Speedway Digest Staff
Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest
Chicagoland Speedway announced today that the BBQ SmokeDown will return to Chicagoland Speedway’s NASCAR Summer Festival Weekend June 18-21. Last year's BBQ SmokeDown featured BBQ Hall of Famers Myron Mixon, "Dr. BBQ" Ray Lampe, Chris Lilly and Famous Dave Anderson as well as Champion BBQ Teams and leading brands like Big Green Egg, PK, Ergo Chef, Weber and many more.
This year's special guests include several BBQ Hall of Famers, James Beard award winners, celebrity pitmasters, including KC's own STRETCH Rumaner, a restaurateur, BBQ team owner and TV personality, who will serve as this year’s celebrity emcee.
The BBQ SmokeDown will feature a Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned (KCBS) Master Series competition for chicken, ribs, pork and brisket, along with a KCBS "Backyard" competition, a Steak Cook Off and kid’s competition. Judges for the BBQ SmokeDown will come from the ranks of certified KCBS judges, alongside some of the favorite personalities from Food Network, BBQ, Chicago media, racing, sports and NASCAR fans.
“On the heels of the wildly successful inaugural BBQ SmokeDown last year, we will welcome back the best BBQ teams in the business during our NASCAR Summer Festival Weekend,” said Chicagoland Speedway President Scott Paddock. “Nothing says summer festival like NASCAR and BBQ, and we look forward to the second installment of the BBQ SmokeDown.”
KCBS CEO Emily Detwiler added: "The connections between BBQ and racing are undeniable; BBQ SmokeDown brings top KCBS competition and all of the excitement of NASCAR to one great, highly anticipated weekend for the 2020 schedule."
This year's BBQ SmokeDown at Chicagoland Speedway will also feature exclusive BBQ tasting events, a Trackside Tasting Tailgate, demos, as well as activations and experiences highlighting the people and products of the BBQ world.
"SmokeDown has quickly become a true signature event in the world of BBQ, with reigning Grand Champion (The BBQ Bus) qualifying for the Jack Daniel’s World BBQ Invitational,” said Dane Neal, national food media personality and host on WGN 720 Radio. “The incredible backdrop of race weekend, with many of the country's best KCBS teams, the stars of NASCAR, and legends of BBQ, add to a highly anticipated 2020 BBQ SmokeDown. This is the can't-miss event this summer.”
"Chicago is my hometown, and I love the Bears, Sox and Chicagoland Speedway! The 2020 Smokedown event is shaping to be even bigger and better. The. Competition will be fierce on the track and in the pits, but when the smoke is clear, we’ll be crowning our next SmokeDown Champ,” said BBQ Hall of Famer, author and restaurateur Ray Lampe, aka Dr. BBQ.
BBQ SmokeDown at Chicagoland Speedway will feature:
- KCBS Contests, Steak Cook Off and Additional Categories
- Exclusive Tasting Tailgate and Events
- Driver Grilling Challenges
- Celebrity Meet and Greet, Book Signings
- Exclusive Camping, Tasting, Tailgate and Ticket packages!
- Samples, Bites and BBQ from Top Chefs and BBQ Greats!
The Inaugural BBQ SmokeDown at Chicagoland Speedway saw 40 KCBS teams compete with three of the top five teams in the country. The SmokeDown Grand Champion went to the American Royal Invitational and was drawn for the Jack Daniel’s World Invitational BBQ Championship. The BBQ SmokeDown and personalities were featured on WGN Radio, the NASCAR on NBC broadcast and the Emmy Award-winning series FOCUSED airing in 90 million homes nationwide.
The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series weekend at Chicagoland Speedway will take place June 18-21. The NASCAR Summer Festival Weekend will kick off with the ARCA Menards Series followed by the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, the NASCAR Xfinity Series and will culminate with the NASCAR Cup Series
To purchase tickets to any 2020 Chicagoland Speedway event, visit us online at www.ChicagolandSpeedway.com, call 888-629-RACE (7223), download the Chicagoland Speedway mobile app, visit the Chicagoland Speedway Administrative office or stop by the box office on the day of the event.
Grandstand tickets, race weekend experiences (hospitality, pre-race pit passes and other enhancements) and camping for Darlington Raceway’s NASCAR Cup Series Southern 500® and NASCAR Xfinity Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 on September 4-6, are now officially on sale to the general public.
