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A new concept that, for the first time, collects biomechanical data from drivers and riders while on the track could give racing teams a new dimension to optimise their performance.

Biomechanics is the study of movement and technique. Historically in motorsports, biomechanical data collection has been lab or simulated based.

However, this new approach collects data by attaching sensors to the driver or rider that monitors their 3D movement as they are performing on the track to investigate and optimise their biomechanics. This includes motion capture data, muscle activity, force and pressure assessment; all of this helps to understand and improve driver and rider technique.

The concept has been developed by Motorsport Biomechanics, who have been working with scientists from the University of Portsmouth.  After three years of intensive research and development, Motorsport Biomechanics have now become the first company in the world to offer biomechanical data, which has been scientifically validated with rigorous and robust methods.

Motorsport Biomechanics founder Michael Wakefield is an ex-professional racing driver. He and his wife Joanna, a leading Professor of Biomechanics at the University of Portsmouth, were fascinated to learn that, while biomechanics has been utilised to optimise performance with top level athletes in many other sports, it had not been attempted in motorsports.

Michael said: “Significant time and money is spent on improving the mechanical performance of racing cars and bikes. However, little attention has been given to optimising the mechanical performance of the driver or rider while racing on the track.  For these high performance athletes, it is crucial that their technique and muscle activity is assessed so they can respond to feedback to adjust and improve their performance race-to-race, and lap-to-lap.

“Working with the University of Portsmouth has given Motorsport Biomechanics the scientific evidence based platform to optimise driver and rider performance on the track.” 

Michael has been working with Dr Chris Mills from the University of Portsmouth who leads the biomechanical testing and research team. Dr Mills and the team have spent years developing and refining customised algorithms to process this unique data and present it in a format that is easy for the driver, rider and team to understand and analyse alongside their car telemetry data. 

Dr Mills said: “We underestimated just how challenging it would be to assess biomechanical parameters of a driver in the confined space of a car, or on a rider when they are moving around the bike, travelling at high speeds, and with high vibrations. After much research and development, we have now validated unique processes that allow us to collect high quality data on the race track.

“Our biomechanics data gives the team a new dimension to understand the performance of their drivers and riders.”

Motorsport Biomechanics concept began with karting. Having assessed the driver’s muscle activity on the track, Dr Mills and his team identified that the driver was barely using his left arm on right hand corners, something that came as a complete surprise to the racing driver. Armed with this information, the racing driver was desperate to get back out on the track and adjust his driving technique, and subsequent results showed more balanced muscle activity across the drivers left and right arms, and most importantly improved his lap time by three tenths of a second.

“This is what makes our service so unique,” said Michael. “We were not fazed by the challenges that exist when collecting driver and rider data on the track. We offer a unique insight into driver and rider performance that sets us apart from the standard coaching, physiological, psychological, and training services that currently exist.”

Michael commented that one of his highlights was to be able to offer endurance drivers the opportunity to determine exactly when muscle fatigue starts to occur when racing. “This offers huge performance benefits to endurance racing teams and drivers across all forms of motorsports.  Muscle fatigue data is also invaluable for support teams to optimise off track training,” he said. 

Motorsport Biomechanics have come a long way since this first karting test, having now proved the concept with F3 drivers and British Superbike riders.  One of the single seater drivers said that the data was “super interesting, definitely something to think about in order to manage fatigue better! There is definitely a lot still to take from this data into my training, but also a few methods to try whilst in the car”. From a Superbike rider, “it was very cool to look through data collected by Motorsport Biomechanics. I was very intrigued how my body reacted to suspension/geometry changes on the bike, which proved to be very interesting.”

This unique, scientific evidence based service continues to grow, offering a variety of services, related to driver and rider biomechanics, across the motorsports world.

For more information about Motorsport Biomechanics: https://www.motorsportbiomechanics.com/  

University of Portsmouth

How many drivers can say they won in their third night out with a team that hasn’t raced in two seasons? 2018 World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series Champion Mike Marlar can now, as he, Darrell Lanigan, Josh Richards and Scott Bloomquist (18th to 3rd) put on an amazing display of passing and battling through 30 laps that saw Marlar come out on top for his first-ever victory at Volusia Speedway Park with his brand-new K&L Rumley Racing-owned ride.

“It’s cool to get to win in something that’s an iconic ride,” Marlar said. “It’s been a lot of fun getting to know these guys and already having some success. It’s been awesome.”

“The Winfield Warrior” started third on the grid and took the lead away from outside polesitter Chase Junghans on lap 6, and held it until just over 10 laps remaining, when Richards powered underneath to take the lead. Marlar would get Richards back, however, as he drilled the cushion with his right rear and stood on the throttle coming out of turn four to complete one of the most aggressive and fearless passes of the night. That proved to be the winning move, as Marlar would not relinquish the spot, giving him a nice $7,000 start to Late Model week at Volusia.

“Going down the back straight-away, I knew that he was pushing,” Marlar said “And when I saw him pushing, I knew I was going to have to back up his corner and turn his car, so I just said ‘here’s my chance.’ So I just blasted around the outside and tried to catch him when he was out of the gas, trying to get turned, and that gave me enough of a run. I just barely squeezed by and got back into the groove in front of him.”

Marlar joined Kevin and Leeroy Rumley’s team in late 2018 as the new driver of their iconic No. 6M, after Marlar’s former car owner Ronnie Delk announced his plans to step down from full-time racing at the conclusion of the 2018 World of Outlaws season, falling right in line with Marlar’s own plans to also scale back on his racing career. At the time, there was much speculation as to where Marlar would be racing in 2019 and how frequently. As it turns out, a part-time, pick-n-choose schedule aboard the black-and-blue No. 6M is a perfect match.

But the team didn’t exactly get this impressive of a start straight out of the hauler. Marlar made a very-welcomed appearance at the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series season opener at Screven Motor Speedway last Friday and Saturday night, but posted only a 25th-place finish after getting into a jingle with Ivedent Lloyd Jr. early on. Saturday wasn’t much better – a 22nd-place effort, three laps down. But what a turnaround he and the Rumley Racing team has made in just a matter of hours, as they undoubtedly had the fastest car on the racetrack Monday night.

“It’s totally different stuff on the car than in the last two days,” Marlar said. “It took me a few laps in the feature just to learn how to drive it. Once I figured out what I could do with it, I was able to go forward. It was an awesome win, that was so much fun.”

There seems to be a semi-common theme to Speedweeks this year – drivers debuting in their new rides and having immense success right away. From Tyler Erb’s three-for-four stretch at Golden Isles Speedway and East Bay Raceway Park last week, to Chris Madden’s runner-up and top-10 finishes at Screven last week, the Late Model world is alive with the sweet smell of newfound success. And Marlar would agree.

“I think what you’re seeing is that there’s a lot of smart people in this sport and a lot of people that know the chemistry within these different teams and knowing what they need to win,” Marlar said. “With that being said, I think a lot of these guys made changes that helped the team they left, and then the guy that filled in there did better in some situations.”

Another very impressive drive to a podium spot on Monday night was actually the winner of Last Chance Qualifier 2, Scott Bloomquist. “Black Sunshine” did not have the heat race he was looking for but was able to bounce back with a very convincing win in his LCS. Ironically, his protégé, 2019 World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year contender Ricky Weiss, won the other LCS, putting both Sweet-Bloomquist chassis into the show.

From the 18th starting spot, Bloomquist began the charge on lap one of the Feature, passing five cars on the first lap and cracking the top ten next time around. Bloomquist kept climbing from there, reaching P5 inside of 15 laps and making the move underneath Richards for third with five to go. That’s where he would stay, a very telling effort by the race’s Hard Charger Award winner and former World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series champion.

“It was definitely capable of winning the race this evening,” Bloomquist said. “I didn’t want to see that caution [with 10 laps to go]. The caution comes out, the tires don’t act the same. I got stuck behind Junghans there and I should have just went outside of him. The next time, on that last caution, I did go outside of him and I got by him and some others and the car was really rolling good.”

“Bloomer” is certainly no stranger to Victory Lane at Volusia, having won 12 features at the famed half-mile since his first in 1994. And he said he knows what he needs to do to make it 13 this week.

“I am pretty confident that we can just take left with tonight,” Bloomquist said. “I’ve already discussed some things with Cody [Mallory] and told him at least two or three things that I know we’ll do different for tomorrow, and then we’ll sleep on it and see what comes from above.”

Around the lap 32-mark, the battle for the runner-up spot was on between Darrell Lanigan and Josh Richards, the former and current Clint Bowyer Racing pilots. The gloves appeared to have come off right on the track, as multiple instances of contact between the two were seen throughout lap 32. When it was all said and done, Lanigan came away with the second-place spot, and Richards settled for fourth behind Bloomquist.

When asked for comments on the situation, Lanigan replied “We had a really good piece. Like I said [in Victory Lane], if we wouldn’t have gotten tangled up there with Josh, he just doesn’t want to race you clean… I think we had a chance to win it if we wouldn’t have got tangled up with him, but we’ve got a long week.”

Richards, however, saw things differently.

“We were just racing,” Richards said in an interview after the race. “I don’t know, I was underneath him and I did drive in there a little bit, and then I stopped to keep from sliding into him. Then, instead of him going around the outside, he tried to cross back over and got hooked. I didn’t see anything wrong.”

Find out how this and all the other battles unfold on night #8 of the 48th Annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park, beginning tomorrow, Feb. 12 with round two of the DIRTcar Late Models on “The World’s Fastest Half Mile.” Get your tickets now, or watch live on DIRTVision!

