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Thursday, December 31, 2015

NASCAR 2015 in review – No. 1: Kyle Busch grows up

WNY Motorsports has created its list of the top 10 stories in NASCAR – mostly Sprint Cup – for 2015. See past pieces at the bottom of this post.
credit: NASCAR via Getty Images/Jared C. Tilton

2015 was an amazing year for the Sprint Cup Series champion, Kyle Busch. It began – and nearly ended – in a hospital room in Florida instead of on the track for the Daytona 500 after suffering injuries to both legs in a wreck in the Xfinity Series opener. Busch, once young and “brash,” as team owner Joe Gibbs mentioned in his championship acceptance speech a few weeks ago, immediately worried that he’d have to hang up his steering wheel.

"I'm thinking to myself, 'Man, I'm done,'" said Busch in April. "There's no way I'm going to be able to come back from this. This hurts."

After missing 11 races to start the season, Busch returned to competition in the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte on May 16 – two days later, his wife, Samantha, gave birth to the couple’s first son, Brexton Locke. The doting dad progressed through the races following his return, earning his first win of the season on, of all tracks, the difficult to maneuver for a “whole” person Sonoma Raceway – he then went on a tear, winning four times in the next five races, including a weekend sweep at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Thanks to a medical waiver from NASCAR, Busch easily qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. He didn’t win another race until the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway – the one that counted the most.

Congratulations to Kyle Busch, his family and his team, for overcoming adversity and finally earning that elusive championship.









Ransomville postpones Hangover 150, issues social media policy, announces RUSH Late Model event

credit: freedigitalphotos.net/IceHawk33
Ransomville Speedway, under the new ownership of the Atwal family since December 1, has decided to postpone the annual Hangover 150 under next Saturday, January 9. The recent snow and rain event wreaked havoc on the grounds and the track.

"We regret to have to make this decision but unfortunately when we tested the parking lots … it was determined it was too wet to park people safely," said Tana Robinson, track general manager.

Drivers who pre-registered and are unable to race on January 9 are encouraged to call the speedway during business hours on Thursday, December 31 or next week Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a full reimbursement. Next Saturday, gates will open at 8:30 a.m. in the pits and 10 a.m. in the grandstands; racing is slated to begin at noon.  Admission is $5 in the grandstand and $20 in the pits.

Questions or concerns can be made to the track via email at raceransomville@aol.com or by phone at 716-791-3602. Pre-registrations will continue to be taken up until Friday, January 8 at 4 p.m.; pre-registration is $45.

The track also caused some waves by issuing a social media policy for the 2016 season. It can be seen here.

On Friday, July 15, Ransomville will host its first-ever Crate Late Model event when the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Series powered by Pace Performance visits the track for a $2,000-to-win “Marquee” Touring Series event.

Find out more about these items at www.ransomvillespeedway.com

Monday, December 28, 2015

NASCAR 2015 in review – No. 2: Chase problems

Joey Logano swept the second round of the Chase, but
couldn't stay out of Matt Kenseth's way
credit: NASCAR via Getty Images/Jonathan Ferrey
WNY Motorsports has created its list of the top 10 stories in NASCAR – mostly Sprint Cup – for 2015. Look for future editions throughout the rest of December.

There are always problems when it comes time to compete for the Sprint Cup each year, but this year seemed worse than most others. Two stars that were considered frontrunners for the title – Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. – failed to make the top eight, and two other drivers who were considered championship contenders – Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano – just couldn’t get out of each other’s way.

Perhaps chief among the comments and complaints about the Chase in 2015 was what turned out to be the biggest story of the year: did Kyle Busch belong in the Chase? To the naysayers: Yep. He did. He wasn’t competing against drivers in the lower reaches of the top 30 trying to make the Chase – he was blowing those drivers out of the water by climbing up that high with 11 fewer races under his belt. Those drivers didn’t score four wins in five races with still-healing lower body injuries. Those drivers didn’t have the drive to win like Kyle Busch. That’s why he belonged, and why anyone else who faces adversity like that in the future will also belong.








Thursday, December 24, 2015

Lancaster National Speedway announces 2016 schedule

credit: Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway
Lancaster National Speedway’s 2016 schedule will feature 17 events, four more than the 2015 schedule. The track’s three weekly home track divisions will be the Sportsman, Street Stocks and 4-Cylinders.

"A lot of input and guidance went into creating this schedule," said Track President Tim Packman. "We look forward to our very-talented Lancaster racers and all the visiting teams coming out to race at our track. The preseason divisional meetings went very well across the board and there is a lot of anticipation for 2016.”

The 58th season of stock car racing at Lancaster begins Sunday, April 17 with the reintroduction of the “Queen City Clash” and will feature a 75-lap event for the Race of Champions (RoC) Modified Series. The Street Stocks, 4-Cylinders and NYPA TQ Midgets will fill out the program with racing beginning at 2 p.m.

The three Saturdays following the Queen City Clash will feature racing programs starting at 2 p.m.  April 23 will be headlined by the seasonal debuts for the Sportsman and Late Models.  April 30 is "Pack the Track" day with $5 grandstand admission and the Big 10 Super Stocks joining Lancaster's weekly divisions. The Late Models return for the final Saturday afternoon show on May 7 for "Walk the Track" day.

"We asked the drivers and teams if they wanted to start racing in April if we open the middle of that month,” said Packman. “They all said they did, so we came up with a schedule to go along with what we discussed. They have race cars and we have a race track, so let’s race.”

The traditional "Saturday night under the lights" stock car racing shows begin on Saturday, May 14 with a starting time of 6:30 p.m. 

The RoC Modified Series returns for four dates in 2016, including the Queen City Clash. Lancaster will once again hold a special mid-week show on Thursday, June 30 for the second annual "Ol' Boy Cup 60" Bill Colton Memorial. August 20 will be the 27th annual Tommy Druar/Tony Jankowiak Memorial Modified 110 for the series, which will also headline the 28th annual U.S. Open weekend on Sunday, September 25 with the U.S. Open 125. 

The Late Models will run four times during Lancaster's regular season as part of a seven-race series with Holland Motorsports Complex: April 23, May 7, July 16 and August 6. Holland’s dates are June 25, July 23 and August 27.

Other special events include the Sportsman Summer Slam 75 on June 18, and appearance by the New York Super Stock Series on May 14 and appearances by the Big 10 Super Stocks on April 30 and August 27. TQ Midget racing will return to Lancaster with five dates for the NYPA TQ Midget Association, and the winged Can-Am TQ Midgets Series make a return on August 13. 

"The Late Models, NYPA TQ Midgets, Can-Am TQ Midgets, NY Super Stocks and Big 10 Super Stocks are great additions to this strong schedule,” said Packman. “This gives our fans a nice variety of racing throughout the season to go along with our weekly divisions.”

The 2016 season wraps up with the 28th edition of Western New York's racing finale, the U.S. Open, on September 23-25 with eight divisions in action throughout the weekend.

Four Thursdays practice/rain dates have also been worked into the schedule. Racing would take place if any Saturday programs are rained out; if not, they will be used as practice sessions. These will take place on May 26, June 9, August 4 and September 1. More details will be available in the near future.

The drag racing schedule is expected to be announced soon as well.

The 2016 preseason registration party for both the stock cars and drag racers will be Sunday, February 28, 2016 at 2 p.m. at the Variety Banquet Hall, 6114 Broadway in Lancaster. Racers will be able to register their cars, purchase memberships and reserve pit pads. Find more information in the coming weeks at www.lancasternationalspeedway.com.

Quotes in this piece provided by Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

NASCAR 2015 in review – No. 3: Gordon out, Elliott in

Chase Elliott runs a throwback scheme at Darlington
credit: NASCAR via Getty Images/Brian Lawdermilk
WNY Motorsports has created its list of the top 10 stories in NASCAR – mostly Sprint Cup – for 2015. Look for future editions throughout the rest of December.

As the NASCAR media season began in January, NASCAR fans were informed that 2015 would indeed be Jeff Gordon’s final season behind the wheel on a full-time basis, but it wasn’t until a month later that the worst-kept secret in NASCAR was officially announced: second-generation driver Chase Elliott would replace Gordon in the No. 24 at Hendrick Motorsports.

Elliott, now all of 20 years old, has been a Hendrick Motorsports development driver since the age of 15. In that time, he’s competed in the ARCA Racing Series, the K&N Pro Series, the Camping World Truck Series and captured a title and a runner-up finish in the Xfinity Series; he’s also won a couple of Snowball Derbies, one of the premier Late Model races in the country. He made his first Cup Series starts in 2015, with a best finish of 16th at Richmond in April.







Tuesday, December 22, 2015

NASCAR 2015 in review – No. 4: Stewart (almost) out, Bowyer (almost) in

credit: Getty Images/Jared C. Tilton
WNY Motorsports has created its list of the top 10 stories in NASCAR – mostly Sprint Cup – for 2015. Look for future editions throughout the rest of December.

It’s hard to imagine NASCAR in 2016 without Jeff Gordon, but come 2017 there will be another familiar face watching from the sidelines: Tony Stewart announced that he would be stepping away from full-time Cup Series competition after the 2016 season, and named as his replacement Clint Bowyer. Bowyer, who has struggled with Michael Waltrip Racing the last few seasons, became a free agent when MWR announced it was closing its doors after the 2015 season, and landed a one-season deal with HScott Motorsports for 2016.

What this means for Stewart fans could be more fun than they can imagine: in the teleconference announcing Bowyer’s hire, Stewart was asked if he would go back to sprint car racing. His response: “Maybe. Probably.” He was adamant that he wasn’t leaving NASCAR – “NASCAR is probably going to be the most disappointed of everybody today because they aren't getting rid of me…They have to deal with me as an owner” – but opened himself up to various other opportunities:  “I would have loved to have raced the big block modified at Syracuse, and this is the final year for that, and I wish they could have waited one more year or two more years because I would have loved to have been able to go do that.” Another idea: modifieds at New Hampshire.  “You know, perfect examples like this past weekend at Loudon, I've run the modified tour race up there before and loved it. A lot of times since then, I've tried to run it and we've had sponsor obligations and other things.”

