Speedway Digest Staff
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Food 4 Less® Pairs Up with JTG Daugherty Racing for The Clash; The team also welcomes the return of Slim Jim® and its iconic snacks
Food 4 Less, a subsidiary of The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR), is partnering with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and his JTG Daugherty Racing team during The Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sunday, February 6th. The team also welcomes the return of Slim Jim as they prepare for a savage exhibition race at the quarter-mile oval.
“This year we have different Kroger banners on our Camaro depending on the market we are in, and for the race at the Coliseum it’s Food 4 Less,” Stenhouse said. “The Los Angeles based grocer is committed to providing fresh affordable groceries throughout Southern California, and we’re looking forward to putting on a good show for them. We’re also proud to have Slim Jim on board for this race.”
“Food 4 Less is proud to sponsor Ricky Stenhouse Jr and the No. 47 Food 4 Less/Slim Jim Camaro ZL1,” said Eddie Vasquez, manager, customer communications, Food 4 Less. “We look forward to seeing the No. 47 take the checkered flag at the Busch Light Clash.”
It’s an action-packed weekend with the No. 47 Food 4 Less/Slim Jim Camaro ZL1 on track Saturday, February 5th for Busch Light Clash practice followed by single-car qualifying. On Sunday, there are four qualifying heat races, and two last-chance qualifying races that will take place. A total of 23 drivers will advance to compete in the 150-lap main event that evening at 6 PM ET on FOX, MRN Radio and SiriusXM Satellite NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90).
“It’s a new venue, a temporary track, a brand-new car, and we will have a lot of new fans there,” Stenhouse said. “I don’t know what to think about the race or track, but it’s the same for everybody since it’s all new to us. We will all figure it out quickly when we get there. We are ready to get going.”
To learn more about The Clash format, visit https://www.nascar.com/
JTG Racing PR
National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, LLC (“NASCAR”) continues to deliver on its commitment to evolve the racing industry through technology innovation, announcing today that Southern Computer Warehouse (SCW) has become the Official Technology Value-Added Reseller of NASCAR in a multi-year partnership.
In addition to its Official Partnership, SCW joins the NASCAR Technology Partner Platform, helping to furnish a future-forward and innovative technology approach to NASCAR with other industry leaders.
“SCW brings a vast array of technology products and solutions to NASCAR as a successful value-added reseller in the tech industry,” said Jeff Wohlschlaeger, NASCAR Vice President and Chief Sales Officer. “Through this partnership, we’re able to expand our Technology Partner Platform, encouraging additional collaboration with our partners as we help shape the direction of the sport’s future.”
“We are excited to partner with NASCAR and showcase our industry leading technology offering through the world’s most exciting sport,” said Joseph Gabriel, founder and CEO of SCW. “As we approach $1 billion in total company sales, the partnership serves as a sincere ‘thank you’ to our customers and manufacturing partners, many of whom are dedicated NASCAR fans. We look forward to showing our appreciation to them through special NASCAR events and offerings and demonstrating to millions of fans why SCW is ‘Where America Gets I.T.’”
SCW is a value-added reseller of technology products and services with manufacturing partnerships across more than 3,000 brands. It will provide NASCAR access to its more than one million IT hardware and software products, collaborating with NASCAR and other Official Partners to find more ways to leverage technology in the industry.
The NASCAR Technology Partner Platform was created in August 2021 as a way to connect tech leaders from around the globe in a collaborative and fast-paced environment that serves as an incubator for new ideas, case studies, relationships and efficiencies. More than 30 leading-edge companies participated in the program’s inaugural event at Daytona International Speedway, including NASCAR Official Partners Xfinity, Comcast Business, Verizon and Amazon Web Services.
MARK RUSHBROOK, Global Director, Ford Performance Motorsports – THE RACE SEASON IS OFF TO A GOOD START FOR FORD IN THE WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP, RIGHT? “Yeah, it was fantastic. The WRC Rally 1 cars are all new this year. They’re going electrified with hybrid and the new formula for the chassis and everything, so we have a new Puma hybrid that debuted a week ago and was revealed. The first event was this weekend, WRC Monte Carlo, which is the big one in the rally world. We had Sebastien Loeb in the car, a nine-time champion, and he brought back the win with a brand new car. It was very competitive being first place with Loeb, third place with Craig Breen and sixth place with Gus Greensmith, so we are really happy with that new car and competition over there.”
DOUG YATES, CEO, Roush Yates Engines – THINGS ARE PICKING UP NOW WITH THE CLASH IN TWO WEEKS AND THEN DAYTONA. HOW IS YOUR ORGANIZATION SET FOR THE START OF THE 2022 SEASON? “I’m excited about the Next Gen car debut. It’s a whole new era for the sport and we’re proud to be a part of that. We’re looking forward to Daytona and the Clash. There are a lot of great things going on for our sport, racing at the L.A. Coliseum is something I think is gonna be really awesome. I’m gonna be there and I think that’s something pretty neat. I remember being a little kid and going out to Riverside with my dad to start the season many, many years ago and so getting back to some of that, but that will be a good way to kick it off and I’m looking forward to getting to Daytona. That’s obviously my favorite racetrack and hopefully we can go down there and back up our win that we had with Michael McDowell last year and start the season off strong. But a lot of work. Everybody at the shop and the teams have been working hard and we’re ready to get going. I’m sure everybody at the shop is ready for us to get out of the shop.”
