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PhilWhipple

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  1. For immediate release: CHR Public Relations Contact: Phil Whipple Tel: 207.689.6630 Chad Heath Racing wraps up successful first year on Dirt at West Texas Raceway Former iRacing enthusiast goes from online to Limited Mod Rookie-of-the-Year LAMESA, Texas (Oct. 20, 2020) — Whoever said the transition from virtual racing to a solid season in the ultra-competitive world of Limited Modifieds on dirt in West Texas is impossible never met Chad Heath. The former iRacer, Army combat veteran and lifelong race fan did just that in 2020. Heath, 40, a Maine native who grew up in North Carolina and served his country fighting in Iraq, went real-world racing this year at West Texas Raceway (WTR) in Lubbock. In eight starts, he earned three top-five finishes, highlighted by a pair of top-five runs. At WTR, the Limited Modifieds are loaded with talent. Heath's consistency in his first year won him Rookie-of-the-Year honors, and although he failed to win a feature, it capped an amazing season. “I think the biggest factor in my success this year was being patient,” Heath explained. “It may sound corny, but all the advice I got from veteran racers on iRacing when dirt tracks were first brought to virtual racing really helped. Listening to those guys taught me a lot when it was time to actually race. “They told me to drag the brake, to keep the rear end loaded up and not to let out of the gas all the way, things like that. I used all of those things on the racetrack. Being active in iRacing taught me to be patient. I'm kind of aggressive in some ways, but that experience taught me to take my time.” Heath's choice to compete at WTR in 2020 has only enhanced his love for dirt track racing. Owner Corky Matthews and promoter Jeremy Pipes go the extra mile to entertain fans, and always look after their racers. Heath says while he also runs at other tracks, he loves his home in Lubbock. “I had raced in Abilene a little at first,” he said. “But the very first time I went out there to WTR I fell in love with it because I felt like I could use the throttle more to control the car. I just love the place since it's wide and you have so much room to race. Plus it's a very well-run facility to enjoy.” Heath's enjoyment at the track in 2020 didn't always come from feature results. There's more to it than that for this first-time racer with a love for people. “One thing I did when we raced up in Amarillo and a couple of times in West Texas was spending some time in the grandstands interacting with race fans,” he said. “I handed out some hero cards, and some folks even had me sign some t-shirts. That's the best part of racing for me. “To think I may have helped them form a connection to our sport is pretty cool. I've given a fan a hat, and the reaction I got made us some great new friends. Those guys visit us in the pits.” Heath's strong rookie campaign was not without its challenges, Take, for example, when he got run into on July 25th on his way to a race, causing significant damage to his trailer and car. “I jumped out of my truck and was pretty upset,” Heath explained. “A bunch of racers from Amarillo came flying up to me and said to pull over next to them. They said they'd done this before. They used their ATV's with winches to pull that trailer back out like an accordion. We unloaded the car and realized the right rear was bent downward. It also damaged the body panels pretty badly. “I got them back up out of the way enough to race, so when I got to Amarillo I went out and started fifth in my qualifying heat. I drove it up to third, and figured we were doing something right. There were 34 cars there that night, including the guy pitted next to me with a brand new car. He didn't make the A Main, but I did. In the feature, I finished eighth and after all that, I felt like we won it.” Along with a natural talent behind the wheel, part of Heath's successful 2020 season on dirt is the car he drives. And it's quite ironic to hear the name of his chassis, given where he's from. “My car is a Wicked Chassis built by Donnie Shipp, who runs a lot on the TOMS series, ” Heath said. “I'm a pretty big guy and I need more room to get in and out of the car than some driver may need. This car has that, and being from New England, I felt the name Wicked Chassis was cool. As for the powerplant, Heath chose a Crate Motor over a hand-built performance engine. “I don't have a lot of money, I work for a living and so I chose to go with a GM Crate engine,” Heath said in a candid fashion. “I blew a lot of guys away, they were shocked I had a crate motor. I embrace the crate motor concept, because it allows somebody like myself to get into racing.” Heath is quick to credit the installation of the Jones Kit for helping his efforts in 2020. “I got my engine from Karl Kustoms for $4,300 with my carburetor tuned to the engine,” he explained. “And the Jones Kit is one of the best things I bought for the car, and I got a huge discount for running the decals. I sure do appreciate their support and they sure do make an excellent product.” Heath's love for all things motorsports related doesn't end with fulfilling his dream of racing in Lubbock. He also loves to promote the sport itself, and is taking steps this fall to generate exposure for his team, fellow racers and West Texas Raceway itself in 2021. “I spent some time last weekend at Cotton Bowl Speedway talking with Tony Fetters from RaceOnTexas. I want to help owner Chris David to establish a dialogue between WTR and his folks to bring Live Streaming to our part of the state. I just enjoy promoting our sport, and we all need that. “I realize that Live stream can go a long way towards expanding the fan base for me, my fellow racers and West Texas Raceway itself. I want to help grow our sport and felt that was one way to do it.” Heath's military experience gave him a great deal of satisfaction, just as promoting racing does. “When I first got discharged, I did a lot of interviews,” he said. “I was asked what my biggest accomplishment was while in the service. My answer was serving as mentor for several soldiers, then hearing from them later as to the influence I had on them. I just love seeing others succeed, as well.” Heath is a perfect example of the trend middle-aged race fans are making going back to their roots. Gone is the admiration and obsession with a high-speed, follow-the-leader parade on Sunday. “A lot of us have lost interest in superspeedway racing, and short tracks are gaining from that.”
