Friday, Jun 09
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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It’s a chance of a lifetime and Jonathan Very is living the dream.  At Gateway Motorsports Park, Very won the chance to race against one of the best in the drag racing business – Erica Enders-Stevens. Very was the Top Qualifier for the Budweiser Challenge, which earned him the right to match muscle with Enders-Stevens.

Strategically placed after the 3rd Annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals Funny Car Saturday afternoon qualifying session, Smith and two-time defending Gateway Motorsports Park Pro Stock Champion Enders-Stevens faced off down one of the fastest drags strips in the world. 

The tension prior to the run was fueled this week through fierce smack-talk on social media. Very sparked Enders-Stevens with a fiery Tweet @erica_enders can’t wait to beat you today! To which Enders-Stevens replied – Bring it on!

Unfortunately, Very’s “A” game wasn’t enough to beat Enders-Stevens. Very ran an impressive 79.25 mph elapsed time 9.13 run down the 1/8 mile track.  Enders-Stevens ran 80.65 mph elapsed time 9.06.  While this may seem like a close call, those who understand the fastest cars on the plant – NHRA Top Fuel, Funny Cars and Pro Stocks – know that fractions of a second are what really count.

Both drivers were behind the wheel of identical Gateway Motorsports Park Gateway Challenge 2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS. These speed machines are powered by a 6.2 liter V8 that provides 426 Horsepower and 420 pounds of foot torque.

In 2013, Gateway MSP launched its Gateway Challenge program. The Gateway Challenge puts individuals, corporate groups and families behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Camaro SS. After experiencing professional racing instruction for the ¼-mile drag strip, participants can enjoy a bracket-racing experience including practice runs, qualifying and competitive racing with a winners circle! Gateway Motorsports Park can enhance the experience by personalizing events with photos, trophies and more. No experience is necessary to participate.

Gateway MSP PR

Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Mustang, earned his 18thtop-10 finish of the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) season on Saturday afternoon at Dover (Del.) International Speedway after taking the checkered flag in the ninth position. 

“We’re happy with another top-10,” said Bayne after the race. “We were just too tight through the corners to really get up there but we’ll take ninth. I want to thank Chad (Norris) and my guys for all of their hard work today on this No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Mustang. We battled hard today and I’m ready to get back to the track next weekend and go for the win in Kansas.”

Bayne started the 200-Lap event in the 13th position and maintained his position inside the top 15 for much for the early portion of the race. After reporting that the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Mustang was tight through the center of the corner, Crew Chief Chad Norris called Bayne to pit road during the second caution of the afternoon on Lap 41 for four tires and adjustments. Following the stop, Bayne was able to crack the top-10 for the first time after returning to the track in ninth.

After restarting ninth, Bayne was shuffled back to the 12th position following a Lap 46 restart. The driver of the AdvoCare Ford would continue to run in the top 15 throughout the ensuing green flag run before coming to pit road for the second time during a Lap 96 caution. Bayne was able to rejoin the top-10 once the race went back to green, despite reporting that the tight condition had returned through the center of the corner.

Crew Chief Norris then called Bayne to pit road for the final time on Lap 150 while under caution for four tires and a chassis adjustment. Returning to the track in 11th, Bayne was able to utilize a three-wide move to work his way back into the top 10 and ultimately into ninth.

In the closing laps, Bayne was able to hold off Ty Dillon to earn a ninth-place finish, his sixth top-10 finish at the one-mile oval.

With the result, Bayne remains sixth in the championship standings and trails championship leader Chase Elliott by 99 points as the NNS heads to Kansas Speedway next weekend.


Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) entered the Drive Sober 150 at Dover International Speedway looking to cap off 2014 with a series-high ninth victory of the season. Although they didn't get the win, TSM saw success with Kaz Grala and Scott Heckert bringing home top-three finishes while Cameron Hayley and Ben Rhodes suffered from late-race incidents that hindered their overall finish. Although Rhodes didn't get the finish he was looking for, it wasn't entirely bad for the 17-year-old as he was officially presented the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) Championship, which he clinched with a fourth-place finish in Greenville a few weeks ago.


Kaz Grala:

Grala put on quite a show in his first-career start at Dover. The youngest full-time driver in the NKNPSE entered the race looking to end his rookie season on a strong note, and perhaps bring home a victory in the No. 31 OzLINK/NETTTS Chevrolet. The 15-year-old didn't end the night in victory lane, but he did secure a career-best finish of second. Grala made a steady march forward following the midway break of the race. By lap 79, Grala was running in the seventh position and looked poised for a sold top-five run. By lap 95, Grala was into the top five, running in the third position. The 15-year-old restarted second on lap 98 looking to get around TSM teammate Rhodes and overtake the race lead. On lap 124, Rhodes' engine began to go south, which allowed another comperitor and Grala to get by. Grala fought hard to chase down the eventual race leader in the closing 25 laps, but had to settle for the runner-up spot, still scoring his career-best finish. Grala ended his rookie season seventh in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings, compiling four top fives and 10 top 10s.


Kaz Grala on a career-best finish at Dover:

"The No. 31 OzLINK/NETTTS Chevy team finished the season strong with our best qualifying effort of fifth and our best finish of second at the Monster Mile. This is by far my favorite track yet, and I doubt that will change for a long time. Overall, we had a great season; I gained a lot of experience, we had a blast as a team and we finished seventh in points with some really impressive finishes. I really can't thank these Turner Scott Motorsports guys enough, what a way to end a great year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East."


Scott Heckert:

Heckert entered the Driver Sober 150 looking to cap off what has been a career-best year for the 20-year-old. He began the evening on a strong note, qualifying for the race in the eighth position. As the race began, Heckert began to battle the handling of his racecar. Several cautions throughout the middle portion of the race allowed the No. 34 Project Lifesaver team to make adjustments. At the midway break, Heckert was in the 11th position and ready to head to the front in his TSM Chevrolet. By lap 95, Heckert was up in the top five and looking for even more. Heckert raced hard in the final 50 laps, eventually getting up to third before crossing the finish line. Heckert ended the 2014 season eighth in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings, finishing the season with two wins, three poles, six top fives and 10 top 10s.


Scott Heckert on a great run and solid season with TSM:

"It was a crazy race out there tonight in the No. 34 Project Lifesaver Chevrolet. The car was a little off to begin with, but the crew made awesome adjustments during pit stop's and the my Chevy came to life. Big thanks to everyone at Turner Scott Motorsports for their hard work. I'm glad we were able to work our way to the front and cap the season off with a great finish."


Cameron Hayley:

Hayley came into the Driver Sober 150 looking to move into the win column for 2014. The 18-year-old started the day off on a high note, qualifying for the race in the second position. Early on, it was evident that Hayley had a lot of speed in the No. 98 Cabinets by Hayley Chevrolet as he took over the race lead on lap 15. Hayley led for the next 53 laps until a flat right-front tire forced the No. 98 to pit road. While on pit road, the caution flag waved and Hayley was caught two laps down. Hayley fought the remaining laps of the race to regain those laps and work back to the front, ultimately gaining one lap back and moving up to bring home a 13th-place finish in the season finale. Hayley ended the 2014 campaign second in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings and brought home one pole, seven top fives and nine top 10s.


Cameron Hayley on the race at Dover and his 2014 season:

"We had a great Cabinets by Hayley Chevy this weekend at Dover. I couldn't be happier with the entire effort by our team. Unfortunately, cut tires have just seemed to be a trend for us this year, one that is hopefully going to disappear over the winter. I really have to thank Cabinets by Hayley, Curb Records, Turner Scott Motorsports and everyone who made this year possible."


Ben Rhodes:

Rhodes entered the Drive Sober 150 looking to bring home a sixth win on the 2014 season and tie a record set last year by TSM teammate and 2013 NKNPSE Champion Dylan Kwasniewski. Rhodes looked strong early in the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet, qualifying for the race in the third position. The NKNPSE Champion remained inside the top three for the opening portion of the race, looking to make a move for the lead as the laps wound down. Rhodes overtook the top spot under caution on lap 96 and remained in the race lead for the next 21 laps. Despite looking poised to capture his sixth-career NKNPSE victory, Rhodes could hear his engine beginning to have trouble. Although Rhodes was able to remain on the racetrack, he didn't have the power that he normally does. The 17-year-old was able to nurse the car home and ultimately bring home a 15th-place finish in the season. Rhodes won the 2014 NKNPSE Championship and Sunoco Rookie of the Year award for 2014 by compiling five wins, six poles, 11 top fives and 13 top 10s in his rookie season.


Ben Rhodes on his Championship and the race at Dover:

"What a 2014 season it has been; this entire team has worked so hard all year to provide me with fast racecars that we've been able to compete with and win races. None of this is possible without Alpha Energy Solutions and all the guys at Turner Scott Motorsports. It feels great to win the Championship and claim the Rookie of the Year award, but I really wish we could've won this race today at Dover. We had a quick car up front and if it weren't for those late-race issues, I think we could've captured the victory. All in all, it's been a great 2014 season and I look forward to getting back on track again soon."



The green flag will drop on the 2nd annual Joey Coulter Karting Challenge on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 6 p.m. The annual event features a two hour endurance kart race at GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville and benefits the Darrell Gwynn Foundation (DGF), and is made possible by Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff, Arthur Krenzel Lett Insurance Group, Edgehill Management Group and Carolinas HealthCare System.  Fans are invited to come out and cheer on their favorite NASCAR driver as 22 teams challenge for bragging rights – champions of the cup! 

In its inaugural year, the event raised over $15,000 for the Florida-based foundation. This year, DGF will donate a $19,000.00 custom power wheelchair to three-year-old Mackenzie Michel during the event.  Mackenzie is diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and “with a wheelchair she will be able to attend preschool not having to rely on others for her mobility.  She will be able to play outside and participate in activities with her peers and brother.” Mackenzie was referred to the Darrell Gwynn Foundation by Carolinas HealthCare System.


The event was established by NASCAR driver Joey Coulter in 2013 as a unique way to raise money for the Darrell Gwynn Foundation.  “I’m honored to be hosting the 2nd annual Joey Coulter Karting Challenge benefiting the DGF this year at GoPro Motorplex,” said Joey Coulter, driver of the No. 21 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. “We started this event last year and it was such a success that we felt like we needed to do it again. I’ve been helping DGF raise money and awareness for some time now and every year I like to do things a little bigger, and a little better, so what better way than this race. Darrell is such a hard core racer himself, that I thought why not get other racers in on it too, put on a good show for the fans, doing what we do best, and it’s all for a good cause. To top it off, this year we are fortunate enough to be donating a custom power wheelchair to a three-year-old girl who lives in Matthews, NC during the event, and she will also be our grand marshal. These power chairs are so expensive and to be able to provide one to someone like Mackenzie, who has a bright future ahead of her, is such an honor. I can’t thank Darrell, his family, staff and the racing community enough for their support of this event. It’s such an honor to represent a foundation that changes lives every day and allows me to do it through fun events like these.”


NASCAR and racing fans alike are invited to come out and enjoy all the event has to offer, including a silent auction, raffles, show truck and Top Fuel dragster on display, vendor sampling and food by Juan Taco, who will be back this year offering up some delicious dinner options.  Rain or shine, gates open at 5 p.m. and there is a $5.00 donation for admission at the gate, which goes directly to DGF (entry is free with your NASCAR hard card). For more information visit:


GMS Racing PR

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Greg Biffle called his runner-up finish at Talladega Superspeedway’s May race “disappointing,”  and vowed to Airmen at Maxwell Air Force Base Thursday that his mission in the Oct. 19, GEICO 500 is to “”fight and win,” a saying that is part of The Airman’s Creed.

“We were so close to winning our first race at Talladega in the spring. We were in a great position but didn’t get it done,” said Biffle, who led a race-high 58 laps but came up short in the end to Denny Hamlin. “Much like the Airmen here today, our team is comprised of warriors who don’t give up. The Airmen are trained to be the best and to keep fighting until victory is accomplished. That is the legacy that we want to leave behind, so my race team will work harder than ever to win what was within our grasp earlier this year – a Talladega triumph.”

Biffle was at the Montgomery base (over 12,500 active-duty, reserve, civilian and contractor personnel) to spend some quality time with Airmen and to let them know of the exclusive military ticket offers that Talladega Superspeedway has for its October 17-19 weekend, which features both the fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race and the GEICO 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) event.  Military members can get an incredible two-day Tri-oval Tower ticket offer for just $65 (save over $100) for the two races. In addition, other Talladega opportunities for military offer up to 60 percent savings (

Biffle got to experience the “team” aspect of the Air Force first-hand during his time at Maxwell. He participated in Project X, leadership reaction coursed that focuses on problem solving with limited resources. It is a major part of training for Airmen at Maxwell AFB, which dates back to the Wright Brothers’ flying school of 1910. Biffle, who has sported various military supported paint schemes on his No. 16 Ford over the years, was the project leader for two training exercises.

“I saw the Airmen today as my race team,” added Biffle. “They were the pit crew, but I took the crew chief role instead of driver. We had to figure out a way to cross a blown-out bridge, then how to get a hurt person out of a bombed building. It was fun to work with Airmen to see how they train to help others. It was all about problem solving and we used people’s strengths and weaknesses.”

He signed many autographs and met Senior Airman Donald L. Googe, Jr., who will present Talladega Superspeedway’s newest tradition – The Freedom Trophy – to the winner of the GEICO 500 from Gatorade Victory Lane. Hamlin, in May, was the first recipient of the Freedom Trophy, a new pentagon-shaped piece of hardware that represents the five branches of the military. At each Talladega NSCS race, a different military member will make the trophy presentation. Biffle hopes to see Googe, Jr. again soon, once the checkered flag falls on the GEICO 500.

“I got to see the Freedom Trophy and it is really cool, I love the design of it and our goal is to take it home after we leave Talladega,” said Biffle, who will have to battle his way into the next round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup this weekend at Dover where the field of 16 will be reduced to 12. “At Talladega in May, it was bittersweet. There’s a good second-place finish sometimes and you just strive to get there. When you’re fighting for the win like we were in the spring, and you end up being the No. 2 guy, it’s a little harder to take. I don’t want to feel that again.”

At the conclusion of the GEICO 500, the field of eligible drivers in the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will be reduced from 12 to eight. For ticket information, call 1-877-Go2-DEGA or log onto


Austin Hill mastered the Monster Mile. Again.

The 20-year-old from Winston, Georgia, returned to the track where he recorded his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win a year ago and put on a dominating display Friday in the Driver Sober 150. Not even a tire issue could keep Hill from becoming the first driver since 1997 to close out the series season with back-to-back wins.

Like South Carolina's Greenville Pickens Speedway earlier this month, Hill again shared Victory Lane celebration with fellow NASCAR Next driver Ben Rhodes.

The 17-year-old Rhodes, from Louisville, Kentucky, clinched the series title with a race remaining back on Sept. 6 in a race Hill won. Rhodes finished 15th at Dover and officially received the championship trophy from NASCAR President Mike Helton at the Monster Mile. Rhodes had also previously secured the K&N Pro East Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors.

Hill's No. 22 A&D Welding/Don Rich Ford outdistanced Kaz Grala by 5.136 seconds to take the checkered flag. Hill joined Brett Moffitt as the only series drivers to win twice on the one-mile, high-banked concrete oval.

Hill's day was nearly ended in a Lap 93 incident when he got together with Brennan Newberry in a battle for the lead. Newberry wound up spinning, while Hill was subsequently forced down pit lane with a flat tire. However, Hill was able to stay on the lead lap, came back out 13th, and marched his way back to the front.

He took the lead on Lap 120 and pulled away for the victory.

Grala, 15, scored his career best finish. Scott Heckert, Eddie MacDonald and Brodie Kostecki rounded out the top five.

Sergio Pena finished sixth, followed by J.J. Haley, Gray Gaulding, Ryan Gifford and Dylan Presnell.

Rhodes finished with a 60-point margin over Turner-Scott Motorsports teammate Cameron Hayley and 78 over Gaulding. Brandon Jones and Hill rounded out the top five. Rhodes gave Turner-Scott its second straight championship, following Dylan Kwasniewski last season.

The Drive Sober 150 will air on FOX Sports 1 on Saturday, Oct. 4 at 10 a.m.

Rhodes will be honored for his championship season along with NASCAR's other touring series champions on Saturday, Dec. 12 at the NASCAR Touring Series Awards in the Grand Ballroom of the Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.


When MB Motorsports driver Justin Jennings gets behind the wheel of the #63 Mittler Brothers Machine & Tool / LG SEEDS Chevy Silverado, not only will he be making his Las Vegas Motor Speedway debut in the Rhino Linings 350, it will be the furthest west the young driver has traveled. “This is a big deal for me,” grins Jennings. “First time to race at LVMS, first time to travel beyond Kansas Speedway.”

Team owner Mike Mittler adds, “This is has been a big year for all of us on our little team. We’ve been in this series since year one, 1995, and this will be the first time MB Motorsports will run the entire season. I’m very proud of all our people and the effort they have made to accomplish this.”

“LVMS is a really fast mile and a half track,” acknowledges Jennings. “Our intermediate trucks have been very consistent all year long, so although it will be a new track for me, I’ll have a familiar truck to drive. We’ll be carrying the Mittler Brothers Machine & Tool, LG SEEDS and Excel Bottling’s Ski Soda colors on the truck once again. I can’t wait to get out on the track Saturday morning.”

Mittler agrees. “With the concerted effort our team has made on our intermediate track program, I’m looking forward to a solid run. In addition to all our loyal partners, we will, as always, we’ll be supporting Eagle Rock Camp.”

MB Motorsports PR


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