Monthly Archives: October 2016

NASCAR Updates Driver Participation Guidelines for 2017

TALLADEGA, AL - OCTOBER 23:  Martin Truex Jr, driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota, leads the field pass the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hellmann's 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 23, 2016 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)

TALLADEGA, AL – OCTOBER 23: Martin Truex Jr, driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota, leads the field pass the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hellmann’s 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 23, 2016 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 26, 2016) – In an announcement that will put an even brighter spotlight on the next generation of stars and bolster the identity of all three of its national series, NASCAR announced on Wednesday driver participation guidelines for the 2017 season. The new guidelines limit the number of events a premier series driver can race in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Starting next season, premier series drivers with more than five years of full-time experience will be eligible to compete in a maximum of 10 races in the XFINITY Series and seven races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Additionally, drivers with more than five years of full-time premier series experience will be ineligible to compete in the final eight races in each series, as well as the Dash 4 Cash races in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The final eight races are comprised of the regular season finale and the entirety of the Chase in each series.

Drivers earning premier series points in 2017 also are not eligible to compete in the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship Races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“The updated guidelines will elevate the stature of our future stars, while also providing them the opportunity to compete against the best in professional motorsports,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “These updated guidelines are the result of a collaborative effort involving the entire industry, and will ultimately better showcase the emerging stars of NASCAR.”

Drivers with more than five years of full-time experience in the premier series still can run for an XFINITY Series or Camping World Truck Series championship, provided they have declared for championship points in the respective series.

Wednesday’s announcement signals the next step in NASCAR’s driver participation guideline evolution. Prior to the 2016 season, NASCAR announced that members of the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field would be ineligible to compete in the 2016 Championship Race in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. In 2011, NASCAR implemented a rule requiring drivers to select one of the three national series in which to collect championship points.

 

About NASCAR

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States. NASCAR consists of three national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™, NASCAR XFINITY Series™, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™), four regional series, one local grassroots series and three international series. The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information visit http://www.NASCAR.com and http://www.IMSA.com, and follow NASCAR on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (‘NASCAR’). For race tickets, visit www.NASCAR.com/tickets.

Ryan Repko Impressive in Martinsville Debut

Photo: Ken Childs/Ken Childs Media

Photo: Ken Childs/Ken Childs Media

To make the race at Martinsville Speedway should be an honor in its own. To make it in on your first attempt, well that’s just something special. To make it in on your first attempt and run up front for most of the day and contend for a win in both your heat race and the 200-lap feature is something to make you stop and watch. Ryan Repko, 16 from Denver, North Carolina, somewhat stole the spot light this past weekend at Martinsville Speedway after qualifying third in Saturday’s time trials and a strong run in the first heat race Sunday afternoon.

Repko, who runs primarily out at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford and has a Limited Late Model win under his belt from 2015, complied several top five and ten finishes in his first year in a full Late Model Stock car to finish third in points, win the Rookie of the Year title along with the UNOH Youth Achievement award. That wasn’t all, Repko was able to finish within the top 100 (81st) NWAAS drivers this season starting in 21 races. His efforts at Motor Mile, South Boston and Dominion earned him twelfth place points in the state of Virginia and missing out on the state Rookie of the Year by just one position.

Starting on the pole in heat number one, Repko looked poised to defend his third place starting position after opening an impressive lead over the rest of the field in the twenty-five lap heat. An almost ¾ straightaway lead was put to rest however when contact between Jimmy Mullins and Justin Johnson brought out the yellow. After that Repko did not look as strong as he had been in the opening laps. He would get forced to the top groove and back to the fifth position by the end of the race. A top five while racing the likes of multiple time national champ Phillip Morris and drivers like Josh Berry and Kres Vandyke is nothing to be ashamed of – his fifth place finish would transfer to a fifteenth place starting position in the show.

Poised and determined to better his starting position Repko picked up right where he left off in the heat race. This time however, he had to work his way up through the field, working to avoid the wrecks, save the tires, and pass as many cars as he could. Making his way up to the seventh position by the halfway break it was looking like Repko could have been a factor at the end of it all – key word being could have. During one of the cautions within the second segment Repko, who had made up a few more position found himself facing nose to nose with the caution car at the exit of turn two and because he lost forward progress, race control ordered him to the rear of the field.

“Four cars had already passed and the pace car darted out in front of me,” Repko said after the race. “I locked up the rear trying to slow down. Some people think I got hit but I don’t know.”

