Xfinity Series News (7342)
NASCAR Xfinity Series News
Following Brandonbilt Motorsports (@BMSRaceTeam) noteworthy 13th place finish with principal driver Brandon Brown (@brandonbrown_86) behind the wheel at Dover (Del.) International Speedway earlier this month, officials from BMS and MAD Motorsports jointly announced today that the Manassas, Va. driver Mason Diaz will make his third career NASCAR Xfinity Series start in the upcoming Alsco 300 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on Sat., May 25.
Diaz will drive the team’s No. 86 Chevrolet Camaro in the 11th race of the season.
Diaz has two previous starts in the Xfinity Series where he finished 18th in his debut at Richmond (Va.) Raceway (September 2018) and a 36th place finish after succumbing to a mechanical failure in his Richmond return last month.
With a second opportunity in 2019, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East competition has set his sights to impress in his Xfinity Series intermediate debut and deliver a strong effort for Brandonbilt Motorsports.
“I am very excited to get back in a Brandonbilt Motorsports Chevrolet next weekend at Charlotte,” said Diaz. “It’s unfortunate that we had a mechanical failure at Richmond while we were running very competitively, but I’m thankful for a second opportunity with the team.
“Brandonbilt Motorsports has showed their ability to run well at the intermediate tracks, so I’m confident that will continue, and I’ll be able to conquer my learning curve in quick fashion.”
Diaz’s efforts for Charlotte will be supported by longtime partners The Sign Shop and Solid Rock Carriers.
Headquartered in Woodbridge, Va., The Sign Shop is your one stop shopping place for all your business needs for both custom and traditional needs. From magnetic signs, vehicle lettering, vehicle wraps, signs, screen printing, business cards and embroidery, see how The Sign Shop makes you shine!
Solid Rock Carriers Inc. is a licensed and bonded freight shipping and trucking company running freight hauling business from Lagrange, North Carolina. Serving the eastern United States for over 20 years, Solid Rock Carriers provides on-time delivery and superior customer service.
Additional support for Diaz’s Xfinity Series run include: Prince William Marina, and Trebor Yelgab Enterprises.
“I’m very thankful for the support of my marketing partners,” added Diaz. “The Sign Shop and Solid Rock Carriers have been with me for a long time and their continued support is appreciated. But without their support and Prince William Marina and Trebor Yelgab Enterprises a lot of my racing in 2019, including Charlotte would not be possible.”
Touted as up and coming driver in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, Diaz will expand his resume in the NASCAR Xfinity Series hoping to compete on the larger tracks throughout the remainder of the 2019 season.
For more on Mason Diaz, please visit MasonDiazRacing.com, like him on Facebook (Mason Diaz Racing) and follow him on Instagram (@masondiazracing) and Twitter (@masondiazracing).
For more on Brandonbilt Motorsports, please like them on Facebook (Brandon Brown Racing) and follow them on Instagram (@bmsraceteam) and Twitter (@bmsraceteam).
The Alsco 300 (200 laps | 300 miles) is the 11th of 33 races on the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule. Practice begins Thur., May 23rd with two 50-minute sessions beginning at 4:05 p.m. and 6:05 p.m. respectively. Qualifying is set for race day, Sat., May 25th at 9:35 a.m. The race is set to take the green flag later that afternoon beginning at 1:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), the Performance Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90). All times are local (Eastern).
MAD Motorsports PR
We created the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award at the start of our NASCAR partnership to recognize and honor the incredible individuals in this industry giving back to communities in remarkable ways. As I reflect on the four Comcast Community Champions, and the countless stories we’ve uncovered, I am so proud to say this program has far exceeded all expectations. The ongoing commitment to giving back within the NASCAR industry continues to inspire us, and we’re greatly looking forward to what is to come in 2019.
The nomination window is now officially open for you to recognize someone within the industry who is working hard to make a difference in the community. Over the next few months, our Xfinity Racing team will be working closely with you to continue education and encourage participation during the nomination process.
Please take the time to nominate deserving candidates, and learn additional details about the award, by visiting ComcastCommunityChampion.com.
The nomination deadline is Monday, July 8. Eligible award recipients include team owners, drivers, all Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series team employees, employees of tracks on the 2019 schedule for NASCAR’s top three National series, NASCAR officials and motorsports media members. In October, we will announce the three finalists; the champion, determined by a selection panel, will be announced during NASCAR Championship Weekend in Miami and recognized at the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Awards Ceremony. Comcast will make a donation of $60,000 to the charity of the 2019 Comcast Community Champion, and a donation of $30,000 each to the two remaining finalists’ respective charities.
Since the Comcast Community Champion of the Year program kicked off in 2015, we have donated a total of $480,000 to causes of inspirational individuals in the NASCAR industry who are truly living Comcast’s core values. From work with the Iowa Donor Network to hosting camps for children with heart disease to the incredible working being done by our 2018 Champion, Joey Logano, we have been able to shine a much-deserved spotlight on individuals who have dedicated their lives to making a difference beyond the track.
Thank you in advance for your help in identifying deserving individuals to be the next Comcast Community Champion.
Dover is a racetrack that JD Motorsports with Gary Keller (JDM) looks forward to coming to every year. In seasons past, the team has had some good success, and with the support of the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, there’s always a boost in morale and team spirit associated with the trip up north.
Entering the weekend, driver Ross Chastain was eager to hop back in the seat of his No. 4 Protect Your Melon Chevrolet after briefly stepping out of the ride one week prior in Talladega. Chastain, who looked to get back in the swing of things with the team, showed the world that he was going to give it his all by qualifying in the Top 10 early Saturday morning. Indeed, it was his best ever qualifying result with JDM, which added a sense of pride within the organization. Throughout the Allied Steel Buildings 200, Ross kept his Protect Your Melon Chevy up in and around the Top 10, even going as far as earning a couple stage points at the end of Stage 1.
In a race that only saw five total cautions, there weren’t many opportunities to work on the racecar, but a late caution brought everybody down pit road for some final adjustments. This set the field up for a fourteen-lap sprint to the finish, and crew chief Paul Clapprood went with a Hail Mary call to drastically change the setup on Chastain’s car, hoping to gain some track position. The effort paid off, ending with Ross coming home with a 12th place finish. He leaves Dover still sitting in 13th place in the season points standings, now 44 markers out of the Playoffs cutoff.
Garrett Smithley, driver of the No. 0 Camaro from nearby Ligonier, Pennsylvania, likes coming to Dover due in part to a good number of local fans and friends coming out to support his racing efforts. This weekend, Garrett got to visit the Dover Air Force Base, in which he was able to connect with local military members and their families, a humbling experience for himself. On Saturday morning, Garrett qualified his Chevrolet in the 26th position. From there, he found himself racing in close quarters with two of his JDM teammates in Stephen Leicht and BJ McLeod for the bulk of Stage 1.
Stage 2 came around with Smithley starting to find his stride a little bit, running up near the Top 20 for most of the rest of the race. The crew made some slight changes to help find more balance, and at one point, Smithley radioed “We are about one adjustment away from being perfect!” At the end of the day, Garrett brought his Number Nuthin Chevy home with a 23rd place finish. Smithley sits 16th in the standings, 41 points out of the Top 15 positions.
Stephen Leicht started the weekend off with a 23rd place qualifying effort, and felt pretty confident of what he had for the 200-lap main event. He wrestled a “tight” condition with his No. 01 Chevrolet for the entire race, and with Dover being one of those tracks that eats tires, he was at a disadvantage with a car that was resistant to turning. Though he ran consistently near the 20th to 25th position, it seemed as if none of the adjustments made to his car helped fix the handling issues. Leicht ended up in the 26th position, and dropped down one spot in points. Don’t fret though, for he is only twelve points behind 22nd place, and will have a shot at gaining some points on his competition in the next outing at his home track in Charlotte.
Dover just so happens to be one of BJ McLeod’s favorite racetracks, and he proved it in qualifying. He was able to bust out a lap good enough for 20th place to start the day off, which was his best qualifying effort this season, and his second-best starting spot of his entire career. From there, he raced around Stephen and Garrett for the first stage, ending up right behind them at the end of it. McLeod continued to race around the 25th spot for the remainder of the race, before ultimately coming home with a 27th place finish. BJ sits in 21st in points, and actually moves up one spot compared to the week prior in Talladega.
