Steven B. Wilson

Steven B. Wilson

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For fans who will be attending this weekend’s (April 26-28) motorsports tripleheader at Talladega Superspeedway, featuring the GEICO 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, a must pit stop is the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, located adjacent to NASCAR’s Most Competitive track.

Since its creation, the Hall has been an impeccable fascination with the automobile, and in the fine state of Alabama, lovers of motorsports have a destination they can go to see one of the largest collections of racing vehicles imaginable. And, when it comes to NASCAR and the ARCA Menards Series, it actually houses more than 40 machines that have competed at the 2.66-mile venue.

Here are some cool facts about those memorable machines:

  • The International Motorsports Hall of Fame is the home of 10 cars from NASCAR’s premier series that won at Talladega Superspeedway during a particular year. They include: Richard Petty’s (#43) Dodge, Ron Bouchard’s (#47) Buick, Bill Elliott’s (#9) Ford, Bobby Allison’s (#22) Buick, Bobby Hillin’s (#8) Buick, Davey Allison’s (#28, black, white & gold) Ford, Davey Allison’s (#28, black) Ford, Dale Earnhardt’s (#3) Chevrolet, Jeff Gordon’s (#24) Chevrolet and Jimmie Johnson’s (#48) Chevrolet.
  • Four historic pieces won the NASCAR championship – Bobby Isaac’s 1970 (#71) Dodge, Petty’s 1974 (#43) Dodge, Alan Kulwicki’s 1992 (#7) Ford and Johnson’s 2006 (#48) Chevrolet. 
  • A total of 22 drivers who have cars in the Hall have won at Talladega Superspeedway, including 18 in the Cup Series, three in the ARCA Series and one in the Xfinity Series.
  • The competitors who have race cars in the Hall have accumulated a total of 973 career Cup wins, led by Petty with 200.
  • Of the drivers who have piloted vehicles in the Hall, 29 have at least one Cup victory in their career.
  • Drivers in the premier series who have cars on campus have won a total of 35 Monster Series titles, and include: Petty (7), Earnhardt (7), Johnson (7), Gordon (4), Darrell Waltrip (3), Dale Jarrett (1), Isaac (1), Kevin Harvick (1), Elliott (1), Kulwicki (1), Bobby (1) and Kyle Busch (1).
  • Of the six ARCA cars in the Hall, two won at ‘Dega – Grant Adcox (#2) Chevrolet and Tim Steele (#16) Oldsmobile. Adcox is the all-time winning ARCA driver with five (sweep in 1986-87; summer of 1988) while Steele, a three-time ARCA Champ, had four (1993, then three straight from 1996-98).

The International Motorsports Hall of Fame provides an incredible platform to take a step back in time, with not only more than 120 various vehicles but countless memorabilia items as well. Fans are encouraged to stop by during the upcoming race weekend, or at any time throughout the year.

Race time extended hours of operation this week are the following:

  • Monday-Thursday, April 22-25: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. CDT
  • Friday, April 26: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. CDT
  • Saturday, April 27: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. CDT
  • Sunday, April 28: 7 a.m.-2 p.m. CDT

For additional International Motorsports Hall of Fame information, log onto www.motorsportshalloffame.com. For more information on Talladega Superspeedway’s highly-anticipated tripleheader, featuring the General Tire 200 for the ARCA Menards Series (April 26), the MoneyLion 300 (April 27) for the NASCAR Xfinity Series and GEICO 500 for the Monster Energy Series, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 855-518-RACE (7223).

TSS PR

Encouraged by a favorable spring forecast, Eldora Speedway officials have announced the 66th Season Opener scheduled for Saturday night will use a traditional showtime of 7:30 p.m.
A four-class bash, highlighted by a $5,000-to-win feature for the Sunoco American Late Model Series plus the winged sprint cars of the K&L Ready Mix NRA Sprint Invaders, DIRTcar Modifieds and Eldora Stock cars will kick off the 2019 season. The pit area will open to competitors at 3 p.m. and the grandstands will open at 4 p.m. The cars will hit the high-banked half-mile clay oval for hot laps and qualifying at 6 p.m. The first race will go green at 7:30 p.m.
Adult admission is $19 and children ages 12 and younger are admitted free to all general admission areas. Eldora continues to provide free parking for its patrons immediately adjacent to the grandstand.
Family-friendly pricing at the concessions is a staple of the 66-year old venue. Coca-Cola products in 12 oz. cans are still just $1 and the Eldora’s ‘World Famous Pizza Burgers’ and chicken wings will be hot and ready.
A full-service bar is located under the historic covered grandstand and ice-cold beer is still just $2 per 12 oz. can.
Reserved seats, campsites and advance tickets for all 2019 events are available now at www.EldoraSpeedway.com or by phone at (937) 338-3815.
Eldora Speedway PR

 It’s race week at Talladega Superspeedway, and the excitement is brewing for an incredible motorsports tripleheader – featuring the GEICO 500 for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the MoneyLion 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series event and the ARCA Menards Series’ General Tire 200.

The best drivers in the world are gearing up for Talladega after having an off week, and only a handful of competitors coming to the 2.66-mile venue have locked themselves into the season-ending playoffs. Those who aren’t will be doing everything in their power to make it to Gatorade Victory Lane.

One who can turn it loose is reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion and defending GEICO 500 victor Joey Logano. A year ago, he secured his spot in the season-ending playoffs by virtue of his GEICO 500 triumph, but this season, he has already won and is in the playoffs, so his team can go for broke in trying to go back-to-back. And, can Ford claim its eighth straight Talladega victory? Will the winner be a seasoned veteran or one of the sport’s talented, young guns? Could a surprise be on the horizon and a new, first-time victor win at Talladega for the 12th time?

