Friday, August 23, 2019

Where I Think Matty D Could Be in 2020

Could we see Matt DiBenedetto in a top Truck Series ride in 2020? (PixelatedSPEED composite photo)

PENSACOLA, Florida (August 23, 2019) -- Alright, Matt DiBenedetto has arrived… almost. After “betting on himself” by leaving GoFas Racing following the 2018 season, Matty D landed at Levine Family Racing for 2019 driving Toyotas in a partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing.

As everyone is well aware, the same JGR tie-in is the same source of DiBenedetto’s upcoming departure from LFR once the 2019 season concludes.

DiBenedetto made the news officially official last week that he indeed would not be returning to the 95 car next season. He then followed that announcement with a stellar performance at Bristol Motor Speedway.

After leading the most laps in Bristol, and coming within only a handful of a breakthrough win, the big question going into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series off weekend is, “Where will Matty D go in 2020?”

The most obvious answer is the Xfinity Series program at JGR. With Chirstopher Bell (presumably) moving on to Cup in Bob Levine’s 95 car, the 20 car… which has amassed five wins so far in 2019… opens up, providing an excellent opportunity for DiBenedetto.

The prevailing theory with this move is to have DiBenedetto run Xfinity in 2020, then possibly move back to Cup in a second LFR car in 2021… just in time for the debut of the new Gen 7 Cup car.

A less likely, yet still possible, solution comes with JGR partner iK9 and their Xtreme Concepts Racing team. Xtreme Concepts have run a handful of races with driver Jeffery Earnhardt in 2019, and that partnership has carried over to the Joe Gibbs Racing program. In mid-August, Earnhardt announced that he and iK9 had parted company, opening up opportunities for not only Xtreme Concepts scheduled events, but iK9 sponsored opportunities at JGR as well.

That combined partnership has led to Matty D driving in an iK9 sponsored car for JGR at Road Atlanta this coming weekend.

Throughout this entire ordeal, DiBenedetto has been nothing but gracious and thankful for all the opportunities that have been afforded to him, even amid the news of his release. Not burning those bridges could pay off in the long run if the 20 car is presented to him, or if Xtreme Concepts puts together a full time effort next season, possibly putting DiBenedetto in the seat.

Beyond the Xfinity Series, Matty D could find himself in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Here’s the logic.

The iconic 51 truck is locked up with up to five races for Kyle Busch himself. Beyond that, Chandler Smith is likely to return, and other “all-star” drivers could take turns at that seat.

KBM’s other two trucks, however, are questionable, and could become opportunities for DiBenedetto.

Between drivers Harrison Burton and Todd Gilliland, it seems very likely that Gilliland’s seat is the most likely to be vacated in 2020. Gilliland’s performance in that truck has been lackluster when compared to the pedigree established by his predecessors.

Should Gilliland leave the 4 truck, it’s not a far stretch to fathom DiBenedetto running for a truck series championship in that ride.

However, should no doors at JGR or KBM open up, there is still yet another very strong spot for the driver from Grass Valley, California.

Matty D could fit well behind the wheel of the 54 DGR-Crossley truck.

Natalie Decker has by all accounts had a very disappointing rookie season. Her teammates have far exceeded her in performance, with Tyler Ankrum making the playoffs after a convincing win at Kentucky, while Anthony Alfredo has been consistent and solid all year long.

Decker’s cavalcade of circumstance mixed with inexperience and quite frankly lack of talent (mostly due, in my opinion, to being promoted to the truck series too soon) have resulted in a mirriad of unfavorable highlight reels that could see her out come next season.

Should Decker say so long, a very capable seat backed by a solid team with respectable equipment could be a strong fit for DiBenedetto.

In the end, one thing is certain, and that’s that nothing is certain. What seems like the most logical solutions often times finds a way to be completely muddled with the complexities of sponsorships, and the politics behind the scenes of the sport.

One thing is certain in the eyes of the NASCAR fan base, and that is that Matt Dibenedetto is a star that has won over the hearts of many. His Cinderella story is sure to have a fairy tale ending, it just may take a little more time to get there.

PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been “Bringing Pixels 2 Pavement Since 2018”. If you've made it this far into the post, thank you. Please consider sharing this content on the interwebs and following PixelatedSPEED on Facebook and Twitter and joining in on the conversation. & 

Sunday, August 4, 2019

PACE LAPS - Go Bowling at the Glen

WATKINS GLEN, New York (August 4, 2019)


Official Event Title: Go Bowling at the Glen
Venue: Watkins Glen International
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race #22 of 36
Date: Sunday, August 4, 2019
Green: Scheduled Green Flag (approx): 3:20pm/et
Laps/Stages: 90 laps total. Stages end on laps: 20/40/90


- Watkins Glen International is a 2.45-mile road course with seven turns with a variety of banking in the turns, ranging from 6 to 10 degrees. The length of the frontstretch is 2,150 feet, and the backstretch is 2,400 feet. The track width varies from 36′ to 48′ wide, and there is an elevation change of 115 feet.

- Since the advent of electronic scoring (in 1993) the closest margin of victory (MOV) in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Watkins Glen is the 2001 race won by Jeff Gordon over Jeff Burton with a MOV of 0.172 seconds. Last season’s race was the largest margin of victory in track history with Chase Elliott beating Martin Truex Jr. to the finish line by 7.560 seconds.

- There have been two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races resulting with NASCAR Overtime at Watkins Glen.


- After several events were held on the streets of Watkins Glen, a permanent facility was opened in 1956.

- The first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International was in 1957, won by Buck Baker (83.064 mph, 08/04/1957).

- After a six-year absence, NASCAR returned to The Glen in 1964 and 1965.

- Then after a 21-year absence, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returned to The Glen and has run one race a year there since 1986.

- The first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen was scheduled for 101.2-miles in 1957, the second race was 161.7-miles (1964) and the third race was 151.8-miles (1965). Every race since has been scheduled for 220.5-miles.

- The famous road course underwent a repave in 2015.

- There have been 36 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Watkins Glen International.
- A total of 280 different drivers have competed in at least one Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International; 170 have competed in more than one.

- Kyle Busch (14 starts) leads the series among active drivers in average starting position at Watkins Glen with a 7.071.

- Kyle Busch leads all active drivers in poles at Watkins Glen with two (2011 and 2017).

- Youngest Watkins Glen pole winner: Kyle Busch (08/15/2011 – 26 years, 3 months, 13 days).

- Oldest Watkins Glen pole winner: Morgan Shepherd (08/13/1989 – 47 years, 10 months, 1 day).

- By: Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining
- Statistics gathered from various sources.

PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been “Bringing Pixels 2 Pavement Since 2018”. If you've made it this far into the post, thank you. Please consider sharing this content on the interwebs and following PixelatedSPEED on Facebook and Twitter and joining in on the conversation. & 

Saturday, August 3, 2019


WATKINS GLEN, New York (August 4, 2019) -- The NASCAR Nation is parked in the “Finger Lakes” region of New York for the tour’s annual pilgrimage to Watkins Glen International for the Go Bowling at the Glen, while the Formula 1 World Championship takes on Hungary. Here is your Motorsports TV Schedule for Sunday, August 4, 2019...


8:30 AM, NXS Watkins Glen race re-air, NBCSN
11:00 AM, MENCS Watkins Glen practice re-air, NBCSN
12:00 PM, MENCS Watkins Glen qualifying re-air, NBCSN
12:30 PM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
1:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
2:30 PM, Countdown to Green, NBCSN
3:00 PM, MENCS Watkins Glen race, NBCSN
5:30 PM, MENCS Post Race, NBCSN


8:30 AM, On the Grid, ESPN2
9:05 AM, Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix, ESPN2


6:00 AM, NHRA Qualifying re-air, FS1
11:00 AM, NHRA Final Round Qualifying re-air, FS1
2:25 PM, IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship at Road America, IMSA.TV Live
4:00 PM, NHRA Northwest Nationals from Seattle, FS1
6:00 PM, IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship at Road America, NBCSN Tape-Delayed

Friday, August 2, 2019


Racing Wives is a new reality series airing on CMT beginning in August 2019. (Racing Wives/BPG Agency)

By: Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining

PENSACOLA, Florida (August 3, 2019) -- Racing Wives, a reality show revolving around the wives of the Busch brothers, Austin Dillon’s wife, and her best friend, debuted on Friday night on CMT.