WHEN NASCAR WAS TRYING TO DECIDE BETWEEN THE 550 AND THE 670 THERE WERE QUESTIONS ON WHETHER THE ENGINE BUILDERS COULD DO THE 670 FOR THE WHOLE SEASON. ARE YOU GUYS IN A BIND AT ALL FOR THE CLASH AND VEGAS? ARE YOU IN GOOD SHAPE AND WHAT WAS THE CAUSE OF THE ANGST? “The engine specification changed quite a bit. Obviously, the camshaft is tailored for more power going from the 500 to 670, so we had to finalize on that camshaft and order the parts and do the durability work. So, that last Charlotte test when we finally decided that we were gonna go 670 across the board, that was the very first durability cycle that we really understood. So we took the data from the Charlotte test, built up an engine with those parts and ran a durability test. We actually had a failure and had to go back and make some adjustments to the camshaft to calm it down a little bit. We broke something on the exhaust side, so we had to go back and re-work the camshaft and then order the parts to build all those engines, which, the main change for us was the valves. So the valve sizes have changed and we had to call our suppliers and say, ‘Hey, can you change these parts for us and get them here in time to build these engines?’ So there was that amongst a couple other key parts, so it was really a change in the design of the parts and to get that supply chain ratcheted back up to build these engines. Some of those are very tight. We’re tight on some lead time items, but we’re gonna be fine. We talked with the other engine builders – TRD and Hendrick – and at first they pushed back a little bit and I think if that’s the path we’re gonna go, I think we all agree we’d rather just start there and go. By the way, I think the test looked a lot better with the 670 package, in my opinion. I think the drivers really like it, so I think it’s the right thing to do for the sport and the engine guys just have to make sure we can deliver, and I think we’re on track.”
MARK RUSHBROOK CONTINUED – CAN YOU TAKE A PASSENGER CAR TRANSAXLE AND PUT IT IN THE NEXT GEN CUP CAR? “Physically, there are some similarities in the internals of it, but in terms of the physicals to take out of one of our street cars to put into this Next Gen car, I don’t think we’d want to actually do that.”
ARE YOU GOOD AS FAR AS WHERE THE SUPPLY CHAIN IS NOW AS FAR AS WHAT THE FORD TEAMS NEED FOR THE FIRST MONTH OF THE SEASON? “I think that’s a fair way to put it. Race teams always want to be prepared and ahead on everything. That’s part of what they need to do and have everything in stock that they need to do when they need to do it, but I think at this point, everybody has a plan with the supply parts that are all coming through to be able to support these races at the beginning of the season.”
WHAT DOES THE CLASH MEAN FOR FORD, ESPECIALLY WITH THE TALK FOR THE POTENTIAL OF NEW FANS BEING AT THE TRACK? IS THERE ANYTHING MORE YOU’RE DOING FOR THAT EVENT TO GET YOUR MESSAGING OUT? “We’re excited for the Clash weekend for a lot of different weekends. Obviously, the first one is the debut of the Next Gen car in racing competition, and there’s a point of pride that we want to go there and be competitive and win in the heat races and the LCQ’s and get the win in the main event, for sure. That means a lot for us as a brand and for our drivers, but I think for the sport it may be even bigger in terms of going to a new market like that and a new place for a track with a new format. That’s what we love about what NASCAR has been doing recently, that they are willing to experiment and try some new things to see if it works or doesn’t work. I expect that we’re gonna learn a lot this weekend. We’re gonna be able to talk to a lot of people or tell our story to a lot of people that maybe we normally wouldn’t with schedules and formats that we’ve seen in the past, so we are definitely doing some special things, some different things to take advantage of that opportunity. That revolved around our full lineup of cars, but also especially electrification. We’re racing combustion engine vehicles on the track, but we’ll have some specific displays there to tell our electrification story as well.”
THIS EVENT IS A WEEK BEFORE THE SUPER BOWL AND EVEN THOUGH IT’S NOT TIED IN TO THE SUPER BOWL IT IS CLOSE. DOES THAT MATTER? AND WOULD IT BE GOOD TO LOOK AT A SIMILAR TIE-IN THE NEXT TWO YEARS IN PHOENIX AND VEGAS? “I think independent of the Super Bowl this is the right thing to do and we’re really looking forward to it, and I think that just adds to it that it’s back-to-back with the Super Bowl in the same market. If there’s an opportunity to do that again in the future, we certainly would be interested in that.”
DOUG YATES CONTINUED – BRAD KESELOWSKI IS KIND OF A DISRUPTER IN A WAY, SIMILAR TO JACK ROUSH. DO YOU SEE THAT AS WELL AND IS BRAD MAKING AN IMPACT AT RFK ALREADY? “That’s a great parallel. I know both of them really well, starting with Jack and racing against my dad all these years and finally coming together to form Roush Yates in 2004 and spending time with him. He’s an engineer. He’s an outside the box thinker, very competitive, one of the most competitive guys I’ve ever seen, always looking for an advantage. When Brad went over there being very similar. Brad is a guy that’s always thinking outside the box. He’s always asking the tough question and always looking ahead. I think the two of them are gonna make a great combination. Jack was really ready for somebody to come in and lead their company to the next level and Brad can do that. The thing about racing is you always have to have confidence that the guy holding the steering wheel can get it done and that’s where they’re at now. They have a championship level driver with Brad and Jack and Roush Fenway will give them the resources to get that program where they need to be. It’s an exciting time. Roush Fenway is a partner in Roush Yates racing, so I’m excited and happy for those guys. I think they’re gonna put some wins on the board and really make some progress. Things take time, but I think they’ll make some progress and make Edsel and Mark proud of everything they’re gonna do this year.”
WHY ARE YOU GOING TO THE CLASH? “I usually don’t go west very often, but there are a couple things. One, the Next Gen car is something I’m really excited about. I think it’s a big step forward for the sport. I’m excited about racing at the L.A. Coliseum. I think just as a fan of the sport, I think what Ben Kennedy and Jim France are doing there is really exciting so I just want to go there and show my support, but I also want to be there. I think you asked the question to Mark, we want to be the first ones to win with the Next Gen car. When fuel injection came out in 2012, we won the Daytona 500 with Matt Kenseth. That’s something obviously I take a lot of pride in and we’d like to score that win with the Next Gen car, but it’s just an exciting time for the sport. I think they’ve done a lot of great things and beyond all that, I’ve sat at home for about two years and I’m ready to get back to the racetrack.”
THE OPENINGS ON THE FRONT END OF THE NEW CAR. WHAT ARE YOU SEEING AS FAR AS TEMPERATURES GO? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN IF THAT’S THE CASE? “With any car you have to find out the sensitivities and understand the areas to work on and we’re trying to work through those as quickly as we can. Obviously, for this car the air, NASCAR is not gonna allow any tape on the front end. There will be a blocker behind the radiator which will basically control the temperatures, the air exits over the hood, but also the air induction is in the front of the car, so the blocker plate not only controls your temperature but also controls a bit of how much air pressure goes to the engine which makes the power. So, we are debating on how hot to run the engine in order to make the most power and have the best aero benefit. Last year, we ran as hot as we could to get the aero benefit and put as much tape on the front end and now this year we’re trying to figure out ultimately what is the fastest lap time for a given temperature in the air box pressure. So, it’s a nuance to this car that we’re working through and trying to get that right. It’s probably not as big a deal when we go to the Clash and short tracks, but when we go to Daytona we want to make sure we optimize that to go down there and have the quickest car we can.”
CAN YOU GIVE A BALLPARK ON THE TEMPERATURES? “Last year, we ran as high as 310 degrees water temperature, so really, really hot – extremely hot – and this year we may run 200 degrees water temperature, so that’s a big change. When people first asked me what does the Next Gen car do to the engine? I said, well the engine is pretty much the same, but now a year later just to fit the engine in the car we have a new front engine plate, new bell housing, exhaust is out each side which creates different tuning and the temperatures are different and the RPM is different, so pretty much everything has changed with the engine. We had 200 engines here and we just delivered the Clash engine last week, but we have about 180 of them apart waiting on those decisions, so we’re pretty busy here.”
MARK RUSHBROOK CONTINUED – WHAT ARE YOU SEEING IN TERMS OF UNDERSTANDING THIS NEXT GEN CAR? IS IT A FRESH SLATE FOR EVERYONE AND ARE THEY COMFORTABLE WITH IT YET? “I don’t know that we’re comfortable with it yet. It’s an all-new car and the teams, with our support, have been racing the Gen 6 cars for so long and knew them pretty well. Even when there changes made from year to year in the rules a lot of the same principles applied in terms of what to do or where to optimize, but now everything is new and similar to what Doug just went through, it’s optimizing all of those different variables. There are still a lot of knobs to turn on these vehicles in all part of it, whether it’s engine, aero or chassis, and it’s getting comfortable with turning those knobs and making sure we’ve truly optimized it. It’s really testing our people to think differently than they have in the past, not just rely on the same principles and also want our tools – to be able to use them for that optimization, especially with our simulator. It’s getting a lot of use right now.”
DO YOU AGREE THAT EVEN THOUGH THE SEASON MIGHT BE GOING ON IF THERE ARE CHANGES THAT NEED TO BE MADE TO THE CAR YOU WOULD BE GOOD WITH THAT IF NASCAR WANTED TO TRY SOMETHING? “That’s the great thing about this sport, the series, is everyone wants to work together to keep it a very healthy series with great racing for the fans. I think we’ve got the right starting point for this series. Everybody is truly behind this and we’re excited. We’re sure it’s gonna bring some really good racing, but if in that case on some tracks maybe we learn there are things we can do better and as an industry I think everybody would work together to make any changes, if needed. Right now, we think we’ve got the right package and we’ll see how it goes.”
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE OUT OF HAILIE DEEGAN THIS YEAR AND WITH PENSKE DROPPING ITS XFINITY PROGRAM, WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY WITH THAT SERIES? “Hailie, we’re expecting a lot out of Hailie this year. She had a good start to her truck career last year, but it was tough without practice and qualifying and getting fully comfortable with the truck. We did see as we went back to tracks for the second time she was performing a lot better, so I think this year she’ll be a lot more comfortable in the truck. She’s getting more simulator time. She’ll get more track time and think she can be very competitive there, but as we started with her earlier we are working with her and she is very motivated to get into any car, any truck, racing anywhere. We had her down at IMSA Daytona for the last three days for the Roar in the Mustang GT4. She’ll be back there Thursday and Friday practicing, qualifying and racing in that four-hour race partnered with Chase Briscoe, and she’s gonna be doing a lot of other things beyond that and outside of trucks. So, I think she’s gonna get a lot more seat time and get more experience and looking for that performance to continue improving. As far as Xfinity and specifically if that’s around Hailie’s career as well. If she performs in trucks this year, we would expect that she would go into Xfinity for 2023. You’re right, we do have a reduced footprint in Xfinity this year, but that can be different next year if Hailie is ready to go up to the Xfinity level.”
DOUG YATES CONTINUED – HOW DO THE CHANGES FOR THIS NEXT GEN CAR STACK UP AGAINST ANYTHING ELSE YOU’VE SEEN IN YOUR CAREER? “Probably the thing about the Next Gen car is we haven’t tested this much in recent years. I can’t remember testing this much since the nineties. In fact, Red Farmer used to test our car when Davey was out doing things. I saw him at the Hall of Fame the other night and it was pretty neat, but I think just the preparation for the testing has been pretty fast and furious, especially with the different combinations of power levels. So, if NASCAR wants to test 510 horsepower and 550 horsepower at the same track, we have to be prepared with calibrations for both of those and then you have a Charlotte test, kind of how the 670 got started was Greg Zipadelli came up and said, ‘Hey, we want more power. What can we do?’ We were at 550 horsepower and we changed the tapered spacer and made it 670 and the guys like that. So, really, our biggest challenge this winter is just being adaptable to all those different combinations and then now that we know what we’re gonna race with the two combinations – 510 horsepower at Daytona, Talladega and Atlanta now – and 670 everywhere else, now our real work starts so we know we can go develop durability cycles and optimize the components. So our real work started after NASCAR said 670 the week before Christmas. It’s been a busy offseason, probably the busiest in a long time, so that’s probably been our biggest challenge and now we’re ready to really start getting ready for the season with performance development and trying to get off to a strong start.”
