Speedway News (8538)
Keep up on racing and speedway news from around the US
The last concrete pour to complete the structure of Talladega Superspeedway’s new Turn 3 Oversized Vehicle Tunnel took place this week.
The Oversized Vehicle Tunnel, which is scheduled for completion in time for the track’s April 26-28, spring motorsports tripleheader weekend featuring the GEICO 500, MoneyLion 300 and General Tire 200, is the initial development of the approximately $50 million Transformation – The Talladega Superspeedway Infield Project presented by Graybar. It is part of International Speedway Corporation’s (Talladega’s parent company) long-term capital allocation plan and reinvestment into its major motorsports complexes. The new 2-lane tunnel will be capable of allowing vehicles as large as race team haulers and fans’ recreational vehicles to enter and exit the track simultaneously with ease. It will be open 24 hours during event weekends. Backfilling to cover the outside and top of the tunnel has begun with compacted stone and is expected to be completed sometime next week.
Construction efforts also moving along well for the spring opening of the new Finish Line Premium RV area (located just past the start-finish line & includes full hookups). The speedway will also offer new Infield Shower Trailers in April.
The culmination of Transformation – The Talladega Superspeedway Infield Project presented by Graybar will occur this October and will allow fans to be immersed into the sport of NASCAR with a one-of-a-kind Talladega Garage Experience, which will feature “up-close” access, interactive attractions and enhanced amenities for fans, sponsors, teams and stakeholders in the iconic Talladega infield.
Fans can learn more about the project and view the progress 24/7 via the construction cam by visiting www.talladegasuperspeedway.
“From the ‘Birthplace of Country Music’ in Bristol to the home of country music in Nashville, we join all Tennesseans in welcoming the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards Ceremony to the Volunteer State,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway. “Music City never misses a beat when hosting high-profile events, and every race fan will want to join in when the stars of NASCAR roar into town for this season-ending celebration.”
Chicagoland Speedway announced today that Jeff Stanton, a three-time AMA Motocross and three-time AMA Supercross National Champion, will race in the inaugural Chicagoland Speedway Pit Bike National during the 2019 NASCAR Summer Festival weekend June 27-30.
During his illustrious career that spanned from ’86-’94, Stanton won 22 of AMA Motocross races and 22 AMA Supercross races. He is 13th on the all-time AMA Supercross win list, 10th on the all-time AMA Supercross podium list and fifth on the all-time AMA Supercross Championship title list.
Stanton will join seven-time AMA National Champion Ryan Villopoto in the Chicagoland Speedway Pit Bike National starting lineup.
Competitors will race equally prepared Yamaha TTR 110cc motocross bikes throughout the weekend. Stay tuned for additional information as the complete event schedule and rider entry list will be announced at a later date.
“I am excited to be a part of the first-ever Chicagoland Speedway Pit Bike National,” said Stanton. “I enjoy watching the NASCAR races every week, and am a big fan and supporter of those guys. I have never had the opportunity to race against Ryan Villopoto, so it will be fun to give him a little old school stuff on the track. This is going to be a blast!”
A Saturday ticket package with preferred viewing starts at $35.A Sunday ticket package with preferred viewing and a rider autograph session starts at $50 and both packages include a grandstand ticket. The Chicagoland Speedway Pit Bike National ticket is included with a NASCAR grandstand ticket. For more information, click here.
Chicagoland Speedway Pit Bike National Current Lineup (2 of 10 spots filled)
- Ryan Villopoto
- Jeff Stanton
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway will take place in June as part of the four-race weekend June 27 – June 30. The weekend will kick off on Thursday, June 27 with the ARCA Menards Series Bounty 150 followed by NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Camping World 225 under the lights on Friday night. On Saturday, the NASCAR Xfinity Series Camping World 300 will hit the track as the precursor to Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Camping World 400 showdown.
To purchase tickets to any 2019 Chicagoland Speedway event, visit us online at www.ChicagolandSpeedway.com, call 888-629-RACE (7223), download the Chicagoland Speedway mobile app, visit the Chicagoland Speedway Administrative office or stop by the box office on the day of the event.
Multi-platinum rock band Sum 41 will headline the pre-race concert to kick off the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 race on Sunday, March 17 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.
The Grammy-nominated band (vocalist, guitarist Deryck Whibley, guitarists Dave “Brownsound” Baksh and Tom Thacker, bassist Cone McCaslin and drummer Frank Zummo) will perform on the main stage in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Fan Zone from 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Sum 41 hits include “In Too Deep,” “War,” “Fat Lip, “Breaking the Chain,” “Over My Head,” and “13 Voices,” among others.
With a race ticket, fans will receive access to the O’Reilly Auto Parts Fan Zone including the Sum 41 concert, NASCAR driver appearances, autograph sessions, Monster Energy Smoke Show, Lucha Libre, and other family fun.
