Speedway Digest Staff
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This weekend NASCAR returns to the all-new Atlanta Motor Speedway for the second time this season for the Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart and the Alsco Uniforms 250.
Between those two races there’s 650 miles of NASCAR action on tap, but race weekend in Atlanta is full of entertainment even when the cars aren’t on the track. Here’s a few fun activities fans won’t want to miss while at AMS this weekend!
Revs & Riffs NASCAR Weekend Music Festival Presented by Fr8Auctions.com
Atlanta Motor Speedway and Fr8Auctions have teamed up to bring a medley of music to the summer NASCAR weekend with the Revs & Riffs NASCAR Weekend Music Festival Presented by Fr8Auctions.
The music festival runs in conjunction with the race weekend, featuring musical performances that kick off Friday night and continue throughout the weekend. From the Fan Zone to the campgrounds to the frontstretch stage, fans will enjoy a performances spanning a variety of genres including pre-race concerts by Candlebox on Saturday and Flo Rida on Sunday.
Pit Boss Camper Appreciation Party Presented by Walmart
Fans fuel the great times and unforgettable memories at Atlanta Motor Speedway, which is why the speedway kicks off the summer weekend with the Pit Boss Camper Appreciation Party Presented by Walmart.
The speedway and its partners will treat campers staying at the track to free burgers, hot dogs, and Coca-Cola beverages at The Gathering Place in the Legends campground. Special guests like NASCAR Cup Series driver Aric Almirola and “America’s Crew Chief” Larry McReynolds will even stop by, and some lucky fans will go home with cool prizes. To cap it all off, Garrett Collins Project will perform the first musical act of the weekend.
Laps for Charity Presented by Fr8Auctions.com
Before any of NASCAR’s stars hit the track, fans can take their own vehicles onto Atlanta’s 28-degree banked turns and make the first laps of the race weekend under the lights.
With a donation to Speedway Children’s Charities Atlanta, participants will be able to drive three laps around the 1.54-mile speedway behind the Atlanta Motor Speedway pace car. Fans can register to participate online at https://www.speedwaycharities.
Atlanta Motor Speedway’s free Fan Zone
Before heading through the gates there’s a ton to see and do in the free Fan Zone from cool partner displays, to fun and games in the Kids Zone, to free activities like axe throwing and more.
Plus the Quaker State Fan Stage is home to driver appearances throughout the weekend as well as musical performances by Mark Wills and the Leah Belle Faser Band.
Peach Pit Presented by Dixie Vodka
When the racing ends the party is just getting started in the Peach Pit Presented by Dixie Vodka on Saturday night.
This party in the infield is packed with entertainment like mechanical bulls, corn hole, laser lights, and fireworks to cap off the night. Best of all, Georgia’s own Blackberry Smoke will perform a concert on the Peach Pit stage.
Family Movie Night at Bruton Smith Park
Fans looking for a more family-friendly activity on Saturday night after the Alsco Uniforms 250 can enjoy the free movie night in Bruton Smith Park near the Family Campgrounds.
Families in attendance will enjoy the film Cars and free snacks provided by Cheez It Puff’d when the movie starts at 8:45 p.m.
These are just the highlights of a weekend packed full of entertainment at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Tickets and camping accommodations for this weekend’s racing and entertainment are available at www.AtlantaMotorSpeedway.com.
The NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series head to their second stop of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway, while the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series makes its first ever stop at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – supported by the ARCA Menards Series.
NASCAR National Series – NCS | NXS | NCWTS
Kurt Busch solid in the ATL… Kurt Busch led Toyota in the spring race on the newly-paved Atlanta Motor Speedway as the Las Vegas-native led four laps and finished third. Busch also was strong in the last race at the track before the repave – leading 144 of 260 laps on his way to the victory in July 2021.
Bell looking for redemption… Christopher Bell is looking for redemption at Atlanta after a post-race penalty earlier this season in Atlanta negated a podium finish. Bell has consistently run well at the track, including earning the first NASCAR victory for the Supra in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2019.
Gibbs continues to impress… Ty Gibbs scored an impressive win on Saturday at Road America, getting past reigning Cup Series champion Kyle Larson on the final lap. It was Gibbs’ series-leading fourth victory of the season, which helped him close within nine points of the championship lead. Gibbs is looking for his second straight win at Atlanta after he won earlier this season at the track with a bold last lap pass.
Back home for Jones… Brandon Jones is headed back to his home track – Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Georgia-native is coming off his third top-five finish of the season at Road America and had a strong run earlier this spring in Atlanta, crossing the finish line in seventh.
Truex, Earnhardt return… Ryan Truex and Jeffrey Earnhardt are back in the NASCAR Xfinity Series event this weekend – competing in Toyota GR Supras. Truex will make his fifth start in the No. 18 for Joe Gibbs Racing. In his last start, Truex finished a season-best sixth at Texas. Earnhardt is back in the No. 26 for Sam Hunt Racing (SHR). Similarly, Earnhardt had a strong run in his last start – finishing seventh in Nashville. He competed at Atlanta earlier this season for SHR, finishing 13th.
Majeski, Eckes look to clinch… Ty Majeski and Christian Eckes plan to clinch their NASCAR Truck Series Playoff berths this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with another strong run. With two races remaining in the regular season, Majeski holds a 127-point advantage over 11th in the point standings as he is on a streak of three consecutive top-five finishes. Eckes is seventh in points, 97 points ahead of 11th. He has five top-six finishes in his last seven starts.
Heim battles for Rookie of Year title…Toyota development driver Corey Heim looks to become the second consecutive driver from the Kyle Busch Motorsports stable to earn the Rookie of the Year title, joining last season’s winner, Chandler Smith. Heim, who turned 20 on Tuesday, already owns two wins in his seven starts this season. Despite only starting seven of the 14 events this season, Heim sits just eight points out of the Rookie of the Year lead.
NASCAR Regional Series – ARCA
Double for Nemechek… As the Truck Series makes its first laps at Mid-Ohio, John Hunter Nemechek is getting some extra laps in Friday’s ARCA event aboard the No. 55 Toyota Camry for Venturini Motorsports (VMS). VMS will field four Camrys for the event as Nemechek will have road course ace Parker Chase, 17-year-old Jesse Love and full-time competitor Toni Breidinger as teammates.
Smith looks for three straight… One week after making his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut, Sammy Smith heads to Mid-Ohio on a hot streak in ARCA Menards Series action. Smith is coming in on a two-race winning streak after a dominating performance at Minnesota’s Elko Speedway – leading 233 of 250 laps.
Toyota Dirt Driver Spotlight
CB Industries - Toyota Spike
Hometown: Clovis, Calif.
Toyota development driver Jade Avedisian became the second woman ever to win a national midget feature event on June 26, when she led all 30 laps of the POWRi/Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series at Jacksonville Speedway. It wasn’t the first time the 15-year-old has shined on the national midget circuit, though. In 2021, she earned a POWRi top-five finish at age 14 at Lake Ozark Speedway in a limited schedule, then went on to place fourth in USAC competition in just her seventh race in the series at Merced last November. She followed that up by earning her first USAC podium finish at Ocala in February where she led the first 18 laps before Justin Grant slipped past her in lapped traffic. She then went on to become just the seventh woman ever to win a USAC Midget Fast Qualifier Award during Indiana Midget Week at Lincoln Park Speedway. Prior to moving up to the midget ranks, Avedisian dominated at the micro sprint level, earning 12 victories in 2021.
Jade, you’ve risen up the ranks quickly, tell us about how it started?
JA: My dad never raced, but he worked on Michael Faccinto’s dad’s sprint car. He bought a quarter midget when I was three or four and we just kind of took it out to the parking lot. I liked it, but then stopped doing it for about a year. Then I started racing quarter midgets when I was seven at Madera, then started racing micros when I was nine at Plaza Park, Lemoore Raceway and Delta Speedway. I began racing midgets last year when I was 14.
Did you grow up with a favorite driver?
JA: Well, I’m not sure I’m done growing up (laughing). I don’t know. I think everyone who comes into racing is pretty good. Kyle Larson is obviously really, really good.
And you raced against Kyle in your first handful of races in USAC, what was that like for you?
JA: It was really cool, but I really don’t let it get in my head. I just try to stay focused and run my own race.
What’s it been like racing with Chad Boat and the CB Industries team?
JA: I couldn’t be any happier with this team. I love Chad. He’s always helping me out whenever I have a question. I’m able to lean on him as a former driver. I’m just really happy and am really looking forward to the rest of the year.
Can you talk about your learning curve in running a partial season last year and then coming into 2022?
JA: It’s been pretty tough. I feel like I get better every race with more seat time and more laps. To have a great team behind me makes it easier. I wanted to be racing at the Chili Bowl, but just watching everything there helped me learn so much and really helped me for this year.
After you finished third at Ocala, Justin Grant was interviewed afterward and said you would win a midget race this season, how did that feel?
JA: It was awesome. I’ve always looked up to Justin. For him to say something like that really boosts your confidence.
Can you tell us about your win at Jacksonville?
JA: It was a really big night. I definitely didn’t think I was going to win. For it to actually happen was pretty amazing. I knew I had to get a good start to set my own pace. Lapped traffic was pretty tough. At one point it was three-wide, and I got really lucky with a late caution. I saw the white flag come out and my only thought was to not plug it into the fence. My team deserves all the credit. I had always wanted to stand on top of a midget and celebrate. Hopefully there will be more to come. It’s still a surreal feeling.
A lot of people don’t realize that you haven’t raced at most of the tracks on the midget schedule, what’s that been like?
JA: Every racetrack seems like a new track for me. When we went through Indiana Midget Week, I had never been at any of those tracks. I feel like any track you go to for a second time, you’re going to feel a little more comfortable. Overall, I think it’s going to make me a better driver just to experience all of these new tracks. It’s definitely tough, but it provides a lot of learning.
There had been so much attention about women never having won in midgets and now in a span of a month, two women have won and when you were Fast Qualifier at Lincoln Park, you were one of four women who qualified in the top four, what’s that been like to be among a number of women not only racing midgets, but having success?
JA: It’s definitely cool that I’m not the only girl out here. I feel all the women have stepped up out here this year. I think it makes all of us a little more comfortable. It’s awesome to be among the first women to win, but my goal has always simply been to win every time I hit the track. We all have the same goal, and we all race each other the same.
What are you looking to accomplish the rest of the 2022 season?
JA: After getting that first win, now I just want to start getting consistent top-three and top-five finishes. We have a lot of racing coming up in July and I’m really looking forward to it.
What do you do when you’re not racing?
JA: I really don’t do that much. I pick one thing out and that’s racing. I go to the gym three days a week. I really don’t get to do too much because we’re always getting home on a Sunday and we’re leaving again on Thursday. It’s a short week, so I just catch up on all of the stuff I need to do. I used to go to school, but they got mad because I was missing so many days, so I decided to do on-line school.
What’s your long-term goal?
JA: Racing is what I want to do. I love it so much. I’d really like to get into asphalt, so I would say NASCAR is my main goal. We’ve been practicing in a late model if I ever get the opportunity.
When Eddie Tafoya junior and his crew got word that this Friday and Saturday night’s USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series races were canceled, they decided to hit the road. Instead of sitting idle, the team is headed to Brandon, South Dakota for this coming Friday, Saturday, and Sunday’s USAC Nationals at Huset’s Speedway. All three nights of action will feature the USAC National Sprint Cars and National Midgets.
The whole scenario was created last week when the Friday, July 8th race at Keller Auto Speedway in Hanford, California, and the July 9th race at the Stone Chevrolet Buick GMC Thunderbowl Raceway a few miles up the road in Tulare were both canceled. The reasons for the cancellations were drought and water restriction conditions, the current tire crisis facing all of racing, and the cost of fuel. The deletions created a six-week void in the USAC/CRA Series schedule before the next slated race at the Santa Maria Raceway on August 6th.
Tafoya has made several trips to Indiana to race in the national series over the past few years. However, this week’s races will be his first-ever in “The Mt. Rushmore State.” Huset’s Speedway, which opened in 1954, recently had a massive upgrade and is now considered one of the crown jewels of dirt tracks in the United States. The 1/3 mile banked oval is also one of the fastest in the country.
It will be Tafoya’s second trip to race in the Midwest in 2022. At the beginning of May, the Chino Hills, California driver went back for a two-night show at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Ohio. Unfortunately, the team was within a couple of hours of its destination when it got word that the shows had been canceled due to heavy, persistent rains. That was the only trip to the Midwest the team had scheduled this year until the two cancellations were announced last week.
The 2019 USAC/CRA and USAC Southwest Series Rookie of the Year is having his best year to date racing 410 Sprint cars. In 12 starts in the USAC/CRA Series, Tafoya has placed in the top five, five times, and has been in the top ten nine times. Included is a second-place finish on January 29th at Arizona’s Cocopah Speedway and a third-place finish on another “Copper State” track, the Mohave Valley Raceway, on April 23rd. All told, the good finishes currently have him ranked fourth in USAC/CRA points and he has been closing in on third.
For fans who cannot make it to the race, all three nights will stream live on Flo Racing. Details are at https://www.floracing.com/.
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
The Council for Responsible Sport awarded a Silver certification to the Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart becomes the second NASCAR event to earn this distinction behind the 2021 Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, certified earlier this year.
The Council for Responsible Sport is a not-for-profit organization with a vision to “embrace purpose through play” by certifying sporting events that have made progress to reduce their environmental footprint and increase positive impacts on their local communities and society.
“We are proud to be recognized by the Council for Responsible Sport as a certified responsible sporting event,” said AMS Executive Vice President Brandon Hutchison. “Our team works hard to collaborate with our partners and take positive action with events like the Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart. We’re committed to hosting entertaining events while also taking steps towards a safer, healthier world.”
Through the independent third-party assessment and certification process, points are rewarded to events for: reducing and offsetting their carbon footprint, improving their water footprint, encouraging use of alternative transportation (i.e. mass transit), reducing printed materials, locally sourcing food and beverage, recycling, partnering with local non-profits, and addressing other environmental and social impacts.
