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Five Flags Late Model Champion Bret Holmes and 2018 ARCA Daytona Winner Michael Self Look to Turn 2019 ARCA Menards Series Season Around in Pensacola04 Mar 2019 Written by Steven B. Wilson
Several ARCA Menards Series championship contenders are heading into the second race of the season looking to make up points deficits after misfortune in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
The second race of the year, the ARCA Pensacola 200 presented by Inspectra Thermal Solutions at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, is scheduled for March 9, exactly four weeks after the season started in Daytona.
For Bret Holmes (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation/Southern States Bank Chevrolet), the four weeks between Daytona and Five Flags seemed like an eternity. Holmes is a former track champion at Five Flags, winning the Pro Late Model title in 2016 before turning his attention to the ARCA Menards Series, so a return to familiar ground should be just what he needs to get his championship chase back on course.
“I started racing at Five Flags in a late model when I first began racing. That track is only about four hours from my hometown. Which is pretty close, so we ran there as much as we could. I’ve run the Snowflake there a few times. Our best performance at a Snowball Derby weekend was when I finished third to Chase Elliott and John Hunter Nemechek. That track is so unique because of how close it is to the beach. The surface is really worn down because of all the sand. It’ll eat up your tires in a hurry. That’s a big key to success there – tire management. I’m really looking forward to going back there in a few weeks.”
Holmes was in contention to win at Daytona, running third as the lead pack drafted down the backstretch heading to the white flag. But before they could get back, Holmes was sent sliding out of control and out of contention. It was the second consecutive year Holmes' Daytona dreams were dashed heading to the white flag.
Holmes was credited with 18th at the finish, leaving him 85 points behind Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota), the highest driver in the standings who has declared intentions to compete for the ARCA Menards Series championship.
“It’s extremely frustrating to get caught up in the final laps like that,” said Holmes. “The same thing happened last year. You just don’t know what gives sometimes. We’ll keep our heads up and keep working hard. I think Five Flags Speedway is going to be a good race for us with all the past history I have running at that track. It’s a little of an adjustment from the late models that I’m used to running there, but it’s a good track to make up some ground in the point standings.”
Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) won at Daytona last season. This year, an ill-timed push from behind sent him out of control and into the infield grass, doing significant damage to his racecar, relegating him to 31st at the finish and putting him in a deep points hole headed into Pensacola.
"I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed about the points situation after Daytona," Self said. "Wrecking out early put us in a huge deficit, and definitely a position I didn’t want to be in, but here we are. Thankfully, we’ve got 19 races to regain ground, and despite the bad start to the year I actually feel as good about our No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota crew as I’ve ever felt about a team. I think we have great chemistry, and it’s a group of guys I’m really excited about going to the track with this year. That’s important to me, and something that will hopefully play to our advantage. We have to be smart both on and off the track to finish races and put ourselves in position to win, and that lies on me as much as anyone."
Self is a three-time ARCA Menards Series winner, with wins at Kansas in 2017 and Daytona and Chicagoland in 2018. He has eight career wins in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, most of which were on short tracks. He is still looking for his first career ARCA short track win.
The ARCA Menards Series takes to the half-mile Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida on Saturday, March 9. Practice starts at 1 pm ET/12 pm CT; General Tire Pole Qualifying is set for 4:30 pm ET/3:30 pm CT; and the ARCA Pensacola 200 is set to go green at 8 pm ET/7 pm CT and will be televised live on MAVTV. ARCARacing.com will have live timing & scoring, live chat, and live track updates throughout all on track sessions free for ARCA for Me members. New members may register for free at ARCARacing.com/login.
ARCA Racing PR
Five Flags Late Model Champion Bret Holmes and 2018 ARCA Daytona Winner Michael Self Look to Turn 2019 ARCA Menards Series Season Around in Pensacola03 Mar 2019 Written by Steven B. Wilson
ARCA Short Track Star Chandler Smith and NHRA Pro Stock Champion Tanner Gray Make Season Debut with Daytona's Top Two Teams03 Mar 2019 Written by Steven B. Wilson
The ARCA Menards Series returns to action in the ARCA Pensacola 200 presented by Inspectra Thermal Solutions at Five Flags Speedway on Saturday, March 9. The race, scheduled for an 8 pm ET green flag, will be the first short track event of the series' 20-race season and the first race since its 67th season started at Daytona International Speedway in February.
