Xfinity Series News

Xfinity Series News (7558)

NASCAR Xfinity Series News

In his first Nationwide Series start of the season -- and his first ever in the current-generation racecar -- Matt Kenseth out-dueled Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards to win Saturday’s Top Gear 300 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Subbing for sidelined Trevor Bayne, Kenseth won the 26th Nationwide race of his career. Edwards ran second, followed by Kyle Busch, polesitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Reed Sorenson. Brad Keselowski, Steve Wallace, Brian Scott, Aric Almirola and Elliott Sadler completed the top 10.

In his Nationwide debut, Kimi Raikkonen fought the handling of his No. 87 Toyota before a pit-road speeding penalty and damage to the front splitter relegated him to a 27th-place finish.

"It feels really good to beat Carl," Kenseth said. "He’s one of the best out there every Sunday and Saturday, and when you can beat him at the game, you know you had a good day."

Within one victory of tying Mark Martin for the career wins lead in the series at 49, Busch passed Edwards for the lead on Lap 60 and held it -- with the exception of Lap 74 under caution -- until Kenseth slipped past him at the finish line to complete Lap 103 of 200.

"It’s funny; Matt comes and runs a one-off and beats us both," Busch said with a wry chuckle. "Those guys (Kenseth and Edwards) were definitely faster than us today. They had the cars to beat."

Kenseth was still out front after a cycle of green-flag pit stops when caution flew on Lap 148 because of debris on the backstretch. Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Stenhouse, Keselowski, Sorenson and Joey Logano were among those who came to pit road for fuel and tires on Lap 150, while Edwards, Busch, Kasey Kahne and Jason Leffler stayed out, confident they had enough fuel to go the distance.

But Edwards, who last pitted on Lap 137, pulled away from Busch after a restart on Lap 155 and maintained a half-second lead over Kenseth. In the final 15 laps, however, Kenseth closed the gap and challenged his Roush Fenway Racing teammate for the top spot.

On lap 195, they swapped the lead, with Kenseth powering past Edwards through Turn 2 and Edwards regaining the point in Turn 3. Kenseth waved at Edwards when he made the initial pass.

"I would have felt pretty stupid if I hadn’t gotten back by him," Kenseth said in victory lane.

Kenseth made the pass stick on Lap 198 and pulled away to win by .763 seconds.

Edwards said the handling of his car tightened up in the final few laps.

"The car just got tighter and tighter, and with these cars, when it gets tight, you slow down through the middle of the corner -- and it’s over," Edwards said.

Sadler retained the series lead by one point over Stenhouse and two over Sorenson.

Through a partnership with Linkous Enterprises, Inc. (LEI), The Best Western Plus Timber Creek Inn & Suites and Convention Center will host Rick Ware Racing for the upcoming NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Chicagoland Speedway. The Best Western Plus Timber Creek Inn & Suites logo will be prominently displayed on both RWR entries, the No. 15 Chevrolet driven by Timmy Hill and the No. 75 Chevrolet driven by Carl Long in the STP 300, the first-ever stand-alone Nationwide Series event at the Chicagoland Speedway.

“We are very appreciative of the support that the Timber Creek Inn & Suites has extended to Linkous Enterprises and our race team,” said team owner Rick Ware. “As owner of the ‘Biggest Little Team in Motorsports’ we realized long ago that our sport and our team thrives with the support of companies such as Timber Creek Inn & Suites and we look forward to having their guests join us for the race and putting on a good show for them. We’re already excited about heading into the Chicagoland area; we know we’re going to have a great place to stay and it’s easy to get back and forth to the track. Hopefully we’ll have some great race fans staying there with us and we can all enjoy the first ever stand-alone Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway together.”

Rick Ware Racing competes in both the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and has also participated in the Grand American Road Racing Series Rolex 24 at Daytona. Not only is Ware the team owner, but he is also a former driver, having made numerous starts in all three of NASCAR’s national touring series. He finally hung up his helmet in 2003 to focus on building a competitive multi-faceted race team.

“We’re excited at our first opportunity to work with LEI and their NASCAR race team clients, and we’re very pleased it’s with Rick Ware Racing,” said Cindy Prohl, the director of sales for the The Best Western Plus Timber Creek Inn & Suites. “Rick’s team has started from the ground up and in less than two years has really blossomed into a team that can compete for top ten finishes. We watched our hotel being built from the ground up just a few years ago too, and we’re proud to be one of the destinations for race teams and race fans alike whenever they come to the Chicagoland Speedway.”

The STP 300 for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Chicagoland Speedway is scheduled for Saturday, June 4 with the green flag expected shortly after 8 P.M. Eastern. The race will be televised live on ESPN and can be heard on select affiliates of the MRN Radio network nationwide and on Sirius XM Radio Channel 90.