Tickets start at $50.00 to see Sum 41 and to watch Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 race.
Call 1-800-944-RACE (7223), shop online www.autoclubspeedway.com, or stop by the Auto Club Speedway ticket office at 9300 Cherry Ave. in Fontana.
Auto Club Speedway announces WWE Superstar Rey Mysterio, as the Honorary Pace Car Driver for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 race at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, March 17. The WWE Superstar is hopping out of the ring to get behind the wheel of the Official NASCAR 2019 Toyota Supra Pace Car where he will lead the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers before the start of the Auto Club 400 at 12:30 p.m. PT/3:30 p.m. ET, televised on FOX.
New this year, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers will line up for a “Five Wide Salute” during the pace laps to pay homage to Saturday night short tracks and to celebrate Auto Club Speedway’s signature racing style of flat out and five wide.
The San Diego native is known for his high-flying style and signature masked look, which has made him one of the well-known and beloved competitors of all-time.
Mysterio is one of the most decorated Superstars in history, becoming a Triple Crown Champion in 2011. Mysterio has won the WWE Championship, World Heavyweight Championship (2x), Intercontinental Championship (2x), Cruiserweight Championship (3x) and Tag Team Championships (4x) during his illustrious career. He also won the Royal Rumble in 2006.
With a race ticket and pre-race pit pass, fans will be able to see Rey Mysterio participate in the pre-race ceremonies, and will also receive access to the O’Reilly Auto Parts Fan Zone featuring live entertainment, NASCAR driver appearances, Monster Energy Smoke Shows, Lefty’s Fun Zone, celebrity appearances and motorsport displays.
To purchase tickets to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Club 400 race, call 800-944-RACE (7223), log on to www.autoclubspeedway.com, or visit the Auto Club Speedway ticket office at 9300 Cherry Avenue, Fontana.
When the STP 500 weekend presented by whosyourdriver.org kicks off on Friday, March 22 at Martinsville Speedway, there will be plenty to do for fans, especially kids, and it’s all free – for everyone.
The day will kick off with a practice session for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Series, followed by a Truck Series autograph session and ending with the annual Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Hauler Parade.
“We pride ourselves on giving the best experience at the best prices and there is no better price than free,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “It’s a great way to start the weekend and a great way to bring the family out, without breaking the bank.”
The fun, and affordability, doesn’t end on Friday. On Saturday, youth 17-and-under are admitted free to the Gander Outdoors Truck Series race and adult tickets are $30 in advance and increases to $35 on March 16.
Saturday’s slate includes the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series 250-lap race, along with practice and Virginia Lottery Pole Qualifying for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series STP 500. Following qualifying, fans will be able to attend the free FanFest, which will include prizes, music, and some of the biggest names in the sport.
On Sunday, youth 17-and-under are admitted to the STP 500 for $25 and adult pricing starts at $47.
The STP 500 is the first short-track race of the season and the first race back on the East Coast after NASCAR’s “West Coast Swing.”
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.
Martinsville Speedway PR
Opening Day is still a couple weeks away at South Boston Speedway, but the track will rumble to life this Saturday with the track’s annual open practice, traditionally held one week before the season-opener.
For most of the drivers the season-opener on March 16 is the biggest day of the year, but this Saturday’s practice session isn’t far behind.
“It’s like a first date for all of us,” reigning South Boston Speedway Late Model Stock champion Peyton Sellers said of the upcoming open practice. “We’ll be adjusting to a few new rules, some new team members. And the track has been vacant for six months. There are a lot of changes that we have made in the off season that we feel will affect everyone, so it’s important to get ahead of the curve quicker than our competitors.”
Registration begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, with cars on track from 10 a.m. until noon when there will be an hour break for lunch. Cars will be back on track from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with the garage closing at 5 p.m. The practice is open to the public at no charge. All divisions, Late Model Stock, Limited Sportsman, Pure Stock and Hornets, will be practicing.
South Boston Speedway’s season-opener, the Danville Toyota NASCAR Late Model Twin 100s, is scheduled for Saturday, March 16 with gates opening at 12:30 p.m. and the green flag falling at 2 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and children 12 and under admitted free.
Thomas Scott, who finished third in the 2018 Late Model points chase behind Sellers and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion Philip Morris, said he hopes to break Saturday’s open practice into two separate parts.
“First we’ll just be shaking the car down to make sure there are no issues where it was completely disassembled over the winter,” said Scott. “We’ll be breaking in the refreshed engine, seating in the new brakes, stuff like that.
“Once all is good there, then we will work on the set up of the car, starting off with last year’s set up to see how much the track has changed over the past six months since we were on it last. I have some new stuff I want to try to see if it makes the car better or not.”
