Best of 2015: Most Improved Drivers
The “Best of 2015” presented by WP Racing Shocks continues with the Most Improved Drivers of the 2015 season in the Late Model Stock Car division. These are the drivers that we see having made the most improvement over the previous season.
10. Tyler Matthews
Tyler Matthews in victory lane after scoring his first career win.
Tyler Matthews might have been a rookie in Late Models during the 2015 season but that didn’t mean that he couldn’t go from being out to lunch early in the season to one of the contenders by seasons end. To say that Matthews struggled at the beginning of the season would be an understatement. Nearly every driver in the Jerry Moody Memorial race left miffed at the young driver but that was in May and by July he was parked in victory lane at East Carolina Motor Speedway. Look for Matthews to make waves in 2016.
9. Patrick Coleman
patrick-colemanPatrick Coleman was certainly not that brash young Limited driver who was constantly at odds with other drivers anymore. This season the driver blossomed into a threat to win at Ace Speedway, a feat that isn’t easy given the veteran drivers he would race against including Barry Beggarly, RD Smith, Dennis Holdren and others. He broke through for his first win on September 4th and he could be one of the drivers contending for wins week in and week out in 2016.
8. Wayne Hale
race22_hale_lpr_150818Wayne Hale has had success in his racing career before but after a couple of seasons of struggling the veteran driver got back on that horse this season winning a race at Lonesome Pine Raceway and Kingsport Speedway. He also won the championship at Lonesome Pine Raceway.
7. Kyle Barnes
Kyle Barnes celebrates his Lonesome Pine victory. (Chase Brashears/Lonesome Pine Raceway)
Kyle Barnes was seemingly destined to become one of the best young racers in this region. His uncle had provided the path with success all over including Motor Mile Speedway, Friendship Speedway and Franklin County Speedway. Success had yet to come to Kyle but that all changed this season as he broke out with wins at Lonesome Pine Raceway and Kingsport Speedway.
6. Bobby Gower
race22_gower_150709When the season began, I’m certain that many people had never heard of Bobby Gower. But, after victories at Wake County Speedway and Dillon Motor Speedway many people wondered where he had come from. Gower was a contender in every race and ended the season with five victories to his credit.
5. Jonathan Findley
Jonathan Findley anxiously waits to go racing prior to the Jerry Moody Memorial at Southern National Motorsports Park. (Corey Latham/RACE22.com)
Jonathan Findley hadn’t had much success in Late Models when the season started but a rules package change at Southern National Motorsports Park sparked a career season for the young driver. Findley won three events at Southern National en route to his first Late Model championship.
4. Ronnie McCarty
Ronnie McCarty celebrates after scoring his third and fourth wins of the season. (Randall Perry/Kingsport Speedway)
Ronnie McCarty celebrates after scoring his third and fourth wins of the season. (Randall Perry/Kingsport Speedway)
He’s been in the mix seemingly from the beginning of his Late Model career at Kingsport Speedway but this season he ramped things up and took his racing to another level. Ronnie McCarty picked up five victories at Kingsport Speedway and the Late Model championship in a career best season.
3. Kate Dallenbach
Photo Credit: Andy Marquis/RACE22.com
From 2014 to 2015 Kate Dallenbach made huge strides behind the wheel of a Lee Faulk Racing machine. In 2015 she put herself on the proverbial map with strong runs in nearly every event. Southern National Motorsports Park seemed to be a perfect fit for the young driver as well as she was immediately in the mix for the lead and wins on the tough 4/10 mile track. Her biggest accomplishment of 2015 had to be running along side and with eventual NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion Lee Pulliam in Southern National’s season finale.
2. Tyler Ankrum
ankrum_hickory_20151031No one is surprised that Tyler Ankrum picked up a win in one of Hickory Motor Speedway’s biggest events of the season in the Fall Brawl. His improvements to become a driver who could contend for wins week in and week out was exactly what he needed to land at #2 on this list.
1. Myatt Snider
19-sniderWe could have easily ranked Myatt Snider #2 in our Best Drivers list though he ended up outside the top ten. His performances were great but in the end it was his lack of wins that cost him a top spot on that list. However when it comes to the improvement category, Snider had the competition killed. He was a contender in every race he competed in and his lone victory did come in one of the biggest races of the season in the UNOH Battle at the Beach at Myrtle Beach Speedway. However more than the win, his performances in the CARS Tour vaulted him to the top of the heap.
