Steven B. Wilson

Steven B. Wilson

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Christopher Bell spent his weekend off from the NACAR Camping World Truck Series competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, where he worked his way past Erik Jones with four laps remaining and went on to collect his first Xfinity Series victory in just his fifth series start. Bell will now switch his focus back to the Truck Series for the Round of 6 of the playoffs, which begins with Saturday's race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
 
Bell, who won the Truck Series regular season title, enters the Round of 6 as the No. 1 seed and with the 47 bonus points he has earned throughout the season, begins the round with a 34-point cushion on the cutoff line for advancing to the championship race at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway. The 22-year-old driver earned his spot in the Round of 6 by winning the opening race of the 2017 playoffs at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon and followed that up with runner-up finishes at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, giving him an average finish of 1.7 in the opening round.
 
Bell's performance in the Round of 6 came as no surprise as the talented wheelman has proven all season to be one of the drivers to beat for the Truck Series championship. The Oklahoma native leads the series in nearly every major statistical category, including wins (five), poles (four), top-five five finishes (13), top-10 finishes (17), driver rating (118.4), average starting position (4.3), average finish (5.8), average running position (6.0), laps led (739) and fastest laps run (351).
 
Saturday's 200-lap event at "The Paperclip" will be Bell's fourth time tackling the challenging .526-mile track. The dirt standout turned pavement prodigy qualified 14th and finished 19th in his debut at the Virginia track in April of 2016 and then showed major improvement last fall when he qualified sixth and finished fourth. Bell had his grasp on a grandfather clock earlier this year when he led a race-high 92 laps, but his bid for a victory was thwarted as he was working his way around a truck at the tail of the field with 17 laps remaining and got clipped as he was completing the pass. He was able to gather up his Tundra and continue on with minor damage, but two trucks made their way past him in the process and left him with a disappointing third-place finish.
 
Bell's spirits should be high coming off his exciting Xfinity Series win at Kansas, but he's ready to 'clock' back in at his day job this weekend in Martinsville for the opening race of the Round of 6 in the Truck Series playoffs. He'll be piloting the same Tundra, KBM-24, that he did in the opening race of the Round of 8 at New Hampshire and he's hoping to 'clock' out with the same result.
 
KBM PR
With a commanding performance in the season finale at Kansas Speedway, Cunningham Motorsports driver Ty Majeski never fell out of contention for the win after running in the top-five for the duration of the 100-lap Kansas 150 Friday night. Starting from the third position, Majeski took his No. 99 Treeo’s Ford Fusion to the front for 38 laps, coming away with a career-best second-place finish in the last race of the 2017 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season.
 
“We had a great race to close out the season and it was refreshing to finally get a finish that reflected how strong this No. 99 Ford has been each race,” said Majeski. “There really wasn’t a time throughout the race that I didn’t think we could win, right up until the final lap. We had speed all day and it definitely showed throughout the entire night.”
 
From the start it was clear Majeski had one of the strongest cars in the field, posting the third-fastest lap time during practice. Even after an engine swap midway through practice, Majeski maintained those high speeds with a third-place General Tire Pole Qualifying effort.
 
When the green flag fell, Majeski quickly moved up to second and settled into that position slowly chipping away at the lead. With a caution falling just 17 laps into the night, Majeski reported battling a free car, but opted to stay off of pit road until later in the race. On lap 24, Majeski took the lead on the restart and held it for the next 32 laps.
 
“I knew once we had the lead I could really work to create a gap between first and second,” said Majeski. “We knew we needed to make a pit stop at some point during the race still and if there wasn’t a caution I knew I’d want a sizeable lead to pit comfortably and hopefully not lose any positions. I knew we had a good car and it was just up to me to make sure I could stay focused and consistent for the rest of the race.”
 
That chance to make his way down pit road came under yellow on lap 54 where he got four fresh General Tires, Sunoco race fuel and adjustments. Taking the outside line on the lap 63 restart, Majeski lost the lead and fell back to third but swiftly climbed back to second with 30 laps to go. Majeski came down pit road one final time after a lap 85 caution for four tires, fuel and adjustments. With a quick stop complete Majeski stalled leaving the box, costing him valuable positions for the restart. Lining up fifth and having nine laps left when the track went back to green, Majeski was able to regain those lost spots to finish the night in second.
 
“We overcame a lot of obstacles throughout the day to get that second-place finish,” said Majeski. “I’m disappointed we weren’t able to come away with the win since we were so close but overall it was a great way to end the season. I think if I hadn’t stalled on that last pit stop we could have won the race, but it’s just another learning moment for me as a driver. These five races this season have been incredible opportunities for me and I can’t thank Treeo’s, Cunningham Motorsports, Ken Schrader Racing and Roush Fenway Racing enough. I’m really looking forward to take what I’ve learned here and apply it to my future endeavors as a driver.”
 
The second-place finish tops off a list of achievements earned by Majeski throughout the 2017 season. In all five races with Cunningham Motorsports, Majeski never qualified or finished outside of the top-10. The Roush Fenway Racing development driver came away with one top-five finish, five top-10 finishes and 89 laps led. Majeski’s average finish was fifth with an average start of fourth.
 
Keep up with Cunningham Motorsports on Facebook and Instagram (@CunninghamRace) and on Twitter (@Cunningham_Race). Head to www.cunninghamrace.com for more news. You can also follow Ty Majeski on Facebook (@TyMajeskiRacing), Twitter (@TyMajeski) and Instagram (@TyMajeski_).
 
Cunningham Motorsports PR

The Gospel Music Association’s 2017 Dove Award winners for Southern Gospel Vocal Group of the year, the Gaither Vocal Group, will perform the National Anthem as part of the prerace festivities at Martinsville Speedway before Sunday’s First Data 500.

Founded by legendary gospel songwriter and producer, Bill Gaither, this Grammy-winning vocal group has performed in the world’s most prestigious venues, including the Sydney Opera House, The Kennedy Center, and Carnegie Hall, however the trip to Martinsville Speedway will mark a first four the group.

"This is the first opportunity that the Gaither Vocal Band has had to sing at a NASCAR event and we cannot contain our excitement,” Bill Gaither said. “It will be major for us. Thanks to Clay Campbell and Martinsville Speedway for the invitation. We are looking forward to the 29th"

In addition to the Gaither Vocal Group, Medal of Honor Recipient Col. Jack Jacobs will serve as the Honorary Starter and will wave the Green Flag to start the race. Jacobs was awarded the military’s highest honor for actions in Vietnam.

“The prerace ceremonies are such an important part of our race and we are really excited to have the Gaither Vocal Group and Col. Jacobs play such large roles,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “First Data is a company that puts our nation and our military first and we are excited to have a prerace that will make our fans proud to be Americans.”

Frank Bisignano, the Chairman and CEO of First Data, will serve as the Grand Marshal for the First Data 500 and will give the command to fire the engines, while the Virginia Military Institute Color Guard will present the nations colors.

The Bandit Flight Team will provide a flyover for both Saturday’s Texas Roadhouse 200 presented by Alpha Energy Solutions and Sunday’s First Data 500.

As announced previously, Amy Earnhardt, the wife of Dale Earnhardt Jr., will serve as the Honorary Pace Car driver.

The First Data 500 is the first race in the Round of 8 of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. If the winning driver is in the Playoffs, he or she would be the first to clinch a spot in the Championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Last fall, Johnson won his ninth grandfather clock, on the way to winning his record-tying seventh NASCAR Cup Series championship.

As part of the on-site entertainment during First Data 500 weekend Martinsville Speedway will host FanFest on Saturday, October 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., featuring eight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers. FanFest is a free event giving fans an up-close look at some of the sport’s biggest stars, off the track. There will be special accommodations made for youth in attendance at the event so that they may experience FanFest front and center.

Tickets for the First Data 500 start at $55 and are on sale now. Youth tickets are available starting at $15, with teen pricing available starting at $25. Family four packs start at $110 and military specials are available, as well. Tickets may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com

Martinsville Speedway PR

With the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returning to Kansas Speedway for the second and final time this season, Ty Dillon and the GEICO Racing team looked to build upon their first trip in May, which resulted in a 14th-place finish at the 1.5-mile intermediate oval. Sunday's 267-lap event would prove to be eventful for the Germain Racing team as Dillon overcame a tight-handling condition early, avoided a massive wreck on lap 198, and rebounded from a pit road penalty in the late stages to cross the finish line in the 16th position.
 
"Today was definitely a crazy day," said Dillon, after the race. "With the changing track conditions as the sun set and shaded parts of the track, we had to be on top of the adjustments to our GEICO Chevrolet for the entire race. My team did a great job making calls, and I didn't struggle with the balance much at all. Track position was just the main key, and it was hard to make passes out there. Overall, I think this was a good weekend and shows the improvements to our intermediate-track package. There's still work to be done, but we are definitely getting closer."
 
After rolling from the 29th starting spot, Dillon spent the majority of the opening stage battling for position on the racetrack. While facing a tight-handling condition on entry, the 25-year-old, who was making his 50th career start in the MENCS, took off from the 23rd position on lap 87 and knocked on door of the top-20 within eight circuits. As the laps continued to click away, Dillon kept his GEICO Chevrolet clean and successfully avoided the biggest wreck of the day, coming on lap 198. During this caution, the over-the-wall crew received a penalty for an uncontrolled tire, forcing the young gun to take off from the tail end of the longest line with 60 laps remaining. Dillon effectively gained five positions during the closing laps to bring home a solid 16th-place finish.
 
Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Racing team will now head to the famous paperclip-shaped short track in Ridgeway, Virginia, as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series takes to Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, October 28th for opening practice at 11:30am ET. Qualifying is scheduled to take place prior to the race on Sunday, October 29th at 12:05 pm ET.
 
The green flag will fly for the First Data 500 on Sunday, October 29th at 3:00 pm ET. NBCSN will carry the live television broadcast, with the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 carrying the live radio broadcast.
 
PMI PR

Leavine Family Racing (LFR) and Michael McDowell earned their 14th Top-20 finish of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season at Kansas Speedway.

The team earned their best finish at the 1.5-mile track earlier this year with a 13th place finish and went into this weekend expecting nothing less.

With a solid practice on Friday, the team breezed through the first round of qualifying and earned their best qualifying effort to start the Hollywood Casino 400 from the 16th position.

The No. 95 Tommy Williams Drywall (TWD) Chevrolet SS started out extremely tight, but McDowell was able to free it up after 15 laps. He dropped back to 19th before the competition caution came out on lap 30.

When the field returned to green, McDowell dropped back a few more positions, as the No. 95 still felt too tight. He was able to pit under caution on lap 47 to free the car up and restarted 22nd on lap 52.

With three laps remaining in the stage, a caution came out and McDowell was hit hard from behind. Fortunately, no major damage was acquired and he went on to finish the stage in 21st.

After starting the second stage in 22nd, McDowell still complained of a tight-handling car, and made his first green flag pit stop on lap 143. The next caution flag fell with four laps remaining in the stage. McDowell pitted for four tires in order to stay out at the end of the stage and hopefully gain positions.

McDowell started the final stage in 28th and one lap down before a caution came out on lap 174 giving him the free pass and allowing him to restart in 24th.

Another caution flag fell on lap 198 for a wreck, and McDowell acquired damage to the left front of the No. 95 TWD Chevy. Fortunately, the team was able to fix a large hole in the nose. McDowell restarted 13th after the wreck and made it as far as 11th.

The team was able to make one last pit stop on lap 239 in order to put on the last set of tires and went on to finish the race in 18th, earning their 14th Top-20 finish of the 2017 MENCS season.

”That was a hard fought race,” said McDowell. “I felt like we didn’t have a ton of speed, but we were still able to stay in the Top-20 for the majority of the race. We got a good amount of damage during the big wreck at the end there, but our guys were able to get it patched up and we were able to salvage a Top-20.”

LFR PR

A memorial service for Jim Watson, the Furniture Row Racing crew member who passed away Oct. 21 in the Kansas City area, has been scheduled for Fri., Oct. 27 at Warlick Funeral Home in Lincolnton, N.C.

The family will receive friends of the man many affectionately knew as “Wildman” from 4-6 p.m. Warlick Funeral Home is located at 125 Dave Warlick Drive in Lincolnton, N.C.

Watson was born Sept. 27, 1962, in Kenosha, Wis., to Betty Paulus Watson and the late David Harrison Watson. He is survived by his wife, Laurie Ann Watson; a daughter, Brittany May Watson; his mother, Betty L. Watson; brother, Mike Watson; stepchildren, Eric James Conover and fiancé Claudia Rodriguez, and Matthew Sean Conover; Michael Patrick Conover, and wife Michele, and Nicholas Ian Conover; three grandchildren, Patrick Michael Conover, Michael Winston Conover, and Coleton Daniel Conover; nieces, Jennifer Watson and Katie J. Ballou; and many other uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that memorials may be made to hatsalive.org in memory of Jim.

FRR PR

Longtime Indianapolis 500 car entrant Rolla Vollstedt, who is perhaps best remembered for bringing Janet Guthrie to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1976 as the first female to be entered for the Indianapolis 500, passed away Sunday, Oct. 22 in Portland, Oregon. He was 99.

Passionate, articulate, outspoken and persuasive, Vollstedt was a high-profile member of the board of directors for the United States Auto Club who served as USAC's car entrant representative from the late 1960s until the 1980s.

Although he had fielded a National Championship car (now IndyCar) in some late-season dirt track events with driver Len Sutton in 1955 and 1956, it was not until the summer of 1963 that Vollstedt first brought a car to Indianapolis. This was one of the very first American-built rear-engine cars to house a normally aspirated Offenhauser engine, and with Sutton driving in summer tire tests, it kept exceeding the official track record, eventually flirting with an unofficial 155-mph run in March 1964. 

Sutton qualified the car for the 1964 "500" and was running fourth when a magneto failed after 140 laps.

After a dozen years of fielding drivers like Billy Foster, Cale Yarborough, Dick Simon, Tom Bigelow, Arnie Knepper, Larry Dickson, Denny Zimmerman and others, Vollstedt made headlines in 1976 by providing a car for Guthrie.

Plagued by mechanical issues, the team was forced to withdraw the car without Guthrie having an opportunity to make a qualifying attempt. But the following year, she was back, qualifying on the fourth and final day with the 18th fastest speed overall and the fastest of the entire final weekend.

Guthrie managed only 27 laps of the race before a timing gear broke, but history was made.

Vollstedt often was the first to file an entry for an upcoming "500," and invariably, a car of his was the first to take a "shakedown" lap once the track had been opened for practice at the beginning of May. He learned these most effective publicity-grabbing "stunts" from the very colorful Bryant Heating and Cooling dealer, Phil Hedback, with whom he was often associated, and in turn, Vollstedt passed them on to another longtime partner, Dick Simon.

While Vollstedt's under-financed cars were never among the fastest qualifiers or in the winner's circle at Indianapolis or in other championship events, they occasionally had a good run. Perhaps the one that delights trivia buffs the most is that a Vollstedt entry did once actually qualify second. The venue was Riverside, California, and the occasion was the 300-mile road race which closed the 1967 USAC season. The car ran second for the first 23 laps behind Dan Gurney, who went on to win, and it passed Gurney for the lead for a single lap before breaking a valve.

The driver on that day -- believe it or not -- was 1965 Indianapolis 500 winner and two-time Formula One World Champion Jim Clark.

Vollstedt was one of the great characters of the Speedway and a mentor to countless mechanics and engineers over the years, including Grant King, Hal Sperb and numerous others. He also came across as a pure enthusiast who, even when he wasn't an official entrant, always seemed to be aligned with a team in some sort of advisory capacity, official or unofficial.

IMS PR

Faith Motorsports (FMS) announced today that North Texas native Ted Minor will pilot the #44 SMD Chevrolet Silverado in the Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on November 3rd. Shawn Magee Design (SMD), a North Canton, Ohio design firm and official graphics partner of Faith Motorsports, will serve as the primary sponsor in the JAGS Metals/Driving Hurricane Harvey Relief 350 in Fort Worth,Texas.texas motor speedway

“I’m excited for the opportunity to drive the #44 SMD Silverado in my home state of Texas,” said Minor.

This will mark Minor’s third start in the 2017 Camping World Truck Series season but his first start driving for Faith Motorsports.

Ted started his racing career on Texas dirt tracks and has progressed to racing nationwide on asphalt tracks in the ARCA, USST series, super late models and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. In his 16th season as a NASCAR driver, Ted brings veteran experience combined with a youthful drive to succeed.

The #44 SMD Chevrolet Silverado will also feature a special tribute graphic on the deck lid honoring all 58 people who lost their lives in the tragic shootings at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas on October 1st.

“Our thoughts and prays go out to all of the families who lost loved ones during this tragic event in Las Vegas,” said Shane Lamb, owner of Faith Motorsports. “We wanted to honor the lives of those taken so senselessly and show love and support to those still grieving.”

The Texas race marks the 3rd appearance as primary sponsor for SMD. The last time SMD raced as a primary sponsor was back in 2016 at Kentucky Speedway in the #74 Chevrolet Silverado of NASCAR veteran driver, Mike Harmon.

“I love seeing the SMD brand being broadcasted on a national stage like the Camping World Truck Series,” said Shawn Magee, Owner of Shawn Magee Design. “NASCAR has always been a passion of mine. I am grateful for my partnership with Faith Motorsports which has allowed me to pursue those passions. I look forward to what 2018 has in store for SMD & Faith Motorsports.”

Faith Motorsports owns and operates a 2 truck team (#44 & #62). Through a partnership with Martin’s Motorsports, the #44 is piloted by fellow Texas native, Austin Wayne Self for most of the 2017 season.

Faith Motorsports PR

MDM Motorsports ended the 2017 ARCA Racing Series (ARS) Presented by Menards season on a high note on Friday at Kansas Speedway with driver Michael Self winning the Kansas 150. Zane Smith finished third, and Sheldon Creed dominated the 150-mile event but blew a tire with three laps to go and finished a disappointing 19th.
 
The win was Self's first-career ARS victory and marks the team's fifth ARS victory of the season with five different drivers. In addition to the win, the Mooresville, N.C., organization won the General Tire Pole Award with Smith. Creed qualified second, and Self started his winning drive from the eighth position.
 
MDM Motorsports scored victories at Talladega (Ala) Superspeedway with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Justin Haley, Toledo (Ohio) Speedway with 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion Harrison Burton, Michigan International Speedway with NASCAR XFINITY Series star Brandon Jones, Winchester (Ind.) Speedway with NXS driver, Kyle Benjamin, and now at Kansas Speedway with eighth time NASCAR K&N Pro Series West (NKNPSW) winner, Self.
 
Michael Self, driver of the No. 28 Sinclair Oil Chevrolet... Self entered the final ARS event of the season coming off two consecutive NKNPSW victories at Meridian and Roseville. The 27-year-old Utah driver qualified the Sinclair Oil sponsored machine eighth and spent most of the event in the top-10 despite fighting a very tight race car. Working with Harrison Burton's 2017 NKNPSE championship team led by Mardy Lindley, Self continued to fight. He restarted sixth on the final restart and held off NXS driver Ty Majeski to score a dramatic win for MDM Motorsports and Sinclair Oil.
 
Self on Kansas: "It feels awesome. A few years ago I didn't know if I would ever get this opportunity, and thanks to the folks at Sinclair, I've been given the opportunity to race again. More than anything, it is just a great feeling to get them in victory lane. MDM Motorsports has given me fast race cars all year, and we've been close more than once this season. On the final restart, I wasn't coming out of the gas, and I'm glad it worked out. Hopefully we can do more of this next year."
 
Zane Smith, driver of the No. 41 ICON Vehicle Dynamics Toyota... Smith joined MDM Motorsports at Salem Speedway and nearly won the race after starting from the General Tire Pole. He was able to score another General Tire Pole on Friday beating his teammate Creed and for the fourth event in a row, the 18-year-old driver had a shot at the victory. Midway through the 100-lap race, Smith fought an ill handling race car, but he and his No. 41 ICON Vehicle Dynamics team led by Jamie Jones made the right adjustments, and Smith was able to rocket back to the front with a chance to win on the last restart. He finished third and locked up a top-10 ARS points position, finishing ninth in the overall standings.
 
Smith on Kansas: "Every time I've come to the track with MDM Motorsports, I've been really fast. It is crazy how prepared this race team is, and it has been a ton of fun. We had a really good ICON Toyota tonight but just never quite were able to get the track position we needed to put ourselves in a position to win. It's crazy to think that we're a little disappointed with a third-place finish. Although I don't really want the season to end, I'm looking forward to a relaxing off-season."
 
Sheldon Creed, driver of the No. 12 United Rentals/A.M. Ortega Construction Toyota... Alpine Calif., native Creed had a breakout season in both NKNPSE and ARS competition despite his terrible luck. Once again, Creed appeared to have the car to beat, leading a race-high 52 laps and racing in the top-five all night. On the final restart, contact with another competitor resulted in a flat tire relegating the two-time SPEED Energy Stadium Super Truck Champion to a 19th-place finish in the ARS season finale.
 
Creed on Kansas: "Jeff Stankiewicz and this No. 12 MDM Motorsports team have brought me unbelievable race cars this season, especially the last few weeks, and we should have a bunch of wins to prove it, but we don't. I guess that's racing, but it sure is disappointing. I've learned a ton this year about racing on asphalt, and I can't thank United Rentals, A.M. Ortega Construction, MDM Motorsports and all our partners enough for the opportunity I was given this year. We'll be back stronger than ever, and I can't wait."
 
For more information about MDM Motorsports, including driver development opportunities, please visit www.MDMMotorsports.com.
 
MDM Motorsports PR

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rookie and 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Champion Daniel Suárez is scheduled to appear at ROLL-BAR for a moderated question and answer session before the Can-Am 500 on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 9 a.m.

The first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR national series race, Suárez is a rising star in the sport and a contender for the 2017 Rookie of the Year after replacing Carl Edwards behind the helm of the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing.

He spent the past two seasons racing to the top of the ranks in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, including three top-five and three top-10 finishes at his self-proclaimed hometown track in Phoenix, before earning the title of 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion.

Suárez became a Phoenix-favorite after earning his first win in the Valley in 2014 the NASCAR Mexico Series Toyota 120 in 2014. He solidified his Phoenix reputation last fall earning his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win in the Lucas Oil 150, which he followed up with a legendary Mannequin Challenge in Gatorade Victory Lane.

ROLL-BAR, located on the west side of the track behind the Bobby Allison grandstands, features the best in live entertainment each day throughout the entire Can-Am 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race weekend at Phoenix Raceway, as well as appearances by some of NASCAR’s top personalities.

Single-day tickets to ROLL-BAR are available for $129 on Saturday, Nov. 11. Single day ROLL-BAR passes for Sunday, Nov. 12 are sold out. Limited two-day packages are available for $298, and include passes to ROLL-BAR for both Saturday and Sunday. The additional purchase of a grandstand ticket is still required for track admission.

Tickets to all events throughout the Can-Am 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series weekend at Phoenix Raceway are available online, by phone at 1-866-408-RACE (7223) or in person at the Phoenix Raceway ticket office.

PIR PR