The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the names of its eight inductees for 2020. Those that will be inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame on Saturday, May 30, during the 31st annual ceremonies in Knoxville, Iowa, are:
Greg Hodnett – A native of Memphis who would eventually be a card holding member of the Pennsylvania Posse, Greg racked up 286 wins in his sprint car career. He won twenty World of Outlaws and 22 All Star events in his career. The 2009 Williams Grove National Open winner was the 1993 WoO Rookie of the Year, a five time Williams Grove Speedway champion, a two-time Selinsgrove Speedway and Susquehanna Speedway champion, and a five-time Pennsylvania Speedweek titlist.
Tim Shaffer – “The Steel City Outlaw” is a four-time All Star champion, the 1999 World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year and three-time Ohio Sprint Speedweek champ. He is fourth all-time with 66 career All Star wins and has recorded 27 with the WoO. Tim won the $150,000 2010 Knoxville Nationals and the $100,000 2018 Sprint Car World Championship in Mansfield, Ohio. Among his many other wins are two Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup titles at Lernerville.
Jeff Swindell – Jeff grew up in the racing Swindell family near Memphis and has excelled as both a driver and as an innovator and manufacturer. He was the 1981 World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year, and has 51 career wins with that series. Big wins have included the Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup at Skagit, the Eagle (NE) Nationals, the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup and the Gold Cup in Chico, California. He also won the Knoxville 360 Nationals in 2002. The versatile driver is also a two-time winner of the famous USAC Silver Crown Hoosier Hundred. He is also an awarded manufacturer, most recently with Swindell electronic bleeders.
Walter Dyer – Walt Dyer’s famous “Brickmobile” #461 was a staple in central Pennsylvania for over 30 years. Walt racked up over 165 wins at thirteen different tracks in his career, including the Williams Grove National Open, the Tuscarora 50, the East Bay Winternationals and many more, with drivers such as Billy Stief, Paul Lotier, Lance Dewease. His last win came with Curt Michael, fittingly on 4-06-01.
Paul Leffler – Paul was both and owner and builder on his sprint cars. He fabricated almost every piece himself. He was crew chief for three USAC National Sprint Car champions, Greg Weld (’67), Tom Bigelow (’78) and his son Greg Leffler (1979). Paul has 29 USAC sprint car wins as an owner or co-owner. He had 34 more as crew chief for Sherman Armstrong’s cars from 1977-80. He built over 60 open wheel race cars during his career.
Promoters-Officials-Media Members-Event/Series Sponsors
Don Lamberti – The co-founder of Casey’s General Stores has been a lifelong race fan, sponsor and supporter. With good friend Gil Sonner, Don put a car together from a scrap pile as a teenager. Don would partner with Gil to compete in 50 Knoxville Nationals, as well as many big wins across the country. Thanks to Don, Casey’s has been a huge supporter of racing, drivers, events and sanctions in the Midwest and around the country.
L. Spencer Riggs – Growing up in Indianapolis, Spencer was influenced at a young age by the greats of the sport. He used his gift of storytelling and writing to give us pieces in National Speed Sport News, Open Wheel, Circle Track, the Indianapolis Star and countless other periodicals over the years. Spencer co-write “Indy 500 Chronicles” and authored “Langhorne! No Man’s Land.” He has several awards and honors for his writing over the years. If you have not read the Langhorne book, find it and read it. It is one of the best.
Bill Cummings – From Indianapolis, Bill grew up not far from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he would become most famous for winning the 1934 Indianapolis 500. Cummings specialized on the dirt tracks and was a consistent winner in “big cars” during the late 1920’s, before making a spectacular debut at Langhorne Speedway by winning in 1930. He then won the 100-miler that year at Syracuse, and the AAA rookie finished third in points. Nicknamed “Wild” Bill, he won the ’34 Indy 500 with his fuel conservation. He suggested they start calling him “Conservative William” afterwards.
According to National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum Foundation executive director Bob Baker, “This year’s inductee group is another testament to the hard work put in by our 72-member National Induction Committee! We are really looking forward to our 31st induction banquet on the Marion County Fairgrounds in Knoxville, Iowa on Saturday, May 30.”
Big Diamond Speedway promoters Jake and Jasmine Smulley have set an ambiguous schedule for dirt track nestled up in the Pennsylvania Coal Region. This year’s schedule as always will highlight the mighty 358 Modifieds sponsored again this season by Insigner Performance. The crown jewel race of the year, the annual Coalcracker will take place on Sunday September 6th paying $17,000 to win for the second consecutive year.
There are many other notable big paying races on top in 2020 for the Modifieds starting with the opener on Friday April 10th paying $4000 to the winner quickly followed up by the annual “Money in the Mountains” race on April 17th that will pay a cool $10,000 to the victor. The money doesn’t stop there, for the third year in a row, the Modifieds will go “TOPLESS” on May 1st with a $4000 first place prize. The always exciting Short Track Super Series “Anthracite Assault” race is scheduled for Tuesday June 2nd with the winner receiving $5000. Back to back Friday’s on June 26th and July 3rd will find the Modifieds racing for some extra cash. June 26th will be the Kamp Memorial paying $4000 with the following Friday July 3rd playing host to the annual Georgie Stevenson Memorial with winner receiving $5000. The annual “Prelude to the Coalcracker will take place on August 21st with the winner to receive $5000 and of course the season of money will conclude with the running of the aforementioned “Coalcracker” race.
This season will also see the debut of the Savage 61 Crate 602 Sportsman at Big Diamond Speedway. The Crate 602 Sportsman will share the spotlight with the traditional Open Sportsman again sponsored in 2020 by U.S.S Achey. The two divisions will split the season and will go head to head on April 24th, May 15th and July 3rd with added bonuses for the Crate 602’s. Both Sportsman divisions will have their fair share of extra money events during the year. See the schedule below for the exact dates when each division is scheduled to compete along with their bonus events.
The 2020 season will also see the return of the winged warriors of the United Racing Club who will visit the speedway on May 22nd and again on June 19th. One of the fastest growing division in the northeast, the USAC Wingless Sprints will make two visits to Big Diamond 2020 on May 29th and July 3rd. They ARDC Midget (May 1st) and the Super Sportsman (May 15th & July 31st)) both make their return to Big Diamond in 2020. The July 31st Super Sportsman show will be a wingless race.
The always entertaining Red, White & Blue Roadrunner division and the Heller’s Gas Street Stock division will as always be a part of the Big Diamond Speedway weekly action. If you want to see slam banging, door to door racing you certainly do not want to miss these two classes.
Returning to race this season at the speedway will be the Central PA Legends, Vintage Division and the 600 Modifieds. The Enduro class will once again show their presence at the speedway this upcoming season.
For more information on the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum and the special events happening here, visit www.SprintCarHoF.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Hellmann’s have a long history together, one dating back to 2009 and one that will continue in 2020, JR Motorsports confirmed Tuesday. The 15-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver and owner of JRM will add another chapter to the partnership when the 43-year-old star will compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (March 21) in the No. 8 Hellmann’s Chevrolet.
The confirmation comes as part of an extension between parent company Unilever and JRM that carries the partnership into a 12th season, distinguishing Unilever as JRM’s longest-tenured partner and one of the longest-running active sponsors in the NXS. For 2020, JRM will also carry Unilever sponsorship in five races with its No. 7 team and driver Justin Allgaier.
“In our sport, partnerships are everything,” said Kelley Earnhardt Miller, JRM general manager. “We don’t throw the words ‘cornerstone partner’ around a lot, but when we do, Unilever exemplifies its meaning.”
The history between Unilever and JRM began in 2009, when Earnhardt Jr. raced a Hellmann’s-sponsored Chevrolet in the season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway. Earnhardt Jr. finished seventh that day, but it was the first of more than 110 races in which Unilever’s huge collection of brands would grace the hood and quarterpanels of JRM’s racing cars.
A number of current or former Unilever brands have been aboard a JRM machine since 2009, and three of them-Hellmann’s, Ragu and Dove Men+Care-have gone to Victory Lane with the team. Regan Smith won at Daytona in February 2014 driving a Ragu-backed Camaro, while Kasey Kahne nailed down the sweep at Daytona in July with Hellmann’s and Justin Allgaier claimed a thrilling win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2018. Perhaps the most celebrated Unilever/JRM triumph came in 2016, when Earnhardt Jr. dominated the fall race at Richmond Raceway in a Hellmann’s Camaro.
That victory truly exemplified the nature of the partnership between JRM, Earnhardt Jr. and Hellmann’s, as it was the well-known “Banana-Mayo Sandwich” race, which leveraged Earnhardt Jr.’s affinity for Hellmann’s and sliced banana on white bread into more than $153,000 for Blessings in a Backpack, a leader in the movement to end childhood hunger by making sure as many at-risk children as possible do not go hungry over the weekends while away from school.
That’s what partnerships, like the one between Unilever and JR Motorsports, have done and will continue to do as the company moves toward its goal of making sustainable living commonplace.
Selinsgrove Speedway will open the 2020 season at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 21, with the highly-anticipated return of the Northeast modifieds in the $5,000-to-win Icebreaker 40!
The Icebreaker will be a combined small and big block, non-sanctioned race offering a $24,625 purse!
Also on the March 21 racing program will be the crate 602 sportsman modifieds in a $1,000-to-win 20-lap feature.
Pit and grandstand gates will open at 11 a.m. with practice laps slated for 1:30 p.m.
The tire rule for the Icebreaker will be the American Racer left-rear 44 or harder compound and right-rear 48 or harder compound. Front tires can be any compound.
Drivers will draw for their starting positions in heat races for both divisions. A redraw will be conducted to determine the first several starting positions in the main events.
Additional rules and details will be posted.
Pre-registration will begin in the next two weeks and will offer teams pit pass and other race incentives. Registration forms will be available on selinsgrovespeedway.com.
Many of the northeast’s top modified teams are expected to converge on the Snyder County half-mile oval for this historic race, which dates back to 2008 but that fell victim to inclement weather in recent years.
Previous dirt modified winners at Selinsgrove Speedway include: Dave Kelly (big block, 1982), Rick Laubauch (big block, 2008), Pat Ward (small block, 2009, 2010), Danny Johnson (big block, 2009, 2011), Matt Shepard (big block, 2010), Jeff Strunk (small block, 2011), Duane Howard (small block, 2012, 2013), Ryan Godown (big block, 2012), and Billy Pauch (big block, 2012).
For a complete 2020 schedule, the latest news, results, and race status, visit the speedway’s official website at www.selinsgrovespeedway.com or follow the track on Twitter and Facebook.
NASCAR has adjusted the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series technical package for road courses and race tracks measuring 1.058-miles or less in an effort to improve racing on short tracks and road course circuits.
Eight of the sport’s most celebrated venues – from the Bristol half-miler and Phoenix mile to the Sonoma and Watkins Glen road courses – will feature a new look this season that includes a smaller spoiler (2.75 inches vs eight inches), smaller splitter (0.25-inch overhang vs. two inches) and radiator pan modifications.
The sanctioning body has, for years, been willing to adjust its technical rules in the spirit of competition and worked closely with teams in analyzing data that supports these new rules that are closer to the regulations of the 2018 season.
In 2018, for example, both races on the Bristol Motor Speedway high-banked half-mile were decided by less than a second; Kyle Busch’s .628-second win over Kyle Larson in the spring and Kurt Busch’s .367-second victory over Larson in the fall.
Joey Logano edged Denny Hamlin to the line by a scant .107-second for his fall Martinsville Speedway short track win in 2018 and both the 0.75-mile Richmond Raceway trophies were determined by less than a second: Kyle Busch’s .511-second victory over Chase Elliott in the spring and his .777-second win over Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin in the fall.
The modifications for the short tracks and road courses announced by NASCAR on Tuesday will be more reminiscent of the technical guidelines from 2018. NASCAR is confident this package designed for short tracks and road courses will produce the same compelling competition as seen on intermediate and larger tracks last season – which saw an increase in green flag passing for the lead in 23 races.
“Our goal has always been to provide the best possible racing for our fans, regardless of venue,’’ NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell said in announcing the technical modification.
“The 2019 Cup Series race package delivered some of the most exciting races on intermediate and larger tracks that our sport has seen, however, we felt we could make improvements to short tracks and road courses.
“We believe we have found the right balance for 2020 that will allow teams to build off their previous knowledge of this package and showcase exciting side-by-side racing at tracks of all sizes.’’
The complete list of tracks affected by the new technical rules includes: Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, Dover International Speedway, Phoenix Raceway, Martinsville Speedway, Richmond Raceway, Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International.
“We ended up in a really good place I think for short tracks and road courses in 2020,’’ O’Donnell said, adding, “I really applaud the teams for working together with us to going back to a package that we know works. The drivers had asked for that low downforce package as well at the short tracks. We’re going to see that.
“The fans have wanted that and asked for it and we’re going to deliver on those tracks that are outlined and think it will certainly make an impact on the racing and hopefully be a big improvement for 2020.’’
New Jersey Motorsports Park is excited to announce the 2020 major event schedule, highlighted by the facility’s first Designer Wraps Beer Festival and mainstays including 24 Hours of Lemons, AHRMA Vintage Motorcycle Racing, MotoAmerica, and more.
“We’re continuing to provide a wide variety of on and off track events to our fans,” said Chief Operating Officer Brad Scott. “We look forward to our main racing events every season, but are eager about the addition of events like the Designer Wraps Beer Fest to round out our 2020 schedule.”
One of the founders of the Eastern Motorsports Press Association in 1969 and the group’s president for nearly 40 years, Ernie Saxton was the driving force behind the EMPA for many years and along with his wife Marilyn. Saxton has also worked as an announcer at 174 tracks all across the country including Grandview until he retired from announcing after 45 years. Today Ernie lends his considerable experience in racing as a regular commentator for PennSports.LIVE.