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21 Team Preparing for Changes at COTA
Harrison Burton and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team are headed to their first road course race of the season – the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
In their first trip to COTA, last year, Burton and the No. 21 team finished 17th but earned 26 points due to finishes of ninth and seventh in the first two Stages.
This year the rules for road courses will be different, but crew chief Brian Wilson said he’s up to the challenges of calling the race. And he’s confident that he and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team can build on their road-course results of 2022, which included a season-best finish of third on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“Last year at COTA we had one of our best points days of 2022 and came away with a top-20 finish,” Wilson said. “Heading into this year’s race the Stage break rules will be different however.
“NASCAR will not throw a caution at the end of the Stage, so scoring Stage points will be a bit more dynamic than it was last year.”
There are other changes to contend with as well.
“We will have a new tire for this event which looks like it will have more lap time fall-off based on the tire test earlier this year,” Wilson said. “Choosing when to pit and getting a timely caution may determine the outcome of the day for many cars in the field.”
Wilson said the changes will give the race a familiar look for long-time fans and participants in the sport.
“Those two aspects give this weekend more of the feel of a road-course race from when my career started,” he said. “Playing the strategy correctly as things happen on the fly will be an interesting storyline for the weekend.
“The No. 21 Ford team will look to get the road-course portion of our season off to a great start this weekend.”
Practice for the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix is set for Friday at 1:05 p.m. Central Time (2:05 Eastern), with qualifying scheduled for Saturday at 10:30 a.m. (11:30 Eastern). FOX Sports 1 will broadcast both events.
The green flag for Sunday’s 68-lap, 231.88-mile race is set to fly just after 2:30 p.m. Central Time (3:30 Eastern) with TV coverage on FOX.
Stage breaks are planned for Laps 15 and 30.
How New Motor Racing Fans Can Get Into the Sport
Auto racing is an industry worth billions. The sport has fans all over the world who enjoy competitions like NASCAR and Formula 1.
With so many options to choose from, you may not know where to start if you're a new fan just getting into the sport. Below are some tips that can get you started.
Find racing entertainment that fuels your fandom
Today's technology and entertainment make it easy for new fans to get into the sport. There are streaming services that let you watch live and completed races, as well as fantasy motor racing leagues where people can compete with their friends.
Racing competitions such as Formula One are garnering new fans thanks to content like Netflix's popular Drive to Survive docuseries. The series pulls back the curtain on the sport and offers an easy way to learn the major players.
Other forms of entertainment such as online bingo sites have motor racing-themed bingo and other games, such as Racing Wilds. With daily free bingo at Paddy Power, players can easily get access to these motor racing-themed bingo games. These titles continue to illustrate the demand for racing-related content even if it isn't branded.
You might also choose to catch up on some classic auto racing movies, such as Rush, Talladega Nights, and Italian Race. Beef up on your entertainment options to explore the nuances of the sport.
Study the competitors, past and present
Of course, you also need to learn the nuts and bolts of top-level auto racing. This can involve a mixture of studying the greats and understanding who today's top competitors are.
For instance, ESPN ranks all-time great racers like A. J. Foyt, Dale Earnhardt, and Richard Petty among the best to ever do it. Look up some of their classic races and find out what aspects of their skillset allowed them to dominate the field. You can also develop a short list of favourite racers today that you can follow from competition to competition. Sports are always best when you have a dog in the fight, so figure out which competitors you like and respect the most.
Understand the sponsorships
In motor racing, it's important to understand where the money goes. Sponsorships are a huge part of the sport and dictate a competitor's team, resources, and ability to climb the ladder. This is only becoming more of a focal point, with bigger sponsors entering the sport, along with a bigger pool of drivers.
According to Auto Service World reports, single racing organisations today are raking in $30 billion in sponsorships alone over the course of about a decade and a half. Understand the biggest players in this regard so that you understand the sport's economy.
Simply put, motor racing is one of the most exciting sports in the world once you learn the intricacies of the various competitions. You have years of great races and drivers to catch up on, which is why it's such a treat to be a new fan. Use these tips so that you can get started on this journey.
Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: COTA
Hendrick Motorsports PR
Eco-Friendly NASCAR: How Electric Car Rentals are Changing the Game
The popularity of electric cars has been growing rapidly in recent years due to their environmental benefits and cost savings. This shift towards electric cars has also impacted the world of motorsports, including NASCAR. The racing organization has been working to promote sustainability, and as part of these efforts, they have been moving towards electric cars. This has opened up new opportunities for electric car rental companies, as NASCAR fans seek out eco-friendly transportation options for their race day experiences.
The Rise of Electric Cars in NASCAR
NASCAR has been making efforts to promote sustainability in recent years, including implementing eco-friendly practices at their events and partnering with various environmental organizations. One major move towards sustainability has been the introduction of electric cars in NASCAR. In 2020, the organization launched the "NASCAR Acceleration Nation" initiative, which includes the use of electric go-karts to introduce young fans to the sport and promote sustainability.
In addition, the NASCAR Cup Series has announced plans to introduce a hybrid engine in 2023, with the goal of transitioning to fully electric cars in the future. This move towards electric cars in NASCAR has been driven by the desire to reduce emissions and promote a more sustainable future for the sport.