For information on race weekend lodging and rates at the The Best Western Plus Timber Creek Inn & Suites, please visit www.timbercreekinnandsuites.com, or call the property directly at 630-273-6000 and ask for our special “NASCAR” rates.

Rick Ware Racing PR

Roush Fenway Racing continued its NASCAR domination, with the ‘Fastenal Fast Fleet’ posting a one-two finish and placing three cars inside the top four of Saturday’s Top Gear 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Matt Kenseth - filling in for Trevor Bayne - and Carl Edwards battled for much of the race, with Kenseth making the final pass for the victory with just three laps to go. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. backed up last week’s win at Iowa Speedway, with a pole and a fourth-place finish, and moved to within one point of the Nationwide Series point lead.

“What a great day for Fastenal and Ford Mustang,” said Kenseth in victory lane. “It was intense there. I cleared Carl the one time and he passed me right back. We had new tires and were able to get him there at the end. It was the first time I’ve driven a Mustang out there and just had a blast. I’m glad Trevor is feeling better and will be back next week, but I had a blast driving for him today.

“It really wasn’t easy,” added Kenseth. “But the cars are just really fast. It feels good to beat Carl. He’s really one of the best out there and when you can beat him, you know you had a good game.”

On the day, Roush Fenway captured its 11th Nationwide Series win at Charlotte and its 13th NNS pole at the 1.5-mile track. The win is Roush Fenway’s fifth this season in the Nationwide Series and its eighth NASCAR win this season. It was Kenseth’s 26th career Nationwide Series win and this third at CMS.

Roush Fenway led 116 of 200 laps on the day, with all three of the Fastenal Fleet leading.

NASCAR and Roush Fenway returns to action tomorrow in the Sprint Cup Series for the season’s longest race of the year, the Coca-Cola 600.

Today’s win sets Roush Fenway up with the opportunity to sweep the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series’ three weeks in a row. It also marked the second consecutive week that Roush Fenway has finished one-two in the Nationwide Series.

Roush Fenway Racing PR

Robert Richardson, Jr. and the No. 23 FunnyDanRaceCarMan.com | North Texas Pipe Dodge of R3 Motorsports never got the chance to get going in the right direction during the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday.

From the initial green flag, Richardson started moving forward picking up four spots on the first, of 250, circuits. With a pre-determined competition caution coming on lap 25, Walter Giles and team knew they had an early opportunity to make any needed adjustments for improvement.

After the driver radioed in to the crew the car was tight on entry and tight on late exit, Giles called for fuel, four tires and an air pressure adjustment to both rear tires. Aiding to their efforts to pick up spots was the ever-efficient pit crew for the No. 23 team of R3 Motorsports as they earned three positions for the lap 30 restart.

This lined him up as the third car one lap down to the leaders. With new tires and the adjustment, Richardson started to gain on the two spots in front of him to get in the Lucky Dog position.

As he was coursing through Turn 4 on lap 33, he got tight racing under the No. 28 car and moved up the banking into that car. This also caused Richardson to slide up into the outside wall making heavy right-side contact with his car.

Richardson brought the car to pit road where a hole in the radiator was detected when fluids started leaking in the pit box. Giles directed him to the garage area on lap 36 for repairs to the right-side fender, quarter panels and radiator.

The crew leapt into action and did what was needed to get Richardson back into the race. What looked like cosmetic damage to the right side was actually more detrimental on the inside of the car causing for a very long period for repairs.

Giles directed the crew’s efforts to get Richardson back out on lap 89 while the race was under caution. The driver radioed in the car was handling terribly so Giles called him back down pit road on lap 94 to make a massive chassis adjustments and again on lap 97 to check the car over again.

By lap 104, it was deemed the car was damaged beyond repairs to return to action for the sake of Richardson’s, and the other competitor’s, safety. This ended the team’s race much too early with a disappointing 36th-place finish.

Robert Richardson, Jr. Quotes: “That was not what this team wanted with this brand-new car we built for this race. Man, it is so frustrating to keep having things like this happen to us when we know we can do so much better. I just got tight up under the No. 28 there in Turns 3 and 4, got up into him a bit then just slid up the track even higher and hit the wall there in Turn 4 hard enough to end our day early.

“It didn’t seem like we hit that hard, but it was hard enough to knock us out of the race. The guys on this team work so dang hard to get our cars ready, to build them just right and then we have to call it quits just 104 laps into a 250-lap race.

“All we can do is load ‘em and line ‘em up again next week in Chicagoland and look for better things.”

R3 Motorsports PR

Dollar General and Charlotte Motor Speedway are renaming the Oct. 14 NASCAR Nationwide Series race
the Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage. The newly-named race will sport a pink theme to raise awareness of breast cancer and raise funds for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the nation's leading breast cancer awareness and research organization.

The race will also honor 300 breast cancer survivors in the "ring of survivors."

"Breast cancer is a devastating disease that affects millions of our customers and friends," said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General's chairman and CEO. "As a longtime supporter of Susan G. Komen for the
Cure, Dollar General is pleased to bring this disease to light on the race track through the Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage, while recognizing those who have fought the disease and won."

Fans at the Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage will notice a colorful change at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  A special pink race logo will grace the frontstretch grass for the Friday evening race. In
addition, the speedway will incorporate the pink motif on the official Toyota Camry pace car, tickets and event branding.

Dollar General will exchange its traditional yellow for pink on its race cars at the Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage. The special pink race logo can be seen today on the No. 32 Dollar General Chevrolet
driven by Reed Sorensen in the Top Gear 300.

The Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage will also honor breast cancer survivors. Susan G. Komen will identify local survivors who will receive a special invitation to attend the race, along with a guest.
Survivors will receive pink merchandise such as t-shirts and hats and will be honored before the race starts in a "ring of survivors" on the frontstretch.

To raise funds for breast cancer research, Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage frontstretch tickets, which offer great views of pit road and the world's largest HDTV, are on sale now, along with
commemorative Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage car magnets. Proceeds from magnet sales will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Speedway Children's Charities, the official charity of Charlotte Motor Speedway, is joining Dollar General in embracing the pink initiative by providing fundraising support for the race event.

"The Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage takes place in the middle of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month so this cause is a natural fit for Speedway Children's Charities to support," said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway and president of the Charlotte Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities. "So many families and children in the NASCAR community are affected each year when a parent is diagnosed with this disease. Susan G. Komen provides college scholarship support for children who have lost a parent or guardian to breast cancer, and we look forward to raising money for those programs to help kids in our area."

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. continued to traverse his recent wave of momentum, winning the pole for Saturday night’s Top Gear 300 Nationwide Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Stenhouse, who scored his first career Nationwide Series victory last weekend at Iowa Speedway, qualified ninth on Thursday for his Sprint Cup debut in tomorrow’s Coca-Cola 600. It is the third career series pole for the 2010 NNS rookie of the year. The pole is the 13th NNS pole for Roush Fenway at Charlotte.

“We have a really fast Fastenal Ford Mustang for tonight’s race and it’s great to be starting in the front,” said Stenhouse. “All three of the Fastenal fleet will be starting in the top five and hopefully we’ll all be up there racing for the win at the end.”

Matt Kenseth – making his first NNS start of the season qualified his No. 16 Fastenal Ford third and Carl Edwards will start fifth in the No. 60 Fastenal Ford.

It is the second pole of the 2011 season for Stenhouse and his first in four races at CMS. It is the sixth NNS pole for Roush Fenway this season and the 10th NASCAR pole for Roush Fenway in 2011. It marked the 13th time Roush Fenway has won a Nationwide pole at the 1.5-mile track of Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“It’s been a crazy week for sure,” added Stenhouse. “I feel like our Nationwide program was where we could win, it was just a matter of putting everything together toward the end of last year. These are the same (No. 6 team) guys that went through the battles with us last year and came out a lot better off. I won Rookie of the Year with them. We wanted to get a race win and get it under our belt, and now we can focus on championship racing.”

Roush Fenway Racing PR

Iowa Speedway is pleased to announce the Enlist™ Weed Control System from Dow AgroSciences as the presenting sponsor of the U.S. Cellular® 250 on Saturday, Aug. 6.

This sponsorship qualifies the Enlist Weed Control System as an official partner of Iowa Speedway for the 2011 racing season. The Aug. 6 race is the second NASCAR® Nationwide Series race and concludes the season at the Iowa Speedway in Newton.

“We see this race sponsorship as a great opportunity to connect with growers in Iowa and surrounding areas who have a passion for performance — both in the field and on the race track,” says Damon Palmer, Enlist Weed Control System U.S. commercial leader for Dow AgroSciences.

In early 2011, Dow AgroSciences announced the brand name of its new herbicide-tolerant trait technology, the Enlist Weed Control System. The Enlist system is under regulatory review, but once registered, it will provide growers with a new option to build on and improve glyphosate-tolerant technology.

Iowa Speedway Vice President of Sales and Marketing Chuck Spicer says the Enlist Weed Control System partnership is a natural fit.

“We are excited about this new partnership with Dow AgroSciences,” Spicer says. “We’re glad the Iowa Speedway can help introduce growers to the Enlist system.”

Iowa Speedway PR

NASCAR and Nationwide Insurance today announced an exciting revised version of the successful NASCAR Nationwide Series “Dash 4 Cash” program for the 2011 season.

