Xfinity Series News (7593)
NASCAR Xfinity Series News
It was more of the same for Kyle Busch in Saturday’s Indiana 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but “more of the same” was anything but easy.
Busch held off Justin Allgaier by .132 seconds during a five-lap run to the finish at the 2.5-mile track, but only after a hard crash that took out frontrunners Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick with seven laps left.
With a strong short-run car, combined with his unquestioned prowess on restarts, Busch took control after the final restart to win for the fourth time at the Brickyard, the fourth time in seven starts this season and the 96th time in his career, extending his series record.
In more ways than one, Busch benefited from the wreck that took out Bell and Reddick as they were battling for the lead. For one thing, it eliminated two of the strongest cars in the race. For another, it put Busch out front in clean air, greatly improving the handling of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra.
“It was really tough to pass, even when you had a run on a guy,” Busch said in Victory Lane. “You could pass the guys who were set up for long-runs on the straightaways but some of those other guys, like (Bell, Brandon Jones) and the JGR guys, they were stupid fast.
“We got back in traffic and just really fought the handling of this thing and got stuck around fourth place. I’m real proud of this team. This Toyota Supra was awesome today, and glad we got to take it to Victory Lane.”
Allgaier, the defending race winner, led a trio of JR Motorsports cars to top-five finishes, with Noah Gragson charging to third in the closing laps and Jeb Burton matching his career-best finish in his fifth start of the season. Justin Haley ran fifth and scored 35 points, enough to become the ninth driver to clinch a spot in the Xfinity Series Playoffs.
Three cautions in the final 14 laps doomed the chances of Allgaier, whose No. 7 Chevrolet was set up for long green-flag runs.
“Kyle’s great, especially on restarts,” said Allgaier, who led three times for 24 laps, half the total recorded by the race winner. “That’s what sets him apart in the Cup Series and here in the Xfinity Series. Our Suave Men Camaro was on rails, especially on the long runs…
“You don’t realize what it means to you until you come that close to tasting those bricks again. We’ll go to Vegas (for the regular-season finale) next week, finish out the regular season strong and take this momentum into the Playoffs.”
Bell and Reddick were running up front after a restart on Lap 93 of 100, but Bell’s Toyota broke loose under Reddick’s Chevrolet in Turn 2, sending both cars hard into the outside wall and eliminating them from the race.
Bell finished 29th, one spot ahead of Reddick.
“Of all my NASCAR crashes, this one takes the cake,” Bell said after visiting the infield care center. The wreck deprived him of a chance to win for the seventh time this season.
Brandon Jones recovered from a spin after contact with Austin Cindric’s Ford on Lap 87 to finish sixth, one position ahead of six-time winner Cole Custer. Chase Briscoe, Austin Hill and Ryan Sieg completed the top 10.
Reddick retained the series lead by 50 points over Bell and can clinch the regular-season title next Saturday by scoring 11 points.
Late-Race Contact Ends Tyler Reddick's Day at Indy Prematurely
"Man, I hate that's the way our day ended with the No. 2 Anderson's Maple Syrup Chevrolet Camaro. These guys built a solid Chevy Camaro for this weekend and it's a shame it ended that way. Both Christopher (Bell) and I were just going for it late in the race, as expected from us, and it looks like we both just snapped loose at the same time. We had overcome just about everything during that race, from early nose damage to hitting the wall in Stage 2, and we're finally in position to try to win it when the contact occurred. It's disappointing for sure, but we'll head to Las Vegas next week and get after it again. The points battle for the regular season championship will definitely be one to watch."
Jeremy Clements Racing and Travers Tool will be pairing up again for the ROVAL and the Drive For The Cure 25006 Sep 2019 Written by Speedway Digest Staff
JCR is excited to announce that Travers Tools will again adorn the #51 Chevrolet as primary sponsor for the ROVAL at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Coming up Saturday, September 28th on the 2.28 combination course.
"I can’t believe it’s been a year already and we are back at the ROVAL.” Clements said. “It’s awesome to have the Great people at Travers Tool back on the car again this year, we didn’t know what to expect last year but the boys back at the shop will have our Travers Tool Hot Rod ready to race for sure.” Clements went on to say
Joining Travers Tools as associate sponsors will be RepairableVehicles.com along with local associate sponsors ELITE Towing & Recovery LLC Circle Body Shop and Carolina Driveline
Cole Custer was declared the winner, Saturday night at Darlington Raceway, in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sport Clips VFW 200. This marked the No. 00 Ford Mustang’s sixth win of the season for Stewart-Haas Racing and the ninth overall NXS win this season for Ford Performance.
“Congratulations Cole, Tony, and Gene,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “It was great to see all four Ford Mustangs finish in the top-10 tonight.”
Custer quickly jumped to second on the opening lap of the final stage, but was running fourth when the yellow flag waved on lap 132 of the 147-lap race. The team pitted and the No. 00 was able to gain two spots on pit road to restart second for the 10-lap sprint to the finish. Custer would ultimately cross the finish line in second place, but was declared the winner after Denny Hamlin failed post-race inspection.
"We had a really good car there at the end of the race,” commented Custer. “I was able to run the bottom in 1 & 2 well enough to get a run on the leader, but was too loose in 3 & 4 to make anything happen. My guys got me out front on that last pit stop to at least give us a chance to compete for the win.”
All four Ford Performance drivers finished in the top-10, following Custer was Stage 2 and pole winner Ryan Blaney in P3 while Chase Briscoe finished P6 and Austin Cindric rounded out the top-10 in P10.
Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski posted a top-5 finish in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 Sunday night, at Darlington Raceway. Harvick finished P4 followed by Keselowski in P5. In addition, Clint Bowyer and Paul Menard finished P6 and P9 respectively.
NASCAR returns to the Indianapolis Speedway this weekend where the 2019 Monster Energy Cup Series playoffs will be locked in! Reference the full 2019 schedule on www.roushyates.com.
On Saturday, the NASCAR Xfinity Series made its annual trip to Darlington Raceway for the SportClips 200. The track known as “Too Tough To Tame” brought plenty of stressful and challenging situations for drivers, all while putting on a great show for a big crowd of fans that came out to watch.
Landon Cassill, driver of the No. 01 Flex Seal Chevrolet, started off his day by impressing many with a 10th place qualifying effort, and it appeared as if he was on his way to a solid run all throughout the first half of the race. Cassill earned one stage point in Stage One by finishing 10th, and was on the cusp of gaining another in Stage Two, but ultimately finished 12th. With fifteen laps remaining, however, the Iowa native got caught up in a spin off of turn four, which significantly hurt the No. 01’s aerodynamics. The crew was able to work hard on repairing the damage, and Landon was able to bring the car home with an 18th place finish.
BJ McLeod, driver of the No. 4 South Carolina Education Lottery Chevrolet, rolled off from the 23rd position to start the 147 lap race. McLeod layed low early on in Stage One and Stage Two, finishing 26th and 22nd respectively, but really started to gain some positions later on once the halfway mark was crossed. The pit crew made some important changes to McLeod’s Chevrolet late in the race, and he was able to earn a 19th place finish, right behind his JDM teammate in Landon Cassill. This finish keeps BJ McLeod solidly in 20th position in the drivers’ points standings heading into Indianapolis.
Stephen Leicht, driver of the No. 15 JD Motorsports Chevrolet, overcame adversity throughout the entire day on Saturday. Leicht was feeling under the weather in the morning, and took a trip to the infield care center to make sure that he would be hydrated for the grueling race on Darlington’s wore-out track surface. Stephen qualified in the 24th position, but fought an ill-handling car for the majority of Stage One and Stage Two, where he finished 34th and 31st, respectively. The #15Machine crew went to work on making significant changes to his Chevrolet in the final stage, and they were able to elevate Leicht to a 26th place finish. Stephen remains 19th in the drivers’ points standings leaving Darlington.
Similar to Leicht, Garrett Smithley, driver of the No. 0 Mike Mittler Tribute Chevrolet, also had to overcome adversity throughout Saturday’s race. The Ligonier, PA driver rolled off the starting grid in 29th, and fought handling issues throughout the race. Smithley finished in 30th for Stage One, and followed it up with a 29th place ruin in Stage Two, and had to make a green flag unscheduled pit stop late in the race during the final stage for four tires. The issue kept Garrett trapped a few laps down, and the lack of cautions meant he was unable to position himself back in contention at the end of the race. The #NumberNuthin driver earned a 29th place finish at Darlington, keeping him 18th in the drivers’ points standings.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway this Saturday for the tour’s yearly stop at the oldest racetrack on the circuit. Different aerodynamic packages will throw the teams a curveball, and if last year’s race is any indication, this weekend will be one of the most exciting races of the season. Be sure to tune into NBCSN at 4:00 PM ET for live coverage. For all things JD Motorsports, follow our social media channels with the username @JDMotorsports01. #TeamJDM
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has always had an eye for talent.
After all, Earnhardt helped launched Brad Keselowski’s career by putting him in one of his NASCAR Xfinity Series cars. The same goes for Chase Elliott.
But on Saturday afternoon at Darlington Raceway, Earnhardt got a closer-than-usual look at the level of talent in the Xfinity Series and came away impressed. Competing in the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 at the 1.366-mile track—in his only start of the year—Earnhardt took particular note of the drivers who raced him side-by-side.
“I got to race with Brandon Jones a little bit, had a lot of fun racing him,” Earnhardt said after scoring a fifth-place finish. “Got to run with a few guys. Everybody out there really impressed me.”
In fact, that was the main takeaway for Earnhardt, who swapped positions with six-time Xfinity winner Christopher Bell on several occasions during the race.
“The Xfinity Series has kind of always been the little brother to the Cup Series, but these cars are so challenging,” Earnhardt said. “Big respect to these guys that do it every single week. Even those cars that we’re lapping, I know those damn cars aren’t driving good. Those guys have their hands full, so big respect to everybody in this field from the front to the back.”
Earnhardt also got a chance to feel out his own JR Motorsports equipment, which hasn’t been performing to its usual consistently high standards this season.
“If I had to guess what our issue is, it’s front aero, getting a little more downforce on the front half of the car,” Earnhardt said. “We couldn’t get our car to turn the way we needed to, and we had to unhook the back to do that, and that’s not what you want to be doing.
“So If I had to guess right now, I’d say we have to get the front of the car to work better aerodynamically.”
As much as he enjoyed the experience, Earnhardt said that Saturday’s 200 miles around Darlington will probably be his last, preferring to try his hand at Homestead-Miami Speedway next year.
For Earnhardt, the Track Too Tough to Tame is now the Track Too Tough to Race in his only start of the year.
“This place is too tough—the kids can have it,” Earnhardt said.
ALEX BOWMAN HAD TO GET INTO CHARACTER TO PLAY TIM RICHMOND
Driver Tim Richmond was a flamboyant, larger-than-life personality.
Driver Alex Bowman considers himself somewhat reticent and shy.
But from the first time he saw video of Richmond, who passed away in 1989—nearly four years before Bowman was born—Bowman found Richmond’s racing style and joie de vivre compelling.
For throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway, Bowman got his wish—to drive his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet with a paint scheme inspired by the No. 25 Folger’s car Richmond made famous—a deep candy-apple red with gold numerals.
Bowman played the part to the hilt with regular social media releases, sporting a long-haired wig and bushy moustache.
“It’s been fun, for sure,” Bowman said. “I think I’m pretty shy and keep to myself at times, so I had to get into character a little bit there during that photo shoot. It’s been fun to do. We have one picture per day for the whole week, so that’s been neat. It’s been a lot of fun.
“When I have the wig, moustache, aviators and Tim Richmond fire suit, I’m just not me anymore. I guess in character would be the best way to say that. It took me a minute for sure during the photo shoot. I was like ‘Man, this is awkward,’ but it was pretty cool.”
DARLINGTON ANNOUNCES SELL-OUT FOR NASCAR CUP RACE
Darlington Raceway president Kerry Tharp announced on Sunday morning that all reserved-seat tickets for that night’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 had been sold.
The 70th running of the marquee Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race features throwback paint schemes that conjure images of stock car racing’s past.
“It’s because of our loyal race fans and partners that we can officially say that all reserved seats for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 are sold,” Tharp said. “Darlington’s Throwback Weekend continues to grow in popularity each year, and we appreciate and thank our fans for their continued support.
“The Bojangles’ Southern 500 is truly one of our sport’s crown jewels, and we look forward to seeing everyone back in 2020 when we open up the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.”
Though the race will remain on Labor Day weekend next year (Sept. 6), it will become the first Playoff race in a schedule that ends with the Championship 4 event at ISM Raceway in Phoenix on Nov. 8, earlier than the mid-November Homestead that has been the norm over the past few years.
Team 08 DB Automotive Plus Chevrolet Camaro:
Gray Gaulding and his No. 08 team brought a blast from the past look and feel to the race track this weekend for NASCAR's annual 'throwback weekend' at Darlington Raceway. From the bright pink colors of the car to wearing his team owner's old race suit, Gaulding was all in for throwback weekend. The 08 car rolled off from the 15th position for the 200 mile event. The first two stages consisted of 45 laps. The first caution of the day waved on lap 12 after the 23 car spun around off of turn four. The 08 team stayed on track during the first caution and restarted from the 16th position. The remainder of the stage went caution free and after 45 laps, Gaulding was in the 15th position.
Gaulding started the second stage from the 12th position after a blazing fast pit stop from his crew. It didn't take long for the action to pick back up as the 86 car went spinning on the back stretch, bringing out the third caution of the day. The racing resumed and Gaulding battled an extremely loose handling racecar for the remainder of the stage. After two stages in the books, Gaulding was in the 16th position.
With just 50 laps remaining, Gaulding started the final stage from the 15th position. Gaulding radioed to crew chief Patrick Donahue that his car was "wrecking loose on the short runs" and he was just barely hanging on. On lap 134 the fifth and final caution of the day waved after the 36 of Josh Williams lost control of his race car. After a ten lap shootout to end the race, Gaulding brought home his No. 08 Bobby Dotter throwback car in the 15th position. The result marked the team's thirteenth top 15 finish of the season.
"Another "Top-15" finish today at Darlington Raceway! Proud to rep Bobby Dotter's pink #08 and shoutout to all my guys at SS Green Light Racing and our sponsors that helped for a great throwback!"
Bobby Dotter Thoughts on the 08 Team:
““Gray and the team did a great job battling a loose handling race car throughout the day. It brought back a lot of memories seeing that pink 08 car on track, so that was special for sure. We will absolutely take a top-15 finish from Darlington and move on to Indy!"
Team 07 Isokern Fireplaces & Chimneys Chevrolet Camaro:
Ray Black Jr. and his 07 team came into Darlington this weekend after a strong 14th place finish last weekend at Road America. After a solid qualifying effort, Black would start his day from the 18th position. Ray Black Jr. quickly began making his way forward until caution waved on lap 12. At the end of stage one, the 07 was in the 17th position.
Black started the second stage from the 20th position. As cars collided early in the second stage, Black was able to escape without incident. The remainder of the stage went caution free and Black picked his way forward to the 18th position.
Black would start the third and final stage, which consisted of 50 laps from the 17th position. Black's car fired off well, but couldn't quite hang on the longer runs. On lap 134 the fifth and final caution of the day waved after the 36 of Josh Williams lost control of his race car. After a ten lap shootout to end the race, Black brought home his No. 07 Isokern Fireplaces & Chimney's Chevy home in the 16th position. The result marked the team's fifteenth top 20 finish this season.
