Speedway Digest Staff
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Joey Gase and Agri Supply team up to pay tribute to NASCAR Hall of Fame driver, Bobby Allison in the 71st annual running of the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway in September. Gase will pilot the No. 51 Rick Ware Racing entry with the familiar colors of red and gold from Allison's 1971 Southern 500 win.
"I am thrilled to be teaming up with Agri Supply for the 71st Annual Southern 500 at Darlington to honor a true hero and legend in our sport, Bobby Allison," said Joey Gase. "Darlington is one of those race tracks that you always get chills at when you drive through the tunnel. Ever since they have started throwback weekend, it has made everything more special and fun for both the teams and fans."
Agri Supply started as a farm supply store over 50 years ago but now has grown to over 26,000 items and counting for your Farm, Tractor, Garden, and Home needs. Agri Supply has eight retail locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia; releases several unique catalogs per year; and has a thriving website with a huge product selection available.
"Agri Supply is great family-owned business that always has done everything the right way, and treated their customers like family." continued Gase. "In these uncharted waters we are in right now, that treatment is no different. They are keeping all of their stories open in VA, NC, SC, GA, and keeping all of their prices fair and affordable for families during these hard times. I could not be more proud to represent such a great company!"
Agri Supply's goal is to provide quality merchandise at the most reasonable price, to give our customers the best service possible and to treat all customers fairly.
"Agri Supply is proud to have had a part in sponsorship of Joey Gase going into our 7th year now. We have been super excited to participate in all of the throwback weekends at Darlington thus far. This year we are happy to sponsor Joey in the NASCAR Cup Series throwback to former champion Bobby Allison's 1971 scheme. We wish Joey the same Southern 500 victory lane success as Bobby had in 1971 and 1972!" - Agri Supply Team.
Team Owner Rick Ware commented, "Our sport has a strong history of NASCAR Champions who have helped to shape this sport. We are honored to carry the colors of one of the most influential drivers in our sport, Bobby Allison, at Darlington Raceway in September, with Joey Gase behind the wheel of the No. 51 Agri Supply car."
Be sure to catch all of the throwback action at Darlington Raceway, Labor Day weekend September 6, 2020!
Darlington Raceway PR
Today the NASCAR Hall of Fame launched SPARK!, an online education platform that offers weekly racing-themed lesson plans and project-based learning experiences for students in elementary through high school.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame is not only a top attraction in Charlotte, but also an important educational resource for schools, hosting thousands of students a year for field trips. The educational team quickly developed SPARK! following the temporary closure of the Hall to offer additional support to students, parents and teachers facing unprecedented learning challenges amidst COVID-19. The virtual education program offers STE(A)M-driven activities to help students develop real-world problem-solving skills. Each week SPARK! will introduce new elementary, middle and high school lesson plans, along with associated worksheets and engaging videos, many of which will feature footage from NASCAR’s increasingly popular iRacing virtual races.
“We’re thrilled to share the new SPARK! Learning program with students and educators everywhere,” said Winston Kelley, Executive Director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “In the face of unprecedented education challenges, I am proud of our team’s quick efforts to build this contribution to the learning landscape and grateful for our ability to share the Hall’s robust resources with an even larger audience.”
In addition to the targeted lesson plans, SPARK! users can participate in an ongoing series of 10-minute activities for all ages, ranging from pit crew-themed mini workouts to experiments with chemistry, energy, sounds and beyond.
To learn more about the NASCAR Hall of Fame or participate in a SPARK! Learning lesson, visit www.nascarhall.com/spark and follow the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for updates.
Successful inaugural World Wide Technology Raceway iRacing event paving the way for track’s eSports league
Professional drivers from NASCAR, INDYCAR, NHRA, USAC and a host of other motorsports sanctioning bodies competed last Sunday in World Wide Technology Raceway’s inaugural iRacing event, the Bommarito Automotive Group Throwback 500. The race was managed by the Elite Racing League (@EliteRacing_), and was broadcast free of charge on Speed51.com.
The iRacing-on-TV concept has been popular with fans as they await the start – or resumption – of their favorite auto racing series.
“We were very pleased with the results of the first event and it’s a terrific starting point as we develop the World Wide Technology Raceway eSports League,’ said Chris Blair, WWTR’s Executive Vice President and General Manager. “The response from the racing community was amazing and to be able to watch the stars of so many racing series competing against each other at our virtual track shows you how our industry can pull together. While there have been other events in recent weeks, our race raised the bar by showcasing world champions. We fully engaged the best from the traditional motorsports world as well the top level of eSports racing.”
The next WWTR eSports event will be fine-tuned to make it more enjoyable for participants and viewers alike.
“In the future, we are going to condense these professional all-star events so they aren’t as long and we’ll limit the starting field to hopefully lessen the amount of caution periods,” Blair continued. “There’s some tremendous entertainment potential and we need to remain fluid as it evolves.
“We’ve been working for some time to dig deeper into eSports to broaden the appeal of racing to a younger audience. Our WWTR eSports League is developing multiple tiers of player options to include standard gaming consoles, such as X-Box, to the more advanced, PC-based racing programs such as iRacing. We want to offer a variety to develop young gamers into racers and then provide a ladder system to professional eSports.”
Australian sports car driver Scott Andrews took on a stout field of professional stock car and open wheel drivers Sunday to claim victory in the Bommarito Automotive Group Throwback 500. The 2015 U.S. F1600 champion is sort of a sim racing veteran.
“I’ve been sim racing on and off for over a decade,” said Andrews, who now is based in Miami. “I started in my later karting years, (jokingly) back when you could get by with a Logitech steering wheel. I moved to the U.S. eight years ago and have been racing sporadically, using friends’ equipment. I haven’t had my own (sim racing rig) until five days ago. Sim racing like this at home keeps you sharp.”
Andrews was confident going into Sunday’s race against the likes of longtime iRacers Alexander Rossi, Ron Capps, Spencer Boyd, Ty Gibbs and Austin Blair.
“I knew I’d be competitive. It’s all about strategy, to be there at the end. I was stoked to make that late-race pass and I was very satisfied and happy to get the win.”
Bommarito Automotive Group Throwback 500 (iRacing) official finish: 1. Scott Andrews, 2. Ryan Gavel, 3. Conor Daly, 4. Simon Sikes, 5. Chad Frankenfield, 6. James Davison, 7. Vincent Isabella, 8. Jacob Abel, 9. Damien Leininger, 10. Austin Blair, 11. John Poole III, 12. Josh Bilicki, 13. Carson Hocevar, 14. Austin Wayne Self, 15. Shawn Langdon, 16. Ty Gibbs, 17. Graham Rahal, 18. Colton Herta, 19. Alexander Rossi, 20. Colin Mullan, 21. Mark Rebilas, 22. Jordan Anderson, 23. Cabot Bigham, 24. Braden Eves, 25. Daltyn England, 26. Santino Ferrucci, 27. Garrett Smithley, 28. Robert Megennis, 29. Ron Capps, 30. Tim Doyle, 31. Tyler Ankrum,
32. Gabby Chaves, 33. Stefan Wilson.
For additional information on World Wide Technology Raceway, please call (618) 215-8888 ext. 119 or visit www.WWTRaceway.com. Follow WWTR on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.
NBC Sports presents the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, a live, virtual racing event featuring a field of NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers, this Saturday with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at the virtual Barber Motorsports Park live at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The event will mark the inaugural INDYCAR iRacing event to appear on NBCSN.
More than two dozen INDYCAR drivers are expected to compete in this weekend's INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, including five-time series champion Scott Dixon, two-time and reigning series champion Josef Newgarden, and 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud. Last Saturday, 2013 Indy Lights champion Sage Karam won the inaugural INDYCAR iRacing Challenge American Red Cross Grand Prix at the virtual Watkins Glen International.
NBC Sports' lead INDYCAR broadcast team of Leigh Diffey (play-by-play), Paul Tracy (analyst), and Townsend Bell (analyst) will call the action.
This marks the latest collaboration between NBC Sports and iRacing, which began in 2019 when NBC Sports telecast the first-ever eNASCAR live event on television. NBC Sports and iRacing teamed up to present the 2019 eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Championship in a two-hour event live on NBCSN last October.
It’s one of the questions that seems to come up every weekend as many Ford drivers make their way through various hospitality spots or question and answer sessions with NASCAR fans: What do you drive when you’re not racing?” As you might imagine, the answers run the gamut. But for Matt DiBenedetto, who is in his first year driving the No. 21 Motorcraft Ford for the Wood Brothers, there’s only one -- Mustang.
“When I found out I had a choice of any vehicle this year it was an easy decision for me,” said DiBenedetto, who, along with his wife, Taylor, selected a 2020 Velocity Blue Mustang GT. “I love the new Mustang and since we don’t have kids it’s the kind of car that’s fun to drive, especially going back and forth to the race shop. That’s why I chose it.”
However, when you’re a self-professed car nut who likes to tinker and modify whatever you drive, choosing it is just the beginning.
“I like to modify my street cars and make them unique to me. This is my fourth Mustang and it’s a six-speed manual, so I couldn’t resist,” said DiBenedetto, who has a second-place finish at Las Vegas and sits ninth in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings after four races this season. “I put an aftermarket exhaust system on it, so it’s not very quiet. I don’t know if I was supposed to do that because it’s a company car, but I plan to buy it at the end of the year anyway, so I just went ahead and did it.”
DiBenedetto calls this need for modification a bad habit, but if that’s the case, he has plenty of good company. It all started when he was 15 years old and got a 2006 Mustang with a GT66 package for his first car -- a six-cylinder with black and silver stripes. A couple of years later, it was a used 2006 Saleen S-281 Mustang that he modified with some exhaust work, smaller pulley, and dyno tuning.
“Nothing too crazy,” he said.
More recently, he had a 2017 Mustang GT350 that he altered by putting on headers, a full exhaust and short shifter.
“I’ve always known the ins and outs of my Mustangs and my passion has been modifying them,” said DiBenedetto, who also gets assistance from professionals like Anthony Ballard, whom he met at a car show and has now become a good friend. “We became friends just because of the strict fact he likes modifying Mustangs and I like modifying Mustangs, but we met through the car culture.
“All he does is build and tune Mustangs and does really super-cool cars,” DiBenedetto said of Ballard, who owns Signature Speed in Granite Falls, North Carolina. “His cars make crazy horsepower. He’s got a full-blown drag car that is a 2013 Mustang and he just has all kinds of fast stuff.”
And while many enthusiasts like to work on their Mustangs and hold on to them forever, DiBenedetto prefers to get on the road and drive them for the enjoyment of it before putting the ‘For Sale’ sign in the window.
“The winding roads are the most fun, especially when you’re driving a car that you have a passion for,” he said. “I look forward to the trip up to Bristol because it’s not too far from Hickory, so going up Highway 181 is a fun drive.”
DiBenedetto’s love for Mustang comes straight from his father, Tony, who had a number of them, including a Boss 429 that he spent countless hours working on.
“He had a passion for Mustangs when he was really young and passed that down to me because I share that from the old ones to the new ones,” said Matt. “I’ve always appreciated the history of Mustang, and now that I’m driving for the Wood Brothers, who have been with Ford for the last 70 years, it makes everything pretty neat.”
Ford Performace PR
With continuing guidelines set forth by government officials regarding the COVID-19 situation, the Fulton Speedway will cancel its annual opening Highbank Holdup Weekend featuring the DIRTcar 358 Modified Series and DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series to be held on April 24 and 25.
“It’s unfortunate that we do have to cancel the weekend, we were waiting a bit just hoping something would change for the better and give the fans a weekend of racing,” noted Fulton General Manager Cory Reed, “However, the safety of our fans, employees and the competitors comes first. I’m confident we eventually hold races but we also want to make sure it’s safe for all to attend.”
The weekend was filled with the St. Lawrence Radiology Highbank Holdup 60 for the DIRTcar 358 Modified Series and DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series: Central Region events, the Empire Super Sprints presented by Tim Grevelding Snap-On Tools and Fulton’s own Billy Whittaker Cars & Trux Late Models.
“I talked to Dean (Reynolds) quite a bit over the last few weeks. While we had our fingers crossed and just hope something would break it was the best decision by far,” Reed said. “With this being a weekend event and with the uncertainty of when we all will be racing we will just cancel. When we get back all the tracks will want to open up and run, we just don’t want to interfere with weekly scheduling.”
Fulton is scheduled to resume weekly racing on Saturday, May 2 but Reed notes for all to stay abreast of current announcements that will be made on their social networking channels. “Of course, May 2 is very tentative but we will be ready if the government officials give us the green light and it’s safe. We just encourage everyone to watch our social media.”
DIRTcar Series PR