Steven B. Wilson

Steven B. Wilson

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It’s been a rainy and unseasonably cool spring in Northeast Tennessee, and the arrival of first day of summer isn’t until later in June. But try telling everyone gathered Friday at Kingsport Speedway that it isn’t already summer, because the temperature reached 90 degrees and was downright sweltering hot. Nonetheless a great Memorial Day holiday weekend crowd came out for racing at “The Concrete Jungle.”

It was Ford Night at the Races and a long-running Ford Motor Company commercial asks “Have you driven a Ford lately?” Defending NASCAR Whelen All-American Series “Highlands Sign Shop” Late Model Stock Car champion Zeke Shell of Johnson City wheeled a Ford Mustang to his first win of the season.

Joey Trent earned the Late Model Stock Car pole qualifying award with a fast-time of 15.140 seconds, but with the roll of the dice the top four qualifiers were inverted for the 60-lap feature.

Shell and Bryson Dennis started from the front row, with Shell jumping out to the lead over Dennis, Nik Williams, Trent, Wayne Hale and Derek Lane. Williams was pressuring Dennis trying move up to second and all the while out front leader Shell was putting several car lengths between himself and closest challengers. Racing into the first turn on lap 5, Williams made his move to the inside of Dennis to take away the second spot.

With Shell riding on the point with Williams in pursuit, a good four-car battle for position was taking place between Dennis, Trent, Hale and Lane. Williams closed the distance between himself and Shell on lap 22 as he pulled to the leader’s back bumper. At the halfway point in the race, Shell and Williams had pulled away to a full straightaway advantage over Dennis, Trent, Hale and Lane.

Williams, already a three-time winner this season and not wanting to just ride behind Shell, on several occasions stuck his nose to the inside of the leader as they raced off the corners. But each time Shell managed to close the door and maintain his position. The last thing Shell wanted to see was a late race caution, but that’s what happened when Trent and Hale got together between turns three and four on lap 51 with both cars spinning.

The stage was set for a classic shootout for the win between Shell and Williams, and those two starting alongside one another you just knew it was going to be a battle. Like oil and water doesn’t mix, well, Shell and Williams have a history – they’ve had on-track skirmishes.

Shell chose the inside line for the double-file restart and back under green he and Williams raced into the first turn, with Shell getting the advantage to retake the lead. But you knew Williams wasn’t going to be defeated without giving up a fight, that much was a given.

With each attempt Williams tried in getting around Shell, the race-long leader thwarted. Behind Shell and Williams the action was intense, just good ol’ short-track racing. Racing is a contact sport, and contact was definitely occurring involving the quartet of Dennis, Hale, Trent and Lane.

Shell received the white flag with Williams glued to his back bumper. A little contact between turns one and two allowed Williams to get a good run on Shell racing up off (turn) two down the backstretch. Would Williams use the bump-and-run maneuver on Shell between turns three and four to move the leader up the track, and then drive by on the inside to take the win?

Shell held his line going into the corner and quickly picked the throttle (gas) back up to power off the fourth turn headed to the checkered flag to record the hard-earned victory over Williams. They were followed by Dennis, Hale, Trent and Lane.

The “Super Transmission” Modified Street race was worth the price of admission in itself, with a strong field of 15 competitors taking the green flag for the 30-lap feature. Father-and-son, Royce and Austin Peters, started alongside one another on the front row and it was a hold-your-breath battle into the first turn to see who would emerge with family bragging rights.

Royce, a two-time track champion, showed Austin that “ol’ dad still ruled” as he took the lead on the opening lap. Behind Royce and Austin, Trey Lane, Rusty Clendenin, Kevin Wolfe, Alex Miller, Paul Shull, Kevin Canter and Colby Higgins were jockeying for real estate two- and three-wide. Lane worked his way around Austin for second on lap 10 and set his sights ahead on Royce.

Lane closed to Royce’s back bumper and was waiting for the moment to make his move to try grab the lead. A late race caution for oil on the track meant Royce and Lane would start side-by-side on the front row to battle for the win.

