Xfinity Series News (6878)
NASCAR Xfinity Series News
Hunt Brothers Pizza, the nation’s largest brand of made-to-order pizza in the convenience store industry, will honor the 20th anniversary of Kevin Harvick’s 1998 NASCAR Winston West Series championship during the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race Sept. 1 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway during the Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR.
The livery of Harvick’s No. 98 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste is inspired by the No. 75 Spears Manufacturing machine Harvick drove to his first NASCAR championship in the 1998 Winston West Series, which is now known as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
“We have enjoyed partnering with Kevin Harvick for 8 years so we thought this was a great way to honor a significant milestone in his racing career,” said Scott Hunt, Chief Executive Officer of Hunt Brothers Pizza. “Kevin’s 1998 NASCAR West Series Championship was a turning point in his career and we are thrilled to be able to honor it in the Xfinity Series race at Darlington.”
Harvick’s championship came in his only full season driving the No. 75 Spears Manufacturing car for Spears Motorsports team owners Wayne and Connie Spears. He scored five wins, five poles and 11 top-five and 12 top-10 finishes while leading a total of 574 laps in 14 starts. His five wins came at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Altamont (Calif.) Motorsports Park, Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, Pike’s Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colorado and Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.
Harvick, the 2014 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, credits his 1998 West Series title with generating the kind of exposure needed to make the leap to a full-time drive in NASCAR’s national touring series the following year.
“The 1998 season was quite a year for me,” Harvick said. “I went to work for Wayne and Connie Spears to basically be a mechanic for about $24,000 a year. I just wanted the opportunity to race something. We had gotten to the point where my family couldn’t really afford to keep going racing cars and doing all the things that we were doing. It turned out well for me and we won the West Series championship that year. It was one of the most fun times I’ve ever had racing in my career and I can’t thank Hunt Brothers Pizza enough for allowing me to drive that scheme at Darlington.”
A staunch supporter of grassroots racing, Harvick has returned to the West Series ranks in each of the last two seasons. The Bakersfield, California, native scored a win in his only NASCAR K&N West Series start in 2017 at Sonoma in June driving the No. 4 Ford for Jefferson-Pitts Racing. Harvick started sixth and led 23 laps before finishing .530 of a second ahead of teammate Will Rogers. Harvick came back to Bakersfield this past March to race at Kern Country Raceway, where he again wheeled the No. 4 Ford for Jefferson-Pitts Racing. He started first and led 132 laps of the 175-lap contest before finishing fourth.
The Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Darlington will mark the fifth and final appearance for Harvick in the No. 98 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste in 2018.
Ross Chastain remained solidly in the hunt for an Xfinity Series playoff spot Saturday with a 16th-place finish in the Rock N Roll Tequila 170 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Chastain, driving the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller No. 4 Chevrolet, survived a spirited late-race battle with Joey Gase to score his second straight top-20 road-course finish.
The run kept Chastain in 12th in the Xfinity point standings and leaves him above the cutoff line for the playoffs.
“We’re still rolling,” Chastain said. “It was another good road-course day for the team. Just a few more good runs, and we hope to get that spot in the playoffs.”
Justin Allgaier won the race.
The series moves on to tough Bristol Motor Speedway for an Aug. 17 race.
Despite a tough closing segment of the race, Garrett Smithley scored a 28th-place finish in Saturday’s Rock N Roll Tequila 170 Xfinity Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Smithley, driving the No. 0 Chevrolet for JD Motorsports with Gary Keller, said he ran well most of the day but struggled with an electrical problem over the closing laps.
“We actually had some fun at Mid-Ohio today,” he said. “Raced hard all day and got into the top 20. Had some electrical issue in the last 20 laps but salvaged 28th. It was definitely the most fun road-course race I’ve had.”
Smithley stayed 20th in Xfinity points.
Justin Allgaier won the race.
The series races next at tough Bristol Motor Speedway Aug. 17.
Vinnie Miller parked his JD Motorsports with Gary Keller Chevrolet after only 14 laps and finished 36th Saturday in the Rock N Roll Tequila 170 Xfinity Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
A left front brake piston issue sent Miller to the garage.
“It’s not the redemption weekend we hoped for or had planned,” Miller said. “One of the left front brake pistons lost an O-ring, and all the fluid leaked out. Nothing we could do in the garage area to fix it. We will move on to Bristol and hope for a better week.
“Thank you JAS Expedited Trucking, Bryan (Berry) and all these guys on the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller team for all they do.”
Miller is 26th in Xfinity points.
Justin Allgaier won the race.
The series races next at tough Bristol Motor Speedway Aug. 17.
Go Green Racing had another good road course run this weekend at Mid-Ohio. They got the Sparks Energy Chevy Camaro dialed in during the first practice session Friday afternoon before the rain came and washed away second practice. Qualifying for the Rock N Roll Tequila 170 would take place Saturday morning and Gase laid down some solid laps putting down the 23rd fastest lap when he pulled off. He would ultimately end up qualifying in the 27th position for the afternoon's 75 lap race.
The field would get the green to start the 170 mile race through the twists and turns of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. They hadn't even completed a full lap before the first caution was drawn. However, it would be the only caution of the first stage.
With two laps remaining in stage one Gase had come over the radio saying that he was starting to lose his brakes and he needed to be freed up a bit up off the turns. He kept on digging until the end of the stage before bringing it to pit road. During the stop, the crew found the bleeder was a little loose on the right front caliper and found some fluid on the rim. They would tighten it up and drop a pound of pressure in both front tires.
They would go back to green for the start of the second segment which would conclude on lap 40. With 11 laps remaining they would get their first caution of the stage. CC Donahue asked Gase how the brakes were and how the air pressure adjustment had helped. Gase replied "The brakes were better, but he was running a little warmer that run than before." They would come to find that there was grass stuck in the grill so he would bring it to pit road to clean the grill and get them to end of the stage.
The green and white checkered had waved concluding the second stage. Gase reported that he was pretty good that run but could maybe be freed up a bit both ways. Four laps prior to the end of the segment he had run his fastest lap, so they didn't want to make any big adjustments. With that being said, they would pit for fresh tires, fuel, 2 up on the track bar, and two rounds out of the right rear.
With caution laps into count, the final stage would end up being a 31 lap dash to the checkered. Gase took the green from the 23rd position. With a couple of cautions in between, they would get their final caution of the day on lap 66. Gase had fought his way up to 18th for the 6 lap shootout. Once they had gotten the green he gained three more spots sitting in 15th coming to the final lap. However, going through the esses on the final lap Gase would get dumped from behind sending him spinning into the grass. The caution did not come and he lost nine positions while trying to get back onto the track. He would end up bring the Sparks Energy Chevrolet to the checkered in 24th.
It was a disappointing end to a great day for Go Green Racing knowing they had speed to get themselves a season best finish. The luck is bound to turn with how well the team has been running lately. They'll keep their heads up and get ready for the next race. They transition back to oval racing this weekend as they head back to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 300.
Joey Gase PR
The NASCAR Xfinity Series made a trip to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for its second of three road course races this month. Coming off a solid performance at Watkins Glen International, Boyd was ready for some more right turns this weekend.
The weekend started off a little bit rough for the No. 76 team as they experienced some engine issues Friday during first practice. The team worked tirelessly, along with the aid from fellow teammate Joey Gase's crew, for nearly an after the garage closed to insure the issue was resolved for race day.
Boyd would roll off from the 35th position for the Rock N Roll Tequila 170 Saturday afternoon. Caution was displayed before the cars were able to complete lap one after the 55 of Dylan Murcott lost brakes. Boyd ran stage one extremely conservative, making sure to stay on track and learn the track before really pushing his car. He may have even been a little too conservative. With less than five laps remaining in the stage, the leaders were threatening to put the Grunt Style Chevrolet one lap down. Boyd was told to pick up the pace and do everything he could to stay in front of the leaders. He did just that. Boyd got up on the wheel, picked up his lap times, and remained on the lead lap. Justin Allgaier won the first stage with Boyd in the 32nd position.
Boyd came in for four tires, fuel, an air pressure adjustment and track bar adjustment to help tighten up the Grunt Style Chevy. After an excellent pit stop by the Grunt Style Gladiators, Boyd would restart in the 29th position for the second stage. On lap 29 caution came out for the 39 of Ryan Sieg after his engine expired. Several cars had trouble during the second stage running off track or getting spun around, but Boyd continued his approach of racing the track and concentrated on hitting his marks. After getting into a rhythm, Boyd was able to string together some of his best lap times of the day and worked his way up to the 25th position. Austin Cindric won the second stage with Boyd in the 25th position.
After another solid stop, Boyd would start the final stage in the 24th position. The restart was extremely aggressive, so Boyd again elected to be conservative. In doing so, the No. 76 fell back on the restart, but Boyd picked cars off one by one as the run went on. Caution would once again be displayed on lap 59 after the 9 of Tyler Reddick had a tire go down. The final caution would wave on lap 66 after the 15 car of Katherine Legge blew up in turn nine. After some last lap fireworks between Ross Chastain and Joey Gase, Justin Allgaier grabbed the checkered flag and Spencer Boyd brought home the Grunt Style Chevrolet in the 25th position.
After the race Boyd reflected, "That was a blast. Although this was only my second road course race, I really enjoy this style of racing. My main goal of the day was to just race our own race and stay on track. My guys had to put in a lot of extra hours this weekend after we had some issues in practice, so I have to give them a ton of credit for all their hard work. We will absolutely take this and get ready for Bristol."
After yet another top 25 finish at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Boyd has now finished in the top 25 in eight of his last nine races. Boyd remains 22nd in driver standings. The Xfinity Series will take a break from road course racing action, as it heads back to Bristol for a Friday night under the lights race in Thunder Valley. Coverage of the Food City 300 will begin Friday August 17th at 7:30 pm ET.
Spencer Boyd PR
Ryan Reed crossed the finish line 10th at Mid-Ohio, earning his best finish at the road course and his third straight top-10 finish. Reed had the No. 16 Drive Down A1C Lilly Diabetes Ford on top of the speed charts in practice on Friday and followed it up with an 11th-place qualifying effort. During the race, Reed took one self-inflicted trip through the grass, but rebounded and was a consistent factor in the top 10 during the 75-lap event.
“It was an up and down day,” said Reed. “Driver error put us in the back half way through the race, but we battled back to another top-10 finish. We are taking a break from right turns next weekend and heading to Bristol. Hopefully we can keep our momentum and knock out a top 10.”
With rain clouds looming, the No. 16 made the most of first practice on Friday afternoon. Reed set the fastest time for the session and got the No. 16 Drive Down A1C Lilly Diabetes Ford dialed in for the race. The rains came as predicted, leaving many teams to opt out of final practice, including the No. 16.
Reed started the race 11th and steadily progressed over the opening 20-lap stage, working his way up to eighth before pitting prior to the stage end for tires and fuel. The rest of the field pitted at the stage break and Reed took the green for stage two seventh.
The driver maintained his track position over the course of stage two and once again pitted shy of the stage break for fuel and tires. The rest of the field pitted at the stage break and Reed lined up second for the final stage.
Shortly into the final stage Reed took a trip off the track surface and through the grass. He quickly returned, but due to off-roading, dropped from the top 10 to 28th. Reed spent the rest of the race making up lost ground and in the end worked his way forward for a top-10 finish.
Chase Briscoe took the checkered flag 14th in Saturday afternoon’s race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Briscoe and the No. 60 Ford Performance team persevered, bouncing back after a spin in stage two threatened their efforts.
After rolling off the grid 18th, Briscoe kept pace and stayed on course throughout the first stage. The driver carefully worked his way up through the field to break into the top-10 and finish ninth. The team pitted at the stage break for four tires and fuel and gained four positions on pit road.
Briscoe used the successful pit stop to his advantage, restarting stage two strong and holding on to his momentum. The driver kept pace until a competitor car clipped the rear bumper of the No. 60 Ford, sending the car spinning at lap 32. The team went to work, pitting to fix the damaged bumper. Briscoe finish stage two 32nd.
The No. 60 Ford team was awarded the free pass position with the caution leading into the final stage at Mid-Ohio. Briscoe took advantage of his track position after the team pitted again to put the finishing touches on the damage. By lap 51, Briscoe clocked his fastest lap of the stage and worked his way back into the top-15. The team pitted with a caution due to a lack of forward drive. Briscoe survived another caution in the closing laps to lock in a solid top-15 finish.
Briscoe and the No. 60 Ford Performance team return to the track Friday, August 17 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
"Today was just a warm up for Road America. We didn't quite have the car to my liking, but Nick (Harrison, crew chief) and the South Point team fought just as hard as I did in the race car all day long. We made the car better throughout the race but it just wasn't enough to get up with the leaders. I hated giving up those spots at the end but like I said, this was the warm up. Thanks to Richard Childress and everyone at RCR for giving me this opportunity; it is an honor to wheel this No. 3 Chevrolet. We will be ready to battle in a couple weeks at my favorite road course, Road America."
- Brendan Gaughan
Daniel Hemric and South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Team Rallies to Third-Place Finish at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
"This is definitely a huge point of the year for the Xfinity Series with a stretch of three road courses in four weeks. Mid-Ohio and Road America - where we will go in two weeks - are two of my favorite tracks on the schedule. We had a solid run here at Mid-Ohio last year, and this year we had a little bit of a different package coming into the weekend. Honestly, we struggled with it a little bit from the time we unloaded off the hauler all the way until the start of the race. My crew chief Danny Stockman did a great job having me come down pit road under caution with 15 or 16 laps to go to get four tires. That at least gave us the opportunity to have a shot to race for the win. By that point in the race we were doing all we could to maintain speed and not lose any track position, so it was a great call bringing me down pit road. From there we were able to move forward and race into the top three. I hope the fans enjoyed watching today's race because it was fun from my vantage point. I'm just really proud of how this No. 21 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet team battled all day. We had good pit stops and did everything we could. We just need to work on the package a little bit for when we head to Road America in two weeks."
Race Winner: Justin Allgaier of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Justin Allgaier of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Austin Cindric of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-20):
● Custer started fourth, finished 11th.
● Moved up to third with a good jump at the start, getting by No. 3 qualifier Brandon Jones by turn one and held position through the entire stage thereafter.
● Suffered early contact to his right-rear quarterpanel on a lap-five restart from Elliott Sadler that didn’t turn out to be an issue for the remainder of the stage.
● Pitted from third place with three laps to go in the stage for four tires, fuel and to pull out the right-rear quarterpanel.
● Resumed 11th and finished the stage in that position.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 21-40):
● Custer started third, finished fourth and earned seven bonus points.
● Another good jump at the start of the stage and quickly settled in behind leader Austin Cindric and second-place Matt Tifft while holding off fourth-place Christopher Bell.
●Shuffled back to fifth on a restart with seven laps to go in the stage as Bell and Daniel Hemric got by for third and fourth, respectively.
● Custer regained fourth place with a pass of Hemric with less than two laps to go in the stage.
● Pitted for four tires and fuel before the start of the final stage and was fourth off pit road among the cars that pitted.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 41-75):
● Custer started seventh, finished seventh.
● Moved up to sixth after the opening lap of the stage and held that position for a short time before dropping back to seventh one-third of the way through the stage, then back up to sixth midway through the stage and kept the pressure on Justin Allgaier for fifth.
● Custer tangled with Allgaier on lap 59 and briefly went off course and back on again, rejoining the race in ninth place.
● The caution flag flew one lap later with several cars bunched up ahead of Custer as a result of a blown tire by Tyler Reddick, dropping Custer to 10th.
● Pitted during the caution for four tires and fuel and restarted 12th with 11 laps to go.
● Climbed back into the top-10 with 10 laps to go after leader Bell spins and drops to the back of the field, then up to eighth on the next lap.
● Custer dropped a spot on the lap-69 restart to ninth place, but then regained the position and one more before the checkered flag flew for his second road-course top-10 in as many weeks.
● This marks Custer’s 17th top-10 of the season and first at Mid-Ohio.
● Custer earned seven bonus points.
● Six cautions slowed the race for 18 laps.
● Only 29 of the 40 drivers finished on the lead lap.
● Justin Allgaier won the Rock N Roll Tequila 170 to score his eighth career Xfinity Series victory, third of the season and first at Mid-Ohio. His margin of victory over second-place Austin Cindric was 2.095 seconds.
Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing With Biagi-DenBeste:
“It was a frustrating day, to say the least. Our Haas Automation Mustang was really good. I thought we were a second-place car. We probably could’ve kept up with the 22 (Austin Cindric). I have to apologize to Justin (Allgaier). It worked out for him, but I hit him in the wrong spot there and spun him around. That’s my fault and I’ll apologize. We’ll just move on to Bristol. I want to win. That’s what we want to do. It’s frustrating when things don’t go your way. I thought we were doing everything right, we just need everything to fall into place.”
The next event on the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule is the Food City 300 on Friday, Aug. 17 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN.