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A Record Six Mercedes-AMG GT3 Entries to Defend Last Year’s Historic Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Victory at the 60th Rolex 24 At Daytona

 

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida – Six Mercedes-AMG GT3 entries will defend last year’s historic Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in the 60th running of North America’s premier 24-hour race, January 26 – 30, at Daytona International Speedway (DIS). The six Mercedes-AMG GT3 teams compete in next weekend’s Roar Before the Rolex 24 three-day test and qualifying event, January 21 – 23, before returning to DIS a week later for the season-opening IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race, which begins Saturday, January 29, at 1:40 p.m. EST and ends 24 hours later on Sunday, January 30, at 1:40 p.m. EST.


In last year’s Daytona opener, debuting team Winward Racing secured the first Rolex 24 victory for the Mercedes-AMG GT3, crossing the finish line just ahead of the SunEnergy1 Racing entry for a one-two Mercedes-AMG GT3 IMSA WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class finish.
 

Both Winward and SunEnergy1 return to Daytona this year along with four additional Mercedes-AMG GT3 competitors. The six-strong GTD entry comprises the largest field of Mercedes-AMG GT3 competitors in an IMSA WeatherTech race since the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing program made its North American debut in 2017.

 

The half dozen Mercedes-AMG competitors are part of a blockbuster race that will see IMSA make some history of its own this year at Daytona. In addition to marking the 60th running of the Rolex 24 with a full field of 60 cars, IMSA also introduces the new GTD Pro class at the Daytona opener.

 

 

While the traditional Pro-Am format of the original GTD division that debuted in 2014 continues, GTD Pro showcases top-ranked professional sports car drivers from around the world competing in machinery similar to the cars used in GTD.

 

Four Mercedes-AMG GT3 entries, including Winward and SunEnergy1, are set to compete in GTD. Two additional Mercedes-AMG GT3 entries will be part of the new GTD Pro division’s inaugural race.

 

Winward defends its 2021 Rolex 24 GTD victory with two of last year’s winning drivers and a pair of familiar teammates joining this year’s Daytona lineup in the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.
 

Russell Ward and Philip Ellis co-drove the No. 57 to their first Rolex 24 victories last year and will defend the title with teammates Mikael Grenier and Lucas Auer.
 

Grenier was part of SunEnergy1’s runner-up result in last year’s Rolex 24 but later in 2021 joined the Winward Mercedes-AMG GT3 team for races in both Europe and the U.S. In addition to success in GT World Challenge Europe, Ward and Grenier co-drove to a breakout GT World Challenge America victory at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) last June.
 

Auer is another familiar Winward driver in Europe that brings a pair of wins with the team in last year’s DTM championship and Formula 1 test driver experience to his Rolex 24 At Daytona debut.
 

 

SunEnergy1 returns three of the four drivers that carried the No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 to second place in GTD last year at Daytona. Kenny Habul, Raffaele Marciello and Luca Stolz will be joined by Fabian Schiller, who makes his first Rolex 24 start in a Mercedes-AMG GT3 since 2019.
 

The GTD Pro contenders include a pair of Mercedes-AMG GT3 cars entered and prepared by winning European team Proton Competition.
 

Cooper MacNeil, Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella co-drive the No. 97 Proton Competition Mercedes-AMG GT3 while Patrick Assenheimer, Austin Cindric and Dirk Müller drive as a trio in the No. 15 Proton Competition Mercedes-AMG GT3.
 

Engel was part of Winward’s winning 2021 Rolex 24 lineup, Assenheimer is a successful European driver making his Rolex 24 debut and Cindric is an emerging NASCAR star who brings vast road racing skills back to the Rolex 24. Cindric’s fulltime ride in 2022 will be a rookie campaign in Roger Penske’s famous No. 2 “Blue Deuce” NASCAR Cup Series car.
 

 

Alegra Motorsports returns for a second season of competition with Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing and is committed to at least the 2022 Michelin Endurance Cup in the No. 28 Alegra Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3.

 

The MIchelin Endurance Cup is a four-race battle within the overall WeatherTech Championship that rewards the year’s top performers in the long-distance races at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
 

Michael de Quesada and Daniel Morad return as Alegra’s lead drivers and will be joined at Daytona by reigning Mercedes-AMG DTM Champion Maximilian Götz and emerging young talent Linus Lundqvist.
 

Götz, who sealed the 2021 DTM title for Mercedes-AMG with three victories, makes his Rolex 24 debut. Lundqvist, a multiple champion in international open-wheel development series competition, has one previous career GTD start at the Rolex 24 in 2019.

 

 

Gilbert Korthoff Motorsports builds on an encouraging partial season debut with Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing in 2021 with the team’s first full-season GTD campaign in the No. 32 Gilbert Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3.

 

The No. 32 team’s Rolex 24 debut will see full-season co-drivers Mike Skeen and Stevan McAleer co-drive with 2022 Endurance Cup teammate Guy Cosmo and Daytona addition Scott Andrews.

 

In addition to the strong entry of Mercedes-AMG GT3 teams for the Rolex 24, four Mercedes-AMG GT4 teams compete at Daytona in the traditional season-opening IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge four-hour race that sets the stage for the Rolex 24 on Friday.

 

News on competing Mercedes-AMG GT4 teams entered in the top-tier Grand Sport (GS) class for the Daytona opener will be announced in the coming days.

 

Team preparations for the 60th Rolex 24 At Daytona officially begin at Daytona International Speedway, January 21 -23, with the traditional Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona test for both WeatherTech Championship and Pilot Challenge teams. The three-day weekend test also includes a 100-minute qualifying race to set the Rolex 24 field that closes out the Roar on Sunday.

 

 

The 60th Rolex 24 At Daytona official schedule begins Wednesday, January 26, with a one-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge practice session. Four WeatherTech Championship practice sessions are scheduled over Thursday and Friday in addition to GS qualifying Thursday and the four-hour season-opening Pilot Challenge race Friday at 1:35 p.m. EST.
 

The 60th Rolex 24 At Daytona starts at 1:40 p.m. EST on Saturday, January 29, with live coverage beginning at 1:30 p.m. EST on the flagship NBC network.
 

International viewers can watch all of the races and more from the Rolex 24 weekend live at www.IMSA.tv.


Russell Ward, Driver – No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “It’s the 60th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona with a 60-car field and it is going to be awesome. We are really looking forward to getting back to Daytona. We are coming off a great win there, we were really strong in last year’s finale at Road Atlanta, and that gives us a lot of motivation. We definitely have the lineup, the car and the crew to do it again at Daytona. It is my favorite event of the year, and also the biggest event, so really looking forward to coming back, seeing the fans and getting back on the track. It is great to be back with Philip from last year’s winning effort, and we had our eye on Mikael when we raced against him at Daytona. You could see right away he had the potential, and late last year we did some racing together overseas and here in America in SRO World Challenge. We are really excited to have him joining us for the full Michelin Endurance Cup this year. It is really about the whole package you put together, and I think Mik and Lucas are fast, take care of the car and are really, really hungry to come in. Lucas is a DTM winner and Formula 1 test driver, and he will be tough to beat for anybody out there, even in his first start at Daytona. I’m very excited and it is going to be good!”

 

 

Maro Engel, Driver – No. 97 Proton Competition Mercedes-AMG GT3: “I am really excited about returning to Daytona. It’s obviously a fantastic memory for me. Winning last year was definitely a bucket-list victory, both for me and for Mercedes-AMG, and to get that one-two finish last year was very special as well. Obviously, the aim is to repeat again this year, running in a new class, and it will be great to see the debut of GTD Pro. We are excited to have a really strong car with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in this class. It is really exciting what Cooper is doing, and Dani, Jules and myself will be trying to support him the best we can to try and win that Rolex. From a team side and the driver side, we have everything we need, so we are definitely feeling confident going into the event. It will be about being there at the end when the spoils are up for grabs. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 has proven to be an incredibly strong, fast and reliable race car, not only for success in sprint races but big endurance victories like our win last year in the Rolex 24. Daytona is certainly a track that puts the car to a huge test with long straights, a lot of flat-out periods and hard and tough curbs on the turns. We hope to be as competitive as we were last year, even though the level will be extremely high in GTD Pro and we will be battling against some new manufacturers for the first time.”
 

Mikael Grenier, Driver – No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “I am happy to be back in Daytona. The Rolex 24 is a race that everybody wants to win. It hurt a bit last year to finish second, so close to Winward after 24 hours of racing, but now I am very happy to be racing for them in this year’s Rolex 24. We started our relationship last year in GT World Challenge Europe, straight away did well together, and then Russell and I won together in GT World Challenge America in Virginia. It’s a great team that wants to win every race they compete in, and I think that’s why I really love about working with them. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 is a very reliable car, which is the most important aspect over a long-distance race. We will try to keep this victory right at home at Winward Racing.”
 