“Race fans love racing, and we’ve learned they also care about the environment,” said Bree Sandlin, Vice President, Shell Lubricants North America Marketing. “Shell continues to work with our customers and industry partners so we all make progress together in the sustainability journey. We are proud of the collaboration with Speedway Motorsports and Atlanta Motor Speedway leadership for taking broad and measurable actions to secure Silver Certification for the Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart.”
“Achieving Council for Responsible Sport Certification reflects the outstanding commitment and focus of both the whole team in Atlanta along with continued support of Shell to change the way races are staged,” said Kevin Phelan, Board Member for the Council.
The Council has helped to measure, manage, and verify the social and environmental impacts of events since 2007 with a focus on five pillars: planning & communications, procurement, resource management, access & equity, and community legacy.
“Certification reflects not only the clear desire to deliver the event in a more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable way but reflects the hard work and actions that deliver real change," added Phelan. "The Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart should be proud of this achievement.”
Notes to Editor
Through the independent third-party assessment and certification process, points are rewarded for the delivery of actions in multiple areas.
- Water use is measured, and initiatives are in place that reduce the environmental impact of water runoff and/or wastewater.
- Carbon footprint is calculated and offset, alternative and/or renewable energy sources are used.
- Mass transit on event day(s) is free or subsidized.
- Event has a formal access and equity policy.
- Plans for outreach to underrepresented group(s) in place.
- Accessibility service offered freely to participants and/or visitors.
- Event’s economic impact on the host county or city is measured.
- Locally owned businesses are promoted.
- Event partners with a non-profit organization to promote the mission of the organization through co-branding or publicity initiatives
- Formal plans to reduce an event’s environmental footprint and increase social impact.
- Choose sites that allow for the participation of people with disabilities
- Event publishes a sustainability report and has a written sustainable procurement policy.
- Locally grown or sustainably produced food and beverages are made available.
A few examples of how the Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmartsecured points towards certification include:
- The Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart partnered with the Georgia Peanut Commission to promote and distribute locally grown peanuts at the track
- AMS offered water filling stations in the fan zone and on the concourse to ensure access to water and prevent the generation of single-use bottle waste.
- Folds of Honor brought out family members of military service members lost on the line of duty out for a free day at the race
- Henry County Sherriff’s Office brought local underserved youth out to the track for a free day of inspiration and fun through the Fuel for Success program
- Quaker State purchased Operation BBQ Relief rub, a company with a mission to feed first responders and communities affected by natural disasters. Shell purchased 504 bottles of the rub and provided them as giveaways to guests and attendees.
- Quaker State developed a "virtual cookout" tailgating experience that was attended by 194 stakeholders. There were no printed materials utilized and attendees were also given the option to “opt out” of receiving the mailed gift box during their registration process, to further reduce material consumption.
Other major sporting events in the U.S. that have been recognized at this level include the Waste Management Phoenix Open PGA tournament, the men’s and women’s NCAA Final Four® basketball championships, and the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
Drive your vehicle on Nashville Superspeedway, support Easterseals Tennessee on Wilson Bank & Trust Day July 16
Visitors can take their turn behind the wheel of their personal vehicles on NASCAR’s largest concrete track during Wilson Bank & Trust Track Day on Saturday, July 16.
Nashville Superspeedway features 14-degree banking in the Turns, 9 degrees on the frontstretch and 6 degrees on the backstretch and has challenged America’s best drivers since 2001.
See details below on Wilson Bank & Trust Day:
DATE/TIME: Saturday, July 16, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
COST: $60 per vehicle
RECEIVE: Three paced laps around Nashville Superspeedway, following the official pace car. Digital photo of your vehicle in Victory Lane.
BENEFITS: Easterseals Tennessee
REGISTER: Sign up for the event HERE.
MORE INFORMATION: Visit https://www.easterseals.com/
“As Wilson Bank & Trust celebrates our 35th Anniversary this year, we are honored to come together through the bank’s community partnership with the Nashville Superspeedway to raise awareness and support an organization that means so much to our communities,” said Scott Jasper, EVP, Chief Retail Officer. “Through our partnership, we are thrilled to offer this unique experience and benefit a great cause.”
Nashville Superspeedway hosted its second annual NASCAR tripleheader weekend June 24-26, featuring the Ally 400 NASCAR Cup Series race, won by 2020 NASCAR champion Chase Elliott.
“As Middle Tennessee’s home for racing and entertainment, we always welcome the chance to open the track for a fantastic cause,” said Erik Moses, Nashville Superspeedway’s president and GM. “We look forward to seeing #NASHCAR fans take their laps on the same track that just tested NASCAR’s top talents last month.”
If Wilson Bank & Trust Track Day is postponed by inclement weather, updates and announcements will be made on social media.