While Daytona winner Harrison Burton and runner-up Todd Gilliland will not be in action, their teams will be. Both drivers are running limited ARCA Menards Series schedules while competing full time in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
Burton drove the Venturini Motorsports Toyota to victory in the Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire in the season opener, his third career ARCA win. His seat will be filled by 16-year-old Chandler Smith, who will compete for the ARCA Menards Series Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge championship in 2019.
Smith, from Talking Rock, Georgia, set the ARCA world ablaze in 2018 when he started from the General Tire Pole in each of his first four series starts, a modern era ARCA record. He also won twice, winning at Madison in June and closing the season with a dominant performance at Salem in which he led 199 of the race's 200 laps. Smith made only nine starts in 2018 but led 763 laps to win the Valvoline Lap Leader Award.
"It's tough to know we were the car to beat every week last year and not be on the track when the season started at Daytona," Smith said. "But we do have a championship to chase with the Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge. And we want to win every race we're in. I am really excited to get the season started and go get some wins with my Venturini Motorsports guys."
While not old enough to compete on tracks longer than one mile, and therefore not yet eligible to race at Daytona, Smith knocked the rust off in the ARCA/CRA Super Series super late model opener at Crisp Motorsports Park in Cordele, Georgia. Smith battled for the lead throughout the late stages with eventual race winner Connor Okrzesik before setting for fourth at the finish behind former Monster Energy Cup Series champion Kyle Busch and his Venturini Motorsports teammate Burton.
Smith has three previous starts in the famed Snowball Derby at Five Flags. He finished a career best fifth in 2016, seventh in 2017, and sixth in 2018.
“We had a lot of success in the ARCA Menards Series last year. I’m coming back with an expanded short track schedule and focused on continuing to learn as much as I can," Smith said. "I’ve run a lot of races at Five Flags. My experience should pay off. I'm happy they added this one to the schedule. I can't thank everyone at Toyota Racing Development and Venturini Motorsports enough for giving me the opportunity.”
Gilliland's DGR-Crosley Racing team will be in action as well. Tanner Gray, the youngest winner in the history of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock division, will make his ARCA Menards Series debut on the sweeping half-mile oval. Gray is a third-generation drag racer, the son of former national event winner Shane Gray and grandson of Funny Car and Pro Stock champion Johnny Gray.
Gray won five NHRA national events in 2017, which was his rookie season. He was named the winner of the prestigious Road to the Future Award, joining a long list of names which includes drag racing legends Antron Brown, Ron Capps, Del Worsham, and Jeg Coughlin, Jr.
In 2018, Gray upped his game. In just his second full-time season, he became the youngest Pro Stock champion in NHRA history. He won eight national event final rounds, including his first win in the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. He closed the 2018 season with 13 career Pro Stock national event wins in 18 career final round appearances.
"I knew whenever we pulled that Pro Stock out of the truck we'd have a shot to win," Gray said. "I thought I accomplished all we could accomplish there in a short period of time. They were cutting races back, and I was looking for a way to race more. We reached out to David (Gilliland, team co-owner) and started to put a deal together to come race with them."
The transition to oval track racing may have shocked some in the straightline world, but Gray began his racing career much like NASCAR stars and up-and-comers have: in a go-kart racing on a dirt oval.
"I got my start in 600 micro sprints at Millbridge, so oval track racing isn't strange to me," Gray said. "I actually ran some late model stuff before I went drag racing and it just didn't work out. That's when my dad told me about the drag car. I grew up on the oval tracks though, so it doesn't feel like a real big change, especially this early in my career."
Gray made his debut in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East opener at New Smyrna Speedway in February, finishing 15th.
