Speedway Digest Staff
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Today, 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Champion Joey Logano partnered with Hot Wheels to successfully break the Guinness World Record for the World’s Longest Hot Wheels track coming in at over 1,941 feet. Inspired by his ongoing success in race circuits during career spanning over a decade, the Guinness World Record also celebrated the launch of Logano’s all-new 2018 Hot Wheels Ford Mustang featuring custom Joey Logano Racing / Hot Wheels racing livery.
“Hot Wheels has been pushing the boundaries in car culture with it’s challenger spirit, outrageous design and unparalled performance for over 51 years,” said Ricardo Briceno, Senior Director of Brand Marketing for Hot Wheels. “Joey Logano embodies that same spirit in his racing, which is why we’re thrilled to partner with him on this record-breaking track and special edition die-cast. He’s truly brought the Hot Wheels challenger spirit to life today!”
Logano broke the world record at his personal race garage in Charlotte, NC. The track started in Joey’s expansive race shop, weaving through his fantastic car collection – including a Deloreon, custom Rat Rod International, International Scout and a 1933 custom Ford hot rod, 1972 Ford Econoline, 2017 Ford GT– and eventually ending inside the cockpit of his 2018 Hot Wheels Ford Mustang.
During the nail-biting attempt, Logano was at the start and finish lines, pushing the car through the first of 122 boosters and then jumping into his 2018 Hot Wheels Ford Mustang to witness the die-cast dive into the cockpit upon completion. With over a year of planning and 7 days of setting up the track for the perfect run, Logano’s attempt was witnessed by friends, family and NASCAR royalty from the Petty family.
“Talk about a childhood dream come true! I have so many memories playing with my Hot Wheels cars as a kid, and it’s fun to jump back in that space with my son who shares the same passion for his Hot Wheels as I did,” said Joey Logano. “Hot Wheels basically founded my passion for racing – the first car I ever had was a Hot Wheels car – and now being here, setting this world record with my son and an amazing team of Hot Wheels fans is a great way to announce our new special edition Ford Mustang.”
The Hot Wheels Joey Logano 2018 Ford Mustang will be available on shelves for Hot Wheels fans to add to their collections by July 2020.
Hot Wheels PR
Thunder Mountain Speedway has officially joined the elite ranks of DIRTcar-sanctioned racetracks in the Northeast for 2020. The Southern New York speedway will sanction the highly competitive DIRTcar 358 Modified division as well as DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds.
DIRTcar Northeast Director Dean Reynolds visited Thunder Mountain officials last Sunday for their rules meeting at the Town of Lisle Fire Department conference center. Reynolds and track owners came to the agreement, which will include support from Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels and increased promotional outreach for their weekly racing provided by DIRTcar.
“The Spoonhower family has put their love and sweat into their track for many years and has become the staple of the New York Southern Tier,” Reynolds said. “While they were looking at the Hoosier tire route for the past several years, they felt this was the right time to make the move. After the meeting this past Sunday with their teams, DIRTcar sanctioning was welcomed. We all will work hard to make sure it’s a smooth and successful transition.”
Thunder Mountain Speedway will now be a part of the Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship for both the 358 and Sportsman Modifieds. Hoosier puts up $11,250 for weekly 358 Modified drivers and another $4,550 for their Sportsman Modified counterparts every year.
Track owner and promoter Karl Spoonhower is looking forward to the 2020 season to see how things shake out.
“The move to DIRTcar sanctioning, I think, will be a good one,” he said. “I know change is sometimes tough, but we always have our drivers’ best interest in mind. The response to these changes, moving to Hoosier and DIRTcar, has been really good so far. We have loyal racers and fans who I hope will stick with us, they are like family. They understand that the sport of racing is changing and if we don’t look toward the future we’ll be left behind.”
All DIRTcar members at DIRTcar-sanctioned tracks have their top 16 finishes calculated for the standings. Drivers, teams, officials and fans are encouraged to sign up for the Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Newsletter at DIRTcar.com for updates on all of the DIRTcar Racing competition across the Northeast.