Not everyone can make it to Saturday’s day-long practice. Trey Crews, who is moving up to Late Models this season after winning a second Limited Division title in 2018, will be tied up with work and unable to make it to the track.
“We’ve worked hard in the off season getting ready to make a run at the Late Model division,” said Crews, praising the support of Stallings Collision Centers, Mincey Graphics, Elite Recycling and his dad, H.E. Crews. “I hope to test the Friday before the opening race. We already shook it down once and were pleased with the car.
“Our goal is to come out and have fun like last year and hopefully everything falls into place. We’re excited about the 16th (the opener) and hope our performance from last year rolls over into this season.”
Defending Pure Stock champion Jordan Pickrel isn’t sure he will make it Saturday either. He will, though, practice at least once before opening day on March 16.
“We will be looking to get back in the swing of things, getting myself back in rhythm,” said Pickrel. “We’ll try some things that we worked on over the winter and experiment. We’re not sure where the track is going to be due to aging over the winter. I expect we are probably going to have a little less grip this year so I’m sure that will be a learning curve.”
Tickets for the Danville Toyota NASCAR Late Model Twin 100s on the afternoon of March 16 may be purchased in advance by calling 877.440.1540 or by stopping by the office between the hours of 9 to 5 Monday through Friday.
Two ARCA Menards Series championship contenders, West Virginia’s Travis Braden and New Jersey’s Joe Graf, Jr., are heading to the second event of the 2019 season, the March 9 ARCA Pensacola 200 presented by Inspectra Thermal Solutions at Five Flags Speedway, each looking for their second career victory.
Braden (No. 27 MatrixCare/Consonus Health Care/Liberty Village Ford), a two-time ARCA/CRA Super Series late model champion, stunned the ARCA Menards Series when he pulled off an improbable victory in his first career series start at Lucas Oil Raceway in 2015. Driving for his family’s self-funded team, Braden made sporadic series appearances in 2016 and 2017 before getting the call to drive for Don Fike’s RFMS Racing team to close the 2017 season.
One of just three full-time employees of the RFMS team, Braden does much more than just drive the racecar. He puts his education to good use within the team too; he has dual degrees from West Virginia University in aerospace and mechanical engineering. Braden earned those degrees while pursuing and achieving short track glory. He was attending classes full-time when he earned those ARCA/CRA Super Series championships in 2013 and 2014.
“Obviously, always having attended school throughout my childhood while racing somewhat prepared me for doing it while attending college, but it really turned out to be an exceedingly difficult task,” Braden said. “Not only because I was reaching a higher level of racing, in the ARCA/CRA Super Series which required more time and focus, but I also chose to study two degrees, both very challenging. I also chose to exceed the "recommended" curriculum pace and graduate early. I did all this from hundreds of miles away from the race shops I worked in and race tracks we raced at. For those four years, if I wasn't sleeping, I was on the go somewhere. Oddly enough, I really enjoyed staying full-throttle.
“A lot of people have asked me if I feel as though I'd be higher up the ranks if I hadn't gone to college, and I really don't know the answer, nor do I really care. It wasn't an option. I had no desire to gamble one hundred percent on racing being my only career. What I do know, is the life I chose to live through that stage of early adulthood has really given me the confidence that no matter how insurmountable a task may be, it can be accomplished with enough desire and dedication.”
Braden is currently sixth in the ARCA Menards Series championship standings, 30 points behind second-place Christian Eckes. Point leader Harrison Burton, winner in the ARCA opener at Daytona, is racing fulltime in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series and is not entered at Five Flags.
A short track specialist, Braden has a lot of experience and dozens of paved half-mile tracks across the country. But despite his experience and success across the Midwest, he doesn’t have a lot of laps at Five Flags Speedway. His career includes only two attempts at Five Flags, the 2014 Snowball Derby and the 2016 Snowflake 100. Lady Luck wasn’t kind in either attempt, something he and his dedicated team are working hard to reverse when the ARCA Menards Series takes to the track.
“Unfortunately, I’ve not gotten as much experience at Five Flags as I would like to have, being the short track guy I am,” Braden said. “In the few times I've been there, we've always been fast, but never had the whole deal come together. Whether it be failing tech inspection, having a tire failure, or most recently getting rained out, I've actually never run a full-race yet in Pensacola. I'm glad the ARCA Menards Series is going to Five Flags this year. I feel like it's going to be a great show, and a great race for RFMS Racing.”
If there is anyone who Braden can relate to on the track, Joe Graf. Jr. (No. 77 Eat Sleep Race Ford) may be the one. While their backgrounds are vastly different, Graf is following in Braden’s educational footsteps. Graf is studying business, media, and sports management at New York University full-time while also pursuing the ARCA Menards Series championship.
