VOLUME XII,  ISSUE 4 - OCT. - DEC.,  2018

Earnhardt Jr. to drive Silverado as Daytona 500 pacecar

The 2019 Silverado 1500 and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will lead the field to green for next year’s running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 17.

 

The former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star and occasional NASCAR announcer will drive the updated Silverado during formation laps ahead of the 61st running of The Great American Race. Surprisingly, this will be the first time the Daytona 500 will be paced by a pickup truck.

 

Junior won the Daytona 500 twice, once in 2004 and again in 2014, and also won the July race twice. He also scored 13 top 5 finishes and 19 top 10s in 36 NASCAR Cup Series career starts at the famous Florida raceway.

 

“I’ve had a lot of fun and a lot of success at Daytona over the years, and now I can’t wait to get out on that track in a Silverado,” said Earnhardt Jr. “Away from the track I’ve driven Chevy trucks all my life, and I’m excited to have this unique experience of pacing the Daytona 500 with the Silverado.”  [12/19/18]

NMCA will host five Chevrolet Performance Challenge events in 2019

The NMCA Muscle Car Nationals will host five Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series events in 2019. The five-race series that is focused on modern LS/LT performance will be run during the NMCA All-Star Nationals at Atlanta Dragway (Commerce, GA) April 4-7; Homecoming at Memphis International Raceway (Millington, TN) May 2-5; NMRA/NMCA Nitto Tire Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing at Route 66 Raceway (Joliet, IL) July 25-28; NMCA All-American Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park (Norwalk, OH) August 22-25; and the NMCA World Street Finals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis September 19-22.

 

In addition, the 13th Annual LSX Shootout returns home to Memphis International Raceway, the site of the original event that helped kick-off the LS drag racing craze in 2007. The official championship categories for the Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series are CP Stock, presented by Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center, Proform Rumble, and LME Street King.

 

The Brian Tooley Racing Real Shootout, hosted during the LSX Shootout, will once again receive a championship ring and participate in the Champions Dinner during the PRI Show. It retains the same format as last year with the field including the quickest LS/LT powered Edelbrock Xtreme Street entries.

 

Every NMCA event will feature the popular Chevrolet Performance Street Car Challenge, offering a limited free-entry promotion to the first 75 cars.   [12/19/18]

GM sends closure notices right before holidays

General Motors on Friday, Dec. 14, said it is beginning to send formal notices to U.S. government agencies of its plan to close auto plants and cut thousands of jobs as it shrinks passenger car production in North America.

 

The largest U.S. automaker said 2,800 hourly active U.S. workers at four U.S. plants that will end production next year are eligible for new jobs at other plants.

 

GM said it currently has 2,700 current open positions at seven plants in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee and Texas.

 

GM said more than 1,100 U.S. employees at plants losing production have already volunteered to transfer to other GM U.S. plants, while 1,200 are eligible to retire. GM announced in November that it will cease production at five North American plants next year and cut up to 15,000 jobs. The assembly plants scheduled to close are in Detroit, MI; Warren, OH; and Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. The powertrain facilities to close are located in White Marsh, MD, and Warren, MI.

 

The UAW has launched a campaign to convince GM to spare the four U.S. plants from closing. The union is encouraging local union leaders, rank-and-file members and the public to submit comments at www.writetogm.com to “tell GM how they feel about their decision to close plants and lay off thousands of workers at the peak of the holiday season.”   [12/17/18]

Chevrolet marketing chief to retire

General Motors' Global Chevrolet Chief Marketing Officer Tim Mahoney is retiring from the automaker effective March 1. GM did not immediately name a successor.

 

Mahoney, 62, came to the company nearly six years from Volkswagen after working for Porsche Cars North America and Subaru of America, where he spent most of his career.

 

Mahoney's retirement, according to a source familiar with his plans, is voluntary and not a result of GM's recently announced plans to cut 15 percent of its North American salaried workforce, including 25 percent of its global executives.  [12/17/18]

Tylor Miller returns to Pro Boost in 2019

After a year off, the Russell Miller-backed Pro Boost drag racing team intends to return to the PDRA Pro Boost wars in 2019 with son Tylor Miller in the seat of a new Andy McCoy Race Cars ‘79 Corvette Pro Mod.

 

Rage Fuel System’s Mike Kopchick, who is tuner and crew chief for the team, spent the 2018 season developing a new engine program. The new Rage/Noonan Hemi engine is to be based on a Noonan 4.9 bore center block that has been modified by Kopchick.

 

In addition to racing in the PDRA series, the team also will support the Carolina Extreme Pro Mod Association. (12-13)  [12/17/18]

Chevrolet presents Silverados to Operation Homefront

Chevrolet got into the holiday spirit and presented a fleet of 2019 Silverado pickup trucks to Operation Homefront,  a nonprofit organization that supports military families. The 2019 Chevrolet Silverados were presented at the annual Army-Navy football game, which called the Silverado its official vehicle for the ninth year running.

 

In total, Chevy donated seven trucks to the organization to help the nonprofit better serve military families. Their mission this season will be to help deliver backpacks for military children, holiday meals, holiday toys and baby supplies, and for other support programs throughout the year. The trucks will serve at six of the organization’s offices across the United States.  [12/17/18]

GM to offer upgraded CT 525 Crate Engines

Chevrolet Performance‘s CT 525 crate engine has become wildly popular in racing circles, not only the crate-engine series, but globally in dirt track racing. There are sprint car versions running in several different series, as well as the traditional crate engine version running in various late-model series.

 

Despite rumors to the contrary, Chevrolet will continue building crate engines for circle track racing, according to Bill Martens, Special Programs Manager for Chevrolet Performance.

 

In fact, the CT 525 crate engines will have upgraded components for next season. Martens said the upgrades were for durability and not performance. “We’ve had racers using these crate engines with hypereutectic pistons for 100,000 to 200,000 miles with no failures,” he said. “As long as you operate within the parameters that the engine was designed to operate, these engines will last.”  [12/17/18]

Camaro chief engineer to lead electric vehicle programs

Chevrolet Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser (shown) has been tasked with leading GM’s newly formed AV/EV vehicle programs to focus on zero-emission-vehicle development. It’s understood to be a lateral move.

 

Replacing him will be Mark Dickens, current executive director of Performance Variants, Parts, Accessories, and Motorsports Engineering. Along with introducing several performance parts unveiled at SEMA every year, Dickens, a former racer, is also one of the masterminds behind the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and ZR2 Bison programs. He’s worked closely with the Camaro team in his previous role.

 

Oppenheiser has been the face behind the Camaro since its reintroduction in 2009, including the NHRA-approved COPO Camaro. With him at the wheel of some of GM’s future electric vehicles, one can safely assume that there’s going to be a lot of performance associated with it.

 

GM is fighting to retain a valuable tax credit for electric vehicles as the nation's largest automaker tries to deal with the political fallout triggered by its plans to shutter several U.S. factories and shed thousands of workers. GM faces opposition from President Donald Trump and other Republicans who consider the credit a waste of taxpayer money and want it eliminated.     [12/17/18]

Team Vibrant Performance wins 2018 HROT National Championship

The final half of the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge 2018 Dual Championship took place Dec. 7-8 at the PRI Show in Indianapolis. It included 17 teams which came from coast to coast to battle to become one of the Top 4 teams to move on and compete in the Elite eight playoffs for the 2018 National Championship.

 

A total of forty-four teams competed at the SEMA and PRI shows just to get into the Elite Eight competition. The top four SEMA show seeds against the top four PRI show seeds.

 

It was a close competition as all of the Elite Eight teams flew around the Chevy 350 high performance engines tearing them apart and then re-assembling them. All eight teams had at least one perfect engine build. Teams Engine & Performance Warehouse, Vibrant, and Edelbrock each had two perfect engine builds during the Elite Eight Playoffs. The total time difference between first and fourth place teams was only two minutes and eight seconds! In the end Team Vibrant Performance, from Burton Center for Arts & Tech in Salem, VA, won with an average time of 17:26. Burton Center’s coach Chris Overfelt now has won the national championship for a third time.

