Racing News
Steven B. Wilson

Steven B. Wilson

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At an event to kick off NASCAR Championship Weekend in Miami on Thursday, November 15, Comcast announced Joey Logano as the winner of the fourth annual Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award. Comcast established the award in 2015 to honor NASCAR industry members for their philanthropic efforts, awarding $60,000 to the champion’s selected charity and $30,000 to the respective charities of the two remaining finalists. With this year’s contributions, Comcast has donated a total of $480,000 to charitable organizations in the NASCAR community through the Community Champion Award.

Since its inception in 2013, the Joey Logano Foundation has invested more than $2.7 million to hundreds of organizations through a multitude of charitable programs. The Foundation created the JL Kids Crew to help provide opportunities for children with serious illnesses to spend time at the race track and be part of the No. 22 race team. Through JLF’s Grant Funding Program, the Foundation delivers grants to organizations dedicated to helping families that care for sick children, foster children and children of veterans.

“It is an honor to recognize Joey Logano as the 2018 Comcast Community Champion of the Year, as the work he does with the Joey Logano Foundation truly embodies the selfless and passionate spirit of giving back that this award represents,” said Matt Lederer, Executive Director of Partnership Marketing at Comcast. “So many of those in the NASCAR industry have a passion for giving back to their communities, and we are proud to play a part in celebrating those passions with this award.”

During the course of the NASCAR season, the Joey Logano Foundation also brings Comfort Care Backpacks to multiple race markets and has donated over 600 backpacks filled with essentials to underprivileged, foster and terminally ill children. The Joey Logano Foundation uses its powerful platform during NASCAR’s Playoffs to aid 10 non-profit organizations in 10 different NASCAR markets, via their Chasing Second Chances program, an effort to help racing communities prosper.

The $60,000 donation from Comcast  will be provided to the Joey Logano Foundation, and will support the Foundation’s efforts as they continue to provide aid to organizations that help children and young adults during times of crisis. You can learn about the work the Joey Logano Foundation provides here.

“Looking back on this day, we’ll know that Comcast was a big piece in giving a lot of young kids the second chance in life that they need,” said Joey Logano, one of the Championship Four drivers competing for the NASCAR Cup title this weekend. “It’s humbling to think about what this sport can do for you - it’s just the right thing to do to take that and carry it forward.”

Logano was chosen by a panel comprised of Comcast and NASCAR executives, as well as Mike Metcalf from the Chip Ganassi Racing Pit Crew Department, who received  the award in 2017. Sonoma Raceway President, Steve Page, and NASCAR driver, Ryan Newman, were each awarded $30,000 toward the amazing work they do with Speedway Children’s Charities Wildfire Relief Fund and Rescue Ranch.

Page supported his community in Northern California after last year’s devastating wildfires by opening the gates of Sonoma Raceway as a place of refuge for those evacuated, raising funds for the community to rebuild and honoring first-responders during the NASCAR race weekend. Newman co-founded Rescue Ranch in 2012 with his wife, Krissie, to promote respect for all animals, the earth and the environment through a wide variety of educational programs in the community. The Ranch is home to more than 85 animals that receive around-the clock care, and serves as host to various school curriculum-based field trips, Scout badge programs, summer camps and more. Each finalist’s story can be viewed by clicking here.

Comcast has a long track record of community service, aiding in the advancement of local organizations, developing programs and partnerships, mobilizing resources to connect people and inspiring positive and substantive change. To learn more about the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award, please visit ComcastCommunityChampion.com

Comcast PR

Katarina Moller, 24, of Sarasota, Fla., passed away as a result of an accident during an exhibition run in a jet dragster at Sebring International Raceway Thursday night.

Moller was making her first run in the car at Sebring’s regular drag racing event.

The cause of the crash is being investigated by the Highland County Sheriff’s Office, and investigators are asking any spectators who were in attendance and recorded Moller’s run to call the Criminal Investigation Unit at 863-402-7250.

Moller, who went by the nickname Kat, was a regular, and very popular, racer at local short tracks and a driver for Larsen Motorsports in the jet dragster.  She was in her fifth season with Larsen.

“We knew Kat well and were big fans of her personality and her driving skill,” said Wayne Estes, president and general manager of Sebring International Raceway.  “Sebring International Raceway and the entire racing community are heartbroken.”

