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Racing News from around the World
With an exciting weekend of racing ahead at Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR today will recognize the industry’s pioneers of diversity at the 12th annual NASCAR Drive for Diversity Awards hosted at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Industry leaders and personnel will gather Thursday morning in Charlotte, N.C., for an awards ceremony that will honor NASCAR drivers, pit crew members and industry partners and ambassadors for their work promoting diversity and inclusion across the sport.
“There is shared commitment across the NASCAR industry to champion diversity and inclusion, and the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Awards celebrate the individuals and organizations whose contributions are making a difference,” said Steve Phelps, NASCAR president. “We’re pleased to recognize this year’s award recipients whose efforts and accomplishments are helping drive our sport forward.”
This year marks the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Awards’ first ceremony at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte after several years at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.
The awards will highlight exceptional accomplishments by diversity champions from across the industry, including participants of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver and Pit Crew Development Programs and the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program.
Notable past award winners include Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers and NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program graduates Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez and Bubba Wallace, and NASCAR K&N Pro Series driver Hailie Deegan.
2019 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Award recipients:
National Series Driver Award: Martin Truex Jr. – The 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion established the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation in 2007 with long-time partner, Sherry Pollex, with a mission to support those who have been affected by cancer, specifically ovarian and pediatric cancer. The foundation began its partnership with Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., in 2015.
Diverse Driver Award: Ruben Garcia Jr. – K&N Pro Series East driver Ruben Garcia Jr. is a native of Mexico City and is in his fourth season with Rev Racing as a member of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program. A NASCAR Next alum, Garcia is the reigning two-time NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series champion and the youngest driver to win the series title.
Partner Award: Dow – Dow’s commitment to diversity is highlighted through its program support and engagement with Richard Childress Racing. Dow’s sponsorship of Austin Dillon and the No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team has provided a platform to highlight teamwork and diversity at trade shows and industry events across the country.
Crew Member Award: Derrell Edwards – Baltimore native Derrell Edwards is the first NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program affiliate to win the Daytona 500 as an over-the-wall crew member. Following a successful career as a basketball player at High Point University, Edwards became a jackman at Richard Childress Racing. Since joining the team, Edwards has embraced the sport and has served as a positive ambassador. He volunteers to attend partner and philanthropic events within the local community and uses his experiences to shine a light on NASCAR and the opportunities the sport has afforded him.
Young Racer Award: Lacy Kuehl – Sarasota, Fla., native Lacy Kuehl is a 13-year-old member of the 2019 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Youth Driver Development Program. In 2018, she raced in a dirt oval flat kart at tracks such as Florida Dirt Motor Speedway, Crossroads Motorplex, Ambassador Racing School and Space Coast Full Throttle Speedway. She and her family started the charity Drive for Diabetes Awareness, dedicated to Type 1 Diabetic Ketoacidosis education, after losing her younger brother, Rocco, to the disease at the age of one.
Outstanding Intern Award: Maxwell Miranda and Isaiah Wright – Maxwell Miranda and Isaiah Wright made an impact as standout participants in the 2018 NASCAR Diversity Internship Program. Miranda interned in NASCAR’s licensing and consumer products department where he excelled with key contributions around NASCAR’s gaming efforts and trackside reporting, as well as researching new business opportunities. Miranda received his Bachelor of Business Administration in Sports Marketing and Analytics from Mercer University in May and was recently hired to work full-time in NASCAR’s Analytics & Insights department. Wright interned at Richmond Raceway in the consumer marketing department. His commitment to diversity was displayed in his recruitment of Virginia State University classmates, fraternity brothers and professors to support the nearby track. His relationships led to more than 20 students working at Richmond Raceway throughout the season. Wright is a current graduate student at Old Dominion University.
Institution Award: The NASCAR Foundation’s Speediatrics Children’s Fund – The NASCAR Foundation’s Speediatrics Fun Day Festival began in 2017 as a small effort and grew to a multi-city program reaching hundreds of children. The event takes place in six race markets (Phoenix, Dover, Chicago, Daytona, Michigan and Martinsville) with more than 100 children participating in each. The Fund provides more than $100,000 in grant funding to local community organizations focused on the overall health and well-being of children, and directly impacts children in the community with NASCAR-themed programming.
Track Award: Richmond Raceway – Richmond Raceway’s relationship with Virginia State University, a nearby Historically Black University, grew rapidly in 2018. Richmond strategically aligned its marketing efforts to reach the local colleges and universities within its market through on-campus promotions and a pre-race concert with local artists. While the students received real-world work experience at the track, Richmond has found a valuable local community partner.