DO THE HOURS YOU’RE PUTTING IN REMIND YOU OF THE NINETIES? “The past couple of Saturdays have, but nothing like back in 1991, that winter, my dad and I wanted to win the Daytona 500, so we went in the shop and took the clocks off the wall and for two-and-a-half months we never left – seven days a week. That was pretty intense, but it was rewarded with a 1992 Daytona 500 with Davey Allison. So, it’s not quite as bad as that, but I remember those days and those are fond memories. We’re not quite as intense. We didn’t have 200 employees like we do today at Roush Yates and the support of Ford Motor Company like we have today, so it’s a lot better in a lot of ways, but it’s been a pretty fast-paced winter.”
MARK RUSHBROOK CONTINUED – BESIDES NASCAR IS THERE ANYTHING IN THE PIPELINE ON THE IMSA SPORTS CAR ROUTE? “Sports car is a place that we truly enjoy racing. We’re really happy with the Mustang GT4s that we have now with Roush Yates power in those as well. It’s been a good customer car, so we’re able to sell cars that are racing here in the U.S. in World Challenge as well as IMSA, and there’s one that’s been racing over in Europe that has had quite a bit of success over there. It’s a good car for us to use for training our drivers, both in racing and in track time as well. It’s been very successful for us. We’re certainly not sour on sports car racing. It’s certainly of interest for us to come back at the right time with the right car and the right class, so we’ll see what we have in the future for that. WRC, I did want to say something relative to that, especially around the Tech Center, which many of you have been to in North Carolina. We’ve always said that gets used for all of our global programs and that WRC Puma, even though most of the rally events are in Europe and our team, M-Sport, is in the UK, we used our Tech Center very heavily both in the simulator world and aero world with the scale tunnel, running at PTG and our computational fluid dynamics tools as well, so the same tools that we use in NASCAR and analytical tools as well as physically there in the Tech Center were used for WRC Puma and also used in Australia we unveiled a Gen 3 Mustang in December that will be racing in 2023, so the same thing. It was used in the same facility with the same people to develop those global race cars.”
AT WHAT POINT DOES IT MAKE SENSE FROM FORD’S POINT OF VIEW THAT NASCAR HAVE SOME SORT OF HYBRID COMPONENT SINCE THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE SELLING ON THE STREET? “Hybrid in rally makes so much sense because they’re out driving on obviously closed off roads, real roads that are closed off, a point-to-point rally, so there is a lot of hard acceleration and a lot of hard braking, so a lot of opportunity to recover the energy and then deploy it as you come out of the corner, and that’s worked really well in those cars and the performance in maintaining a spectacle because you still have the sound, the smell of a combustion engine, but also the electric application to improve performance further, and also tell a pretty cool story. As they drove through the service park it was full electric, so it was a quiet car going through downtown Monaco, but then a loud, beautiful sounding car out on the rally stages. NASCAR is obviously a different format. We’ve said for a long time that a hybrid on a track like Daytona, the oval, just doesn’t make any sense because the point of hybrid is regeneration of the energy under braking and then deploy it under acceleration. With the format of the big ovals like that or the intermediate tracks, it just doesn’t make sense to put hybrids, so maybe at some point, whether it’s on a short track or a road course would be the right opportunity. I think our world is accelerating so quickly to full electric that that is something that the industry needs to talk about, and I don’t think it’s replacing the combustion engine. I think that needs to stay here for quite some time, a long time. Hopefully, that’s good for you to hear, Doug, because that’s what fans want. They want the sounds, the smells. It’s a spectacle, but can the sport in some way bring in some other element with electrification? I think that’s what we need to talk through as an industry to continue to be relevant, but continue to have that great spectacle.”
SO ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT A LITTLE PART OF ELECTRIFICATION BUT ALSO STAYING WITH THE INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE. CAN YOU EXPLAIN A LITTLE BIT MORE? “I think our position is Cup can be ICE without hybrid for quite some time – to be the spectacle of this sport – but if there is a way to bring in full electric, so just vehicles with full electric only, no combustion engine, just electric, if there’s a way that could be brought into the sport to supplement what we have with ICE in Cup, I think that’s a great opportunity for manufacturers to bring fans to the track for the ICE spectacle but for us to be able to tell some electrification stories. We’re going to be doing that on our own at the Clash as I said earlier. We’ll be racing those ICE cars on track, but we’re gonna have a display with electrification to tell that story to those fans. We need to be able to tell that, too.”
CAN YOU CLARIFY HOW THE CONVERSATION WITH YOU AND GREG ZIPADELLI HAD AT THE TEST? DID HE GO THROUGH NASCAR OR JUST TALK WITH YOU ABOUT IT? “I think the second day of that test at the oval, NASCAR said, ‘Hey, we’re open to you guys trying a few things you really want to try.’ So, John Probst and the guys were on board with that. We had the 670 power level already prepared for the short tracks, so we had that tapered spacer and calibration ready, and I think Kevin Harvick wanted to try something different. I think he was bored and ready to do something different, so that led to something that maybe we should try as a sport and maybe this will be more interesting than the 550 package at the test. That’s kind of how it developed, but NASCAR was fully onboard and supportive of that at the end of the second day just trying to make sure everybody exhausted that test and it turned out that way.”
