WEEKEND INFIELD PARKING NOTICE
Because of footprints needed for the Stadium SUPER Trucks and Texas Off-Road Ruckus events, infield parking will be extremely limited for the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 race weekend. Infield parking spots will fill quickly and once full you will be directed to in the bus lot, outside of the South Tunnel adjacent to Highway 114. A tram service will transport media from the lot to the media center. For those with reserved parking, you will be able to access the infield even when it is full. Below are the hours of the tram service.
Thursday: 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Friday: 5:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. (approximately)
Saturday: 11:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. (approximately)
winstaronlinegaming.com 400 ADVANCE
ON TOP AGAIN: Reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter registered his first win of the season last week at Dover. The victory at Dover increased his series points lead over Oklahoma City native Christopher Bell to 52 points heading into Friday night’s winstaronlinegaming.com 400 (7 p.m. CT, TV: FOX Sports 1, Radio: MRN, 95.9 The Ranch locally).
Sauter’s points lead has been increased during the year with three stage wins, the most of any qualifying driver in the series this season. He also has the most playoff points with eight. Last week’s victory ended a streak of three consecutive runner-up finishes for the Wisconsin native.
Sauter always has run well at Texas Motor Speedway, including his most recent appearance in November when he won the Striping Technology 350 en route to the series crown. In 17 career starts, he has three wins along with 13 top-10 finishes, including eight of those among the top five.
LOOKING TO DOUBLE DOWN: Johnny Sauter will be looking to be just third driver in Texas Motor Speedway history to follow up a fall NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win with a victory in the following summer event. Todd Bodine (2005-06) and Brendan Gaughan (2002-03) are the only drivers to have accomplished this “double”.
SAVED BY THE BELL: It’s hard to believe that Christopher Bell, at just 22 years old, is at times is the veteran on the Kyle Busch Motorsports roster. The roster includes Bell’s full-time teammate, 18-year-old Noah Gragson, as well as two partial-season entrants, 16-year-old Harrison Burton and 22-year-old Myatt Snider.
Bell, currently second in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings, now find himself as a driver that “younger” drivers are looking to for advice.
“Times have changed, that’s for sure,” Bell said. “When I made my first start in the Truck Series, I was a little bit of an older rookie because I didn’t make my first start until I was 20. Now two years later, I’m sometimes the veteran of the KBM group. The younger guys on our team are super talented and I expect them to be running up front right alongside me every time they race.”
Bell has made three career NCWTS starts at Texas Motor Speedway with a best finish of eighth in the fall race of 2015. In his most recent appearance in November, he finished 11th in the Striping Technology 350.
NO HORSING AROUND: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Timothy Peters will return to action at the winstaronlinegaming.com 400 at Texas Motor Speedway. Peters missed last week’s race at Dover after Red Horse Racing abruptly shut its doors on May 22.
He will pilot the No. 99 Chevrolet for MDM Racing and will reunite with former Red Horse Racing crew chief Shane Huffman. Despite missing last week’s race, Peters still sits ninth in the truck series standings and in contention to qualify for the playoffs.
COMPETITIVE ROOKIE CLASS LED BY GRALA: The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series features a competitive rookie class that is highlighted by the impressive early-season performance of 18-year-old Kaz Grala. Grala has three top-10 finishes in the first six races of the season, including a victory in his first career start that came in the season-opening race at Daytona.
Grala (right), who will enroll at Georgia Tech next year, already has qualified for the playoffs with his win and is looking to stand atop the stout rookie class that includes Noah Gragson; Chase Briscoe; Grant Enfinger; Cody Coughlin; Wendell Chavous; Austin Cindric; Stewart Friesen and Justin Haley.
Grala is set to study engineering while at Georgia Tech and this weekend he will share his knowledge with elementary and high school students in Dallas/Fort Worth. He will join members of the Byron Nelson High School Solar Car Team that are in the midst of completing its car for July’s annual Solar Car Challenge. Grala will meet with students at the team’s hanger location (5925 Janet Ct., Westlake 76262) beginning at 9 am.
Following his visit with the Byron Nelson team, he will visit with young, aspiring engineers attending the Northwest ISD Techno Camp at Pike Middle School (2200 Justin Drive, Justin 76247) beginning at 10:30 am. Grala will visit with the students and take part in robotics lessons the students are enjoying this summer.
POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 18-year-old rookie Noah Gragson recently earned his high school diploma, but didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy the pomp and circumstance of that special moment.
Due to his racing schedule, he did not attend a traditional high school in his hometown of Las Vegas but took online courses at the K12 International Academy. Texas Motor Speedway, however, has become a second home to teenage NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers seeking a graduation ceremony and Gragson will get that honor prior to Friday night’s winstaronlinegaming.com 400.