DIRTcar Northeast and Thunder Mountain management are currently looking at dates for Series races.
Thunder Mountain Speedway sits atop a veritable mountain with picturesque views of the valleys in Center Isle, NY. Built in 1992 by Spoonhower, the track is a three-eighths-mile banked clay oval that hosts weekly stock car racing on Saturday nights from April through September. Thunder Mountain is dubbed The Fast Track for its racy surface and three- and four-wide racing.
DIRTcar 358 Modifieds will share top billing with the Big Block/Small-Block Modified division. The racing card in 2020 will also include DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds, Rookie/Budget Sportsman, 600cc Modifieds, Street Stock and Factory Stocks.
DIRTcar Series PR
Indoor Auto Racing Series Fueled By VP Race Fuels promoter Len Sammons has issued a Racers Challenge to the drivers and car owners who will compete in the four 2020 events: “Help us sell out the house and we’ll pay the feature winners in all classes double the purse!” Sammons, who along with sons Danny and Davey organize the events, expanded the challenge to increasing all other feature finishing positions 20% if the “Sold Out” sign is posted at the box office prior to the start of the feature events. “It can be done,” said Len Sammons. “We’ve done it once in our history and have come close several other times.
There is nothing better than the atmosphere inside a packed arena! The fans and racers feed off each other creating a buzz unlike anything else in racing. “We are 100% focused on growing the Indoor Series and making each event a spectator driven, can’t miss event,” said Sammons. “My staff has always encouraged the racers to interact with the fans and put on a show both in the car and outside of it. Racing comes first, but fan interaction and increasing fan involvement is also a high priority.
This incentive is the next step in that process. “The Concrete Series opens at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa. on January 3rd and 4th. These events, sponsored by Ironton Telephone, include features for the TQ Midgets each night. Instead of $2,000 to win each, these events would pay $4,000 if every ticket is sold, something accomplished when the first event was held in the building four years ago.
Racing then moves to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on Friday and Saturday January 31st and February 1st for the NAPA Know How Classic. Andy Jankowiak of Buffalo, N.Y. won $5,000 when he took the 2019 Gambler’s Classic. If he did it again and the place was sold out, he would earn $10,000. In the event’s 17 year history, tickets were nearly sold out on three occasions.
Next up is the third annual East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals which will return to CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton, N.J. with a new date. This event, held the last two years in December, has been moved to Friday and Saturday nights February 21st and 22nd to avoid a conflict with Christmas. Rated a ‘must see’ event by those who attended the first two years, it’s great racing and new date could make it a sell out with the extra push of the race teams. If so, the 600 Sprint winner would receive $10,000 rather than $5,000 received by Whitey Kidd, III and Erick Rudolph the last two years.
The “Concrete Series” season finale follows on Friday and Saturday March 13th and 14th in a second year return to the brand new Expo Center located on the grounds of the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. N.Y. With features for the TQ Midgets each night, these features which traditionally pay $2,000 would jump to $4,000 with a sellout. At the first ever event held in Syracuse last year, Saturday’s attendance was 75% of the occupancy limit so again it’s very possible. The sell-out bonus plan will also be paid to the Slingshot and Champ Kart divisions that run as part of the Concrete Series.
The Indoor Auto Racing Series staff can provide its racers promotional materials to help promote the events in an attempt to sell tickets. This will include social media aids for Facebook and Twitter campaigns, event posters and handbills along with invitations to set up driver media interviews. “The idea is to work together so that we can build up the series interest to an all-time high. Every driver, car owner and crewman has friends who go to the races and other friends who used to go,” said Sammons.
Two of the great sporting passions of Indiana - basketball and auto racing - were fused and featured Thursday in the unveiling of the Indiana Pacers' City Edition uniform Nov. 21 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
For the third straight NBA season, Nike NBA City Edition uniforms uniquely capture each team and its city. NBA teams use the City Edition uniforms during selected games in the regular season.