Saturday’s MoneyLion 300 will also pit a mix of new, young drivers against the older guard, along with a combination of eligible drivers vying for the Dash 4 Cash $100,000 prize. And, the ARCA Menards Series, a staple at the track since its inception in 1969, returns on Friday with the traditional General Tire 200. Last year fans saw the closest finish in ARCA series history in that event that was literally a photo finish. Could we be treated to another phenomenal outcome?

The storylines are aplenty for NASCAR’s biggest track, which is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, along with Transformation – The Talladega Superspeedway Infield Project presented by Graybar. The first aspect of the project is complete. Ready for this spring weekend is the new Turn 3 Oversized Vehicle Tunnel along with the new 71-spot Finish Line Premium RV area and Infield Shower Trailers. The massive 2-lane tunnel will be open 24 hours for this race weekend beginning on Wednesday and will allow fans’ RVs, along with NASCAR team haulers, to enter and exit the infield with ease.

It’s easy to be a part of the historical weekend. For ticket information, simply visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 855-518-RACE.

So, here’s what’s on tap!

50 Years of Speed:  Talladega Superspeedway opened in 1969 and the biggest and baddest track is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year! Big Bill France Sr., NASCAR’s founder, had a Vision in the mid-1960s, envisioning a larger, faster and more exciting track on the NASCAR circuit - even bigger than Daytona International Speedway (which he also built). After meeting with local race car driver and race fan Bill Ward (Anniston), the perfect location (old military airfield) was acquired and the ground-breaking ceremony for the track that would be known as Alabama International Motor Speedway (until 1989) took place on May 23, 1968.

First Race: The first race was held Sept. 14, 1969 – Talladega 500 (now known as the 1000Bulbs.com 500). Richard Brickhouse won the inaugural event – his first and only career win in NASCAR’s premier series. The race played a major role in NASCAR’s history as many of the top stars of the sport (members of the Professional Drivers Association – PDA) walked out the day before the race due to concerns of tire wear on the ultra-fast, nearly 200-mph speed track. France said the race would go on, and recruited many of the drivers who competed the day before in the smaller NASCAR Touring Series’ “Bama 400,” which featured smaller cars with less horsepower. One of the drivers who stayed and competed on Sunday was NASCAR Hall of Famer, International Motorsports Hall of Famer and 12-time TSS winning car owner Richard Childress.

ARCA Menards Series a Staple Since ’69: Jim Vandiver won the inaugural race (Oct. 26, 1969) from the pole position and has been a staple at the track with the exception of just four years (1971-74).

Ford Going for Another Victory: The manufacturer has won the past seven Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) events at Talladega, the last coming last fall with driver Aric Almirola. Other wins include Logano (spring 2018, fall 2015, fall 2016), Brad Keselowski (spring 2016, fall 2017) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (spring 2017). With Keselowski’s win in the fall of 2014, Ford has won eight of the last nine (Dale Earnhardt Jr. won in spring of ’15) events. Chevrolet holds the overall record with 13 in-a-row from 1999-2005.

First Time Winners/Last Win of Career: 11 times has a driver won his first career race at Talladega with the latest being Stenhouse. Unbelievably, 13 drivers have captured the final race of their career at the 2.66-mile venue, including the latest - Dale Jarrett in 2005.

New Rules Package at Talladega for Cup cars:  For the first time in over 30 years, the Monster Energy Series will race without engine restrictor plates at Talladega. Cars in the GEICO 500 will utilize a new downforce aero package and a tapered spacer to restrict air flow to each engine that will offset the need for a carburetor restrictor plate. As a result, the cars will have more horsepower and maneuverability, along with more downforce and stability to provide even more passing opportunities. A tapered spacer has actually been used the last few years, along with a restrictor plate, but now will be a tapered spacer only.

In addition, the rear spoilers on the Cup cars this weekend will be 9 inches tall (compared to 8 at other venues in 2019). Also, at ‘Dega, NASCAR has mandated a 1-inch bolt-on track bar mount to change the height from 11 to 12 inches, raising the rear of the car by one inch. NASCAR had eliminated rules for minimum ride heights at superspeedways ahead of the 2018 season, and teams responded by hunkering down the rear of their cars to reduce drag and increase speed. The track bar change is intended to offset those techniques by raising the rear of the car - and make it where the cars are not dragging the ground.

MoneyLion 300 First Time Winners: Three drivers have grabbed their initial NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) victory at TSS, the latest being Spencer Gallagher in last year’s MoneyLion 300. The other drivers include David Ragan (2009) and Greg Sacks (1996).

Dash 4 Cash Bonus Program: Cole Custer, along with Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier and Tyler Reddick, will come to Talladega this weekend with a shot at the Dash 4 Cash program, which awards a $100,000 bonus to the highest finishing NXS regular in select races. The Dash 4 Cash program started at Texas and has since been at Bristol and Richmond before moving to Talladega and concluding at Dover. Neither driver has ever won at ‘Dega.

General Tire 200 – 2018 Version Closest in History: With a sudden flurry of late-race incidents leading to two overtimes in the 2018 General Tire 200, Zane Smith edged Joe Graf Jr. at the line in a photo finish. ARCA electronic scoring showed a dead-heat (0.00 second), which meant a return to the old school method of reviewing the photo of the finish to determine the winner. ARCA called it the closest finish in series history.

Featured Off-Track Events

“Big One on the Blvd.”: One of Alabama’s most spectacular parties returns on Friday with the popular driver parade and crazy fan competitions overseen by some of NASCAR’s biggest names.  The line-up of outrageous events include:

  • Weenie in the Hole - Three contestants will face off to get as many jumbo hotdog weenies in the hole of their buckets before the clock runs out - using only their mouths!
  • Cake Stand - Three teams of three will attempt to devour a delicious Talladega Superspeedway 50th anniversary cake while in keg stand position! Knees weak, arms are heavy? No problem, you can alternate with teammates!
  • Straight Arm’d and Delicious - In this straight arm relay challenge, three contestants will pour smoothies over their heads and try to catch as much liquid in their mouths as possible!
  • BBQ Sauce Wrestling - BBQ Sauce Wrestling is back and better than ever! Four ladies will battle it out in a 500-gallon pit of BBQ sauce in order to capture their opponent’s flag! After two elimination rounds of best 2 out of 3, then an ultimate championship round, the BBQ Sauce Wrestling Queen will win a grand prize of $1,000! Are you saucy enough to take the challenge?

Some of the drivers who are scheduled (subject to change) to appear so far include: Clint Bowyer, Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Stenhouse, Bubba Wallace, Daniel Suarez, Kurt Busch, Daniel Hemric, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Matt Tifft, Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain, John Hunter Nemechek, Chase Briscoe and Garrett Smithley among others. The event is for infield camping guests, renewal guest ticket holders and fans with infield wristband admissions.

Saturday Night Infield Concert: Country music artist Granger Smith featuring Earl Dibbles Jr., will headline the Saturday Night Infield Concert, and will be joined by Chris Bandi and DJ Mark A.D. Admission is FREE to all infield guests & anyone who purchases a Sunday GEICO 500 ticket. Located at the intersection of Eastaboga and Talladega Blvds., festivities begin at 7 p.m. CDT.

Special Offers & Experiences

Saturday Pre-Race Pass: Fans can witness a host of morning activities from “pit alley,” which stretches from in front of Gatorade Victory Lane all the way to the entrance of the MENCS garage. It provides fans an up-close view of the vast preparations by the race teams from down in the trenches prior to the MoneyLion 300. In addition, there will be “Open Garages” Saturday morning for both the MENCS and the NXS. Will be available to the first 300 guests at each garage (first come, first served basis).

Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola, David Ragan, Daniel Suarez, Brad Keselowski and Dale Jarrett Join Fan Q&A Session: Prior to the GEICO 500, fans that purchase the Pre-Race Pit Pass Upgrade will get the opportunity to ask the drivers questions at the Fan Q&A session, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. CDT at the start-finish line.

Limited Time $69 Ticket Offer: The $69 ticket offer includes one Lincoln Grandstand ticket for the GEICO 500 and one Racing Electronics scanner and one headset, valid for the entire weekend, April 26-28.

Kids FREE on Friday & Saturday/As low as $15 Sunday: Kids 12 and younger can enjoy the GEICO 500 MENCS race for as low as $15 on Sunday while kids are admitted FREE in all grandstand and tower seats for Saturday’s MoneyLion 300 as well as Friday’s General Tire 200.

Kids VIP Experience Presented by Children’s of Alabama: Provides behind-the-scenes access for kids at NASCAR’s biggest track for kids 12 and younger prior to the GEICO 500.

Military & First Responders Appreciation presented by 1st Foundation: Talladega Superspeedway has special ticket offers for military and first responders (Police Officers, Firemen and EMT’s) and their families, for the GEICO 500 and MoneyLion 300.

Teachers & Educators Appreciation: Talladega recognizes and thanks educators and faculty members who work within our school districts to shape our youth into outstanding citizens. Those who work in the school system and qualify can save up to 30% off on various ticket options.

College Student Program: College students can purchase a $25 college ticket to attend the entire weekend full of festivities and racing, including the GEICO 500. Others accolades include: Free Entry to the Saturday Night Infield Concert and the “Big One on the Blvd.” party; Free parking and camping in the College Tailgate Zone in North Park all weekend (which includes a college party on Saturday at 5 p.m. with an appearance by Stenhouse); and General Admission Seating in the grandstand.

The VIP Tailgate Experience in The Compound: The space for the ultimate tailgating experience. Located just outside of the grandstands behind the start-finish line behind the gated Legends Village hospitality area.

Fan Zone: Talladega’s Fan Zone, located outside the fronstretch near Turn 4, will offer families a host of fun, music, as well as dozens of activities and interactive exhibits that showcase a multitude of companies involved in the sport.

National Anthem Performers:

  • Sunday’s GEICO 500: Continuing the tradition of the past nine Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series events at Talladega, the 313th United States Army Band from Birmingham will again play the song of our country before the start of the GEICO 500. The band is made up of citizen-soldiers who train and perform as a group of Army musicians. The group’s pure, instrumental version of the National Anthem has become a Sunday tradition at Talladega. In addition, the iconic Johnny Ray Semi Truck Drive By will take place during the Anthem.
  • Friday/Saturday: Hailing from Fairbanks, Alaska, Purple Heart recipient Sergeant Ian Wagner will sing the National Anthem prior to the General Tire 200 on Friday. Vocal artist Amia Nico from West Virginia will be performing the National Anthem prior to the MoneyLion 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday. 

Invocations: Handling the invocation for each of the races this weekend are members of Alabama Raceway Ministries: Claude Brown (General Tire 200), Billy Irvin (MoneyLion 300) and Mike Jackson (GEICO 500).

PARKING AND TRANSPORTATION

Preferred Regular Parking: Pay a little to save a lot (of steps) by parking behind the frontstretch grandstands.

FREE Parking: In addition to paid parking options, Talladega Superspeedway also offers free parking in several lots outside speedway property.

It all starts Friday with a full day of activity with all three series on-track for practice sessions, with the ARCA cars qualifying and taking the green flag at 5 p.m. CDT. Saturday’s slate includes time trials for the MoneyLion 300 at 9:10 a.m. CDT followed by the green flag for the event at noon CDT. Later in the afternoon, the premier series drivers will take to Talladega’s 33-degree banking for qualifying to determine the starting lineup for Sunday’s GEICO 500, which gets a 1 p.m. CDT start.

For information on everything listed above, plus all things Talladega Superspeedway and how to purchase tickets for the upcoming race weekend, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 855-518-RACE.

TSS PR

Utah-based Pit Viper Sunglasses (Pit Viper) will serve as the primary sponsor for Vinnie Miller in the No. 78 BJ McLeod Motorsports NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) Toyota Supra at Talladega Superspeedway.

Pit Viper has enjoyed a personal service relationship with Miller since his 2018 NXS rookie season. The partnership has evolved into sponsorship for the Saturday, April 27 MoneyLion 300, based upon the BJ McLeod Motorsports team’s support of the brand each weekend.

“I can’t thank Chuck Mumford (co-founder, Pit Viper) enough for jumping onboard to sponsor this No. 78 BJ McLeod Motorsports team in Talladega,” Vinnie Miller said. “We started a relationship last year where I’d wear the product to the track each weekend. They had activated at ISM Raceway in the fall where I was able to get to know them all and there was an immediate connection.

“Pit Viper represents sunglasses that can take a beating, having fun and not taking you self too seriously – I fit in that category pretty much every day, so it is a perfect fit. Hopefully, we will be able to have a great finish at Talladega for Chuck, Pit Viper Sunglasses and everyone that demands respect and authority.”

“Pit Viper is fully charged to announce our support for Vinnie Miller & BJ McLeod Motorsports,” Chuck Mumford, co-founder Pit Viper Sunglasses said. “We noticed Vinnie wearing our sunglasses around the track and immediately knew he was a Key Player. After getting to know Vinnie at the ISM Raceway in 2018, we have decided to support the underdog and bring him on. We’ve chosen Talladega for its legendary race history and fans as the race to announce our partnership with Vinnie Miller and BJ McLeod Motorsports. Talladega, let’s party!”

The MoneyLion 300 from Talladega Superspeedway is slated for Saturday, April 27. Live broadcast will live on Fox beginning at 1:30pm EST.

For more information on Vinnie Miller and BJ McLeod Motorsports visit www.vinniemillerracing.com / www.bjmcleodmotorsports.com

BJMM PR

Richmond Raceway (Richmond) and AEG Presents will welcome the Skillet and Sevendust’s co-headline Victorious War Tour, along with special guests Pop Evil and Devour The Day, to Virginia Credit Union LIVE! at Richmond Raceway on Tuesday, August 13 at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets will go on sale to the public online at vaculive.com or in-person at The National Box Office at 708 East Broad Street in Richmond, Va. on Friday, April 26 at 10 a.m. Virginia Credit Union and RICHMOND NATION members will receive an exclusive pre-sale for the Skillet and Sevendust concert on Thursday, April 25 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Skillet, who has sold more than 12 million units worldwide, has received two GRAMMY® Award nominations and won a Billboard Music Award for the platinum-certified Awake. Their double-platinum single “Monster” was the eighth most-streamed rock song of 2015 and currently has over 105 million plays (and counting) on Spotify, earning the distinction of becoming the best-selling digital single in the history of Christian Music. 2013’s The album, Rise, bowed at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 upon release and received resounding and eclectic acclaim from the likes of USA Today, New York Times, Revolver, Loudwire, and more.

The Wisconsin quartet’s latest album, Unleashed, debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 and the first single “Feel Invincible” went to #1 on the Rock Radio chart. The track “Stars” was featured in the motion picture The Shack, released last March. Skillet was recently nominated for three additional Billboard Music Awards and their songs have been used by the WWE, Marvel, ESPN and the NFL.

In 1994, Sevendust first forged a familial tie amongst each other that translated into one of the most diehard audiences in the game. To this day, the connection between fans and the GRAMMY® Award-nominated gold-certified hard rock outfit only grows stronger. For their twelfth full-length and first release for Rise Records All I See Is War, the quintet—Lajon Witherspoon on lead vocals, Clint Lowery on lead guitar and backing vocals, John Connolly on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Vince Hornsby on bass, and Morgan Rose on drums—did the best thing they could possibly do to combat all of the division in the streets and on social media; they went and made a Sevendust record—just bigger and bolder than before.

A trifecta of now-classic gold albums—Sevendust in 1997, Home in 1999, and Animosity in 2001 — ignited their journey. Known as an equally intense and unforgettable live force, they’ve consistently packed houses around the world and decimated stages everywhere from Rock on the Range and Woodstock to OZZfest and Shiprocked! 2015’s Kill The Flaw represented a high watermark. Bowing at #13 on the Billboard Top 200, it scored their highest debut on the respective chart since 2010 and marked their fifth consecutive Top 10 on the Top Rock Albums Chart and third straight Top 3 on the Hard Rock Albums Chart. Most impressively, the lead single “Thank You” garnered a nomination in the category of “Best Metal Performance” at the 2016 GRAMMY® Awards, a career first.

The Commonwealth Mall at Virginia Credit Union LIVE! will feature concessions, displays, and merchandise on the day of the event, with gates opening at 6:00 p.m. Parking for the event is located in Lot D, at the corner of Laburnum and Carolina Avenues, and can be accessed through Gate 4 on Laburnum Avenue. Parking is $10 cash only for the public and free for Virginia Credit Union members with lots opening at 5:00 p.m.

Virginia Credit Union LIVE! continues to bring top musical acts and superior concert experiences to music fans in the Richmond region. The venue has hosted top national recording artists such as Aerosmith, Sting, Jimmy Buffett, Dave Matthews Band, Elvis Costello, Robert Plant, and Florida Georgia Line.

To purchase tickets and learn more about Virginia Credit Union LIVE!, visit vaculive.com or connect on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. To learn more about Skillet, visit skillet.com. For more information on Sevendust, visit sevendust.com.

Richmond Raceway PR

Last year, Joe Graf, Jr. (No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford) came to Talladega Superspeedway as a raw, untested rookie. His experience had been gained on the short tracks of the Midwest and the Northeast, and two ARCA Menards Series starts at Nashville and Salem. He had no experience in the draft at Talladega, or any experience on a track longer than a mile for that matter.

“When I arrived at Talladega and got on the track for the first time, it wasn’t anything like I had ever experienced in my life,” Graf said. “It was amazing. I was gleaming ear to ear even after getting out of the car. You have to remember – before that point I had been on mainly short tracks with very big track experience.

“Then I go to Talladega and I was like a kid on Christmas day. Definitely something that will stick with me for a long, long time.”

Graf left Talladega that day the runner-up finisher, but that notation in the record book belies the significance of his efforts.

Graf qualified seventeenth and worked his way towards the front through the 76-lap duel on Talladega’s famous 33-degree banking. By the time the field was in line for a one-lap overtime dash to the checkered, Graf was lined up alongside race leader Zane Smith. Graf received drafting help from Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) down the backstretch, but by the time they hit the tri-oval Graf and Smith and broken away and were engaged in a fender-banging duel for the win. When they flashed across the stripe, it was a photo finish, with the computer scoring monitors registering a margin of 0.000, a statistical dead heat.

A review of the video camera at the line showed Smith ahead by just a matter of inches, almost imperceptible to the naked eye at full speed. Graf would be forced to settle for second.

“It still hurts,” Graf said with a chuckle. “It was amazing for our Chad Bryant Racing team to be in that position and avoid all the late race carnage. On that last start, I had a good restart and my spotter (Brian Crammer) was keeping me well aware of what I needed to do. It was five minutes full of exhilaration, excitement and disappointment.

“I hate that we ended up second, but at the end of the day – it’s still cool to be a part of ARCA history.”

Graf returns to Talladega with a full season of ARCA Menards Series experience under his belt. He even evened the score with Smith, winning his own fender-banging duel to the finish at Berlin Raceway in August. After a frustrating run at Daytona, a sister track to Talladega, Graf is ready to return and pick up the final piece of the puzzle from last season.

“We feel very confident that we can come back to Talladega and contend for the win,” he said. “We have the same car we had at Daytona. Chad (Bryant, crew chief and team owner) have been working hard to get our Ford Fusion ready for the race.

“You’d like to think we can come back and duplicate or better our finish from last year – but let’s get real. It’s Talladega. You have to be prepared for anything. For us, we’d love to win. It would be a huge boost for us and help in our hunt to get back in this championship fight.”

Graf’s day at Daytona was ruined by overheating issues, a problem caused when a plastic bag from the grandstands landed on his grille. To raise awareness about the problem’s plastic pollution is causing, Graf and his sponsors will award one lucky fan with a reusable shopping bag filled with $1,000 in cash after Talladega.

“We’re proud of the sweepstakes,” Graf noted. “It’s taken a lot of work by my team and my marketing partner EAT SLEEP RACE. But when you think about it, they are giving away cash money to someone for a good cause. It’s humbling for me to be able to announce the winner and look forward to doing stuff like this in the future.”

Practice for the General Tire 200 is scheduled for 9:30 am ET/8:30 am CT on Friday, April 26, followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 3:35 pm ET/2:35 pm CT. The green flag will drop on the General Tire 200 at 6 pm ET/5 pm CT. The race will be shown live on FS1. ARCA for Me members will be able to follow live timing & scoring, live track updates, and live chat throughout all on-track activity for free at ARCARacing.com. New members can join for free by registering at ARCARacing.com/login.

ARCA Racing PR

Tickets to the ValleyStar Credit Union 300, which will be held at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday night, October 5, are on sale now.

NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious Late Model Stock Car race regularly sees more than 70 of the best Late Model drivers in the country fight for a piece of the $100,000 purse, a grandfather clock and having their name mentioned among the best to ever race a Late Model Stock Car.

“This is just a fun race weekend. There’s no real other way to describe it,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “It’s fun for the drivers and teams, it’s fun for our staff, but, most importantly, it’s fun for the fans. There is something for everyone, from beating-and-banging, to wrecks, to great racing. There is a lot of action on literally every lap.”

The race will, once again, also serve as the final race in the Virginia Triple Crown. The Triple Crown is a an additional $10,000 bonus rewarding the best finishing positions in the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 at South Boston Speedway, the Hampton Heat 200 at Langley Speedway and the ValleyStar Credit Union 300.

Tickets to the race are general admission and are $30 for adults and $5 for youth 12-and-under. Camping for the weekend starts at $25.

Tickets to the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 can be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

Martinsville Speedway PR

It seems that week two at Mahoning Valley Speedway has become a favorite for Bobby Jones as for the third straight season the classy veteran picked up a win in the Modified feature. The 35-lap main turned out to be a great showdown as well between him and Earl Paules as they battled down to the wire.

“For three years in a row we were terrible on opening night and I could never understand why. After this year’s opener we went back and did a lot of tweaking,” said Jones who won for the 23rd time at Mahoning in a Modified and recorded his 40th career overall victory.

Jones, who started second to pole sitter Ron Haring Jr., would place his No. 1J into the lead with a quick diving move off turn two on lap six. Two laps later after a restart Paules advanced to second and from there on it was a cat and mouse game between the two journeymen.

Paules tried numerous attempts to get by but as Jones would admit afterwards he was being very protective, especially on the inside lane where he choose to remain for most of the race.

“I slowed down to protect the bottom – I didn’t want to give that up because here once someone gets position on you on the bottom they got you,” said Jones.

For Jones, it wasn’t just about keeping his lane but restarts were a factor as well. Paules, who clocked faster times throughout the event, showed several times that if he could just get the run needed after restarting that the outcome would certainly have been in his favor.

“I told him (Paules) when he came alongside me on the restarts I had to be up on the wheel because he’s no slouch. He’s been at this game a long time and knows the tricks and the things to try and help yourself and I knew I had to be at my best in that situation against him,” bottom lined Jones.

Over the final laps the excitement was rousing, most notably on the last circuit. With the front pair locked tight they came upon a slower car in turns 3 and 4. Jones had to react quickly as to not get trapped as Paules had a clear line from the topside to make a pass. As fate would have it for Jones he wisely stepped out enough to safeguard his spot but just barely as he held off Paules by a mere half car length.

“I actually thought we were okay and we were just going to relax and stay there and I kind of relaxed too much and shouldn’t have,” explained Jones.

“At the last minute I was going to go out on the lapped car because Earl was coming. As soon as I started to step out I seen him and didn’t go out as high as I should to give him room. There was a lot of respect and it was fun and good racing for both of us.”

Josh Scherer and Anthony Sesely had great dogfight themselves and would finish third and fourth respectively. For Sesely, who is back racing at Mahoning for the first time in years, the placing elevated him into the point lead. Gene Bowers had a respectable run in rounding out the top five.

Matt Wentz would take the lead in the Late Model main on lap one and never look back en route to his first win of 2019.

It was however, no easy drive as Opening Night winner Frankie Althouse, Broc Brown and eventual runner-up Mike Sweeney all kept the leader on his toes.

In the end however, Wentz was not to be denied as he picked up where he had left off at the end of 2018 with a string of solid and winning runs to notch the verdict, his fourth win in his last five outings dating back to last season.

19-year old Kyle Strohl held off Roger Coss in a close finish, winning for the first time with a Sportsman Modified and the 35th time of his burgeoning career.

This was the first feature of the season for the second year class and it was with much anticipation too as a rule change to a slick tire, the same used as the Late Models, was now permitted and the difference was noticed immediately during the heat race when passing and two-wide action was established a then for the feature where much of the same occurred.

Newcomer Jonathan Laureigh led from the pole over Strohl for the first dozen laps. After that Roger Coss zeroed in on Strohl and the pair stayed close-knit to the end.

Defending Street Stock champion Mark Deysher moved to the lead after a lap one restart over Jeremy Scheckler and from there on was practically unapproachable in scoring his 22nd class win.

Although he showed all kinds of strength, Deysher did have a late race challenge from a car considered as equal to his as his teammate, Bill Hunara, was able to pull up to his rear bumper but trying to go any further was not in the cards. None the less it was a fitting triumph in a complete team effort.

Not to be undone a second pair of team cars would follow in third and fourth with Randy Ahner Jr., and Mark Martini.

Bobby Kibler Sr., first started winning in the Pro 4 class some 29 years ago and hasn’t stopped since. Kibler jumped into the lead at the outset and then handily cruised the rest of the way for his 21st feature win.

In the Hobby Stocks Cody Boehm gave early leader Daryl Rex a spirited run for his money and would see it pay off after grabbing the lead mid-way through he race and then go on to score his first win of the young season over Al Arthofer and Devin Schmidt who were right on his tail at the checkers.

Modified Feature Finish (35-laps): 1. Bobby Jones, 2. Earl Paules, 3. Josh Scherer, 4. Anthony Sesely, 5. Gene Bowers, 6. Kyle Strohl, 7. Todd Baer, 8. Brian DeFebo, 9. Austin Beers, 10. Kevin Rex Jr., 11. John Markovic, 12. Terry Markovic, 13. Jacob Kerstetter, 14. Ron Haring Jr., 15. Heath Metzger DNS: Scott Adams

Late Model Feature Finish (25-laps): 1. Mike Wentz, 2. Mike Sweeney, 3. Broc Brown. 4. Frankie Althouse, 5. Jeremy Miller, 6. Samantha Osborn, 7. Kenny Hein, 8. Avery Arthofer, 9. Geno Steigerwalt

Street Stock Feature Finish (30-laps): 1.Mark Deysher, 2. Billy Hunara, 3. Randy Ahner Jr., 4. Mark Martini, 5. Jill Long, 6. Todd Ahner, 7. Randy Schlenker, 8. Stacey Brown, 9. Jared Ahner, 10. Jon Moser, 11. Jamie Smith, 12. Tucker Muffley, 13. Bobby Kibler Jr., 14. Brennen Coulter, 15. Jeremy Scheckler, 16. John Bennett, 17. Shayne Geist, 18. Corey Edelman, 19 Eric Kocher, 20. Aaron Kromer DNQ: Ronald Herman, Cody Geist

