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Rising Above Adversity ARCA Menards Series‘ Points Leader Christian Eckes Takes Championship Hopes to Kansas Finale09 Oct 2019 Written by Speedway Digest Staff
Call him the comeback kid. Six months after an early season health scare put his championship hopes in peril, Toyota Racing Development’s (TRD) Christian Eckes has risen from a 245-point deficit to find himself in position to compete for the 2019 ARCA Menards Series Championship Title next week in the series’ finale at Kansas Speedway.
Eckes who was leading the series points battle early on after the second race of the season relinquished the top spot after being forced to withdrawal from April’s Salem Speedway race after being hospitalized with health complications stemming from food poisoning.
Falling as far back as sixth in the standings, Eckes, driver of the No.15 JBL Audio Toyota, has fought his way back and now holds a slim 20-point advantage in the standings after taking away the points lead from his Venturini Motorsports teammate Michael Self (No.25 Sinclair Oil Toyota) last week at Lucas Oil Speedway.
“It was really defeating,” said Eckes as he reflected on the moment. “When you’re extremely sick in the hospital while your car is out on the track without you, it definitely gets to you. Luckily I had great people around me that brought me back up and kept me in a good mindset.
"Thinking about the big picture I definitely knew that it was going to be a challenge to come back. Losing over 200 points early in the season is really disheartening to say the least, but our JBL Audio team has been resilient and has never given up.”
"Manifesting his own destiny, Eckes’ climb back to the top is not difficult to interrupt. Since making his return to the track the 18-year old driver from Middletown, NY has impressively collected three wins and is in the midst of a two-month span of six consecutive races without finishing outside the top two positions. Over 18 starts on the season he’s collected three victories, two General Tire Pole Awards, 12 top-5’s and 16 top-10 finishes.
“We had a bit of shaky start once I got back into the car. After the Elko race we all sat down and realized that we needed to be better. We had to cut out the mistakes and capitalize on our opportunities better. It’s taken a lot of hard work and effort to get on this roll but it’s paid off.”
“It feels good to be in the position we are now. We really haven’t had the pressure on us all year, so it’s definitely a change of pace. At the end of the day, we just need to go do what we do and be perfect at Kansas to finish the job.”
All eyes now turn to Kansas. Eckes with limited intermediate track experience now puts his faith in his team and his ability to hold the advantage and finish the season on the highest of notes.
Holding a slim point advantage over Self, both drivers know there’s no room for error and have their collective sights on grabbing maximum point values at Kansas - and the only way to do that is ending the season in victory lane.
The ARCA Menards Series will end the season on Friday, October 18 at the Kansas Speedway with the running of the ARCA Kansas 150. Eight months and nineteen races have passed since Venturini Motorsports’ Harrison Burton won the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in February, and now it’s time to crown a champion at Kansas. Live television coverage will be provided by FS2 beginning at 8:30 PM Eastern, with a repeat airing on FS1 later at 11:30 PM Eastern.
Battles are brewing among the top drivers as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West heads into its final three events of the season, with the circuit first visiting All American Speedway for the NAPA AUTO PARTS / ENEOS 150 on Saturday.
Drivers look to claim their share of the spotlight in the annual Roseville, California event that is known for tight, door-to-door, short-track action and great VIP hospitality.
Three Bill McAnally Racing drivers – Derek Kraus, Hailie Deegan and Brittney Zamora – will each be gunning for their first win on the third-mile track. Kraus is an 18-year-old NASCAR Next driver from Stratford, Wisconsin. Deegan, also an 18-year-old NASCAR Next driver, is from Temecula, California. Zamora is a 20-year-old series rookie from Kennewick, Washington.
Kraus, who wheels the familiar blue and gold No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, is coming off a win at Meridian Speedway in Idaho and holds a 40-point lead in the championship standings. He has four wins, eight top-five, and 10 top-10 finishes in 11 series starts this season. In addition, he scored two wins early this year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
Kraus finished fourth at Roseville in his rookie season in 2017 and 15th last year.
Deegan, driver of the No. 19 Monster Energy / NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry, is third in the championship standings – just five points out of second and 45 points out of the lead. She has two wins, five top-five and eight top-10 finishes in 11 starts this year and is coming off a 13th-place finish at Meridian.
She finished seventh as a rookie last year at Roseville.
Zamora, preparing for her first start at Roseville, drives the No. 99 ENEOS / NAPA Filters Toyota Camry. Coming off an eighth-place finish at Meridian, she is fifth in the overall championship standings and second in rookie points.