Tickets can be purchased by calling 866-459-7223, visiting www.DarlingtonRaceway.com or through the track’s mobile app. Fans may also visit the Darlington Raceway ticket office during normal business hours – 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
“It’s an exciting day for Darlington Raceway as our 2020 NASCAR events are now officially on sale to the general public,” track President Kerry Tharp said. “We sold out our NASCAR Cup Series Southern 500 race last year, so we encourage fans to purchase tickets early and secure their seats or campsites for what is shaping up to be an exciting weekend on September 4-6.”
“With Darlington hosting throwback weekend and the first race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, our weekend is something everyone will want to be a part of. We offer a variety of affordable pricing on tickets for all of our events, including kids and military discounts,” Tharp continued.
Darlington Raceway will honor NASCAR Champions…Past, Present and Future for throwback weekend. The track will also be the first race of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. The last time Darlington hosted a postseason race was in 2004.
Darlington Raceway sold-out its 2019 Southern 500 event and had a near-capacity crowd for its Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 race. The track will be hosting the NASCAR Cup Series for the 71st consecutive year in 2020, trailing only Martinsville Speedway for most consecutive years in the sport’s storied history.
The Tradition Continues on Labor Day weekend as the NASCAR Cup Series Southern 500® is set for Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020. Throwback Weekend coverage will once again be covered in its entirety on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM. The NASCAR Xfinity Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 will race on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020.
Darlington Raceway PR
Victory Weekend, a longtime non-profit partner of StarCom Racing’s Driver Quin Houff, teams up with StarCom Racing for the upcoming Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, February 23. Victory Weekend, a division of the Steve Wingfield Evangelistic Association, will continue its support of Houff and the 00 at the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, March 1. Both races will be aired on FOX.
Located in Virginia, near Houff’s hometown, Victory Weekend’s mission is to reach its community and beyond with a practical, Christ-centered message of purpose through motor sports related outreach and entertainment. Victory Weekend’s team is committed to showing love and appreciation to America’s heroes—our veterans, military personnel, and first responders.
“I am thankful for my team and partners for allowing me to promote Victory Weekend in these two races,” said Quin Houff, SCR No. 00 driver. “I have worked with Victory Weekend for most of my career, from my grass root late model level, to the top echelon of stock car racing in the NASCAR Cup Series. Victory Weekend provides me a great platform to reach fans and let them know who I really am and what I stand for. It is so fun to go out with them and meet with fans at any given racetrack, right in the campgrounds!”
Victory Weekend is not formally affiliated with any church denomination, but rather seeks to follow the calling to love God and people. It’s been Victory Weekend’s experience that successful outreach is centered in being relevant to real life and providing a place where people can be themselves while interacting with the media and message. Victory Weekend exists and is financed through tax-deductible contributions from like-hearted individuals, organizations and the communities they serve.
For more information on StarCom Racing or to gear up with Quin Houff merchandise, visit. www.starcomracing.com or follow the team on social media @starcomracing.
Fifteen-year-old Jesse Love emerged as a major contender in the ARCA Menards Series West season opener at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Thursday night, as he came away with a runner-up finish in his series debut.
He dashed from second on the grid in his No. 19 NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry to lead early in the Star Nursery 150, before settling into second.
Love is among a contingent of five talented young rookies competing this year for Bill McAnally Racing. Three of those drivers ran 2-3-4 for most of the race on Thursday, with Love followed by Gracie Trotter and Lawless Alan.
Trotter held down the third position in her No. 99 ENEOS Toyota Camry throughout the race until getting shuffled back after a restart with seven laps remaining. That shuffle also left Alan to finish sixth in the No. 12 AUTOParkit / NGK Toyota Camry.
Gio Scelzi, meanwhile, had to battle back after his No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS / Curb Records Toyota Camry got turned around after contact from Alan early in the race. He came away with a 10th-place finish. Teammate Holley Hollan came home 12th in the No. 50 JBL / NAPA Filters / NAPA Belts & Hoses Toyota Camry.
Brennan Poole and Premium Motorsports are excited to welcome new partner GOETTL into the NASCAR Cup Series on the No. 15 Chevy Camaro as their partner for 3 races, which include both Las Vegas Motor Speedway Cup Races and the Championship Cup Race weekend in Phoenix at PIR.
“All of us here at Premium Motorsports are honored to have such a successful, reputable and respected local company support our No.15 Team and Brennan this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway” expressed Owner Jay Robinson.