A major setback yes has it put him well outside of the top ten he had one more break and plenty of more wrecks to survive to better his chances at salvaging a decent finish. After taking tires at the lap 175 break, Repko was able to drive back to a ninth place finish between the #57 of Justin T. Carroll and the #03 of Brenden Queen.

Young Ryan Repko made it in our Who to Watch story before the green flag was even waved this past weekend and it was for good reason. To come to Martinsville and not only make the race but prove that you could have been there to win it at the end is something folks in the Late Model community should take note on. Make sure you keep your eye on this young man as there are a few more trophy races left in this “post season” as we like to call it. He will also be a force to be reckoned with come 2017.

Mike Looney Writes Story Book Ending in First Ever Martinsville Speedway Victory

looney-victory-lane

Mike Looney is $25,000 richer this weekend and gets to take home a legendary Martinsville Grandfather clock. (Casey Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Ridgeway, VA – It was like a fairy tail ending to a storybook weekend. Mike Looney, not really a household name in the Late Model Stock Car community, grabbed the pole Saturday afternoon locking in his front row starting position and a guaranteed twenty-five laps less on the tires.

From the drop of the green flag Looney showed his qualifying time was not a fluke and stay up front most of the day running with some of the biggest names the Mid-Atlantic has to offer. Two breaks and an invert later, Mike Looney found himself doing donuts down in turn one, celebrating his first Martinsville Speedway victory.

“If I wake up and this didn’t happen I am going to be so mad,” Looney said about the win. Yesterday after qualifying Mike jokingly stated he feels like his alarm clock was going to go off and it was actually going to be time to get the car to Martinsville and get through tech. Well Mike, this is not a dream. “Someone pinched me pretty good down there so I know I am awake. What a blessed weekend we had. Testing went great, the car was pretty much spot on.”

With a new format this year, running essentially a three segment race, Looney had to not only work through thirteen cautions throughout the race but two breaks, a six car invert and a 25-lap final shoot out where the entire field took four brand new Hoosier racing slicks.

“The crew worked their guts out,” said Looney. “We are not like some of these teams with salary employees. Our guys pay to come out here and work on this car. They are all friends and they are all here because they want to be here. Means a lot to get them a win and my car owner Billy the win. Words cannot describe the improbability of what we just did,” Looney said. “If we were in Vegas I cannot even imagine what the odds would have been for a little team like us to come down here and beat the big dogs.”

As the laps dwindled down and the drivers had to battle through restart after restart, Looney kept electing the outside line. The outside line had proven to be a major benefit throughout the afternoon allowing your car to carry the momentum through the corners. Despite a few scary moments from drivers, Mike Looney included, sailing the car off into one with the hopes she will stick, he was able to make the outside groove work to his advantage and hold off Lee Pulliam.

A scary moment for both drivers however with just about five laps to go Looney explained he got into three and left the door open a little to wide for Pulliam, who is not going to wait to capitalize, and eventually made contact. Enough to have Pulliam looking into the sky and Looney worried he wasn’t going to save the car. Somehow the two were able to keep the cars straight and not lose a whole lot of ground.

“We have been coming battling with Lee Pulliam all year long up at Motor Mile,” Looney went on to explain. “Probably the best driver I have faced off against, just unbelievable talent. He had blood in his eyes – $25,000 and a grandfather clock you would do anything for that, I would wreck my momma for this thing. Its just unbelievable. Got to thank God he protected us all this week and we just felt like this was meant to be from the start.”

Looney went on to explain the closing laps and what he was doing to take his mind of things. Said he was just picturing that he was running back at Motor Mile Speedway and not trying to think at all that he could end up winning at Martinsville Speedway. The cards played out and good ole Mike Looney gets to go home with a Grandfather clock this weekend.

 

 

1.#87 Mike Looney
2. #5 Lee Pulliam
3. #15 Kres VanDyke
4. #04 CE Falk, III
5. #12A Austin Thaxton
6. #21 Mike Darne
7. #83 Matt Bowling
8. #57 Justin Carroll
9. #14 Ryan Repko
10. #03 Brenden Queen
11. #08 Deac McCaskill
12. #12 Nick Smith
13. #20 Sam Yarbourgh
14. #2A Myatt Snider
15. #4 Dylan Hall
16. #18 Bradley McCaskill
17. #9 Brad Kurth
18. #26A Danny Edwards Jr.
19. #57A Jimmy Mullins
20. #02 Brandon Butler
21. #22 Trevor Noles
22. #01 Phillip Morris
23. #4C Annabeth Barnes-Crum
24. #12B Bobby McCarty
25. #90 Terry Carroll
26. #50 Ross Dalton
27. #1 Jamie Sweeny
28. #01A GR Waldrop
29. #88 Josh Berry
30. #17A Stacey Puryear
31. #81 Justin Johnson
32. #16 R.D. Smith
33. #27 Tommy Lemons, Jr.
34. #50A Garrett Bunch
35. #1A Christian Eckes
36. #98 Stefan Parson
37. #26 Peyton Sellers
38. #41 Haley Moody
39. #33 Macy Causey
40. #63 Tyler Matthews
41. #55 Mark Wertz
42.#51 Chris Chapman.

Martinsville Speedway Announces First Race Under the LED Lights – 2017 Valley Star Credit Union 300

night-race-picMARTINSVILLE, Va.  – The most frequently asked question since Martinsville Speedway announced the installation of lights is ‘when will the first night race be?’ That question was answered Sunday morning, when Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell announced at the drivers’ meeting for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 that the 2017 edition of NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious Late Model Stock Car race will be held under the lights.

“I’ve always said this was the greatest Saturday night race on a Sunday afternoon,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “Now it truly will be the greatest Saturday night race!

“The drivers, teams, ValleyStar and, most importantly, the fans of this race deserve being the first to run under our new permanent LED lights.”

The date for the 2017 race will be announced in the coming weeks.

The ValleyStar Credit Union 300 is today.

The race is NASCAR biggest, richest and most prestigious Late Model Stock Car race, with a purse totaling more than $100,000.

The winner will take home $25,000, while the Sparks Oil Pole Award winner will take home $1,000 and the leader at halfway will win the $2,000 Clarence’s Steakhouse Bonus.

The action starts at noon with three 25 lap heat races and a 25 lap “last chance” race to set the 40 car field.

Tickets are $30 for adults and $5 for youth 12-and-under.

For anyone who cannot be at the track, the best way to follow along with the action is to follow Martinsville Speedway on Twitter at @martinsvilleswy or on the Martinsville Speedway Facebook page.

R.D. Smith Looking For Another Impressive Finish at Martinsville Speedway

img_9851A third place finish at Martinsville’s fall classic is nothing to shake a stick at, as the saying goes. However, coming from the rear of the field to finish third in the Valley Star Credit Union 300 is something to be amazed about. Smith was the sixth fastest car in time trials last year and started on the front row of his heat race. He would go on to finish second and transfer into the main event in the sixth position. Smith would eventually be penalized from NASCAR and forced to start at the rear of the forty-three car field.

R.D. Smith has returned to the Paperclip this year with a similar notebook and looking for similar results – minus the penalty of course. Clocking unofficial times in the low to mid 50’s, Smith feels pretty confident with the car the team has prepared this year.

“We are pretty close to last year and the car unloaded well,” Smith said. “Just small adjustments here and there. Last year was a good place to start. All in all we feel pretty good with the car we brought.” 

That being said the crew spent most of the day working to find R.D. just a little bit more speed. We all know testing the week before there are so many things that can happen between the time you were on the track to the time the race starts. The Goodyear tire test and chemical NASCAR laid on the top groove of the concrete is just an example.

“They put that chemical in the top groove and it seemed like the track took rubber faster,” explained Smith. With the storm this past weekend he feels a lot of the chemical and the rubber will get washed away and they are not going to reapply for us Late Model guys. “I fee like when we come back it will kind of be like a new track. I also feel that balance wise we are close enough to where it will be just small adjustments.”

With a pretty solid notebook and the eight hours of testing the week prior to the feature, Smith feels the car is really close and with just a few small adjustments.

“We were working through a lot of changes,” Smith said about test day. “We are looking to build a notebook and see where we wanted to be. We are going to take that all back and make our final adjustments from there. Overall though I feel like the car is really good.”

R.D. Smith will look to qualify up front yet again this year and avoid any unnecessary penalties in search for a win come Sunday afternoon. Smith will have four hours Saturday afternoon to get the car perfect before hitting the track for group qualifying to set the field for the 25-lap heat races. Fan gates will open Saturday October 15th at noon with practice to begin at one. For more ticket info head over to martinsvillespeedway.com

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