Category Archives: NASCAR

Explore the Pocono Mountains 225 Announced

Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau returns to sponsor the NASCAR Xfinity Series race

Photo Michael Jaworecki/Myracenews

LONG POND, Pa. (June 23, 2022) – Pocono Raceway has partnered with the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau for the Explore the Pocono Mountains 225 NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday, July 23. This will mark the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureaus return to title sponsorship at Pocono Raceway.

“We love being part of the Pocono Mountains community,” said Ben May, Pocono Raceway President. “Whether you are coming to one of the many great resorts, area attractions, our NASCAR races, The Great Pocono Raceway Airshow or one of our other incredible events at the track, we hope guests will make the most out of their trip to Northeast Pennsylvania. The Pocono Mountains has so much to offer, enjoy and explore!”

The Explore the Pocono Mountains 225 will also highlight the indoor and outdoor attractions, activities, events, lodging and restaurants within the 2,400 square miles encompassing northeast Pennsylvania’s Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Wayne counties. Guests visiting the Pocono Mountains each summer can explore over 350 hiking and bike trails, over 35 golf courses, whitewater rafting, boating, fishing and open access to nine state and two national parks. The Pocono Mountains is home to a plethora of indoor and outdoor waterpark resorts, hotels, restaurants and activities for all ages.

“Pocono Raceway is a major part of the region’s success through the years and the destination is a perfect match for this NASCAR race weekend,” said Chris Barrett, Pocono Mountains President/CEO. “With so many different options for families in the Pocono Mountains we hope race fans will get out and find their favorite Pocono Place to enjoy.”

The Pocono Mountains is the ideal destination for families, couples, or adventure-seekers any day of the week with trails for hiking and biking, rivers for fishing and boating and tons of attractions to keep everyone active and on the go. Plenty of resorts and spas offer the ultimate relaxation experience as well! Plus, events are returning to the Poconos this year and each season has its own distinct appeal whether it is the vibrant fall foliage, thrilling winter sports or a summer night around the campfire. PoconoMountains.com has everything you need to plan a trip for the entire family.

Kids, ages 12 and under can attend all NASCAR events at Pocono Raceway for free in 2022. Grandstand parking is also free and coolers are welcome. Pocono Raceway offers a variety of Grandstand ticketing options, with adult tickets start at $10 on Friday, $35 for Saturday, $45 for Sunday, and camping options, starting at $200. To purchase tickets, visit www.poconoraceway.com or call 1-800-722-3929 (1-800-RACEWAY.)

2022 NASCAR Schedule of Events –

  • Friday, July 22 – General Tire 200 – ARCA Menards Series
  • Saturday, July 23 – CRC Brakleen 150 – NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
  • Saturday July 23 – Explore the Pocono Mountains 225 – NASCAR Xfinity Series
  • Sunday, July 24 – M&M’S Fan Appreciation 400 – NASCAR Cup Series

Anticipation Building for Granite State Pro Stock Series $10,000 Race at Lee USA in July

NASCAR Cup Series Regulars Tyler Reddick, Corey LaJoie to Compete in Special Event

By Jeff Brown, for Granite State Pro Stock Series

PHOTO: Rob Branning/Granite State Pro Stock Series

The Granite State Pro Stock Series has one more race date on the schedule before July’s Keen Parts 150 at Lee USA Speedway, but the mid-summer spectacular is already on the minds of both drivers and fans.

Fifty extra laps, the biggest purse of the year, and some notable names on the entry list have drivers and teams alike gearing up for the marquee event of GSPSS’ eleventh full season of competition.

The Keen Parts 150 is the sixth round of the nine-race GSPSS schedule and the second visit of the year to Lee USA Speedway. While the biggest event on the GSPSS calendar has been held closer to the series’ home base in recent years, Lee brings with it a new level of grandeur.

The $10,000-to-win main event is part of the lead-in to the Granite State’s biggest race weekend of the year, the annual return of national-level NASCAR racing to New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Opened in 1964 and running in its current configuration since the 1980s, Lee is a challenging track that favors the driver who best manages their tires from green to checkers. The outcome of the Keen Parts 150 will again come down to strategy.

But with a long-distance race and an extra set of tires, the winning play will come down to far more than conservation. Pit too early, and others may have an advantage on fresh tires at the end. Plan to pit late, and a driver may be left waiting for an opportunity that never comes.

The introduction of pit strategy may hand a slight advantage to veteran drivers like Joey Doiron or Dave Farrington, Jr., both of whom are on the early entry list and have plenty of wins in long-distance features. Doiron, the 2019 GSPSS champion and the current point leader, won May’s Granite State Derby at Lee and has a few other wins at “New Hampshire’s Center of Speed,” making him a favorite among the series regulars.

