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The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Energy Systems Network (ESN), the advanced energy technology initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), are hosting some of the world's leading autonomous vehicle technology researchers at the Racing Capital of the World on Thursday, May 23 to explore the potential for a global autonomous vehicle competition to be hosted in Indianapolis.

Nearly 15 years ago, the DARPA Grand Challenge gave birth to the modern-day autonomous vehicle (AV) industry by awarding a $1 million prize to the team that could first complete a 132-mile course in the southwestern U.S. desert. Today, a group of more than 20 researchers from industry and academia is gathered to develop what may become the successor to DARPA, spurring a new wave of innovation and AV commercialization. The goal of the workshop is to develop potential objectives and rules for such a competition, and to discuss prospective timelines, vehicles and other core elements.

"The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was conceived and built more than 100 years ago as a proving ground for automotive innovation and discovery," IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. "This gathering at the Racing Capital of the World provides an opportunity to embrace our heritage and again serve as a catalyst for the next generation of vehicle technologies in both motorsports competition and wider consumer platforms."

"ESN is thrilled to be working with IMS to look for ways to bring technological innovations to the world's greatest racing venue, and beyond," said Paul Mitchell, president and CEO of Energy Systems Network.

The first phase of this exploration started in the fall of 2018 in Mountain View, California, with a gathering hosted by Sebastian Thrun, whose Stanford University team won the DARPA Grand Challenge in 2005. Thrun, the CEO of KittyHawk and co-founder of Udacity, is among a group of stakeholders advising the development of this potential new competition.

Reilly Brennan, a lecturer at Stanford's Center for Automotive Research, partner at Trucks Venture Capital and another competition advisor, said: "Competitions that demand the highest performance thresholds have shown the ability to reveal new thinking, new collaborations and new talent. Over a decade ago, the DARPA Grand Challenge kick-started an important wave of innovation in automated vehicles that spilled over into the private sector and reinvigorated the research community. I believe a new competition focused on high-speed automated vehicles has the potential to do the same."

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been an incubator and proving ground for automotive innovation since it opened in 1909. The facility originally was designed as a test track for the burgeoning automotive industry in Indianapolis at the turn of the century, and innovation began with the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911, when winner Ray Harroun equipped and used what is believed to be the first rear-view mirror in automotive history on his Marmon "Wasp" race car.

Since then, countless automotive and motorsports breakthroughs have been fostered at IMS, including the first use of a Pace Car (1911), what is believed to be the first mass rolling start of a race (1911), the first use of four-wheel hydraulic brakes (1921), the first installation of color warning lights (1935), the first mandatory use of helmets (1935) and the first use of crash-data recorders (1993). As the 21st century dawned on the Speedway, arguably the greatest invention to protect drivers in a high-speed crash, the SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) Barrier, was applied to the track's four turns, in May 2002.

ESN, which is managing the project, has focused on innovations in transportation (including electrification, Mobility-as-a-Service, and autonomous first/last mile solutions) since its founding in 2009, and recently released a report titled Emerging Mobility Technologies and Trends that delves into the rapid transformation of this industry. ESN sees the opportunity to advance the commercialization of connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies through the development of this competition. Strategy Analytics - a consulting, advisory, and strategic market research services company - expects this industry to be worth $800 billion by 2035 and $7 trillion by 2050.

"While self-driving technologies and performance have advanced radically in recent years, solving for so-called 'edge cases' - those extreme and potentially dangerous roadway conditions - has in many cases remained elusive," said Matt Peak, director of mobility at Energy Systems Network. "A competition that challenges the stability and control of autonomous vehicles at ultra-high speeds and in close proximity to each other would have real-world applicability in highway scenarios, and aid in the deployment of technologies that help vehicles avoid accidents and make our roadways safer."

