Monthly Archives: October 2017

Veteran Josh Berry Wins First CARS LMSC Tour Championship

Josh Berry accepts CARS Tour trophy at South Boston. (Photo: CARS Tour)

Mooresville, NC – The season-ending AutosByNelson.com 250 at South Boston brought an end to one of the closest points battles in CARS LMSC Tour history. JR Motorsports driver Josh Berry found himself in the middle of the points battle, as he trailed leader Layne Riggs by only four points in the standings while keeping a small five-point advantage over his JR Motorsports teammate Anthony Alfredo in third.

Berry needed a flawless weekend during the series’ first visit to South Boston in order to overtake Riggs and earn his first CARS LMSC Tour championship. However, the weekend proved to be a struggle for the CARS Tour veteran, as he nearly lost control of his car during the second round of qualifying, which relegated him to an eighth-place starting spot. Although Berry had a comfortable advantage over Alfredo, who was starting 20th, Berry would have to find the speed to chase down Riggs, who was starting on the outside of the front row.

Riggs proved to have one of the strongest cars in the field early on, as he quickly overtook polesitter Philip Morris for the lead on the first lap of the race. Despite losing the lead a few laps later, Riggs was able to constantly challenge Morris and race winner Deac McCaskill during the opening laps of the race, while Berry struggled to work his way up to the front, and found himself in seventh place when the first caution came out.

Berry got the break that he needed on the following restart when Riggs’ transmission broke going into the first turn, which forced the 15-year-old rookie to retire from the race, effectively knocking him out of the championship. Berry, who never cracked the Top 5 during the entire race, only had to contend with Alfredo for the championship and was able to secure the championship from his teammate by only a few points.

“It’s awesome to win a championship for Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Kelley Earnhardt,” Berry said. “They’ve been really good to me, and they’ve always been big supporters. I think this is my third or fourth championship for them, but a touring championship is obviously a big deal. There are a lot of different racetracks, and a lot of work went into this, so I’m really excited to win this championship and check it off the list, and I’m going to enjoy it and get ready for next year.”

Berry’s championship in the CARS LMSC Tour adds another chapter to his brief, but illustrious career in Late Models. Berry got his start in Late Model racing in 2011 at South Boston Speedway, where he made 19 starts and earned one victory, which placed him fourth overall in the track’s final 2011 standings. Since 2012, Berry has been a regular at both Motor Mile Speedway and Hickory Motor Speedway, where he has won over two dozen races between the two tracks and has one track championship at both facilities.

Berry’s success on short tracks eventually convinced Dale Earnhardt Jr. to start fielding a part-time Xfinity car for him, with Berry finishing 12th in his series debut at Iowa in 2014. Berry has made five more starts in the series since his debut with JR Motorsports and Obaika Racing, earning a career-best finish of seventh in the 2015 Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond Raceway. Berry has expressed interest in running more Xfinity races, but a lack of sponsorship and a commitment to Late Models has prevented him from being more active in the series.

In 2015, Berry began to make select appearances in both divisions of the recently formed CARS Tour, but quickly found his place in the CARS LMSC Tour, where he won three out of the four races he started. Berry carried the momentum he established from 2015 into 2016, where he won five more races and finished in the Top 5 in all of his starts. However, Berry ultimately forfeited his shot at the CARS LMSC Tour championship when he missed the 2016 Summertime Showdown at Orange County due to a commitment with the Xfinity Series, but Berry still managed to finish third in the standings to Deac McCaskill.

Berry would have several new challenges to face for the 2017 season, such as an increased schedule, new tracks and competitors, and dealing with the loss of his long-time sponsor Speedco. However, Berry was able to overcome the adversity and knocked off four more victories in the 2017 CARS LMSC Tour season to secure his first championship in the series, including a season sweep at Concord Speedway. Berry believes that he and his team met all of their goals for the 2017 season, and is proud of the hard work they put into his car despite some of the struggles they faced.

“In 2016, it seemed like things came a lot easier for us,” Berry said. “You just have to learn not to take things like that for granted. We had a lot of ups and downs this year, but at the end, I’m excited to be the champion, and hopefully, we can contend for the championship next year.”

There are many unknowns for Josh Berry going into 2018, but he does plan to return to the CARS LMSC Tour next year with the hope of becoming the first repeat champion in the series’ brief history. Berry has also expressed interest in competing in other divisions next year but added he is still trying to work out many details.

“Right now I’m not exactly sure what I have lined up for next year beyond the CARS Tour,” Berry said. “I can definitely say that I have a few things in the works, but I guess we’ll have to just wait and see.”

The 2018 CARS Tour season will introduce a variety of changes to the schedule and competition for Berry and his competitors, including inaugural visits to Wake County Speedway, Ace Speedway, Kingsport Speedway and Carteret County Speedway. The CARS Tour will also not return to Concord Speedway for the 2018 season, which was a track that Berry was undefeated at during his career in the series. However, Berry is looking forward to the changes and tribulations that the 2018 season will bring him, and remains confident that he will once again be one of the drivers competing for a championship when the season concludes at South Boston next year.

For additional information on the CARS Late Model Stock Tour and the CARS Super Late Model Tour visit www.carsracingtour.com. Be sure to stay active and social with the tour by liking “CARS Tour” on Facebook, following @CARSTour on Twitter, and scrolling through photos on Instagram cars_tour. Additional series information can be obtained by calling the CARS Tour series office, located in Mooresville, NC, at 704.662.9212.

CARS Tour Announces 2018 Season Schedule and Unprecedented Competitor Incentive Programs

Mooresville, NC 8/24/17 – The CARS Tour announced the 2018 schedules for both the Super Late Model Tour and the Late Model Stock Car Tour during a press conference at South Boston on Fridayevening, along with several incentive programs that the series hopes will boost car counts and loyalty amongst teams in the future.

For the first time in CARS Tour history, the SLM and LMSC Tours will not run identical schedules, as the Late Model Stock Car Tour will run 12 races in 2018, while the Super Late Model Tour will only run nine races. Both divisions will still share seven races with each other during the 2018 season, including the Mid-Atlantic Classic at Orange County Speedway, the Throwback 276 at Hickory Motor Speedway, and the season finale at South Boston Speedway.

The CARS Tour will also venture to five new tracks for the 2018 season. The CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour will make stops at Wake County Speedway, Ace Speedway, Carteret County Speedway and Kingsport Speedway for the first time in the series’ history. The Super Late Model Tour will travel to Tennessee on April 7th to participate in a combination race with the Championship Racing Association and Southern Super Series at Fairgrounds Speedway.

Changes to the purses in both divisions were also announced in Friday’s press conference. The CARS LMSC Tour purse, which is based on a 28-car field, will be increased by 12% in 2018, with the average purse for each race being $32,450 in comparison to the $28,875 spread out amongst the drivers in 2017. A driver who wins a CARS LMSC Tour race in 2018 will earn $6,000 instead of $5,000, and any driver who starts a race will automatically earn $700.

The purse for the Super Late Models in 2018 will also be based on a 28-car starting field, with one major change being that the purse for SLM events will be aligned with other SLM sanctioning bodies. Unlike the LMSC Tour, four races in the SLM Tour will award $10,000 to the winner of the event, which will be the races at Myrtle Beach Speedway, Anderson Motor Speedway, the Mid-Atlantic Classic, and a race that has yet to be announced for May 20, 2018.

The CARS Tour also announced the Touring Twelve program for the Late Model Stock Car Tour, which is a loyalty program that will consist of twelve Late Model teams that plan to compete in every points event for the 2018 season. There will be several benefits for Touring Twelve teams that will include a reduced entry fee of $825, and a guaranteed minimum of $1,000 in earnings for each race. Touring Twelve teams will also receive two sets of discounted Hoosier tires, four complimentary race tickets to all CARS LMSC Tour points races, and an opportunity to be featured on CARS Tour merchandise.

In order for teams to participate in the Touring Twelve program, CARS LMSC Tour teams must sign an agreement to participate in all regular season races and complete driver and owner registrations by March 2, 2018. Drivers will be required to have their name and likeness used on CARS Tour branding and merchandise, and must be committed to participate in limited driver appearances throughout the season, along with running a special throwback scheme at the Throwback 276 on August 4, 2018.

There will also be a loyalty program for CARS LMSC Tour competitors who do not participate in the Touring Twelve program. Any car owner in the division that competes in three consecutive races will receive a $500 bonus as a part of their winnings for the third event, which could result in an additional $2,000 in winnings for the 2018 season. A driver who participates in this program is not required to start in the season opener at Tri-County, and can run any three consecutive LMSC Tour races of their choice.

Other programs announced by the CARS Tour include a Hometown Hero bonus, in which any non-CARS LMSC Tour regular who is in the top three in a track’s LSMC points prior to the CARS Tour arrival will receive free Hoosier Tires for the CARS Tour race at that track. Information regarding finances and fees for CARS Tour teams will remain the same with the exception of late fees, which will drop to $100 in 2018 as opposed to the $250 late fee implemented in 2017.

For additional information on the CARS Late Model Stock Tour and the CARS Super Late Model Tour visit www.carsracingtour.com. Be sure to stay active and social with the tour by liking “CARS Tour” on Facebook, following @CARSTour on Twitter, and scrolling through photos on Instagram cars_tour. Additional series information can be obtained by calling the CARS Tour series office, located in Mooresville, NC, at 704.662.9212.

2018 CARS Tour Schedule:

March 3      Tri-County Speedway           Hudson, NC            Open Practice/SRI Performance Media Day

March 10    Tri-County Speedway           Hudson, NC             LMSC $10,000 to win.

March 24    Myrtle Beach Speedway       Myrtle Beach, SC      SLM $10,000/LMSC

April 7        Fairgrounds Speedway         Nashville, TN            SLM w/CRA and SSS

April 7        Wake County Speedway       Raleigh, NC              LMSC

April 21      Mid-Atlantic Classic              Rougemont, NC        SLM $10,000/LMSC

May 5         Hickory Motor Speedway     Hickory, NC              SLM/LMSC

May 20       TBA                                   TBA                        SLM $10,000/LMSC

June 9        Ace Speedway                    Altamahaw, NC        LMSC

June 9        Anderson Motor Speedway  Williamston, SC        SLM w/SSS $10,000

June 23      Carteret County Speedway   Swansboro, NC        LMSC

July 14       Kingsport Speedway            Bloomingdale, TN    LMSC

August 4    Throwback 276                   Hickory, NC              SLM/LMSC

Sept 8        Orange County Speedway    Rougemont, NC       SLM/LMSC

Oct 13        South Boston Speedway       South Boston, VA    SLM/LMSC

Mason Diaz and Colt James Split Fast Five Pro Late Model Features; James Clinches Track Championship

Colt James celebrates his ninth win on the season as well as the 2017 Fast Five Pro Late Model track championship. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Lucama, NC – Mason Diaz, who will make his Camping World Truck Series debut at Martinsville Speedway next weekend, snapped Colt James’ win streak in the Pro Late Model division at Southern National Motorsports Park.

James entered the weekend as the division points leader riding an eight-race win streak and a $1,000 bounty on his head. Johnathan Findley, the 2015 Late Model Stock Car track champion, set quick time earlier in the afternoon with 15.239 (94.494 MPH) second lap. Bradley McCaskill, entering the race hunting that bounty would roll off second followed by Colt James, Casey Roderick, and Mason Diaz.

Findley was certainly the car to beat early in the race creating over a full second lead over the rest of the field when the green flag was displayed. Findley would set a blistering pace until lap 42 when he fell off the pace quickly and came to a dead stop on the front stretch. The caution would be displayed for the second, and what would be final time of the first 75-lap feature. Findley would get the car fired back up and drive towards the end of pit road where he would stall and need assistance off the speedway.

It would take two attempts to get the race going again as the tower did not like something on the restart. However, once the field was rolling Diaz was able to jump ahead of James to take the race lead. Colt James would struggle just a bit on the top groove and ultimately surrender second place to Casey Roderick. Diaz would lead the rest of the way to the checkered flag snapping Colt James eight-race win streak, earning his first career win in a Pro Late Model, and collected the $1,000 bounty that had been growing throughout the race season.

