Speedway Digest Staff
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As the racing world waits patiently to return safely to the track, Spencer Boyd has teamed up with RichMar Florist for an amazing on and off track partnership. During these times when most of us could use a pick-me-up, Boyd will be sending virtual flowers upon request.
Spencer Boyd elaborated on the unique sponsorship, “There are medical workers that are on the front lines. Countless people in the travel and hospitality industry have been laid off or furloughed. Grocery store workers and suppliers have been working around the clock to keep up with demand. These people and their families need a lot right now so maybe at least I can provide a smile by sending someone some flowers.”
With a collection of photographs from RichMar’s extensive work over the years, Boyd will be taking shout out requests on social media and sending people pictures of tailored floral arrangements. RichMar Florist will also take center stage as a primary sponsor of the No. 20 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado when the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series is ready to return.
“We’ve known Spencer for a while now and love his interaction with the fans,” said Jonathan Morrissey Vice President of RichMar Florist. “We know that social media is flooded with mixed messages right now so spreading some cheer will do us all some good and Spencer is the right guy to help do that. We support NASCAR’s decision to postpone the season and look forward to seeing this beautiful paint scheme on the track when the time is right.”
To request Spencer to send virtual flowers to someone that needs them, tag Spencer or RichMar in a social media post on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter at the accounts below.
Spencer Boyd Racing PR
Last Sunday, NASCAR, iRacing and FOX Sports teamed up to deliver the first-ever eNASCAR iRacing Pro invitational Series event. Today, FOX Sports is committing to coverage of the remainder of the season, beginning Sunday, March 29, at 1:00 PM ET live from virtual Texas Motor Speedway. Entitled FOX NASCAR iRACING, the races will be simulcast on the FOX broadcast network*, FS1 and the FOX Sports app. Races will be available in Canada through FOX Sports Racing.
Last Sunday’s inaugural event, won by three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin, drew 903,000 viewers on FS1, according to Nielsen Media Research. FOX SPORTS iRACING was the most-watched telecast on FS1 since the pandemic-induced sports shutdown began on March 12 and Sunday’s most-watched sports telecast on cable television, as well as ranks as the highest-rated esports TV program in history.
Additionally, according to rankings by Twitter interactions, the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series on FS1 was the #1 most-social TV program overall on Sunday. NASCAR-owned content related to the event also produced more than one million engagements throughout the weekend.
“This rapid-fire collaboration between FOX Sports, NASCAR and iRacing obviously has resonated with race fans, gamers and television viewers across the country in a very positive way,” said Brad Zager, FOX Sports Executive Producer, EVP/Head of Production & Operations. “We have learned so much in a relatively short period of time, and we are excited to expand coverage of this brand-new NASCAR esports series to an even wider audience.”
The FOX NASCAR broadcast team of Jeff Gordon, Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds continues to call the action from FOX NASCAR studios in Charlotte, with NASCAR CUP SERIES driver Clint Bowyer providing “in-car” commentary.
“The response on social media to last Sunday’s race has been incredible,” Gordon said. “We were able to broadcast a virtual race that was exciting and entertaining. It brought a little bit of ‘normalcy’ back to the weekend, and I can’t wait to call the action Sunday at Texas.”
Under the banner FOX NASCAR iRACING, FOX Sports covers simulation-style esports races that include a cross-section of competitors from the NASCAR CUP SERIES, NASCAR XFINITY SERIES, NASCAR GANDER RV & OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES and a group of NASCAR dignitaries.
“We’re overwhelmed by the positive feedback and encouragement sent by industry stakeholders, drivers, partners, media and most importantly, our fans. We all can’t wait to get back to racing and our partners at iRacing and FOX have worked with us to do just that – race,” said Tim Clark, Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, NASCAR. “We are committed to running these eNASCAR iRacing events as long as necessary. Providing a platform for our fans to watch and engage with their favorite drivers is our number one priority.”
For more information on FOX Sports motor sports coverage, including photography and talent bios, visit FOX Sports Press Pass.
*Where available and subject to change
Fox Sports PR
The search for the greatest driver in Roush Fenway Racing, according to the fans, is coming down to the wire as the Elite Eight matchups are set, with the tournament culminating on Friday.
HOW WE GOT HERE
#RoushMadness got underway more than a week ago, as all 58 drivers to have taken the wheel for Jack Roush were put into a March Madness style bracket, with seeding determined by career starts in an RFR Ford. The top six seeds, including NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin and two-time NASCAR Champion Greg Biffle, received first-round byes.
No. 1 Seeds Still Thriving
With the Sweet 16 in the rearview, all four No. 1 seeds – Martin, Matt Kenseth, Biffle and Carl Edwards – remain alive. Biffle took down No. 4 Jon Wood to advance, while Matt Kenseth defeated No. 5 Bubba Wallace.
No. 13 seed Kenny Wallace, who owns the closest margin of victory throughout the tournament in defeating No. 12 Ross Chastain by just 20 votes in the Round of 32, finally saw his tournament run come to an end, falling to Martin 81-19. Carl Edwards punched his ticket to the Elite 8 by defeating No. 5 Chris Buescher, 72-28.
Bevy of Support for Newman
Ryan Newman carries the largest vote total thus far through #RoushMadness, with 3,502 votes cast, 1,000 more than the next-closest opponent.
He had an interesting road to the final eight, going up against No. 10 seed Austin Cindric, former #Program60 driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for Jack Roush. Newman handed Cindric the second-largest blowout of the tournament, 92-8, even getting votes from Cindric himself.
Buescher Falls to Quiet Edwards in Sweet 16
Chris Buescher handled his two opening matchups with ease, downing No. 12 Brian Ickler, 89-11, before going on to defeat Erik Darnell, 82-18. His tournament run came to an unfortunate end in the Sweet 16, where, despite his rallying of support on Twitter, he ultimately fell to Edwards.
Burton Uses Late Surge to Down Swindell
It was a hectic and nerve-wracking last few hours in the No. 2 (Jeff Burton) vs. No. 14 (Kevin Swindell) matchup in the Sweet 16, as Burton defeated Swindell by a 51-49 margin, which equates to just 58 votes. Swindell ended his tournament run with 2524 votes, second-most of any driver in the tournament.
Cup Car Numbers for Drivers Remaining
The famed No. 6 machine has the most drivers remaining of any Jack Roush owned car number, with Martin, David Ragan and Newman still on the board. Burton and Edwards represent the No. 99, Kenseth represents the No. 17, Biffle represents the No. 16, while Jamie McMurray is making the No. 26 proud.
Shock of the Tournament
No. 15 Conor Daly pulled the upset of the tournament so far, defeating the No. 2 seed, Trevor Bayne, by a margin of 55-45. Daly used a bevy of Twitter fan support to pull the upset, before going on to ultimately fall to No. 7 seed Newman, also pledging his own vote for Newman.
The Elite Eight kicks off Tuesday with a Biffle-Ragan matchup, and a Kenseth-Burton battle. It continues Wednesday with Martin-Newman and Edwards-McMurray.
Newman-Martin Matchup One of a Kind
The Elite Eight matchup between 19-year veteran Ryan Newman and Hall of Famer Mark Martin stands as the lone one to feature two drivers who were never teammates under Jack Roush, as the remaining Elite Eight matchups all feature drivers who were, at one point, teammates with each other at Roush Fenway Racing.
Biffle and Ragan were teammates from 2006-11, Burton and Kenseth shared the driving stable from 1999-2004, while McMurray and Edwards were teammates from 2006-09.
Newman Only Active Driver Remaining
The South Bend, Indiana, native also stands as the only remaining active NASCAR driver in the #RoushMadness Elite Eight, with No. 2 seed David Ragan announcing his retirement following the 2019 season.
Words matter. For example, there’s a big difference between “postponed” and “canceled”. Postponed means to defer, or to put off until a later time. Canceled, meanwhile, means to make void, revoke or annul.
NASCAR has been on hiatus since the coronavirus outbreak suspended the entire sports industry, but its races have only been postponed, which means all will eventually happen. But for an entity that lays claim to the longest season in all of professional sports – one that spans 36 point-paying races across 10 months from early February to November – rescheduling those postponed races will require some creative thinking.
Midweek shows? Why not? Doubleheaders? Sure. In fact, NASCAR has performed the former numerous times with the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Since its inception in 2013, the Truck Series race at Eldora has owned a midweek date in July. This year’s race is slated for Thursday, July 30. A doubleheader, meanwhile, is already slated for June 27-28 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway with the flagship NASCAR Cup Series.