  2. Oh, that list wasn't exclusive - I believe it said "among the tracks" to be considered...yes sir. 105 is a pretty happnin' place! Good point my friend. All tracks considered, open-minded decision making here.
  3. What the man and his staff have accomplished there in this difficult & challenging year is nothing short of amazing.
  4. New 'Texas Short Track Promoter of the Year Award' announced on Revved Up Sports Show Annual award will recognize outstanding efforts in several categories AUSTIN, Texas (Oct. 5, 2020) — RaceOnTexas.com owner Chris David and Revved Up Sports Show (RUSS) host Rodney Rodriguez have announced the creation of a new Texas Short Track Promoter of the Year Award, to be presented annually by the two well-known media entities. This year's recipient will be announced on the show on Monday, November 2. A selection committee will meet throughout October to discuss potential candidates and the merits of each one. The award will recognize outstanding efforts by short track operators in a number of key categories; including fan and racer satisfaction, health of current divisions and efforts to attract new fans to the sport. Every track located inside the borders of Texas is up for annual consideration. “This is something I feel is long overdue and can provide some well-deserved recognition to the guys and gals who work so hard to keep our great sport alive and thriving here in Texas,” Rodriguez said. “Today's short track promoters face huge challenges, and it's time to recognize their efforts.” Chris David has amassed a large group of videographers at his company, which expanded with a new SpeedPass service this year that offers Live Streaming at tracks all across the state. Each of those dedicated staff members watch the action very closely, and David knows how hard these folks work. “I really love this concept of providing recognition to one hard-working short track promoter every year,” David said. “Rodney was right, we are blessed with several good folks in this state who toil away in the trenches all season long to ensure race fans get a good show. It's time to start honoring the ones who go above and beyond, people who go the extra mile to promote our great sport.” Among the active tracks on the list for consideration each year for the Texas Short Track Promoter of the Year Award; Big O Speedway, Ennis, TX; Boyd Raceway, Boyd, TX; Cotton Bowl Speedway, Paige, TX; Devil's Bowl Speedway, Mesquite, TX; Heart O' Texas Speedway, Elm Mott, TX; I-37 Speedway, Pleasanton, TX; Houston Motorsports Park, Houston, TX; Monarch Motor Speedway, Wichita Falls, TX; Route 66 Motor Speedway, Amarillo, TX; Texana Raceway, Edna, TX; RPM Speedway, Crandall, TX; West Texas Speedway, Lubbock, TX; and South Texas Speedway, in Corpus Christi, Texas. All are thriving facilities and deserve consideration for their efforts each year. “This state is loaded with hard-working track operators and promoters,” Rodriguez added. “It will be a difficult job each year for the committee, and I can imagine there will be some very lively discussions among committee members. They'll hash it out carefully and we'll await their decision.” To follow the Revved Up Sports Show, go to www.revvedupsportsshow.com. To become a subscriber at RaceOnTexas and start enjoying some great Live streaming action from tracks across Texas and even into Louisiana, please go to www.raceontexas.com.
  5. For immediate release: MAN Racing Promotions Contact: Mary Ann Naumann Tel: 512-844-3582 Annual OctoberFAST program set for Oct. 16-17 at Cotton Bowl Speedway Two nights of great racing to close out competitive year at Texas oval PAIGE, Texas (Oct. 1, 2020) — It's one of those classic fall gatherings that race teams have had circled on their calendars for months. After the points titles are decided, after the stressful, pandemic-shortened regular season is over, there's one last chance for a trophy and to enjoy a weekend of racing. Cotton Bowl Speedway will close out its 2020 campaign with its 3rd annual OctoberFAST event, slated for Friday and Saturday, October 16-17, at the famed 3/8-mile banked oval in Paige, Texas. Gates will open at 6 p.m. Friday (races begin at 8) and at 5 p.m. on Saturday (racing at 7 p.m.). Tickets are available online at www.racecbs.com or on the My Race Pass App. Admission is $20 per day for adults, $10 for children ages 7-12 and kids age 6 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. Expected to compete in this year's OctoberFAST are 2020 points champions Hardy Henderson (MAGNUM IMCA Modifieds); James Hanusch (IMCA Southern Sport Mods); Adam Haugh (Gunslinger Factory Stocks), Dustin Mooney (Browning IMCA Stock Cars); Tommy Gural (Street Stocks), and Rowdy Chouinard (Sport Compacts). All six had outstanding seasons at Cotton Bowl Speedway in 2020. In fact, going into the season points finale on Sept. 26, the top two positions were separated by less than 10 points in four of the six weekly divisions, a testament to the level of competition at CBS. Henderson, of Harker Heights, Texas, outdistanced Lightning McGreen by 70 points in a very solid season. In 10 starts this year, Henderson earned one win, five top-five and nine top-10 finishes. Hanusch, of Belton, Texas, earned the title over Joe Maple by three points in a tight battle all season long. Hanusch claimed one win, seven top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 10 starts this year. Haugh, of Round Rock, Texas, stole the title from Tim Homeyer by a mere three points. Haugh earned one win, eight top-five and an impressive 10 top-10 finishes in a stellar campaign, taking the lead from Homeyer with just two races remaining. Mooney, of Forney, Texas, led veteran Jason Batt by only six points going into his season finale. In a rookie season to remember, Mooney finished inside the top five in all 10 races this year, earning the points championship without winning a single feature. It's all about consistency, no question. Gural, of Elgin, Texas, held a slim nine-point advantage over Todd Roberts-McAvoy going into the finale. Gural, one the smoothest drivers of his era, also had one win and 10 top-five runs in 2020. Chouinard, of Buda, Texas, outgunned Taylor Stewart by 20 points for the title. Chouinard won five features and earned 10 top-five finishes this season, great numbers in any division of short track racing. Cotton Bowl Speedway is operated by MAN Racing Promotions. The track operates every other Saturday night from March through October with a full card of racing. For more information, please go to www.cottonbowlspeedway.com.
