Category Archives: Special Guest

Inside The Hauler | Get To Know Nationwide Series Driver Ryan Ellis

ProfileWe continue our little mini series with another special guest, who when he saw his teammates interview, he just had to have his own feature as well. Ryan Ellis, driver of the No. 46 Nationwide car for The Motorsports Group, will join us for a special one-on-one interview. Pull out your iPhone, or tablet, or even join us from your Smart TV, either way you prefer you are not going to want to miss this opportunity to get to know one of the drivers in NASCAR’s top three divisions.

The Weekly Racer: Well first off Ryan, let me start off by thanking you for reaching out and showing interest in this style of an interview! If these go anything like the past we should have a good time strolling down memory lane, and allowing the fans to get to know a new side of Ryan Ellis. Before we get to involved why don’t you tell those reading who have maybe not read your Wikapedia page a little bit about who you are!

Ryan Ellis: Well I was born out in California, I am 24 years old now, have been racing for 20 years now. I grew up racing quarter midgets and karts in the Virginia area. Well Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia area till I was about twelve. Racing guys like Reed Sorenson and Justin Allgaier for national championships. Then I moved into Legends cars and raced with them a little and some new drivers as well. Did that until I was about sixteen then did some Late Model racing until that team fell apart.

TWR: What did you end up doing after that deal fell apart?

RE: I started looking for anyway to drive a race car that next year and some how wound up in road racing. We ran that for about five or six years and then the next thing I knew I was offered a start and park gig in the Nationwide series. Now I am a full-time Nationwide driver. You know I don’t even know how I got here, I even say that every day I don’t know how I got here but I am going to fight to stay in the series.

TWR: What made you even want to get into racing in the first place?

RE: I somehow knew before I was even born that I wanted to be a race car driver. My father was a racer and so was his father, so I was pretty much born into the sport. I don’t even know how I would have found it if I wasn’t born into. I mean I was sitting in race cars when I was only weeks old. When I was kid even I would sleep with like toy motorcycles instead of the typical stuffed animals so I would always wake up with this motorcycle imprinted on the side of my face. It’s all that I have ever wanted to do.

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Inside the Hauler|ARCA Series Points Leader Mason Mitchell

ProfileMason Mitchell, is the young man who currently sits on top of a closely contested points battle in the ARCA Series powered by Menards. The ARCA series is a professional stock car association who pretty much run an older style car, little bit shorter races and even some tracks the NASCAR circuit does not travel to. However, even though the two series are not affiliated they do drive at some of the same tracks throughout their respective seasons, and is even considered to be a valid farm system to the Cup series much like the Camping World Truck series and the NATIONWIDE series is.

I had the honor to speak with Mr. Mitchell after what was ended up being an incredible finish to the Federated Car Care ARCA Fall Classic presented by JayC Food Stores at Salem Speedway. Mitchell would finish the race in the second position behind Hessert crossing the finish like rolling backwards. Click the link here to watch the closing laps in that race.

The Weekly Racer: Again thank you so much for taking some time away from your schedule to take this interview. So just above us I have posted a link to the final laps from the Salem race that saw you come across the stripe backwards, tell us a little bit about that.

Mason Mitchell: Yea it was definitely  an excitement filled race there at the end. We had a really good car, a dominating car. We lead I think 127 laps, at one point we had the whole field a lap or two down. If it was going to go green we were going to be sitting really pretty. But it all worked out, ended up second in a good battle, gained some more points going into Kentucky.

TWR: Currently holding onto a fifty point lead over Grant Enfinger going into the second to last race of the season out in Kentucky, can you tell us what the game plan is there?

MM: We are just going to try to have another good weekend and hopefully we can gain some more points. Hopefully battle there for the win, I feel really confident in our intermediate program this year and that’s what the final two races are, I really enjoy Kentucky and Kansas. They both have their different challenged but I am looking forward to it, and looking to compete for victory lane.

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Inside the Hauler: Matt DiBenedetto

This year has been a year of firsts for me and this weekend was no different! From the people I have meet and had a chance to talk to, to the races and tracks we have been at to cover; I have been able to do things this year that I could only dream about doing back in my high school days. Now besides the pre race pit passes my father won in a radio contest when I was about 14 years old, and really those are only good to walk up and down pit road. This past weekend thanks to a buddy of mine we were able to not only hit pit road but had Nationwide garage passes and an exclusive interview set up with Matt DiBenedetto, the driver of the No. 40 Chevy Camaro for The Motorsports Group. Certainly an experience for the record books so far, so come on in and enjoy our little sit down and get to know a little bit more about this young, up and coming driver.

