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Fresh off a high-profile street circuit event in the Pirelli GT4 America championship, CrowdStrike heads to the biggest street race in the United States this weekend as the series travels to the West Coast.

 

The Long Beach Grand Prix weekend is a home race for the California-based CrowdStrike, and the race is an iconic event not just in North American motorsports but around the world.

 

 

On the track, two Audi R8 LMS GT4 entries will represent CrowdStrike in the Pirelli GT4 America Streets of Long Beach presented by AWS. The 50-minute sprint race in the GT4 championship is set for 10 a.m. PT on Sunday with CJ Moses and James Sofronas driving the Audis prepared by Global Motorsports Group (GMG Racing).

 

 

Moses, in the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS/Accel/GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4, made his professional racing debut in the Pirelli GT4 America event at St. Petersburg, Florida in March. Despite the much more experienced field, Moses posted a top-10 class finish his first time out.

 

“I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel on the Streets of Long Beach, after having had a great time taking media members on hot lap rides during the press day,” Moses said. “The circuit is unforgiving with the fastest line around the course being perilously close to the concrete barriers much of the time. It is a challenging course, but with the backing of the CrowdStrike/AWS/Accel/GMG Racing team behind me, it is a challenge that we are up to!”

 

Sofronas, owner of GMG, is the defending series champion and will pilot the No. 14 CrowdStrike/AWS/Accel/GMG Racing Audi R8 at Long Beach. The southern California resident also is a two-time winner at Long Beach.

 

“Long Beach is a special race for me, and I think CJ is going to get a lot from the weekend as well,” Sofronas said. “Having two CrowdStrike Audi R8s on track to race during the Grand Prix weekend makes it an even better occasion. The crew has done a great job of fine-tuning these cars for tracks such as this, and I’m really looking forward to this race weekend!”

 

Off-track, guests of CrowdStrike will be welcomed to the weekend with a pre-race party in celebration of the Pirelli GT4 America Streets of Long Beach presented by AWS, a rooftop event with spectacular views of the streetside circuit’s festivities below. CrowdStrike will host its third CXO Summit, a cybersecurity executive event, of the season. Guests will hear from experts on trends within the cybersecurity industry from its leading minds such as George Kurtz, CrowdStrike co-founder and CEO, and the company’s COO Colin Black.

 

 

CrowdStrike guests also will enjoy rooftop hospitality for premier race-viewing, and will have opportunities to participate in hot laps with racing legend Mario Andretti as well as a Q&A session with the four-time Long Beach race-winner.

 

“Hosting a race weekend at Long Beach with two CrowdStrike GT4 cars in competition and leading it with CrowdStrike’s CXO Summit is a true win for us,” said Kurtz. “This entire event further illustrates that success lies in teamwork - on and off of the track. We will be cheering for CJ and James this Sunday at Long Beach!”

 

 

The Pirelli GT4 America Streets of Long Beach presented by AWS is scheduled for 10 a.m. PT on Sunday, April 14. Watch the race at gt4-america.com/live. For more information, visit CrowdStrikeRacing.com

Jim Beaver, professional off-road racer and host of the Down and Dirty Show Powered By Polaris RZR, fought through a last-row starting spot and an incredibly challenging 17-mile desert course to finish Saturday’s Polaris RZR UTV World Championship in Laughlin, Nevada. Beaver was one of well over 60 entries in the premier UTV Turbo class, and one of less than half of the entrants to finish the race.
 
“I think we were parked over by the Tropicana to start!” Beaver joked from the podium in Laughlin. “It was just a long, long day. We didn’t see anything for the first four laps, I think, and with where we started, I’ll take where we finished.
 
“The car ran great all day. I think Phil (Blurton) went by us one time, and he and Mitch (Guthrie Jr.) were just on another level all day, so congratulations to them. Big thanks to Polaris RZR for their support of me and my shows and shenanigans, General Tire, Vision Wheel, DirtFish, Impact Safety, Gibson, Rigid has come back on board this year, and all our partners—we’re one of the teams that are definitely sponsor-driven, and we definitely couldn’t do it without them.”
 