Daniel Morad, Driver – No. 28 Alegra Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3: “Daytona has always been a great place for me, but you are only as good as the team around you and your teammates, so this year I am just really happy to see that our Alegra Motorsports lineup is very strong. We have talent through and through, and Michael, with a season of experience in the Mercedes-AMG GT3, is going to come back a lot stronger. He ended last year very well at Petit Le Mans. Overall, we just can’t have a much better lineup than what we have heading into the Rolex 24. Linus has run Daytona before while Maxi makes his debut, but he has been on a roll right now as the DTM champion. You can’t get much more decorated than that coming to Daytona. At the end of the day, it will again come down to keeping our Mercedes-AMG GT3 in one piece and fighting at the end.”

 


Mike Skeen, Driver – No. 32 Gilbert Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3:
“Having some history with the Gilbert Korthoff Mercedes-AMG GT3 team has been good. I got in a couple of races with them last year, and we made good progress working out the kinks in the program. It was very valuable and makes us even stronger going into this year. Still, we have a lot of new guys with the program, so getting everybody to mesh and into a good flow at the Roar will be important. Starting with the Rolex 24 is difficult for everybody, but especially for a team that hasn’t been working together already at Daytona. We will get off to a good start at Daytona, and the bigger picture is getting everything going for the full year and trying to make the most of this great opportunity. We have a lot of great potential and will work hard to make it all come together.”

 

 

 

Kaleb Johnson Climbing Sprint Car Ranks to Run 410 Division in 2022

 

Inside Line Promotions - SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Jan. 10, 2022) - Kaleb Johnson is pleased to announce a major move in his racing career regarding his plans for the 2022 season.

 

"I'm happy to share that we plan on competing in a 410 sprint car this year on a regular basis," he said. "We intend to be at all of the 410 races at Huset's Speedway and Jackson Motorplex. I'm really looking forward to it. This is something I've long anticipated."

 

 

Moving up to sprint car racing's top class is the culmination of years of racing for the 24-year-old, who began his career in a go-kart as a child.

 

 

"I've always hoped to race a 410 sprint car regularly since I was a kid," he said. "We were put in a good position to do this and I'm very fortunate to have this opportunity. It's pretty cool that we can do it 10 miles from home."

 

 

Johnson feels that he is prepared as much as possible for the next major step in his racing career and there's no better time to do it than the present.

 

 

"During our 360 racing, we've always tried to race against the best competition possible and to go to different tracks, preparing us for this moment," he said. "We know the level of competition at Huset's will be high and we're looking forward to it. As a racer, you always want to win. But I think a reasonable goal for us in our first year will be top-10 finishes."

 

 

Johnson will continue to compete in the 360 division at Knoxville Raceway, with the hope of improving on his sixth-place finish in the championship standings last year.

 

 

"We stepped up our qualifying at Knoxville last year and that helped us a lot," he said. "The main thing we need to do now to move up in points is finish every race. We had four DNFs there last year."

 

 

Johnson has an ambitious, albeit tentative, schedule planned for the 2022 racing season.

 

 

"I penciled out the schedule I'd like to run next season and came up with 52 races," he said. "That's a lot of races for a team like ours and it will depend on how our season goes regarding if we can make them all.

 

 

"We plan to open the season at Knoxville. We might also bring the 410 along the first couple of weeks there just to get some laps in with it. In addition to the races at Huset's, Jackson and Knoxville, we plan to race some World of Outlaws shows in the area as well as some Midwest Power Series races with the 360.

 

 

"We'll have three complete cars and four engines and are stocking up on extra parts, so we feel reasonably prepared."

Amantea Makes Tulsa Shootout A Main for First Time in Non-Wing Outlaw Division

 

Inside Line Promotions - TULSA, Okla. (Jan. 4, 2022) - Joey Amantea accomplished a dream last Saturday when he made an A Main during the 37th annual Lucas Oil Tulsa Shootout.

 

Amantea battled more than 350 other drivers before earning a spot into the Non-Wing Outlaw main event, marking his first feature start at the premier micro sprint event held inside the River Spirit Expo Center.

 

 

"Every single one of my goals was achieved," he said. "I wanted to make a show and we made a show. I earned my way into it. I had to run just about every race humanly possible to make it into it so that was pretty cool.

 

 

"Really it was the first time we've had fun at the Shootout. We were all super pumped that we made it. Now we're definitely going back next year. I can't not come back because we just made the Shootout. Next year the new goal is to make both wingless shows and see what we can do with the winged car program."

 

 

The event got off to a strong start for Amantea, who hustled from eighth to second place during his Non-Wing Outlaw heat race last Wednesday. He followed that performance by placing third in a qualifier on Friday. Amantea won a B Main on Saturday before he finished fourth in the Last Chance Qualifier, which transferred him into his first career Tulsa Shootout A Main. He gained one position to finish 19th.

 

 

"We changed something we never change on the car and it made us so tight I was pushing like a dump truck in the feature," he said. "But we didn't go backward and had some fun and we got a real solid notebook for next season. To be in the final 24 out of over 300 drivers was pretty cool."

 

 

Amantea ended in a B Main in the Winged Outlaw division and he finished in a C Main in both the Stock Non-Wing and Winged 'A' Class divisions.

 

 

"We weren't bad, but it felt more like test sessions with the winged car than us having a realistic shot," he said. "We did make a qualifier, so that was decent.

 

 

"I at least proved to myself I know I can make the feature after our strong run in the Non-Wing Outlaw division. I just have to set myself up with better starting position in the future."

 

 

MEDIA LINKS -

 

 

Chase Johnson Joining CB Industries for Chili Bowl Midget Nationals

 

 

 

Inside Line Promotions - PENNGROVE, Calif. (Jan. 4, 2022) - Chase Johnson is teaming up with CB Industries for the 36th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals presented by General Tire.

 

 

 

 

 

The marquee midget event, which runs Jan. 10-15 inside the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, Okla., is set to host a record number of entrants with nearly 400 drivers signing up. The 2022 spectacle will be Johnson's seventh year at the event and his first time driving for CB Industries.

 

 

 

 

 

"I'm just really excited to go there with another great team," he said. "I've had great opportunities in the past and to continue that with Chad Boat and his team, I'm really looking forward to it. They are one of the best teams to roll into that building. To have an opportunity to drive one of their race cars at that event is something I'm looking forward to."

 

 

 

 

 

Johnson has enjoyed success inside the building, where he's made two A Mains. He placed a career-best eighth in 2018 before enduring a DNF from a mechanical failure during last year's main event.

 

 

 

 

 

"I try really hard to put myself in the best situations and am grateful for all of the opportunities I've received throughout the years," he said. "Every year that I go there I feel I have a legitimate chance at running up front. I feel that good in the building and I've been able to put together multiple strong runs.

 

 

 

 

 

"I try not to put any expectations on anything that I do. I have more of a trust in my ability and a confidence in myself and the team and the car. I feel extremely calm and confident going into the Chili Bowl."

 

 

 

 

 

Johnson's preliminary night is next Monday.

 

 

 

 

 

He will have special Chili Bowl Midget Nationals long-sleeve shirts available in the pits and on his website.

 

 

 

 

 

UP NEXT -

 

Jan. 10-15 inside the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, Okla., for the 36 th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals presented by General Tire

 

 

 

 

CHRIS CROWDER READY FOR INITIAL RUN IN CHILI BOWL MIDGET NATIONALS

(Colorado Spring, CO, December 20, 2021) Veteran Colorado open-wheel racing star Chris Crowder is set to escape from the clutches of winter and into the hot action at the 36th Annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma in January. It will be his first attempt at the celebrated race that features more than 300 entries from all disciplines of racing including NASCAR, NHRA, and Indy Cars.

Crowder, who resides in Colorado Springs, will be one of more than 75 drivers attempting to become the Rookie of the Race. For his initial effort in the annual event, he will be wheeling the Del Morris Motorsports/Accelerated Services Auto Transporters/Morris Insurance Agency/Open Wheel Logistics/Champion Brands/Spike/Esslinger/RSI/#17R and he will be a teammate to San Rafael, California’s Frankie Guerrini.

“This is a great prestigious race,” the former member of the United States Marine Corps said about his impression of the Chili Bowl. “Just to be there amongst the Kyle Larson’s, Rico Arbeau’s, and those guys. To be on the same stage as those guys is a unique opportunity that very few people get a chance to have. I have no expectations and Del has no expectations. The only thing he asks is if we can pass one car every time we hit the track. That is what we are shooting for. Other than that, we are going to go to have some fun and gain some experience.”

“Del actually reached out to me,” the 47-year-old driver said when queried on how he met Harris. “He said he had watched me drive at Bakersfield and Placerville and thought that I was a very clean driver, and I did not tear up a lot of equipment. I guess they had an open seat available, and they reached out to me through one of his crew guys asking if I would be interested. Obviously, the answer was heck yeah.”

Crowder’s foray into racing started with drag racing his 1966 Chevelle when he was in high school. However, after high school, he joined the Marines, and that put racing on a hiatus until he got out of the military. When he came back to racing in 2005, it was a far different discipline than what he did in his teen years. Instead of racing in one straight line, he started racing on two straight lines with turns on each end.

While Crowder added a straightaway and turns to his racing effort, he also took some things off for open wheel racing.  Stuff like doors, fixed roofs, transmissions, and more.  He has been going full bore and slinging clay now for 16-years. While he currently may be best known for lightning sprint cars, he also has driven competitively in winged and non-wing 305 sprint cars.

Over the years in lightning sprints, Crowder has won over 30 main events including five in 2021. He has also captured four lightning sprint car championships. Two of those titles came with the Rocky Mountain Lightning Sprint Car Association. Another was in the POWRi Southwest Lightning Sprint Car Series during its inaugural year in 2020. In addition, he scored a title with the now defunct Colorado 1200 Outlaws.

Even though he won the 2020 SWLS crown, for the past four or five years, Crowder has taken his show on the road and has not raced for points. Thus, he has spread his winning across the country. His biggest victories of 2021 came at the POWRi Midwest Lightning Sprint Car Nationals at the Central Missouri Speedway in May and in night #2 of the Hangtown 100 at California’s Placerville Speedway on November 19th (the picture at the top of this release is from Crowder's win at Placerville).   

“I’m an open book right now,” Crowder said when asked what he could take from a lightning sprint to his first midget race. “I think the similarities are mostly cosmetic. Between the two of them, the chassis size is very similar, (as well as) wheel size and things like that. I am anticipating the horsepower difference and obviously having power steering as well. I want to see and feel how that relates even to the 305s.”

“Del and myself have talked about where does this lead to afterwards,” the friendly driver stated when asked if he thought the Chili Bowl could lead to more midget rides.  “His words to me were, he would love to have me in a car next year. Possibly doing some USAC West stuff out in California. As long as we all jell together, the crew guys, Del and myself, I think there is a great opportunity here.”

When not on the racetrack, Crowder has been in trucking for over 20-years and has owned Open Wheel Logistics Trucking for more than eight years. He has also maintained a race shop named Crowder Race Products since 2015.

The Chili Bowl Midget Nationals is one of the premier open-wheel races in the world. The race will take place from January 10-15 on the Tulsa Expo Raceway inside the massive SagNet Center, which is one of the largest free-span buildings in the world. Crowder will compete on one of the preliminary nights which will determine where he starts in Saturday’s finale.

For fans unable to make it to Tulsa for the race, they can watch live on www.floracing.com for the five preliminary nights and Saturday’s prelims before the coverage switches to MAVTV for the finals.

In addition to the above-mentioned Chili Bowl sponsors, Crowder thanks his yearlong backers including Accelerated Services Auto Transporters, Open Wheel Logistics, Wayne Demonja Motorsports, Diablo Fabrication and Design, K&H Suspension, Sprocket Specialties, Schoenfeld Headers, R&S Powder Coating, Rees Enterprises, and Wine Country Motorsports.

This release was produced by Scott Daloisio.  To contact him, please call (909) 226-7768 or mailto:sdaloisiosports@gmail.com.

 

 

Chase Johnson Scores Eight Wins in 2021 While Competing in Variety of Race Cars

 

 

 

Inside Line Promotions - PENNGROVE, Calif. (Dec. 20, 2021) - Chase Johnson produced another stout season behind the wheel of numerous race cars.

 

 

 

 

 

Johnson captured eight feature victories, including wins in a midget as well as 410ci and 360ci non-wing sprint cars. He also competed in 410 and 360 winged sprint cars, made his debut in a silver crown race car and raced an outlaw kart.

 

 

 

 

"I thought it was a pretty good year," he said. "I got to have some great opportunities with some great teams. I feel we were able to be successful with all the teams I did drive for. I'm grateful for the opportunities and was pleased with our results."

 

 

Johnson piloted race cars for Goodnight Racing, May Motorsports, Quinn Racing, Six8 Motorsports, BSL Racing, Josh Ford Motorsports, MC Motorsports, Heffner Racing, Kyle Beilman Racing, McClish Motorsports, Yeley Racing and Johnson Racing in 2021.

 

 

He battled throughout his home state of California and across the country in Pennsylvania, Florida, Indiana and Ohio.

 

 

"This was the first year I did quite a bit of USAC National Sprint Cars races and the silver crown event as well," he said. "I got to do a half a night before that actual night, but to go through an event was surreal."

 

 

Johnson enjoyed a solid outing during his silver crown debut and he was victorious during USAC Western States Midgets, Bay Cities Racing Association, AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars, Kings of Thunder Non-Wing Sprint Cars and USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series competition this year.

 

 

One of his most special weekends came in the middle of September when he swept the USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series races at Bakersfield Speedway in Bakersfield, Calif., and at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, Calif., where he also recorded a Bay Cities Racing Association triumph.

 

 

"I think being able to do three wins in about 26 hours was pretty cool," he said. "We won the sprint car feature on Friday and then the sprint car and midget features on Saturday. That was a special weekend.

 

 

"We had a lot of great weekends when we ran second or we were leading and had something happen. To be strong and fast and competitive in all the different types of cars, I'm pretty proud of that. Thanks to everyone for the support and I'm looking forward to building upon this year."

 

 

SEXTON GATLIN RACING FINISHES LIGHTNING SEASON WITH 11 WINS AND ONE CHAMPIONSHIP  

(Lakeside, CA, December 15, 2021) Lakeside, California-based Sexton Gatlin Racing has put the wraps on its most successful year in racing to date. Over the stretch of eight months, SGR drivers won a total of 11 main events and a season-long series championship.

2021 Lucas Oil POWRi Southwest Lightning Sprint Car champion Grant Sexton.  SGR photo.
 


 

The biggest accomplishment of the year came when 17-year-old racing star Grant Sexton won the championship in the Lucas Oil POWRi Southwest Lightning Series. For the talented teen, it was his first-ever Lightning Sprint Car title and he joins his father and grandfather who won a combined three championships in the California Lightning Sprint Car Series dating back to 1995.

2021 was by far the busiest racing season for the team. Crammed into eight months, SGR contested 26 races in five different states (California, Arizona, Missouri, Minnesota, and South Dakota). Seven different drivers raced SGR cars over the course of the season. They were Grant Sexton, his brother Dalton, his father Brent, Colton’s Rudy Padilla, San Diegans David Bezio, and A.J. Bender and Sheldon Creed, the 2020 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion from Alpine.

Of the 26 races, SGR drivers made 79 main event starts. That is an average of 3.03 SGR cars in every main.  In the 79 starts, the team rolled to 40 top-five finishes. The breakdown on that 40 shows the team with 11 wins, nine runner-up finishes, and nine third-place showings, giving it 29 top threes. The other top-five placings saw the team gather six fourth-place results and five fifth-place finishes.

As well as winning the CLS title, Grant led the team in wins with five. His father Brent and Bender each took home two winner’s trophies. Dalton Sexton and Bezio accounted for one win each. The victories came in three different states (California, Arizona, and Minnesota).

Four of Grant’s five wins came at the team’s hometown track, the Barona Speedway. The other came at the Norman County Speedway in Minnesota. Brent’s wins came at Arizona’s Mojave Valley Raceway and Barona. Bender’s triumphs came in California at the Bakersfield Speedway and the Lemoore Raceway. Dalton and Bezio’s wins came at Barona.

In the Lucas Oil POWRi Southwest Lightning Sprint Car Series standings, Grant finished first and Bezio was third. Brent and Dalton did not contest every race and they finished 13th and 14th respectively.

In August’s four-race “Min-Kota Summer Shoot-Out” series, Grant ended up second overall. Dalton finished seventh, Creed was 12th and Brent ended up 21st.

Keep an eye on these spaces for updates on Grant who will be headed for the Tulsa Shootout at the end of the month to drive in three classes in Hyper House cars.

Plans are already underway for another busy season in 2022. If you or your business wants to partner up with one of the most visible Lightning Sprint teams on the West Coast, please call (619) 454-6945.  You can also E-mail mailto:sextonfire@cox.net or  mailto:sextonfire@gmail.com.   

To keep up with all the exploits of the Sexton/Gatlin Racing Team, be sure to visit the team Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Sexton-Gatlin-Racing-1173560279445564/

Sexton/Gatlin Racing would like to thank the following companies for making the 2021 season possible. Sexton Fire Protection, BK Wings, Troy Dirt, Victory Graphix, Swift Powdercoat, Maxima Oil, Infiniti Shocks and an extra special thanks to Scotty and Jimmy Keys.

Sexton Gatlin Racing 2021 Results

March 26     Mojave Valley Raceway    David Bezio 2nd – Grant Sexton 3rd – Brent Sexton 8th

March 27     Mojave Valley Raceway    Brent Sexton 1st – David Bezio 3rd – Rudy Padilla 4th – Grant Sexton 6th

April 3          Barona Speedway            Grant Sexton 2nd – David Bezio 3rd – Dalton Sexton 10th

April 10       Bakersfield Speedway      Brent Sexton 4th – Grant Sexton 5th

April 17       Barona Speedway            Dalton Sexton 1st – David Bezio 7th – Grant Sexton 9th

May 1          Barona Speedway            Grant Sexton 1st – Dalton Sexton 2nd – David Bezio 3rd

May 15        Barona Speedway            Grant Sexton 1st – David Bezio DNS

May 29        Central Missouri Speedway        Grant Sexton 19th – Shane Sexton 8th in B Main – Brent Sexton 9th in B Main – Dalton Sexton 13th in B Main

May 30        Central Missouri Speedway        Grant Sexton 3rd – Brent Sexton 16th – Shane Sexton 17th – Dalton Sexton 19th

June 12       Barona Speedway            Grant Sexton 1st – David Bezio 2nd

July 24        Santa Maria Raceway       Grant Sexton 4th – Brent Sexton 5th

August 7      Barona Speedway            David Bezio 1st – Grant Sexton 3rd – Brent Sexton 12th

August 11    Norman County Raceway Grant Sexton 1st - Dalton Sexton 4th – Sheldon Creed 21st – Brent Sexton 11th B Main

August 13    River Cities Speedway     Sheldon Creed 6th – Brent Sexton 7th – Grant Sexton 8th – Dalton Sexton 10th

August 14    Greenbush Race Park       Brent Sexton 6th – Grant Sexton 7th – Dalton Sexton 9th – Sheldon Creed 10th B Main

August 15    Buffalo River Speedway   Sheldon Creed 2nd – Grant Sexton 4th – Dalton Sexton 6th – Brent Sexton DNS

August 21    Barona Speedway            Brent Sexton 1st – David Bezio 5th – Grant Sexton 6th – Dalton Sexton 13th

Sept. 18      Barona Speedway            Grant Sexton 1st – Brent Sexton 3rd – David Bezio 5th – Dalton Sexton 15th

October 2     Barona Speedway            Grant Sexton 2nd – Brent Sexton 3rd – David Bezio 8th

October 14   Lemoore Raceway           A.J. Bender 5th – Grant Sexton 10th – Dalton Sexton 12th – Brent Sexton 20th

October 15   Lemoore Raceway           A.J. Bender 1st – Brent Sexton 18th – Grant Sexton 9th B Main – Dalton Sexton 10th B Main

October 16   Lemoore Raceway           A.J. Bender 3rd – Brent Sexton 9th – Dalton Sexton 13th – Grant Sexton 18th

Nov. 16       Bakersfield Speedway      AJ Bender 1st - Grant Sexton 6th – Brent Sexton 22nd  

Nov. 18       Placerville Speedway       AJ Bender 2nd - Grant Sexton 16th - Brent Sexton 18th - Dalton Sexton 12th B Main

Nov. 19       Placerville Speedway       AJ Bender 2nd – Grant Sexton 4th – Brent Sexton 9th – Dalton Sexton 19th

Nov. 20        Placerville Speedway       AJ Bender 2nd – Brent Sexton 12th – Grant Sexton 18th

A.J. BENDER DRIVING FOR 2-TIME NHRA FUNNY CAR CHAMPION CRUZ PEDREGON AT THE CHILI BOWL

(San Diego, CA, December 10, 2021) Coming off the biggest win of his career in the sprint car portion of the 80th Annual Turkey Night Grand Prix at the Ventura Raceway, A.J. Bender is pleased to announce that he will be driving for two-time NHRA Funny Car champion Cruz Pedregon in January’s 36th Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
 

Bender had one of the performances of the year in sprint car racing at Turkey Night. After patiently stalking the leaders throughout the race, he found rubber on the bottom side late in the 30 lapper. He quickly commandeered the fourth-place spot and less than a lap later he sent the sellout crowd into a frenzy when he sensationally went from fourth to first in less than one lap.

For years, Bender has been one of the best kept secrets in Southern California Open Wheel racing. However, his prowess in 2021 has let the cat out of the bag. Especially his late season endeavors in both full size sprint cars and lightning sprints. The night after his big win in Ventura, the 28-year-old was enjoying a night at home with his wife and daughter when the phone rang.

“Sunday night I am home sitting on the couch, and I got a message through Facebook from Cruz Pedregon’s manager,” Bender told listeners on last Sunday’s “Racer Radio Show.”  “He said Cruz was interested in talking with me and asked if he could get my number. He (Cruz) called me the next day and told me he was watching me at Ventura. He said he was really impressed with me, and he has a midget ready to go and he wanted to know if I wanted to come run it. I was like a kid in a candy store, and I think I said yes before he was done talking.” 

Bender has raced 410 sprint cars for several years and he has competed in lightning sprints since being crowned “Rookie of the Year” in the California Lightning Sprint Car Series at age 15 in 2008. However, when he climbs into Pedregon’s Snap-On/Glen Styres Racing/Petroff Towing/Spike/Pink Ford/#6A in Tulsa, it will be his first time in a midget. That made the veteran driver nervous as he knew he had to tell Pedregon he had never raced a midget before.

“I told that (never driven a midget) to Cruz, and he told me not to worry about it,” Bender laughed. “He told me I would be all right. He watches all the races, and he knew me from before. He said he has been told that weight to power and track size, sprint cars at Ventura are like midgets at the Chili Bowl. He thinks I will do good. I have wanted to drive a midget for a long time.”  

While Bender has never driven a midget before, he has been campaigning lightning sprints for over a decade. That bodes very well for the Dallas, Texas native as lightning sprints and midgets are the same size. The main differences are lightning sprints are powered by motorcycle engines and they usually race with wings on top.

Bender heads to the Chili Bowl not only after his sensational Turkey Night Grand Prix victory, but also an amazing run in one of Sexton Gatlin Racing’s lightning sprint cars. In October Brent Sexton approached Bender about driving one of his team cars at the prestigious California Cup in Lemoore, California. To say Bender did not disappoint SGR is an understatement. The first night at Lemoore he placed fifth in the main event. Twenty-four hours later, he went four positions better and won. The final night he placed third.

The Lemoore races impressed Sexton so much he brought Bender along for the final four California Lightning Sprint Car Series races of the 2021 campaign. First off was the 5th Annual Western States Lightning Sprint Car Championship at the Bakersfield Speedway on November 16th. Bender bagged the win again! After a night off, the team ventured north for three straight nights of racing in the “Hangtown 100” at the Placerville Speedway. Bender finished second all three nights.

In seven nights of racing for SGR, Bender had one win, three second place finishes, one third and a fifth.

“A.J. is very easy on equipment,” SGR head man Sexton said. “He is a very smart driver, and he has a huge will to win. We are incredibly pleased with what he achieved driving for us in October and November. He is welcome to come back and race with us at any time.”

The Chili Bowl Midget Nationals is one of the premiere open wheel races in the world. More than 300 drivers from all disciplines of racing, including NASCAR, NHRA and Indy Cars, take part in the six-day racing extravaganza. The race will take place from January 10-15 on the Tulsa Expo Raceway inside the massive SagNet Center, which is one of the largest free-spam buildings in the world. For fans unable to make it to Tulsa for the race, all six nights will be shown live on https://www.floracing.com/.

A couple weeks after the Chili Bowl, Bender should be back in action when the USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series kicks off its 18th season at Yuma, Arizona’s Cocopah Speedway on January 27, 28 and 29.

Fans can listen to Bender talk about the upcoming Chili Bowl and his win in the Turkey Night Grand Prix on a replay of “Racer Radio Show” at the following link http://www.perrisautospeedway.com/radio21/RACERRADIO211205.mp3

Bender would like to thank the car owners who made his 2021 season possible. Kim and Richard Bender in the USAC/CRA Series, and Schweitzer Racing & Sexton Gatlin Racing in the CLS. If you or your company would like to join him on one or all the teams for the 2022 season, give him a call at (760) 703-4741.

 

 

EDDIE TAFOYA JR. 2021 SEASON WRAP UP

(Chino Hills, CA, December 5, 2021) Eddie Tafoya Jr. concluded a successful 2021 sprint car season by racing in the “54th Annual Western World Championship” at the Arizona Speedway in November. Despite missing four races during the year, the handsome driver ended up eighth in the USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series championship standings.


 

Tafoya qualified well each night on the 3/8 mile “Copper State” track. On Friday he was eighth fastest in his flight with a time of 15.170.  On night number two, he went two spots better to sixth with a lap of 15.049. 

After his qualifying effort on Friday, “Mr. Smooth” placed sixth in his heat forcing him to the B main event. A fifth-place finish in the B sent him to the A main where he started 19th. Racing against the best cars and drivers in the USAC/CRA and USAC National Series, he passed seven of his competitors to finish 12th.

The Saturday finale for the “Western World” would mark Tafoya’s last ever event at the track as it was closing for good at the end of the season. In his 10-lap heat race, he brought the beautiful #51T home third and that put him into the starting field for the final race of the 2021 season. Not only did it put him in the main, but it also locked up the eighth-place finish in the championship standings.