The show features Samantha Busch, Kyle’s wife, Ashley Busch, Kurt’s wife, Whitney Ward Dillon, Austin’s wife, and Mariel Lane, fiance’ to Paul Swan who is a pit crew member on Dillon’s Cup Series team.

Trying to not have any expectations, I couldn’t help but wish for a show that is more in line with another NASCAR family-based reality show, NASCAR Drivers 360, which aired in the mid-2000s.

Instead, viewers are presented with a show more in tune with Keeping Up with the Kardashians. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I’m just not sure if it’s a NASCAR thing.

Amber Balcaen is also featured as a potential driver candidate to drive for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Spoiler, she so far has driven in two races for KBM in 2019, the first at Hickory Motor Speedway and the second at Motor Mile Speedway. Both races were in KBM prepared late models.

I highly doubt that this show will truly engage with the core NASCAR audience, but I don’t think that was the intention. NASCAR is merely the gimmick, while the storylines and personalities of the featured participants are the hook.

The glitz, glamour, pomp and circumstance surrounding these larger than life characters is sure to draw an audience of a certain demographic more in tune with the current MTV generation… which is not centered around music.

All that being said, I don’t see any harm being done here. For those that are in to this type of TV show, I’m sure it will have it’s enjoyable moments.

Overall, however, I see this show being panned by the majority of NASCAR fandom, and if it cannot stand on its own without that “built-in” viewer base, the show will not last.

But that’s just my two cents. What are yours? Leave your comments, but please be respectful to each other.

Also, if you enjoyed this content, smash the LIKE button and SHARE this post… it really does help a ton.

PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been “Bringing Pixels 2 Pavement Since 2018”. If you've made it this far into the post, thank you. Please consider sharing this content on the interwebs and following PixelatedSPEED on Facebook and Twitter and joining in on the conversation. & 

Monday, May 27, 2019

Victory Lane with Bill Roth - Inaugural Mobile Southern Pro Truck Nationals | PixelatedSPEED

Andrew Johnson celebrates winning the Southern Pro Truck Nationals at Mobile Speedway on May 25, 2019. (Photo: Andrew Johnson Facebook Page)
By: Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining

IRVINGTON, Alabama (May 27, 2019) -- PixelatedSPEED presents the first official episode of "Victory Lane with Bill Roth".

Follow along with veteran track announcer Bill Roth during Victory Lane interviews from the Inaugural Mobile Southern Pro Truck Nationals on May 25th, 2019.

The Southern Pro Am Truck Series made their first ever visit to Mobile International Speedway with a 50 lap feature race on a night that also showcased the Pure Stock and Sportsman divisions.

2018 Mobile Speedway Pro Truck Champ Andrew Johnson snagged the checkers in the Pro Truck feature.

Michael Moody in Pure Stocks, and Mark Barnhill in Sportsman continued their dominating 2019 seasons with victories in their respective divisions.

Head over to and subscribe to the PixelatedSPEED YouTube channel.

PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been “Bringing Pixels 2 Pavement Since 2018”. If you've made it this far into the post, thank you. Please consider sharing this content on the interwebs and following PixelatedSPEED on Facebook and Twitter and joining in on the conversation. & 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Mobile Speedway Pure Stocks - May 18, 2019 | PixelatedSPEED

Michael Moody captures the win at Mobile Speedway on May 18th, 2019. (Photo: Eddie Richie/Turn 1 Photos, Edited by: Daniel Vining/PixelatedSPEED)

By: Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining

IRVINGTON, Alabama (May 23, 2019) -- Experience some of the highlights from the Pure Stocks at Mobile International Speedway during the May 18th, 2019 weekend.

The night featured the Winged Sprint Cars, Outlaw Stocks, Sportsman, and Pure Stocks.

Michael Moody beat out young guns Daryl McDonald III and Dylan Courtney for the win.

Head over to and subscribe to the PixelatedSPEED YouTube channel.

PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been “Bringing Pixels 2 Pavement Since 2018”. If you've made it this far into the post, thank you. Please consider sharing this content on the interwebs and following PixelatedSPEED on Facebook and Twitter and joining in on the conversation. & 

Monday, May 20, 2019

PixelatedVLOG - Mobile Speedway Open Wheel Spectacular

Mobile International Speedway featured the Winged Sprint Cars on May 18th, 2019. (Daniel Vining/PixelatedSPEED)

By Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining

IRVINGTON, Alabama (May 20, 2019) -- Mobile International Speedway played host to a night of local division action featuring the Winged Sprint Cars, Outlaw Stocks, Sportsman and Pure Stocks.

In this PixelatedVLOG, I share my experience making my way to the track, and some adjustments I had to make as the night went along.

In short, I learned a ton about shooting video in a short amount of time, however, I'm only at the base of a mountain's worth of learning ahead.

Head over to and subscribe to the PixelatedSPEED YouTube channel.

PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been “Bringing Pixels 2 Pavement Since 2018”. If you've made it this far into the post, thank you. Please consider sharing this content on the interwebs and following PixelatedSPEED on Facebook and Twitter and joining in on the conversation. & 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Race Control: Mobile Speedway’s Start to a New Era; Schedule & Ticket Info May 18th Weekend

Driver Ronnie Roberts pilots his machine around the high line at Mobile Speedway during the season opening weekend back in March 2109. The Winged Sprint Cars will again be featured this weekend on May 18th. (Daniel Vining/

By: Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining

IRVINGTON, Alabama (May 18, 2019) -- The stars and cars of the Mobile International Speedway return to action tonight for another night of fast-paced action at the half-mile high-banked amphitheater of speed, and PixelatedSPEED will be there to chronicle the sights and sounds of a day at the races.

In case you missed it, a huge announcement hit the speedway last week with a changing of the guard as Competition Director Jason Smith finalized the purchase and gaining control over the Irvington landmark.

Gulfport, Mississippi native Smith has always considered Mobile Speedway his hometrack, being a former competitor in the Modified and Sportsman divisions.

In 2016, Smith attempted to purchase the property but after that fell through, he was offered the opportunity to serve as the track’s Technical Director in 2018.

At the start of the 2019 season, Smith moved from the tech shed to the tower, replacing the retiring Race Director Dan Spence as the speedway’s new Competition Director.

On Friday, May 10th, Smith completed the agreement that now sees him as the new promoter for the venue.

In talking with reporters, including myself, Smith is looking to revive Mobile International Speedway’s glory days with a 10-year plan that focuses on getting the track back to the basics by rebuilding the local divisions, then moving on to bringing back various other divisions, tours and series, including late models and the ARCA Menards Series.

Smith intends on continued efforts to find a balance between the track achieving a viable and stable revenue stream mixed with lowering the cost of racing for the racers themselves.

RELATED >> Under New Management -- Smith All In at Mobile Speedway

Mobile Speedway took its first step in it’s new direction with the Thursday practice, lowering the cost of admission to $15 for each driver and $5 for everyone else.

Tickets for tonight’s show are at a very reasonable $10 for General Admission.

In action tonight is a full slate of local division racing featuring the Winged Sprint Cars with Pure Stocks, Sportsman, Outlaws and Modifieds.

SCHEDULE of EVENTS for May 18, 2019:

2:00 - Pit Gates Open
2:15 - Tech Opens
3:45 - Practice Starts (Two cycles of practice for each class)
5:00 - Main Grandstands Open
6:15 - Practice Ends
6:30 - Drivers Meeting
6:55 - Pre-Race Ceremonies

Heat Races:

  • Pure Stock
  • Sportsman
  • Outlaws
  • Sprints
  • Modifieds

Feature Races:

  • Pure Stock
  • Sportsman
  • Outlaws
  • Sprints
  • Modifieds

For more information, logon to the speedway’s website at, or check out the speedway’s Facebook page at

PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been “Bringing Pixels 2 Pavement Since 2018”. If you've made it this far into the post, thank you. Please consider sharing this content on the interwebs and following PixelatedSPEED on Facebook and Twitter and joining in on the conversation. & 

Friday, May 10, 2019

Under New Management - Smith All In at Mobile Speedway

Competition Director, now General Manager, Jason Smith addresses drivers during the driver's meeting at the regular season opener on March 30th, 2019 (Daniel Vining/PixelatedSPEED)

By: Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining

IRVINGTON, Alabama (May 10, 2019) -- Just months after assuming the role of Competition Director, Gulfport, Mississippi’s Jason Smith is now the General Manager of Mobile International Speedway. Smith officially gained control to the keys to the speedway on Friday afternoon after coming to an agreement with the previous promoter, Charlie Lyons and speedway owner Ida Hatfield.

