MST exclusive: BK Racing co-owner Anthony Marlowe apologizes for Cole Whitt/David Ragan tweet controversy

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It’s not every day that a NASCAR team owner publicly apologizes for an error he made, especially in a large forum such as Twitter.

But give BK Racing minority owner Anthony Marlowe credit for making a classy move at righting his wrong by offering exclusively to MotorSportsTalk a heartfelt apology and explanation for his inadvertent actions.

First, the back story:

Marlowe inadvertently tweeted congratulations Tuesday night to his young driver, Cole Whitt, for accepting a ride for 2015 with Front Row Motorsports, replacing David Ragan, who had been in that ride the past three seasons.

Marlowe and Whitt had both joined BK Racing earlier this past season as minority investor and driver, respectively, after Swan Racing shut its doors less than 10 races into the 2014 campaign.

There was only one problem with Marlowe’s tweet, however: FRM issued media statements Wednesday that Whitt replacing Ragan was incorrect and that the organization fully expected the Unadilla, Georgia native back in the No. 34 Ford Fusion in 2015.

Here is Marlowe’s entire statement to MotorSportsTalk:

“I did not intend for it to make national news,” Marlowe said of his original tweet. “Aside from it being smart alecky, it was just a tweet congratulating a friend, and current supplier of driver services on his ride for next year.

“We could have had someone else drive the 26 car this year at BKR, but my new partners and I felt (Whitt) deserved a full season after his past NASCAR teams were not committed to him for the long term, along with his auspicious start to the 2014 season. That mission was accomplished.

“Additionally, we offered Cole (and it has been on the table since July) a multi-year option contract in the Cup series. Needless to say, I wish he would have stuck around and built this franchise with us over the years, but he obviously has and/or somehow created a better opportunity somewhere else.”

On David Ragan / The number:

“I should have left the number 34 out of it (the tweet). Although I am fairly confident based on my multiple sources that he (Whitt) is going to Front Row, not all of those sources have been so sure it is the 34 car.

“Regardless if time tells us any of this is true or not, I feel like I owe David Ragan an apology. He is a Cup winner and seemingly great guy. I sincerely regret him being pulled into this.”

What tipped me off (that Whitt was leaving):

“What tipped me off that Cole was going to Ford was Cole himself on the radio at the Texas Chase race. He said something along the lines of Front Row’s Ford’s being gnarly coming off the corner.

“I was confused, since we were on the lead lap racing for a top 25 finish, and FRM was 6 laps down racing for 35th. The following Monday morning, I asked a few people questions, and a pattern started to emerge. Our teams had heard rumblings in the garage in the weeks prior, but when guys from the Front Row shop start talking to other owners about it being imminent days after Homestead, it becomes hard not to believe at this point.”

On 2015 for BKR / NASCAR:

“Putting my investor hat on, which at the end of the day is all I am, I think what people don’t understand is that I am attracted to BK Racing much more than other teams because it kind of resembles a social media startup, for example.

“Sure, cash flow is important at some point, but appreciation and media/ad capacity is key. BK Racing has one the highest potentials for exponential accretive value increases in the entire sport in my opinion. Albeit very risky, but no risk no reward.

“When we convert more or all of our $27,000,000 in annual underutilized media/ad space to revenue, the valuation of our franchise will soar. The higher you finish in the field, the more media/ad capacity one is likely to have, so not only does revenue multiple soar, but so does the revenue potential itself.

“So although my journey inside of NASCAR has been a bumpy one, I am thankful and optimistic for an early opportunity with what is essentially the largest start up team in (NASCAR’s) Premier series.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

World of Outlaws release 2023 Sprint Car Series schedule

2023 Outlaws Sprint schedule
World of Outlaws
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The 2023 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series schedule features 87 races, almost identical to the last year’s number, to be contested at 36 venues across 19 states. With cancelations for mostly weather, they closed out this year’s calendar on November 5 with 69 events in the books. Carson Macedo won a series high 11 races.

In 2022, David Gravel chased Brad Sweet into the three-race finale on the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway in one of the most hotly contested championships in Outlaws history. Sweet emerged victorious for the fourth straight year.

For the 19th consecutive season, the Outlaws Sprints will begin their season at Volusia Speedway Park for the DIRTcar Nationals from Feb. 9-11 and will return March 5-6 for another two-day show before hitting the road with a three-track swing into Pennsylvania to take on the Posse.