Full Results

DIRTcar Feature (30 Laps) 1. 6m-Mike Marlar [3]; 2. 29-Darrell Lanigan [12]; 3. 0-Scott Bloomquist [18]; 4. 14-Josh Richards [1]; 5. 25-Shane Clanton [10]; 6. 39-Tim McCreadie [11]; 7. 18-Chase Junghans [2]; 8. 17M-Dale McDowell [16]; 9. 72-Mike Norris [7]; 10. 2-Brandon Overton [21]; 11. 1-Brandon Sheppard [8]; 12. 9-Devin Moran [15]; 13. 40B-Kyle Bronson [6]; 14. 116-Tanner English [5]; 15. 44-Chris Madden [4]; 16. 97-Cade Dillard [9]; 17. 7-Ricky Weiss [17]; 18. 12-Jason Jameson [24]; 19. 99B-Boom Briggs [13]; 20. 16-Tyler Bruening [22]; 21. 36v-Kyle Hardy [14]; 22. 7k-Kent Robinson [20]; 23. 5-Don O’Neal [19]; 24. 3s-Brian Shirley [23] Hard Charger Award: 0-Scott Bloomquist[+15]

Qualifying Flight-A 1. 97-Cade Dillard, 16.881; 2. 18-Chase Junghans, 16.94; 3. 116-Tanner English, 17.17; 4. 7-Ricky Weiss, 17.264; 5. 7m-Donald Mcintosh, 17.265; 6. 99B-Boom Briggs, 17.317; 7. 48-Colton Flinner, 17.571; 8. 5-Don O’Neal, 17.786; 9. 76-Blair Nothdurft, 17.814; 10. 6-Blake Spencer, 18.072; DNS. CO2-Tyler Clem, NT

Qualifying Flight-B 1. 40B-Kyle Bronson, 16.661; 2. 6m-Mike Marlar, 16.674; 3. 25-Shane Clanton, 16.805; 4. 36v-Kyle Hardy, 16.936; 5. 2-Brandon Overton, 17.032; 6. 3s-Brian Shirley, 17.061; 7. 28-Dennis Erb, 17.191; 8. 58-Ivedent Lloyd, 17.255; 9. 99jr-Frank Heckenast, 17.926; 10. 16H-Mike Hammerle, 20.021; 11. 1x-Chub Frank, NT

Qualifying Flight-C 1. 72-Mike Norris, 17.025; 2. 14-Josh Richards, 17.037; 3. 22x-G.R. Smith, 17.094; 4. 39-Tim McCreadie, 17.104; 5. 9-Devin Moran, 17.155; 6. 7F-Jason Fitzgerald, 17.357; 7. 11B-Stacy Boles, 17.596; 8. 2s-Dan Stone, 17.721; 9. B1-Brent Larson, 17.809; 10. 33-Jeff Matthews, 17.916

Qualifying Flight-D 1. 44-Chris Madden, 16.724; 2. 1-Brandon Sheppard, 16.744; 3. 29-Darrell Lanigan, 16.789; 4. 7k-Kent Robinson, 16.903; 5. 17M-Dale McDowell, 16.995; 6. 0-Scott Bloomquist, 17; 7. 12-Jason Jameson, 17.073; 8. 16-Tyler Bruening, 17.376; 9. 942-Steve Isenberg, 17.743; DNS. 53-Hillard Miller, NT

Heat #1 – Flight (A) (8 Laps) – Top 4 Transfer 1. 18-Chase Junghans [2]; 2. 116-Tanner English [3]; 3. 97-Cade Dillard [1]; 4. 99B-Boom Briggs [6]; 5. 7-Ricky Weiss [4]; 6. 5-Don O’Neal [8]; 7. 48-Colton Flinner [7]; 8. 7m-Donald Mcintosh [5]; 9. 6-Blake Spencer [10]; 10. 76-Blair Nothdurft [9]; 11. CO2-Tyler Clem [11]

Heat #2 – Flight (B) (8 Laps) – Top 4 Transfer 1. 6m-Mike Marlar [2]; 2. 40B-Kyle Bronson [1]; 3. 25-Shane Clanton [3]; 4. 36v-Kyle Hardy [4]; 5. 2-Brandon Overton [5]; 6. 3s-Brian Shirley [6]; 7. 28-Dennis Erb [7]; 8. 99jr-Frank Heckenast [9]; 9. 1x-Chub Frank [11]; 10. 58-Ivedent Lloyd [8]; 11. 16H-Mike Hammerle [10]

Heat #3 – Flight (C) (8 Laps) – Top 4 Transfer 1. 14-Josh Richards [2]; 2. 72-Mike Norris [1]; 3. 39-Tim McCreadie [4]; 4. 9-Devin Moran [5]; 5. 22x-G.R. Smith [3]; 6. 7F-Jason Fitzgerald [6]; 7. 33-Jeff Matthews [10]; 8. 11B-Stacy Boles [7]; 9. 2s-Dan Stone [8]; 10. B1-Brent Larson [9]

Heat #4 – Flight (D) (8 Laps) – Top 4 Transfer 1. 44-Chris Madden [1]; 2. 1-Brandon Sheppard [2]; 3. 29-Darrell Lanigan [3]; 4. 17M-Dale McDowell [5]; 5. 16-Tyler Bruening [8]; 6. 7k-Kent Robinson [4]; 7. 0-Scott Bloomquist [6]; 8. 12-Jason Jameson [7]; 9. 942-Steve Isenberg [9]; 10. 53-Hillard Miller [10]

Last Chance Showdown 1 (10 Laps) – Top 4 Transfer 1. 7-Ricky Weiss [1]; 2. 5-Don O’Neal [3]; 3. 2-Brandon Overton [2]; 4. 3s-Brian Shirley [4]; 5. 48-Colton Flinner [5]; 6. 7m-Donald Mcintosh [7]; 7. 28-Dennis Erb [6]; 8. 58-Ivedent Lloyd [12]; 9. 99jr-Frank Heckenast [8]; 10. 6-Blake Spencer [9]; 11. 1x-Chub Frank [10]; 12. 76-Blair Nothdurft [11]; 13. CO2-Tyler Clem [13]; 14. 16H-Mike Hammerle [14]