The weekend kicked off for Beaver on Friday, as he and Tiffany Stone welcomed in many of UTV racing’s biggest names for interviews in the Polaris RZR booth from the UTV Festival at the Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino in downtown Laughlin. UTV World Championship CEO Matt Martelli, NASCAR Next driver Will Rodgers, Team RZR’s Shelby Anderson, Branden Sims, Brandon Schueler, and Seth Quintero were among the guests, and all are featured on this week’s 4 Wheel Parts Down and Dirty Show Off-Road Edition Powered By Polaris RZR. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
 
Beaver and co-driver Bryant Shontz started from the back of the pack in Saturday’s action, carving through dozens of other competitors over nearly four hours of action. The UTV Turbo class ran by itself in the final race of the day, following three additional races for UTV, motorcycle, and quad competitors. Beaver was one of the first drivers to cross the finish line on Saturday night, marking his third consecutive finish at UTV racing’s premier event.
 
Jim Beaver Motorsports is supported by Polaris RZR, Vision Wheel, General Tire, 4 Wheel Parts, DirtFish Rally School, Gibson Performance Exhaust, MotoShield Pro, Impact, Assault Industries, HCR Racing, My Medic, and Go-Parts. For more information on Jim Beaver and the Down and Dirty Show Powered By Polaris RZR, visit www.downanddirtyshow.com, follow @JimBeaver15 on social media, and follow @DownAndDirtyShow on Instagram.

Current ARCA Menards Series’ points leader Christian Eckes is hoping to relive the magic of his first ARCA win when he straps back into his Venturini Motorsports’ JBL Audio Toyota Sunday afternoon for the series’ Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 at Salem Speedway.

Off to a strong start with one pole position and top-5 finishes in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway and last month’s effort at Five Flags Speedway, Eckes goes into ARCA’s third round holding a 65-point advantage in the driver championship point standings.   

Joining VMS’ stable in 2015, Eckes, now 18, saw limited action making 15 ARCA starts before breaking into the win column at Salem Speedway during last year’s spring race. Showing speed throughout his young career, Eckes’ first win opened the gates to further success as the talented teen went onto to capture two additional trophies during the 2018 season – winning on the dirt at Springfield and then covering the field at Lucas Oil Raceway later late in the season. 

“It’s a great feeling going back to Salem,” says Eckes. “It meant a lot to finally just get an ARCA win, no matter the race track. It was a rough year and a half after the derby where there was a lot of things but not one thing that was important to me - wins. I really put all my effort forward over the 2017 off season and realized i needed to be better. Spring Salem was where it all paid off and was definitely one of the best feeling wins in my career for sure.”

Overall Eckes has made 29 series starts earning three General Tire Pole Awards, three victories, 12 top-5’s and 20 top-10 finishes. Poised for a full season effort with VMS, Eckes’ past experiences help pave the way for a strong championship run in 2019.

“The past few years have been absolutely crucial not only in my development but getting familiar with the cars and different tracks of the ARCA Menards Series. It helps a lot to go back to places that I’ve been 2 or 3 times, and I’m lucky to have those past opportunities that are going to help this year especially.”

Practice for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 is set for 11 am ET on Saturday, April 13 with General Tire Pole Qualifying scheduled for 3 pm ET that afternoon. The green flag on round three of the 2019 ARCA Menards Series season will drop shortly after 2 pm ET on Sunday, April 14. The race will be televised live on MAVTV and live timing & scoring will be available at ARCARacing.com.

VMS PR

Upbeat about a recent ARCA Menards Series test at Salem (Ind.) Speedway with his Chad Bryant Racing, sophomore driver Joe Graf Jr. (@joegrafjr) heads to the historic short track eyeing his second career series victory and an opportunity to put his season back on track in Sunday’s Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200.

Sitting fourth in points and within reach of second place, Graf Jr. is ready to get down to business and in the spirit of his marketing EAT SLEEP RACE – the rising star is eager to “EAT SLEEP RACE SALEM” aboard his No. 77 Ford Fusion.

“Yeah, I’m pretty hungry to go out there and have a good run on Sunday,” offered Graf who will make his third ARCA start at Salem Speedway. “We had a pretty good test. Did a lot. Learned a lot and I think we should be in good shape on Sunday afternoon.”

In his previous two starts at the half-mile bullring, Graft Jr. narrowly missed top-10 efforts with back-to-back 11th place performances in April and September respectively.

