Speedway Digest Staff
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Trackhouse Racing PR
Tacoma, Washington’s Evan Margeson looks to go from strength to strength in the second half of the 2023 season, with Saturday’s winner of the $30,000-to-win Pink Lady Classic at Idaho’s Meridian Speedway aiming towards the $50,000-to-win Open Wheel Showdown in Las Vegas this December. Margeson is one of 65 pre-entered Winged Sprint Cars readying for the most lucrative pavement open wheel show in the world this December 1-2.
Margeson climbed from 19th starting position in the 100-lap feature, charging to eighth by the lap 38 break. An invert of eight was pulled, placing Margeson on the pole for the second segment. He held the lead to the final break on lap 76. Margeson paced the final 24-laps after a straight up start to claim the impressive $30,000 pay day in Boise, Idaho.
“We qualified mid-pack ish. Took advantage of an early practice on Saturday morning and took a big swing at the car and made a bunch of changes,” Margeson said. “(In the main) the thing was a dream to drive. It made my job super easy.”
The race for the win was between Open Wheel Showdown promoter Davey Hamilton, Jr. and Margeson. Hamilton qualified second and hounded Margeson over the final 24-lap segment.
“I watched Davey in qualifying. He was super smooth and ripped off a helluva lap,” Margeson said. “I was trying to keep him behind me in that second segment to stay out front and be the leader for that third segment. Starts are super critical there and being out in clean air, especially in the winged cars.”
Margeson raced Midgets on dirt and asphalt extensively throughout his career along with selected Winged Sprint Car starts on dirt. He is a veteran of nearly 20 Northwest Focus Midgets wins and two victories in the USAC Western States Midgets, both on half-miles, at the paved Altamont Raceway and the dirt Calistoga Speedway. Margeson has had a great 2023 season, also scoring the Diamond Cup at Meridian in June.
“It’s been a little bit of a transition (to Winged pavement racing). I ran a lot of dirt stuff with the wing so I wasn’t totally green. This is year four with the team I’m running for now. Seems like really the last year we’ve hit on some stuff. It’s been really good,” Margeson said. “I struggled with it the first couple of years. It was me more than anything, trying to get a feel for how to drive it. I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to do it much longer but we’ve really hit on something and it’s been fun to have some success.”
Few drivers in the Open Wheel Showdown have raced on the .375-mile Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway but Margeson has made two starts there in USAC Western Midgets, finishing second both times.
“I really like that track and I think it’ll make for some good racing,” Margeson said. “Really from what I can remember, it’s going to be a pretty fast track compared to what we’re used to running out here in Washington and Idaho. It’s a lot about momentum and keeping air on your wing.”
The opportunity to race for $50,000 to win with a packed house and on Speed Sport is something Margeson looks forward to.
“This is a huge opportunity and it’s awesome to see what they’re doing. To take on that kind of task is super cool,” Margeson said. “Being the inaugural one, it’s going to be really really cool. A lot of the top guys will be there and most everybody doesn’t get to see all of them in the same spot. It’s got old school Turkey Night vibes. There’s not a lot of big pavement races anymore, so this one is going to one people don’t want to miss.”
Registration is moving quickly for the inaugural Open Wheel Showdown, with just 75 spaces available for the Winged Sprint Car division. Drivers can learn more at www.OpenWheelShowdown.com
Tickets are also on sale though the Las Vegas Motor Speedway ticket office and online. Details can be found at both www.LVMS.com or the Open Wheel Showdown website.
The event will be telecast through Speed Sport and on the new Speed Sport 1 channel. More broadcast details will be announced soon.
Ross Chastain returns to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Sunday for the second of three Round of 12 races in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.
To say he would like to relive old times is an understatement.
Another win for the No. 1 Worldwide Express Chevrolet team would lock Chastain into the playoffs Round of 8.
Since Chastain is already 12 points above the transfer spot, a good finish would position the Trackhouse Racing driver well for the final Round of 12 race on Oct. 8 at the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway when four of the 12 remaining drivers will be eliminated from championship contention.
The only track time the Cup Series will have at Talladega in preparation for Sunday's race is qualifying. No practice is held for the series at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.
"The great thing about my team is that they always prepare the car so well," said Chastain. "We are all used to not practicing at Talladega by now that it's not a concern. We'll make our qualifying laps and be ready to go on Sunday."
After the Round of 8, the playoff field will be reduced to four remaining drivers who will run in a winner-take-all championship race on Nov. 5 at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Ariz. Last year, Chastain made it to the final round and finished runner-up to champion Joey Logano.
Last week, it was announced Worldwide Express signed a contract extension with Trackhouse Racing to appear on the Nos. 1 and 99 Chevrolet Camaros into the 2024 season for multiple races.
One position better in last Sunday's race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, and Chastain would've already locked himself into the next round. He most recently drove to victory lane on Sunday, June 25 at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway while driving the Worldwide Express livery.
The WWEX group of brands, which comprises Worldwide Express, Unishippers and GlobalTranz, offers full-service logistics expertise to more than 115,000 customers across the country. With access to industry-leading small package, truckload, less-than-truckload and managed transportation solutions, its customers benefit from enhanced visibility and value for their supply chains.
NBC will broadcast Sunday's race at 2 p.m. ET.