Last Chance Showdown 2 (10 Laps) – Top 4 Transfer 1. 0-Scott Bloomquist [6]; 2. 7k-Kent Robinson [4]; 3. 16-Tyler Bruening [2]; 4. 12-Jason Jameson [8]; 5. 2s-Dan Stone [9]; 6. B1-Brent Larson [11]; 7. 11B-Stacy Boles [7]; 8. 7F-Jason Fitzgerald [3]; 9. 33-Jeff Matthews [5]; 10. 942-Steve Isenberg [10]; 11. 22x-G.R. Smith [1]; 12. 53-Hillard Miller [12]

Dirt Car Nationals PR

Max McLaughlin delivered an 11th-place effort in his NASCAR K&N Pro Series (NKNPSE) debut on Monday evening at New Smyrna Speedway. The 18-year old turned in a solid performance throughout the weekend in only his third-career start on asphalt.
 
McLaughlin took the green flag on Monday night from the 13th position after weather cancelled qualifying and delayed the green flag from Sunday night. The Mooresville, NC native went into tire conservation mode in the early going to preserve his General Tires for the later stages of the 175-lap event. Despite the effort to save tires and a tight condition in the center of both corners, McLaughlin managed to challenge for a top-10 position.
 
McLaughlin restarted 10th after the first competition caution on lap 64 and remained in the fight for a top-10 position for the majority of the contest. However, a persistent push lingered in the nose of his No. 1 Toyota Camry and hampered his progress through the field. On the final restart of the night, McLaughlin restarted 10th in the outside lane, but was held up when the fourth-place car had trouble accelerating through the restart box. McLaughlin fell to 12th but managed to regain one spot to take his first NKNPSE checkered flag in 11th position.
 
Max McLaughlin Quote:
“I definitely learned a ton. Going into it, I didn’t really know what to expect as far as saving tires for the end, but I have a different view of it now and feel a lot better about going to Bristol (Motor Speedway) in April. (Crew chief) Robert (Huffman) and the guys worked hard in a short period of time getting this Toyota Camry and team together, and I can’t thank all them enough. I feel like I have a better idea of what I need after tonight and can’t wait to go to Bristol.”
 
HRE PR

The final night of racing for the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds as part of the 48th annual DIRTcar Nationals was also the busiest in the history of the prestigious event. With the postponement of Saturday’s Last Chance Showdowns and Feature as well as the entire Sunday schedule of events, the Ironmen of the DIRTcar Nationals completed the two postponed shows before the originally scheduled Gator Nationals Championship Feature. A total of 14 races were conducted over the course of the evening for the UMP Modifieds.

After the Sinking Spring, PA start won the Sunday Gator Qualifier Feature, his first of the week, Kyle Strickler added a $5,000 paycheck to his busy day by winning his second straight Big Gator Feature in two years. The 34-year-old, who now calls Mooresville, NC home, started third in the 30-Lap Feature and drove around early race leader David Stremme on lap seven and withstood a consistent charge from him while dealing with lapped traffic, to become the only repeat winner of the 48th annual DIRTcar Nationals for the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds.

“We’ve had a heck of a week with all the stuff that happened earlier here. We (Strickler and Stremme) might not like each other very much, but we’re both professionals and we definitely put on a show for the fans,” stated Strickler after climbing from his #8 G-Style Transport / Longhorn Chassis machine and earning a total of $5,700 for a night’s work. “But we put our heads down and went to work, and it all worked out. We went out and did what we were supposed to do. Man, this is so awesome, this is such a relief. I’m looking for a Late Model ride for this year. That’s where I want to go looking ahead, and this is the best way I can show what I can do.”

By taking the green flag in the Feature, Nick Hoffman clinched his fourth consecutive DIRTcar UMP Modified DIRTcar Nationals Championship. The 26-year-old driver, originally from Belleville, IL who now calls Mooresville, NC home, recorded one Feature win, two second place finishes, two fourths and a six to wrap up his all-time DIRTcar Nationals best fourth straight title.

“We really weren’t as strong this year down here as we have been in the past," remarked the driver of his familiar blue #2 Fox Shox / Elite Chassis ride. " But we were very consistent, even when the car wasn’t capable of winning. To win this deal, though, you have to have consistency and a little bit of luck.”

After the Redraw of the top five finishers from both Big Gator Qualifier Features, Ryan Ayers and David Stremme led the star-studded 28-car field to Chief Starter Dave Farney’s green flag. Stremme edged out to the early race lead, while Ayers and the rest of the field settled in behind them. Strickler moved up to second and began stalking Stremme for the lead as they navigated around the half-mile high-banked dirt oval in DeLeon Spring, FL. Strickler sized up Stremme and on lap seven made his move around the outside of the former NASCAR driver to take over the race lead.

Strickler, Stremme, and later, R.C. Whitwell, who started seventh and had charged his way up to third, all pulled away from the rest of the field. With the laps clicking off, Stremme resurged his efforts to get around Strickler but had to fall back and negotiate the traffic Strickler left in his path. That played a pivotal role in the outcome as Strickler was able to lose Stremme in the traffic and walk away with his second Feature win of the night. With the victory, the sixth of his DIRTcar Nationals career, Strickler moves into a tie for fifth all-time in career wins with 2007 DIRTcar Nationals Champion Steve Arpin.

Stremme finished second for the second time of the night, tying his best finish of the week in one night over Whitwell, while Lucas Lee and NASCAR Xfinity Series star Justin Allgaier completed the top five. Now a four-time DIRTcar Nationals Champion, Hoffman actually finished the worst he had all week in sixth, while Brian Ruhlman was seventh. Taylor Cook, who started 20th, charged up to the eighth finishing position and Tyler Nicely overcame a spin earlier in the race to climb back to ninth after originally starting in 18th. Ayers finished off the final top 10.

David Wietholder, Steve Meyer Jr., Brenden Rassel and Allen Weisser all collected checkered flags in the four Last Chance Showdowns. Officially, 105 DIRTcar UMP Modifieds made at least one appearance during their seven nights of racing during the 48th annual DIRTcar Nationals.

Earlier in the evening, during the conclusion of the Saturday, February 9 show, Paris, TN driver Lucas Lee scored his first career Gator in the Saturday Big Gator Qualifier Feature. The 31-year-old aboard the #40 Brandon Ford / Racecar Engineering entry started on the outside of the front row, and after beating pole-sitter Stremme to the first corner, Lee never looked back en route to his first career Feature Win at Volusia. In doing so, Lee became the ninth different Feature winner and eighth first-time Gator winner of the week.

Stremme finished second, while Allgaier posted his best finish of the week in third to complete the podium finishers. Hoffman was fourth and Shon Flannery rounded out the top five. Michael Altobelli Jr. grabbed his best finish of the week in sixth, and Tyler Evans, Jason Beaulieu, Curt Spalding and Brandon Green finished off the top 10. Todd Neiheiser and defending Track Champion Larry Burkins won the Saturday Last Chance Showdowns.

During the Sunday, February 10 show, also postponed due to weather, Strickler started the night off by winning his first Gator of the 2019 DIRTcar Nationals and becoming the 10th different winner in 10 Features leading into the Big Gator Championship. Strickler started on the pole and, after a hard-fought battle with Ruhlman and later Whitwell, led all 20 laps for his first feature win of the night.

Whitwell finished second over Zeke McKenzie, who grabbed his best finish of the week by rounding out the top final top five. Ruhlman and Ayers, with his best finish of the week, were the top five. Trey Harris posted his best finish of the week in sixth, and Will Krup, Ryan Cripe, with his best finish of the DCN, Nicely and Cook completed the top 10.

Mark Whitener won his first Fast Qualifier award of the week with an 18.491, while McKenzie, Ruhlman, Strickler and Bryan Foy won the Heat Races. Gordy Gundaker and Brad Waits scored the triumphs in the Last Chance Showdowns.

The DIRTcar Late Models return to action on Tuesday, February 12 to continue DIRTcar Nationals Late Model Week. It’ll be the final night of competition for the DIRTcar sanctioned Late Models before the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series takes over for the final four night from February 13-16. The Super DIRTcar Big Block Modified Series will move in and take over for the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds also on Tuesday, February 13.

For more information about the remaining five nights of the 48th annual DIRTcar Nationals and to order tickets, please call: 1 (844) DIRT-TIX or visit dirtcarnationals.com. Follow the DIRTcar Late Model portion of the show on Tuesday by visiting the DIRTcar Racing Social Media outlets. Just search for “DIRTcar Racing” on both Facebook and Twitter as well as the DIRTcar Nationals Twitter page at: @DIRTcarNats for the very latest updates from Volusia Speedway Park and the 48th annual DIRTcar Nationals.

DIRTcar Racing PR

Derek Kraus made a thrilling three-wide pass for the lead, then pulled away to win the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season opener at New Smyrna Speedway on Monday night.

 

Kraus was running third in the Bill McAnally Racing No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, with 41 laps remaining, when he took advantage of the two leaders coming in contact while battling side-by-side. He darted to the inside to take the lead.

 

Kraus said he anticipated the pair would touch. When they did, he made his move.

 

“They drifted up in (turns) 3 and 4,” he said. “I saw an opening and I took it.”

 

The 17-year-old from Stratford, Wisconsin faced a big challenge on Monday, starting 16th after qualifying was rained out on Sunday and the grid was set per the rule book. He and his BMR NAPA team had an extra day to think about their strategy, with the 175-lap race being postponed a day due to the weather.

 

“We made a lot of adjustments after practice and that helped,” Kraus said. “We had a really good car all night. We had to save our tires and I feel like that’s what helped win the race. That helped us out there in the end.”

 

He made a pit stop during the first of two scheduled breaks, then remained on track during the second one. After seizing the lead, he pulled away from the field and then held on after another restart with 10 laps remaining.

 

“It was a big win for me,” Kraus said. “It’s a great way to start off the season.”