“I was frustrated with 11th – because I felt like we were so close to top-10 runs both times,” recalled Graf. “Salem isn’t a walk in the park when it comes to a particular driving style. Its relatively rough surface demands a pretty physical race where you have to get up on the wheel and drive.

“I’m prepared to get up and drive my No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford Fusion to the front and stay there. We had a decent recovery at Five Flags – with an 11th (chuckles) – but I’m ready to get our Chad Bryant Racing team back inside the top-10 where we belong.”

For the third straight race, EAT SLEEP RACE, a racing lifestyle apparel company headquartered in New Jersey returns as the primary sponsor of Graf Jr.’s No. 77 Ford Fusion for the 200-lap race.

Since 2001, EAT SLEEP RACE has offered a full product line including accessories and apparel for men’s and ladies. As one of the pioneers of motorsports apparel, the brand has deep roots in the racing industry and was created to offer fresh designs for all racing enthusiasts.

“Super pumped to have EAT SLEEP RACE back on board this weekend at Salem,” offered Graf Jr. “We are working with them on several different projects and they have been instrumental in making our social media campaign surrounding Daytona a success.

“I’m also really happy about my own clothing through EAT SLEEP RACE and look forward to seeing that thrust as the season goes on. A lot of good things going on for me both on and off the track.”

Graf’s crew chief and car owner Chad Bryant says Salem is the perfect opportunity for the No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE team to get back on the throttle and gain some momentum ahead of the summer stretch.

“Joe has always done a good job at Salem in the past – but he’s determined to take that experience and use it to the fullest potential on Sunday,” said Bryant.

“He will be one of the most experienced drivers in the field and that should play into our hands. A win on Sunday would be huge for me, Joe, the guys and EAT SLEEP RACE.”

To bring exclusivity to his No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford Fusion, Graf will carry the Fast Kids Club on-board camera for his third start at Salem Speedway. The Fast Kids Club is the designated youth division of EAT SLEEP RACE.

For more on Joe Graf Jr, please like him on Facebook (Joe Graf Jr.) and follow him on Twitter (@JoeGrafJr) and visit his brand new website at JoeGrafJr.com.

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

The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 (200 laps | 111 miles) is the third of 20 races on the 2019 ARCA Menards Series schedule. Practice begins Sat., Apr. 13 with an hour and a half session from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. General Tire pole qualifying is set for later in the day at 3:00 p.m. The race in the 67th consecutive ARCA season is set to take the green flag the following day, Sun., Apr. 14 beginning at 2:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on MAVTV, while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities. All times are local (ET).

CBR PR

It seems like an eternity since Corey Heim made his ARCA Menards Series debut at Five Flags (Fla.) Speedway last month – but the wait is nearly over, and Heim will soon saddle in his Chad Bryant Racing prepared Ford Fusion hoping for a stellar performance in his Salem (Ind.) Speedway debut in Sunday afternoon’s Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 on April 14.

Feeling adequately prepared and schooled about the high-banks of the historic Southern Indiana short track, Heim knows that his No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford Fusion should be capable of catching the checkered flag in the third ARCA race of the season.

“Looking forward to Salem Speedway this weekend,” said Heim. “It’s a very domineering race track but I feel like it’s a place that should fit into my driving style. It’s a fast place and 200 laps will go quickly, but I think we should be a contender on Sunday and that has me really pumped up.”

Heim recently participated in a private test session at the 0.5-mile oval where Heim spent the day getting up to speed while also working with championship crew chief Paul Andrews on the handling of his Ford Fusion – all knowing that Heim has to be prepared for short and long runs on Sunday.

“The car was pretty balanced,” Heim offered. “We want to be better. We want to be faster – but I feel pretty confident, nonetheless. The guys are bringing me a good car and it’s going to be up to me to make the most of it during the race.”

Hoping to use some of the same principles that propelled him to a fifth-place finish in his ARCA debut at Five Flags, Heim wants to use some of that same mentality on Sunday – but knows that the pace will be fast on Sunday – and that opens up the door for things to change in a hurry.

“We got into a good rhythm at Five Flags – where you could ride for a little bit, but that won’t be the case at Salem – I don’t think,” chatted Heim. “You run 16 or 17 laps around there and you’re more than likely going to be around race cars for the entire race – so you have to be on your game and we have to do a good job to make sure we have a good strategy so we can be at the right place or the right time.”

Car owner Chad Bryant said he was impressed with Heim’s debut and while he showcases a quiet and calm demeanor – that persona proves to be an impressive tactic on the race track.

“Corey flies under the radar and I think he prefers it that way,” added Bryant. “He lets his results speak for himself. He had an exceptional showing in his ARCA debut at Five Flags and I don’t expect any different at Salem this weekend.

“Corey and Paul are connecting on a crew chief – driver level and they are eager to show the world their potential.”

Despite not competing in the season-opening race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, after two ARCA Menards Series races this season, Heim occupies 11th in the championship standings with 18 races remaining in 2019.

For more on Corey Heim, please like him on Facebook (Corey Heim Racing) and follow him on Instagram (@corey.heim) and Twitter (@coreyheim3).

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

The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 (200 laps | 111 miles) is the third of 20 races on the 2019 ARCA Menards Series schedule. Practice begins Sat., Apr. 13 with an hour and a half session from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. General Tire pole qualifying is set for later in the day at 3:00 p.m. The race in the 67th consecutive ARCA season is set to take the green flag the following day, Sun., Apr. 14 beginning at 2:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on MAVTV, while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities. All times are local (ET).

CBR PR

As the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series opens its season under the most auspicious of circumstances, a new entrant is preparing to cross the pond to take part in the action.

In a deal announced on Tuesday, Myatt Snider, who earned Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series last season, will compete full-time in the ELITE 2 Division of the NWES, running for both the classification title and for the rookie trophy.

The season for both the ELITE 1 and ELITE 2 Divisions opens this weekend (April 13-14) in Valencia, Spain, where Snider will get the chance to test his road course skills behind the wheel of the No. 48 Racing Engineering Ford Mustang owned by Alfonso de Orleans-Borbon.

Snider will share the No. 48 car with Ander Vilarino, who returns after a three-year hiatus to seek his fourth NWES title in the ELITE 1 Division.

“I’m going to Valencia with an open mind,” said the 24-year-old from Charlotte, N.C., the son of NBC Sports pit reporter Marty Snider. “Despite having raced some road courses when I was a kid, I raced mostly on ovals after that, and going back to road courses is definitely cool. I’m going in with an open mind but of course I want to perform because I’m a competitive guy and I want to win.

“I am with a great team like Racing Engineering, and I will share the car with a multiple champion, so I think winning is definitely a realistic expectation. I just have to get into the right mindset and see what these cars are capable of.”

Snider is one of 14 rookies who will take the green flag in the ELITE 2 Division. By way of contrast, the ELITE 1 grid is a cavalcade of champions. Israeli driver Alon Day is going for his third straight title, but he’ll have plenty of competition from the likes of Vilarino and former F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve, who is competing full-time for Go Fas Racing.

In addition, the starting field at Valencia will include 2000 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte in a one-off appearance in the No. 70 Chevrolet, as well as Ruben Garcia Jr., who earned his spot in a driver swap program as NASCAR Peak Mexico Series champion.

Another full-time driver to watch is Frederic Gabillon, who has finished second in the ELITE 1 standings three times.

The Valencia field will feature a record 33 cars with 57 drivers from 20 different countries. In addition to the drivers mentioned above, 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Christophe Bouchut will take the green this weekend.

The ELITE 1 field has an enormous collective history of success in the division. Nine of the drivers have won at least one race in ELITE 1, and four others are former ELITE 2 winners.

Now in its 11th season, the NWES is the fastest growing series in Europe. With the addition of a seventh event in Most, Czech Republic, both divisions will feature 13 races this year. With a new tire supplier (General Tire), enhancements to the cars (tires, shocks and a new spoiler) and longer ELITE 1 races, the NWES likely will enjoy the most competitive season in its history.

The Racing Engineering team for which Snider will drive is new to the series this years, as is Team Bleekemolen, which boasts a successful history in touring cars. And though Snider will get a baptism by fire of sorts in the unpredictable ELITE 2 Division, he’s looking forward to the experience.

“I think it will be a lot of fun to race in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series,” Snider said. “It will be my first-ever chance to race in Europe, and that’s not an opportunity you get very often.

“It is going to be an interesting change of pace, and it is a fantastic opportunity to take on this challenge with a such a top-level team as Racing Engineering. I’m really excited.”