MORE: 2023 World of Outlaws Late Model Schedule

“Every year we continue to build the best schedule we can for drivers and fans across the country,” said World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter is a series release. “I’m excited for the journey we’ve put together, which includes the biggest races in Sprint Car racing, our new Spring Swing through Pennsylvania, the thrill of combining the World of Outlaws and ‘Bike Week’ and so much more.”

Some tracks returning from hiatus and one brand new course include 81 Speedway in Park City, Kans. in April and again in October, Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon City, Ill. in April, Ogilvie (Minn.) Raceway in June and BAPS Motor Speedway in York Haven, Penn.

BAPS hosts its first race in more than 30 years when the track was known as Susquehanna Speedway. This midweek show will give the local Pennsylvania Posse 14 attempts to beat the traveling Outlaws.

Ogilvie Speedway is completely new to the series and makes it the 224th different venue they will have challenged.

MORE: Brad Sweet protects his place in history

Notably missing from the calendar are Vado (N.M.) Speedway Park, Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, Texas, Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway and the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track.

In addition to the new spring Pennsylvania Swing, the second date at Volusia Speedway will coincide with Daytona Beach’s Bike Week and bring new eyes to the sport.

Knoxville Raceway adds another multi-night show to the calendar in April, giving this track eight sanctioned events in 2023.

And of course, there are plenty of mainstays and high dollar events, such as the Memorial Day Spectacular at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway, the 35th running of the Brad Doty Classic in July and the Labor Day Spectacular at Gray’s Harbor in Elma, Wash.

Several big paydays are on the line in 2023 including the 40th annual Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio paying $175,000 to the winner, the Huset’s High Bank Nationals’ $250,000-to-win finale and the grandaddy of them all, the 62nd Knoxville Nationals with a total purse exceeding $1 million.

2023 Outlaws Sprint Schedule

Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 9-11 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)

Sunday-Monday, March 5-6 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)
Friday-Saturday, March 10-11 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, March 17 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday, March 18 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday, March 24 – Talladega Short Track (Eastaboga, AL)
Saturday, March 25 – Magnolia Motor Speedway (Columbus, MS)
Friday, March 31-Saturday, April 1 – Devil’s Bowl Speedway (Mesquite, TX)

Friday, April 7 – US-36 Raceway (Osborn, MO)
Saturday, April 8 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, April 14-15 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Friday-Saturday, April 21-22 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday, April 28 – Tri-City Speedway (Granite City, IL)
Saturday, April 29 – Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)

Friday-Saturday, May 5-6 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, May 10 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday-Saturday, May 12-13 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Friday, May 19 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Saturday, May 20 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, May 26-27 – Atomic Speedway (Chillicothe, OH)
Monday, May 29 – Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)

Friday, June 2 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, June 3 – Ogilvie Raceway (Ogilvie, MN)
Friday-Saturday, June 9-10 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday-Saturday, June 16-17 – Beaver Dam Raceway (Beaver Dam, WI)
Wednesday-Saturday, June 21-24 – Huset’s Speedway (Brandon, SD)
Friday, June 30-Saturday, July 1 – Cedar Lake Speedway (New Richmond, WI)

Friday, July 7 – 34 Raceway (West Burlington, IA)
Saturday, July 8 – Wilmot Raceway (Wilmot, WI)
Tuesday, July 11 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Friday-Saturday, July 14-15 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, July 19 – BAPS Motor Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Friday-Saturday, July 21-22 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday-Sunday, July 29-30 – Weedsport Speedway (Weedsport, NY)

Friday-Saturday, Aug. 4-5 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 9-12 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 17-19 – Jackson Motorplex (Jackson, MN)
Friday, Aug. 25 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, Aug. 26 – Red River Valley Speedway (West Fargo, ND)
Thursday, Aug. 31-Saturday, September 2 – Skagit Speedway (Alger, WA)

Monday, Sept. 4 – Grays Harbor Raceway (Elma, WA)
Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 7-9 – Silver Dollar Speedway (Chico, CA)
Friday, Sept. 15 – Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford, CA)
Saturday, Sept. 16 – Placerville Speedway (Placerville, CA)
Friday, Sept. 22 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Saturday, Sept. 23 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, Sept. 29-30 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 6-7 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, Oct. 13 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Saturday, Oct. 14 – Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, Oct. 20-21 – TBA

Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 1-4 – The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Concord, NC)