Speedway Digest Staff
Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest
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.
Dillon and the Gecko turn in 19th place finish in Homestead eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series Race
Festival producer Danny Wimmer Presents has released the following update about their 2020 music festivals:
There are no pre-existing guidelines for what festivals should be doing during this unprecedented time. Like the rest of the music industry, we continue to assess new information and make the best-educated decisions possible. We know you have been anxious for updates from us and we are at a point where we can answer many of your questions about how each of our festivals may be affected by COVID-19.
We are crushed to say that Epicenter, Welcome To Rockville and Sonic Temple are being canceled due to the governmental restrictions on mass gatherings. We respect these directives and recognize they are in the best interest of the greater good, as well as the health and safety of our fans, musicians, partners, and staff. Before accepting this fate, we worked really hard to try to reschedule the festivals. Unfortunately, scheduling conflicts, venue availabilities and a number of other factors out of our control made postponing impossible. Make no mistake, each of these festivals will return in May 2021 bigger and stronger than ever!
Let’s be perfectly clear -- FULL REFUNDS will be available to everyone who has purchased passes to Epicenter, Welcome To Rockville and Sonic Temple.
In addition to offering refunds, many of you have said that you would prefer to apply your 2020 purchases towards next year or exchange your pass for another one of our 2020 festivals. Based on your feedback, we are offering pass holders three options:
(1) Full refund
(2) Apply your pass to 2021
(3) Exchange your pass for another 2020 DWP festival
Complete details will be emailed out to our pass holders within 72 hours.
We also know that you are anxious to find out who is playing Louder Than Life, Bourbon & Beyond and Aftershock. Please understand that here at DWP, we’ve been debating when it is appropriate to announce our lineups and put passes on sale for our remaining festivals. Our heads say we need to hold off on these announcements until we have more certainty in the world. But our hearts say the world needs positivity and some things to look forward to. We’ve been paying close attention to what you are saying on our social media and two themes consistently emerge. First, you do want something to remind you of the better days ahead. Second, times are financially hard for all of us.
While we want nothing more than to give you the full lineups for Aftershock, Bourbon & Beyond and Louder Than Life, we just don’t feel like it’s the right time. But we did hear you loud and clear that you want some good news. And good news we have. We are adding a Thursday to 2020 Louder Than Life and, are you ready . . . the newly added Thursday will be headlined by none other than Metallica. Yes, Metallica is back! We simply couldn’t accept that after all we’ve gone through together this year that there would be no Metallica performance East of the Mississippi. And Metallica agrees!
To assist you in the current financial climate, all current pass holders for Louder Than Life will be given the 4th day FREE. We are also deferring the next installment payment on the layaway plan for a month. And we will leave open the refund option for Louder Than Life through Friday, March 27 in case you need your money back.
To try to make passes a little more affordable right now, anyone who wants to buy a pass for Louder Than Life can reserve a pass for $1 down per pass, with payments not starting until May 3 and split up evenly in May, June, July and August.
We have also arranged for many of the bands from Sonic, Epicenter and Rockville to play at Louder Than Life and will be announcing that as soon as we feel appropriate. Because we were not able to reschedule the Spring festivals, we want Louder Than Life to be an inclusive celebration of all of those festivals. It’s not a perfect solution, but these are imperfect times. It is our sincere hope that we are all able to heal together with massive celebrations this Fall.
While we don’t know if this pandemic will end in time for Hometown Rising, Louder Than Life, Bourbon & Beyond or Aftershock, rest assured that all passes will be refunded in the
unfortunate event that any of these festivals are prevented from happening because of COVID-19.
We want to thank you for your continued loyalty and support. We are blessed to have such an amazing Festival Family, and together, as a community, we will get through this. Please stay safe and look out for each other.
- Danny Wimmer Presents has announced the cancelation of their Spring 2020 festivals:
Epicenter, May 1-3 in Concord, North Carolina
Welcome To Rockville, May 8-10 in Daytona Beach, Florida
Sonic Temple Art + Music Festival, May 15-17 in Columbus, Ohio
- DWP looks forward to bringing all three festivals back in May 2021, and is focusing on making the upcoming Fall 2020 festival season bigger than originally planned.
- Louder Than Life in Louisville, KY will expand to four days, September 17-20, with Metallica headlining Thursday, September 17. Many of the bands that were scheduled to play the Spring
2020 festivals will also be a part of the massive Louder Than Life lineup, in an effort to bring fans of all the events together and provide an unparalleled experience.
To assist fans in the current financial climate, all current pass holders for Louder Than Life will be given the 4th day FREE. In addition, upcoming installment payments on layaway plans for all
DWP festivals will be deferred for a month.
- To make passes a little more affordable right now, Louder Than Life passes can be reserved for $1 down per pass, with layaway payments not starting until May 3.
- Those who purchased passes for Epicenter, Welcome To Rockville and Sonic Temple will have three options: exchanging passes to attend a Fall 2020 festival, deferring their pass to Spring 2021, or requesting a full refund. Complete details will be emailed to purchasers beginning Thursday, March 26.
- The full DWP fall festival season includes the Louisville Trifesta—Hometown Rising Country Music & Bourbon Festival (September 12-13), Louder Than Life (September 17-20) and Bourbon & Beyond (September 25-27), all held at Highland Festival Grounds at KY Expo Center—as well as Aftershock, October 9-11 at Sacramento’s Discovery Park. The full lineups for Louder Than Life, Bourbon & Beyond and Aftershock will be announced in the coming weeks.
- For more information, visit www.DannyWimmerPresents.com
With the current stay-at-home order aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, test-and-tune events scheduled for this weekend at Macon Speedway and Lincoln Speedway have been canceled. The tests were set for Saturday, March 28 at Macon Speedway and Sunday, March 29 at Lincoln Speedway.
Officials from the tracks have been following news, regarding current health issues with COVID-19, very closely as it changes day-to-day and by the minute. Officials will continue to monitor the situation closely with government and public health officials to determine what adjustments to make as the time comes, in regards to other upcoming events.
Lincoln/Macon Speedway PR
MAVTV is happy to announce that Dan Teitscheid, who has been an integral part of the network's growth since 2014, has been promoted to President of MAVTV. During his tenure as Vice President, Teitscheid was responsible for helping negotiate licensing rights to Lucas Oil-owned content and expanding the reach of the company’s media brands. Before joining the MAVTV team, Dan was with The Walt Disney Company where he was heavily involved in the launch of Disney, ESPN, and ABC's linear and digital media products. Prior to his time at the Walt Disney Company, Teitscheid served as Vice President of Content Distribution and Marketing for MTV Networks.
"With Dan's leadership, vast experience with The Walt Disney Company, ESPN, and MTV Networks, and desire to take MAVTV to the next level in this evolving television landscape, we are well-positioned for an exciting future," said Thomas Fredrickson, COO, Lucas Oil Products.
Additionally, MAVTV would like to welcome John Duff as the newest member of the network’s team. Effective March 16th, John will step into the role of MAVTV's Head of Content. Coming from 25 years of television network experience, Duff possesses the ideal work experience and motorsports industry relationships to hit the ground running. “John’s network programming experience creating and acquiring compelling content, along with his passion for the sport, will be a great asset to MAVTV as we look to grow our content library and remain the go-to network for motorsports entertainment,” says Teitscheid.
MAVTV, which is owned and operated by Lucas Oil, is now available to more viewers than ever before. With a total of 220 providers across cable, satellite, telco and digital platforms, the Motorsports Network is seen in more than 30-million households.
Kyle Petty Charity Ride, Inc. today announced its decision to postpone its 26th Anniversary Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America presented by Cox Automotive. Originally scheduled to take place May 2 – 8, 2020, the Ride will now be held May 1 – 7, 2021. The Ride will still follow the same route, visit the same scheduled stops and maintain the same participating sponsors as previously announced.
“Throughout the everchanging and dynamic COVID-19 pandemic, our utmost concern has always been and always will be the health and safety of our riders, team and fans,” said Kyle Petty, former NASCAR driver, current NBC Sports racing analyst and founder of the Ride. “While it saddens me that we must postpone this year’s Ride, I know in my heart that this is what’s best for everyone involved. And I can guarantee that we will keep our promise to bring the exact plans for our 26th Anniversary Ride to life in 2021 and continue our mission to raise funds to send kids to Victory Junction!”
Victory Junction – a camp dedicated to providing life-changing camping experiences for children with chronic and serious medical illnesses – has served as the Ride’s primary beneficiary since its establishment by Petty and his family in 2004 in honor of his late son, Adam.
For the latest information on the 26th Anniversary Ride, including its scheduled overnight stops, participating sponsors and more, please visit www.kylepettycharityride.com.
You can also stay up to date with Petty and the Ride on social media at the following accounts:
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/kpcharityride and www.facebook.com/kylepetty45
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/kpcharityride and www.instagram.com/kylepetty
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/kpcharityride and www.twitter.com/kylepetty
Kyle Petty Charity Ride PR
Rajah Caruth & Garrett Manes to be Inaugural Members of Coca-Cola Richmond Raceway eSports Development Team
Richmond Raceway and Coca-Cola Consolidated announce Rajah Caruth and Garrett Manes as the inaugural members of Richmond Raceway eSports Fueled by Sunoco’s development program, Coca-Cola Richmond Raceway eSports Development team (Coca-Cola ReD). With the new development program, Coca-Cola ReD is expanding Richmond Raceway eSports Fueled by Sunoco to further engage the next generation of race fans through regional and online engagement.
“Richmond Raceway continues to be a key player in the growth of esports in motorsports, so the foundation of Coca-Cola ReD is the next step in the evolution of Richmond Raceway eSports Fueled by Sunoco,” said Richmond President Dennis Bickmeier. “With every step we take in esports, Richmond continues to be committed to connecting to the next generation of race rans. Thanks to our long-time partner in Coca-Cola Consolidated for their commitment to supporting Richmond Raceway from the track to our growing engagement on esports.”
The Richmond Raceway eSports Fueled by Sunoco team will work with the Coca-Cola ReD team of Caruth and Manes to amplify their online presence, support the growth of their personal brand, and aid their development to become future competitors in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series. Caruth and Manes will race throughout the year on iRacing under Coca-Cola ReD for Richmond Raceway eSports Fueled by Sunoco. They will also attend Richmond events as ambassadors of the program.
“Coca-Cola Consolidated is always looking to find innovative ways to engage with racing fans and partners,” said Heather Hucks, Senior Director of Brand Marketing at Coca-Cola Consolidated. “With the launch of Coca-Cola Energy, we are excited to provide Richmond Raceway eSports fans and drivers with a new beverage experience before, during and after iRacing competitions.”
Caruth, a native of Washington, D.C., is an upcoming motorsports athlete on the track and in esports. In 2020, he is competing with Rev Racing for his second consecutive year as part of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program. He was the first driver with an iRacing background to be selected for the program. Caruth has also competed in the eNASCAR IGNITE Series, a first-of-its-kind esports competition created to identify young talent by providing a low barrier of entry to the sport. In 42 starts, Caruth finished second in seven races and competed in the championship race at Martinsville Speedway.
In 2020, Caruth will compete in a Late Model in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series with Rev Racing as part of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program. He will also return to compete in the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout in Charlotte, N.C., which he competed in last year winning two heats. Last season, Caruth competed in six races with Rev Racing as part of the program. In iRacing, Caruth will compete in the eNASCAR Road to Pro Series, NASCAR iRacing Series, and the Esports Racing League Sportsman Division.
“It is truly an honor to be a member of Richmond Raceway eSports Fueled by Sunoco’s inaugural Coca-Cola ReD team,” said Rajah Caruth. “To be teammates with Garrett Manes, Zack Novak, and Jimmy Mullis, along with representing one of the most innovative tracks in the country, is surreal. I went to my first NASCAR race at Richmond in 2014, and to be here in this capacity in six years is mind-blowing. I am looking forward to a great year as part of the team.”
Manes, a native of Powhatan, Va., has been racing since he was ten years old. Extreme mental focus, exceptional peripheral vision and the ability to observe his environment in great detail are all qualities that help him excel as a race car driver. Diagnosed with Autism at age two, Manes sees the world through a different filter than most people. He knows this about himself and embraces the challenges and the benefits of his nature. The Manes family have made awareness and support of the Autism community a core component of their racing platform.
Manes got his start in racing as part of Arena Racing, where he won three consecutive youth championships and holds series records for the most wins, pole awards, and fastest lap. He has competed on the track in Pro Late Models, Pro Trucks, Legends, Arena Racing and in esports. Manes has raced in the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout in Charlotte, N.C. since 2016, posting wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Semi Pro Division in 2018. In January 2020, Manes teamed up with Ladyga Motorsports and picked up the win in the Pro Division at Charlotte Motor Speedway. With over 1,700 wins in Simulation as a driver in iRacing, Manes continues to regularly compete in races across the platform.
“The success and attention that racing provides allows me to reach other families that face the same challenges of Autism that I have faced,” said Garrett Manes. “It gives me a chance to make a real difference for them.”
Richmond and Coca-Cola Consolidated recently announced an expanded partnership on Richmond Raceway eSports Fueled by Sunoco. Coca-Cola Consolidated is the official refreshment partner of the program. Along with holding the naming rights to Coca-Cola ReD, Coca-Cola Consolidated is also the primary sponsor of the No. 46 Toyota Camry in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series driven by Jimmy Mullis.
Richmond Raceway eSports Fueled by Sunoco is currently competing in its third consecutive season in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series. Jimmy Mullis is behind the wheel of the No. 46 Coca-Cola Energy Toyota Camry as part of his third year with Richmond Raceway eSports Fueled by Sunoco. Zack Novak, 2019 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series champion and 2018 eNASCAR IGNITE Series champion, drives the No. 90 Sunoco/Sim Seats Toyota Camry. This is his first year with Richmond Raceway eSports Fueled by Sunoco.
For more details on the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, including the full season schedule and team rosters visit eNASCAR.com and iRacing.
Coca-Cola Consolidated is also a sponsor of the state-of-the-art Richmond Raceway Simulator. The Richmond Raceway Simulator is an interactive two-seat, in-car driving simulator, available at key outbound events throughout the year, that allows fans to get behind the wheel to drive Richmond’s famed ¾-mile D-shaped oval and 79 other tracks including some select Racing Virginia tracks. The Richmond Raceway Simulator is powered by iRacing, the world’s premier motorsports racing simulation platform. Richmond-based Sim Seats designed and installed the hardware for the simulator.
To learn more about Richmond Raceway eSports Fueled by Sunoco, follow on Twitter or visit richmondraceway.com/esports.
Stay connected to Richmond Raceway on Facebook, GIPHY, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, and by downloading the Richmond Raceway mobile app for Apple or Android.
Richmond Raceway PR