Coming off his first series’ short track victory of his career last month in Pensacola, Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Oil Toyota) is set to return to the track this weekend when the ARCA Menards Series resumes action at Salem Speedway on Sunday, April 14.

“Winning at Pensacola was such an awesome night for everyone on this Venturini Motorsports’ Sinclair Oil team,” said Self. “After a disappointing outcome in the season opener at Daytona I love the way the 25 team rebounded. I feel we’re really clicking right now going into Salem and the relationship I’m building with (crew chief) Shannon Rursch is getting stronger. I think we’ll continue to learn more about each other and I know I can have confidence in his set-ups, so it’s exciting to go to the racetrack right now.”

Self, 28, a four-time ARCA Series tour winner, is in the midst of competing in his first full season effort. Currently occupying the fifth spot in the championship standings, Self’s upcoming Salem start marks just his second career visit to the famed Southern Indiana short track. 

“We went up to Salem a couple weeks ago and had a pretty solid test to prepare for this this weekend’s race. Our Sinclair Oil Camry had really good speed right off the trailer, so we kind of got to spend the day fine-tuning and experimenting with different set-ups. We made a lot of gains throughout the day and I had a lot of time to work on my technique which was really helpful. I’m excited to get back at it on Sunday.”

During his first career attempt at Salem last season, Self qualified third and ran up front most of the night but finished a disappointing 16th after a controversial run in with series’ driver Zane Smith ended his day prematurely during the late stages of the fall classic. 

“What happened last year at Salem was obviously disappointing, but that’s something I’ve moved on from,” added Self.  “That’s got to stay in the past, and as of now, I’m looking forward to getting back to Salem and trying to pick up from where we were going to have a good night last fall.”

Since making his ARCA Menards Series debut with VMS in 2014, Self, a native of Salt Lake City, Utah, has accumulated 4 wins, 12 top-5 and 12 top-10 finishes in 21 series starts. 

Self’s VMS Toyota team returns winners of four of the last six series events on Salem’s half-mile track. Overall the longtime ARCA team has collected eight of its 54 series wins at Salem.

 Practice for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 is set for 11 am ET on Saturday, April 13 with General Tire Pole Qualifying scheduled for 3 pm ET that afternoon. The green flag on round three of the 2019 ARCA Menards Series season will drop shortly after 2 pm ET on Sunday, April 14. The race will be televised live on MAVTV and live timing & scoring will be available at ARCARacing.com.

VMS PR

Two Indianapolis 500 legends, one of the last century’s most versatile competitors and a pair of California stock car racing pioneers comprise the 2019 Heritage Class of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.
 
Bill Vukovich and Bob Sweikert, winners of three Indianapolis 500s between 1953 and 1955, are set for induction later this summer. They are joined by sports car champion George Follmer, two-hemisphere modified campaigner Marshall Sargent and Rick Henderson, NASCAR’s first West Coast national champion.
 
Their election brings to 11 this year’s West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame class of enshrinees. Induction ceremonies, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, will be held June 20 at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif. The event serves as kickoff to Sonoma Raceway’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West weekend.
 
Previously announced 2019 inductees are NASCAR team owners Gary Bechtel and Bob Bruncati; the late Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs; four-time NASCAR premier series champion Jeff Gordon; NASCAR weekly series national champion Doug McCoun and NASCAR K&N Pro Series champion Eric Norris.
 
“Phenomenal is an appropriate word to describe the Class of 2019,” said Ken Clapp, chairman and CEO of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. “Our Heritage inductees showed the nation and the world that some of racing’s greatest champions came out of California and the west. Their impact on the sport in the post-World War II era and the mid-20th century was nothing short of incredible.”
 
This year’s ceremonies mark the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame’s 16th inductions. The event is being held at the Meritage Resort and Spa for the seventh consecutive year. The Hall currently has enshrined 147 individuals, beginning with the 2002 inaugural class.
 
Biographies of the Heritage Class follow.
 