Goettl Air Conditioning & Plumbing, celebrating their 81st year in business, will adorn the No.15 Cup Car with a special primary paint scheme featuring their blue, white, and gray colors just as the 504 Goettl service trucks that are driving throughout the Southwest USA do. The Goettl name has been recognized for serving the southwest with excellence in heating and air conditioning installation and service for over eight decades. Goettl CEO Ken Goodrich is happy to continue the partnership and stated that “The hard working perfectionists at Goettl Air Conditioning & Plumbing are very proud to partner with Brennan Poole again this year because, like Team Goettl, Brennan and his Team do things the right way when it comes to their jobs, not the easy way.”
Returning to the same track that he ran the Goettl brand on last year in the NGOTS, Brennan Poole is focused on giving them a good run in one of their most important markets. Stating, “I’m so pumped to bring Goettl to the cup series this week after our P16 finish at Daytona. Our team was so excited and I can’t wait to build off of last week’s run! We finished 6th in our Goettl truck last year and will give it everything again this year.”
Tune in Live on FOX at 3:30 EST or 12:30 local time this Sunday to catch all the action for the NASCAR Cup Series Penzoil 400 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway as Poole and his #15 team try to keep the momentum rolling.
Premium Motorsports PR
It had been 17 years since Kyle Busch drove into Victory Lane at his hometown short track, The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
On Thursday night, the man who’s accustomed to lifting hardware in the NASCAR Cup Series took home a trophy that was close to his heart.
Busch outlasted the field at the Star Nursery 100 Super Late Model Open Comp race, finishing 1.220 seconds ahead of Christian McGhee and 1.312 clear of regional star and multiple-time Bullring winner Derek Thorn.
“It’s been a long time since I won here – a really long time,” said Busch, who has won more than 50 races at the 3/8-mile paved oval. “The fans here have always supported me – in the beginning from The Bullring days when I was a kid.
“Thanks to all the supporters out here in Las Vegas – my mom and dad, and my wife and my son now … how times have changed. It’s so cool and special to come out here – I want to thank Craig Keough and Star Nursery for sponsoring this event, and the next one.”
Busch started slow, beginning in the seventh spot and staying outside the top five for the first few laps.
“We had a lot of cautions there early and were eating some laps in the yellow, and it was going to be a short race under the green flag,” Busch said.
The defending NASCAR Cup Series champion was patient and eventually moved his way up to the front. Busch briefly took the lead on lap 63, only to see Thorn retake him for the top spot.
But Busch didn’t wait long to fight back, executing a bump-and-run move to pass Thorn on lap 65. He wouldn’t look back from there.
“We had a good car and just kind of got stuck there for a little bit,” Busch said. “That’s The Bullring – that’s how I remember it the times I used to be here. You gotta move them, or you’ll get moved. It’s fun racing.
“Thorn is one of the best competitors out here on the west coast, there’s no question. So, it’s cool to beat those guys tonight.”
Thorn led many of the laps before Busch overtook him and was the primary competition for the NASCAR pro throughout the race. McGhee bumped Thorn on the final lap to finish second.
Sam Mayer is only 16, but he’s already driving at a much higher level. Mayer, fresh off a win at the season-opening ARCA East Series race at New Smyrna, Fla., nearly led wire-to-wire to take the checkered flag in the Star Nursery 150 ARCA Menards Series West race.
Mayer was making his first start in the ARCA West Series and at The Bullring. So, it was quite a debut for the driver of the No. 21 Spencer Clark “Driven” Foundation Chevrolet.
“That was an amazing race,” Mayer said. “I’m trying to live up to the Spencer Clark name, for sure.”
Mayer was running a paint scheme honoring the late Spencer Clark and his posthumous Spencer Clark “Driven” Foundation. Clark, a 33-time Bullring winner, was killed in a highway accident on May 21, 2006.
“This is definitely one to remember, and hopefully I can continue doing this,” Mayer said of the win. “We want to win as many as we can – the main goal is a championship overall, but the wins will come with that.”
Mayer led almost every lap, with second-place Jesse Love, 15, overtaking him only briefly. By the time the dust settled, Mayer crossed the finish line 1.762 seconds ahead of Love and nearly three seconds clear of Blaine Perkins.
Both divisions’ track records were broken during qualifying. McGhee clocked a 14.235-second lap at 94.837 miles per hour, which easily topped Linny White’s 14.345 mark from 2019, while Sam Mayer’s lap of 14.611 seconds at 92.396 mph broke Greg Pursley’s mark for the ARCA Menards division of 14.976 from 2011.
The Bullring action was the first of four consecutive days of racing at LVMS, with the Strat 200 Gander RV & Outdoors NASCAR Truck Series race following on Friday night and the Boyd Gaming 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series event on Saturday. The Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube will put an exclamation point on the weekend on Sunday.
Star Nursery 150 ARCA Menards Series West race
1. Sam Mayer; 2. Jesse Love (-1.762 seconds); 3. Blaine Perkins (-2.836); 4. Gracie Trotter (-4.281); 5. Trevor Huddleston (-4.299); 6. Lawless Allen (-4.581); 7. Jack Wood (-5.624); 8. Todd Souza (-6.441); 9. Austin Reed (-1 lap); 10. Gio Scelzi (-2 laps); 11. Takuma Koga (-3 laps); 12. Holley Hollan (-3 laps); 13. Bobby Hills Jr. (-13 laps); 14. Joey Iest (-45 laps); 15. Chris Lowden (-52 laps); 16. Zach Telford (-71 laps); 17. Bridgett Burgess (-110).
Star Nursery 100 Super Late Model Open Comp
1. Kyle Busch; 2. Christian McGhee (-1.220 seconds); 3. Derek Thorn (-1.312); 4. Tyler Fabozzi (-2.428); 5. Sammy Smith (-2.738); 6. Trevor Christiani (-3.325); 7. Tanner Reif (-3.960); 8. Jonathan Mawhinney (-4.861); 9. Austin Thom (-5.233); 10. Dylan Lupton (-5.577); 11. Jimmy Parker Jr. (-6.727); 12. Jim Wulfenstein (-6.978); 13. Joe Farre (-7.227); 14. Andy Allen (-8.445); 15. Dean Thompson (-8.753); 16. Brittney Zamora (-12.602); 17. Scott Gafforini (-15.143); 18. Stan Mulls (-2 laps); 19. Steve Anderson (-3 laps); 20. Chris Clyne (-34 laps); 21. Kyle Neveau (-46 laps); 22. Aaron McMorran (-49 laps); 23. Brandon Farrington (-77 laps); 24. Warren Knipper (DNF).
Bednar and Strada fastest in Trenton Indoor Racing practice, races set for Friday and Saturday nights
Two open wheel specialists, Mike Bednar of Slatington, PA and Eddie Strada of Lake Ariel, PA were the fastest drivers Thursday night in an optional practice session for the 600 Micro Sprints which will compete in the third annual East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals tomorrow and Saturday in Trenton, NJ
The practice session for the drivers and teams entered in the third annual East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals this weekend inside Cure Insurance Arena in Trenton, NJ saw 62 of the 92 registered drivers and teams take to the clay.
Bednar, a regular in the SpeedSTRs at Kutztown, PA, and an Indoor Auto Racing Concrete Series veteran, was fastest in the first hot laps session, posting a 9.460 time. Doug Snyder of Hellertown, PA and Austin Quick of Etters, PA, were close behind Bednar for fast time in session one.
The second session was paced by Strada, who clocked in at 9.468 seconds. Carl Locuson of Pines Grove, NJ, one of three brothers entered in the Dirt Track Nationals was second quickest and Alex Bright of Collegeville, PA, driving one of three Micro Sprints owned by Bob Hummer, was third fastest.
The changing nature of track conditions between the two sessions was illustrated by the fact that only Strada was able to post top ten times each of the sessions.
“Practice nights are a test for everyone, drivers, race teams, our track staff and our officials,” noted East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals promoter Len Sammons.
Erick Rudolph, Ransomville, NY and the defending race winner of the ‘Nationals’, ran 22nd and 37th quickest in the pair of sessions.
Rudolph’s Tom Fraschetta teammate, Brian Montieth, of Phoenixville, PA, Lincoln Speedway 410 Sprint champion, will be trying to qualify Friday, will then race in Lincoln Speedway’s 410 Sprint opener Saturday afternoon, and then head for Trenton Saturday night as soon as the Lincoln race ends.
Whitey Kidd III, Staten Island, NY, 2017 race winner, did not practice, nor did Larry Wight, Phoenix, NY, three time DIRTcar Volusia Speedway Park Modified Gator Nationals feature winner.
Kidd will suit up in the same car he drove to victory in the 2017 running of the Nationals and Wight will drive Ken Vincent’s Delaware-based Micro Sprint. Vincent contacted Wight after his regular driver Luke Thomas was unable to race due to back injuries suffered late in the 2019 outdoor season. Wight was a competitor in the mid-January Chili Bowl in Tulsa, OK.
Friday’s Micro Sprint schedule, which will have spectator doors opening at 6:00 pm, will start at 7:00 pm and feature ten heat of 10 laps. Passing points will be awarded with the top 60 moving to a four-race series of A-Main qualifiers of 15 laps in length. The top three from each of the four A-Main qualifiers advance to the A-Main Saturday.
Those who were outside the top 60 will transfer into a series of ‘alphabet mains’ that will begin the Saturday, February 22 racing program at 6:00 pm. The top four finishers from each ‘alphabet main’ advance forward to join at the back of the next field. (F-main top four at the back of the E-main field, etc.).
Ultimately, the top 24 cars and drivers will take the green flag in the third annual East Coast Dirt National A-Main which will be run over a 50-lap distance and paying the winner $5,000.
The A-Main will also convey the Bob Hilbert Hard Charger Award to the driver who advances the most spots at the finish from their starting spot.
Precision Engine Oil is the designated sponsor of the B, C, and D alphabet main events.
Other event sponsors include Freiberger Excavating, Hoosier Tires, VP Race Fuels, Hyper Racing and Racing Electronics.
For race day information, including time schedule of events and ticket purchases, contact indoorautoracing.com.
Three different winners in its first four races sets the stage for the Drydene Xtreme DIRTcar Series championship next week.
Chris Madden carried the momentum from his incredible 2019 run into the winter, winning the first two races to lead the championship standings into Modoc Raceway on Saturday, Feb. 29. With a 16-point lead, Madden will not only be chasing the $7,000-to-win checkered flag, but he’ll also be trying to hold off Ross Bailes, Zack Mitchell, Kyle Strickler and Trent Ivey to capture the $20,000 series championship check.
Madden, of Gray Court, SC, won at Cherokee Speedway and Volunteer Speedway, and has experience at Modoc, where he’s won three times on the 4/10th-mile dirt oval since 2005.
However, since winning the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series opener in January at Vado (NM) Speedway Park, Madden hasn’t returned to Victory Lane. He’s confident he and his team can get the job done in front of his home-state fans next Saturday.
“We definitely started off hot,” said Madden, who drives a Drydene-sponsored car for Scott Bloomquist Racing. “We haven’t won one in the last couple of weeks, so we definitely need to pick up a win. It’s been a great series for us, and it would be nice to pick up $20,000.”
“I think it’s pretty awesome for [Drydene] to support dirt racing,” Madden said. “To have more corporate industries come in and support our series is definitely big. Our sport is on the upside and definitely growing, and we appreciate those guys for everything they’ve done.”
In retrospect, the 2019 season was quickly turned into a 2019-2020 campaign for each driver who decided to compete with the Drydene Xtreme DIRTcar Series, especially those who also made the trip south for Georgia-Florida Speedweeks. Madden and Strickler, who is fourth place in points, both chose that route, forcing them to ramp-up their work to prepare for the coming races.
“For us guys that run as many races as we do during the season, it makes it difficult for us to get prepared for DIRTcar Nationals and what not, stopping and building new cars, because we had to continue racing,” Madden said. “So, it’s been tough on us, but on the good side of it is we [could win] the series … so we’ll just keep on digging.”
Strickler, Lavonia Speedway winner Mitchell, Ivey, Pearson Lee Williams and Tim Vance will have the chance to join Madden in the perfect attendance club at Modoc, worth a $1,000 bonus.
While Madden is the heavy favorite to be crowned champion, he hasn’t locked it up for sure yet. Positions two-through-five have also yet to be decided, as only five points separate those drivers. With his one victory, Bailes has 37 points while Mitchell trails with 35, Strickler has 34 and Ivey has 32. Each are still within reach of the championship with the maximum number of points available to them should they qualify for Modoc’s $7,000-to-win Feature.
Pits and Grandstands are scheduled to open at 1 p.m., Hot Laps at 4 p.m. and racing at 5 p.m.
Tickets to see the Drydene Xtreme DIRTcar Series championship finale at Modoc Raceway on Feb. 29 can be purchased at the gate on race day.
Reserved seats are $35 for adults, $20 for youths (7-12), and kids 6-and-under are free. In General Admission, it’s $20 for adults, $10 for youths (7-12); kids 6-and-under are free. Trackside tickets are $35 for adults, $20 for youths (7-12); kids 6-and-under are free.
Can’t get to the track to watch the action in person? Catch every lap of the Drydene Xtreme DIRTcar Series finale live on DIRTVision with a Fast Pass subscription, just $39 a month!
DIRTcar Racing PR