Kenny Tremont Jr. en route to victory at Albany-Saratoga Speedway. (Dave Dalesandro photo)
Kenny Tremont Jr. at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in 2019. (Dave Dalesandro photo)

KERCHNER: Friday Morning Heat Race

It’s time for our weekly Friday morning tour around the racing world. From hot laps to the main event, here’s what’s on our mind this week.

Hot Laps: Money, Money

The 50/50 drawing on night one of the World 100 Thursday at Eldora Speedway paid $26,122. Bobby Pierce and Hudson O’Neal, the two feature winners on the night, earned $12,000 each.

Qualifying: Recognition Deserved

Sprint car drivers Gio Scelzi, Spencer Bayston and Brad Sweet, along with the Knoxville Raceway safety team were voted as the third quarter recipients of the National Motorsports Press Ass’n Pocono Spirit Award for their roles in freeing Carson Macedo from his burning race car at Knoxville in June.

First Heat: Second Chance

John Hunter Nemechek will get a second chance to race in the NASCAR Cup Series next season. He previously drove for Front Row Motorsports, making 39 starts for the team in 2019-20.

It’s an interesting opportunity with Toyota fully behind Nemechek and the Legacy Motor Club operation that is co-owned by Jimmie Johnson. But at the same time, the team that switches from Chevrolet to Toyota during the offseason, has struggled this year.

Second Heat: A Bright Future

Chase Randall impressed in winning the rookie-of-the-year title at the Knoxville Nationals and the Texas teenager has caught the attention of many, including Paul Silva, who has hired Randall for select events in California this fall, starting with this weekend’s Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway.

Randall drove his family-owned No. 9 to the 360 class title at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway this season.

Third Heat: Drivers On The Move

Marcus Ericsson to Andretti Autosport. Felix Rosenqvist to Meyer Shank. Tom Blomquist to Meyer Shank. Simon Pagenaud in limbo. Helio Castroneves to the board room. These are only some of the drivers who will be in new places in the NTT IndyCar Series next season with several rides not yet accounted for. It’s a lot of movement for the new year with one race still remaining in the season.

Fourth Heat: A Magical Pairing

There was something special about seeing Don “The Snake” Prudhomme watch Ron Capps carry a Funny Car adorned with the paint scheme he ran to victory in 1973, advance through eliminations to win the U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Capps was a raw rookie when he started driving for Prudhomme in the early 1990s. Seeing the two together again with Capps an established three-time champion and Prudhomme an 82-year-old legend of the sport, provided a special memory for racers and fans alike.

Dash: Competing Series

It appears more and more the country will again see its top winged sprint car racers split into two national traveling series next season. Doesn’t anyone remember the USA and the National Sprint Tour?

B Main: Big Races

Four of the longest-running, traditional dirt-track races in the nation run this weekend.

The 53rd annual World 100 dirt late model race goes for three nights at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway, while the 41st annual IMCA Super Nationals are on the docket for six nights, ending Saturday, at Iowa’s Boone Speedway.

On the sprint car side of things, the 69th annual Gold Cup Race of Champions (World of Outlaws) is on tap at California’s Silver Dollar Speedway and the 56th Tuscarora 50 (All Star Circuit of Champions) goes at Pennsylvania’s Port Royal Speedway.

Feature: Retiring Legend

DIRTcar modified veteran Kenny Tremont Jr. is quietly retiring from racing after the upcoming Sept. 23 Malta Massive weekend at New York’s Albany-Saratoga Speedway.

Tremont has been a kingpin of central New York dirt-track racing for more than 40 years, winning 13 track titles at Albany-Saratoga and 14 at Lebanon Valley Speedway.

He’s also won the Super DIRT Week title five times (once in a big-block and four times in a small-block car). He’s won 392 races at 20 different tracks.

Parting Shot: California Quick

Six of the top 10 finishers in the Knoxville Nationals, led by Kyle Larson, were from the state of California. On Thursday, California drivers (Larson, Shane Golobic and Corey Day) swept the top three spots on the opening night of the Gold Cup Race of Champions.