Sebring International Raceway PR

The Bristol Motor Speedway Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities (SCC) culminated another landmark year of raising much-needed funds for disadvantaged children of the greater Appalachian region Thursday night during its annual Night of Smiles celebration.  

Executive director Claudia Byrd announced that the BMS SCC chapter raised a substantial total of $805,141 during the 2018 calendar year that will be distributed to 93 rural-area child-focused agencies throughout Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

“There’s no greater gift than to be able to help raise money for children in need,” Byrd said. “Although demand for assistance will always exceed our ability to help, we are blessed to work with so many inspiring organizations in this region that are focused on providing vital assistance to the children who need it most.”

The 2018 Jeff Byrd Grant also was awarded to the Boys & Girls Club of Central Appalachia. Presented in honor of the late general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, the $50,000 award will go towards the organization’s efforts to create a sensory room within each of the four elementary/middle schools in Buchanan County where the Boys & Girls Club operates. Sensory rooms are designed to help students who have been diagnosed with autism, cope with stressful situations, regulate sensory needs and reduce challenging behaviors that are the result of overstimulation. The spaces will equally support students with ADD, ADHD and other sensory-related issues.

Night of Smiles is the culmination of a year of SCC fundraising events, including multiple 5k races, golfing and trap shooting tournaments during NASCAR and NHRA race weekends, the Ultimate Bristol Experience Online Auction and The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights powered by TVA, which opens for its 22nd season on Friday, Nov. 16 at 6 p.m.
 
Organizations that received funding from the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities includes Abuse Alternatives, American Red Cross of Mountain Empire Virginia, Arc of Washington Co., Assistance and Resource Ministry (ARM), Barter Foundation, Bethany Christian Services, Big Brothers/ Big Sisters of East Tennessee, Boys and Girls Club of Central Appalachia, Boys and Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter Co., Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kingsport, Boys and Girls Club of Greenville & Greene County, Boys and Girls Club of Johnson City/Washington County, Boys and Girls Club of Morristown, Boys and Girls Club of the Mountain Empire, Bread of Life Children’s Ministry, Bristol Emergency Food Pantry, Bristol Faith In Action, Bristol Family YMCA Teen Leadership Club, Bristol Regional Speech and Hearing, Cap the Gap for Foster Care, Cap the Gap for Foster Care- Carter Johnson and Unicoi, Carter County Foster Care, Carter Co. Imagination Library, CASA of Northeast Tennessee, Children's Advocacy Center of the 1st Judicial District, Children's Advocacy Center of Highlands Community Services, Children's Advocacy Center of Sullivan Co., Child Advocacy Center of the 3rd Judicial District, Children Exceeding Expectations School JLK, Christmas Box of Northeast Tennessee, Coalition for Kids, Communities In Schools of Virginia, Crossroads Medical Mission, Crumley House Brain Injury Rehab Center, East TN Christian Home and Academy, Family Crisis Support Services, Family Promise of Greater Kingsport, Feeding America Southwest Virginia, First Book-Greater Kingsport, FRIENDS, Friends of Steel Creek Park, Girls Incorporated of Bristol, Girls Incorporated of Johnson City/Washington County, Girls Incorporated of Kingsport, Girls on the Run of NE. Tennessee, Good Samaritan Ministries, Greater Kingsport Family YMCA, Greene County Imagination Library, Holston Habitat for Humanity, Hands On!  Discovery Center, Healing Hands Health Center, Hope House, Hope House of Scott Co., Imagination Library of Bristol VA, Imagination Library of Russell County, Isaiah 117 House, Jeremiah School, Jerico Shriners, Johnson Co. Safe Haven, Jonesville Methodist Church Feeding America Food Pantry #300, Literacy Council of Kingsport, Lunchbox 276, McClure River Valley Community Center, Morrison School, Mountain Kids Inc, Mountain Region Speech and Hearing Center, Niswonger Children's Hospital -- Mountain States/Ballad Health, Of One Accord Ministry, One Acre Café, Reading Buddies, Ridin' High Therapeutic Horse Program, Rise Up!, River's Way, Outdoor Adventure Center, Santa Pal, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast TN, Shepard's Inn, Small Miracles Therapeutic Equestrian Center, Southern Appalachian Ronald McDonald House, Southwest VA CAC - Mountain Empire Older Citizens, Sullivan County Imagination Library, Sullivan County Scottish Rite Foundation, Sullivan Co. Sheriff's Office Auxiliary, TASK: Taking Action for Special Kids, TLC Community Center, Town Square Inc. Food Ministries, Unicoi County Family YMCA, United Way of Southwest Virginia, Waiting to Hear, Washington County Friends of Santa, Young Life Bristol, Young Life Kingsport, Young Life Upper East Tennessee, YWCA NETN and SWVA.