A four-car invert was instituted for the final 75-lap feature for the Fast Five Pro Late Models handing the front row over to the top two contenders for the championship; Will Bristle and Colt James. It was all Colt James when the green flag was displayed, and with a little help from a not so good start from Bristle, took sole possession of the race lead and never looked back. Roderick looked to give the eight-time winner a run for his money, however, until something let go under the hood of Roderick’s car ending his night on lap eighteen.

James would flex his muscle on the ensuing restart following the red flag conditions leaving Mason Diaz to battle Jody Measamer for second. At one point, during the final handful of laps, you could have thrown a blanket over the top three cars that was how close they were running. Measamer was able to take the second position from Diaz on the final restart of the race and was able to keep Diaz behind him to capture the second place finish. James’ ninth win in ten tries was, of course, enough to clinch the 2017 track championship.

“We’re like the little team that could,” James said in victory lane Sunday evening. “You’ll never beat me in heart. I always got more heart. We’re just like everybody in the stands, we’re blue collar. We go to work from 7-5 Monday through Friday, come out here and race our butts off and try to show that there’s still room for the little guy out here. We just try to win races.”

 

FAST 5 Pro Late Model Race 1;

  1. #24 Mason Diaz; 75
  2. #18 Casey Roderick; 75
  3. #15 Colt James; 75
  4. #91 Will Bristle; 75
  5. #83 Matt Sever; 75
  6. #6 Cody Quarrick; 74
  7. #18 Bradley McCaskill; 50
  8. #4 Johnathan Findley; 42
  9. #98 Jody Measamer; 33
  10. #14 Greg Burgess; 10

 

FAST 5 Pro Late Model Race 2; 

  1. #15 Colt James; 75
  2. #98 Jody Measamer; 75
  3. #24 Mason Diaz; 75
  4. #83 Matt Sever; 75
  5. #91 Will Bristle; 73
  6. #14 Greg Burgess; 51
  7. #6 Cody Quarrick; 33
  8. #18r Casey Roderick; 18
  9. #18 Bradley McCaskill; 1
  10. #4 Johnathan Findley; DNS

Rusty Daniels Back to Victory in Over A Year in the 2017 Southern National Spooktacular

Rusty Daniels celebrates in victory lane at Southern National Motorsports park after over a year absence. Dominates the 2017 4th Annual Spooktacular October 22, 2017. (Photo: Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Lucama, NC – It had been since Memorial Day weekend of 2016 that Rusty Daniels was in victory lane at Southern National Motorsports Park. Leading a race-high 83-laps Daniels dominated the Limited Late Model portion of the 4th Annual Spooktacular presented by NCDOT Click-it-or-ticket.

Daniels, from Alliance, North Carolina, started the 100-lap feature from the pole position posting the fastest time – 16.310 seconds – earlier in the afternoon during group qualifying. 2017 Shenandoah track champ Mini Tyrell rolled off the grid in the second position followed by Jonathan Cash, Paul Williamson, and John Jones. Daniels threw caution to the wind once the green flag was displayed and immediately pulled away from the rest of the field. Daniels would go on to lead all fifty laps of the first half of the race.

Daniels was regulated to the fourth spot for the second half the feature after Southern National officials let one lucky race fan pick the invert. JD Eversole would inherit the race lead and do a fine job holding onto it for several laps. Mini Tyrell, who had been running in the second position the entire first half of the race, was able to get under and around Eversole to take the race lead. It took Daniels just seventeen laps to get back up to the front of the field passing Tyrell for the lead. Daniels was not in the clear, however, as he had to hold off several late race restarts to hang onto the win.

“It’s very special,” Daniels said in victory lane about the win. “We brought a different car that we have never run here and we tested two weeks ago, this was the first time I have been on the track with it. It’s an eleven-year-old car but it drives like its brand new. We work hard on this stuff. I can’t thank all of my family and everybody enough that helps me with this.”

