Categories
Home Tracks

OBSERVATIONS: Zombie Auto 150 at Bristol Motor Speedway

If you did not know who Sam Mayer was before today’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event, then you certainly got your eyes wide open after watching him at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The Driver’s Edge Development member was perfect across the Zombie Auto 150 weekend, as he paced both practices, before winning the pole and leading flag-to-flag en route to victory. Despite a couple different restarts, Mayer was unchallenged throughout the entire event as he easily pulled away from the field, slicing his way through the lap traffic while maintaining a healthy advantage over the field.

For the rest of the field, it was mostly a calm event though, too. The race started off with a bang in the form of a multi-car crash on the opening lap, but then saw the field string out through the course of each stage, with a couple small battles between drivers at times to keep you occupied.

The biggest disappointment of the weekend probably would be the luck endured by Hailie Deegan. She was fast in practice, but blew an engine late in the session which caused her to miss qualifying. She would start from the tail of the field, and patiently worked her way up to eighth by Lap 40.

However, contact during the second half of the event resulted in an unscheduled trip down pit road for overheating issues, and a finish outside of the top-10. While she’s been the star of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West tour, she has yet to score a top-10 in the east division in eight starts.

The real talking point following the event wasn’t Mayer’s domination, though, but rather an interview fail.

Hannah Newhouse was pegged to speak with Riley Herbst following his crash for the at-track public address system, and FansChoice.tv’s broadcast. She made the comment in which she wasn’t sure what took Herbst out of the race, to which he replied, “The car is killed. Look at the right side of this thing.”

Although improper etiquette to not fully know what happened entering the interview with a comment like that, the discussion point did not come from there. Rather, she left her microphone open following the interview, calling Herbst a “douchebag.”

Although honesty is appreciated from the on-air talent, that certainly is not the best look to have. 

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
Trucks

Kyle Busch Motorsports Expands Youthful Line-Up

In continuing with the trend of driver announcements over the past couple of weeks, Kyle Busch Motorsports announced the addition of three young drivers to their NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver line-up in 2018.

Spencer Davis and Brandon Jones will each run five events for the organization, while Riley Herbst with compete in a pair of races.

Davis will make his truck series debut this year, following four top-10’s in seven ARCA Racing Series starts last year. He also recorded one top-five and two top-10’s in three NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts in 2017. 

“We saw Spencer have success last year at Talladega and the mile-and-a-half tracks that were a part of his part-time ARCA Series schedule and we feel that he’ll be able to continue that success running a similar schedule for us at KBM in the Truck Series this year,” Kyle Busch said. “He’s one of those kids that just loves to race and has gained experience racing several different types of vehicles in a variety of series. It’s hard to believe that he’s only 19 because he’s been competing in some of the same bigger Super Late Model races where I raced since 2012.”

Davis’ first race with KBM will come at Daytona International Speedway in the No. 51 Toyota Tundra on February 16. He will then also run the second event of the year at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 24, before competing next at Texas Motor Speedway on June 8, and Michigan International Speedway on August 11. He will also drive the No. 4 Toyota Tundra at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 2.

“KBM is an established organization that has a history of producing winners and hopefully I can add my name to the list,” Davis said. “When you get behind the wheel of one of their Tundras it puts a lot of weight on your shoulders because you know the equipment is capable of winning and it’s up to the driver to get the job done. I’ve got five shots to get to victory lane this year and I feel like that’s enough to make it happen.”

Jones has been impressive to date, scoring 15 top-10 finishes in 35 career series starts, with a career-best second on three different occasions, most recently at Kentucky Speedway. He will be competing full-time for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2018.

“Brandon has come so close to picking up his first Truck Series win the last few seasons and we know that his day is coming,” Busch said. “With running a limited schedule at KBM this year, it’ll be a big help that he’s already worked with Mike Hillman Jr., (crew chief). They know what to expect from each other and we are confident that they’ll be competing for wins in the four races they have together this year.”

Jones’ first race with KBM will come at Kansas Speedway on May 11 behind the wheel of the No. 51 Tundra. He will then drive the No. 51 at Chicagoland Speedway on June 29, Kentucky Speedway on July 12, Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 14. He will also compete in the No. 46 Toyota Tundra at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 18.  

“I have always wanted to be a part of Kyle Busch Motorsports, ever since they started the team and began racing at the late model level,” Jones said. “It’s amazing what they have done with Toyota over the years and how they’ve turned the organization into a championship-caliber team. I hope that I’m able to add some Camping World Truck Series wins to their legacy and to my list of accomplishments while racing with KBM this year.”

Herbst will be making his truck series debut after winning the ARCA Racing Rookie of the Year in 2017 after posting one win, one pole, 203 laps led, six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes for Joe Gibbs Racing; he placed fifth in the year-end rankings despite missing an event. 