BMS PR

Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle as you search for the perfect holiday gifts for the adrenaline pumping NASCAR fanatic in your life: Food City 500 tickets make the perfect stocking stuffers!

Single day tickets to one of the most anticipated short track races in the country at Bristol Motor Speedway start at only $45 through this Saturday, Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. And with the new SMI Weather Guarantee, NASCAR fans' ticket purchases are protected. In addition to the $45 Food City 500 tickets, kids 12-and-under are only $10 for three days of action!

“The greatest short track racing in the world happens right here in Northeast Tennessee, and all of that racing action packaged with a bow on top makes the perfect gift,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway. “Our lowest ticket price is available until this Saturday, so we hope you will take advantage of that great deal and add some BMS tickets to your holiday shopping list.”

The Food City 500 weekend, April 5-7, is loaded with entertainment for the whole family. From Food City Family Race Night to pre-race concerts to activities in the Fan Zone and Fan Midway, there’s something for everyone, especially kids. Those little NASCAR fans under the age of 12 can see action in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR K&N Series for only $10. Add on a free membership to the Bristol Kids Club and you’ll have a racing fan for life!

Want to really show your NASCAR fan the true meaning of the holidays? Check out the add-on Pre-Race SuperPass or Pre-Race Pit Stop options. The Pre-Race SuperPass provides fans with a pre-race track walk, track access for the pre-race concert and stageside access for Bristol’s wildly popular driver introductions. The Pre-Race Pit Stop takes that to the next level with a cold pit pass for garage access as well as a members-only area complete with driver appearances, live music and entertainment and a cash bar.

Best of all, the Speedway will continue to offer interest-free, fee-free payment plans, which will break up payments into smaller increments. The sooner a fan purchases a plan, the smaller their payments will be.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please call the BMS Ticket Office at 423-BRISTOL or visit www.BRISTOLTix.com.

BMS PR

Vinnie Miller is looking forward to ripping off his rookie stripes after the running of the EcoBoost 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race Saturday, November 17th.

Miller will pilot the No. 78 JAS Expedited Trucking BJ McLeod Motorsports Camaro in the series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. This will be Miller’s first trip to the 1.5-mile track in Homestead, FL.

“I’m excited to get to Homestead-Miami Speedway and dodge the rainy weather in North Carolina,” Miller said. “I can’t wait to get on track. I’ve heard it is insane and a very hard track to learn. I’m ready to conquer the track and bring home a solid finish for JAS Expedited Trucking and BJ McLeod Motorsports. I can’t thank Tony from JAS Expedited, Pit Viper Sunglasses and my family for all the support this season. I’m looking forward to the 2019 season with these BJ McLeod Motorsports guys, after a little time off.”

The EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway is slated to begin Saturday, November 17th at 3:00pm.

BJMM PR

Garrett Smithley will wrap up his third season driving for JD Motorsports with Gary Keller in the KSDT No. 0 Chevrolet Saturday in the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
 
The race is the season-ender for the Xfinity Series.
 
“We want to close out the year strong,” Smithley said. “We’ve had a mix of really good runs and some that weren’t so good this year. Ending on a big note is important for us and for the folks at KSDT who came on board with us for the weekend.”
 
Smithley has raced three times in Xfinity events at the 1.5-mile track. He enters Saturday’s race in 19th in series points.
 
Practice is scheduled at Homestead at 2:35 and 5:05 p.m. Friday. Qualifying is set for 12:35 p.m. Saturday, with the race to follow at 3:30.
 
The race is part of NASCAR’s Championship Weekend and will determine the Xfinity champion.

JDM PR

Saturday’s season-ending Ford EcoBoost 300 will be an emotion-filled race for driver Ross Chastain.
 