The participants of the workshop are experts and researchers from:

Ariel University

Clemson University - International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR)

Dallara Automobili

Elevate Ventures

Georgia Institute of Technology

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)

Kennesaw State University

Kettering University

Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST)

LHP Engineering Solutions

Michigan State University - Autonomous and Connected Vehicle (CANVAS) Research Center

Ohio State University - Center for Automotive Research (CAR)

Purdue University

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI)

Toyota Mobility Foundation

University of Alabama

University of Florida Transportation Institute

University of Virginia

University of Waterloo

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) - Center for Advanced Automotive Research

IMS and ESN envision using the input gathered from the workshop to further refine the concept, examine a potential competition framework, and work to engage additional stakeholders to support its possible implementation. For updated information as it becomes available, subscribe for email updates at www.indyavchallenge.com.

ESN is an Indianapolis-based nonprofit initiative focused on the development of the advanced energy technology and transportation sectors.  ESN's mission is to leverage our network of global thought leaders to develop integrated energy solutions to increase quality of life for today and tomorrow.  Our collective focus is to: reduce costs, emissions and waste; influence policy; and advance technological innovation. For more information, visit www.energysystemsnetwork.com.


The Ritz-Carlton in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, played host to a spectacular 39th annual Speedway Children’s Charities Gala presented by Sonic Automotive and EchoPark on Wednesday night, with the far-reaching nonprofit raising more than $1 million for children in need throughout the greater Charlotte region.

“This year’s Speedway Children’s Charities Gala presented by Sonic Automotive and EchoPark saw our donations exceed $1 million on a night full of fun and festivities,” said Lisa Starnes, executive director of the Charlotte Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. “We are honored to have enjoyed such a productive evening, and it’s a credit to our many sponsors and supporters.”

The evening included a menu designed by world-class Chef Robert Irvine of Food Network’s “Restaurant: Impossible” fame and live music from country music star Justin Moore. The black-tie gala also featured a special recognition for NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton, one of NASCAR’s most significant leaders for five decades and a longtime supporter of and advocate for Speedway Children’s Charities.

“Mike Helton is one of the most influential people in NASCAR, a longtime supporter of Speedway Children’s Charities and a very deserving person to be honored,” said Marcus Smith, vice chairman of Speedway Children’s Charities. “Our gala gave us the chance to thank Mike for his commitments to the NASCAR industry and all of its stakeholders as well as Speedway Children’s Charities. It was a great night. Thanks to the generosity of everyone in attendance, their support will enable us to really further our reach toward helping kids in the greater Charlotte region.”

Other NASCAR dignitaries who attended the gala included Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Executive Chairman O. Bruton Smith; Sonic Automotive and EchoPark CEO David B. Smith; NASCAR President Steve Phelps; NASCAR Vice Chairperson of the Board of Directors Lesa France-Kennedy, and 2020 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Joe Gibbs – on the day he was voted into the Hall – as well as fellow NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Jarrett and Ken Squier. FOX NASCAR personalities including Adam Alexander, Shannon Spake, Michael Waltrip and Regan Smith were in attendance, as were Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera and all-pro linebacker Luke Kuechly and former NFL players Jason Sehorn and Kevin Donnalley.

Since Bruton Smith founded Speedway Children’s Charities in 1982, the organization has awarded $53 million to other nonprofits across the country. Speedway Children’s Charities are operated by Speedway Motorsports, Inc.

For more information on Speedway Children’s Charities or to see how to volunteer or make a donation, visit www.speedwaycharities.org.


On Saturday, June 15, Darlington Raceway will give race fans a unique opportunity to drive their personal vehicles on the high banks of the Lady in Black, and in turn, support our service members and veterans.

For a $30 cash donation per car, Darlington Raceway will allow fans to take three laps around the famed 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval. The Track Drive is scheduled for 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. on June 15.

For their donation, guests will also receive two (2) tickets to the August 31 NASCAR Xfinity Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 race (which will feature Dale Earnhardt Jr. racing in his only event of the season). With each $30 donation, $10 will benefit the VFW’s Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship program.