The Pacers' 2019-20 City Edition uniform was created to honor and celebrate the distinct history of basketball and racing in Indianapolis and the state of Indiana. The uniform features a vertical, iconic checkered flag pattern, a front number inspired by Formula One and the Pacers' primary logo. The uniform also includes the tagline "Always Lead," which emphasizes the Pacers' desire to lead on and off the court and pays tribute to the city of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Among the dignitaries unveiling the jersey at IMS were Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, IMS President J. Douglas Boles and Pacers Sports & Entertainment President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Fuson.
"Racing and basketball are such cornerstones of Hoosier culture, so it's only fitting that the Indiana Pacers' City Edition uniforms blend both in such a colorful, exciting way," Boles said. "We continue to enjoy a fantastic partnership with the Pacers, who always have understood the rich heritage of both sports in Indiana dating back more than 100 years. It's going to be exciting to see these uniforms on court this season at Bankers Life Fieldhouse - I can't wait."
Modeling the Pacers' 2019-20 City Edition uniforms were Ryder and Cruz Carpenter, the sons of three-time Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge pole sitter and NTT IndyCar Series team owner Ed Carpenter; Arrow McLaren SP NTT IndyCar Series driver Oliver Askew and NTT IndyCar Series veteran driver Charlie Kimball, along with beloved Pacers' mascot Boomer. Each of the models arrived on pit lane at IMS for the unveil in Chevrolet Corvette Pace Cars.
"I've been a Pacers' fan for my entire life, so it's very cool to see my sons get to help unveil the new City Edition uniforms, which look great," Ed Carpenter said. "There's a real connection between racing and basketball in Indiana due to shared passion and history, and these uniforms are another example of that. My wife Heather and I enjoy going to games at Bankers Life with our family, and we're really eager to see the Pacers win in these City Edition jerseys and shorts. Go Pacers!"
The Pacers' 2019-20 City Edition uniforms will make their on-court debut Wednesday, Nov. 27 when the Pacers play the Utah Jazz at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis.
For the past three seasons, rising talents Oliver Askew and Rinus VeeKay have been rivals in the Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires.
The pair dominated INDYCAR's three-tier, developmental ladder series during that period, combining to win three driver's titles, nearly two-thirds of the races they entered and never finishing worse than third in the championship standings.
Askew won the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship - the first rung of the series - and followed with the 2019 crown in Indy Lights, the top rung of the system. VeeKay won the 2018 Indy Pro 2000 Championship while finishing runner-up to Askew in the other two series.
In 2020, they will resume their rivalry and be competing for another notable title - the NTT IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year.
VeeKay was announced Wednesday as the full-time driver for Ed Carpenter Racing in the No. 21 Chevrolet. He became the third Road to Indy graduate in the past three weeks during a busy off-season to earn a full-time seat in the NTT IndyCar Series.
VeeKay's confirmation followed the late October announcement of Askew and Patricio O'Ward, the 2018 Indy Lights champion, being named as the full-time drivers of the Chevrolet-powered Arrow McLaren SP organization.
It is part of the series' recent youth movement which, including Askew and VeeKay, will see 14 Road to Indy drivers graduate to the top level of the sport since 2015.
VeeKay, who hails from Hoofddorp, Netherlands, is the youngest of the trio at 19 years old. O'Ward, of Monterrey, Mexico, is 20 and Askew, of Jupiter, Fla., is 22.
"It's a dream come true and something we have worked extremely hard for over the last couple of years," VeeKay said. "To step up from USF2000 to the NTT IndyCar Series in three years is really special. ... The number of available seats in the NTT IndyCar Series is very limited, so it's a great honor that (Ed Carpenter Racing) has chosen me to join their team."