 

The race did not go as well for his two BMR teammates. Hailie Deegan, in the No. 19 Monster/NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry, turned the fast lap during practice on Sunday and paced the field to the green flag on Monday night. She led the early laps, but ended up battling a mechanical issue for much of the race and was eventually being sidelined.

 

Brittney Zamora – a 19-year-old, second-generation driver from Kennewick, Washington – made her NASCAR K&N Pro Series debut at New Smyrna in BMR’s No. 99 NAPA Filters Toyota Camry, but contact with another car ended her race early.

 

The victory by Kraus marked his sixth career NASCAR K&N Pro Series win, but his first in a K&N East event. In two previous series starts at New Smyrna, Kraus finished third in 2017 and fourth in 2018.

 

Deegan – a 17-year-old from Temecula, California – and Kraus are both members of the NASCAR Next program that spotlights NASCAR’s emerging stars. Deegan and Zamora, meanwhile, are Toyota Racing development drivers.

 

All three BMR drivers are set to run the full schedule in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West this year, while racing in select K&N East events.

 

In advance of the action at New Smyrna, the BMR team participated in the grand opening for the NAPA AUTO PARTS Store in DeLand on Friday, with new store owner Chris Wall and Wall Automotive Group.

 

In addition, VIP treatment at the track was extended to a group of NAPA guests from the DeLand store – as well as Wall’s NAPA Stores in Daytona Beach and Deltona.

 

The NASCAR Speedweeks event on Monday was part of the 53rd Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway.

 

The race will be televised on NBCSN on Feb. 13 at 6 p.m. ET.

 

The next event on the K&N Pro Series East schedule will be at Tennessee’s Bristol Motor Speedway on April 6.

 

BMR PR

Willie Mullins and Mullins Racing failed to finish Saturday's ARCA Menards Series opener at Daytona International Speedway following an early incident.

Mullins was running in the top-10 on the third lap when he made contact with the bumper of defending Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire race winner Michael Self of Venturini Motorsports down the backstretch.

The contact turned Self sideways and he came down across the track and brought Mullins' No. 3 County Waste/Crow Wing Recycling Ford off the track and into the grass.

After limping his car back to the pits, Mullins' crew quickly realized the damage to the car was terminal and he would be forced to retire from the race after three laps.

"I guess Natalie (Decker) was up against me and I got into Michael Self a little too hard. We just got into it together and tore up both cars," Mullins said. "I'm going to talk to the Venturini's, Bill and Billy, and see how we can work through this and hopefully repair the relationship after I did what I did."

Despite the disappointing finish to the race, Mullins wanted to thank his volunteer crew for everything they did leading up to the race.

"We have the heart, we have the work and we have the desire to do this," Mullins said. "We're very fortunate. We had a great crew chief this year in Tony Furr, we had a great spotter in Kevin Belmont, all the guys just poor their hearts out for the whole week we are down here. Those are the people that make this possible. I just provide the car. They provide all the hard work and dedication to come with us every year."

The No. 3 Mullins Racing Ford carries sponsorship support from County Waste, CW Metals, Crow Wing Recycling, Bugsy's Auto, Snap On by Timmy Brann, Sherwin Williams Paint and Dinah Marie Photography.

For more information on Mullins Racing, please visit mullinsracing.net, like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mullinsracing and follow them on Twitter at @mullins_racing.

Mullins Racing PR

Bret Holmes and the No. 23 Holmes ll Excavation/Southern States Bank Chevrolet team finished 18th after being involved in a late-race incident at Daytona International Speedway. Holmes started the 80-lap main event from the 14th position and quickly moved into the top 10 by lap 20. While working in the draft, Holmes maneuvered through traffic and was scored in the seventh position when the yellow flag was displayed on lap 43. Crew chief Shane Huffman called the No. 23 machine to pit road for fuel only and with quick work by Holmes’ pit crew, the team gained three positions and restarted fourth for the ensuing restart. Holmes continued to march his way to the front and was running in the third position with three laps remaining when he was hit from behind and sent spinning into the infield grass. Holmes made his way down pit road to the attention of the No. 23 crew to receive repairs. The 21-year-old driver returned to the racing surface as the field was displayed the white and green flags, signaling one-lap remaining in the race. Holmes crossed the finish line in the 18th position.  

Start – 14th    Finish – 18th     Points Position – 18th    
 
 BRET HOLMES QUOTE:
“We started a little bit further back in the field than we would have liked to today. We worked our way into the top 10 by changing our lines and being patient. We tried not to be too aggressive and bump anyone in the early stages. The No. 23 Holmes ll Excavation/Southern States Bank pit crew did a great job on pit road. We picked up a bunch of spots when we made our stop. We ran in the third spot for what felt like forever, but we showed how strong we were running up there with those three or four cars. We pulled away from the rest of the field for quite a few laps. It’s just extremely frustrating to get caught up in the final laps like that. The same thing happened last year. You just don’t know what gives sometimes. We’ll keep our heads up and keep working hard.”
 
Bret Holmes Racing PR

Roush Yates Engines announced today that it has reached a multi-year partnership extension agreement with L.S. Starrett Co.

Starrett, an industry leader in metrology tools and equipment for over 135 years, located in Athol, Massachusetts, has been an official partner of Roush Yates Engines since 2016. Starrett’s premier measuring and inspection tools have been a key component in delivering championship winning engines and world-class products around the world.

