Lanpher Collects Maine Hardware

Lanpher Collects Maine Hardware

Wins Second State & Beech Ridge Crowns In Three Years

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Even though he is only 19-years-old, Reid Lanpher’s list of accolades already has him looking like a polished veteran. 

In 2017, Lanpher added two more championships to his already stout résumé, winning both the Beech Ridge Motor Speedway Division I title and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Maine championship. He won the final four races of the season in the Pro Series Super Late Models at the Scarborough, Maine, oval and picked up his second title in the last three years.

“It was a lot of fun, we had a lot of luck come our way and the team worked really hard to put a good car underneath me every single week,” Lanpher said. “We were able to pull through it with a good bit of success.”

In 13 starts at the third-mile oval this season, Lanpher scored six victories. He finished in the top five in all events, and that consistency aided in his success. Even though of all the statistics make it look like he had a perfect year, the task of winning the championship wasn’t easy thanks to the track’s system for setting the field. 

“I like it,” Lanpher said of the track. “As frustrating as it is that we have to come from the back of the pack every week through the handicap points system, I really do like it. I like the charge up through the field, passing the cars and doing the best we can instead of just running a really strung-out race. We’ve been turning laps there for a little while now, we have a pretty good setup and we just try to go to the track and make minor changes to make sure we keep a good running car.”

The string of success for the upcoming driver started when he was much younger. Lanpher was signed as a development driver for JR Motorsports, a team owned by Monster Energy Cup Series winner Dale Earnhardt Jr., back in 2012, at the age of 14. He has also been successful in Legends Cars in his career and has sprinkled in two NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts along the way. 

However, in 2015, Lanpher’s championship efforts at Beech Ridge started with him winning four of the 15 races and capturing his first career track title, along with the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Maine  championship. A year later, Lanpher captured two checkered flags and he fell just 22 points short of winning a second straight trophy. 

This season, Lanpher was on a mission to return to the top. Although he scored the final four checkered flags, he still wasn’t breathing easy right down to the final few laps. For the second straight year, Lanpher was competing head-to-head with veteran Curtis Gerry. In 2017, Gerry won the prestigious Oxford 250, one of the toughest races of the season in New England. Gerry struggled in the Beech Ridge finale, finishing 10th, while Lanpher won. In the end, the final tally in the championship was 780-733.

Oddly enough, Lanpher credits some of his success to his closest challenger.

“You have to do everything right, and you can’t do a single thing wrong if you want to stay ahead of Curtis Gerry on the track,” Lanpher said. “He’s a talented driver with a talented team and we really enjoy running with them. There is a great deal of respect between us both on and off the track. It’s fun to have someone like that to race against, the Oxford 250 champion is there to battle with me. He’s had quite the stretch over the last few years as well. I think we are good for each other. If he wasn’t there, who knows, we may have fallen behind a little bit on making improvements when we needed to.”

The difficult task of winning the championship is never simple. 

“This was certainly a challenging year, we had an average finish of about 1.9 and Curtis was still nipping right there at our heels,” Lanpher said. “It was definitely a tough year, and you couldn’t have any bad weeks. Even a top-10 was a bad night when contending for the title this year.”

In a competitive Super Late Model division at Beech Ridge, Lanpher knows the setup under the hood has played a pivotal role in his success.

“It is so important at Beech Ridge, I’m very lucky to have a very talented crew chief, Jason Ricker, and chassis builder Jeff Taylor, who are both working with me to make sure the car is on point at all times,” Lanpher said. “It’s not easy at these tracks, they are tricky and they are pretty sensitive to adjustments. You really have to be on your A-game, because as a driver, you can’t make up for much of it if the car isn’t there.”

All of his triumphs have been a product of hard-work, especially from his crew. 

“I’m so lucky to have so many awesome people behind me. My dad is the lone reason why I am able to race, he puts in a lot of work for the race team and he got me started in the sport.”

The support for his efforts this season came from Team EPJ Racing, Mission Trailers, Les Quais de l’Estrie, Ouellet Construction, Fasway Trailer Products, Equal-i-zer Hitch, Scott’s Recreation and Scott’s Recreation Turner Store, along with his entire family. 

As of right now, the plan is for him to go back and defend the championship once again in 2018. 

“It’s amazing what we have been able to accomplish the last couple of years and it just makes me wants to go back it up even more. I wish I could take that next step and doing something K&N related to prove ourselves at the next level, but with what we have to work with, we are having as much fun as possible,” Lanpher said. “We enjoy running for the NASCAR title every year and right now we are just at a point where we want to have fun. We want to be able to do that for years to come.”

Lanpher was already honored at the Beech Ridge awards banquet, where he was presented with the Driver of the Year award at the Maine oval. He was also recognized as part of the NASCAR Home Tracks Award ceremony on Dec. 8 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Lanpher races in traffic during a Pro Series race at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in 2017. Finish Line Photography

Kraus To Drive No. 16 For BMR

Kraus To Drive No. 16 For BMR

Wisconsin Driver To Contend for K&N Pro West Title In 2018

ROSEVILLE, Calif. – Bill McAnally Racing announced today that Derek Kraus will drive the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry for BMR in 2018, as he contends for the championship in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.

The 16-year-old Stratford, Wisconsin, driver took Rookie of the Year honors in the series this past season and was part of the BMR lineup that dominated the competition.

In addition to running the full 15-race schedule in the West division of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, Kraus is also slated to compete in select events in the East division in 2018.

“We’re excited to announce that Derek will take the wheel of the No. 16 NAPA Toyota,” said BMR President Bill McAnally. “We were very impressed with his performance this past season and we will work hard to carry that momentum into next year.

“We look forward to seeing Derek continue his development,” McAnally said. “We’re confident he has what it takes to be a NASCAR champion.

“In addition to his performance on track this year, Derek also did a remarkable job in representing BMR and our partners,” McAnally said. “He has a great passion for racing and is an outstanding representative.”

The 2018 season will mark BMR’s 28th year of sponsorship by NAPA AUTO PARTS.

“We take great pride in representing NAPA AUTO PARTS,” said McAnally. “They are the ones who make the championships possible. We can’t thank everyone at NAPA enough for all they do.”

Kraus takes the seat vacated by Todd Gilliland, who drove the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry to back-to-back championships in 2016 and 2017. Gilliland, Chris Eggleston, and Kraus gave BMR a 1-2-3 finish, respectively, in the K&N West championship standings for 2017. They combined to win 11 of 14 series races this past season, with Kraus getting a victory in the season finale.

“I have big shoes to fill in going to the No. 16 NAPA Toyota, where Todd won two championships,” Kraus said. “We want to keep that going and win another championship, and get more wins. I think we can do that with all the great people at BMR.”

He credits the teamwork at BMR for the success.

“This year it showed,” he said. “Everyone worked together really hard in the shop and at the track. I think it’s really neat how everyone at BMR works together.” 

Kraus made the transition to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series this past season after competing in super late models at multiple tracks in 2016. He continued to race in select super late model events in 2017, on his off weekends from K&N West competition.

Kraus began his racing career as a 7-year-old competing in the Wisconsin State Go Kart Series in 2008. Success in karting led him to move up to the Midwest Bandolero Series, where he won championships in 2013 and 2014. He followed that up with a championship in the Midwest Truck Series in 2015. In addition, he also won rookie titles that year in the American Ethanol Super Truck Series and at State Park Speedway in Wausau, Wisconsin. 

Among his accomplishments, he became the youngest driver to win an ARCA Midwest Tour Series race, breaking a 25-year-old record set by Matt Kenseth.

BMR captured its third straight title in 2017 and eighth K&N West championship overall – a record for the series and the NASCAR Regional Touring level.

Zacharias To Make K&N Debut At New Smyrna

Zacharias To Make K&N Debut At New Smyrna

N.Y. Modified Champ Gets Opportunity To Pilot For Marsh Racing

CANDOR, N.Y. – Jimmy Zacharias will make his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East debut during the season opening event at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway on Feb. 11.

Zacharias, who earlier this year captured his sixth NASCAR track championship at New York’s Chemung Speedrome in the Sunoco Modified division and his fourth New York state NASCAR championship, will pilot the No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Marsh Racing Chevrolet for team owner Ted Marsh.

The deal to put the 26-year-old racer in the legendary Marsh Racing No. 31 came about thanks largely to his 13-year-old cousin, Garrett Zacharias.

“Garrett, who collects hero cards, sent the team’s Facebook page a request,” Zacharias explained. “Dar, who oversees the team page, was impressed by the wins and championships that Garrett had already accumulated in his young career, later reached out to Garrett to be a guest on the Jack Dodson’s Racing Insider News With Scott Allen Facebook Live Show.

“Jack, who was familiar with Jimmy because of his multiple championships at Chemung, requested that he be a guest as well. Jimmy and Dar started talking about the show and the 2018 season and the deal kind of came together from there all in the last week and a half or so.

“We’re going to start at New Smyrna and see how it goes,” said Zacharias, who met team owner Ted Marsh for the first time in person on Monday at the Marsh Racing shop. “He’s a good guy, Monday was my first time meeting him and the team.  It seemed like we knew each other for a while and we just hit it off and had a good day talking.”

The chance to race in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East is a big step for Zacharias, who has made a name for himself as one of the most dominant drivers in Chemung Speedrome history the last few years.

Zacharias has won six of the last seven track championships in the Sunoco Modified class at the three-eighths-mile asphalt oval and won seven races this year at Chemung en route to his sixth track title.

The New York native hasn’t just stuck to asphalt racing. In recent years he has also begun racing on dirt and this year he picked up a pair of dirt victories in a sportsman modified, his first victories on dirt.