“We had a great turnout last year with the track drive here at Darlington Raceway and are excited to get our fans back again for the opportunity to take a few laps around the track while supporting our service members and veterans through the Sports Clips’ Help A Hero Scholarship program,” track President Kerry Tharp said. “We encourage our fans to come out to the track that day to participate in some family-fun activities for an extremely worthy cause.”

Since 2013, Sport Clips has been the primary supporter of the VFW’s Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship program, which provides scholarships for service members and veterans for use at post-secondary schools and trade schools. From October 14 through November 11, Sport Clips locations around the country will collect donations in-store to support the scholarship program. To date, nearly 1,300 scholarships more than $5.7 million have been awarded.

Scholarship recipients come from every part of the United States and represent every branch of service. Recipients are earning a variety of degrees including engineering, computer science, business, accounting, healthcare, and many more.


  • Motorcycles will not be permitted. Passenger vehicles only.
  • All drivers must present a valid driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance at check-in
  • The driver of the vehicle must be 21 years of age or older
  • All participants must sign a waiver of liability (including all passengers)
  • All drivers and passengers must adhere to South Carolina state laws regarding the usage of seat belts and child safety restraints
  • Headlights must be on at all times
  • Fans must enter the track through the Gate 39A tunnel entrance off of Highway 151
  • Laps will be held at a maximum speed of 70 mph and regulated by Darlington Raceway personnel with a lead and chase vehicle
  • The event is weather dependent. In case of inclement weather, the track will issue an official weather statement on DarlingtonRaceway.com no later than Friday, June 14 and announce an alternate date at that time.

Darlington Raceway PR

MotoGator™, an exciting new automotive products brand launching this year during the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, has reached a partnership with Hulman Motorsports to become the Official Pit Stop Partner of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

As part of the agreement, MotoGator will become the title sponsor of the annual pit stop contest on Miller Lite Carb Day, Friday, May 24. The MotoGator Pit Stop Challenge at the Indy 500, which starts at 2 p.m. Friday, determines the fastest pit crew in the Indianapolis 500 and NTT IndyCar Series.

"The NTT IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge continue to be a powerful platform to promote brands and businesses, and we're pleased that MotoGator has selected both to launch their innovative new product line," said Mark Miles, president and CEO of Hulman & Company, the parent company of INDYCAR and IMS. "The annual Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge is one of the most popular events of the Month of May, and we're pleased MotoGator will launch its brand with us in such exciting fashion."

MotoGator™ was created to empower a new generation of DIY (Do It Yourself) automotive enthusiasts with new and leading-edge products enabling them to achieve Professional Grade Performance, "In a Snap!" 

Following in the tradition of many famous automotive brands first introduced to consumers through pro motorsports, the MotoGator Official Launch is taking place during the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 26. MotoGator is the primary sponsor of the No. 77 MotoGator Team Stange with Arrow SPM Honda driven by Oriol Servia in this year's race.

Loose It Up™ is the featured product of the MotoGator launch. Loose It Up is an industry-first penetrating "Super Lubricant" developed originally for pro motorsports to loosen pro race tightened or ceased components that ordinary lubricants are unable to free. With proprietary anti-friction agents, Loose It Up works in extreme heat or cold conditions to free rusted or ceased parts. It cleans, lubricates, displaces moisture and rust-proofs all metals. Unlike ordinary penetrating lubricants, Loose It Up is ideal for chains in saws, bikes and motorcycles. Loose It Up empowers DIY enthusiasts to Loosen Almost Anything - In a Snap!

For more information on MotoGator, visit www.motogator.com.


The highly anticipated Route 66 NHRA Nationals return to Route 66 Raceway, the First True Stadium of Drag Racing, June 27-30 for four days of drag racing. Four deserving class champions – Pro Stock Motorcycle, Pro Stock, Top Fuel and Funny Car – will be compete throughout the weekend with Champions ultimately crowned on Sunday.

To kick the weekend off, the first-ever Burnout on the Bases Softball game will take place Thursday evening, featuring the Joliet Slammers, City of Joliet celebrities and NHRA drivers and dignitaries as they tear it up on the bases to celebrate the Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Joliet’s Route 66 Stadium.