George Follmer

  • One of America’s most versatile motorsport figures in the middle of the 20th Century. He collected points in Formula 1, won SCCA Can-Am and Trans-Am titles, won a U.S. Auto Club Championship Car race at Phoenix Raceway and posted top-five finishes in NASCAR’s premier series.
  • Now 83, was born in Arizona, but moved with his family to Southern California shortly thereafter. He raced out of Arcadia, where he owned an auto dealership. He won SCCA’s United States Road Racing Championship in 1965, the organization’s Can-Am title in 1972, subbing for Mark Donohue in Roger Penske’s Porsche 917/10 and SCCA Trans-Am titles in 1972 (Javelin) and 1976 (Porsche).
  • Follmer spent a single season in F1 – 1973 – driving Don Nichols’ UOP Shadow and collected a third-place finish at the Spanish Grand Prix.
  • A year later, Follmer took the wheel of Bud Moore’s Fords in a 13-race NASCAR Cup schedule, logging a fourth-place finish in Atlanta and fifths at Dover and Rockingham.
  • He competed in six NASCAR K&N Pro Series West events – including dirt track events in Gardena and Vallejo, Calif. Follmer also won an International Race of Champions (IROC) event at Riverside International Raceway.

 

Rick Henderson   
  • Petaluma, Calif. competitor was first west coast driver to win a NASCAR national racing championship, capturing the 1959 sportsman title.
  • Henderson also won the State of California Championship in the same season, a title he previously won in 1957 and subsequently won in 1961-62.
  • He won five additional track championships with three coming at San Jose (Calif.) Speedway, one at Kearney Bowl in Fresno, Calif., and one at Santa Rosa (Calif.) Speedway.
  • Henderson competed in a trio of NASCAR premier series/Pacific Coast Late Model events at Oakland and Bay Meadows in San Mateo, Calif. in 1954 at age 22. Henderson passed away in 2001 at age 69.

 
Marshall Sargent   

  • A true international star, the Salinas, Calif. native won an estimated 500 feature races in the United States and Australia during a 20-year racing career.
  • Racing out of San Jose, starred in hard tops and supermodifieds and won the NASCAR State of California championship in 1960. He won 88 races at the old San Jose Speedway, a paved third-mile track, including 1960 and 1963 Johnny Key Classics.
  • Sargent was the 1960 San Jose champion and won titles at Alviso, Salinas and Sacramento.
  • Sargent also competed in the NASCAR premier series, qualifying for the 1961 Daytona 500. He had three top-10 finishes in 12 appearances, the best a seventh at Eureka, Calif. in 1957.
  • Sargent won a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at the Gardena (Calif.) Stadium in 1957, driving the Howard Cams Chevrolet. Sargent died in 1990 at age 59.

 
Bob Sweikert   

  • Born in Los Angeles on May 20, 1926, Sweikert grew up in Hayward, Calif., across the bay from San Francisco. At age 16, became a mechanic at a local Ford dealership. Following service during World War II he opened his own repair shop and built his first track roadster.
  • In 1947, ran first race for prize money at Oakland Speedway in which he finished second. Won Bay Cities Racing Association indoor midget championship in 1949. Began racing sprint cars throughout United States.
  • Attempted but failed to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1950 and 1951. Made first of five “500” starts the following year, finishing 26th with a broken differential.
  • Won the 1955 “500” in the John Zink Special, leading 86 laps – the only laps he would lead at Indianapolis. In 1955 he captured the original “Triple Crown” – Indianapolis 500, AAA Big Car National Championship and the Midwest Sprint Car Championship, the only driver to do so.
  • After finishing sixth in the 1956 “500,” Sweikert died in a sprint car accident on June 17, 1956 at Salem (Ind.) Speedway.

 
Bill Vukovich   

 

  • Born on Dec. 13, 1918 in Alameda, Calif. Vukovich grew up in Fresno. The family immigrated from Yugoslavia, changing its surname from Yukurovich. Was known variously as the Mad Russian – a hard charger - and the Silent Serb – a cool demeanor.
  • As a teen during the Depression, began driving the family Model T in farm fields and soon raced modified cars for fellow Fresnan Fred Gearhart. Raced midgets and suffered injuries that ultimately kept him out of World War II.
  • Won United Racing Association’s West Coast midget championship in 1946-47 becoming the AAA National Midget champion in 1950. Attempted but failed to qualify for the 1950 Indianapolis 500 and dropped out of the following year’s “500” after just 29 laps.
  • In 1952, driving for sportsman Howard Keck, Vukovich led on the 92nd lap, only to fall out with steering failure. Vukovich won the 1953 and 1954 “500s.” Setting a race speed record of 130.84 mph in 1954, Vukovich became the third driver to win the “500” back-to-back. Ran the Pan American Road Race in the fall of 1954 but failed to finish.
  • Driving for Lindsey Hopkins, led the 1955 “500” by a large margin but was fatally injured when unable to avoid a multi-car accident on the 57th lap of the May 30 race.