 

Each student earned scholarship opportunities ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 from Ohio Technical College, School of Automotive Machinists & Technology, and Universal Technical Institute.  [12/17/18]

Butner changes mind, will stay in Pro Stock with KB Racing

Bo Butner (in sunglasses) and his family and crew. His family encouraged him to stay in Pro Stock.

 

Bo Butner, the 2017 class champion, has decided to stay in the NHRA Pro Stock ranks for next season in addition to participating in the Factory Stock Showdown.

 

The longtime Sportsman racer had elected to return to his roots and spend more time with his growing family, but when an abbreviated schedule was announced for Pro Stock, Butner and company had to think twice.

 

With the support of his family, Butner will return to tackle the 18-race Pro Stock tour in 2019. He also remains committed to competing in the eight events of the SAM Tech Factory Stock Showdown in his Cobra Jet Mustang.

 

"I'm a glutton for punishment," joked Butner.

Bo Butner (in sunglasses) and his family and crew. His family encouraged him to stay in Pro Stock.

 

Bo Butner, the 2017 class champion, has decided to stay in the NHRA Pro Stock ranks for next season in addition to participating in the Factory Stock Showdown.

 

The longtime Sportsman racer had elected to return to his roots and spend more time with his growing family, but when an abbreviated schedule was announced for Pro Stock, Butner and company had to think twice.

 

With the support of his family, Butner will return to tackle the 18-race Pro Stock tour in 2019. He also remains committed to competing in the eight events of the SAM Tech Factory Stock Showdown in his Cobra Jet Mustang.

 

"I'm a glutton for punishment," joked Butner.  [12/17/18]

Kurt Busch moves to drive Chevrolet for Ganassi

Kurt Busch will be joining Chip Ganassi Racing in 2019 as the driver of the No. 1 Camaro ZL1 sponsored by Monster Energy. Busch will join Kyle Larson as driver for the team.

 

Asked at a press conference if the deal is for more than one year, Busch answered, “For right now I see it all-in and we will see how it goes from there. I am really excited about though the chance to work with Matt McCall (crew chief) and everybody on this No. 1 car. There are things that I see with them that was the same thing that I saw with Billy Scott my crew chief last year. He was working with Danica (Patrick) for the last year or two and when we switched it was immediate chemistry and I think that is the same thing that can happen here and who knows what will happen down the line as far as how all the dominoes get put in place.”

 

Ganassi interjected, laughing, “Let me add something… if we win five races by July it is going to be an automatic, okay, I’m going to make a contract change right now.”

 

Driver Jamie McMurray currently is still with the team, but Ganassi said there would be announcements coming in the future.     [12/17/18]

Will Power added to Borg-Warner Trophy

Will Power, winner of this year’s Indianapolis 500, was at the Indianapolis Motorsports Museum with sculptor William Behrends, to unveil the Borg-Warner Trophy™ with Power’s likeness added to the surface.

 

Power is the 105th face on the trophy that stands 5 feet 5 inches and weighs 110 lbs. Two bases have been added to the original trophy, providing capacity for more winners until 2034.  [12/17/18]

Chevrolet to power Alonso’s Indianapolis 500 entry

Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso will compete in the 2019 Indianapolis 500 in a McLaren Racing entry powered by Chevrolet’s 2.2-liter twin turbocharged direct injected V6 IndyCar engine. The Chevy power plant powered the defending winner of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, and three Indy 500 winners since its 2012 IndyCar Series introduction.

 

In 1966, Chevrolet and McLaren partnered in the Can-Am Series, where the teams won over 70 percent of the races over the next seven years – including 23 in a row from 1968-1970.

 

Since Chevrolet’s return to IndyCar Series competition seven seasons ago, drivers powered by the Chevy 2.2-liter V6 engine have captured victories in 73 of 118 races. Chevrolet has won the coveted IndyCar Manufacturer Championship six times and the series’ driver and owner championships five times.

 

The Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 26, 2019.[12/17/18]

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