Sportsman Mod Feature Finish (25-laps): 1. Kyle Strohl, 2. Roger Cross, 3. Johnathan Laureigh, 4. Joe King Jr., 5, Lorin Arthofer II, 6. BJ Wambold, 7. Mike Pollack, 8. Kassidy Altemose, 9. Danielle Paules

Pro 4 Feature Finish (20-laps): 1. Bobby Kibler Sr., 2. Randy Schaffer, 3. Tyler Stangle, 4. Tucker Muffley, 5. Jake Kibler, 6. Matt Clark, 7. Jeremy Guerra DNS: Colton Breiner

Hobby Stock Feature Finish (25-laps): 1. Cody Boehm, 2. Al Arthofer, 3. Devin Schmidt, 4. Travis Solomon, 5. Trisha Connolly, 6. Shawn Kistler, 7. Jacob Boehm, 8. Taylor Schmidt, 9. Philip Sabatine, 10. Daryl Rex, 11. Terry Peters, 12. John Petro, 13. Tyler Nemeth, 14. Austin Ahner, 15. Mallory Kutz, 16. Tad Snyder, 17. Peyton Arthofer, 18. Lyndsay Buss

MVS PR

For some stock car drivers, it takes years of practice and experience to gain a level of comfort at the sport’s two biggest and fastest race tracks, Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. The style of racing, in which drivers stay on the throttle all the way around while using the draft – or the slipstream of the car in front of you – to stay within the pack and to make passes. It’s a very specialized skill set, to say the least.

For Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota), he has about three weeks’ worth of experience, coming earlier this year at Daytona. He spent two days testing along with his Venturini Motorsports teammates, then returned for the ARCA Menards Series season opener at the 2.5-mile tri-oval. Eckes qualified on the General Tire Pole, ran up front all night long and crossed the finish line in fourth place at the end. Eckes stayed for another week and matched his qualifying performance for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports.  He started from the pole and ran up front but was swept into a crash not of his doing and finished a disappointing 22nd.

Eckes picked up on that specialized skill set quickly.

“It’s really easy honestly when you have fast race cars,” Eckes said. “And this has been the case so far as my superspeedway career, I’ve sat on both poles. The race is pretty straight forward, don’t lose the draft and be there at the end and you’ll have a shot at a win.”

Eckes now focuses his attention on Daytona’s sister track, Talladega Superspeedway. He’s especially anxious to return to action after missing the series’ last event at Salem Speedway due to illness, which dropped him from the lead to fifth in the series championship standings.

While he does have some experience at Daytona, and some success, the track at Talladega does have some noticeable differences. Those differences often make the races play out a little differently.

“I honestly feel like we will have a shot at it,” he said. “We did at Daytona, and I feel if one or two things changed during the race we could have won. It’ll be the same car that’s sat on two straight speedway poles, so I know the car will be there again. All we have to do is execute and we’ll end up having a shot.”

The list of drivers that have won an ARCA Menards Series race at Talladega is long, and some have used that victory to catapult to success in NASCAR’s upper divisions. Eckes would like to follow in the footsteps of those before him like Mark Martin and Davey Allison, both of whom won at Talladega to jumpstart their stock car careers.

“It’d mean a lot to win at Talladega,” he said. “After the past week it’d be a damn good comeback, and how the points situation is looking it’s crucial to have a good race here. All we can do is execute and do our jobs the best we can, and I know that my team and I can do it.”

The 57th ARCA Menards Series event at Talladega Superspeedway, the General Tire 200, is scheduled for Friday, April 26, the opening event of the track’s 50th Anniversary season. Practice is scheduled for that morning at 9:30 am ET/8:30 am CT, followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 3:35 pm ET/2:35 pm CT. The General Tire 200 will go green shortly after 6 pm ET/5 pm CT and will be televised live on FS1. ARCA for Me members can access live timing & scoring, live track updates, and live chat for free throughout all on-track sessions at ARCARacing.com. New members can register at ARCARacing.com/login.

ARCA Racing PR

Even though the 57th season just started at Grandview Speedway, Craig Von Dohren and Brad Brightbill struggled in their respective divisions at the onset of the new campaign.

Saturday night at the 1/3-mile Berks Co. clay oval, crew chief Josh Bashore had Von Dohren’s car dialed in on the slippery surface as a result of heavy rains. The track crew is to be complimented on getting the track race ready after the downpours throughout Friday night and Saturday morning and late afternoon.

Von Dohren took advantage of the situation when race leader Tim Buckwalter went too high coming off turn three on the 15th lap to put the K.L. Harring Transportation/Nick Gatto powered No. 1C in the lead. He outdistanced himself from the others and went on to chalk up his first win of the year in the TP Trailers 358 NASCAR Modified feature.

The TP Trailers Truck Equipment 25-lap NASCAR Sportsman feature saw Brightbill overtake Ryan Beltz on the eighth lap to go on to score his first win of the year ending his four-year winless drought. His last win came on August 22, 2015.

Von Dohren and Brightbill both earned extra monetary awards from T.P. Trailers, product awards from VP Fuels providing they met the requirements and the Dan’s Deli ½-way hoagie awards.

Brett Peters and Curt Neiman were the winners in the 20-lap Blast From The Past feature. Peters won the modified class while Neiman took the small car feature win.

Modified action saw polesitter Buckwalter spring into the early lead and within no time he was gaining ground over the competition being chased by Clay Butler, John Willman and rookie racers Joe Funk III and Dylan Swinehart.

