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When the Indoor Auto Racing VP Series storms into Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall for the 18th running of the NAPA Know How Racing Weekend on Friday and Saturday January 31 and February 1, Andy Jankowiak, Ryan Flores and Erick Rudolph, the last three winners of the headline Gambler’s Classic TQ (Three Quarter) Midget races in the building, will have the same agenda in mind: win!

Rudolph, of Ramsomville, NY,  and Flores of Huntersville, NC., have already tasted victory in the BELFOR Property Restoration TQ Midget ‘Concrete Series’ by scoring wins earlier this month inside Allentown, PA’s PPL Center.  Unfortunately for both, neither winner finished the race he didn’t win.

Jankowiak, of the Buffalo, NY suburb of North Tonawanda, was shut out of Allentown victory lane despite leading 30 of the 40 laps of the Saturday race won by Flores. Contact between the two has set off a bit of a north-south rivalry.

‘Andy J’ still savors his 2019 Gambler’s Classic win as the highlight of his driving career and he wants nothing more to do it again.

“Every year I try hard to win this race.  Early in the race, someone hit me into the infield and I dropped back to about tenth.  I had to calm myself down after that.  You try to do everything right to give yourself the best chance to win here. That one was by far the highlight of my career,” Jankowiak said in his post-race remarks.

Jankowiak passed three-time Atlantic City winner Anthony Sesely of Matawan, N.J. for the lead, then held off Tim Buckwalter of Douglasville, Pa.

After a problem in one of Friday’s Four 20 lap features and his Saturday heat race in 2019, Rudolph took a provisional starting spot for the Gambler’s Classic. Rudolph, the series leading winner and defending champion, then drove from a 25th starting spot to finish fifth.

Jankowiak, Flores and Rudolph all come to Atlantic City as pre-race favorites. But more threats for the Gambler’s Classic emerged from the Allentown Indoor Auto Racing Series fueled by VP Racing Fuels events in the persons of Matt Janisch, Ryan Bartlett, and Tim Buckwalter.

Janisch, of Nazareth, PA, had Allentown finishes of third and seventh and comes to Atlantic City as the points leader, a position he relishes in his quest for his first title.

Bartlett of Watertown, NY, and Buckwalter of Royersford, PA., joined Janisch as top ten feature finishers in the pair of Allentown races sponsored by Ironton Telephone.    Bartlett’s races, the best of his Indoor career, came behind the wheel of a car to new him, formerly owned by Lenny and Donna Boyd. 

Buckwalter, driving a car that is a mate to Rudolph’s proven winner, was running second late in the Saturday race won by Flores when he was spun. 

Janisch leads Bartlett in the TQ points heading into Atlantic City by ten points. Allentown Opener winner Rudolph is third, 17 markers out of first and Briggs Danner is fourth, 20 points out of the lead. Jankiowiak completes the top five, 24 points out of first.

Jeremy Haudricourt, Shawn Nye, Buckwalter, Flores and Anthony Payne are sixth through tenth.

The wild and crazy Slingshots and darty Champ Karts will make up the tripleheader program as they have in the past.

Dylan Hoch and Tyler Brown, winners of the Allentown Indoor opening races in Slingshot and Champ Kart action, are atop their point standings heading into Atlantic City. 

Danny Buccafusca is the reigning Atlantic City Indoor Slingshot race winner and Doug Stearly was the 2019 Champ Kart Atlantic City race winner. Both are entered in this year’s races.

Racing action begins on Friday at 7:30 p.m. with Saturday action getting the green flag at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 on Friday night. On Saturday doors open at 5 p.m. with fans holding reserved tickets given the opportunity to attend Fan Fest on the speedway. All cars competing in the program will be positioned on the speedway and drivers made available for autographs until 6:30.

Following the “Concrete Series” event in Atlantic City, a special non-point event will be held on a banked clay oval. The third annual East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals will again be held at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton, N.J. on Friday and Saturday nights February 21st and 22nd featuring nearly 100 wingless 600cc Sprints.

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.

Tickets are currently available in a range of different prices for all the Indoor Series events through links on the indoorautoracingseries.com website and the Boardwalk Hall Box Office.

Corporate sponsorship at a variety of levels is available for all remaining events.   Interested parties should contact Danny Sammons at 609-888-3618 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Indoor Auto Racing PR

The 2019 DIRTcar Racing season officially came to a close on Saturday night with an evening of reflection, good food and great times at the Springfield Crowne Plaza. The big checks, tall trophies and engraved plaques handed out shone bright on the big stage, as did the drivers, crews, families and friends that come together at the track each and every year to take part in the sport they all love.

The festivities began with the honoring of the youngest drivers under the DIRTcar Racing banner and their national champion, Jerremy Sebens of the Kidz Modz division. After a delightful dinner, emcee Rick Eshelman began the awards presentations to the attending drivers in each participating division, up to second place in final points.

Leading off in the special award presentations, DIRTcar Racing COO Tom Deery took the stage to present the 15th annual Bob Memmer Award to a well-known veteran of the Midwestern Dirt Late Model ranks, Kevin Weaver. Weaver now joins the likes of C.J. Rayburn, Terry Young, William Scogin, Roger Friedman, Randy Mooneyham, Bob Pierce, Tom Helfrich, Morey Denney, Jimmy Dearing, Todd Turner, Bob Sargeant and Jeff Leka as award winners.

The 2019 DIRTcar Promoter of the Year Award was given to Matt Curl of Fairbury Speedway, which was accepted by track announcer Mike Norris. Former Bob Memmer Award winner Morey Denney also took the stage to accept the 2019 DIRTcar Track of the Year Award, given to Spoon River Speedway.

The Engine Builder of the Year Awards were given to Mullins Race Engines in the Modified division and to Durham Racing Engines for Late Models. Rocket Chassis was awarded with the Chassis of the Year Award with 110 total victories across the 2019 season.

Randall Gregory was then honored as the 2019 Late Model Mechanic of the Year; Darrell Hoffman received the 2019 Modified Mechanic of the Year.

Regional champions of each division were also honored according to the list below.

Sport Compact
East - Kevin Ashby
North - Matt Mackey
South - Brady Reed
West - Eldon Hemken

Stock Car
South - Terry Reed Jr.
North - Jason Maier

Modified
Northern Indiana - Derek Losh
Southern Indiana/Kentucky - Jordan Wever
Northern Illinois - Allen Weisser
Deep South - Christian Thomas
Michigan - David Vanquilder
South - Ty Shearon
Ohio - Jess Hartman
East - Coleman Evans
Illinois - Tommy Sheppard Jr.
Missouri/Illinois - Mike Harrison

Sportsman
East - Josh Boller
West - Tommy Duncan

Pro Late Model
West - Dakota Ewing
East - Logan Moody

Late Model
South - David Seibers
Southwest - Jim Moon
East - Rusty Schlenk
West - Daryn Klein
Rookie - David Mielke

To conclude the evening, the national champions were called to the stage to accept their awards and make their speeches.

Pro Late Model - Aaron Heck
Pro Modified - Tim Hancock
UMP Modified - Nick Hoffman
Sportsman - Josh Boller
Stock Car - Jason Maier
Factory Stock - Preston Oberle
Sports Compact - Matt Mackey

After another incredible season behind the wheel of the Bob Cullen Racing #3s Rocket Chassis XR1 that saw an impressive 13 wins on the national scale and seven on the DIRTcar Summer Nationals tour, Brian Shirley collected the 2019 DIRTcar Late Model National Championship, and the Summer Nationals crown for the second year in-a-row.

The Chatham, IL-driver was unable to attend the ceremony on Saturday night due to his other commitments, but left a video message for all of those in the banquet hall.

"I'd like to thank Tom Deery, Brian Carter, Sam Driggers and everybody at DIRTcar for what they do. Also a huge thank-you to Bob and Lisa Cullen, Thomas Express, Kids Castle, J&J Adventures, Rocket Chassis, Andy Durham and everybody that helps me on this car," Shirley said.

Mooresville, NC-native Nick Hoffman also took to the stage to accept both of his championship awards, worth $25,000 total for his efforts in the DIRTcar UMP Modified national ranks and on the Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals tour. In his speech, Hoffman rattled-off a few stats he compiled that best defined his success over the season - 24 wins in eight different states at 20 different racetracks for a total of 50 races. In sum, a year's worth of domination.

"I've been fortunate enough to win quite a few races in the Modified deal, and this was one of the last straws i feel like i needed to go get to really put my name on the map of what I've done in a Modified," Hoffman said.

As for 2020, Hoffman will be stepping his game up just a bit, looking for more time in the big DIRTcar Late Model ride he's occasionally spotted in.

"I still feel like I'm young enough to do a full-time deal in the coming years," Hoffman said. "The Modified is obviously running running really well and making money, so I want to keep racing it on the nights I'm not in a Late Model. I'll run a part-time schedule in both."

DIRTcar Racing would like to thank all of its partners that made the 2019 racing season a huge success!

Summit Racing Equipment, Bassett Racing Wheel, Bell Helmets, Beyea Custom Headers, Billstein Shocks, Chevy Performance, Comp Cams, Dart Heads, Drydene Performance Products, Fast Shafts, FireAde, FK Rod Ends, FOX Racing SHOX, Hoosier Racing Tire, Impact Race Products, Intercomp, Indiana Decal Company, JE Pistons, KSE Racing Products, MSD Ignition, NGK Spark Plugs, PAC Racing Springs, Quarter Master, Racing Electronics, Arizona Sport Shirts, Sports Insurance Specialists (SIS), Schoenfeld Headers, TNT Rescue, Wrisco Aluminum and VP Racing Fuels.