Both VeeKay and Askew got their introduction to an NTT IndyCar Series car in August when they were chosen for a test at Portland International Raceway. VeeKay tested with Ed Carpenter Racing that day while Askew took part in the session with Chip Ganassi Racing. VeeKay eventually had a second test with ECR in October and obviously impressed the team. Askew also was a name continually being bantered about for consideration of any potential full-time NTT IndyCar Series seats in 2020.
"(The NTT IndyCar Series) is what I've been working for for my entire career since I started racing when I was seven years old in go-karts," Askew said. "So it's a surreal feeling to finally be here. I can't wait to get to work.
"A couple years ago (the NTT) IndyCar (Series) looked so far away, let alone Indy Lights. So it's been a whirlwind couple of years. It's a testament to the people around me for sure I mean starting with Cape Motorsports and USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 and then Andretti Autosport this year in Indy Lights. I've been surrounded by a lot of great people and have been given tremendous opportunities. And I've just based my success off of a lot of preparation beforehand, before the season, before the races, and I've dedicated my life to racing and I've sacrificed a lot to get to this point."
O'Ward is the Indy car veteran of the group with eight career NTT IndyCar Series starts, including his stunning 2018 debut at Sonoma Raceway. He qualified in the Firestone Fast Six and finished eighth just a few weeks after winning the Indy Lights crown. Last season, O'Ward competed in seven races for Carlin before being signed by the Red Bull Junior Team with a future eye on Formula One. He was with the team was roughly six months before they severed ties and opened the opportunity for a return to the NTT IndyCar Series.
"I think it's very big, not just for me but for Oliver as well," O'Ward said. "We're just starting our journey into the professional side of this sport and it's something we have been working towards our whole lives, so I'm very much looking forward to the opportunity.
"I think we're going to make a really good team. We're both hungry for all the success. I think at this point both the team and we are growing, we're starting a new chapter in our careers and I think the sky's the limit."
Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt is a believer of the path produced by the Road to Indy and the talent it attracts.
"What we're seeing recently with the Road to Indy is nothing short of amazing. If you win, you advance. If you win, you advance," said Schmidt, whose teams won seven Indy Lights titles before focusing solely on the NTT IndyCar Series. "These kids aren't coming in with three and four and five years of experience. We're talking 13, 14 years of racing experience and so they're coming in a lot more advanced than the rookies of days of old.
"So we saw, it's no shocker, I mean what Colton Herta did this year (two wins and two poles as a rookie) was nothing short of amazing and these guys come from exactly the same background. So a lot of people have said that it's really risky, it's a gamble, but we really don't think it is."
VeeKay, Askew and O'Ward will make their initial 2020 on-track appearances with their new teams at the INDYCAR open test Feb. 11-12 at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. The trio will make their official debuts at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg set for March 13-15 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. The race will be televised live on the NBCSN.
Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces today Denny Hamlin had successful arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder.
The surgery was completed by Dr. Patrick Connor at Charlotte Surgery Center. He is expected to fully recover in time for the start of the 2020 NASCAR season.
Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP), a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider, and Team Penske today announced a new multi-year partnership beginning with the 2020 NASCAR season. Advance will be featured as the primary sponsor on the No. 12 Ford Mustang driven by Ryan Blaney for four races in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Blaney will compete in the No. 12 Advance Auto Parts Ford for Team Penske in 2020 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 15, Richmond Raceway on April 19, Watkins Glen International on August 16 and the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway on September 19. Advance also will be an associate sponsor on the No. 12 Ford Mustang for the full NASCAR Cup Series season.
“We couldn’t be more excited to be sponsoring Ryan Blaney, one of NASCAR’s top drivers, and partnering with one of the most prestigious teams in racing,” said Jason McDonell, Advance’s Chief Marketing Officer. “For years Team Penske has been known for executing with excellence in everything they do on and off the track. We are proud to be joining this successful team and look forward to a winning and productive partnership with Ryan and Team Penske.”