Lap 13 was an unlucky one for rookie racer Louden Reimert when he was sidelined with a right rear flat tire bringing out the caution. It was still Buckwalter in control, but now Butler, Von Dohren, Kevin Hirthler and Funk III composed the top five.

Buckwalter got into the loose marbles and before he could get the Saxton Motorsports mount composed Von Dohren and Willman got past him for first and second.

Once Von Dohren was in the lead it didn’t take him long to pull away trailed by Willman, Buckwalter, Hirthler and Butler.

The field never closed in on Von Dohren since no more cautions were needed and he pulled into victory lane for his 106th Saturday night career win. The biggest disappointment had to be for Willman. After taking the white flag he pulled into the infield on the backstretch out of competition. Hirthler went on to finish second followed by Buckwalter, Rick Laubach and last week’s feature winner Brett Kressley. Sixth through tenth were Butler, Frank Cozze, D. Swinehart, Briggs Danner and Jeff Strunk.

Heats were won by Buckwalter, Butler, Ray Swinehart and D. Swinehart. Bobby Trapper Jr. and Kyle Weiss were the consi winners.

Beltz took the early lead from the pole in the Sportsman feature followed by Nathan Mohr, Brightbill, Kenny Bock and Andy Clemmer.

Brightbill motored into second on the second circuit to pressure Beltz for first.

Blake Reber spun in the fourth turn to bring out the caution with seven laps completed. On the restart Brightbill charged into first to become the new pacesetter.

With Brightbill now in control the battle behind him for the remaining positions was between Beltz, Bock, Mohr and rookie Kyle Smith.

Bock’s strong third place run ended when he came to a half along the homestretch on the 19th lap. Brightbill held his first place spot when action resumed, but now Beltz was sidelined with a flat tire, but he pulled off the track to avoid another caution.

Brightbill never faltered and went on to claim his sixth career victory followed by R. Smith, Brad Arnold, Kyle Lilick and Dean Backman. Rounding out the top ten were Brad Brim, Mark Kemmerer, last week’s feature winner Jack Butler, Nate Klinger and Brian Hirthler.

Beltz, Mohr and Bock won the heats. The consi was won by Josh Adams.

The excitement of Sprint car racing combined with the T.P.Trailers Modifieds and T.P.Truck Equipment Sportsman will be the attraction next Saturday, April 27th. The Delaware Auto Exchange Mid-Atlantic Sprint Series 305 Sprinters will make their first appearance of the new season with Tom Carberry, Tim Tanner, Jeff Geiges, recent winner Bryant Davis and others expected to participate. Adult admission is $18 with youngsters under 12 admitted free. And there is free parking on the speedway grounds. The tripleheader racing action will have a 7 p.m. starting time.

The Blast from the Past Vintage racers join the Modifieds and Late Models on Saturday, May 4. It is important for fans to note that the starting time is moving to 7:30 p.m. for Saturday night events with this show.

Information on what is going on at Grandview Speedway can be found at www.grandviewspeedway.com, Facebook or telephone 610.754.7688.

RACE RESULTS

T.P. Trailers Modified Feature (30 laps): 1. Craig Von Dohren, 2. Kevin Hirthler, 3. Tim Buckwalter, 4. Rick Laubach, 5. Brett Kressley, 6. Clay Butler. 7. Frank Cozze, 8. Dylan Swinehart. 9. Briggs Danner, 10. Jeff Strunk, 11. Kenny Gilmore, 12. Kyle Weiss, 13. Joe Funk III, 14. Danny Erb, 15. Craig Whitmoyer, 16. Alex Yankowski, 17. Doug Manmiller, 18. Ryan Grim, 19. Duane Howard, 20. Steve Swinehart, 21. Bobby Trapper Jr., 22. John Willman, 23. Meme DeSantis, 24. Ray Swinehart, 25. Mike Laise, 26. Louden Reimert, 27. Mike Lisowski and 28. Chris Gambler. DNQ: Ron Seltmann Jr., Richie Hitzler, Ryan Lilick, Jordan Henn, Bobby Gunther Walsh, Ron Myers, Jared Umbenhauer, Colt Harris, Frank Yankowski, Mark Kratz, Steve Wilson, Skylar Sheriff, Justin Grim and Eric Biehn.

T.P. Trailers Truck Equipment Sportsman Feature (25 laps): 1. Brad Brightbill, 2. Kyle Smith, 3. Brad Arnold, 4. Kyle Lilick, 5. Dean Bachman, 6. Brad Grim, 7. Mark Kemmerer, 8. Jack Butler, 9. Nathan Klinger, 10. Brian Hirthler, 11. Nate Brinker, 12. Andy Clemmer, 13. Jesse Landis, 14. Andrew Kreis, 15. Aaron Bowes, 16. Josh Adams, 17. Blake Reber (alternate), 18. Nathan Mohr, 19. Ryan Beltz, 20. Kenny Bock, 21. B.J. Joly, 22. Derrick Smith, 23. Joey Vaccaro, 24. Tom Miller. DNS: Parker Guldin. DNQ: Matt Koffel, Scott Kohler, Warren Floyd Jr., Sean Weiss.

Blast From The Past Vintage Feature (20 laps): 1. Brett Peters, 2. Todd Lap, 3. Mike Kelly, 4. Curt Neiman, 5. Bobby Hall, 6. Wyatt Jacobus Sr., 7. Brock Jacobus, 8. Rich Decker, 9. Dominique Deglas, 10. Tom Orth, 11. Kevin Sponagle, 12. Wes Cassel, 13. Jamie Undercoffler, 14. Bill Gerhart.

Grandview Speedway PR

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