“The biggest challenge has been balancing the college work load with racing every weekend,” Graf said. “I am a full-time student so I have twelve hours of classes on Monday, then one on Tuesday and another big day on Wednesday before we fly out to go racing for the weekend. I’d get back on Sunday and try to get all of my work done.
“There always has to be something after your sport,” he continued. “No athlete plays forever, no racecar driver drives forever. I still want to be a part of the industry after I am done racing, and the best way to do that is to get a great education.”
Graf is currently 19th in the ARCA Menards Series championship standings after overheating problems put him several laps down at Daytona. Graf earned his first series win in a fender-banging duel with Zane Smith at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan last August. Berlin is known for its weathered asphalt surface that is abrasive on tires, something it has in common with Five Flags. With previous success at Berlin, Graf hopes it translates to another win.
“I’m really excited to see a new track on the ARCA Menards Series tour this year,” Graf said. “I don’t have any prior experience at Five Flags, but we tested there with our No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford and I think that test will put us a little farther ahead for race weekend.
“The short tracks are tough in ARCA competition and even though it’s a new track, I expect the race to be very competitive. We had some bad luck at Daytona, so we’re all eager to go to Five Flags and have a good showing that will give our Chad Bryant Racing team some momentum heading into Nashville and Salem.”
Braden and Graf and the rest of the ARCA Menards Series take to the half-mile Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida on Saturday, March 9. Practice starts at 1 pm ET/12 pm CT; General Tire Pole Qualifying is set for 4:30 pm ET/3:30 pm CT; and the ARCA Pensacola 200 is set to go green at 8 pm ET/7 pm CT and will be televised live on MAVTV. ARCARacing.com will have live timing & scoring, live chat, and live track updates throughout all on track sessions free for ARCA for Me members. New members may register for free at ARCARacing.com/login.
ARCA Racing PR
Green and checkered arguably are the favorite color schemes of any Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge enthusiast, but fans also should look out for another one of their preferred hues very soon.
The initial ticket mailing - sent in the famous light-blue envelopes from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Ticket Office - started today for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 26.
Federal postal inspectors come to IMS with a large truck for the first mailing, and many IMS employees pitch in to help load the truck. NTT IndyCar Series driver Zach Veach of Andretti Autosport also helped load tickets for mailing Monday.
It takes approximately nine to 10 weeks to package all pre-ordered tickets for mailing, from orders the day after the previous year's race up to current orders. Hard work from employees in the Ticket Office and a computerized system administered by the IMS Information Services department ensure the ticketing process runs smoothly and on schedule.
A few facts and figures about this year's initial ticket mailing:
- Number of tickets sent: More than 150,000 Race Day tickets and more than 180,000 products (includes Race Day tickets, parking, concert tickets, etc.)
- Number of blue envelopes sent: More than 26,000
- Number of U.S. Postal Service trays to accommodate envelopes: More than 500
- Weight of all ticket envelopes and trays in first mailing: More than 4,250 pounds
- Geographic distribution: All 50 American states, the District of Columbia and 35 countries, including the U.S.
- Hours needed to fill envelopes by hand: More than 800 person-hours
- Number of IMS employees who fill envelopes: 38
The return of two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso and the arrival of rookies Marcus Ericsson and Felix Rosenqvist have sparked a large uptick in ticket orders from Spain and Sweden, respectively, compared to 2018. Twelve times as many orders will be mailed to Spain this week to fans eager to see Alonso, while more than five times as many Swedes have ordered "500" tickets this year to see countrymen Ericsson and Rosenqvist.
Receiving an eagerly awaited blue envelope in the mail is a rite of spring for thousands of fans of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." But why are the envelopes blue?
In the 1970s, Indianapolis 500 tickets were mailed in brown envelopes with the IMS return address in the upper left corner. In the 1980s, a heavier-stock, gray-colored envelope was introduced to mail the tickets, with just the IMS Post Office box number in the upper left corner. A computerized printer also was used for the first time in the 1980s to print ticket customers' name and address on each envelope.
When the Brickyard 400 was added to the IMS schedule in 1994, the Ticket Office needed a way to distinguish between the envelopes containing tickets for the Indianapolis 500 and the annual NASCAR race, especially if the Postal Service returned the envelope as non-deliverable.
So the IMS Ticket Office decided to color-code the ticket envelopes for each event. Indianapolis 500 ticket envelopes became blue, Brickyard 400 envelopes purple, and ticket envelopes for other IMS events, such as the United States Grand Prix Formula One race or Indianapolis GP MotoGP race, use a variety of colors, including red, cream and green.
Tickets for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 26 and the INDYCAR Grand Prix on Saturday, May 11 are available at IMS.com.