Trackhouse Racing PR
The fifth running of the Driven2SaveLives BC39 is set to roll with 72 drivers in a field that consists of 19 past USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship feature winners and represents 20 different United States.
They’ll play in the dirt for four-straight nights on September 27-28-29-30 at The Dirt Track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the 1/4-mile oval located within the confines of the world famous 2.5-mile course.
The BC39 boasts the largest car count of the season, the highest stakes of the season and the highest payout of the season in an event which has already become one of the defining crown jewels in all of midget racing.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is already magic, but after laying a bit of dirt down, you’ve got magic.
We’ve also got six storylines for you to let sink in as we get ready for one of the marquee events on the entire USAC calendar.
AN ENORMOUS FIELD OF 72
Besides the on-track action, the annual car count for the BC39 makes plenty of headlines for itself. Of the 72 drivers, 20 different states are represented in the field from coast-to-coast: California (15), Indiana (13), Illinois (6), Oklahoma (6), Ohio (5), North Carolina (4), Texas (4), Arizona (2), Colorado (2), Kansas (2), Missouri (2), Pennsylvania (2), Wisconsin (2), Alabama (1), Connecticut (1), Delaware (1), Florida (1), Louisiana (1), Nevada (1) and Washington (1).
Over the first four editions of the BC39, three states have been represented in victory lane: Oklahoma’s Brady Bacon (2018), Indiana’s Zeb Wise (2019), California’s Kyle Larson (2021) and California’s Buddy Kofoid (2022).
Furthermore, of the 72, more than a quarter are previous USAC National Midget feature winners representing 155 total series wins: Tanner Thorson (29), Buddy Kofoid (24), Jerry Coons Jr. (19), Justin Grant (14), Logan Seavey (14), Thomas Meseraull (9), Brady Bacon (8), Cannon McIntosh (6), Kevin Thomas Jr. (6), Ryan Timms (5), Zach Daum (4), John Heydenreich (4), Jacob Denney (3), Mitchel Moles (3), Emerson Axsom (2), Daison Pursley (2), Gavin Miller (1), Keith Rauch (1) and Bryant Wiedeman (1).
But only one of those aforementioned drivers will be striving for a final night BC39 victory this year.
Brady Bacon made the winning pass with nine laps to go to score a win in the very first BC39 in 2018. To the surprise of no one, he’s been a solid citizen annually in the event, finishing 3rd in 2021 and 8th in 2022.
Others have come similarly close. Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) finished 3rd in 2018 after leading a race-high 30 laps. Thomas Meseraull (San Joes, Calif.) led a combined 34 laps over a two-race span in 2019-21, then finished a best of 3rd in 2022.
Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) led a lap and finished 2nd in 2021, then scored a 4th in 2022, while Daison Pursley (Locust Grove, Okla.) led for 16 circuits en route to a 4th place result in 2021. Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.), meanwhile, came home fifth in the 2019 race.
Cannon McIntosh (Bixby, Okla.) waged a fascinating duel with Buddy Kofoid for the win in 2022, with McIntosh leading a race-high 20 laps before finishing 2nd behind Kofoid.
Speaking of Kofoid, you may be saying, “wait, he’s in this year’s field too.” Right you are. However, he will only be participating during Wednesday and Thursday’s programs before other racing duties will prevent him from competing on Saturday for a repeat BC39 victory.
SPLIT RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE
Not one, not two, not three but four nights of racing greet BC39 competitors in 2023, doubling the number of events held annually during the first four runnings.
Wednesday's program will feature all cars on the track for practice, followed by the Stoops Pursuit race, a 25-lap race split into five-lap segments. The field consists of a total of 24 starters with the top-10 drivers in USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship points being locked into the event as are the 10 fastest during Wednesday night’s practice who are not already locked in. Up to four promoters options will be available to start the event.
The Stoops Pursuit starting lineup is inverted by fastest hot lap time, with promoter’s options starting at the rear. Any car involved in a caution is eliminated. Every five laps, a competition yellow flag will be displayed, and cars with a net loss in position will be called to exit the track.
A checkered flag ends the final segment, with the winner earning $1,500 plus $100 for each position gained. All race participants will receive a free right rear tire courtesy of Hoosier.
On Thursday and Friday, the field will be split with half the field competing on Thursday and the other half of the field competing on Friday. Both nights will feature a full program of racing consisting of 8-lap heat races and 10-lap qualifying races, followed by a 10-lap C-main (if needed), a 12-lap semi-feature and a 30-lap feature race paying $5,000-to-win with the top-3 feature finishers on each night’s prelim being locked into Saturday’s feature.
All USAC National Midget licensed drivers and entrants will receive 50 appearance points during each night of their participation on Thursday and Friday.
Saturday’s Championship Night program will consist of hot laps and main events only, starting with the E-Main, two D-Mains, two C-Mains, two semi-features and a last chance race. The 39-lap feature will have 22 starters, plus two USAC provisional starters (if applicable) and two IMS options.
All USAC National Midget licensed drivers and entrants will receive feature points only on Saturday based on their finishing position. All non-transfers will receive 10 points.
THE UNSTOPPABLE FORCE OF SEAVEY
Logan Seavey is seemingly the unstoppable force in the USAC National Midget ranks entering the BC39. He’s reeled off 14 consecutive top-fives with the series, the most since Jason Leffler’s championship season in 1997 in which he strung together 21 consecutive top-fives.