West Coast Stock Car HOF PR

Last September, Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) made his first career ARCA Menards Series start at Salem Speedway. Self started the season with a win at the famed 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway and followed it with a second win at the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway, cementing his reputation as a superspeedway specialist.

But Self had found success on short tracks in his career as well. He’s an eight-time winner in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, and five of those wins came on tight bullrings under a mile in length.

Although he’s found victory lane plenty of times on short tracks, none of them were anything like Salem. The ultra-high-banked, ultra-fast half-mile is one of the most daunting and demanding tracks in America. Its weathered surface and a groove that requires the bravest of the brave to run inches off the unforgiving concrete walls to be fast can intimidate even seasoned veterans.

Self qualified third and ran up front throughout the early stages of the race. As the race’s middle stages wore on, Self made contact with pole sitter Zane Smith on a chaotic restart that resulted in Smith spinning into the inside wall down the backstretch. Some 30 laps later, Smith crossed paths with Self on the racetrack again. The contact resulted in a hard crash for Self, who was running third at the time, ending his chances at his first career series short track win.

“What happened last year at Salem was obviously disappointing, but that’s something I’ve moved on from,” Self said. “That’s got to stay in the past, and as of now, I’m looking forward to getting back to Salem and trying to pick up from where we were going to have a good night last fall.”

Self returns to Salem with some unfinished business on his plate but scoring his first ARCA Menards Series short track win isn’t one of those boxes that needs to be checked off. Self led 68 laps on his way to the win in the first short track race of 2019 at Five Flags Speedway. Self narrowly missed his first short track pole, too, coming up just 0.002 seconds short in qualifying.

“Pensacola was such an awesome night for the No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants team,” he said. “We had a really fast car all day, and had a little luck go our way in the race and were able to bring home the checkered flag, and the first ARCA short track win of my career which was a huge confidence boost. I love the way the 25 team is clicking and the relationship I’m building with (crew chief) Shannon Rursch. I think we’ll continue to learn more about each other and I know I can have confidence in his set-ups, so it’s exciting to go to the racetrack right now.”

The win at Five Flags came after a disappointing 31st-place finish at Daytona, the result of an early-race crash that left his car seriously damaged. Self’s win moved him to fifth in the series championship standings, 145 points behind his Venturini Motorsports teammate Christian Eckes who maintains the championship lead. Self’s short track expertise and superspeedway experience, combined with Eckes’ relative lack of superspeedway experience, leaves the Salt Lake City, Utah native confident he can close the points gap and contend for the series championship.

“These short track races aren’t necessarily the ones that were circled on my calendar as far as races I feel I can capitalize on, but Pensacola helped lift that mindset a bit,” he explained. “We just need to do our best job as a team to make the most of these short track races before we get to the summer stretch of speedway races and see if we can close the points gap.”

Practice for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 is set for 11 am ET on Saturday, April 13 with General Tire Pole Qualifying scheduled for 3 pm ET that afternoon. The green flag on round three of the 2019 ARCA Menards Series season will drop shortly after 2 pm ET on Sunday, April 14. Discounted tickets are available at selected Menards locations in southern Indiana and northern Kentucky. The race will be televised live on MAVTV and ARCA for Me members can access live timing & scoring, live chat, and live track updates at ARCARacing.com. New members can register for free at ARCARacing.com/login.

ARCA Racing PR

16 year-old Austin Herzog of Clovis, Calif. steered the #11 to victory on Saturday night at Madera Speedway for his first career Madera Pro Late Model Series win at his family’s home race track.  The third-generation racer added to a resume that includes six Jr. Late Model Series wins at the one-third mile venue.
 
Herzog previously was the runner-up in the 2018 championship standings with three fast-times and five top-fives in the nine race series.  Saturday’s event also marked nearly the 40th appearance for the young racer in a televised race dating back to 2016.
 