Ford Performance PR
Fresh off the best season of his young career, Eddie Tafoya Jr. will kick off the 2022 USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series campaign this Thursday Friday, and Saturday, January 27, 28, and 29, at Arizona’s Cocopah Speedway. The races will be the first of three for the Chino Hills, California-based driver on the expanded 32-race series schedule.
Eddie Tafoya Jr., #51T, will open the 2022 sprint car season this week at Cocopah Speedway. Doug Allen photo.
Tafoya comes into the new season after an impressive year in 2021. The 2018 Perris Auto Speedway Young Guns Sprint Car champion, finished eighth in the USAC/CRA Series point standings. In 17 starts in the toughest non-wing sprint car series west of the Mississippi, “Mr. Smooth” recorded seven top 10 finishes, five top-fives, and one top three. His best outing came at Perris Auto Speedway when he placed third on July 17th. That race would have been surpassed by what seemed to be a sure second-place run at the prestigious Salute to Indy at Perris on Memorial Day weekend. However, with less than five laps to go in that yellow flag-plagued main event, Tafoya ran out of fuel.
In addition to his 17 races in the USAC/CRA Series, the now 24-year-old made 12 appearances in Indiana in the USAC National Sprint Car Series, and one open show start at the Bob Darland Memorial. Those treks to the Heartland saw him compete and gain valuable experience on eight different tracks.
This week’s races will be the first for the USAC/CRA Series at Somerton, Arizona’s Cocopah Speedway since 2013. Thus, it will be Tafoya’s first experience on the extremely fast 3/8 of a mile oval.
This year’s 32-race USAC/CRA schedule will see Tafoya, who was crowned series Rookie of the Year in 2019, compete on a minimum of seven western tracks. Perris Auto Speedway, the home track of the now 18-year-old series, will lead the way with 10 different dates including the 26th Annual Heimark/Anheuser Busch Budweiser Oval Nationals in November. Cocopah, Keller Auto Speedway in Hanford, California, and the Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, California will host three races each. The Series will invade Arizona’s Mohave Valley Raceway for the first time with dates in April and October. Annual stops at the Bakersfield Speedway and at the beach at the Ventura Raceway will take place in May and June. In addition, there are nine races at tracks yet to be announced.
For fans who would like to see Tafoya kick off his 2022 campaign in person, spectator gates will open at 4:00 p.m. each day with USAC/CRA cars on the track for hot laps at 6:00 with racing and qualifying to follow. Cocopah Speedway is located at 3450 West County 15th Street, in Somerton, Arizona (85350). The track phone number is 602-292-7607 and the website is http://www.racecocopahspeedway.com/.
For fans who cannot make it to Arizona for the race, all three nights will be shown on the https://speedsport.tv/.
Tafoya and his team would like to thank the following sponsors for making the 2022 racing campaign possible. Specialty Fasteners, DRC Chassis, Ryder Racing Engines, Simpson Safety Products, Bell, Benic Enterprises, BR Motorsports, PSC Powder Coating, and Magik Graphics.
Fans can follow Tafoya on Instagram @eddietafoya51. The same contact point can be used to purchase his great-looking shirts via mail.
Eddie Tafoya PR
After winning the 2021 EuroNASCAR 2 Championship with Hendriks Motorsport, Martin Doubek and the Dutch powerhouse announced they renewed their partnership for the 2022 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season. The Czech will not only defend his EuroNASCAR 2 title but also return to the EuroNASCAR PRO Championship. Doubek will continue to drive the #7 Orion Ford Mustang.
The 27-year-old is a true NWES veteran, who joined the series in 2015. Doubek raced in both championships between 2015 and 2020, joining Hendriks Motorsport for the first time in 2019. He won his first EuroNASCAR 2 race in 2020 and set his eyes on the big prize for 2021. Sharing the car with NWES Champion Loris Hezemans, the Litomysl-native won the title, bringing home the first major European championship of his career.
"I am extremely happy to announce that this year I will be competing in both the EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2 championships in the #7 Orion Ford Mustang of the Hendriks Motorsport team,” said Doubek. “2022 will be my eighth year in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and this year I want to proudly defend my EuroNASCAR 2 title and go for repeating the feat of 2021 again.”
“By competing in both championships, I hope to actually achieve this expectation,” continued Doubek, who scored his first and only EuroNASCAR PRO Challenger Trophy win in 2020 at Vallelunga, Italy. “I'm also really looking forward to Rounds 7 and 8 of the championship, which will be held in my home country of the Czech Republic. I would like to show the Czech public what I can do by shining in front of my own home crowd".
With five wins and seven top-10s, Doubek’s contribution helped Hendriks Motorsport achieve an historic milestone: the #7 Mustang won both drivers championships and the Team Championship in 2021.
Teamboss Roy Hendriks said: “Hendriks Motorsport is obviously proud that Martin has chosen our team for the fourth consecutive year to compete in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. 2021 was a successful year for us together with the driver title for Martin in the EuroNASCAR 2 and the team championship with the #7 Orion Ford Mustang. We therefore look forward to working together again in the coming season and will support him as best we can so that he can compete for the title again."
The 2022 NWES season will kick off on April 9-10 at the Hockenheimring in Germany. The legendary track will make its comeback after a forced two-year hiatus. After the season opener, the official European NASCAR Series will visit five more European countries for point races: Spain, UK, Czech Republic, Belgium and Croatia. Italy will host a special All-Star Race, while in the winter between 2022 and 2023 there will be the first ever EuroNASCAR race on ice.
The wait is over. The 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season has arrived.
After three days of on-track action during the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA Presented by INX, Daytona International Speedway’s 3.56-mile tri-oval now turns its focus to the 60th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA - North America’s most prestigious sports car race - this weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 29-30. The WeatherTech Championship classes hit the track Thursday through Sunday for practice sessions.