Seavey is also coming off a weekend in which he swept the USAC portion of the 4-Crown Nationals at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway, joining only Jack Hewitt and Kyle Larson in that regard.
At the BC39, Seavey is looking to up the ante even though he may be the odds-on favorite with six feature victories in his last 14 outings. His best result thus far in the event was a fifth in 2019.
CANNON & THE AXE
Two frontrunners find themselves in new rides for the event with Cannon McIntosh taking the reins of the CB Industries No. 86 while Emerson Axsom has slid over to the Keith Kunz Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports No. 68.
Between the two teams, they have won the past two BC39 main events, and in each of those two events, the two drivers have finished inside the top-five in each. Axsom scored a 5th in 2021 and McIntosh a close 2nd in 2022.
McIntosh arrives at CBI after competing on the USAC tour for the past three seasons on the Dave Mac-Dalby Motorsports team. Axsom, meanwhile, has competed mainly for the Petry-Hayward Motorsports team throughout 2023.
Both McIntosh and Seavey know their way to USAC National Midget victory lane with McIntosh owning six series victories and Axsom six, but both are aiming for their first one of the season this week at The BC39, which would be a monumental breakthrough win for each respective driver.
A HOARD OF ROOKIES
Twenty-seven of the 72 drivers in this year’s BC39 lineup are race rookies who are taking on the event for the first time in their career.
Max Papis Innovations (MPI) will reward this year’s top Rookie drivers at the Driven2SaveLives BC39 with a bevy of bonuses and awards for their achievements. During both the Thursday and Friday night programs, the hard charger of the feature event will receive the MPI Up on the Wheel Award consisting of a trophy as well as a pair of MPI racing gloves and a $250 gift card to be used toward MPI products that can be redeemed directly through MPI.
During Saturday night’s finale, the MPI Rookie of the Race award will reward the highest finishing BC39 Rookie in the feature with a custom trophy, a custom MPI steering wheel, MPI racing gloves plus a $700 check and a custom lasered BC39 racing wheel.
Among the Rookies in this year’s BC39 field are a pair of USAC National Midget winners in Keith Rauch (Thornton, Colo.) and Gavin Miller (Allentown, Pa.). Rauch, a 13-time Rocky Mountain Midget Racing Association champion, scored his lone USAC National win back in 1990. Miller gained his first series victory just this past June and is USAC’s leading Rookie driver in 2023.
Jake Andreotti (Castro Valley, Calif.) finished 2nd in the USAC National Midget season opener at Kansas’ Belleville Short Track and is among the top candidates to score the MPI prize. Daniel Whitley (Ferndale, Calif.) has run inside the top-five with the USAC National Midget series in 2023 and has been a winner with the Xtreme Outlaw series this summer.
Also joining the Rookie fray are 360 Sprint standout Jake Bubak (Arvada, Colo.) as well as USAC regional champion Mark McMahill (Peoria, Ill.) and USAC regional winners Preston Lattomus (Lewes, Del.), Wes Pinkerton (Reynolds, Ind.) and Zach Wigal (Belpre, Ohio), plus BCRA Midget titlist Robert Carson (Concord, Calif.).
Josh Bilicki (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) has competed in both the Brickyard 400 and on the road course with the NASCAR Cup series at IMS and will be in one of six RAMCO Speed Group entries for the BC39.
Also a familiar name to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, “Andretti,” will be in the BC39 lineup. Adam Andretti (Brownsburg, Ind.) recently competed on the IMS Road Course with the Trans Am Series Presented by Pirelli. Andretti is the younger brother of 1983 USAC National Midget Rookie of the Year John Andretti, the son of Aldo Andretti and the nephew of 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner, Formula 1 champion and four-time IndyCar champion Mario Andretti.
The fifth running of the Driven2Save BC39 featuring the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship comes to The Dirt Track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for four consecutive nights on September 27-28-29-30.
The BC39 officially gets underway on Tuesday, September 26 with team parking at 3pm Eastern followed by a BC39 Welcome Party at 6pm at USAC Headquarters.
On track action starts Wednesday, September 27, beginning with the drivers meeting in the IMS Media Room at 3pm Eastern. Public gates open at 4pm with cars hitting the track for practice at 6pm, followed by the incredibly exciting Stoops Pursuit feature race which will conclude the night’s racing action at 9pm. In this event, 25 cars will start and compete in five, five-lap segments. If a driver gets passed in any segment, they are eliminated.
For Thursday and Friday, September 28-29, the field will be split into two with one half of the field competing on night one and the other half competing on night two. On both nights, public gates open at 4pm Eastern with hot laps at 6pm, followed by heat races, qualifying races, the C-Main, the Semi-Feature and the $5,000-to-win Feature event.
The finale, on Saturday, September 30, will have the public gates opening at 4pm with a driver meet and greet scheduled for 4pm in the midway and a public driver’s meeting at the USAC merchandise trailer at 4:45pm. Cars hit the track for practice at 6pm, followed by opening ceremonies at 7pm and the main events, starting with the D-Main, multiple C-Mains, Semi-Feature and the 39-lap Feature event paying $20,039-to-win.
There are three options for viewing the racing action and also having pit pass access. You can purchase a competitor pit pass only where no seat is included with limited viewing of the track. Secondly, you can purchase a competitor pit pass with reserved seating included, which are available in the lower level of the main grandstands. You may also purchase a grandstand seat from the IMS ticketing site with a pit pass upgrade. Competitors must enter IMS via the 16th Street tunnel.
