Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Matthew Grant, Jason Romano and CEO of Shady Rays to serve as prerace dignitaries for Thursday’s NASCAR XFINITY SERIES race on FS1 via video from their respective homes.

 

Soul singer/songwriter Grant performs the national anthem Thursday, July 9, prior to the start of the NASCAR XFINITY SERIES race (8:00 PM ET on FS1 and the FOX Sports app). From his debut single “King For A Day” to his most recent release, “Heaven,” Grant brings a timely message of love, peace and unity through his music. His style is often categorized as pop soul with strong undertones of jazz and a touch of gospel, as evidenced on his latest EP, “Love Under Covers.”

 

Romano, Sports Spectrum podcast host, speaker and author, offers the invocation from his home prior to the start of the race. Also a former TV producer of 17 years, Romano authored “The Uniform of Leadership,” debuting July 28, and “Live to Forgive.”

 

Race entitlement partner, Shady Rays, an independent American-owned sunglasses company, will feature their founder and CEO, Chris Ratterman, in saying the most famous words in motorsport, “Drivers, start your engines” prior to the start of the race.

 

KYS PR

If Kyle Busch were going to allow himself to feel super optimistic and keenly confident in scoring his first win of the season, this may be the week as the NASCAR Cup Series arrives at Kentucky Speedway for Sunday’s Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart (2:30 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Busch was the inaugural winner (2011) at Kentucky, added another trophy in 2015 and his 621 laps led there is most among all his competitors. He’s led 100 laps or more in a race four times in the nine-year history of the event, including a dominating 163 of 267 in his 2015 win. He has eight top-10 finishes in nine races, including seven top-five results – two of which were runner-up showings in addition to his victories.

Busch’s most recent runner-up effort came last summer when his older brother Kurt won by a scant .076-second - the closest margin in track history - after jumping to the lead on an overtime restart and setting the stage for a brotherly 1-2 finish.

Kyle Busch, the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota drew the pole position for Sunday afternoon’s race and the race winner has started on the front row in five of the nine races at Kentucky.

Busch has nine top-10 finishes in 16 races this season, but this marks only the second time in the last four seasons that he hasn’t won already by the 17th stop on the NASCAR Cup Series racing calendar. He has three Xfinity Series and one Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series victories at Kentucky as well.

Certainly Busch’s older brother Kurt is looking to answer his 2019 win. The driver of the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet has six top-10 finishes in nine races, including four of the last five years. However, only one driver, JGR’s Martin Truex Jr., has won back-to-back events (2017-18) at Kentucky. And 12 of Truex’s 27 career wins have come on 1.5-mile tracks like Kentucky. His 2018 win there came from the pole position.

This venue could also be a place Brad Keselowski has circled on his calendar. The 2012 NASCAR Cup Series champion has a series-best three wins at Kentucky. The driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford earned the most dominant win in the track’s young history – leading 199 of 267 laps in route to his 2014 victory from the pole position. And his 4.399-second victory in 2012 is still the largest margin of victory in NASCAR Cup Series competition there.

Keselowski has nine top-10 finishes in the last 11 races this season – 11 top-10s on the year - including his two victories (at Charlotte-1 and Bristol-1).

Certainly there are two marquee names still looking for a maiden Kentucky victory. Championship leader – and last week’s Indy winner – Kevin Harvick has six top-10 finishes in nine Kentucky starts, but only one top-five (fifth place in 2018). The driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford won the pole position in 2016 and led a race best 128 laps only to finish ninth – and those are the only laps he’s ever led. Last year he finished 22nd. Kentucky and the Charlotte ROVAL are the only two tracks left on the schedule Harvick has yet to win at.

Denny Hamlin, who looked poised to celebrate his first Indianapolis win last weekend before surrendering the lead and crashing with five laps remaining, is also winless at Kentucky.  All four of his top-10 finishes on the 1.5-mile Kentucky oval have been top five runs. His best finish is third and he’s done that twice - in 2012 and 2015. He was fifth in 2019.

Hamlin has been particularly strong this season, earning his third Daytona 500 victory to start the year and adding three more wins since. He’s led laps in the last five races earning two (Homestead and Pocono) of those victories and is hopeful that success continues this weekend.

“Kentucky is a place where I haven’t gotten a win yet, but we’ve been close a few times," said Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. “We’ve got a few top-five finishes, but just haven’t been able to close it out at the end of the race. Last year we were fast and could run up front, but had to start from the back late in the race and then made a strategy call to try to give us a chance at a win, but we finished fifth.

“With the way this FedEx Camry team has been performing this year, I don’t see any reason why we can’t change that this weekend and get our first win at Kentucky. We’ll put Indy behind us and go to Kentucky and give it all we can to get the win."

 

XFINITY DOUBLEHEADER

The NASCAR Xfinity Series continues its positive competitive momentum with a doubleheader weekend at Kentucky Speedway featuring the Shady Rays 200 tonight (8 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) followed by the Alsco 300 on Friday (8 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Historically-speaking, the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway certainly presents a wide-open opportunity for the 2020 Xfinity Series championship favorites. The last three races have been won by Tyler Reddick (2017), Christopher Bell (2018) and Cole Custer (2019), the three top title contenders in the last two years who now make up three-fourths of the NASCAR Cup Series rookie class.

Stephen Leicht is the only current Xfinity regular that has won at Kentucky previously (2007). But the series' competitors will have two chances this week.

Chase Briscoe’s dramatic victory on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course last weekend – his series-best fifth victory of the season - extended his championship lead to 21 points over Noah Gragson. And Briscoe becomes only the second driver in Xfinity Series history to earn five or more wins in the opening 13 races – matching the legendary Sam Ard who accomplished it back in 1984.

“It’s weird to say, but I feel like I’ve always thrived under pressure," Briscoe said of his hard-earned early season glory. “I set a goal for myself and the team has stuck behind me, but it’s kind of like Babe Ruth calling his shot. I knew if I did that, I had to back it up.

“I’ve always fed on the pressure. You go back to the [Charlotte] ROVAL and I won it (in 2019). A lot of people don’t realize I didn’t have a ride if I didn’t win that race. Sleeping on couches, volunteering in race shops and only having one race to prove myself, I had to do the best I could."

It’s certainly been a competitive showcase for Briscoe, but one he knows includes a host of other drivers ready to seize upon their own opportunity and assets.

Sitting third in the championship, behind the two-race winner Gragson is Ross Chastain. He trails Briscoe by 55 points with Austin Cindric on Chastain’s heels, 61 points back.

Briscoe was fifth last year in his only Kentucky Xfinity Series start. Gragson was sixth.

Popular driver Ross Chastain is still looking for his first victory of 2020, but has been consistently challenging for that trophy. He is currently on a streak of seven top-10 runs answering a third place at Homestead, Fla. last month with back-to-back runner-up showings at Talladega, Ala. and Pocono. He finished sixth at Indianapolis. Chastain has eight Xfinity Series starts at Kentucky but his lone top 10 – 10th place – came in his first try back in 2014.

The 21-year old Austin Cindric led 21 laps last weekend at Indianapolis (second only to race winner Briscoe’s 30 laps out front) and finished fifth after a spirited last lap run to the checkered with veteran A.J. Allmendinger. This will be his third Kentucky start. He won the pole position there last year but his best finish (10th) was in his first start in 2017. He has celebrated in the Bluegrass state’s Victory Lane scoring the 2016 ARCA Menards Series race win in 2014.

The veteran Justin Allgaier, who is ranked sixth in the championship, has the most Kentucky starts among the driver standings top 10. In 13 races the driver of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet has nine top-10 finishes including the last five races. His career-best finish there is third (in 2017) and he led 32 laps in 2018, finishing fourth. He is coming off a pair of top-10 finishes at Pocono (sixth) and Indianapolis (seventh).

This will mark the Xfinity Series Kentucky debut for 19-year old Harrison Burton. The son of NASCAR star Jeff Burton opened the season with an incredible run of 10 straight top-10 finishes including his first career series win at California before the COVID-19 pandemic and then Homestead after the sport’s re-start. However, the driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota is eager to snap an unfortunate streak of three finishes of 25th or worse, including DNFs at Talladega, Ala. and Pocono, Pa. He led the driver standings following his Fontana win, but is now seventh in points – 135 behind leader Briscoe. In his only previous Kentucky start – last year in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series – Burton started sixth and finished third.

 

SATURDAY NIGHT GANDER TRUCKS

The start of the 2020 season has certainly featured a “new guard” trend in success.

Three 2019 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series championship contenders are still racing in the series but none are currently ranked among the top 10 this season. It’s been a decided trend toward new names.

The defending winner of Saturday night’s Buckle Up in Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway (6 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) - Tyler Ankrum - is a shining example of the young new guard poised to make a run at the 2020 title.

There are three fulltime series drivers with previous wins at the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway, including Ankrum whose impressive seven-second win over Stewart Friesen last year is the 19-year old’s only series victory - coming in his first Kentucky start. This week, Ankrum arrives ranked eighth in the driver standings with a pair of top 10s to his credit – both coming in the last two races. His season-best work is a runner-up at Homestead-Miami Speedway in June.

Championship leader Austin Hill, 26, has never won at Kentucky and has only a single top-10 finish (10th in 2017) in four starts, but he certainly brings an impressive 2020 season resume into this weekend’s event. He holds a hefty 51-point edge over Ben Rhodes atop the championship standings. Although Hill’s No. 16 Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota team is still looking for that first win on the season, the organization has done everything but celebrate in Victory Lane. Hill has top-10 finishes in all six races and has earned runner-up finishes in two of the last three stops.

Rhodes, driver of the No. 99 ThorSport Ford, would love to become only the third driver with multiple wins at Kentucky (joining NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. and Kyle Busch). This is the Louisville-native’s “home race” and he’s eager to kickstart his season with a win. He has four top-10s in the opening six races and is coming off a fifth-place finish at the last race in Pocono.

A competitive exception to the younger generation’s dominance, is 2019 regular season champion Grant Enfinger. The 35-year old Alabama native has two wins already – at Daytona and Atlanta – the first time in his four-year truck series career the driver of the No. 98 ThorSport Racing Ford has scored multiple wins. Enfinger is ranked third, 61 points behind Hill with only a three-point edge on Sheldon Creed and a five-point advantage on Todd Gilliland in the tightly-stacked standings.

Defending series champion Matt Crafton is the only other former Kentucky winner in the field among fulltime NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series drivers. The 44-year old has started all 21 series races at Kentucky and has 15 top-10 and six top-five finishes including that 2015 victory. He led 11 laps last year and finished 13th. He could use a boost in his title defense. He has only a pair of top 10s through the first six races and one top five – a fourth place at Las Vegas. He crashed out of the series last race at Pocono and finished a season-worst 40th.

ARCA Menards Series rookie driver Ryan Huff heads to Kentucky Speedway eyeing his second career top-10 finish in Saturday afternoon’s General Tire 150.

While Huff has never been to the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway, the ARCA newcomer is remaining optimistic about competing in his seventh race of the season.

“It’s just about taking the approach that I’ve done all season long,” said Huff. “It’s another new track for me and it’s going to take a little bit of time to adapt, but once I get comfortable I hope we can make some huge strides in the race.”

In the first half-dozen ARCA races this season, Huff has experienced a wide variety of race tracks from all shapes and sizes but this weekend’s race will mark his debut at the traditional intermediate track – which has become a norm in the upper ranks of NASCAR.

“NASCAR is where I want to be so I have to embrace these opportunities, especially at places like Kentucky,” added Huff. “I’ve been very fortunate to race at places like Daytona, Talladega, Pocono – but I’m looking forward to Kentucky and seeing what these mile-and-a-half tracks are all about.”

To get Huff adjusted for the upcoming 100 laps at Kentucky, the series’ will hold an hour practice session just two and a half hour before the race. For Huff, that practice time is crucial not only for the experience but also knowing how his car may handle in the opening laps of the race.

“We’re going to be practicing with the track conditions being pretty similar towards race time, that should be a big help. I just want to stay on the lead lap, learn and see if we can get another top-10 finish.”

Completing in the first five races of the 2020 season, Huff enters the General Tire 150, a respectable seventh in the championship standings and while the remainder of their schedule remains in flux, Huff believes as long as they can continue to show improvements – he hopes he’ll be around the series’ for a while.

“We’re doing everything we can right now to be a part of the series every week,” sounded Huff. “We have a lot of great partners and we’re working with them to fulfill our commitments and hope they might add a couple more races down the stretch.

“If we can keep putting solid finishes together on the track, I hope the door will open that we can be on that starting grid every week. We’re going to try until we can’t no more.”

HB Hankins will assume the role as the primary partner of Huff’s No. 10 Ford Fusion for the sixth race of the season.

In addition to HB Hankins, Land & Coates and Southeastern Services will serve as associate marketing partners for the event.

Huff, a native of Williamsburg, Va. is one of six drivers to compete in every ARCA Menards Series race thus far in 2020. He is just one point behind Chandler Smith for sixth in the championship standings.

Following Kentucky Speedway, Huff hopes to return to ARCA Menards Series action at Iowa Speedway on July 18, 2020 for the Shore Lunch 150. For more on Ryan Huff, follow him on Twitter (@driverRyanHuff) and like him on Facebook (@driverRyanHuff).

The General Tire 150 (100 laps | 150 miles) is the sixth of 20 races on the 2020 ARCA Menards Series schedule. Practice begins Sat., Jul. 11 with a forty-five-practice session from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. The race is set to take the green flag shortly after 2:30 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities. All times are local (Eastern).

RHR PR

With the Holiday off-weekend behind them, AM Racing and driver Austin Wayne Self (@AustinWSelf) are ready to get back down to business in Saturday night’s Buckle Up Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway.

The Statesville, N.C.-based team is hoping that the seventh race of the season is a good opportunity to bounce back from a tough showing at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway two weeks ago when Self was collected in two separate incidents in the opening laps of the event.

Shaking off the tough luck at the “Tricky Triangle” – Self leans on Kentucky’s 1.5-mile speedway as an opportunity to get team back on track for a busy month of racing ahead.

“It was hard to have that off week because, after Pocono, I think everyone on this AM Racing team was ready to go back to the track and bounce back immediately,” said Self.

“But the break allowed us to catch our breath, settle down and refocus for one of the races that I always look forward to.”

Self has four prior Truck Series starts at the Sparta located track and earned a track-best sixth-place finish last July.

He also has two prior ARCA Menards Series starts from 2014 – 2015, yielding two top-12 finishes.

All things considered; Kentucky is one of those races circled on the AM Racing calendar in the shop as an opportunity to build on last year’s finish.

“It was a chaotic race last July, but we earned that finish,” offered Self. “We worked hard, Eddie (Troconis, crew chief) made some great adjustments on our No. 22 GO TEXAN | AM Technical Solutions Chevrolet Silverado and I think the notes that we have from last year can be even more beneficial this weekend.”

With NASCAR still limiting the series’ time at the race track, the Truck Series won’t have any practice or qualifying before hitting the track and while that pivotal track time can be essential, Self believes it could set the tone for an exciting race.

“Kentucky is really fast with sweeping corners,” he added. “You really need to get your truck handling well over the bumps and get the launch off the corners to carry the speed on the straightaways to make a pass.

“With no practice or qualifying, I think most teams will rely on their setup from last July which worked fairly good for us during the race. With qualifying being thrown out the window, I think you’re going to have some fast trucks stacked throughout the field which should make the race more exciting but will keep us drivers up on our toes too.”

Traditionally, the garage and pit road area at Kentucky is flooded with family members and close relatives who have come to cheer on Self and the AM Racing team. However, with the garage access currently restricted and no fans expected in attendance, Self knows those members who still support his team this season just virtually.

“It’s a bummer that we don’t have fans back in the stands and can have people in the garage, but I understand the reasoning,” he said. “I know I have a lot of family who will be cheering us on Saturday night from in front of their televisions or radios. Hopefully, we can have a finish like we did last year and take that momentum to Texas next week!”

Don’t mess with Texas, CForce Bottling Company, Flying Circle, and Kreuz Market will serve as associate partners in the seventh race of the year.

In 90 NGROTS races, the 2014 ARCA Menards Series Rookie of the Year has two top-fives (second at Daytona 2017, fifth at Michigan 2019) and seven top-10 finishes. The Texan maintains an average finish of 18.5 during his five years of competition.

The Austin, Texas native is nestled 22nd in the championship standings with 17 races remaining.

For more on Austin Wayne Self, please visit awsracing.com, like his Facebook page (Austin Wayne Self) or follow him on Twitter @AustinWSelf.

For more on AM Racing, please visit AMRacingteam.com, like their Facebook page (AM Racing) or follow them on Twitter @AMRacingNASCAR. 

For more on Squeeze Marketing or to learn how they can help grow your business, please visit squeezemarket.com

For more information on Don’t mess with Texas and how you can become involved in the program, visit dontmesswithtexas.org. 

For more on Flying Circle, please visit flyingcirclegear.com, like them on Facebook (FlyingCircleGear) and follow them on Instagram (@flyingcirclegear) and Twitter (@flyingcircle_). Also, connect with Flying Circle on Pinterest and YouTube.

Visit JB Henderson Construction online at jbhenderson.com.

For additional information on CForce premium artesian water, please visit cforce.com.

For more on Kreuz Market, please visit kreuzmarket.com. like them on Facebook (KreuzMarketLockhart) and follow them on Twitter (@kreuzmarket).

The Buckle Up Your Truck 225 (150 laps| 225 miles) is the seventh of 23 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series races on the 2020 schedule. The 40-truck field will take the green flag shortly after 6:00 p.m. with live coverage on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90). All times are local (Eastern).

AM Racing PR

Lincoln Speedway, located at the Logan County Fairgrounds in Lincoln, IL, is off to a great start for the 2020 racing season. After the first four events were canceled due to COVID-19, speedway officials decided to run every week, for the first six Fridays, to make up what was lost. The decision has worked out nicely as great fields of cars, solid crowds, and great racing has been a mainstay. It all continues this Friday night, July 10 with five divisions of action.

Action in the DIRTcar Pro Late Model class has been outstanding over the first four weeks, with three different winners finding victory lane. Springfield, IL driver Jake Little leads the standings by just two points over Ashland, IL’s Brandon Eskew. Colby Sheppard, Roben Huffman, and Braden Bilger round out the top five in points. Eskew has won two features, while Little and Jose Parga claimed the others. 38 different Pro Late Model competitors have been on track so far this season.

The DIRTcar Modified class has been historically great at Lincoln Speedway and this year has been no different. There is currently a tie at the top of the standings with Ray Bollinger of Kewanee, IL and Austin Lynn of Mason City, IL. Bollinger, however, tends to run a lot of the Summer National races which is likely to shake up the top of the standings. Bollinger has won the last two events, while Lynn and Donovan Lodge won the others. 45 different drivers have raced with the class in 2020.

The DIRTcar Street Stocks will be back for a third time this season, with bonus money on the line for the best average finishes between Lincoln Friday night and Macon Saturday night. Terry Reed of Cerro Gordo, IL and Robert Cottom, of Galesburg, IL have taken feature wins in 2020. The two events for Street Stocks have been highly competitive so we could very well see a third different winner this week.

The Nutech Seed DII Midgets are back this Friday night after an open competition Midget race was on track last week. Mark McMahill leads the standings by just two points over Tyler Roth. Andy Baugh, the perennial favorite, missed a week this year which puts him sixth in points. Baugh won two features and claimed the $500 Nutech Seed DII Front Row Challenge bonus two weeks ago. Will Armitage claimed the other feature win and sits third in points.

The division which may be the biggest surprise this year is the DIRTcar Hornet class, which has been packed with racers every Friday night. At the last event, 28 different drivers competed with the front wheel drive division. Erik Vanapeldoorn, of Clinton, IL, leads the points by ten over Dallas Strauch. Brady Reed, David Lauritson, and James Womeldorff round out the top five.

The Friday night, July 10 program will see pit gates opening at 3:00, grandstands at 5:00, pill draw ending at 5:50, hotlaps beginning at 6:00, and racing at 7:00. Grandstand admission is $15, while kids 11 and under are free.

Looking ahead to other upcoming events, Lincoln Speedway will host the MOWA 410 Winged Sprint Car Series season opener next Friday, July 17, POWRi National Midget Illinois Speedweek on August 2, and the DIRTcar Summer Nationals Graue Chevrolet Showdown on August 16.

Lincoln Speedway PR

Oscar Mayer and Roush Fenway driver Ryan Newman are teaming up with the help of the iconic Oscar Mayer Wienermobile to support a great cause to help provide food to those in need by offering a race weekend experience as part of the Fanatics ALL IN Challenge.

With help from the iconic Oscar Mayer Wienermobile – the 27-foot-long vehicle hauling buns around the country promoting the Oscar Mayer brand – Ryan Newman and Oscar Mayer will host two lucky fans for a full race weekend experience in 2021. The highest bidder and a guest will receive an exclusive meet and greet with Newman, get a chance to ride in the hot-dog-on-wheels, and have access to other behind-the-scenes features. The experience will also include two roundtrip domestic flights, hotel and travel expenses.

To bid on the experience, click here or visit www.AllInChallenge.com. All proceeds benefit non-profit organizations like Feeding America, Meals on Wheels, America’s Food Fund, No Kid Hungry and World Central Kitchen. Bidding is live (as of July 9) and will close Sunday, July 19. The highest bidder will be notified after the auction concludes.

For more information, please visit www.AllInChallenge.com.

Oscar Mayer is in its third season with Roush Fenway Racing, and second as the primary partner for Newman. The iconic brand will return to Newman’s No. 6 Ford Mustang for the NASCAR All-Star Race on July 15 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

RFR PR

As Indianapolis Motor Speedway turns the page on the inaugural INDYCAR/NASCAR pairing and looks forward to next month’s 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, Central Indiana race fans will notice this year’s Festival Event Cars now on the road.

Since the 1960s, Festival Event Cars have reminded “500” fans of the upcoming race, and this year’s eye-catching fleet of 2020 Camaro 2SS Red Hot Convertibles continues that tradition.

“The longtime tradition is another sign that the Indianapolis 500 is right around the corner,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said. “Year after year, our friends at Chevrolet deliver some of the most beautiful, exciting muscle cars on the road, and this Camaro is no exception.”

The 500 Festival Camaros are driven by Indianapolis-areas business leaders and dignitaries.

The 2020 Camaro 2SS Red Hot Convertibles feature:

  • 6.2L LT1 V8 Engine
  • 455 horsepower and 455 lb.-ft. of torque
  • 10-Speed paddle-shift automatic transmission
  • Accessory 20” Polished Forged Wheels
  • Accessory White Pearl Rally Stripes
  • Carbon Flash Metallic Ground Effects Package
  • Unique Indy 500 Livery

Chevrolet has a storied history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chevrolet was founded in 1911, the year of the first 500-mile race, and company co-founder Louis Chevrolet, along with brothers Arthur and Gaston, competed in early 500s. Arthur competed in the 1911 race, and Gaston won in 1920.

Nine drivers with Chevrolet engines have combined to win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” 11 times, with Simon Pagenaud joining Rick Mears, Emerson Fittipaldi, Arie Luyendyk, Al Unser Jr., Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power as 500-winning Chevrolet drivers with his victory a year ago.

The 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place Sunday, Aug. 23. Visit IMS.com for the complete event schedule.

IMS PR

Leavine Family Racing welcomes aboard Germania Insurance as a primary sponsor on the No. 95 Toyota Camry. Germania Insurance, based out of Brenham, Texas, has been providing coverage to the Lone Star State for more than 120 years and makes their first foray into NASCAR as primary sponsor. The multi-year agreement includes several primary races and associate sponsor positioning. The partnership will continue into the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season.

“We are absolutely thrilled to begin this relationship with Leavine Family Racing,” Germania’s Chief Marketing Officer Min Choi said. “We believe their core values align perfectly with our Germania family, and we are proud to be associated with another established Texas brand.”

Germania Insurance joins Leavine Family Racing (LFR) in its 10th year competing in the NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) and its first season with rookie contender Christopher Bell behind the wheel of the No. 95 Toyota Camry. Bell transitioned to the Cup Series with LFR after a successful stint in the NASCAR Xfinity Series where he earned 16 wins, 41 top-five and 46 top-10 finishes.

“We are excited to bring Germania Insurance into the sport of NASCAR,” said Jeremy Lange, President of Leavine Family Racing.  “With Germania being a Texas-based company and considering our roots in Texas, we already share a common connection.  We are looking forward to representing the many Germania agents and offices around the state of Texas as we compete weekly on a national stage.”

Germania Insurance will be featured in the associate sponsor position in the upcoming NASCAR All-Star Open, where Christopher Bell will try to race his way into the NASCAR All-Star race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, July 15th after earning a top-10 finish in his first NCS start at Bristol.

LFR PR

Attacking their third ARCA Menards Series race of the season together, Chad Bryant Racing (CBR) and rookie driver Derek Griffith hunt for a top-five finish in Saturday afternoon’s General Tire 150.

Griffith will make another debut at a track that he’s never competed at, but thankfully, the 23-year-old has plenty of experience surrounding him for his intermediate debut at the 1.5-mile speedway, but the New Hudson, N.H. native has the motivation to earn his first career ARCA Menards Series victory.

“Excited to hit the track again in our No. 22 Original Gourmet™ Food Company Ford Fusion,” said Griffith. “Kentucky Speedway looks like an extremely fast and fun racetrack. Hopefully, we can keep our car balanced and be near the front when it counts the most.”

Unlike last week, where the series’ resumed to a traditional schedule of practice, qualifying and the race – the ARCA Menards Series shifts back into COVID-19 protocol mode – where the series’ will have a limited practice session – no qualifying and then shift directly into race mode.

While the schedule is relatively quick, the on-track time is something for a rookie driver like Griffith craves. However, he is making the most of the scenario and has spent the week studying – whether it is reviewing previous races, studying pictures or picking up the telephone and communicating.

All things considered Griffith is ready for the 100-lap challenge.

“I’ve been watching a lot of videos and doing a lot of studying to get ready for the race,” added Griffith. “That’s all important but nothing accounts for actual track time. Practice is going to be about getting me comfortable and getting our No. 22 Original Gourmet™ Food Company Ford Fusion handling well and then turn all of our focus to the race.”

In his two previous ARCA races this season, Griffith delivered a career-best eighth place in his series’ debut at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway last month and contended for a top-five at Lucas Oil Raceway on July 3., but power steering gremlins shuffled the team to a 12th place finish at the checkered flag.

Looking ahead to ARCA’s return to Kentucky for the first time since 2017, Griffith believes his Chad Bryant Racing team can contend for the victory.

“Chad Bryant Racing knows how to master Kentucky, so I’ve got a lot of learning to do,” added Griffith. “Luckily, Chad (Bryant), Paul (Andrews) and the rest of the team are very patient and we know that if things go the way they should – and we have a little luck on our side, we could sneak our first win of the season.”

Saturday’s race will mark the third race with Original Gourmet™ Food Company as the primary partner of Griffith’s No. 22 Ford Fusion.

Headquartered in Salem, New Hampshire, Original Gourmet™ has been innovating in the sweets and snack industry since 1994. Their story started with a recipe and a vision.

Their curiosity for making special blends of flavors and colors of candy became a passion for providing people with bold tasting lollipops.

Griffith’s car will be covered in a variety of the company’s 26 lollipops flavors.

Original Gourmet’s lollipops are the largest pops sold with a bright taste and bright colors – standing out from all the rest. Weighing in at 1.1 oz., these lollipops are gluten and peanut free delights that have a plastic stick and will not get soggy like all the other lollipops do.

Team owner Chad Bryant says Griffith is doing everything he needs to do behind the wheel and hopes to continue to showcase his ability in his mile-and-a-half debut this weekend.

“Derek has done a great job in the No. 22 Original Gourmet™ Food Company Ford Fusion,” offered Bryant. “Last weekend, we were biding our time but felt like we had a car capable of winning but didn’t have the track position and later got hit with power steering issues that stalled our finish.

“But these Chad Bryant Racing boys are ready to go and we think with Derek’s smart racer instincts we can contend for a win at Kentucky on Saturday afternoon.” For more on Derek Griffith, please visit derekgriffith.com, like him on Facebook (Derek Griffith Motorsports) and follow him on Twitter (@DerekGriffith12).

For more on Chad Bryant Racing, please visit ChadBryantRacing.com, like them on Facebook (Chad Bryant Racing) or follow them on Twitter (@ChadBryantRace).

For more on Original Gourmet™ Food Company and their products, please visit ogfc.net.

The General Tire 150 (100 laps | 150 miles) is the sixth of 20 races on the 2020 ARCA Menards Series schedule. Practice begins Sat., Jul. 11 with a forty-five-practice session from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. The race is set to take the green flag shortly after 2:30 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities. All times are local (Eastern).

CBR PR

After spending the last month racing Legend cars, Kody King is ready to switch gears and turn his attention to the second race of the Victory Custom Trailers CRA Junior Late Model Series season.
 
King, 13, will travel to the Indianapolis Speedrome this Saturday to take part in the 25-lap event for the tour, which is designed to give young drivers between the ages of 10 and 15 an introduction to full-sized late models.
 
The Lee Faulk Racing and Development driver made his Victory Custom Trailers CRA Junior Late Model Series debut on June 13 at Indiana’s Anderson Speedway, earning a sixth-place finish.
 
“We’ve been keeping busy racing our Legend car all over the Midwest so I can stay sharp,” said King. “I’m really looking forward to going to the Speedrome to drive the late model again. I learned a lot in my first race at Anderson and I hope I can do even better on Saturday.”
 
Since the last Victory Custom Trailers CRA Junior Late Model Series event, King has earned three top-five and five top-10 overall finishes in events featuring multiple classes in one feature and multiple class podium finishes. This year he’s competed in 10 Legend car events, finishing inside the top-10 in nine of those 10 races and scoring one class victory.
 
“I had a lot of fun racing all over the place the last few weeks,” King said. “The Legend car is a lot of fun and a great way to prepare for the late models. Hopefully I can do a few positions better at the Speedrome than I did at Anderson. It’s all about learning right now and the more laps I get the more I learn.”
 
MPM PR
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