  6. For immediate release: TSTRS Public Relations Contact: Gina Schild-Knowles Tel: 713-907-0906 Pollaro team bounces back for Triple Crown win at HMP Heil, BMF Shocks & Chassis puts three drivers in Victory Lane HOUSTON, Texas (Sept. 29, 2020) — There's an old saying that you can't keep a good man down for long. After the sting of a post-race disqualification two weeks prior in the inaugural Texas Truck Challenge, team owner Rick Pollaro and his drivers bounced back over the weekend, claiming three feature wins in the inaugural Gary Merrell Memorial race on Saturday at Houston Motorsports Park. John Heil (Outlaw) and Matt Merrell (Pro Truck) drove Pollaro-owned cars, while Max Calles (Pro Mod) wheeled a BMF Chassis built and maintained by Heil into Victory Lane to complete a dominant comeback. Merrell is the son of the event's namesake, making for an emotional post-race celebration. The three feature victories came with no post-race technical issues, and none were expected. For Calles, it was his second consecutive win, adding to Pollaro's amazing season. As a multi-car team owner, Rick supports the Texas Short Track Racing Series like no other. His equipment is top-notch. Heil had been the first driver across the stripe back on Sept. 12 after 75 laps of racing. In post-race technical inspection, it was discovered that his transmission had a gun-drilled shaft inside, a clear violation of the rules. Yet upon further inspection, it was discovered several trucks were guilty. “In an extensive investigation into this matter, we've learned a great deal,” TSTRS General Manager and Marketing Director Gina Schild-Knowles said. “My husband has been in contact with the manufacturer directly, who set the record straight on what is offered to racers across the country. “There was no intentional misrepresentation by the manufacturer or by those who install them. Many teams don't have time to complete or install their owns transmissions. The commonly used Super T10 main shaft from Richmond Gear (PN 1304171005) is a solid, non-rollerized, non-gun drilled shaft. The gun-drilled shafts are only available in a kit (PN 1304671010) and are ordered separately.” What this investigation uncovered is the simple fact most teams are using a transmission with that kit installed without knowing it. None of them were looking to circumvent the rulebook at all. An amendment to the rulebook for the 2021 season is forthcoming and will address this issue. “Once we discovered that so many teams use that transmission and really had no idea they were illegal, I needed to help alleviate the accusations implied towards the No. 96 team. John and Rick are dedicated, devoted racers who've been around this sport a long time. They're both an asset to our sport.” About Texas Short Track Racing Series/NASCAR Houston The Texas Short Track Racing Series is an asphalt oval racing series based in Houston, Texas, competing at Houston Motorsports Park. Texas Asphalt Racing Promotions, LLC, manages advertising and sponsorship opportunities for the series. To learn more, follow the series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nascarhouston. Fans who love NASCAR and short tracks should also bookmark www.NASCARHouston.com to stay abreast of the latest news as it happens. About Houston Motorsports Park Houston Motorsports Park is an auto racing complex that includes a 3/8 mile NASCAR-sanctioned paved oval and an NHRA-sanctioned 1/8 mile drag strip. For more information, please go to www.houstonmotorsportspark.com.
  7. For immediate release: STLMS Public Relations Contact: Kody Hardage Tel: 210-827-0229 Southern Touring Late Model Series gearing up for return to Texana Raceway Park Teams, officials excited to get back to Edna on Sept. 19 SEGUIN, Texas (Aug. 29, 2020) — After a two-year absence, the Southern Touring Late Model Series (STLMS) is gearing up for a return to the friendly confines of Texana Raceway Park (TRP) on Sat., Sept. 19. Veteran race official Owen Pittman now promotes TRP, and it is thriving once again. Teams in the STLMS will love the layout and facility overall in the quaint town of Edna. For three years, TRP was run by Rachel and Kenny Densman, who purchased the track in 2017. The Densman's made several much-needed upgrades to the facility, making it more racer and fan-friendly. “Texana is a fabulous little paperclip of an oval that has multiple grooves and plays host some great races,” series promoter Kody Hardage said. “This is one of the tracks that hosted this series when it first got started, and it's also a place I visited as a young boy. I have some great memories there. “It's also the first track where I served as Promoter/Series Director for the STLMS in 2015. That race was won by Howard Willis, while 'Big' Robbie Starnes finished second. The track went through some tough times before the Densman's took over. In 2018, we ran our first and only race there, with 'Little' Robbie Starnes earning the victory in his rookie season. I think we'll have a great show there.” Pittman has been around the sport for many years, serving in a variety of roles. He says the 2020 season has been a good one thus far, and can't wait to host the STLMS next month. “I recall when the Late Models were at Texana a couple of years ago,” Pittman said. “I was just the announcer then, and they were just really getting rolling. Today, they have some great talent on the tour and I know they will put on an thrilling show for our fans. It's Top Hat Signs night, and I'm excited.” Leading the charge into Texana Raceway Park is STLMS regular Cody Leonard, the pride of Sinton, Texas. Leonard currently sits just one marker behind series points leader Kip Hughes, who is not expected to race at Texana. Hughes also runs on the Sooner series and has a race in Wichita Falls. Championship contenders and Texas