Electric car rentals fit into this trend by providing fans with an eco-friendly transportation option for getting to and from NASCAR events. Renting an electric car can also enhance the overall race day experience for fans, providing a unique and exciting way to travel to the track.
Benefits of Electric Car Rentals for NASCAR Fans
There are numerous benefits to renting an electric car for NASCAR fans, beyond just the environmental impact. One major advantage is the cost savings that come with using an electric car. Electric cars are significantly cheaper to fuel than traditional gas-powered cars, and often have lower rental rates as well. This can be especially appealing for fans who may be traveling long distances to attend NASCAR events.
In addition, renting an electric car is an environmentally friendly option that can help reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainability. By using an electric car, fans can feel good about making a positive impact on the environment and supporting NASCAR's sustainability efforts.
Finally, electric car rentals can enhance the overall driving experience for fans. Electric cars offer a unique and exciting way to travel to and from the track, with smooth acceleration and reduced noise pollution. Some electric car rental companies even offer high-end models with luxury features, adding an extra element of luxury to the race day experience.
The Future of Electric Car Rentals in NASCAR
The future of electric car rentals in NASCAR looks bright, as more and more fans seek out sustainable transportation options for race day. Predictions indicate that electric car rentals will continue to grow in popularity in the coming years, as the demand for eco-friendly transportation options increases.
NASCAR is likely to play a major role in this growth, with potential new initiatives and programs aimed at promoting sustainability and reducing carbon emissions. For example, the organization may continue to invest in electric go-karts and other eco-friendly racing technologies, as well as exploring ways to integrate electric cars into the sport at a higher level.
One potential initiative that NASCAR could implement is offering incentives for fans who use electric cars to attend races. This could include discounts on race tickets, access to premium parking areas, or even special perks like meet-and-greets with drivers. By encouraging more fans to use electric cars, NASCAR could help drive the adoption of sustainable transportation options and promote a more eco-friendly image for the sport.
Another potential program that NASCAR could pursue is partnering with electric car rental companies to offer exclusive discounts and perks for fans who rent electric cars for race day. By working with these companies, NASCAR could make it even easier for fans to access eco-friendly transportation options, while also building relationships with key players in the electric car industry.
The rise of electric car rentals in NASCAR is a clear indication of the growing importance of sustainability and eco-friendliness in the world of motorsports. By promoting electric cars and other eco-friendly initiatives, NASCAR is making a significant contribution to the fight against climate change while also appealing to a new generation of fans who value sustainability.
Electric car rentals offer numerous benefits for NASCAR fans, including cost savings, environmental benefits, and an enhanced driving experience. As the demand for sustainable transportation options continues to grow, it is likely that electric car rentals will become even more popular in the coming years.
Looking to the future, there are many potential new initiatives and programs that NASCAR could implement to further promote sustainability and eco-friendliness. By working with electric car rental companies and offering incentives for fans who use electric cars, NASCAR can help drive the adoption of sustainable transportation options and build a more eco-friendly image for the sport.
Daniel Dye - COTA Preview
Circuit Of The Americas Stats
Daniel Dye will be making his first start in any series at COTA on Saturday.
ARCA Road Course Stats (Mid-Ohio & Watkins Glen)
Combined Starts: 2; Best start: 8th; Best finish: 4th (Watkins Glen, 2022); Top 5s: 1, Top 10s: 2
ARCA West Road Course Stats (Portland)
Starts: 1; Poles: 1 (Portland, 2022); Best finish: 4th (Portland, 2022); Top 5s: 1; Top 10s: 1
2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Season Stats
Starts: 3; Best start: 19th; Best finish: 16th (Atlanta); Laps led: 5; Current points position: 19th
Daniel Dye PR
Interstate Batteries Racing: Denny Hamlin COTA Advance
Right. Left. Right. Hard on the gas. Light touch to the brake for a quick left-right-left. Quick on the gas. Light tap to the brake. Hard right and then hard on the gas. There is a cadence to road racing. There is a rhythm, similar to that of an elaborate foxtrot featuring an accelerated pace and intricate footwork, crafted to the design of the track and a driver’s racing style.
Artistic form aside, road racing is a challenge and requires a rigor that NASCAR drivers don’t get to experience on a weekly basis. As a veteran driver in the NASCAR Cup series, Denny Hamlin is well-versed in the unique demands of road-course racing. Of his 619 career starts in NASCAR’s top touring series, 45 have taken place on a road course.
The 42-year old driver will make his 46th career road course start this weekend in the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) road course in Austin, Texas. It marks the first of six road-course events that make up the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series schedule and just the third time the series has competed at the 3.4-mile track on the outskirts of the state capital. And the third is shaping up to be quite the spectacle.
It will be a star-studded field racing in the 2023 edition of the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix. Former Formula One champions Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen are scheduled to compete, along with accomplished sports car racer Jordan Taylor and seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, who just completed a two-year stint competing in the IndyCar Series where road courses make up the majority of the schedule, before returning to the Cup Series ranks for a limited schedule this season.
