GMS Racing

GMS Racing to field Sam Mayer in K&N, ARCA Series

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GMS Racing will expand into the K&N Pro Series East and West and the ARCA Racing Series next year, the team announced Wednesday.

The team will field 15-year-old Sam Mayer in each series where he will drive the No. 21.

Mayer is also scheduled to make four starts in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series with the first set for August at Bristol Motor Speedway after he turns 16 in June.

The native of Franklin, Wisconsin, joins GMS Racing with seven K&N starts and three ARCA starts in his career.

“GMS Racing has had tons of success over the past couple years, especially this past year,” Mayer said in a press release. “Knowing that a great team is behind me going into next season gives me a lot of confidence that we will have success, too.”

He earned two top fives in his six K&N East starts.

Mayer made his ARCA debut at Iowa Speedway and finished 10th and later placed seventh at Lucas Oil Raceway.

He will make his debut in the K&N East season opener at Smyrna Speedway on Feb. 10.

“We are excited to add K&N, as well as ARCA to our organization in 2019,” said team president Mike Beam in a press release. “Mayer is very talented at such a young age, and I see a big future for him in motorsports. I’m glad that he chose us to pursue his career in racing. Our goal has always been to build championship caliber teams no matter what series we participate in. With Mayer behind the wheel and Mardy Lindley leading the team, I do not doubt in my mind they will be successful in 2019.”

2018-19 NASCAR Next Class revealed

NASCAR
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On Tuesday, NASCAR announced the members of its latest NASCAR Next class program.

The program, which only includes people between the ages of 15 and 25, highlights notable upcoming drivers in the auto racing ranks.

Previous members include Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, William Byron, Matt DiBenedetto, Chase Elliott, Gray Gaulding, Erik Jones, Corey LaJoie, Kyle Larson, Daniel Suárez, and Darrell Wallace Jr.

“NASCAR Next highlights emerging talent who have shown the talent and intangibles it takes to achieve success at the highest levels or our sport,” said Jill Gregory, NASCAR executive vice president & chief marketing officer, in a press release. “Alumni of the program are currently making their marks across NASCAR’s three national series and we believe members of this year’s class have potential to do the same.”

The 2018-19 class has nine members and includes four returning drivers from last year, including, Zane Smith, Riley Herbst and Chase Purdy.

The other is Hailie Deegan, the 16-year-old driver who Kevin Harvick said has the “most potential” in the K&N Pro Series West.

The class has five K&N Pro Series drivers, three ARCA Racing Series drivers and one Camping World Truck Series driver.

Here’s the nine drivers who were selected to the class.

Anthony Alfredo (@anthonyfalfredo), NASCAR K&N Pro Series East – Driving full-time this year for MDM Motorsports in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, Alfredo is also a student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The 19-year-old Ridgefield, Connecticut, native recently competed in various late model divisions across the country, driving for JR Motorsports.

Hailie Deegan (@HailieDeegan), NASCAR K&N Pro Series West – The 16-year-old Temecula, California, native returns to Next for a second year, driving for Bill McAnally Racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. The daughter of FMX legend and Monster Energy athlete Brian Deegan, Hailie was the 2016 Modified Kart champion in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series and was named the Lucas Oil Off Road Driver of the Year.

Riley Herbst (@rileyherbst), ARCA Racing Series – Returning to Next for a second year, Herbst is running full-time for Joe Gibbs Racing in the ARCA Racing Series, where he won Rookie of the Year honors a year ago. The 19-year-old Las Vegas native captured his first big-track win last June at Pocono, along with six top fives and 10 top 10s.

Derek Kraus (@derek9kraus), NASCAR K&N Pro Series West – The reigning NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Rookie of the Year, Kraus claimed his first win and a pole award, along with nine top fives and 10 top 10s in 2017. Driving full-time for Bill McAnally Racing, the 16-year-old Stratford, Wisconsin, native has already captured a fourth-place finish at New Smyrna and a win at Kern County this year.

Chase Purdy (@chasepurdy12), ARCA Racing Series – Purdy returns to Next for a second year after capturing NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Rookie of the Year honors in 2017. The 18-year-old from Meridian, Mississippi, finished fourth in the standings last year, tallying five top fives and eight top 10s. This year, Purdy is racing full-time in the ARCA Racing Series for MDM Motorsports.

Will Rodgers (@willrodgers65), NASCAR K&N Pro Series – The 23-year-old Maui, Hawaii, native made two NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts in 2017 and won them both. Starting on the pole at the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Sonoma, he finished runner-up to Kevin Harvick. Running all 14 races out west, Rodgers notched nine top fives and 12 top 10s, finishing fifth overall.

Zane Smith (@zanesmith41), ARCA Racing Series – Back for a second year in Next, Smith, 18, from Huntington Beach, California, has captured his first two career ARCA victories early in 2018 (Nashville and Talladega). Smith finished ninth in the ARCA standings a year ago, posting two poles, seven top fives and 11 top 10s. In his initial foray in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, Smith ran twice in the East, posting top-10 and top-five finishes, and once in the West, scoring another top-five showing.

Tanner Thorson (@Tanner_Thorson), NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – A former USAC Midget Champion, the 22-year-old Thorson brings his dirt racing experience to Next as he prepares to run various Touring Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races throughout the year. The Minden, Nevada, native also ran two ARCA races in 2017, claiming a top-10 finish in just his second series appearance.

Ryan Vargas (@The_Rhino23), NASCAR K&N Pro Series East – Hailing from La Mirada, California, Vargas is competing full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East for REV Racing. The 17-year-old finished third overall in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for California in 2017, racking up two wins, 15 top fives and 23 top 10s. Vargas is also a 2018 NASCAR Drive for Diversity class member.

Natalie Decker wins ARCA pole at Daytona, credits Danica Patrick for ‘paving the way’

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Natalie Decker won the pole for Saturday’s ARCA Racing Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway.

Decker, 20, won the pole for the Lucas Oil 200 with a speed of 181.859 mph in the No. 25 Venturini Motorsports N29 Capital Partners Toyota.

The native of Eagle River, Wisconsin, is the fourth woman to win a pole at Daytona.

Decker joins Danica Patrick’s Daytona 500 pole in 2013, Erin Crocker’s Lucas Oil 200 pole in 2007 and Patty Moise’s poles in the race in 1989-90.

“This means so much to me to be here,” Decker said. “And to get the pole at Daytona is definitely the biggest moment of my career. I beat (2016 Camping World Truck Series champion) Johnny Sauter once at State Park Speedway, but this even beats that.”

Decker is competing full-time in ARCA this season after making seven ARCA starts in 2017 with Venturini. She captured one top 10 at Road America where she placed seventh.

“It’s been a wonderful, wonderful day,” Decker said. “I’m so excited to be here. I know I’m going to get nervous when I climb in that car for the race, but I’m going to turn those nerves into drive and excitement once the race starts.”

Saturday’s race, scheduled for 4:45 p.m. ET on Saturday on Fox Sports 1, will be Decker’s first at Daytona. It will come a week before Patrick’s last NASCAR start in the 60th Daytona 500.

“Danica has done such a good job of paving the way for all girl drivers,” Decker said. “There are a lot of them coming up … and they’re all fast. I want to have a good showing tomorrow night for all of them, and I know I have the right team to do it with.”

Decker and Patrick share a closer connection.

Patrick’s middle name is Sue. The name was inspired by Decker’s Aunt Sue.

“She kind of set (Patrick’s) parents up on a date,” Decker said. “My dad raced back in day snowmobiles against her dad. Her mother worked on my aunt’s team.”

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Thad Moffitt, Richard Petty’s grandson, makes Daytona debut in ARCA test

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Thad Moffitt, grandson of seven-time Cup champion Richard Petty, is the latest member of the Petty family to pilot a car at Daytona International Speedway.

Moffitt, 17, made his Daytona debut Friday in an ARCA Racing Series test session driving a No. 46 Ford for Empire Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports’ driver development team.

Moffitt, the oldest son of Brian and Rebecca Petty-Moffitt, will compete in three ARCA races this year.

He made his series debut last year and made three starts. His best finish was 11th at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis.

The ARCA season begins Feb. 10 at Daytona. Moffitt would be the first member of the Petty family to race at Daytona since Kyle Petty competed in the 2009 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Richard Petty won 10 points races at Daytona, including a record seven Daytona 500 victories. His father, Lee Petty, won the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959.

Moffitt’s 2018 plans include competing in Late Model events and CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour races.

In 2016, Moffitt won the championship in the Southeast Limited Late Model Series.

Just like last year, Brandon Jones repeats with ARCA win at Michigan

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Brandon Jones finished what he couldn’t last week at Pocono.

The 20-year-old Georgia native started first and finished second at Pocono, but he ended up first in Friday’s Corrigan Oil 200 ARCA Racing Series event at Michigan International Speedway.

Jones, who started from the pole and survived an early spin in the race on Lap 11, took the lead with seven laps to go to capture the 100-lap event. He’ll also race Saturday in the Xfinity Series race at MIS.

“It was crazy, for sure,” Jones told Fox Sports 1 in victory lane. “All in all, a great day. The car was fastest in qualifying and practice. This is awesome.”

It was Jones’ fourth career ARCA win, and his second consecutive triumph in the series at MIS.

Series points leader Austin Theriault finished second with his sixth top-five finish of the season, followed by Dalton Sargeant, Bret Homes and Gus Dean.

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