"The K&N race didn't go like we were hoping," Gray said. "I still have a lot to learn. There are a lot of really great people on the team that are helping me learn what I need to learn. We ran up front for a while, but I didn't manage the race the way I needed to. It's just one of those things I'll need to learn as we go along."
Smith, Gray, and the rest of the ARCA Menards Series take to the half-mile Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida on Saturday, March 9. Practice starts at 1 pm ET/12 pm CT; General Tire Pole Qualifying is set for 4:30 pm ET/3:30 pm CT; and the ARCA Pensacola 200 is set to go green at 8 pm ET/7 pm CT and will be televised live on MAVTV. ARCARacing.com will have live timing & scoring, live chat, and live track updates throughout all on track sessions free for ARCA for Me members. New members may register for free at ARCARacing.com/login.
NASCAR K&N Pro Series History Maker Hailie Deegan to Make Six ARCA Menards Series Starts in 2019 with Venturini Motorsports01 Mar 2019 Written by Steven B. Wilson
Hailie Deegan, who made history last September by becoming the first female winner of a NASCAR touring series race when she won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Idaho 208 at Meridian Speedway, announced she will make six starts in the ARCA Menards Series in 2019. Deegan will drive Toyotas owned and prepared by Venturini Motorsports.
Deegan will make her ARCA Menards Series debut at Toledo Speedway on Sunday, May 19. Deegan’s other appearances in the ARCA Menards Series will include races at Pocono Raceway on May 31, Madison International Speedway on June 14, Elko Speedway on July 13, Lucas Oil Raceway on October 5, and Kansas Speedway on October 8. Deegan and VMS will also pair for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 15.
Throughout her upcoming ARCA schedule Deegan will feature continued support from long time marketing partner Monster Energy along with Craftsman and iK9.
“That’s a big step for me,” Deegan said on the FS1 broadcast of NASCAR XFINITY Series practice from Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “I feel like getting on these bigger tracks, Kansas, Pocono, tracks that I haven’t gotten to do before, pit stops, it’s going to be a big thing for me just learning before I get up to these higher levels. It’s another stepping stone that Toyota and TRD have given me the opportunity to do before I move into a Truck or an XFINITY Series car.”
Seventeen-year-old Deegan won Thursday’s Star Nursery 100 at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a last lap pass on then-leader Jagger Jones. It was the only lap she led throughout on the night. It was her second career NASCAR K&N Pro Series West win. In 15 career series starts, she has two wins, six top-five and 13 top-ten finishes. She also started from the pole position in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season opener at New Smyrna Speedway in February.
Deegan, the daughter of legendary X Games Motocross giant Brian Deegan, will continue to compete for the 2019 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship driving for Bill McAnally Racing. The next event on that series’ schedule is the NAPA Auto Parts 150 at Irwindale Speedway on March 30. The race will be streamed live on FansChoice.tv and will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis on NBCSN.
The ARCA Menards Series returns to action on Saturday, March 9 in the ARCA Pensacola 200 at Five Flags Speedway. Practice starts at 1 pm ET/12 pm CT; General Tire Pole Qualifying is set for 4:30 pm ET/3:30 pm CT; and the ARCA Pensacola 200 is set to go green at 8 pm ET/7 pm CT and will be televised live on MAVTV. ARCARacing.com will have live timing & scoring, live chat, and live track updates throughout all on track sessions free for ARCA for Me members. New members may register for free at ARCARacing.com/login.
ARCA Racing PR
Coming on the heels of earning her second career NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victory last night at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track, Toyota Racing Development (TRD) driver, Hailie Deegan announces seven race deal to drive for Venturini Motorsports.
Deegan will make six ARCA Menards Series (ARCA) appearances and one NASCAR K&N Series start behind the wheel of VMS' Toyota Camry in 2019.
The 17-year old from Temecula, CA will make her highly anticipated ARCA debut at Toledo Speedway on May 19. She'll also compete in series' events at Pocono Raceway (5/31), Madison Int'l Speedway (6/14), Elko Speedway (7/13), Lucas Oil Raceway (10/5) and Kansas Speedway (10/18). Deegan and VMS will also pair for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 15.
