It’s officially summer. Which means action is about to heat up at short tracks.
School is out and vacation plans are set in motion, NASCAR’s Short Track Summer promises plenty of action, excitement and entertainment for the whole family. And this weekend will start Summer off with a bang, as four premier events are hosted across four regions of the United States, showcasing some of the premier racing venues and the sport’s top short-track stars.
Can’t get to the track or want to check out a race across the country? FansChoice.tv has you covered.
For the kickoff for Short Track Summer, they’ll be streaming live the big events Stafford, South Boston and Salina!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: SK 5K at STAFFORD
First up is Friday night at Stafford Motor Speedway.
Connecticut’s historic half-mile will host the Sixth Annual NAPA Auto Parts SK 5K, an extra-distance event for its NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I SK Modifieds.
“The NAPA SK 5K has quickly become one of the marquee events on our schedule,” said Mark Arute, chief operating officer and general manager at Stafford. “NAPA Auto Parts came on board with us back in 2014 and wanted to add a big event for the SK Modifieds to our schedule. Five years later, we have paid out over $140,000 in prize money and have crowned 5 different NAPA SK 5K champions.
“This has become a can’t miss event and one of the highlights of the summer.”
The 100-lap race is more than twice the division’s typical 40-lap Friday night feature. There have been six different winners in eight races this season, with Todd Owen breaking a nearly three-year winless drought and taking home victories the last two races to take the points lead by 14 over Michael Gervais Jr. Keith Rocco, who won the season opener and has won three of his 16 NASCAR Division I track titles at Stafford, sits third in the points.
None of the top three has won the SK 5K, which has had a different winner in each of its five years, including 2015 winner and current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rookie Ryan Preece. The track expects more than 35 drivers to attempt to qualify for the event.
“The SK Modified division at Stafford has become one of the most competitive weekly NASCAR division in the country,” Arute said, “and it all culminates with the NAPA SK 5K with $5,000 guaranteed to the winner and an additional $5,000 up for grabs as part of the Dunleavy’s Gamblers Challenge.”
Big. Money. Racing. 💰
It’s the NAPA Auto Parts SK 5K.
100 laps, $34,000 in posted awards, $5,000 to win.
— Stafford Speedway (@StaffordSpeedwy) June 24, 2019
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: THUNDER ROAD HARLEY DAVIDSON 200 at SOUTH BOSTON
The Virginia Late Model Triple Crown kicks off Saturday night at South Boston Speedway.
The Thunder Road Harley-Davidson presented by Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort Late Model 200 will bring some of the best Late Model Stock Car drivers in the southeast to the venerable .4-mile track.
“This race has been gaining a lot of traction over the past few years,” said Sellers. “It brings cars from a lot of different tracks.”
Lee Pulliam has won the race six times, while Peyton Sellers has victories in 2005 and 2018.
Pulliam, Sellers, Trey Crews and Austin Thaxton have each picked up wins in 100-lap features at South Boston this season, while Sellers has built a 16-point lead on Thaxton as he chases a third straight track title to go with the ones he won in 2005 and ’17.
The significance of Saturday’s outcome, however, stretches beyond the southern Virginia track.
Sellers leads the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship chase by 12 over five-time national champion Philip Morris. Morris won twice in March at South Boston in addition to his wins at three other Virginia tracks (Motor Mile Speedway, Dominion Raceway and Langley Speedway). Sellers has three wins at South Boston this season to go with his win in the inaugural Grassroots 200 in April.
The Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 is also the first leg of the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown, which pays an additional $7,000 to the winner. The other two races in the series are the Hampton Heat at Langley Speedway on July 20, and the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 5.
“It’s an absolute necessity to finish good in this race if you want to win the triple crown,” said Pulliam. “One bad race and you’re not going to win this deal. You have to get off on the right foot.”
— SouthBostonSpeedway (@SoBoSpeedway57) June 24, 2019
— Kenny Lang (@KennyLang1775) June 23, 2019
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: SUMMER SHOWDOWN 200 at EVERGREEN
It doesn’t get any bigger in the northwest than Evergreen Speedway’s premier Super Late Model race, the Eighth Annual Summer Showdown 200.
Washington state’s only NASCAR track features a unique covered grandstand that provides a great view of the .625-mile main oval, dubbed “Super Speedway of the West” by NASCAR legend David Pearson. The track also has several smaller oval tracks among its configuration to host various racing divisions.
“The Eighth Annual Summer Showdown is our marquee Super Late Model event of the year,” said Evergreen Speedway President Doug Hobbs. “It is among the top five NASCAR short-track payouts in the nation, and attracts some of the biggest names in the U.S. and Canada.”
More than 40 drivers have entered, including two-time defending race champion Preston Peltier. Defending track champion Tyler Tanner has already won four of the five Super Late Model races at Evergreen, while Gracin Raz won the Mark Galloway 150 at Evergreen in late March.
Tanner leads Lang, a five-time track champion, and defending Washington champion Doni Wanat in the track’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I Speedway Chevrolet Super Late Model standings.
Past Summer Showdown winners include former NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series driver and Alberta native Cameron Haley, northwest racing legend Pete Harding and Super Late Model star Bubba Pollard. Taylor Riddle, the 2016 race champion, is entered along with two-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion Derek Thorn.
The schedule will kick off with a full day of racing Saturday, including qualifying and 25-lap heat races for Sunday’s main event. Saturday night will also have Street Stocks, Legends and Northwest Mini Stocks. Mini Stocks and Legends will run again Sunday prior to the Summer Showdown 200.
— Speed51 News Feed by PFC Brakes (@speed51dotcom) June 14, 2019
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: FREEDOM CLASSIC at SALINA
Dirt racing is king in the midwest, and the regions top racers will hold court at Salina Highbanks Speedway in Oklahoma with the running of the 6th Annual ARMI Freedom Classic presented by Henryetta Ford Friday and Saturday.
Salina’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions will be part of the racing action on both nights.
Friday, the AmeriFlex Hose & Accessories B-Mods will be joined by the S&J Plumbing Pure Stocks. The track’s Division I LKQ Pick Your Part Modifieds will run Saturday along with a second B Mods feature.
Kansas driver Tanner Mullens has a 28-point lead over Mitch Keeter and 35 over Jared Russell after five Modified races. Keeter has three wins and has won the last two track titles at Salina, while Mullens was the Division I champion at Kansas’ Humboldt Speedway last year.
Clint Johnson has three wins in the B Modifieds at Salina and one at Thunderbird Speedway in Oklahoma and leads the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division II national standings. Johnson finished fourth last year as Cody Jolly won his second straight national crown racing at Salina, Humbolt and Thunderbird.
Friday night will be headlined by the Lucas Oil MLRA & Comp Cams Super Dirt Series Late Models in a $3,000-to-win feature, with a $5,000-to-win feature on deck for Saturday night.
GETTING GEARED UP
There is plenty of other short-track racing on deck this weekend.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West moves from the road course back to the short tracks, as Douglas County Fairgrounds in Roseburg, Oregon, will host the Clint Newell Auto Group Toyota 150 on Saturday. Last year, Derek Kraus edged Bill McAnally Racing teammate Hailie Deegan to win at Roseburg. This, Kraus brings a one-point lead in the championship race over Deegan, with Bob Bruncati’s Sunrise Ford teammates Trevor Huddleston and Jagger Jones right behind them as the season reaches the halfway point.
With the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series headlining a tripleheader at Chicagoland Speedway, Illinois historic Rockford Speedway will bring in the ARCA Midwest Series for the All-Star 100.
A number of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series tracks will kickoff July 4 festivities with fireworks and racing over the weekend, including Humboldt, Wisconsin’s LaCrosse Speedway and California’s Kern County Raceway Park.
Winston-Salem News Journal: Taylor, Dylan Ward take twin 20-lap Sportsman races at Bowman Gray | Photos: Bowman Gray Racing, June 22, 2019
WXII Ch. 12: The rain stays away for racing night at Bowman Gray
— Kingsport Speedway (@KpSpeedway) June 22, 2019
We are back in action on Sunday, June 30, with the second round of the Street Series for Lock City Drift and all five of our NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions!
— Thompson Speedway (@ThompsonSpdwy) June 24, 2019
Why wait around until July 4th when you can celebrate Independence Day in June! Saturday June 29th see the Super Late Models, GAMs, Super Stocks, Trains & FIREWORKS! https://t.co/bMaglW8Tdi pic.twitter.com/n1JS8DLZTw
— Colorado National Speedway (@cnsracing) June 23, 2019