Mobile Speedway issued a statement on their official Facebook Page on Friday night:

Mobile International Speedway is proud to announce new management!
Race Director, Jason Smith, which was a long time local racer has stepped up to the plate to take over operations at the Speedway!
The track will run the current schedule as originally advertised for the remainder of 2019.
This is a long term deal which will give the Speedway the stability that the racers of MIS deserve.
"I am honored to have the opportunity to be the promoter at such an iconic speedway with a very rich history! Although this deal has only recently materialized, I feel like this has been in the making all the way back to my childhood when my father started racing at MIS in 1981." - Jason Smith

Smith served as Mobile’s Technical Director after a failed attempt at purchasing the speedway led him to hooking up with the Lyons family, who brought racing back to Mobile in 2018 and were managing the speedway in the 2019 season until this new agreement was reached.

“I was putting together a deal to purchase MIS with an investor, but it fell apart,” said Smith in February. Then the Lyons came in and put a deal together themselves. Shortly thereafter, they asked Dave Mader for my number. We sat down and talked about what was going on at Mobile, and wanted to know if I wanted to still be a part of it and work for them.”

“I told them I’d gladly do it,” he continued. “I wanted to be a part of what was going on at Mobile because it was important to me that it didn’t become a dirt pit. From there, I worked all of 2018 as the Technical Director at Mobile International Speedway.”

Fast forward to May 2019 and Smith finds himself all in for this run at managing Mobile Speedway after pulling together every resource he could in order to see this deal come together.

“I’ve got everything in this… I’m all in and all the chips are on the table,” said Smith.

Smith has a tough road ahead after Mobile Speedway’s return to racing last year left the track digging itself out of a bit of a hole to start the 2019 racing season.

The year started on a tremendous note with a sellout crowd for the Bandit Big Rig Series’ visit followed up with an equally strong regular season opening night.

Even with the strong start, the issues from 2018 have continued to seep into this season, making moving forward a challenge.

Smith told PixelatedSPEED that it’s a challenge he is up for taking… noting that he made many observations during the beginning of the season that as an employee he had less control over but now as the General Manager, he can affect the changes needed in order to improve results in all areas of the speedway.

He added that he is looking forward to getting the speedway back on track with its goal of moving forward.

“I have a long term deal here,” he said. “I look forward to seeing old faces back at MIS that we haven't seen in awhile.”

For at least the time being, Smith will pull “double-duty”, continuing to serve as the speedway’s Competition Director in addition to his new role as General Manager. He said he may hire a new Competition Director next year.

Smith will continue to focus on the local divisions at Mobile, which returns to competition on May 18th. He reemphasized the sentiment from his February announcement as Competition Director.

“Whether its trucks, outlaws, sportsman, whatever, if you come and see the local guys race, they’ll put on a show and I think you’ll be happy. Some of the best shows we had in 2018 as far as just good door-to-door racing come from our local divisions. We had better racing in the locals than in many of the late model shows. I know the local teams are dedicated to putting on a show if people just show up to watch them.”

Following the May 18th show, Mobile Speedway welcomes the Southern Pro Am Truck Series as they visit Irvington for the first time. That night will also feature Sportsman and Pure Stocks.

Then the speedway hits the heart of the summer with seven weekends of local division racing leading up to the season championship on September 7th.

The year will close out with the Mobile 300 weekend on November 1st - 2nd.

PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been “Bringing Pixels 2 Pavement Since 2018”. If you've made it this far into the post, thank you. Please consider sharing this content on the interwebs and following PixelatedSPEED on Facebook and Twitter and joining in on the conversation. & 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Hicks Sweeps Pensacola and Mobile in Pro Trucks for Curt Britt Motorsports

Senoia, Georgia driver Josh Hicks is making a name for himself on the Gulf Coast after sweeping Pro Truck features at Pensacola and Mobile over the weekend. From March 29, 2019 (Daniel Vining/PixelatedSPEED)

By: Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining

PENSACOLA, Florida (April 3, 2019) -- Josh Hicks has started his 2019 racing campaign in the same manner he ended 2018… parking a Pro Truck in victory lane. After winning the Pro Truck portion of the Snowball Derby in December, Hicks once again grabbed the checkered flag in the regular season openers at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida and at Mobile International Speedway in Irvington, Alabama.

In Pensacola, the driver from Senoia, Georgia racked up his second win, and afterward, remarked about how enjoyable it is racing at Five Flags Speedway.

“It’s feels pretty good,” he said. “I’ve got a little streak going… I’m two for two at Pensacola. I really enjoy the track. Turns one and two are completely different the three and four so it kind of spices it up a little bit, makes it interesting. I really like the whole track in general.”

Hicks needed only seven laps to find the lead, passing polesitter Brandon Burks before checking out to a convincing win.

“It was fun riding behind him, seeing what he was doing and all,” he said. “I knew we had a really good truck at the beginning of the race. I just basically just waited patiently until he screwed up a little bit and then I got underneath him and then I just ran my race. We got a little tight at the end, but I think next time we race there we’ll have it figured out.”

Hicks first performance at Five Flags Speedway came in the Pro Truck feature during the 51st Annual Snowball Derby. That race came a week later than initially scheduled due to persistent inclement weather on the original date. When the time came, Hicks dove low on leader Steven Davis in turn one and came away with the lead coming out of turn two with three laps remaining in the 50 lap event en-route to a breakout win.

After winning on March 29th, Hicks compared the two experiences.

“I wasn’t freezing my butt off this time I can tell you that,” laughed Hicks. “I drove about the same line… it was a different truck but I drove it about the same way. I did learn some things riding behind the 95 truck (of Davis). He probably doesn’t know but he taught me some things when I was running second behind him and I applied some of those things to this race.”

At Mobile, Hicks had to contend with defending Mobile Speedway Pro Truck Champ Andrew Johnson. Hicks chased down Johnson after the pair got passed Brian Wiemer. On lap 18, Hicks rubbed his way passed Johnson on the frontstretch, completing the pass going into turn one. From there, Hicks set sail and cruised to his first win at Mobile, second on the weekend, and third in a row in a Pro Truck.
“I went really good,” said Hicks. “I don’t know how many races I’ve had here but I've really wanted to win. I don’t want to come to a track and struggle… I'd like to win at every track that I go to eventually. Andrew had some short run speed for sure because I was struggling to keep up with him for about the first five laps after a restart. After that five laps I’d start to reel him in and he seemed to wash up coming into the corners and once I got by him I was able to run my own line in some clean air and just focus on getting to the finish.”

With the wins, Hicks is the early points leader in both Pro Truck divisions.

“It’s a very good start,” he said. “I can’t thank Curt Britt and his guys enough because they give me an excellent truck to race with every single race. I wouldn’t want to be racing with anybody else right now.”

Team owner Curt Britt was quick to share his thoughts about Hick’s talent and performance thus far.

“Josh is a natural talent and possess many qualities that can not be taught,” said Britt. “He has a natural seat of the pants feel for a race car.”

Hicks got his first laps in a Pro Truck at Mobile thanks to an opportunity this time last year from long time Mobile area racer John Thompson. In his efforts with Thompson, Hicks enjoyed modest, yet promising success.

“He was driving for Grant Thompson Racing, racing for John Thompson,” Britt told PixelatedSPEED. “With Grant (John’s 13 year old son) coming up John didn’t feel he could give both trucks 100% so him and I talked and he asked about my thoughts about giving Josh a try. This was back last summer in August so, Josh came to Pensacola to test the trucks and we made a deal for the derby and beyond.”

Thompson added his thoughts about Hicks in a post celebrating the weekend’s accomplishments.

“I am very proud of Josh's success and the young man he is,” said Thompson. “The door of opportunity opened for Josh because he made good choices on the race track. I am sure Josh has a bright future on and off the race track.”

That future includes returning to Mobile International Speedway this upcoming Saturday, April 6th, as the Pro Truck Division points leader. The Pro Trucks will race in a program alongside Outlaw Stocks, Sportsman, and Pure Stocks. Of note for this weekend, the Pro Truck Division will race their feature using the “Black Flag Racing” format, wherein the last truck in the field each lap will be blag flagged and eliminated from the race until only two trucks are left standing, setting up a sprint to the finish among the final duo.

