Myrtle Beach Speedway

Kevin Harvick
Stewart-Haas Racing

Stewart-Haas trio remembers final Myrtle Beach Xfinity race

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You never know when you’ll cross paths with people you’ll later win a NASCAR Cup Series title with.

But that happened on June 17, 2000 for Kevin Harvick and his future crew chief Rodney Childers and spotter Tim Fedewa.

Their personal narratives intertwined for a weekend at Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina, the track the third round of the NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challenge will occur at 7 p.m. ET today

Fourteen years before they were paired on the No. 4 Cup car, they raced against each other in the final Xfinity (Busch) Series race on the .538-mile track.

Harvick was in the middle of his rookie year driving Richard Childress Racing’s No. 2 Chevrolet.

Childers, a veteran winner on the late model circuit, made his first and only Xfinity Series start. He did it in the No. 49 car owned by future Premium Motorsports owner Jay Robinson.

Tim Fedewa was making one of his 333 career Xfinity starts.

They barely knew each other.

“I did not know anything about Rodney Childers at that particular time,” Harvick said in a media release.

“I knew of Rodney, but I didn’t know him,” Fedewa said in the media release. “But I remember talking with him at Myrtle Beach that weekend. I think that was the first time I ever talked with him.”

“I knew who they were,” Childers recalled in the media release. “About that time, Kevin was going to be moving up to run some Cup races and they needed somebody to run the races he couldn’t run, and I was actually trying to talk to them about running those races.”

They each have varying recollections of the race weekend, but Childers said he remembers “everything about it.”

“I started driving for (Robinson) that year and we were racing in what is now called the CARS tour. We went to the first six races and won all of them.”

After being asked to leave the series due to their dominance, Robinson eyed the Busch Series and purchased a car at an auction.

Their team that showed up at Myrtle Beach team consisted of only three people.

“We went out for qualifying and there were (47 cars) there for the race,” Childers recalled. “Everybody had been picking up on their second lap, so I was going to take it easy on my first lap and get after it on my second lap. Well, my first lap, I was actually quick enough for 30th out of 57. My second lap, I buried it in the corner and got loose. Threw the lap away.”

It wasn’t far into the 250-lap race that Childers discovered his car wasn’t up to snuff.

“About Lap 10, I found out I didn’t have any brakes,” Childers said. “But we were just riding around there and Randy LaJoie and Jeff Purvis got together in Turn 1. Everyone was checking up and Blaise Alexander was in front of me and he turned down into my right front because someone turned into him. I jerked the wheel to the left, but got hit and the next thing I knew I was nosed into the inside wall in Turn 1.”

Childers would finish last in his only Xfinity start, but he doesn’t mind.

“To be able to make the race with that many cars was actually a huge accomplishment,” Childers said. “There were a lot of people back then that were missing Busch races.”

Not among those missing races were Fedewa and Harvick.

For Fedewa, he was competing in his eighth Myrtle Beach race.

“You forget the level of competition,” Fedewa said of the 2000 race. “I ran between 13th and 10th and I can’t believe how hard it was to even get to 10th.”

Fedewa was involved in two wrecks. The last, a one-car incident, took him out on Lap 197. He finished 38th.

“You probably had 45 good teams that were just racing in the Busch Series,” Fedewa said. “Maybe they didn’t run all of them, but they ran most of them. The short tracks, it was doable for a late model team to buy a car and compete. Because we didn’t have wind tunnel time, a short track team could buy a car or build a car, go to Myrtle Beach and make the show.”

As for Harvick, he started on the front row with Jeff Green and would lead the initial 25 laps in his first and only visit to the track.

“Going there for the first time, I didn’t have the right concept of what I was supposed to be doing with saving tires and stuff like that. I was hammer down all the time,” Harvick said.

The only other thing that Harvick remembers is “I jacked (Green) up at one point just trying the mess with him because that’s just what we did back in those days. Jeff and I went back and forth during the 2000 and 2001 time period. He was sort of the guy at that point, and I wanted to be the guy. I thought running into him was the best way to get the most attention. Obviously, in the today’s world, you realize that beating him would’ve been much better.”

Harvick finished second to Green, who claimed one of his six victories on the way to a championship.

NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challenge to debut Monday

Photo: NASCAR
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Reigning Cup champion Kyle Busch, three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin and NASCAR on NBC analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr. are among the headliners in the NASCAR America presents the NBC eSports Short Track Challenge.

The week-long event begins at 7 p.m. ET on Monday on NBCSN.

From Monday-Wednesday, six different drivers will compete in two timed races in Cup Series cars at an iconic track at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The top two finishers from each night will advance to the championship race at the virtual Martinsville Speedway on NBCSN.

Monday night’s races will be at a virtual Rockingham Speedway

Tuesday night’s races will be at a virtual Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis.

Wednesday night’s races will be at a virtual Myrtle Beach Speedway.

Thursday night’s championship race will be at a virtual Martinsville Speedway.

Here is the driver lineup for each night:

Monday at Rockingham Speedway: Kyle Busch, William Byron, Austin Dillon, Parker Kligerman, Tyler Reddick and Bubba Wallace.

Tuesday at Lucas Oil Raceway: Justin Allgaier, Christopher Bell, Chase Briscoe, Harrison Burton, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson.

Wednesday at Myrtle Beach Speedway: Landon Cassill, Matt DiBenedetto, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Timmy Hill, Ryan Preece and Myatt Snider.

“We’re proud to continue our successful collaboration with iRacing and NASCAR, which began last year, to produce the NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challenge,” said Jeff Behnke, vice president, production, NASCAR on NBC and NBCSN. “Thanks to all the drivers from the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series for joining in what should be four consecutive nights of entertainment and fun for all the great race fans and viewers.”

“Of all of the events we’ve been putting together for real-world pros, the NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challenge should be one of the most fun,” said Steve Myers, iRacing executive producer. “So many of the top drivers in NASCAR have honed their skills on both local short tracks and iRacing, and combining the two for a virtual week-long showdown should deliver plenty of excitement. We can’t wait to see who takes the checkered flag and bragging rights!”

This marks the latest collaboration between NBC Sports and iRacing, which began in 2019 when NBC Sports telecast the first-ever eNASCAR live event on television. NBC Sports and iRacing teamed up to present the 2019 eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Championship in a two-hour event live on NBCSN last October. Earlier this year, it was announced that six races of the 2020 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Playoffs will air live on NBCSN later this fall.

NBC Sports NASCAR commentators Rick Allen and Steve Letarte will call the action, including interviews with drivers during the races. Jeff Burton and Marty Snider will host the NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challenge via Zoom.

Joe Gibbs’ grandson, Ty Gibbs, wins Icebreaker Late Model race

Ty Gibbs
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Ty Gibbs, the 16-year-old grandson of Joe Gibbs, won Saturday’s Icebreaker Late Model race at Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) Speedway.

His victory came about a week after the memorial service for J.D. Gibbs, son of Joe Gibbs. J.D. Gibbs died Jan. 11. He was 49.

Joe Gibbs told the track’s announcer in a post-race interview : “I’m just so proud of (Ty Gibbs). This is all Ty has ever wanted to do is race cars. We’re thrilled with that. The Lord has blessed us with a great experience for our family here. I’ve got seven grandsons, it looks like he’ll be the one who races.

“Just a huge deal for the family. Ty has really worked extremely hard at this.”

Ty Gibbs credited his team, “an amazing group of guys,” he told the track’s announcer in a post-race interview. The victory was Ty Gibbs’ first at Myrtle Beach Speedway.

Ty Gibbs is scheduled to drive 12 ARCA races this season for Joe Gibbs Racing, sharing the ride with Riley Herbst.

NASCAR suspended Ty Gibbs three races Jan. 30 for a violation of the sport’s preseason testing policy. Gibbs tested an ARCA car for car owner David Gilliland‘s DGR-Crosley team. The car had a K&N Pro Series East engine, leading to the violation. NASCAR also suspended Gilliland three races, docked Gibbs 100 driver points, Gilliland 100 owner points and fined Gilliland, Gibbs and crew chief Chad Walters $5,000 each. Walters also was suspended indefinitely. DGR-Crosley is appealing the penalties, stating “we strongly believe that we did not violate any rules.”

You can watch Icebreaker race and the post-race interviews with Ty Gibbs and Joe Gibbs in the video below: