The NASCAR Cup Series returns to Kansas Speedway for a Round of eight playoff race on Oct. 24. Spire Motorsports driver Corey LaJoie will use the race as an opportunity to channel Burt Reynolds. He will take part in the Hollywood Casino 400 while driving a “Stroker Ace” Chevrolet Camaro.
Spire Motorsports provided an early look at the stock car on Wednesday, June 23. The red Chevrolet Camaro featured several nods to the film’s hero car, including a running chicken behind the door number. However, there was one major change in that the film’s car did not have “Chicken Pit” on the side.
LaJoie and Spire Motorsports partnered with Circle B Diecast to create the special scheme for the playoff race. The altered slogan, “Fastest Shipping in the South,” reflected this change and referenced diecast deliveries instead of fried chicken.
To coincide with the announcement, Circle B made diecast models of the stock car available for preorder. The company also released a special t-shirt commemorating the partnership and the upcoming tribute to the racing film.
‘Stroker Ace’ Starred Reynolds as a NASCAR Champion
Originally released in 1983, “Stroker Ace” starred Reynolds as one of the best drivers in stock car racing. His character, Ace, clashed with Clyde Torkle, the fried chicken mogul who sponsored the No. 7 Ford Thunderbird and made him dress up as a giant chicken during races.
“Stroker Ace” featured several real-world NASCAR locations to add some authenticity to the film. There were scenes at Talladega Superspeedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, and Atlanta Motor Speedway.
While “Stroker Ace” failed to reach the heights of “Smokey and the Bandit” with its 20% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the film inspired a previous paint tribute. Rick Ware Racing driver BJ McLeod channeled “Stroker Ace” during the 2019 Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, finishing 39th after a crash.
A Former Champion Used the 2020 Kansas Race to Reach the Final 4
The 2020 Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway kicked off the Round of eight and featured a star-studded lineup of drivers fighting for playoff points. Chase Elliott started on the pole after winning the Charlotte Roval race to cap off the Round of 12, but he didn’t take the checkered flag.
The 267-lap race featured several lead changes as drivers such as Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Elliott, and Brad Keselowski spent time at the front of the pack. However, Team Penske’s Joey Logano led 40 laps and captured the win to lock up his spot in the final four, as well as five playoff points.
Kurt Busch, the winner of the playoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sept. 27, saw his championship dreams begin to fade in Kansas. He headed to the garage early due to engine issues and finished 38th with three points. The only drivers that finished behind him were Chad Finchum and Matt Kenseth.
Nearly one year later, Logano has a spot in the playoffs while Busch remains in the hunt. The driver of the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Camaro is 17th in points, one spot below the cutoff line with nine races remaining in the regular season. However, Busch will now head to Pocono Raceway for a doubleheader and try to lock up a spot in the playoffs at a track where he has three previous wins.