She has five top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 11 series starts.
Two additional BMR entries will join with those three full-time drivers in Saturday’s K&N West race. Dylan Garner will drive the No. 50 NAPA Belts & Hoses/California Peace Officers Memorial Foundation Toyota Camry and Derrick Doering will be in the No. 12 Burning Barrel Brewing/Community Home Mortgage Toyota Camry.
Garner – a 20-year-old from Yorba Linda, California – made his series debut earlier this year in a BMR entry with a ninth-place finish at Southern California’s Irwindale Speedway.
Doering, who races in the NASCAR Modified Division at All American Speedway, got the opportunity to compete in the K&N West event through a special program the track provided. He was selected from among a dozen drivers from the Late Model and Modified divisions who were eligible by virtue of competing full-time at the track this season. Doering, 37, is from Auburn, California.
Saturday’s K&N West race is the featured event for the Annual October Classic at All American Speedway. It has been recognized by Placer Valley Tourism as the largest single-day event of the year in Placer County. Two foundations will benefit from this year’s event – the Placer County Breast Cancer Foundation and the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation. More than $100,000 has been raised in event history under the tutelage of Bill McAnally Racing Promotions for the Breast Cancer Foundation, while the Peace Officers’ Memorial is a new benefactor this year.
It will be a busy week for the BMR team in advance of the race. The No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry will be on display Wednesday morning at the CRC Breast Cancer Golf Tournament at the Lincoln Hills Golf Course.
A NAPA Big Show will be held at the BMR facility in Roseville on Friday evening, as part of a fundraiser for the California Peace Officers Memorial Foundation. At the track, meanwhile, guests of NAPA and ENEOS will be treated to a lap around the speedway in BMR’s two-seater No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry.
The midway is a popular attraction with the fans on race day, featuring a variety of activities. A large turnout is anticipated at the VIP Hospitality event, with NAPA and Toyota being well-represented. Their guests will be treated to a special VIP experience.
The Roseville race will air live on FansChoice. TV – the streaming digital platform that’s airing the entire NASCAR regional series schedule live this year. In addition, it will also be broadcast to a national audience on NBCSN on Oct. 17 at 3 p.m. PT.
The 2019 EuroNASCAR season of Solaris Motorsport ended with a ninth place under the storm of the Sunday Race at the Circuit Zolder. Francesco Sini showed a great pace and courage on a definitely insidious track, conquering at the end of a difficult race a good Top10 in the ELITE 1 Division. Unlucky weekend for Naveh Talor, twice involved with no guilt in contacts in both races, that have vanished his performance in Belgium.
"I think I never had so much trouble in finishing a race, it was raining a lot, we had zero visibility and we risked aquaplaning everywhere! But in these conditions the Princess made the difference and brought home a good and solid placement. It's not what we hoped for, but it's a first step for the next season." commented Francesco Sini, that closes his 2019 with 6 Top10 in 12 races. "With a little more of lucky, we could have finished between the fastest ten of the championship, but unfortunately the engine KO in UK forced us to skip Race 1, after the good P5 in qualifying, and we lost many points. I'm happy about the growth of Naveh, it was his first year in car racing and he has matured so much during the season. Very good job mate!"
Last race of the year saw the #12 Camaro with a brand new front bumper rather unusual: "It's the great force of the Solaris Motorsport and the reason because I will never get tired of them. We could have go racing with a classic, boring, white bumper without stickers or we could do it in an epic way. Signed by half of paddock and where each member has left his own memory. Little things that cheered me up and gave me the right attitude in the race. And now, since it survived to the race, I will put it in my office! It's wonderful!"
"It was an amazing first season in cars and I still can't believe I've done it in NASCAR. I feel grateful to have had the opportunity from Team FJ and Solaris Motorsport. I want to thank everyone from the team for always pushing and supporting me, welcoming me into the family. And, for sure, also my family for allowing me to pursue my dream." said Naveh Talor, 17 years old from Israel. "Zolder wasn't kind to me. I had a fun time discovering the old school circuit both in the rain and dry and I found a good pace in both. Especially in the rain with no experience, I showed how comfortable I got with the car and track. I had a good start but a puncture kicked me out of Race 1. I still was able to get back and get one flying lap which was only enough for 13th for Race 2. Again I had a good start but I had another contact with the same rival of Race 1, he didn't leave me no space and one lap down for both. A disappointing end to the season, but it was great to show some pace and to know that next year will be much better. Luck wasn't on my side in the second half of the season, but I managed to finish 14th out of 41 drivers in the ELITE 2 championship. I know that racing can be difficult but I have completed a full season in NASCAR, I can only smile about that! Here’s to next season with much more success and good luck!"
Now it's already time to set up the 2020, the next NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season and the best way to face it. Once again at the wheel of the orange #12 Princess!
Solaris Motorsport PR
Legendary Freestyle Motocross Rider, Brian Deegan, Recruits His Family in Launching The Deegans on PodcastOne09 Oct 2019 Written by Speedway Digest Staff
Today marks the debut of The Deegans on leading network,
PodcastOne. Brian Deegan, the most decorated professional freestyle motocross rider in X Games history, leads
the podcast alongside his family of racers, including daughter, Hailie Deegan, winner of multiple NASCAR races, Haiden, currently known, at his age, as the fastest kid in the nation on a dirt bike, his youngest son, Hudson, and wife, Marissa, the glue to the family’s success. Each week, the Deegans give listeners an all-access pass to the world of racing, parenting, business, sponsorships and health. In addition, they conduct interviews with the top talent from the world of moto-sports, in addition to sharing their personal goals and insights into how the family stays ahead of the pack. To celebrate the launch, The Deegans are awarding fans with two episodes available today on Apple Podcasts and PodcastOne.
Of the new show, Brian expressed, “I am excited to be able to get deeper into subjects with the interesting people in our community, and give more insight on how our family makes it all happen!”
Daughter, Hailie, added, “It’s cool to have a voice to explain my journey to the top, as a female in a mainly male-driven sport.”
Plus, son, Haiden shared his excitement on this new venture, “Stoked to tell my side of how it is growing up in a crazy family where we push the limits daily!”
In one of the debut episodes, the Deegans are joined by stunt performer and X Game’s gold medalist, Travis Pastrana, as him and Brian reflect on their careers and how they paved the way for today’s motocross freestyle riders. Additionally, the group discusses Pastrana’s transition from motocross to NASCAR, and Pastrana thanks Hailie for inspiring young women racers, including his daughters. Plus, Brian and Travis – for the first time ever – recall their experiences during the battle for the 360 at the 2003 X Games. Below are excerpts from the episode:
The Battle for the 360
Deegan: “We’re at X Games. You know, I was definitely lacking in the trick category that year, and you guys
were nailing it, and I’m like, ‘I need something.’ And I didn’t plan on doing the 360. I wasn’t sure, ‘Should I do it, should I not?’ And I go, ‘I’m probably going to crash and go off in an ambulance.’ Is what I was thinking because the dirt was super hard, as usual, at X Games. And then I come around, and then they throw up the red flag as I was going through the turn. I was like, ‘I don’t even care.’ It’s not about the flag. It’s not about this.
It’s not about that. It’s just about doing the trick… Went off and committed more than I’ve ever committed in a
land, and luckily, I 50/50’d the landing and slid, and -”
Pastrana: “You landed the only soft spot. Let’s get it straight, it was a 270. It was a dang-good 270, man. It was flat. So, I’m in there… I blew out my ACL and LCL about 8 days before that year’s X Games. So, I’m looking like, ‘Man, what do I have to do to -’ Thinking about, ‘Can I win without it?’… I’m going back and forth, and I’m kind of like, ‘Sh*t, alright. Qualified first, Nates on it.’ Like, Ryan, I didn’t know you had it. And Jim - my friend Jim - comes in the motor home - he’s like, ‘Deegan did a 360!’ And my heart kind of sank.
was like, ‘Wait, what?’ ‘Cause everyone’s like, ‘Deegan’s got a new trick!’…And then I was like, ‘Well, crap. Now I have to do like -’ ‘Cause at that point… X Games have kind of changed… And I’m like, ‘This is a style event, who cares if you win!’”
Pastrana: “Who’s going to do something that’s never been done?”
Pastrana: “[Mumble] every other trick, slightly better than someone. I want to do one trick that’s just
awesome! And I -”
Pastrana: “Jim said that, and he’s jumping up and down, and I’m pissed off, and like, also excited, and – I’m still a fan - and I’m like, ‘Dude, this is rad, but shoot.’ Now, I’m like, ‘Man, I could probably go out and there’s a chance that I could go out and not do a 3 and win the event… But who cares at this point? No one’s going to care who wins.’… Yeah, so thanks, you made me have to do it.”
To listen to the full episode, visit: http://bit.ly/2VpiTyz
Podcast One PR
Mat Williamson took home the $4,000 top prize in the DIRTcar 358 Modified Series Pre-Game 100 Tuesday night at Utica-Rome Speedway.
Williamson, of St. Catharines, Ontario, had a lucky redraw and led the 30-car field to the initial green flag. Jordan McCreadie hung with Williamson for the first couple laps before Williamson pulled away, beginning his dominant drive.
Eighth-place starting Erick Rudolph was the early mover of the redraw cars, cracking the top five by lap-15. Much of the field was running on the outside of the track, but Rudolph and Mike Mahaney were running the inside line with success.
On lap 25, Williamson had a half back stretch lead, but the battle for second between McCreadie and Alan Therrien was back and forth. The two drivers traded positions until a lap 29 yellow flag flew for Lance Willix’s rear end issue.
The race resumed with a lap-33 restart where Mahaney and Larry Wight went four-wide, splitting Rudolph and Ryan Arbuthnot in turn two. The group raced four-wide down the back stretch, before Arbuthnot and Rudolph backed out of the four-wide affair entering turn three.
Mahaney’s car was stout in the middle stages of the race and as he worked around Therrien on lap 52 to take the second spot away. A lap 59 yellow flag setup a restart with Williamson and Mahaney. Williamson elected to start from the outside and brought the line with him. Wight shot from the fourth spot up to second and challenged Williamson off the second turn. Williamson would maintain the lead through the third and fourth turns.
Wight began cutting down his deficit with 25-laps remaining, but off of turn four on lap 81, a trail of smoke ended Wight’s rally. Mahaney inherited the second spot, with Rudolph close behind.
Williamson ran upon heavy lapped traffic on lap 93, but effectively worked his way through to go on to a comfortable margin of victory.
“I have to thank my guys for giving me a fast hot rod all night,” Williamson said. “We hope to keep things rolling with the 358 series races at Weedsport and Brewerton this week.”
Rudolph came on strong late to finish in the second position, while Mahaney completed the podium. Arbuthnot and Therrien finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
The DIRTcar 358-Modified Series returns to action at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9, for the Hurricane 100 at Weedsport Speedway.
DIRTcar 358 Modified Heat 1: LARRY WIGHT, Mike Mahaney, Dave Marcuccilli, Billy Whittaker, Gary Lindberg, Kyle Dingwall, Matt Janczuk, Yan Bussiere, Fred Carleton, Marc Johnson
DIRTcar 358 Modified Heat 2: MAT WILLIAMSON, Erick Rudolph, Alan Therrien, Lance Willix, Greg Martin, Bobby Varin, Chris Curtis, Brett Hearn, Curt Schilling, Joe August Jr.
DIRTcar 358 Modified Heat 3: PAT WARD, Jordan McCreadie, AJ Miller, Ronnie Johnson, Michael Parent, Corey Wheeler, LJ Lombardo, Ryan Poole, Glenn Forward, Kyle Inman
DIRTcar 358 Modified Heat 4: RYAN ARBUTHNOT, Ronnie Davis III, Rusty Smith, Rocky Warner, Chad Brachmann, Ryan Bartlett, Alex Therrien, Collin Dubois, Preston Forbes, Greg Atkins, Brandon Michaud
DIRTcar 358 Modified Last Chance Showdown #1: BOBBY VARIN, Kyle Dingwall, Matt Janczuk, Yan Bussiere, Fred Carleton, Brett Hearn, Curt Schilling, Joe August Jr., Chris Curtis, Preston Forbes
DIRTcar 358 Modified Last Chance Showdown #2: COREY WHEELER, Alex Therrien, Ryan Bartlett, Kyle Inman, LJ Lombardo, Glenn Forward, Ryan Poole, Greg Atkins, Brandon Michaud, Collin Dubois
DIRTcar 358 Modified Pre-Game 100: 1. MAT WILLIAMSON ($4,000), 2. Erick Rudolph, 3. Mike Mahaney, 4. Ryan Arbuthnot, 5. Alan Therrien, 6. Dave Marcuccilli, 7. Rocky Warner, 8. Chad Brachmann, 9. Rusty Smith, 10. Yan Bussiere, 11. Kyle Dingwall, 12. Greg Martin, 13. Ryan Bartlett, 14. Michael Parent, 15. AJ Miller, 16. Gary Lindberg, 17. Larry Wight, 18. Alex Therrien, 19. Bobby Varin, 20. Jordan McCreadie, 21. LJ Lombardo, 22. Kyle Inman, 23. Matt Janczuk, 24. Ronnie Johnson, 25. Ronnie Davis III, 26. Pat Ward, 27. Lance Willix, 28. Corey Wheeler, 29. Billy Whittaker, 30. Fred Carleton.
