Xfinity Series News (7342)
NASCAR Xfinity Series News
Tyler Reddick Collects Top-10 Finish in Daytona After Starting on the Pole in the No. 2 Pinnacle Financial Partners Chevrolet
"I'm happy we were able to start the day by capturing RCR's fifth-consecutive season opening pole at Daytona International Speedway, even with the tire leak. It's unfortunate we had to start from the back to change out that tire, but I knew we had a fast No. 2 Pinnacle Financial Partners Chevrolet and would be back up front in no time. We did just that and more. We had a couple issues on pit road, including an issue with a fuel cell, that sent us back to the rear of the field on almost every restart, but we came back up front each time. I tried to see if we could make something happen on the bottom at the end of the race, but it just didn't work out. I'm glad we were able to bring this Camaro back in one piece and will be able to take it to Talladega Superspeedway in a couple months."
Race Winner: Michael Annett of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Justin Haley of Kaulig Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Ross Chastain of Kaulig Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-30):
● Earnhardt started second, finished fourth. Earned seven bonus points.
● Earnhardt led the first 29 laps of the race, losing the lead on the last lap of the stage after a tussle for the stage win.
● Earnhardt reported that his No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra was too free in turns three and four at the end of a run.
● Pitted for left-side tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment at the end of the stage.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 31-60):
● Started second, finished fifth. Earned six bonus points.
● With a lot of movement at the beginning of the stage, Earnhardt was shuffled back to fifth place.
● With help from Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Christopher Bell, Earnhardt used the top line to move back up to fourth place on lap 45.
● Saying his iK9 Toyota Supra was free on entry and exit, Earnhardt pitted for right-side tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment at the conclusion of the stage.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 61-120):
● Started fifth, finished 15th.
● With the top line having momentum on the restart, Earnhardt rode in ninth place until a group formed on the bottom to accelerate him into the third position on lap 75.
● Contact with the No. 07 car on lap 81 brought out the final caution of the day. Earnhardt stayed on track in 19th place.
● Earnhardt ran as high as eighth before making a last-ditch effort to compete for the win. Without help from a larger pack of cars, Earnhardt dropped to 15th on the final lap.
● Earnhardt’s second-place qualifying effort earned him his best starting spot in 152 career starts across the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
● Earnhardt led the first 29 laps of the NASCAR Racing Experience 300. In one race, Earnhardt led more laps than he had in 15 previous races at Daytona across the NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
● Earnhardt became the first driver to put the new Toyota Supra into the lead of an Xfinity Series race.
● The 15th-place result was Earnhardt’s highest finish in eight career Xfinity Series starts at Daytona. His previous best finish was 16th in the 2015 season opener.
● Earnhardt’s top-five results in the race’s first two stages, combined with his 15th-place finish, earned the No. 18 team 35 points and placed it ninth in the championship owners’ standings.
● Michael Annett won the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 to score his first career Xfinity Series victory. His margin of victory over second-place Justin Allgaier was .116 of a second.
● There were four caution periods for a total of 19 laps.
● Twenty-eight of the 38 drivers in the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 finished on the lead lap.
Jeffrey Earnhardt, driver of the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“This was the first time to actually get to race up front like that. It was a lot of fun. I think we’ll be really good for the rest of the superspeedways. I can’t thank iK9, Xtreme Concepts and all guys at Gibbs. They really have welcomed me with open arms – Toyota and all of the support that they’ve given me already. Hopefully, we continue to grow this program and I grow as a driver. We won’t let them get away from us anymore. We didn’t lead enough. We didn’t lead the last one and that’s the most important one. We made adjustments because I felt like I was complaining about it being too free, and we ended up getting it too tight there and we just struggled a little bit after that. Man, I was getting my butt kicked on everyone side drafting. Just lack of experience. I’ll get better at it.”
The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the Rinnai 250 on Saturday, Feb. 23 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FS1.
Michael Annett won a numerologist’s delight on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway.
After an offseason change from No. 5 to No. 1 on the sides and roof of his JR Motorsports Chevrolet, Annett held off teammate Justin Allgaier in the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 at the 2.5-mile superspeedway to claim his first victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in his 230th start.
“Eight years in the series—this is amazing,” said Annett, who struggled through a 2018 season that failed to produce a single top-five finish. “I couldn’t have done it without these guys (the crew). They’ve stuck with me through the hard times when everybody counts us out and wonders why I get to drive this car, and I think we showed it today—they worked their tails off on this.
“We got the 1 in Victory Lane. Our slogan this year is ‘One team, one dream, one goal.’ This was one of them, so we’re starting off good.”
Brandon Jones ran third in his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra in the debut race for that model. Ryan Sieg ran fourth, followed by Austin Cindric and Christopher Bell.
Allgaier tried to pair up with Jones on the final lap but couldn’t mount a sustained run on his teammate, who held the lead for the final 45 of 120 laps.
“I followed Michael a few years ago in an ARCA race, and I remember seeing that Pilot/Flying J (sponsor logo) on the back bumper,” Allgaier said. “I could beat him them, and I couldn’t do it today. I tried really hard there at the end.
“First of all, hats off the everybody back at JR Motorsports. To see a car that was that strong… all four of our Camaro SS’s were strong today. To see Michael get his first win… he’s tried so hard, and to see the time and the effort he’s put in, especially this offseason, it’s really, really cool. I was disappointed I couldn’t make a run, but a great way to start the season.”
The victory was also the first for crew chief Travis Mack, who was released from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team at Leavine Family Racing (with driver Kasey Kahne) in midseason last year. He teamed with Annett for the last 14 races of 2018.
“It’s been a tough road for Travis Mack,” said team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. “It’s been an equally tough road for Michael Annett. This was redemption for both those guys.”
The first caution of the race not for a stage break came on Lap 71, when the escape hatch in the roof of Brad Keselowski’s No. 12 Ford broke loose and landed in the tri-oval grass.
That particular piece had broken on Lap 1, and the Team Penske crew had spent the cautions at the ends of the first two stages trying to secure it—in vain. After the hatch went flying, Keselowski took his car to the garage and retired in 37th place.
“I felt like I was back in the ‘50s running a convertible here on the beach,” Keselowski said wryly. “That was interesting. The roof, escape hatch, whatever it’s called, looks like there was a defect from the factory on the body and just nothing we could do. The guys tried to fix it, but it’s in a spot where you can’t get to it and work on it.
“It’s made the way it’s made. It’s one of those things outside your control, and sometimes that’s just how things go… I know we had a car that could win today. It broke on Lap 1, Turn 1, and we did everything we could to fix it for the last hour or so, but it is just not something you can fix.”
Notes: In his first drive in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Jeffrey Earnhardt led the first 29 laps, finished fourth in Stage 1, fifth in Stage 2 and 15th at the checkered flag. ...Ross Chastain won Stage 2 in his first trip in the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet before finishing 13th. His teammate, Justin Haley, won the first stage and came home 17th. ...2000 series champion Jeff Green ran seventh, followed by John Hunter Nemechek, pole winner Tyler Reddick (who started from the rear because of a pre-race tire change) and Chase Elliott. ... Noah Gragson finished 11th in his first run in the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet.
Jeffrey Earnhardt didn’t win Saturday’s season opening NASCAR Xfinity Series race, but his 15th-place finish tied for his second-best finish in the series ever. His 29 laps led was a personal best, too.
He allowed a slight smile when told of his statistical achievements, but quickly reminded, “We didn’t lead enough.’’
“We didn’t lead the last one and that’s the most important one,’’ he said. “We made adjustments because I feel like I was complaining it was too free and we ended up getting it too tight and just struggled after that.
“I was getting my butt kicked side-drafting, just lack of experience and I’ll get better at it. That’s the first time I got to go racing up front like that.’’
Earnhardt – grandson of the late seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt - started the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 iK9 Toyota on the outside of the front row – his best career starting position. His 29 laps out front was the most he’s led in his career – not only for a one race total but eclipsing the seven laps out front total in his previous 66 series starts. Only race winner Michael Annett (45) led more.
Saturday’s race represented the best opportunity the 29-year old Earnhardt had ever had in the series. He’s competed fulltime in the Xfinity Series only one full season (2014) as he found his way in a sport that his family has established an amazing legacy in.
He is scheduled to make eight more 2019 starts for the Gibbs team – a two-time Xfinity Series championship organization.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s team won Saturday’s race with driver Michael Annett, but Earnhardt also spoke about how proud he was of his nephew.
“Jeffrey’s worked really hard to get where he is today,’’ Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. “He’s sort of reinvented himself and really applied himself. So it’s built into what you see today. And he’s done that on his own. It’s who he is and authentic and I’m glad he’s in a good race car to go out there and run well.
“It will be exciting to see him at the other race tracks throughout the year.’’
Jeffrey Earnhardt smiled widely standing on pit road after the race and asked about the huge reception he received from the fans at Daytona International Speedway, a place his grandfather is the all-time winningest driver and a place where his Uncle Dale won two Daytona 500s as well.
Many of the fans in the grandstands rose to their feet Saturday afternoon as Earnhardt led the field around – cheering loudly.
“I hope they were, I hope they were cheering,’’ Earnhardt said. “It’s cool to get out there and lead laps and have the opportunity I got. I’ve been very thankful for every opportunity, but man this one is pretty special.
His team owner Gibbs was cognizant of the warm reception too. And equally as encouraged by the job Earnhardt did behind the wheel.
“We’re just so excited to give him a chance, we’re thrilled to have him in our stuff,’’ Gibbs said on pit road after the race. “I think it’s going to be real interesting, I think there’s a lot of fan attention on him. Today we just got trapped in the wrong lane. But it’s going to be interesting as we go forward.
“I really think he’s got a chance to do a great job, a chance to win a race. We’re thrilled to have him. We love all the Earnhardts.”
The NASCAR XFINITY Series opened their season on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway with the NASCAR Racing Experience 300. The race featured a 38-driver field and was won by JR Motorsports driver Michael Annett. The event had nine different leaders throughout the 300-mile event.
“This is amazing,” Annett said after the win. “My first words were ‘Eight years,’ my eighth year in the series. My guys have stuck with me through the hard times, when everybody has counted us out and wondered why I get to drive this car.”
Annett, driving the No. 1 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, led the field for 45 of the 120 laps to earn his first career NASCAR National Series victory. The driver from Iowa has 230 starts in the series along with nine top five and 45 top 10 finishes.
The Iowa native, who qualified third but started second after pole sitter Tyler Reddick made unapproved adjustments after qualifying, finished the day running 13th in stage one and ninth in stage two.
Sitting second behind Annett was teammate Justin Allgaier in the No. 7 Chevrolet. Allgaier, starting 15th on the leaderboard at the Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, ran runner-up for majority of the final stage.
“First of all, hats off the everybody back at JR Motorsports. To see a car that was that strong… all four of our Camaro SS’s were strong today,” said Allgaier. “To see Michael get his first win… he’s tried so hard, and to see the time and the effort he’s put in, especially this offseason, it’s really, really cool. I was disappointed I couldn’t make a run, but a great way to start the season.”
Allgaier, earning five wins last season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, finished 12th in stage one and seventh in stage two.
Brandon Jones rounded out the top three finishers at the 2.5-mile oval. The driver of the No. 19 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing collected his fourth career top five. Jones spoke about the issues with passing and racing in the high line all race long:
“I mean, you could just tell everybody was so scared to get out of line there and then lose the pack. Me and Justin (Allgaier) just talked after the race and we thought that that 1 (Michael Annett), whenever he tried to swing that block, that was going to be the ticket to get by him,” said Jones after the race. “Just not enough momentum. Just very hard to get going there, but the Supra looked great on the race track for the debut of it. Juniper was back on the car for us this weekend, so I can’t complain. We had a great day. It was a great start to the year.”
Ryan Seig earned his fourth career top five finish by placing fourth. Austin Cindric, piloting the No. 22 Team Penske Ford, rounded out the top five.
Rest of the top 10 included Christopher Bell, Jeff Green, John Hunter Nemechek, Tyler Reddick and Chase Elliott.
There were four yellow flags in Saturday’s season opener at Daytona. The first two were for the end of stage one and two while the third stoppage involved the No. 12 Ford of Brad Keselowski on lap 70. Keselowski had issues with the roof hatch coming apart – putting debris on the track. The No. 12 Ford went to the garage and finished 48 laps down in 37th.
“I felt like I was back in the ‘50’s running a convertible here on the beach. That was interesting,” said Keselowski on the incident. “The roof, escape hatch, whatever it is called looks like there was a defect from the factory on the body and just nothing we could do. The guys tried to fix it but it is in a spot where you can’t get to it and work on it. It is made the way it is made. We are stuck. It is one of those things outside your control and sometimes that is just how things go. It has to be right from the factory and isn’t something we control. Just part of it I guess.”
Nine laps later, on lap 79, a two-car incident brought out the fourth and final yellow of the day on the backstretch. The incident involved the No. 07 of Ray Black Jr. and the No. 18 of Jeffrey Earnhardt. Both drivers were able to continue racing after the accident.
The next event for the NASCAR XFINITY Series will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 23. The Rinnai 250 will air live on FS1 and PRN Radio at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Seven months have passed since Toyota unveiled the competition version of its new Supra at Daytona International Speedway.
On Saturday, the car will make its much-anticipated debut at the iconic track in the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 Xfinity Series race (2:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Fans got a good look at the fifth-generation production version of the Supra last month at the Detroit Motor Show. On Saturday, they’ll find out how well the car races in its maiden season.
Those of you that were following Barrett Jackson (auctions), you saw that the first Supra that's actually going to come off the assembly line sold at Barrett Jackson for charity for $2.1 million,” said Ed Laukes, group vice president of marketing for Toyota Motors North America.
“If that's any indication about the Supra coming back into the market after not being around for 22 years, it's a very exciting time for us at Toyota, very exciting time to have us at Daytona.”
Laukes appeared on Friday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway with Joe Gibbs and Bob Leavine, two car owners who will carry the Toyota banner in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this season.
With NASCAR already discussing plans for a Generation-7 Cup car with its OEMs, will the Supra replace the Camry and join the Cup series in 2021 to compete with Ford’s Mustang and Chevrolet’s Camaro?
“We've talked about that for a while,” he said. “We're still… unlike some of the other manufacturers, we're still in the car business, and we plan on staying in the car business for a while.
“Camry and Corolla are still a big part of our company. So, at this point, we don't have any plans to bring Supra up to Cup, but you never know.”
Long before that decision is made, Gibbs will try to win a third Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Gibbs got his first with Dale Jarrett in 1993 and had to wait another 23 years for Denny Hamlin to deliver the second.
Former Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs, who died last month at age 49 from a neurological disease, was a tire changer for Jarrett’s winning car. Hamlin hopes to win a second Daytona 500 and dedicate the victory to his former boss.
But that will be a tall order, as Gibbs knows only too well.
“I used to kid people… I talked to them for a while there, we won the Daytona 500 once, and we've been here about 24 times,” Gibbs said. “I’d say, sooner or later, come on, a blind hog finds an acorn every now and then, come on, give me one. To win it twice… but you think about it, we've won twice in 27 tries.
“So it's extremely hard. So much can happen. And everybody here, I think that's the exciting thing for our fans. If you're coming off (Turn) 4, OK? We've come off of 4 I don't know how many times leading, and we haven't won the race.
“So everybody is excited about it. Everybody realizes that that can happen at the Daytona 500. It's a thrill to win it for sure, but it's extremely hard to win.”
Leavine is new to Toyota this year, having switched from Chevrolet, but he expects Leavine Family Racing to enjoy a strong season with driver Matt DiBenedetto and an affiliation with JGR.
“The transition was and is very intense,” Leavine said. “It's also exciting for Leavine Family Racing. Both of these organizations have assisted in the transition. Unless you've been there, you have no idea the technical portion that goes on, and I stand back, I'm kind of operation and not marketing-related, and I enjoy the operation and to watch what Coach's people have helped our people do, and Toyota and TRD. What they have done is truly amazing, over the time period that we had.
“Our people worked really hard with theirs, and together we got a car on the track, and they're working hard for our West Coast Swing, Atlanta, so the transition has gone exceptionally well, considering what we had to go through—a lot of communication—and both of these organizations here were on top of everything we needed and provided for it.”
After jumping into its first NASCAR team sponsorship at Charlotte's Roval in 2018, LeithCars.com is excited to announce its partnership with driver Timmy Hill and MBM Motorsports will continue in 2019.
Hill will make the official sponsorship announcement of the #66 Toyota Supra Xfinity Series racecar this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. LeithCars.com will sponsor Hill's car at the Alsco 300 on May 25th and at the Drive for the Cure 200 on September 28th at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
2019 marks the return of Toyota's iconic sports car Supra and the first time the new Supra will appear as a NASCAR race car in the Xfinity Race Series. The street version Supra is set to arrive at Leith Toyota in Raleigh, N.C. this spring.