One of NASCAR’s brightest young stars at just 25-years-old, Blaney produced another solid season in 2019. The High Point, N.C. native and third-generation racer earned a spot in the Cup Series playoffs for the third-consecutive year and qualified for the Round of 8 by winning at Talladega Superspeedway in October – his third career Cup Series victory. Blaney ended the year seventh in the Cup Series point standings with career-bests in both top-five (11) and top-10 (18) finishes.
“We welcome one of the most established and innovative companies in the automotive aftermarket parts industry to Team Penske,” said Roger Penske. “Advance focuses on executing with excellence in their business and we bring those same goals and principles to the race track every weekend. We are excited to have Advance on board with Ryan and the No. 12 Ford team next season and look forward to growing our partnership for the future.”
Blaney will be kicking off the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season at The Clash at Daytona on Sunday, February 9 (3 p.m. ET on FS1).
“Everyone at Team Penske is excited to have Advance Auto Parts join the team as a new partner in 2020,” said Blaney. “We’re honored to carry their brand on the No. 12 Ford Mustang next season and hopefully this is the start of a great partnership both on and off the track.”
Team Penske PR
With the NASCAR season coming to an end, it is time to celebrate for the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. A large delegation representing the official European NASCAR series will fly to Charlotte to attend the traditional NASCAR Awards ceremony at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Saturday, November 23.
Representing NWES will be 2019 EuroNASCAR PRO Champion Loris Hezemans, EuroNASCAR 2 Champion Lasse Soerensen, Challenger Trophy winner Henri Tuomaala and Legend Trophy winner Ian Eric Waden, alongside EuroNASCAR 2 title contenders Giorgio Maggi, Vittorio Ghirelli, Nicholas Risitano, Myatt Snider, and EuroNASCAR Club Challenge winner Alain Mosqueron. Champion team manager Roy Hendriks from Hendriks Motorsport and DF1-Racing team owner Norbert Walchhofer will also join the group, which will be accompanied by NWES President / CEO Jerome Galpin and NWES Vice President Anne Galpin.
The spotlight will be on Hezemans after the Dutchman became the youngest ever NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Champion in October. The 22-year-old Amsterdam native will put his name in the Whelen Hall Of Champions inside the NASCAR Hall Of Fame on Thursday, November 21 in special event. The Champions week will then culminate with the NASCAR Awards on Saturday November 23. During the grand gala, Hezemans receive the Champion Ring and the NWES trophy. Hezemans’ #50 Hendriks Motorsport Mustang will also be showcased in the NASCAR Hall Of Fame alongside some of the most important cars in NASCAR’s history.
“Winning the title finally sunk in the last few weeks and it’s an incredible feeling. You don’t really get it immediately because you’re so focused on doing everything to win. So when you actually win the championship, you’re kind of surprised,” said Hezemans. “It’s when you start being congratulated by everybody that you realize what you’ve done. The NASCAR Awards are the culmination of the season and I can’t wait to be there. It’s going to be a great experience and I want to thank NASCAR, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, Hendriks Motorsport and all the people supporting me for this amazing season.”
The NWES delegation will enjoy a full immersion in NASCAR’s home in Charlotte, North Carolina beginning on Friday, November 22. The group will visit the Hendrick Motorsports headquarters and the Charlotte Motor Speedway before heading back the NASCAR Hall Of Fame for the evening’s Season Celebration in which all Euro NASCAR drivers will be rewarded for their 2019 success. The party will continue the next evening, once again at the Charlotte Convention Center in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, with the NASCAR Awards to celebrate Hezemans and four other NASCAR champions in front of the entire NASCAR family and mark the official end of another unforgettable season.
“GMS Racing will not field a NASCAR Xfinity Series entry next season. We have decided that in the best interest of the organization we will put our complete focus on our Gander Trucks and ARCA Racing Series programs in 2020. We can’t thank John Hunter (Nemechek) and everyone that has been involved in our Xfinity effort over the past four years enough for their hard work and dedication to the organization. We wish John Hunter (Nemechek) the best in his future endeavors.” - Mike Beam, President of GMS Racing