In addition to competing at New Smyrna Speedway in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race on Feb. 11, Zacharias also hopes to bring his modified with him to compete during the annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway.

“I’m trying to take my modified to do Speedweeks with that,” Zacharias said. “I’ve been racing there since I was 14 years old with the SK modifieds and the tour-type modifieds. I want to keep that streak going, but we’re going to focus on the K&N deal.

“We’re going to do testing here and get as much seat time as we can and hopefully have a good run.”

Quality Choice Property Improvements in West Elmira, N.Y.,  and Midstate Basement Authorities in Ithaca, N.Y., have both signed on to sponsor Zacharias during his K&N East debut, but the team is still looking for additional sponsorship.

“We’re still looking for marketing partners if anyone is looking to come on board the tour-type modified or the K&N car for Speedweeks,” Zacharias said.

NWES Recruitment Days A Resounding Success

NWES Recruitment Days A Resounding Success

80 Drivers And Special Guests Enthusiastic About The NWES Cars And The Series

The first two dates NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Recruitment Days were a resounding success: no less than 80 drivers coming from all over the world and with the most disparate backgrounds took the wheel of a Euro NASCAR car in four days and were all impressed by the fantastic “Pure Racing” feeling of driving the cars that bring NASCAR to Europe. Selected drivers will receive financial help for their 2018 season in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.

Four NWES cars flawlessly underwent a total of over 120 hours of intense testing, confirming the car’s excellent reputation for reliability and maintenance and many special guests joined the tests both in France and Italy to have fun driving Euro NASCAR. NASCAR legend Bobby Labonte drove in France, while in Italy Formula 1 driver Daniil Kvyat, motorcycling icon Marco Melandri, WTCC driver Kris Richard and Italian TV commentator Guido Meda all had a taste of the NWES car.

Thirteen countries were represented in the two test meetings. Among the 80 drivers attending the tests and featuring the most different backgrounds, 2016 FIA European Touring Car Cup champion Kris Richard flew in straight from Qatar after finish 6th in WTCC’s last round of the season, 2017 Michelin Le Mans Cup Winner Jean Glorieux, Bathurst 12h winner Wolfgang Reip, TCR driver Mathieu Detry and endurance driver Maxime Pampel joined from Belgium,  while Pegasus Racing team owner Julien Schell and GT driver Romain Monti represented France. V8 Thunder Champion Alexander Graff joined from Sweden, while from Italy came 2013 Auto GP champion Vittorio Ghirelli and 2014 Euro V8 Series champion Francesco Sini, from the Netherlands GT and touring car top driver Loris Hezemans, from South Africa F4 driver Stuart White, from the UK 19-yo Ginetta driver Alex Sedgwick and from Ireland karting talent Ross Hayes. Three drivers with NASCAR experience flew straight from the US: Max Tullman, Will Rodgers and Nicolas Hamman. All of them found an immediate similarity between the cars they drove in the States and their European counterparts, adapting quickly and consistently posting fast laps.

The drivers participating in the NWES Recruitment program also received advice from some of the protagonists of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series: two-time points runner-up Frederic Gabillon and 2010 champion Lucas Lasserre attended the French date, while two-time champion Anthony Kumpen and 2015 ELITE 2 Champion Gianmarco Ercoli visited in Italy.

The drivers selected for the next step in the NWES Recruitment Program after the first two tests will be announced in the upcoming weeks and will receive financial help for their 2018 Euro NASCAR season from the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and its partners.


Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series

Quotes from the track

BOBBY LABONTE –  “It was great to be back behind the wheel of a NWES car to know more about it and work on shaving off the last tenth of a second to be more competitive if I’ll have the chance to race again,” said Labonte, who in 2017 took part in the Brands Hatch weekend finishing in the top-10. “I was impressed with everybody that I talked to while I was there and took the time to ask me questions. I tried to give them the best advice that I could and everybody was super nice and very appreciative.”  

DANIIL KVYAT – “It was good fun! My friend Alex Caffi asked me if I wanted to have some fun and try something new so I took the opportunity. I immediately had good confidence with the car and it’s good fun to drive it,” said Kvyat, who is focused on his Formula 1 career and took the test as an opportunity to drive something completely new for him. “I really enjoyed myself today. The car is easy to handle and has nice reactivity in the chicanes. It’s very nice and easy and funny.”

MARCO MELANDRI – “I always loved cars and when I have this kind of opportunities I like to take them. These cars are like social networks: unfiltered. It’s just you, the engine, the gearbox, the steering wheel and the pedals. It’s just you making a difference and it’s very funny, it’s like a big go-kart.”

KRIS RICHARD – “It’s amazing. I didn’t expect it. You go out and you can immediately handle it easily with the throttle. The back is coming a little bit on the exit and you can catch it. You can go on the kerbs The gear shifting is perfect. There’s the right amount of power and torque. I love it!”