natives Austin Theiss (Hockley), Brandon Brzozowski (La Vernia), and Beau Begnaud (Spring), who occupy third through fifth in the standings, are also expected to compete at Texana. This appearance by the Southern Touring Late Model Series at Texana Raceway Park is being presented by Victoria Auto Auction (VAA) and Equipment Sale. Kenny Griffin at VAA is a longtime supporter of racing in the Victoria area. His support of this event is greatly appreciated by the STLMS. Billed as “Your Favorite small town Dirt Track,” Texana Raceway Park is located at 258 County Road 412 in Edna, Texas. It's one of those little places where family and fun-loving country folks come together on Saturday nights to create an atmosphere unmatched anywhere else in sports. The Southern Touring Late Model Series was formed in 2012 and is owned by veteran racer Kody Hardage, of Seguin, Texas. The series is keeping dirt Super Late Model racing alive and thriving in the Lone Star State and points beyond. It is intended to be an affordable regional tour for racers. To get the latest series news and updates, go to www.stlms.com and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SouthernTexasLateModelSeries. (Photo credit: Bobby 'Dr. Rock' Thomas)
  8. For immediate release: TSTRS Public Relations Contact: Gina Schild-Knowles Tel: 713-907-0906 Tiffany Vogel thriving in new role as Race Director at Houston Motorsports Park Longtime race official digs in to keep program flowing smoothly HOUSTON, Texas (Aug. 18, 2020) — Of all the roles in the act of officiating and conducting a night of asphalt short track racing, the job of Race Director easily carries the most stress. That person makes the final calls on all on-track incidents and works to ensure the program runs like a clock. For longtime race official Tiffany Vogel, the workload and stress is all just part of the package. This tougher-than-nails Texas native has literally been around racing since she was in diapers. She started working at the now-defunct Longhorn Speedway early on, and has earned this opportunity. “I think my debut last Saturday night went off pretty well,” Vogel said. “We finished the program at 9:40 p.m., so I was extremely proud of that part. I can't expect our fans to endure long delays. I really enjoyed the experience and am hoping the rest of our season goes just as smoothly.” Vogel's background in the sport is extensive, having attended her first race at the famed Longhorn. It wasn't long before she was part of the team there, and the rest, as they say, is history. “I started out selling 50/50 tickets and programs at Longhorn,” Vogel explained. “I also served as the Trophy Queen for 10 years at Thunderhill Raceway, then worked in scoring at Longhorn and at Central Texas Speedway in Kyle. I've flagged a couple of races, as well, and have driven the pace car.” There aren't too many jobs at the track left that Vogel hasn't handled, with one major exception. “The only job I hadn't held up until now was Race Director, and that opportunity is here,” Vogel added. “My parents helped run Longhorn when I was young, and my cousins, uncles and grandfather all raced back in the day. Short track racing is in my blood, I just love working in this great sport.” In her first night as Race Director, Vogel had an extra set of eyes helping her keep track of the action. While race teams have spotters, she had an assistant on the backstretch to watch all angles. “It helped me tremendously,” Vogel said without hesitation. “It's hard to see everything all the time; you'll have a battle up front and some tussles back in the pack at the same moment. I can't watch the entire oval at the same time every second. That second set of eyes made calls a whole lot easier.” Vogel is part of a special team at Houston Motorsports Park. Together, under general manager and promoter Gina Schild-Knowles, that team collectively delivers the magic for race fans in Houston. This special team includes Mason Mitchell, Rodney Rodriguez, Don Armstrong, Denny Burton, Todd Kempken, Meridith Makie Bahnsen, Debbie Berry, Sandy Berry, Taylor Knowles, Michael Crofford, Larry Schild, Caden Schild, Travis Knowles and David Corbello, along with Bo & Gina Knowles. Schild-Knowles and her staff also welcome Megan Barker to the staff. Barker, son of Outlaw division racer Robert Barker, is now an official scorer at HMP and says she's enjoying the new job. “I had been helping the scorers for a few years now, but am very excited to actually be an official in the tower,” Barker said. “We didn't have any hiccups last week, so I'm pleased with the way it went. I'm proud that Gina has the confidence in my skills, and I'm proud to be a part of this team.” Vogel, a friend of Barker for many years, summed up that great atmosphere at HMP in 2020. “I've known Gina and Mason for years, plus I've known our announcer, Rodney Rodriguez, since he was racing himself out at Longhorn Speedway. We're all like family here. I love working with these folks, and love a chance to keep the show running smoothly. If that happens, I've done my job.” About Texas Short Track Racing Series/NASCAR Houston The Texas Short Track Racing Series is an asphalt oval racing series based in Houston, Texas, competing at Houston Motorsports Park. Texas Asphalt Racing Promotions, LLC, manages advertising and sponsorship opportunities for the series. To learn more, follow the series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nascarhouston. Fans who love NASCAR and short tracks should also bookmark www.NASCARHouston.com to stay abreast of the latest news as it happens. About Houston Motorsports Park Houston Motorsports Park is an auto racing complex that includes a 3/8 mile NASCAR-sanctioned paved oval and an NHRA-sanctioned 1/8 mile drag strip. For more information, please go to www.houstonmotorsportspark.com.
  9. For immediate release: STLMS Public Relations Contact: Kody Hardage Tel: 210-827-0229 Annual 'Western Swing' up next for Southern Touring Late Model Series STLMS partners with Sooner LM Series in Lubbock, Amarillo SEGUIN, Texas (Aug. 10, 2020) — In a first-ever partnership with the Sooner Late Model Series, officials at the Southern Touring Late Model Series (STLMS) are excited to announce their 4th annual Western Swing will take place this weekend, Aug. 14-15, in Lubbock and Amarillo, Texas. On Friday, Aug. 14, the two series will combine to invade West Texas Speedway in Lubbock for a $2,000-to-win contest. On Saturday, teams will make a visit to the famed Route 66 Motor Speedway in Amarillo for another $2,000-to-win affair. It's a pair of races with tremendous potential. “I always get excited about our trip west, but this year should be pretty special,” series promoter Kody Hardage said. “The folks that run both tracks are awesome, they treat us well and we want to put on a good show for them. With both series coming together like this, it should be exciting both nights.” Leading the charge into this year's Western Swing is STLMS point leader Bo Day, of Greenville, Texas. Day has been on a tear this year with three wins to his credit (Monarch Motor Speedway on May 29, Abilene Speedway on May 30, and at Heart O' Texas Speedway on July 18). Championship contenders 'Little' Robbie Starnes and Sinton, Texas-based hotshoe Cody Leonard will also be drivers to watch in west Texas. Second-generation driver Starnes can never be counted out, and Leonard adapts quickly to changing track conditions wherever he goes. Leading the charge into Lubbock and Amarillo from the Sooner LM series is points leader Kip Hughes, along with 15-year-old sensation Hayden Ross, of Muskogee, OK, and veteran Eddie Tidwell. The Sooner series is loaded with talent, giving this weekend a huge boost. “Our series has grown this year, we have some stiff competition on our own side,” Hardage added. “But when you bring in guys like they have on the Sooner series, the action will be intense from the heats through the A Main. I hope folks can come on out to see some top-notch Late Model racing.” West Texas Speedway, formerly known as Lady Luck Speedway, was upgraded and modernized in 2017 by current owner Corky Matthews. The track was originally built in the 1960s and was in need of the upgrades. New seating, lighting and a huge scoreboard make WTS a fan-friendly place these days. Route 66 Motor Speedway is a 3/8-mile high-banked clay oval run by brothers Jeremy and Zach Gossett. After a seven-week delay in their 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the track returned to action on June 7 with 118 cars in the pits spread across five divisions. Racing is healthy in Amarillo, Texas, thanks to the efforts of Jeremy and Zach. The Southern Touring Late Model Series was formed in 2012 and is owned by veteran racer Kody Hardage, of Seguin, Texas. The series is keeping dirt Super Late Model racing alive and thriving in the Lone Star State and points beyond. It is intended to be an affordable regional tour for racers. To get the latest series news and updates, go to www.stlms.com and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SouthernTexasLateModelSeries. (Photo credit: Bobby Thomas)
  10. For immediate release: MFM Public Relations Contact: Phil Whipple Tel: 207.689.6630 Larry Baggett set to make Sport Mod debut at Cotton Bowl Speedway Former Street Stock racer returns to home track on Saturday BURNET, Texas (Aug. 7, 2020) — One of the most popular and well respected short track drivers in central Texas is about to enjoy a little homecoming party. Once a regular in the Street Stock division, he's climbing into a car owner's IMCA Sport Modified this weekend and couldn't possibly be any happier. Veteran racer Larry Baggett will make his debut for Mike Fortier Motorsports (MFM) in the No. 51VT entry this Saturday, Aug. 8, at Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, Texas. It'll be Baggett's maiden voyage in the ultra-competitive Sport Mod class, yet he's no stranger to the high-banked oval. “I'm so excited to get back to Cotton Bowl on Saturday,” Baggett said. “I like the bullrings, but Cotton Bowl has the room to see what a car can do down the straightaway. I took a short blast in this car last night, and the power made my blood boil. I can't wait to roll out for Hot Laps tomorrow night.” Baggett was racing a full-size truck around south Texas this season, but has now shifted his focus to the MFM Sport Mod program. It's a chance to expand his racing resume working with a friend. “It's hard to describe how thrilled I am to have this opportunity,” Baggett added. “Mike has busted his butt to make this happen, and I appreciate all of his efforts. This whole deal will be big fun, no-stress racing for me, and I think we're bringing a strong car to the race track. I'm pretty stoked.” Fortier has been busy in this hectic, pandemic-shortened season working for Cotton Bowl promoter Mary Ann Naumann. Once he delivered his car to Baggett's shop, Fortier relied on Baggett and friends to prepare the car for competition. Improvements we made, and the car owner is thrilled. “It feels like a long time since we announced this deal with Larry, but thanks to his hard work we're just about ready to hit the track,” Fortier said. “The car has come a long way since I brought it up from San Antonio. David Lawrence built a strong engine for us, and Larry has the car all ready to go.” As the owner of a busy company, Fortier's driver has had to balance his time carefully in 2020. “Larry has been very busy with his business, By the Bay Lawn Care & Landscaping. I know he has a full plate without racing for me, but I sure am thrilled he's willing to do this. I have nothing but respect for he and Shawna, they are great folks and I know the 51VT entry is always in good hands.” Baggett bought his first race car in 2016, a Chevy Camaro for the Street Stock class. He finished a respectable eighth in points for his first year behind the wheel. In 2017, he purchased a Chevy Nova to run in the same class car and finished fourth in final points. Baggett's career highlight came in 2019 when he claimed the inaugural Texas Dirt Truck Series points championship. Fortier grew up in Vermont and started attending races at the age of 8, eventually joining a race team when he was just 19. He became a car owner in 1998 fielding a Late Model in the highly-respected American-Canadian Tour and at the famed Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre. To keep up with news on results, future race dates and other plans, please visit the Mike Fortier Motorsports Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mfm51/.