While the May Xfinity Series race will feature Hill's new LeithCars.com Toyota Supra on the track's high speed, banked oval, the late September race will be a return to the exciting ROVAL action that proved to be a fan favorite last season.
Timmy Hill had the best finish for MBM Motorsports in 2018 when he placed 7th in the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 at Daytona. Charlotte's ROVAL, a hybrid road course + oval layout will be the perfect setting for the new Toyota Supra and with last seasons experience under Hill's belt, LeithCars.com is looking forward to an even better finish at Charlotte this year.
Following Hill's sponsorship announcement with LeithCars.com at Daytona, expect to see regular updates on social media from Timmy Hill and LeithCars.com throughout the season, leading up to both Charlotte Xfinity races.
The new 2019 Toyota Supra Xfinity Series paint scheme on the #66 featuring LeithCars.com will be revealed in early May.
In an 11th-hour agreement, NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) newcomer Max Tullman (@MaxTullman) has teamed up with Motorsports Business Management (MBM) for Saturday’s NASCAR Racing Experience 300 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
Tullman returns to the “World Center of Racing” a year after making his ARCA Menards Series debut in 2018 driving for Mason Mitchell Motorsports (MMM) which saw the Sports Car veteran qualify fourth, lead 10 laps before finishing sixth, his career-best finish in the developmental series.
This weekend, Tullman is eager to maneuver a similar performance aboard the No. 13 Zoomi | Myota Toyota Supra.
Veteran Motorsports crew chief Doug Richert, who led Dale Earnhardt Sr. to his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) championship in 1980 will call the shots for Tullman in the 120-lap event.
“I’m very thankful and appreciative for this opportunity to join MBM this weekend at Daytona,” said Tullman who made three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts in 2018 with his family-owned Tullman Walker Racing.
“We are still working hard on our firm plans for 2019 – but Carl reached out and together we were able to put some support together to see if we can earn a good finish on Saturday.”
For Tullman, a native of Chester Springs, Pa., he’s hoping that his prior experience in ARCA and the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) on a restrictor plate track will pay dividends in the first Xfinity Series race of the year.
In addition to Daytona, Tullman scored a sixth-place finish for MMM at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway last April – before delivering a career-best ninth-place effort at Talladega in the Truck Series last October in a third effort for Young’s Motorsports.
“I learned a lot about drafting and restrictor plate racing last year,” offered Tullman. “Between Mason Mitchell Motorsports, Young’s Motorsports, my crew chief Doug Richert and my mentor Todd Bodine – I was able to really gather a lot of knowledge. All of their support plus the in-race experience helped me a ton.
“I have a good crew behind me and Carl (Long) is taking three other Xfinity Series cars to Daytona this weekend, so I’m hoping I can work with my teammates in some capacity. Hopefully, we’ll be able to earn a solid finish to start off my 2019 season and see what develops from there.”
Backing Tullman’s efforts at Daytona are longtime partners Zoomi and Myota.
Zoomi is the first AI-informed learning analytics company that uses machine learning to rapidly individualize training pathways in real-time. Its artificial intelligence studies learner behaviors and patterns to understand what each employee knows, what still needs to be taught and how to best deliver that information automatically – so you don’t have to.
Myota is a superior data security management solution that leverages artificial intelligence – exponentially increasing the protection of critical data while providing cost and operational efficiencies.
“I’m very thankful for the support of Zoomi and Myota,” sounded Tullman. “We had a lot of success in our first race at Daytona. Here’s hoping we can do the same this weekend.”
In addition to Zoomi and Myota, Tullman’s first Xfinity Series race at Daytona will carry additional support form partners Yurpal, Onspira and Top Tier.
For autograph requests and to join Max Tullman on social media, please like him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @MaxTullman.
Additional at-track updates can be seen on Twitter @TeamMaxTullman.
The NASCAR Racing Experience 300 (120 laps | 300 miles) is the first of 33 NASCAR Xfinity Series races on the 2019 schedule. Practice begins on Fri., Feb. 15 from 12:05 p.m. – 12:55 p.m. A final practice session is set for 2:05 p.m. – 2:55 p.m. Qualifying is set for race day, Sat., Feb. 16 beginning at 9:40 p.m. The 38-car field will take the green flag shortly after 2:30 p.m. with live coverage on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90). All times are local (Eastern).
Max Tullman Racing PR