“These are legit, big-time drivers that have their own accolades in different series and are just superstars in their own right,” Hamlin said. “Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button, Jordan Taylor – I mean that’s quite the list. It’s great that we have those guys joining us. There certainly should be a lot of buzz around this weekend’s race. It’s going to be cool to share the track with them.”
Hamlin has competed in both previous Cup Series races at COTA. He finished 14th in the inaugural event in 2021 and 18th last year. The final result, however, isn’t always reflective of the performance. In 2022, for example, Hamlin won the second of the three stages in the race but wound up further back in the field once varying strategies started to unfold as the laps wound down.
As the series prepares to head to Austin once again, the level of star power isn’t the only change drivers will negotiate this weekend. NASCAR announced at the beginning of the 2023 season that stage breaks would be eliminated for the Cup Series for the entirety of the road-course racing schedule. For his part, Hamlin is conflicted on the elimination of stages at those races.
“I think stage racing has been a good thing for our sport, so I’m torn on that,” he said. “I’m not sure whether that’s a good call or the right call, but we’ll just wait to see how it plays out. I know teams really used to strategize on fuel mileage before we had stage breaks and that made it really cut and dry on what your strategy was going to be. I would just say that, without stage breaks at a road course, things could get spread way out. When I say way out, I mean way out. Everyone watching will need to temper expectations on getting the crazy restarts we’ve gotten used to since stage racing started.”
While he’s still looking for a top result at COTA, Hamlin has experienced road-course racing success, scoring a win at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International in 2016. Hamlin started sixth and raced solidly among the top-10 throughout the race before taking the lead with 10 laps to go en route to the victory. In addition to that win, Hamlin’s resume when it comes to NASCAR Cup Series road-course races includes 13 top-five finishes and 19 top-10s and 197 laps led. This weekend’s race is the first of six road-course races this season in which Hamlin will be able to add to his record.
Supporting that effort at COTA is an “Outrageously Dependable” partner in Texas-based Interstate Batteries. The longtime founding partner for Joe Gibbs Racing is taking over the primary role on the No. 11 Toyota Camry TRD this weekend – its first time operating in that capacity.
“Interstate Batteries is so important to Joe Gibbs Racing and, honestly, to NASCAR in general,” Hamlin said. “They have been part of the sport for more than 30 years. There aren’t many companies in our sport with that kind of tenure. I speak for all of the JGR drivers when I say we all want to win in that car. We’ve all been part of the Interstate racing family, so it’s going to be nice to be able to finally wear those colors in a Cup race this weekend.”
Notes of Interest
● Current Situation. Hamlin enters the race at COTA ninth in the NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings, 37 points out of first place. Through the first five races of 2023, he has two top-10 finishes – a pair of sixth-place finishes scored at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California and Atlanta Motor Speedway, respectively.
● On the Road Again. This weekend’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix is the first of six road-course races that make up the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series schedule. Hamlin has participated in both Cup Series races that have taken place at the 3.4-mile road course since the series started racing there in 2021. Hamlin won a stage during the 2022 race in Austin but his best result is the 14th-place finish he scored during the inaugural race in 2021.
● Road Racing History. Racing in Austin only tells part of Hamlin’s road racing history. Since he started competing in the NASCAR Cup Series fulltime in 2006, he’s made a total of 45 starts on road courses. In those starts, Hamlin has one win – 2016 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International – 13 top-five finishes and 19 top-10s. He’s led a total of 197 laps and has an average finish of 15.6.
● It’s Actually Quite Easy Being Green. Interstate Batteries is the founding partner for Joe Gibbs Racing and, for the first time since the organization started racing in the NASCAR Cup Series in 1992, Interstate Batteries will serve as the primary sponsor for at least one race on each of the four Toyotas fielded by the team. This weekend is the first time the iconic Interstate Batteries brand will appear in the primary role for the No. 11 Toyota Camry TRD.
Powerball® Debuts New NASCAR® Playoff Promotion
NASCAR and Powerball announced today they are shifting their partnership into high gear with Powerball’s launch of a new national promotion. The “NASCAR Powerball Playoff” promotion will culminate with four lottery players winning a VIP trip for two to NASCAR Championship Weekend in Phoenix, Nov. 3-5, and the chance to win $1 million during a special drawing televised live from the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race on Sunday, Nov. 5.
“This promotion captures the thrill of racing and winning that could only come from a NASCAR-Powerball partnership,” said Drew Svitko, Powerball Product Group Chair and Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director. “We’re excited to engage with players as the ‘Official Lottery Game of NASCAR’ and amplify Powerball’s mission of supporting state programs and services everywhere tickets are sold.”
“As we said when we announced our partnership with Powerball in February, this relationship is going to allow us to bring winning opportunities to our loyal fans,” said Daryl Wolfe, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer. “This promotion is a perfect example of that, and as the excitement builds towards Championship Weekend at Phoenix Raceway, so will the excitement to award $1 million to one lucky lottery player.”