Tickets are available for the week’s activities and include the below. For all ticket information for the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA weekend, log onto www.
4-Day Adult Tickets: $125 (Infield/Frontstretch/Garage Access); Kids 12-and-under FREE
Sat-Sun Adult Tickets: $75 (Infield/Frontstretch/Garage Access); Kids 12-and-under FREE
Sat-Sun Adult Tickets: $50 (Infield, Frontstretch Access): Kids 12-and-under FREE
Sat-Sun Adult Tickets: $50 (Unreserved Frontstrech Seating): Kids 12-and-under FREE
Friday Adult Tickets: $30 (Unreserved Frontstrech Seating): Kids 12-and-under FREE
Sunday Adult Tickets: $35 (Unreserved Frontstrech Seating): Kids 12-and-under FREE
A packed field of 61 cars is entered, the most in eight years. To help familiarize you with some of them, IMSA.com has compiled a team-by-team capsule list of the incredible DPi class which features a “who’s who’ in motorsports. Take a look below.
No. 01 Cadillac V-Performance Academy Cadillac DPi V.R
Renger van der Zande/Sebastien Bourdais/Scott Dixon/ Alex Palou
Van der Zande returns to the No. 01 Ganassi Cadillac a year after a heartbreaking end to the 2021 Rolex 24 At Daytona. He was leading when a flat tire forced him to the pits with less than eight minutes remaining in the 24-hour race.
This time, van der Zande will team with four-time IndyCar champion Bourdais, six-time IndyCar champion Dixon and reigning IndyCar champion Palou.
Bourdais returns to Chip Ganassi Racing, which hired him to drive for its GT Le Mans (GTLM) program from 2016 through 2019, including a class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016. Bourdais has driven a Cadillac DPi-V.R the past two seasons for JDC-Miller MotorSports, earning a victory at Sebring last year.
Dixon is tied for seventh place all time for Rolex overall wins with three (2006, 2015 and 2020). Dixon also helped Ganassi win the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class at the Rolex in 2018.
Van der Zande, a two-time Rolex 24 winner, teamed with Jordan Taylor, Fernando Alonso and Kamui Kobayashi to win the 2019 race for Wayne Taylor Racing. In 2020, he won it with Dixon, Kobayashi and Ryan Briscoe. It will be the first Rolex 24 for Palou.
Chip Ganassi Racing has eight Rolex 24 victories, including three in a row in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
No. 02 Cadillac Accessories Cadillac DPi V.R
Earl Bamber/Alex Lynn/Marcus Ericsson/Kevin Magnussen
Chip Ganassi Racing has added a second DPi entry for the Rolex 24 and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for 2022, with veteran racers Bamber and Lynn sharing the fulltime driving duties and former Formula One drivers Ericsson and Magnussen sharing the endurance roles.
Lynn is a Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring winner in a Cadillac DPi in 2017 with Wayne Taylor Racing. He was the GP3 Series champion in 2014 and the British Formula Renault champion in 2010 and 2011.
Bamber, who co-drove the No. 01 Cadillac in the 2021 season finale, is a two-time overall winner at Le Mans as part of the Porsche LMP1 program. He also won the 2019 WeatherTech Championship GTLM title.
Magnussen, the son of former Formula One driver and IMSA great Jan Magnussen, moved from Formula One to IMSA last year. He has 35 top-10 finishes in 119 F1 races.
Ericsson, who has 97 F1 starts on his resume and won two IndyCar races last year for CGR, is making his IMSA debut.
No. 5 Mustang Sampling/JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi V.R
Tristan Vautier/Richard Westbrook/Loic Duval/Ben Keating
Minnesota-based JDC-Miller MotorSports returns to the Rolex 24 with Westbrook joining returning driver Vautier as full-season drivers and Duval and Keating joining in endurance roles.
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac recorded two podium finishes in 2021, including a victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts.
“It’s great to have Loic and Tristan back for 2022, and we welcome Richard and Ben to the program,” said John Church, managing partner of JDC-Miller MotorSports. “2021 was a challenging year for us. We were super competitive at Daytona until we had contact, then we bounced back and won the race at Sebring. But after that we got a little unlucky at several of the races. We know we had the speed but just never got the results.”
Vautier, who joined JDC-Miller in 2018, has five IMSA podiums to his credit, including last year’s Sebring triumph. Westbrook won the GTLM class at the Rolex 24 in 2018 in a Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT with Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe. Keating is IMSA’s reigning Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) champion and will also be driving in that class in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports entry.
No. 10 Konica Minolta/Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05
Ricky Taylor/Filipe Albuquerque/Alexander Rossi/Will Stevens
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 claimed the class and overall Rolex 24 victory a year ago, and three of its drivers –Albuquerque, Taylor and Rossi – are back along with newcomer Stevens.
Taylor, son of team owner Wayne Taylor, returned to the No. 10 team last year after a three-year run with Acura Team Penske. Ricky Taylor’s WeatherTech Championship résumé includes 27 victories, 23 pole positions and 64 podium finishes, including wins at IMSA’s marquee endurance events – the Rolex 24, Twelve Hours of Sebring, Six Hours of the Glen and Motul Petit Le Mans.
Albuquerque, a multiple race winner last year in the FIA World Endurance Championship, is the 2020 European Le Mans Series champion and LMP2 WEC champion. He helped WTR win three WeatherTech Championship races in 2021, including the Rolex 24 and a runner-up in a championship battle that came down to the final turn of the final lap in Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in November.
Rossi, the 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner, helped WTR claim the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup in his role as the team’s parttime endurance specialist. Stevens, Rossi’s former teammate in Formula One, is an F1 test driver for McLaren and a standout in the WEC and ELMS.