Throughout her upcoming ARCA schedule Deegan will feature continued support from long time marketing partner Monster Energy along with Craftsman and iK9.
In 2018, Deegan etched her name in NASCAR's record books becoming the first female to win a NASCAR K&N Pro Series event as well as earn rookie of the year honors in any NASCAR regional or national series.
The daughter of legendary X Games Motocross giant Brian Deegan, Hailie began her driving career at the age of eight racing dirt on four wheels. She's the only female driver in the Lucas Oil Off Road Pro series as well as Regional series to win Championships in 2013, 2015, 2016 along with being the only youth ever to win the Lucas Oil Off Road Pro series Driver of the Year award (2016).
Hailie has been surrounded by some of the best coaches and industry leaders her entire life. With these resources at her fingertips, she is confident that she can continue to find success as she climbs the ranks of NASCAR in pursuit of one day becoming one of the sports' elite drivers.
A member of the TRD family, Deegan's upcoming ARCA effort will coincide with her full-season schedule running the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West driving for Bill McAnally Racing.
Sioux Chief Renews ARCA Menards Series Short Track Challenge Series Sponsorship; Five Flags Speedway First of Eleven Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge Events01 Mar 2019 Written by Steven B. Wilson
Officials from the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) and Sioux Chief Manufacturing have jointly announced that the rough plumbing components manufacturer has extended its support and sponsorship of the ARCA Menards Series Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge for 2019.
“Sioux Chief is pleased to extend our sponsorship for the 2019 season, continuing as the primary sponsor for the ARCA Menards Series Short Track Challenge," said Joe N. Ismert, president of Sioux Chief Mfg. Co., Inc. "We are looking forward to another exciting season of great racing."
The Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge is a series within the ARCA Menards Series, with drivers earning points toward a championship contested on tracks one mile or less in length. The eleven events that will make up the Short Track Challenge kick off with the ARCA Pensacola 200 at Five Flags Speedway on March 9 and will conclude at Lucas Oil Raceway in suburban Indianapolis on October 5. Other events include Salem Speedway on April 7, Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville on May 4, Toledo Speedway on May 19, Madison International Speedway June 14, Elko Speedway on July 13, Iowa Speedway on July 19, Illinois State Fairgrounds on August 18, DuQuoin State Fairgrounds on August 31, and a second visit to Salem Speedway on September 14.
Teams and drivers will race for the Short Track Challenge championship under a special race-only points system, and only a driver’s ten best finishes count toward the championship. Each driver discards his or her worst finish if they compete in all eleven races.
“We’re extremely excited about all the great things happening in the ARCA Menards Series and the Sioux Chief Short-Track Challenge is another example of an ongoing partnership that’s working well for all of us with a like-minded company such as Sioux Chief,” said Jeff Abbott, promotions manager for Menards. “By the way, the short-track races are really competitive!”
Kyle Weatherman, 2015 Bounty Rookie of the Year, earned the inaugural Short Track Challenge title in ’15. Chase Briscoe, 2016 ARCA Racing Series national champion, captured the ARCA Short Track Challenge championship on his way to that season’s championship, as did Austin Theriault and Sheldon Creed, each of whom won the Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge on their way to overall season championships in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
While the ARCA Menards Series does not allow drivers under 18 years of age to race on tracks longer than one mile in length, drivers as young as 15 are eligible to race on tracks one mile in length and under. That opens the door for young drivers to compete for the Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge title even though they are not eligible to race for the overall season championship. One of the drivers doing that in 2019 is Portage, Michigan teenager Carson Hocevar.
Hocevar, the all-time leading winner in USAC .25 Midget competition and a multiple-time USAC quarter midget national champion, and the KBR Development team have committed to racing in each of the eleven Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge events in 2019.
