Xfinity Series News (7342)
NASCAR Xfinity Series News
The Boyd Gaming 300 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway was held over the weekend on Saturday, completing the third round of the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) season. Entering the weekend, JD Motorsports with Gary Keller (JDM) drivers set their sights on winning big in the desert to start their season off in the right direction.
Ross Chastain, driver of the No. 4 EZ Angus Ranch / RM Parks Inc. Camaro SS, showed up to the 1.5 mile intermediate oval with his head held high after a couple of solid weeks in Daytona and Atlanta left him sitting ninth place in the overall points standings. Due to Qualifying being rained out for the second consecutive week, he rolled off the starting grid from the 15th position. Most of his race was spent around the 12th to 14th position, and as the laps clicked off, he seemed to be setting himself up for a solid Top 15 run.
That was all until a speeding penalty late in Stage 3 was handed to the No. 4 team. Ross was forced to drive back down pit lane for a pass-through penalty, putting him one lap down to the leaders. Luckily, a caution flew shortly after serving the penalty, allowing Ross to earn the Free Pass and get back on the lead lap. The final laps were dangerous, as multiple crashes ended many competitors’ races. However, Ross was able to stay calm, cool, and collected, and narrowly avoided disaster to bring home a 7th place finish, collecting JDM’s first Top 10 of the year.
“You know, Las Vegas is a city based on luck.” said veteran crew chief, Paul Clapprood. “Once we got the speeding penalty, I thought our race was over. But as soon as I got word of the caution, I knew we were back in it. We just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and Ross did a fantastic job avoiding all of the carnage. This is a great way to start our West Coast Swing off.”
Garrett Smithley, driver of the No. 0 “In Memory of Hippie” Camaro SS, also had a solid day in the desert. Owner’s Points had him line up in the 22nd position, but he was able to pass a few cars early in the going, and ran consistently within the Top 20 for the duration of the afternoon. He brought his car home in one piece without a scratch on it in the 18th position.
Sometimes, having a non-eventful race is a good thing, as the driver and team are able to execute their plan flawlessly without having to overcome any obstacles. Saturday’s race proved just that, and the team is ecstatic because they are able to take his car to the Auto Club Speedway in just a couple of weeks’ time without making any major repairs to it.
BJ McLeod, driver of the No. 15 Camaro SS, was also able to earn his second Top 20 in a row in Las Vegas, and was also the driver who picked up the most positions from the JDM stable. After starting in the 29th position, McLeod was able to claw his way up the leaderboard one by one, and actually was able to crack the Top 15 at one point during the race. He ultimately brought his car home in the 20th position, and currently sits in 23rd in points.
Stephen Leicht, driver of the No. 01 “In Memory of Hippie” Camaro SS, didn’t quite have the same success as his JDM teammates this weekend, but was able to earn his best career finish at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The No. 01 team started from the 30th position, and fought hard all day right at the edge of the Top 25. Leicht brought his Camaro SS home in the 27th position, and now moves up a couple of positions in points to the 29th spot.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to ISM Raceway in Avondale, Arizona, this Saturday for the 15th annual running of the Arizona 200 on the 1-mile low-banked oval right outside of Phoenix. Be sure to tune in to see JDM drivers Chastain, Smithley, McLeod, and Leicht take on the newly reconfigured track challenges both drivers and teams in the desert heat. TV broadcast will be live on FOX Sports 1 at 2:00 PM local time (4:00 PM Eastern Time).
9th. Ross Chastain (-43)
17th. Garrett Smithley (-87)
23rd. BJ McLeod (-99)
29th. Stephen Leicht (-116)
NASCAR Xfinity Series star Brandon Jones and ISM Raceway President Julie Giese visited with servicemen and women at Luke Air Force Base yesterday ahead of the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at ISM Raceway on March 9. As part of the visit, Jones and Giese received a behind-the-scenes look at Luke Air Force Base, including the largest F-35 wing in world. Video is available for download here.
The afternoon began with a tour of TITAN Arena, a fitness facility solely dedicated to the fitness and injury prevention of F-35 pilots. Following the TITAN Arena, Jones and Giese jumped in adjacent F-16 simulators at the Training Squadron. Instructed by Maj Patrick "Rainman" McAndrew and Maj Glen "Fist" Goossen, Jones and Giese learned to fire at moving targets and how to land the aircraft during both day and night. The last half of the visit consisted of a thorough tour of the 61st Fighter Squadron, the very first F-35 Squadron in the USAF.