An emotional win for Daniels for sure as longtime friend Andy Smith and spotter was back on the radio as his eyes in the sky after two years.

“It’s nothing like connecting with someone on the radio,” Daniels went on to say. “We have raced a lot of years together. He had a couple surgeries and just couldn’t get back to the track but we broke him in right and won the race the first night he’s been back. I just can’t thank them enough for all they have done in my life for racing.”

Daniels went on to tell The Weekly Racer that he wasn’t too concerned with the invert itself but the people that were around him after the invert, citing that he had not raced around them that much and was hard to judge how much you can actually trust them. He also went on to say the crew made no adjustments during the five-minute break.

Jessica Jones, running a Lee Pulliam Performance prepared ride, capitalized on the final caution by avoiding the big wreck that happened in turn two as well as got a great restart with just five laps to go. Dana would take advantage of Tyrell’s slip out of turn four to finish in the second position. John Jones, father of Clay Jones, Minny Tyrell, and Jonathan Cash – who actually caught a piece of the wreck there at the end of the race – rounded out the top five finishers.

 

Limited Late Model Spooktacular UNOFFICIAL Results;

  1. #16 Rusty Daniels; 100
  2. #9 Jessica Dana; 100
  3. #15 John Jones; 100
  4. #81 Mini Tyrell; 100
  5. #40 Jonathan Cash; 100
  6. #1y Darren Cockram; 100
  7. #61 Jonathan Kornegay; 99
  8. #1 Tony Grady; 95
  9. #29 Paul Williamson; 95
  10. #98 JD Eversole; 95
  11. #61 Michael Obrien; 95
  12. #19 Cameron Bowen; 35
  13. #20 Wesley Hawkins; 25

Burton Cousins Set To Go Head-to-Head for First Time Ever Saturday at Martinsville Speedway

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Oct. 22, 2017) – For 13 years, brothers Jeff and Ward Burton raced against each other at NASCAR’s highest level. While the South Boston natives are no longer racing, they will still have their full attention on the Texas Roadhouse 200 presented by Alpha Energy Solutions NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race Saturday at Martinsville Speedway.

There will once again be two Burtons in the field, as Ward’s son Jeb and Jeff’s son Harrison will be racing in the same race for the first time.

“It’s definitely special,” Harrison said. “Jeb is someone that’s always helped me a lot and I’ve tried to help him the best I can. Now that we are going to be going against each other it’s going to be a little bit strange. I’ve never race anyone from my family, even my dad. It’s going to be weird, I don’t know how I’m going to act when I see him in his truck and see Burton on the back glass. It’s going to be strange, but it’s going to be fun. I’m really excited to race him and hopefully we get to be door-to-door for some time and get to go at it. It should be a lot of fun.”

Jeb, who has a pole and a top-three finish at Martinsville, will offer any advice he can to his younger cousin.

“Harrison has been doing a good job, and maybe I can teach him a little something there,” Jeb said. “I don’t think he’s finished in the top-10 there yet so maybe I can help him a little bit.”

And Harrison will take all the advice he can get from the elder Burton.

“Jeb has been really good there,” Harrison said. “He is definitely a resource before you go to Martinsville. Before my first truck race there I actually got to drive his Late Model Stock Car around there in a test, and that helped me a lot for the track. So, yeah, he’s definitely a huge resource that I can use to get better. He has so much more experience than me.”

With the holiday season right around the corner, Jeb wants to make sure things stay civil at family gatherings.

“Harrison is a lot younger than me,” Jeb said. “I’ve never raced with him before, so I don’t know what to expect, but I don’t want to start any family drama there for sure.”

That’s something Harrison doesn’t think they need to worry about.

“I’m just going to race him like I would like to be raced and hopefully it will turn out good,” Harrison said.

That doesn’t mean Harrison won’t be afraid to use the bumper if he finds himself running second to Jeb on the final lap, but he would also expect the same from Jeb.

“I think I’d move him,” Harrison said. “You’re going there for one reason and that’s to win. I definitely would not wreck him. I’d definitely use the old bump-and-run tactic on him and I think he would do the same thing. That trophy means a lot to him as well.”