Each entry filed will come with two VIP parking passes for inside parking at IMS, intended for driver and entrant. All others must either purchase inside parking or park outside of turns three and four of 2.5-mile paved oval track.
Spectator tickets are also available www.TheBC39.com. Spectators are to enter the Indianapolis Motor Speedway via 30th Street.
The event on the quarter-mile dirt oval inside turn three at IMS will continue to honor late USAC champion and three-time Indianapolis 500 starter Bryan Clauson and increase awareness of and participation in the Indiana Donor Network and Driven2SaveLives.
Brady Bacon (2018), Zeb Wise (2019), Kyle Larson (2021) and Buddy Kofoid (2022) have captured victories in the first four editions of the BC39.
All four days of the #BC39 can be watched LIVE on FloRacing at https://flosports.link/
2023 DRIVEN2SAVELIVES BC39 ENTRIES
1 Kevin Thomas Jr./Cullman, AL (Crouch Motorsports)
1D (R) Landon Brooks/Rio Oso, CA (RAMCO Speed Group)
1G (R) Connor Wolf/Lafayette, IN (RAMCO Speed Group)
1z (R) Justin Zimmerman/Athens, TX (Justin Zimmerman)
2 Justin Grant/Ione, CA (RMS Racing)
4 (R) Chelby Hinton/Dubberly, LA (Klatt Enterprises)
5J Josh Hodge/Brownsburg, IN (Josh Hodge Racing)
5s Scott Orr/Columbia City, IN (Josh Hodge Racing)
6 Isaac Chapple/Willow Branch, IN (Doug Hall)
7c (R) Josh Bilicki/Menomonee Falls, WI (RAMCO Speed Group)
7m Kyle Jones/Kennedale, TX (RAMCO Speed Group)
7p Zach Daum/Pocahontas, IL (RAMCO Speed Group)
7x Thomas Meseraull/San Jose, CA (RMS Racing)
8 Randi Pankratz/Atascadero, CA (Wally Pankratz)
8x Jeff Schindler/Evansville, IN (Jeff Schindler)
9 (R) Wes Pinkerton/Reynolds, IN (Wes Pinkerton)
9p (R) Kevin Cook/Winchester, IN (Kevin Cook)
10A (R) Tommy Colburn/New Berlin, WI (MWR Technology)
10c (R) Mark McMahill/Peoria, IL (MWR Technology)
11 Clinton Boyles/Greenwood, MO (Scott Beierle)
11L Aaron Leffel/Springfield, OH (Team Taylor Racing)
14 C.J. Leary/Greenfield, IN (Legacy Autosport)
17B Austin Barnhill/Wilmington, NC (Dave Mac-Dalby Motorsports)
18N (R) Weston Gorham/Colleyville, TX (Kelly Gorham)
19 Daison Pursley/Locust Grove, OK (Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports)
19AZ Hayden Reinbold/Gilbert, AZ (Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports)
19m Ethan Mitchell/Mooresville, NC (Bundy Built Motorsports)
19T Mitchel Moles/Raisin City, CA (Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports)
21D Justin Dickerson/Pittsboro, IN (Mike Dickerson)
21H Brady Bacon/Broken Arrow, OK (TKH Motorsports)
21J (R) Kameron Key/Warrensburg, MO (TKH Motorsports)
21K Karter Sarff/Mason City, IL (Jayme Sarff)
22 John Heydenreich/Bloomsburg, PA (John Heydenreich)
22p (R) Taylor Courtney/Indianapolis, IN (RAMCO Speed Group)
23 (R) Preston Lattomus/Lewes, DE (Mounce-Stout Motorsports)
25 Jacob Denney/Galloway, OH (Tom Malloy)
25K Taylor Reimer/Bixby, OK (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
25m (R) Jake Andreotti/Castro Valley, CA (Tom Malloy)
27 (R) Keith Rauch/Thornton, CO (Bourke Motorsports)
27B (R) Jake Bubak/Arvada, CO (Bourke Motorsports)
32 Gary Taylor/Snohomish, WA (Brian Dunlap)
36 Ian Creager/Covington, OH (Tod Creager)
40 Chase McDermand/Springfield, IL (Mounce-Stout Motorsports)
40B Blake Brannon/Morgan Hill, CA (Blake Brannon)
40x (R) Zach Wigal/Belpre, OH (Chase McDermand)
41 Oliver Akard/Fort Myers, FL (Team OMR)
44 (R) Adam Andretti/Brownsburg, IN (Jeff Johnson)
46 (R) Kenney Johnson/Bethany, CT (Jeff Johnson)
54 Matt Westfall/Pleasant Hill, OH (Steve Bordner)
55 (R) Trevor Cline/Mooresville, NC (Troy Cline)
55D Nick Drake/Mooresville, NC (Troy Cline)
56 (R) Mitchell Davis/Auburn, IL (Pat O’Dell)
57 Logan Seavey/Sutter, CA (Abacus Racing)
57A Daniel Robinson/Wayne City, IL (RAB Racing)
58 (R) Daniel Whitley/Ferndale, CA (Abacus Racing)
67 Ryan Timms/Oklahoma City, OK (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
67K Buddy Kofoid/Penngrove, CA (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
68 Emerson Axsom/Franklin, IN (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
71 Jade Avedisian/Clovis, CA (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
71E Mariah Ede/Fresno, CA (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
