Racing News (11781)
Racing News from around the World
The first race night of the inaugural DIRTcar Sunshine Nationals was jam-packed with the Late Model racing everyone had been craving since the 2019 regular season wound down just a few months ago.
Twenty-four 602 Late Models, 16 Florida Late Models and 41 Pro Late Models lined the Volusia Speedway Park pit areas on Thursday night for their first look of the year at the track under racing conditions. The three Features capped off what was a very entertaining night of racing at The World’s Fastest Half Mile, in which Kyle Bronson came out on top of the DIRTcar Pro Late Models, Cody Overton won the 602 Late Model Feature and David Showers Jr. was victorious in the final event of the evening, the Florida Late Model Feature.
DIRTcar PRO LATE MODELS – KYLE BRONSON
It seems as though it pays to be an ace of the Super Late Model ranks when jumping into a Pro Late Model at Volusia. Brandon, FL-native Kyle Bronson put on a dominant display of speed and car control over 25 laps as he beat out fellow Super Late Model big names Randy Weaver and Max Blair en route to his $1,500 victory.
Leading every lap, Killer put on a show out front as he grabbed the top spot on lap one and never looked back to collect the win, holding off a deep field of talent in the process.
“We’ve got a really great car, and I feel like as long as we keep the fenders on our car, we’ll have a chance to win these next couple,” Bronson said. “I’ve just got to do my job, and the car’s pretty damn good.”
The race was spotted with cautions, which meant Bronson was forced to deal with the pressure restacking behind him for each restart. But he handled those perfectly; it was a close call on lap nine that gave him his biggest challenge.
Middleburg, FL-driver Mark Whitener had a good run going to Bronson’s inside as they dove into Turn 1. The two ended up making slight contact, which sent Whitener around right in front of the oncoming field of cars. Somehow, everyone avoided him, and Whitener rejoined the field at the tail under the ensuing caution flag. Bronson escaped unharmed and went on to win the race, while Whitener made up a ton of ground in the final 16 laps to come back and finish eighth and pick up the Hard Charger honors.
“[Whitener] said he was going to go in and try to slide me there, but I was already turned down the racetrack and he hit me in the left-rear and turned himself around, I guess,” Bronson said. “We always race hard and rub a little bit, unfortunately. But that’s the way racing goes.”
Despite redrawing fifth, Randy Weaver found himself with a little bit of work to do in the early going of the 25-lap Feature, as he slipped back on the opening circuit and crossed the line in ninth on lap two. But with some patience and a great car, he and his newly wrapped #116 made it all the way back up front to collect the runner-up spot.
He’s traveled a long way from Titusville, PA, and there was no way Max Blair was leaving Volusia without at least one podium finish this weekend. He didn’t have to wait long, as he kept his car solidly inside the top 5 through all 25 laps to complete the podium.
Winner of the race run prior to the Pro Late Models Feature, Evans, GA-native Cody Overton, was looking to climb from the back to the front over 25 laps to put the cherry atop his Thursday night. Unfortunately, his night ended on the hook, as he was on the receiving end of a nasty pile-up wreck on the initial start that forced him to retire without a single lap completed.
602 LATE MODELS - CODY OVERTON
Overton did, however, take home a nice check in the first Feature of the evening for his efforts behind the wheel of his #97 602 Late Model – race he won by over three seconds ahead of runner-up Bud Chauncey and podium finisher Colton Leyendecker.
Using the low line to his advantage, Lil Sexy made a great move to the inside of Bud Chauncey on lap eight to take the lead, and the win, to kick off his 2020 season in Florida.
FLORIDA LATE MODELS – DAVID SHOWERS JR.
For most of the 20-lap Feature race, teenage pilot Bubba Whitener seemed to have had the Thursday night Feature locked up. Until he reached lap 13.
Trying to get around slower traffic on the high-side, Whitener came up on a car just before the flag stand and made heavy contact, sending the lapped car into the inside wall and severely damaging his own. Whitener went off on the hook, which handed the lead over to David Showers Jr., who took it and led the rest of the way for his first-ever Late Model victory.