The event, scheduled at Homestead-Miami Speedway, will mark Chastain’s final run in JD Motorsports with Gary Keller Chevrolets. Chastain has built his career over a period of years with JDM, and he’ll move into a full-time Xfinity Series ride with Chip Ganassi Racing next year.
 
But first there’s a final race and a good chance to finish in the top 10 in Xfinity driver points. Chastain is ninth entering Homestead.

“It seems like just yesterday we started all of this together,” he said. “The 4 car has come a long way, and Johnny Davis, Gary Keller, Gary Cogswell and every mechanic that has laid a hand on those red cars helped get it there. 
 
“Our group this year accomplished the unimaginable. We minimized our mistakes and brought cars that turned better than most and had good speed to go with it.”
 
Chastain said excellent sponsors have contributed to the team’s success.
 
“All of our partners were the ultimate reason we were able to step our game up this year,” he said. “We brought in more sponsorship than we ever had before and spent more than a red car ever has to improve our program. And it showed on the track. 
 
“The friendships I’ve built in Gaffney are ones that will last a lifetime. Johnny is like a dad to me. He’s been tough on me, and looking back it was exactly what I needed. I love him for doing what was best for me even when I didn’t see the bigger picture.”
 
Practice is scheduled at Homestead at 2:35 and 5:05 p.m. Friday. Qualifying is set for 12:35 p.m. Saturday, with the race to follow at 3:30.
 
The race is part of NASCAR’s Championship Weekend and will determine the Xfinity champion.

JDM PR

Quin Houff has spent most of the final weeks of the Xfinity Series season learning things lap by lap. On Saturday, the season will end with the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and Houff is ready for another educational experience.
 
“The finale is here!” he said. “I know for many it’s been a long time coming, but these past five weeks I have been working with JD Motorsports have flown by. I have learned lots of valuable things to be able to help me grow as a driver in this sport, and I can’t thank the JDM team enough for allowing me to finish the season with them in the number 15.
 
“We have one more chance in 2018 to show the speed we are gaining week in and week out. Homestead is a tricky track, with its abrasive surface and preferred line being up along the wall. It won’t be easy to get the hang of, but I know the team will do everything they can to get me comfortable and fast throughout the weekend.”
 
The Virginia driver has built a solid foundation over the last few weeks as he looks to a future that should include more racing in NASCAR’s national series.
 
Practice is scheduled at Homestead at 2:35 and 5:05 p.m. Friday. Qualifying is set for 12:35 p.m. Saturday, with the race to follow at 3:30.
 
The race is part of NASCAR’s Championship Weekend and will determine the Xfinity champion.

JDM PR

The NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship 4 drivers won’t be the only contenders on hand for Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300. Yoel Romero, the #1 ranked UFC middleweight in the world, will be in attendance to serve as the Grand Marshal for the Ford EcoBoost 300. As Grand Marshal, Romero will give the drivers the command to start their engines before the race begins.

A native of Cuba who now resides in Miami, Romero is currently ranked as the number one contender in the official UFC middleweight rankings. Romero’s career mixed martial arts (MMA) record is 13-3, including 6 KOs and 5 TKOs.

Prior to breaking through into mixed martial arts, Romero made a name for himself as a wrestler, competing in the Summer Olympics twice, including 2000 when he won the Silver medal in Sydney, Australia. Romero also medaled in five world championships before transitioning to MMA, including in 1999 when he became the wrestling world champion.

“Yoel Romero embodies what Ford Championship Weekend is all about and we are excited to have him serve as the Grand Marshal for the Ford EcoBoost 300,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Matthew Becherer. “As a decorated and accomplished fighter, Romero has competed in a number of championship events and we’re looking forward to having him join us for NASCAR’s biggest weekend.”

“I am honored and feel truly blessed to be a part of this event,” said Romero. “Growing up in Cuba we didn’t have cars, let alone fast cars. I am excited to finally experience the energy I have heard so many people say they feel being at a NASCAR race live.”

Tickets for 2018 Ford Championship Weekend, which consists of the Ford EcoBoost 200 (NASCAR Camping World Truck series championship race), Ford EcoBoost 300 (NASCAR XFINITY series championship race) and Ford EcoBoost 400 (Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series championship race), are now available and can be purchased by calling (866) 409-RACE (7223) or visiting www.HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com.

Homestead Miami Speedway PR