71T (R) Kyler Johnson/Quinter, KS (Todd Henry)
75AU Bryan Stanfill/Bakersfield, CA (Griffiths Motorsports)
81 Bryant Wiedeman/Colby, KS (CB Industries)
85 Jerry Coons Jr./Tucson, AZ (Central Motorsports)
86 Cannon McIntosh/Bixby, OK (CB Industries)
88 Tanner Thorson/Minden, NV (Tanner Thorson Racing)
89 Kaylee Bryson/Muskogee, OK (CB Industries)
97 (R) Gavin Miller/Allentown, PA (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
99 (R) Don O’Keefe Jr. /Union City, CA (LOK/Carson-Segur Racing)
99K (R) Robert Carson/Concord, CA (LOK/Carson-Segur Racing)
118 (R) Scott Evans/Rhome, TX (Scott Evans)
136 Chris Baue/Indianapolis, IN (Bill Baue)
(R) represents a BC39 Rookie
BC39 FEATURE WINNERS: 2018-Brady Bacon, 2019-Zeb Wise, 2020-Not Held, 2021-Kyle Larson, 2022-Buddy Kofoid
STOOPS PURSUIT WINNERS: 2018-Zeb Wise, 2019-Kyle Larson, 2020-Not Held, 2021-Kyle Larson, 2022-Dominic Gorden
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Logan Seavey-1297, 2-Bryant Wiedeman-1088, 3-Justin Grant-1066, 4-Ryan Timms-1041, 5-Daison Pursley-1037, 6-Jade Avedisian-1031, 7-Jacob Denney-965, 8-Gavin Miller-945, 9-Cannon McIntosh-868, 10-Taylor Reimer-818.
PAST BC39 FEATURE RESULTS:
2018 FEATURE: (39 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Brady Bacon (7), 2. Chad Boat (10), 3. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (1), 4. Tyler Courtney (2), 5. Christopher Bell (17), 6. Alex Bright (8), 7. Justin Grant (6), 8. Holly Shelton (9), 9. Jerry Coons, Jr. (5), 10. Ryan Robinson (3), 11. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (11), 12. Chris Windom (22), 13. Logan Seavey (23), 14. Zeb Wise (14), 15. Shane Cottle (13), 16. Jason McDougal (25), 17. Maria Cofer (24), 18. Terry Babb (20), 19. Brayton Lynch (4), 20. David Budres (19), 21. Brian Karraker (21), 22. Tyler Thomas (18), 23. Tucker Klaasmeyer (15), 24. Jake Neuman (16), 25. Dillon Welch (12), 26. Dave Darland (26). NT
2019 FEATURE: (39 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Zeb Wise (5), 2. Tyler Courtney (20), 3. Chris Windom (6), 4. Chad Boat (16), 5. Logan Seavey (14), 6. Jesse Colwell (24), 7. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (15), 8. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (3), 9. Kyle Larson (12), 10. Justin Grant (11), 11. Dillon Welch (8), 12. Tanner Carrick (23), 13. Michael Pickens (4), 14. Gio Scelzi (9), 15. Christopher Bell (17), 16. Brady Bacon (10), 17. Jason McDougal (7), 18. Cannon McIntosh (22), 19. Thomas Meseraull (1), 20. Spencer Bayston (2), 21. Tyler Thomas (13), 22. Tucker Klaasmeyer (18), 23. Jerry Coons, Jr. (19), 24. Chase Briscoe (21), 25. Jake Neuman (26), 26. C.J. Leary (25). NT
2021 FEATURE: (39 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Kyle Larson (4), 2. Justin Grant (1), 3. Brady Bacon (6), 4. Daison Pursley (3), 5. Emerson Axsom (19), 6. Ryan Timms (2), 7. Tanner Thorson (21-P), 8. Tyler Courtney (7), 9. Jerry Coons Jr. (9), 10. Buddy Kofoid (13), 11. Chase Briscoe (22), 12. Spencer Bayston (14), 13. Kevin Thomas Jr. (11), 14. Zeb Wise (25-P), 15. Logan Seavey (20), 16. Cole Bodine (12), 17. Kyle Cummins (16), 18. Karter Sarff (17), 19. Kaylee Bryson (18), 20. Chase Randall (24-P), 21. Chris Windom (8), 22. Cannon McIntosh (10), 23. Hayden Williams (23), 24. Thomas Meseraull (5), 25. Corey Day (15). NT
2022 FEATURE: (39 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Buddy Kofoid (6), 2. Cannon McIntosh (1), 3. Thomas Meseraull (11), 4. Justin Grant (18), 5. Kyle Larson (10), 6. Zach Daum (3), 7. Kaylee Bryson (15), 8. Brady Bacon (5), 9. Dominic Gorden (8), 10. Brenham Crouch (23-U), 11. Bryant Wiedeman (14), 12. Chris Windom (9), 13. Emerson Axsom (19), 14. Taylor Reimer (24-U), 15. Trey Gropp (7), 16. Jason McDougal (21), 17. Tyler Courtney (25-P), 18. Chase McDermand (17), 19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (22), 20. Karter Sarff (13), 21. Chase Briscoe (26-P), 22. Michael Pickens (16), 23. Mitchel Moles (2), 24. Jacob Denney (12), 25. Ethan Mitchell (4), 26. Kyle Cummins (20). NT
No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry TRD News and Notes
- FIRST SEASON: Ty Gibbs is competing in his first full NASCAR Cup Series season driving the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry TRD.
- 2023: Gibbs is 18th in the NASCAR point standings and has scored two top-five finishes (fifth at Pocono, Watkins Glen and Bristol II) and eight top-10 finishes.
- Gibbs has finished in the top-15 in 15 of the 30 Cup Series events.
- TALLADEGA: Gibbs has only two Cup Series start at Talladega with a best finish of 31st in the spring of 2023.
- NEW RECORD: Gibbs is the youngest driver ever to reach 12 victories in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at age 20 years, 10 months, one week and one day old. The previous record was held by Joey Logano.
- 2021: Gibbs completed in only 18 Xfinity races in 2021, but won four races and finished 13th in the Xfinity Series final driver point standings. That earned him the Xfinity Rookie of the Year award.
- WHAT A DEBUT: In Gibbs’ Xfinity Series debut in February 2021 at the Daytona Road Course, he led 14 of the 56 laps en route to his first career Xfinity Series win. Gibbs became the youngest driver to win a Xfinity road course race at 18 years, 4 months, 16 days. The Charlotte, N.C., native also became the second-youngest winner in Xfinity Series history after Joey Logano who won in June 2008 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta when he was 18 years and 21 days old.
- IN GOOD COMPANY: Gibbs is the sixth driver to win in his Xfinity Series debut, joining Dale Earnhardt, Joe Ruttman, Ricky Rudd, Terry Labonte and Kurt Busch. Those five drivers had already driven in the NASCAR Cup Series before racing in the Xfinity Series.
- ARCA CHAMPIONS: Gibbs became the 2021 ARCA Menard Series Champions on the strength of 10 wins, plus one win each in ARCA West and ARCA East.
- ATOP THE PIT BOX: Veteran crew chief Chris Gayle will oversee the No. 54 team’s efforts in the 2023 season. Gale, who is from Little Rock, Arkansas, has led his drivers to two NASCAR Cup Series victories and 37 Xfinity Series wins. He was also the crew chief of the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship with Gibbs. The list of drivers Gayle has visited victory lane with includes Gibbs, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Sam Hornish Jr., Erik Jones, Elliott Sadler, Christopher Bell and John Hunter Nemechek.
- TALLADEGA: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has 167 total starts at Talladega in Cup competition with five wins, 42 top-five and 63 top-10 finishes. The team has led 1,512 laps.
- RACE INFO: The NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega is scheduled for 2:30 pm EDT on Sunday, October 1 and will be broadcast on NBC, SiriusXM Channel 90 and MRN.
Ty Gibbs, Driver of the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry TRD
“Talladega is pretty much a wild card, so we’ll see what we can do there. We haven’t had the best luck at Talladega but we’ll hopefully have a good Monster Energy Toyota Camry TRD.”
LEGACY MOTOR CLUB™ Drivers Erik Jones and Carson Hocevar Help Raise Awareness for Breast Cancer at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Today, LEGACY MOTOR CLUB™ drivers Erik Jones and Carson Hocevar, among other competitors, joined several breast cancer survivors at Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) to paint the pit wall pink for next weekend's Bank of America ROVAL 400.
A tradition that has been held for now eleven years straight, the act of painting the wall pink has been a well-received gesture by CMS to promote breast cancer awareness during its races held in October. The speedway hosted over 50 breast cancer survivors, and invited the drivers as well as various media outlets, to join in the cause in the fun-filled event.
Additionally, 2004 NASCAR Cup Series champion, Kurt Busch, announced that his Window of Hope initiative will be returning for a third season, as part of a new collaboration with the Erik Jones Foundation (EJF). Jones' foundation will support its efforts in the area of "cancer prevention and early detection and care". Every driver in the field for the race at CMS will run a uniquely colored pink window net to signify breast cancer awareness, which will then be autographed and put up for auction through the EJF, which will receive the proceeds to then be donated to multiple beneficiaries to support early cancer detection. The auction for the signed pink window nets will open October 9th and close October 16th.
Both NASCAR Cup Series drivers Jones and Hocevar have close family ties to breast cancer, as each of their mothers have battled, and thankfully, overcame as survivors of the disease. Carol Jones, Erik's mother, was first diagnosed in 2013, and courageously fought into remission in the years since.
"It's been so great that Kurt (Busch) would let us take this program over, and a huge thanks to him. It's been a program that I have had a lot of fun watching and participating in over the last few years, it's really a huge day for The Erik Jones Foundation." said Jones. "We have worked a lot on the cancer side of things with melanoma, and early detection with that, but we haven't been able to do anything with breast cancer, which for us is close to the heart with my mom going through it. So, to have a program that has continued to round the foundation out is really important. It has been a big goal of ours to continue the growth of these pillars on each side of the foundation, but just really excited to see the window nets on the car and be able to have a program in the Cup Series like that. You see the other guys and what they do, so to have a program of our own with the foundation is super special."
Amy Hocevar was diagnosed when her son Carson was only six years old, and fought behind closed doors, initially shielding the news from him so he wouldn't be afraid at such a young age. Carson recalls that he only recently found out about her diagnosis, and admires her strength and commitment as a mom through the tough battle.