He qualified third quickest and then started third out of the 21 starters after the redraw.  A long 27 lap green flag run opened the 80 lap main event with Herzog closely following the leaders in a nose-to-tail formation.
 
Herzog advanced into second by lap 31 and began his long assault on race leader Carlos Vieira from the inside.  The duo raced side-by-side through a pair of additional restarts and continued to battle until the race went into its break.
 
Coming out of the break on lap 46 for adjustments, Herzog, Vieira, and defending track champion Matt Erickson raced in three-wide formation on several occasions.  Herzog continued to pounce from the inside and took over the top spot on lap 69.
 
He built up a solid advantage on the pack that was nullified by a caution period.  The ensuing restart saw contact nearly send Herzog spinning coming out of turn four, but he managed to back down the car without hitting the wall.  A caution for an incident behind him nullified the contact and allowed him to keep the lead.
 
The final restart sealed the deal when Herzog drove away to a 1.849 second lead in just five laps of competition to earn his first Madera Pro Late Model win.  He ended the night with a smoky burnout to the appreciation of the crowd.
 
Austin Herzog Motorsports is competing for the 2019 Pro Late Model championship on MAVTV from Madera Speedway.  Their next event is April 27th.  The team also intends to compete in select Super Late Model and SRL Southwest Tour races.  Austin would like to thank his sponsors Sanger Concrete, Richard Herzog Construction, Wilson Motorsports, Stark Naked Designs, Superior Doors, and VanDoorn Racing for their support.
 
For more information, check out Austin Herzog Motorsports at www.AustinHerzogMotorsports.com Austin Herzog Motorsports can also be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Austin Herzog Motorsports PR

Phoenix, Arizona sprint car racing veteran Matt Stewart will be returning to his native Southern California to contest the USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series “Sokola Shootout” this Saturday night, April 13th, at Perris Auto Speedway. Stewart will be teaming with Randy Waitman Motorsports for the race at the track that is about one hour east of Los Angeles and one hour north of San Diego.

For Stewart, a 31-year-old pilot, the race will be his first of the 2019 campaign. He originally planned to start his season in March in the C&H Hunt Magneto’s Sprint Car Series.  However, the series has had multiple races canceled due to rain

Saturday’s race marks a return to the track where the second-generation driver grew up watching the races. The famous Riverside County clay oval, which is celebrating its 24th consecutive season of racing, is where Stewart also cut his teeth racing sprint cars and where he has competed the most behind the wheel of the 900-horsepower machines.

In 2018, Stewart, a past recipient of the American Motorcycle Associations “Promoter of the Year Award” for his Supermoto programs, had one of his busiest seasons behind the wheel of a sprint car. In addition to driving for John Bellegante in the USAC/CRA Series, Stewart also drove the Intents Racing #33 in Northern California. He notched a win in that car at the Stockton Dirt Oval on the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds. He then astounded fans and competition alike when he drove the same carbureted car to a fifth-place finish against a full field of fuel injected cars in a USAC West Coast Series “Battle at the Beach” race at the Ventura Raceway.

Saturday’s race will be the first for Stewart behind the wheel of the bright red, white and blue Waitman Motorsports #90. Based in the sleepy San Diego County town of Ramona, the Waitman sprint car is a familiar sight for race fans at Perris. Affable owner Randy Waitman has contested not only USAC/CRA races there, but he has also competed in World of Outlaws events when that National tour makes its annual appearance. The fan-friendly racer is not only known for his racing exploits, but also for giving fans a racing experience in his sprint car simulators. Waitman will also be driving, making Stewart a second team entry for this Saturday’s event.

The cars Waitman and Stewart will be driving for Waitman Motorsports feature Maxim Chassis’ and are powered by 410 cubic inch engines. They are sponsored by USA Simulators and RAE Automotive. Companies or individuals who are interested in marketing opportunities with the team can contact the team at 760-212-6969 or E-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Fans can also follow the team on Facebook and Instagram @Randy Waitman Motorsports & WWW.RWMS.NET.

Fans who wish to see the RWMS team in action this Saturday night can find Perris Auto Speedway at 18700 Lake Perris Drive in the City of Perris (92571). The track website is perrisautospeedway.com and the track phone number is (951) 940-0134.

RWMS PR

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