The Texas Roadhouse 200 presented by Alpha Energy Solutions is Saturday, October 28. The race is the first race in the Round of Six in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs. If a Playoff driver wins, he would be the first to lock himself into the Championship Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Last year, Johnny Sauter won the race en route to the Series Championship.

Tickets to the race are $35 for adults. Kids 12-and-under are admitted free. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or online atwww.martinsvillespeedway.com.

Colin Garrett and Nick Leitz Pick Up Their First Late Model Wins at Dominion Raceway

Colin Garrett celebrates a win in the Sportsman class at South Boston Speedway earlier in 2017. (Photo: Trisha Westfall)

Thornburg, VA – For the second year in a row Dominion Raceway and Entertainment held two special events for Late Model racers. Opening the entry blank to those who have yet to pick up a win at Dominion Raceway in 2017 and a second feature open to drivers who have yet to earn a Late Model Stock win in their career. Colin Garrett, 17 yo from South Boston, Virginia, earned the pole for the 75-lap 2017 first time winners race posting a time of 15.527-seconds. Nick Leitz, 21 from Chesapeake clocked a time just .007 seconds slower to earn the second starting position in the fourteen car field.

The top five cars would invert after the pill pull from Garrett handing the front row over to Chris Johnson and Owen Smith. Chris Johnson would show the way for the first ten circuits as Garrett worked his way through the pack. Garrett would take the race lead on lap eleven and never look back. Attrition and restarts appeared to be the storyline this weekend from the high banks of Dominion as a handful of caution periods claimed several cars – Chris Johnson was one of them later in the race.

Garrett flexed his muscles on every restart jumping ahead of Nick Leitz to reclaim his spot at the front of the field. The final twenty-seven laps went caution free as half of the field wrecked out and Garrett cruised to the checkered flag picking up his first Dominion Raceway win of the year. Nick Leitz, Logan Jones, Jimmy Duncan, Chandler Sherman rounded out the top five finishers.

In the second and final Late Model feature of the night – this race open to all of those who have yet to earn a Late Model Stock feature win – the starting lineup for the 25-lap feature was set by the way the field finished in the first race. Nick Leitz lead the six-car field to the green flag and to the checkered picking up his first career Late Model Stock win leading all 25-laps.

Nick Leitz celebrates in victory lane at Dominion Raceway on October 21, 2017 winning his first Late Model Stock Car feature. (Photo: Short Track Central)

LMSC 2017 First Time Winners UNNOFICIAL

  1. #24 Colin Garrett; 75
  2. #14 Nick Leitz; 75
  3. #77 Logan Jones; 75
  4. #55d Jimmy Duncan; 75
  5. #18 Chandler Sherman; 70
  6. #10 Maddy Mulligan; 62
  7. #36 Owen Smith; 59
  8. #82g Mike Ganoe; 42
  9. #9 Alex Brock; 42
  10. #24c Chris Johnson; 36
  11. #13 Reid Murphy; 31
  12. #89 Matt Ashworth; 31
  13. #55 Chris Flowers; 27

 

 

LMSC First Time Winners Race UNOFFICIAL

  1. #14 Nick Leitz; 25
  2. #9 Alex Brock; 25
  3. #18 Chandler Sherman; 25
  4. #36 Owen Smith; 25
  5. #10 Maddy Mulligan; 25
  6. #55d Jimmy Duncan; 1

Rain Washes Out Day 3 of NASCAR Drive For Diversity Combine

Rain persisted most of the morning at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway. Jason Christley/NASCAR

NEW SMYRNA, Fla. (Oct. 18, 2017) –- Heavy rains overnight and throughout the morning combined with track conditions in the afternoon to wash out Day 3 of the 2017 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Honda Generators. The 12 participants competing for a spot on the 2018 Rev Racing roster were slated to take laps in the team’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series cars. The early end to the session, however, did not adversely affect the evaluation process.

Drivers took part in media and physical assessment at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona on Monday, and each of them got two sessions in a Late Model Stock Car Tuesday at New Smyrna Speedway.

