Hope owner Sims signs Strickler to drive


Craig Sims of Hope, owner of PCC Motorsports has announced that North Carolina racer Kyle Strickler will pilot the team’s race car in 2021 full-time in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.

The team made its debut Nov. 22 at the Blue-Gray 100 at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, South Carolina. Strickler finished third in his first race with the team behind winner Brandon Overton and Benji Hicks.

Sims, owner of Professional Concrete, Cutting and Drilling, has had an interest in racing for several years. His father Greg raced in the street stock division at Brownstown Speedway and his brother Brian currently holds the pure stock track record at Brownstown.

Earlier this year Sims helped sponsor Hudson O’Neal, who is dating Sims’ youngest daughter Tessa. Sims’ sponsorship on the MasterSbilt House Car team that O’Neal drove for until mid-July moved to race car ownership at the end of that month when O’Neal and MasterSbilt parted ways.

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The PCC Team was then formed and debuted at the North/South 100 at Florence Speedway in Union, Kentucky in August. The team was able to capture a Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory Labor Day Weekend in Portsmouth, Ohio on O’Neal’s 20th birthday.

Sims knew when his own team was formed that if O’Neal was offered another ride he would support him 100 percent. O’Neal did secure a full-time ride on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and will be driving for Roger Sellars of Double Down Motorsports of Morristown. Tennessee. But by then Sims had caught the racing bug and decided he wanted to go full-time in 2021.

Strickler, who will maintain Sims’ equipment in North Carolina most of the time, however, when the team is in Sims’ area, they will otherwise work out of a shop that Sims will be erecting east of Hope. Strickler said he and Sims “hit it off” when they spoke at the Dirt Track World Championship Race in Portsmouth last month.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for both of us,” said Sims, who is 41. “Obviously, Kyle is more than capable and has proven that and I’m more than dedicated and willing to do whatever it takes to give him the tools to help him be successful. I have high expectations and he has the same.” {/span}{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Sims said the team goal is to compete in the full Lucas series and go after rookie-of-the-year honors.{/span}{p dir=”ltr”}{span}“I think with his experience, and especially with his crew chief, Vinny G{/span}iuliani, he can be as good as anyone in the pit area and on the race track,” Sims said. “We are going to give him everything he needs to be successful.{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Strickler, 37, a Pennsylvania native who moved to Mooresville, North Carolina to pursue a racing career, won his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event in September at I-80 Speedway in Nebraska. The win came one week after a heart-breaking final lap at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio where a cut tire took away a $50,000 victory in the Intercontinental Classic.{/span}{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Strickler, who had enjoyed a successful open wheel modified career, is in his second full year of dirt late model racing and looks forward to 2021.{/span}{p dir=”ltr”}{span}“This is what I’ve wanted to do ever since I moved to North Carolina,” he said. “It’s taken a lot longer than I thought it would, but right now I’m very, very happy about the opportunities coming my way. I just can’t thank Craig enough for being the guy who stepped up and believed in me and is giving me the opportunity to finally go out and do it.”{/span}{p dir=”ltr”}Eldora holding two Kings Royal races in 2021

Officials of Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, following up on the declaration they were doubling down in 2021, have announced the legendary high-banked .500-mile clay oval will host two Kings Royals in July.{p dir=”ltr”}{span}The events are a part of a blockbuster four-day event offering the superstars of the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series two opportunities at a winner’s purse of $175,000-to-win. The first is on July 15, the second on July 17.{/span}{p dir=”ltr”}{span}As a result of the loss of Eldora’s complete 2020 spectator event season, speedway officials reshuffled the hand they were dealt to create the formidable 2021 Kings Royal Week.{/span}{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Things begin July 14, with the rescheduled ‘Jokers Wild’ paying $10,000-to-win. {/span}The 38th running of the Kings Royal is the next night.{p dir=”ltr”}{span}The traditional Friday “Knight Before the Kings Royal” preliminary event has been rescheduled from 2020 to July 16, 2021, and the night’s winner will take home a $10,000 prize.{/span}{p dir=”ltr”}{span}The 37th Kings Royal has been rescheduled to the 17th and will be the second marquee event of the week to pay $175,000 to the winner.{/span}{p dir=”ltr”}{span}The announcement also marks the beginning of a new multi-year sanctioning agreement for the Kings Royal between Eldora Speedway and World Racing Group, the parent company of the World of Outlaws, DIRTcar Racing, and DIRTVision.{/span}

{span}{span}T{/span}{/span}he World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars and the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series will again share the spotlight May 7 and 8 at the #LetsRaceTwo Doubleheader Weekend.

{span}{span} T{/span}{/span}he Outlaws will make their final Eldora appearance of 2021 Sept. 24 at the opening night of the 4-Crown Nationals Weekend. The BeFour The Crowns Showdown will feature full programs for the World of Outlaws, the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Championship, and qualifying for the USAC Silver Crown Champ Cars.

{span}{span} {/span}{/span}{p dir=”ltr”}{span}The Kings Royal from Eldora, and all World of Outlaws events, are livestreamed exclusively on DIRTVision.com{/span}{p dir=”ltr”}{span}The customer service team from the Eldora Speedway box office will be reaching out directly to those patron accounts making the original purchase of tickets, campsites and/or pit passes for the 2020 Kings Royal with details on the 2021 Kings Royal Week prior to tickets and campsites resuming public sale.{/span}{p dir=”ltr”}Renowned car owner passes away

Jerry Shields of Bloomington, one of the most successful sprint car owners for over four decades, passed away on Nov. 23.{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Shields owned a construction company in Bloomington and his business helped construct several homes, condominiums and commercial buildings in Bloomington and Monroe County.{/span}{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Shields began racing in the 1960s in what was then the super modifieds division (which later evolved to sprint cars). In the early 1970s, Bob Kinser started driving for Shields and the duo won hundreds of feature events and track championships. In 1971 Shields and Kinser were nearly unbeatable in the area, scoring 28 feature wins that season and winning track championships at Paragon Speedway and Columbus’ 25{/span}{span}{span}th{/span}{/span} {span}Street Fairgrounds Raceway.{/span}{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Other drivers who wheeled the Shields 56 and 65 numbered cars were Butch Wilkerson, Orval Yeadon, Danny Bowlen, Sheldon, Randy, Steve and Kelly Kinser, Chuck Amati and Shields’ sons Todd and Troy.{/span}

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