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2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductees Red Byron, Ray Evernham, Ron Hornaday Jr., Ken Squier and Robert Yates

NASCAR

(from left) Ray Evernham, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Ken Squier

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The ninth class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame was officially inducted Friday night in a ceremony in the Crown Ballroom at the Charlotte Convention Center in North Carolina.
One of the most diverse, the class of 2018 encompassed the entire 70-year history of the sport, including NASCAR’s first champion Red Byron, 4-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr, 3-time champion crew chief Ray Evernham, 3-time Daytona 500 winning car owner Robert Yates, and the co-founder of the Motor Racing Network and television innovator and long-time broadcaster, Ken Squier.
In addition to honoring the five Hall of Fame Inductees, veteran motorsports journalist Dusty Brandel, who pioneered the road for women in the NASCAR media corps in the 1970’s, was name the 2018 Squier-Hall Award Winner for Media Excellence and International Speedway Corporation Chairman of the Board Jim France was honored as the winner of the 2018 Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.
A member of the United States Army Air Corps, Byron suffered a serious leg injury during a mission during World War II and was forced to wear a special brace in his car while racing after his military duty. READ FULL STORY

BREAKING NEWS: Racing legend Dan Gurney, dies at age 86

NEWPORT BEACH — Dan Gurney, the first driver with victories in each of the Formula One, IndyCar and NASCAR Cup series, died Sunday from complications of pneumonia. He was 86.

His wife, Evi, announced his death in a statement distributed by All American Racers Inc.

“With one last smile on his handsome face, Dan drove off into the unknown just before noon today,” said the statement signed by Evi Gurney, the Gurney family and AAR teammates.

  • FILE – This Dec. 9, 1962 file photo shows Dan Gurney holding a trophy in Nassau, Bahamas. Gurney, the first driver to win in Formula One, IndyCar and NASCAR, died Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018 from complications of pneumonia. He was 86. His wife, Evi, announced his death in a statement distributed by All American Racers, Inc. (AP Photo)
FILE – This Dec. 9, 1962 file photo shows Dan Gurney holding a trophy in Nassau, Bahamas. Gurney, the first driver to win in Formula One, IndyCar and NASCAR, died Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018 from complications of pneumonia. He was 86. His wife, Evi, announced his death in a statement distributed by All American Racers, Inc. (AP Photo)    “In deepest sorrow, with gratitude in our hearts for the love and joy you have given us during your time on this earth, we say, ‘Godspeed.”    Gurney began racing in 1955 and won in nearly every racing series he attempted. He drove for Ferrari, BRM, Porsche and Brabham in Formula One, then formed his own team. He won the Belgian Grand Prix in 1967 in his own car, the first and only time an American won an F1 race in a car of his own design.    Gurney teamed with AJ Foyt that year to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Ford GT40, and he’s often credited with starting the tradition of spraying the champagne from the podium at that race.  Gurney retired from driving in 1970 with 51 victories. READ FULL STORY

Motorsports Hall of Fame of America Names 2018 Class

Seven men representing six motorsports disciplines and one iconic racing facility are included in the 2018 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA) inductee class.   The milestone 30th annual induction ceremony, presented by Bridgestone, is set for March 13 at The Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach. Honorees include drag racing car builder John Buttera, Indianapolis Motor Speedway founder Carl G. Fisher, four-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, record-setting pilot and world-famous billionaire Howard Hughes, motorcycle great Fred Merkel, three-time Indianapolis 500 champion owner U.E. Pat Patrick and sports car legend Bob Tullius.  “Our inductee classes are always intriguing but this year is even more so,” said Ron Watson MSHFA president. “Howard Hughes and Jeff Gordon in the same class—that is probably the best example we’ve ever had to illustrate the breadth of our inductee roll.”The MSHFA, which in recent years has hosted its induction in July, has moved the date for this year’s ceremony. The switch puts the induction amid a bevy of March motorsports activity in Florida. The IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance, the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, the 12 Hours of Sebring, plus the AMA DAYTONA Supercross, American Flat Track’s DAYTONA TT and the DAYTONA 200, as well as Bike Week in Daytona Beach, will all take place in a 10-day period that includes the MSHFA induction. READ FULL STORY