Ray Black Jr:
“It was another great day for our team. It's been nice to get a little consistency going this past month. Can't thank all my guys enough for their hard work!"
Bobby Dotter Thoughts on the 07 Team:
“Proud of another hard fought day for the 07 team. August has been a strong month for Ray and the team. I’m looking forward to continuing this momentum moving forward.”
SS Green Light Racing drivers Gray Gaulding and Ray Black Jr. remain 13th and 16th respectively in the NASCAR Xfinity Series points standings. With only two races remaining in the regular season, the Xfinity Series will make a stop at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Coverage of the Indiana 250 from Indianapolis Motor Speedway will begin Saturday September 7th at 3:00 PM ET on NBCSN.
SS Green Light Racing PR
It looked like more of the same at Darlington Raceway for driver Denny Hamlin—until post-race inspection happened.
A five-time NASCAR Xfinity Series winner at the 1.366-mile track, Hamlin was first across the finish line in Saturday’s Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200, but the disqualification of Hamlin’s No. 18 Toyota for a ride-height violation made a winner of Cole Custer, who trailed Hamlin by .602 seconds at the finish line.
“It’s a really strange feeling, honestly—obviously,” Custer said after being notified he was the winner. “You don’t want that way, but it is what it is. We all play by the same rules. Was that the deciding factor? No.
“But it is what it is. We get the points. We get the money. We get the trophy, I guess. It’s a way to win.”
The victory was the first for Custer at the Track Too Tough to Tame and his sixth of the season, tying him with fourth-place finisher Christopher Bell for most in the series this year. Custer now has eighth career Xfinity wins.
The disqualification ruined a strong effort from Hamlin, who started 37th in a backup car after slapping the outside wall early in Friday’s opening practice. Hamlin took the lead on Lap 121 of 147 and held it the rest of the way.
And though Hamlin efforts became moot with the disqualification, he overcame issues with the handling of the backup No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota through the first two 45-lap stages of the event and was able to withstand a determined closing run by Custer.
“We did not have the best car by any means, but luckily, the techniques I’ve learned over so many years kind of (helped) us there,” Hamlin said before learning of the disqualification. “They guys did a great job getting this car ready.”
Abandoning the NBC Sports broadcast booth for his only race of the year, Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran fifth as the highest finishing JR Motorsports entry.
Custer hounded Hamlin after a restart with 10 laps left ran the bottom through Turns 1 and 2 to gain ground. On several occasions over the final five laps, he pulled within a car-length of Hamlin’s bumper but couldn’t quite get to the winner.
“I thought I had him,” Custer said after climbing from his car. “I really wanted it—finishing second here really sucks. You really want to win at one of the marquee places… I couldn’t get a run off of (Turn) 4. I don’t know—it was so close.”
As it turned out, it was close enough.
Series leader Tyler Reddick ran second after leading a race-high 70 laps. Pole winner Ryan Blaney, the only other driver to hold the lead, was third after spending 50 laps at the point. Bell, Earnhardt, Chase Briscoe, Brandon Jones, Noah Gragson, Justin Allgaier and Austin Cindric completed the top 10.
Earnhardt was pleased with his performance in the one-off start.
“I love this place,” said Earnhardt, whose No. 8 Chevrolet was sporting a paint scheme commemorating his father’s first start in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Charlotte in 1975. “We love Darlington… You never know how good you are till you come back and try it.
“All these guys are elite. All these guys do this every single week, and they’re very, very talented. To think you can take a year off and come back and be good… you just never know. But we did all right!”
With two races left before the cutoff for the Xfinity Playoffs at Las Vegas, Reddick holds a 51-point lead over Bell in the race for the regular-season title. Custer is 136 points back in third place.
The disqualification was the fifth this year under the enforcement policy NASCAR adopted this year, all in either the Xfinity or Gander Outdoors Truck Series. Hamlin was the second race winner to suffer a disqualification, the other being Ross Chastain in a Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway.