graf made three Xfinity Series starts for Richard Childress Racing as well as serving as marketing and communications intern through New York University, a role that he will continue in 2020.

“I learned a lot as an intern at Richard Childress Racing last season,” said Graf. “The opportunity to work with a lot of talented people on so many levels not only from an internship perspective but as well as a driver was such an eye-opening experience. I’m grateful to continue my internship in 2020 with Richard Childress Racing and continue developing as a driver.”

Graf’s longtime spotter Brian Crammer will also make the move to SS Greenlight Racing.

For more on Joe Graf Jr visit JoeGrafJr.com. , like him on Facebook (Joe Graf Jr.), follow him on Twitter (@JoeGrafJr) and Instagram (@joegrafjr).

For more on EAT SLEEP RACE visit eatsleeprace.com like them on Facebook (@eatsleeprace), follow them on Twitter (@eatsleeprace) and Instagram (@eatsleeprace)

SS Green Light Racing PR

Venturini Motorsports (VMS) officials announced today that ARCA Menards Series (ARCA) standout, Corey Heim, has joined the storied team for a partial schedule throughout the 2020 season. Heim, will pilot the teams Toyota Camry’s in seven starts, covering all three of the ARCA Menards Series; National, East and West.

“I am really looking forward to getting into one of Venturini Motorsports Toyotas and hitting the track this season,” commented Heim. “Last year was a step in the right direction for me and I think with everything I learned and Venturini’s amazing track record in ARCA, we will be a threat each and every week we show up. It’s going to be a lot of fun running in all three ARCA Series and I’m looking forward to racing on short tracks, dirt tracks and road-courses.” 

Hailing from Marietta, GA, Heim surprised most after making his first ever ARCA start in 2019, where he started fourth and finished fifth at Five Flags Speedway. Continuing to run a partial campaign throughout the season, Heim tallied up 11 more top-10 finishes and seven top-five finishes, leading 15-laps in only 12 additional races. All of this was coupled with Heim running Late Model Stock and Super Late Models throughout the Southeast, where he continued to rack up top-five finishes. 

“In continuing with our goal to make our driver development program as strong as possible, I am excited to welcome Corey Heim as the newest addition. He was a tough competitor on-track last season and I am glad to have him as part of our program so we don’t have to race against him this year,” commented Billy Venturini. “Heim has proven himself to be a threat each week and will only help us continue to expand our ARCA East and West Series programs.”

The now 17-year old, Heim will comprise his 2020 racing schedule of the short tracks, dirt tracks and road-courses that make up one of the most diverse stockcar tours in North America. Kicking off the year, Heim will see ARCA East action at the famed New Smyrna Speedway, before heading to Five Flags Speedway as the Series second stop. He will make one more East start at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, along with two West Series starts at Sonoma Raceway and Phoenix International Raceway. Rounding out his busy schedule will be two ARCA starts at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds and Kansas Speedway.

Venturini Motorsports will make a formal announcement regarding sponsor, car number and crew chief for Heim at a later date. 

VMS PR

Natalie Decker will pilot the No. 44 Chevrolet Silverado for Niece Motorsports in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (NGROTS) on a part-time basis during the 2020 season.

Decker will make her debut with Niece Motorsports in the first race of the 2020 season, at Daytona International Speedway.

“Change is inevitable, change is expected and exciting, and change is also frightening,” said Decker.  “But this year is a year I’m ready for!  I have never felt so prepared with my health, in the gym, and mentally.  There are so many things to be excited about working with Niece Motorsports, starting with my teammates Ross and Ty.  I’m ready to learn from them and be 100% open minded going into the season!”

Decker made 19 starts in the NGROTS last year for DGR Crosley.  Decker joins Ty Majeski, Ross Chastain and Carson Hocevar, who will all race for Niece Motorsports in 2020.

“We are excited to have Natalie join the team,” said team owner Al Niece.  “Natalie has shown a lot of talent, and we are excited to see her continue to develop that at Niece Motorsports.  We are certain we will put her in competitive equipment that will really give her a chance to shine.”

Decker got her star racing go-karts in her native Wisconsin, where she won four track championships.  From there, she made the move into full-sized stock cars.  She was the CWSSA Super Stock champion out of a talented field of 35 drivers.  Success continued in the Limited Late Model division, where she won one race and had two podium finishes.

Next, Decker moved into the competitive Late Model ranks, completing every lap of the World Series of Stock Car Racing at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway in 2013.  Her on-track success led her to being selected to the 2013 and 2014 NASCAR Rev Racing Drive for Diversity combine.

At State Park Speedway in Wisconsin, Decker had 10 fast times and seven feature races in 2014, leading her to the track championship.  She was also the Rookie of the Year and finished fourth in overall points in the State Park Super Late Model division.

Decker also won in the Super Late Model division at Wisconsin’s Golden Sands Speedway and on the competitive TUNDRA Super Late Model series in the upper Midwest in 2014.

In 2015, Decker was selected by NASCAR to be a part of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, with proven race-winning team Rev Racing.  She battled week-in-and-week-out against the top short track racers in the country at “The Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars,” Hickory Motor Speedway.  

Decker turned heads at Hickory and beyond with the Rev Racing team and also saw plenty of success with her family-operated Super Late Model at tracks from Wisconsin to Florida, with wins at Golden Sands and State Park Speedways.

Decker became the first female racer to score a podium finish in the ARCA Midwest Tour.  Her success in the state of Florida through the season also earned Decker the prestigious title of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Rookie of the Year in the Sunshine State.

In 2018, Decker earned the pole and finished fifth in the ARCA Racing Series at Daytona International Speedway.  She finished seventh overall in the ARCA Racing Series point standings.

Niece Motorsports PR

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