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Current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) rookie driver and personality Noah Gragson returns to the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards for his fourth season starts when the series returns to Road America on Sunday, August 27.
Gragson will rejoin Venturini Motorsports taking over the seat of the team's No.15 Switch Toyota Camry during Sunday's 100-mile event at Road America's 14-turn road circuit.
“I’m excited for another shot in my Switch Toyota this weekend at Road America,” said Gragson. “Changing it up with a road course event is a lot of fun and really levels the playing field for the most part. I’m confident and enjoy this style of racing – I’ve had some decent road course success over the last couple years and feel like we’ve got as good as a shot as anyone this weekend.”
No stranger to road course racing, Gragson won back-to-back NASCAR K&N Pro Series West road course events at Utah Motorsports Campus during the 15' & 16' seasons. He's twice finished seventh at Sonoma.
Since 2015, Gragson has made six career ARCA Series starts earning a series best 5th place finish at Kansas Speedway in 2016. Gragson finished ninth in his most recent ARCA Series start last month at Pocono Raceway.
Gragson, driving the No.18 Switch Toyota Tundra full-time for Kyle Busch Motorsports, currently holds down the 10th spot in the NCWTS driver standings and is bidding for a championship playoff spot.
Follow Noah Gragson on social media by visiting @NoahGragson on Twitter and Instagram and find him @NoahGragsonRacing on Facebook.
Veteran driver Bo LeMastus will join Venturini Motorsports (VMS) for two races starting with Sunday's ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards event at Road America and again at Salem Speedway on September 9.
LeMastus, a native of Louisville, Kentucky will pilot the team's No.55 Toyota with familiar Crosley Brands serving as primary sponsor for both events.
“I’m excited for today’s announcement and the opportunity to run with Venturini Motorsports for these two (Road America and Salem Speedway) ARCA races,” said LeMastus. “We’ve always had a great relationship off the track – this is something we’ve talked about doing together and now we have our chance.”
Sunday's Road America appearance will mark LeMastus' second career start on the four-mile, 14-turn Wisconsin road circuit and his fourth overall road course start over the last five years. His career best road course finish of 12th came at New Jersey Motorsports Park in 2015.
“Road course racing has always been one of my favorite forms of racing. Going back to Road America is a great privilege – I’m happy to see it back on the ARCA schedule. There’s no question it’s one of the premier racing facilities in the country – a lot of fun to race, it’s a very demanding and technical track. I’m really looking forward to Sunday and seeing what we can do.”
This weekend’s Road America event will be LeMastus’ sixth start of the 2017 season. His season high finish of 10th came early in the year at Talladega Superspeedway.
Since making his series debut in 2013 LeMastus has made 39 starts scoring a career best 6th at Daytona Int’l Speedway in 2016. In 2015, during his only full season effort LeMastus finished sixth in ARCA's national driver point standings.
Prior to competing in the ARCA Series LeMastus is also a veteran of SCCA, NASA/SCCA, HSR, WERA, SVRA and VSCDA road racing. Some of the well-known tracks where LeMastus has logged laps over the years include Mid Ohio Sports Car Course, Sebring, Road Atlanta, Watkins Glen, Road America, New Jersey Motorsports Park and Daytona.
When he’s not pursuing his passion for motorsports, Bo LeMastus is the CEO of Crosley Brands, which manufactures vintage electronics under the Crosley Brand name.
Road America 100 Information
The Road America ARCA 100 is Sunday, August 27. The series will have two practice sessions as well as group qualifying on Saturday. The race will begin at 12:00 p.m. cst and will be tape-delayed on MAVTV at a later date. ARCAracing.com will have live timing/scoring as well as a live audio call of the event.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West returns to the state of Oregon for the Clint Newell Toyota 150 presented by NAPA Auto Parts on Saturday, August 26, at Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg, Oregon.