All in all, it was a solid race for the team. The crews seemed pretty content with their showing, and they were able to gather some valuable notes for when the series returns to the track later on in the season. Thank you to the Delaware Office of Highway Safety for their continued support, and we here at JD Motorsports with Gary Keller would like to sincerely remind everybody to buckle their seatbelts up when they get in a vehicle!
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads home to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 25th for the running of the Alsco 300. Though the teams have two weeks off from racing, all of our crew is working hard on making the Charlotte cars as good as they can possibly be. Follow us along on our adventures by following our social media pages with the username @JDMotorsports01 and using the hashtag #TeamJDM.
Race Winner: Christopher Bell of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):
● Started eighth and finished eighth. Earned three bonus points.
● On lap six while running in the eighth position, Jones reported that his No. 19 1st Foundation Toyota Supra was too loose on exit.
● With 12 laps remaining in Stage 1, crew chief Jeff Meendering told Jones that he had the second-fastest car for four consecutive laps.
● Jones finished Stage 1 in the eighth position and said that the No. 19 machine needed better drive off the corner. The 1st Foundation team pitted for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment during the break.
● The Atlanta native gained three spots on pit road to restart fifth for Stage 2.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):
● Started fifth and finished eighth. Earned three bonus points.
● Jones fell back to eighth place on the lap-54 restart after being caught in the inside line.
● Jones told the team on lap 62 that there was no change in handling after the adjustments made on the previous stop.
● Jones had one of the three-fastest cars before the end of Stage 2, but he was still struggling with rear grip on exit.
● Jones came to to pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment at the end of the stage.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200):
● Started eighth and finished seventh.
● Restarted in eighth in the outside line and gained two spots to move up to sixth after taking the green on lap 99.
● On lap 133, Jones told the team the 1st Foundation Toyota Supra was still too loose center-exit.
● While holding off Michael Annett to maintain sixth place, Meendering told his driver he again had the second-fastest car on track.
● Jones radioed on lap 148 that his Toyota Supra was beginning to get tight on exit.
● Under caution on lap 155, Jones told the team he had gotten “way too tight” on exit, but he had fired off much better at the start of the run.
● Jones pitted on lap 156 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment, but an issue with the jack dropped him to 10th for the lap-159 restart.
● The 22-year-old driver navigated his way up to eighth place by lap 163.
● Under the fourth caution of the race on lap 175, Jones told the team he was still too tight on exit. The team chose to stay on the racetrack where Jones maintained eighth for the lap-180 restart.
● The yellow caution flag was shown again on lap 183. Jones stayed out and kept his track position.
● Restarting with 14 laps to go, Jones moved up to seventh and held that position until the end of the race.
● This was Jones’ fifth top-10 of the season and his third straight top-10 at Dover.
● Jones ran in the top-10 for the full 200-lap race and earned bonus points toward the Xfinity Series driver championship in each stage.
● Christopher Bell won the Allied Steel Buildings 200 to score his 11th career Xfinity Series victory, his third of the season and his second at Dover.
● There were five caution periods for a total of 29 laps.
● Only 13 of the 38 drivers finished on the lead lap.
● Reigning Xfinity Series champion Tyler Reddick leaves Dover as the championship leader with a 23-point advantage over Bell.
Brandon Jones, driver of the No. 19 1st Foundation Toyota Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“We fought really hard yesterday. We did not have a car at the end of practice to run where we did today. We put our heads together and we had a plan, then pretty much changed the entire thing. We threw everything but the kitchen sink at our 1st Foundation Toyota Supra. In the race there, I think it was all about track position, really. It was so tough to pass. Even at one point, I think it was the 22 (Austin Cindric) got sideways in front of me and I still couldn’t pass him just from being so loose. We have a couple weeks off and this was a great day to rebound to get back to where we need to be.”
The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the Alsco 300 on Saturday, May 25 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.
Christopher Bell won the battle that counted by a few feet—and that small victory launched him to his third NASCAR Xfinity Series triumph of the season in the Allied Steel Buildings 200 at Dover International Speedway.
Bell’s No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was first off pit road after a Lap 155 stop under caution, narrowly beating Cole Custer, who had led the first 155 laps of Saturday’s race. The work of Bell’s pit crew proved decisive, as the 24-year-old from Norman, Okla., controlled the race through two more restarts and beat Justin Allgaier to the finish line by 1.745 seconds.
Bell had already crossed the stripe before Zane Smith and John Hunter Nemechek wrecked coming to the checkered flag.
In addition to a gold Miles the Monster trophy, Bell collected a check for $100,000 as the final Dash 4 Cash winner of the season.
“Over the last couple of races, we’ve had great cars, but we haven’t been able to capitalize on it,” said Bell, who won for the second straight time at Dover and the 11th time in his career. “This one is really thanks to my pit crew, man. They did a great job, getting me out front where I could control the restarts.
“I knew if I could get out front, we’d be tough to beat. This place, you can pass on long green-flag runs, and it’s one of my favorite race tracks because you can move around and try to find different lines and get going. But over the short run, it’s pretty difficult to make something happen because there is so much grip on the bottom.”
After losing the lead on pit road, Custer was shuffled back on three successive restarts, drawing the bottom lane each time. He finished fourth behind Bell, Allgaier and series leader Tyler Reddick and expressed his disappointment after the race.
“It’s really frustrating when you lead that many laps,” Custer said. “You just can’t give up your track position here. Everybody wants to win at Dover. It’s about the hardest track to pass that we go to… It’s just so frustrating. We were so good, and we couldn’t take advantage of a great car today.”
For Allgaier, who suffered late contact with the outside wall and with Reddick’s Chevrolet, the runner-up finish was a welcome result in an inconsistent season that has produced an average finish of 14.7.
“The car took a beating and kept going,” Allgaier said. “Our Camaro was good today, but it wasn’t great. I wanted to be able to battle there with Christopher at the end, but we were just off a little bit all day.”
Chase Briscoe ran fifth as the highest-finishing Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, followed by Austin Cindric, Brandon Jones, Nemechek, Smith and Michael Annett.
Christopher Bell will leave Dover International Speedway with a limited-edition Miles the Monster trophy and an extra $100,000 by taking his No. 20 Toyota to victory lane on Saturday. Bell, who led only 44 of the 200 circuits, scored his 11th career win in the series.
“It was a little bit better, but I knew we had a really good Rheem Supra from really the drop of the green flag. I was able to keep pace with them, it was just tough to pass,” said Bell in Victory Lane. “There’s no doubt that he (Cole Custer) was really good. Over that long run there, I felt like I could make gains on him running the top. Last time we were here, the top was really good for me, but it seemed like it rubbered up more and the top was a little less of a disadvantage. Once we got the lead – thank you to my pit crew, they did an outstanding job – it's really special to be here.”
Bell took the lead away from Cole Custer by being the first driver off pit road during a set of yellow flag stops on lap 156. Custer, who finished fourth in the No. 00 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing, started on the pole and led 155 of the 200 laps – even claiming both stages.
“This place, you can pass on long green flag runs and it’s one of my favorite race tracks because you can move around and kind of find different lines and get going,” Bell continued. “Over the short run, it’s pretty difficult to make it happen because there’s so much grip on the bottom. Just really thankful for everyone at Toyota and TRD too. They’re the ones that have believed in me since day one on the dirt side of things and now here we are holding up my second cardboard check.”
Bell will go into a two-week hiatus for the NASCAR XFINITY Series with six top five and seven top 10 finishes through 10 completed races.
Justin Allgaier finished the day in the runner-up spot after starting the afternoon in second. Allgaier led one lap and sat third in stage one and fourth in stage two in the No. 7 BRANDT Chevrolet for JR Motorsports.
The Illinois native will leave the one-mile concrete oval holding four top five and five top 10 finishes this year.
Tyler Reddick, the fifth-place starter on Saturday, rounded out the top three finishers. The Talladega Superspeedway winner last weekend sat fourth in stage one and third in stage two.
Cole Custer and Chase Briscoe rounded out the top five.
