Speedway Digest Staff
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Kyle Busch is set to return to his hometown this weekend, but what makes Sunday afternoon different than the previous 19 times the Las Vegas native has raced in the NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is another sweet piece of Las Vegas will be riding along with him.
For the first time ever, the craft chocolate division of Mars Wrigley – Henderson, Nevada-made Ethel M Chocolates – will be a primary sponsor of a Cup Series car. The hometown duo has teamed up for Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 as Ethel M Chocolates celebrates its 40th anniversary of making handcrafted chocolates in the desert and serves as primary sponsor of Busch’s No. 18 Ethel M Chocolates Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) this weekend.
To further commemorate Ethel M Chocolates’ 40th anniversary and celebrate its first foray into NASCAR, the brand will also be donating 40,000 meals to Three Square Food Bank in Las Vegas, using its involvement in the race weekend to help those in the Las Vegas community who are most in need.
Ethel M Chocolates is a marquis offering, manufactured by Mars Wrigley North America and dedicated to creating premium chocolates with fresh ingredients and no artificial preservatives. 2021 marks the 40th Anniversary of Ethel M Chocolates, a momentous milestone for the brand.
For Busch, he is focused on getting back to victory lane at Las Vegas after crossing off an all-important hometown win in 2009 in just his fifth NASCAR Cup Series start at his hometown track and having just missed out on a few others since then. This weekend, Busch looks to bring home career Cup Series win No. 58 to add to his growing list of accomplishments.
The 2002 honors graduate of Durango High School in Las Vegas would like to double his number of Cup Series wins at the desert track after having brought home that emotional first win there 12 years ago.
Driving the yellow M&M’S Toyota that day, Busch qualified on the pole but was forced to start at the rear of the field because the team needed to change engines during Friday practice. Unfazed, Busch remained patient on race day as he and the M&M’S team worked their way to the front of the field by the 54th lap. Busch went on to lead three times for 51 laps en route to claiming what he called at the time the biggest win of his young career.
While Busch has NASCAR Xfinity Series wins in 2016 and 2019 and Camping World Truck Series wins in 2018, 2019, and 2020 to go with his 2009 Cup Series win on the intermediate oval, he already was no stranger to winning on Las Vegas Motor Speedway property. From 1999 to 2001, he earned more than 65 wins in Legends cars while racking up two track championships at the Bullring, which existed for several years before the NASCAR track was built. When Busch moved up to Late Models, his winning ways continued with 10 victories at the Bullring in 2001.
So as he returns to Las Vegas this weekend, Busch is hoping the “Born in Las Vegas” combination will be just what he needs to celebrate Ethel M Chocolates’ 40th anniversary in style right at “home” in victory lane.
In a continuing effort to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) in conjunction with the State of New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, will host New Hampshire’s first mass vaccination clinic this Saturday through Monday, March 6-8. The state hopes to administer over 10,000 Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccines to eligible New Hampshire residents during the three-day clinic.
“We have been working closely with the State of New Hampshire to take the next step in putting the COVID-19 pandemic in the rearview,” said David McGrath, executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “Hosting this vaccine super site falls right in line with our drive to help our community, and we’re proud that we’re able to use our awesome speedway property to achieve that.”
Appointments are required to receive a vaccination, and the state will proactively reach out to individuals with later first-dose appointments in April and offer them the opportunity to move up their appointment to this weekend. Vaccinations for eligible individuals will be distributed at NHMS from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, March 6 through Monday, March 8.
Those who have an appointment are encouraged to arrive no more than 15 minutes prior to their scheduled appointment time for check-in and screening. After receiving the vaccine, each patient will proceed to an observation area where medical staff will closely monitor for any potential reaction. The entire process will take place without people leaving their cars.
Hundreds of volunteers from hospitals, first responder agencies, police, fire, EMS, regional public health networks and community emergency response teams throughout New Hampshire will spend their personal time this weekend to help vaccinate community members.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway becomes the fifth facility operated by parent company Speedway Motorsports to serve as a mass vaccination site. To date, more than 91,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to eligible recipients at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.
“We are always more than willing to utilize our facilities to support a need in the community,” said Marcus Smith, president and chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports. “Hosting mass vaccination clinics at our venues is crucial in the race to beat this pandemic, and this weekend, thousands of New Hampshire residents will cross that finish line.”
Eligible individuals should visit NH.gov/COVID19 for more information about upcoming vaccination opportunities and all the latest on COVID-19.
Keep track of all of New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s events by following on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Keep up with all the latest news and information on the speedway website and NHMS mobile app.
Stefan Parsons and BJ McLeod Motorsports (BJMM) announce today that Dogecoin, the cryptocurrency company, will ride along with primary sponsor Springrates and driver Stefan Parsons at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) Alsco Uniforms 300.
Sean Taylor, founder and CEO of Springrates immediately saw a significant and relevant opportunity to bring back Dogecoin in NASCAR, as popularity and traction has increased on social media platforms through significant figures positively acknowledging cryptocurrency, such as Elon Musk.
“Lately, I have been obsessed with learning more about blockchain and the future of decentralized currency. I had the idea of including Dogecoin on the car for this race while chatting with Stefan following the season opener in Daytona,” said Taylor. “It was ironic because at the time, I wasn’t aware his dad’s team previously ran the Dogecoin car in 2014. Maybe it was fate.”
Fate it was. Although this will be the cryptocurrency’s debut in the NXS, it will not be the first time that Dogecoin has adorned a race car in NASCAR. In 2014, an online Dogecoin community on Reddit brought attention to the lack of sponsorship for Josh Wise, who at the time drove for Phil Parsons Racing then in the No. 98 Sprint Cup Series. Within a week, over 55K in funds were produced for Wise to be sponsored by Dogecoin for the Aaron’s 499 race in Talladega. After earning his second-best finish in the Dogecoin car, Wise announced that if he was able to win the Sprint Showdown or win the fan vote, requiring him to defeat Danica Patrick, he would run the ‘Moonrocket’ car for free at the 2014 All-Star Race. After Wise won the fan vote and was in the All-Star Race, it was clear that the Dogecoin community has a NASCAR interest.
“Dogecoin has such a great community and there is so much interest surrounding it. I’m drawn to it because it’s affordable, gaining a lot of traction, and has endless potential. Plus, who doesn’t love memes?” Taylor added
“Having the opportunity to run a scheme that has an incredible story from my Dad’s race team is something I am so proud to do. When Josh ran the Dogecoin car in 2014, I was much younger and remember being so excited at the fact that the Dogecoin community and Reddit came together to make it happen. At the time, I also wished it were me in the seat. So, to have the chance for Dogecoin to ride along with Sean and me in Las Vegas is a dream come true,” Parsons added.
In 17 starts in the NXS, Parsons has an average start of 26.9 and an average finish of 22. His best finish of the 2021 season was at Daytona International Speedway, where he finished in the 13th position after racing his way up and avoiding on-track incidents.
Coverage of the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube begins Saturday, March 6th at 4:00 p.m. ET. Live coverage will be on FS1, Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM. Race time, 4:30p.m. ET.
There will be quite the professional sports flair when the commands to start engines are given at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr headlines the trio as he will deliver the most famous words in motorsports just moments prior to the start of the Pennzoil 400 Presented by Jiffy Lube. Carr’s command will top off a weekend that will see Buffalo Bills running back Antonio Williams announce engines for Friday’s Bucked Up 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and Utah Jazz star forward Joe Ingles deliver the message for Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race.
“This will be such a thrill to have the chance to bring the NASCAR Cup Series cars to life,” Carr said. “I know there have been a long list on luminaries who have served in this role, and it’s pretty cool to join them. I’m sure it’s going to be exhilarating once those cars fire up.” Carr joins rap star Pit Bull, TV star and comedian Kevin James and Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as grand marshals for Cup races so far this season.
Carr just completed his seventh season with the Raiders, where he has amassed 26,896 yards and 170 touchdowns – both all-time bests in Raiders history.
Ingles is in his seventh season with the Jazz, where he has been a key player at both the shooting guard and small forward positions. Williams just completed his rookie season with the AFC runners-up Buffalo Bills, where he scored two touchdowns and rushed for 63 yards in the regular season finale against Miami. Williams also is a member of Joe Graf Jr.’s Xfinity Series team as well.
Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 Presented by Jiffy Lube is sold out, but tickets do remain for Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 300 and Friday’s Bucked Up 200. Go to www.lvms.com for tickets and RV spaces.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads west this week to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Bucked Up 200 on Friday.
Derek Kraus aims to carry momentum with him, after turning in a strong performance in Florida on the road course at Daytona International Speedway in the most recent series race.
His McAnally-Hilgemann Racing No. 19 Toyota Tundra will feature Hunter Nation as the primary sponsor at Las Vegas, along with the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa.
Kraus has run well on tracks like the 1.5-mile speedway in Las Vegas. About half of the series events that comprised his rookie season last year were contested on tracks of comparable size to the Vegas venue. He had one top-five and six top-10s in the 11 races on similar tracks in 2020.
Kraus missed the playoffs by just one position last year. He and the MHR team are working hard to build on their success of 2020 and make the playoffs this season.
Friday’s race is the first of three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races in the month of March. Following the Las Vegas event, the series heads to Atlanta on March 20 and will follow that up with the Bristol dirt race on March 27.
Derek Kraus – About this week
What are your thoughts as you prepare for your fourth visit to Las Vegas Motor Speedway?
“I’m really looking forward to the first true oval of the season.”
Can you carry momentum with you from your strong finish on the Daytona road course?
“I think that we can take the momentum we have from the road course and have a good, strong run in Vegas.”
McAnally-Hilgemann Racing has announced that Hunter Nation, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and promoting the right to hunt, will be the primary sponsor on their No. 19 Toyota Tundra for multiple races this season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
The MHR entry will carry the Hunter Nation branding beginning with the series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday, March 5.
“We’re proud to announce that Hunter Nation will join the MHR team this season, beginning with the race at Las Vegas,” said team co-owner Bill McAnally. “The team is working hard to build on our success from 2020 and we look to be a strong contender this year. It will be great to have Hunter Nation be a part of our program and to have them on board at multiple events through the season.”
Derek Kraus – a 19-year-old from Stratford, Wisconsin – is in his second season of driving for MHR in the Camping World Truck Series. He had a remarkable rookie season last year, finishing 11th in the series championship standings and missing the playoffs by just one spot. He registered three top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in 23 starts, including a runner-up finish at Darlington Raceway and a fourth-place finish at Daytona International Speedway.
Kraus previously raced for three seasons with Bill McAnally Racing in the ARCA Menards Series West (NASCAR K&N Pro Series West), where he won the 2019 championship.
The Bucked Up 200 Camping World Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be televised live on Fox Sports 1 and will air on radio on the Motor Racing Network, on Friday, March 5, beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
Hunter Nation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting America's hunting heritage. With a stated commitment to God, family, country and the outdoor lifestyle – Hunter Nation works to educate and engage hunters about policies aimed at ensuring that the right to hunt is passed down to the next generation. Learn more about the organization at HunterNation.org.
The Racing Capital of the World has partnered with the Indiana Department of Health to host a mass vaccination clinic for Hoosiers eligible to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine.
The clinic at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will run from Friday, March 5 to Sunday, March 7 with vaccinations beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at 10 p.m. each day. All Hoosiers ages 55 and up are eligible for the vaccine, and appointments must be booked via https://ourshot.in.gov or by calling 211. No walk-ups will be permitted.
“We’re a community-first organization, and we’re extremely proud to assist with this important effort to keep Hoosiers safe and healthy,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “I encourage those who are eligible to sign up, and I’d like to thank our state’s leadership – most especially Governor Holcomb and Dr. Box – for the opportunity to team up and pitch in.”
In addition to IMS, additional clinics will be hosted later this month at University of Notre Dame’s Compton Family Ice Arena and Ivy Tech Community College in Sellersburg.
“Getting tens of thousands of vaccines in arms in a matter of days is a huge undertaking that requires incredible partnerships,” Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb said. “We are incredibly grateful to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Notre Dame and Ivy Tech for their willingness to meet this challenge head on to help save Hoosier lives.”
The mass vaccination clinics will offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which received its Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA on Saturday. The vaccine requires only one dose and has been shown to be safe and effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths in clinical trials involving nearly 44,000 participants from all races and ethnicities.
“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine gives eligible Hoosiers a safe, effective and convenient way to protect themselves from COVID-19,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “Because it requires just one dose, every shot administered represents a Hoosier who can rest easier, knowing their risk of severe illness from this disease has dropped exponentially.”
