Steven B. Wilson
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Following a quiet offseason the engines will finally roar to signal the start of the 2019 season on February 10 at Daytona International Speedway with a power-packed Sunday doubleheader.
It begins at noon with Busch Pole Award Qualifying for the 61st running of the DAYTONA 500 (FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The 2019 Advance Auto Parts Clash follows at 3 p.m. (FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and will feature the sport’s biggest stars battling side by side in a 75-lap showcase.
“There’s no better way to start the season,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “The close, door-to-door action you see in the Advance Auto Parts Clash is a precursor to the intense competition you’ll see in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series throughout 2019.”
The annual preseason race will run in two segments, separated by a competition caution at lap 25.
“It’s a tremendous day of racing for our fans,” said Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile. “Having DAYTONA 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger followed by the Advance Auto Parts Clash makes for a sweet first Sunday of Speedweeks and will have fans fully tuned up for the 61st running of the ‘Great American Race’ on February 17.”
The exclusive, star-studded field in the Advance Auto Parts Clash is limited to drivers who were 2018 Busch Pole Award winners, former Clash winners who competed full-time in 2018, former DAYTONA 500 champions who competed full-time in 2018, former DAYTONA 500 pole winners who competed full-time in 2018 and drivers who qualified for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
Tickets are available now at DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
Eligible drivers are as follows:
2018 Busch Pole Award Winners (13)
- Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Paul Menard, Daniel Suarez and Martin Truex Jr.
Former Daytona 500 Champions (2)
- Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman
Former Daytona 500 Busch Pole Award Winners (2)
- Austin Dillon, Jimmie Johnson
2018 Playoff Drivers (3)
- Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski
NASCAR Hall of Fame to host Richard Childress Racing 50th Anniversary Fireside Chat and Announcement13 Dec 2018
The holiday shopping season is upon us and tickets to Darlington Raceway’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 race on September 1, 2019 and NASCAR XFINITY Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 on August 31, 2019, make the perfect stocking stuffer for the race fan in the family this year.
Fans who wish to purchase tickets to either race and experience Throwback Weekend first hand may do so by visiting DarlingtonRaceway.com or calling 866-459-7223.
The Darlington Raceway Museum and Gift Shop is open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Race fans may purchase driver and Darlington Raceway merchandise at the gift shop as a great holiday gift.
“Tickets to Darlington Raceway events are an ideal gift for the race fan in the family,” track President Kerry Tharp said. “We also have a wide variety of Darlington Raceway and driver apparel in our gift shop, which make great Christmas gifts as well.”
Darlington Raceway’s award-winning throwback campaign is The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR featuring the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500® on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019. The NASCAR XFINITY Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 will race on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. Tickets are on sale now by calling 866-459-7223 or visiting DarlingtonRaceway.com.
You can keep up with all of the latest news from Darlington Raceway at DarlingtonRaceway.com, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DarlingtonRaceway and on Twitter at Twitter.com/TooToughToTame. Fans are encouraged to post their Bojangles’ Southern 500 stories and memories at, #BojanglesSo500 and #SportClips200.
Darlington Raceway PR
Speedway Children’s Charities (SCC), in a special grant distribution ceremony on Wednesday, announced that the nonprofit’s Charlotte Motor Speedway chapter distributed $1,040,350 in grants – a record annual amount – to 100 charitable organizations located throughout the Charlotte region.
More than 250 children were joined by Santa Claus and Lug Nut, the world’s fastest mascot, for the grant reception in the Speedway Christmas presented by Disconnect & Drive infield village at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The Charlotte chapter’s 2018 contributions represent a sizable increase of more than $88,000 from last year’s mark. Since its inception in 1982, the Speedway Children’s Charities Charlotte chapter has raised more than $13 million through a variety of annual fundraising events to support children with everything from educational support to the basic need of a coat or meal.
“It’s a true privilege to distribute these funds to 100 local charities who work hard year-round to make a major impact on the lives of children in need,” Speedway Children’s Charities Vice Chairman and Charlotte Chapter President Marcus Smith said. “These area nonprofits are so dedicated to serving our community. We are proud to play a part in supporting their efforts with financial contributions for their programs.”
The Charlotte chapter of SCC is one of eight that are located at each of the Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI) racing facilities. Over the years, SCC has awarded in excess of $55.3 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the nation.