Matt

Photo courtesy of The Motorsports Group

The Weekly Racer: Matt, thank you so much for sitting down with us and taking this interview with us we really do appreciate that! For some that may not know, tell us how you got started in racing.

Matt DiBenedetto: Well no one in my family races or anything, well my dad drag raced a little but nothing serious but I just young rode four wheelers, dirt bikes, anything I got on I just ran wide open, I just liked to go fast on everything I got on. My dad was passing through the channels one day and he passed by NASCAR and I made him go back and we watched it. If anything had an engine and went fast I was in to. I grew up playing baseball and one of the guys on my baseball team raced and my dad was talking about how anything I got onto I wanted to go fast, went up there and checked it out and thats how I got into it.

TWR: How old were you?

MD: I was about to turn seven.

TWR: So what classes or divisions did you run growing up?

MD: Really just karts on dirt, little outlaw karts or mini sprint cars. Thats all I really ran thought out at Cycleland Speedway out in California.

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Eyes In The Sky | Josh Williams: A Two Sport Athlete

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**So I really have to admit here, I have been on the fritz here about how I wanted to go about doing these two different series. I was worried that while running the driver series it would interfere or take away the allure for this particular series. When talking with a friend of mine he advised me that it’s probably just better to keep going with content because as our off-season approaches more and more fans turn there attention to the NFL. I finally sat down and looked at a bunch of different interview outlines and decided to try a little something different. I want to try to give each new spotter we talk to something special, something they can call their own. So without further delay, I want to bring you the newest installment of our Eye’s in the Skies series. I would also like to apologize for taking so long**

 

Story1The Weekly Racer: So first off I would really like to thank you for taking some time and taking this interview, tell us a little bit about your self.

Josh Williams: I am from Martinsville, Virginia. Grew up about two miles away from the track there. Born September 16th, 1988, I graduated from Magna Vista High School in 2006. Took a few classes at Patrick Henry community college while starting my pro golf career after high school.

TWR: Wait a minute, so you became a pro golfer right out of high school? You have to tell us more about that!

JW: I played full time professionally after high school on the mini tours for 5 years. Won over 10 professional events including the Carolina pro golf tour tour championship. Kind of have my golf to thank for starting my spotting career because it led me to relationships with drivers and that’s how I got started with Scott Speed. We played golf all the time and I started spotting basically to get paid to come on the road and play golf with him when we weren’t at the track.

TWR: So really your golf career helped kick start your NASCAR career?

JW:Well yea pretty much. I started spotting because Scott needed someone to spot for him after he separated from Redbull and we were good friends. He asked me to do it so I could give him golf lessons basically while we weren’t at the track.

TWR: That’s actually pretty awesome, did you ever really think that might have been a turning point in your career?

JW:You know at first it was just something part time and I never really looked at is as a career. It was my first time spotting anything bigger than an Allison legacy series car, and it was the night race at Bristol too!

TWR: Speaking of cars you have spotted for, what are some other series you have spotted for?

JW: I’ve spotted in the Allison legacy series, all of the top nascar series (Cup, Nationwide, Trucks, K&N). I’ve spotted full time for Scott Speed with Leavine Family Racing in Cup (95 car). Full time this year for Michael McDowell in the 95 cup car, also full time in the Nationwide series for TJ Bell and now this year for Jeffrey Earnhardt. Also a few on & off races for some drivers like AJ Allmendinger, J.J. Yeley, Mike Wallace, Reed Sorenson, Blake Koch, Brennan Newberry, Regan Smith, Tim George Jr, Josh Wise, Mike Bliss.

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Inside The Hauler with Sergio Pena

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For the last couple years right as summer is about to officially get underway we have a few special guest come into town to visit a certain little play ground! That playground is Langley Speedway, and those special guest are the young, up and coming stars in the K&N Pro Series East series. 22 drivers were in town for the Visit Hampton VA 175 trying to knock Ben Rhodes off of his thrown. This year, with help from one of my sponsors, we were able to sit down with the driver of the #4 Rev Racing machine Sergio Pena.

Right off the bat I would like to thank Sergio for taking some time out of his day to chat with us, share some information about him and also learn a few little fun facts that some media outlets may not have time to dive into. Overall I loved the interview, I was a tad bit nervous as this was my first in person interview with someone in a traveling series! Sergio was great though, very open to answer any question! Put some thought into it and just didn’t give cookie cutter answers! He invited us back to his hauler so we could have some quite (hence the name of the interview). Just an overall great guy who truly loves to race!

Hope everyone enjoys our interview and I highly recommend following him on his various social media outlets and you can find links to those bellow!
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