Team Award: Stewart-Haas Racing – Stewart-Haas Racing has continued to grow its reach into Hispanic markets with the addition of Daniel Suarez, driver of the No. 41 Ford Mustang. In the four months since Suarez joined the team, Stewart-Haas Racing has supported the Daniel's Amigos campaign at Auto Club Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. Returning Stewart-Haas driver Aric Almirola has continued his community involvement with partner Smithfield through its Helping Hungry Homes initiative targeting race markets such as Dallas/Ft. Worth, Charlotte and Las Vegas.
Industry Ambassador Award: Jose Cervantes, Watkins Glen International – Jose Cervantes has been instrumental in creating various relationships within the Latino community at Watkins Glen International. Since joining Watkins Glen, Cervantes has coordinated appearances with Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Daniel Suarez in each of the track’s key markets – Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse. He established a new partnership between the City of Buffalo, the Puerto Rican and Hispanic Day Parade of WNY Association and Watkins Glen International in 2017. As part of the partnership, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown proclaimed Wednesday, July 12 “Daniel Suarez Day” in Buffalo.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ Coca-Cola 600 will be broadcast live from Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 26 at 6 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90, with additional coverage on NASCAR.com.
Roush Yates Engines announced today it has reached a five-year partnership extension with long-time partner Cometic Gasket, Inc.
Family owned and operated for 30 years, Cometic Gasket has grown into a global leader and innovator in the highly competitive engine supplier marketplace. In a state-of-the-art 70,000 sq. ft. R&D and manufacturing facility in Concord, Ohio, Cometic meets customer’s needs by using premium materials for tailor-made solutions while delivering superior customer service.
“It’s no secret to compete at the highest level of motorsports you need the best team and reliable products, and that’s exactly what Cometic Gasket delivers to Roush Yates Engines,” said Todd English, VP Strategic Partnerships and Marketing, Roush Yates Engines. “In the highly competitive sport of racing, where failure is not an option and your product is tested on any given weekend, we rely on valued partners to deliver world-class quality products. Cometic has been a valued partner from day one as they collaborated with our engineering team on product design and material selections, bringing together the collective expertise and experience of both companies, making it a true win-win partnership.”
Cometic Gasket is the exclusive engine gasket of the Ford FR9 EFI Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Ford FR9 Carb NASCAR Xfinity Series engines that power cars at 73 events during the 2019 NASCAR season. We trust and rely on Cometic to keep our engines sealed!
“When we needed to design and develop a new head gasket system for the RY45 engine, Cometic really delivered. They sent people down to evaluate the surface areas of the block, cylinder head, and deck areas,” commented Dan Keenan, Design and Analysis Manager, Roush Yates Engines. “In a very short time period, they brought back the perfect solution. They continue to deliver today.”
They are part of our winning formula, making sure we have premium gaskets in our engines, like in the first race-winning NASCAR Ford FR9 engine, in 2010 with Roush Fenway Racing and Greg Biffle at Pocono. Roush Yates Engines has built over 7,500 engines sealed with Cometic’s gaskets and won over 180 races together since 2010. The partnership with Cometic Gasket is like that perfect fitting gasket. Both companies are family based and strive on hard work and determination of the entire team. With a deep passion and understanding of the motorsports industry we collectively work together to improve performance.
“Bob, Bindy, Jeff, and Kristen, thank you for your continued support of our racing programs at Roush Yates Engines,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “Cometic’s partnership with Roush Yates Engines benefits our customers in every segment,” explained Bob Gorman, Founder and CEO of Cometic Gasket. “The stakes are always very high in the performance business so to have a cooperative partnership with Doug Yates and his team elevates Cometic’s capabilities which, in turn, contributes to producing better gaskets and sealing solutions across our entire product line. We’re a family-owned company and have been since Day 1. That’s an essential reason we have a great working relationship with Roush Yates. There’s an important mutual respect built with family values. We’ve established a lasting partnership and are proud to extend our program well into the next decade.”
The NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2020 inductees were announced today at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The inductees include Tony Stewart, Joe Gibbs, Waddell Wilson, Buddy Baker, Bobby Labonte and Edsel Ford.
Known as "Smoke", Tony Stewart will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall Of Fame Class of 2020. Throughout his career, Stewart compiled 3 Cup Championships ('02,'05,'11), 49 wins and 15 poles. Stewart competed through 1999-2016 in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series. As soon as Stewart arrived in the Cup Series, he showed that he would be a force to be reckoned with some day. In just his first year on the scene, Stewart won three wins in his Rookie of the Year season. Stewart would go onto win his first Cup championship in 2002 driving for Joe Gibbs Racing in the No. 20.
His hard work and never give up attitude was displayed throughout his 17-year career in the Cup series. Stewart won some of NASCAR's most prestigious races such as the Brickyard 400 at his home-state Indianapolis Motor Speedway twice.
In 2009, Stewart became a team owner in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series pairing up with Gene Haas. Stewart won 16 times as a driver/owner including his memorable 2011 championship in which he fought off Carl Edwards to get the title.
Thus far, Stewart-Haas Racing has 51 wins and a second championship with Kevin Harvick in 2015.
Joe Gibbs will join the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2020. The three-time Super Bowl champion football coach, founded Joe Gibbs Racing in 1992 and has led Joe Gibbs Racing to four NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series championships and five NASCAR Xfinity Series championships. Gibbs is currently ranked the third all-time on the Cup series win rank. They include three Daytona 500 wins and five Brickyard 400 wins.
Gibbs three Cup Series titles have come with three different drivers: Bobby Labonte in 2000, Tony Stewart in 2002 & 2005 and Kyle Busch in 2016.
In addition to his a NASCAR Hall Of Fame nomination, Gibbs is also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Waddell Wilson will join the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2020. The three time engine builder in the Cup series guided cars to some of the biggest races in NASCAR. Waddell Wilson competed through the years of 1979-1988, 1990-1993 and 1995 and compiled 22 wins along with 32 poles. Wilson supplied the power that helped David Pearson (1968,1969) and Benny Parsons (1973) to Cup Series championships. The Bakersville, North Carolina native engines helped some of NASCAR's biggest stars rise to the occasion - including NASCAR Hall of Famers David Pearson, Fireball Roberts, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip to 109 wins and 123 poles.
He also guided three cars to victory in the Daytona 500 as a crew chief, including drivers such as Buddy Baker (1980) and Cale Yarborough (1983,84). The car known as the "Grey Ghost" Wilson assembled for Buddy Baker still holds the Daytona 500 record with an average speed of 177.602 MPH.
Known as the "Gentle Giant" for his height, Buddy Baker was a threat week end and week out on the circuit.
In 1980, Baker won the Daytona 500 with an average speed of 177.602 mph. That track record still stands today. Baker also became the first driver to eclispe the 200-mph mark while testing at Talladega Superspeedway. Baker won at Talladega three times throughout his career.
He also won 19 wins in the NASCAR Cup Series, including a victory in the 1970 Southern 500 at Darlington where he lapped the field. Baker also won back-to-back Coca-Cola 600s at Charlotte in 1972-1973. After his retirement in 1992, Baker made a transition into the broadcast booth as a commentator for CBS.
Sadly, the NASCAR world would loose Baker on August 10, 2015.
Bobby Labonte started his NASCAR full-time career at 28 years of age in 1993. Labonte, the brother of NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte made 21 trips to victory lane throughout his career. He competed in 1991 and 1993-2016 and compiled 21 wins and 26 poles.
Labonte's persistence in the Cup Series paid off in 2000 when he won the Cup Series title with Joe Gibbs Racing.
Labonte was a success in all three NASCAR national series, he was the first of four to win both a Cup and Xfinity Series championship. The Corpus Christi, Texas native is also one of 27 drivers to win a race in all three NASCAR national series.
Labonte showed up on some of NASCAR's biggest stages, earning four wins in the Brickyard 400 and Southern 500.
Edsel Ford will join the NASCAR Hall of Fame class as the 2020 Landmark Award winner.
Edsel, who is a member of the Ford Motor Company Board of Directors and longtime executive of the company which was founded by his great-grandfather Henry Ford.
Edsel makes a point regularly to check in with all the NASCAR Ford teams at the racetrack. His leadership at Ford includes time as President and Chief Operating Officer and a director of the International Speedway Corporation.
The 2020 NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.
Toyota Racing Development’s (TRD) Christian Eckes (No.15 JBL Audio Toyota) takes the show down the road with his Venturini Motorsports team when the ARCA Menards Series returns to Charlotte Motor Speedway for Thursday’s prime time General Tire 150.
From early season points leader to falling out, Eckes has re-emerged back into the mix after back-to-back solid short track performances. Following a well-documented rough patch, the 18-year old driver has catapulted himself back into championship conversations with a win at Nashville and a third place finish last week at Toledo.
Currently sitting fourth in the point standings Eckes is on the hunt just 95-points behind series leader and teammate Michael Self.
Competing in his first full ARCA season Eckes is making the rounds visiting many intermediate tracks for the first time. Eckes, 18, a New York state transplant now residing in Cornelius, NC will make his first ever start at the 1.5-mile Charlotte speedway. “I’m very excited to go racing at Charlotte this week. It’s probably the first time I haven’t packed a suitcase in 2 years, so that’s definitely a plus,” said Eckes with a smile.
“It’s always exciting to come to these new tracks for the first time. I take a lot of pride in getting myself ready – been studying a lot of film and spending time in the simulator prepping. Any my guys have been working their tails off preparing our brand new Rowdy Manufacturing chassis for this race. We came out a couple weeks ago to shake it down and had a really good test. I think we’ve got a great piece. We’re ready to go.”
Eckes with 32 career ARCA starts has earned four wins and three poles since entering the series in 2016. The Middletown, NY driver has notched 14 top-5’s and 22 top-10’s overall.
The ARCA Menards Series returns to Charlotte on Thursday, May 23 as part of a double header which features Pole Night for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600. Two hours of practice for the General Tire 150 is scheduled for 11:30 am ET, followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 5 pm ET, and the race is set to go green shortly after 9 pm ET. The race will be televised live on FS1.
De Angelis Darts to Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Victory in Rainy Race 2 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park22 May 2019 Written by Adam Sinclair
Hoosier Racing Tire, the world’s largest exclusive racing tire manufacturer, has agreed to exclusively supply the brand-new TitansRX Rallycross Series with their “black gold” for the 2019 season. “We are very happy to have closed a partnership with TitansRX, as Rallycross has always been an integral part of our racing portfolio. TitansRX is a brand-new, exciting project, which we are delighted to team up with”, Martin Heckers, Head of Hoosier Racing Tire Europe, said.
"From our first contact with Continental and Hoosier Tire, we have experienced great professionalism, dedication, motorsport passion, service orientation and all the attributes that make a partnership great. Add to that all the testing and improvement on the Hoosier RX tires since we started, the entire TitansRX Europe team and all drivers have been highly satisfied with Hoosier Tire’s products. Not only is it a great Rallycross tire to drive, but it was fine-tuned to match the needs of the Pantera race car and the series format. We look forward to a successful long-term partnership”, series promoter Max J. Pucher was all smiles.
Headquartered in Lakeville, Indiana, Hoosier is renowned for its engagement in motorsport and has been providing tires for numerous racing series including NASCAR, IndyCar and the American LeMans Series. Since 2016, the company, which was founded by NASCAR driver Robert Newton, has become part of Continental AG, the fourth largest tire manufacturer. In its state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, dedicated solely to manufacturing racing tires in three shifts per day, the American tyre experts produce 1,400 different articles ranging from Kart, to Circuit, to Drag Racing, Rallye, Rallycross and Oval Racing equipment.
An 11th place finish for Alex Tagliani in the NASCAR Pinty's Series Opener at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park22 May 2019 Written by Adam Sinclair
Alex Tagliani did not have the kind of day he was hoping for in the opening round of the 2019 NASCAR Pinty's Series held at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP). Disappointing, was the word that came to mind when he crossed the finish line in 11th place, 10 seconds back of race winner Kevin Lacroix. The Montreal native had a day full of ups and downs in Sunday's Clarington 200, running among the leaders at the start of the race after qualifying third on Saturday.
A race contact in the last corner of lap 3 on the 3.957-km famed Ontario road course sent Tag into the pits with a right rear shredded tire and causing him to rejoin the field in 23rd and last place. But, he fought back to lead the race on lap 17 of 51 when the leaders pitted to change their General Tire rubbers. The Team 22 Racing #18 Chevrolet EpiPen-RONA/St Hubert led for the next eight laps but since Tag was off sequence with the leaders, he now had to choose the moment to pit. He did at the start of lap 36, but just as the track was going green.
"This is not the kind of situation we were looking for to start the 2019 championship hunt," said Tagliani, "but in the end, it could have been much worse with everything that went wrong today. In the opening laps, I was involved in a racing incident that shredded my right rear tire that tore parts of the body of my Chevrolet Camaro on my way to the pits. We made a few stops to repair the damage and I finally rejoined the field in last place, but still on the leader's lap.
Twenty-three cars started the Clarington 200 with 20 cars running at the finish, all on the lead lap. The race was under full course caution five times for a total of 23 laps. There were six lead changes among five drivers; Tagliani led eight laps.
The Clarington 200, the opening round of the 2019 NASCAR Pinty's Series, will air on TSN on Saturday, May 25 at 11:30 p.m. ET.
The APC 200, round 2 of the 2019 NASCAR Pinty's Series will be held June 1 at 8 p.m. at Jukasa Motor Speedway oval track located in Hagersville, near Hamilton, Ontario.
In the Drivers Championship, Tagliani is 14 points behind the leader. In nine NASCAR Pinty's start at CTMP, Tagliani has a pole, one win, three top-five and four top-ten finishes. In 72 NASCAR Pinty's starts, Tag has collected nine poles, won 8 times, finished 30 times in the Top-5 and 48 times in the Top-10.
If Ken Roczen was in a two-plus year drought, you wouldn’t have known it Saturday afternoon.
After nearly two-and-a-half years without a win and an uphill climb to overcome a pair of potential careerending injuries, Wiseco-sponsored rider, Ken Roczen, finally launched the proverbial monkey from his back and returned to the top step of the podium with a championship-caliber 1-2 finish to collect the overall win in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season opening Bell Helmets Hangtown Motocross Classic at Prairie City SVRA in Sacramento, Calif.
Roczen, a two-time Pro Motocross 450 titlist, tested his championship mettle against not only the best in the business, but against unseasonable cold and rain at the legendary California raceplex to pick up his 16th career Pro Motocross win.
“It’s been a very, very long time,” commented Roczen following the win. “Just overall the whole day was good. I just went out there, and it’s really difficult at the first race what to expect and where everybody’s at. Every time I went out there, I just did the best I could. It got us an overall (win), so I’m very happy, especially with how muddy and how sloppy it was. It could go the other way, too.”
The veteran 25-year-old Team Honda HRC rider, who just signed a three-year contract extension, rewarded his team by pacing both qualifying sessions and leading all 15 laps of the first moto, taking the checkered flag by a handsome 15 seconds.
As a brisk, steady rain settled in the area, the 40-rider, 450 Class field met a more demanding racecourse for the second moto. Roczen rounded the first corner fifth in the running order, but the affable fan favorite found his way to the point by Lap 2. The rider of the No. 94 Honda CRF450R held down the lead for the next three circuits before yielding the top spot three laps later to eventual moto winner Eli Tomac.
As the laps continued to click off and the race wound down, Roczen settled into as manageable of a rhythm as conditions would allow to finish second and lock up his first overall win since 2016.
“I think we have more in the tank,” said Roczen who will carry the coveted red plate holding a four-point lead over Tomac in to Round 2. “With the conditions as bad as they were, I was really happy with a 1-2 finish. I had to back it down. I had a couple big moments. It was super sloppy out there. I just kind of did my thing. I went down and got stuck behind a lapper in the deepest rut possible on the last lap, so I was kind of sweating there for a little bit just because there was one more lap to go, but we made it happen in some gnarly conditions. We’re going to enjoy this overall. Me and my team have been working very hard and this is really a dream come true.”
Roczen’s Team Honda HRC teammate Cole Seely wasn’t as fortuitous and met his fair share of challenges at the Hangtown opener. The journeyman Honda jockey earned a respectable ninth-place
finish in the first moto, but the conditions in the second moto got the best of Seely, leaving him 18th in the final contest. Still, the Newbury Park, Calif., native managed to salvage a 14th-place overall finish, a respectable effort considering the circumstances.
“The opening round had its ups and downs for sure,” commented Seely, who missed most of the last two outdoor seasons with his own injuries. “I think I qualified pretty good for not having raced an outdoor in almost two years. I was happy we were able to get at least one moto in before the storm actually rolled in. I was also happy with how I rode. I felt like I managed the race well and had more energy at the end of the moto than I normally do. The second moto was tough. I fell way too many times and just didn’t have very good luck. If there was a way to build some more skill for muddy races then I would but the only time we really get to practice that is in race situations. Moving forward I think I know what I need to work on and that will help set some additional goals to push through the season.”
Across the paddock in the 250 Class pits, the GEICO Honda team fielded CRF250Rs for Eastern Regional 250SX Class Champion Chase Sexton, R.J. Hampshire, Christian Craig and Hunter Lawrence. While none of the Wiseco-sponsored Red Riders were able to capture podiums at the Pro Motocross opener, the potent foursome finished fifth, sixth, tenth and eleventh overall, respectively.
“Not what I wanted, just didn’t feel super comfortable all day,” said Sexton. “The good side was that my starts were pretty good, but I definitely wish I could have stayed up there a little better. Had a quick crash in Moto 2 and that cost me, but the conditions were pretty tough. It’s okay though, we scored good points, and we will put in the work and come out swinging for Round 2 this weekend.”
The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship returns to Fox Raceway this weekend when the series will visit the Pala, Calif., track for the first time since the 2011. The first motos from the Lucas Oil Fox Raceway National will be televised live on MAVTV Saturday, May 25 beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 1 p.m. Pacific. Live coverage of the second motos will shift to NBCSN beginning at 6 p.m. EDT, 3 p.m. Pacific.