Saturday, January 31, 2009

A.J. Allmendinger joins Richard Petty Motorsports

A.J. Allmendinger will drive the No. 44 Dodge for Richard Petty Motorsports for the first eight races of 2009 and the Budweiser Shootout.
That means the 27-year-old driver from Los Gatos will be in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana on Feb. 22, the second race of the Cup season.
“This is pretty awesome news for me,” said Allmendinger who posted two top-10 finishes in 2008 and a victory in the Sprint Showdown. “I just want to get behind the wheel of a race car and race. We have a lot of work to do on the track and need to sell some sponsorship, but this team has great equipment and I think there is a lot of chemistry here based on how we did at the end of last season.”
Allmendinger joins Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and Reed Sorenson in the newly formed Richard Petty Motorsports or RPM, created when the old Gillett Evernham Motorsports team merged with Petty Enterprises.
Allmendinger will be starting his third year in NASCAR Sprint Cup racing. He won five races in the old Champ Car World Series before making the transition to stock cars when he joined Red Bull Racing.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

NASCAR drivers' picks for the Super Bowl

Kyle Busch, Scott Speed and Joey Logano, all drivers who grew up racing on the West Coast or won some big races in Southern California, made their predictions, along with a handful of other NASCAR drivers, for the Super Bowl.
Between Busch, Speed and Logano, the Arizona Cardinal are a 2-1 favorite. Busch and Speed like the Cardinals. Logano is pulling for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Here's what they had to say:
“I’m going to go with the Arizona Cardinals," said Busch, driver of the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing who grew up in Las Vegas. "There’s really no reason why, I’m just not a big fan of the Steelers. I’m going to go with 24-21 as the final score. I’m kind of friends with Kurt Warner, so I would really like to see him win. I got to spend some time with him at a Super Bowl party last year in Phoenix when M&M’s had me out there. Kurt came around the room and we talked a little bit, so it would be great to see him do well and the Cardinals win.”
Speed, the new driver of the No. 82 Toyota for Red Bull racing, was born in Manteca, near Sacramento.
“I went to my first NFL game a couple weeks ago when the Panthers played the Cardinals in the playoffs," Speed said. "The Panthers lost really badly because the Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald caught everything that got thrown in the sky! I’m pulling for the Cardinals to win the Super Bowl, for sure. Fitzgerald is the man -- he has sticky fingers. I don’t like the Steelers, not for any particular reason, I just don’t like them. I think they’re bullies! On Sunday, I’m going to have some friends over to my house to watch the game, so I hope my team can pull off the win!”

Logano, who won the 2007 Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale and went from first to last place on the last lap of this year's version of the Showdown, will be driving for Joe Gibbs Racing in the No. 20 Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
“I have to admit, I’m not a huge football fan -- I did follow the Redskins a little when Coach Gibbs was there," Logano said. "It’s tough when you race during most of the football season. Every year we do get family and friends together to watch it though. This year I’m pulling for Pittsburgh, they are closer to where I grew up. And anyway, I have a 50-50 chance of being right.”

Bryan Herta Autosport formed

Bryan Herta, a two-time winner in the IndyCar Series, has formed Bryan Herta Autosport, which will race in the Firestone Indy Lights of the Indy Racing League in 2009.
Herta, a Hart High graduate, is partnering with motorsports veteran Steve Newey to form the new team. Their driver will be Daniel Herrington, a 22-year old from North Carolina who made 13 starts in the Indy Lights series in the past two years.
“Steve Newey approached me with the concept of starting our own Indy Lights team back in December,” said Herta, who won two IndyCar Series races, at Kansas Speedway and Michigan International Speedway, in 58 starts from 2003-06. “In just six weeks we are almost ready to hit the road for our first test. I’m very excited about the opportunity to take on a new challenge in open-wheel racing as a team owner, and am confident that we have assembled a formidable program.”
Herta's team is expected to test in February at Firebird East in Arizona. The team is working on putting together a second car and driver.
“Daniel has shown great potential in the last couple seasons in sporadic outings,” Herta said. “We are happy to give him his first real home in Firestone Indy Lights with a full winter test program and a team that is 100 percent committed to giving him the tools to succeed.”
Herta's team has formed a technical alliance with Vision Racing of the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series. Herta is also a road course consultant for Vision Racing and will continue in that role in 2009.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Southern Cal drivers in the Showdown