First teased during the partnership announcement during DAYTONA 500 festivities, the “NASCAR Powerball Playoff” promotion will begin at the state level with participating lotteries selecting entrants, by a method of their choosing, to form a national pool of semi-finalists. Sixteen semi-finalists will be drawn from the national pool, with no more than one semi-finalist per lottery advancing. The 16 semi-finalists will be announced during the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on August 26. The semi-finalists will then go head-to-head in a series of drawings that coincide with the elimination rounds of the NASCAR Playoffs.
Aug. 26 at Coke Zero Sugar 400,
Daytona International Speedway
16 semi-finalists advance
Sept. 16 at Bass Pro Shops Night Race,
Bristol Motor Speedway
12 semi-finalists advance
4 eliminated win $2,500
Oct. 8 at Bank of America ROVAL™ 400,
Charlotte Motor Speedway
8 semi-finalists advance
4 eliminated win $5,000
Oct. 29 at Xfinity 500,
4 finalists advance & win VIP trip
4 eliminated win $7,500
NASCAR Cup Series Championship,
(1) $1 million winner
(3) $10,000 winners
The four semi-finalists still in the playoffs after the fourth drawing will win a VIP trip for two to NASCAR Championship Weekend in Phoenix, Nov. 3-5, and advance as finalists to the $1 million drawing. Cash prizes will be awarded to all 16 national semi-finalists based on their elimination position.
The VIP trip experience will include roundtrip airfare for two to Phoenix, three nights hotel accommodations – double occupancy, two Ally Curve Hospitality Club passes for both the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship Race on Nov. 4 and the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race on Nov. 5, two passes for VIP experiences at Phoenix Raceway during the NASCAR Championship Weekend including NASCAR Cup Series™ VIP access, NASCAR team hauler tour, MRN radio booth tour, pace car rides, and Victory Lane access, welcome dinner and all meals, and ground transportation to scheduled events and activities.
Participating lotteries will kick off in-state contests and second-chance drawings throughout the 2023 NASCAR season. Participating lottery jurisdictions include Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
Powerball tickets are $2 per play. Tickets are sold in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. More than half of all proceeds from the sale of a Powerball ticket remain in the jurisdiction where the ticket was sold. Drawings are broadcast live every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 p.m. ET from the Florida Lottery draw studio in Tallahassee. Drawings are also live streamed on Powerball.com.
The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season continues this Sunday, March 26 with live action from the first road course of the year, Circuit of the Americas, at 3:30 p.m. ET. The race will air live on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Troy Talman Set to Collect First SK ModifiedR Victory at Stafford With Casella Waste Systems as Primary Sponsor
After recording a career best four podium finishes, including three 2nd place finishes in 2022, Troy Talman is set to pursue his first career SK Modified® victory at Stafford Speedway with new primary sponsor Casella Waste Systems on his family owned #3 car. One of Talman’s second place efforts came during the Sept. 23 Casella Employee Night and his performance opened the door for Casella Waste and Mark DiMaruo, Sr. to step up to a full-time sponsorship role for the 2023 season. Talman and his #3 team will be the lead car in Casella Waste’s 2023 lineup of drivers that will include Stafford SK Modified® driver RJ Marcotte, Open Modified drivers George Bessette, Jr. and Max Zachem, Mark DiMauro, Jr. in the Wild Thing Kart Sr. Outlaw division on Monday nights at Stafford, and JDay Off Road GP driver Sadie Dodge.
“We really grew our relationship this year with Stafford Speedway, and we needed a good driver line up to go with it,” said Mark DiMauro, Sr., Division Manager for Casella Waste in Connecticut. “Troy was coming on strong at the end of last year, almost winning the Casella Waste Employee Night at the track when we did a one race deal with him. He turned heads that night, and he certainly captured our attention. We decided to go forward with making him our flagship car for the 2023 season joining the rest of the Casella Waste racing group."
“I’m ecstatic for this season,” said Talman. “Mark, Sr. and Mark, Jr. are both great people. Things between us actually got started with a thank you note that I had sent to them for being a contingency sponsor last season. We had a conversation one night in the parking lot at Thompson last August and one thing led to another as we were talking and they came on board with us as a sponsor for the Casella Night at Stafford and we were able to get a second place finish. I’m super lucky that they decided to sponsor me for the 2023 season and I’m very happy to be representing the Casella brand this season.”
Talman came into the 2022 season with 4 career top-5 finishes in the SK Modified® division from 2018-2021. Talman doubled his career top-5 total with 4 top-5 finishes last season, with three of his top-5 finishes coming in the final 7 races. Talman credits an old family friend for helping to get his season turned in the right direction and feels confident coming into the 2023 season with positive momentum on his side.
“John Swanson ended up coming on board with us last August and he helped us with the car setup and the car felt awesome,” said Talman. “Normally we would have a fast car for practice or a few laps and then it would fall off on a long run. Now the car is much more balanced. John has been a family friend since I was racing quarter midgets about 14 years ago now and who would have thought that one day 14 years later that we’re still friends and he would be helping us out with our SK Modified® car. I always knew I could get the job done but those races really gave me more confidence. I feel really good with where we’re at as a team. We have to try to see if we can keep the speed in the car on those kind of nights this year. We have a good chassis, a good setup, and good horsepower from Mike Pettit, I just have to finish the deal off as a driver. I feel like this is as good of a spot as I’ve ever been in and a huge credit goes to everyone on the team for putting in all the long hours at the shop.”
Not only does Talman have his sights set on recording his first SK Modified® victory, but several trips to victory lane is the goal he has in mind for himself and the #3 Casella Waste team.
“It’s very tough to win in the SK division, everyone has their stuff together and everyone has all their ducks in a row,” said Talman. “The goal this year is to win after we were so close last year. It would be great to win every Friday night, but that’s a little unrealistic. I try to not think about points, they’re going to fall where they fall and each week is its own challenge. I’d like to be consistent this season and we definitely want to win on Casella Night. Stafford is really the premier track in the Northeast and in every aspect of what they do is what all short tracks should shoot for. Starting with the management, how the track is run, the facilities, and their social media presence can’t be compared to any other short track that I’ve seen, so to win at Stafford would mean a lot to me.”
Talman will have his first opportunity to add his first career SK Modified® victory on Sunday, April 30 as part of NAPA Spring Sizzler® Weekend. The NAPA Spring Sizzler® kicks off on Saturday, April 29, and will consist of two 40-lap NAPA Duel qualifying races for the Open Modified division. The 40-lap races will each pay $3,500 to win and will set the field for Sunday’s NAPA Spring Sizzler®. The American Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Models will also make their return to Stafford Speedway on April 29th with a 75-lap feature with over 40 cars expected for the race. Limited Late Model, Street Stock, and Vintage All-Star divisions will complete Saturday’s racing program.
Order 51st NAPA Spring Sizzler® Tickets
Sponsor a NAPA Spring Sizzler® Lap
Sunday, April 30th will play host to the $20,000 to win 51st NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler®. Filling out Sunday’s racing card will be qualifying and feature racing for the SK Modified®, SK Light Modified, and Late Model divisions along with last chance qualifiers for the Spring Sizzler®.
For more information, visit staffordspeedway.com, follow Stafford Speedway on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.
Stafford Speedway PR
Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway Gears Up For 2023 Season Opener
“America’s Favorite Short Track” is set for a historic 2023 season celebrating 119 years of auto racing on Saturday, April 1st. 7 local divisions will be on display, featuring Pro Late Models, Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, Pure Stocks, Pest Doctor Front Runners, United States Air Force (USAF) Legends, and Bandoleros.
Fans have plenty to look forward to this year at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway and it all begins at 5:00pm on Saturday, April 1st. The stars of the 1/4-mile will begin the exciting night of racing with hopes of getting their 2023 season started off on the right foot. Last year's 1/4-mile champions will be the ones to look out for on opening night, as they try to pull off one of the hardest feats in all of sports, repeating their championship run.
These include Murfreesboro Fence Company Bandolero champion #9 Gavon Veach, United States Air Force Legends pro champion #17 Oliver Cordell and semi-pro champion #9 Michael Crafton, Pest Doctor Front Runner champion #9 Matt Hamlett, Pure Stock champion #4 Michael Neidert, Street Stock champion #3 Travis Arms, and Limited Late Model champion #93 Kevin Rollins.
The great night of racing action will be capped off with 119 laps from the Pro Late Model division around the 5/8-mile track. The 119 laps run by the Pro Late Models are in honor of the 119 years of auto racing at the famed track. Last year’s Pro Late Model champion, Dylan Fetcho, picked up his 2nd championship, in the division, and will be one of the top competitors returning for the 2023 season. Fetcho will have a tough time defending his 2022 championship reign with full fields of talented wheelmen from around the country making their way to test their skills at "America's Favorite Short Track".
A great season is set in place for the 2023 racing schedule. After opening night, the US Legends Spring Nationals Championship will come to town on Friday and Saturday, April 14th and 15th. Featuring United States Air Force Legends, Bandoleros, Pro Late Models, & Trucks. Then moving on to May 12th and 13thwhich will be a double-header of racing action, with a local 1/4-mile show on the 12th, followed by the return of the ARCA Menards Series East for the ARCA Music City 200 on the 13th. Also racing on May 13th will be the Pro Late Models and CRA Street Stocks.
The schedule then flips over to June with the return of the Music City Triple 50’s. Featuring Pro Late Models, Modifieds of Mayhem Tour, Trucks, Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, Pure Stock, Pest Doctor Front Runners, USAF Legends, and Bandoleros.
July will be the halfway point of the year with the North/South Super Late Model Challenge. Which will see the ASA Southern Super Series and ASA CRA Super Series Powered by JEGS, Pro Late Models, Trucks, USAF Legends, and Bandoleros battling it out around both the 1/4 and 5/8-mile tracks. This will be the first of two shows this year that feature the Super Late Model division.
Still in July, will see the return of non-winged asphalt Sprint Cars with the newly formed 500 Sprint Car Series. This will be the first time in 19 years that non-winged Sprint Cars will bring their high-speed action to Nashville. Joining the 500 Sprint Car Series will be the JEGS/CRA Pro Late Models, Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, Pure Stock, Pest Doctor Front Runners, United States Air Force Legends, and Bandoleros.
August will see the return of Bass Tire Family Night on Saturday, August 12th. Last year’s family night was filled with backpacks, collectables, bicycles, and TV giveaways. Accompanied by fantastic racing action and one of the best finishes of the year in the Pro Late Model division. Bass Tire Family Night will see more of the same this year with Pro Late Models, Outlaw Late Models, Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, Pure Stocks, Pest Doctor Front Runners, USAF Legends, and Bandoleros returning for one of the can’t miss nights on the 2023 schedule.
October will see local racing return on Friday, October 6th with all 8 local divisions getting their final reps in before the end of the season. This will include Pro Late Models, Trucks, Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, Pure Stocks, Pest Doctor Front Runners, USAF Legends, and Bandoleros.
The final 3-days of the 2023 season will culminate in the All American 400 triple-header of racing action. Festivities kick off on Friday, November 3rd with the local 1/4-mile championship featuring Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, Pure Stocks, Pest Doctor Front Runners, USAF Legends, and Bandoleros chasing a 2023 track championship. Racing action continues Saturday, November 4th with pole qualifying for the ASA STARS National Tour Super Late Models and a full racing program with CRA Street Stocks and Vores Compact Touring Series.
Then on Sunday, November 5th the 39th running of the All American 400 will have some extra flair as it will now be under the umbrella of the newly formed ASA STARS National Tour. This will be the championship event for the 10-race national touring series and see some of the best Super Late Model drivers from around the country compete for a chance at grassroots racing history. Also joining the Super Late Models will be the JEGS/CRA All Stars Tour and local Pro Late Models. The Pro Late Model event will crown a new 2023 Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway track champion.
For more information and tickets to opening night and the 2023 racing schedule visit www.
Nashville Fairgrounds PR
Austin Cindric Circuit of The Americas Transcript
AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – WHAT DO YOU THINK THE STRATEGY WILL BE AND HOW WILL IT CHANGE WITH THE LACK OF STAGE CAUTIONS? “I think it changes a lot in comparison to… I’d say especially what we saw last year with stage racing and how it really impacted the road courses. I’d say COTA probably wasn’t the worst, but as far as like Sonoma, you either took points or you decided to finish well. You had opportunities for people to decide if they had a car that was good enough to win or just take points. Obviously, in my opinion, the purpose of the stage points is to reward the cars that run well, and I think everyone would agree that the winner of the race should be one of the best cars. With that all being said, I’m not saying that the best cars didn’t win races last year, but I think with eliminating the breaks and the ability for us to run green flags pretty organically – probably more traditionally – it really changes the opportunity for strategy depending on cautions and potentially fuel mileage. I think it really changes the strategy of the race and how to go about your speed, but also and most importantly, it gives the chance for the best cars of that race to be rewarded for being the best.”
AFTER A MESSY XFINITY AND TRUCK RACE AT ATLANTA, WHAT KIND OF RACE DO YOU THINK THIS WILL BE AT CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS? “I think relating to last week, obviously you saw a really messy Xfinity and Truck series race, and a relatively calm, but racy, Cup race by the end of things. I honestly think I’m going to credit the Next Gen car to that one, because our cars can race like that a lot better because we’re not relying on side force. At some tracks we go to, you kind of wish we had that as a thing where you can manipulate cars in front or behind, or whatever else. But in that style of racing, I feel that makes it a lot easier to race side-by-side with people on our doors. You can make the argument of the quality of driver or experience and so on as high as the Cup series, but at the end of the day, there was a lot of wrecks that happened in Xfinity and Truck due to side force getting taken away with cars on the door. So as far as road racing and what to expect this weekend, and I think an extension of my initial answer, with these stage breaks and cautions, everyone gets stacked up on the restarts, COTA is an opportunity in corner No. 1 as far as making it eight, nine-wide going into a hairpin corner. I think those opportunities are certainly a lot less because I think the opportunity to go green flag for a lot longer is a lot higher. You think about tracks like COTA that have the most run-off than anywhere we go – you’re probably going to have to have stranded vehicles or multiple incidents, or probably a tire falling off to cause a full-course caution.”
WERE YOU AT THE MUSTANG GT3 TESTING AT SEBRING, AND WHAT IS THE ANTICIPATION LEVEL FOR THAT CAR NEXT SEASON? WILL THIS BE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR FORD DRIVERS TO PREPARE FOR ROAD COURSE RACES IN CUP? “No, but I’ve watched the video in question about a million times. It certainly has the opportunity to be – from my own standpoint and not based on anything else or conversations I’ve had. I want to drive that car. It suits my experience level and also the relationships I have. It’s an exciting time in GT racing just as it is now for prototype racing with a lot of new regulations and manufacturers building new GT3 cars. Also the opportunity with WC and Le Mans, and how it all lines up for that category of car, it’s definitely an exciting time. I want to be as much of a part of that as possible. How that relates specifically to NASCAR, the drivers and how often they want to participate or be in the Rolex… could it be an influence? Absolutely, as far as the tie-in with the manufacturer. But the challenge, the drive and logistics of getting an opportunity for a race like the Rolex 24 will be just as challenging as it always is to kind of find your one-off ride for the race – at least in my experience and that’s what I still anticipate. I definitely think there is more of a pathway than I’d think before as far as Ford drivers are concerned. I’m excited. Hopefully, I get the opportunity to drive that thing. It’s obviously a great looking car. I think that’s the first box you have to check, and it’s cool for a guy like Jim Farley – there’s no doubt he’s a racer as much as he is steering the ship for Ford. It’s cool to see that he’s just as excited as the rest of us about it.”
DO YOU AGREE WITH WHERE NASCAR PUT THE CHOOSE LINE AT CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS, AND DO YOU THINK IT WILL CHANGE MUCH FOR THE RESTARTS? “Do I think it’ll change much for the restarts? Probably not. I’ll be honest: It probably creates a bit more of a logistical complication at a road course, just because usually for me, I rely on my spotter a lot for the information. Especially when you’re kind of outside the top-10 and don’t have much of a scope on the field. I feel like anyone is just going to take the track position opportunity. But, it does give you the option to make a right or wrong decision, so it definitely adds plenty of stress to the driver, and it can certainly change your day depending on if it’s better or worse. You can certainly make the same argument for speedway racing, but regardless, I think the back straightaway out of Turn 11 is going to be the best place for the choose zone. It’s really the only straightaway that gives NASCAR enough time to look at the line-up and make the decisions they’d need to make if someone messes up on the choose or if there’s a problem with the line-up. So, from that standpoint, I think it’s the best location for it. I think that’ll be different depending on each road course as far as logistically which section of racetrack – it’ll probably be different at IMS, Chicago, Sonoma or somewhere else, or the rovals. It’ll be interesting to see how challenging it is. From my own personal standpoint, we’re prioritizing to have a spotter over in that location just for that implementation. So, it’ll be interesting to see how it goes this weekend and how much influence it’ll have. I feel like the choose for the drivers, more times than not, is an opportunity to screw up more than it is an opportunity to gain something. So, it’s definitely a factor but probably not as big of a factor as maybe what it was last weekend at Atlanta.”
WITH TWO FORMER FORMULA 1 CHAMPIONS AND A FORMER IMSA CHAMPION, HOW BIG IS THIS RACE AS A WHOLE, AND HAVE YOU FELT THIS MUCH HYPE FOR A ROAD RACE SINCE YOU BEGAN IN NASCAR? “It’s really cool. As far as the pedigree of drivers, not only in our own field but also guys who are coming in for a one-off or a couple of unique opportunities, I’d say between guys with experience with this Garage 56 program between Jordan [Taylor] and Jenson [Button] and obviously Kimi [Räikkönen]’s experience last year and actually coming in with some relative seat-time… the guys also won here in Formula 1 so it’s not like he doesn’t know the track – maybe Watkins Glen. I’ll be certainly expecting for him to perform at an even higher level than what he did at Watkins. Excited to see that and excited to race against guys like that, and have them in our sport, stadium and wacky way of doing things probably in comparison to what they’re used to. It’s a lot of fun and fun to see the growth of someone who’s trying this for the first time. I’ve been in this sport for what I would consider a limited amount of time, and the things that were new to me and strange to me are probably strange, new or different for someone else. It’s fun to see what those different, strange, awkward moments are for other people as they’re trying to learn. I think it’s fun for the race fans as well. Guys like that who are extremely established, I would expect probably every single one of them in a certain respect to have some pace this weekend.”
LAST YEAR, YOU HAD THE DAYTONA 500 WIN IN YOUR BACK POCKET. THIS YEAR, YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT POINTS RACING A LITTLE BIT MORE. WHAT’S THE APPROACH THIS YEAR AS OPPOSED TO LAST YEAR? “I’d say the first couple of races were a bit frustrating for us – just getting put into the wall three weeks in a row is just not going to be good for points. From that standpoint, last weekend was definitely our best points weekend in Atlanta. I’d say, the points are also extremely tight right now because everyone is kind of having that up-and-down trying to find that footing. That’s where going into this year, I really thought you’d see the same parity and the same up-and-down performance, trying to find our consistency as you saw from a lot of groups last year. And that’s continuing this year. That consistency is huge for being in control of your own destiny points wise. I’m still of the belief that you’ll have to win a race to feel comfortable as far as playoffs are concerned. So, from that standpoint, playoff points are nice but a win still gets everything done for you.”
NO STAGE BREAKS ARE GOING TO CHANGE THE STRATEGY FOR TEAMS, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE DRIVERS? “I personally have never done a NASCAR sanctioned race that didn’t involve stage breaks. It’ll be new to me, as far as pushing those cars for that long. If it were the last generation car, I’d be concerned about brakes and those long green flag runs. I’d say with this Next Gen car, not so much. But someone’s going to fall out of the seat – that’s my prediction for the weekend. I can tell you it’s not going to be me, but I think it’s more possible this weekend than any other weekend. it’s not going to be cool by any means, and it’s a physically challenging track. You have that long back straightaway to rest, but I did the Goodyear tire test a couple months ago, and two days of driving around that place knocks you around – it’s a bumpy racetrack. You’re using a lot of the runoff that wasn’t meant to be driven on, so you’re getting tossed around in there, banging around, grabbing gears all the time and using your legs to brake. On top of that, they’re pretty hot race cars to drive. From that standpoint, I think it’ll be a pretty physical weekend.”
FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS A ROAD RACING BACKGROUND, WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RESURGENCE OF ROAD COURSE RINGERS AND IS THIS TREND GOING TO CONTINUE IN THE SPORT? “I’d say as cool as it is, I’d love for it to be a gateway or catalyst to see guys of that caliber – they’re not just guys who come and do road courses but they’re champions and world champions and were, or are, the best at what they do… and they’re coming and joining our racing. I hope it’s a catalyst or gateway for them joining us on not just road courses, but oval racing as well. I mean, it’s so different, but I feel it challenges you in so many different ways. I’m looking forward to one of those guys getting the opportunity to go outside of their comfort zone and do just that. Because I know how big of a difference and culture shift it was for me. So yeah, I hope it’s a gateway for that.”
WHAT EFFECT DO YOU THINK THE SHORT TRACK ROAD COURSE PACKAGE WILL HAVE ON THIS RACE? “As far as the effect on this race: it’s hard to say. Obviously, we raced at Phoenix and kind of saw the differences or lack thereof as far as the race. It’s going to change a bit how you setup the car or how you offset it. Your guess is as good as mine as far as what it’s going to be like compared to last year’s aero configuration other than the fact that it’s a lot less downforce, which means there will be a lot less grip and a lot slower. You could make the argument that a couple inches off the rear spoiler probably creates less drag and you could probably make up some time on the straightaways. But passed that, I think you’ll be fighting for grip in the braking zones and definitely into the higher speed corners. It’s just how much and how much do I need to adjust our car for it.”
DOES THE LOWER DOWNFORCE LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD FOR THE ROAD COURSE RINGERS JOINING THE FIELD FOR THE RACE? “I think to a certain extent, it does. I would also say whatever percentage of downforce we took off is probably just going to be that much less than Kimi Räikkönen or Jenson Button has ever driven in a race car – because it’s a lot less. From that standpoint, those guys are in for a treat depending on how you expect it. In comparison to Watkins Glen, you could be really aggressive with our cars at Watkins Glen just with how fast and how much grip that track surface has, and I’d say the lack of straight-line brake zones, that’ll probably be the biggest difference for a guy like Kimi who hasn’t really had to do that much straight-line braking in one of these cars. But these guys are really talented at what they do. I’ve always said, ‘A race car’s a race car.’ So, I think as far as car control and the ability to make lap time, I have zero doubt that those guys will be on pace. So, from that standpoint, does it level the field? Maybe, because everyone is scrambling just as much as the next guy. But, I think having practice and that 50-minute session, the opportunity to change some tires and feel some things out, that will probably be more beneficial than anything.”
WE SAW THE TOYOTA STRUGGLE ON THE ROAD COURSES A LOT LAST YEAR UNTIL CHRISTOPHER BELL WON AT THE ROVAL. NOW THEY HAVE TYLER REDDICK IN THEIR CAMP, WHO WON TWO RACES. WITH THIS NEW CAR, CAN ONE DRIVER MOVING OVER MAKE AN IMPACT ON HOW A PARTICULAR CAR PERFORMS – ESPECIALLY ON ROAD COURSES – WHEN THERE HAVE BEEN STRUGGLES IN THE PAST? “I think it’ll be a great example with Tyler, who clearly had an impact in almost every road course race that we ran last year as far as running out front, including Circuit of The Americas. From that perspective, absolutely. I think a driver can come in and make an impact as far as not just on the racetrack, but also the culture. As far as giving the team confidence, ‘Hey this is a somebody who’s clearly been able to make this work. We have to believe in how far off we are or aren’t.’ If they are on pace or not on pace. If it wasn’t the Cup series, I’d say it makes more of a difference. But it takes the entire package. It’s about the guy in the controls and making the right decisions about the race car, but it’s about having the right race car at the same time, the execution – it’s about all those things. I still think it’s about having the big package. I think having a clear-cut example of someone who’s been able to make it work can certainly help a program that may be struggling. The inconsistency and their performance I would agree with, certainly an observation of mine. It seemed like Hendrick and RCR were super strong, especially by the end of the year on road courses. So from that standpoint, I’d look at those guys as the groups to beat heading into COTA.”
NEXT WEEK AT RICHMOND WITH THE SURFACE, YOU THINK THE CHANGES WILL BE MORE PRONOUNCED THAN WHAT WE SAW AT PHOENIX? “Yeah, I think so. I think there are less places to hide at Richmond as far as when you’re bad, you’re really bad. This package, even at Phoenix, even when you were a little bit off, you were really off. I could certainly see Richmond being more of an extreme example and probably the most extreme you’d ever see as far as that’s concerned. I think that’s a perfect example of a race weekend that you’re going to have to think the guys that execute and keep up with the track are going to really be able to excel with this package or have the opportunity to excel more with this package than the previous package. But characteristically, I feel like a lot of those things are the same, but a little bit more exaggerated with there being a smaller window on grip.”
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