MONSTER MASH: Texas Motor Speedway officially unveiled its track repave and re-profiling project last week, but that doesn’t mean the work has stopped on the 1.5-mile oval. The “aging” of the track continues with the help of the unique machine known as the Texas Tire Monster that TMS President Eddie Gossage developed when the track was last repaved in 2001. Anywhere from 8 to 12 hours a day there is rubber being laid down on the track to prepare the surface for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500/My Bariatric Solutions 300 NASCAR doubleheader weekend on April 7-9. The Texas Tire Monster, along with the Tire Dragon from the speedway’s sister track Kentucky Speedway, run throughout the day to help with this process. Take a look at how the Texas Tire Monster came about as told by Gossage. Any media interested in a close-up view of this process, including a spin around the oval in the Tire Monster, can contact the Texas Motor Speedway Media Relations staff at 817.215.8520.
OLDER THE BETTER: Much has been made around NASCAR in recent years as a number of younger drivers have begun to make their mark in the sport. However, Texas Motor Speedway remains the place where the veterans have been taking the visit to Victory Lane. Joey Logano won the April race in 2014 to become the youngest driver to win a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at the track at 23 years, 10 months and 4 days old. Since that race, there have been three different drivers win the last five Cup races – Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards. Their average age at the time of their victories is just over 37. Johnson was 40 when he won the 2015 AAA Texas 500, the oldest in this streak. The last driver to earn his first victory in a Cup Series race at Texas was Dale Earnhardt Jr. back in 2000 when he won the DIRECTV 500. He was 25 years old at the time and that win is his only Cup Series victory at TMS. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 on Sunday, April 9. (12:30 p.m. CT, TV: FOX, Radio: PRN, SiriusXM Channel 90, 95.9 The Ranch locally).
YOUNGSTERS HOLDING THEIR OWN IN XFINITY SERIES AT TMS: While the veterans have had the winning touch in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at TMS, a number of youngsters have had success in the XFINITY Series. Chase Elliott (Spring 2014) and Erik Jones (Spring 2015) won their first career XFINITY races at TMS. Elliott, the son of Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, also became the youngest winner in TMS history as he was 18 years, 4 months and 7 days old. Jones, at 18 years and 10 months, became the second-youngest XFINITY Series winner in speedway history. Last November, Kyle Larson won the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge and was 24 years old at the time.
Heading into this week’s race at in California, Larson leads the MENCS points standings, Elliott is third and Jones is 18th after his first career top-10 last week.
A name to watch that could continue that trend in the XFINITY Series at Texas this year will be William Byron. The JR Motorsports driver became the youngest NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver in track history last June when he won the Rattlesnake 400 at 18 years old. He is the second-youngest winner in track history behind Elliott’s mark of 2014. After four races this season, Byron is second in the XFINITY points standings, just 11 behind leader Elliott Sadler.
The XFINITY Series returns to Texas Motor Speedway for the My Bariatric Solutions 300 on Saturday, April 8 (12:30 p.m. CT, TV: FOX, Radio: PRN, SiriusXM Channel 90, 95.9 The Ranch locally).
FRONT ROW SUCCESS: Sitting on the pole in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway has rarely meant a win, but that is quite the opposite in the XFINITY Series. Four of the last eight winners in the My Bariatric Solutions 300 have come from the pole. That includes the last two winners of the race – Kyle Busch in 2016 and Erik Jones in 2015. Busch also won in 2013 from the outside of Row 1 – making a total of five winners during that same span to start on the front row.
E.P. RAYZOR, B.B. OWEN REMAIN PERFECT IN SPEEDING TO READ COMPETITION: Two-time defending champion E.P. Rayzor Elementary School and B.B. Owen Elementary School remained perfect in Texas Motor Speedway’s Speeding To Read program as 100 percent of their respective student bodies met or exceeded the reading goals in Turn 3 of the competition.
Rayzor, the Lantana-based school in the Denton ISD, and B.B. Owen, The Colony-based school in the Lewisville ISD, have been perfect throughout the competition as the program heads into its fourth and final turn that concludes May 4. Rayzor and B.B. Owen co-shared the Backstretch Division lead for Turn 3 while Justin Elementary of the Northwest ISD led the Frontstretch Division at 97 percent. Also topping the 90 percentile for Turn 3 was Crowley’s J.A. Hargrave at 91 percent.
The 10 schools and 5,049 students combined to read 197,375 books during Turn 3 and have read 387,981 books since the competition began in September.
Rayzor second-grader Alysson Delloro was the leading Turn 3 individual reader for the Kindergarten-2nd Grade Division with 804 books read while Hargrave fourth-grader Hayleigh Hunt led the 3rd-5th Grade Division with 224 books read.
The Rayzor kindergarten class of Michelle Watson was the top KG-2nd classroom for Turn 3 with an average of 486 books read per student. The Hargrave fourth-grade class of Elizabeth Winans led 3rd-5th with an average of 51 books read per student.
Schools representing five of the top 20 school districts in the Metroplex this year are among the 10 schools competing throughout the school year for individual, classroom and school crowns. In addition to Rayzor, B.B. Owen, Justin and Hargrave, the schools participating are Brent (Little Elm), Carroll Peak (Fort Worth), Cox (Northwest), Hatfield (Northwest), Nathan Adams (Dallas) and Tom C. Gooch (Dallas).
The Speeding To Read champions will be crowned at an all-school assembly Tuesday, May 23, at Texas Motor Speedway with drivers Tony Kanaan of the Verizon IndyCar Series and John Hunter Nemechek of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series serving as special guests.
The Speeding To Read program has built its success on the generosity of its sponsors and partners that include aai Trophies and Awards of Plano, BenQ America Corporation, Domino’s, Lionel Racing, NASCAR, Score A Goal in the Classroom, Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Properties, Team Texas High Performance Driving School, The Speedway Club, Verizon IndyCar Series and Woolley’s Frozen Custard.
TONY STEWART PRESENTS TEXAS SPRINT CAR NATIONALS
DIRT TRACK LEGEND SWINDELL JOINS THE FRAY: Three-time World of Outlaws champion Sammy Swindell will compete against Tony Stewart, Christoper Bell among others when he gets behind the wheel of an ASCS sprint car at the Tony Stewart Presents Texas Sprint Car Nationals on April 7-8 at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track. Swindell is a five-time Chili Bowl champion and has amassed nearly 300 career victories in World of Outlaws competition. He also has won WoO races in five consecutive decades (’70s, ’80s, ’90s, ’00s, ’10s).
IOWA STATE STUDENT GOES UP AGAINST THE STARS: Andee Beierle (left) is making a big change in her racing career in 2017. One of her first stops of the season will be April 7-8 against some of the biggest names in motorsports during the Tony Stewart presents Texas Sprint Car Nationals at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track. The Iowa State University student, who is embarking upon her second year of 360ci winged sprint car competition, will hit the road with the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour at select events including the two-day event at the TMS Dirt Track. This is her second season driving for BDS Motorsports and she will be a teammate of sprint car racing veteran Justin Henderson. Beierle is a full-time student at Iowa State and a chemical engineering major. “I enjoy a challenge and balancing racing with school has always kept me on my toes,” she said. Beierle has competed at the Chili Bowl in Tulsa for years in a midget car while other forms of racing on her resume include mini-sprints, quarter midgets, karts, Legends and modified.”
AROUND THE TRACK
FIT FOR A KING: Fans can help “The King” – Richard Petty – celebrate his 80th birthday by attending an exclusive party on Friday, April 7, at Texas Motor Speedway. The event will take place at The Speedway Club and will feature a Q&A with Petty hosted by FOX Sports pit reporter Jamie Little. There also will be guest appearances by Kyle Petty and more. The party will run from 5-8 p.m. and is open to the public and Speedway Club members. There also will be a silent auction with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter. A VIP Experience, which includes a meet-and-greet with Richard, an exclusive cocktail hour and a reserved dinner seat, is priced at $150 while tickets for the dinner and Q&A are $60. To get your tickets or for more information, call Speedway Children’s Charities at 817.215.8434.
RACEDAY U. RETURNS APRIL 9: RaceDay University with Coca-Cola, a staple for NASCAR race weekends at Texas Motor Speedway and one of the most popular ticket packages, returns on Sunday, April 9, prior to the running of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano will headline the program . The $199 package includes Q&A sessions with Logano and other NASCAR industry guests; frontstretch grandstand seating; passes for driver introductions; hospitality food and Coca-Cola beverages; and a special souvenir gift bag. The event will be hosted by 1310 AM The Ticket’s Corby Davidson and WBAP’s Chris Krok. The RaceDay U. tent will open at 8 a.m. that morning with guest appearances taking place from 9:20-10:35 a.m. The driver introductions will start at 11:50 a.m. To purchase the RaceDay University with Coca-Cola package or for additional information, contact the Texas Motor Speedway ticket office at 817.215.8500 or visit http://www.texasmotorspeedway.com.
MEDIA DAY AND TMS NO LIMITS LUNCHEON: The Texas Motor Speedway No Limits Luncheon & Media Day is set for Thursday, March 30, at Gilley’s in Dallas (1135 S Lamar St., Dallas 75215). The media portion of the day will begin at 10 a.m. This year’s event features Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has made his return to racing after missing the second half of 2016 with a concussion; INDYCAR driver Graham Rahal, the defending champion of the Rainguard Water Sealers 600; and NASCAR XFINITY Series driver William Byron,winner of last June’s Rattlesnake 400 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at TMS. TMS President Eddie Gossage also will be on hand for an update on the track’s repave and re-profiling project that took place earlier this year, plus discuss what is on tap for the 2017 season at TMS. Country music artists Kinsie Coppin and Garrett Thompson will provide musical entertainment during the lunch period. Doors open at 11 a.m., lunch from Noon-12:30 p.m. and the formal program from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Media sessions with the driver guests and Gossage will take place from 10 a.m.–12 noon before lunch. Please RSVP for the event to Mallorie Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
O’REILLY AUTO PARTS 500 WEEKEND CREDENTIAL INFORMATION: The credential deadline for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 weekend is THIS FRIDAY. Credentials can be requested through smicredentials.com. Those not registered for the website will first need to apply for access through the site. Once a registration confirmation email is received, the credential request can be submitted. Requests following the deadline will not be accepted. For those media members that wish to attend the Tony Stewart Presents Texas Sprint Car Nationals at the TMS Dirt Track on April 7-8, wristbands will be available from the track’s PR staff.