Travis Thirkettle (at top), Logan Henson (middle) and R.J. Johnson (bottom) raced in the Toyota All-Star Showdown in Irwindale. Thirkettle, a driver from Newhall, won the NASCAR Super Late Model portion of the Showdown. Henson, a driver from Santa Clarita, was in the NASCAR Late Model Showdown race. Johnson, from Canyon Country, tried to qualify for the Camping World Series portion of the Showdown, but he did not make the 40-car starting field. Thirkettle will be racing regularly in the Super Late Model division at Irwindale. Henson will be in the Late Model division and Johnson will race in the Super Trucks division at Irwindale in 2009.

Joe Gibbs Racing represents in Showdown

The Toyota All-Star Showdown brought out some of NASCAR's rising stars to Toyota Speedway at Irwindale. Among them, Joey Logano, who will be driving the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and Marc Davis, another driver from Joe Gibbs Racing.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hornaday not making friends at Irwindale

Ron Hornaday Jr., (pictured above) the winningest driver in NASCAR Truck Series history, the three-time Truck Series champ, did not receive a warm reception from the fans and other drivers in the Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale.
He and Brian Ickler crashed about midway through the Showdown. It looked like Hornaday was responsible for the wreck that took Ickler out of contention.
On a restart on lap 141, Hornaday, who was in third place at the time, tried to pass Ickler in turn 1. Instead, Hornaday got into the side of Icker's car and started a chain reaction crash that took out a good chunk of the race leaders. Hornaday was able to drive away from the crash and was booed by the fans as he sped away.
When the race resumed, Joey Logano was in the lead, Hornaday was a lap down and Ickler was in the infield, waiting for his car to be repaired.
"Obviously (Ickler's) car looked like it was good," said Jason Bowles, a driver from Ontario who finished third in the Showdown. "He always runs good here. It was one of those deals, I’m not sure what Hornaday was thinking there. I know he’s a professional, but that was a little rough. He went from about fifth to lead it. I know that ain’t going to work."

Some final thoughts on the Toyota All-Star Showdown

Matt Kobyluck will go down as the winner of the 2009 version of the Toyota All-Star Showdown, even though he crossed the finish line in second place.
It was a wild finish. Peyton Sellers and Joey Logano (pictured at left) battled for the lead on the last lap. Logano, who led for most of the second half of the race, bounced off of the car Sellers was driving, hit the turn 4 wall and took the lead and was the first driver across the finish line.
Kobyluck ducked to the bottom of the track, was the second driver to cross the finish line, followed by Trevor Bayne, a developmental driver in the Dale Earnhardt Inc. stable and from the Camping World Series East, and Jason Bowles, a two-time winner at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale and a driver in the Camping World Series West.
"It was an unfortunate ending, but this is the All-Star Showdown," said Kobyluck, who became the first two-time winner of the Camping World Series portion of the Showdown. "Everyone’s just going for it. Minor error there, or maybe it wasn’t an error, who knows? I’m only in control of my car. It looked like Joey overdrove the corner, couldn’t keep the car down, but he was going for the win. Peyton was going for the win. In a deal like this when there’s no points on the line, it’s all a truck, money, and bragging rights, the outcome’s always crazy."

Bowles didn't quite see it that way. He put a lot of the blame on the outcome of the race on Logano.
"Peyton didn’t touch anybody," Bowles said. "Those guys, it was unfortunate they were going to race like that. That’s understandable, but we got a lot of torn up race cars now instead of four guys that just had a good race and put on a good show for the fans. "
Kobyluck said he could trouble brewing between Sellers and Logano and he was just glad he didn't get in the middle of their fight.
"Joey’s a great kid and he’s got a bright future ahead of him," Kobyluck said. "Was he going for the win? Sure. Was Peyton going for the win? Sure. Fortunately I wasn’t part of it.
"The writing was on the wall what the outcome was going to be one way or the other. I just didn’t want to be caught up in it."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thirkettle wins Super Late Model Showdown race

It was probably the easiest $10,000 Travis Thirkettle ever won. It was definitely the shortest race he's ever won.
The NASCAR Super Late Model portion of the Toyota All-Star Showdown was cut down to 15 laps. It was scheduled for 150 and ended at 12:15 a.m., way past the normal curfew for the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale.
And even though 15 laps were officially recorded, only about three were actually run. Thirkettle might have been the most disappointed driver at the track despite coming out the winner. He had a brand new car and said he was looking forward to actually getting a chance to race it.
The Super Late Model race also ended a frustrating night for Ron Hornaday Jr. The three-time NASCAR Truck Series champions was booed in the Camping World Series race after he and race leader Brian Ickler crashed. He ended his night with two tires on top of another car in the turn 2 grass during the Super Late Model race.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Late Model Showdown

Mike Johnson won the NASCAR Late Model portion of the Toyota All-Star Showdown, a race trimmed from 75 laps to 55 laps. The race ended under caution at 11:30 p.m.
Local drivers of note:
Nick Joanides of Woodland Hills was fifth, Logan Henson of Santa Clarita was 15th, Tim Huddleston of Agoura Hills, the reigning Late Model champion at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, was 16th and Sean Woodside of Saugus was 20th.

Wild Showdown finish

Joey Logano crossed the finish line first, but Matt Kobyluck was awarded the win in the Toyota All-Star Showdown on Saturday night.
Logano, the 18-year-old protege of Joe Gibbs Racing, made a daring pass on Peyton Sellers on the last turn of the last lap and bounced off the turn 4 wall to cross the finish at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale.
But it was Kobyluck's team that was doing the celebrating as NASCAR officials tried to figure out how to penalize Logano for his apparent race-winning move.
NASCAR officials ultimately determined that Logano should receive a race procedure penalty and knocked him from first to 40th and last.
Kobyluck said after the race that the scuffle between Logano and Sellers was just two guys going for the win. Jason Bowles, a driver from Ontario and winner of his past two races at Irwindale, saw it a little differently. He said he didn't think Sellers was racing out of line in the final laps. But Bowles said he didn't exactly appreciate the way Logano raced him. Bowles and Logano battled for the lead at times during the race, with Logano coming out in first almost every time.
Once the dust and oil settled, Kobyluck was the first two-time winner of the Camping World Series portion of the Showdown, Logano finished last and Sellers failed to complete the final lap.

Brian Ickler piece in Daily News

The Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune and other papers in the area ran a story on Brian Ickler, who got his start racing at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale in the NASCAR Super Late Model class. He will be representing the Camping World Series East tonight at Irwindale and moved from Poway near San Diego to North Carolina to pursue his NASCAR career.
There is also a little blurb on Ricky Carmichael, who is racing for Ken Schrader in the Showdown. Carmichael, of course, is a motocross and supercross rider making the transition to NASCAR.

Friday, January 23, 2009

New drivers at High Point Racing

Tim Huddleston has five cars ready to go in the NASCAR Late Model division at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale. He will also have a sixth car, for Travis Thirkettle, in the Super Late Model division.
He has drivers lined up for three of his Late Model cars. Travis Motley, a driver from Tucson, Ariz., will be in the No. 59 car, Dallas Collodny, from Reno, Nev., will be in the No. 51 car, and Cassie Gannis, the lone woman driver so far at High Point Racing, will be in the No. 56 car. Huddleston, the owner of the team and the reigning Late Model champion at the track, will be in the No. 50 car.
Gannis is also scheduled to race in the Super Late Model race in the Showdown. She will be in the No. 09 car.
High Point Racing is preparing a fifth car for the Late Model division, but does not have a driver for it yet. Huddleston was talking to a potential driver for the car on Friday night. Kendall Lopez and her mother and father were meeting with Huddleston at the track.

