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From: NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications <publicrelatio… [Add to Address Book]

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Subject: Revved Up: Rev Racing’s reorganization paying dividends in K&N Pro Series East

Date: Jun 13, 2018 5:11 PM

Attachments: image005.jpg image006.jpg image007.png image008.png

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Revved Up: Rev Racing’s reorganization paying dividends in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
Garcia’s Win Spotlights Successful Development Transition

 

In its infancy, there were too many drivers, not enough cars and far too few races for Rev Racing. The vision for diversity to truly take hold at NASCAR’s uppermost reaches was clear, though the path for getting there was foggy.

Fast-forward eight years and the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program has refined itself enough that Jefferson Hodges believes Rev Racing is ahead of the curve. With a win in the most recent NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event at Memphis and all three of its drivers in the top eight in the series standings heading to New Jersey Motorsports Park this weekend, Rev Racing’s best self is here.

“As far as a program and a race team, the difference we’ve started to make and the heads we’ve turned, the program’s in a great place,” said Hodges, a Virginia native and the director of competition at Rev Racing since 2011. “The success of the program or the race team I don’t feel like can be questioned anymore.”

Rev Racing set its own bar in 2012, when Kyle Larson won the K&N Pro Series East championship in the organization’s No. 6 car. They’ve won 18 races in the series and produced drivers who have gone on to national series prominence — including Larson, Bubba Wallace and Daniel Suarez, all of whom now compete full-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Getting there has not been easy, and there has been a shift in focus for Rev Racing.

This season, the organization has whittled itself down to four full-time drivers from the previous six, but those drivers no longer focus simply on the K&N Pro Series. Now, they’ve expanded into Late Model racing, too, to try and provide more seat time and experience for up-and-coming drivers on their roster. Ryan Vargas, Ruben Garcia Jr. and Chase Cabre represent the three full-time K&N Pro Series East drivers for Rev Racing this season. A fourth driver, Nick Sanchez, will run a schedule of Late Models and Legends for the organization.

“I see those banners on that wall, and I know that I’m held to that standard,” said Ryan Vargas, who is fifth in the East point standings, highest among Rev Racing drivers. “I can be the next Kyle Larson, Bubba Wallace, Daniel Suarez. It’s really neat to be able to see that. You see the legacy that this team really does have. It’s a crucial part of NASCAR’s landscape.”

RELATED:  NASCAR K&N PRO SERIES EAST STANDINGS | SCHEDULE

The 17-year-old Vargas, moved to Concord, North Carolina, this year from his La Miranda, California, home to join Rev Racing. Were he not to have made the cut at last year’s Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program combine, he would only be running a part-time Late Model schedule for his family this summer.

Instead, he’s still racing a Late Model part-time — but he’s doing so for Rev Racing while competing full-time in the K&N Pro Series. Not only does he view it as the opportunity of a lifetime, but he’s also been surprised as just how well it’s all going in his first year.

“I think the goals have changed a little bit,” Vargas said. “At the beginning of the season, I wanted to bide my time and try to finish every race. That’s what I did during my rookie year in Late Models (on the West coast), but I think I’ve figured out where I stand. I’m fifth in the standings, which is something I didn’t see happening, to be honest with you.

“I see the East series as one of the most competitive series out there. My goal is to maintain that top-five position. I want to keep improving and I think I can have some podium runs in the second half of the year. If we have a really good run, maybe I can even get that first win.”

Vargas doesn’t have to look far to see proof that a win is attainable. Teammate Ruben Garcia Jr. won his first career K&N Pro Series race last time out at Memphis, dominating the final third of the 150-lap event.

“When I was very little, it was a dream to go race NASCAR in the United States,” Garcia said. “Thanks to the Drive for Diversity program, Rev Racing and (team owner) Max Siegel, that was possible three years ago. I feel like I accomplished one of my biggest dreams. I was thinking, ‘What’s next?’ What’s the next step?’ ”

Ruben Garcia Jr. signs a miniature helmet for a fan give-away after winning the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Memphis International Raceway on June 2. (Sara D. Davis/NASCAR)

It’s a question he doesn’t have to ask anymore, now that he can call himself a K&N Pro Series winner. While it took Garcia three seasons to collect that first checkered flag, Hodges hopes the changes the organization has made will speed the learning curve for the next crop of Rev Racing drivers.

He noted the heavy schedules undertaken by last year’s championship contenders, Harrison Burton and Todd Gilliland, before they graduated to NASCAR’s national series this season. They spent virtually every free weekend in Super Late Models or some other division as they chased as much seat time as humanly possible.

“We just felt like our drivers were not getting the seat time at just the K&N level that their competitors were getting,” Hodges said. “Our kids were running 15 K&N races a year, and that was all we had on the plate for them. By adding (Late Model races this year), we’ve actually increased the number of races we have by about 40 percent. All the way around, there’s more seat time.

