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Podcast: NASCAR president hears short tracks’ ‘fairly strong drumbeat’

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Not long after he was announced as NASCAR’s fifth president in September, Steve Phelps received some advice on Twitter about future changes to the sport’s schedule.

The Twitter user told Phelps, “Hey, let me help you out. More short tracks, more road courses.”

Phelps recounted the message to Nate Ryan on the latest NASCAR on NBC podcast.

“I think he gave me his address so I could send him a check,” Phelps said. “There was an expletive in there. It was all good.”

A significant portion of the episode was dedicated to potential changes to the NASCAR schedule in 2020.

Phelps, who has been with NASCAR since 2005 and came from the NFL, said “everything is on the table” from midweek races, more short tracks and moving the schedule forward on the calendar to end the season earlier.

Phelps said there’s “a fairly strong drumbeat” from NASCAR’s 25,000-member fan council for more short tracks, he added the “absolute truth” is that he has “no idea” what the schedule could morph into in two years (the 2019 Cup slate was announced in April).

“I think that there is a willingness among tracks and teams and NASCAR and our broadcast partners to look at things in a different way,” Phelps said. “I do think that the Roval opened up some eyes. I think much like what you saw around the first race at Eldora (Speedway in 2013), that first truck race on dirt … everybody was like ‘We have to have more, we have to have more dirt races.’

“I think you have to look at, ‘OK, what’s the specialness of it?’ I’m not suggesting there wouldn’t be another Roval, I’ll put that in quotes, moving forward. But I think there are changes to the schedule, there have been things that have been tossed around and around. Can you have a doubleheader weekend? Can you have a midweek race? Can you pull the schedule forward? Does it make sense to go to a street course or go to more short tracks?”

What about a doubleheader weekend with IndyCar, which will be televised exclusively by NBC Sports Group next season?

“I don’t know. Potential,” Phelps said. “I think that there’s synergy from the motorsports side from a broadcast standpoint. (NBC Sports Executive Producer) Sam Flood (said) he’s going to do a motorsports summit to try to look at some best practices and are there ways we can cross promote. I think it’s fantastic.”

During the podcast, Phelps also discusses:

— His roots as a childhood race fan in Vermont;

— How “geotargeting” fans works with increasing ticket sales;

— His approach to Twitter and how active he plans to be in his role

To listen to the NASCAR on NBC Podcast, click on the embed above, or you can download the episodes at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.

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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Joey Gase Twitter
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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