GUIDO MEDA – “It’s awesome. I think this is the perfect car to let people understand what it means to drive doing things with your hands and feet. There’s nothing between you and the car and it becomes an extension of you and the American V8 sound further adds to it. I would never stop driving it!”

FREDERIC GABILLON – “There was a very interesting mix of young talents and experienced drivers and they all loved the car. It is a very positive initiative to let as many drivers as possible to experience what it means to be in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and I am very happy to have helped new drivers learn the car.”

ANTHONY KUMPEN – “This program is a great initiative. New drivers are getting to know Euro NASCAR. I talked to a lot of them and they are all astonished by how good the car drives and I’m sure we’ll see many of them on the grid in 2018.”

NICOLAS HAMMANN – “The car is a blast to drive, even in this cold conditions. It is very well balanced and responsive, you can carry good speed in the corners. I really enjoyed driving it and I had a lot of fun!” 

WILL RODGERS – “We put down some very good laps. I’m getting more and more comfortable in the car and I’m having a lot of fun. I love driving these cars, There are differences with what we drive in the US but it works very well. I can imagine the racing is spectacular so I’m really looking forward to do some next year”

MAX TULLMAN – “It’s a lot like a late model, but on a road course and it’s a lot of fun. I like The car balance is perfect, it feels light and reactive and it’s a lot of fun even in very cold weather. I think the fact it can run 3 seasons on an engine and a gearbox makes it really attractive for teams and drivers.”

 


Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series

2018 Schedule Announced For K&N Pro West

2018 Schedule Announced For K&N Pro West

Addition of Las Vegas Dirt Race Highlights Strong Mix of Venues

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedule annually features a wide mix of venues – from historic bullrings and half-mile short tracks to fast speedways and technical road-courses – designed to provide a platform for the sport’s top rising young talent to make their impact.

With the announcement of the 2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West schedule, add one more variable: Dirt.

Next year’s 15-race schedule will include a stop on Thursday, Sept 13 to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track. The race will be part of the weekend that kicks off the 2018 playoffs for NASCAR’s three national series at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and the half-mile clay oval promises to further test the series’ stars.

It will be the series’ first race on dirt since 1979 at Ascot Park in Gardena, Calif.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West opens the season and crown the champion at Kern County Raceway Park, the state-of-the-art, high speed half-mile that has been a staple of the series since it opened in 2013. The green flag on 2018 will be Thursday, March 15 and will be a prelude to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series / NASCAR XFINITY Series weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. The champion will be crowned on Saturday, Oct. 27.

NASCAR Next driver Todd Gilliland celebrated his second straight K&N Pro Series West title this past fall at Kern. 

“The NASCAR K&N Pro Series features a strong roster of race tracks designed to bring out the best in the drivers and teams,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “Many of the tracks have historic ties to the West Series, and we’re excited about the new venues that have been added to the schedule. The fans are going to get a fantastic opportunity to watch these drivers battle it out over the season.”

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series will have two combination events that feature the East and West together. The first will be at the traditional crossover event at Iowa Speedway on Friday, July 27, as part of the NASCAR XFINITY Series weekend. The second will be a brand-new event at Illinois’ Gateway Motorsports Park on Friday, Aug. 24. Last year, NASCAR announced changes to the scoring format for the two combination races, allowing drivers to compete for both series’ championships, and Gilliland came within eight points of accomplishing that historic feat.

Other highlights of the 2018 schedule include:

• The K&N Pro Series West will run twin 100-lap championship events at Tucson Speedway. The .375-mile track will host the series on Saturday, May 5.

• Success on short tracks will again go a long way toward deciding the tile. In addition to Tucson, the series will run at the quarter-mile Orange Show Speedway in San Bernardino, California, on Saturday, May 19; Colorado National Speedway (.375-mile) in Erie, Colorado, on Saturday, June 9; Douglas County Speedway (.375-mile) in Roseburg, Oregon on Saturday, June 30; Idaho’s Meridian Speedway (quarter-mile) on Saturday, Sept. 29; and All American Speedway (third-mile) in Roseville, California, on Saturday, Oct. 13.

• Evergreen Speedway, which has hosted 54 West races since 1967, will anchor the summer swing between Iowa and Gateway. The series visits the .625-mile track on Saturday, Aug. 11. The series will make its first trip of the season to Washington state on Sunday, July 15 at the half-mile Spokane County Raceway.

• The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will again an integral part of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series road-course weekend at California’s Sonoma Raceway with its race on Saturday, June 23.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series broadcast schedule on NBCSN will be announced at a later date.

*100-lap twin features
**Combination event with NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

2018 Schedule Announced For K&N Pro West

2018 Schedule Announced For K&N Pro West

Addition of Las Vegas Dirt Race Highlights Strong Mix of Venues

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedule annually features a wide mix of venues – from historic bullrings and half-mile short tracks to fast speedways and technical road-courses – designed to provide a platform for the sport’s top rising young talent to make their impact.

With the announcement of the 2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West schedule, add one more variable: Dirt.

Next year’s 15-race schedule will include a stop on Thursday, Sept 13 to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track. The race will be part of the weekend that kicks off the 2018 playoffs for NASCAR’s three national series at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and the half-mile clay oval promises to further test the series’ stars.

It will be the series’ first race on dirt since 1979 at Ascot Park in Gardena, Calif.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West opens the season and crown the champion at Kern County Raceway Park, the state-of-the-art, high speed half-mile that has been a staple of the series since it opened in 2013. The green flag on 2018 will be Thursday, March 15 and will be a prelude to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series / NASCAR XFINITY Series weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. The champion will be crowned on Saturday, Oct. 27.

NASCAR Next driver Todd Gilliland celebrated his second straight K&N Pro Series West title this past fall at Kern. 

“The NASCAR K&N Pro Series features a strong roster of race tracks designed to bring out the best in the drivers and teams,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “Many of the tracks have historic ties to the West Series, and we’re excited about the new venues that have been added to the schedule. The fans are going to get a fantastic opportunity to watch these drivers battle it out over the season.”

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series will have two combination events that feature the East and West together. The first will be at the traditional crossover event at Iowa Speedway on Friday, July 27, as part of the NASCAR XFINITY Series weekend. The second will be a brand-new event at Illinois’ Gateway Motorsports Park on Friday, Aug. 24. Last year, NASCAR announced changes to the scoring format for the two combination races, allowing drivers to compete for both series’ championships, and Gilliland came within eight points of accomplishing that historic feat.

Other highlights of the 2018 schedule include:

• The K&N Pro Series West will run twin 100-lap championship events at Tucson Speedway. The .375-mile track will host the series on Saturday, May 5.

• Success on short tracks will again go a long way toward deciding the tile. In addition to Tucson, the series will run at the quarter-mile Orange Show Speedway in San Bernardino, California, on Saturday, May 19; Colorado National Speedway (.375-mile) in Erie, Colorado, on Saturday, June 9; Douglas County Speedway (.375-mile) in Roseburg, Oregon on Saturday, June 30; Idaho’s Meridian Speedway (quarter-mile) on Saturday, Sept. 29; and All American Speedway (third-mile) in Roseville, California, on Saturday, Oct. 13.

• Evergreen Speedway, which has hosted 54 West races since 1967, will anchor the summer swing between Iowa and Gateway. The series visits the .625-mile track on Saturday, Aug. 11. The series will make its first trip of the season to Washington state on Sunday, July 15 at the half-mile Spokane County Raceway.

• The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will again an integral part of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series road-course weekend at California’s Sonoma Raceway with its race on Saturday, June 23.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series broadcast schedule on NBCSN will be announced at a later date.

*100-lap twin features
**Combination event with NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

Dreams Realized For Champions Across Globe

Dreams Realized For Champions Across Globe

Home Tracks Awards Spotlights Amazing Accomplishments

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For a 17-year-old, Todd Gilliland was in a familiar situation when he took the stage at the Charlotte Convention Center at the NASCAR Hall of Fame Friday night.

He had, after all, done this all before. Just one year ago.

“Ever since I was little, all I wanted to do was drive a race car,” said Gilliland. “When I got that chance to do that for Bill McAnally Racing, I really wanted to win him a championship. And now I’m here giving my speech for my second year in a row; 2017 has been a dream season.”

Gilliland wasn’t the only familiar face honored at the NASCAR Home Tracks Awards, officially receiving their NASCAR championship rings and trophies. Doug Coby received the hardware for his fifth NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship, Lee Pulliam picked up his fourth NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship trophy, and Mexico’s Abraham Calderón took home his second NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series title trophy.

They were joined by first-time champions Harrison Burton (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East), Alon Day (NASCAR Whelen Euro Series) and Alex Labbe (NASCAR Pinty’s Series). 

Whether they came from Israel and Quebec or North Carolina and Virginia, there was a common theme that was echoed throughout the night of celebration.

Dreams realized. And the support behind chasing the drivers chasing them.

“This season has created so many memories that will stay with me my whole life,” said Burton. “So much has gone into winning this championship, and it’s awesome to just slow down and celebrate it with my team, friends and family.”

“What a journey,” said Day. “To end up here tonight as a NASCAR champion. Who would have thought an unknown driver from a small country in the Middle East would one day wind up being a NASCAR champion. That achievement never would have been reached without the help of so many people.”

It was a night that celebrated the future of NASCAR and toasted the historic achievements of NASCAR veterans.

A year after becoming the youngest champion in NASCAR touring or national series history, Gilliland became the first driver to win back-to-back NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championships since Mike Duncan in 2004-05. He nearly became the first driver to sweep the K&N Pro Series East and West titles, but Burton overcame an eight-point gap by winning the East season finale. In the process, he broke Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano’s record as the youngest champion in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East history.

Both Gilliland and Burton also ran several NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races in 2017 as they look to move up the racing ladder.

Canadian Labbe is also eying a move up, but first he had unfinished business in Canada. After a disappointing end to 2016, the 24-year-old bounced back with a decisive 2017 campaign that saw him finish sixth or better in all but the finale en route to the Pinty’s Series title – the national stock car racing championship in Canada. 

“It means a lot — I’ve been working on it for a long, long time,” said Labbe. “To finally get that championship, to get the trophy at the end of the year: It’s a dream. It’s something that I’m going to have with me all my life.”

Likewise, Calderón took home his country’s stock car national championship. While he won his first title in 2014 without winning a race, he had a series-high five victories this year, including four in a six-race summer stretch to take command of the series lead.

“For me and my team, it’s something huge — it means a lot — to be here celebrating our second NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series championship. It’s something we’ll never forget,” said Calderón. “I remember the last race in Mexico City, it was a stunning event. I’d like to explain with words what it felt like crossing the finish line but I cannot. It’s something that just flows through your body and makes you feel alive. It was just really, really amazing.”

Day finished second in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in 2015 and third in 2016 before a magical run in 2017. He made his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup debut at Sonoma, and then won three of the final four races of the Whelen Euro season to edge two-time champion Anthony Kumpen.

For Coby, though, the year started like a nightmare. He was involved in wrecks in his first two races, and four races into the season he was still 51 points out of the championship lead. The Milford, Connecticut, driver didn’t mind that everybody was looking to knock him off the perch.

“I’d rather be the guy with the bull’s eye on his back than the one swinging at it,” said Coby, who scored top fives in 10 of the last 12 races to earn his fourth straight title and fifth in the last six years.

Coby joined NASCAR Hall of Famers Jerry Cook and Richie Evans, NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Mike Stefanik along with Tony Hirschman Jr., as the only drivers in NASCAR Modified history with five or more titles.

“I’m just racing against who I’m racing against and doing thing best I can do in this era,” Coby said.

“It’s a testament to what you’ve done in the sport,” Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, told Coby. “When you look back at the series and who can represent the sport the best, (the Modifieds are) where legends are made. You’ve heard Doug talk about just concentrating on the present. But it’s fitting we’re here in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. With five championships, you’re well on your way to an historic career.”

Likewise, Pulliam moved closer to one of short track’s indelible records.  

Piling up 155 Late Model wins in 290 starts since 2011, the North Carolina native tied Philip Morris for second most national titles. He’s one behind NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee, the late Larry Phillips. Phillips won five titles between 1989-96.

“Before you become legendary, you’ve got to be successful,” Helton told Pulliam. “I think you’ve laid the foundation on becoming one of the legends in NASCAR.”

Pulliam won 14 times at Myrtle Beach Speedway on his way to the track and South Carolina titles. He finished with 19 wins, 36 top fives and 43 top 10s in 45 starts at eight different tracks across the southeast.

“You’d think I’d be used to it by now, but it gets me every time,” said Pulliam. “I told my wife in 2017, I was going as hard as I can to win national championship number four. As Michelangelo once said, the greatest danger for most of us is not from setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and hitting our mark.

“Chasing a national championship requires help and sacrifice from so many people. Many nights we saw the sun come up, with no sleep. My guys never gave up. We fought, clawed and battled as a team to accomplish this. This championship was won by people banding together and not stopping until the goal was accomplished.”

Pulliam noted that at 29 years old, he feels he has plenty of racing left.

“And I think I’ve got more titles in me,” said Pulliam.

The championship car owners and crew chiefs were also recognized Friday night.

There were plenty of other trophies handed out, too.

Missouri’s Cody Jolly (Division II), Ontario’s Eric Yorke (Division III), Michigan’s Cole Roelofs (Division IV) and Iowa’s Dustin Thompson (Division V) joined Pulliam in receiving their NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national titles. The night got underway with the awarding of 34 U.S. state and Canadian province championships, along with 59 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I track champion trophies.

In addition to the championship awards, each series rookie of the year was honored. Calvin Carroll (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour), Derek Kraus (NASCAR K&N Pro Series West) and Chase Purdy (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East) were the Sunoco Rookies of the Year in their respective series; Adam Martin (NASCAR Pinty’s Series) and Mitch Keeter (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series) received their Josten’s Rookie of the Year for their series; and Stienes Longin was awarded the Junior “Jerome Sarran” Trophy by the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series as the series’ top young driver. Enrique Baca was the top rookie in the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series. 