Farrington, who won in his first-ever GSPSS start in 2016, will be one of many looking to steal glory from Doiron and the other series stars. Richard Moody Racing is planning to field two entries for Maine legend-in-the-making Ben Rowe and 2020 GSPSS champ Joey Polewarczyk.

Derek Kneeland will take advantage of big-league racing’s presence to make his second GSPSS start at Lee. Kneeland, a NASCAR spotter, has been adding more short track events to his extracurricular schedule and will look forward to getting behind the wheel of “Miss Cheyenne.”

But all eyes will be on two NASCAR Cup Series stars throwing their hats into the ring. Corey LaJoie and Tyler Reddick will make their GSPSS debuts in the Keen Parts 150, hearkening back to a tradition of NASCAR stars racing against the locals at Lee.

LaJoie grew up in North Carolina, but his father Randy cut his racing teeth on the bullrings of New England. Reddick is the first driver from California to attempt a GSPSS event. Both will be trying to make their own mark in the region in their first trip to Lee.

Making the big night possible is support from Keen Parts, one of the country’s top suppliers of Corvette parts. Owners Tom and TJ Keen have been dedicated this year to supporting short track racing through the Keen Cup Series, a series of high-profile regional features.

“We are pleased to be involved in the Keen Parts 150 at Lee USA Speedway on July 15,” said Tom Keen, owner of Keen Parts. “TJ and I really wanted to help grassroots racing in 2022, and making this the seventh race of the Keen Cup Series in 2022 is a great addition to our race schedule, along with having Tyler Reddick and Corey LaJoie joining us for the race. The Keen Cup will be up for grabs once again for some of the best Late Model talent in the Northeast.”

“Be sure to check out all of our products online at corvetteparts.net, while restoring your vintage Corvette. Corvette parts is all we do.”

The GSPSS Keen Parts 150 anchors a full night of weekly competition at Lee USA Speedway, also featuring the New Hampshire Short Track Racing Association’s Whitcomb 5 Series race. Lee’s Street Stocks, Six Shooters, Ridge Runners and Pure Stocks will round out an action-packed card to kick off New Hampshire’s biggest weekend of motorsports. Tickets will be available at the gate.

For more information on the Granite State Pro Stock Series, visit www.gspss.net or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Legendary Businessman, Philanthropist and NASCAR Hall of Famer Bruton Smith Passes Away

Smith had trailblazing careers in motorsports, philanthropy and automotive retail, serving as Founder and Executive Chairman of Sonic Automotive, Speedway Motorsports and Speedway Children’s Charities.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A visionary and transformative figure in both business and entertainment, Ollen Bruton Smith, the founder and executive chairman of Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH), Speedway Motorsports and Speedway Children’s Charities died today of natural causes. He was 95.

Born March 2, 1927, Smith was the youngest of nine children and grew up on a modest farm in Oakboro, North Carolina. As a member of the Greatest Generation, Smith learned the value of hard work early in life.  With an inspiring determination and relentless optimism, Smith built a business empire through the automotive and motorsports industries and left a legacy to inspire generations of his family, friends and colleagues.

“My parents taught us what work was all about,” Smith said in 2008. “As I look back, that was a gift, even though I certainly didn’t think so at the time. A lot of people don’t have that gift because they didn’t grow up working. But if you are on a family farm, that’s what you do. Everything is hard work.”

Smith founded Speedway Motorsports by consolidating his motorsports holdings in December 1994, and in February 1995, he made it the first motorsports company to trade on the New York Stock Exchange.  Today the company owns and operates 11 motorsports entertainment facilities: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway, Texas Motor Speedway, Dover Motor Speedway, Nashville Superspeedway, North Wilkesboro Speedway and Kentucky Speedway.

Speedway Motorsports also owns and operates subsidiaries SMI Properties, U.S. Legend Cars International, Performance Racing Network and zMAX Micro Lubricants.

In January of 1997, Smith founded Sonic Automotive and took it public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:SAH) in November of the same year. In just a few years, Smith grew Sonic into one of the nation’s largest companies, and in 2000 it was first officially recognized as a Fortune 500 company based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Sonic Automotive is now a Fortune 300 company and one of the nation’s largest automotive retailers with over 160 retail dealerships in over 23 states, representing 25 automotive brands. Since inception, Sonic Automotive dealerships have received many nationally recognized awards and accolades for exceeding customer satisfaction and automotive retail brand performance standards.

In 2014, Smith’s passion for automotive retail continued with the creation of EchoPark Automotive. A subsidiary of Sonic Automotive, EchoPark Automotive is the company’s high growth segment rooted in providing high quality pre-owned vehicles, while delivering a world-class guest experience. The company currently operates over 40 EchoPark Automotive locations nationwide.