"This was awesome today, getting a behind-the-scenes look at Luke Air Force Base and meeting many of the airmen that work out of there," said Jones. "Seeing the F-35 up close with Maj Zelasko was definitely a highlight of the day. I’m fortunate to be a part of a sport and a team like Toyota that supports our military in so many ways because it’s something very close to my heart. These men and women put their lives on the line every day for us and the fact that many of them took time out of their schedules to show me around means a lot."
In addition to holding the largest F-35 wing in the world, Luke Air Force Base is also home to 70% of F-35 pilots. Maj Zelasko, an F-35 Instructor Pilot, gave Jones, Giese and media in attendance a tour of their facility, including where all of the pilots’ gear and g-suits are kept and an up-close look at the fifth-generation combat planes themselves.
"Supporting members of our military has always been an important initiative for ISM Raceway and to have the opportunity to visit our neighbors at Luke and get a peek into their daily lives was an unforgettable experience," said Giese.
Jones will return to ISM Raceway when he takes to the track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series on March 9. Tickets for the entire TicketGuardian 500 Weekend, March 8, 9 and 10 are still available online at ISMRaceway.com, by phone at 1-866-408-RACE (7223), or in person at the ISM Raceway ticket office. Military packages, including 20% off all seats and INfield access passes are available at the base ITT/MWR Office, or online at ISMRaceway.com/Buy-Tickets/Military.
ISM Raceway PR
RSS Racing is pleased to welcome Shop Boss a sponsor of the #39 car driven by Ryan Sieg. Shop Boss will be an associate sponsor at Auto Club Speedway and a primary sponsor at Bristol Motor Speedway. Shop Boss is a new company entering the world of NASCAR.
Shop Boss is an automotive repair software for the modern auto repair shop. Shop Boss assists owners and managers in organizing their technicians’ time, customer invoices, and information to help make the shop more efficient and productive.
Ryan Sieg has started the 2019 season off with three finishes of 11th or better. “It’s been a great start to the year for our race team. It’s nice to know that sponsors have taken notice and decided to join our family owned team. Shop Boss is a perfect fit for NASCAR as they focus on the automotive industry,” commented Sieg. Ryan Sieg heads to ISM Raceway this weekend 8th in the XFINITY Series Standings.
RSS Racing PR
Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Tyler Reddick of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):
● Busch started eighth, finished 20th.
● Making his way into third on lap 12, Busch reported that he had a loose wheel. Busch pitted shortly thereafter for four tires and fuel before returning the track in the 33rd position, one lap down.
● Busch worked his way through the field to the 20th position by the end of Stage 1 but was two spots short of being in the Lucky Dog position when the caution flag waved on lap 45.
● Despite battling a “tight center-exit” condition toward the end of the first stage, crew chief Ben Beshore elected to keep Busch on track in the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra to take the wave-around and restart on the lead lap.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):
● Started 19th, finished third. Earned eight bonus points.
● A quick caution at the beginning of Stage 2 allowed the No. 18 team to pit under yellow and address the handling conditions from the first stage of the race. Busch received four scuffed tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment on lap 61.
● Busch restarted 12th on lap 64 and made his way into the top-10 just one lap later.
● With fresher tires than the leaders, Busch reached the top-10 on lap 65 and took over fifth on lap 77.
● Busch reached the third position on lap 87 and maintained that spot until the end of the second stage.
● Still fighting a tight handling condition, Busch brought the iK9 Toyota Supra to pit road on lap 93 for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200):
● Started third, finished first.
● Busch reported just nine laps into the final stage that he was “the tightest he had been all day” following the adjustments made at the stage break.
● Busch took the lead for the first time on lap 150 and owned the top spot until lap 180. After a short battle with Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Christopher Bell, Busch regained the lead until lap 204.
● Following the sixth caution of Saturday’s event and first green-white-checkered attempt, Busch briefly lost the lead for one lap but once again reigned supreme, taking over the lead in the high line.
● Slowed again by a caution, Busch lined up first for one final restart and held off a charge from second-place finisher John Hunter Nemechek to earn his 93rd Xfinity Series victory.