Ryan Vargas, another rising star who is moving from Late Models in California to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East next year as part of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity and Rev Racing, won the Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award for the second straight year. The award is given to the top performing minority or female driver in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.

nwaas-track-state_champs_120817

NASCAR honored 34 U.S. state and Canadian province championships, along with 59 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I track champions on Friday night at the NASCAR Home Tracks Awards at the NASCAR Hall of Fame & Charlotte Convention Center. Bob Leverone/NASCAR via Getty Images

NASCAR, Whelen Announce Multi-Year Extensions

NASCAR, Whelen Announce Multi-Year Extensions

Will Sponsor Whelen Mod Tour, Whelen Euro Series Through 2024

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR and Whelen Engineering, Inc. announced today multi-year extensions to continue its entitlement sponsorship of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series through 2024. Additionally, Whelen will also extend its designation as the “Official Warning Lights of NASCAR.”

“More than a decade of successful partnership has resulted in Whelen Engineering being deeply connected to many levels of our sport,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Euro Series are critical to reaching fans, developing talent and delivering great racing both domestically and abroad.” 

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR’s oldest division of racecars, is the premiere asphalt modified circuit in the nation. With a history dating back to Daytona Beach in 1948, the tour features a mix of passionate, veteran drivers with emerging young talent and includes races from New England to South Carolina. 

“Whelen Engineering has played a big role in NASCAR for many years and we are ecstatic to continue to support the sport with this extended relationship,” said Phil Kurze, Whelen Engineering vice president of motorsports. “Our ability to build brand and product recognition nationally and internationally due to our partnership helps drive our business and reach new customers.”

The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, the official NASCAR series based in Europe, has global appeal with 21 nations represented. Since becoming a NASCAR touring series in 2012 and obtaining the Whelen entitlement in July 2013, U.S. drivers such as Bobby Labonte, Jeffrey Earnhardt and Ben Kennedy have competed abroad. NASCAR Whelen Euro Series cars are also featured in the annual international Race of Champions. 

“The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series is honored to have Whelen Engineering continue its title sponsorship,” said Jerome Galpin, NASCAR Euro Series president. “Whelen has helped NASCAR introduce exciting, door-to-door, American racing to a passionate motorsports fan base in Europe and we look forward to growing the series together in the years to come.”

A 10-year renewal with the NASCAR Hall of Fame as the title sponsor of the “Whelen Hall of Champions” was also announced today. Since opening in 2014, the exhibit has honored nearly 600 national and regional championships from the sport’s current and past series. The Hall also houses the “Everyday Champions” display, which honors first responders from across the country.

“We are thrilled with the multiyear extension of the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s partnership with Whelen Engineering. Through the Whelen Hall of Champions exhibit, we recognize every national and touring series champion in NASCAR history to date,” said Winston Kelley, NASCAR Hall of Fame executive director. “The ceremonial unveiling each year in association with the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and NASCAR Touring Series banquet has become a celebrated moment for this partnership.”

Whelen Engineering is a leading manufacturer of automotive, aviation, industrial and emergency vehicle lighting. In addition to its entitlement, Whelen will continue to showcase their products across NASCAR tracks and pace cars.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will honor their champions at the NASCAR Home Tracks Champions Awards on Friday, Dec. 8 at North Carolina’s Charlotte Convention Center. 

2018 Schedule Set For K&N Pro Series East

2018 Schedule Set For K&N Pro Series East

Mix of Top Short Tracks & Combination Events Highlight Year

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – On the heels of a 2017 season that saw the impact of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series – and its graduates – reverberate throughout the NASCAR ladder, the 2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East calendar was announced today. It features a slate of some of the most historic short tracks on the East coast, as well as a number of combination events with the NASCAR national series designed to provide an elevated opportunity for the sport’s rising young stars.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season will again take the green flag on the season on Sunday, Feb. 11, as a featured part of the 52nd Annual World Series of Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway. The high-banked half-mile, just 10 miles from Daytona International Speedway is an instrumental part of the NASCAR season launch.

The champion will be crowned on Friday, Oct. 5, on the concrete high-banks of Dover International Speedway. The “Monster Mile” saw a pair of NASCAR Next drivers, Harrison Burton and Todd Gilliland, battle it out for the 2017 title, with Burton taking the win and his first NASCAR championship.

The Burton-Gilliland duel – they combined for nine K&N Pro East wins, and Gilliland took the K&N Pro West title – was part of a monumental season for the series. William Byron, the 2015 K&N Pro East champion, won the 2018 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship, and Martin Truex Jr., who got his start in the K&N Pro East, won his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title.

Byron and series alumni Alex Bowman and Darrell Wallace Jr. were elevated to renowned rides in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for 2018, where they will join the likes of fellow series’ graduates Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Austin Dillon, Trevor Bayne and Daniel Suarez.

“Over the last decade, we’ve seen the NASCAR K&N Pro Series transform into the primary developmental series for our next generation of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stars,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “The 2018 schedule is designed to provide a proving ground for the next crop of young drivers looking to make their mark on our sport.”

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series will have two combination events that feature the East and West together. The first will be at the traditional crossover event at Iowa Speedway on Friday, July 27, as part of the NASCAR XFINTY Series weekend. The second will be a brand-new event at Illinois’ Gateway Motorsports Park on Friday, Aug. 24. Last year, NASCAR announced changes to the scoring format for the two combination races, allowing drivers to compete for both series’ championships, and Gilliland came within eight points of accomplishing that historic feat.

Other highlights of the 2018 schedule include:

• The K&N Pro Series East will be part of five national series event weekends. In addition to Iowa and Dover, the series will run at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, April 14, New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, July 21, and Watkins Glen International on Friday, Aug. 3.

• Three of NASCAR’s historic short tracks will again host events. Virginia’s South Boston Speedway returns with its unique twin 100-lap championship events on Saturday, May 12, and is preceded by Virginia’s Langley Speedway on Saturday, April 28. Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park will host its popular throwback weekend on Saturday, July 14; Truex recorded one of his five career K&N Pro Series East wins at Thompson in 2001.

• Memphis International Raceway will bring the series back to its three-quarter mile oval on Saturday, June 2. Last year, Burton scored the win at Memphis en route to his championship.

• The K&N Pro Series will also be part of the triple-header race day on Saturday, Sept. 22 at New Hampshire, along with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Canadian-based NASCAR Pinty’s Series.

• New Jersey Motorsports Park race date has been moved to Saturday, June 16 and gives the drivers a second chance to gain experience on a road course, along with the August Watkins Glen race.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series broadcast schedule on NBCSN will be announced at a later date.

*100-lap twin features
**Combination event with NASCAR K&N Pro Series West
SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

2018 Schedule Set For K&N Pro Series East

2018 Schedule Set For K&N Pro Series East

Mix of Top Short Tracks & Combination Events Highlight Year

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – On the heels of a 2017 season that saw the impact of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series – and its graduates – reverberate throughout the NASCAR ladder, the 2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East calendar was announced today. It features a slate of some of the most historic short tracks on the East coast, as well as a number of combination events with the NASCAR national series designed to provide an elevated opportunity for the sport’s rising young stars.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season will again take the green flag on the season on Sunday, Feb. 11, as a featured part of the 52nd Annual World Series of Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway. The high-banked half-mile, just 10 miles from Daytona International Speedway is an instrumental part of the NASCAR season launch.

The champion will be crowned on Friday, Oct. 5, on the concrete high-banks of Dover International Speedway. The “Monster Mile” saw a pair of NASCAR Next drivers, Harrison Burton and Todd Gilliland, battle it out for the 2017 title, with Burton taking the win and his first NASCAR championship.

The Burton-Gilliland duel – they combined for nine K&N Pro East wins, and Gilliland took the K&N Pro West title – was part of a monumental season for the series. William Byron, the 2015 K&N Pro East champion, won the 2018 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship, and Martin Truex Jr., who got his start in the K&N Pro East, won his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title.

Byron and series alumni Alex Bowman and Darrell Wallace Jr. were elevated to renowned rides in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for 2018, where they will join the likes of fellow series’ graduates Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Austin Dillon, Trevor Bayne and Daniel Suarez.

“Over the last decade, we’ve seen the NASCAR K&N Pro Series transform into the primary developmental series for our next generation of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stars,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “The 2018 schedule is designed to provide a proving ground for the next crop of young drivers looking to make their mark on our sport.”

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series will have two combination events that feature the East and West together. The first will be at the traditional crossover event at Iowa Speedway on Friday, July 27, as part of the NASCAR XFINTY Series weekend. The second will be a brand-new event at Illinois’ Gateway Motorsports Park on Friday, Aug. 24. Last year, NASCAR announced changes to the scoring format for the two combination races, allowing drivers to compete for both series’ championships, and Gilliland came within eight points of accomplishing that historic feat.

Other highlights of the 2018 schedule include:

• The K&N Pro Series East will be part of five national series event weekends. In addition to Iowa and Dover, the series will run at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, April 14, New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, July 21, and Watkins Glen International on Friday, Aug. 3.

• Three of NASCAR’s historic short tracks will again host events. Virginia’s South Boston Speedway returns with its unique twin 100-lap championship events on Saturday, May 12, and is preceded by Virginia’s Langley Speedway on Saturday, April 28. Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park will host its popular throwback weekend on Saturday, July 14; Truex recorded one of his five career K&N Pro Series East wins at Thompson in 2001.

• Memphis International Raceway will bring the series back to its three-quarter mile oval on Saturday, June 2. Last year, Burton scored the win at Memphis en route to his championship.

• The K&N Pro Series will also be part of the triple-header race day on Saturday, Sept. 22 at New Hampshire, along with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Canadian-based NASCAR Pinty’s Series.

• New Jersey Motorsports Park race date has been moved to Saturday, June 16 and gives the drivers a second chance to gain experience on a road course, along with the August Watkins Glen race.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series broadcast schedule on NBCSN will be announced at a later date.

*100-lap twin features
**Combination event with NASCAR K&N Pro Series West
SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

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