Smith’s first job outside the family farm came at age 12 when he went to work at a local saw mill. Two days after graduating from Oakboro High School, Smith took a job in a hosiery mill, before he eventually made a purchase that would lead him to two successful business careers.

“I bought a race car for $700. The whole idea at that time was that I was going to be a race car driver,” Smith once explained. “I learned to drive, but that career didn’t last long.” Smith’s mother had other ideas and prayed to a higher authority. “She started fighting dirty,” laughed Smith in a 2005 interview with Motorsport.com. “You can’t fight your mom and God, so I stopped driving.”

Smith sold his first car, a 1939 Buick sedan, for a small profit and continued to sell cars from his mother’s front yard. The young entrepreneur also promoted his first race before he was 18 years old.

“There was a whole lot of unrest with the drivers and car owners at that time,” Smith continued. “We had a meeting and I was unlucky enough to be appointed a committee of one to promote a race. I had never done that, but I promoted a race in Midland, North Carolina, and I made a little bit of money, so I thought I’d try it again.”

In his early 20s, Smith’s career as promoter and car salesman took a turn when he was drafted by the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Smith served two years stateside as a paratrooper, then returned to selling cars and promoting auto races featuring the burgeoning National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). Through a rough era for the sport, Smith was one of the first professional promoters to pay good purses, tend to the needs of the fans and find unique ways to promote events at speedways he leased around North Carolina.

“I’m a frustrated builder who had a knack for promoting races and it’s been fun to always try and push the sport to greater heights for the fans,” Smith told the Associated Press in 2015.

In 1959, he partnered with NASCAR driver Curtis Turner and built his first permanent motorsports facility, Charlotte Motor Speedway. The track opened in June 1960 with a 600-mile race, the longest ever in NASCAR’s history.

In the years that followed, Smith found success opening several automotive dealerships. Opened in 1966, his first dealership was Frontier Ford in Rockford, Ill, where he married and started a family. While growing his automotive business, Smith’s passion for auto racing never wavered.

“I love the racing business. I want to contribute more and more,” Smith said in 2015. “You hear us preach about ‘fan friendly.’ I think that is a driver for me to just do more things. I enjoy the contributions I’ve been able to make to the sport.”

Under Smith’s innovative direction, Speedway Motorsports facilities were the first in racing to add condominiums, fine-dining Speedway Clubs, superspeedway lighting and giant high-definition video screens.

“When you think about the Charlotte Motor Speedway and Bristol, and tracks like New Hampshire and Sonoma and Atlanta, he’s been the best,” 2019 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee and fellow automobile dealer Roger Penske told NASCAR.com in 2016. “There’s no question. He set the bar.”

“His mind is racing all the time; he’s done so much for the sport,” said Rick Hendrick, an auto dealer and fellow NASCAR Hall of Famer, in a 2016 interview with NASCAR.com. “He’s so brave to step out and try things that have never been tried before. He helped build this sport.”

Following a 2021 victory at zMAX Dragway, John Force dedicated the win to Smith.

“I love this guy and everything he’s done for our sport,” said the 16-time NHRA champion. “I’m excited I get to send this trophy home to somebody I love—a guy who built our sport.”

“I learned from my own experience that when people go to an event – like a big race – they may know who won the race, but all the other stuff they don’t remember,” Smith once said.

“I want to put something on so regardless who won the race, it will be a memorable experience. We’re here to entertain fans, and I want them to go home with a memory that will last forever.”

A true entrepreneur at heart, Smith had a passion for growing people and business. His love of the automobile and racing businesses drove him to continually build and expand, all while taking care of his family and co-workers.

Among his accolades, Smith was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s 2016 class. In 2007, he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and he became a member of the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in 2006.

Even with his many accomplishments in motorsports, Smith often commented that the auto retail business was his first love and maintained his primary office at his Town & Country Ford dealership in Charlotte throughout his distinguished career.

“You have trophies, you have championships, you have wins, but friends are what really make the difference,” fellow NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Darrell Waltrip said about Smith in 2019. “Bruton Smith has been one of my heroes since I started racing in NASCAR in 1972.”

In addition to his business interests, Smith founded Speedway Children’s Charities in 1982 as a memoriam and legacy to his son, Bruton Cameron Smith, who passed away at a very young age. Given his experience, Smith became passionate about wanting to help children in need and Speedway Children’s Charities was created to focus on serving communities surrounding Speedway Motorsports race tracks. Speedway Children’s Charities chapters work with organizations to identify and resolve pressing issues ranging from learning disabilities and broken homes to hunger and childhood cancer.

Under Smith’s leadership, Speedway Children’s Charities has distributed more than $61 millionto local organizations across the country that improve the quality of life for children in need.

Survivors include sons Scott, Marcus and David; his daughter, Anna Lisa; their mother, Bonnie Smith; and seven grandchildren. Information regarding funeral arrangements will be released at a later date.