Certainly more midweek races and doubleheader weekends can satisfy the appetite of NASCAR fans hungry for real racing action, while also serving as the solution for rescheduling postponed events.
“If you’ve followed me, you know I’ve been pretty vocal about changing things up when it comes to the schedule,” said Kevin Harvick, the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion who drives the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). “When it comes to the 2021 schedule, NASCAR was already looking outside the box of things we can do differently. Out of necessity, how we configure race weekends and when we race will have to be figured out for when we get back to racing this year. It’s actually not a bad thing. Change is different, but it can be good, and we’ll have to think differently and be open-minded to what the rest of this year’s schedule ends up looking like.”
Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for SHR, is of the same mindset as Harvick.
“NASCAR has been pretty straightforward in saying that all options are on the table, including midweek races and more doubleheaders. I’m even more intrigued to see what the TV viewership would look like. I think a midweek race would resonate really well. Fans who worked all day can come home, eat dinner and then relax on the couch while we put on a show. I think it would be pretty cool for them.”
While the Atlanta race weekend originally scheduled for March 13-15 ended up getting postponed, a revised schedule saw a Saturday-only timeline where the NASCAR Cup Series qualified at 11 a.m. and raced at 2 p.m. Practice was scuttled entirely in an effort to get everything completed in a single day.
“I think as soon as everyone got to Atlanta and saw the schedule change, it raised an eyebrow,” said Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for SHR. “We said, ‘Hey, we can do these races in a day.’ I was fine with it. You know we need to do whatever we can do to put on a show for all these fans across the country. If all we have time for is a one-day show, then so be it. I think we can provide enough bang for their buck.”
But what if a condensed schedule meant little to no practice?
“Teams have a lot of data simulation to predict how their car is going drive and handle at a particular track, but it’s not always perfect,” Almirola said. “Oftentimes, we show up to the racetrack, make changes, and make the car better from the time we unload until we get ready for the race. And it helps the driver to just pick up some reference points and kind of adapt to what you have for the balance in your car that weekend.
“Practice is always helpful, even if it’s just a little bit. It would present a challenge to not practice, but it would at least be the same for everybody.”
Almirola, like his SHR teammates Harvick and Bowyer, are NASCAR Cup Series veterans. But for a rookie seeing some of these venues for the first time, track time is even more cherished.
“Being a rookie, I would rather have the practice session to get a feel for the car and the track going into the race,” said Cole Custer, the first-year driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for SHR. “It would be a little harder just getting one or two qualifying laps in and then going racing. Any time on the racetrack as a rookie is huge – the more, the better. If all we did was qualify, like we were set to do at Atlanta, it would put a lot of emphasis on our preparation going into the weekend. For me, practice is just really important so we can work on the car and get used to the track.”
No matter what the revised calendar ends up being, drivers will adapt.
“In every crisis situation, there are things to be learned and positives to bring out of it,” Bowyer said. “There’s certainly the opportunity to do a midweek race or a one-day show or a doubleheader. All those options are on the table.”
And after a hiatus that will last almost as long as the traditional offseason, how will drivers pick up where they left off when the series departed Phoenix Raceway back on March 8?
“During the offseason, I’m very relaxed, but this is so different,” Almirola said. “My mind is still so focused on racing. I’m continuing to work out and I go through the week with a schedule and stay in shape because, quite honestly, I think it’s going to be even more important to be in tip-top shape when we’re ready to go and the season does start back up because we’re going to be racing a lot.
“We’re talking about running races on the weekend, then midweek, then another the following weekend. If we do that, running three races in a week is going to be a lot. Recovering after the race and getting your body and mind prepped for the next race in a short period of time will be important. I’m focused on eating right, getting plenty of protein, and staying in shape to be as ready as possible for whatever this season has in store for us.”
American SpeedFest 8 at Brands Hatch will be postponed from its original date on 6-7 June, following the decision by Motorsport UK to extend the suspension of motor racing until at least 30 June. Event organiser MSV and the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series are working together to secure a new date and an announcement will be made in due course.
In the summer of 1977, Rita Coolidge had a hit song titled “Your Love Has Lifted Me Higher.” One of the lines in the song went, “Now once I was downhearted, disappointment was my closest friend.” Many racers in Southern California are downhearted and it is safe to say that disappointment is not their closest friend right now due to the coronavirus. One of them is Garden Grove, California racing star Brody Roa and he cannot wait till it is time to get back on the track
The Amsoil USAC/CRA and World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars were slated to open Perris Auto Speedway’s historic 25th sprint car season this Saturday night. But, at 7:00 P.M. when the first green flag was slated to fly, there will be no cars on the track, no cheering fans, no tempting aroma of the track’s barbeque wafting through the grandstands and the bright track lights will be turned off due to the coronavirus.
For Roa, the disappointment of the empty night is huge. Not only the fact that it is a race that has been postponed, but also for the point that he would be coming into the event ranked second in the USAC/CRA championship standings. That would make him the highest placed of the series regulars.
“It is a huge letdown,” Roa said from his home on Sunday afternoon. “We always look forward to the beginning of the year. Instead, we will be home staring at the tv or whatever. It is pretty frustrating as we should be down at the shop loading up the trailer right now, but we are all sitting at home or walking our dogs.”
Earlier this month, Roa drove his famous #91R to third and fourth-place finishes at the season-opening weekend in the “Spring Showcase” at Arizona’s Canyon Speedway Park. The team was back in the shop doing the normal maintenance after that race. During this unplanned delay, they have been back in the shop going over things again. They are more than ready to roll past the Kevin Winter’s green flag at Perris Auto Speedway on April 25th if the race takes place.
While some dates may be canceled, Roa, who won the 2019 USAC Southwest Series championship, says he may venture off and drive for some other owners in other series when his schedule permits. However, the #91R will be confined to the USAC/CRA Series.
“Keeping the #91R confined to CRA will kind of help our program at the end of the year,” Roa stated. “We will not have worn out all of our funds, energy and equipment. We seem to start the seasons off so well. For the first 12 races or so we are pretty strong. But, because we have been running so much the past few years, the maintenance time has not been there.”
One of the surprises at the first two races in Arizona was Roa qualifying third fastest on both nights. In the past, if there has been a chink in his armor, it has been qualifying.
“I wish I could tell you,” the 29-year-old laughed when asked how he qualified so good in the Copper State. “I don’t know! I have not been able to figure out how I qualified that well. Hopefully, when we get going again, I can do it again and pinpoint what it was. Qualifying obviously has not been my strong point over the last 10-years or even going back to my years in go-kart racing.”
While there is some downtime in racing presently, Roa and his wife Tailor have stayed occupied.
“I am still going to work so that keeps me busy Monday through Friday,” Roa stated. “Our new lab puppy is loving it. We go on a lot of walks now and have been taking her to training classes where she was made an example of (not doing what she should have been doing). She is definitely a hyper lab puppy. She is a decent listener right now. Hopefully, that gets better.”
The longtime racer looks forward to when he can get back on the track and he hopes it is as soon as possible at Perris Auto Speedway.
“I hope to be back on the track on April 25th at the Perris race,” the longtime racer said. “Obviously we are not going to be there this Saturday, but our plan is to be there for the opener next month or whenever it happens.”
Like Roa, his fellow competitors and all the fans, cars will be on the track soon and life as we know it will return to as close to normal as possible.
To keep up with all the latest Perris Auto Speedway news, photos, gossip and receive special offers, please use the following links:
Twitter: Perris Auto Speedway on Twitter.
Perris Auto Speedway is conveniently located on the SoCal Fair and Event Center (home of October’s Southern California Fair), approximately one-hour east of Los Angeles and one-hour North of San Diego. To get to the track, take the 215 freeway, on the Ramona Expressway and go three miles east to the fairgrounds. For directions on MapQuest, the address to enter is: 18700 Lake Perris Drive and the zip code is 92571.
Perris Auto Speedway wants to thank its corporate partners for the 2019 season. Ahern Equipment Rentals, All Coast Construction, Battery Systems, Budweiser, Bud’s Tire Pro, Chris’ Hauling, City of Perris, Communication Innovations, Daytona Boat & RV Storage, Ed Moore Bullet Proof Driveshaft, Flowdynamics, HD Industries, Hoosier Tires, Inland Rigging, Living Water’s Hospice, LKQ Pick Your Part, Luke’s Transmission, Pepsi-Cola, Pole Position, PrintItNow.com, Rainbow Bolt & Supply, Rugged Radios, Shaver Specialties, Square H, Sunoco Race Fuels, Trench Shoring, Upland Rock, Varner Construction and Vista Paint.
DVD’s of all the PASSCAR/IMCA racing and Nights of Destruction at The PAS are available from Fourvideos. For more information call (714) 225-9500.
Like the Niagara Escarpment to its South, Ransomville Speedway has been a bedrock of DIRTcar Racing and the Super DIRTcar Series tour. Ransomville is the Wild West of New York’s DIRTcar scene. High banks and long straights make the fast and furious oval one of the most exciting tracks around.
Today, drivers like defending Super DIRTcar Series champion Mat Williamson, Erick Rudolph and DIRT Motorsports Hall of Fall inductee Pete Bicknell call Ransomville their Friday night Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship home.
Ransomville has hosted Super DIRTcar Series races since 1973. Four legendary drivers top the list of winners in what is traditionally known as the Summer Nationals at The Big R. Bob McCreadie, Danny Johnson, Brett Hearn, and Alan Johnson split twelve wins evenly between them.
Headlining Ransomville’s schedule is the return of the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series who saddle up on Friday, July 31 for $10,000. Race fans from Niagara Falls, Buffalo, and Ontario will fill the stands to see The Greatest Show on Dirt featuring 2019 champion Brad Sweet, ten-time champion Donny Schatz, plus invaders from Pennsylvania and Ohio.
The Summer Nationals for the Super DIRTcar Series will be showcased on a new date in 2020 with Tuesday, July 7 set for the fans to hear the rumble of the Big Block Modifieds going for $7,500-to-win.
Joining the Big Blocks is the DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series: West Region. Series drivers will face a stout local field of Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship Sportsman drivers with a $1,000 top prize greeting the winner.
Every week Super DIRTcar Series heavyweights Mat Williamson and Erik Rudolph race head-to-head in their DIRTcar 358 Modifieds. Fans also see Mr. Small Block Pete Bicknell, Gary Lindberg, Ryan Susice, Chad Brachmann, and Mike Bowman battle it out for Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship points every Friday night.
Last year, in the DIRTcar Sportsman Modified ranks, Brett Senek narrowly beat Derek Wagner and up and coming star Garrison Krentz for the track championship. 2019 NAPA Super DIRT Week Chevy Performance 75 champion Kyle Inman also collected three checkered flags at Ransomville.
Race fans should seriously consider making a trip to Ransomville Speedway a part of a great weekend of fun in Western New York. The world-famous Niagara Falls is only a half an hour from the track. The only thing that can match the thunder of the falls are the Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds!
Just south of the speedway is Buffalo, NY where there is no shortage of activities across the city. Buffalo is known for its abundant high-quality breweries, restau
Full card: Ki Po Motors Street Stocks, Investor’s Services DIRTcar Sportsman, Krown Undercoating DIRTcar 358 Modifieds, Stevenson’s Hardware Novice Sportsman, Mini Stocks
Friday, April 24 – VP Racing Fuels presents Test, Tune, and Time: Ki Po Motors Street Stocks, Investor’s Services Sportsman, Krown Undercoating Modifieds, Stevenson’s Hardware Novice Sportsman, Mini Stocks
Friday, May 1 – VP Racing Small Engine Fuels Presents the 63rd Season Opener: Full card
Friday, May 8 – SANY presents a Full Card: Full card
Friday, May 15 – WM Properties & Const, Clark Rigging & Rental, Beyer Boys Truck & Chapmans Heating & Cooling Night: Full card
Friday, May 22 – Triple T presents Demolition Derby! Dunkin’ Donuts presents a full card of racing: Full card
Friday, May 29 – Mark Cerrone, Bailey Brothers, and A-Verdi present Autograph Night and Richard Wilkinson Memorial: Full card
Friday, June 5 – Behm Automotive presents Kids Poster Contest, Bike Giveaway & Kids Ride Night: Full card
Friday, June 12 – Labor Night at the races presented by NOLC & Blue Cross & Blue Shield of WNY: Full card
Friday, June 19 – Vandemark presents the Sunflowers of Sanborn Mini Stock Series plus Full Card and RC Car Exhibition
Friday, June 26 – Jetport and Moley Magnetics present the Joseph Scholtisek $2000 Modified Race and Easter Night: Full card
Friday, July 3 – UBreakIFix, Hy Tech Concrete, Hebeler Sales & Service & Joy Trucking presents July 4th Fireworks! Full card
Tuesday, July 7 – Busch, Wendt’s, NMCC, & Stirling Lubricants presents the Super DIRTcar Series and DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series
Friday, July 10 – Sunflowers of Sanborn presents a full card of racing plus Power Wheel Races
Friday, July 17 – Firth’s Jewelry & Modern Corp present the John Susice Memorial SS Race plus Full Card and Kids Rides
Friday, July 24 – Sid & Carol Jeffery Memorial Crate Late Models plus full card
Friday, July 31 – 7/31/2020 – World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series plus BEI Lightning Series, Investor’s Services Sportsman
Friday, August 7 – Tim Horton’s & Faery’s present Mini Stock Series plus Full Card
Friday, August 14 – Dig Safely & Kentworth NE present the Empire Super Sprints plus full card
Friday, August 21 – Sunset Bar & Grill presents the Sean Letts Memorial plus Full Card and Foot Races!
Friday, August 28 – Regional Haulage & East Coast Speed present Northeast Late Model Alliance plus full card
Friday, September 4 – Hy Tech Concrete presents Triple T Demo Derby! Full card
Friday, September 11 – Niagara Frontier Publications presents BRP Big Blocks! Ki Po Motors Street Stocks, Investor’s Services Sportsman, Krown Undercoating Modifieds, Mini Stocks
Friday, September 18 – Bailey Bros & Dunkin Donuts present Outlaw 358s, Ki Po Motors Street Stocks, Investor’s Services Sportsman, Krown Undercoating Modifieds, Mini Stocks
Super DIRTcar Series PR
Fresh off his digital debut in the first-ever eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series event on FOX Sports, NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Bobby Labonte is switching gears to lend a helping hand to children and parents in need of educational assistance while schools are shutdown. Labonte is now offering personalized video shout-outs to the first 100 fans who book him through Cameo, a website and app that lets fans book their favorite talent. The proceeds of those bookings will go to the Bobby Labonte Foundation.
Two-time Mahoning Late Model champ Frankie Althouse moving up to Sportsman Modifieds; Will also run select Modified races
When the 2020 season at Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway gets underway fans will see a noticeable uptick in the Sportsman Modified division as a flux of new teams have made it known of their intent to be part of the class now entering its third year.
And, of those inspiring entrants comes Frankie Althouse, a driver who has enjoyed great success of late with back-to-back Late Model championships and a pile of stats that grades him as one of the best at the paved ¼-mile oval.
Just in the last five years alone Althouse has crossed the finish line 20 times in first place, 29 runner-ups and racked up 82 top-5s and 85 top-10s in a 90 race span.
Those are indeed impressive figures which leads one to ask why give up on such a good thing?
“We pretty much did everything we could in a Late Model, two championships in a row and we were lucky to dominate along with Mike Sweeney,” explained Althouse.
“But there’s a couple things that played into this one being it wasn’t as fun. Plus we’re looking towards the future and that’s going to be my son driving a car and we felt the timing is right to get a Modified and start getting the bugs worked out of it because in the next two, two-and-a-half years we plan to have him in the car.”
Althouse’s son, Wyatt, will be 13 later this year. He’s been racing Junior Slingshots on dirt at venues such as Shellhammer’s Speedway and like his dad has also enjoyed a fair amount of success. But he’s reaching the point of moving up and the Sportsman Modified is the direction they feel will best suit their game plans.
“There’s a couple things we want to do with him before we let him run the Modified. I want him to get in some more track experience with his dirt car but he’s also got to start working more on the vehicle and get the understanding with it before we let him take it out. He’ll need to earn it,” said Althouse.
In the meantime Althouse is looking forward to getting behind the wheel which will serve as a dual purpose car, one for the Sportsman class and on select dates as a full Modified.
“We bought the car with a 602 crate motor in it and it raced at Wall Stadium. But we have our Late Model motor and all of the drivetrain so this car will be one that you pull one motor out and drop another in,” noted Althouse.
“In the Modifieds our game plan it to race as many of the Hall of Fame Series with a definite being the RoC race at the end of the season, the Bill Teel Memorial and whatever else we can possibly do depending on my work schedule. As for the Sport Mod with that being every other week we’ll be concentrating on that the most.”
This will in fact mark his second go of Modified racing. Althouse ran two seasons at Mahoning Valley, winning Rookie of the Year in 2011. He also raced twice at Evergreen where unfortunately his stint came to an abrupt end with a hard crash that put a halt to Modified racing.
“When you look at it from the first time when we did the Modified it was with an older car and the money situation wasn’t right either. In actuality it wasn’t a smart move on our part,” he revealed.
“But now I am excited to go back to a Modified because I have better tools and a much better understanding of setting up cars and the money situation isn’t enough that we can go full blown Mod but we can do the Sport Mods and by doing that we can dabble into the full Modifieds,” he continued.
“There’s a lot of guys moving up from Street Stocks and stuff like that and you watch the guys and we know them and get along with them. They’re going to be very competitive and go there to win just like everyone so I think it will be a good group of guys that drive clean and are respectful and that’s what you need to put on good racing.”
For those coming into the Sport Mod fold this year, Althouse does has a slight edge as the tires are the same spec as what he ran in Late Models although this year the track is switching from American Racer to Hoosier. Still Althouse feels that he can take that aspect and to an extent make good use.
“Yes and no. We’ve run on 10-inch tires for a long time but this is a completely different compound than what we ran on the Late Model. This is not the same as when we ran Hoosier’s here a few years ago,” he said.
“We know a couple tricks as long as the tire performs the same way and that could help us right out of the gate. However, the other guys who are moving up to the Sport Mod division are pretty smart and so I think after two or three races any advantage we may have will be gone.”
For all intent and purposes Althouse should make a smooth transition back into Modifieds. He has an impeccable ability to race with amazing success at Mahoning Valley. Like he’s done so many times his focus will be on what he knows best – winning. And, to do so in a Modified will bring about a great amount of self-satisfaction.
“At Mahoning it’s especially important and until we win a full blown Modified feature I won’t be satisfied. Every class that I’ve gotten into I was able to win a feature and be semi-competitive in. I just didn’t feel I was that competitive in a Modified before and we weren’t prepared for it,” bottom-lined Althouse.
“Realistically the goal is to go out and win a championship this year with the Sportsman Modified and then go to the full Modifieds the next. That’s the plan but plans don’t always go as they should. We’ll take it week by week and see what happens.
“If we can go there and have some half decent showings with the full Mod then we can go back home and have a whole winter long to work on our weak points.”
Althouse will bring a solid list of sponsors, most who have been with him for years, adorning the sides of his signature No. 22 when the Sportsman Modifieds run for the first time on Saturday, April 11.
They include APS Powder Coating, Dalton Lorah Excavating, USS Achey, Beechwood, Wiz Fabs, Pizza Como USA, Mauch Chunk Trust Company, VJ Wood Towing, Kalon Studio, Sublimation 101, S&D Bodyline, Shooting Star Signs, and Designs and Art Bair Wheel Repair.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway will host four Red Cross blood drives beginning Friday, March 27. Other drives will be held on April 2, April 7 and April 11.
The drives will take place in the Thrive Hive Digital Center in the speedway infield, and will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
“Our community has both a lack of donated blood as well as facilities to collect blood,” LVMS GM Chris Powell said. “Our facility gives the Red Cross a donation center in the northeast part of the valley that is spacious enough to accommodate the social distancing guidelines set forth by local, state and federal governments.”
To make an appointment or to learn more, download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit www.RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
Completion of a RapidPass® online health history questionnaire is encouraged to help speed up the donation process. To get started, follow the instructions at www.RedCrossBlood.org/
A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification, are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.
The Red Cross is asking that individuals postpone their donation for 28 days if the following apply: (1) Travel to China and its special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Iran, Italy and South Korea, or (2) Diagnosis of COVID-19, contact with a person who has the virus, or suspected to have it.
For donors who haven’t been to the Speedway before, take exit 54 off I-15 North, Speedway Blvd. Make a right on Speedway Blvd. and follow until Checkered Flag Lane. Make a right and take Checkered Flag Lane to the infield tunnel. Turn left through the tunnel and toward the Thrive Hive Digital Center. Directional signage will be provided as well.