“With sincere thanks to our volunteers, donors, sponsors and board of trustees, Speedway Children’s Charities’ Charlotte chapter can lay claim to distributing more than $1 million to area charities,” said Lisa Starnes, the director of the Charlotte chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. “We’re honored to have so many supporters helping us make the holidays and 2019 more special for area youth in need.”
For more information on Speedway Children’s Charities or to learn how to volunteer or donate, visit www.speedwaycharities.org.
ABOUT SPEEDWAY CHILDREN’S CHARITIES:
The mission of Speedway Children's Charities remains true to the ideals it was founded upon in 1982: To care for children in educational, financial, social and medical need in order to help them lead productive lives. SCC provides funding for hundreds of nonprofit organizations throughout the nation that meet the direct needs of children. Our vision is that every child has the same opportunities no matter what obstacle they are facing.
Fans can connect with Speedway Children’s Charities by following on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
The 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season will go down in history as one of our most memorable seasons while partnering with Ford to capture the drivers’, owners’, and manufacturers’ championship titles and winning the MAHLE Engine Builder of the Year award.
At the Wynn Las Vegas hotel, Joey Logano became the 33rd driver to be crowned the champion in NASCAR’s top division.
“Congratulations to Edsel, Mark, Joey, Roger, and the entire Ford organization on an outstanding year,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “It was an incredible season, to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Drivers', Owners' and Manufacturers’ Championship titles in the same season is a remarkable accomplishment. Without the hard work and dedication of our 180 passionate employees, these championships would not have been possible. We're blessed to partner with Ford and provide the horsepower for Ford Performance teams. It's also, a great honor to be recognized by MAHLE as the engine builder of the year in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series.”
Ford Performance and the combined efforts of six premier Ford NASCAR teams; Team Penske, Stewart-Haas Racing, Roush Fenway Racing, Wood Brothers Racing, Front Row Motorsports, and Go Fas won a combined record breaking 19 point races, 15 poles, and 3 championships. In addition, to winning the All-Star race and the Daytona Clash, these combined teams led over half the laps raced in the 2018 season. Leading a total 5,954 laps over 41 race events.
In case you missed any of the action, here’s a rewind of some of our most memorable moments.
Joey Logano’s first championship title was punctuated with becoming only the eighth driver to win a MENCS championship with Ford and win the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Kevin Harvick and the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Ford Fusion tied for the most wins during the 2018 season with eight. Harvick’s Playoff win at Texas Motor Speedway topped off his career best year.
Logano secured his place in the Championship Playoffs by winning his third race of the year at Martinsville Speedway.
We saw the Ford Fusions sweep Talladega in the 2018 season. Logano won the Spring race, while the No. 10 of Aric Almirola made a statement at Talladega Superspeedway in the Fall, by winning his first Talladega Cup race. This marked Ford’s seventh straight restrictor-plate race win at the coveted speedway and put a record fourth SHR driver into the playoffs.
Ryan Blaney won the inaugural running of the 2018 Charlotte Roval, marking his second career Cup win and first win since becoming a full-time driver at Team Penske.
It was a September to remember for Brad Keselowski and Roger Penske, winning three straight at Darlington Raceway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and then the Playoff opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, winning Roger Penske's 500th career win.
Kurt Busch also had an award-winning year, winning the 2018 Pole Winner Award for a season high five poles, in addition to capturing his 30th career win at Bristol.
We saw SHR sweep the Michigan 400’s with Clint Bowyer winning the summer event and teammate Harvick sealing the deal in the fall to keep the famed Heritage trophy in Dearborn at Ford Motor Company headquarters.
Harvick would win his sixth points paying race of the season in Loudon, New Hampshire. In turn, Harvick dominated the month of May, winning the AAA 400 Drive for Autism in Dover, the KS Masterpiece 400 at Kansas Speedway, and finished by winning a $1,000,000 in the Charlotte All-Star race.
Bowyer won his first race at Martinsville Speedway in the Spring, leading a race high 215 laps in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series STP 500.
But it was Harvick that launched the 2018 Championship season by winning three consecutive races at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and ISM Raceway.
The 2018 season marked the final year for the Ford Fusion in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and what a year it has been. The Fusion became Ford's flagship model for the series in 2006 and went on to win 108 races during its 13-year run.
In addition, the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series season concluded with Stewart-Haas Racing winning the Xfinity Owners’ Championship title by Tony Stewart, Gene Haas and the No. 00 of Cole Custer.
Preparations for the Second Annual East Coast Dirt Nationals continued in earnest Wednesday morning inside Trenton, N.J.’s CURE Insurance Arena. Concrete barriers and catch fencing were erected on the arena floor starting at 7 am on Monday morning to create the outside wall. On Tuesday over 60 dump truck loads of black New Jersey clay were trucked to and spread to form the track surface.
The Dirt Nationals for wingless 600 Sprints is set to begin this Thursday and Friday, December 13th and 14th with split group qualifying which includes 60 racers each day running in qualifying features events. On Saturday, December 15th, all 120 competitors will be competing for a spot in the $5,000 to win 50 lap A-Main. Racing starts at 7 PM on Thursday and Friday, 5 PM on Saturday.
Slingshots will run a complete program of racing on Thursday night culminating in a 20-car, 20-lap feature. On Friday, Champ Karts are the co-feature, with the same field, same distance feature on the docket.
The same clay that produced the dustless, multi-groove surface last year has been set in place once again. It was stockpiled in a sandpit since its first use and covered to prevent excess moisture from accumulating.
Inside the building on Tuesday, Ricky Grosso with help from Chuck Palmucci were spreading the clay with bulldozers and front end loaders. The track when finished will be 18 inches in depth on the straightaways and three feet in depth in the corners where considerable banking has been added.
Freiberger Excavating of Allentown, NJ, an event sponsor, provided the heavy equipment which will also be used for the removal of the clay and fence beginning moments after the checkered flag falls Saturday night.
The event will take place in an arena that has undergone a makeover from floor to ceiling to enhance the viewing experience for race fans at this year’s Nationals. The goal has been to make the arena one of finest in the state.
This year’s schedule calls for heat races with passing points and four A-qualifier feature races for split fields on both Thursday and Friday night. On Saturday, with all 120, 600 Sprints on hand, Alphabet mains are scheduled, with racers having the opportunity to advance from G, F, E, D, C, and B, will precede the 50 lap A-Main paying $5,000 to win.
Information, including a link for advanced tickets, is available at indoorautoracing.com. Tickets are also available each day at the arena box office.
Indoor Auto Racing PR
Talladega Superspeedway is excited to announce that General Tire, which for over 100 years has offered a complete quality line of ultra-high performance, passenger, light truck, off-road and commercial tires, has extended its entitlement sponsorship of the General Tire 200 ARCA Racing Series event (April 26) as part of a multi-year partnership.
“We are proud to continue our relationship with Talladega Superspeedway for another two years,” said Travis Roffler, Director of Marketing for General Tire. “When we first partnered with the track, it was because the enthusiasm of the fans there is almost unmatched in any other sport. The relationship has done a lot to increase our awareness among those fans, and we look forward to continuing our relationship for that very reason.”
The 2.66-mile venue, which will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2019, has hosted the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards since the track’s initial season in 1969. The series has seen its share of close, exciting finishes at the historic track, most recently in the 2018 General Tire 200 where victor Zane Smith edged Joe Graf Jr. at the line in an eventual photo finish – the closest finish in series history.
General Tire, also the official tire supplier of the ARCA Series, has been the entitlement sponsor of the General Tire 200 since 2016.
“General Tire has been an incredible partner and we are thrilled to have them with us as we head into an exciting future,” said Grant Lynch, Chairman of Talladega Superspeedway. “Not only will we celebrate our 50th Anniversary next year in which the ARCA Series has played a major part of our history, but we will also kick off our Transformation Infield Project. We are glad that General Tire will be a part of both.”
The first aspect of the $50 million Transformation – The Talladega Superspeedway Infield Project that will allow fans to be immersed into motorsports at the mammoth venue like never before is the Oversized Vehicle Tunnel that is currently under construction. Scheduled for completion during the track’s spring tripleheader weekend, the tunnel will be open 24 hours.
In addition, there will be the new 67-spot Finish Line Premium RV area, as well as new Infield Shower Trailers for the weekend that will also feature the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ Talladega 300 (Saturday, April 27) and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ GEICO 500 (Sunday, April 28). For ticket information, call 855-518-RACE (7223) or log on to www.talladegasuperspeedway.com
Veteran NASCAR driver and 2010 DAYTONA 500 champion Jamie McMurray has landed his next full-time ride. McMurray joins FOX Sports for the 2019 season as a NASCAR analyst for NASCAR RACE HUB, the sport’s most-watched daily show, and NASCAR RACEDAY, among other duties.
McMurray, who wrapped his 16th MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES season in the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet last month, jumps from the race car to FOX NASCAR’s brand-new, state-of-the-art virtual studio in Charlotte.