During pre-race activities at 6:35 p.m. CT, Gragson will walk the stage in cap and gown to “Pomp & Circumstance” and receive his on-line diploma from Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage, who will be wearing a faculty cap and gown. Several of Gragson’s family members will be on hand for the occasion, including his parents Scott and Jill.
“Having my graduation walk at Texas is going to be cool,” Gragson said. “A lot of my family is coming in for it, including my parents, grandparents and my sister (Addison) who goes to college in Texas (SMU). She’s in a sorority, so I’m trying to convince her to bring all of her sorority sisters so I can have a good-looking cheering section in the stands.”
The high school graduation tradition at Texas Motor Speedway began in 2014 when the speedway held a commencement ceremony for Erik Jones, who graduated from Swartz Creek (Mich.) Community Schools. Last year, Cole Custer bypassed his graduation ceremony at Tesoro High School in Santa Margarita, Calif. to compete in the truck series race at TMS and received a ceremony as well.
“I passed all of my finals, so now I just have to get the diploma and move the tassel from one side of the cap to the other to make my high school graduation official,” Gragson said. “Only a select group of graduates wear their gown over a firesuit and have Eddie Gossage hand them a diploma, so I’m excited.”
Following the ceremony, Gragson will strap into the No. 18 Switch Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports and make his first appearance on Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval. Gragson, a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie-of-the-year candidate, arrives to Texas currently 10th in the series points standings.
WELCOME BACK: The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series set for Friday evening at Texas Motor Speedway has been re-branded as the winstaronlinegaming.com 400.
Texas Motor Speedway is renewing a lengthy relationship with the WinStar World Casino & Resort that dates to 2005 and includes serving as the title sponsor of the two annual truck series races. The world-class casino, situated on the Texas-Oklahoma border in Thackerville, Okla., was the title sponsor for both the June and November NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at the speedway that consisted of 14 races in all from 2009-15.
“We are excited to continue our partnership with Texas Motor Speedway and be a part of this great experience that attracts thousands of race fans each year to the DFW Metroplex,” said Jenny Cross, Assistant General Manager of the WinStar World Casino & Resort. “After the race, we hope TMS fans will make the short drive to WinStar World Casino and Resort for the thrilling experience of non-stop gaming and entertainment offered all year round.”
STADIUM SUPER TRUCKS ADVANCE
The SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks will make its Texas Motor Speedway debut this weekend, creating a diverse tripleheader alongside the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the Verizon IndyCar Series. Here are “5 Things You Need To Know” about the SUPER Trucks heading into this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
- HISTORY: Starting in 2013 at INDYCAR’s Long Beach Grand Pix, former INDYCAR and NASCAR star Robby Gordon decided to show off his trucks to 175,000 fans in attendance. The action caught the eye of many spectators as drivers were set loose to jump aluminum ramps placed throughout the course that sent trucks flying through the air.
- RETURNING TO TEXAS: After competing at the X Games in Austin for almost two years, the Stadium SUPER Trucks will be returning back to Texas this year but this time at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. “When you think of Texas, two things come to mind – trucks and things that are big. Stadium SUPER Trucks gives you both, with the excitement of competitive, door-to-door racing with big air,” Gordon said. Not only do the SUPER Trucks take place in the United States, such as Texas, but the series also competes in other countries such as Canada and Australia.
- HIGH FLYING WITH HORSEPOWER: While the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Verizon IndyCar Series will compete on Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval while the SUPER Trucks will race on a portion of the track along with a layout in the South Paddock. The SUPER Trucks, featuring 650- horsepower engines, also will tackle 36-inch tall aluminum ramps as well as a giant dirt jump placed strategically throughout the course for some high-flying action. Reaching up to speeds of 140 miles per hour, the trucks are able to soar hundreds of feet down the course and get up to 20 feet off the ground, creating a thrilling adrenaline rush for both the drivers and fans.
- HOW THEY STAND: Paul Morris leads the championship with 291 points while Matt Brabham sits just one point behind in second. Sheldon Creed, who has won a series-high five races this season, is third with 286 points.
- SCHEDULE: The series will have practice and qualifying 11:45-12:15 p.m. on Friday and a pair of races on Saturday. The first will be a stage race from 5-5:30 p.m. and then the championship race will begin 30 minutes following the checkered flag for the Rainguard Water Sealers 600.
A DIFFERENT ‘FLYING’ DUTCHMAN: Arie Luyendyk Jr. used to drive Indy cars like his father, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk Sr., but now has transitioned to driving in the Stadium Super Trucks series.
“It really is the polar opposite of an Indy car event, but to have both races go on in the same weekend makes it such a great experience for the fans,” Luyendyk Jr. said.
Luyendyk Jr. is part of the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 lineup at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. The Super Truck competitions range from stadium performances to dirt tracks to street races, but all feature jumping large ramps.
“It’s thrilling; we’ll travel almost 200 feet through the air, 12 to 15 feet off the ground,” Luyendyk Jr. said. “I’ve done the jumps now for a few years and it’s become a chance to check your gauges and relax a little when you’re in the air. It’s sort of a funny thing, so I can think about a couple of corners ahead while you’re in the air because you do have some hang time.
“The key to them is to make sure the truck is completely straight when you go over them. If they’re a little bit sideways or you’re sliding as you approach the ramp, that’s when big things can happen.”
Arie Sr., known as the Flying Dutchman, won the Indianapolis 500 twice during his Hall of Fame career. He also won the first-ever Verizon IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in 1997.
Now it’s the younger Luyendyk who is flying – over ramps – something he couldn’t see coming as a child hanging around race tracks across the country.
“What I’m driving now, in the Stadium SUPER Trucks, is pure insanity and I love it,” he said. “It’s the type of racing that is just so different and far from what I grew up with that it’s reinvigorated my career because I’ve had to learn how to drive something completely different than an open-wheel car… It’s a crazy spectacle.
“I think my advantage is just my experience level, having raced since I was so young. But most of the guys I race against are in the same boat. We have a lot of very talented drivers in Stadium SUPER Trucks. We have guys from all different types of motorsports and doing this type of racing it’s pretty unique to see their take, and how they approach each race.”
SHOWSTOPPING PERFORMANCE: Two-time Stadium SUPER Trucks Series champion Sheldon Creed heads to Texas Motor Speedway this weekend with the most wins in the series this year with five after sweeping a pair of races last weekend in Detroit.
Creed, a 19-year-old from California, won nine races in 2015 and and followed with 12 last year en route to his two championships.
He has won five of the 10 races this season, despite missing two races due to commitments in other racing series. Creed also drives in the ARCA Series, NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and K&N Pro Series West, NASCAR XFINITY Series and Trans Am Series.
Creed, nicknamed “The Showstopper”, began racing BMX at age three and won two motocross championships by age 6. He has won at least one championship in some form of motorsports every year since 2008. He was the 2015 X Games gold medalist in the Stadium SUPER Trucks.
ROYAL RACING HERITAGE: It’s not difficult to find out where Stadium SUPER Trucks driver Matt Brabham gets his skill behind the wheel.
He is the grandson of global racing icon and motorsport innovator, three-time World Formula One Champion Sir Jack Brabham. His father Geoff and uncle David both won the Le Mans 24-hour race during their career and his dad was a veteran Indy-car racer. The 23-year-old has shown the ability to forge his own wheel tracks and carry on the Brabham name.
Brabham ticked off one of his major career boxes in 2016 when he qualified for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. He finished 22nd with the PIRTEK Team Murray entry.
STADIUM SUPER TRUCKS COURSE: Here is a look at the course the series will be using at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend:
TEXAS OFF-ROAD RUCKUS
The Rainguard Water Sealers 600 INDYCAR/NASCAR doubleheader will become an off-road enthusiast haven with thrilling additions to the race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. While the weekend features the NCWTS winstaronlinegaming.com 400 on Friday and Verizon IndyCar Series Rainguard Water Sealers 600 on Saturday, Texas Motor Speedway is expanding the entertainment value with the debut of the Texas Off-Road Ruckus in the speedway infield. The two-day event features racing action from the high-flying SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks as well as an expo and interactive areas for off-road enthusiasts. The events are free to anyone who purchases a race ticket for that coinciding day. During those two days from 10 a.m.-8 p.m., the Texas Off-Road Ruckus expo and interactive activities for enthusiasts of jeeps, trucks, Utility Terrain Vehicles, buggies and performance will be taking place in the infield inside of Turn 2.
The expo will include:
- Public obstacle course to run your own off-road vehicle Ride-alongs in a Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV)
- Ride-alongs in a side-by-side (SxS) UTV BF Goodrich Playground where you can drive a BF Goodrich Jeep with an instructor
- Remote control course to run your own R/C car or use one of the demo rigs available
- Ultra4 head-to-head races Mega Truck display, exhibition jumps and ride-alongs
- Truck show that will feature some of the best-built trucks and jeeps Various off-road exhibitors and displays
- Performance dyno to test your engine’s horsepower, torque and more (additional fee)
- Monster Truck ride-alongs (additional fee)
- Various promotion giveaways with no purchase necessary