Of course, Stewart is also looking forward to co-owner Gene Haas’ foray into Formula 1. “He didn't announce his second driver for the F1 team, and you're looking at him.”

Yeah, we’ll miss his dry humor the most. Good luck in 2016 Smoke.

Quotes in this piece provided by NASCAR.






Saturday, December 19, 2015

NASCAR 2015 in review – No. 5: The Trouble with Being Busch

WNY Motorsports has created its list of the top 10 stories in NASCAR – mostly Sprint Cup – for 2015. Look for future editions throughout the rest of December.

They've had their differences, but they're brothers 'til the end
credit: Getty Images/Ethan Miller
The NASCAR season looked like it would start the same way it had since 2001 – with a Busch brother in the field. That all changed the day before the annual running of the Daytona 500 – on February 20, Kurt Busch was suspended by NASCAR, and on February 21, younger brother Kyle suffered injuries in the Xfinity Series opener, leaving the 500 Busch-less.

Kurt’s suspension, which spanned the first three races of the season, was lifted after the Delaware Attorney General determined that no criminal charges would be filed against the 2004 Cup Series champ over an alleged incident of domestic violence against his former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll. Her story just got weirder after that.

After NASCAR allowed him to qualify for the Chase if he met the requirements, the elder Busch brother won at Richmond in May and Michigan in June, securing a spot in the Chase, where he finished eighth.

Kyle agonized a little bit longer, missing the first 11 races of the season before returning to the track at the Sprint All-Star Race – just days before the birth of his son Brexton. NASCAR also allowed him to qualify for the Chase if requirements were met, and Kyle wasted no time meeting them: he won in his fifth race back at Sonoma, the first of four wins in five races; he then climbed into the top 30 following Watkins Glen. After winning at Indy, Busch won just one more race – the one that counted most…but more on that later.





Friday, December 18, 2015

NASCAR announces 2016 Whelen Modified Tours’ schedules

credit: NASCAR Media
Oswego Speedway and Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts have returned to the Whelen Modified Tour schedule for the 2016 season, while North Carolina’s Concord Speedway has also rejoined the Whelen Southern Modified Tour calendar and East Carolina Motor Speedway joins the southern circuit for the first time.
The 32nd season of the Whelen Modified Tour will visit nine tracks and contest 17 championship races, the most races since 2005. Included on the 2016 calendar:
  • Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park will host the season opening and season closing events as well as two midseason races, and Stafford Motor Speedway’s four traditional dates also return.
  • The Whelen Modified Tour will remain on the racing card for both New Hampshire Motor Speedway NASCAR national series weekends.
  • The Whelen Modified and Whelen Southern Modified Tours return to Bristol Motor Speedway for the eighth annual combination event during the August NASCAR race week.
The 12th season of Whelen Southern Modified Tour competition will feature 11 points races at seven southeastern tracks. On the 2016 schedule:
  • North Carolina’s Caraway Speedway will host the season opener, as well as three subsequent dates, one more than 2015.
  • The champion will be crowned at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the seventh consecutive year on the frontstretch quarter-mile.
  • Concord Speedway, a half-mile tri-oval located in the heart of North Carolina’s NASCAR industry, held one previous Whelen Southern Modified Tour event in 2009.

The All-Star Shootout will also return for a third season as part of the July NASCAR weekend at New Hampshire. The non-points event features champions, race winners and Sunoco Rookies of the Year from both the Whelen Modified and Whelen Southern Modified Tours.

2016 Whelen Modified Tour schedule:
  • April 10 Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park – Thompson, Conn.
  • April 24 Stafford Motor Speedway – Stafford, Conn.
  • May 14 New London-Waterford Speedbowl – Waterford, Conn.
  • June 3 Stafford Motor Speedway – Stafford, Conn.
  • June 15 Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park – Thompson, Conn.
  • June 25 Riverhead Raceway – Riverhead, N.Y.
  • July 15 New Hampshire Motor Speedway (All-Star Shootout) – Loudon, N.H.
  • July 16 New Hampshire Motor Speedway – Loudon, N.H.
  • July 23 Monadnock Speedway – Winchester, N.H.
  • August 5 Stafford Motor Speedway – Stafford, Conn.
  • August 10 Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park – Thompson, Conn.
  • August 17 Bristol Motor Speedway (combination with NWSMT) – Bristol, Tenn.
  • August 27 Riverhead Raceway – Riverhead, N.Y.
  • September 3 Oswego Speedway – Oswego, N.Y.
  • September 10 Seekonk Speedway – Seekonk, Mass.
  • September 24 New Hampshire Motor Speedway – Loudon, N.H.
  • October 2 Stafford Motor Speedway – Stafford, Conn.
  • October 16 Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park – Thompson, Conn.

2016 Whelen Southern Modified Tour schedule:
  • March 12 Caraway Speedway – Sophia, N.C.
  • March 19 Concord Speedway – Concord, N.C.
  • April 9 South Boston Speedway – South Boston, Va.
  • April 16 Caraway Speedway – Sophia, N.C.
  • July 1 Caraway Speedway – Sophia, N.C.
  • August 6 Bowman Gray Stadium – Winston-Salem, N.C.
  • August 17 Bristol Motor Speedway (combination with NWMT) – Bristol, Tenn.
  • September 3 East Carolina Motor Speedway – Robersonville, N.C.
  • September 17 South Boston Speedway – South Boston, Va.
  • September 24 Caraway Speedway – Sophia, N.C.
  • October 6 Charlotte Motor Speedway (.25-mile) – Concord, N.C.
Keep up with the Whelen Modified Tours at hometracks.nascar.com

Oswego Speedway announces 2016 schedule

The Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour makes two
visits to Oswego Speedway in 2016
credit: paulathompsonfreelance.com
Oswego Speedway has revealed its 66th season schedule featuring the Novelis Supermodified and Pathfinder Bank SBS ‘Road to the Championship’, plus the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Race of Champions Modified 250, and the second annual Port City ‘Super Spectacle.’

Among the landmark anniversaries in 2016, the Pathfinder Bank Small Block Supermodified division, which debuted in 1992, will embark on its 25th consecutive season at Oswego as well as the 25th running of both the Mr. Pathfinder Bank SBS championship and the Small Block Supermodified Classic. The 25th SBS Classic will take place during the 60th anniversary celebration of Budweiser Classic Weekend, which also includes the 60th running of the International Classic 200 for Novelis Supermodifieds and the return of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. In addition, the month of July will be highlighted by the 30th annual $10,000 Mr. Novelis Supermodified, which will return to a 50-lap format.

The Speedway opens its gates for racing on Saturday, May 14 with the 61-lap Richie Evans Memorial for the Race of Champions Asphalt Modifieds as well as the kick-off events for the Novelis Supermodifieds and Pathfinder Bank SBS. The Race of Champions Tour returns for the “Steel Palace’s” season finale, September 15-17, for Race of Champions Weekend, featuring the RoC Sportsman 100 on Friday, September 16 and the RoC Modified 250 being featured on Saturday, September 17.

2016 66th Oswego Speedway schedule (Subject to Change):
  • Saturday, May 7 – Open Practice Session
  • Saturday, May 14 – 66th Season Opener: RoC Richie Evans Memorial Modified (61), Novelis Supermodified Kick-Off (50), Pathfinder Bank SBS Kick-Off (30)
  • Saturday, May 21 – ‘Road to the Championship’: Novelis Supermodified (50), Pathfinder Bank SBS (30)
  • Friday, May 27 – Port City 160 ‘Super Spectacle’ Open Practice Session
  • Saturday, May 28 – Port City 160 ‘Super Spectacle’: Jim Shampine Memorial Novelis Supermodified (75), Jack Murphy Memorial ISMA Super (50), Tony White Memorial Pathfinder Bank SBS (35)
  • Sunday, May 29 – Port City 160 ‘Super Spectacle’: Rain Date
  • Saturday, June 4 – Off Week/ Rain Date for May Events
  • Saturday, June 11 – Spring Championship: Novelis Supermodified (50), Pathfinder Bank SBS (30) – Coolers Allowed in Rear Grandstand
  • Saturday, June 18 – Novelis Supermodified Twin 35’s: Novelis Supermodified Twins (35), Pathfinder Bank SBS (30) – AUTOGRAPHS
  • Saturday, July 2 – ‘Independence Weekend Grand Prix’: Novelis Supermodified Grand Prix (75), Pathfinder Bank SBS Grand Prix (35)
  • Saturday, July 9 – King of Wings VIII: ISMA Super (50), Pathfinder Bank SBS (30)
  • Saturday, July 16 – Summer Championship: Novelis Supermodified (50), Pathfinder Bank SBS (30)
  • Saturday, July 23 - $10,000 Mr. Novelis Supermodified (50), $1,500 Mr. Pathfinder SBS (35)
  • Saturday, August 6 – Retro Night – Super Semi-Finals: Novelis Supermodified (45), Pathfinder Bank SBS (30)
  • Saturday, August 13 – Pathfinder Bank SBS Twin 20’s: Pathfinder Bank SBS Twins (20), Novelis Supermodified (50)
  • Saturday, August 20 – Track Championship Night: Novelis Supermodified (50), Pathfinder Bank SBS (30)
Classic Weekend
  • Thursday, September 1 – 10th annual Oswego Kartway Classic
  • Friday, September 2 – ‘FAST FRIDAY’: Novelis Supermodified and Pathfinder Bank SBS Time Trials, Pathfinder Bank SBS Heat Races, ‘PARTY in the PITS’
  • Saturday, September 3 – ‘SUPER SATURDAY’: NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 150, ISMA Supermodified Super Nationals 60
  • Sunday, September 4 – ‘CLASSIC SUNDAY’: Budweiser International Classic 200 for Novelis Supermodifieds, Bud Light Classic 75 for Pathfinder Bank SBS
  • Monday, September 5 – Weekend Rain Date
Race of Champions Weekend
  • Thursday, September 15 – Open Practice
  • Friday, September 16 – RoC Sportsman
  • Saturday, September 17 – Race of Champions Modified 250

Keep up with the off-season at www.oswegospeedway.com

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Tickets, camping at The Glen go on sale Thursday, December 15, 2015

credit: NASCAR Media
Tickets and camping for the 2016 season at Watkins Glen International in the Finger Lakes region will go on sale Tuesday, December 15 at 9 a.m. Fans who purchase early can save up to $25 by taking advantage of advance pricing.

After an extensive repaving project that began after the Sprint Cup Series race in August, The Glen will debut its new surface at 2016 events including the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen featuring the WeatherTech Sportscar Championship (June 30-July 3) and the NASCAR weekend, with the Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at The Glen (August 7), XFINITY Series Zippo 200 (August 6), and K&N Pro Series East Bully Hill Vineyards 100 (August 5).

The Glenora Wine Cellars U.S. Vintage Grand Prix presented by Welliver, with the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) coming to Watkins Glen International for a Can-Am/Trans-Am reunion special, takes place September 9-11. 

Off-track, the Finger Lakes Wine Festival presented by Yancey’s Fancy New York’s Artisan Cheese, celebrating its 20th anniversary, is set for the July 15-17 weekend, and the Finger Lakes Beer Festival rounds out the schedule October 21-22.

Watkins Glen International 2016 schedule
  • April 16-17: Opening Weekend
  • June 24-26: SCCA Majors Super Tour
  • June 30-July 3: Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen
  • July 15-17: Finger Lakes Wine Festival presented by Yancey’s Fancy
  • August 4-7: Cheez-It 355 at The Glen 
  • September 9-11: Glenora Wine Cellars U.S. Vintage Grand Prix presented by Welliver
  • October 21-22: Finger Lakes Beer Festival
Tickets and camping for the 2016 season can be purchased three ways: online at www.theglen.com, by phone at 1-866-461-RACE (7223), or by visiting WGI’s retail store, The Shop, located at 2 N. Franklin St. in Watkins Glen; the store is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through January 2, 2016.

NASCAR 2015 in review – No. 6: More respect for the Truck Series

WNY Motorsports has created its list of the top 10 stories in NASCAR – mostly Sprint Cup – for 2015. Look for future editions throughout the rest of December.

Christopher Bell took the checkered flag at Eldora this season
credit: NASCAR via Getty Images/Brian Lawdermilk
For me personally, the Camping World Truck Series routinely puts on the most entertaining shows in NASCAR. It’s a great mix of veterans like Matt Crafton and Timothy Peters, young talent like Erik Jones and Tyler Reddick, and the occasional visitor from another series – most notably Kyle Busch and also including Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, Austin Dillon and Brad Keselowski.

And the races are ridiculously, awesomely exciting.

The Truck Series lends itself best to the Friday or Saturday night bullring style of racing that weekly racing fans at local fans enjoy, as witnessed for the last three years at the dirt track racing mecca, Eldora Speedway in Ohio. Long after these races were over, fans were talking about Ken Schrader’s pole run, Norm Benning’s battle for the final qualifying spot, Kyle Larson beating down the wall like only a true dirt driver knows how, and the battle for the win between two young dirt racing stars – Christopher Bell and Bobby Pierce.

Truck racing on a road course just north of our border – Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Mosport to us WNYers)? That’s almost as much fun as dirt! Last-lap battles highlighted the first two seasons there (Chase Elliott over Ty Dillon in 2013 and Ryan Blaney over German Quiroga in 2014), and Jones made everyone take notice of his championship intentions when he took over the points lead with a win this season.

That’s not to say the other, larger tracks aren’t equally exciting – tempers flared this season at Pocono when interloper Keselowski got into a wreck with championship contender Matt Crafton, leading Crafton to state exactly what he was feeling: “That’s your Cup champion. That’s pretty much an idiot right there.”

I very rarely turn off a Truck Series race disappointed – the action and the talent makes it fun to watch. My only disappointment with the series is that they can’t get more trucks on the track or more races on the schedule.




Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Holland Motorsports Complex announces 2016 schedule

credit: Holland Motorsports Complex
Holland Motorsports complex, located at 2 N. Main Rd. in Holland, has announced its 2016 schedule, featuring NASCAR Whelen Series Saturday night racing as well as two special series with Lancaster Speedway. Regular weekly racing begins at 7:05 p.m.

Holland and Lancaster will both host the Pro Modifieds and Late Models in 2016. Currently on Holland’s schedule are four Pro Modified races on June 4, July 16, August 6 and September 3; three Late Model races will be contested on June 25, July 23 and August 27.