"My mom hid that she had breast cancer from me when I was a kid. Luckily, it was shorter and not as severe as some cases, but obviously any type of cancer diagnosis such a scary situation. She battled through it for about a year-and-a-half to two years from my recollection as a six year old. Cancer is a very scary word, and as a six-year-old, I'm not sure if I would even be able to process what it meant. Looking back now, it all makes sense, because it was hard to understand what she was going through, and I didn't realize how scary that time must have been. I'm super glad that at least for me though, that time wasn't as scary as it should have been, and that my parents did a great job of avoiding that tough sit-down with me when I was so young." remembered Hocevar.
"It was cool to be a part of today's event with Erik, with him being my teammate at LEGACY MOTOR CLUB and the fact that he has been attached to breast cancer as well with his mom fighting. Being able to come out to the racetrack and just show a little bit of support and put a paint brush to the pit wall is something big to be a part of. I'm glad I was able to come out and do this with some of the guys that I race with on Sunday to show our support for all of the brave people who were and are still fighting breast cancer."
The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Talladega Superspeedway this week, but will return to Charlotte Motor Speedway the following weekend on Sunday, October 8th. Fans can watch the Bank of America ROVAL 400 race live on NBC, or listen to the radio broadcast on the local MRN Radio affiliate station as well as Sirius XM NASCAR Radio at 2:00 PM ET. For more updates on LEGACY MOTOR CLUB™, follow along on the team's official social media pages.
Notes of Interest
● Kevin Harvick has made 45 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, collecting eight top-fives and a series-best 19 top-10s among active drivers. Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski lead the series with 10 top-fives apiece at Talladega while Joey Logano has the second-most top-fives with nine. The all-time leader at Talladega in every statistical category is Dale Earnhardt. The Intimidator won 10 races in 44 career starts and tallied 23 top-fives and 27 top-10s with 1,377 laps led.
● Atop Harvick’s NASCAR Cup Series stat box at Talladega is a win. Harvick came out the victor in a dogfight of a race at Talladega on April 25, 2010. There were an incredible 88 lead changes and three massive accidents that collected a total of 24 cars. Harvick kept his car intact throughout each bout of calamity and despite leading only two laps, the second lap led was the one that mattered most. Harvick got underneath race leader Jamie McMurray in the track’s tri-oval to sweep past him and take the win by just .011 of a second. It was the 12th of Harvick’s 60 career Cup Series wins.
● Harvick is on the hunt for career win No. 61 and he’s got the car to do it Sunday at Talladega. Busch Light camo cans are back and Harvick’s No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang emulates the design of this year’s camo cans, which are available nationwide.
● In addition to his 45 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Talladega, Harvick has eight NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at the 2.66-mile oval, with a best result of second in April 2006.
● At Talladega on Oct. 14, 2018, Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) enjoyed one of its most dominant days ever. The team qualified 1-2-3-4 for the first time in its history. SHR drivers then led 155 of the race’s 193 laps (80.3 percent), including the last lap by Aric Almirola, who delivered SHR’s milestone 50th points-paying NASCAR Cup Series victory and the organization’s 11th win of the season.
Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Camo Ford Mustang
Do you need to be lucky to be good at Talladega?
“With the way that superspeedway racing has evolved, especially with this particular car, you have to be aggressive because track position is so important. If you’re going to win the race, you need to maintain your track position all day. You can make up ground, but it’s definitely more difficult than it has been. All those pieces you can probably control, but the luck part is definitely a part of the equation. You have to be able to get lucky, miss some of the wrecks, and be in the right place at the right time to not get gathered up in the mess, because there are going to be some wrecks, there are going to be some situations, you’re going to have to be aggressive, you’re going to have to push, you’re going to have to shove, you’re going to have to do all of those things. You’re going to have to block in order to have a chance to keep yourself up front. But in the end, you’re going to have to have some luck.”
What’s a playoff race like at Talladega?
“It’s a lot like the regular-season finale at Daytona. You have a lot of different agendas. You have guys who really know that it’s their only opportunity to win. You have guys who know there’s going to be carnage and run at the back. There are guys who need stage points and try to run at the front. It’s a race of agendas and, as you look at that, it creates a lot of different aggression levels. But usually at that part of the season, there are people who just want to win and know that it’s one of those opportunities, and there’s a lot of pushing and shoving and wrecks. It’s usually how that works out, so survival is obviously the key, but you have to balance that with trying to score some sort of stage points and putting yourself toward the front for the first two stages.”
What are your expectations when it comes to racing Talladega?
“It’s one of those places where you want to race up front and race hard all day because you have to try to win stages. I believe you have better odds at the front of the pack when it comes to staying out of a wreck if you can keep that track position all day. You’re going to race in a pack – three-wide at times – and you’re going to get pushed and have to push at times. You just never know what’s going to happen because Talladega is its own animal. It’s hard to finish a race there. As we’ve seen over the past however many years, you try to put yourself in the right position and hope you have a little bit of luck on your side that particular day. I know our Busch Light Ford Mustang will be fast enough to contend for the win, but you just have to get to the finish.”
There are some physically demanding races on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. Is Talladega mentally demanding?
“Superspeedway racing, in general, is just a mentally demanding situation because of the constant looking in the mirror and looking around and trying to keep the car going as fast as it can go and being aggressive and pushing and shoving and doing all the things it takes. There’s just a lot that you have to process from a mental standpoint.”
Describe the intensity of racing at Talladega.
“You have to be aggressive just for the fact that if you’re not aggressive, it always seems like you’re not going to be where you need to be. Nine times out of 10, the aggressor is going to be the guy who comes out on the good side of things just for the fact that you’re making things happen and you’re not waiting for something else to happen. When you wait for something else to happen, that’s usually when you get in trouble because it’s usually someone else’s mess. You can still get in trouble if you’re aggressive, but with the way things are, it’s best to stay aggressive and try to stay up front.”
Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron prevailed over a dominant Bubba Wallace in a late-race restart to capture Sunday’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 that opened the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Byron took advantage of Wallace, in the playoff hunt for 23XI Racing, and non-playoff driver Chase Briscoe battling side by side on a restart with six laps remaining to slip underneath and steal the lead on the backstretch. He was never threatened after that and rolled to a 1.863-second margin of victory over runner-up Ross Chastain of Trackhouse Racing.
The Cup win was a series-best sixth for Byron, his first at Texas Motor Speedway and a record milestone 300th for Hendrick Motorsports. More importantly, the victory provided him with an automatic berth in the Round of 8 and one step closer to securing his first Cup Series championship.
“I finally got a good restart at the end, and number 300 for Hendrick Motorsports, but [teammate] Kyle [Larson] really deserved this one, I’ve got to say, those guys were really fast all day and I hate it for them in the end,’’ said Byron, referring to Larson’s crash while battling for the lead with 20 laps remaining. “But man, it was awesome getting this car to the front. My car loved clean air. We just fought through traffic all day. My Liberty University Chevrolet was just tight back in traffic but had good pace. … It was a grind-it-out day, and our team was there at the end and I’m really proud of this one as hot as it was, it was tough. We’ll take it and go on to the next round.”
Byron and Chastain led playoff drivers to a sweep of the top five finishing positions with Wallace taking third and Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Christopher Bell and Denny Hamlin in fourth and fifth, respectively. Retiring Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing, making his track -record 39th and final Cup start at Texas, finished sixth.
Wallace, looking to become just the sixth pole sitter in 43 Cup races at Texas Motor Speedway to go wire to wire, led five times for a race-high – and career-high – 111 laps fought off one Hendrick Motorsports challenge but couldn’t do the same with Byron.
Hendrick’s Kyle Larson, who led four times for 99 laps, took control of the 267-lap race with a five-second lead over the field with 25 to go before a spin by JJ Yeley brought out a caution. On the restart with 21 to go and Wallace starting up front with Larson, the two playoff contenders had a door-to-door battle on the opening lap. Wallace then made a move high on Larson heading into Turn 1 on the next lap, which got Larson loose and into the wall.
“We just went in there side by side and I lost it,’’ Larson said. “Pretty bummed, but happy for William and Mr. H. (Hendrick) Three hundred Cup series wins is incredible and a great night overall for our organization.’’
It was a massive hit for Larson’s playoff hopes as he went from a possible automatic berth into the next round to finishing 31st. He fell from fourth in the playoff standings to eighth, which is the transfer spot for the next round.
Next up for Wallace was Byron, who started up front with him on the ensuing restart with 13 to go. Wallace had a great restart and jumped out to the lead, but it was short-lived as a multi-car accident a lap later brought out the 11th caution of the afternoon.
That set up the final restart showdown with Wallace and Briscoe on the front row and Byron along with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott in the next row. With Wallace and Briscoe battling for the lead on the backstretch on the restart, Byron shot low with a strong move to make the pass on both of them.
“Just choked,’’ Wallace said. “My worst re-start (of the day). Hate it for my team, hate it for [sponsor] McDonald’s. We deserved to be in Victory Lane, but nothing’s ever guaranteed. You have to go out and fight for it and not give it away and that’s what I did.”
With Byron’s victory, playoff drivers have won all four playoff races that have been run. In the Round of 16, Larson won at Darlington, Reddick at Kansas and Hamlin at Bristol.
Brad Keselowski of RFK Racing was the only other playoff driver outside of the top-five finishers to record a top-10 finish by taking seventh. RFK Racing teammate Chris Buescher (14th), a native of Prosper, Texas, and Martin Truex Jr. (17th) of Joe Gibbs Racing were the only other playoff contenders to crack the top 20.
It was a disastrous start to the Round of 12 for 23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick (25th), Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney (28th), Larson and Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch (34th). Heading into next Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway, Reddick sits 10th in the playoff standings (-3 of Larson), Blaney 11th (-11) and Busch 12th (-17).
The three-race Round of 12 playoff set concludes Sunday, Oct. 8, at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s ROVAL.
Texas Motor Speedway’s always-busy events schedule is well under way. Upcoming events in 2023 include: Goodguys’ Summit Racing Lone Start Nationals (Sept. 29-Oct. 1), Speedway Children’s Charities Smoke Show (Oct. 11) and Gordy’s Hwy 30 Music Fest (Oct. 19-22). The year wraps up with the family-favorite and speedway tradition Gift of Lights holiday light show.
Michael McDowell and Zane Smith to Race Love’s RV Stops Schemes at Talladega. Perfect Pit Stop for NASCAR RV Travelers. Peak Performance Also Returns to Both Car and Truck at Talladega