The Sunshine Nationals action continues from Volusia on Friday night with round two of racing. Hot Laps begin at 5:15pm ET on DIRTVision!
DIRTcar Racing PR
Tulsa Expo Raceway - Tulsa, Okla.
Wednesday, January 16, 2020
John Christner Trucking Qualifying Night
Event Count: 273
Hard Charger: Spencer Bayston +9
Christopher Bell dominated John Christner Trucking Qualifying Night, winning his heat race, qualifier and feature to advance directly to Saturday’s A Main feature at the 34th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals at the Tulsa Expo Center. Thomas Meseraull finished second and Buddy Kofoid was third as Toyota drivers swept the podium.
Bell earned the fourth consecutive preliminary night feature for Toyota in capturing the Thursday night preliminary feature for the fifth straight year. It was his 56th national midget feature win, the most by any Toyota-powered driver.
Pole-sitter Shane Golobic took the early lead, with Meseraull in second and and Kofoid running fourth. On lap three, Meseraull would go high and then dive underneath Golobic to take over the top spot. Bell was on the move behind him, entering into the top-five and by lap eight, he had climbed to second.
Running the high side, the Norman, Oklahoma-native, would close on Meseraull and then take the lead on lap 12 and immediately start to distance himself, with Kofoid taking over third. With a long stretch of green flag racing, Bell began to encounter heavy lapped traffic in the final 10 laps of the 30-lap feature as the action heated up behind him. Kofoid was right on Meseraull’s tail for second and a pass directly to Saturday’s A Main, but passing both ‘T-Mez’ and the lapped traffic would prove to be difficult. At the finish line, it was Bell, Meseraull and Kofoid.
“It was a heck of a race,” said Bell. “The first five laps everybody was running up there together. It was nice to get a green flag run in. We definitely learned a lot tonight. Hopefully, it will translate to Saturday. (Team owner) Chad Boat and I have become really great friends. It’s been a lot of fun to watch the transition at Tucker-Boat. I’m very proud of them. It’s been an outstanding week so far and hopefully we can keep the ball rolling.”
While falling just short of the transfer position, Kofoid certainly made his presence felt in his first Chili Bowl qualifying night.
“I felt like I was closing on Thomas, but the lapped traffic was so thick,” said the 18-year-old Californian. “It was just so crazy when the lapped cars were racing each other side-by-side as well. For my first Chili Bowl, a third-place tonight is pretty cool. It’s not a lock-in position, but we’re in a good spot for Saturday. I feel like I came a long way from my heat race and I’m feeling comfortable in the car. Toyota and Keith Kunz have given me a great opportunity. I’m excited for this year.”
Overall, seven Toyota drivers advanced to Thursday night’s A Main, with each finishing in the top-13. Behind the top three were Jason McDougal in eighth, Jerry Coons Jr. in ninth, Tanner Berryhill in 11th and Joe B. Miller in the 13th position. While Bell and Meseraull transfer to Saturday’s A Main, Kofoid and McDougal will begin in the B Main; and Coons, Berryhill, and Miller from the C.
This year’s Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals feature more than 350 entries – each fighting for one of the 24 openings in Saturday night’s “A Main” feature event. After four nights of competition, five Toyota drivers from four different teams have earned their way into Saturday’s final.
Qualifying concludes on Friday night with six more Toyota-powered drivers still to qualify.
The preparations necessary to transform the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center into the Pioneer Pole Buildings Motorsports Race Car & Trade Show 2020 were continuing in earnest through 8:00 PM Thursday evening. The 36th annual rendition of the event under the direction of Len Sammons Motorsports Productions opens to the public at 2:00 PM Friday, January 17 and continues Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 18-19.
“This year’s show is shaping up to be one of the best,” said event organizer Sammons. “Move in day was very smooth and we expect big crowds for all three days with all that we have going on at the 2020 Show.”
Much of the work centered around the Orange County Fair Speedway Display, which will feature the track’s past, present, and future. The speedway celebrated the 100th anniversary of the running of its first automobile race this past August. A never-before-seen restoration of the Statewide Hi-Way Safety No. 3 Gremlin, built by Kenny Weld, driven by Jimmy Horton, owned by Halmar International’s Chris Larsen, and restored by Eric Mack is among the features in the display and of the entire Motorsports 2020 Show.
Another vintage car, this one owned and restored by Bruce Bowen, in the entrance lobby of the Motorsports Show, is a restoration of the No. 29 Weikert’s Livestock Sprint driven by Doug Wolfgang in 1987. The car is unique in that it ran the season with a 410 Steel Block motor. The car has been displayed by Bowen only once before.
“It has been a lot of work but I’m very happy with the way it turned out,” Bowen, who hand-lettered the car, said.
Two big displays near the main entrance of the show are certain to command attention. At the Pioneer Pole Buildings display, the Modifieds of Billy Pauch and Craig VonDohren as well as the 410 Sprint of Freddie Rahmer are to be seen while the Sunoco display has cars spanning the spectrum of motorsports including a stunning Funny Car and an equally attention-grabbing Sports Car Prototype.
A new livery for Matt Sheppard’s Modified can be seen at the American Racer Tire exhibit and Joe Toth’s Crate Sportsman, displayed at the Georgetown Speedway booth, is also a dramatic contrast from Toth’s previous cars.
An oddity in this year’s show features two of Mike Gular’s Modifieds, one in the Bicknell Race Cars display and a second in the Sunoco booth.
Once doors open Friday and throughout the three-day run of the show a series of valuable Seminars will be conducted on a wide range of topics of interest to car builders, track operators, and fans alike.
On Saturday, personal appearances by Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett will highlight the three-day event. Petty will sign autographs from 1:00 to 3:00 PM with Jarrett putting pen to paper from 4:00 to 6:00 PM.
At 7:00, the festivities will begin that culminate in the crowning of Ms. Motorsports 2020.
Sunday is Kid’s Day at PPB Motorsports 2020 with Little Ms. Motorsports and Tiny Ms. Motorsports competitions as well as Big Wheel Racing competitions.
For more information about the 2020 PPB Motorsports Race Car & Trade Show, visit motorsportstradeshow.com
NTT INDYCAR Series driver Santino Ferrucci turned in a strong debut in the prestigious Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma while fellow drivers Conor Daly and James Davison are on deck.
Ferrucci drove from 11th to fifth in Wednesday night's C-Main race at Tulsa Expo Raceway, just missing advancement to the next round in the preliminary night won by Rico Abreu. The fifth-place finish was quite impressive for the versatile Ferrucci, who was competing in a midget race for the first time in his life.
"I thought I did really well," said Ferrucci, coming off a successful 2019 rookie campaign with Dale Coyne Racing. "Before my heat I only had 10 (practice) laps, so obviously I knew I was going to struggle at times. But my heat was pretty stacked, so I don't feel so bad."
Davison, a five-time Indianapolis 500 starter from Melbourne, Australia with plans to compete in the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 in 2020, is set to compete in Thursday's preliminary round, Daly will race Friday night.
Daly, who will be handling the road/street course NTT INDYCAR Series schedule for Ed Carpenter Racing's No. 20 entry as well as a third team entry in the Indianapolis 500, will be making his second Chili Bowl appearance. He made his debut last year.
Davison only has turned a handful of laps in practice and, like Ferrucci, has minimal dirt-track experience. But Daly had a tip for both.
"I just started to get the hang of it by the end of the main event that I was in," Daly said of last year's event.
The three NTT INDYCAR Series drivers will be part of Saturday's final rounds, although their starting positions are still to be determined. There are 360 drivers competing in this 34th edition of the Chili Bowl, representing 40 states and six countries. Among them are seven former Chili Bowl champions, plus NASCAR Cup standouts Ryan Newman, Kyle Larson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Christopher Bell and Alex Bowman. Larson was Tuesday's overall winner, while Bell is the three-time defending champion of the event.
Ferrucci, Daly and Davison are driving with help from David Byrd, whose inspiration for supporting talented open-wheel drivers comes from his father, Jonathan, who helped Rich Vogler and Stan Fox compete in Indianapolis 500s. David Byrd also helped Bryan Clauson compete in the 500 in 2015 and '16.