WTR has won the past three consecutive Rolex 24s and four of the past five. The team’s Rolex history includes 12 top-five finishes and nine podium finishes.
No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R
Pipo Derani/Tristan Nunez/Mike Conway
After Derani and Felipe Nasr teamed to win the WeatherTech Championship DPi championship with the Whelen Engineering car in November, Nasr moved on to Team Penske’s new entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship as well as an endurance driving role with Pfaff Motorsports’ GTD PRO class Porsche in the WeatherTech Championship. He will be replaced in the No. 31 by Nunez, with Conway returning to his role as the team’s endurance specialist.
Derani, the only Brazilian driver to win the Rolex 24 and Twelve Hours of Sebring in the same season (2016), has 11 victories during his eight IMSA seasons. The 2021 DPi championship was Action Express’ fourth since 2014. It also has six Michelin Endurance Cup championships.
A former Mazda factory driver, Nunez joined WIN Autosport last season, claiming the LMP2 victory in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. In 2020, he helped Mazda take the overall and DPi class victory at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Conway, a veteran of British Formula 3, GP2 and IndyCar, helped Toyota Gazoo Racing win titles in WEC in 2020 and 2021. He also won the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans with co-drivers Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi, who also are in this year's Rolex 24 field.
No. 48 Ally/Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R
Mike Rockenfeller/Kamui Kobayashi/Jimmie Johnson/Jose Maria Lopez
Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and two-time DAYTONA 500 Champion Johnson will share the duties with two-time Rolex 24 winner Kobayashi, former Corvette Racing and Audi prototype driver Rockenfeller, and Lopez, who has won WEC titles the past two seasons. Kobayashi and Lopez also combined to win last year's 24 Hours of Le Mans with teammate Mike Conway. For the second straight year, the No. 48 Cadillac will compete in the Michelin Endurance Cup rounds of the WeatherTech Championship schedule.
Johnson also is competing in the IndyCar Series with Chip Ganassi Racing this season. He won 83 NASCAR races, including two Daytona 500s, during his 20-year career.
Kobayashi's career includes 76 F1 starts, the LMP1 victory in the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as the WEC championship. Rockenfeller is an Audi factory driver competing in Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM). He has two class wins at Le Mans.
“The Rolex 24 At Daytona is one of the marquee races in the world,” Johnson said last year before his first attempt at the race. “It’s such a challenging event for both team and driver and requires such a high level of concentration throughout. It’s just such a fun and unique race to compete in.”
No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-05
Oliver Jarvis/Tom Blomqvist/Helio Castroneves/Simon Pagenaud
Meyer Shank Racing revamped its Rolex 24 lineup for its 19th season in the WeatherTech Championship with a return to the series’ top class. Jarvis and Blomqvist share the fulltime duties, while IndyCar drivers Castroneves and Pagenaud take over the endurance roles.
Jarvis moves from his position with Mazda’s now-defunct DPi program to the Meyer Shank Acura. He has three LMP1 podium finishes at Le Mans and claimed the LMP2 class victory there in 2017. Jarvis has been a fulltime participant in DPi since 2018 and helped Mazda win its farewell to the class at Motul Petit Le Mans in November.
Blomqvist, who was added to the MSR lineup in November, has experience in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s LMP2 class, with a victory in the 2018 24 Hours of Spa to his credit. He previously raced in the WeatherTech Championship as part of the BMW Team RLL program.
Castroneves and Pagenaud were longtime teammates in Team Penske’s IndyCar program, and both continue there this season with Meyer Shank. Castroneves won the Indy 500 last May, the record-tying fourth of his career. Pagenaud won the Indy 500 in 2019 and was the 2016 IndyCar Series champion.
Once the checkered flag falls on the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, the World Center of Racing will begin its focus on DAYTONA Speedweeks Presented by AdventHealth (Feb. 15-20) and the 64th Annual DAYTONA 500. The week will feature six days of incredible on-track action with practices, qualifying and a total of six races among four different series. It will allow fans several possibilities to see the NASCAR Cup Series’ Next Gen car, plus some of the greatest drivers in the world in the NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series, as well as the ARCA Menards Series.
For ticket information on Speedweeks Presented By AdventHealth events, log onto www.DAYTONA500.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP. If fans are looking to buy or sell reserved seats for the DAYTONA 500, please visit SeatGeek, the Preferred Ticket Exchange of the DAYTONA 500 and Speedweeks Presented By AdventHealth.
Bakersfield’s Derek Thorn returns to Wisconsin in 2022 with the addition of the 43rd Slinger Nationals on July 12 to his schedule of marquee Super Late Model races across the country. Thorn will be making just his fourth career start in the Badger state and first since 2008 when he raced in the former ASA Late Model Challenge.
Thorn, will drive an Apel Racing Inc. prepared #43 PepperJack Kennels/Tool Shack Toyota Camry with his normal Campbell Motorsport team and crew chief Mike Keen at the helm. The high-banked quarter-mile has seen the biggest names in the sport take the checkered flag such as NASCAR Cup Series champions Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch, and the legendary Rich Bickle. Thorn looks to add his name to the prestigious list of champions of the Slinger Nationals.
“All of us at Apel Racing are extremely excited to work with one of the best in the business. We look forward to building a great relationship with Derek, Campbell Motorsports, and PepperJack Kennels!” owner Steve Apel stated.
PepperJack Kennels’ world-class summer location in Woodville, Wisconsin is just a few hours northwest of Slinger Speedway, making the event a “home race” for Thorn’s primary 2022 partner. Other major partners include The Tool Shack, Power Grade Inc., Double Eagle Transportation, and Reeves Complete Auto Center.