Kye Kelly Wins $40,000 at Tucson Dragway’s “Street Outlaws Live” event

Huge crowds showed up on both Friday and Saturday for the “Street Outlaws Live” event on January 5th & 6th at Tucson Dragway.  32 of the countries quickest “Street” cars faced off in the winner take all race. On Saturday evening when the smoke and several crashes through 4 rounds of competition had cleared, it came down to two racers from Louisiana in the winner-take-all 5th and final round. Kye Kelly and his 903 cubic inch nitrous boosted big block Chevy powered “Shocker” Camaro faced the 632 cubic inch nitrous boosted big block Chevy powered ’67 Nova wagon of Ken Clark called “Swamp Thing”. These street outlaw and No-Prep type races are contested in the 660 foot eighth mile, so close side by side racing is common. This final round saw Kelly get the starting line advantage and “Swamp Thing” was right there but Kelly easily got to the finish line first and the $40,000 cash prize.

On Jan. 19-20 the “Roadkill Zip-Tie Drags” will be at Tucson Dragway. For info visit www.tucsondragway.com

SEMA Update: 2017 SEMA Show Best New Product Winners Named

2 Ton big wheel jackOn the opening day of the 2017 SEMA Show, New Product Awards were presented in 16 categories during the New Product Awards Breakfast. Representing the most innovative and cutting-edge specialty automotive products to hit the market in coming year, the winners and runners up were chosen from a field of more than 3,000 products entered into the SEMA Show New Products Showcase. Products are judged and selected based on a variety of factors that include quality, marketability, innovation, technology and consumer appeal.

2017 SEMA Show New Product Award Winners.  SEE FULL RESULTS

SEMA Update: WTC to Host Open Meeting in Phoenix for Wheel and Tire Professionals

By Jenny Galvan

WTC
All wheel and tire professionals interested in learning more about the WTC and its initiatives are invited to take advantage of the general membership meeting’s learning and networking opportunities.

The Wheel and Tire Council (WTC) is hosting an open meeting in the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport area, Tuesday, February 20. All wheel and tire professionals interested in learning more about the WTC and its initiatives are invited to take advantage of the event’s learning and networking opportunities.

During the general membership meeting, WTC members will discuss the council’s initiatives and the benefits of becoming a council member. Other scheduled activities include a seminar on vehicle technology, a wheel and tire testing forum and an on-site proving-ground facility tour, which includes a stability-control test viewing. A Top Golf networking outing is also scheduled. Group transportation  to the proving ground will be provided during the agenda’s afternoon portion.

Registration is required to participate.

The select committee will gather for a second day to further discuss the wheel and tire market in a closed meeting setting. More information regarding the event’s primary location is yet to be determined. However, event registration is now open.

NHRA Update: Four-wide construction progressing at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Four-Wide racing is coming to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when the Denso Auto Parts NHRA Four-Wide Nationals descends upon Sin City in April. Construction is well under way at the complex just North of downtown Las Vegas, providing the opportunity for this update on the progress of the second four-lane dragstrip.     The inaugural Denso Auto Parts NHRA Four-Wide Nationals is the fourth race on the NHRA Drag Racing tour, coming just after the historic Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals.    Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Chris McGaha (Pro Stock), LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) won the most recent Four-Wide race in Charlotte, N.C. in April 2017. The Las Vegas Four-Wide event brings the excitement of Four-Wide racing out West, with the first qualifying session scheduled for 1 p.m. PT on Friday.    Las Vegas Motor Speedway expects to complete construction mid-February. Fans can grab tickets to all three days of exciting racing now, in addition to the season-opening Lucas Oil Winternationals Presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com.

NASCAR Drivers Ready for Chili Bowl

iRacing - Chili Bowl Nationals

Defending winner Christopher Bell is one of the NASCAR drivers among more than 325 entries for the 32nd Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Okla., that begin Tuesday with four nights of qualifying.    Bell book-ended the 2017 season with two big accomplishments in his early racing career by winning the 2017 Chili Bowl and then the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship.    “I don’t think it gets much better than that,” said Bell, who moves to the XFINITY Series full-time with Joe Gibbs Racing this season. “You can’t compare the two. One of them is a race and one of them is a championship over the course of a year. But to win both is a dream come true.”    Bell, who joins the late Bryan Clauson as the only other driver with a “Golden Driller” trophy in both Shootout Micro and Chili Bowl Midget competition, captured last year’s Chili Bowl to become the first Oklahoman to win since Andy Hillenburg in 1994.     “Coming back here as the champion is a whole lot less stressful,” Bell said during Monday’s press conference. “As a kid growing up in Oklahoma racing micro sprints the Chili Bowl was the biggest race event of the year. I remember coming here as a little kid coming up to Tony (Stewart) and asking for his autograph.”     For the Chili Bowl, Bell will once again race for Keith Kunz/Curb Agajanian and will be a teammate of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson. The team, fielding cars for eight drivers including Rico Abreu, is seeking its fourth straight Chili Bowl win. Abreu, who raced full-time in the Truck Series in 2016, won the event in 2015 and 2016.    Larson goes into this year’s Chili Bowl fresh off scoring three wins in midget competition in New Zealand. READ FULL STORY

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Update: Changes for 2018: Part 1

A number of changes are set to take place when the 2018 NASCAR season officially kicks off at Daytona International Speedway next month.   Schedule Changes  For the first time in years the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule will have a much different look. A number of venue and date shifts have given the 2018 calendar a new flavor.
The regular season will end at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in early September, meaning the Brickyard 400 will determine the 16-driver line-up eligible for this year’s playoffs. Indy’s shift from summer to fall moves Chicagoland Speedway back to July, a return to the track’s tradition that started in 2001 when it first hosted the Cup Series.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway will remain on the summer swing but the track’s fall date has been moved to Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 1.5-mile track will host its annual spring race weekend and add a second, which will now serve as the playoff opener.
Richmond Raceway slides back from the regular season finale spot into the playoffs. And Charlotte Motor Speedway adds a road course into the championship picture with the debut of the track’s brand new road racing circuit that utilizes both the existed oval track with a new course built inside the facility. READ FULL STORY

XFINITY Series Update: Ryan Truex to Drive for Kaulig Racing

Ryan TruexIn the midst of off-season expansion, Kaulig Racing announced today that Ryan Truex will drive the No. 11 Chevrolet for the full 2018 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. Truex is coming off a ninth-place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver standings. The younger brother of current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. also has two back-to-back NASCAR K&N East Series Championships as well as multiple years of experience in NASCAR’s premiere series.

“I’m extremely excited to be making the move back into the XFINITY Series,” said Truex. “In just two years Kaulig Racing has proved to be a highly competitive team each race and it should be a great fit. Last season I saw a lot of improvements in my racing and hopefully this year I can continue the success Kaulig Racing has built and compete for the championship at the end of the year.”

Two years after breaking into the NXS, team owner Matt Kaulig is excited about his team’s fast-paced growth in the sport. With back-to-back playoff runs as well as two stage wins and one pole award in the team’s short history, Kaulig sees promising opportunities for this season with Truex behind the wheel.

“When we started this team two years ago I knew we had the potential to be one of the strongest teams in the XFINITY Series and I think we’re within reach of that goal. Ryan is going to be a great addition to the team and I have some high hopes for this season. Each year we keep improving as a team and I think this season we’ll be able to get some wins and make another run in the playoffs. Everyone at Kaulig Racing is excited to have Ryan on board and it should be a great, fun year.”

Truex will make his debut for Kaulig Racing at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday February 17th, 2018. A sponsor announcement regarding Truex will be made shortly.