Rain washes out racing at Showdown

It looks like switching the Toyota All-Star Showdown from October to the middle of January might not have been such a good idea afterall.
Rain washed out a NASCAR Super Late Model race and a Showdown qualifying race on Friday night. That sets up a three-race schedule for Saturday night. The NASCAR Camping World Series race, a 75-lap Late Model race and a 150-lap Super Late Model race.
The rain led to some flared tempers in the pits, with drivers cussing and complaining about whether they would be able to practice, qualify or race. The Super Late Model drivers and the Camping World Series drivers were preparing to at least run some practice laps at around 9 p.m., but by then most of the fans had gone home and the only food booth open at the track was a single King Taco.
As much as I love burritos, it was not exactly on my mind while waiting to see if it would stop raining long enough to see some race cars on the track instead of ambulance and emergency vehicles dragging oversized white tires around in circles.
As frustrating as the rain was, it did give me a chance to catch up with some drivers.
It looks like Greg Pursley, who won a NASCAR Whelen All-American national championship while racing at Irwindale, will be competing in the NASCAR Camping World Series West for the entire 2009 season. He will be driving for Gene Price Motorsports. Price's son Mike has been a regular Toyota Speedway at Irwindale for years.
The cars Pursley will be racing all come from Richard Childress Racing. He will be racing one of Clint Bowyer's old cars in the Showdown. The team also has one of Jeff Burton's old cars and one of Kevin Harvick's road course cars.
Ron Hornaday Jr., the winningest drivers in NASCAR Truck Series history, will be racing in the Super Late Model and Camping World Series portions of the Showdown.

R.J. Johnson, the son of Rod Johnson who won the Super Late Model championship at Irwindale in 1999, will be attempting to qualify for the Camping World Series portion of the Showdown. The younger Johnson, who competed in the Super Trucks division at Irwindale last year, is driving a West Series car owned by Bob Farmer.
Travis Thirkettle is entered in the Super Late Model race in a car he describes as a prototype. It meets the Super Late Model specifications for Irwindale, but it can easily be modified to race in other divisions at other tracks. Thirkettle said he and his team wanted to make a car that would allow them to race at other tracks and possibly make a run at the NASCAR Whelen All-American national championship.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

NASCAR rookies: Joey Logano and Scott Speed

Joey Logano is already getting a lot of attention mainly because he will be driving the car that yielded two Cup championships for Tony Stewart. The rookie driver will be joining the powerful Joe Gibbs Racing team with high expectations.
Another rookie who will probably surprise a few this year is Scott Speed. The 25-year-old who was born in Manteca will be driving the No. 82 Toyota for the two-car Red Bull Racing team. Speed is coming from a Formula One background, but made the transition to stock cars and NASCAR last year. He won a race in the Truck Series after a disappointing stint with Toro Rosso in Formula One.
Brian Vickers, Speed's teammate at Red Bull Racing, was asked about the two rookies, Logano and Speed and how they will perform in their first full year of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing.
“The thing about a race team -- we’re not golfers. There are 200 people involved in our team," Vickers said. "To always just point the finger at the driver -- whether it’s good or bad, it goes both ways. Just because you win a race, doesn’t mean he’s a great driver. Just because you lose one, doesn’t mean he’s a bad one. I think it’s a team effort. Although Joey struggled last year, to be honest with you, unless you’re involved, it’s hard to say why. He’s obviously proved himself. He deserves to be here. He’s a talented driver.”
Speed said he has a lot to learn about stock cars and racing in NASCAR. He says he's about half way up the learning curve and will need some time to get comfortable in Cup.
"We won a race in a truck at Dover (Del.). Were we the best truck driver out there? By no means," Speed said. "I am way better now than when I won that. Because of the way things worked out, we were in good equipment the whole time and we had really good results. We had really good equipment in the ARCA championship, we won some races, but it really doesn’t account for how much I’ve learned or how good I am. I’m certainly better now than I was at the end of last year. I’m improving every time by a fair step and that’s got to be said. I think some things have come easier to learn and some things have been more difficult.”

Ford to debut FR9 engine

Ford Racing has developed a new engine, the FR9, described as the first purpose-built NASCAR racing engine ever to come out of Ford Motor Company. The engine will be used by the Roush Yates team and is expected to debut during the second half of the 2009 season.
Here is the release from Ford Racing:

