Drivers Vie for Spot in NASCAR Program

Drivers Vie for Spot in NASCAR Program

17 Invited to Drive for Diversity Combine at New Smyrna

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Seventeen drivers from across the country will compete for spots in the top driver development program in motorsports, NASCAR Drive for Diversity, during a national tryout at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway from Oct. 10-12.

The 13th annual NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine invites promising ethnically diverse and female drivers from across North and South America to test their skills over a three-day period as NASCAR evaluates talent for the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Class of 2017.

“This year’s NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine will feature some incredible talent and we’re excited to watch these young drivers compete,” said Dawn Harris, NASCAR director, multicultural development. “NASCAR’s first-class development program has produced the likes of Kyle Larson, Daniel Suárez and Darrell Wallace Jr., so it will be fun to see who rises to the top at New Smyrna.”    

In partnership with Rev Racing, NASCAR Drive for Diversity offers racing opportunities in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for one full season, providing drivers with equipment, mentoring, and competition experience.

“This is an unbelievable opportunity for these up-and-coming drivers; something I am very proud to be a part of for the sixth-consecutive year,” said Jefferson Hodges, Rev Racing director of competition. “To see past Drive for Diversity participants compete across all three NASCAR national series speaks volumes for the solid foundation Rev Racing provides these drivers in their budding careers.”

This year, there are 13 female drivers competing for spots with Rev Racing. Returning this fall is Macy Causey, who at 14 years old was the youngest combine participant in NASCAR Drive for Diversity history in 2015. Also participating are Hailie Deegan, daughter of Brian Deegan, the most decorated athlete in freestyle motocross history, and Hope Hornish, the niece of 2006 Indianapolis 500 winner and current NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Sam Hornish Jr.

Drivers under consideration to return to the team in 2017, but who will not compete at the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine, include current NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series drivers: Jairo Avila, Enrique Baca, Collin Cabre, Madeline Crane, Ruben Garcia Jr, and Ali Kern. Collin’s brother, Chase Cabre, is also among the drivers selected to compete in this year’s combine. 

Driver combine participants will be evaluated on their driving skills, take part in a physical fitness assessment and receive additional training at Bethune-Cookman University. 

The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine has proven successful in identifying and developing future stars of the sport. Current NASCAR Drive for Diversity members have garnered four top fives and 13 top 10s combined in the NASCAR K&N East and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series this season and are looking to repeat last year’s season-ending victory by Cabre at Dover International Speedway. 

Program graduate, Kyle Larson, earned his first victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this year at Michigan International Speedway. Also this season, fellow graduate and NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Daniel Suárez became the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR national series race. Suárez and fellow NASCAR XFINITY driver Darrell Wallace Jr., another NASCAR Drive for Diversity alumnus, are currently competing in the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase.  

Fans can follow the Combine live on Twitter at @NASCARDiversity and @RevRacing.

Below are the invitees to the 2016 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine:

* Current NASCAR Drive for Diversity drivers eligible for 2017 program; will attend but not compete in combine 

Lapcevich Scores Jostens Rookie Award

Lapcevich Scores Jostens Rookie Award

NASCAR Pinty’s Series Champion Sweeps Honors

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Cayden Lapcevich’s impressive season continued as he earned another honor.

The NASCAR Pinty’s Series champion is also the Josten’s Rookie of the Year for the series. He becomes the first driver to win both awards in the same year.

The 16 year-old high school senior outdistanced Kevin Lacroix to win the prestigious honor and felt he was able to get the award based his improvement on road courses.

“The way I raced on road courses last year winning this honor really surprised me,” said Lapcevich, who has already been recognized as the youngest champion in NASCAR history in the national or touring series. “I was afraid I was lose points to Kevin (Lacroix) on the road courses but we were able to be consistent on them this year and that really made the difference for our team.”

Lapcevich won Josten’s Rookie of the Race honors this season at eight of the 12 events on the 2016 schedule. 

The Grimsby, Ontario native won top rookie honors at the season opener at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for his only award on a road course, but he felt the key to his season was at ICAR in Quebec after the fourth race of the season.

“Getting off to a good start at CTMP was important, but I think being able to come from 22nd to 8th at ICAR really gave me the confidence I needed to perform on the road courses against Kevin and the other great drivers in the series,” he added. 

Although Lapcevich won the remaining seven rookie awards on oval tracks – including all three of his wins this season – he was happy with his improvement on the road courses.

“Realizing that I could perform on the tracks with tight turns and challenging layouts made a big difference for me the entire season, “Lapcevich added. “I also want to thank Jostens for sponsoring this award and giving new drivers in the division a goal to aim for when they compete in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series.”

Lapcevich was the only driver to finish in the top-10 in every race on the 2016 schedule with his lowest finish an eighth at Honda Indy Toronto in July. 

He picked up his first win at Wyant Group Raceway in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in July and also scored victories at Nova Scotia’s Riverside Speedway and Quebec’s Autodrome St. Eustache in August and September.

Lapcevich topped Lacroix 116-100 in the final Jostens Rookie of the Year Award standings as the two rookies combined to win five races. Lacroix earned wins at Quebec’s Circuit de Trois-Rivieres and the second stop at Canadian Tire Motorport Park.

Lacroix finishe fourth in the overall championship standings, just three points out of third place. The St. Eustache, Quebec native also won his first pole award on an oval track this season in Edmonton in July.

Adam Martin, 19, from Ayr, Ontario, finished third in the Jostens Rookie of the Year standings, followed by Patrick Dussault and Josh Collins.

Rookie points are earned on a 10-to-1 system with the highest-finishing first-year driver in a race scoring 10, the second nine, and so on down to one point for the lowest finishers.

Lapcevich will receive the Jostens Rookie of the Year Award on Dec. 10 as part of the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Series Awards at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The season finale Kawartha 250 from Kawartha Speedway will debut on TSN in Canada on Oct. 2 at 11 a.m. ET, while the NASCAR Pinty’s Series Year In Review show will air on the same network on Nov. 26 at Noon ET.


Gilliland Clinches Sunoco Rookie Title

Gilliland Clinches Sunoco Rookie Title

Triumphs Over BMR Teammates Landauer and Herbst

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Todd Gilliland proved he was the driver to beat this season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, and he’s already started collecting the trophies.

In addition to his series-high six wins, the 16-year-old from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, has already clinched the 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award with a race remaining.

The Bill McAnally Racing driver becomes the 45th Sunoco Rookie of the Year winner in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and joins his father David Gilliland, who won the award in 2004, on the prestigious list of winners. With the finale at California’s All American Speedway quickly approaching, Gilliland will look to join Lance Hooper (1996) and Scott Lynch (2003) on the list of drivers to win both the championship and rookie honors in the same year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.

“We didn’t have too high of expectations at the start of the year,” Gilliland said. “My team and I just wanted to win one to three races. To have the season I’ve had so far is mind-blowing and to have locked the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title up with one race left in the season is crazy.”

The 2016 season has seen 29 talented rookie drivers vying for top honors in the K&N Pro West, including Gilliland’s Bill McAnally Racing teammates Julia Landauer and Riley Herbst. Heading into the season finale at All American Speedway in Roseville, California, on Oct. 15, Gilliland leads Landauer 119-100, while Herbst is third with 95 points. The highest finishing rookie in a race receives 10 points, second receives nine, third gets eight and so on.

“There was a lot of great rookie talent in the series this year,” Gilliland said. “It was fun racing against such strong competitors this year, especially my BMR teammates.”

Gilliland carried over his momentum from winning his series debut at the 2015 finale at Arizona’s Phoenix International Raceway and then winning in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East opener in February at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway.

He won the first two West races of the year to equal Dan Gurney’s 50-year record as the only driver to win his first four K&N Pro starts.

The victories didn’t stop there, as the NASCAR Next driver has picked up six wins, 11 top fives and 12 top 10s in 13 starts.

While excited and honored to win the 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year trophy, Gilliland still has a lot of work ahead.

“We still have one more race,” the current championship points leader said. “Winning this title gives me some more confidence headed into the finale. But we can still lose the championship, so I have to keep my head down and keep doing what we’ve been doing all year.”

Gilliland will be formally recognized as the 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year at the NASCAR Touring Series Awards on Saturday, Dec. 10 at the Charlotte (North Carolina) Convention Center at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. 

Race Central Live: Charlotte

Bad Boy Off Road Southern Slam 150



Race Central Live: Stafford

44th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final 150



Gilliland Wins Big At Meridian Speedway

Gilliland Wins Big At Meridian Speedway

Earns Sixth K&N Pro West Win to Expand Championship Lead

MERIDIAN, Idaho – Todd Gilliland capitalized on a mistake made by Ryan Partridge late in the NAPA Auto Parts/Idaho 208 to take home his sixth NASCAR K&N Pro Series West trophy of the year.

Gilliland, 16, a Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, native started the race fifth and picked his way through the field to move into second behind Partridge, who had led a total of 121 laps before being overtaken by the NASCAR Next driver.

Partridge, 28, from Rancho Cucamonga, California, held off a charging Gilliland until late in the race when the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender slipped past him for the lead with 73 laps remaining. This started the back and forth lead change between the two championship contenders for the duration of the 208-lap event.

With five laps remaining at Meridian (Idaho) Speedway, a multi-car wreck occurred to force the field to a stop on a red flag. When the race resumed ten laps later, it was for a green-white-checkered attempt. Gilliland and Partridge were battling side-by-side, when Partridge made a costly mistake that caused him to spin and Gilliland cruised to his sixth Victory Lane celebration of the year.

The rookie will head into the season finale with a 25-point lead over Partridge (558-533).

Gilliland’s fellow Bill McAnally Racing teammate and NASCAR Next classmate, Julia Landauer, finished second to tie the record for the highest finishing female in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West as well as earn her best career finish.

NASCAR Next alumna Nicole Behar finished third, while Cole Rouse and Gracin Raz rounded out the top five.

Noah Gragson, Stafford Smith, Rich DeLong III, Chris Eggleston and Blaine Perkins completed the top 10.

 The NAPA Auto Parts/Idaho 208 will air on NBCSN, Friday, September 30 at 12:30 p.m. ET/10:30 a.m. MT.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will be back in action on Saturday, October 15 for the season finale at California’s All American Speedway.


Gilliland led a total of 31 laps en route to his victory at Meridian Speedway in the NAPA Auto Parts/Idaho 208. Otto Kitsinger/NASCAR via Getty Images

Brunnhoelzl Celebrates Victory at Caraway

Brunnhoelzl Celebrates Victory at Caraway

Sets New Record For Most Whelen Southern Tour Wins at Track

SOPHIA, N.C. – George Brunnhoelzl hasn’t enjoyed the type of season he’s used to in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, but picking up a win and setting a new record might help make him feel a little better.

Brunnhoelzl passed Andy Seuss on Lap 119 and remained out front the rest of the way to win the Caraway 150 at Caraway Speedway.

Brunnhoelzl also used the win to break a tie with Seuss for the most tour wins at Caraway with his 13th triumph in the 60th race held at the unofficial home track for the southern modifieds.

Points leader Burt Myers finished second with Jason Myers third. Seuss followed in fourth and Danny Bohn completed the top five.

Brunnhoelzl equals Burt Myers for the most wins this season with his third trip to Victory Lane and while he’s third in the standings, back-to-back accidents at Bowman Gray Stadium and Bristol in August cost him a chance at a fifth title.

Burt Myers was able to add three points on his lead over Seuss to now have a 22-point cushion over the two-time defending champion with one race remaining on the schedule.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Kyle Bonsignore finished sixth with Jeremy Gerstner, David Calabrese, Bobby Measmer Jr. and Bryan Dauzat rounding out the top 10.

After having a caution-free race for the first time since 2006 last week at South Boston Speedway, the Caraway 150 was slowed just once for caution on Lap 88. 

During the caution Burt Myers, who took the lead from Seuss on Lap 7, pitted and after making two pit stops during the caution, came back out ninth with Seuss in the lead.

Brunnhoelzl came out of the pits sixth and quickly made his way through the field and caught Seuss by Lap 117. 

After looking to the inside of Seuss, the four-time NWSMT champion went to the outside and made the pass two laps later.

Seuss won his first Coors Light Pole Award of the season during afternoon qualifying.

The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will conclude its 2016 season with the Southern Slam 150 on Thursday, Oct. 6 on the quarter-mile track at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Bonsignore Finds Success At Magic Mile

Bonsignore Finds Success At Magic Mile

Reaches New Hampshire Victory Lane For First Time

LOUDON, N.H. — Justin Bonsignore knows if he’s going to catch Doug Coby in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship race, he’s going to need to all the points he can get in the final three races.

And that means finding success at a place that’s long plagued him: New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Mission accomplished for the Holtsville, New York, driver Saturday afternoon. Bonsignore dominated the FW Webb 100, lead 77 laps and holding off the field in a green-white-checkered finish to score his first win at the “Magic Mile.”

“It doesn’t get any bigger than this,” said Bonsignore. “To do it here at New Hampshire, on the big stage, hasn’t sunk in yet. I don’t know if it ever will. It’s a huge honor to be here at honor and to be called a winner now it unbelievable.”

Ron Silk finished second, followed by Coby, Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Matt Swanson and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman.

Rowan Pennink led five laps and was in contention for the win when engine issues on Lap 98 ended his day. It also brought out the race’s final caution and pushed the event to 106 laps. On the final restart, Bonsignore was able to get a push from Silk to pull away from him and Coby en route to the checkered flag.

Bonsignore entered the event with an average finish of 17.4 in 14 previous starts at New Hampshire. He had only led two laps on the 1.058-mile oval.

It was Bonsignore’s 11th career win. His previous NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victories came at his home track, Long Island’s Riverhead Raceway (four wins), Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (four wins) and New Hampshire’s Monadnock Speedway (two wins).

It was also Bonsignore’s third win of the season. More importantly, it allowed him to slice seven more points off Coby’s lead. Coby, the three-time tour champion, holds a 13-point advantage on Bonsignore with two races remaining.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will race in the NAPA Fall Final 150 at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 2, before concluding the season in Thompson’s Sunoco World Series 150 on Sunday, Oct. 16.

Patrick Emerling finished sixth at New Hampshire, while Jimmy Blewett, Max Zachem, Timmy Solomito and Donny Lia rounded out the top 10.

The FW Webb 100 will air on NBCSN on Thursday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m.



Justin Bonsignore takes the checkered flag in the FW Webb 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway ahead of Ron Silk (82). NASCAR via Getty Images

Bowling Caps Incredible Run With Title

Bowling Caps Incredible Run With Title

Five Whelen All-American Series National Champions Crowned

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Matt Bowling spent the entire season being chased by some of the best short-track racers in North America.

In the end, nobody could catch him.

The 22-year-old from Ridgeway, Virginia, culminated his incredible run with a third Late Model Stock Car championship at Virginia’s South Boston Speedway last Saturday night. The laurels continued during the week, as Bowling was officially announced as 2016 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion.

“This year’s championship was one of the most exciting and closely contested in NASCAR history,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president of touring & weekly series. “The championship came down to contenders from three different regions of the country, and came down to the very last weekend. On behalf of the France family and NASCAR, we are proud to have Matt Bowling as the 2016 champion. We look forward to presenting his trophy and his NASCAR championship ring and all his accolades at the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards in Charlotte in December.”

Bowling also earned his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Virginia championship, by virtue of his success at South Boston, Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, and Dominion Raceway in Thornburg.

“There was just so much work that went into the whole year,” said Bowling. “We put a lot of effort to make this happen. We had to get the job done and we were able to do that.”

Bowling finished six points ahead of Connecticut’s Keith Rocco and nine points in front of Wisconsin’s Ty Majeski.


NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I drivers are ranked by their best 18 NASCAR points finishes in series-sanctioned events. Drivers receive two points for every car they finish ahead of – up to 18 cars – and three points for a win, with an additional two points available if the driver starts 10th or lower.

Bowling wasn’t the only NASCAR national champion crowned this week, as the final standings for Division II through V were announced. The drivers in those divisions are ranked by their best 14 NASCAR points finishes in series-sanctioned events.

Patrick Thomas won the Sportsman Division race at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway on the final weekend to vault from third to first in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division II, and edge Chris Hawkins from Oklahoma’s Salina Highbanks Speedway, 473-471, for the title. 

Hawkins also won the B Modified feature at Salina this past weekend, but it wasn’t enough to hold off Thomas. The Oviedo, Florida, driver won the Division III championship last year and finished 2016 with 10 wins and 16 top fives in 19 starts. Michael Ostdiek from Minnesota’s Elko Speedway finished third. 

Ryan Jenkins used 10 wins and 25 top fives in 28 starts in the B-Modified Divisions at Nebraska’s I-80 Speedway and Iowa’s Adams County Speedway to earn the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division III championship. Jenkins, 16, also won the UNOH Youth Achievement Award national standings, recognizing the top drivers in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series who are 17-years-old and younger.

Jenkins won Division III by 20 points over Kyle Davis, who races at Salina. Billy Byington from Tennessee’s Kingsport Speedway finished third.

Nathan Campbell won the Pure Stock division race at Salina last week to hold off Brennon Lacy, 495-480, for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division III championship. Lacy also runs at Salina. Campbell finished with seven wins and 13 top fives in 17 starts.

Wayne Burroughs Jr., who has competed in the Mini Stock Division at Connecticut’s New London-Waterford Speedbowl and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, finished third.

In the closest national race, Cory Dumpert edged Tommy Davis Jr., by one point (421-420) to win the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division V championship. Dumpert had nine wins in 14 starts in the Grand National Division at I-80 Speedway. Davis collected 11 wins in 34 starts racing in the Front Wheel Drive Division at South Carolina’s Anderson Motor Speedway and the 4-Cylinder Division at South Carolina’s Greenville Pickens Speedway. Chad Redding, who also raced at Anderson and Greenville, finished third. 


To earn the Division I championship, Bowling drove the No. 83 Hopkins Lumber Chevrolet to 14 wins, 35 top fives and 42 top 10s in 49 races at South Boston, Motor Mile, and Dominion, as well as South Carolina’s Anderson Motor Speedway; Kingsport; East Carolina Motor Speedway in Robersonville, North Carolina; Southern National Motorsports Park in Lucama, North Carolina; and Caraway Speedway in Sophia, North Carolina. 

“The pressure was on us,” said Bowling, who led the points season the entire season but saw his cushion narrowed to one point in the closing weeks. “It seemed like every time we won one, Rocco did too and then Majeski did.”


Bowling credited his dad and car owner, Tim Bowling, along with crew chief HC Sellers and his crew members for the consistent success week in and week out. In addition to Hopkins Lumber, Bowling said his team got support from Bill Lemons, Clearway Logistics and Bandit Chippers, along with Sellers Racing, Hedgecock Racing, and Billy Banks Racing Engines.

Despite coming up short to Bowling, it was another banner year for Rocco.

The 31-year-old from Wallingford, Connecticut, won 14 races and collected 30 top fives and 39 top 10s in 45 starts in the Modified divisions at Connecticut’s three tracks: Thompson, Stafford Motor Speedway, and New London-Waterford.


Rocco, the 2010 national champion, finished in the top five in the national standings for the ninth straight season. He also won his ninth straight Connecticut championship. Rocco has races remaining at Thompson and New London-Waterford. While they won’t count toward national or state standings, those events do go to the track’s respective championships. If Rocco were to win both – he holds the points lead at each track – it would give him 13 career NASCAR Division I track titles and move him into a tie for third all-time.

By comparison, Majeski is a relative newcomer to the national short-track scene.

The NASCAR Next driver and Roush-Fenway Racing development driver burst onto the national scene winning the Super Late Model crown at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna in February. He continued his winning ways at Wisconsin’s LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway, and then continued his national championship chase with races at Minnesota’s Elko Speedway, Illinois’ Rockford Speedway and Wisconsin’s Madison International Speedway.

The 22-year-old from Seymour, Wisconsin, finished with 14 wins, 21 top fives and 25 top 10s.


Nick Smith, who won the track title at Dominion Raceway and also competed at South Boston, finished fourth overall in the national standings, while three-time national champion Lee Pulliam ended up fifth.

Pulliam led the nation with 16 wins racing at South Boston, Southern National, Caraway and South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Speedway.

Chase Purdy finished 15th overall and earned the National Rookie of the Year presented by Jostens on the strength of 10 wins in 21 starts at Myrtle Beach and South Carolina’s Greenville Pickens Speedway. Trent Barnes (Dominion) and Ryan Kimball (Ontario’s Sunset Speedway) finished second and third, respectively, in the rookie of the year standings.

This past weekend, 11 more tracks conclude their points seasons:  David Roberts (South Carolina’s Anderson Motor Speedway); Nick Heywood (New York’s Airborne Park Speedway), Dylan Hall (Greenville Pickens), Brian Brown (Missouri’s Lebanon I-44 Speedway), Bill Kimball Jr. (New Hampshire’s Monadnock Speedway), Brenden Queen (East Carolina), Shawn Solomito (New York’s Riverhead Raceway), Bowling (South Boston) and Rowan Pennink (Stafford) won Division I track titles.


The 2016 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I national champion, as well as track champions from 58 tracks, U.S. state and Canadian provincial champions, national champions from Div. II through V, top rookies and special award winners will be honored at the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards on Friday, Dec. 9 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame / Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Established in 1982, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR’s national championship program for weekly short track auto racing. Connecticut-based Whelen Engineering is the series’ title sponsor. Whelen Engineering is a leading manufacturer of automotive, aviation, industrial and emergency vehicle lighting. NASCAR tracks and pace cars are among the many showcases for Whelen products.


2016 NWAAS State/Province Champions

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