“It’s definitely increased the workload for the guys in the shop, but the benefit has already started to show. The crew that takes care of the K&N car is also crew that takes care of the Late Model. If you look at Ruben — his crew chief, car chief, chief mechanic are all the same on the K&N car as on his Late Model. The learning curve has really sped up.”

That curve will continue its incline in the JustDrive.com 125 at New Jersey Motorsports Park. A former PEAK Mexico Series champion, Garcia has plenty of road racing experience. Also this weekend, Ernie Francis Jr. will join Rev Racing for the event on the 2.25-mile road course.

Francis, 20, is a four-time Trans Am champion with 12 career wins. He won a Trans-Am event at NJMP last season.

“Our road racing cars have always been good,” Hodges said. “Having Ernie coming on this week should elevate our entire road racing program with his knowledge.”

PIT BOX: K&N Pro East Takes On Twists & Turns In Garden State | RACE CENTER: JUSTDRIVE.com 125

As part of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity driver development program, four-time Trans-Am champion Ernie Francis Jr. is making his inital foray into the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East this weekend. (Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)

JUSTDRIVE.com 125 NEWS & NOTES

ROAD ACE:  Will Rodgers will make his 2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East debut this weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park, where he is the defending race winner.

Rodgers, driving for Jefferson Pitts Racing with backing from Kelly Benefit Strategies, will make two East starts this season. He will also compete at Watkins Glen in August.

A full-time driver in the K&N Pro Series West, Rodgers has made two career East starts and one them both. Both of those wins came on the road courses at NJMP and Watkins Glen.

He won the pole and finished second to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick in the West race at Sonoma last June.

DEBUT:  Francis won’t be the only driver making their NASCAR K&N Pro Series debut at New Jersey. Cole Keatts, a 17-year-old from Lewison, Idaho, will pilot the No. 55 Black Rifle Coffee Ford for Jefferson Pitts Racing. Keatts is an offroad trucks racer who also had experience running in the former Red Bull Global Rallycross.

GARDEN STATE:  New Jersey Motorsports Park has held only two NASCAR touring series events in its long history, as the road course facility has ties to World War II. Located next to the Millville Airport, an airport that was “America’s First Defense Airport” in 1941, the track sits on 500 acres and has two separate road course layouts.

Noah Gragson won the inaugural East event at the track in 2016.

A Pair of Podium Finishes for Tracy Hines at I-96 & Angell Park By Tracy Hines Racing PR

NEW CASTLE, Ind.— June 24, 2013— Tracy Hines has been strong on the big tracks with the USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series this season. Same goes for his program on the small tracks with the Honda USAC National Midget Dirt Championship. A pair of races over the weekend saw the same results as he recorded podium finishes in both a sprint car and midget on successive nights at I-96 Speedway in Michigan, and Angell Park Speedway in Wisconsin.

Hines led a total of 13 laps on Sunday, June 23 at the historic Angell Park, which is located just outside of Madison, Wis., in Sun Prairie. He started on the outside of the front row and took the lead for the first time on the fifth lap from Rico Abreu. Hines would pace the field for two laps before Caleb Armstrong took the top spot, though his night would end three laps later with mechanical trouble. This would hand the lead back to Hines who would stay out front until a lap-22 restart, when Abreu powered around him on the high side of the third-mile. Darren Hagen would then slip by Hines as well, who would end up third in the Parker Machinery/Powered by Toyota Spike.

Hines was sixth-fastest in time trials of the 26 drivers that toured Angell Park Speedway. He followed that up with a runner-up finish in the third heat race to punch his ticket into the 30-lap main event, which was a tri-sanctioned race for the Honda USAC National Midget Series, POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series and Badger Midget Auto Racing Association.

“We really didn’t need that last yellow,” said Hines. “I was running my race down low and was really making him (Abreu) have to go where I was not. He was obviously really good up top and the bottom of the track ended up going away late in the race. We always want to win, but a third is good, especially after having bad luck on the last night of Indiana Midget Week. We’ll just keep plugging away on our dirt midget program and try to get a little quicker each time we go to the track.”

At I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, Mich., on Saturday, June 22, Hines finished third in the 30-lap main event for the USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series aboard the Hansen’s Welding Inc./Motor City Auto Transport DRC. The 2002 series champion lined up 10th and steadily worked his way forward. A couple of late race restarts bunched the field up and allowed Hines an opportunity to pick up a couple of more spots. On the final circuit, he dove under Dave Darland to take third as they came off the fourth turn.

“I-96 is definitely a fast place,” he noted. “The bottom of the track really came in and were able to pick off quite a few guys that were running the top. I was kind of surprised that we were able to get going as well we were and gain so many spots with how fast the track was. After having some trouble earlier in the night during qualifying to end up third was a decent night for us.”