DIRTcar Racing PR

First-timer Dominique Van Wieringen led the way in the final day of testing for the ARCA Menards Series season-opener at Daytona International Speedway. The two-day test session, leading into the February 10 Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire, was plagued both days by overnight rain showers that delayed the start, but the teams on hand were able to get nearly 15 hours of track time over the course of both days.

Van Wieringen, who has a career-best third place finish in the ARCA Menards Series East at Langley Speedway, piloted the No. 30 Rette Jones Racing Ford to a fast lap at 49.615 seconds/181.397 miles per hour. Van Wieringen’s fast lap also marks the second consecutive season a female driver led the way in a test session at Daytona as now-retired Leilani Munter led the first day of the open test last year.

“I was really surprised when Mark (Rette) said we went to the top of the charts,” Van Wieringen said. “I was practicing trying to time the draft for qualifying and I didn’t get it times just right. Hopefully when we come back for the race I can time it out a little better in qualifying and get even more.

“It’s been a good experience. It’s really intimidating because you go really fast and when things go wrong they go wrong really fast. For the first time out, it was better than I thought it would be. It was actually really relaxing. I don’t know how to explain it, it was just really relaxing.”

World of Outlaws star David Gravel (No. 28 KBR Development Chevrolet) timed in second fastest at 49.659 seconds/181.236 miles per hour. Gravel is slated to run a partial season for GNS Racing in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series and will get his pavement career started in the ARCA Menards Series opener at Daytona.

Sean Corr (No. 8A Empire Racing Chevrolet) was third fastest with a lap at 49.676 seconds/181.174 miles per hour. He was followed closely by a trio Venturini Motorsports teammates, last year’s season runner-up and former Daytona winner Michael Self (No. 25 Venturini Motorsports Toyota), Drew Dollar (No. 15 Venturini Motorsports Toyota), and Ryan Repko (No. 20 Venturini Motorsports Toyota).

Self timed in with a lap at 49.684 seconds/181.145 miles per hour, Dollar just behind at 49.687 seconds/181.145 miles per hour, and Repko at 49.691 seconds/181.119 miles per hour.

Alabamian Bret Holmes (No. 23 Bret Holmes Racing Chevrolet) was seventh at 49.707 seconds/181.061 miles per hour, the final driver over 181 miles per hour. Riley Herbst, who led Friday morning’s session in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, was eighth at 49.799 seconds/180.727 miles per hour, just in front of the two Chad Bryant Racing teammates Jacob Heafner (No. 77H Chad Bryant Racing Ford) and yesterday’s overall fastest Connor Hall (No. 22C Chad Bryant Racing Ford).

Other notables throughout the field included former Talladega winner Gus Dean (No. 32 Win Tron Racing Chevrolet) in twelfth, former NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock national champion Tanner Gray (No. 17 DGR-Crosley Ford) in 13th, Hailie Deegan (No. 4 DGR-Crosley Ford) in 16th, and Tom Hessert III (No. 77H Chad Bryant Racing Ford) in 20th.

Two ARCA touring champions, ARCA CRA Super Series champion Greg Van Alst and ARCA Menards Series East champion Sam Mayer, took part in Saturday’s action making single-car runs in a car prepared by two-time Daytona winner and 1995 series champion Andy Hillenburg. Van Alst timed in 28th quickest at 51.527 seconds/174.666 miles per hour, while Mayer was 34th at 51.939 seconds/173.280 miles per hour.

The Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire is scheduled for Saturday, February 10 with the green flag expected to wave over the field at 4:45 pm ET. The race will be televised live flag-to-flag on FS1; ARCARacing.com will have live timing & scoring throughout practice, General Tire Pole Qualifying, and the 80-lap, 200-mile feature event.

AMS PR

Nearly 100 of the top 600cc Sprint Car dirt track drivers and their teams from throughout the northeast will converge on the Cure Insurance Arena in Trenton, NJ for the third running of the East Coast Dirt Nationals on Friday and Saturday, February 21-22, 2020. The event is scheduled at a new date this year, away from the Christmas holiday, while inverting back to the schedule used for the inaugural event in 2018.

Among the entries are the two past winners of the prestigious event, Whitey Kidd, III of Staten Island, NY who won the inaugural running of the East Coast Dirt Nationals on December 2, 2017 and Erick Rudolph, of Ransomville, NY, who blitzed the field on December 15, 2018.

The ‘Nationals’ are part of the Indoor Auto Racing VP Racing Fuels Series, but is apart from the three other indoor events in that it is run on a dirt surface and is thus a non-points race.

Both wins were special occasions for the past winners. In Kidd’s case, his triumph came after a spectacular late race charge. Exhausted after the event was over, Kidd revealed he was a cancer patient under treatment with an unknown prognosis.

Two years later, he is still racing, winning the game of life and seeking to win the East Coast Dirt Nationals a second time.  He will drive a 600 Sprint owned by Anthony Fillbrunn.

Rudolph won the follow-up race in Trenton on the dirt on Saturday, December 15, 2018.  The win was his fifth at Cure Insurance Arena, having won four prior races while racing on the concrete floor surface.  Rudolph has, over the last two years, become one of the biggest outdoor race winners in Dirt Modified racing.

