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

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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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IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.