● Busch’s victory was his second in the Xfinity Series at his home track. His previous win came on March 5, 2016, in the Boyd Gaming 300.
● Saturday’s win is Busch’s 93rd career Xfinity Series win and his 197th across NASCAR’s top three series.
● Busch started eighth in the Boyd Gaming 300 after qualifying this morning was canceled due to inclement weather and the field was set by owner points, per the NASCAR rulebook.
● The No. 18 iK9 team is now second in the owner championship with 124 points.
● This was the second win in as many days for Busch, who also claimed a victory in Friday night’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race.
● There were seven caution periods for a total of 37 laps.
● Only nine of the 38 drivers in the Boyd Gaming 300 finished on the lead lap.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“We had been fighting the balance with these cars lately and trying to be able to get that right. It’s either too loose or too tight. We couldn’t find a happy medium. We knew we had a fast car and needed to figure out how and where to stay in the game – and how we would be able to get back on the lead lap after the loose wheel earlier in the race, and get back on the tire strategy with everyone else. It could have been a long race. The last segment could go green the whole way. You pit once and you put one set of tires, and it could have equaled out. I thought, ‘OK, there’s an opportunity here. There’s a lot of things that have to go our way.’ Fortunately, that caution in the beginning of the second stage went our way and allowed us to put our first set of tires on with a fresh wheel and not have issues after that. I can’t say enough about all of our guys. Everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and especially everyone from Xtreme Concepts and iK9. This Supra was fast out there today and awfully fun to drive. We worked for that one, that’s for sure.”
The next event is the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at ISM Raceway near Phoenix on Saturday, March 8. The race starts at 4 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FS1.
Tyler Reddick Picks Up Stage Win, Leads Laps in No. 2 Hurdl Chevrolet Before Getting Caught Up in Late-Race Wreck
"I hate that this is the way our day ended. We had an excellent No. 2 Hurdl Chevrolet Camaro. I really had no complaints about the balance other than it being just a tad snug at times. Once we got into clean air out front, it was fast and we were able to stretch the lead out. I'm glad we were able to pick up our first stage win of the year and lead a lot of laps today. We're continuing to improve each week in that area. Unfortunately on that last restart, the 18 of Kyle Busch just got me right where he wanted me and was able to take the air off me. That got me way too loose, and I wasn't able to save it. I hate it for my team and everyone else who was involved, but we were racing for the win. If we keep bringing Chevrolet Camaros as good as this one, we'll have another shot soon. I'm having a blast driving these cars and can't wait for next week at ISM Raceway."
It took successful a gamble, a serendipitous caution and a couple of overtimes for Las Vegas native Kyle Busch to win a second NASCAR Xfinity Series race on his home track, but Busch beat the odds in Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300.
A lap down at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after an unscheduled pit stop for a loose wheel, Busch rallied to win his 93rd Xfinity race, extending his series record and bringing his victory total across NASCAR’s three national series to 197.
Having also won Friday night’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series event, Busch will now go for the third three-race weekend sweep of his career in Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race (12:30 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
After a wreck in the first overtime ruined the chances of reigning champion Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell, Austin Cindric and Zane Smith, Busch held off John Hunter Nemechek in the second overtime, clearing the No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet off Turn 4 on Lap 212 and beating Nemechek to the checkered flag by .192 seconds a lap later.
But it was an early caution in the second stage of the race that put Busch in position to win. Busch had come to pit road with the loose wheel on Lap 15 and lost a lap to the frontrunning cars. At the end of Stage 1, won by Cole Custer, Busch’s crew chief, Ben Beshore, took a gamble in keeping the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota on the track under caution for the stage break.
Busch returned to the lead lap with a wave-around but had to fight through traffic on old tires. A caution on Lap 59, however, gave Busch the opportunity he needed to pit for tires, and after restarting 17th on Lap 63, Busch charged to third by the end of the stage on Lap 90.
Passing Reddick for the lead on Lap 111, Busch was out front for a total of 98 laps, as the race went 13 laps beyond its scheduled distance.
"It was really tough to come back from one of those setbacks,” Busch said. “I wasn't sure how we were going to be able to do it down a set of tires. We got a lucky break with a caution during the second stage.
"That kind of got us back on cycle, and we were able to put the first set (of tires) back on with fresh wheels so we didn't have any more issues there.
With Bell winning last week at Atlanta, the new Toyota Supras have won two straight races.
"It's cool to be able to back up Christopher’s win last week and get the Supra back in Victory Lane with me,” said Busch, who won in his first of seven Xfinity starts this season. “I wanted to be the first one, but he had to show me up a little bit last week."
Busch is the only driver to sweep three national-series events in the same weekend, a feat he accomplished twice at Bristol, in 2010 and 2017. But a sweep at his home track would be all the more meaningful.
"I thought this was going to be the toughest of the three (races), because we could never get the balance right," Busch said of the Xfinity event. "I was either way too tight or way too loose. I could never find a happy medium.
"Overall, I feel like our Cup car is pretty good. The car has some speed. We ran a lot out there in the pack and in traffic, and it's going to be an interesting race (on Sunday). Make sure everybody tunes in."
Las Vegas native Noah Gragson ran third, followed by Austin Dillon and Daytona winner Michael Annett.
Ryan Sieg, Ross Chastain, Chase Briscoe, Custer and Justin Haley completed the top 10.
Nemechek ran side-by-side with Busch but couldn’t keep up off Turn 4 on the penultimate lap.
“We gave him a run for his money,” Nemechek said. “I’ve been beaten by Kyle too many times, in late model races and now in the Xfinity Series. Hopefully, we can come out on top and build momentum off of this.”
Bell grabbed the lead from Busch on Lap 181 but brushed the outside wall soon thereafter, and Busch regained the top spot on Lap 182. Busch was a quarter-lap away from the white flag when contact between Custer’s Ford and the Toyota of Brandon Jones caused the sixth caution and forced overtime.
On the first attempt, Reddick spun beneath Busch’s Toyota in Turn 4, knocked Bell’s Toyota sideways, and triggered a wreck that also collected Smith and Cindric.
That accident set up Busch’s winning dash and primed him for a possible sweep on Sunday.
“To do it here in Las Vegas at my home track would be huge,” Busch said.
Kyle Busch survived two NASCAR Overtime attempts on Saturday to score his 93rd career NASCAR XFINITY Series victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Busch, a Las Vegas native and winner of Friday’s Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at the 1.5-mile oval, led the field for 98 of the 213 circuits. The win for the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team, which is Busch’s 197th career NASCAR National Series win, did not come easy for the hometown kid.
Busch started eighth on the starting grid as morning rain washed out qualifying. By rule, that placed the No. 00 Ford of Cole Custer on the pole for the 23rd annual Boyd Gaming 300. Custer, who led 48 laps of the race, went on to a ninth-place finish.
Things did not start out well for the No. 18 team as they pitted for a loose wheel with around 10 laps complete. The issue relegated Busch to 33rd and one lap down on the leaderboard. By using strategy and staying out under the second yellow flag, Busch climbed back up through the field to finish third at the end of stage two.
“It was early enough where you could try to come back from one of those kind of setbacks. I wasn’t sure how we were going to be able to do it being short a set of tires,” said Kyle Busch after securing the win. “We got a lucky break with that caution in the second stage that kind of got us back on cycle where we able to get our first set back on with fresh wheels so we didn’t have any more issues there. It’s cool to come out here and be a part of the Las Vegas and the hometown.”
With 15 green flag laps complete in the final stage, Kyle Busch passed Tyler Reddick for the race lead. He’d later be challenged for the top spot by teammate Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick, but held them off for the top spot.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veteran will go into Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 looking to complete the weekend sweep. The event will take place at 3:30 p.m. ET. live on FOX and PRN radio.
“I thought this would be the toughest of the three. We had a fast race car but we could never get the balance even in the race right there,” continued Busch after the race. “I was either way too tight or way too loose, I could never find a happy medium. Overall, I feel like the Cup car is pretty good. The M&M’s Chocolate Bar Camry got some speed to it as well and we ran a lot out there in traffic and the pack. So it will be interesting tomorrow.”
John Hunter Nemechek came across the line in the runner-up spot. Nemechek started 10th in his No. 23 Chevrolet and finished stage one and two in fifth. The son of veteran racer Joe Nemechek leaves Sin City with one top five and two top 10 finishes in 2019.
Noah Gragson will walk away with a third-place finish. Gragson, piloting the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, sat 10th in stage one and 13th in stage two. The Las Vegas native started on the outside of Cole Custer because Christopher Bell had to start at the rear of the field. Second-place starter Chad Finchum voluntarily went to the rear.
Austin Dillon and Michael Annett rounded out the top five.
Ryan Sieg, Ross Chastain, Chase Briscoe, Cole Custer and Justin Haley all took home top 10 finishes.
Despite the incident with Joey Gase and Donald Theetge on lap three in turn three, and the lap 60 incident in turn two for Austin Cindric and Zane Smith, things were quiet through the first two stages. Things would start ramping up with 10 laps to go.
On lap 190, with 10 laps remaining, JA Junior Avila had a solo spin coming off turn four. With six laps remaining, the green flag waved.
With two laps remaining, Brandon Jones in the No. 19 and Cole Custer in the No. 00 tangled in turn three. The incident sent the 300-mile race into NASCAR Overtime. Eventual race winner Kyle Busch chose the outside line while Tyler Reddick had the inside line in second for the restart.
The field got the green flag on lap 207 and wouldn’t stay that way for long. Just before Kyle Busch took the white flag, as Tyler Reddick was in the hunt for the lead, a caution came out involving Reddick, Zane Smith, Christopher Bell and Austin Cindric in turn four. Bell, who led three laps at Las Vegas on Saturday, went on to finish 13th. Cindric in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford finished 22nd as a result of the crash. The field went back to green on lap 211.
The next race for the NASCAR XFINITY Series will be at ISM Raceway on March 9 at 4:00 p.m. ET. FOX Sports 1 will carry the live television broadcast while MRN Radio will carry the radio broadcast.
Ross Chastain had his hands firmly around the brass ring, but it still managed to slip from his grasp.
When Chastain, 26, appeared in the Las Vegas Motor Speedway media center last September, he had just hit the high note of his NASCAR Xfinity Series career. After an impressive showing at Darlington the week before, Chastain drove the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet to victory at Las Vegas.
Chastain had signed on for three races in the No. 42 and made an indelible mark in that limited sample size – enough to earn a full-time ride in the No. 42 Chevy for the 2019 season in a deal that was announced Nov. 9 at Phoenix.
During the offseason, however, the opportunity Chastain had earned with his head-turning performances fell apart abruptly and unexpectedly when sponsor DC Solar, which was to fund Chastain’s effort for the 2019 season, ran afoul of a federal investigation.
Without sponsorship, Ganassi abandoned his Xfinity Series program and the Cinderella story of the 2018 dissolved in disappointment.
“It’s part of life,” said Chastain, whose history as a Florida watermelon farmer has been well-documented. “I took a couple days when I first found out, and then a couple days at Christmas and New Year’s with my family. I got on a tractor and drove it for five days straight for our watermelon crop.
“I was jumping back and forth between tractors, working a regular job. I needed to just get on there… It was really good to just get that couple days away and then Jan. 2, back to Mooresville (N.C.) and hit the ground running.”
That’s an understatement. Chastain has done triple duty on the first two race weekends of the season. He’s also competing in all three of NASCAR’s national series at LVMS.
Driving for owner Jay Robinson, he posted a 10th-place finish in the Daytona 500. He started sixth and finished 13th in a Kaulig Racing Chevrolet in the Daytona Xfinity race and followed that with a 14th-place run at Atlanta in a reunion with former owner Johnny Davis.
In two Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts with Niece Motorsports, Chastain finished third at Daytona and sixth at Atlanta.
“On the No. 4 car, we’ve never had West Coast sponsors before, and we’ve got all our West Coast races filled up,” Chastain said of his ongoing effort with Davis. “That’s a big step forward. Johnny lost a lot in the offseason as well, of potential sponsorship and potential guys that were going to race for him, which ultimately worked out in my favor, where I was able to come back and race.
“That’s what a lot of those days at home were, figuring out, ‘Do I want to do this? Do I want to start over?’”
One of the yardsticks Chastain used for comparison was his brother, who is six years younger and once had aspiration to race.
“My brother is 20 years old, he’s building a house, driving a truck, working at the farm, and he’s so far ahead of where I’m at. I’m driving a used truck. I’m renting a house in Mooresville, and it’s just different aspects of life.
“So I thought I could go to the farm with a lot lower stress – but I want to race. I want to make a go at this, and I feel like I can get back to where I was and a lot further.”
And next time, perhaps Chastain will have better luck holding onto the brass ring.