Saturday, Jan 29
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) begins its inaugural season in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series with Dodge//SRT and Mopar powering its two-car lineup for Top Fuel driver Leah Pruett and Funny Car pilot Matt Hagan.

In addition to being the manufacturer for TSR, Dodge//SRT and Mopar will be the anchor partners for Pruett and Hagan. Their nitro-fueled machines will have primary branding from Dodge Power Brokers and Direct Connection.

The Dodge Power Brokers dealership program is the exclusive source for all new Direct Connection performance parts, including tuner, stage and performance kits for the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and race-ready kits for the Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak. Dodge Power Brokers dealership staff will be trained to deliver a performance-focused customer service experience.

“The Dodge brand has a long history of competing in and supporting motorsports,” said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge Brand Chief Executive Officer – Stellantis. “For nearly a decade, NHRA drag racing has been our primary motorsports focus, helping deliver products like the Dodge Demon, 1320 and Super Stock; cars that resonate with the Brotherhood of Muscle. These vehicles will hold a place in muscle-car history for years to come. The Dodge brand embodies the philosophy of the ‘last tenth,’ and we are not done pushing the performance envelope. So, we are extremely excited to partner with Tony Stewart and his drag racing team to help take Dodge to the next level. Tony is a racing legend with an attitude, personality and competitive drive that aligns perfectly with our goals.”

TSR’s roots are in sprint car racing, with Mopar powering its multiple entries in USAC and the World of Outlaws from 2001 through 2007. Seven of TSR’s 27 open-wheel championships were won with Mopar.

“I’m really pleased to have Dodge//SRT and Mopar as partners with our new NHRA venture as manufacturer and sponsor for our two entries in Top Fuel and Funny Car with Leah and Matt,” said Tony Stewart, TSR team owner and multi-time racing champion. “It shows confidence in your program when an OEM wants to be on your team and for you to help support their program as well. They have obviously had a great relationship with both drivers for the last few years and to be able to continue that association is key to this team’s success and a huge benefit to the continuity for everyone involved. Having that kind of history definitely helps flatten the learning curve while raising expectations for our inaugural NHRA season. It’ll be nice to work with Dodge and Mopar again after sharing success together in USAC and the World of Outlaws nearly two decades ago. We are certainly setting the bar high and look forward to being competitive from the start.”

Dodge//SRT and Mopar have supported Hagan since his rookie season in 2009. Pruett first joined forces with Dodge//SRT and Mopar in 2016.

“I’m so grateful to have represented and shared so many successes with Dodge//SRT and Mopar for most of my career and to say I’m excited to continue our relationship in this next chapter with Tony Stewart Racing is an understatement,” Hagan said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead and introducing our passionate fans to a new-look livery featuring Dodge Power Brokers and Direct Connection.

“My family has been a Dodge dealer since 1979 and we’re really proud of that. We’re ready to celebrate Mopar’s 85th anniversary this year as we battle for a championship with a few wins along the way.”

Hagan is a three-time Funny Car champion (2011, 2014 and 2020) who finished runner-up in the 2021 title chase. The 38-year-old from Christiansburg, Virginia, has 39 Funny Car event wins. His career-best elapsed time run is 3.799 seconds (Sept. 1, 2017 in Q1 at Indianapolis) and his best speed is 338.85 mph (May 20, 2017 in Q2 at Topeka, Kansas).

Pruett is a nine-time Top Fuel event winner whose career-best elapsed time run is 3.631 seconds (Nov. 10, 2018 in Q4 at Pomona, California) and her best speed is 334.15 mph (Feb. 24, 2018 in Q3 at Phoenix). The 2022 season will mark her 26th consecutive year of NHRA competition, which began in the series’ Jr. Drag Racing League as an 8-year-old. She won the 2010 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series championship in the Nostalgia Funny Car class and has spent the last eight years advancing her way through Top Fuel. However, the native of Redlands, California, has not confined herself to the NHRA’s top class. Pruett has pulled double duty for a number of years by also competing fulltime in the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown, winning the 2018 title in her Dodge Challenger Drag Pak.

“It was very important to me to continue the close relationship I’ve had with Dodge//SRT and Mopar in this new journey with Tony Stewart Racing,” Pruett said. “I’m appreciative of the support that Dodge and Mopar, and all their fans, have shown me these past few years, and I’m proud to fly their colors as we move forward together and work to bring home wins and a championship in 2022.

“Having Direct Connection branding on my dragster this season is really exciting because it has such a rich history of success at the drag strip with racers like Don Garlits. It’s amazing to help continue to build on that legacy and introduce it to a new generation of Dodge enthusiasts.”

In addition to carrying on the legacy of drag racing innovator and multi-time champion Garlits, representing Direct Connection has personal meaning to Pruett.

“While Dodge//SRT was developing the new Drag Pak, we were also testing and developing some of the stage kits,” Pruett said. “It seemed almost unbelievable that an OEM would make available various stage kits capable of adding so much additional power, all while maintaining the car’s warranty. To be on the presenting side of a massive program that I contributed to while watching it progress in pure secrecy makes me incredibly proud to run Direct Connection and Power Brokers on my Top Fuel dragster.”

TSR will make its NHRA debut during the 2022 season opener Feb. 17-20 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Those interested in partnering with TSR for its inaugural NHRA season can contact the team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

TSR PR

Sam Hunt Racing (SHR) announced today that Jeffrey Earnhardt will pilot the No. 26 Toyota GR Supra for multiple races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) in 2022. ForeverLawn, a major benefactor in his career, will join forces with Sam Hunt Racing for Earnhardt’s campaign.
 
Earnhardt, a 32-year-old NXS veteran, is looking forward to re-joining the Toyota Racing family with Sam Hunt Racing. He has 131 previous starts in the NXS, racking up one top-5 and three top-10 finishes. Earnhardt has 217 overall NASCAR National Touring Series starts across Cup, NXS and Trucks. Additionally, he has experience in NASCAR’s Pinty’s and Euro Series, ARCA Menards East Series, as well as Rolex GrandAm Sports Car Series.
 
“Having Jeffrey join Sam Hunt Racing is really exciting for our entire team and the Toyota Racing family,” said Sam Hunt, the 28-year-old team owner. “Jeffrey is a great guy, and he’s someone I’ve always admired for how he carries himself on and off the track. He’s a great person, and his sponsors at ForeverLawn match a lot of what SHR stands for. It’s going to be a fun season with him and the ForeverLawn team, and we’re excited to get to work.”
 
Sam Hunt Racing began its journey in the NXS in late 2019 by making its first start in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The SHR team shocked the industry with its speed after qualifying 15th in its first attempt. The 2020 NXS season was a part-time effort for the team as it began to expand and grow. In 2021, SHR hosted eight drivers of various skill-level in its first full-time season, racking up one Top-5, two Top-10, and nine top-15 finishes.
 