Read More - http://race22.com/best-of-2015-most-improved-drivers/
All smiles after 4th place finish in 200 lapper at Hickory Speedway
Steve Petty and Wally Dallenbach, Jr., ready for Trans Am return
Duo plan two-car TA2 team for 2016 Championship, Dallenbach to race at 2015 finale at Daytona
SUMMIT POINT, WV (October XX, 2015) – Two names from Trans Am’s past are now set to play a pivotal part in its future; as Wally Dallenbach, Jr., and Steve Petty announce their impending return to the Trans Am Series, launching a new TA2 team 2015 season finale at Daytona in preparation for a full run in the 2016 Championship—the 50th Anniversary of the Trans Am Championship.
Read More - http://gotransam.com/news/index.cfm?cid=63950
After Impressive SNMP Run, Dallenbach Focuses on CARS Debut
Kate Dallenbach has emerged as one of the hottest up-and-comers in the Late Model Stock Car scene.
After an impressive performance at Southern National Motorsports Park on Sunday, the third generation driver is now looking ahead her first appearance in the Championship Auto Racing Series (CARS) Late Model Stock Tour when the series heads to Myrtle Beach Speedway on Saturday night.
Dallenbach, 18, enters that race with a new found state of confidence following a pair of hard fought third place finishes in Sunday’s races at Southern National Motorsports Park.
“We ran Myrtle Beach a few times and I feel pretty good about it,” Dallenbach said. “I guess I’m really just treating it like any other race I guess.”
Dallenbach’s performance on Sunday served as an introductory act in many ways.
Prior to that race, she had never been viewed as a legitimate contender but that she certainly created a new image for herself after joining Lee Pulliam and Bradley McCaskill in a battle for the win.
“It felt really good to be side-by-side with the national champion and being able to keep up so that was fun,” Dallenbach said after Sunday’s race.
She not only showed that she can be competitive, she also showed she will not roll over. Her impressive performance almost came to an end after being on the receiving end of contact from Jonathan Findley. Dallenbach steered out of what should have been a wreck and, in the next corner, leaned on Findley’s car before getting back around.
“I mean, someone’s going to try to spin me around then I’m going to give it back a little bit,” Dallenbach remarked.
Tire management, not speed, will be the key on Saturday night. Myrtle Beach Speedway is known for a rough, abrasive racing surface that abuses tires.
“That’s always the toughest part there especially Myrtle Beach,” Dallenbach explained. “It’s about who’s there at the end and track wise, it’s a pretty rough track like the asphalt is made up, it has a lot of shells in it and wears the tires down faster so that’s going to be a big thing to be aware of to be there at the end of the race.”
Having shown improvement throughout the season, Dallenbach hopes a victory is on the horizon.
“I definitely feel like a win is coming,” Dallenbach commented. “We’ve been getting better and better every weekend so I have a really good feeling that, in the near future, we’re going to get a win.”
Dallenbach Dynasty: Kate Hopes to Join Cup Ranks
Both of Kate Dallenbach’s parents raced in what is now called the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and now the 18-year-old is hoping to follow in their footsteps.
The third generation driver is the daughter of Wally Dallenbach Jr. and Robin Dallenbach. While father and son combinations are common in racing, father-daughter combinations are significantly rarer. As for a father-mother-daughter combination? Kate, 18, is the only driver who has seen both parents race in NASCAR.
“I have not only one parent who can give me advice and help me out, but I have two,” Kate said. “So that kind of gives me two extra perspectives whenever I need a helping hand.”
Despite having a pair of parents with Sprint Cup experience, Kate says she doesn’t feel any additional pressure to excel nor does she feel nervous about failure.
“When I’m driving, I don’t really think about anything other than what I’m doing in that moment. I’m just getting extra advice before I get in the car — the little things.
Kate Dallenbach is the third in a line of siblings to take up racing. Her brothers, Jake and Wyatt, both competed in sports car racing — a discipline Wally enjoyed a great deal of success in. Kate is the first to take up oval racing, racing in both Late Models on dirt and asphalt.
“I’m really proud of her and the progress she has made,” Robin said. “She started racing quarter-midgets when she was eight. I was able to help her a lot with that, my dad and I, because Wally was gone a lot with his racing and his TV stuff. Then she graduated to the Allison Legacy program and ran that in Texas for my dad, Bob McCall.
“We just took the steps. It’s been a lot of fun coaching her and helping her, and I’m really proud of what she’s accomplished so far, and I know there’s a lot more to come.”
Kate feels as though she is knocking on the door of a win and has shown glimpses of greatness racing asphalt Late Models for Michael Faulk.
During a race at Southern National Motorsports Park back in August, Dallenbach led laps and finished third. Prior to that race, she was running second and in contention for a win in a Late Model Stock race at Tri-County Motor Speedway in Hudson, North Carolina before mechanical problems sidelined her effort.
