Fontana Back In Business: Good news from the West Coast, as Fontana, California’s Auto Club Dragway is set to resume racing after a nearly two-year hiatus. Several of the quarter-mile drag strip’s neighbors had complained about excessive noise coming from the track, and they ultimately convinced a judge to order it shuttered until a sound-mitigation wall could be built. After unveiling the new 1800-foot-long by 24-foot-tall barrier, track officials hosted an open house last month to officially welcome back local drivers, media and racing organizations and review the 2014 schedule.
Talladega’s Lynch Receives Littlejohn Award: Congratulations to Talladega Superspeedway Chairman Grant Lynch, who was recently honored with the coveted Joe Littlejohn Award at the 2014 National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) convention in Concord, North Carolina. The award, which is handed out each year in recognition of outstanding service to the NMPA, is named after one of the great promoters of early stock car racing. (Littlejohn himself also organized the NMPA.) As for Lynch, he’s been at Talladega for more than two decades—he started as general manager there in January 1993. Lynch was since promoted to Vice President of International Speedway Corporation (ISC), and then president of Talladega. While with ISC, Lynch has overseen the development of Kansas Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway, but he’s always lived in Talladega. Our hats off to Grant Lynch on this well-deserved accolade.
NDRL Kicks Off New Racing Tours: Later this month, the National Dirt Racing League will launch a pair of new series—the NDRL Northeast Late Model Series and the NDRL Modifieds Series—to accompany its second-year Kings of Dirt National Series. “We have high expectations for both [series],” said NDRL’s Jason Shank. “But it’s going to take some time to build a relevant regional series that promoters, drivers, and fans can support.” Added NDRL owner John Kennedy: “We would eventually like to see the NDRL Northeast Series to be comparable to the old STARS series or MACS (Mid-Atlantic Championship Series). Our plan is to build into something like that within the next few years.” The two new ventures are set to kick off their inaugural seasons during the annual Chiller Thriller on March 29 at Mercer Raceway Park. While schedules are still being worked out, subsequent events are slated for Port Royal Speedway, McKean County Raceway and Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway. To learn more, visit www.ndrlnortheast.com.
SCORE One For The Corps: Sgt. Nick Kimmel hopes to make off-road racing history next month at the SCORE Imperial Valley 250. The former United States Marine Corps combat engineer and off-road enthusiast is heading up a team of military veterans that plans to compete in the 249-mile desert race in Plaster City, California, April 25–27. But what makes Kimmel particularly extraordinary is the fact that he’s a triple-amputee—the result of injuries he sustained after stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED) while deployed in southern Afghanistan in 2011. Still, despite losing both legs above the knee and his left arm above the elbow, Kimmel hasn’t lost an ounce of determination. Or his passion for motorsports. His next mission: to build an uncompromising off-road truck capable of competing at the highest levels of racing. So in late 2012, Operation Kimmel Off Road Team was born. The team, backed by veterans groups American Strong and Vision2Victory, enlisted the fabrication expertise of California-based McCool Motorsports, and has received equipment from sponsors like ODYSSEY battery by EnerSys, MasterCraft Safety, Fragola Performance Systems and others. Kimmel hopes the journey that begins in the California desert next month will lead to more adventures ahead, including the legendary Baja 1000. For more information or to donate, visit www.vision2victory.com.