“I’m really excited to be back in the Toyota camp. My past experience with them was incredible, and they do a great job supporting their drivers,” said Earnhardt. “Sam and I formed a nice friendship over the years, and I’m impressed with what he’s achieved in a short amount of time. I feel like we share the same work ethic, and both of us are working hard to achieve our dreams. Having ForeverLawn in our corner is truly a gift. They have become my family, and our relationship extends well beyond racing. We have three like-minded parties working together towards a common goal. It’s going to be an exciting year.”
 
SHR welcomes ForeverLawn, a landscape company that specializes in improving spaces and communities through innovative synthetic grass solutions. Sam Hunt Racing is excited to have ForeverLawn in the family.
 
“We’re excited to continue supporting Jeffrey in this partnership with Sam Hunt Racing,” says Dale Karmie, co-founder of ForeverLawn. “Sam Hunt Racing is an up and coming team with quality people and equipment with an impressive record of success. We’re excited by the opportunity these races provide for us to deepen our relationship with this high caliber team.”
 
All of Earnhardt’s races will be announced at a later date.
 
SHR PR

Two-time ARCA Menards Series winner Gus Dean (@gusdean) is returning to the ARCA Menards Series in 2022 and will join the potent Venturini Motorsports in a minimum three-race deal beginning with the season-opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Feb. 19, 2022.

A competitor in the ARCA Menards Series since 2016, the Bluffton, S.C.-native returns to the “World Center of Racing” for a sixth time focused on delivering Venturini Motorsports their fifth consecutive ARCA triumph at the 2.5-mile superspeedway aboard the No. 55 Toyota Camry.

Dean scored his first career ARCA Menards Series victory in just his second start at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in 2016 but has been cursed at Daytona over a period of five previous races and is hopeful that the opportunity to “Fly the V” will prove to be the cure and deliver his third career ARCA victory.

“I am very excited about this opportunity to join Venturini Motorsports at Daytona,” said Dean. “Ever since I’ve been competing at ARCA, Venturini Motorsports has proven to be a dominant fixture in the series, especially on the superspeedways.

“To have the chance to pilot one of their Toyota Camrys, work closely with their dedicated and experienced crew and be surrounded by great teammates is sure to bring all the emotions of when I first joined the ARCA Menards Series. I’m just thankful to be a part of the team’s superspeedway lineup this season and look forward to putting myself in contention for the victory.”

Venturini Motorsports’ Billy Venturini has been wanting to add Dean to his driver roster for years and is thankful that the opportunity presented itself for the 2022 season.

“It’s great to have Gus with us,” said Venturini. “We’ve been racing with him as a competitor for years and it’s great to finally have him under our banner this year. With his experience and Venturini Motorsports' success at superspeedways, we believe have a wonderful chance at getting to Victory Lane!”

Added Dean, “While we have been fierce competitors on the track, I have always had the utmost respect for Billy, Mr. Bill Venturini and the entire Venturini Motorsports team. Not having the chance right now to race in a premier series on a weekly basis, I have to make the most of any opportunity and being a part of Venturini Motorsports provides me a shot to not only have fun but hopefully that opportunity to experience the bliss and emotions of celebrating in Victory Lane again.”

In addition to Daytona, Dean will return to ARCA competition with Venturini Motorsports at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in April and at Michigan International Speedway in August.

The 27-year-old South Carolinian is poised to have a busy 2022 season between ARCA, Late Models, Mud Truck Racing and a hopeful sporadic appearance or two in one of NASCAR’s National Series.

“With no championship on the line for me this season, it’s about having fun,” sounded Dean. “Whether that’s competing with Venturini Motorsports in ARCA, DLP Motorsports in Late Model competition, or the other racing endeavors we have planned for this season. Of course, the urge to still compete full-time is there, but it takes marketing partners and a lot of financial commitment to make it happen.

“Until we can hopefully put ourselves back into that position again, we’ll take the path that has been laid out before me and make the most of it. Venturini Motorsports is going for an unprecedented fifth straight ARCA victory at Daytona and I want to be that driver that gets it done for them!”

Before Dean buckles in at Daytona, he will have a busy week leading up to the 2022 ARCA season opener, as he’ll also be competing at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway in the highly contested World Series of Asphalt driving for DLP Motorsports.

Dean will kick off his new tenure with Venturini Motorsports by competing in the open ARCA Menards Series test at Daytona on January 14 – 15, 2022.

A sponsorship lineup for the Feb. 19 Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire for Dean will be announced later.

For more on Gus Dean, please visit GusDean.com, like him on Facebook (Gus Dean Racing) and follow him on Twitter (@GusDean).

Gus Dean PR

Lake View Motor Speedway owner Scott Tripp announced today increases to the purses in all divisions, a new points fund, and a huge 2022 schedule of racing. 

“There is a real concern with the state of the current economy (inflation) and our racers costs going up that we needed to step up,” said Tripp.  “Fuel to get to the track and tires to put on their race cars are two examples of rising prices beyond our control.  We’ve increased our purses and added the double points fund to help racers get a better return this year as the overall cost to race continues to go up.  A free pit pass for the winner after each race and a seasons free pit pass for the champion at the end of the year can really help out. It is our goal to help and grow dirt track racing in the Carolinas.”  

Late Models will race for no less than $2,000 to win in 2022, while the 602 Open Wheel Modifieds, Street Stocks, and SCDRA Sport Compacts will race for $600 to win each week.  Winners in each of the five weekly divisions, including the Stock V8s, will be rewarded with one free pit pass for the next event that the respective winning driver is entered in.  And, each of the five weekly divisions will compete to be Pop Hahn’s King Of The Carolinas with a points fund totaling $20,000. 

There will be two rounds to determine the overall King Of The Carolinas in each division consisting of championships for each half of the season.  The Round 1 Championship will be decided from March 19th until June $25th and will pay a total of $10,000 to the top five points finishers in each division.  Round 2 will be from August 6th to November 19th and will also pay $10,000 to the top five in points.  The best overall finisher in each class for the two championship will be crowned the King Of The Carolinas. 

Super Late Models will compete three times at Lake View in 2022, with two stops for the Ultimate SLMs and the Carolina Clash SLMs on May 28th.  The Blue Ridge Outlaw Late Models will be at Lake View four times, along with stops by the Mid-East Modifieds, GM Performance 602 Late Models, Carolina Outlaw Super Streets, Carolina Sprint Tour, Mid-East Late Models, and Punisher Super Streets. 

The SCDRA Sport Compacts will be at Lake View twice highlighted by the Beach Bash on April 23rd, which will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis on MAVTV’s Short Track America and pay $5,000 to win.  On September 2-3, the Labor Day Spectacular will see the Mid-East Street Stocks race for $5,000 to win and the Stock V8s competing for $3,000 to win. 

In addition, Lake View Motor Speedway will have new and improved lighting, a new parts supply shop selling tires, fuel, and parts, and the creation of a Powder Puff division for the ladies.  The majority of events will also again be streamed live on Racing America, the official streaming partner of Lake View Motor Speedway.   

The first event of the 2022 season at Lake View Motor Speedway will be the 2nd Annual South Of The Border Showdown featuring three nights of racing from February 3-5 for the DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds.  For more information, please “Like” Lake View Motor Speedway on Facebook, follow @LakeViewDirt on Twitter or by visiting lakeviewmotorspeedway.com

Lakeview Motor Speedway PR

Winning Thursday’s John Christer Trucking Qualifying Night, Christopher Bell used every line possible to work by Tanner Thorson in the final five laps. Tying Sammy Swindell for all-time preliminary night wins, Bell's win was his seventh in as many years to make it eighth victories since 2014.
 
Back in a car owned by Keith Kunz Motorsports, the win is No. 35 for Kunz at the Tulsa Expo Raceway.
 
“First off I’ve got to say, damn I love the Chili Bowl!” stated Bell from Victory Lane.
 
On his ability to run the car anywhere he wanted, Bell stated, “Man I don’t know, I feel like I’ve struggled on the wet tracks, and especially when they put their feature setup in. I just really struggle to get going the first couple of laps, but at the end, I feel good. I could roll the bottom nice, and it was good on the top too. For whatever reason, this package we’re running is making it good when the track really slicks off and the curb gets really big, but man, I had to work for that one.”
 
Getting to the lead over Shane Golobic on Lap 5, Tanner Thorson held point on the field until Lap 27. Pursued by Bell, who worked to second with 11 laps to run, traffic played into the race as the leaders hit the 20th revolution. Trading lines with Thorson, the iRacing No. 71w had a run working Lap 22 but would have to wait as the caution waved.
 
Going for the slide on the restart, Bell slammed the cushion, allowing Thorson to retake the lead. Challenged by C.J. Leary for a moment, Bell was able to regroup. Caution again working Lap 25, the field reverted back to Lap 24 as only the top four made it across the line before the caution was called for.
 
The top three to the hub of the Tulsa Expo Raceway on the restart, Thorson stayed low as Bell adjusted back to the cushion. Taking over the lead on Lap 27, the next three laps were anyone’s race to win as Thorson and Leary went after the No. 71w, but Bell would not be denied the win; crossing with only 0.380-seconds to spare.
 
Keeping the upper hand through the final two turns, Tanner Thorson locked into Saturday night with a runner-up finish. C.J. Leary settled for third. Rolling through a Dave.com B-Feature, Tim Buckwalter clawed his way through the field from 20th to finish fourth. Shane Golobic ended up fifth.
 
From 18th, Brady Bacon ended up sixth with Dillon Welch seventh. Matt Sherrell advanced six spots to finish eighth. Recovering from an early caution, Emerson Axsom crossed ninth with Don Droud, Jr. making up twelve spots to round out the top ten.
 
Thursday saw 78 of the 82 scheduled drivers draw in, bringing the week’s total to 299. With Friday to go, there will be a new attendance record. The World Wide Technology Raceway Flip Count made it to 36 with everyone able to walk away.
 
Preliminary Night action concludes with Friday’s Drive2Save Lives Qualifying Night. The SageNet Center opens at 9:00 A.M. and will require a ticket or Pit Pass to enter. Hot Laps are at 4:00 P.M. with racing at 5:00 P.M. General Admission Pit Passes are sold at the event and never sell out.
 
Live coverage can be found on http://www.floracing.com.
 
For continued updates on the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire, follow the event on Social Media (@cbnationals) and at http://www.chilibowl.com.
 
Results:
 
Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire
Tulsa Expo Raceway - Tulsa, Okla.
Thursday, January 13, 2022
John Christner Trucking Qualifying Night
 
Car Count: 78
Event Count: 299
 
OERB Heat Races: Top 40 in passing points advance to Qualifiers.
 
Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 2G-JJ Yeley[1]; 2. 2D-Matt Sherrell[3]; 3. 5K-Ben Worth[5]; 4. 60-Cody Gardner[2]; 5. 74-Drew Rader[7]; 6. 2S-Travis Scott[9]; 7. 78M-Merle Scherb[6]; 8. 10T-Brandon Thomas[8]; 9. (DNF) 71G-Damion Gardner[4]
 
Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 29-Tim Buckwalter[1]; 2. 19T-Tanner Thorson[9]; 3. 20G-Noah Gass[2]; 4. 75X-Alex Vande Voort[6]; 5. 79K-Larry Webster[5]; 6. 4Z-Nate Barger[8]; 7. 8G-Austin Shores[7]; 8. (DNF) 72X-Chris Tarrant[4]; 9. (DNF) 15W-Danny Burke[3]
 
Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 77-Stevie Sussex III[2]; 2. 60M-Earl McDoulett Jr[1]; 3. 7D-Michelle Decker[4]; 4. 4A-Dillon Silverman[8]; 5. 14M-Dylan Bloomfield[5]; 6. 23B-Brian Bell[7]; 7. (DNF) 14X-Chad Boespflug[9]; 8. (DNF) 715-Robert Bell[6]; 9. (DNF) 7JR-JD Black[3]
 
Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 17W-Shane Golobic[6]; 2. 4M-Brody Fuson[3]; 3. 3B-Zach Blurton[1]; 4. 68W-Shane Cottle[8]; 5. 7NZ-Travis Buckley[2]; 6. 3F-Tim Barber[4]; 7. 91-Jeff Stasa[5]; 8. 93-Kyle Bellm[7]; 9. (DNS) 18C-Ryan Moser
 
Heat 5 (8 Laps): 1. 71W-Christopher Bell[4]; 2. 57B-Daniel Robinson[2]; 3. 71R-Frankie Guerrini[3]; 4. 15D-Andrew Deal[5]; 5. 0T-Alex Schriever[8]; 6. 08B-Austin Barnhill[7]; 7. 0K-Don O'Keefe Jr[1]; 8. (DNF) 73X-Colby Johnson[9]; 9. (DNF) 17M-Jeremy Hill[6]
 
Heat 6 (8 Laps): 1. 51B-Joe B Miller[2]; 2. 81X-Dillon Welch[4]; 3. 39B-Emerson Axsom[7]; 4. 53R-Sean Robbins[1]; 5. 69-Cody Hays[5]; 6. 63H-Larry Petersen[6]; 7. 84J-Jesse Shapel[3]; 8. (DNF) 44C-Tristan Lee[8]; 9. (DNF) 2A-Rickie Gaunt[9]
 
Heat 7 (8 Laps): 1. 25B-Steve Buckwalter[3]; 2. 21H-Brady Bacon[5]; 3. 9-Mitchell Davis[7]; 4. 2E-Whit Gastineau[8]; 5. 8AJ-AJ Johnson[4]; 6. 35L-Carson McCarl[2]; 7. 31S-Ray Seach[6]; 8. (DNF) 20H-Noah Harris[1]
 
Heat 8 (8 Laps): 1. 86-Brent Crews[3]; 2. 1S-Spencer Bayston[4]; 3. 55V-CJ Leary[7]; 4. 71E-Mariah Ede[2]; 5. 10C-Dalton Camfield[6]; 6. 98B-Joe Boyles[5]; 7. 51J-AJ Hernandez[8]; 8. 21D-Justin Dickerson[1]
 
Heat 9 (8 Laps): 1. 22T-Don Droud Jr[1]; 2. 47X-Danny Stratton[5]; 3. 57-Maria Cofer[6]; 4. 17B-Ryan Bickett[3]; 5. 15X-Carson Garrett[7]; 6. 17E-Blake Edwards[2]; 7. 6C-Collin Rinehart[8]; 8. 17J-Frank Beck[4]
 
D-Features: Top 2 advance to corresponding C-Feature.
 
D Feature 1 (10 Laps): 1. 91-Jeff Stasa[1]; 2. 71G-Damion Gardner[8]; 3. 93-Kyle Bellm[3]; 4. 7JR-JD Black[9]; 5. 17J-Frank Beck[5]; 6. 21D-Justin Dickerson[7]; 7. 715-Robert Bell[4]; 8. (DNF) 73X-Colby Johnson[6]; 9. (DNF) 10T-Brandon Thomas[2]
 
D Feature 2 (10 Laps): 1. 20H-Noah Harris[6]; 2. 44C-Tristan Lee[2]; 3. 0K-Don O'Keefe Jr[3]; 4. 2A-Rickie Gaunt[5]; 5. 18C-Ryan Moser[9]; 6. 72X-Chris Tarrant[4]; 7. 84J-Jesse Shapel[1]; 8. 17M-Jeremy Hill[7]; 9. (DNF) 15W-Danny Burke[8]
 
C-Features: Top 4 advance to corresponding B-Feature.
 
C Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1. 14M-Dylan Bloomfield[2]; 2. 14X-Chad Boespflug[5]; 3. 53R-Sean Robbins[1]; 4. 71G-Damion Gardner[12]; 5. 15X-Carson Garrett[3]; 6. 3F-Tim Barber[8]; 7. 23B-Brian Bell[4]; 8. 78M-Merle Scherb[10]; 9. 17E-Blake Edwards[9]; 10. 51J-AJ Hernandez[7]; 11. 91-Jeff Stasa[11]; 12. 63H-Larry Petersen[6]
 
C Feature 2 (12 Laps): 1. 8AJ-AJ Johnson[3]; 2. 8G-Austin Shores[9]; 3. 20H-Noah Harris[11]; 4. 44C-Tristan Lee[12]; 5. 08B-Austin Barnhill[4]; 6. 79K-Larry Webster[1]; 7. 6C-Collin Rinehart[7]; 8. 31S-Ray Seach[10]; 9. 35L-Carson McCarl[8]; 10. 69-Cody Hays[2]; 11. 7NZ-Travis Buckley[5]; 12. (DNF) 98B-Joe Boyles[6]
 
Team Toyota Qualifiers: Top 16 in combined passing points advance to the A-Feature.
 
Qualifier 1 (10 Laps): 1. 86-Brent Crews[5]; 2. 81X-Dillon Welch[3]; 3. 19T-Tanner Thorson[6]; 4. 2E-Whit Gastineau[1]; 5. 9-Mitchell Davis[4]; 6. 29-Tim Buckwalter[2]; 7. 57B-Daniel Robinson[7]; 8. 3B-Zach Blurton[9]; 9. 10C-Dalton Camfield[10]; 10. 0T-Alex Schriever[8]
 
Qualifier 2 (10 Laps): 1. 17W-Shane Golobic[6]; 2. 55V-CJ Leary[4]; 3. 2D-Matt Sherrell[1]; 4. 1S-Spencer Bayston[3]; 5. 71R-Frankie Guerrini[8]; 6. 21H-Brady Bacon[5]; 7. 22T-Don Droud Jr[2]; 8. 74-Drew Rader[9]; 9. 60M-Earl McDoulett Jr[7]; 10. 60-Cody Gardner[10]
 
Qualifier 3 (10 Laps): 1. 4M-Brody Fuson[1]; 2. 71W-Christopher Bell[6]; 3. 57-Maria Cofer[3]; 4. 47X-Danny Stratton[5]; 5. 77-Stevie Sussex III[4]; 6. 4A-Dillon Silverman[2]; 7. 71E-Mariah Ede[10]; 8. 2S-Travis Scott[9]; 9. (DNF) 7D-Michelle Decker[7]; 10. (DNF) 20G-Noah Gass[8]
 
Qualifier 4 (10 Laps): 1. 39B-Emerson Axsom[5]; 2. 68W-Shane Cottle[2]; 3. 15D-Andrew Deal[8]; 4. 51B-Joe B Miller[4]; 5. 2G-JJ Yeley[3]; 6. 5K-Ben Worth[1]; 7. 17B-Ryan Bickett[9]; 8. 75X-Alex Vande Voort[7]; 9. 4Z-Nate Barger[10]; 10. (DNF) 25B-Steve Buckwalter[6]
 
Dave.com B-Features: Top 4 advance to the A-Feature.
 
B Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 77-Stevie Sussex III[1]; 2. 71R-Frankie Guerrini[2]; 3. 71G-Damion Gardner[16]; 4. 25B-Steve Buckwalter[7]; 5. 57B-Daniel Robinson[5]; 6. 2G-JJ Yeley[3]; 7. 14X-Chad Boespflug[14]; 8. 20G-Noah Gass[12]; 9. 71E-Mariah Ede[6]; 10. 14M-Dylan Bloomfield[13]; 11. 4A-Dillon Silverman[4]; 12. 2S-Travis Scott[9]; 13. 75X-Alex Vande Voort[8]; 14. 53R-Sean Robbins[15]; 15. 4Z-Nate Barger[11]; 16. (DNF) 7D-Michelle Decker[10]
 
B Feature 2 (15 Laps): 1. 21H-Brady Bacon[2]; 2. 29-Tim Buckwalter[3]; 3. 22T-Don Droud Jr[5]; 4. 2E-Whit Gastineau[1]; 5. 3B-Zach Blurton[7]; 6. 17B-Ryan Bickett[6]; 7. 5K-Ben Worth[4]; 8. 0T-Alex Schriever[11]; 9. 60M-Earl McDoulett Jr[9]; 10. 8G-Austin Shores[14]; 11. 20H-Noah Harris[15]; 12. 44C-Tristan Lee[16]; 13. 10C-Dalton Camfield[10]; 14. 60-Cody Gardner[12]; 15. 8AJ-AJ Johnson[13]; 16. 74-Drew Rader[8]
 
A-Feature: Top 2 advance to Saturday's A-Feature.
 
A Feature (30 Laps): 1. 71W-Christopher Bell[4]; 2. 19T-Tanner Thorson[3]; 3. 55V-CJ Leary[6]; 4. 29-Tim Buckwalter[20]; 5. 17W-Shane Golobic[1]; 6. 21H-Brady Bacon[18]; 7. 81X-Dillon Welch[7]; 8. 2D-Matt Sherrell[14]; 9. 39B-Emerson Axsom[5]; 10. 22T-Don Droud Jr[22]; 11. 68W-Shane Cottle[11]; 12. 1S-Spencer Bayston[15]; 13. 25B-Steve Buckwalter[23]; 14. 51B-Joe B Miller[13]; 15. 9-Mitchell Davis[16]; 16. 71R-Frankie Guerrini[19]; 17. 47X-Danny Stratton[10]; 18. (DNF) 15D-Andrew Deal[9]; 19. (DNF) 71G-Damion Gardner[21]; 20. (DNF) 86-Brent Crews[2]; 21. (DNF) 77-Stevie Sussex III[17]; 22. (DNF) 4M-Brody Fuson[8]; 23. (DNF) 57-Maria Cofer[12]; 24. (DNF) 2E-Whit Gastineau[24]
 
Lap Leader(s): Shane Golobic 1-4; Tanner Thorson 5-26; Christopher Bell 27-30
Hard Charger: Tim Buckwalter +16
 
Chili Bowl PR

Christopher Bell passed Tanner Thorson with a slider through turn two to take the lead on lap 27 of 30 and then went on to win the John Christner Trucking Qualifying Night, Saturday’s A Main feature at the 36th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals. Toyota-powered drivers have now won all four A Main Qualifying Night events this week. 

The victory marked Bell’s seventh consecutive qualifying night feature win and his eighth in the last nine years. Bell is now tied with Sammy Swindell for the most career preliminary night feature wins. Overall, it’s Bell’s 58th career national midget feature win, the most by any Toyota-powered drivers.

Bell started the race on the outside of the second row and would slip back to fifth in the early going as Shane Golobic would lead the first four laps before Thorson overtook him for the top spot on lap five. 

Bell began to move up as the race neared the midway point, passing fellow Toyota driver Brent Crews for fourth on lap 14, then climbing to third on lap 16 over Golobic and up to second two laps later, overtaking C.J. Leary.

From that point on, he set his sights on Thorson and was able to close, but Thorson would eventually move up to the top to take away Bell’s line. He was able to make a big run at Thorson on a late restart but clipped the berm.

Bell stayed right on his tail, though, and with just four laps remaining, Bell would throw a slider low through turn two to take the lead. Thorson attempted to come back underneath, but Bell held him off as he would lead the final four laps to register the fourth straight win of the week for Keith Kunz Motorsports and Toyota.

Overall, six Toyota drivers advanced to Thursday’s A Main. Joining Bell were Dillon Welch, who placed seventh, Spencer Bayston in 12th, Joe B. Miller finished 14th, with Brent Crews in 20th and Brody Fuson coming home in 22nd. 

This year’s Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals features a record 395 entries - each fighting for one of the 24 openings in Saturday night’s “A Main” feature event.  Qualifying wraps up Friday night with 10 Toyota drivers scheduled to run. Through four nights, Toyota-powered drivers have captured five of the eight A Main berths awarded for finishing in the top two on their qualifying night.

Quotes:

Christopher Bell, Keith Kunz Motorsports: “Tanner was doing a good job on the restarts. I was trying to time it. I got going really good on the top midway through the race. Tanner moved up and took my line away, so I had to run the bottom. I felt like I could have passed him on the second from last restart, but then I caught the berm. It’s crazy to have won eight preliminary night features. Everyone knows how easy it is to have something happen and take you out of it. I’m very thankful I’ve been able to do it.”

Toyota Thursday Results

Finished

Christopher Bell 

A Main - 1st

Dillon Welch

A Main – 7th

Spencer Bayston

A Main – 12th

Joe B. Miller

A Main – 14th

Brent Crews

A Main – 20th

Brody Fuson

A Main – 22nd

Mariah Ede

B Main – 8th

Noah Harris

B Main – 11th

Austin Barnhill

C Main – 5th

Justin Dickerson

D Main – 6th

TRD PR

Todd Gordon, the former veteran crew chief and 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Champion, is joining the roster of hosts on SiriusXM’s exclusive 24/7 SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel and will co-host Late Shift every Monday night with Brad Gillie (7:00 – 10:00 pm ET) beginning January 17th.

“Since 2016 I have been a regular contributor on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio to talk about racing and share my perspective with fans across the country,” said Gordon. “I have really enjoyed the interactions with our fan base and look forward to connecting with even more listeners and bringing my insights to fans of racing each and every Monday night alongside Brad Gillie.”

Gordon retired at the end of the 2021 season following 10 seasons as a crew chief with Team Penske. Gordon spent the 2020 and 2021 seasons as the crew chief for Ryan Blaney after previously serving in the same role in the Cup Series for Team Penske’s Joey Logano, Sam Hornish Jr. and AJ Allmendiger. During his two-decade long career as a crew chief, Gordon helped produce 25 Cup Series wins, including a Daytona 500 victory in 2015, as well as a Cup Series championship in 2018 with Logano.

The SiriusXM NACAR Radio channel is available to subscribers nationwide in their cars (ch. 90) and on their connected devices via the SXM App. For more visit www.SiriusXM.com/NASCAR.

SXM PR

The Indoor Auto Racing Series TQ Midget one-two punch of Ryan Flores and Andy Jankowiak may have dominated the 2022 opener in Allentown, PA on January 8, but as the Series heads for Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ on January 28-29 for NAPA KNOW HOW weekend, they’ll have to contend with Erick Rudolph.

Rudolph, who was missing in action in Allentown, is a three time Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall Gamblers’ Classic winner (2012, 2015, 2017).  Each of Rudolph’s wins have come with the potent Mark Lafler-built and owned No. 22. 

“Looking forward to being there, and grateful to be Mark’s driver for all these years,” Rudolph said.