Weeknight action of the Chili Bowl can be viewed online by pay-per-view at racinboys.com. Saturday's final feature races will air on the MAVTV Motorsports Network. Results can be found at chilibowl.com.
NTT IndyCar PR
The 2019 Offshore Powerboat Association Class 6 World Championship winning boat will be on display at the Pioneer Pole Buildings Motorsports 2020 Racecar and Trade Show at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA this weekend, January 17-19.
Coming off their championship earned in Englewood Beach, Florida, this past November the team will return to the show after a few years sabbatical. "We had a couple of years where we had major repairs to the boat that prevented us from coming to the show," said driver Pete Smith. "This year, we are in great shape, with no major repairs, only our routine off season maintenance which we will start right after the show. It is great to be coming back, we have been to the show since the early days in Valley Forge as exhibitors and as attendees. It is a great way to kick off the 2020 season."
For more information about the team check out their Facebook page Smith Brothers Offshore Racing Team and their web site www.smithbrothersoffshoreracing.com
In addition to Powerboat Racing adding to the diversification of the show there will be the opportunity for show attendees to test their talents in go karts. Arnold’s Family Fun Center will give them the opportunity to drive an electric kart right there at the Expo Center in the C Hall. This is a chance to see if you just might have the talent to be a race car driver. The cost is just $10 and there is two seaters so the youngsters can be included in the fun with an adult.
NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett along with legendary NASCAR driver Kyle Petty will be appearing on Saturday during the show. Both Jarrett and Petty are part of the NASCAR Sports TV broadcast team. A large number of other well-known names in the sport will also be making appearances.
Middletown, New York’s Orange County Speedway 100th Anniversary display continues to grow becoming a major part of the popular show.
One of the most popular events during the three day show has been, and will again be, the Ms. Motorsports Pageant sponsored by Aqua Duck Water Transport. One contestant will walk off with a $1,500 cash prize along with a poster deal. Best in swimwear, chosen by the crowd, will also receive $500. Entry blanks for this event as well as Little Miss Motorsports are available at the event website, motorsportstradeshow.com.
Many racing facilities and sanctioning bodies will be represented, using the show to announce their 2020 racing plans and schedules. Tracks already registered include Pocono, Dover, Lincoln, New Egypt, BAPS, Bridgeport, Mahoning Valley, Georgetown and Kutztown. Organizations include DIRTcar, Short Track Super Series, USAC East, URC, MASS, ATQMRA, Xcel and Slingshots by Tobias.
Hotel rooms are available at the nearby Valley Forge Casino Resort at the special show rate of $91 per night. Call 610.354.8118 and be sure to ask for the Motorsports Show Room Block in the Valley Tower.
PPB Motorsports 2020 opens on Friday, January 17 at 2 p.m., then at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The show closes at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
On Sunday, all children 12 and under are admitted FREE with a parent. A Little Miss pageant will be held as well as Big Wheel races.
Tickets are available daily at the door beginning one hour before the show opens. And the Expo Center offers a large number of FREE parking spaces. To stay informed on the latest show news to obtain booth information or enter one of the competitions, check in at www.motorsportstradeshow.com or call 609-888-3618.
Venturini Motorsports (VMS) officials announced today that ARCA Menards Series (ARCA) standout, Corey Heim, has joined the storied team for a partial schedule throughout the 2020 season. Heim, will pilot the teams Toyota Camry’s in seven starts, covering all three of the ARCA Menards Series; National, East and West.
“I am really looking forward to getting into one of Venturini Motorsports Toyotas and hitting the track this season,” commented Heim. “Last year was a step in the right direction for me and I think with everything I learned and Venturini’s amazing track record in ARCA, we will be a threat each and every week we show up. It’s going to be a lot of fun running in all three ARCA Series and I’m looking forward to racing on short tracks, dirt tracks and road-courses.”
Hailing from Marietta, GA, Heim surprised most after making his first ever ARCA start in 2019, where he started fourth and finished fifth at Five Flags Speedway. Continuing to run a partial campaign throughout the season, Heim tallied up 11 more top-10 finishes and seven top-five finishes, leading 15-laps in only 12 additional races. All of this was coupled with Heim running Late Model Stock and Super Late Models throughout the Southeast, where he continued to rack up top-five finishes.
“In continuing with our goal to make our driver development program as strong as possible, I am excited to welcome Corey Heim as the newest addition. He was a tough competitor on-track last season and I am glad to have him as part of our program so we don’t have to race against him this year,” commented Billy Venturini. “Heim has proven himself to be a threat each week and will only help us continue to expand our ARCA East and West Series programs.”
The now 17-year old, Heim will comprise his 2020 racing schedule of the short tracks, dirt tracks and road-courses that make up one of the most diverse stockcar tours in North America. Kicking off the year, Heim will see ARCA East action at the famed New Smyrna Speedway, before heading to Five Flags Speedway as the Series second stop. He will make one more East start at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, along with two West Series starts at Sonoma Raceway and Phoenix International Raceway. Rounding out his busy schedule will be two ARCA starts at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds and Kansas Speedway.
Venturini Motorsports will make a formal announcement regarding sponsor, car number and crew chief for Heim at a later date.
After winning the EuroNASCAR 2 title and the Club Challenge in 2019, DF1 Racing is aiming straight at the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series crown in 2020 with the addition of Euro NASCAR’s only three-time champion Ander Vilarino.
The 40-year-old Spaniard will pilot the #22 Chevrolet Camaro and wear for the first time DF1 Racing’s iconic bright-colored tiger on his suit. Vilarino visited the team’s headquarters in Salzburg, Austria and signed a contract for the 2020 season with an option for 2021.
“I am really happy and thankful for the trust Norbert and Gudrun (DF1 Racing team owner) have in me. I’ll do everything I can to bring good results and contribute to put the best car on the grid. I also look forward to working together with the other DF1 Racing EuroNASCAR PRO drivers and support the EuroNASCAR 2 and Club drivers,” said the Hondarribia native, who boasts 22 wins in the top NWES championship, including two at his home track of Valencia in 2019. “Everybody at DF1 Racing is really motivated to win the title and this motivation is not only contagious, it also perfectly matches mine. They are professional but also a family-run team and that is something I love. I believe we can do really good things together.”
DF1 Racing’s motorsport boss Norbert Walchhofer made it clear that Vilarino’s arrival is the perfect move for the team to take the next step and have the chance to become only the fourth organization to win the European NASCAR championship.
"There is no team that wouldn't be happy if the three-time NWES champion signs a contract with them. Ander visited our workshop for two days to take a look at the base and the work that has been done here. He signed the contract for the 2020 season right afterwards, with an option to keep working together in 2021,” said the Austrian. “Ander is a top driver and together we have the chance to win the EuroNASCAR title. With his NWES experience, he will bring the team forward and also help the young drivers. We will give our best to help Ander win his fourth NWES title."
With a stronger-than-ever competition highlighting the EuroNASCAR PRO Championship in 2019 – seven different drivers visited Victory Lane in 13 races – Vilarino’s strategy for 2020 is pretty straightforward: go out to be the best in every lap of every session.
“We are all super motivated and this year we are going to give everything we have race by race, session by session and lap after lap. We want to be the fastest and finish every race in the best possible position,” concluded the Spaniard. “Every season is different and all the teams and drivers want to win and this is also a reason why reaching this agreement this soon in the winter is very important. It gives us the right time to prepare for the season and be at our best on the grid in Valencia.”
The Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain will host the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season opener for the seventh time on April 25-26. With 100 days to go, Ander Vilarino and the DF1 Racing team are already at work to be ready for the battle.
Tulsa Expo Raceway - Tulsa, Okla.
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Hard Rock Casino Tulsa Qualifying Night
Event Count: 200
Hard Charger: Tyler Thomas +12
Volusia Speedway Park is alive with the sound of Dirt Late Model racing as the inaugural DIRTcar Sunshine Nationals kicked off on Wednesday night with the track’s first event of 2020.
Full races for three divisions of Dirt Late Models run Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, and some of the biggest names in Florida racing took to the World’s Fastest Half Mile on Wednesday for a final tuneup before the money is on the line.
When the Hot Laps wrapped up, Brandon, FL-racer Kyle Bronson topped the leaderboard with a lap of 16.850 seconds behind the wheel of his Rocket Chassis DIRTcar Pro Late Model.
“This car has been pretty good every time we race it,” Bronson said. “The track held up pretty good … I was one of the fastest cars out every time we went onto the racetrack, so I can’t ask for much more than that.”
Plenty of big names have made the trip out to Volusia to take part in the event, including Crossville, TN’s Randy Weaver; Titusville, PA’s Max Blair, Jupiter, FL’s Clay Harris and Evans, GA’s Cody Overton. These, and several other Victory Lane contenders have just as good of a shot at the $10,000 top prize in Saturday’s 30-lap Feature for the DIRTcar Pro Late Models. There are already 44 cars in the pits with the laps that matter starting Thursday.
“There are a lot of good cars here this weekend,” Bronson said. “There are 15 guys that can win this race… My car’s good enough to where I feel like if we go out here and I do the best job I can do, I feel like we have as good or a better shot to win this deal.”
The first of three complete shows in the inaugural DIRTcar Sunshine Nationals begins Thursday evening at Volusia with Hot Laps hitting the track for the 602 Late Model division at 5:15 p.m. They’ll be joined by the Florida Late Models and Pro Late Models to make up three full Features on each night.
Adult general admission tickets are $20 Thursday and Friday, $25 on Saturday. Kids 12 and under are free all weekend.
If you can’t get to the track, catch all the action live from your home with a DIRTVision Fast Pass, only $39 a month!
DIRTcar Racing PR
Rico Abreu passed Brad Sweet for the lead on lap 15 and never relinquished it on the way to winning the Hard Rock Casino Qualifying Night to advance directly to Saturday’s A Main feature at the 34th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals at the Tulsa Expo Center.
The victory is the fifth preliminary night win for Abreu in the last six years as he pursues his third Chili Bowl title after previously winning in 2015 and 2016. He becomes the third consecutive Toyota-powered driver to win his qualifying night this week and the seventh in the last eight races over the past two events.
Starting from the outside of the front row, Abreu fell in behind fellow Toyota driver Sweet in the early going. By lap 13, Abreu had closed on Sweet and the two traded the lead multiple times over the next two two laps before Abreu was eventually able to overtake him for the lead.
As Abreu moved out to a comfortable margin, the action heated up behind him throughout much of the second half of the race with five cars all battling for the second position. Colby Copeland was able to get past Sweet for second and with a handful of laps remaining, Blake Hahn and Sweet got together as Hahn made a move for the third position and Hahn would come out on top, with Sweet’s night coming to an early.
At the checkered flag, it was Abreu leading Copeland, with Hahn making it two Toyotas in the top three. Chase Johnson was fourth, Tyler Thomas placed sixth, David Gravel was seventh and Gio Scelzi made it seven Toyotas in the top-10 with a tenth-place showing.
“These Keith Kunz Motorsports cars really come in during the last 10 laps,” said Abreu. “That’s when races are won. Once we caught traffic, that’s where our advantage was. Then after I was able to get past Brad, we just tried some different lines towards the end. I moved back down and that’s where the line was for us. This win is for Keith Kunz, Pete Willoughby, Toyota and Safelite. This track suits my driving style and I’m in such great race cars. I’m really thankful every time I come here.”
Nine of the ten Toyota-powered cars racing on Wednesday advanced to the A Main as Tom Harris (13th), Sweet (19th) and Karsyn Elledge (22nd) rounded out the Toyota contingent.
This year’s Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals feature more than 350 entries – each fighting for one of the 24 openings in Saturday night’s “A Main” feature event. After three nights of competition, four Toyota drivers from three different teams have earned their way into Saturday’s final.
Qualifying continues for each of the next two nights with ten more Toyota-powered drivers, including three-time Chili Bowl champion Christopher Bell, expected to attempt to qualify on Thursday.