Douglas County is a .375-mile facility located inside the Douglas County Fairgrounds — featuring an historic covered grandstand — hosted its first NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race in 1966. After a five-year absence from the track, the K&N Pro Series returned last season in a race won by Ryan Partridge, who became the series’ 10th different winner all-time at Roseburg.
And while the track itself offers beautiful mountain views all around it, most eyes will be on the K&N Pro Series West championship battle, which only seems to tighten with each passing race. Chris Eggleston of Erie, Colorado, won his fourth race of the season last time out at Washington’s Evergreen Speedway and moved within two points of leader and defending series champion Todd Gilliland with only four races remaining. Gilliland, of Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, has won five of the 10 races to date.
History offers little indication of who might hold the upper hand this weekend: Both Gilliland and Eggleston made their only career starts at the Roseburg track last season, finishing sixth and seventh, respectively.
When it comes to Douglas County Speedway, Bill McAnally Racing is known for being up front in NASCAR K&N Pro Series West competition.
BMR has won seven of the past 10 series races at the tight 3/8-mile fairgrounds track in Roseburg, Oregon.
Last year, BMR had two of its drivers up front battling for the win; but as they raced side-by-side coming off Turn 2, the pair made contact. Their subsequent spin left both out of contention for the win.
As the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West returns to Roseburg for this year’s Clint Newell Auto Group Toyota 150 presented by NAPA AUTO PARTS on Saturday, both drivers expect to be battling for the win, again.
Todd Gilliland, who went on to have win the series championship as a rookie, returns in BMR’s No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry. Chris Eggleston, the 2015 series champion, is back in the No. 99 NAPA Belts & Hoses / NAPA Filters Toyota Camry for BMR. They are joined by 15-year-old Derek Kraus, who wheels BMR’s No. 19 Carlyle Tools / NAPA Belts & Hoses Toyota Camry as a series rookie.
The three drivers are 1-2-3 in the championship standings, with Gilliland holding a slim two-point edge over Eggleston in a title battle that could down to the wire. Gilliland and Eggleston have dominated the competition this season, winning nine of the 10 series events so far.
Each of the three BMR drivers would like to add their name to BMR’s list of race winners at Roseburg. Four different drivers have scored victories for the team there. Eric Holmes won three races there – in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Austin Cameron had two wins there, in 2002 and 2003. Peyton Sellers won there in 2006 and Brian Ickler went to Victory Lane there in 2007.
Eggleston, who battled back last year to finish seventh at Roseburg, is coming off a dominant win at Evergreen Speedway in which he led wire-to-wire. The series veteran from Erie, Colorado has four wins, nine top-five, and 10 top-10 finishes in 10 starts this season.
Gilliland, who rebounded from last year’s Roseburg incident to finish sixth, had a 12th-place finish earlier this month at Monroe – after suffering a flat tire. The 17-year-old NASCAR Next driver from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina has five wins, seven top-five, and nine top-10 finishes. He’s running the full schedules in the East and West divisions of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series this year.
Kraus of Stratford, Wisconsin leads the rookie points, as well as being third in the overall series standings. He has five top-five and six top-10 finishes this season – including an 11th-place at Evergreen Speedway.
There are a variety of activities scheduled in the local area leading up to and included in Saturday’s event. BMR drivers arrive in town early and are slated to meet with customers, employees and local media at Clint Newell Auto Group Toyota in Roseburg from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday.
A meet-and-greet with the drivers is also slated as part of a special sales event at the NAPA Auto Parts Store in nearby Winston from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday. A special Fan Appreciation Gala is planned at the track from 7 to 8 p.m. on Friday in conjunction with Clint Newell Auto Group Toyota and NAPA. BMR’s 2-seater No. 16 NAPA Toyota will also be on hand to provide rides to selected guests and media.
Activities on Saturday will include the big Toyota Let’s Go Places VIP Hospitality Corral and a VIP pit tour.
The Roseburg race, which is the 11th event on a 14-race series schedule, is slated to be televised on NBCSN on Sept. 2 at 5:30 p.m. PT. Douglas County Speedway has hosted 14 series events overall, dating back to 1966.
Lucas Oil Modified Series driver and Legend Cars standout Michael Womack will make his ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards debut this weekend at Road America driving for Mason Mitchell Motorsports (MMM). Womack will be behind the wheel of the No. 88 Champion Power Equipment Chevrolet in the 25-lap event.
This weekend marks the only road course on the 2017 season schedule. The 17-year-old has been racing since he was five-years-old. He started racing in go-karts and then moved his way up into legends cars before transitioning to the Lucas Oil Modified Series. So far in 2017 he’s earned one top-five and two top-ten finishes with the series. He earned a career best finish of fourth earlier this season at the Tucson Speedway.
“This is a great step for me and my racing career,” a confident Womack stated. “MMM is a top team in the series and I know they build great cars. It’s going to be a little bit of a transition to these bigger heavier cars. I know the MMM guys will do a great job of getting me comfortable behind the wheel. If we race our race and stay out of trouble, I see no reason why we can’t earn a top-five finish on Sunday.”
Womack will be the 15th different driver to race for MMM during the 2017 season. The most of any team in the series. MMM’s best finish on a road course came last year at the New Jersey Motorsports Park where the team finished third with David Levine.
NASCAR RACE HUB, the sport’s most-watched daily news and highlights program, will air two special, one-hour episodes this week honoring the women and crew chiefs in NASCAR.
An outgrowth of NASCAR RACE HUB’s regular series with reporter Kaitlyn Vincie titled “Women in Wheels,” Wednesday’s edition of HUB (6:00 PM ET on FS1) will carry the same theme. Co-hosts Shannon Spake, Adam Alexander and Jamie Little welcome to the studio a prestigious panel of females working in NASCAR in various roles. Panelists include JR Motorsports co-owner Kelley Earnhardt Miller, Chevrolet Program Manager Alba Colon, Hendrick Motorsports tire specialist Lisa Smokstad and Hailie Deegan, a member of the NASCAR Next Class and the first female to win a Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series championship and race. The group will discuss topics such as the state of the sport, ways in which NASCAR continues to develop, the evolution and growth of women in the industry and more.
Features on Wednesday’s special include Vincie sit-downs with JTG-Daugherty co-owner Jodi Geschickter, NASCAR SVP and CMO Jill Gregory and tire changer/developmental crew member Brehanna Daniels, as well as a piece exploring Danica Patrick’s impact on young fans.
Thursday’s NASCAR RACE HUB edition is co-hosted by Spake and Alexander with FOX NASCAR analysts and former championship-winning crew chiefs Jeff Hammond and Andy Petree. Features include Larry McReynolds sit-down interviews with Justin Alexander, Scott Graves and Brian Pattie, in addition to an all-access/day-in-the-life look at Drew Blickensderfer. Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson voices an essay on his crew chief, Chad Knaus. Finally, several current crew chiefs, including Jeremy Bullins, Rodney Childers, Alan Gustafson, Chad Johnston, Pattie, Mike Wheeler and Paul Wolfe, reflect on the crew chiefs who had the most influence on their careers.
Average viewership for NASCAR RACE HUB is up +17% year-to-date versus 2016 (171,000 vs. 146,000). NASCAR RACE HUB airs Monday through Thursdays at 6:00 PM ET on FS1.
FOX Sports PR
While his consecutive top-10 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards streak will stop at 11, SCOTT Rookie leader (@GusDean) fought through a series of obstacles to earn a hard fought 11th place finish in Sunday’s Herr’s Potato Chips 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
A day after enjoying his 23rd birthday, Dean traveled to the 1.0-mile clay, hoping for a solid finish to carry him towards the final stretch of the season. Never seeing the dirt before, Dean leaned on close friend and former NASCAR dirt champion Ricky Bozard to guide him through the trials and tribulations of his first trip on the dirt in a stock car.
After practicing ninth Sunday morning, Dean impressed with a third place qualifying effort nearly an hour and a half later.
With his best time trials result of the season, the Win-Tron Racing team were optimistic about earning their 12th top-10 finish of the season.
Maintaining a spot inside the top-three during the opening laps of the race, Dean found himself out of the top groove on Lap 3 and spun his No. 32 GREE Cooling Products Toyota but did not receive any damage.
Finding himself at the rear of the field for the restart, Dean patiently worked his way back through the field and found himself back inside the top-20 when another caution waved around the 1.0-mile clay track.
By Lap 40, the Bluffton, S.C. native had moved to seventh but when a caution flew four laps later, Dean elected to join the leaders on pit road for tires, fuel and adjustments.
With a tight pit road and varying adjustments around him, the Win-Tron Racing developmental driver found himself 17th on the restart approaching the halfway point.
Steadily during the second-half, Dean would do a masterful job avoiding the carnage around him and found himself back in the top-10 by Lap 75.
Over the final quarter, however, Dean began to notice the loss of power from his motor which pedaled him backwards in the running order. Occupying 10th with five laps remaining, Dean lost a position to Dalton Sargeant two laps for the finish before taking the checkered flag in 11th for his 12th top-11 finish of 2017.
Unofficially, Dean maintains a season-high third in the championship standings heading to the lone road course race of the season next Sunday at Road America (Wisc.)
“It was a day of learning. I’m really proud of the guys on this No. 32 GREE Cooling Products Toyota.
“We started the day off with positive progress and then earned our best starting spot of the season with third. However, at the start of the race, we struggled to keep the balance on our car where we could compete for a better finish.
“I put a lot of this finish on my shoulders. I’d never raced before on the dirt in a stock car and there was a lot to learn. It will make it better at DuQuoin and I’ll make it up to everyone at GREE. Thanks to my buddy Ricky Bozard for coming to help too.”
“The engine was also giving up towards the end of the race, so we’ll look at that and make sure it’s fixed before the next race. I hate that our top-10 streak got broke, but at the end of the day, an 11th place finish isn’t so bad either.”
Gus Dean PR
Veteran driver Tom Hessert returned to the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards making just his third season start during Sunday’s Herr’s Potato Chip 100 on the Springfield dirt mile.
Hessert, winner of last season’s ARCA dirt race at the DuQuoin Magic Mile had his sights set on a repeat performance. Showing no signs of rust the six-time series winner qualified fourth behind the wheel of his No.25 Musselman’s Big Cup Apple Sauce Toyota.
Maintaining solid track position and playing pit strategy Hessert would be among a small group of cars pitting early during the second caution of the day for tires and fuel. Hoping to use pit strategy in his favor Hessert would drive his Musselman’s backed Toyota inside the top-5 with less than 40 laps remaining in Sunday’s main event.
Hessert’s good fortunes wouldn’t last as he was forced to bring his machine down pit road under green flag conditions with just 34-laps remaining. With the hood up Hessert’s crew went to work to diagnose and remedy the issue. Hessert would return to the track several laps down and salvage his day with a 14th place finish.
“It was a tough day – the car was getting better as the race went on and we made it into the top-five before suspension issues put us several laps down late,” said Hessert. “It felt good to be back at the track – but obviously it wasn’t the day or finish we were hoping for. We’ve got two more starts to make some noise - I’ll be back in the Musselman’s Big Cup Apple Sauce Toyota at DuQuoin and Salem Speedway to try it again.”
Hessert will return to action Labor Day weekend to defend last season’s victory at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds Magic Mile and again at Salem Speedway on September 9 – Hessert is also a three-time winner at Salem.
Sixteen year old Christian Eckes finished sixth in Sunday’s Herr’s Potato Chips 100 at Springfield’s historic dirt mile at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
As part of tradition the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards helped close out the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, IL. On the final day and under hot and humid conditions teams arrived early for what was a jammed packed Sunday schedule.
Unlike most race days, Springfield comes fast and furious with practice, qualifying and racing all within a four hour window. For Eckes, the fast moving schedule had no ill affect. With no prior dirt experience and only one hour of practice, Eckes turned in a solid effort during his maiden voyage.
Driving Venturini Motorsports’ prepared No.15 Illinois Truck and Equipment – TurnOne Toyota, Eckes qualified and started from the eighth position.
Taking the green flag Eckes hung with the lead pack and showed no signs of inexperience. In fact, Eckes who maintained his top-10 running position for most of the first half brought spectators to their feet as he moved his machine up through the field – passing hometown favorite AJ Fike in dramatic fashion for the lead just past the halfway point of the 100-mile race.
Eckes would lead the field around the 1-mile track for several circuits before sliding back to the third position. Riding inside the top-3 under caution Eckes would make an unscheduled pit stop late. The untimely stop pushed the teen back to the eighth position. Staying focused Eckes would pick off several spots during the final laps before finishing sixth at the checkered flag.
“Just an incredible experience out there today,” said Eckes. “We ended up running up front for some but a late race pit stop hurt our chances at a top-three finish. I still had a lot of fun and gained a ton of experience for next season. I can’t wait for another shot on the dirt.”
Eckes’ finish was his ninth consecutive top-10 finish of the season. He’ll rejoin the team for his final start of the season on September 9 for the running of the Eddie Gilstrap Motors Fall Classic 200 at Salem Speedway.
Follow Christian Eckes on social media by visiting @ChristianEckes on Twitter and Instagram, @ChristianEckesRacing on Facebook or visit his official website at www.ChristianEckesRacing.com.
Sheldon Creed’s experience racing on dirt paid off Sunday in the Herr’s Potato Chips 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The 19-year-old earned a fourth-place finish in his debut with Mason Mitchell Motorsports (MMM) piloting the No. 78 United Rentals Chevrolet.
Creed restarted in the second position on the afternoon’s final restart. Unfortunately, the outside line was not the line to be in and Creed fell back to seventh. The young driver raced like a veteran the last 15 laps turning laps quicker than the leader and working his way back inside the top-five to a fourth-place finish.
“We had a great racecar all day long, “Creed stated after the 100-lap event. “Unfortunately, we got stuck on the outside line for a majority of the restarts and if you couldn’t get to the bottom right away you lost spots. We needed the race to go green. We had way too many cautions that never allowed for a lot of green flag racing. I can’t wait to be back with these MMM guys at DuQuoin. They worked hard all day and made great adjustments to our car. We will have a great shot to win at DuQuoin”
Creed started the 100-lap event from the fourth position. When the green flag waved, Creed made a three-wide move to pass two cars in the first corner. Creed took the third position right before the first caution of the event waved at lap three.
When the race resumed Creed quickly moved into the runner-up position passing eventual winner Grant Enfinger at lap eight.
The first half of the 100-lap event was marred by the yellow flag as it waved four times. Creed made his first and only pit-stop before halfway taking four General Tires and a minor chassis adjustment. The No. 78 team had a great stop as Creed came off pit-road second but six drivers stayed out under the yellow flag. It only took Creed one lap has he passed four cars to move back into the top-five in the fourth position. The California native raced as high as second and proved to be a contender for the win.
On the days, final restart with 18 laps to go. Creed restarted from the second position but was stuck on the outside losing valuable track position and sliding back to seventh. He spent the next 15 laps driving his way back to the front of the field and working his way back inside the top-five earning a fourth-place finish as the checkered flag waved.
Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay was re-evaluated by INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Geoffrey Billows this morning after sustaining injuries to his left knee and hip Saturday following a crash in ABC Supply 500 qualifying. Hunter-Reay has been cleared to drive.