“It will good to be back in Atlantic City where Mark and I have always had good runs.”

Rudolph said the No. 22 car is essentially the same one he raced to his last Indoor Auto Racing Series win in Atlantic City, in 2017. The upstate New Yorker said he always enjoys racing in Boardwalk Hall and is looking forward to his return after a one year Covid-19 cancellation last year.

When Rudolph and Lafler first teamed for the Indoor Auto Racing Series, it was essentially another step forward together for the driver and owner.

“I was interested in the Indoor Series because I had raced Midgets before I got into Stock Cars, starting when I was 13 years old. Midgets were my transition from go-karts to Stock Cars. I had known Mark from back when I ran Midgets,” Rudolph shared.

“So when I started driving his TQ Midgets indoors, it wasn’t something I was totally unfamiliar with. For the whole time I’ve run indoors, it has always been with Mark.”

Flores, a New Jersey native now living in North Carolina, won over Jankowiak in the Indoor series showdown opener in Allentown PA. Both are past NAPA KNOW HOW Gamblers Classic winners, Flores in 2018 and Jankowiak in 2019 and 2020.

“Indoor Auto Racing is a spectacle in itself, and when the racing is as tightly contested as it was in Allentown last week, the fans had to be leaving eager for more,” said Series promoter Len Sammons.

And they’ll get more in Atlantic City. Along with the great nightlife and famed restaurants that make the trip to south jersey special, the competition level in the TQ Midget division has never been higher.

Three-time Atlantic City winner (2013, 2014, 2015) Anthony Sesely flexed his muscle at the opener. The fan favorite from Matawan, NJ won the Dash and led the early laps of the feature before being involved in a mishap with Billy Pauch Jr. He rallied back to finish tenth.

Pauch, a winner in one of three Friday night Triple 20s in Allentown was making his first start in a Jason Simmons Racing No. 98. Because his sister is being married on Saturday night of AC weekend, he won’t be competing but the car will be a contender with a yet to be named top driving star behind the wheel.

Versatile Max McLaughlin of Mooresville, NC is also expected to be a contender in Atlantic City. In his first ever TQ start in Allentown driving for Frankie Caparra, McLaughlin struggled to find the set-up, but rallied on Saturday to qualify for the A-Main against a stout field of 43 competitors.

Few excited race fans more than the late Ted Christopher, a four-time Atlantic City winner. His nephew, Mike Christopher Jr. of Wolcott, CT made his TQ Midget debut in Allentown in a Trey Hoddick TQ Midget.

Mike Christopher has already made a name for himself at the Stafford Motor Speedway in SK Modified competition, a track with his uncle is the all-time winningest driver. He’d like nothing more to go back to victory lane in Atlantic City, where as a young boy he joined his uncle in post-race celebrations!

Scott Kreuetter, the senior team member of the Hoddick team, showed how much speed they have finishing a solid fifth in Allentown. Kyle Hutchinson, who now drives the Donny Preece No. 13 that TC made famous in Indoor Racing, is also expected to be in the hunt.

Another set of teammates, veteran Matt Janisch of Nazareth, PA and young gun Briggs Danner are expected to contend for a first Atlantic City win. Janisch charged through the field to finish third at Allentown. Danner, of Allentown, was in contention until a late race accident sent him to the rear of the field.

ATQMRA outdoor series champion Joey Bailey of Monroe Township, N.J. is expected to be a challenger at the front of the field as well in Lenny Boyd’s iconic yellow No.1.

Others to keep an eye on are three Catalano brothers from Ontario, N.Y. Older brother Tommy,  a regular on the NASCAR Modified Tour, led the early laps of the Allentown feature.

Tim Buckwalter and Matt Roselli showed speed while winning the other two Triple 20 races in Allentown. Another PA driver, Pat Bealer, was named the Hard Charger of the race after advancing 18 spots in Saturday’s feature to finish sixth.

Racing at the NAPA KNOW HOW Weekend will again include triple 20 qualifiers for the headline TQ Midgets on Friday night followed the 40 lap Gambler’s Classic on Saturday.

The wild and crazy Slingshots and darty Champ Karts will make up the tripleheader programs which includes qualifying races for each division each day.

Good tickets for the Atlantic City races are on sale now in a range of prices through Ticketmaster, the Boardwalk Hall Box Office or the Area Auto Racing News office at 609-888-3618 weekdays from 10 am to 4 pm. Further information on the event including special hotel rates are available at indoorracing.com.

For everyone’s safety, fans will be required to wear a mask when they enter Boardwalk Hall and when they are walking around the building. They will not be required to wear a mask when in their seat or when they are eating or drinking. 

AARN PR

 

Executives from three of Ford’s NASCAR Cup Series teams participated in a media Zoom call this afternoon to talk about the upcoming 2022 season.  Co-owners Eddie Wood, Len Wood and Jon Wood from Wood Brothers Racing; Walter Czarnecki, vice chairman of Team Penske, and Front Row Motorsports general manager Jerry Freeze all participated.

 

EDDIE WOOD, Co-Owner, Wood Brothers Racing – HARRISON WAS FASTEST IN DAY TWO OF NEXT GEN TESTING.  WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR YOUR CONFIDENCE GOING TO DAYTONA?  “I spoke with Harrison this morning and he said he was really comfortable in the car.  He put up a couple of good laps both days and, of course, that was drafting.  It was actually tandem drafting and that’s nose-to-tail where they’re actually connected like they did – and I was talking to him and I was like – ‘are you talking about like back in 2011”’ which is when Trevor won that race and he said that’s how they did it.  It was pretty tricky and they could only do it for like a lap and then they would have to swap.  That’s what they did in 2011.  The engines would get hot and they would have to switch up, but he was really comfortable in the draft.  He drafted quite a bit with Austin and Blaney and Logano, and then they had like a 10-lap race or 10-lap event, whatever you want to call it, with the pack and I think that was probably 16-18 cars and he said he was comfortable with it.  He was really pleased with the way the car drove and also said that there’s still work to do, which I’m sure everyone is in that position because in the past you can test and do all that you want to and try to simulate the real race and you just can’t do it.  When they all get out there for the qualifiers will be the first real race with the speedway package and then you’re gonna know.  If there are problems, they’ll be magnified then or it won’t be any big deal.  Len and I went through this – we’re telling our age which everybody knows we’re old – in ‘81 when they downsized from the big cars down to the current wheelbase and everybody thought that was gonna be the end of the world.  ‘There’s no way they can race these cars like that.’  Everybody complained and they had the race.  Bobby Allison won it and they went on to Richmond the next week and everything was fine.  I kind of think that’s the way it’ll be.  It’ll be some things that will have to be worked out, but it’ll be fine.”

 

HAS HE TALKED ABOUT HOW HE’S ADAPTED FROM THE XFINITY CAR TO THIS ONE?  “I think he ran Talladega last year or the year before, but compared to that he said these cars drove fine.  Like I said, it’ll all be different when it’s real.  The competition level.  Everybody’s game will be upped.  They’ll be taking more risk and stuff like that because nobody really wants to be the guy that starts a big wreck now, but he seemed very confident and he seems to be really really fitting in with Brian and all the guys on our crew.  They were commenting just how well he’s fit in and his temperament and just his demeanor is just so down-to-earth and they just all seem to really be getting along really well.  He’s interacting really well with Blaney and Cindric and Joey.  That all seems to be going really well.”

 

WHEN YOU EVALUATED YOUR TEAM WHAT DID YOU FEEL HARRISON BROUGHT TO YOUR ORGANIZATION AND HOW DO YOU FEEL HIM COMPETING IN THE ROLEX WEEKEND WILL BENEFIT HIM?  “It gets back to his demeanor and his willingness to learn.  He just seems to really fit in with everyone.  I think he brings some energy that only youth can bring.  I’ve seen it before and there’s just something special about a kid that’s 20-years-old just getting started and already driving race cars.  Len and myself, we go back to the early days.  I think when David Pearson started driving our car he was 37-years-old.  That’s 17 years older than Harrison is and he’d already won a couple of championships, so this is just a different time.  You spoke of the road race down there,  I think being competitive and just laps racing people will help him.  I was really excited to hear he was gonna be able to do that.”

 

LEN WOOD, Co-Owner, Wood Brothers Racing – “He’s in the four-hour race that’s on Friday beforehand that Austin and Harrison are in.”

 

JON WOOD, Co-Owner, Wood Brothers Racing – “I think what’s neat about the attitude that Harrison has that’s different is instead of a lot of drivers – and I’m not singling any out in particular – but the typical mindset of driver is ‘what can you do for me?’  Like, ‘What more can you give me?’  And I’ve noticed a lot with Harrison that his question is, ‘Do you need anything from me?  What can I do for you?’  He’s asked that several times and that’s just different and it just speaks to his maturity but his mindset.  It’s something different and I appreciate it and I’m sure they appreciate it too.”

 

EDDIE WOOD CONTINUED – “That’s well said.  For instance, at the Charlotte test – day one of the first Charlotte test – he showed up two hours early in his uniform ready to go.  I wouldn’t do that, but I thought that said a lot without saying anything.  He was ready to go and didn’t want to miss anything.  Like, ‘I’m here to help.’  To back up what Jon said, they did a really good job of bringing him up – Kim and Jeff did.”

 

LEN WOOD CONTINUED – WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION WITH THIS CAR AS FAR AS THE WIGGLE ROOM?  WHAT CAN YOU DO TO MAKE THIS CAR BETTER?  IS THERE SPACE TO MOVE AROUND IN?  “There’s less wiggle room now than there used to be.  I think the rules will be tighter on them.  Things kind of got out of hand before on moving stuff around and they tried reigning it back in, but I think this is a reset from that.  I think every mile that you can put on a car in testing helps the engineering group, the aerodynamic group to basically go back and fine-tune everything.  When we go back, that’s when everybody will have to go through the room of doom or whatever you want to call it – through the Hawkeye – and that’s when we’ll really know what we have.  Kind of like what Eddie said, you won’t know until the green flag falls for the Daytona 500 really about where we’re gonna be, but I think it looks like it’s shaping up to be a good race.”

 

DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH CARS TO FEEL COMFORTABLE GOING INTO THE SEASON?  “Yeah.  I mean, I was at Penske this morning and I think everything is going along OK.  There are some parts that they’re waiting a little bit on, but if we go back 30 years ago we were trying to race on four cars, and I think one thing comes to mind for me was when Childress’ group wrecked that car at the Charlotte test and went home and fixed it in like four hours or something like that.  That’s kind of a game-changer on these cars.  Before, if you hit something, then you’ve got to send that car back to the chassis shop and stuff like that.  I think Childress probably, by wrecking and doing that, may have a little bit of an advantage on knowing.  They were the first ones to do it and maybe they developed a plan on fixing stuff and that’s something our team needs to do is let’s just say change engines, change transaxles, change the rack-and-pinion steering, so when we get to the racetrack it’s not something knew to them.  We had steering boxes for 50 years and now we’ve got steering racks, so there are a lot of things that are different about this car – more like a stock car.”

 

EDDIE WOOD CONTINUED – “And another thing.  I guess this was back in the eighties when people could change engines during a race.  They could change an engine in less than 20 minutes, so everyone will figure out how to work on these cars, how to change things quicker because it’s just a completely new animal.  It’s new to everyone, but, like Len said, I think it’s gonna be OK.”

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT GOING TO THE COLISEUM FOR THE CLASH?  “It’s gonna be different, for sure.  The pictures and stuff I’ve seen that a lot of you guys have dug up and been involved with getting some good video and information about it, I think it’s gonna be really good.  I’m a big fan of Bowman Gray Stadium.  If I had to pick a racetrack to go to other than Daytona Beach, that’s probably where it would be.  It’s similar.  It’s a quarter-mile, flat, all that stuff.  When they first started talking about it I was like, ‘What?’  But the more you think about it and the more information that comes out, especially after you see the pictures of how they did it, it looks like a first-class effort.  I think it’ll be fine.  I’m looking forward to it just like you guys are and my expectations are like yours.  I think that’s one thing that’s cool about this car as well as going out there.  I don’t know anymore about it than anybody else or you don’t know anymore about it than anyone else.  Nobody has really tested it.  It will be a first for everyone.  It’s kind of like shooting the first rocket up with Alan Shepard in it.  Everybody was pretty sure that if it went up it was gonna come down, but they’re gonna have it and I’m looking forward to it.”

 

LEN WOOD CONTINUED – “It’s just another track, really.  Last year, we had COTA in the rain.  That was a pretty challenging week, so I look at the pictures, the video stuff that’s online right now.  They did a very nice job from the looks of what we see.  There again, there will be some bumping and banging and there will be hurt feelings and there will be some people happy, so it’s just another race.”

 

EDDIE WOOD CONTINUED – WHAT IS IT ABOUT BOWMAN GRAY THAT MEANS SO MUCH TO YOU?  “I guess the biggest thing was my dad raced there.  He won four races at the Cup level and all four were at Bowman Gray, and the last race he ran there was in ‘63 and I was there.  I could take you to the very seat that I was sitting in.  That’s one cool thing about that place.  It’s still like it was when it started.  The grandstand.  They’ve changed the track a couple of times.  They’ve repaved it and did some things, but the grandstand is the same and I guess as you get older it just brings back fond memories, whatever you want to say, but it was once said, and I’ll tell you who said it, it was Gary Myers, which would have been Billy Myers’ son, which would be Chocolate’s nephew I guess or uncle.  Anyway, they said this may not be the greatest race you ever saw, but it’s probably the best show you’ll ever see and that’s kind of the way I’m thinking about this race in L.A.  It may not be the greatest race ever, but it may be one of the best shows you’ve ever seen.  No one knows what to expect and I think there will be a lot of crashing and beating and banging and stuff like that.”

 

CAN YOU GIVE SOME PERSPECTIVE ABOUT AN EVENT LIKE THE COLISEUM AND WHAT IT USED TO BE LIKE AT SHORT TRACKS LIKE THAT?  “I think that reignite may be the right word.  Like I said, nobody really knows what’s gonna happen, but when you put that many good drivers with that many good cars together and they’ve got to beat each other, that’s one cool thing I think they’ve done is the format.  Nobody is really locked in except I guess Larson would be because of the way they’re gonna do it, but everybody’s got to make the show.  In ‘09 until we went back full-time in I guess ‘16 we had to make races and that’s a whole different animal than being locked in with points or charters, whatever you want to call it.  You pay attention to the weather.  You live by the weather because if you had a rainout, you’re gonna miss a race in our case.  It’s just one of those deals that there’s so much anxiety about, ‘Am I gonna make it or am I not gonna make it?’  And now everybody shares in that, and I think that’s gonna up the competition level and the risk taking.  If you’ve got to do something, you’re gonna take more risk and be willing to than if you were already locked in where you would just do enough to get by.  I think that’s one of the qualities of this race that will make it different, and I think it will bring back some of the old days and I think that’s really cool.”

 

LEN WOOD CONTINUED – “I think we’ll get to see how tough these cars are from the beating and banging, which will be a pre-look for Martinsville, Bristol, Richmond – places like that.”

 

JON WOOD CONTINUED – HOW MUCH CAN THE COLISEUM EVENT HELP RECONNECT THE SPORT WITH THE YOUNGER FANS?  “I think it’s a good experiment.  Attention spans and trends in entertainment are different than they were even just a few years ago, three years ago.  This would seem to maybe cater towards the current demographic of sport fan/entertainment fan/tv viewer, so I think it’s a good change-up.  It’s good to see.  The race itself, the place, whatever, that is what it is, but the fact that it’s a completely different format, a shorter event, everything that a lot of people have been asking for and complaining about this kind of does that.  You hear a lot of people talk about how they wish races were shorter.  They wish this.  They wish that.  Well, this kind of checks all those boxes, so I think it depending on how the race goes, it could have impact on future races, the places we go, the type of racing, the type of things these fans like.”

 

WHAT ARE THINGS YOU WILL BE LOOKING AT IN TERMS OF THIS EVENT?  “I think it’ll be pretty clear.  I don’t think it’s gonna be a mixed bag of opinions.  I look back to the Dirt Race at Bristol and I, for one, had very low expectations going into that race.  I thought it would be a one-and-done, just a waste of time really, and I was proven very wrong.  So, I think it’s gonna be very clear whether this was successful or not and, again, if it is successful like every indication seems to be that it will be, it could seriously impact the trajectory of the sport.  The 500-mile races are good, but are they good 36 times a year?  Is that what people really tune in to watch, or is it more of a heat race/feature type atmosphere that the Dirt Race had?  This is more along the lines of that Bristol race and I think it’s worth doing.  It’s a lot of trouble.  It’s a lot of effort to ask the teams to do this the first race of the season right out of the gate with this new car, but it’s probably an appropriate time to get it out of the way and see what it can do.”

 

WHAT CHANGED FOR YOU WITH THE BRISTOL DIRT RACE?  “I don’t know that my opinion really changed.  I think it’s more of just the opinions of nine out of 10 people.  Everybody seemed to favor that race in some aspect to some degree.  There was something about it they liked better than every other weekend throughout the year, and I don’t know what that was but whatever it was it worked.  So, people smarter than me seem to agree with that and, again, this is more of a version two of that type of an event.  It’s doing it again but on asphalt.”

 

EDDIE WOOD CONTINUED – ASIDE FROM PERFORMANCE WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE THIS YEAR?  “I think the challenge for our race team is pretty much the same as everyone else.  It’s kind of like the first guy to figure out, the first team to figure out what this car likes because right now, even with all the testing and we talked about this before you got online, until they race it, it just hasn’t been raced.  Drivers are in control of how hard they run and only they, each driver, knows themselves the risk is what I’m really talking about.  The first group that figures out, ‘OK, this works on this car.’  Of course, we’re not gonna tell anyone and that’s the way racing has been forever.  This is a little different now because the cars are basically the same cars, but the areas that you work in are still areas you worked in.  They’re smaller than they’ve ever been, but everybody is on the same page with all that, so I think the people that get something figured out, whether they’re smart enough to figure it out or they luck into it.  A lot of things have happened in racing down through the years with us where it was just trial and error.  ‘That sounds like a good idea.  Let’s try it.’  Now, you don’t have a lot of practice time which gets back to engineering and simulation and stuff like that – windtunnels – and that’s part of our life now.  I think the first one to figure it out will be faster in the first few races and we’ll just have to see how that all shakes out, but I think it’s gonna be OK.”

 

Ford Performance PR

For the first time since Atlanta Motor Speedway’s repave and reconfiguration, race fans are invited to drive their own cars on the track’s steeper high banks.

The opportunity will come during Laps For Charity, hosted by Speedway Children’s Charities Atlanta. During the event participants will take laps around Atlanta Motor Speedway’s revamped 1.54-mile oval on Friday, January 28. The event is the first opportunity for fans to drive on the reconfigured speedway, which is all-new for the 2022 season. Proceeds benefit SCC Atlanta’s mission to help local children in need.

With a donation of $60 per vehicle, participants will get to drive their personal vehicle onto the new 28-degree banked turns and make three laps around the same track NASCAR’s stars will race on later this year.

Participants will receive a Certificate of Completion recognizing them for being among the first to drive on the new track, as well as a link to download pictures from their experience. A limited number of VIP laps offering a solo, continuous five-lap experience on the track, are also available for $150.

VIP track drives will be held from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. with general laps running from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 28. Drivers will be required to complete a waiver and present it upon arrival. Seatbelts must be worn by all participants. Participants are encouraged to pre-register for the event online at www.speedwaycharities.org/events/atlanta/laps-for-charity/.

Attendees will access the event by entering the infield through the main tunnel located off Speedway Blvd. Participants will then follow signage to check-in.

To learn more about Laps for Charity and the newly revamped Atlanta Motor Speedway go to www.AtlantaMotorSpeedway.com.

AMS PR

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