With lowered ticket prices for 2019, and increased focus on the local divisions, Mobile Speedway is set to give fans a very entertaining show all year long. Grandstands open up at 5:00 PM and racing starts at 7:00 PM. For more information, check out the Mobile Speedway Facebook Page, or head over the track’s website at

PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been “Bringing Pixels 2 Pavement Since 2018”. If you've made it this far into the post, thank you. Please consider sharing this content on the interwebs and following PixelatedSPEED on Facebook and Twitter and joining in on the conversation. & 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

PixelatedRESULTS: Opening Night for Mobile Speedway Regular Season

Mobile racer Chance Imel piloted his Pure Stock to a third place finish on Opening Night at Mobile Speedway on March 30, 2019. (Daniel Vining/PixelatedSPEED)

By: Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining

IRVINGTON, Alabama (March 31, 2019) -- Mobile International Speedway kicked off it’s 2019 regular season on Saturday night, March 30th, with five classes competing. A very healthy crowd played witness to both new and old winners in Pure Stocks, Sportsman, Pro Trucks, Outlaw Stocks and Winged Sprint Cars.

The preliminary build up to the night’s feature racing consisted of group qualifying for the Pure Stock and heat racing for the Pro Trucks, Outlaw Stocks and Winged Sprint Cars. Afterward, kids from the stands joined track announcer Bill Roth to roll the dice and determine the number of cars/trucks inverted for the features.

The five classes of Mobile International Speedway went to work in feature racing, putting on a great show for the fans in the stands, with a mix of new winners and returning victors.

In the Pure Stock 20 lap feature, it was all Daryl McDonald. Starting on the pole, McDonald led wire to wire, taking an unchallenged victory to start the 2019 season… his first at Mobile Speedway.

“It was a good race,” said McDonald. “We worked hard every week to get ready for this first race and it was… good.”

At the checkers, Citronelle, Alabama’s Dylan Courtney and Pensacola, Florida native Robert Balkum were second and third respectively. After post race technical inspection, however, both were disqualified for violations in their ignition systems. This handed second to fast qualifier TJ Thompson and third to McDonald’s teammate, Chance Imel.

After battling hard the night prior in Pensacola, BJ Laytham and Mark Barnhill continued to trade blows on Saturday night in Mobile. Laytham got the jump on polesitter Barhnill to start the 25 lap feature in the Sportsman Division, but after a bump in turn three, Barnhill was able to take the point on lap three. From then on, Laytham was able to keep up with Barnhill in the turns, but Barnhill continued to stretch out his lead on the straightaways, taking the checkers and sweeping the weekend with wins at both Five Flags and Mobile Speedway. Laytham held on to second, with Lee “Red Dog” Reynolds in third.

“It feels pretty good to come out here and win,” said Barnhill. “I know we’ve got a lot of good cars and any given night any given driver can win.”

The Pro Truck Division feature started with a wild ride off of the turn four banking for driver Jesse Salazar. At the start, Josh Hicks and Andrew Johnson took youngster Grant Thompson three wide going down the backstretch and into turn three. In the ensuing log jam, Salazar backed up a bit and Eric Courville made slight contact with Salazar’s left rear, sending Salazar up the track and over the banking. Salazar refired his machine, brought it to the attention of his crew and returned to the race after going airborne over the banking.

Up front, Hicks and Johnson again took Thompson three wide on the restart, with Thompson getting stuck up high and quickly losing spots, finding a spot in line behind Salazar in sixth.

Meanwhile, Andrew Johnson worked his way to the lead, around polesitter Brian Wiemer, who then lost the second spot to Josh Hicks. Hicks then began to chase down the leader Johnson before the caution flew on lap 11 for Grant Thompson, who lost power and came to a stop in turns three and four.

This setup a duel between Johnson and Hicks. As the pair checked out from the field following the restart, Hicks kept his machine close to Johnson, and on lap 18 rubbed his way by to take the lead. After Hicks got by Johnson, he got gone… sailing away to the feature win, doubling down on the weekend with victories at both Five Flags Speedway and Mobile Speedway.

“I’d like to thank Curt Britt Motorsports,” said Hicks. “He gave one really fast truck and couldn’t ask for a better truck to drive and win with. I’d like to thank my Mom and Dad couldn’t make it today because they had to to another race for our Bando and Legends Car drivers.”

The Outlaw Stocks put on a whale of show, with the field of cars battling hard in their 15 lap contest. Wesley King started on the pole and quickly began to pull out to a healthy margin over second place Kevin Chase. Chase had Jason Welch all over his back bumper, hounding him lap after lap. On lap six, Welch took second from Chase, then a lap later, dove down low on King to snatch away the lead in turn three. Welch drove off from there to score an emotional victory after not having claimed a win in some time.

“It’s been a long time,” said Welch. “It’s been a long day… no sleep from last night. I know it wasn’t a great car count tonight, but I’m glad you fans came out. We finally got one and it feels pretty damn good!”

The wicked fast Winged Sprint Cars closed out the night, putting on a clinic of raw, ground pounding speed around the Mobile half-mile.

Todd Fayard led the majority of the race while polesitter Ronnie Roberts made surges at the lead, trying to find a way around Fayard. Roberts was no match for Fayard on this night, and was looking at settling for second place until lap 11 of the 25 lap feature. After dominating, Fayard found himself with a major problem, losing power in turn four and rolling to a stop on the frontstretch as the field crossed the line at the start of lap 12.

After the restart, Ronnie Roberts took off, easily taking the checkers. Gulf Port, Mississippi drivers Shane Morgan and Cody Karl finished second and third respectively.

“We finally got all the bugs worked out after last year,” said Roberts. “I think we’ll be alright from now on.”


Pure Stock:

  1. 19 - Daryl McDonald III
  2. 12 - TJ Thompson
  3. 325 - Chance Imel
  4. 4 - Matt Jackson
  5. 21 - Thomas Norman
  6. 92 - Taylor Goudreault
  7. 2 - Michael Moody
  8. 22 - Dylan Courtney (DQ)
  9. 52 - Robert Balkum (DQ)


  1. 3 - Mark Barnhill
  2. 8 - BJ Laytham
  3. 32 - Lee Reynolds
  4. 71 - Tommy Blocker
  5. 1 - Maddox Langham
  6. 35 - Heath Hudson
  7. 55 - Jimbo Walker

Pro Trucks:

  1. 56 - Josh Hicks
  2. 66 - Andrew Johnson
  3. 30 - Memphis Villarreal
  4. 40 - Brian Weimer
  5. 52 - Eric Courville
  6. 18 - Eric Salazar
  7. 1 - Johnathan Langham
  8. 1 - Howard Langham
  9. 54 - Grant Thompson
  10. 51 - Trevor Bowen

Outlaw Stocks:

  1. 21 - Jason Welch
  2. 14 - Wesley King
  3. 15 - Kevin Chase
  4. 95 - Phillip Crownover

Winged Sprint Cars:

  1. 32 - Ronnie Roberts Jr.
  2. 1 - Shane Morgan
  3. 52 - Cody Karl
  4. 88 - Brandon Blenden
  5. 152 - Blake Carrier
  6. 121 - Todd Bliss
  7. 13 - Todd Fayard
  8. 77 - Francis Crowder

The stars and cars of the Mobile International Speedway return to have the “Fastest Fun Around” next week for another week of local division action on April 6th. In an added twist, the feature races will showcase a style of racing called “Black Flag Racing.” The basic premise in this is that the field will run a certain amount of laps before whoever is last will be black flagged, and that driver’s finishing position will be scored at that point. This will continue until there are only two cars remaining, setting the stage for a grudge match dash to the finish. The classes running on April 6th are the Pure Stocks, Sportsman, Outlaw Stocks and Pro Trucks.

For more information, check out the Mobile Speedway Facebook Page, or head over the track’s website at

PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been “Bringing Pixels 2 Pavement Since 2018”. If you've made it this far into the post, thank you. Please consider sharing this content on the interwebs and following PixelatedSPEED on Facebook and Twitter and joining in on the conversation. & 

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Gio Bromante Survives Late Race Crash to Win 2nd Southern Super Series Race in a Row

Anthony Campi Racing team owner, Anthony Campi, stands proudly in victory lane with 15 year old Gio Bromante after Bromante wins his second Super Late Model race in a row, and first at Five Flags Speedway on March 29, 2019. (Daniel Vining/PixelatedSPEED)

By: Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining

PENSACOLA, Florida (March 30, 2019) -- Two weekends ago, Giovanni Bromante burst onto the Super Late Model scene with a breakout win in the 43rd Annual Rattler 250 in Opp, Alabama. Fast forward to Friday night, and the 15 year old finds himself once again in victory lane, this time at Five Flags Speedway in the Blizzard Series opening SERF 100, round two of the 2019 Southern Super Series season.

Reaching victory lane meant overcoming a late race crash that wiped out the top four, then passing another eight cars to get to the lead.

“I just went into turn one, I knew there was something wrong up the track,” he said. “I just went in on my line then I started to turn around. I kept on the throttle so I wouldn’t flat spot the tires and that really paid off. I didn't have a lot of tire to begin with, but we came in and made a change to the rear of the car and it really helped. It wasn’t a loose and I was actually better than before we came in. We picked off eight cars and wound up in victory lane.”

Casey Roderick took 37 laps to find his way to the front and looked to be the car to beat on the night, with Connor Okrzesik a close second.

That all changed on lap 84 when Steven Davis began dropping fluid from the rear end of his machine.

Jett Noland, following behind Davis, hit the fluid sending him spinning in turns one and two just as the leaders came speeding through. Roderick went high, making heavy contact with Nolland. Okrzesik followed suit, also making contact. The crash also claimed third place Chris Davidson and fourth place Gio Bromante.

This left a brand new top five, with fast qualifier Logan Boyett on the point for the restart. Boyett just didn’t have the car he needed to maintain the top spot, and quickly began to drift backwards, surrendering the lead to Lucas Jones, who had started the race from the pole thanks to the dice roll invert.

It wasn’t long, however, before Bromante was on the tail of the leader, having darted through the field on the restart.

A final caution flew after several cars in toward the back of the field tangled in turn one. This set up a dash the finish.

RELATED >> Dream Comes True as Giovanni Bromante Wins 43rd Ratter 250

On the final restart, Jones heavily spun his tires, fish tailing down the front stretch, but somehow how saved his machine and held on to the second spot as Bromante rocked away for the win.
Team owner Anthony Campi was all smiles in victory lane after a job well done by his driver.

“He did a great job,” siad Campi. “We unloaded with a really good car, but just struggled in qualifying. We were really optimistic going into the race. Just kept him calm and saved the tires. We probably had a third place car there at the end, but we spun in that oil, so we came in a pitted and made the most of it.”

“He’s really good, really aggressive,” he added. He does what we tell him to and he learns every race and its just showing… he’s going to be a super star. He’s going to make it in the sport and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”

For his effort, Bromante is now a two-time winner in the Southern Super Series in only his second Super Late Model start. He is also the Southern Super Series points leader.

“It’s another dream come true,” said Bromante. “I never thought I’d be in victory lane again so soon. These guys just gave such a great car for the whole race and we just work so great together as a team that and just can’t thank them enough for giving me such a great car.”

The next opportunity for Bromante and the stars of the Southern Super Series comes on May 4th at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in a combo event with the CRA Super Series and CARS Super Late Model Tour.


1. Gio Bromante
2. Lucas Jones
3. Kyle Plott
4. Trey Bayne
5. Dennis Prunty
6. Jesse Dutilly
7.Jeremy Pate
8. Logan Boyett
9.Anthony Sergi
10. Joe Aramendia
11. Ryan Herbert
12. Chris Davidson
13. Kyle Bryant
14. Casey Roderick
15. Connor Okrzesik
16. Steven Davis
17. Jeff Batten
18. Roger Reuse

PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been “Bringing Pixels 2 Pavement Since 2018”. If you've made it this far into the post, thank you. Please consider sharing this content on the interwebs and following PixelatedSPEED on Facebook and Twitter and joining in on the conversation. & 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Langham has a Big Night in Bandit Big Rig at Mobile

Johnathan Langham made his debut in the Bandit Big Rig Series in front of a sellout crowd at his hometrack of Mobile International Speedway on March 23, 2019 (Daniel Vining/PixelatedSPEED)

By: Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining

IRVINGTON, Alabama (March 27, 2019) - Johnathan Langham went into the opening event for the 2019 Bandit Big Rig Series season a rookie, but relied on his years of experience at Mobile International Speedway to carry him through this new experience, coming away with a solid performance in equipment that his competition thought wouldn’t perform at such a high level in front of a sellout crowd on March 23rd.

Prior to raceday, Langham had only turned a handful of laps, shaking down his number 69 Kruckeberg Motorsports Frieghtliner. It didn’t take long for the Mobile area native to begin to find comfort behind the wheel, and find speed... looking forward to a very full plate of racing scheduled throughout the day to give him the laps he needed to be ready for the night’s 30 lap feature.

“It’s definitely going to help,” he said. “Anytime you can get seat time is a major plus in anything. We’re still learning little things lap by lap.”

“With the last man standing race and the 15 lap Challenge race we should definitely have a lot more seat time going into them as long as we complete every lap in ever event tonight, I’ll be very happy and I think we’ll be able to be somewhere in there in the end.”

Was he nervous? A little right at first, but those nerves quickly subsided, allowing Langham to place his focus on the task at hand.

“I’m ready to get out there and be able to run with trucks. It’s been a bunch of single truck runs. I haven’t really been side by side in traffic much yet so I’m looking forward to the heat race and seeing if we can capitalize on it.”
While Langham didn’t have the results in his heat race that he was looking for, he did have a bit of a battle with driver Tim Ashley in the first 15 lap Challenge race, finishing second, and learning a lot about his truck and what it would take to get it done in the A-Main later in the evening.

“A lot of luck,” said Langham. “This truck that I’m in is a bone stock truck. It’s got bone stock turbos… stock injectors… you can’t adjust on the injectors none. It’s got a stock steering box so I’m having to turn three times, four times as much as these other guys.

“I think if we can keep the right front on it, keep the brakes cool, I think we’ll be able to come out of here with a top five and who knows we may have a little bit of luck on our side and some of these others have attrition not play in their favor, it may play in ours and we could probably wind up better than fifth.”

In the 30 lap A-Main feature, Johnathan Langham performed very well, running solidly in the top half of the field throughout the entire event. After a late race restart, last year’s race winner Allen Boles made contact with Langham as the pair rolled around turn two. The contact sent Langham into a lazy spin, just cresting the turn’s banking. Langham got his truck refired, and back to pit road to the attention of his crew.

After the race, Langham shared his thoughts, relishing in the overall accomplishment of the night, but aggravated to have his overachieving run thwarted by the late race contact.

“We were able to keep it on all four, but it really sucked though cause we restarted fourth and got collected with Allen on the restart,” he said. “We came in to make sure the tires were good and everything was good on the truck. Instead of giving you two courtesy laps, they only gave me a half a lap or whatever. They had taken the green and was coming off of turn two by the time we had gotten through the gears coming down the front straightaway.”

“It just sucks because I was really surprising myself there, you know,” he continued. “We were sitting there fifth, fourth, sixth, and coming down to the halfway point and you know you still have a truck that’s good enough and you’re running with the leaders, it pisses you off but you take it with a grain of salt.”

“I set out with my original goal. I wanted to complete all the laps, stay out of trouble and finish on the lead lap, and we accomplished that. We were ‘that’ close, we were so close and could of had us a podium finish. I feel like we really had a top three truck.”

“The ninth place finish we got doesn’t show the finish we were capable of.”

The Bandit Big Rig Series visit to Mobile International Speedway was by all accounts a huge success, posting a sellout crowd and setting the stage for next week when the track’s regular season schedule kicks off.

During my interview with Langham, you could hear the roaring crowd in the background, something that gave the local guy chills as we sat on the pit wall.

“That’s the part that will give you chills more than sitting in this truck today,” said Langham. “I love sitting in this packed house. This is the Bandits’ first ever sellout crowd and they accomplished it here at Mobile International Speedway. This track has needed something like this. This is something very big for Mobile.”

“Hopefully, if we can get half these people back thats in the stands tonight, and get them back next week, then the week after that they tell their friends and they come out. Man, this is what Mobile International Speedway needs again, is a packed house like this. People will want to build cars if they see people in the stands like this and that will get Mobile back to the way it was back in the 90s.

