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NASCAR on NBC podcast, Episode XI: Jason Weigandt talks stock cars and Supercross

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Jason Weigandt, who straddles motocross and NASCAR as a reporter and announcer, discusses the myriad intersections of racing two wheels vs. four on the latest NASCAR on NBC podcast.

For the second consecutive year, NASCAR’s trip to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the season’s second race weekend coincided with Supercross’ annual event at the Georgia Dome.

On the night before the Sprint Cup race, many NASCAR drivers attended the Supercross event, which featured a riding exhibition between Clint Bowyer, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ty Dillon and Greg Biffle.

Weigandt, who is the editor of RacerXonline.com and the play-by-play announcer for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on NBCSN, said the warm reception from the NASCAR industry was noticed within the Supercross community.

“I think everyone (in Supercross) is used to, ‘We’re the minor leagues,’ and all of a sudden there was all this positive energy,” Weigandt said. “NASCAR didn’t have to say that. They could walk softly and carry a big stick. But for some reason, they were throwing a lot of love at Supercross, and I think it took people by surprise that, ‘Wait a minute. Maybe we have something here.’ I think what (Supercross has) is a portal into that young demographic that NASCAR is so desperate to get.”

While Supercross’ youthful audience is attractive to sponsors, its size still pales in comparison with NASCAR, which also claims a much broader swath of corporate sponsorship. Weigandt explains there are many lessons that each series could learn from each other.

“Anyone on the Supercross side such as myself who’s lived in it knows the sport you’re in is the stepchild and still is,” said Weigandt, who has been covering motorbike racing for more than a decade. “NASCAR is just monumentally larger. You can fudge some numbers, and I think you could argue there probably was a larger crowd at the Georgia Dome. But let’s look at almost any other metric, and NASCAR is massively bigger — starting with sponsorship dollars or TV ratings.

“I feel like NASCAR has done the best job being the least motorsports like of motorsports. They’ve done an excellent job of making it a battle of people and personalities.”

With its Chase for the Sprint Cup playoff, NASCAR also has maintained tight championship battles – which are a perennial struggle for Supercross.

With three races remaining in the Supercross season (the Motocross season, which is contested on outdoor tracks, will begin at Sacramento, California, on May 21), three-time champion Ryan Dungey is on the verge of clinching his fourth title this Saturday in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Weigandt said the runaway points race has Supercross considering a move toward a Chase-style championship format in the future – at a time when NASCAR is moving toward motorbike racing in another way.

Heat races made their debut in the Xfinity Series last week at Bristol Motor Speedway and will return this weekend at Richmond International Raceway with an eye on possibly using the concept in Sprint Cup. It’s nothing new for Supercross and motocross events, which have employed a series of heats and shorter feature races since the major circuits’ inceptions 40 years ago.

Weigandt said the motorbike formats have become trendy just by remaining static.

“They haven’t changed any rules at all in about 30 years,” Weigandt said. “The fans are used to it being the most pure of motorsports. There are never technical changes to tighten the racing. They never change anything in Supercross.”

Among the other topics discussed by Weigandt, who also appears as a reporter on NASCAR America:

–How manufacturer involvement differs between NASCAR and Supercross;

–Which NASCAR driver might make the best Supercross rider;

–How coverage and interview styles differ between the series.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking below or download and subscribe to it on iTunes by clicking here. The free subscription will provide automatic downloads of new episodes to your smartphone. It also is available on Stitcher by clicking here.

Here are time cues for easy reference in listening to the episode:

TimeCues20

 

Sioux Chief to sponsor ARCA Showdown, East Series to race at Nashville Fairgrounds

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ARCA announced Saturday that Sioux Chief Manufacturing will be the entitlement sponsor of its 10-race ARCA Menards Series Showdown in 2020.

Sioux Chief Manufacturing is a Missouri company that designs and manufactures rough plumbing products, parts, and accessories for residential, commercial, industrial and government applications

Sioux Chief has been involved in ARCA since 2015 as a race event sponsor and special awards program sponsor and sponsored ARCA’s former Short Track Challenge.

As part of the deal, a newly increased point fund, combined with race purses, owner plan, and contingency awards, will offer teams a chance to compete for a share of over $920,000 in posted awards throughout the series.

The Sioux Chief Showdown will bring together the best drivers from the ARCA Menards Series, the ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Series West, formerly known as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Those events, held on oval tracks 1.25-miles in length and under and road courses, offer drivers who may not be able or eligible to run the full 20-race ARCA Menards Series schedule the opportunity to run for a championship. Combined with the overall ARCA Menards Series championship, and the East and West championships, drivers will have four separate championships to compete for in 2020.

The announcement was made at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis. Also present was promoter Bob Sargent of Track Enterprises, who announced that the ARCA Menards Series East would compete at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on May 2.

The Tennessean reported this week that the Nashville Fairgrounds was negotiating with Sargent to promote at least three races at the short track in 2020. Sargent’s involvement in the track comes after Nashville’s Fair Board voted to terminate its agreement with Formosa Productions to run the track over outstanding debt.

The ARCA Menards Series has competed at the Fairgrounds the last five seasons. The ARCA Menards Series East, formerly known as the K&N Pro Series East, competed there from 2007-08.

GMS Racing reveals full-time driver-crew chief lineup, number assignments

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GMS Racing has announced its full-time driver-crew chief lineup for the 2020 Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series season and number assignments for its trucks:

– Chad Norris has been named crew chief for Brett Moffitt and the No. 23 Chevrolet team. Moffitt drove the No. 24 in his first season with the team. Norris has been with GMS Racing for two years and directed the effort that delivered the team its 2018 Xfinity Series win at Talladega.

– Chad Walter will lead Tyler Ankrum and the No. 26 team. 2020 will be Ankrum’s first season with GMS Racing. Walter served as an engineer for Ankrum this season at DGR-Crosley. Walter has five wins and 42 top fives in 208 Xfinity Series starts as crew chief.

– Kevin “Bono” Manion is paired with Zane Smith on the No. 21 Chevrolet. 2020 will be Smith’s first full-time Trucks season after competing part-time for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series. Manion has 24 wins as crew chief across all three national series since 2003. He led Martin Truex Jr. to his two Xfinity Series titles.

– Jeff Stankiewicz will remain as the crew chief for the No. 2 team piloted by Sheldon Creed.

Social Roundup: How NASCAR drivers are spending their offseason

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NASCAR’s Champion’s week is now behind us and we are firmly in the offseason.

Well, sort of.

The NASCAR world never really stops, which is evident simply due to the continued announcements for the 2020 season.

But with Joey Logano testing the Next Gen car at Phoenix earlier this week and Dale Earnhardt Jr. helping clean up North Wilkesboro Speedway for iRacing, it’s been anything but quiet.

Here’s a look at what else happened in the NASCAR community this week.

Someone needs to check in on Jimmie Johnson, he could be in his own version of Mr. Mom.

Chris Buescher is home again.

The 2015 Xfinity Series champion is back at Roush Fenway Racing for the 2020 Cup season and he’s got the firesuits and cars to prove it.

Brad Keselowski recently became father to a second daughter.

He’s now learning some important life lessons.

Former Front Row Motorsports driver Matt Tifft is now off the market after getting married to his fiance, Jordan. Now they’re on their honeymoon.

 

Matt DiBenedetto showed off one of the perks of being a Wood Brothers Racing employee.

Ryan Blaney and Bubba Wallace went somewhere warm to start their holiday.

Joey and Caitlin Gase welcome twin sons

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Xfinity Series driver Joey Gase and his wife Caitlin are now parents to twin boys

The babies were born on Wednesday. Their names are Jace and Carson.

More: Brad and Paige Keselowski welcome second daughter