“We had the Slinger Nationals on our radar for 2022 from the beginning planning discussions of the season. The team just needed the right situation and funding to get put in place to make it work,” said PepperJack Kennels owner Misty Melo. “My husband and I are very excited to be racing in our backyard and can’t thank Steve Apel of ARI and all of Derek’s partners for helping make this happen,” Melo added.
Race broadcast information for the Slinger Nationals is to be announced. The event joins a busy season for Derek Thorn that opens on February 5th at the $25,000-to-win All-Star Showdown at California’s Irwindale Speedway. Thorn will race at Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway in two events: the double-header Southern Super Series weekend on April 8th-9th and in December’s Snowflake 100 and 55th Snowball Derby. April’s PepperJack Kennels Twin 100s will pay $10,000-to-win each night along with a bonus to win both nights with details to be announced.
A trip to Marne, Michigan for Berlin Raceway’s Battle at Berlin is on tap for August 10th as well. The All-American 400 at Nashville Fairgrounds is scheduled for October 29th. Thorn, Crew Chief Mike Keen, and the entire Campbell Motorsports team is looking forward to an exciting national season of Pro and Super Late Model competition.
Partnership packages are still available to join Campbell Motorsports for businesses of all sizes. To partner with one of the most decorated teams and driver within asphalt short-track racing, please contact Marty Melo at (530) 941-5642.
Campbell Motorsports and Derek Thorn are supported by,
PepperJack Kennels, Tool Shack, Power Grade Inc., Double Eagle Produce and Transportation, Reeves Complete Auto Center, Family Funeral & Cremation, Destined4Destruction Action Figure, Fury Race Cars, Essex AP Racing, Swift Springs, JRI Shocks, Magnus, Tilton, Finishline Signs, Five Star Body, Performance Parts and Supply, Joiner Motorsports, Bassett, K1 Race Gear, Hightower Racing Transmissions Inc., Butler Built, Strange oval, West Air, Triple R Transportation, Joes Racing Products, Blakesley Sports Media, 9D Creative and Seal Master of Bakersfield.
Derek Thorn PR
The fan-favorite NASCAR Hauler Parade is returning to Las Vegas.
NASCAR fans can see their favorite drivers’ haulers make their way up the Las Vegas Strip beginning at 6 p.m. Pacific Time on Thursday, March 3, as Las Vegas Motor Speedway kicks off the spring 2022 NASCAR Weekend. The parade is a favorite among racing fans and will begin in front of the Luxor Hotel and Casino on Las Vegas Boulevard.
Approximately 40 brightly colored, 18-wheeled NASCAR Cup Series haulers will receive a police escort as they drive north on the Strip before making their way onto Interstate 15 at Sahara Avenue and head for the 1.5-mile superspeedway. All trucks will stage earlier in the day at the South Point Hotel Casino & Spa.
The haulers will proceed to Speedway Boulevard and make their way through the LVMS tunnel under turns 1 and 2 to their garage stalls outside the Neon Garage. A much-anticipated convoy, the hauler parade is a great way for NASCAR fans to get excited about the action-packed weekend that awaits them March 4-6.
“We’re so excited to bring the hauler parade back,” said LVMS President Chris Powell. “It’s quite a thrill to see the beautifully wrapped NASCAR haulers take over the Las Vegas Strip. We’re always looking to expand and offer fans innovative ways to enjoy the sport we all love, and we’d like to thank NASCAR teams, our area governments and local law enforcement for helping make this happen. It’s going to be a great kickoff to a highly anticipated NASCAR weekend, and we can’t wait for it all to begin in a few short weeks.”
LVMS’s spring 2022 NASCAR Weekend begins with the Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200 Presented by Westgate Resorts NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday, March 4. The Alsco Uniforms 300 NASCAR Xfinity race will be Saturday, March 5 and the Pennzoil 400 Presented by Jiffy Lube will run on Sunday, March 6. There also will be practice and qualifying for all three series this year.
All children 12 and under get in free on Friday and Saturday with a ticketed adult and can attend the Pennzoil 400 alongside a ticketed adult for just $10 on Sunday. Call 1-800-644-4444 or log on to LVMS.com to order tickets, purchase upgrades or special access passes.
Pocono Raceway’s 50-Amp Infield and Trackside GEICO Family Grandstand Camping areas are already sold-out ahead of the 2022 NASCAR weekend at ‘The Tricky Triangle.’ Coming off a complete sell-out in 2021, momentum continues for Pocono Raceway with less than 10 premier Fenceline and 50-Amp GEICO Grandstand camping spots available. Camping guests will enjoy a 4-night immersive camping and entertainment experience from July 21-24.
To purchase a reserved or general admission campsite, while supplies last, please visit www.poconoraceway.com/camping or call our Ticket Office at 1-800-722-3929. Remaining committed to growing the sport, kids ages 12 and under receive both camping and reserved grandstand admission for free.
“We saw the largest overnight camping crowd in history last year for our NASCAR weekend,” said Raceway President, Ben May. “Excitement from our camping guests is at an all-time high and we can’t wait to welcome everyone back this July.”
Camping guests will enjoy three nights of live music and entertainment at the Infield Block Party on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, daily programming for all ages at the Pocono Mountains Activities & Welcome Center, Saturday night fireworks show, the ability to enjoy the first-ever dog park (Pocono Raceway’s Bark Park) at a NASCAR track and the chance for kids of all abilities to learn, grow and play at the 5,000 square feet #POCONOMTNS Inclusive Playground. In addition to these great perks, camping guests receive complimentary access to the Grandstands for the General Tire 200 ARCA Menards Series race and access to Fan Fair all weekend.
2022 NASCAR Schedule of Events –
- Friday, July 22 – General Tire 200 - ARCA Menards Series
- Saturday, July 23 – CRC Brakleen 150 - NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
- Saturday July 23 – NASCAR Xfinity Series
- Sunday, July 24 – NASCAR Cup Series
Pocono Raceway PR