Austin Cindric, Brandon Jones, John Hunter Nemechek, Zane Smith and Michael Annett rounded out the top 10.
The next race for the NASCAR XFINITY Series will be at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 25th. The Alsco 300 will take place at 1:00 p.m. ET. live on FS1 and PRN Radio.
Even though Tyler Reddick won the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship on the strength of his final-race performance at Homestead-Miami Speedway last year, he concedes that Christopher Bell, driving the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, was the class of the Xfinity field.
“Last year, I thought he was just in another zip code whenever we were racing together,” Reddick said on Friday at Dover International Speedway, site of Saturday’s Allied Steel Buildings 200 (1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
After a switch from JR Motorsports to Richard Childress Racing and a new pairing with crew chief Randall Burnett, Reddick feels more competitive with the top cars in the series this year. And well, he should.
With last Saturday’s victory at Talladega, Reddick leads the series standings by 32 points over Bell. In the first nine races of the season, he has seven top fives and has finished no worse than fourth in the six events since Las Vegas in March. That translates to a series-best average result of 4.9.
“We enjoy being in the points lead right now,” Reddick said of the No. 1 ranking. “I know the 18 and the 20 (Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas) really like having that spot. It’s cool to be in their spot, and we’re trying to make the case that it’s our spot.
“We want to keep that points lead going. We want to keep scoring stage points. But we want to try and learn some things that are going to help us over the summer stretch—and definitely in the Playoffs."
TOP SPEED IS A PLEASANT SURPRISE TO RAPHAEL LESSARD
On his first visit to Dover International Speedway, Raphael Lessard topped the speed chart at 154.999 mph in opening NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series practice.
For the 17-year-old from St. Joseph de Beauce, Quebec, it was a gratifying, yet eye-opening experience.
“It is amazing how fast you are going here,” Lessard said on Friday at Dover. “It is my first time at a race track like that, and it feels weird at first. You want to let off your foot off the gas pedal, but your mind says not to, because you want to go fast.
“It just feels like a roller coaster. But it was fun. First time here and to end up P1 in first practice was amazing.”
Being close to the edge on a one-mile track was a new sensation for Lessard, who has four races scheduled with Kyle Busch Motorsports this season. But the teenager adapted quickly.
“It feels like you are jumping in a hole getting into the corner,” Lessard said. “At first it feels very tricky, like you are going to get out of control. I told myself that those guys can do it, so I was going to try. If they can, I can. That’s what I told myself. So it went pretty well. At one point, when you get used to that sensation it just gets normal.
“The speed you carry on new tires, you don’t even let all the way off the gas pedal. It is amazing. I am not used to not using any brakes into the corner. Like every short track that I have been too, has been brake, then let off, then gas it up really hard. But here you have to have momentum, but kind of, you don’t want to use any brakes. You kind of want to let it roll.”
KYLE LARSON'S WILD RIDE WAS A TESTAMENT TO NASCAR SAFETY Last Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, Kyle Larson experienced a wild barrel-roll down the backstretch on the final lap.
On Friday, Larson got to see the incident from another point of view— the in-car camera in his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, as NASCAR continued to study the reasons for the liftoff and how to prevent it in the future.
“Yeah, I’ve got a lot of confidence in NASCAR,” Larson said on Friday at Dover International Speedway. “I’ve been involved in some big crashes. It seems like, with any crash I’ve been in or that other drivers have been in, they’ve made improvements from them and made the cars safer and all that.
“So yeah, they have a lot of smart people in the safety area of their business. I’m confident that they’ll look at it and make improvements from it.”
Larson also had an amusing takeaway from watching the video of the incident.
“It makes me feel like I’m really tough,” he quipped. “Yeah, it’s pretty crazy how much everything stretches. My seat belts, my harness, everything stretch with an impact like that. So, I stretched far enough that my head hit the steering wheel a little bit.
“And with each tumble, just the jolts that my body went through was pretty crazy to see. And then you slow it down and look at how the chassis is flexing when it makes contact with the pavement, it’s pretty incredible. We’re driving heavy vehicles. So, for it to hold up as well as it did was pretty amazing.”