“Starrett’s brand is iconic and known world-wide, while their support to our racing programs has provided competitive advantages to win races,” said Todd English, VP Business Development, Roush Yates Engines. “We rely on their employee’s workmanship in their manufacturing facilities in Athol and across the globe. We look forward to expanding our valued partnership and leveraging Starrett’s force and vision measurement systems.”

Starrett’s standard of quality and workmanship is the best in the industry, as their accuracy and product performance exceed national and international standards. These attributes are critical when developing and machining world-class products for the automotive, military, aerospace and industrial industries.

With more than 5,000 products; including spring and force testing, measurement equipment, precision hand tools, state-of-the-art vision and optical systems, Starrett has the right tools to meet our needs.

“We utilize Starrett's inspection equipment for accuracy, reliability, and repeatability,” said Jennifer Lafever, NASCAR QA Manager, Roush Yates Engines. “We must have 100% confidence that our parts are accurate and correct every single time. Starrett tools provide us that confidence, when there is no room for error.”

“Starrett is glad to work with a high demanding customer such as Roush Yates Engines, as they use precision with everything they do,” said Emerson Leme, Head of Starrett Metrology Division. “Starrett has been a long-standing premier supplier to Roush Yates Engines for many years and extending this partnership is a win for all of us.”

With a shared commitment of excellence and objective to deliver the best products to our customers, partnering with Starrett ensures that continued level of expertise.

RYE PR

Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Oil Toyota) barely had time to let the pre-race jitters subside before abruptly finding himself out of contention on lap three during Saturday’s ARCA Menards Series opening event at Daytona International Speedway.

After posting a strong qualifying effort and seemingly favorable sixth place starting spot, Self took the green flag in ARCA’s biggest race of the season optimistic about his chances of defending his Daytona victory from a year ago. Quickly maneuvering his Sinclair Oil sponsored Toyota down to the inside line the 35 car field began to build momentum while circling the intimidating 2.5-mile track side-by-side.

Racing behind teammate and eventual race winner Harrison Burton, Self found himself being prematurely pressured from behind by the No. 3 of Willie Mullins while the pack raced down the backstretch. After taking multiple shots to his rear bumper, Self broke loose moving up the track while Mullins attempted to drive underneath hitting the rear quarter panel sending Self’s 25 car airborne, landing hard on four wheels in the grass.

Sustaining significant mechanical damage Self was forced to bring his Toyota behind the wall while crew chief Shannon Rursch directed repairs. Dashing any chances of a Daytona repeat Self’s Sinclair Oil team jumped into action to get their driver back on track to salvage season accumulating points. Self would return and was credited with a 31st place finishing position.

“Getting wrecked on the third lap like that just sucks, especially in the first race,” said a disappointed Self. “I felt like we were in a great position with a fast car. We were just riding along with our teammates (Christian Eckes and Harrison Burton). It puts us in a tough spot being way behind in points, but I’m really excited about moving forward with the No. 25 team. I’m surrounded by a great group of people and feel like our team has great chemistry even though the year didn’t start like we wanted it to.”

Mimicking Self’s sentiments, VMS’ newest crew chief helped put things in perspective.

“Everyone gets a mulligan and this is ours,” said Shannon Rursch. “Unfortunately this is part of racing and what happened at Daytona is a byproduct of the game we play. Michael is a very experienced and focused driver. He’ll rebound. We’ve got a full season and I’m looking forward to our next race at Pensacola.”

Committed to running his first full season in the ARCA Menards Series, Self will make his next appearance when the series returns to action at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida on March 9.

VMS PR

For more than six decades Emil “Buzzie” Reutimann has been behind the wheel of a race car. The Zephyrhills, Florida native is known in the racing community as a “racer’s racer” as he personifies what it means to be old school. He still works on his cars, he still loves to compete, and he still has his family with him — or at least close by in Gator Pond Pits while he's parked infield at Volusia Speedway Park for DIRTcar Nationals. 

Buzzie’s list of accomplishments are astounding. Winning the first-ever Super DIRTcar Series race at Orange County Fair Speedway in 1972, he finished the season with an incredible 33 wins at both Nazareth Speedway (NJ) and Orange County Fair Speedway for a total of 66 trips to Victory Lane. To top that off, in 1972 and ‘73 he won the Schaefer International 100, which later transformed into NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week. And that’s just a two-year snapshot, folks.

Returning to Volusia Speedway Park for the 48th running of the DIRTcar Nationals, Buzzie doesn’t show any sign of hanging it up. In fact, he plans to run a full slate of races this year, while he also stays busy working on customers’ cars and running a business.


What do you think of the improvements here at Volusia Speedway Park?

Oh boy, this is great. They’ve really done a great job. I was over here a few weeks ago, and boy, the front stretch wall was a mess. It wasn’t finished yet, and the catch fence wasn’t up. I went back and told David on the phone, “I don’t know if they’re gonna have that place ready to race or not.” What a job they have done! And in a short while! They must have worked day and night to get it like it is. What I like about it is they’ve done a lot for the spectators too. New stands and the way they’ve got it fixed up. It’s really great.