Rudolph of Ransomville, N.Y. also swooped to victory in the Indoor Auto Racing Concrete Series opener on January 3, 2020 inside the PPL Center in Allentown, PA, demonstrating his versatility.

Among the drivers out to deny Kidd and Rudolph repeat wins are the USAC Midget car racing brothers, Alex and Brendan Bright, both of Collegeville, PA., Dirt Modified standout Dominick Buffalino of Sayreville, NJ, indoor Concrete specialist and outdoor Dirt 358 Modified ace Briggs Danner of Allentown, PA, and the three Locuson brothers, Andrew and Carl from Pilesgrove, NJ and Chris from Pennsville, NJ,

Third generation dirt Modified driver Sammy Martz, Jr., of Hampton NJ, has filed an entry as have the Scott brothers, Lavar and Wayne from Penns Grove, NJ., and Sprint car ace Eddie Strada, Jr., from Lake Ariel, PA.

Two female entrants are also in the field for the Indoor East Coast Dirt Nationals, Morgan Rochelle, 24, of Hacketstown, NJ and Jenna Shotz, 27 of Milford, NJ.

It takes a herculean effort to build a dirt track over the concrete Cure Insurance Arena floor.

Carefully selected clay worked so well in the inaugural running of the race that it had been stockpiled and re-spread for the second running of the race. This same clay will once again be used.

The process consists of carefully rolling the material, which arrives a dump truck load at a time, into the shape of an oval track with increased banking on the outside of the speedway. It is then groomed periodically during race nights to maximize raciness and minimize particulates.

The Trenton event begins with closed to the public practice sessions on Thursday night and Friday afternoon. The grandstands open on Friday night at 6 pm with racing slated to begin at 7 pm.

Friday’s racing card includes heat races for all cars with the line-up set by the luck of the draw. Drivers who start in the back can benefit from points given for every car passed. The top 60 in points after the heats will then be divided into four 20 lap A-Main Qualifiers. Drivers who earned points from 61 to 100, will go to the F and E Mains.

The top three finishers in each of Friday’s A-Main Qualifiers will transfer directly into Saturday’s 40 lap A-Main event. The other competitors in these events will earn points which will align them in B, C, or D mains.

On Saturday the grandstands will open at 4 pm with a pre-race autograph session on the concourse among drivers already qualified for the A-Main.

Saturday’s open track action will begin at 6 pm with the F-Main events which will transfer four cars to the E. The event continues to transfer four cars in each letter up to the B-Mains where six in each of the two held go to the main event.

On Friday night the entire building will be general admission allowing fans to pick their seat for just $23 for adults and $8 for children. On Saturday, the same pricing is in effect for upper seating area which will remain as general admission. Those wishing to sit on the lower level in a reserved seat can choose between tickets priced at $28 to $38.

Information, including ticket and hotel links, is available at indoorautoracing.com. Tickets are also available daily at the CURE Insurance Arena box office.

After the two race event opener in Allentown, the “Concrete Series” presented by BELFOR Property Restoration, the series moves to Atlantic City, N.J.’s Boardwalk Hall on Friday and Saturday, January 31st and February 1st for the 18th annual NAPA Auto Parts Classic.

The “Concrete Series” season finale is on Friday and Saturday March 13th and 14th in a second year return to the brand new Exposition Center located on the grounds of the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. N.Y.

Corporate sponsorship at a variety of levels is available for the third annual East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals.   Interested parties should contact Danny Sammons at 609-888-3618 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

AARN PR

Orange County Fair Speedway, appropriately nicknamed the House of Power, has added DIRTcar sanctioning for their weekly Big Block Modified program. The historic speedway now features Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds as well as two Super DIRTcar Series dates, including the Eastern States 200. 

DIRTcar Racing’s Dean Reynolds together with legendary driver and new Orange County Fair Speedway Director of Motorsports Brett Hearn reached the sanctioning agreement to provide a stable rulebook, Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship points funding, increased public relations, and reliable insurance for their racers.

“In my view, it’s an effort to keep all the rules intact and keep all the cars under one rulebook, making it easy for the top competitors throughout the Northeast to come to Orange County and know they’re racing under the same umbrella,” Hearn said. “For the local racers, it doesn’t change much because we run VP Racing Fuel and Hoosier Racing Tires. The added benefit of having a DIRTcar license allows for the valuable enhanced insurance program and the weekly racing point fund.”

In 2020, the historic oval will be celebrating an incredible 101st year of competition also sees the return of the Eastern States 200 to the Super DIRTcar Series schedule on Sunday, Oct. 25. The historic 200 is in addition to the Battle on the Midway 100, which is Tuesday, July 28. 

“Sanctioning the Eastern States 200 is good on multiple levels,” Hearn said. “It’s good for DIRTcar because it adds a second 200 lapper to the schedule, and it’s good for Eastern States because it’s now the second-to-last points race so you know everybody is going to be racing extremely hard for everything they can get.”