With the green flag waving Royce and Lane raced into the first turn, with Lane getting out of shape up in the high groove he lost several positions before falling back into place sixth in the running order. Out front Royce liked what he was seeing in his rearview mirror as son Austin and Clendenin were battling for the runner-up spot. … Royce, from Kingsport, captured his first win of the season and Austin barely edged Clendenin for second. Finishing fourth and fifth, respectively, were Wolfe and Miller.

Keith Helton reeled off five straight Pure 4 victories to start the season, and defending division champion Bruce Crumbley is now on a winning streak of his own. Crumbley, from Kingsport, captured his second straight win over Josh Detwiler, Kenny Absher, Bucky Smith and Helton.

With three straight Mod 4 track championships to his credit, just go ahead and call Kevin Canter “Mr. Mod 4.” Canter, from Abingdon, Va., started the 30-lap feature from the tenth spot and quickly worked his way to the front, passing Dennis Arnold to take the lead on lap 8. Once out front Canter never looked back en route to his eighth win of the season over Arnold, Billy Duty, Chris Amburgey and Hershell Robinette.

With Doug Austin having won six races and standing atop the Pure Street points leader-board, the bull’s-eye was planted squarely on his back. Tony Dockery, from Dungannon, Va., came out guns-a-blazing and fired the winning shot in capturing his first win of the season over Austin, Jay Swecker, and husband and wife Ricky Payne and Jessica Payne.

KPS PR

Bret Holmes and the No. 23 Holmes ll Excavation / Memorial Day Tribute to Troops Chevrolet team finished eighth on Thursday night under the lights at Charlotte Motor Speedway. After starting from the sixth position, Holmes battled a loose-handling Chevrolet. Relief for the young driver came on lap 16 when a caution flag slowed the field. Crew chief Shane Huffman called Holmes to pit road for four tires, fuel, air pressure and chassis adjustments. Holmes took the ensuing green flag from the 12th spot but quickly advanced his position to fifth by lap 42. Still fighting handling issues, Holmes returned to pit road under caution on lap 88 for another round of adjustments. Quick work by the No. 23 pit crew placed Holmes in the second position for the restart. Holmes gathered momentum and jumped to the lead. The Munford, Ala., native paced the field until a late-race caution was displayed on lap 98. As the race went into overtime, Holmes’ loose-handling condition returned, and he slipped back to eighth after two attempts at a green-white-checkered finish.
 
Start – 6th        Finish – 8th      Points Position – 2nd (tied)      
                                                   
BRET HOLMES QUOTE:
“I’m really proud of the race we ran last night. We definitely showed up and showed how we’ve been improving every week. We led laps and were really close to a win. We were just a little too loose there at the end. I need to work on my restarts. So far, everything that we know we need to improve on, we have. We go back to the shop each week and replay the race. We make notes of areas that we need to work on, and we do that. It showed tonight. Everyone has worked really hard to get where we are. It’s a true testament to our team. We work together and make things right instead of tearing each other down when things don’t go as planned. It was a great feeling to lead laps last night. I’d never led at an intermediate track before, it’s nice not to see anyone else out front of you. I definitely think we can repeat this performance at Pocono (Raceway) and Michigan (International Speedway) in the upcoming races.”
Bret Holmes Racing PR

The final practice for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge gave the 33 drivers and teams a last chance to dial in their cars for race. Afterward, some felt better prepared for Sunday's "Greatest Spectacle in Racing," while others aren't so sure.

INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRESENTED BY GAINBRIDGE: Carb Day practice results I Starting lineup

Tony Kanaan, the 22-year Indy car veteran and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner, posted the fastest lap of the Miller Lite Carb Day session Friday at 225.517 mph in the No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet. While admitting the lap came with the aid of a tow from cars in front of him, Kanaan was pleased with the steps forward his car has taken since Monday's practice.

"A good day for us," Kanaan said. "Obviously, conditions look like pretty similar to what we're going to see on Sunday, hopefully. It was a pretty easy day for us. 

"I wasn't really happy with my car on Monday and I was extremely vocal about it, and I think my engineers heard me, so we made it better today."

Kanaan will make his 18th Indy 500 start on Sunday, this time from the inside of Row 6. He focused on tweaking his car to run strong in traffic on Friday since he knows he'll be in the thick of it during the race.

"I was really working on my car, the level of downforce and grip that I wanted to have starting 16th," Kanaan explained. "So, really, we worked in traffic a lot and trying to find the grip and scan to some of the items that we had on the list to be able to - once we put ourselves in the front during the race - to know what to do."

Rookie Santino Ferrucci was second fastest in the practice, turning a lap of 225.486 mph in the No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda for Dale Coyne Racing. Takuma Sato, the 2017 Indy 500 champion, was third in the No. 30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

"We were having fun," Ferrucci said. "The No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda is in really good shape. We could pass about everybody and we're quick, so there isn't much else to say really. We're looking forward to the race."

Pole sitter Simon Pagenaud ranked 22nd on the speed chart Friday at 222.856 mph in the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet. Teammate Will Power, the reigning race winner, was 10th at 224.240 mph in the No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet.

Points leader Josef Newgarden was 13th fastest in the No. 2 Shell V-Power Nitro Plus Team Penske Chevrolet. He holds a six-point lead heading into the race over reigning NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, who wasn't pleased with how his No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda handled on Friday.

"I don't know what happened there with the PNC Bank car, honestly," said Dixon, who was 19th on the speed chart and starts the race 18th. "I hope we find something wrong with the car because it wasn't great. It's really bizarre, and nothing like we had all month, so we are unsure. 

"There is a fundamental issue on the car and we'll work to find out what happened there."

A total of 1,755 laps were completed on the 2.5-mile oval in the practice scheduled for 90 minutes shortened 18 minutes to allow the track to dry following morning rain.

The 33 entries are now parked in their Gasoline Alley garages until Sunday's 200-lap race. Live coverage begins at 11 a.m. ET on NBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. The green flag is expected at 12:45 p.m.

Askew edges teammate at finish to win Freedom 100

Oliver Askew charged past Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Norman to win the Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires by the fourth-narrowest margin in race history on Friday. Askew crossed the finish line 0.0067 of a second ahead of his teammate to claim first place in the centerpiece race of the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires season.

Norman led 29 of 40 laps on the IMS oval and was ahead exiting Turn 4 on the final lap. But Askew got a run and slid inside to pull out what he called the "biggest race I've ever won in my life."

The triumph allowed Askew to stretch his championship lead to 21 points over Rinus VeeKay (Juncos Racing), who finished third.

Ericsson crew wins MotoGator Pit Stop Competition

The No. 7 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda crew of rookie driver Marcus Ericsson won Friday's MotoGator Pit Stop Competition that capped Miller Lite Carb Day activities at IMS.

In the final round, Ericsson's crew - Bob Jansen (chief mechanic and inside right front tire changer), Ryan Marzec (outside rear tire), Keith Beck (airjack), Brendon Cleave (outside front tire), Timothy Lane (fueler) and Nic Kaminski (inside rear tire) - defeated the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing crew of Scott Dixon in a best-of-three shootout. Ericsson won the decisive third heat in 11.794 seconds, the best time clocked by any crew in the entire competition.

In the contest, cars in each round were lined up alongside each other. The driver had to speed the car into the pit stop zone for his crew performed a four-tire change, before pulling away to the finish line. Ericsson defeated a pair of Team Penske drivers, Josef Newgarden and Will Power, on his way to meeting Dixon in the championship round.

It provided a measure of revenge for Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, which had finished second in the competition for the past three years.

NTT IndyCar Series PR

Willie Mullins finished 17th in his Charlotte Motor Speedway ARCA Menards Series debut on Thursday evening, but that isn’t what the driver from Virginia will remember most about the General Tire 150.

For Mullins, what he’ll remember most is how his race team and the ARCA Menards Series garage rallied around him to make sure he made it out on track after an unfortunate incident during qualifying earlier in the day.

“We had to have everything fall into place just right,” Mullins said. “Everybody brought a piece to the puzzle to put it all back together.”

After Mullins spun his No. 3 Crow Wing Recycling/CW Metals Ford and nosed the car into the backstretch wall, the Mullins Racing crew went to work. There wasn’t a lot of damage on the car, but it was a lot of damage for the team to repair in four hours ahead of the 9 p.m. start time for the General Tire 150.

“After the car hit the wall it broke the motor mount tab off the bell-housing on the left side, it bent the ear, knocked the radiator out of it and busted up the nose of the car,” Mullins said. “It wasn’t a lot of damage, but enough that we really had to work at it for four hours to get it fixed.”

Thanks to hard work from his volunteer crew and the help of multiple people in the ARCA Menards Series garage, the Mullins Racing team were able to get the car repaired and out on the grid just in time for the start of the General Tire 150.

“For me, it made us feel appreciated by everybody in ARCA, including the competitors,” Mullins said. “Bill Kimmel came over to us and told us what a hell of a job we did to put the thing back together and go out and turn laps. Dick Dohney came over while I was on the grid and couldn’t believe how good the car looked after we put it back together.

“I just want to thank everybody that had a part in it,” Mullins said. “Johnny Davis, over in the Xfinity Series garage, was a huge part in getting the car back together because he runs the same radiators as we do. Josh Williams let us use the nose off of his superspeedway car that was sitting over at Greg Purkey’s shop.”

Mullins wanted to express his gratitude for everyone that came to his aid Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway because without everyone’s help, he would have never gotten the chance to race.

“I just want all these people to know how much it means to me for my team and the garage area to rally around us and help us,” Mullins said. “It meant the world to me and I wanted them to know that. Without them we weren’t racing Thursday. So thank you to each and every one of them.”

The No. 3 Mullins Racing Ford carries sponsorship support from County Waste, CW Metals, Crow Wing Recycling, Bugsy's Auto, Snap On by Timmy Brann, Sherwin Williams Paint and Dinah Marie Photography.

For more information on Mullins Racing, please visit mullinsracing.net, like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mullinsracing and follow them on Twitter at @mullins_racing.

Mullins Racing PR

Just after World War I, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, one of America's first and oldest speedways returned to operation, and the Northeast's oldest continuously operated dirt track, The Orange County Fair Speedway, came to be.  Indianapolis began it's legacy as the pinnacle of racing in May of 1910, when they held the first Indy 500 race.  The same AAA sanctioning body that oversaw racing at Indy, would come to Orange County, NY in 1919 to stage some of the first ever automobile race on the then known "Harry Clay Oval" a dirt horse racing track at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Middletown, NY.  With a record breaking crowd at the fairgrounds that August day in 1919, dirt track racing had taken hold in the Hudson Valley region of New York and would remain a local favorite 100 years later.

Because of the now named Orange County Fair Speedway's (OCFS) age, it shares a lot of history with Indianapolis.  5 OCFS competitors had won the Indy 500 either before or after getting their starts in Orange County, NY.  One such competitor's name has become synonymous with racing, Mario Andretti.  Andretti is one of only two drivers to have won races in Formula One, IndyCar, World Sportscar Championship and NASCAR.

Andretti's early career however, was centered around midget and sprint car racing on northeast dirt tracks.  The Andretti's emigrated to the United States in 1955, settling in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania, in the town of Nazareth.  Mario and his twin Aldo were surprised to find Nazareth was home to 1/2 mile dirt track, and by 1959, the two were traveling around the northeast, running dirt tracks in their Hudson Hornet Sportsman Stock Car, collecting wins.  Despite their success with stock cars, Mario's ultimate goal was to race in single-seater open wheel cars, known at the time as "midgets".

Andretti raced midget cars from 1961 to 1963.  Records show that sometime in 1962, OCFS was one of many tracks he visited.  Fan favorite driver and multi-time feature winner, Carl Van Horn, a regular at OCFS for many years, had also come up racing at Nazareth's 1/2 mile track.  Andretti has noted that "Fuzzy" Van Horn was one of his early racing heroes, inspiring him to race stock cars at Nazareth and eventually midget cars at OCFS.  Just a few years later, in 1969, Andretti had worked his way up to the highest level of open-wheel racing and won the Indy 500.

Andretti wasn't the first OCFS competitor to win the Indy 500, in fact he is the most recent.  In 1915, in only it's 5th running, the 500 would be won by a driver named Ralph DePalma.  DePalma is one of racing's earliest superstars, earning $1.5 million by 1934 after racing for 27 years.  In 1928, DePalma was at OCFS with his Miller Special no.3, setting a new track record by turning the 5/8 mile track in 28 2/5 seconds and winning his feature race.  

In 1930, driver Fred Frame, coming from the west coast, would win a feature at OCFS.  The next year, 1931, Frame would score a pair of second place finishes at OCFS and in the Indy 500.  By 1932, the driver had honed his skills enough to secure his one and only Indy 500 win.

"Wild Bill" Holland was a wildly popular driver at OCFS in the pre WWII racing era.  In 1939, he won a feature in Middletown on an extremely muddy race surface.  He was credited for the win by "being a bit crazier than the rest." Holland was an interesting character in early motorsports, he was the owner of a roller rink in Westchester County, NY and once held the world record for a 24 hour endurance skate.  Wild Bill would get his big one in 1949 when he won the Indy 500.

Lee Wallard, a driver originally from Schenectady, NY won the Indy 500 in 1951 at age 40.  In his early career, Wallard competed at many northeast dirt tracks including OCFS, picking up a win at the Middletown, NY track in 1936.

Even more local to OCFS than Westchester County or Schenectady, was driver Bill Schindler.  Schindler was born in Middletown, NY and lived in nearby Ellenville.  Schindler was a prolific east coast driver of midget cars and one of the founders of the ARDC sanctioning body that replaced AAA for a time at OCFS.  It was with the ARDC that Andretti would someday race at OCFS.  Schindler though would eventually return to AAA racing to compete in the Indy 500 from 1950-1952.  Though Schindler was not a 500 winner, he did place as high as 13th and is one of three drivers to have participated in the Indianapolis 500 with a prosthetic leg.  Another OCFS competitor to come close at Indy was Ted Horn.  Though not a winner, Horn had the best average finish over the 10 years he competed between 1934 and 1948 at the Indy 500.  His best finish was 2nd place in 1936.

To this day, OCFS remains a place where local competitors can face off against the nation's best drivers competing at the sport's highest levels.  NASCAR Truck Series drivers Stewart Friesen and Tyler Dippel have made recurring appearances at OCFS in 2019, with recent NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Tony Stewart expected to appear at least once with the All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car race scheduled for July 13th.  For 100 years, this Middletown, NY race track has stood among the nation's greatest speedways as a home to true champions.  Even now, a young driver at OCFS may be at the early stages of his or her journey to the biggest race of them all, The Indy 500.

The 2019 Indianapolis 500 is an IndyCar Series event that is scheduled for Sunday, May 26, 2019, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. The event is scheduled for 500 miles. It is the premier event of the 2019 IndyCar Series.

OCFS celebrates their 100th year with a Centennial Race Weekend, 3-day racing event on August 15-17.  Big Block Modifieds, 358 Small Block Modifieds and Sportsman Classes will race across three days, culminating in a $100,000 to win 160-lap Big Block Feature Race.  The race is expected to draw competitors from all over the country, perhaps even a future Indy 500 winner or NASCAR Champion.

OME PR

MBM Motorsports and Joey Gase are proud to announce RINI Technologies, an advanced thermal management company, will be partnering with Gase as an associate partner the rest of the season.

Founded in the spring of 2000, RINI Technologies got its start winning competitive contracts through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. With customers such as Army Natick Soldier Center, Air Force Research Laboratory, Office of Naval Research, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and more, RINI is well known and respected in the advanced thermal management industry. Focusing on Innovative Products, Research & Development, Custom Customers Solutions, RINI Technologies provides unmatched solutions to their customers in the Military, Medical and Auto Racing markets.

“I am very excited to be teaming up with RINI Technologies not only for this weekend but for the rest of the season and this partnership could not have come at a better time!” said Gase. “This weekend I will be making my first start in the Coca Cola 600 which is the longest race in NASCAR. With temperatures predicted to be in the mid 90s and with the NC humidity it will be over 130 in the car. I was extremely worried about facing heat exhaustion and dehydration but thanks to my RINI Personal Cooling System I know I can ease my mind of that.”

The RINI Technologies’ PCS-Auto is the smallest, lightest, and most effective Personal Cooling Solution available today. The PCS-Auto is powered via 12V and employs patented miniature refrigeration technology to continuously chill a flow of water to the Cooling Shirt. The PCS-Auto miniature cooling technology provides more heat transfer and is more efficient than air cooling or thermoelectric systems. The system can also be configured in a battery powered, backpack format, to cool the crew members.

If you would like to know more information about RINI Technologies and how to get your own RINI Personal Cooling System please visit RiniTech.com.

Joey Gase PR

Detroit Lions Head Coach Matt Patricia shows an intensity on every Sunday in the fall during the games. But in June, he will show a different kind of emotion as the grand marshal for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 on June 9.

“It is a true honor to be named the grand marshal for this year’s Firekeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway,” Patricia said. “I’m excited to meet all the world-class drivers that make NASCAR such a special sport. I have many friends closely involved in the NASCAR community and have attended countless races over the years. My family and I are thrilled to represent the Detroit Lions at the race and I look forward to meeting some of the most passionate fans in all of sports next month at the track.”

Patricia is no stranger to firing up his team before games in the locker room. In June the engines will fire on the head coach’s command for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400. The race will cap a week full of entertainment at the track.

“We are excited to welcome Matt Patricia to Michigan International Speedway to give the command for the FireKeepers Casino 400,” track President Rick Brenner said. “The coach has a passion for racing that will show when he delivers the most famous words in motorsports, ‘drivers start your engines.’”

Patricia is entering his second season with the Detroit Lions in 2019, after being named the head coach on Feb. 5, 2018.

His coaching resume boasts more than 21 years of coaching experience in the college and professional ranks, including 14 consecutive seasons (2004-17) with the New England Patriots, prior to Detroit.

As Detroit’s 27th head coach in franchise history, Patricia has emphasized the dedication and passion to championship-caliber football that has defined him throughout his coaching career.

Prior to Detroit, Patricia helped lead the Patriots to three Super Bowl Championships (XXXIX, XLIX, LI), six AFC Championships and 13 AFC East Division Championships. In all 14 of his seasons in New England, the Patriots finished with 10 or more wins, including 11 seasons with 12 or more wins.

It has never been easier to purchase tickets and reserve a campsite at Michigan International Speedway in 2019. Fans can visit www.mispeedway.com or call 888-905-7223 to get the best deals. Grandstand tickets start at $39 and week-long camping starts at $160.

Michigan International Speedway will continue to be a premier racing facility in 2019 when it hosts a pair of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races. NASCAR’s most entertaining track will host the Monster Energy Series on June 9 and Aug. 11.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 is on June 9. The series will return on Aug. 11 for the Consumers Energy 400.

The XFINITY Series LTi Printing 250 is June 8, while the Gander Outdoors Truck Series Corrigan Oil 200 is scheduled for Aug. 10.

Any guest who purchases a 12 and under ticket will automatically receive a free kids Pit and Driver Introduction Pass courtesy of Henry Ford Health System. Kids can experience pit road on Sunday morning, sign the start/finish line and view the cars and teams up close on race day. Kids will also have access to pre-race ceremonies, including driver introductions.

NASCAR’s Most Entertaining Track continues to add entertainment to the campgrounds, fan plaza, pre-race and stage breaks to make the race week a cannot miss event. The nonstop entertainment at Michigan International Speedway during the FireKeepers Casino 400 race week provides something for every guest. The track continues to add value for the guests who camp and those who come just for the races. A speed painter will even be in victory lane after the FireKeepers Casino 400 to capture the race winning celebration.

MIS PR

Michael Self’s loss was Ty Majeski’s gain in Thursday night’s ARCA Menards Series General Tire 150 on Spectrum Pole Night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Self led a race-high 91 laps from the pole before his luck ran out – losing the lead in the final laps when he spun from the point and fell victim to differing pit strategy in the closing circuits, giving Majeski a golden opportunity to speed to the front and hold off Sheldon Creed for his first ARCA victory.

A caution with one lap to go afforded Creed and third-place finisher Gus Dean a chance to unseat Majeski’s Chad Bryant Racing Ford. Majeski, however, needed only two turns to clear his challengers and capture an emotional maiden triumph at America’s Home for Racing. Harrison Burton finished fourth behind Majeski, Creed and Dean. Self, the series points leader, ended up fifth.

TY MAJESKI, No. 22 Chad Bryant Racing Ford (Race Winner): “It’s unbelievable. Racing has the highest highs and the lowest lows, but it feels unbelievable to come back here and get a win. Michael (Self) obviously had the dominant car. Sometimes you win them that way and sometimes you lose them. Overall, I’m thankful it finally played into our favor. Last season was by far the hardest season of my career. To come back here with a W means a lot. I’m doing everything I can to stay relevant and being in Victory Lane obviously helps.”

SHELDON CREED, No. 21 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet (Runner-Up): “I was really surprised with how much speed that 25 (Self) had. They were incredibly fast. I tried everything I had and I could stay there with him for a few laps, but I couldn’t do anything. He was really stuck to the bottom there. … I just drove my butt off. I don't know where I lined up, 15th or somewhere around there, and I think I was fifth in two laps. I was just trying to go where people weren't. I think it's easier when you're in such a big pack like that because so many people are racing hard, so I got really good runs and I was able to split the middle here and there. I just got really good restarts the last few times."

GUS DEAN, No. 32 Win Tron Racing Chevrolet (Third-Place Finisher): “Majeski was really quick, especially on the high line. I could run the top really hard when I had someone on the inside sort of shooting the air up and keeping it rotated, but it got tight up there by myself. … I stayed eighth until the last 10 (laps), and then we got up there to second. I wish Sheldon would've given me a little bit more of a boost on the bottom, but that's just me sulking because he did what he had to do, for sure. … Got a good restart there, ran it wide open in turns 1 and 2 and just couldn't get momentum built up enough on the bottom to stay with those guys."

TICKETS:
Tickets and upgrades to the 60th running of the Coca-Cola 600 are available by visiting charlottemotorspeedway.com/tickets or by calling 1-800-455-FANS (3267). Kids 13 and under get in for just $10 with adult ticket purchase.

KEEP TRACK:
Fans can connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway by following on Twitter and Instagram or becoming a Facebook fan. Keep up with all the latest news and information with the Charlotte Motor Speedway mobile app.

CMS PR

Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards/Knauf Insulation Mustang are set to start Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway from the 17th starting position.

Menard earned that spot Thursday evening with a lap at 181.830 miles per hour in a one-driver-at-a-time qualifying session.

That significantly bettered his best lap of 180.246 mph in pre-qualifying practice.
Menard said in a post-qualifying media session that he’d already begun focusing on the Coca-Cola 600.

“The race on Sunday is going be a lot different than qualifying on Thursday night,” he said, adding that his qualifying speed will give him a decent pit selection for Sunday.
 
And he said the length of the race – 100 miles longer than the next-longest race on the schedule – offers more chances to tune on the Menard/Knauf Mustang.
  
“Six hundred miles is a long time to dial in a car,” he said. “You start in the day and end at night, so hopefully we’ll get it dialed in for the night time.”
 
With Charlotte Motor Speedway idle on Friday, Menard and his No. 21 team will get their next chance to tune on their Mustang on Saturday morning, when two 50-minute practice sessions are scheduled.
 
The Coca-Cola 600 will follow on Sunday evening with the green flag flying just after 6 p.m. FOX will carry the TV broadcast.

WBR PR

Ty Majeski (No. 22 Crestliner Ford) scored a surprise victory in Thursday night’s ARCA Menards Series General Tire 150 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, taking the lead on a late restart and holding off Sheldon Creed (No. 21 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet) and Gus Dean (No. 32 Icebox Helmet Coolers Chevrolet) in a two-lap dash to the checkered.

Majeski benefitted when the race’s dominant driver Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) tapped the outside wall on lap 85. ARCA officials displayed the caution, but Self stayed out as the rest of the lead lap cars came to pit road for tires. Self restarted as the leader but drifted back through the field as Bret Holmes (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation Chevrolet) took over the lead. Holmes led through lap 95 when Majeski took the lead.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Majeski, however, as the caution came out on lap 99, just as the field had taken the white flag for a crash involving Riley Herbst (No. 18 Monster Energy/ORCA Coolers/Terrible Herbst/Advance Auto Parts Toyota) entering turn three. Majeski had to endure another restart when Codie Rohrbaugh (No. 7 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet) made contact with the wall in turn two.

Despite the late race excitement, Majeski drove to a quarter-second advantage on the final lap over Creed.

“Restarts were crazy tonight,” Majeski said. “Clean air is king. The 23 (Holmes) had two new tires and was able to hold off the 18 (Herbst) who had four tires because he had clean air. I worked the top and worked the top and was able to make up some ground and get around him.”

Creed was penalized for speeding on his last stop at lap 92, but was able to quickly knife his way through the field.

“I knew I didn’t want to speed and I watched the tach the whole way down pit road,” Creed said. “I looked up to find my pit stall and and I looked back down and knew it was going to be close. ARCA called me for it and it was all on me. We had a great car and got through the field pretty quick. I hate what happened with the 18 down the backstretch. He gave me the bottom the lap before and then threw a block pretty hard on the top side the next lap. I am not the kind of guy to just turn someone into the fence, but I am not the kind of guy that wants to get blocked like that either.”

Dean was happy with a third-place result after spending much of the race at the back half of the top ten.

“We started eleventh and moved up to eighth in the first five laps,” he said, “but that’s all we could get until lap 90. Those last ten laps seemed like a totally different race. We went from eighth to second and eventually finished third. The restarts were wild. We had about six or eight cars there going for it. It was really intense. These cars race totally different than the (NASCAR Gander Outdoors) Truck I am used to. It was a lot of fun to be back.”

Majeski was relieved to pick up his first career ARCA Menards Series win after a disappointing 2018 season.

“Last year was really tough,” he said. “It’s great to come back with Chad Bryant Racing and run well every time. I don’t bring a lot of money, I got here on talent and results and when you have a bad year like we did last year there’s a chance people won’t want to work with you. Thankfully I have some great people behind me. It’s great to get Chad and Paul Andrews into victory lane. They haven’t had the results they’ve wanted this year either so it’s a big night for all of us.”

Self led 91 of the race’s 109 laps before fading after he tapped the outside wall. He was disappointed with how his night ended up.

“I just made a mistake and got greedy,” Self said. “I just pushed it a little too hard and made a mistake. I wish they didn’t throw the caution. We still salvaged a top five which is good, I guess.”

There were two lead changes among three drivers and seven cautions for a total of 38 laps. Majeski’s winning average speed was 109.426 miles per hour. Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) was involved in the first caution of the night and was transported to a local hospital after the race for evaluation after the crush panels were knocked out allowing exhaust fumes into the car.

Unofficially, Self leads the ARCA Menards Serie standings by 25 points over Travis Braden (No. 27 MatrixCare/Consonus Health Care/Liberty Village Ford) and 35 points over Holmes.

Next up for the ARCA Menards Series is the General Tire 150 at Pocono Raceway on Friday, May 31. Practice starts at 9 am ET, followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 12 noon. The race is scheduled to start at 5:45 pm ET and will be televised live on FS2 with a same day replay on FS1 at 8 pm ET. ARCA for Me members can access live timing & scoring, live track updates, and live chat for free at ARCARacing.com. Now users may join for free with a valid email address at ARCARacing.com/login. For tickets, log on to PoconoRaceway.com or call 800-RACEWAY.

ARCA Menards Series Pr

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