  11. For immediate release: TSTRS Public Relations Contact: Gina Schild-Knowles Tel: 713-907-0906 Flyovers now a part of NASCAR Houston's Race Day Program Race fans who love Vintage airplanes will be big winners in 2020 HOUSTON, Texas (May 22, 2020) — Calling all gearheads! It's no secret that most of us who love the all-out assault on the senses provided by short track auto racing (sights, sounds and smells) also love anything with an engine. That's right, we're 'gearheads' – and we make no attempt to hide it. One popular category of interest among race fans and gearheads is vintage airplanes, and fans in the greater Houston area will get to see lots of them this year. As they did on Sat., May 9, members of the Commemorative Air Force - Houston Wing will do Flyovers over Houston Motorsports Park. “We know race fans love anything with an engine, and these vintage planes are absolutely beautiful,” Texas Short Track Racing Series/NASCAR Houston General Manager Gina Schild-Knowles said. “We will be working with the CAF – Houston Wing this year to arrange the Flyovers and we will make some appearances at their events, as well. The crossover between groups should be sizable.” Schild-Knowles says in addition to entertaining her race fans, there's a lot more to this picture. That “Flight To the Finish” flyover on Saturday, May 9, created a buzz in Houston and ignited a plan for more. “One of our goals with this program is to promote the gearhead mentality and cultivate interest in our sport among today's youth. The guys who own and fly these vintage planes are just like our racers and fans; passionate about what they do, and wanting to attract younger fans for the future.” Sam Bulger is the Special Events Coordinator for the Commemorative Air Force - Houston Wing. He works with CAF members who own vintage aircraft to cultivate interest in flying history. “We're always looking to generate interest in vintage planes and flying history among younger adults,” Bulger said. “Our enthusiast group is aging, as it is with stock car racing. So our members love to get out there and interact with the public. They love to teach folks about these beautiful old planes.” Bulger says the possibilities of this joint venture are endless when it comes to drawing fans. “We're hoping the flyovers can catch the eyes of race fans both young and old,” he added. “We'd like them to take an interest in our group, and many of our people also love auto racing. I know how hard Gina is working to promote her Texas Short Track Racing Series, and this deal can help her out while fueling interest in what we do, as well. I think it's a win-win for both parties.” About Texas Short Track Racing Series/NASCAR Houston The Texas Short Track Racing Series is an asphalt oval racing series based in Houston, Texas, competing at Houston Motorsports Park. Texas Asphalt Racing Promotions, LLC, manages advertising and sponsorship opportunities for the series. To learn more, follow the series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nascarhouston. Fans who love NASCAR and short tracks should also bookmark www.NASCARHouston.com to stay abreast of the latest news as it happens. About Houston Motorsports Park Houston Motorsports Park is an auto racing complex that includes a 3/8 mile NASCAR-sanctioned paved oval and an NHRA-sanctioned 1/8 mile drag strip. For more information, please go to www.houstonmotorsportspark.com. About the Commemorative Air Force The Houston Wing of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) is an organization that educates, inspires, and honors America's World War II past through the use of vintage trainer aircraft and a museum full of artifacts. These airplanes and artifacts tell the story of war 'From the Home Front' as America prepared for battle. The Houston Wing also conducts STEM activities to educate the current generation about the progress of aviation technology. Follow them on Faceboook at CAF-Houstonwing or visit their Website at www.houstonwing.org
  12. For immediate release: TDTS Public Relations Contact: Phil Whipple Tel: 207.689.6630 Season opener at I-37 Speedway on tap for Aligned Mortgage Texas Dirt Truck Series, Presented by Military Talent Source SAN ANTONIO, Texas (May 11, 2020) — After a successful debut season in 2019, teams throughout central and south Texas are hard at work in their shops, as the Texas Dirt Truck Series (TDTS) gets set to open its second season of competition on Saturday, May 16, at I-37 Speedway. Series officials went to work during the off-season to expand the schedule, taking teams to different venues. While the popular I-37 will continue to serve as home base, the series will also make its debut at Monarch Motor Speedway (Wichita Falls) and 105 Speedway (Cleveland) in 2020. “I really think we're all in for a very competitive and exciting second season with our trucks,” series founder and president George Jones said. “I'm excited about the five races we have at I-37, and I'm revved up about going to Wichita Falls and to Cleveland, as well. New tracks help reach new fans. “We've got most of the guys rebuilding their trucks, going all through them to prepare for a brand new season. I know we'll see a few new faces, and they're welcome to join our growing family. I know our new media partners will help us reach more fans. I can't wait to get this season started.” Leading the charge into I-37 is defending series point champion Larry Baggett, of Burnet, TX. Baggett has gone all through his No. 3 Chevrolet Silverado and is gearing up in a big way for 2020. “Winning the inaugural series title last year was a career highlight for me,” Baggett said. “We made a ton of great friends, had some exciting races and learned a lot about chassis setups. Now, we've got some good notes to go on and can improve our program. We're after race wins and another title.” Looking to challenge Baggett as he defends that crown are dedicated racers like Russell Rust, Tony Bernal, Russ Parker, Ryan Doyon, John Heil, Michael Keylich and Daniel Gaudette. It won't be a cakewalk by any stretch for the reigning champion, and he knows he'll have his work cut out for him. By fostering and strengthening educational opportunities, Aligned Mortgage of Texas focuses and strategizes on impacting the amazing 87% of U.S. Military Veterans who have not utilized their VA home loan benefit. Aligned Mortgage is also aggressive in educating and partnering with real estate professionals, builders, title companies, and insurance agents on the VA guidelines to ensure that every person who has worn the cloth of our nation has an opportunity to own a piece of the country. For more information, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AlignedMortgageofTexas/. Military Talent Source matches veteran talent with career opportunity. The company is a specialized recruitment process outsourcing firm that conducts military recruiting and veteran employment consulting as a full focus. To learn more, go to www.militarytalentsource.com. This year's schedule will also see the series visit South Texas Speedway (Corpus Christi) and Texana Raceway Park (Edna). Ten races at five different tracks will deliver truckloads of fun in 2020. To keep up with the latest series news, go to https://www.facebook.com/Texas-Dirt-Truck-Series-1509510632528647/.
  13. For immediate release: TSTRS Public Relations Contact: Gina Schild-Knowles Tel: 713-907-0906 Houston Motorsports Park owner Dean Baker excited about Oval track future Texas Short Track Racing Series doing well under Schild-Knowles reign HOUSTON, Texas (May 8, 2020) — While many people may identify the famed Houston Motorsports Park with drag racing, there's a whole lot more going on within the friendly confines of Dean Baker's wonderful facility. Texas Short Track Racing Series (TSTRS) General Manager Gina Schild-Knowles has been working hard to put the oval track on the map, keeping the last active asphalt short track in Texas thriving. Her alliance with Baker adds stability to what she's doing, and Baker loves the outlook. “I'm behind what Gina is doing at the oval track all the way,” Baker said. “She comes from a racing family, really knows the sport and has a strong background in marketing and promotions. It isn't easy to do what she's doing; to attract new sponsors, draw new race teams and grow the fan base.” As interest in the oval program has grown, so has brand identity for HMP itself. When Schild-Knowles announced the weekly NASCAR sanction for this season, it added even more credibility to her oval program. As part of NASCAR's Weekly Racing Series, the added value will be clearly visible. “I've seen the hard work she's putting in to prepare for this delayed season,” Baker added. “She is thinking about the future, and so am I. It's a nice feeling to have somebody running the oval who has the passion, skills and dedication to make a go of it. I think the TSTRS is in good hands with Gina.” For Schild-Knowles, the delayed start due to the global COVID-19 pandemic has meant more work restructuring the schedule, communicating with racers and studying local guidelines. Yet she's full of optimism as we draw closer to the second practice session on May 16 and first race on June 20. “I'm so glad to have Dean's support as we work to prepare for our new season,” Schild-Knowles said. “He sees the value in building a solid fan base for the oval, which helps the overall facility. I want all of our race teams and marketing partners to know that we have an eye on the future here.” There is still work to do before the first green flag of the season waves, yet with Baker's support and her burning desire to succeed, Schild-Knowles isn't letting off the gas any time soon. “I just know after all of this frustration, the delays and setbacks, we're still in for a very special season of racing with the Texas Short Track Racing Series,” she said. “I've had this feeling for a long while, and I truly believe our future is very bright here at Houston Motorsports Park. I'm very excited.” About Texas Short Track Racing Series The Texas Short Track Racing Series is an asphalt oval racing series based in Houston, Texas, competing at Houston Motorsports Park. Texas Asphalt Racing Promotions, LLC, manages advertising and sponsorship opportunities for the series. To learn more, follow the series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nascarhouston. Fans who love NASCAR and short tracks should also bookmark www.NASCARHouston.com to stay abreast of the latest news as it happens. About Houston Motorsports Park Houston Motorsports Park is an auto racing complex that includes a 3/8 mile NASCAR-sanctioned paved oval and an NHRA-sanctioned 1/8 mile drag strip. For more information, please go to www.houstonmotorsportspark.com.
  14. For immediate release: TSTRS Public Relations Contact: Gina Schild-Knowles Tel: 713-907-0906 Schild-Knowles updates racers, plans for 2020 season moving forward at HMP Asphalt oval racing will return to south Texas after COVID-19 crisis HOUSTON, Texas (Apr. 20, 2020) — As the nation's current stay-at-home mandate affect our daily lives and have put life as we once knew it on hold, one Texas short track promoter is reaching out to her racers to offer words of encouragement and explain what happens after the 'All Clear' sounds. Houston Motorsports Park (HMP) oval track promoter and Texas Short Track Racing Series (TSTRS) general manager Gina Schild-Knowles knows what racers across south Texas are feeling in strange times. “I don't want our racers to lose faith or any momentum they carried from last year,” Schild-Knowles said on a video message posted on YouTube. “We all just need to do what we need to do to stay safe. The better we all are at adhering to social distancing guidelines, the sooner we'll all be back at the race track.” Schild-Knowles says the key to making it through this crisis is a thing called communication. “I want our racers to reach out to one another during these tough times,” she added. “If you know of somebody who needs some help in the shop or a few tools, try to lend a helping hand. We're all in this deal together; and together – we'll all get through it. I understand it isn't easy to ask for help.” When it comes down to the 2020 schedule itself, Schild-Knowles says there have been changes. “I have no plans to shorten the season, but I have had to restructure the event schedule a bit,” she explained. “And since this virus situation is changing almost day-by-day, I can't honestly put a specific date on when we'll reopen. Yet we still plan to complete the same number of races we had planned. “We might be racing in August now, which we hadn't planned on doing at first. We will probably be racing twice a month, consistently through October. I do not plan to race at all in November, I don't want to interfere with plans for the Snowball Derby or for our deer hunters.” While some in the industry think we'll get that 'All Clear' bell soon, some have reservations. “NASCAR's date to go back racing as of now is May 3,” Schild-Knowles said. “That applies to us, since we're NASCAR sanctioned now. I have a feeling that will be pushed back, but we all just need to focus on the positive right now. When the danger to public health has passed, we'll go back racing.” As a wise promoter with racing in her blood (her father, Larry Schild and uncle, Jerry Schild were both racers), Schild-Knowles says racers can actually use this down time to their advantage. “For now, just focus on that car you're building,” she told her racers. “You have extra time to find that speed, that little extra something you never had time for before now. Use this time to be more prepared for when we do get the 'All Clear,' and it will pay off in the end.” About Texas Short Track Racing Series The Texas Short Track Racing Series is an asphalt oval racing series based in Houston, Texas, competing at Houston Motorsports Park. Texas Asphalt Racing Promotions, LLC, manages advertising and sponsorship opportunities for the series. To learn more, follow the series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/texasshorttrackracing/. Fans who love NASCAR and short tracks should also bookmark www.NASCARHouston.com to stay abreast of the latest news as it happens. About Houston Motorsports Park Houston Motorsports Park is an auto racing complex that includes a 3/8-mile NASCAR-sanctioned paved oval and an NHRA-sanctioned 1/8-mile drag strip. For more information, please go to www.houstonmotorsportspark.com.
  15. For immediate release: MFM Public Relations Contact: Phil Whipple Tel: 207.689.6630 Larry Baggett joins Mike Fortier Motorsports for part-time Sport Mod effort in 2020 Reigning Texas Dirt Truck Truck Series champ to run six races BURNET, Texas (March 4, 2020) — Two veteran race personalities in the Lone Star State are joining forces for a part-time yet surely competitive Sport Mod effort in 2020. A longtime car owner from New England who now calls Texas his home and a North Carolina native are a natural pair. Defending Texas Dirt Truck Series champion Larry Baggett has announced his intentions to wheel the No. 51VT IMCA Sport Mod entry fielded by Mike Fortier Motorsports. The pair will run approximately six races at Cotton Bowl Speedway, I-37 Speedway and at Texana Raceway. “I was beyond excited when Mike reached out to me with this opportunity,” Baggett said. “I am honored to strap into his Sport Mod and will do my best to put it into Victory Lane this season. Mike is one of those guys with years of experience and knowledge. I'll enjoy working with him on the setups. “We'll do whatever we have to do to get his car dialed in. This is going to be a chance for me to grow as a racer and hone my skills further. The guys who drive multiple cars stay sharp, so this won't hurt my truck program at all. I'm gunning to defend my TDTS title, but racing for Mike will be fun.” Fortier is part of the staff at Cotton Bowl this year, working with Mary Ann and H. Naumann on IT-related matters and as a Pit Steward coordinating lineups. Now approaching the age of 69, Fortier has an extensive background in racing in both his native New England and in south Texas. “I'm absolutely thrilled with where I'm at at Cotton Bowl right now, working with Mary Ann at what I feel is the best-run track in Texas,” Fortier said. “Yet my desire to field a car is still there, and now, I have a driver with a stellar reputation and down-home personality. I couldn't be any happier. “Larry is a great fit for this team. He takes care of equipment and really uses his head out on the track. He'll get the most out of the car each time he competes, yet he won't destroy it when things aren't going so well. I'm very fortunate to have his skills behind the wheel, and can't wait to go racing.” Baggett, aka 'Cowboy', 50, of Burnet, Texas, has been involved in racing nearly all of his life. Growing up in his native state of North Carolina, he spent his weekends going to drag races with his sister, Audrey Pope. Larry enjoyed hanging out in the pits and learning the ropes. He bought his own race car in 2016, a Chevy Camaro for the Street Stock class on dirt. He finished a respectable eighth in points for his first year behind the wheel. In 2017, he purchased a Chevy Nova to run in the same class car and finished fourth in final points. Baggett's career highlight was winning the inaugural Texas Dirt Truck Series championship last year in a steady, consistent effort. Fortier grew up in Vermont and started attending races at the age of 8, eventually joining a race team when he was just 19. He became a car owner in 1998 fielding a Late Model in the highly-respected American-Canadian Tour and at the famed Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre. He established a racing business partnership with the Australia-based Just Hafta brand of apparel, with sales proceeds across North America funding the race team. In the late 1990s, Fortier designed and developed a software program known as Race Team Notebook, used by many teams. To keep up with news on race dates and plans, please visit the Mike Fortier Motorsports Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mfm51/.
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