The Tony Hulman Classic for the USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series at the Terre Haute Action Track, which was scheduled for Friday, June 21, fell to rain after time trials. Hines qualified 10th of the 23 entries for the event, which was originally postponed by rain last month.

Hines is currently seventh in the USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series standings. He has won twice this season and has five top-10 finishes. The veteran driver is sixth in points with the Honda USAC National Midget Dirt Championship, just 20 markers out of the top-five. He’ll return to action next weekend at Pikes Peak (Colo.) International Raceway in a doubleheader for the USAC Traxxas Silver Crown Series and the Honda USAC National Midget Series Pavement Championship.

“The next few weeks are going to be very busy that’s for sure,” said Hines. “We’ll take advantage of the time we have this week to kind of get ahead before we go to Pikes Peak. Then when we get back, we’ll have a few races and it will be (Indiana) Sprint Week. As a driver this is the time of the year you look forward to, though as a mechanic and car owner it can definitely be a taxing time, so you have to be as prepared as you can and keep after the little things.”

Tracy Hines Racing would like to thank: Hansen’s Welding Inc., Parker Machinery, Motor City Auto Transport, Turbines, Inc., Afco Racing Products, Daum Crop Insurance, Schoenfeld Headers, Allstar Performance, Kenny’s Components, Race Bumpers and Bell Racing.

For more information on Tracy Hines Racing, visit http://www.tracyhinesracing.com. Follow Tracy on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/TracyHinesRacin.

ARCA Rookie Mitchell says he can ‘get it done’ at Winchester; 24th Herr’s Chase the Taste 200 Sunday June 30

(TOLEDO, Ohio) – SCOTT Rookie Challenge contender Mason Mitchell is in it to win it. The W. Des Moines, Iowa driver could also use some good luck to go with it.

Most everything else is already in place – an ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship Roulo Brothers Racing (RBR) team, a sponsor who can see the potential, a talented up-and-coming racer in the chair – everything’s there, except some good ole-fashioned luck. If he can get the good luck to go along for the ride this weekend, Mitchell says he can “get it done” in the Herr’s Chase The Taste 200 at Winchester Speedway Sunday, June 30.

“I really think we can get it done,” Mitchell said.

“The track is similar to Salem, and we ran really well there. If I can get into a rhythm and groove in the race (at Winchester) like we did at Salem, I think we can win it. If we could just get some good luck on our side for once.”

Beyond the necessary good luck, Mitchell is also arguably challenged for the fact that he’s not seen most of the tracks where ARCA goes, let alone raced on them. Having not been to 80% of the tracks, Mitchell has to rely on another sensory app – that would be hearing.

“Like most of the tracks in ARCA, Winchester’s another one I haven’t seen yet. I’ve seen pics obviously, but, right now, I’m going on what I hear. I take advice from my team; I take every tip I can get.”

Taking advice from the Roulo Brothers is certainly not a bad idea. The Roulo Brothers – Gary and Russ – just added their 32nd career ARCA win last weekend at Road America where 2012 ARCA champ Chris Buescher, in a second RBR Ford, passed two cars on the final lap to win the race. While Buescher has raced on road courses before, it was Mitchell’s first experience on a road course.

“It was fun; I love it,” added the driver on the No. 99 Happy Cheeks Ford.

It was fun for a while anyway, until he ran out of gas.

“I don’t fault anyone for getting low on fuel. The road course thing was all new to me; I had never been to a road course in my life, and I was not that fast in practice. But once we got in the race, my confidence started to build, and we got a lot faster – so much faster that we were probably burning more fuel than we realized. I think if that didn’t happen, we had a top-five in the making. I was getting more confident with every lap.”

It’s been that kind of year for Mitchell, who seemed to be turning things around at the onset of June when he finished an impressive fifth at Pocono Raceway, his first time on the ‘tricky’ 2.5-mile triangular track.

Then it turned on him at Michigan where he had a tire go down followed by a subsequent trip into the outer retaining wall. Then, the rotten luck at Road America. There was also Salem Speedway in April where, on a track he had never seen before, he had figured out in short order, and charged up to third in the race, all the while tracking down the leaders. Then, according Mitchell, he got crashed off turn four, thus ending another promising run.

“If we can take away the bad luck, I think we can impress a lot of people.”

Actually, he’s already impressed a lot of people. In fact, it hasn’t been all bad for Mitchell this year. He did also finish seventh at Toledo, eighth at Mobile, and 11th at Elko. And, heading into this weekend’s big show at Winchester, Mitchell is still fifth in championship standings.

“I’m really looking forward to Winchester. I’ve heard about it for a long time – always followed the Winchester 400.”

It would certainly not be surprising that Mitchell has heard about Winchester “for a long time.” The track, which predates World War I, is one of the oldest operating speedways in the country, debuting in 1914 as a flat half-mile dirt oval. It remained as such through 1921 before the legendary high-banks were added in time for the 1922 season. The track would not be paved until 1952. But the track configuration, which includes 33 degrees of banking in the corners, has remained unchanged for 90-plus years.

“Winchester’s just one of those tracks that everyone in the racing business has heard of because it’s been around forever. And everyone wants to win on it, and that includes me. Today (June 25) is my 19th birthday, so this would be a really cool birthday present – a win at Winchester. It doesn’t get any better than that. I’m going to be an old racecar driver soon, so I have to win fast.”

Indiana native Frank Kimmel is the leading ARCA Racing Series winner at Winchester, with five victories (1996, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006) followed by three-time series champ Tim Steele, who won four times (1993, 1995, 1997, 2001). Billy Leslie won from the pole in 2007. Leslie’s father and 1988 series champion Tracy Leslie was also a winner at Winchester, triumphing in 1988 and 1999. Cunningham Motorsports has gone back-to-back with Winchester wins with Dakoda Armstrong in 2011 and Alex Bowman in 2012.

Don O’Dell won the inaugural ARCA race at Winchester in 1957. Other ARCA winners at Winchester over the years include Jack Bowsher (1964), Ralph Latham (1972), Bobby Watson (1972) and two-time series champion Marvin Smith, who won back-to-back races in 1982 and 1983. Other winners include Bob Keselowski (1990), Gary Bradberry (1994) and Bob Strait (1998).

The Herr’s Chase the Taste 200 serves as the grand finale in an all-ARCA branded weekend during which the ARCA Truck Series will kick things off with a 50-lap feature followed by the main event from the ARCA CRA Super Series Saturday, June 29. The big ARCA triple header race weekend will culminate with the Herr’s Chase the Taste 200 finale Sunday afternoon.

All three divisions will divide track time Saturday with back-to-back practice sessions beginning at 11:30 a.m. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell for the ARCA Racing Series is scheduled for 5 p.m., followed by the ARCA Truck Series race at 6, and the ARCA CRA Super Series race at 7.

Twin DIRT car Series Invade Ransomville Speedway July 3

DIRTcar 358-Modified and DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series Ready for Western New York Track

RANSOMVILLE, N. Y. – Tuesday, June 25, 2013 – Race fans on both sides of the Canadian-American border are gearing up to celebrate national holidays at Ransomville Speedway Wednesday, July 3. The DIRTcar 358-Modified Series, joined this year by the DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series, invades the half-mile clay oval for the Battle at the Border presented by Waste Management and FinditQuick.com.

The 75-lap DIRTcar 358-Modified Series feature and 50-lap DIRTcar Sportsman Modified feature, scheduled between Canada Day and America’s Independence Day, bring the best competitors from both countries to western New York to battle for the win.

Ransomville racer Erick Rudolph currently sits atop the 358-Modified track point standings at the “Big R,” and is ready to take on series competition come July 3.

“We’re pretty comfortable with how we’ve been running,” said the 21-year-old small block driver, who has already this season claimed one win and four times in the top three. “We’ve been pretty consistent.”

The Battle at the Border DIRTcar Series races present an extra challenge to the Ransomville regulars in the 358-Modified and Sportsman divisions, with the region’s best racers making up the field.

“You get some people you haven’t raced against all year, so that takes a little getting used to. Other than that, it’s just the same attitude – try and win,” said Rudolph, who finished eighth in DIRTcar 358-Modified Series point standings last year and is currently 30th. Of his home track, the No. 25 driver said, “it’s a fun track. It’s not too big, it’s not to small. You get up to a pretty good speed.”

Currently, Big-Block Modified star Matt Sheppard, of Waterloo, N. Y., leads the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series point standings after a win at Merrittville Speedway, trailed by Rochester’s Danny Johnson in second and Baldwinsville’s Jimmy Phelps in third.

In the Sportsman division, the competition is also tough, with local stars Jesse Cotriss, Don Spatorico, and James Michael Friesen set to challenge DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series standouts like points leader Adam Hilton, runner-up Boyd MacTavish, and third-placer Joey Ladouceur for a top spot in the tour.

Pit and grandstand gates open at 4:30 p.m. and racing starts at 7:15 p.m. for the Fourth Annual Battle at the Border Wednesday, July 3. Adult general admission is $25, senior citizens are $20, kids 2 to 12 are $10, and kids 7 and under receive FREE entry. For more information about the event, visit www.ransomvillespeedway.com or call (716) 791-3602.

For the latest news and updates about the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series and the DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series, visit the DIRTcar Racing website at www.dirtcarump.com, follow @DIRTcarNE on Twitter, or like the “DIRTcar Racing” Facebook page.