Xfinity Series News (7439)
NASCAR Xfinity Series News
Public Invited to Help NASCAR Driver Joey Gase Honor Local Donors and a Recipient Ahead of Father’s Day Race11 Jun 2019 Written by Steven B. Wilson
Joey Gase Racing is teaming up with Iowa Donor Network to present the Handprints for Hope event on Friday, June 14th from 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at the Iowa Donor Network Office in Altoona. The public is invited to meet Gase and place a Handprint for Hope on Gase’s race car in support of organ and tissue donation. The #35 race car honors two Des Moines area fathers, each with connections to donation, for Gase’s race on Father’s Day. The hood of Gase’s race car features photos of tissue donor, Mike Nelson of Polk City and heart recipient, Robert Crowdes of Ankeny. Nelson is the father of two girls, he worked for Iowa Donor Network at the time of his passing and became a tissue donor. Crowdes has one son and three grandsons, he received his new heart in December of 2018 after spending a year on the transplant waiting list. As always, a photo of Gase’s Mom, Mary, who passed away in April 2011 and became a donor to save and improve the lives of 66 people, will also be featured on Gase’s race car.
Gase’s car featuring Nelson, Crowdes, and the Handprints for Hope will race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Circuit City 250 race at Iowa Speedway on Sunday, June 16th. Families of Nelson and Crowdes will be present for the race on Sunday and the Handprints for Hope event on Friday.
The media is invited to attend the Handprints for Hope event on Friday, June 14th at the Iowa Donor Network office located at 320 Adventureland Drive NW in Altoona. There will be opportunities to get footage of people placing their Handprints for Hope on Gase’s race car and to interview Joey Gase, the families of Mike Nelson and Robert Crowdes, and Iowa Donor Network staff.
Joey Gase PR
Ryan Ellis and BJ McLeod Motorsports are proud to announce that thirty-thirty Coffee Co. will be joining the No.99 Toyota Supra as a sponsor for both of Ellis’ NASCAR Xfinity races this season – Iowa Speedway this Sunday, June 16th, and Road America, August 24th.
thirty-thirty Coffee Co. is an independent, locally-owned coffee shop in Peoria, Illinois. They are singularly focused on providing perfectly roasted and brewed coffee with the absolute best customer service. They also have worked tirelessly to provide a unique and inclusive atmosphere for their customers to enjoy their favorite beverages.
“We're incredibly stoked to have the opportunity to work with Ryan Ellis and BJ McLeod Motorsports,” said thirty-thirty co-owner Steve Elmore. “We’re excited to help a team making a grassroots effort to compete in one of the highest levels of NASCAR racing, the Xfinity Series.”
Driver Ryan Ellis said of the new partnership, “I am really excited to bring thirty-thirty Coffee on board for both races this year. I think NASCAR fans will really fall in love with their coffee and their brand and I’m really excited to help bring them to a national platform through NASCAR. We all know how loyal NASCAR fans are with our sponsors, and I can’t wait for them to get ahold of thirty-thirty’s products.”
thirty-thirty Coffee Co. joins the Wes Cook Band, Enlisted Nine Fight Company, Audio Video Specialists, Top Cover Hats, Nine Line Apparel, and Pit Stops for Hope as sponsors for Ellis for both events. Ellis’ first race will come this Sunday at Iowa Speedway as the No.99 team will be on track both Saturday and Sunday, with coverage for the race beginning Sunday at 5:30pm Eastern on both FS1 and the Motor Racing Network.
Fans can check out and purchase thirty-thirty Coffee’s products at https://www.thirty-thirtycoffee.com/shop/ and can follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @3030coffee .
Ryan Ellis Racing PR
On Saturday, the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) made the trip up north to Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan for the running of the LTI Printing 250. Heading into the weekend, JD Motorsports with Gary Keller (JDM) race teams looked to continue a strong run they have been putting together over the past few weeks that included highs of one Top 10, five Top 15, and nine Top 20 finishes.
This past weekend was a big one for JDM, due to new partner Contec, Inc. making their debut as a primary sponsor in NASCAR on board Ross Chastain’s No. 4 Chevrolet. The automotive-based brand was excited to make their mark on the track right outside Detroit, and the team was able to deliver some good results in the process.
Ross Chastain, driver of the No. 4 Contec, Inc. Chevrolet, started off his busy weekend down in Texas racing in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. This meant that longtime JDM driver Landon Cassill would pilot the No. 4 throughout both practice sessions on Friday in preparation for Chastain’s return Saturday morning for qualifying. Ross qualified his Chevy in 15th position, and raced around the 12th-15th spots for the first couple stages in the race.
In the final stage, the No. 4 Contec, Inc. crew decided to have a little fun with strategy, and opted to stay out on old tires late in the running. This allowed Chastain to position himself up within the Top 5 cars for a good amount of laps until the tires wore out, where he eventually faded through the field back near where he had been running. Though the gamble didn’t necessarily pay off because there was no caution, Ross was still able to bring his Camaro home with a 14th position. Because he has declared points in the truck series over the weekend, Ross no longer is eligible to compete for the NXS points championship, and thus removes himself from the playoff picture.
BJ McLeod, driver of the No. 15 #TeamJDM Chevrolet, started his day off from the 23rd position on the grid, and ran his race in typical McLeod fashion: sly and under the radar. Though McLeod rarely positions himself right in the thick of things up near the front of the pack for most of the race, he always finds a way to make up spots late in the going right when the checkered flag is in sight. He spent most of the afternoon racing in the 18th-25th positions, but at the end of the day, he brought his No. 15 Camaro home in 19th place, his third Top 20 finish in a row. He now sits a solid P20 in the season’s standings.
Nipping right at McLeod’s heels at the end of the 125 lapper at Michigan was Stephen Leicht, driver of the No. 01 TeamJDMotorsports.com Chevrolet. Leicht started the day off in 32nd, but quickly made his way through the field up to around the 20th-22nd positions for most of the afternoon. Like McLeod, however, he was able to position himself up inside the Top 20 in the closing laps, coming home with a 20th place run. He moves up to 22nd in the points standings, now just twenty markers out of the Top 20.
Garrett Smithley, driver of the No. 0 Trophy Tractor Chevrolet, just never seemed to catch a good break throughout the weekend. After qualifying a disappointing 38th, Smithley passed a few cars and ran within the 25th-30th spots for most of the afternoon, but a mysterious vibration hindered his performance greatly at the two-mile oval. The Number Nuthin crew tried their best to eradicate the issue, but it never went away completely, forcing Garrett to come home with a 27th place finish. He now sits 16th in the points standings, 152 points behind the Playoffs cutoff.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa on Sunday, June 16th for the running of the Iowa NXS 250. Be sure to tune in on FOX Sports 1 at 5:30 PM ET to watch the four JD Motorsports with Gary Keller drivers battle it out at the 7/8th mile multi-grooved short track with high banking and high speed. For all things JDM, follow along on our social media pages @JDMotorsports01. #TeamJDM
Because events at Michigan International Speedway often boil down to fuel mileage and strategic calls, crew chief Jason Ratcliff developed a code for driver Christopher Bell.
In Saturday’s LTI Printing 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race, the plan was for Ratcliff to communicate the code words to Bell over the radio, indicating whether Bell was to bring his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to pit road or stay on the track.
Bell wrote the code on his wristband. Only one problem: he and Ratcliff didn’t have a clear understanding of what the code was supposed to be. So when Ratcliff wanted Bell top pit under caution on Lap 78 of 125, he used the phrase, “Don’t slide the tires.”
Bell took that to mean “Don’t pit” and stayed on the track. That snafu proved costly, as Bell didn’t have enough fuel to finish the race without another pit stop. Cole Custer, who was told to do exactly what Bell did, was collateral damage, as he, too, had to make a late-pit stop for fuel.
Tyler Reddick, on the other hand, came to pit road for a splash of gas on Lap 78, saved fuel over the ensuing 44-lap green-flag run and won the race.
“This is a track where you can actually play some strategy,” Ratcliff explained. “We don’t go to many tracks that you can do that. I felt like last week (Pocono) was one, and I feel like Michigan is one where you can mix it up a little bit. Everywhere else we go is kind of straightforward. We talked about, ‘If I tell you this, then it means to pit now.’
“Just some code words, and it’s really simple actually. It’s first-grade stuff, and somehow we mixed it up. He did exactly what his wristband said on it. Unfortunately, it was poor execution on my part in communicating what to put on the wristband. I think we had a good performance today after a little bit of a struggle last week in Pocono. I felt like our car had speed, so we’ll just build in that and go on to Iowa.”
In Bell’s view, the car had speed, but not enough to beat Custer, had they been able to go head-to-head for the win. Bell seemed to find some consolation in that.
“It was just a miscommunication,” Bell said of the misunderstanding. “My definition was a little different than what Jason had planned. Ultimately, that was a big hiccup in our day. The 00 (Custer) blew our doors off, so we just have to get faster.
“That’s our biggest thing, and for whatever reason on the bigger tracks right now, I don’t have the speed that the 00 has. We just have to keep working hard and get our Rheem Supra to be a little bit faster, and it will be easy to clean up the miscommunication there.”
Bell finished 13th on Saturday, one spot behind Custer.
GREG BIFFLE CAN’T RUN FOR THE MONEY AT IOWA ANYWAY
After Friday night’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series victory at Texas Motor Speedway, veteran driver Greg Biffle got a briefcase containing $50,000 in cash as the Triple Truck Challenge bonus for winning in what was to be a one-off appearance for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
Almost immediately, there was speculation that Biffle might try to compound the bonus with appearances in the final two Triple Truck Challenge races at Iowa Speedway and World Wide Technology Raceway outside St. Louis.
That would have required owner Kyle Busch to field a fifth truck on short notice, but as it turns out, Biffle is ineligible to run for the extra cash at Iowa, having already missed the June 4 deadline on the entry blank for Iowa.
Biffle could still run the race, just not for the bonus money. He still has time to enter at WWT Raceway, should Busch decide to field a truck for him, and could run for the bonus for winning two out of the three races—which would amount to a total of $150,000.
A total of $500,000 was available to any driver who could win all three races, but with Biffle ineligible at Iowa, the big prize is off the table.
KURT BUSCH OPTIMISTIC AFTER IMPROVED QUALIFYING PERFORMANCE
Saturday’s seventh-place qualifying effort at Michigan International Speedway wasn’t Kurt Busch’s best of the season, but it was clearly a step in the right direction.
Busch’s No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet was the fastest of that manufacturer, and, in a 2019 season where Busch has averaged a starting position of 16.9, it was second only to his second-place qualifying spot at Richmond in April.
Busch had topped 187 mph in the draft both of Friday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practices, and his 186.577 mpg lap in time trials, with no drafting partner, was consistent with the practice speeds.
“I was happy we backed up our lap from yesterday over to today,” Busch said after the time trials. “We’ve been a little off on qualifying, and it was nice to build that consistency (with) the qualifying setups. This was very similar to our Kansas run (ninth), and we were able to polish up on that.
“That was about all we were going to get. I’m happy we were top 10 with our Chevy, because we still have to leave enough in it for our race-trim balance with the impound procedure. There are times where you want to be the pole, and there are times where you just want to have that nice, consistent run. I’m happy with where we are.”
The Firekeepers Casino 400 at the 2-mile track is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Race Winner: Tyler Reddick of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Paul Menard of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Christopher Bell of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-30):
● Started third and finished 11th.
● Stuck in the bottom lane on the initial green flag, Jones fell back to the eighth position, as the cars in the top line had more momentum on lap one.
● Under the first caution of the day on lap six, Jones reported from the 11th position that the No. 19 1st Foundation Toyota Supra had really good balance but needed to be in the right lane for restarts.
● Jones stayed on track and restarted in the 11th position on lap nine. He dropped back to 15th after restarting on the bottom.
● The caution was shown again on lap 13, with Jones saying he needed more rear stability.
● Jones restarted in 13th on lap 17 and worked his way up to 11th for the end of Stage 1.
● At the stage break, the 1st Foundation team gave Jones four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment to help with rear stability.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 31-60):
● Started 14th and finished ninth to earn two bonus points.
● Jones restarted 14th in the No. 19 1st Foundation Toyota Supra after the top-three cars took only two tires during their pit stops.
● The 1st Foundation driver gained three spots on the restart and entered the top-10 on lap 38 when he passed three cars to take over the eighth position.
● On lap 49, Jones radioed that his Supra was still loose “coming off the wall.” Crew chief Jeff Meendering told him that he was consistently top-three in speed.
● Jones maintained his top-10 position to finish the second stage in ninth.
● At the end of the stage, Jones said the adjustments made on the previous stop made the 1st Foundation Supra tighter in the front end but it still needed more rear security.
● Jones came to pit road on lap 63 for four tires, fuel and adjustments. He lined up 10th for the start of the final stage.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 61-125):
● Started 10th and finished sixth.
● The fifth caution of the day occurred on lap 73 with Jones running eighth. He told the 1st Foundation team that he got really loose just before the caution, but he was able to keep his position and the team elected not to pit.
● Jones restarted eighth on lap 76 and gained two spots to sit sixth when the caution came out just two laps later.
● Meendering brought Jones to pit road under caution on lap 79 for fuel only. Jones was the third car off pit road but restarted 12th with a handful of cars staying on track.
● Jones gained five spots on the lap-81 restart and was running seventh before getting loose on lap 86 and dropping back to the 12th position.
● The 22-year-old driver re-entered the top-10 on lap 98 and passed the No. 98 for ninth on lap 109.
● Jones moved up to sixth when the leaders pitted for fuel on lap 115.
● Jones was battling the No. 7 for the fifth position with two laps to go but ultimately crossed the line sixth, earning his best Xfinity Series finish at Michigan.
● Jones’ sixth-place finish is his best Xfinity Series result at Michigan in four starts, with his previous best being a ninth-place effort in the Irish Hills 250 on June 17, 2017.
● Jones’ third-place starting position was his best qualifying result at Michigan. His previous best starting position was 11th for both the 2017 Irish Hills 250 and 2018 LTi Printing 250.
● Tyler Reddick won the LTi Printing 250 to score his sixth career Xfinity Series victory, his third of the season and his first at Michigan. His margin of victory over second-place Noah Gragson was 1.515 seconds.
● There were six cautions for a total of 29 laps.
● Sixteen of the 38 drivers finished on the lead lap.
● Reddick remains the championship leader after Michigan with an 89-point advantage over second-place Christopher Bell.
Brandon Jones, driver of the No. 19 1st Foundation Toyota Supra:
“We started out not really being a top-10 car, honestly, and we continued to work on it all day long. The biggest issue we fought was just being loose on entry all day, but we kept after it. I think this is what the No. 19 1st Foundation team really does well is adjust on the car the entire race. We’re always a competitor there at the end. We were running first-place lap times and just needed some track position to be any better.”
The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the Iowa 250 on Sunday, June 16 at Iowa Speedway in Newton. The race starts at 5:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Tyler Reddick and the No. 2 KCMG Chevrolet Team Capitalize on Fuel Strategy En Route to Third Win of 2019
"That's one way to sneak in with a win! I'm so proud of the No. 2 KCMG team for all their hard work today. The balance of our Camaro this weekend was tricky to nail down, but we made progress throughout the race and got better each run. We knew strategy would probably come into play at Michigan as far as deciding who would win, so when the opportunity came to pit under a late caution that would put us right on our number for fuel to make it to the end, we took it and came out third. We knew that the No. 20 and No. 00 couldn't make it unless a caution came out, so I focused more on maintaining a gap on the rest of the field and saving more fuel than on chasing those two guys down. Luck was on our side today, and we were able to run away with the win. I can't thank everyone at RCR enough for the cars were showing up with at the track. We're having a lot of fun this year, and I think that shows with the results."
“Three” was the magic number in Saturday’s LTI Printing 250 at Michigan International Speedway, and that was just fine with Tyler Reddick.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series leader—one of the so-called “Big Three” in the series this year—saved enough fuel over the closing 44-lap green-flag run to win for the third time this season, matching fellow Big Three members Christopher Bell and Cole Custer for most so far this year.
After Custer and Bell pitted for fuel from the top two positions with 10 and 11 laps left, respectively, Reddick inherited the lead on Lap 115 of 125 with a lead of just over three seconds over Michael Annett. Ultimately, Reddick finished 1.515 seconds ahead of Noah Gragson, who passed Annett for the runner-up spot on the final lap.
Annett held third, followed by pole winner Paul Menard and Justin Allgaier.
The victory was Reddick’s first at Michigan and the sixth of his career, accomplished with three different organizations (Chip Ganassi Racing, JR Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing, his current ride. Reddick overcame a Lap 33 snafu on pit road where he slid through his pit stall and dropped to 10th for a restart on Lap 38.
Reddick came to pit road for the final time on lap 78 and got 47 laps out of his last tank of fuel.
“I just didn't want to burn a lot of fuel there,” the driver of the No. 2 RCR Chevrolet said of the closing run. “Our Chevrolet was really good, but I made some mistakes on pit road, and we didn't get the track position until the end there.
“A great team effort. I didn't do the thing I needed to do on the race track but, man, that was a great car and we put ourselves in position to win.”
The victory was Reddick’s third in the last five races.
“All the guys at Richard Childress Racing just make an outstanding effort throughout the week,” Reddick said. “Their efforts back at the shop and their hours spent from morning to afternoon every single day is what’s paying off in getting us back to Victory Lane so often this year.”
Miscommunication between crew chief and driver cost both Bell and Custer chances to win the race. Under caution on Lap 78, after Chase Briscoe’s spin a lap earlier, Bell misunderstood instructions to pit and stayed on the track. Custer was told on his team radio to do whatever Bell did and also missed a chance to refuel his car.
“That was our first time using code words, and we got the code mixed up,” said Bell, who had just picked up his sixth stage win of the season on Lap 60.
Custer finished 12th and Bell 13th.
“We had a really fast Mustang,” Custer said ruefully. “I really wanted to win here for Ford in their back yard and everything. We got the track position and got up front, and I think we had the best car here.
“I don't know how much the 2 (Reddick) was saving there, but the strategy just didn’t work out for us. That one kind of stings, but I definitely feel like we had a fast car.”
Brandon Jones finished sixth, followed by Briscoe, John Hunter Nemechek, Jeb Burton and Justin Haley completed the top 10. Reddick increased his series lead to 89 points over Bell in second.
Tyler Reddick took the checkered flag in Saturday’s LTi Printing 250 at Michigan International Speedway.
The RCR wheelman overcame pit mistakes and fuel concerns to get his first win in the Irish Hills. Fuel strategy played a big role at the two-mile speedway. Many of the top contenders found themselves hoping for a caution as stage three was winding down.
After pitting for the final time on lap 78, Reddick was able to save fuel for the remaining 47 laps.
With 10 laps to go, Cole Custer and Christopher Bell pitted from the top spots to give Reddick the lead. Bell had a code word mixup on the final caution that forced him to pit under green. Custer was told to mimic Bell’s strategy, meaning he would miss his opportunity to pit under caution and have to pit under green-flag conditions.
Reddick drove his No. 2 RCR Chevrolet to the top spot and parked it in victory lane for the third time this season.
“A great team effort. I didn’t do the thing I needed to do on the race track but, man, that was a great car and we put ourselves in position to win.”
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will be back in action on Sunday, June 16 at Iowa Speedway for the CircuitCity.com 250 at 5:30 PM ET.