Car shows kick off the season at two area malls, and the track is offering additional points to all participating cars in all divisions. The Eastern Hills Mall show takes place Saturday, April 30 through Thursday, May 5 – move in is on April 29 at 9 p.m. and move out is on May 5 at 9 p.m. The McKinley Mall show is Saturday, May 7 through Friday, May 13 – move in is on May 6 at 9:30 p.m. and move out is May 13 at 9:30 p.m. Practice for all divisions will be May 21 from noon to 4 p.m., just ahead of the season opener on May 28.

Two Crash-A-Ramas are on the schedule for 2016 – June 11 and September 10, with rain dates scheduled for the following Sundays (June 12 and September 11); starting time is 6:30 p.m. for both shows. The Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour visits the 3/8-mile oval on July 9 for a 100-lap feature; the show begins at 6 p.m. The August 6 Pro Modified show is the annual George Decker Memorial 75-lapper, and the season finale on September 3 will also feature a 75-lap event for the Pro Modifieds – these shows will also start at 6 p.m.

Find a complete schedule for 2016 at www.hollandspeedway.com

Saturday, December 12, 2015

NASCAR 2015 in review – No. 7: Roush-Fenway Racing – The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat

Chris Buescher was the Xfinity Series
champ, but RFR's three Cup Series teams
failed to make the Chase
credit: NASCAR via Getty Images/
Jared C. Tilton
WNY Motorsports has created its list of the top 10 stories in NASCAR – mostly Sprint Cup – for 2015. Look for future editions throughout the rest of December.

To put it mildly, Roush-Fenway Racing has been hot and cold the last few seasons. On the hot side, RFR has won three of the last five Xfinity Series championships – two for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2011-2012) and this past season with Chris Buescher. Over the last five seasons, the team has 24 Xfinity Series wins, and in the last two seasons, all of RFR’s Xfinity Series teams finished in the top 10 in points.

But then there’s the Sprint Cup Series. Veteran Roush-kateer Greg Biffle hasn’t had a win since 2013, also the last time he finished in the top 10 in points. Stenhouse Jr., in the 2013 Cup Series Rookie of the Year, has just three top five finishes and 11 top 10 finishes in the last three seasons, with a career-best 19th-place finish in points his rookie season. After four part-time seasons with the Wood Brothers, including a win in the Daytona 500 in 2011, Trevor Bayne has just four other top 10 finishes, including two this season, his first full-time with RFR.

Is there a problem at Roush-Fenway Racing? Are seven full-time teams between the two series too many? Is it just a matter of growing pains with two young drivers? These are all questions that haven’t been answered. My bets are on growing pains, as so many young drivers have been struggling to work the gap between Xfinity and Cup Series competition.



Friday, December 11, 2015

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returning to Oswego Speedway in 2016

credit: freedigitalphotos.net/IceHawk33
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will return to Oswego Speedway in 2016 in a 150-lap event during Budweiser Classic Weekend, September 2-4. The NASCAR Mods will race during the Saturday portion of the weekend, paired with the ISMA Supermodified Bud Light Super Nationals.

“Budweiser International Classic Weekend is a staple event in open-wheel pavement racing and it should be treated as such,” said Oswego Speedway co-owner, John Torrese, on the Oswego Speedway website.  “As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of this amazing racing weekend we felt the time was right to work together with NASCAR to bring back one of the traditions of this great weekend.  A long distance, Saturday night special, featuring some of the best Modified drivers anywhere in the country – fighting for the distinguished right to be called a Classic champion at Oswego.”

“We continue to take in and review a lot of fan feedback and this addition to the weekend was certainly called upon by several of our current and former Classic Weekend attendees,” said Torrese.  “While Oswego Speedway is the Home of the Supermodifieds, the Modifieds themselves have played a huge role in our historic journey and we are excited to bring the Whelen Modified Tour not only back to Oswego, but to upstate New York so the many Modified fans in this area can join us again for an entire open-wheel racing weekend.”

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour ran eight events at Oswego between 1988 and 1989, with Brian Ross winning the first two events, followed by Mike McLaughlin and George Kent to round out 1988. In 1989, Tony Hirschman won three of the four events held at the ‘Steel Palace,’ with Mike Stefanik the only other Modified winner that season.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour has not visited upstate New York since July 2009, when second-generation driver Erick Rudolph went to victory at Spencer Speedway in Williamson. Since 2000, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour has visited Upstate New York only eight times, including facilities such as Watkins Glen International, Holland International, Chemung Speedrome, Spencer Speedway, and Adirondack International.

The Budweiser International Classic Weekend kicks off Friday, September 2 with ‘Fast Friday’ pole-day qualifications for the Novelis Supermodifieds and Pathfinder Bank Small Block Supers. It will include a full day’s open practice for the Supermodifieds and SBS before time trials for each class begin at 6 p.m. 

Following time trials, the pit gates will open for the annual ‘Party in the Pits,’ which will include driver autograph sessions, the Supermodified Simulators, a pit stop competition for fans, live music and much more.

Saturday, September 3 will feature the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 150 as well as the Bud Light ISMA Super Nationals making for over 200-laps of main event action on ‘Super Saturday,’ while the 60th running of the Budweiser International Classic 200 for Novelis Supermodifieds will be the headliner on Sunday, September 4. For the first time since 2008, the Bud Light SBS Classic 75 will be scheduled on the same day, celebrating its historic 25th running.


Individual ticket pricing as well as weekend pass information for the 60th annual Budweiser International Classic Weekend will be made available soon, and the full 2016 Oswego Speedway event schedule will be released in the coming days. Find out more at www.oswegospeedway.com

Thursday, December 10, 2015

World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series visit these nearby tracks in 2016

Weedsport Speedway hosts the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars
on May 22, 2016
credit: paulathompsonfreelance.com
World Racing Group has released the 2016 schedule for the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, which will feature five events on tracks near the Buffalo area. Find the complete WoO Sprint Car Series schedule at www.woosprint.com.

Area racing kicks off on Sunday, May 22 when the series visits Weedsport Speedway – approximately two hours from Buffalo. On Tuesday, July 19, the series makes its way to Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pennsylvania – approximately 3.5 hours from Buffalo. On Tuesday, July 26, the series heads north of the border to Ohsweken Speedway in Ontario – less than two hours from Buffalo – for its lone Canadian appearance in 2016.

On Saturday, September 24, the Outlaws return to Lernerville Speedway, and on Saturday, October 8, during NAPA SuperDIRT Week in Central New York, the series visits Rolling Wheels Raceway Park – approximately 2.5 hours from Buffalo.

If you’re willing to go a little bit farther to see the “Greatest Show on Dirt,” check out some of these tracks in Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania: Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio (May 6-7, July 14-16 (Kings Royal) and September 23); Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown, Pennsylvania (May 18); Williams Grove Speedway (May 20-21, July 22-23 and September 29-October 1); Fremont Speedway in Fremont, Ohio (June 3); Attica Raceway Park in Attica, Ohio (July 12); and Port Royal Speedway in Port Royal, Pennsylvania (October 15).

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

NASCAR 2015 in review – No. 8: NASCAR (and IndyCar) baby boom continues

WNY Motorsports has created its list of the top 10 stories in NASCAR – mostly Sprint Cup – for 2015. Look for future editions throughout the rest of December.
Baby Brexton Busch made plenty of
victory lane appearances this season
credit: paulathompsonfreelance.com

In the next 15-18 years, there will be no shortage of replacement drivers for those retiring from NASCAR and IndyCar, because 2015 was the year of the “baby boom” in both series. Among the drivers adding members to their families this year:
And one already for next year: David and Jacquelyn Ragan will give daughter Julia a little sister in the spring.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Super DIRTcar Series releases 2016 schedules

credit: freedigitalphotos.net: David Castillo Dominici
The Super DIRTcar Series has released its 2016 schedules for Big-Block Modifieds, 358-Modifieds, Sportsman and Pro Stocks. Included on the schedule are trips to nearby tracks including Canandaigua Motorsports Park, Ransomville Speedway, Merrittville Speedway, Weedsport Speedway, Rolling Wheels Raceway Park and Brewerton Speedway. Each series is also scheduled to race at the new Central New York Raceway Park near Syracuse as part of Super DIRT Week in October.

2016 Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series Schedule
  • Feb. 17-20 Volusia Speedway Park
  • April 30 Fulton Speedway
  • June 22 Williams-Grove Speedway          
  • June 26 Cornwall Speedway       
  • June 28 Albany-Saratoga Speedway
  • June 30 Canandaigua Motorsports Park
  • July 3 Utica-Rome Speedway     
  • July 7 Mohawk International Speedway               
  • July 12 5-Mile Point        
  • July 14 Grandview Speedway    
  • July 19-20 Eldora Speedway       
  • July 21 Sharon Speedway            
  • July 25 Autodromme-Granby    
  • July 26 Autodromme-Drummond
  • Aug. 1 Merrittville Speedway
  • Aug. 2 Ransomville Speedway
  • Aug. 9 Weedsport Speedway    
  • Aug. 17 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park    
  • Aug. 23 Lebanon Valley Speedway  
  • Sept. 5 Central New York Raceway Park
  • Sept. 9 LeRPM Speedway           
  • Sept. 10 Autodromme-Drummond
  • Sept. 16 Brewerton Speedway
  • Sept. 17 Weedsport Speedway
  • Sept. 24 TBA      
  • Oct. 5-9 Central New York Raceway Park – NAPA Super Dirt Week
  • Oct. 15 Brockville Speedway
  • Oct. 27-29 The Dirt Track at Charlotte – World Finals

2016 DIRTcar 358-Modified Series Schedule (final nine races)
  • Sept. 4 Cornwall Speedway       
  • Sept. 16 Mohawk International Speedway          
  • Sept. 17 Autodromme-Granby 
  • Sept. 23 LeRPM Speedway         
  • Sept. 24 Autodrome-Drummond             
  • Oct. 5 Weedsport Speedway     
  • Oct. 6 Brewerton Speedway      
  • Oct. 8 Central New York Raceway Park – NAPA Super DIRT Week
  • Oct. 14 Brockville Speedway      

2016 DIRTcar Sportsman Series Schedule
  • April 30 Fulton Speedway
  • July 25 Autodrome Granby         
  • July 26 Autodrome-Drummond
  • Sept. 4 Cornwall Speedway        
  • Sept. 9 Ransomville Speedway 
  • Sept. 10 Merrittville Speedway 
  • Sept. 11 Humberstone Speedway           
  • Sept. 16 Brewerton Speedway 
  • Sept. 17 Mohawk International Speedway          
  • Sept. 23 LeRPM Speedway         
  • Sept. 24 Brighton Speedway
  • Sept. 30-Oct. 1 Fulton Speedway
  • Oct. 5 Weedsport Speedway     
  • Oct. 6 Brewerton Speedway      
  • Oct. 9 Central New York Raceway Park – NAPA Super DIRT Week
  • Oct. 15 Brockville Speedway

2016 DIRTcar Pro Stock Series
  • June 10 Autodromme-Granby  
  • July 22 Albany-Saratoga Speedway         
  • July 23 Lebanon Valley Speedway           
  • July 31 Cornwall Speedway         
  • Aug. 17 Glen Ridge Speedway  
  • Sept. 9 LeRPM Speedway           
  • Sept. 10 Autodrome-Drummond             
  • Sept. 17 Mohawk International Speedway          
  • Oct. 9 Central New York Raceway Park – NAPA Super DIRT Week


Find more news from the Super DIRTcar Series at www.superdirtcarseries.com

Saturday, December 5, 2015

NASCAR 2015 in review – No. 9: Struggles of the youngsters

credit: NASCAR Media
WNY Motorsports has created its list of the top 10 stories in NASCAR – mostly Sprint Cup – for 2015. Look for future editions throughout the rest of December.

The young guns who tore up the track in years past had a difficult time gaining any ground in 2015 – surprisingly so considering their past successes.

Trevor Bayne – the winner of the 2011 Daytona 500 competed in his first full-time season in the Cup Series in 2015, earning just two top 10s and finishing 29th in points. In his two last seasons in the Nationwide (now Xfinity) Series – 2013 and 2014 – Bayne collected a win and 42 top 10 finishes in 66 races thanks to the strength of Roush-Fenway Racing’s minor league program, which has won three titles in the last five seasons.

Austin Dillon – the 2013 Nationwide Series champ, who won four races in 20 starts in the Xfinity Series this season, is still winless in two seasons of Cup Series racing, collecting just two top five finishes in that span and finishing 20th (2014) and 21st (2015) in points. While Dillon has improved in some stats (top 10 finishes, laps led, and average starting position are up), he’s down in laps completed and average finish in 2015.

Kyle Larson – after a successful rookie season where he earned 17 top 10 finishes – including two runner-up finishes – and finished 17th in points, many fans thought Larson would’ve visited victory lane by now, but the young driver’s stats went down this season, with just 10 top 10 finishes and a 19th-place finish in points. Larson, who missed a race early in the season after passing out during an autograph session, dropped in the same categories Dillon did: laps completed and average finish.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – the two-time Nationwide Series champ (2011 and 2012) transitioned into the Cup Series in 2013, taking the rookie of the year award and finishing 19th in points with three top 10 finishes. 2014 saw Stenhouse Jr. failing to qualify for the second Talladega race and finishing 27th in points with five top 10 finishes,  while 2015 saw him in the top 10 just three times and finishing 25th in points. Roush Fenway Racing, which also includes Bayne and veteran Greg Biffle, has had a tough time the last couple of seasons in the Cup Series, while its Xfinity Series group has been thriving.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

NASCAR 2015 in review – No. 10: No Go(Daddy)? No problem

WNY Motorsports has created its list of the top 10 stories in NASCAR – mostly Sprint Cup – for 2015. Look for future editions throughout the rest of December.

Danica Patrick has been the “GoDaddy Girl” since her days in IndyCar – dating back to 2007 – but earlier this season, the domain and hosting giant announced it would end its sponsorship of Patrick. Never fear, the marketable driver had no problem finding a new sponsor to jump on board for 2016 – and thus continuing her time at Stewart-Haas Racing.

credit: Getty Images for Stewart-Haas Racing/Jared C. Tilton -
via NASCAR Media
Nature’s Bakery comes on board for 28 races as part of a multi-year deal with the health-conscious Patrick, who can often be found on social media discussing her latest yoga or cross-fit workout. They’ll join Aspen Dental and TaxAct (four races each) as primary sponsors on Patrick’s Chevrolet SS.