Hearn has raced and won at Orange County Fair Speedway for over 40 years, and in fact is the all-time winner at Middletown with 302 victories overall among the 919 wins and 79 track and series championships he’s earned. He capped off an incredible career full-time behind the wheel by winning another big block title last year. DIRTcar officials are eager to continue working with him during his transition from racer to general manager.

Some of the best Big Block Modified drivers in the Northeast race weekly at Orange County Fair Speedway including Jimmy Horton, Mike Gular, Tommy Meier, Jerry Higbie and so many more.

The legendary 5/8 mile oval boasts so many DIRT Motorsports Hall of Famers as well such as Frankie Schneider, NAPA Super DIRT Week champions, Buzzie Reutimann, Gary Balough, Danny Johnson, Billy Osmun, Bobby Bottcher, Carl Van Horn, Bob Malzahn, Frank Cozze and Rags Carter all called Orange County home in their careers. Also, add Hall of Famer Jeff Heotzler who still competes at the historic oval today. 

With the incredible help of Chris Larsen, Orange County has seen many improvements over the past few years making it a state of the art facility while still preserving the history. With his efforts comes the return of the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars on Sunday, August 2. 

DIRTcar Racing, Chris Larsen, Brett Hearn, and Orange County Fair Speedway are excited to kick off the new decade together with this partnership. Fans will see more premier DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds in the pits, drivers will enjoy a stable, professional rulebook, and everyone is looking forward to another spectacular decade of racing at The House of Power.

DIRTcar Series PR

On a day that started off delayed due to a wet track surface, the ARCA Menards Series open test at Daytona was also cut short Friday afternoon by inclement weather. Connor Hall (No. 22C Chad Bryant Racing Ford) had just moved to the top of the leaderboard as a group of drivers had started to work the draft, raising speeds above 180 miles per hour.

Hall's fast lap of 49.711 seconds/181.046 miles per hour just narrowly nipped Ronnie Osmer's fastest lap. Osmer (No. 02O Our Motorsports Chevrolet) timed in with a lap at 49.754 seconds/180.890 miles per hour, just 0.043 seconds off Hall's fastest lap.

"We were working on single car runs this morning," Hall said. "We had a game plan to work on the car and getting air where we wanted it. We made some gains and learned some things we liked and didn't like. That's what testing is all about. We were focused on what we needed to be better on last year. We have a great racecar. We are happy but not totally happy so we'll get back to work tomorrow."

Chad Bryant Racing's Jacob Haefner (No. 77H Chad Bryant Racing Ford) was third at 49.767 seconds/180.843 miles per hour.

"It was a learning curve atthe beginning," Haefner said. "I calmed myself down and got to driving. It is a big change coming from late models on short tracks. We worked a little on single car runs and then got out there in the draft a little. We're learning a lot and ready to come back in February."

Ty Gibbs (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) was fourth quick at 49.772 seconds/180.825 miles per hour and Andy Suess (No. 02S Our Motorsports Chevrolet) rounded out the top five at 49.828 seconds/180.621 miles per hour.

Others that teamed up to work the draft and exceed 180 miles per hour included Gus Dean (No. 32 Win Tron Racing Chevrolet), Riley Herbst (No. 18H Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet), Dominique Van Wieringen (No. 30D Rette Jones Racing Ford), and her brother Tristan Van Wieringen (No. 30T Rette Jones Racing Ford). Bret Holmes (No. 23 Bret Holmes Racing Chevrolet) rounded out the top ten.

Thirty-seven drivers took time of the 50 that have registered. No incidents were reported throughout the day.

The two day test in preparation for the ARCA Menards Series season opening Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire, set for Saturday, February 10, will continue tomorrow morning at 9 am ET with the afternoon session set for 1 pm ET. Live timing and scoring will be available throughout the day at ARCARacing.com.

AMS PR

The weather might be dreary in many parts of the country, but a quick glance at the week ahead for Volusia Speedway Park is showing beautiful low-80 temperatures, perfect for the inaugural DIRTcar Sunshine Nationals Jan. 16-18 at the World’s Fastest Half Mile that sits just west of Daytona Beach.

The event featuring three divisions of Dirt Late Models is drawing competitors from across the country to take on the Southeast’s best.

Among those is Sam Halstead, a DIRTcar Pro Late Model racer who hails from New London, Iowa, and regularly competes in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Missouri. He’ll add Florida to the list next week.

“I’ve always been wanting to race in Florida for the last five, six years,” said Halstead, a winner on the opening night of last October’s DIRTcar Fall Nationals at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55. “I just decided I better do it now, or I’ll never do it.”

He worked on the crew for a friend’s DIRTcar UMP Modified in 2018 at Volusia, but Magnolia Motor Speedway in Mississippi is the farthest south he’s ever raced.

He’s headed to Volusia looking to make it worth his while, too.