“It means a lot just to be able to race in the ARCA Menards Series with our KBR Chevy,” Hocevar said. “ARCA is a level not many drivers are able to reach. I am very humble for my opportunity this year to race for a short track championship and want to thank Sioux Chief for their support of ARCA. Short tracks are the grassroots of stock car racing. It is always cool to see the local tracks and local sponsors get support from race fans. When ARCA comes into town, it’s often a track’s biggest race of the year and packs the grandstands. A true sight to see and honor to be part of.”
Hocevar made three ARCA Menards Series starts in 2018, scoring top five finishes at Berlin Raceway and Lucas Oil Raceway. In his debut at Toledo Speedway in May, a mechanical issue led to problems in the race track and unfinished business for Hocevar in his return this season.
“I am really excited to head back to Toledo Speedway,” Hocevar said. “We ran really well there last year, until a mechanical issue took us a few laps down. Besides the top two cars, we were the only team to not lose a lap under green, and we drove all the way to third on the race track from the back of the field. So I am excited to get back there again with our KBR Development team.”
Sioux Chief Manufacturing first partnered with ARCA and Menards in 2015 as the race entitlement sponsor at Lucas Oil Raceway. The business-to-business relationship between Menards, the country’s third largest home improvement retail chain, and Sioux Chief, a leading rough plumbing manufacturer and supplier of cutting-edge products for plumbing and mechanical contractors, brings opportunities for Sioux Chief to promote its products to the Menards contractor customer base.
“The Short Track Challenge was an immediate hit with both participants and fans,” said Mark Gundrum, ARCA's vice president of business development and corporate partnerships. “It quickly proved to be a great way to bring even more notoriety to the great short track racers that compete in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.”
ARCA Racing PR
NASCAR, 704Games and the Race Team Alliance announced today the first-ever eNASCAR Heat Pro League Draft will take place at ISM Raceway on March 10 at 8:45 a.m. MST. The inaugural draft will be conducted in Gatorade Victory Lane inside the newly designed INfield at ISM Raceway.
“This year more than ever, there is increased energy and industry collaboration around our esports initiatives,” said Craig Neeb, executive vice president, innovation and development, NASCAR. “Since announcing the eNASCAR Heat Pro League, new and existing fans competed on their gaming consoles for a potential seat in our Pro League and engaged with NASCAR Heat at a higher rate than ever before. We’re excited for what the future holds in this emerging space.”
The eNASCAR Heat Pro League, a collaboration between 704Games, RTA, and NASCAR, is the first-ever NASCAR esports league on consoles. The newly formed esports league will feature 14 teams and 28 drivers, each owned and operated by prominent NASCAR race teams. On the clock, with the first pick of the 2019 eNASCAR Heat Pro League Draft is Chip Ganassi Racing. The first segment of the draft is specific to Xbox One gamers, upon completion the order will be inverted for the PlayStation®4 gamers (full draft order listed below).
"The eNASCAR Heat Pro League Draft will join race teams with the best NASCAR Heat players for the first time ever,” said Ed Martin of 704Games. “After months of fierce competition, teams will have some difficult decisions to make on Sunday, March 10. We look forward to delivering competitive and entertaining racing for fans and gamers alike when the season begins in May.”
ISM Raceway will host the inaugural 2019 eNASCAR Heat Pro League Draft and offer fans two-days of unique activities inside one of the most immersive fan experience zones in NASCAR – the INfield. Fans in the INfield will have the chance to receive copies of NASCAR Heat 3 and race head-to-head around the virtual ISM Raceway. Fan races will be shown on the Gatorade Victory Lane video board and Sunday’s draft will be broadcast across the ISM Vision video boards located around the track. Each race winner will receive a free download code for the 2019 Season Update to NASCAR Heat 3.
"We created the INfield to provide fans with an immersive, entertaining and technology-focused environment, which includes elements like the Gatorade Victory Lane video board and free Wi-Fi throughout the venue,” said Julie Giese, ISM Raceway President. “Hosting this two-day event along with our partners at NASCAR, 704Games and the Race Team Alliance, we anticipate delivering an unforgettable experience for fans at ISM Raceway.”