What do you do to keep yourself physically and mentally sharp? Do you have an exercise routine?

Well, not exactly; I just work every day. Every morning I get up, and I’ve got my little business called Reutimann Racing. We work on other people's cars and our own cars. It keeps me busy. We start every morning at 8:00am. Of course sometimes on our coffee break we might get to telling stories and sit there until 10:00, but then we go out and we’ve got a couple of customers’ cars we keep up and then we do the maintenance to ours and get ready for the weekend. When you have a race car you never run out of things to do.

Last year you ran 11 races, winning one and taking home nine top tens. That’s a pretty impressive run.

Not as impressive as I think it should have been. When you go out there, you go out to win. We lost two features with a fuel pressure problem, which was a disappointment. But we usually try to get up to the front.

As you’ve watched dirt modifieds evolve over the years, what transformation do you see as having had the biggest impact?

Wow, I’ll tell you what. Being that I started with my flat head Ford, which was a Sears-Roebuck rebuilt motor, I have seen quite a change in the industry. I think the biggest change is what I call a store built car. Everyone can buy a car completely done now. When we started racing we all built our own stuff. You’d go to the junkyard and get a frame. So the store built cars and the parts that you can buy now. That’s got to be the biggest change there was.

Does that even the playing field, or does it make it more difficult?

It does make it a little more difficult. You know, they have 90-some cars here tonight, but the trouble is you have 90 good cars. A good friend of mine told me, “If I go to a new track and they’ve got more than 50 cars, I’m at the wrong track.” So tonight I think I’m at the wrong track.

Do you have any advice for young drivers that want to become professional race car drivers?

I’m one of the very lucky ones who grew up with racing. My dad raced, and it was just something that we did. My brother and I both raced. So it’s very hard for me to tell someone how they should get involved in racing. When I was in diapers I was involved in racing. Starting out you can’t start at the top and work your way down; you’ve got to start at the bottom and work your way up. I do recommend learning to drive on dirt. I think that gives you a more natural feel of a car if you start on dirt. I’ve tried helping guys out before, and it’s easier to make a dirt driver an asphalt driver than it is to have an asphalt driver become a dirt driver.

What are your plans for this year?

Not all the tracks have put out their schedules yet, but I imagine I’ll be running here at Volusia and over at Bubba Raceway Park and some of the specials at East Bay Raceway. Then I want to go down to Hendry County a couple times.

I got a request to come back up to Orange County Fair Speedway. They’ve got a special 20-lap race up there for the past champions. I might sneak up there and run that. David’s got a car lined up, so we want to go up there and have a little fun.


Meanwhile, Buzzie will continue his DIRTcar Nationals run through next Monday at Volusia Speedway Park. The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars will join the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds through Sunday, after which the DIRTcar Late Models will share the field with them. On Tuesday, February 12, Buzzie's old Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds will take the stage at Volusia Speedway Park for five nights, joined for the last four by the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models. Tickets are still available.

DIRTcar Nationals PR

Harrison Burton (No. 20 DEX Imaging Toyota) drove to victory in Saturday's ARCA Menards Series Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire at Daytona International Speedway. Burton’s victory, the third of his ARCA career, also delivered Venturini Motorsports (VMS) its second consecutive win and third in the last six years at the World Center of Racing.

Burton, 18, who led a race high 48 laps held off Todd Gilliland on a one-lap overtime dash to the checkered.

"It means so much to come here and win at a track my dad won at before me," Burton said. "I can't thank my guys at Venturini Motorsports enough, they busted their butts on this car for the last month to get it so we can come here and compete to win.

"We had some debris on the grille over the last run and I think it actually helped. The temperatures went up but they weren't too high. I got the jump on the restart and I knew Todd was on a run. We were up high next to the wall and I looked up and saw no one had a run. I knew that any time something bad could happen, and I was just waiting for it. It never did and then when I crossed the line I started screaming my head off."

Burton’s VMS teammate, Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota), the General Tire Pole Award winner, lined up second on the final restart and ended up fourth. Eckes led 9 laps on the night from the pole.

"I thought we had a little bit better car than Harrison did but that's speedway racing," Eckes said. "We just weren't in the right line on the restart. As far as the points are concerned it was a good day. It would have been good to win here but we're happy to get a good start on the championship."

Making the final start of her racing career, Leilani Münter (No.55 What the Health Toyota), started a career best third before finishing in the 15th position. Racing mostly inside the top-10 Leilani was racing in the sixth spot with 15 laps to go but was forced down into the grass trying to avoid a crash outside her windshield.

There were five cautions overall which consumed 30 laps, the final one of which sent the race into overtime. The first accident of the night happened on lap 3 and involved VMS’ defending race winner Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Oil Toyota) and last year's runner-up finisher Willie Mullins.

Mullins, who was lined up behind the No.25 Sinclair Oil machine racing down the backstretch showed little patience early on making contact with Self sending him airborne and taking him out of contention.   Self would pull behind the wall for repairs returning mid-race and settling for a disappointing 31st place finish.

The next race for the ARCA Menards Series is the ARCA Pensacola 200 at Five Flags Speedway, scheduled for Saturday, March 9. The race will be live on MAVTV at 8 pm ET.

VMS PR

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