“Winning it!” Halstead said of his main goal. “I’m also looking forward to the warm weather. … I’m getting older, and decided if I’m ever going to do it, I better do it now. If I don’t do it this year, I won’t ever do it.”

Halstead will be competing in the Pro Late Model class, which is one of three along with Florida Late Models and 602 Late Models that will have Feature events each night of competition for nine total chances to win over the three days.

Click here for the Competitor Guide, Entry Form and Frequently Asked Questions.

Tickets are $20 for Adults on Thursday, Jan. 16, and Friday, Jan. 17. Tickets on Saturday, Jan. 18, are $25. Kids under 12 are FREE in the grandstands all three days. Tickets are available at the track. Camping is also available for $25 per day.

There will be an open practice night on Wednesday, Jan. 15. On Thursday, Jan. 16, and Friday, Jan. 17, grandstands open at 5 p.m., Hot Laps are at 5:15, Opening Ceremonies slated for 6:50 p.m. followed by Heat Races, Last Chance Showdowns and Features. On Saturday, Jan. 18, grandstands open at 5 p.m. with Hot Laps at 5:30, Opening Ceremonies at 6:50 followed by Heat Races, Last Chance Showdowns and Features. The final race of the event will be the $10,000-to-win Pro Late Model Feature.

For more information, visit DIRTcar.com and click the links to Sunshine Nationals.

DirtCAR Series PR

It's not uncommon for recent high school or college graduates to take an "off-year" after completing their studies to travel or wind down.
 
For Michael McCann Jr. – a recent graduate of Ohio University – he wanted to go sports car racing.
 
"When I graduated, I had full anticipation of accepting a job at an IT company in Columbus," said McCann, who graduated with a degree in Science and Management Information Systems. "A couple of days before Christmas, my dad came to me. My dad and I always had a mutual agreement with racing where, you know, keep your nose clean, stay out of trouble, get good grades, do well in school.
 
"He said that now is the time to go racing if you want to go racing. I told him that I don't want to look back in 10 years and be like, ‘I wish I would've taken that opportunity.’ I held off on the corporate life, and I started doing this, and I instantly fell in love with it."
 
McCann Racing joins the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge paddock in the No. 8 Audi R8 GT4. McCann – son of the former GT racer with the same moniker – will be sharing driving duties with a fellow Midwesterner, Britt Casey Jr.
 
Hailing from Illinois, Casey returns full time to the series after his championship-winning season in TCR in 2018. He completed a partial season in 2019, which yielded two pole positions, one win and two additional podium finishes in just four starts.
 
"It's rewarding to be back in the paddock full time after a successful, but partial, season last year being in an Audi RS3 TCR car again," said Casey. "We still found a lot of successes, but the move up to GS, I think, is something Audi wanted to see in terms of a ladder progression, as one of the Audi customer racing offerings of TCR, GT4 and GT3 and GT2 machinery. I know they're excited about that. McCann has long been an Audi team as well, and it was a good fit."
 
It can't be argued that the program as a whole is a good fit. Nearly all of the crew is Midwest-based, and Casey himself is nearing his college graduation from Ohio's Miami University.
 
"It's a Midwest team," said Casey. "Pretty much everyone on the team is from the Midwest, so we all get along in the same way and laugh at the same jokes. A lot of mutual friends and a lot of mutual experiences that we can all relate to. It's fun. It's is a cool team to be on because everyone is cool people."
 
His co-driver – who he met in World Challenge last year – echoed the same sentiments.
 
"The first thing with bringing other people in is that you just hope they get along," said McCann. "The first night (at the Roar Before the Rolex 24), we're all working together and we go out to dinner and it was perfect. It was like a happy marriage. Everything is going well so far, I can't complain. Having Britt as a teammate, that's huge for me. When we were teammates for one race last year, we just kicked things off."
 
The duo is hoping to kick off the 2020 Pilot Challenge season with a bang. Although they’re new to the grid, they're not necessarily lagging behind the veteran teams.
 
"There are little things that new teams don't think about, but we have a lot of guys that have previous experience with IMSA like myself that are on the team," said Casey. "We all know the little elements that go into a championship that may be a new team doesn't think about. Our goal is to be upfront every single race as much as we can.
 
"We're expecting to do well, not in a big-headed manner, but with a calculated approach. We have already started to recognize the little things we need to do to make sure we're taken as an established team, rather than a first-year team in IMSA because it's not going to be that way."
 
 
The IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season begins with the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, January 24. The race will be streamed live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold beginning at 1 p.m. ET. IMSA Radio commentary is also available at RadioLeMans.com and IMSA.com.
 
 

 

How do you win an IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the GT Daytona (GTD) class?
 
It’s the most populous class in the series, with 18 entries from no less than nine different manufacturers teed up to compete in the 2020 season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 25-26. And yet, since the inception of the WeatherTech Championship in 2014, there have been just four GTD teams that have won championships.
 
Turner Motorsport took the inaugural title with its then-season-long driver Dane Cameron aboard the No. 94 BMW Z4. Scuderia Corsa won the next three, with Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell capturing the title in 2015 followed by back-to-back championships with Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan in the team’s Ferrari 488 GT3 in 2016 and 2017.
 
Paul Miller Racing broke Scuderia Corsa’s stranglehold with Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow in the No. 48 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 in 2018. And last year, it was Trent Hindman and Mario Farnbacher who delivered the first sports car title for Meyer Shank Racing in the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3.
 
That title was a long time coming for the team, which began competing full-time in sports cars back in 2004. But after coming close in prior years, the light bulb finally came on for the MSR squad and team owner Mike Shank in 2019 and gives the team a roadmap to follow into 2020.
 
“You know, in 2018 we finished second by one point and we won last year by 21 points,” Shank said. “We had two different years there. In 2018, we had another team that didn’t make any mistakes. Last year, a lot of people made mistakes and we were able to capitalize on that.
 
“So, I would see us more as steady. We’re trying to keep that steady progression. We want to win championships. Obviously, we want to win races, but we think we know how to win championships now.”
Therein seems to lie the secret.
 
Of the GTD championship winners since 2014, Cameron and the Turner squad were the winningest team with four victories that season. Nielsen and Balzan had two wins in their first championship season of 2016 and Sellers and Snow also had two in 2017. But three times – Sweedler and Bell in 2015, Nielsen and Balzan in 2017 and Farnbacher and Hindman last year – the GTD champions only had one win during the season.
 
That seems to suggest that, if you’re going to contend for a title, you’ve got to accept that race wins aren’t always part of the equation.
 
“We accepted P2,” said Shank. “We accepted P3, ‘cause sometimes that’s the way the race goes. We were P7 at Sebring, as a matter of fact, but that was kind of our worst finish minus getting a stone in the radiator at Petit (Le Mans, the 2019 season finale).
 
“We accept that we can’t win all the races. So, what do you do then? What we do is, we let our drivers know, sometimes it’s not our day, and when it’s not our day, P4 is good. Let’s get the car in the trailer whole, take P4 and let’s move to the next track. I think that’s one of the biggest things actually.”
 
But there’s more to it than that. A lot more, says Shank.
 
“We’re like any other team in this class,” he said. “We have to fight BoP (Balance of Performance). The series put almost a hundred pounds on us – 80-some points – over the course of the year, which is a challenge for us to try to get the car to handle like it should.
 
“We all have to deal with it. I’m not making a judgement at all. I’m just saying that’s a part of the strategy now. At some point, you’ve got to figure out what’s the best way to manage that. I don’t mean manage BoP, but just understanding what you have at the time and not trying to overshoot that, making a mistake on the track or anything like that.”
 
Another common thread among past GTD champions – Meyer Shank Racing included – is a preponderance of podium finishes. In five of six seasons since 2014, the champion had podiums in at least half of the season’s races. And the one pairing that didn’t – Bell and Sweedler in 2015 – had top-four results in six of 10 races.
 
“We had more wins and stuff in ’18, but we had some mistakes too, and the 48 car that year just did what we did (in 2019),” Shank said. “There’s really something to be said about that. You’ve still got to be fast, and you’ve got to have a win, at least. And you should finish on the podium four or five, six times and have some poles, which we did.
 
“But it’s just understanding that there are days it’s just not going to be your day no matter what you do. Being able to be OK with being P4, P5 and put it in the trailer. We’ll go and we’ll be better next time. That’s what (Paul Miller Racing) did, it’s what Scuderia Corsa did, and it’s what we did. I think we strategized it really well.”
 
Shank hopes to carry that strategy over to 2020 with his team’s pair of entries and a shuffled driver lineup. Farnbacher is back full-time in the No. 86 Acura but his full-season co-driver will be 2019 WeatherTech Championship GTD champion Matt McMurry, while the team’s No. 57 entry run in partnership with Henricher Racing now features a full-season driver lineup of Misha Goikhberg and Alvaro Parente.
 
Hindman will compete in the No. 57 for IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup rounds, with AJ Allmendinger – who won the 2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona with the team – lined up for another Rolex 24 run in the No. 57. Japanese racer Shinya Michimi and Frenchman Jules Gounon complete the No. 86 lineup at Daytona alongside McMurry and Farnbacher.
 
And with all the talk of accepting podium finishes or the best result you can get, there are still two races – the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts – where a win-at-all-costs mentality is acceptable.
 
“Of course, we won the race overall in 2012, but in GTD, we have not won Daytona or Sebring,” Shank said. “We were second here (at Daytona), but Sebring just kicks our butt every year in every car we’ve ever been in.
 
“So, we have some real, hard goals to do better with the next here and at Sebring, potentially. We’ll test there at Sebring in February and we’ll try like crazy to get some better results.”
 
On-track activity for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona begins Thursday, Jan. 23 with practice and qualifying. NBC will have live network coverage of the start of the race beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25, and also will televise the race finish beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, Jan. 26 as part of NBC Sports’ complete coverage of the event that includes windows on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
 
IMSA Radio also will have live coverage throughout race weekend on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com, with complete race coverage also airing on SiriusXM Radio.
 
Tickets for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona are available on DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com.
 

Veteran World of Outlaws Sprint Cars competitor David Gravel will make his stock car racing debut with KBR Development, at Daytona International Speedway. Gravel will pilot the #28 Chevrolet at the World Center of Racing, Saturday, February 8 in the ARCA Menards Series 200.

The highly accomplished racer, from Watertown, Connecticut, has 51 career victories, with 12 coming in 2019 while driving the Jason Johnson Racing #41. Gravel drove the Axalta sponsored 410 sprinter to victory lane in last season’s Knoxville Nationals, and finished third in series points for the fourth consecutive year.

“It's a dream come true to be able to race at Daytona International Speedway,” commented Gravel. “I can’t thank everyone at KBR and GMS Racing enough for making this happen. I’m really excited for the next step in my career.”

Gravel will participate with KBR Development in the ARCA Menards Series open test at Daytona, January 10 and 11, in advance of next month’s ARCA season opener.

KBR Development recently completed its headquarter relocation to Statesville, North Carolina, into the GMS Racing shop, and operating as a satellite team. KBR, now led by new General Manager and ARCA veteran Frank Kimmel, will again compete full time with the ARCA Menards Series in 2020. Opportunities are available in the teams ARCA cars, as well as super and pro late models, for drivers searching to compete in premier equipment.

– Follow KBR Development on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter

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In addition to so many other things to see and do at the Pioneer Pole Building’s Motorsports 2020 Racecar and Trade Show there are a number of new interesting FREE seminars being offered at this year’s show.

The 36th edition of the popular show, that offers just about everything imaginable in motorsports, takes place at the huge Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA on January 17th - 19th.

New to the free seminar schedule this year is a Question and Answer segment from 4:30 - 5:30 pm. on Friday with Matt Sheppard, the top northeast winner for the last four dirt Modified seasons. While “Super Matt” won’t let out all the secrets on how to beat him, he’ll be willing to offer advice on weekly maintenance, how to scale a car properly, reading an ever changing dirt track and driver tips. Racers would be smart to come prepared with their questions and they’ll get the answers.

A similar Question and Answer seminar will be held on Saturday from 2:30 - 3:30 pm with Eric Mack, the long-time crew chief for Stewart Friesen now a partner in DKM built dirt Modified race cars.

Mack will freely give advice on preparing your race car, no matter who built it, in your shop and what to do once you unload at the races.

From 1 to 2 PM on Saturday Tire Prep will be the topic. Dustin Leverknight of American Racer (Tire northeast distributor Lias Tire of Indiana, Pa.) will address tire preparation and equipment to use for grooving, sipping and needling. He’ll talk about where on the tire to do the work, which blocks, how deep and what direction. When to use it, when not plus tire compound choice, watching an ever changing race track before making a decision and so much more.

Those beginning at the grassroots level of the sport should be interested in sitting it on Roy Anderson’s seminar on Friday from 6 to 7 PM. Set-up, tire and general maintenance on Street/ Pure/ Factory Stock and Front Wheel-Drive (asphalt and dirt) “U-car” divisions will be the focus.

You can’t race without funding and John Snyder is returning for another year with help for race teams to find needed sponsors. Snyder, a noted race team Media Relations consultant and motorsports journalist will offer basics ideas in writing proposals and who to send them to on Saturday from 3:45 to 4:45 PM.

Interested in getting involved in media coverage of racing events? Those interested in getting involved as a writer should plan to attend the 2:30- 3:30 PM Saturday seminar being put together by Area Auto Racing News News Editors Steve Barrick and Earl Krause

If race photographer is something you think you’re pretty good at stop at the seminar on Saturday from 4:00- 5:00 PM hosted by noted photographer Bob Yurko. He’ll cover the basics of racing photography and give you an idea how to get more involved. One attendee will get a chance to take photos at the Ms. Motorsports competition, with the professionals!

Live Streaming of races has become a heated topic among race promoters. A roundtable discussion is being planned on Saturday from 1:15 - 2:15 PM to focus on the issues surrounding live streaming of races for venue owners, promoters, drivers, and teams. Led by Chris Graham, Owner and Executive Producer of the National Racing Network; the discussion will focus on both the positives and negatives that comes with live video from the track.

Safety at the races should never be forgotten and it won’t be at the PPM Motorsports show. Great deals are annually offered at the show from many different dealers.

In the seminar room on Saturday from 5:00- 6:00 PM racer safety will be the top presentation by Warren Alston, a veteran racing flagger and official. The first part of the seminar will cover what safety measures are, or should be, in place at local racetracks. Topics will include Safety Terms, Kinematics of Trauma, and Scene Survey in an accident, Rapid Assessment (RPM) and Treatment Priorities.

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

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

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

AARN PR

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