Indiana’s Area Agencies on Aging, AARP and nearly 70 libraries around the state also can help Hoosiers schedule their appointments.
Participants will remain in their cars for their vaccines.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the world's largest spectator sporting facility, has been the worldwide leader in motorsports entertainment since opening in 1909. It annually hosts the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, the crown jewel of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and part of motorsports famed “triple crown” of racing.
The clinic schedules:
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
4790 W. 16th St., Indianapolis
8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Enter through main gate off 16th Street
Ivy Tech Community College
8204 County Road 311, Sellersburg
8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
University of Notre Dame
Compton Family Ice Arena
100 Compton Family Ice Arena, Notre Dame
8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
A separate advisory with instructions for media interested in covering the clinics will be issued closer to the events.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit https://ourshot.in.gov.
It has been four years since Terry Dease has raced a full season at any speedway. That will change in 2021.
Dease broke the long silence of winter at South Boston Speedway last Thursday when he arrived at “America’s Hometown Track” to do some testing with his Late Model Stock Car. He is the first driver to test at South Boston Speedway in 2021.
The Oxford, North Carolina resident was preparing to compete at South Boston Speedway in 2021, starting with the track’s season-opening NASCAR Late Model Twin 75s racing program on Saturday afternoon, March 20.
“I plan to run every race up here this year, if we can,” Dease remarked.
“We haven’t raced a full season anywhere since 2017 when I won the track championship at Orange County Speedway. I really want to do that again.”
The last race Dease competed in at South Boston Speedway was South Boston Speedway’s big pre-July Fourth 200-lap race in 2019.
“I miss this place,” Dease said of South Boston Speedway.
“I’ve always wanted to come back and race here some more, but finances wouldn’t let us. We run longer races here, and still do. Now, South Boston Speedway has gone to the two-tire rule. I like that, and that is kind of what brought us back.”
Dease has been racing for 35 years and is no stranger to followers of racing at South Boston Speedway. He has won three South Boston Speedway Limited Sportsman Division championships and has raced in the Late Model Stock Car Division at South Boston Speedway from time-to-time after that. The desire to compete and be competitive remains very much alive for Dease.
“I’m 57-and-a-half years-old and still have the passion for racing,” he remarked with a smile.
“I still love to get behind the wheel and I like to turn wrenches on this thing. I still enjoy it and I’m looking forward to running with the guys up here this year.”
One of the things that excites Dease about returning to competition at South Boston Speedway this season is that he has family ties in Halifax County, Virginia where South Boston Speedway is located.
“My dad (Pete Dease, a former racer who once won more than 30 races in one season) is originally from Halifax County,” he pointed out.
“We’ve got a lot of family up this way. They’re excited we’re going to race up here.”
Dease was pleased with the progress he made with his car during the testing session.
“We’re picking up a little more speed than this car had in it last year,” he pointed out.
“I’ve done a bunch of things on the car and we’re picking up speed here and there. There’s no rubber on the track but I’m getting comfortable with the car. I just wanted to make sure that I what I put on the car didn’t fall off and that there are no leaks or anything like that going on.”
Dease has set modest goals as he looks ahead to the 2021 South Boston Speedway racing season.
“I just want to come out here and run in the top 10 the first couple of races and get used to the track and the people that are racing here,” he explained.
“I want to be competitive. I want to be in the hunt. I want to be in the top five at the end of the year. I’m not looking to win the championship. It’s not out of the question, but you’ve got to be consistent, and you’ve got to outrun a lot of good people. We’ll just see what plays out.”
The first action on South Boston Speedway’s 2021 season calendar is the track’s annual Open Practice Day on Saturday, March 13. Practice begins at 10 a.m. and will conclude at 4 p.m.
South Boston Speedway will kick off its 64th season of racing on Saturday, March 20 with the 2 p.m. running of the NASCAR Late Model Twin 75s racing program. Twin 75-lap races for the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Stock Car Division highlight the afternoon’s six-race card.
The latest news and updates about South Boston Speedway and its racing events can be found on the new South Boston Speedway website at www.southbostonspeedway.com and on the speedway’s social media channels. Fans can also subscribe for e-mail updates on the speedway’s website.