The INfield features exclusive access to the new interactive garages, driver appearances, post-race celebrations in Gatorade Victory Lane and events. Race fans can get INfield access wristbands with their purchase of a grandstand ticket. Tickets and INfield access, including junior pricing for each, may be purchased online at ISMRaceway.com, by phone 866-408-RACE (7223) or in person at the ISM Raceway ticket office.
Fans across the nation began qualifying for the first-ever eNASCAR Heat Pro League draft in December. Since then, competitors have competed in numerous qualifying and race sessions to increase their standing in the draft pool. Participating NASCAR teams monitored the events and hosted private tournaments to determine the best competitors. The draft order was determined by an online social fan vote driven by using the hashtag #eNASCARHeat and including their favorite teams’ twitter handle. Chip Ganassi Racing paced the field.
Official Draft Order (Xbox One):
- Chip Ganassi Racing
- Leavine Family Racing
- JR Motorsports
- Team Penske
- Roush Fenway Racing
- Richard Petty Motorsports
- Stewart-Haas Racing
- Hendrick Motorsports
- Joe Gibbs Racing
- JTG Daugherty Racing
- GoFas Racing
- Richard Childress Racing
- Germain Racing
- Wood Brothers Racing
Once the draft is completed, teams will compete in a 16-race season beginning in spring 2019 and culminating during the 2019 NASCAR Playoffs. All eNASCAR Heat Pro League races will be live streamed online at NASCAR.com and Motorsport.com. For more information, players can visit eNASCARHeatProLeague.com. Additional details about the eNASCAR Heat Pro League including sponsors, broadcast partners and league rules will be announced prior to the season.
Fans can also see participating NASCAR Xfinity Series and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams hit the track at ISM Raceway on March 9 and 10, respectively on FS1 and FOX.
California native Zack St. Onge has become the latest competitor to join Lee Faulk Racing and Development.
Hailie Deegan came to Las Vegas intent on winning the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season opener at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track, and she did just that with a dramatic last-lap pass to capture the checkered flag in the Star Nursery 100 on Thursday night.
The 17-year-old from Temecula, California finished second in last year’s event and she was determined not to settle for the runner-up spot this time.
“For some reason, in the back of my mind I knew it was going to come down to the last lap again,” said Deegan, who is in her second season driving the Bill McAnally Racing No. 19 Monster Energy / NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry.
Deegan, tagged early in her off-road racing career as “the Dirt Princess,” charged hard in chasing down race leader Jagger Jones in the closing laps of the event to claim her second career series victory – with both wins featuring last-lap passes.
“Jagger was so far ahead and we had to hit our marks every single lap,” she said. “I made a pretty big mistake with like 20 to go. I was like ‘I can’t do that again if we’re going to get this win.’ I just kept hitting my marks, hitting my marks over, and the lappers helped out a little bit, and we got it done.
“I wasn’t going to come out here and get second again,” she said. “That was the last thing I was going to do.”
After finishing fourth in her qualifying heat race, Deegan and her BMR team made some changes that would allow her to charge from her eighth starting position.
“We did a lot of work after the heat race,” she said. “We knew we had a lot of work to do. We sat down and talked and figured it out.”
Deegan’s BMR teammate, Derek Kraus, started second on the grid and put the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry into the lead early. He paced the field until a restart with just over 30 laps to go. Kraus slipped back, but was able to come away with a sixth-place finish.
BMR’s third driver, 19-year-old Brittney Zamora, ran a solid race in making her K&N West debut. The Kennewick, Washington driver started 16th and finished 11th in the No. 99 ENEOS / NAPA Filters Toyota Camry.
Kraus – a 17-year-old from Stratford, Wisconsin – and Deegan are both members of the NASCAR Next program that spotlights NASCAR’s emerging stars.
Thursday’s race, which marked the first time for the K&N West and the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series to race at the same track on the same day, will be televised on NBCSN on March 5 at 3 p.m. PT.
BMR hosted a group of NAPA guests from Las Vegas NAPA stores at the event.
The next race on the K&N Pro Series West schedule will be the NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 at Southern California’s Irwindale Speedway on March 30.
Hailie Deegan was not to be denied.
In what she called the biggest race of her season and her "rebound race," second wasn't going to be good enough.
Thanks to a last-lap pass, she didn't have to settle for a runner-up finish. The 17-year-old from Temecula, California, captured her second career win and opened up the 2019 K&N Pro Series West season in Victory Lane in the Star Nursery 100 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track.
After having a pedal extension problem in her heat race forcing her to start ninth, she slowly and methodically worked her way into the top five by the lap 51 break. With some new tires and adjustments, she restarted third behind Derek Kraus and Jagger Jones.
Kraus was passed by Jones with 31 laps to go, and Deegan followed him through. But the No. 6 got smaller and smaller in her windshield, racing out to a four-second lead with 10 laps to go.
Just like she did before the midway break, she slowly reeled Jones in. As the white flag flew, Deegan was in striking distance of Jones. With the help of lapped traffic, the No. 19 dove to the inside, cleared Jones off Turn 2 and sped to the checkered flag.
"In the end we wouldn't have caught him if it weren't for the lapped cars," she said. "And they got in his way. If I was him, I'd be mad. Really mad. But some people’s losses are other people’s wins and we ended up getting it done. I knew what we had to do to win. I knew it was going to come down to the last lap again and we made it happen."
The NASCAR Next driver was not optimistic about her chances pre-race, saying her car was extremely ill-handling and the track wasn't conducive to her style of dirt racing. But in the downtime between the heat and 100-lap main, she did some homework and things changed.
"Mostly just me working on my lines," she said. "The line I was trying to run didn't work for my car, so I had to move around and find which line worked. Once we found that, fixed the car, the car was great. The track was still icy, and we still weren't good, but it was better than everyone else."
The thrill of victory for some is dichotomous with the agony defeat for others. In his first career K&N Pro Series West start, Jones seemed to be on his way to a victory.
Unfortunately for the 16-year-old from Scottsdale, Arizona, and his Sunrise Ford Racing team, circumstances dictated otherwise.
"Hailie definitely had a little more speed at the end," he said dejectedly. "But I think I would've held her off no problem, but lapped card cut me off, pushed me right into the tire on the last lap and Hailie was just able to get underneath me. Definitely wanted that win."
Jones wasn't upset with Deegan for the move. He was frustrated with Kenny Bumbera, who made life difficult for Jones on the final lap. When the door opened, Deegan kicked it down.
"Oh I think her move was fine," Jones said of Deegan's last lap maneuver. "I mean she didn't really do anything too bad. It's just the lapped car cut me off in front. It just pushed me up the track. Once that all happened she had a whole lane to herself. It was kind of given to her, which is unfortunate on the last lap. It just sucks sometimes."
Joey Tanner came home third in his first career series race for Jefferson Pitts Racing. Kody Vanderwal and Todd Souza rounded out the top five.
After leading a race-high 60 laps, Derek Kraus finished sixth with Trevor Huddleston, Travis Milburn, polesitter Austin Reed (led the first eight laps) and Matt Levin completing the top 10.
The Star Nursery 100 is scheduled to be broadcast on Tuesday, March 5 at 6 p.m. on NBCSN.
The next K&N Pro Series West event will take place Saturday, March 30 at Irwindale Speedway.
In racing, there are rarely opportunities to do something new and different. But, for grassroots racers from across North America, they will get a chance to do something that covers both of those characteristics when they tackle the legendary Richmond Raceway for the inaugural PASS Commonwealth Classic on Saturday afternoon, March 30th. After many feared their dreams would not come true following a rainout at Richmond last fall, entrants from across the motorsports spectrum are making their Richmond intentions known from the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Models to the Tour-Type Modifieds, American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Models, MASS Street Stocks, and Mini Stocks.