Speaking of baseball, defending Route 66 NHRA Nationals Top Fuel Champion Clay Millican will be throwing out the first pitch at the Chicago White Sox game Thursday evening.

Simultaneously, Erica Enders will make a special appearance at Hollywood Casino on Thursday, May 30, where she will sign autographs and interact with fans. The opportunity to meet the first female Pro Stock Champion is open to all fans of all ages.

The full line-up of action continues Route 66 Raceway on Friday with nitro under the lights followed by a jet car finale, featuring two jet dragsters that will rocket to speeds near 300 mph. ProJet Motorsports’ “Hot Blade” piloted by Al Zukauskas (Al Z) and Team Heat’s “Fifty Caliber” driven by Scott Holdridge. Hot Blade features a Pratt & Whitney J60/JT12 engine used in Navy T-2 Buckeye fighter jets. This engine produces 6,000 horsepower with 4,500 pounds of thrust at approximately 19,000 revolutions per minute (RPM). The dragster hits over 100 mph during the first 60 feet and under one second.

Then, on Saturday at 2:00 p.m., NAPA Auto Parts Funny Car driver and official 2019 Route 66 Raceway Kid’s Club Crew Chief Ron Capps, will sign autographs and take on challengers in the tree competition to see who has the best reaction time.

Following the festivities on All-Star Saturday, “The Blooze Brothers,” a Blues Brothers tribute band, will perform on the north side of the grandstands. All fans are welcome to attend, grab a drink and enjoy the familiar tunes of Sweet Home Chicago, Everybody Needs Somebody and Jailhouse Rock.

Fans dive deeper into the history of the Joliet area by taking a historical ride down the Mother Road as they view the Joliet Area Historical Museum’s Route 66 display with Route 66 Raceway’s Fan Pit Stop. From the Santa Monica Pier in California to downtown Chicago, there is something for everyone on this historic route.

In addition, premiere motorsports artist Kenny Youngblood will be on-site at the Route 66 Raceway Fan Pit Stop throughout the weekend personalizing unique prints for fans to commemorate their time at the race track. Fans can obtain a unique print from Youngblood during the following dates and times:

            Friday, May 31              4:00-5:00 p.m.               7:00-8:00 p.m.

            Saturday, June 1           12:00-1:00 p.m.             4:00-5:00 p.m.

            Sunday, June 2             9:00-10:00 a.m.             3:00-4:00 p.m.

Drag racing legend Shirley Muldowney will serve as the event’s honorary Grand Marshal. Muldowney will appear throughout the weekend at various autograph sessions and Championship Sunday’s pre-race ceremonies.

Before the racing starts on Sunday, fans have the opportunity to walk the track and be front-row-center for pre-race ceremonies at 9:45 a.m.

Then, a native-born Chicagoan, Wayne Messmer will sing this year’s national anthem. Messmer was recognized early as having a natural gift and talent, his voice led him to follow opportunities leading to a successful career as a professional speaker, broadcaster, singer and announcer with various Chicago sports teams, most notably the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Wolves Hockey, and formerly the Chicago Blackhawks. Wayne is also a well-known voice on the Chicago radio scene. Included among his most memorable performances are the NHL All-Star Game at Chicago Stadium and as The Voice Of Victory at the 2016 World Series at Wrigley Field.

Fans truly will not want to miss out on Championship Sunday it is the day that determines who will take the coveted top place in the Winner’s Circle for the top four Pro Classes (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle). Fans can now partake in the celebration as the staging lanes will open immediately following the on-track action for those in the grandstands to get up-close as the winners receive their Wallys.

No matter their seat location, fans can stay in the loop and witness all the action on the big screen as Route 66 Raceway will feature a second screen this year.

The weekend will feature a variety of autograph sessions including one with the field of Pro Stock Motorcycle, a Pro Stock Motorcycle School, Nitro School and walking tour throughout the weekend. For a full schedule of events, visit Route66Raceway.com/nhra.

To purchase tickets to the Route 66 NHRA Nationals, or any of the other 2019 Route 66 Raceway events, visit us online at www.Route66Raceway.com, call 888-629-RACE, download the Route 66  Raceway mobile app,  visit the Route 66 Raceway Administrative office or stop by the box office on the day of the event.

For more information on Route 66 Raceway, stay connected on Twitter and Facebook or by visiting Route66Raceway.com.

Route 66 Dragway PR

Perris Auto Speedway fans will get an extra treat at the annual “Salute to Indy” this Saturday night, May 25th.  Legendary West Coast open-wheel driver Wally Pankratz will be making his first appearance in two years at the famous Riverside County clay oval in The PAS Senior Sprint Cars.

Wally Pankratz at Craig Road Speedway in Las Vegas in 1979.  Scott Daloisio Photo.

Pankratz, the son of former racer and Indy Car builder Bob Pankratz, has been racing open wheel cars for 49-years.  He has competed in and won across the country in sprint cars, super modifieds, midgets and silver crown cars.  He has won championships in the USAC Western Midget Series, the old Super Modified Racing Association, Hanford Speedway Sprint Cars, Ascot Super Midgets and two years ago, at the young age of 71, in the Ventura Senior Sprint Cars.  All told, he has won 114-main events in his career and he was inducted into the National Midget Racing Hall of Fame in Belleville, Kansas in 2006 (one year before his father).

About a dozen years ago, Pankratz, now 73-years-old, officially retired from racing.  However, someone apparently forgot to tell him that in order to retire, you must stop driving in races.  Even though he announced that he was done, he just kept on competing.

“I actually did retire for a couple of years,” the Orange resident said with a laugh.  “I was trying to get my driving school off the ground, and somebody had a friend who wanted to get into racing and take the school, but they had never heard of me.  I told my wife maybe I should start racing the Focus Midget to keep my name out there.  She went for it and I am still racing today.”

These days Pankratz confines most of his racing to the Senior Sprint Car Series (drivers 40 and older) at the Ventura Raceway.  He drives for car owner Ray Swann and says he will keep on driving for as long as Swann wants him to.

“I keep driving because of Ray Swann,” Pankratz said.  “He is 84-years-old, and he just loves it.  His crew guys say he beams when they go to the races.  At the end of last year, he asked me if I wanted to do this again.  I told him if he wanted to, yes, I would do it.  So, we are back at it again.  My wife Barbara is on board and she loves Ray.   As long as he wants to do it, I will do it to.”

A former defensive back at Fullerton Junior College and Idaho State, Pankratz attended training camp as a free agent with the San Diego Chargers in the 1960s.  He once joked that the size of the players in camp convinced him to get into racing.  Joke or not, he fashioned a wonderful career.  One of the goals of his was to race Indy Cars and he did get the opportunity in the early 1980s driving for former CRA driver Norm Hall at Phoenix International Raceway and Riverside Raceway.

If Pankratz ever stops racing himself, the family name will still be around.  His daughter Randi began her racing career at the old quarter midget track in Pomona in the early 1980s.  Competitive like her father, she progressed from the quarter-midgets to the now-defunct USAC Three-Quarter Midget Series.  For more than two decades now, she has been a regular, and one of the most popular drivers, in the USAC Western Midget Series.

All active and retired California Highway Patrol Officers will be admitted to this Saturday’s race free.  All they have to do is show their CHP badge or id at the ticket window and they will be given a free ticket.

Spectator gates for Saturday’s race will open at 5:00 P.M. and the first 200 fans through the front gate will receive a free stadium cup courtesy of the American Cancer Society.  The first race will take the green flag at 7:00.

Tickets for Saturday’s race are $25.00 for adults.  Seniors 65 and over get in for $20.00.  For active military with proper id and their spouse or date, it is $5.00 each.  Teens 13-18 with their school id and kids 6-12 get in for $5.00.  Children 5 and under are free.  Parking on the fairgrounds is $8.00.

Camping on the fairgrounds opens at noon on Friday.  Tailgating on the grassy area outside of turn four begins at 1:00 P.M. on Saturday.

Advance tickets for all Perris Auto Speedway events are available 24-hours a day online at https://bit.ly/2Aa50Lj or by calling 1-800-595-4849.  If you do not wish to buy tickets in advance for any race, there will be plenty of tickets for everyone at the ticket window on race night.

Perris Auto Speedway is conveniently located on the SoCal Fair and Event Center (home of October’s Southern California Fair), approximately one hour east of Los Angeles and one-hour North of San Diego. To get to the track, take the 215 freeway, on the Ramona Expressway and go three miles east to the fairgrounds. For directions on MapQuest, the address to enter is: 18700 Lake Perris Drive and the zip code is 92571.

Perris Auto Speedway wants to thank its corporate partners for the 2019 season.  All Coast Construction,  Austin Hutchinson Realtor, Battery Systems, Brass and Bass Firearms & Fishing Supplies, Budweiser, Bud’s Tire Pro, Chris’ Hauling, City of Perris, Daytona Boat & RV Storage, Ed Moore Bullet Proof Driveshaft, Flowdynamics, HD Industries, Hoosier Tires, Inland Rigging, K2 Displays, Living Water’s Hospice, LKQ Pick Your Part, Luke’s Transmission, Pepsi-Cola, Pole Position, PrintItNow.com,  Rainbow Bolt & Supply, Shaver Specialties, Square H, Sunoco Race Fuels, Sunstate Equipment, Trench Shoring, Varner Construction, VIA RV Service and Vista Paint.

To keep up with all the latest Perris Auto Speedway news, photos, gossip and receive special offers, please use the following links:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Perris-Auto-Speedway/113876798686480?ref=hl

Twitter: Perris Auto Speedway on Twitter.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/perrisautospeedway/

Website: http://perrisautospeedway.com/


Veteran NHRA Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr. and rookie Super Late Model driver Trey Bayne gave Tri-Cities media members a day to remember Wednesday as the two drivers provided them a peek behind the scenes with a quick "Racing 101" discussion and then took them out on the track for laps at both Bristol Motor Speedway and Bristol Dragway.

Bayne will be competing in the Super Late Model division in next weekend’s Short Track U.S. Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway (May 31-June 1), while Johnson Jr. will try to win his third NHRA Wally trophy at Bristol Dragway during the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals on Father’s Day weekend, June 14-16.

Both drivers thrilled media members by giving them rides around the historic oval and down the legendary quarter-mile dragstrip.

Bayne, who is the younger brother of 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne, was excited to take his first laps around The Last Great Colosseum, even if it was in a street car.

“It’s so cool here, this place is awesome,” said Bayne, who told the media he has learned to get feedback from the car when he’s making laps and it has accelerated his learning curve in the sport. “Every track that I’ve raced at this season has been my first time there and it will be the same here at Bristol. I’ve been practicing at Bristol on the simulator so that has helped. I’m really looking forward to getting out here in my race car next weekend. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Bayne, who drives the No. 21 JacoberBayne Motorsports Super Late Model machine, is in his second season of stock car racing. Last year he earned his first victory competing in Late Model Stock at nearby Kingsport Speedway and in the process earned the Rookie of the Year title in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.

“It felt great to get that win,” Bayne said. “I started out slow and over the course of several races kept getting better finishes and finally got the win. Then I had a bunch of top-five finishes at the end of the year. It was a fun year and a great way to get started in the sport.”

Meanwhile Johnson Jr. has a great season going in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and sits fourth in the Funny Car standings with a runner-up and three semifinal finishes in his Make-A-Wish Funny Car. He is looking forward to returning to Bristol where he’s had some success, including an IHRA victory in the late 1980s in Alcohol Funny Car in addition to his two NHRA victories here (2014 and 2016).