Its design has been spearheaded and developed by Ford Racing engineer David Simon, and famed engine builder Doug Yates, along with input from legendary Ford Racing engine engineer Mose Nowland.
“This is an exciting time for us to say the least, especially with the way our two companies have worked so well together on this project,” said Yates. “I’ve never had the opportunity to work on a NASCAR engine with a clean sheet of paper, but that’s basically what we’ve done and I’ve enjoyed every second. We feel we’ve got a piece that will not only be better than what we’ve got now, but will give us room to grow.
“With the exception of a few cylinder head changes through the years, we’ve had the same engine since 1991 and have been able to squeeze out every ounce of power and speed possible,” continued Yates. “What’s got me so excited is we’ve won races and championships with an engine many consider old, and this new piece is definitely a notch above, so we’ve got a lot to look forward to for years to come.”
There are three key differences between “FR9” and the current engine. First, the cooling system has been re-worked and will allow teams to optimize the amount of tape they can put on the front grille and improve downforce. Second, the valve train has been improved, and, third, the production and assembly of “FR9” will be much easier than today’s model.
Another thing is for certain, this isn’t your father’s 351 because “FR9” does not retain any of the original production 351 dimensions as the current model.
“Our main priority when we started this project was to get the bones of the engine right. We wanted to make sure we had the proper layout, the right block structure and that the overall skeleton of the engine was correct,” said Simon. “Even though we’ve been working on these engines for decades and know a lot of things about them, there was still a lot we didn’t know. In that case, we went and did some testing to get the answer.”

Bill Elliott, Wood Brothers unite for nine Cup races

Bill Elliott and Woods Brothers Racing will team up for the season-opening Daytona 500 next month. Elliott will drive the No. 21 Ford for the first race of the year and Motorcraft will sponsor the car for nine NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2009.
In addition to Daytona, Elliott and Woods Brothers Racing are scheduled to race in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
Here are the dates and races they are scheduled to enter:
  1. Feb. 15 - Daytona International Speedway
  2. March 8 - Atlanta Motor Speedway
  3. April 5 - Texas Motor Speedway
  4. May 24 - Lowe’s Motor Speedway
  5. June 14 - Michigan International Speedway
  6. July 11 - Chicagoland Speedway
  7. July 26 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway
  8. Sept. 6 - Atlanta Motor Speedway
  9. Nov. 22 - Homestead Miami Speedway

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Greg Zipadelli talks about working with Joey Logano

Greg Zipadelli was Tony Stewart's crew chief at Joe Gibbs Racing for two NASCAR Cup championships. Zipadelli will work with Joey Logano in 2009. The latest youngster to join Joe Gibbs Racing will be racing at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale this weekend in the All-Star Showdown. He won the NASCAR Camping World Series portion of the Showdown last year and is one of a handful of high-profile drivers in this year's version of the race.
After the Showdown, Logano will head to Daytona Beach, Fla., for the season-opening Daytona 500 next month. Zipadelli was asked about what he can expect from Logano after working so long with Stewart, one of the more talented and volatile drivers in NASCAR.
“I don't know, we'll find out," Zipadelli said. "I've got three children at home. Ten years ago when we started with Tony there were a lot of up and down days and I think it’s going to be a lot of this. I hope that I stay a little bit even keeled knowing what’s on the other side of the rainbow."
Zipadelli said Logano is very mature for his age. With Kyle Busch, who has a bit of wild side, and Denny Hamlin, a more conservative driver by nature, Zipadelli said Logano will have two drivers with different personalities to learn from.
"So, for us we’re not sure exactly where we fit in – we’re somewhere in the middle," Zipadelli said. "He can go and speak to two different drivers who do different things, which to me is the greatest. Hopefully all the stuff you don’t want to deal with, yeah, I’ll probably have to spend more time with him on that part of it."
Zipadelli hasn't had to be much of a teacher with Stewart behind the wheel of his cars. But Zipadelli did have to be a moderator and a diplomat at times. He might have to rely on those skills with Logano.
"He wants to do this," Zipadelli said. "Maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t see a lot of the bull. We’re all going to have bad days and his biggest struggle is going to be figuring out why he didn’t run good. Was it him, was it him not being able to tell us, was it me not being able to figure out what he was saying, did we just do the wrong things? That’s where our bad days are going to
come from. Part of that is just time and he doesn’t have a lot of time in these cars. We don’t have any time working together. We haven’t been able to go to race tracks, like I said before, with the right tire at the race tracks we’re going to run at. And, kind of have to compete against guys at the test to just see where you stack up."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wilkerson-Tasca alliance

Bob Tasca III and Tim Wilkerson will be joining forces in 2009 in the NHRA Funny Car division. Wilkerson nearly won his first NHRA Funny Car championship last year, defying all odds by running a one-car operation.
With the support and experience of Tasca, the newly expanded Tasca Racing will be even tougher this year.
"It’s so important from a couple of perspectives," Tasca said. "Number one, chemistry, and I say that as number one because at the end of the day, you can take the best people and put them together and they won’t win. When I looked at forming an alliance, it was obviously associating myself with a team that is championship caliber and a person that had the chemistry that not only I share, but also Chris Cunningham and my team shares. The more I got to talk to Tim, the more I just fell in love with the guy. He’s a first-class family man, which is obviously a big part of what I’m all about. He’s a meat-and-potato racer. He’s not a complicated guy. He races his car in a very simple but effective manner, which is very similar to how Chris thinks, and he’s a competitor. He’s just a phenomenal competitor."

The Tasca-Wilkerson combination has all the elements of anti-establishment. But make no mistake, they will have high expectations going up against some of the top names in NHRA, Force, Schumacher and Pedregon.
"We are going to help one another through different initiatives," Tascas said. "We’ve got a blower initiative going on, we’ve got a clutch initiative. We’ll be doing a lot of testing in 2009 that he’ll be able to gather a lot of information from. I think he’ll be a mentor for me. That will be a great asset. I’m just thrilled to start this season off with Tim alongside me. I knew going in, about halfway through 2008, the owner side of me says, 'Nope, we ain’t gonna do this next year. Not going into 2009 alone. That’s not going to happen.' We were very fortunate to be able to put something together with Tim and I know Tim echoes the feelings. I talk to Tim a couple of times a week and he’s about excited as I am of starting this season off.”

Robert Hight handicaps the NHRA Funny Car field

Even though Robert Hight drives for the powerful John Force Racing team in the NHRA Funny Car division, he puts the Pedregon brothers, Tony and Cruz, at the top of the field as teams prepare for the season opener at Auto Club raceway in Pomona next month.
"You have to start with the Pedregons (Tony and Cruz), who have won the championship the last two years and they will always be tough," said Hight, who finished fourth in the Funny Car standings last year. "The new combination of Tim Wilkerson and Bob Tasca joining together and they will both be driving Ford Mustangs, so they will be tough. Tim honestly should have won the championship last, without the Countdown to 1, he would have."

Wilkerson built a huge lead before the Countdown began, but fell short of winning the Funny Car championship. Cruz Pedregon came out on top. His brother Tony won the Funny Car championship in 2007.
The Funny Car division will again be the most competitive in NHRA. The Pedregons, Force's four-car team, Don Schumacher Racing and the Tasca Racing duo will all bring top cars to every race.
"All the Schumacher cars will be tough, and then there are my own teammates," Hight said."I still think Funny Car will be the class to watch for competition. I think there will be a lot of different winners and even with the tough economic times I think Funny Car will be the strongest class because there should be 18 to 20 good cars every week and that means there will be a good car sitting out on Sunday."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Who's in the Toyota All-Star Showdown

The Toyota All-Star Showdown, a NASCAR race that pits the top drivers from the Camping World Series West and East, will have its share of rising stars, legends and has beens. Among the rising stars in the race are Joey Logano, the next driver of the No. 20 Toyota that Tony Stewart raced to two Cup championships for Joe Gibbs Racing. Logano won the Camping World Series portion of the Showdown last year. He will be joined by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Marc Davis at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, the site of the All -Star Showndown on Jan. 23-24.
Ron Hornaday Jr., a three-time NASCAR Truck Series champion and local legend in Southern California, is also entered in the Camping World Series portion of the race and he is going to race in the Whelen All-American Series race at Irwindale.
Ricky Carmichael is driving one of three cars for Ken Schrader Racing in the Showdown. Steve Park, a former Cup driver among other things, is also entered in the Showdown.
A handful of Irwindale regulars are also entered in the Showdown. Greg Pursley, who won a Whelen All-American national championship while racing at Irwindale, will race in the Showdown. R.J. Johnson, who completed his rookie season at Irwindale in the track Super Trucks division, is in the Showdown. Johnson is the son of Rod Johnson, who won the Super Late Model championship at Irwindale when the track opened in 1999. Keith Spangler, who has raced at Irwindale in the old NASCAR Elite Division, Southwest Series, will be racing in the Showdown.