Langham will return to the familiar seats of his Sportsman, Pro Truck and Outlaw next Saturday, but is open to a return to the Bandit Big Rig Series should the opportunity arise.

“If I get a second chance to run one of these trucks for somebody, I’ll definitely be interested and want to take them up on it. It was a lot of fun.”

PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been “Bringing Pixels 2 Pavement Since 2018”. If you've made it this far into the post, thank you. Please consider sharing this content on the interwebs and following PixelatedSPEED on Facebook and Twitter and joining in on the conversation. & 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Rookie Bendeguz Molnar Wins in Debut Race Over Champ Ricky Rude at Mobile in Bandit Big Rigs

2018 European Swift Cup Champion Bendeguz Molnar won the Bandit Big Rig Series season opener at Mobile Speedway on March 23rd in his debut race in the United States. (Daniel Vining/PixelatedSPEED)

By: Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining

IRVINGTON, Alabama (March 26, 2019) -- Hailing from Budapest, Hungary, Bendeguz Molnar shocked the Bandit Big Rig Series with a convincing victory in his debut performance. To get there, Molnar had to fend off reigning series champion Ricky Rude. Oh, by the way, this was Molnar’s first race in a truck, first race on an oval, and first race in the United States.

“It was exciting,” said Molnar in victory lane. “I tried to do my best and fortunately we had a great truck… thank you to the team and to  Michael (Caesars) for the great setup.”

“It’s my dream. I was really hungry to win the race, and wanted to get to the end very fast.”

“For me it’s a bit different than in Europe because I race road courses there. It’s very different. Three days ago was my first time to try a race truck, before that it was only smaller cars.”

A start in racing simulators led Molnar to an opportunity to participate in a racing talent show against other semi-pro drivers in Hungary. After winning that show, Molnar was awarded the chance to race in the FIA European Swift Cup, winning the 2018 title before coming to the United States.

Although already a championship driver, Molnar relished in the support he received from the sellout crowd at Mobile International Speedway. He participated in the driver meet and greet, the first time he’d experienced such an event.

“In Hungry for a national championship there aren’t many spectators like here so its way different. All the people are all so fun and very nice. Plus its all road courses and this is an oval. I need to learn a lot but I’m trying to do my best.”

Now, Molnar will focus on continuing his success during his rookie season in the Bandit Big Rig Series.

“I’m just trying to go for the win… it’s very different and good fun.”

“Fortunately we have worked great with Michael and the truck was very good for this moment.”

“I think we are gonna try to get some other wins here too.”

Two-time and defending Bandit Big Rig Series champion Ricky Rude put up a strong effort in his attempt at getting around the rookie Molnar, but opted to maintain a cautious approach as a counter to Molnar’s aggressive tactics.

“I had three or four chances to make the pass,” said Rude. “He was too aggressive so I just saved the truck. I’d rather finish second on my wheels tonight than back in the back torn all to pieces. Maybe he’ll learn, I just talked to him and we’ll see what he does in the future.”

“They don't’ know circle track racing, he’s a road course guy, but  e have a rule that if the truck is to your door then you’ve got to hold your line. That’s what I’ve always done, especially at the green flag. Green flags, you have to take everything you can get because you may not have another opportunity. Me, with experience, I just backed up and let him come up because there is no recourse for me other than wrecking my truck.”

Rude choosing to not push the issue against the rookie led to a solid second place finish, and early lead in the points standings after also claiming the win the Bandit Shootout, and Challenge race earlier in the day.

“I have a very good record of not doing well at the first of the year,” joked Rude. “To come down here and do as well as I did in the heat races, the Challenge race, the Shootout and to finish second… I’m good.”

As we concluded the interview, I mentioned that he now as the points lead, to which he simply responded, “Thank you, I hope I can hold on to it.”

Sunday, March 24, 2019

PixelatedRESULTS: Bandit Big Rig Series Puts on a Big Show in Mobile

Defending Bandit Big Rig Series Champion Ricky Rude is off to a great start in 2019 with wins in his heat race, Challenge race, the Bandit Shootout and a second place in the A-Main. That puts him atop the points leaving Mobile Speedway. - March 23, 2019 (Daniel Vining/PixelatedSPEED)

By: Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining

IRVINGTON, Alabama (March 24, 2019) -- The Big Rig Bandit Series rolled into Mobile International Speedway on Saturday March 23rd for their season opening event of 2019. There was no other divisions or series on the agenda, but the Bandits put on a full plate of racing excitement for the sellout crowd over the course of the night. Group qualifying, Heat Races, Challenge Races and the Bandit Shootout all served as preliminaries leading up to the night’s 30 lap A-Main feature race.

Here are the complete results from all the racing action across the night. Results are not official.

Bandit A-Main (30 laps):

16 - Bendeguz Molnar
14 - Ricky Rude
41 - Marshall Davis
55 - Craig Krukeberg
5 - Tim Ashley
13 - Bob Mitchell
3 - Allen Boles
8 - Doug Hilson
69 - Johnathan Langham
66 - Austin Hoppe
46 - Brian Cash
88 - Mike Morgan
74 - Mark Noble
7 - Jon Lisenbee
4 - Scott Treadway
27 - Darren Proffitt

Bandit Challenge Race #1 (15 laps):

5 - Tim Ashley
69 - Johnathan Langham
3 - Allen Boles
46 - Brian Cash
88 - Mike Morgan
66 - Austin Hoppe
8 - Doug Hilson

Bandit Challenge Race #2 (15 laps):

14 - Ricky Rude
16 - Bendeguz Molnar
74 - Mark Noble
7 - Jon Lisenbee
55 - Craig Kruckeberg
27 - Darren Proffitt
4 - Scott Treadway
41 - Marshall Davis
13 - Bob Mitchell

Bandit Shootout Results:

This is listed in order of how the rounds went. It starts with the two slowest trucks from qualifying going head to head for a single green flag lap. The winner moves on to face the next slowest. This is repeated all the way through the field of trucks.

41 - Marshall Davis defeats 27 - Darren Proffitt
41 - Marshall Davis defeats 46 - Brian Cash
41 - Marshall Davis defeats 66 - Austin Hoppe
41 - Marshall Davis defeats 8 - Doug Hilson
55 - Craig Kruckeberg defeats 41 - Marshall Davis
55 - Craig Kruckeberg defeats 13 - Bob Mitchell
55 - Craig Kruckeberg defeats 4 - Scott Treadway
55 - Craig Kruckeberg defeats 3 - Allen Boles
55 - Craig Kruckeberg defeats 69 - Johnathan Langham
55 - Craig Kruckeberg defeats 7 - Jon Lisenbee
55 - Craig Kruckeberg defeats 88 - Mike Morgan
55 - Craig Kruckeberg defeats 74 - Mark Noble
14 - Ricky Rude defeats 55 - Craig Kruckeberg
14 - Ricky Rude defeats 16 - Bendeguz Molnar
14 - Ricky Rude defeats 5 - Tim Ashley

Bandit Heat Race #1:

Data was unavailable at the time of initial posting. PixelatedSPEED will update this info when/if the data becomes available. Scoring officials were having some difficulties early on.

That being said, I did jot down the top three…

27 - Darren Proffitt
55 - Craig Kruckeberg
41 - Marshall Davis

Bandit Heat Race #2:

7 - Jon Lisenbee
4 - Scott Treadway
13 - Bob Mitchell
69 - Johnathan Langham
3 - Allen Boles
51 - Luke Whitmire

Bandit Heat Race # 3:

14 - Ricky Rude
16 - Bendeguz Molnar
74 - Mark Noble
5 - Tim Ashley
88 - Mike Morgan

Bandit Group Qualifying:

5 - Tim Ashley
16 - Bendeguz Molnar
14 - Ricky Rude
74 - Mark Noble
88 - Mike Morgan
7 - Jon Lisenbee
51 - Luke Whitmire
69 - Johnathan Langham
3 - Allen Boles
4 - Scott Treadway
13 - Bob Mitchell
55 - Craig Kruckeberg
 8 - Doug Hilson
66 - Austin Hoppe
46 - Brian Cash
41 - Marshall Davis
27 - Darren Proffitt

Bandit Practice:

14 - Ricky Rude
74 - Mark Noble
69 - Johnathan Langham
4 - Scott Treadway
5 - Tim Ashley
55 - Craig Krukeberg
7 - Jon Lisenbee
27 - Darren Proffitt
13 - Bob Mitchell
8 - Doug Hilson
46 - Brian Cash
66 - Austin Hoppe
13 - Marshall Davis

PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been “Bringing Pixels 2 Pavement Since 2018”. If you've made it this far into the post, thank you. Please consider sharing this content on the interwebs and following PixelatedSPEED on Facebook and Twitter and joining in on the conversation. & 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

PixelatedBITS: Leftovers from the 43rd Annual Rattler 250

Fans will see plenty more of Ty Majeski this year at short tracks across the country in his Super Late Model, and in the ARCA Menards Series super speedway races with Chad Bryant Racing. (Daniel Vining/PixelatedSPEED)

By: Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining

OPP, Alabama (March 23, 2019) -- The 43rd Annual Rattler 250, opening up the 2019 Southern Super Series at South Alabama Speedway is in the books, but here are a few more tidbits before we move on to the season’s second race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.