Introduced in 2009 by Nationwide Insurance and NASCAR, “Dash 4 Cash” (Twitter hash tag: #NNSD4C) is a one-of-a-kind bonus program that rewards the highest-finishing eligible driver in designated races with a $100,000 bonus above and beyond the race purse; a 300% payout increase per race from previous years.

The program’s four-race format remains the same. The bonus-paying races start with the July 1 race at Daytona International Speedway, followed by Iowa Speedway on Aug. 6, Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 9 and culminate at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 14.

Two key revisions to the “Dash 4 Cash” program this year will benefit the drivers competing for the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship. First, only the top four drivers in the series points standings heading into Daytona’s summer race will be eligible for the $100,000 bonus. That means ultra-competitive racing among the top-10 drivers in the standings at Road America on June 25 which will set the stage for those who will make up the eligibility list at Daytona.

The highest-finishing eligible driver at Daytona will receive the first “Dash 4 Cash” payout and automatically qualifies for the next event at Iowa. The three highest-finishing drivers to collect NASCAR Nationwide Series championship driver points at Daytona also qualify for the bonus at Iowa. That same qualifying procedure will be in place for the remaining two events at Richmond and Charlotte.

Another twist: Should any eligible driver win the three “Dash 4 Cash” payouts leading up to Charlotte and then win the Charlotte race, Nationwide Insurance will award an additional $600,000 in Victory Lane, bringing the total “Dash 4 Cash” bonus to $1 million.

“We’re excited to partner with Nationwide Insurance to enhance the ‘Dash 4 Cash’ program for the 2011 season and beyond,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing operations. “Since its inception, the program has brought increased notoriety to the series and more importantly, the teams and drivers competing for the series title.

“We believe the big bonuses for the select ‘Dash 4 Cash’ races, along with a guaranteed winner each week, will certainly continue to drive awareness for the series while creating some very exciting storylines and finishes along the way.”

“The enhancements to the ‘Dash 4 Cash’ program will take the action on the track to a whole new level this year,” said Jim McCoy, director of strategic sponsorships for Nationwide Insurance. “We’re thrilled to create a race within the race that gives fans another reason to tune into the NASCAR Nationwide Series.”

Fans also will be encouraged to join the action by entering for a chance to win a significant prize as part of a NASCAR Nationwide Series sweepstakes to behosted on NASCAR.com. An official announcement with prize elements and rules will take place during the first “Dash 4 Cash” race weekend at Daytona, with the entry period set to begin during that time frame.

“The fans are what drive our sport and we wanted to create an opportunity for them to engage in the program,” O’Donnell said. “We were able to partner with Nationwide Insurance and NASCAR.COM to develop this great opportunity. We can’t divulge the entire plan yet. But we can say that for one lucky fan, the fall Charlotte race will be rewarding.”

NASCAR PR

Pink Racecar…..To raise awareness for breast cancer, MacDonald Motorsports will roll a pink Daystar.com No. 81 Dodge out of the trailer this weekend in Charlotte.   Breast cancer is a deadly disease affecting thousands of women each year.  For Koch, this is a cause that hits close to home.  His mother, Angie, is a cancer survivor who recently shared her story for the first time with Daystar’s viewing audience.

In conjunction with the event, Daystar will be giving away pink awareness bracelets on race day as well as a limited copy of the inspiring single from Joni Lamb and the Daystar singers and band entitled “The Journey.”  The group has dedicated this single to those battling life-changing illnesses, such as breast cancer, as an encouragement that they are not alone in this fight.  The song will appear on the group’s latest project “Set Free,” which will release nationwide May 31st.

Blake Koch on Charlotte….. “It’s going to be awesome driving the pink racecar for breast cancer.  I really want to have a strong run for Daystar and all the guys back at the shop that worked so hard getting everything ready for me.  After watching the All-Star race I can’t wait to get out there, the track looks awesome.  I know we were fast at Texas which is a similar track so I hope we can run for a top-15 and another Rookie of the Race award.”

MacDonald Motorsports at Charlotte…..Charlotte in 2005 was definitely a high point for the team.  With Kevin Lepage driving, the team matched their previous best finish with a solid 9th place run.  Their best qualifying result was a 21st in 2009 by Kevin Hamlin and in 10 career starts for the team at their home track; MacDonald Motorsports has an average finish of 26.4.

Two post-race awards at Iowa…..Iowa marked the third Sunoco Rookie of the Race award for Blake and the team this season.  Fighting handling issues all race, Blake fought hard and moved up towards the second half of the race to bring MacDonald Motorsports and Daystar a 21st place finish.  Blake also won the Featherlite Most Improved Driver award by advancing the most positions from last week’s race in Dover.

MacDonald Motorsports PR

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