For the main, the Chino Hills, California resident started inside the seventh row in the 13th spot. The fast way around the track was on the wider line and Tafoya got trapped on the bottom. When all was said and done, he ended up 21st.

To get to his impressive eighth-place finish during his sophomore season in the tough USAC/CRA Series, Tafoya contested 17 of the 21 races on the schedule. Of the 17, he made the A main event 15 times. He had one top three finish, five top fives and he was in the top 10 six times.

In addition to being on the track for nearly all of the USAC/CRA races, he took advantage of breaks in the schedule to hone his skills by heading back to Indiana three times during the year. In the “Hoosier State,” he raced 12 times, on seven different tracks against the best traditional sprint car drivers on the planet.

While the 2021 season has just ended, an early start to the 2022 campaign is just around the corner. To be exact, the first three nights of the new campaign are only seven weeks away! They will be at the Cocopah Speedway in Yuma, Arizona on January 27, 28 and 29.  Tafoya and the team will be primed and ready for the new campaign and have their sights aimed on what is destined to be the young driver’s best season to date in a 410-sprint car.

If you or your company would like to be a part of the Specialty Fastener team’s 2022 season effort, please contact Eddie Tafoya Jr. via phone at (909) 393-3999 or by E-mail at teamtafoya@aol.com.  He will be happy to talk to you and lay out the team’s 2022 plans.

Fans can follow Tafoya on Instagram @eddietafoya51. The same contact point can be used to purchase his great looking shirts via mail.

Tafoya and his team would like to thank the following sponsors for making the 2021 racing campaign possible. Specialty Fasteners, BR Performance, DRC Chassis, Ryder Racing Engines, Benic Enterprises, Simpson, and Bell.

Eddie Tafoya Jr. 2021 Race Results

1/12  Tulsa Expo Raceway        Chili Bowl Midget Nationals        12th B Main

1/16  Tulsa Expo Raceway        Chili Bowl Midget Nationals        8th H Main

3-26  Thunderbowl Raceway     USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               DNS

4-16  Bloomington Speedway   USAC National Sprint Cars         10th C Main

4-17  Paragon Speedway          USAC National Sprint Cars         13th B Main

4-24  Perris Auto Speedway      USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               8th   A Main   

5-22  Perris Auto Speedway      USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               18th A Main

6-17  Perris Auto Speedway      USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               4th   A Main

7-3    Santa Maria Raceway       USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               6th A Main

7-17  Perris Auto Speedway      USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               3rd A Main

7-24  Kokomo Speedway          USAC National Sprint Cars         10th B Main

7-25  Lawrenceburg Speedway USAC National Sprint Cars         15th B Main

7-26  Gas City I69 Speedway    USAC National Sprint Cars         13th B Main

7-28  Terre Haute Action Track USAC National Sprint Cars         22nd A Main

7-29  Lincoln Park Speedway    USAC National Sprint Cars         10th B Main

7-30  Bloomington Speedway   USAC National Sprint Cars         8th B Main

7-31  Tri-State Speedway         USAC National Sprint Cars         22nd A Main

8-25  Kokomo Speedway          Bob Darland Memorial               6th B Main

8-27   Kokomo Speedway          USAC National Sprint Cars         14th B Main

8-28  Kokomo Speedway          USAC National Sprint Cars         DNS

9-4    Silver Dollar Speedway    USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               20th A Main

9-5    Silver Dollar Speedway    USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               16th A Main

9-6    Petaluma Speedway        USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               11th A Main

9-25  Perris Auto Speedway      USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               4th A Main

10-2  Arizona Speedway           USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               14th A Main

10-23 Perris Auto Speedway      USAC/CAR Sprint Cars               5th A Main

11-4  Perris Auto Speedway      USAC/CRA & Nat. Sprint Cars    22nd

11-5   Perris Auto Speedway      USAC/CRA & Nat. Sprint Cars    10th B Main

11-6  Perris Auto Speedway      USAC/CRA & Nat. Sprint Cars    24th A Main

11-12 Arizona Speedway           USAC/CRA & Nat. Sprint Cars    12th A Main

11-13 Arizona Speedway           USAC/CRA & Nat. Sprint Cars    21st A Main


 

TEAM VADEN HAS A GOOD SHOWING AT THE POSSUM TOWN GRAND PRIX

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

 

              CARTERSVILLE, GA – The Mike Vaughn Racing Team had a good showing this past weekend at the Annual Possum Town Grand Prix at Magnolia Motor Speedway in Columbus, MS.  Drivers Ken Schrader of Fenton, MO and Don Jenkins of Kingston, GA drove their Vaden Chevrolet Modified Sportsman cars to top ten finishes in the main event.

 

               Schrader finished second to race winner Shay Knight of Steens, MS, and Jenkins, who had to start at the tail of the field after replacing Johnny Stokes of Columbus, MS, rallied to move up to as high as fifth, but he dropped to finish ninth after a late race restart.

 

               “Congratulations to my friend Shay Knight on the win of the annual Possum Town Grand Prix and to Ken Schrader for wheeling our #9 Vaden Chevrolet house car to a runner up position,” Team Vaden Owner Mike Vaughn said.  “I’m also proud of our Crew Chief Don Jenkins, who also stepped up as a team driver and gave the #1 Vaden Chevrolet machine a great drive after starting scratch on the field.”

 

               Race winner Knight was impressed with the comradery the former NASCAR star Schrader and his wife Ann showed him and his family before, during, and after the Modified Sportsman feature race.  Vaughn said it was just Schrader being Schrader.

 

               “Carrying on a conversation about our race cars early in the day was a cool deal but him coming to find me after the races to congratulate us speaks volumes on how down to earth he really is,”  Knight said of Ken Schrader.  “I Enjoyed racing with Kenny Schrader this weekend!

 

               “He’s just ole Schrader every time you see him,” Vaughn said.  “He has become one of my best friends over the last few years along with his wife Ann.  Schrader helped me write the rules for the Modified Sportsman Division when I owned Crate Racin’ USA, and he really enjoys driving these race cars.”

 

               When Stokes had to take care of the business of promoting the Possum Town Grand Prix and overseeing the track prep, Dr. Dirt, as Stokes is known as, stepped out of the #1 Vaden Chevrolet Modified Sportsman after Friday night’s heat races.  Crew Chief Jenkins donned his fire suit and helmet to take over the ride for Saturday night’s main event.

 

               “I was granted a hot lap session at the end of the racing program Friday night, and I discovered a brake problem that I was able to fix for the next day’s races,” Jenkins said.  “I knew that I was going to have to start at the tail of the field because of the driver change, but I had a good race car under me and drove it up to fifth-place.  We had a late-race caution, and I made a bad decision choosing the outside for the restart and gave up four spots by the end of the race.”

 

               For Team Vaden, it not all about winning, where you finished, or what problems you might have had on the race track.  As the Schraders showed at the Possum Town Grad Prix, it’s about making new friends and having a good time.  The race winner Knight told of the hospitality the Schraders showed his family.

 

               “It was pretty cool to start the race on the front row with Ken Schrader alongside me,” Knight said.  “When he came over to talk with me before the race, he took the time to also spend time with my two sons and take a picture with them.  After the race when he and his wife came over to congratulate me, he saw me with a beer and said ‘Dang I’d like to have one with you but I got a long drive home!

 

The Team Vaden Modified Sportsman race cars are powered by the 350 horsepower all-steel Chevrolet Performance 602 Engines that are built and sealed at the factory to prevent any expensive modifications.  The engines in both cars came right out of the crate from Vaden Chevrolet in Savannah, GA ready for competition.  For more information or to place an order with free next day delivery anywhere in the Southeast, call Vaden Chevrolet at 833-823-3678.

 

Schrader’s  #9 and Jenkins’ #1 Vaden Chevrolet Open-Wheel Modifieds that they drove in the Possum Town Grand Prix are also sponsored by Chevrolet Performance, Hoosier Racing Tires, KRC Power Steering, David Smith Carburetors, Lightning Chassis, Federated Auto Parts and Mike Vaughn’s Auto Exchange.

 

 

MIKE VAUGHN – “C.J. RAYBURN WAS A VISIONARY THAT COULD MAKE THINGS HAPPEN”

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

 

              CARTERSVILLE, GA – In the summer of 2010, Mike Vaughn had three new Chevrolet Performance All-Aluminum Racing Engines, a driver, and an idea.  He loaded his engines and the driver in his truck, pulled out of his headquarters in Cartersville, GA, and headed north to see one of his heroes.

 

               “I had an idea and I knew there was one guy that could help me make it happen, so I was headed to Whiteland, IN to see C.J. Rayburn,” Vaughn said.  “Rayburn believed in my idea because it was what he all about, and that was helping what he called the ‘Average Joe’ racer.”

 

               At the time, Vaughn had three Chevrolet Performance CT525 Engines with each engine priced at under $10,000 race-ready.  For his trip to see Rayburn, he brought with him Dirt Late Model driver Aaron Ridley of Chatsworth, GA.  As he always did, Rayburn welcomed them in.  He listened to Vaughn’s idea of an affordable Dirt Late Model for the “Average Joe.”

 

               Rayburn liked Vaughn’s idea, and by the end of the week, Rayburn made modifications to three of his “Stronger Than Dirt” chassis, and the CT525 Engines had new homes.  Rayburn also had a pair of drivers to join Ridley in the other two cars, his son Christian Rayburn, and his grandson Justin Shaw.  Each car was numbered “CT525”, and they were lettered “A,” “B,” and “C.”  Each car was also a different color.

 

               Ridley would drive the white A car, with Shaw in the blue B car, and Christian Rayburn in the red C car.  The three drivers worked alongside C.J. Rayburn in getting the cars and the engines ready to fit the Rayburn chassis.  Working alongside C.J. was a learning experience for any dirt late model mechanic and/or driver.

 

               Just ask Jeff Purvis, who was an inaugural inductee along with Rayburn into the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame in 2001.  Purvis was preparing to enter his first World 100 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, OH in 1983 when he arrived at the Whiteland, IN Rayburn shops that summer.

 

               “My Dad had made a deal with C.J. Rayburn for me to have one of his cars to run at the World 100 at Eldora Speedway, so I headed up to Indiana to pick up the car,” Purvis said.  “When I got there, I introduced myself to C.J. and asked him where my car was at.  Without hesitation, C.J. gave me that famous stare, pointed to the pipe rack and said, “Right over there and the World 100 is about a week from now, so you had better get busy.”

 

               Purvis said Rayburn worked right along him in building the car from the ground up.  They got the car built, Purvis went to Eldora, and he won the biggest race in all of Dirt Late Model racing at the time in his first try.

 

“C.J. wasn’t punishing me by having built the car, he was teaching me, and it was the first valuable lesson I learned in racing,” Purvis fondly remembers.  “I did learn a thing or two from C.J. Rayburn that week, and I continued to learn from him in the years to come!”

 

               The same was true for Ridley, Shaw and Christian Rayburn.  They built the three cars in a week, and they plotted out a series of six Super Late Model races in Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois.  The loaded up the three Rayburn CT525 numbered cars with “R&D Test Car” lettered on the rear quarter panels, and hit the road.

 

               When the six-race mini tour was completed, the Vaughn/Rayburn team won half the races and finished in the top five in all six events.  Ridley won two of the races, Shaw had a win, and Christian Rayburn had a second-place finish.  The cars were so successful that two of them were sold after the sixth race.

 

               “That may have been the most fun week of racing I’ve ever had,” Vaughn said.  “I know C.J. enjoyed it and I knew that by working with him, we would be successful.  C.J. was always one of my heroes in racing because if he liked an idea, he was the visionary that could make it happen.  I knew C.J. Rayburn for many years before that week in 2010, and I had bought several race cars from him when I owned super late models.  I was just one of the Average Joe’s he liked so much.”

 

               Vaughn said Rayburn had supported him in whatever racing endeavor he ever pursued.  When Vaughn founded Crate Racin’ USA in 2005, Rayburn was always a part of the Chassis Builders Program for the National Touring Series.  It billed itself as America’s Leader In Affordable Racing.  Rayburn like the series because it helped the “Average Joe.”

 

After learning of Rayburn’s passing on January 1, 2022, Vaughn was reflective about the relationship he had with the legendary driver, the chassis builder, and most important of all, his good friend for over 30 years.

 

“I will miss C.J. Rayburn because he was always straight with me when it came to racing, and to life itself,” Vaughn said.  “Just about every time I passed through Whiteland, IN, no matter what time of the day or night it was, Rayburn was like the Red Roof Inn because he always kept the light on for you and I would stop and see him.  The visits weren’t short because they would last hours, even days.”

 

The week Vaughn and Rayburn spent together in the summer of 2010 showed that they were on to something.  Vaughn returned to Georgia with the remaining CT525 Engine, reported the successful tour to Chevrolet Performance in Michigan, and they wanted more R&D.  Vaughn was ready to provide it, and he called on another National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame Inductee for the job.

 

Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN spent another year with the CT525 Engine and found success, winning several big Super Late Model races.  Johnson put the engines through its paces for 15 months with out a single failure and little maintenance.  Johnson said he never had to take the valve cover off the engine based off the Chevrolet LS3 Production engine.  All he had to do was change the oil.

 

In 2012, Vaughn launched the Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series featuring race cars powered by the Chevrolet Performance CT525 that was built and sealed at the factory to prevent any expensive modifications.  The series operated under Vaughn’s Crate Racin’ USA umbrella until he sold the sanctioning body in 2019.

 

“C.J. Rayburn may have been a little eccentric, but he was a visionary in that he built a race car in 1983 that was the foundation of how dirt late models are built today,” Vaughn said.  “Whenever the conversation about today’s dirt late models was brought up, Rayburn would always say they were just modified 1983 Rayburns.  He was a man that knew racing inside and out, and there will never be another one like him – always helping out the Average Joe.”       

Hagar Returning to Chili Bowl Midget Nationals With Big Expectations

 

 

 

 

Inside Line Promotions - MARION, Ark. (Jan. 4, 2022) - Confidence is high for Derek Hagar as he prepares to tackle the 36th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals presented by General Tire next week.

 

 

 

 

 

Hagar will pilot a midget for Shawn Wood with a special scheme at the event held Jan. 10-15 inside the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, Okla.

 

 

 

 

"It's a throwback car from 1982 or 1983 of Tony Wilson," he said. "He's a veteran of short track racing, a very smart and intelligent guy. We are family friends. I'm excited the team is honoring him this way."

 

 

 

 

 

Hagar produced a career-best performance during the 2021 Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, finishing sixth during his preliminary night before ending eighth in the B Main during the finale.

 

 

 

 

 

"We missed it by one spot," he said. "Last year was the first time that I've had a car with up-to-date parts, motor and everything. It really showed. We had a really good prelim night and a good Saturday night. We were just too free to run the bottom and too tight to run the top in that B Main and we fell one spot short of transferring into the main event.

 

 

 

 

 

"We learned a lot with the chassis. Shawn built that car in a lawnmower shop last year. This year he built another car and changed a lot of things up. We're quite a bit lighter. We tested the car a couple of weeks ago and I could definitely tell a difference. I'm really looking forward to our prelim night. We have big expectations for sure."

 

 

 

 

 

Hagar's preliminary night is next Tuesday. The event is expected to have a record number of entries.

 

 

 

 

 

"I don't think the pressure really gets to you with having that many entries," he said. "The only people I can worry about are the 70 or 80 people I race with on my prelim night. The biggest thing is getting in the show on your prelim night and moving forward because that's what will set you up for Saturday."

 

 

 

 

 

Hagar will also be a part of two other drivers Chili Bowl Midget Nationals experience as Hagar-Proctor Racing welcomes Ayrton Olsen and Chase Howard for the event.

 

 

 

 

 

UP NEXT -

 

 

 

Jan. 10-15 inside the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, Okla., for the 36 th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals presented by General Tire

 

 

Amantea Racing Four Classes This Week During Fourth Visit to Tulsa Shootout

 

Inside Line Promotions - MT. POCONO, Pa. (Dec. 27, 2021) - Joey Amantea is aiming for success and survival during the 37th annual Lucas Oil Tulsa Shootout this week.

 

 

Amantea is tackling the Winged Outlaw, Non-Wing Outlaw, Winged 'A' Class and Stock Non-Wing divisions during the marquee midget event, which runs Wednesday through Saturday inside the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, Okla.

 

"This is our fourth year of going and it's our last year of planning to go," he said. "We're going to make the show. That's my goal. Our motors run right. Every year we've been fast, but had terrible luck.

 

 

"I think two years ago we made almost all the qualifiers and the B Mains, but we got destroyed in every single one of them. A lot can go wrong in a hurry at this event so you have to be lucky as well as good."

 

 

A record number of entries are invading the spectacle, which is the first event for Amantea since the first weekend in November.

 

 

"It's nice to have something to do and to keep busy," he said. "I like keeping busy with the cars. We might throw some February racing in with all the wingless races that have come out so this is something in the middle of the long break during the offseason."

 

 

UP NEXT -

 

Wednesday through Saturday at the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, Okla., for the 37th annual Lucas Oil Tulsa Shootout

Williamson Returning to Full-Time Action on ASCS National Tour Next Season

 

 

 

 

Inside Line Promotions - COLUMBIA, Mo. (Dec. 20, 2021) - Bryant Paver Motorsports driver Garet Williamson is rejoining the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour in 2022.

 

 

 

 

 

Williamson battled to a ninth-place finish in the championship standings and a runner-up result in the chase for the Rookie of the Year Award in 2020. This year he placed 12th in the standings while running part time. Next year the plan is to return to full-time competition.

 

 

 

 

"I think what Terry (Mattox) is doing with it is a great deal," Williamson said. "We have almost 60 races and they are mostly within 10 hours away. If you can race that much and not have to travel that far it's a good schedule for us. Plus, with it being the ASCS National Tour, you get a good amount of attention for your sponsors."

 

 

 

 

 

Williamson and the team will mix in regional races along with select 410ci winged sprint car starts next season. He made his 410 debut in 2021 and found it beneficial when he returned to 360 action.

 

 

 

 

 

"We'd also like to run at Knoxville Raceway (in Knoxville, Iowa) when the opportunity presents itself," he said. "There are some big races at that track and I think we've learned every time we've raced there.

 

 

 

 

 

"As far as our goals with the ASCS National Tour, a top five in points and we want to get our first ASCS National Tour win. I think once we click that first one off we'll be able to win a lot more."

 

 

 

 

 

Williamson registered his first three top-five finishes with the ASCS National Tour this season, highlighted by a career-best second-place showing. Williamson's eight top-10 outings during ASCS National Tour competition this year nearly tripled his total from 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

"Learning how to adapt quickly during our rookie year on every track taught me a lot," he said. "I feel I'm smarter behind the wheel. We hurt some equipment this year, but that was part of the learning curve of how hard to push it and when you need to be smart. The second half of the season we were really strong."

 

 

 

 

 

MEDIA LINKS -

 

 

 

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BPMotorsports24

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BPMotorsports24

 

 

 

 

 

SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT - Mid-Mo Equipment

 

 

 

Mid-Mo Equipment, which is based in Columbia, Mo., buys and sells large equipment, including trucks and trailers, construction equipment and agriculture equipment. For more information, visit http://www.Mid-MoEquipment.com .

 

 

"I lived by Bryant Paver, who owns Mid-Mo Equipment, when I was a little kid and we kept in touch," Williamson said. "I worked with him throughout high school and he sponsored me. It's turned into me driving for him and I'm very grateful for the support throughout the years."

 

 

Williamson would like to thank Housby, Royal Power Sports, JBC Transport Group, LLC, Sorrels Auto & Truck Parts, Tiger Towing, TrueSon Exteriors & Interiors, Impact Signs, Awnings, Wraps, Schure Built Suspensions, Searsboro Telephone Company, Schooler Construction, Dash Detailing, Lindsey Rentals, SNAP, Clems Signs and Maxim for their continued support.

 

 

 

 

 

INSIDE LINE PROMOTIONS -

 

 

 

 

Inside Line Promotions specializes in affordable public relations and media management for motor sports drivers, teams, sponsors, tracks, series, events, organizations and manufacturers. ILP Founder Shawn Miller leverages professional journalism with new media technologies and social networking to improve your exposure and the return on investment for your sponsors.

 

 

 

 

 

To meet the media relations needs of your program by joining Team ILP, contact Shawn at 541-510-3663 or Shawn@InsideLinePromotions.com . For more information on Inside Line Promotions, visit http://www.InsideLinePromotions.com.

 

 

TWO-TIME CHAMPION CORY KRUSEMAN ENTERS FIVE CARS IN CHILI BOWL MIDGET NATIONALS

(Ventura, CA, December 14, 2021) Ventura, California racing legend Cory Kruseman is entering five cars in January’s 36th Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The annual event will take place on the same Tulsa Expo Center Raceway surface that Kruseman won the race on in 2000 and 2004.

Kruseman Motorsports cars being prepped for January's Chili Bowl in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
 

Kruseman’s Chili Bowl lineup consists of Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Caleb Saiz, Jesse Denome of Escanaba, Michigan, Californians Dave Gasper of Goleta, and  San Juan Capistrano’s Evan Garvy, and Kiwi midget racing star Travis Buckley of Auckland, New Zealand.

Twenty-six-year-old Saiz, who will be making his first foray into midget racing at the Chili Bowl, comes in as a highly decorated sprint car driver from “The Land of Enchantment.”  This year he won his third (second in a row) Lucas Oil POWRi New Mexico Motor Racing Association non-wing sprint car championship. In addition, the affable driver also captured sprint car titles in 2017 and 2018 at the Sandia Speedway. He will come into the Chili Bowl off a win at the 305-winged sprint car Turkey Bowl at the Vado Speedway Park on November 27th. A few weeks earlier, the talented driver showed his durability by finishing second in the 305 feature at Sandia. Moments later he used the same 305 to finish second in a 19 car 360 sprint car main event.

Jesse Denome, a past resident of San Diego who moved back to his native Escanaba, Michigan in the beautiful Upper Peninsula, will be racing in his second Chili Bowl in January. The veteran driver first crossed paths with Kruseman when he helped the latter with his sprint cars at the Ventura Raceway. He then progressed to driving sprint cars in the VRA Series at Ventura and eventually ventured to the USAC/CRA and PAS Senior Sprint Car competitions at Perris Auto Speedway. Denome now races U.P. Super Vintage Modifieds at the Upper Peninsula International Raceway in Escanaba. In 2021, he racked up one win and eight top-five finishes. In addition, he never finished out of the top 10 in nine starts on the 1/5-mile red clay oval. Those stats netted him second place in the championship point standings, only 18-points out of first.

Sixteen-year-old Gasper made a career shift in 2021 when he went from racing in the Lucas Oil Off-Road Series to the California Lightning Sprint Cars. The teen achieved off-road success at an early age by winning titles in the Junior 1 and 2 classes. In 2020, he won the Rookie of the Year award in the Modified Karts, but when the off-road series folded, Gasper had to find something new. That is when he turned to Lightning Sprints. How did he do in his initial season going in circles? He won the 2021 CLS Rookie of the Year award and the annual Civil War Series title. Most importantly, he won the season-long California Lightning Sprint Car Series championship on his first try and became the youngest champ in the 27-year history of the club. After making his midget debut at the Chili Bowl, Gasper will defend his CLS title and will begin racing 360 sprint cars as well.

Garvy, who turned 21 in August, competed and won in both quarter midgets and bandoleros as a child. However, he stepped away from racing when he was 12 years old and did not compete again until 2021. He re-launched his career racing dwarf cars and it paid immediate dividends. In 37 appearances on the track in 2021, he scored 11 wins, 19 top three, and 29 top 10 finishes. Those lofty statistics netted him two championships in his first year back. One of the titles was in the legends car track championship at the Havasu 95 Speedway. The other came in the California State Asphalt Legends Series. In addition to his prowess in the legend cars, he also made his debut in the Nut Up To Late Model Series at the Madera Speedway. The Chili Bowl will be his first race in a midget.

Kiwi racer Buckley’s sojourn to the USA to drive for Kruseman at the Chili Bowl will be his third trip stateside this year. A regular in sprint car and midget races in his native New Zealand, Buckley’s finest stateside finish came when he placed second in the USAC Western Midget main event at the Ventura Raceway, on September 11th. In other prior visits to the USA this year, he competed in the grueling USAC National Midget Indiana Sprint Week, raced in the Lucas Oil POWRi National Midget League, Taco Bravo Sprints, and the Sprint Car Challenge Series.

Fielding five cars racing over six nights at the Chili Bowl requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work. Taking care of the cars in the pits will be team owner Kruseman, Mike Nigh, and Trevor & Jeremy Stout.

The Chili Bowl Midget Nationals is one of the premier open-wheel races in the world. More than 300 drivers from all disciplines of racing, including NASCAR, NHRA, and Indy Cars, take part in the six-day racing extravaganza. The race will take place from January 10-15 on the Tulsa Expo Raceway inside the massive SagNet Center, which is one of the largest free-spam buildings in the world.

For fans unable to make it to Tulsa for the race, they can watch live on www.floracing.com for the five preliminary nights and Saturday’s prelims before the coverage switches to MAVTV for the finals. 

Kruseman Motorsports would like to thank the following team partners for making the 2021 Chili Bowl effort possible. Lucas Oil, Kwik Change Products, FK Rod Ends, Brown and Miller Racing Solutions, Sander Engineering, K-1 Race Gear, ARP Fasteners, Advance Shocks, WEM-West Evans, Circle Track Performance, K&N Filters, Kenny’s Components, PKP, and No Limit Powder Coating.

Gift certificates for the Cory Kruseman Sprint Car and Midget Driving School can make a great Christmas present for that special racing fan on your shopping list. From raw novices to pros trying to hone their skills, Cory has courses for everyone. For more details or to make a reservation, visit https://kruseman.com/ or call 805-649-1243.

 

 

LANDON SIMON RACING TO FOLLOW NEW SPRINT SERIES IN 2022 Xtreme Outlaw Sprint Car Series and Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series 


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


 

INDIANAPOLIS, December 11, 2021 – Landon Simon announced plans today for the upcoming 2022 season which will focus on the newly-formed Xtreme Outlaw Sprint Car Series as well as select Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series events. Landon Simon Racing with support from East Mountain Transport will campaign the True North Cannabis, Lucas Oil Products #24 DRC full time with XOSCS.  


 

The series announcement was delivered by World Racing Group CEO Brian Carter earlier today at the Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis. 


 

“WRG leads the dirt track racing world. Their new involvement in traditional sprint cars and midgets is very exciting for my team and partners. Competing under the Outlaw banner is a dream come true for any racer,” said Simon.  


 

The newly created series will be guided by Casey Shuman, a veteran Sprint/Midget racer who continues to serve his fourth year as the World of Outlaws Late Model Series Director.  


 

“I’m committed to following this journey under the lead of Casey Shuman and WRG. I’m looking forward to what the future holds,” added Simon.  


 

During the inaugural campaign, several events for both series will be held in conjunction with an already established World of Outlaws Sprint Car or Late Model race. 


 

Both series will feature a 10-15 race schedule with a combined point fund approaching $100,000 available in year one with plans to grow. Long-term goals center around increasing fan interaction and engagement and building brand awareness for the sport of non-wing racing, as part of that every event will be streamed LIVE on DIRTVision as part of the ever-popular FAST PASS. 


 

The Xtreme Outlaw Sprint Cars will debut at Volusia Speedway Park on Monday & Tuesday, Feb. 14-15, in Barberville, FL. The non-wing drivers will compete in a $5,000-to-win show on Monday and race for $10,000-to-win on Tuesday night. 


 

Simon, 32, earned the Powri Lucas Oil WAR Wild Card Sprint Car championship in 2018. He has owned and operated Landon Simon Racing since 2014, competing in a variety of USAC, BOSS, MSCS, Powri, and various other series’ races over the years in sprint cars, 410 wing sprints and midgets. 


 

A full schedule, complete points fund, race payout, and more information will be announced as the new year commences and the first-ever Xtreme Outlaw season approaches. 


 

To stay updated on this new endeavor, visit XtremeOutlawSeries.com, follow @Xtreme_Outlaw on Twitter, or like Xtreme Outlaw Series on Facebook. 


 

LSR will unveil team car designs featuring primary sponsor True North Cannabis at a later date. True North will be joined by East Mountain Transport, Lucas Oil, Kings Poultry, The Hayloft, DRC Chassis, Simpson Race Products, Indy Race Parts, Brown and Miller, Keizer Wheels, DMI, Hoosier Tire and High Side Design who are continuing their support in 2022. 


 

BRODY ROA WRAPS UP 2021 AT TURKEY NIGHT GRAND PRIX – CHILI BOWL NEXT

(Cypress, CA, December 3, 2021) Brody Roa wrapped up his 2021 racing season in the USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series’ “80th Annual Turkey Night Grand Prix” at the Ventura Raceway last Saturday night.  It will now be five weeks before the veteran driver opens his 2022 campaign at the “36th Chili Bowl Midget Nationals” in Tulsa, Oklahoma in January.

Brody Roa in action in one of Jayson May's cars earlier in 2021.  

For one of the few times since the race began in 1934, “The Turkey Night Grand Prix” was not contested on Thanksgiving night.  This year, in an effort to accommodate more fans, the finale of the race was switched to the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The move worked to perfection as the race attracted a complete sellout crowd. In addition, it was shown live to fans around the world on Flo Racing.

Garden Grove, California based Roa was back behind the wheel of Jayson May’s new #8o sprint car for “Turkey Night.”  The previous week, he steered the same car to a main event victory at the Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield.

The TNGP opened last Friday night and the sprint cars got in two nights of action on the track that is affectionately known as “The Best Little Dirt Track in America.”  For the first night, Roa drew a pill that put him on the inside of the third row for the initial 10-lap heat race. He advanced one spot and finished fourth. Up next for the 31-year-old driver was a qualifier and that was to be followed by a 15-lap dash. Unfortunately for Roa, he never got to the dash. Starting 7th in his qualifier, he was fighting to get into the top five on the third lap. That is when the car in front of him got sideways in turn four and nearly came to a full stop. With nowhere to go, Roa clobbered the car. He was able to continue, but when he got to the next corner, he went to turn, and the car spun to the infield with front end damage. That knocked him out of the qualifier, eliminated him from the dash and meant he would have to race in Saturday’s B main just to get into the “Turkey Night Grand Prix” final.

The B main on the second night featured 16 cars. Fourteen of them would transfer into the 30-lap A main event. Garnering one of the transfer spots proved no problem for wily veteran Roa as he placed seventh.

For his last race of 2021, Roa started in the 16th spot, but he did not stay there for long. By the end of the second lap, he had passed six cars and was up to 10th. Racing in heavy, wild traffic most of the way, he was ninth by lap nine and moved as far forward as eighth on lap 16.  The see-saw battle in the middle of the pack saw Roa slip back to the 11th spot on the 19th go around before advancing back to ninth at the finish.

After a quick vacation where the water is warm this week, Roa will begin preparing for January’s “Chili Bowl” that will take place in the SageNet Center, which is one of the largest free standing clearspan (no columns) buildings in the world. As was the case the last few years, he will be wheeling the Kevin Ramey/Taylor Courtney #7M in Tulsa. Squaring off with more than 300 other stars from all disciplines of racing, Roa will compete in one of the five qualifying nights and the Saturday finale in Tulsa. Fans from all over the world can look in on the action on https://www.floracing.com/.

In BR Performance team related news, congratulations are in order for Roa’s longtime crew chief Zac Bozanich and Lacie Price on their engagement earlier this week.

Congratulations to Zac Bozanioch and Lacie Price.
 

rody Roa merchandise is available online and will make great Christmas gifts for his fans. You can see it all in his online store that is packed with great items including t-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, beanies, baby onesies, plush blankets, jigsaw puzzles, stickers, notebooks, tote bags, wine tumblers, mugs, bandana pet collars and more. To check it out, please visit the following website https://www.brodyroa.com/shop/.

Roa and the team would like to thank the following for being part of the 91R’s 2021 campaign. HD Industries, Biker Bruce Fischer, Inland Rigging, Burris Racing, Sander Engineering, ALR Virtual Services, Caltrol, Competition Suspension, K-1 Race Gear, Molecule, Rod End Supply, Baldwin Filters and Jambo BBQ Pits. In addition, the veteran driver offers thanks to Fastenal, Coopers Propane, Total Lubricants, Marina Pools, TJM Oilfield Distribution, Certex, and Biker Bruce for sponsoring the #8M.

If you or your company would like to jump on board and receive recognition throughout the 2022 racing season, please give the two-time USAC champion racer a phone call or drop him a note at the contact information at the top of this release. You can also contact him if you would like to put him in your car in a USAC National Series race when his west coast schedule permits.

To view Roa’s online portfolio and learn more about the team, please click on the following link https://www.teamwithbrody.com/. Fans can also check out the team website at  https://www.brodyroa.com/ and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/br91r/To keep up with May Motorsports, please check out and “like” its Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/MayMotorsports8M

2021 Results

3-12            Kern County Raceway Park                  USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               7th A Main

3-13            Kern County Raceway Park                  USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               2nd A Main                  

3-26            Thunderbowl Raceway                        USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               13th A Main         

4-10            Keller Auto Speedway                         USAC West Coast Sprint Cars    3rd A Main

4-10            Keller Auto Speedway                         King Of The Wing Sprint Cars     22nd A Main

4-16            Kern County Raceway Park                  Open 360 Sprint Cars                1st A Main

4-17            Thunderbowl Raceway                        USAC West Coast Sprint Cars    1st A Main

4-24            Perris Auto Speedway                         USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               20th A Main

5-8              Bakersfield Speedway                         USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               3rd A Main

5-22            Perris Auto Speedway                         USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               1st A Main

6-12            Keller Auto Speedway                         King of Thunder Bandits            2nd A Main

6-19            Perris Auto Speedway                         USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               3rd A Main

6-26            Ventura Raceway                                USAC West Coast Sprint Cars    5th A Main

7-3              Santa Maria Raceway                          USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               2nd A Main

7-17            Perris Auto Speedway                         USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               2nd A Main

8-21            Perris Auto Speedway                         USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               1st A Main

9-4              Silver Dollar Speedway                       USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               6th A Main

9-5              Silver Dollar Speedway                       USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               3rd A Main

9-6              Petaluma Speedway                           USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               3rd A Main

9-18            Perris Auto Speedway                         USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               5th A Main

10-2            Arizona Speedway                              USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               3rd A Main

10-23          Perris Auto Speedway                         USAC/CRA Sprint Cars               5th A Main

11-4            Perris Auto Speedway                         USAC/CRA & National Sprint Cars        13th A Main

11-5            Perris Auto Speedway                         USAC/CRA & National Sprint Cars        10th A Main

11-6            Perris Auto Speedway                         USAC/CRA & National Sprint Cars        12th A Main

11-12          Arizona Speedway                              USAC/CRA & National Sprint Cars        9th A Main

11-13          Arizona Speedway                              USAC/CRA & National Sprint Cars        12th A Main

11-15          Kern County Raceway Park                  Open Competition                               1st A Main 

11-27          Ventura Raceway                                USAC West Coast Sprint Cars

          9th A Main

 

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