“This has been probably our most talented group of drivers we’ve brought to the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine,” said Jusan Hamilton, NASCAR manager of racing operations & event management. “Each driver really stepped up both off the track and on the track. We had two great days of evaluation.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t get on track on the third day, but based on the body of work we’ve seen, we feel we’re at a point to make a decision on who we’re going select for next year.”

The first two days were comparable to the experience of previous NASCAR Drive For Diversity Combines. The additional day of testing, in the K&N Pro Series cars, was scheduled to be a new addition this season to provide another layer of data; until inclement weather changed those plans.

As part of the evolution of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, though, the enhanced focus the overall driver profile means Monday’s off-track evaluations will factor more into the 2018 roster than in the past. The team is also looking at increase in seat time to ramp up the competition next season.

To that end, a smaller pool of 12 participants were invited to the tryout, out of which four will be selected for the 2018 Rev Racing team. Three of those drivers will race full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, while also running full-time in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series in a Late Model – totaling more than 30 races next season. In addition, the fourth driver will compete full-time in the Late Model program and serve as an alternate for the K&N Pro Series program.

It also meant that current Rev Racing drivers who were invited were also part of the on-track testing, which was new this year.

One of those drivers looking to reclaim a spot with Rev Racing is Ruben Garcia Jr. The 2015 NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series champion, Garcia has driven for Rev Racing in the K&N Pro Series each of the last two years. He finished fifth in the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship points.

“Seat time, especially for those of us trying to get up in the ranks, is the most important thing,” said Garcia. “I think it’s a great step for the program. I’m actually really, really excited and hoping I can get back into the program to be able to get that seat time. I think it’s a great, great opportunity for us.”

Garcia is one of two drivers from the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series who were invited to the combine. He was joined in New Smyrna by Fabian Welter, as they look to follow in the path paved by 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion and current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Daniel Suarez, who got his start in NASCAR Mexico. Welter has already clinched the championship for the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Challenge Series — the second level for NASCAR in Mexico — with a race remaining.

“The base is very similar,” said Garcia when asked to compare the K&N Pro cars to the ones in Mexico. “A K&N car is kind of like a NASCAR Mexico car on steroids: It’s bigger, heavier, way more horsepower. It has more variables set-up wise, so more things you need to think about while you’re practicing.”

For a driver, though, Garcia said, they still have one important thing in common: “They’re still stock cars with a V8 engine.”

Since 2010, Rev Racing has managed the NASCAR Drive for Diversity team. It’s compiled 17 wins among six different drivers and produced national series race winners Kyle Larson, Suarez and Darrell Wallace Jr. Earlier this year, Rev Racing’s Macy Causey became the first female driver in the 61-year history of South Boston Speedway to win a Late Model Stock Car feature.

In addition to being sponsored by Honda Generators, the Combine received sponsorship support from partners AiM Tech, Bethune-Cookman, Five Star Race Car Bodies, M2 Promotions, Perry’s Ocean Edge Resort in Daytona Beach, and Sunoco.

In an expanded role for next year, Rev Racing will also select an additional four youth drivers at a future combine. Those drivers will participate in the organization’s expanded Legends and Bandoleros program next season. This past season, Rev Racing had two Legends cars in the Bojangles Summer Shootout. The team will also provide several driver development test sessions in its Late Model at Langley Speedway in Virginia and New Smyrna during the 2018 race season for prospective multicultural and female drivers.

2017 NASCAR Drive For Diversity Combine Drivers:

Driver Hometown Age
Chase Cabre Tampa, Fla. 20
Collin Cabre Tampa, Fla. 23
Macy Causey Seaford, Va. 16
Madeline Crane Meansville, Ga. 19
Ernie Francis Jr. Dania, Fla. 19
Ruben Garcia Mexico City, Mexico 21
McKenna Haase Carlisle, Iowa 20
Nicholas Sanchez Homestead, Fla. 16
Ryan Vargas La Mirada, Calif. 16
Fabian Welter Mexico City, Mexico 21
Armani Williams Grosse Point, Mich. 17
Brittney Zamora Kennewick, Wash. 18
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