“I love this track; it’s the atmosphere and the setting here that’s so different than everywhere we race,” Johnson Jr. said. “I’ve done well on Father’s Day weekend a lot during my career and I have some great memories sharing those trophies I won here at Bristol with my dad, because it’s also his birthday around that weekend, so we’ve had some great celebrations here. I haven’t won yet this year and I would be OK waiting till we get to Bristol to get my first win. This place is really special to me.”

Johnson Jr. told the media the keys to running well at Thunder Valley comes with working closely with his crew chief and making the proper adjustments for the conditions they are presented with.

“You really have to pay attention to the track temperature because it can get a little warm here in the summer.” Johnson said. “And the altitude here is a bit higher than most tracks so you have to take that into consideration. It’s the third race of a stretch of four in a row so it can be demanding on the teams. The best thing here is the night racing, in this setting with as loud as the cars are and the way they echo in the valley after each run and the bright flames come off the header pipes, there’s nothing else like it.”

Johnson, who has made laps in a variety of race cars on ovals during his career but has never competed in an oval race or series, says he really enjoyed taking on the high banks at The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.

“I tell you what, making laps around the oval gives you a great appreciation for what these NASCAR drivers go through during the Night Race,” Johnson Jr. said. “I know how I feel after making 20 laps, so I can’t imagine what they must be feeling after 500 laps around this place. When you see the high banking it’s so cool. I had a lot of fun driving the car on it and I kept getting faster and faster but I decided I should shut it down because the last thing I need is to put it into the wall.”

After a week off, Johnson Jr. and the NHRA circuit heads to Chicago and then to Topeka, Kan., before arriving at Thunder Valley on Father’s Day weekend.

“It was a fun day today, giving the media a glimpse at how we approach racing and showing Trey a little bit about drag racing,” Johnson Jr. said. “I think we may have a new drag racing fan in Trey. He seemed to really enjoy it and I gave him a few pointers and he was a quick learner. He did well out there making runs and told me he might have to talk to his dad about getting a dragster.”

Bayne produced several stellar reaction times and looked like an old pro on the dragstrip after making about a half-dozen runs thanks to Johnson’s coaching.

“That was so much fun getting to make some runs on the dragstrip,” Bayne said. “Once I got the tree figured out I was doing better and also figured out how to hold and release the brake at the start. I can’t believe I beat Tommy on one of the runs but I think he just took it easy on me. It’s very addicting, that’s for sure.”

To purchase tickets to the Short Track U.S. Nationals or the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, please contact the Bristol Motor Speedway ticket office at 866-415-4158 or buy your tickets online at www.bristolmotorspeedway.com.


Ever wanted to drive your own car on the track?

Well now is your chance, IF you have a Ford! This Friday night at Kingsport Speedway will be our annual FORD night! If you have a Ford, you will be able to display your car and even make parade laps around the track before the racing action starts. (GM and Mopar Nights will be later in the year.)

Friday nights festivities will feature exciting NASCAR Whelen All-American Series sanctioned racing action in Highland Sign Shop Late Model Stock Car division, Super Transmissions Modified Street class, Pure 4, Mod 4, and Pure Street class.

  • Pit Gate – 2 p.m.
  • Spectator Gates – 5 p.m.
  • Green Flag – 8 p.m.

Adult grandstand admission Friday $12, with kids 12-and-under admitted FREE. Adult tier-parking admission $12 per person (plus a $12 vehicle parking spot fee), with kids 12-and-under admitted free. Full race day schedule and updates points are attracted and will be posted online.

Other Notes: 

  • This race is a Contingency Connection Racer Rewards event.  Contingency Connection offers nearly $150,000 in national contingency awards. Visit contingencyconnection.com to see a list of over 100 sponsors posting awards for grassroots racers this season
  • Tier-parking spots are still available for season-long reservation at $100 per spot. With a reserved parking spot, weekly vehicle and admission costs still apply.
  • An open practice is scheduled for Thursday May 9, from 3 p.m. – 8 p.m. and FREE for fans to come watch.
  • Kingsport Speedway is the only weekly NASCAR Whelen All-American Series sanctioned concrete surfaced short-track in the United States.

