Grassroots racing veteran Kenny Hunley named NASCAR’s new Director of Weekly Racing


One of the most familiar faces around the short-track racing world is now at the top of it.

Veteran NASCAR official Kenny Hunley was named recently as NASCAR’s new Director of Weekly Racing.

A native of Kingsport, Tennessee – just a quick burnout from Bristol Motor Speedway – Hunley has been part of NASCAR and the racing community for more than 40 years.

“I literally grew up in the grandstands,” Hunley said in a NASCAR media release. “My father, Ken “Bear” Hunley, raced on the beach in 1958, and was a Sportsman National Champion crew chief. I worked for him when he ran Kingsport Speedway – every job at the track except flagman.”

Hunley has worked for a number of teams over the years, as well, including those of NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson, Donnie Allison, Neil Bonnet and Harry Gant, among others.

The primary part of Hunley’s new role will be to oversee NASCAR’s large grassroots racing initiative, the Whelen All-American Series, which includes nearly 60 tracks in the U.S. and Canada, with over 10,000 NASCAR-licensed drivers and even more as crewmen, team owners, track officials and more.

Hunley’s teams have captured championships at iconic NASCAR Home Tracks including Lonesome Pine Speedway, and he has worked with a number of racing legends along the way – NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson, Donnie Allison, Neil Bonnet, and Harry Gant to name a few.

“Kenny’s knowledge, experience, and unmatched passion for weekly racing made him an obvious choice to lead our weekly racing program,” said Brad Moran, NASCAR’s Managing Director of Touring Series. “He brings a unique perspective – as someone involved in operating a track, as a mechanic, a crew chief – that makes him a great asset for our team as well as our partners.”

Added Hunley, “I bring the competitor’s perspective to this position, and I really want to work toward improving communications between our racing teams and tracks and NASCAR.”

Since it began in 1982, the Whelen All-American Series has been the launching pad for a number of today’s top Sprint Cup stars including Greg Biffle, Kurt and Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick – all who qualified for this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup.

“The Whelen All-American Series is an integral part of the fabric of NASCAR, and getting Kenny Hunley is a win for everyone,” Moran said.

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SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.