Happy birthday to two of racing’s top personalities, Newgarden and Eversley

Leave a comment

Perhaps the mainstream public-at-large isn’t aware of Josef Newgarden and/or Ryan Eversley yet. But given these two’s outreach and social media presence, plus their popularity within their respective series’ paddocks, they should be.

Both have birthdays today. Newgarden turns 23, Eversley 30, and both seek even bigger 2014s after each made a bigger name for themselves with some of their 2013 efforts.

Newgarden completed his second season in IndyCar with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, and was one of the year’s most improved drivers. Four top-five finishes also included a career-best second place in Baltimore, his first podium finish.

Off the track, Newgarden’s quirky persona carried over when he was featured prominently in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s attempt at the “Harlem Shake” fad in February and March (yes, it’s hard to believe that was a fad, and that it was this calendar year). Additionally, Newgarden raised awareness for animal cruelty for a campaign called “Show Your Soft Side” in Baltimore, and was so struck by the cat he did a photo shoot with that he adopted it.

Newgarden made his intro to IndyCar racing – at least in the social media realm – with a series of “Incognito” videos during 2012.

Eversley, meanwhile co-drove with Kyle Gimple to finish second in the ST class of the 2013 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, in the Compass360 Racing team’s No. 75 Honda Civic Si. The pair failed to win but had several podium finishes, and was only just denied the title at the last race of the season. He also finished on the podium in the GX class at this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, co-driving a BGB Motorsports-entered Porsche Cayman.

Where Eversley’s star rose was on Vine. No driver mastered the series of six-second video loops better (Newgarden did a few of these too, but not to Eversley’s frequency) and it helped to put him on the map. One such example is below, with a Lego version of Eversley’s firesuit walking across a chopsticks-made bridge.

Eversley also had a starring role in two of the Taylor brothers’ music videos, culminating in the “you have to have seen this if you’re in racing” “Jordan Loves Stickers.” He took over the Continental Tire social media channels for the SEMA Show in Las Vegas in November, as well.

But where Eversley has really stood out has been in his raising awareness for the Children’s Tumor Foundation, an organization that seeks to find a cure for individuals (mainly children) living with neurofibromatosis (NF).  NF causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body and can lead to blindness, bone abnormalities, cancer, deafness, disfigurement, learning disabilities, and excruciating and disabling pain. As a way to do so, Eversley has sought votes via Eagle Rare Life to help raise money for that.

Good dudes, good drivers, and guys who are working both to raise awareness for their sport and for good causes – fitting they share a birthday.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
Leave a comment

Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.