DIRTcar Series PR
Defending DIRTcar Sportsman champion Kevin Root extended his lead in this year’s race for the title as he captured the NAPA Auto Parts Super Dirt Week Pre-Game 40 lapper at Utica-Rome Speedway.
After a three-car battle with young lion Jackson Gill and veteran Alan Fink, Root finally took the lead for good on lap 12 as he went from third to first.
“Alan and Jackson got together and I steered so I could just diamond off the turn,” said Root, of Geneva, NY. “You had to get things done on the restarts and tonight the car was phenomenal. It was a hell of a racetrack and you could just go anywhere. It is the best Utica-Rome has been all year.”
Fink settled for second and early on in the race he found himself alongside and battling his nephew Tyler Corcoran and Gill.
“Tyler, Jack and me were three wide for a long time, and there was no room to give anything out there,” Fink said. “We didn’t hit. I could have been better on the restarts tonight, but it was a wide-open track out there and good restarts were needed if you were going to move forward. This is my old number eight which is ‘Old Faithful’ just with new body panels. There’s nothing wrong with finishing second to Kevin.”
Third-place Kyle Inman appeared to have to settle for fourth, but with a lap and a half to go third-place running Brianna Ladouceur ran out of fuel and Inman found himself with a podium finish.
“I was really tight and it was not turning,” Inman said. “This wasn’t the regular Utica-Rome surface. It had plenty of bite and the cooler temperatures kept that bite in it. I handle better on black and slick surfaces. I’ll take it. It is a good way to start Super DIRT Week and I had one car and it is in one piece.”
The fans were quite attentive in the opening laps as Corcoran and Gill took turns in leading the first four laps. A couple of laps later Fink joined the duo to make it a three-car battle.
Root, who started eighth, found himself in fourth at the quarter point on lap 10 as the restart on that lap after a Dave Moyer off track excursion saw Fink go to the point.
Moments later Root was leading the field and the rest was history.
Entering the night Root was the series point leader with Utica-Rome track champ Matt Janczuk chasing him.
Janczuk was running fourth, but brake problems forced him to the pits only to have him restart at the rear of the field with well more than half the race remaining.
However, Janczuk saw his title hopes dashed on lap 19 as his 33x along with A.J. Filbeck took a wild ride on the front stretch coming out of turn four.
Action saw Cedric Gauvreau, Jeff Taylor, Ed Lukas, Payton Talbot, Rocco Leone along with FIlbeck and Janczuk involved.
“I really don’t know what happened, but the track was completely blocked by the time I got there,” Janczuk said. “I saw the ground a couple of times and the car is heavily damaged.”
At the halfway point Root, Fink and Gill were comfortably in front with Inman back in fourth followed by Tim Falter, Ladouceur, Brian Calabrase, Adam Pierson, Zach Sobotka and Chris Mackey.
Gill, who eventually finished fourth, began to falter slightly and later noted, “We were just over tight and it is the second straight race this has happened to us. We’ll take notes and move on. It was just getting too hard to drive.”
So Ladouceur continued to advance and on the 27th lap restart after a yellow for a damaged Ed Lukas 77l she took over third from Inman. She remained there until the fuel starved engine quit in the closing moments.
Charlie Tibbitts completed the top five after starting 22nd. “When you are starting that far back early on you just have to be careful not to get collected in an accident,” he said. “Then you have to wait for the field to spread out a little bit and start making your moves. I guess I am happy with a top five tonight.”
The point race for the DIRTcar Sportsman Series crown continues Wednesday night at the much more compact Weedsport Speedway, but Root watched his closest challengers Janczuk (29th) and Brad Rouse (13th) finished quite a distance behind him while Inman possibly moved up a bit in the current standings.
The race for the title is grueling and continues with three more races this week.
DIRTcar Sportsman Feature: 1. Kevin Root ($1,000), 2. Alan Fink, 3. Kyle Inman, 4. Jackson GIll, 5. Charlie Tibbitts, 6. Zach Sobotka, 7. Adam Pierson, 8. Chris Mackey, 9. Tim Falter, 10. Shane Pecore, 11. Tyler Corcoran, 12. Jessica Power, 13. Brad Rouse, 14. Brian Calabrase, 15. Bob Henry Jr., 16. Dave Moyer, 17. Mark Yorker, 18. Addison Bowman, 19. Moise Page, 20. Cedric Gauvreau, 21. Rocco Leone, 22. Brianna Ladouceur, 23. Daryl Nutting, 24. Jack Miller, 25. Ed Lukas, 26. Payton Talbot, 27. Jeff Taylor, 28. A.J. Filbeck, 29. Matt Janczuk, 30. Mike Richmond.
Heat One: Janczuk, Mackey, Ladouceur, Power, Filbeck, Leone, C.J. Castelletti, Keith Stevenson.
Heat Two: Yorker, Root, Calabrase, Miller, Pierson, Rouse, Bowman, Nutting, Pecore.
Heat Three: Richmond, Talbot, Sobotka, Taylor, A.J. Miller, Travis Bruno, Jason Bruno, Jason Reome, Jessica Knegish.
Heat Four: Inman, Fink, Falter, Moyer, Tibbitts, Gauvreau, Cole Hentshel, Fred Proctor, Bobby Heinz.
Heat Five: Gill, Corcoran, Henry, Lukas, James Michael Friesen, Page, Marty Kelly III, Casey Williams, Mike Grover.
Last Chance Showdown 1: Rouse, Filbeck, Pecore, Nutting, Gauvreau, J. Bruno, Castelletti, Proctor, Kelly, Friesen, Heinz, Miller.
Last Chance Showdown 2: Tibbitts, Pierson, Leone, Bowman, J. Bruno, Hentshel, T. Bruno, Williams, Reome, Stevenson, Grover.
DIRTcar Racing Series PR
2019 eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series Champion to be Crowned Live on NBC Sports’ ‘NASCAR America’08 Oct 2019 Written by Speedway Digest Staff
NASCAR, NBC Sports and iRacing officially announced today a special two-hour edition of NASCAR America, which will broadcast the 2019 eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series™ championship from the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway live on October 10 at 5 p.m. ET. The first-ever eNASCAR® championship telecast will showcase the crowning of a first-time series champion and determine who will take home the largest share of the $100,000 prize pool.
“The increased energy and industry collaboration around the eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series culminates with this first-ever championship broadcast,” said Tim Clark, senior vice president and chief digital officer, NASCAR. “Our fans expect thrilling, side-by-side racing, and eNASCAR on NBCSN will deliver.”
The NASCAR America broadcast will mark the first time an official eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series race has been aired live on national television. iRacing made its NBCSN debut this summer with a pair of All-Star exhibition races hosted by NASCAR America’s Krista Voda, Parker Kligerman and AJ Allmendinger, along with series team owners Steve Letarte and Jeff Burton. Kligerman, also an owner in the series, competed in the events.
“NASCAR America is excited to showcase the best iRacers in the world competing for a championship,” said John Barnes, producer, NASCAR, NBC Sports. “Since its inception, NASCAR America has showcased sim racing to our viewers and we are thrilled to take the next step by crowing a champion.”
Celebrating its 10th season, the 2019 season features the largest prize pool in eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series history with over $100,000 on the line between season-ending prizes and weekly performance bonuses. This year’s champion will earn the largest share, receiving $40,000 on top of their weekly winnings, as well as a test day in a US Legends Car and NASCAR Pinty’s Series™ vehicle with Canada’s Best Racing Team.
In addition, the champion will be flown to Miami for NASCAR’s championship weekend where they will be honored during the pre-race ceremonies for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series™ Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The last spot in the Championship 4 was determined at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval on September 24. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Bobby Zalenski, Roush Fenway Racing’s and the inaugural eNASCAR IGNITE Series champion Zack Novak, Team Dillon Esports’ Blake Reynolds and G2 Esports’ Keegan Leahy will be laying it all on the line for the title and their first-ever eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing championship.
“This has been a historic year for the series with the addition of the official teams as well as the six-figure prize payout,” said Tony Gardner, president, iRacing.com. “Teams like JR Motorsports and Wood Brothers Racing, along with the aforementioned teams, have added a new level of exposure and legitimacy to the series. We couldn’t be more proud of the series and competitors. I am excited to watch the first-ever live eNASCAR championship race on Thursday and I can’t wait to see who will be crowned champion.”
Tune in to NASCAR America on NBCSN on Thursday, October 10 at 5 p.m. ET to watch the eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series finale compete live at the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway and be sure to follow @iRacing and @NASCARonNBC on Twitter for live updates during the race. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iRacing.com.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series™ Playoffs will continue at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend for the 1000Bulbs.com 500 (Oct. 13 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, SiriusXM and MRN) and Sugarlands Shine 250 (Oct. 12 at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, SiriusXM and MRN), respectively.
Start –20th Finish – 8th Points Position – 3rd
Chandler Smith Victorious in Herr’s Potato Chip 200 Scores Fifth Win of 2019; Christian Eckes Takes Back ARCA Points Lead06 Oct 2019 Written by Speedway Digest Staff
Toyota Racing Development’s (TRD) Chandler Smith, 17, celebrated his fifth ARCA Menards Series victory of the season in Saturday night’s rain-shortened Herr’s Potato Chips 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway.
Smith, from Talking Rock, GA, driving his now familiar No.20 Craftsman/828 Logistics/Quick Tie Toyota took the lead from his Venturini Motorsports teammate Christian Eckes (No.15 JBL Audio Toyota) on lap 161. The next lap, a heavy sprinkle turned into a rain shower necessitating a caution flag. The field led by Smith circulated behind the pace car for five more circuits before ARCA officials put out the red flag. The rains persisted and the race was deemed official, ending 33 laps before its scheduled conclusion.
Smith’s victory delivered VMS the team’s 13th win out of 19 races so far in 2019. The win also propelled the No.20 team one step closer to winning the ARCA Owner Points Championship which now comes down to simply starting the final race at Kansas Speedway in two weeks to secure the title.
"It’s just been an unbelievable season.” Smith said in a makeshift victory lane celebration. "I’m so proud of this team and everything we’ve been able to accomplish. And tonight was special - it was just meant to be. We couldn't have timed that pass out any better than we did.”
Smith’s crew chief and team owner Billy Venturini shared his feelings in a late night tweet saying, “Great night for Venturini Motorsports and especially the twenty-car. By winning tonight we should be able to clinch the owners’ championship by starting race in Kansas. Thanks to everybody at VMS that have all helped in this great accomplishment. Now my two drivers (Christian Eckes and Michael Self) can go duke out the drivers’ championship.”
Meanwhile despite being disappointed with his second place finish at Lucas Oil Raceway, Eckes held his head high giving praise to his team and showing excitement after learning he’d retaken the ARCA Menards Series championship (Driver) lead by 20-points over teammate Michael Self (No.25 Sinclair Oil Toyota) who finished sixth. Eckes who was an early season favorite topped the point standings early in the season after Pensacola but relinquished the position after missing out at Salem Speedway due to illness.
"We're obviously disappointed with second," Eckes said. “We’d have liked to have had that caution for rain a few laps earlier but it didn’t happen. I’m just really proud of this team. Nobody ever quit. It’s our sixth top-two finish in a row and more importantly we’re taking the points lead into the Kansas finale. We really have things turned around after a tough early summer stretch. “
Also, by virtue of his Indianapolis finish, Eckes took home the Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge Championship. The award designed to create a championship within a championship for drivers not competing the entire 20-race schedule was given to the driver with the best average finish on the designated short tracks.
Self, who ran a solid race but came up a few spots short of Eckes in the end at Indianapolis was direct when asked about the shift in points going into Kansas.
“Just a disappointing night,” said Self. “It’s just feel like this is kinda how our year has gone most of the season. It’s always something making it a hard night. Unfortunately, we had a really rough pit stop there at the end and took our four tires and restarted fifth instead of fourth. On that last restart the top lane got going really well and the bottom lane got completely crowded up and we got put in the middle three wide and bounced around. I don’t know. We just struggled a bit – didn’t have good balance on the car all night, really tight for the most part.”
Asked about entering the final race at Kansas as one of the race favorites Self was quick to respond.
“I don’t have anything to loose. Doesn’t matter what happens at this point, we’re going to Kansas to win.”
Hailie Deegan (No.55 TRD’s 40th Anniversary Toyota) making her fifth ARCA start of the season turned in her career best performance by challenging for the lead late before settling for fifth place after series’ officials called the race due to rain.
“My goal was to finish top five and keep a clean car for Kansas so I’m pretty excited,” said Deegan. “I think our car was fighting some tightness and it took a while to get out of it. And we’d have a good restart and the car felt pretty neutral and then the car would get tighter and tighter as the race went on. We had some great restarts and made it up to second and then we’d fall back as the car tightened up. Overall just a great night.”
Referencing Kansas, Deegan will end the season driving in the season finale on an intermediate track. “I’m excited. I’ve never raced on a mile and a half track before so I think it’s going to take a little use to. I’ll go back and do some simulator work and hopefully we’ll have a good finish there to.”
During Saturday night’s race there were three lead changes among four drivers. Ty Gibbs led a race-high 143 laps, Joe Graf Jr. led seven laps from laps 144 to 150, Eckes led from lap 151 through lap 160 and Smith led from lap 161 to 167 when the race concluded. With those seven laps led, Smith, who only made 11 starts throughout the season, also locked up the 2019 Valvoline Lap Leader Award.
The ARCA Kansas 150 and the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway will close the 2019 ARCA Menards Series season on Friday, October 18. Practice opens the day at 1 pm ET/12 n CT followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 6 pm ET/5 pm CT. The 100-lap/150-mile feature event will go green at 8:30 pm ET/7:30 pm CT and will be shown live on FS2 with an immediate replay on FS1.
Having to complete one lap to clinch the title, Loris Hezemans carefully drove his way to sixth place under torrential rain and became the 2019 Euro NASCAR Champion. The Hendriks Motorsport driver also successfully defended his Junior Trophy title, while Stienes Longin grabbed his first ever ELITE 1 Division win in front of his home crowd at the end of an epic Final 2.
ELITE 1 FINAL 2 RESULTS
The ELITE 1 Division drivers’ skills were put to a severe test when torrential rain hit the track midway through the last round of the season, but they put up an epic performance for the delight of the Belgian crowd.
Hezemans’ championship was already in the books when the 22-year-old Dutchman completed the first of the race’s 18 laps under the rain at Circuit Zolder. He mastered the slippery track and brought home a solid sixth place to win the Euro NASCAR championship and the Junior Trophy. Hendriks Motorsport also won the team championship with it’s #50 Ford Mustang driven by Hezemans and Giorgio Maggi, who ended up second in the ELITE 2 Division.
“It’s not sinking in yet,” said Hezemans while holding the trophy in Victory Lane. “The donuts after the checkered flag were so much fun. I never did them before in a race car. It was a crazy race and probably the most hectic few laps in my life. The car was going left and right all the time. I was just thinking: ‘bring it home, bring it home!’ Those were the longest laps in my life. For 2020 I hope for more races in America and this title is such a good opportunity. My heart still belongs with Euro NASCAR and I really hope to build a NASCAR career from here.”
Hezemans was very strong in the second half of the 2019 season, scoring three wins in five races. He overtook Longin in the points standings with two clutch wins in the Semi Finals at Hockenheim and secured the title with two additional top-10s during the Finals at Circuit Zolder.
Longin ended up second in points but the greatest joy for him was winning his first ever ELITE 1 Division race in front of his home crowd. He finally went to Victory Lane to cap his most competitive season in Euro NASCAR and he did it one year after losing two races to Alon Day at Circuit Zolder. This time, Longin was unbeatable in the treacherous weather conditions and Day had to settle for second after surrendering the lead to the Belgian on lap 7.
Following Thomas Ferrando’s win on Saturday, Longin became the seventh different winner of a hugely competitive season.
“It’s an awesome feeling, I cannot describe it,” said Longin. “In the last six laps, when it started raining so heavy, my windshield wiper stopped working. It was a heck of a challenge and a crazy drive. Next year I will aim for the title again as this year. I will give my best again in the 2020 season.”
It was Marc Goossens took over third place in the last lap when Jacques Villeneuve, who was holding on to a place on the podium after starting from the pole, suddenly slipped down to seventh with visibility issue on his #32 Go Fas Racing Camaro. Goossens crafted his way through the final laps and scored his second consecutive podium in the 2019 NWES Finals.
Returning Alex Sedgwick won the Junior Trophy race ahead of Gianmarco Ercoli and Hezemans. Villeneuve followed ahead of Nicolo Rocca, who came from last to eight but had to settle for third in the final points standings. Solaris Motorsport’s Francesco Sini and Mishumotor’s Lucas Lasserre closed the ELITE 1 Final 2 top-10.
Hezemans won the Junior Trophy ahead of Rocca and Ercoli. With his ninth Challenger Trophy triumph of the season, Henri Tuomaala won the special classification dedicated to silver and bronze drivers in the ELITE 1 Division. Mauro Trione was second ahead of Kenko Miura.
“It’s great to win the Challenger Trophy here at Circuit Zolder,” said Tuomaala. “The whole team did a great job and we will for sure work on having an even better pace for the 2020 season. Memphis Racing is working very hard for it. My plan is to come back in 2020 and improve my results.”
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will be back in action in 2020. Champions and Trophy winner will fly to the United States for the traditional Awards ceremony at the NASCAR Hall Of Fame.
For updates about the series and breaking news check www.euronascar.com and follow all Euro NASCAR social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).