The PASS Super Late Models will be featured in two events at Richmond Raceway, with races for the Open motor cars and Crate motor cars. And, it will be the first chance to see the new Generation 6 body from FiveStar Race Car Bodies. With two national championship points paying races for the PASS Super Late Models, several drivers are looking to compete in both 75 lap races, each of which will pay $7,000 and $700 to start. Former PASS champions and Oxford 250 winners, Ben Rowe and Travis Benjamin, are planning to compete in both races, along with national championship hopeful, Ray Christian, III. Like most of his fellow competitors, Benjamin relishes every chance he can get to race on the 3/4-mile speedway.
"Racing at Richmond will be an awesome experience," says Benjamin, driver of the Petit Motorsports #7. "I think the racing will be great, with a ton of great teams. It should be a really good time."
Among those entered for the PASS Crate race include defending Mason-Dixon MegaMeltdown winner, Derek Ramstrom, as well as Reid Lanpher, Jimmy Renfrew, Jr., Gabe Brown, Bryan Shipp, Garrett Hall, and Mike Hopkins.
The PASS Open race will feature defending PASS National champion, Derek Griffith, PASS North and South champions, DJ Shaw and Matt Craig, along with Eddie MacDonald, Corey Heim, Eddie Van Meter, JP Josiasse, Nicholas Naugle, Trevor Noles, Tate Fogleman, and Austin Reed, who will be making the trek east from California.
The ACT Late Models will be competing in a 65-lapper at Richmond Raceway and have 31 cars entered as of today. Jake Johnson and Bryan Kruczek will be competing in both the ACT Late Model and PASS Super Late Model races. Several big ACT names will be in competition at Richmond including Nick Sweet, Wayne Helliwell, Jr., Tommy Carey, and Joey Polewarcyzk.
The Tour-Type Modifieds will be making their return to Richmond for the first time since 2002, utilizing the popular rules package recently used at New Smyrna Speedway during Florida Speedweeks. Among those entered include Robbie Babb, Dan Clatterbuck, Richard Savory and Anthony Sasely. New York's Jimmy Zacharias has signed on and is excited to try and take home the $7,000 winner's purse at Richmond Raceway.
"I'm looking forward to it," says Zacharias, who will pilot his familiar Midstate Basement Authorities/Sunoco Race Fuels #71. "It'll be a great experience to get to race a Modified at such a facility as Richmond Raceway. I've seen the place on TV, but that's about it. I've never been on a track like Richmond that I can compare to so I'm really excited."
The grassroots racing action as part of the PASS Commonwealth Classic will be completed by events for the MASS Street Stocks and Mini Stocks, and both divisions have shown great support from competitors around the country. Almost 30 MASS Street Stocks are entered including Ricky Locklair, Ron Flynn, Greg Barnette, Stephen Sharp, and Mark Lushes.
While the North East Mini Stock count has swelled to over 40 entries and it looks like it will truly be a border war with drivers from all along the East Coast entered so far. Multi-time North East Mini Stock Tour (NEMST) winner, Nick Anderson is entered, along with fellow New Englanders, Cory Plummer, Jake Rheaume, Zach Audet, and Devin Guyl. But, top southern runners like Michael Tucker, Patrick Arch, Adam Thomas and Virginia racers, Jessie Jones, IV, Jesse Yopp, Jarrett Milam, and Thomas Parmelee are signed up as they look to defend their region’s honor.
The PASS Commonwealth Classic weekend will begin on Thursday, March 28 with optional hauler parking and safety inspection from 12 - 4 PM. On Friday, March 29, rotating practice for all competing divisions will be from 11 AM – 5 PM. And then on Saturday, March 30, pit gates at Richmond Raceway will open at 7 AM, with practice from 9 AM – 12 PM, qualifying at 1 PM, and racing set to start at around 4 PM
Rules contacts for PASS Super Late Models, Tour-Type Modifieds, and MASS Street Stocks are also posted at ProAllStarsSeries.com. PASS Super Late Model entry forms and the complete weekend schedules for the inaugural PASS Commonwealth Classic at Richmond Raceway, along with entry forms for Thompson Speedway, Oxford Plains Speedway, Hickory Motor Speedway, and the 46th Annual Oxford 250, can be found at ProAllStarsSeries.com.
PASS Racing Series PR