“As FOX Sports built the new virtual studio in Charlotte, we were equally invested in hiring the right personalities for our NASCAR programming,” said Steve Craddock, SVP of NASCAR Production, FOX Sports. “Jamie McMurray brings a fresh-off-the-track perspective and a modest likeability everyone can relate to. He is a great addition to our team.”
McMurray tested the television waters with appearances on NASCAR RACE HUB as an analyst in late October and early November. Additionally, he offered analysis in the FOX Sports broadcast booth for NASCAR XFINITY SERIES races at Pocono Raceway (June 2018) and Las Vegas Motor Speedway (March 2017).
“As my driving career got closer to the end, I thought about doing TV but wasn’t sure until I did a couple of NASCAR RACE HUB shows at the end of this year,” McMurray said. “I really enjoyed it more than I expected. It’s a whole new world, but that’s what I am most excited about – the new challenge and discomfort that comes with doing something completely out of my element.”
During his Cup career, the 2003 Rookie of the Year amassed seven wins, 63 top-five and 168 top-10 finishes, in addition to a victory in the 2014 NASCAR All-Star Race. McMurray is one of only three drivers to have won the DAYTONA 500 and the Brickyard 400 in a single season (2010). In addition, he and Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Kyle Larson formed the winning team for the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona. With the feat, McMurray etched his name in the record books as one of only four drivers to find Victory Lane for the Daytona 500 and the Rolex 24. Racing legends A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti and FOX NASCAR analyst Jeff Gordon are the only other drivers to have won both races.
Announcements regarding the full FOX NASCAR broadcast team for 2019, including the lineup for studio shows airing from the new virtual studio, are forthcoming. For more information on FOX NASCAR, visit FOX Sports Press Pass. For more information on McMurray, visit www.JamieMcMurray.com.
Fox Sports PR
Barrett-Jackson to Auction Authentic David Ragan No. 38 Ford Fusion to Benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children12 Dec 2018
"I am excited to combine my two passions of competing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and supporting the Shriners Hospitals for Children," said Ragan. "One lucky high bidder will not only have the opportunity to win an authentic Ford Fusion racecar, but also make a big difference for the patients and families of the Shriners Hospitals for Children. All the proceeds of the car are going to the hospitals and that's exciting because we're looking for a big bid. And, this car is the real deal. With a 750 horsepower Roush Yates racing engine, and prepared to hit the track, I am sure it will draw some attention in Scottsdale. I will be there to meet the winner and thank them personally."
"David continues to be a tremendous ambassador for the Shriners Hospitals for Children," said Jim Cain, chairman of the Board of Directors for Shriners Hospitals for Children. "Our partnership with David has increased awareness for our health care system and the work we do for our patients. This is now a unique way for us to raise the funds needed to continue to provide the excellent care given at each hospital. We're looking forward to the auction in January."
"Every auction gives us the chance to work with wonderful people, like David Ragan, who work tirelessly to help others," said Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson. "We're excited to team up with him in Scottsdale and help sell his race car so that kids across the nation can get better. When we work together, we effect greater change than working alone. And there are few things more important than coming together to help kids reach their greatest potential."
For more information on becoming a bidder, visit www.Barrett-Jackson.com/bidder
David Ragan PR
The STP 500 weekend at Martinsville Speedway is only 100 days away and, in recent years, Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell has found a nickname for the historic facility he presides over: The Half-Mile of Mayhem.
From the very first race in 1947, when Buck Baker led the first 48 laps of the 50 lap race, only to be passed by Red Byron on lap 49, more often than not the 71-year-old Speedway has lived up to the moniker.
However, in recent years the mayhem-meter has been turned up to 11.
In 2012, the legend of the Half-Mile of Mayhem began to grow. Clint Bowyer wiped out leaders Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon on a late restart and Ryan Newman survived the carnage to claim a win.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. banged doors with Tony Stewart in the closing laps in 2014 to seal his first Martinsville Speedway win.
The Mayhem took off from there.
In 2015, Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth’s on-track spat, coupled with the race being Gordon’s final win, became the stuff of legend.
Emotions spilled into post-race in 2017, when Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott had a heated face-to-face after the checkered flag fell. In the closing laps Hamlin made contact with leader Elliott, sending NASCAR’s newly crowned Most Popular Driver into the wall and denying him his first career win and a guaranteed spot in the Championship race of the season.
And, in 2018, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr.’s duel to the finish line in the First Data 500 cemented the nickname in the mind of Campbell.