Gio Youngest Rattler Winner

At just 15 years old, Giovanni Bromante became the youngest winner in the 43 year history of the Rattler 250. Previously, the youngest winner was Kyle Benjamin, who won his Rattler 250 in 2013 at the age of 16.

When told about that little stat, Bromante told PixelatedSPEED, “Wow! That’s crazy to know!”

Majeski looking at more short track racing, plus speedway racing in ARCA

During the post race interviews, Short Track Scene’s Matt Weaver found out that Ty Majeski is still employed by Ford Performance as simulator driver and still stoking the fire in an effort to continue his career.

Majeski feels like he was “thrown to the wolves” in his NASCAR Xfinity Series run with Roush Fenway Racing in 2018. This year, Roush’s Xfinity effort has been shutdown, leaving Majeski without a ride in NASCAR’s second tier series.

That said, Majeski plans on having a full plate of short track racing coupled with the recently announced ARCA Menards Series deal to race at super speedways for Chad Bryant Racing… the same team that fields cars for Corey Heim on the ARCA short track schedule. Heim finished 14th in the Rattler 250 behind the wheel of his number 78 Super Late Model.

Okrzesik rebounds to finish the weekend on a high note

Connor Okrzesik has been one of late model racing’s hottest shoes as of late, scoring a surprising win against Kyle Busch in the SpeedFest 200 in Georgia, and constantly being in contention in every race he runs.

In Saturday night’s Baby Rattler 125, Okrzesik battled with Bubba Pollard late for the win after starting from the pole. His night did not turn out the way he would have liked, however, after three restarts that were marred by jumping, laying back and contact with Pollard.

In Sunday’s main event, Okrzesik started further back in the field, but stayed out of trouble and was able to finish off a dramatic weekend, added to the notebook with a strong fourth place finish.

“It was alright,” he said after the race. “I would have liked to have finished top three, maybe even win. We just didn’t have a car to compete with them (the leaders) at all… it was just way to free early then too tight in the last run.”

“It’ solid notes, but I would’ve like to have finished better with our Metro Glass Toyota.”

Nasse, Pollard and Roderick all favorites to win, all have issues

The front row of the 43rd Rattler 250 consisted of 2014 winner Casey Roderick on the pole, alongside former Baby Ratter winner Stephen Nasse.

Roderick seemed to be off the pace compared to his rivals during the first 100 laps of the race, ultimately pulling his machine behind the wall with drive train issues. Roderick won the Baby Rattler 125 on Saturday night.

Nasse had a left rear tire come loose, causing him to spin out near the entrance of pit road, just as a caution for Austin Nason flew. Nason made contact with another car going into turn one on lap 105, and came to a stop at the exit of turn two. In the process of the caution, Nasse lost two laps getting his car down to the attention of his crew.

“We had a left rear tire come loose and that’s why I spun out,” Nasse told Speed 51’s Koty Geyer.  “I needed a caution and we got that but I lost two laps trying to get the studs to strip.  Trying to make up that track position was almost impossible.  I thought I almost got a lap back but we ended up not getting it back and it’s just one of them deals where cautions never really flew when we needed them to.”

Bubba Pollard was a top five car the bulk of the day after starting in the third spot. Contact with another driver following the race’s final restart on lap 176 left Pollard with a left front tire rub. It wasn’t long before the 2012 Rattler 250 winner began to fall back, settling in for a disappointing 13th place finish.

Grill and Bryant’s ended way too early after contact in turn four

Augie Grill’s day ended on lap 7 after contact with Dawson Fletcher in turn four sent Grill spinning into the inside wall. In the process, Kyle Bryant was jacked up by Logan Bearden, with the resulting damage causing Grill, Bryant and Bearden to drop out of the event.

Unfortunately, Bryant would be credited with a last place finish after starting 12th.

“Disappointing end to the weekend,” he said. “Got shoved into a car on lap 7 and we have nothing to show for the good car we brought to the racetrack. Guys worked hard all weekend, and we’ll rebound at Pensacola.”

PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been “Bringing Pixels 2 Pavement Since 2018”. If you've made it this far into the post, thank you. Please consider sharing this content on the interwebs and following PixelatedSPEED on Facebook and Twitter and joining in on the conversation. & 

Friday, March 22, 2019

Langham to Represent Mobile in a Big Way with Start in Bandit Big Rig Series Opener

Johnathan Langham is no stranger to victory lane and looks to get the chance at seeing the checkered flag in his debut with the Bandit Big Rig Series at Mobile Speedway on March 23, 2019. (James Morris/Johnathan Langham Facebook page)

By: Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining

IRVINGTON, Alabama (March 22, 2019) — At most short tracks, racers tend to help other racers. Even teams that have a beef with each other one weekend, can just as likely find themselves lending a hand to each other the next weekend. It’s just something racers in the short track world do. That mentality can go a long way, and for one local driver, has resulted in a chance to represent his hometown in one of the biggest events of the year for Mobile International Speedway.

A helping hand by Mobile Speedway champion racer Johnathan Langham has gone an extremely long way, with the favor being repaid this weekend when the Bandit Big Rig Series rolls into town.

Last year, during the inaugural visit by the series, driver… and series owner, Craig Kruckeberg found himself with a busted oil pan. Langham and others gave the visiting driver a helping hand, striking up a relationship that has sparked a tremendous opportunity for the Mobile, Alabama native.

“He helped me out when I wrecked last year there in Mobile,” said Kruckeberg.  “He just jumped right in and started helping my crew put my truck back together.”

“Last year me and Robert Loper went to the Big Rig Bandit Series race at Mobile,” said Langham.  “In the mix of the race, Craig ended up busting his oil pan. Me and Loper volunteered to help. We went to Charlie Lyons’ restoration shop, and welded the oil pan up for him.”

Fast forward to this year, and the favor is being paid off in a big way.

“About a month or so ago I got a message from him (Kruckeberg) asking if I’d be interested in running one of their trucks for them,” said Langham. “I was like heck, I’ll try anything once.”

Langham is excited about the challenges that racing these big rigs will bring as the Bandit Big Rig Series will be the biggest, oddest thing he’s raced.

“Hands down, definitely,” he said. It’s going to be a very different change of pace. I’m going from being four inches off the ground in an Outlaw car or six inches off the ground in a Pro Truck to being 24 to 36 inches off the ground. “

“It’s definitely going to be a change for sure, but I’m looking forward to it and I think it’s going to be very fun and interesting to say the least.”

It takes nerves of steel to conquer these beasts, and Langham is ready for his chance at greatness, but also wants to ensure that he brings the truck home in one piece.

“Nerves haven’t really struck me yet,” he said. “I keep going back to the thought that I’ll be cozy in my office cubicle, so to say. I’ll have my four point cage and have a halo around me, a five point harness and be in my office. It’s going to different. It’s going to take a little while to get used to.”

“I would love to go out there and make all the laps, and try to stay on the lead lap,” he continued.

“Jimbo Myers, one of the guys I’ve looked up to my whole life, messaged me and was like ‘You got this, you’re going to go out there and you’ll get the hang of it and you’ll adapt to it just like anything else you’ve ever driven. You can win this thing,’” said Langham.

“I’m thinking to myself, Yeah, okay,” he added. “Win it? Nah, I think that’s shooting for the moon. I just want to shoot for the vision of it.”

Having Langham in this truck this year is quite the way to repay the favor, but Kruckeberg didn’t want to detract from everyone else that also helped.

“Well more guys than just him that were in the infield helped,” he said. “He’s the only one I felt had enough racing experience to drive one of the Bandit Trucks.”

Langham hasn’t been in the truck yet, but after this weekend will have at least turned a lap in everything that Mobile Speedway has to offer, except a Sprint Car. In the Bandit Series race, when it's go time, how hard is Langham willing to press the issue to get a victory?

“I guess it would be no different than any of the other stuff I’ve driven,” he said. “If I find myself there in the last five laps somehow in the top three and the leader is in sight, I think it’d be very interesting to watch. I’m not saying I’d move anybody or tear anything up, but I would definitely give that rig all she’s got.”

“I’m no stranger to Mobile,” he added. “Don't’ think I wouldn’t try going to the outside.”

The impact of the Big Bandit Series coming to Mobile International Speedway isn’t lost on Langham, who hopes to see this event grow, and help elevate the speedway as it continues to progress through a journey of rebirth, after several years of uncertainty.

“I think it’s very awesome,’ said Langham. “I’m hoping this year we have a lot more people coming. This is only the third or fourth year of the series and I think it's very cool. I think there’s a ton more people coming this year than last year from last year. Just by me being able to run this event, I know of a lot more people wanting to come out just for the simple fact that they are friends of mine, family, people just supporting me.”

“I put on my Facebook page for people to come out,” he said. “Love me, hate me, watch fail or watch me succeed. I know there’s people out there that don't care for Johnathan Langham that much, and maybe they care more to watch me fail. Either way, come to the race track, support the Bandit Big Rig Series, support your local hometrack… Mobile has had a rough time over the past ten years and the Lyons family is trying their best to get people back interested in racing. We need these kinds of shows to get Mobile back on the map.”

Langham’s impressions from last year’s race shows that there is plenty of room for both the event and the series to continue to build momentum and grow.

“I thought it was different and very cool to see ‘daily’ semi-trucks on the fast half-mile of Mobile International Speedway,” he said. “People were like all they’re doing is running the Bandits, but I was like, ‘heck…  it’s racing!...  You know?’”

“They made a full day out of it,” he added. “Meeting the drivers and all the different racing activities from qualifying, heat races, to the last man standing races... then you got the grand finale of the feature. It was different, it was unique, and it was cool.”

Craig Kruckeberg is excited to help by bringing the series back to Mobile. He has nothing but praise for the speedway.

“The Bandit Big Rig Series has been growing like a weed,” he said. “We loved it down there last year, and I like the fact there is no wall around most of the track.”

Gates open at Mobile International Speedway at 3:00 PM on Saturday, March 23, 2019. Prior to and during the event, there will be a Fan Series Truck Show, featuring daily drivers that run the open roads in their shined up rigs. Practice and qualifying for the Bandits take up the latter part of the afternoon before racing starts at 7:00 PM. Tickets for the show start at $15.00 but kids 8 and under are FREE!

For more information, check out the series website at

PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been “Bringing Pixels 2 Pavement Since 2018”. If you've made it this far into the post, thank you. Please consider sharing this content on the interwebs and following PixelatedSPEED on Facebook and Twitter and joining in on the conversation. & 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Pollard, Okrzesik, and Chance Comment on the Chaos from the Late Stages of Baby Rattler 125

Bubba Pollard looked to be the man to beat late in the Baby Rattler 125 at South Alabama Speedway on March 16, 2019 until a series of events with Connor Okrzesik resulted in a premature end to Pollard's night. (Daniel Vining/PixelatedSPEED)
By: Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining OPP, Alabama (March 21, 2019) — The prelude event to the Ratter 250 at South Alabama Speedway is known as the Baby Rattler, and features a mix of up and coming talent pitted against cagey veterans. One of the premiere Pro Late Model shows of the year, the 14th Running of the Grasshopper Baby Rattler 125 saw up and comer Connor Okrzesik go toe to toe with a veteran driver who many have deemed the best in late model racing, Bubba Pollard. Connor Okrzesik started on the pole for the event, but drifted back early, giving way to Patrick Latullipe, Justin South, and Jack Dossey III for the opening salvos of the race. Okrzesik would remain solidly in the top five, even leading for a bit after lap 50. Bubba Pollard qualified third, but had to start from the rear due to a shock change after qualifying. It took Pollard to lap 53 to reach the top five, then to lap 79 to get the lead. “We started from the back and come to the front and didn’t touch a race car,” said Pollard. Okrzesik worked his way to Pollard’s rear on lap 90, and the pair battled hard for the next ten laps. On lap 102, following a caution, Okresik seemed to get a great restart… perhaps too good of a restart. Word quickly came down over the radio from the control tower that the 14 car of Okrzesik had to give the spot back to Pollard. He was also given a warning for jumping the restart. “The first time, I jumped the restart. That’s completely my fault,” Okrezsik admitted to On lap 115, following another caution, it looked as though Okrzesik again jumped the restart, but Pollard stayed close. Pollard spun in turn four after contact with Okrzesik just as the yellow flew for an unrelated incident elsewhere on the track resulting in the lap not being completed, allowing Pollard to regain the lead for the ensuing restart. Okrzesik was again warned about jumping the restart, and an additional warning was sent to Pollard for laying back. On that next restart, still on lap 115, the lead pair once again made contact on the backstretch going into turn three and in the check up, Brandon Johnson sent Pollard spinning. This time, Pollard went straight into the pits following the spin. Subsequently, Okrzesik was charged with causing the caution and sent to the rear, but instead chose to pull his car down pit road. This incident ended both drivers race, but the drama was far from finished. Okrzesik believes Pollard was baiting him into jumping, taking advantage of the notion that Okrzesik had blatantly jumped earlier. “He slowed down and I was maintaining my pace,” said Okrzesik. “I wasn’t going to give him any leeway at all. It was possibly the last restart of the night, ten laps to go and that’s what it was going to come down to, it was going to come down to whoever got the best jump on the restart was going to win the race because our two cars were dead even.” After climbing out of his race car, Pollard went to lead technical inspector Ricky Brooks, who was stationed in turns three and four during this sequence of events. Pollard, and members of his crew, showed their displeasure with what had transpired in a very verbal way using language that is best not repeated. The next morning, PixelatedSPEED asked Pollard about what happened and he gave his perspective. “No, they should’ve made the call,” said Pollard. “He (Brooks) was down there for a reason in turn three and four. Either he makes a call, or I’d be pissed that the track didn’t listen to what I was saying because he said he told them that they were wrong, so it’s on them at that point.” “The track let him get away with them… Connor, and the way he was driving… uh, when you got a fast race car like that, he’s wanting to win,” continued Pollard. “When we were coming through the field, he was being really aggressive and he didn’t have to be. It was just him being impatient. He’s young, and he’s got to perform.” While Pollard was angry with Ricky Brooks and had the convenience of Brooks being stationed mere feet from his pit, the calls during this exchange were coming from the control tower, and Race Director Kevin Chance. Chance also spoke with PixelatedSPEED to convey what exactly was being observed from race control. “The initial restart (lap 102) he jumped,” said Chance referring to Okrzesik. “I told him to give it back and he did. The second time (first attempt at lap 115 restart) I wouldn’t say that he jumped, but he had his nose out. I think he still allowed Pollard to start.” “We had a caution, and warned him and Bubba because they both got tangled up and were hitting each other.” “On the third one (second attempt at lap 115 restart) it looked as if not only did the Okrzesik have his nose out, but it also looked like Pollard slowed down. We warned them again, but by that time they had tangled again on the backstretch coming into turn three.” In response as to why Okrzesik and Pollard were given so many opportunities to get it right, Chance explained that the procedures given to the teams said that if someone jumped the restart, then he would notify the spotter and they would have to give the spot back. In the end, both drivers ended up out of the race, Pollard finishing 13th and Okrzesik in 14th. Casey Roderick slid by both drivers and went on to win the Baby Rattler 125 rather easily with Kyle McCallum in second, and Jack Dossey III in third. PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been “Bringing Pixels 2 Pavement Since 2018”. If you've made it this far into the post, thank you. Please consider sharing this content on the interwebs and following PixelatedSPEED on Facebook and Twitter and joining in on the conversation. & 

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