Over recent years, women have had a lot more success in oval racing than in previous decades, including the one Robin tried to tackle. Much of that is attributed to an increase in female competitors in the sport, which NASCAR has made an active push to achieve through the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program.
Dallenbach joins names such as Haley Moody, Amber Colvin, Annabeth Barnes and Taylor Nesbitt to have success in asphalt Late Model racing in the Southeast region. Dallenbach doesn’t see herself as another woman in racing but does see herself as a racer.
“The way I look at it, I’m just another driver,” Kate commented. “I guess it doesn’t really matter whether I’m a guy or a girl.”
While women have had a presence in racing for decades, the presence of Danica Patrick has become a source of inspiration for female drivers. Both Robin and Kate look up to the third year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver as a trailblazer.
“I think Danica is great for the sport, and she does a great job,” Robin stated. “Because of that, it does help other young females coming up in the sport.”
It’s a stance her daughter agrees with as well.
“I agree with what she said,” Kate explained. “She is a role model for a lot of young girl drivers.She opened that up. Now little girls, young girls can say, ‘Oh, I want to do that when I get older,’ and they can now.”
Robin, who competed in NASCAR under the name Robin McCall prior to meeting Wally, feels fortunate that women have additional opportunities now. She recalled when she raced in NASCAR in the 1980s which were, in her words, a different time.
“I think that was before my time. Being 18, I think I was the youngest female to ever qualify for a Cup race. It was a lot different back then than now. I’m just glad that the opportunities are there now for women drivers. That’s helped Kate for sure.”
Robin’s racing experience also helps her bond with Kate at the track – but she is still a mother and often feels the motherly instincts throughout the duration of a race
“I know what they’re going through on the track,” Robin remarked. “I know the emotions of it. I do get nervous watching them, all the kids, so that never goes away. I think they all do a really good job.”
Robin feels her daughter has a bright future in the sport. Kate is signed on a development deal with Richard Childress Racing — the NASCAR team that fielded entries for Dale Earnhardt and Kevin Harvick in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
“I think the next step is for her to start testing a truck and do some [NASCAR Camping World Truck Series] races. I know she was so excited to sign with RCR — with Richard Childress. We appreciate that opportunity, and we’ll see where that goes. She’d like to stay with them.”
Kate doesn’t just appeal to young women on the track but off the track as well. The Dallenbach family is actively involved in outdoors living so it should be no big surprise that Bass Pro Shops and SHE Outdoor are Kate’s primary sponsors.
“SHE Outdoor advertises only to women,” Kate said. “I think they are one of the only hunting lines that are just women.”
“It’s nice to have a women’s clothing line in the sport of auto racing,” Robin explained. “SHE Outdoor is hunting and fishing apparel for women. Back in my time, they did not have specific clothing for women hunting and fishing and outdoor things, so I had to wear men’s. Now, it’s just great to see these sponsors coming into the sport that have products that are tailored for women.”
Dallenbach gained positive attention with her August 1, 2015 performance at Southern National Motorsports Parrk in North Carolina when she scored a fourth place finish. She backed that impressive effort up with a third place finish in a second race. Now all that remains is for the talented youngster to make that final step — towards Victory Lane and NASCAR national touring.
Read more - http://www.popularspeed.com/dallenbach-dynasty-kate-hopes-to-someday-add-her-name-to-cup-lineage/
RCR Names Kate Dallenbach to Driver Development Program
Richard Childress Racing and Team Dillon Racing have named Kate Dallenbach as one of two female drivers in their development program for the 2015 season. The other driver joining the program is 14 year-old Ahnna Parkhurst.
Dallenbach, 17, is the daughter of Wally, Jr., NASCAR driver-turned-broadcaster, and Robin Dallenbach, a former driver herself with two starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Her grandfather, Wally Dallenbach, Sr., was a successful Indy car driver and Chief Steward.
Read Full Story - http://www.rcrracing.com/news/index.cfm?cid=52492
NRA Women New Energy | Kate & Robin Dallenbach
Daytona Speedway 11/15/14
In his first appearance back in the Trans Am series in over 25 years, Wally Dallenbach picked up where he left off. After starting 7th in his IOA/Bass Pro Chevy camaro, he carved his way to 2nd place before ignition problems slowed his car on the last two laps having to settle for a 3rd place finish.
"It has been a blast this week, getting back in a Trans Am car with Mike Miller Racing. I hope very much I can do this a lot more in 2015." says Dallenbach.
Cameron Lawerence drove his Dodge Challenger to victory for back to back championships. Joining a select club of drivers winning back to back titles in Trans Am such as Mark Donohue, Wally Dallenbach jr, Tommy Kendall, Peter Gregg, Doug Peterson and Tony Ave.