“We have had so many great races over the years, and I have been lucky to see many of them,” Campbell said. “The last few years, it just feels like the intensity has really grown.
“Every driver wants that grandfather clock trophy, and they have all shown they are willing to do whatever it takes to earn a win here at Martinsville.”
Perhaps Cup Series star Kevin Harvick perhaps summed up recent races at Martinsville Speedway best when asked about the 2017 finish between Elliott and Hamlin, saying “bent fenders and hurt feelings, I love it!”
For Campbell and the Speedway staff, the exciting finishes have grown from tall tales told in quiet moments into an identity the group has embraced.
“We feel like we supply the most exciting racing in all of NASCAR,” Campbell said. “The drivers are the ones with their hands on the wheel and feet on the pedals, but Martinsville has consistently provided action that is second-to-none.
“Mayhem at the end of races here is what brings the fans back year after year. Whether their driver came out for better or for worse, that excitement is what we are known for. We don’t shy away from that.”
Campbell has long claimed that two events in his mind stand above the rest.
In 1987, Terry Labonte and Dale Earnhardt wrecked on the final lap, clearing the way for Darrell Waltrip to claim a win.
In 1981, Richie Evans’ modified racer crossed the finish line with two wheels on the track and two wheels on the catch fence beating Geoff Bodine in a race that veteran broadcaster Mike Joy said is “the greatest race I’ve ever had the pleasure of calling.”
With so much excitement over recent years, Campbell said that he isn’t so sure those are automatically the top two in his rankings anymore.
“Some recent races have certainly entered the discussion for the title of ‘best finish ever at Martinsville,’” Campbell said. “It’s exciting knowing that going into any race weekend, no matter what series it is, we could have a moment that will be discussed as one of the greatest finishes in NASCAR history. I don’t know that many other tracks can say that.”
Racing returns to Martinsville Speedway March 22-24, 2019 for the STP 500 race weekend.
Tickets are on sale now. To guarantee the lowest prices of the year purchase tickets by Friday, December 14.
For more information about Martinsville Speedway or to purchase tickets, call 877.RACE.TIX or visit www.martinsvillespeedway.com.
Martinsville Speedway PR
2018 is almost behind us and Solaris Motorsport is already at work on the next season program. After confirming the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series campaign, the Italian team is looking for new drivers for the 2019 season, that will see one more round bringing the 2019 schedule to 7 events and 13 races. Confirmed the events at Valencia, Franciacorta, Brands Hatch, Hockeneheim and Zolder, the 2019 will host for the first time a NASCAR racing weekend at Most, in the Czech Republic, while the oval round will move from France to the Venray Speedway, Nederland.
"Twelve months later we are even more convinced about the choice made one year ago." said Roberto Sini, Solaris Motorsport Team Principal. "With a definitely low budget, lower than many national series, we took part to an European championship with a great visibility in all the five Continents. The 2018 Champions are just rewarded in the US, in the hearh of the NASCAR, and in each race we have been immersed by so many thousands of fans, a huge public we didn't see since the golden era of the SuperTouring or the Superstars years. With two champions and five Trophies winners, there's room for any kind of drivers, from the aspiring champions, to the professionist drivers, to the gentlemen. Everyone has room and chance to aim to win the race in the US and next year there will be much more opportunities. I think it's difficult to find something more and so concrete in other series. As Solaris Motorsport, as a team, we have to switch to the Step 2, tto take advantage from what we learned and to find a driver for the ELITE 2 Division and, if there's the opportunity, also to field a second car. And we are working on it."
"The car surprised me a lot, at the beginning it's strange, very different from any other cars we have in Europe: tyres, gearbox, handling, but with few laps you can feel comfortable with it and start enjoying, it's sincere and quick. Faster than a TCR or a GT4, with costs even less than a third." commented Francesco Sini, able to conquer in Brands Hatch his first NASCAR podium. "The level of the other drivers is definitely high, with guys grew up with these cars and top drivers coming from GT there's alway lot of to do on track. In order to prepare at the best the next season, we want to go on track as soon as possible and, as Solaris Motorsport, we want to find other drivers that want to joins us in this amazing challenge: in this way we can grow up faster and better with much more data to analyze. The EuroNASCAR is the ideal car for the drivers want to build their professional career in motorsport without huge budget. With what needed for a GT season, you can race in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series for two years at top, aiming to receive the ring of the Champion in the US and race in the American NASCAR. There is no comparison."
Solaris Motorsport PR