For more information on Kingsport Speedway, visit our website at -www.kingsportspeedway.com

Fresh content and updates can also be found on the tracks Facebook page (@KingsportSpeedway), Twitter (@KpSpeedway), Instagram (@KingsportSpeedway), Snapchat (@KptSpeedway), and YouTube (@KingsportSpeedway).


Memorial Day weekend is one of the biggest weekends in motorsports as the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 will both be run this Sunday. Now, racing enthusiasts can take advantage of the holiday by making sure they don’t miss out on the pinnacle of the NASCAR season, Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Starting Wednesday through Tuesday, May 28, Homestead-Miami Speedway will be offering a special Memorial Day ticket package for $90. Fans who purchase this package will receive the following:

·         Grandstand ticket to the Ford EcoBoost 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship race on Sunday, November 17

·         Pit pass, which gives the attendee access to exclusive areas in the infield

·         Access to the post-race championship celebration

The 2019 Ford Championship Weekend is the culmination of 18 consecutive years of crowning NASCAR champions at Homestead-Miami Speedway. To purchase the Memorial Day package and buy tickets to Ford Championship Weekend, November 15-17, visit www.HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com or call (866) 409-RACE (7223).

Homestead Miami Speedway PR

Charlotte Motor Speedway will host race fans from all 50 U.S. states and 19 countries including the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay and New Zealand this month in anticipation of the 60th running of the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday.

On Wednesday, crews from Pioneer Athletics completed painting on the speedway's infield synthetic turf – which was installed last year and covers more than 100,000 square feet in the infield. 

The race-week action kicks off Thursday with Spectrum Pole Night as NASCAR’s best set the field for Sunday’s 600-mile showcase of patriotism and wheel-to-wheel drama. Thursday's fun continues with the ARCA Menards Series' General Tire 150 under the lights.

On Saturday, the Alsco 300 pits the up-and-coming stars of the NASCAR Xfinity Series against one another in a 300-mile duel under the sun. Sunday's festivities will include a pre-race concert presented by Advance Auto Parts Speed Perks featuring Cheap Trick. A patriotic pre-race Salute to the Troops will build the excitement to an action-packed crescendo with Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 getting underway at 6 p.m.

To purchase Coca-Cola 600 race week tickets, fans can call 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or shop online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.

Fans can connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway and get the latest news by following on Twitter and Instagram, becoming a Facebook fan or downloading the Charlotte Motor Speedway mobile app.


Ducati Island offers the ultimate Ducati experience including optimal seating to witness Álvaro Bautista and Chaz Davies compete during the 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round with MotoAmerica at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on July 12-14. With 11 consecutive victories on his Panigale V4 R, Bautista remains unbeatable this season.

Ducati fans will cheer on privateer Kyle Wyman, who will be campaigning Ducati on a Panigale V4 R in the MotoAmerica EBC Brakes Superbike championship.


Starting at $179, the Ducati Island Package includes a 3-Day General Admission ticket, a Paddock Pass, an Open Grandstand Seat, a VIP Ducati-only Motorcycle Parking on the Island, a Ducati-only Parade Lap, and a special gift.

Come check out the demo ride selection between races. This year, Diavel and Scrambler Ducati test rides are being offered.


Discover the 2019 Scrambler Ducati lineup featuring the newly updated Scrambler Icon, Full Throttle, Cafe Racer, and Desert Sled. Hourly demo rides are available throughout the day. Come hang out at the Scrambler Ducati Camp while listening to Scrambler Ducati radio.

The Diavel trailer will be on site offering test rides on the new Diavel 1260. You won’t want to miss the roar of Diavel 1260 S with the Termignoni exhaust. Bring your gear if you plan to ride!

Don’t miss out. There may be a surprise announcement during the weekend. You’ll have to be there to find out! Click here and use the code DUCATI at checkout to receive special pricing, exclusively for Ducatisti.

For more information about the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round with MotoAmerica, Ducati Island, and other exclusive manufacturer packages, visit here or call 831-242-8200.


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