“I’m really excited for the opportunity to advance to the next level and run a few races in the Camping World Truck Series in a Kyle Busch Motorsports Tundra this season,” Herbst said. “It’s pretty cool to join my fellow Las Vegas natives Noah Gragson, and of course Kyle at KBM, and I can’t wait to race in front of my hometown crowd at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in September. I’m going to do everything I can to make the most of the opportunity and hopefully be able to get to victory lane.”

Herbst’s first event will come at Gateway Motorsports Park in the No. 51 Toyota Tundra on June 23, before driving the No. 46 Tundra at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 14.

“Riley did a nice job as a rookie in the ARCA Series picking up a win, running up front, and consistently finishing inside the top 10,” Busch said. “I’m excited to be giving another Las Vegas kid the opportunity to race in the Truck Series at KBM — especially knowing how special it’s going to be for him to race in front of all his friends and family at Las Vegas Motor Speedway later this year.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement

Categories
News

The Future Stars of NASCAR Announced

The 2017-18 class of the NASCAR Next program, was announced on Tuesday and includes some familiar second-generation names, as well as drivers whom you may never heard of.

The program was established to help develop and highlight young drivers who aspire to compete at NASCAR’S top levels. Alumni include current stars Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, and Chase Elliott.

“The NASCAR Next program identifies emerging talent in our sport,” said Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president, and chief marketing officer. “Drivers in this year’s class have already achieved success on the track or shown potential, and this program will help them further develop their skills. We look forward to watching these young stars connect with our fans and continue their climb up the NASCAR ladder.”

The selection process includes consulting industry executives, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Drivers Council and media members. The candidates are chosen from a pool of drivers between the ages of 15-25, who are actively racing at local tracks or lower-tier NASCAR series.

Here is a breakdown of the 2017-18 class.

Harrison Burton from Huntersville, North Carolina is in his second year of NASCAR K&N Pro Series East competition, with two wins to his credit. The 16-year-old is the son of former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Jeff Burton.

Chase Cabre is a rookie in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, driving for Rev Racing as part of the NASCAR Drive for the Diversity program. The 16-year-old picked up his first two pole awards in twin features at South Boston, before scoring a best-career finish of fourth.

Hailie Deegan has made a name for herself in the Lucas Oil Off Road Series, becoming the first female to score a podium in series history last season. The daughter of FMX legend Brian Degan won the Lucas Oil Off Road Modified Kart Championship last season.

Todd Gilliland from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina is running both NASCAR K&N Pro Series divisions in 2017, along with a limited NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule for Kyle Busch Motorsports. The son of former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver David Gilliland won the Pro Series East Championship last year.

Riley Herbst raced in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West last season, scoring seven top-fives in 14 races. The Joe Gibbs Racing development driver is competing full-time in the ARCA Racing Series for 2017.

Cayden Lapcevich was a Canadian stand-out last year, winning three events en route to being crowned the 2016 NASCAR Pinty’s Series Champion in his rookie season.

Tj Majeski recently signed a development contract with Roush Fenway Racing to run a select number of NASCAR XFINITY Series events in 2017. The 22-year-old kicked off last year by winning the Super Late Model championship at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway, followed by a third-place finish in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series standings.

Chase Purdy from Meridan, Mississippi took home NASCAR Whelen All-American Series rookie honors last year with a track championship at Greenville Pickens Speedway. The 17-year-old is racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East this year.

Zane Smith put himself on the scene  by winning the Super Late Model championship at New Smyrna’s World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing in 2015. He finished off the year with a runner-up to Elliott at the Snowball Derby.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
News

Riley Herbst Looks to Continue Gibbs Winning Trend in ARCA

Despite experience at each level of NASCAR and being known for their development program, Joe Gibbs Racing has yet to enter a full effort into the ARCA Racing Series. That’s all set to change in 2017 as the organization announced in December they’d be fielding a full-time entry in the series.

17-year-old Riley Herbst will be the full-time driver behind the wheel of the No. 18 Toyota Camry.

“I am just very blessed and thankful for the opportunity that I’ve been given, and very excited to make the most out of it,” Herbst told POPULAR SPEED. “Joe Gibbs and his whole team have had a lot of success at every level of racing they’ve been in, and I’m looking forward to partnering with them and being with them.”

In the past 25 years, Joe Gibbs Racing has built a reputation on success, scoring 140 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victories, including 12 this past season. They’ve also scored 131 XFINITY victories, along with six top-fives and 21 top-10s in 65 Camping World Truck Series. The multi-time champion team isn’t new to ARCA, but the last of their five previous starts came in 2005. The pair of races their drivers finished, they were able to post a pair of top-fives, to go along with the three other DNFs due to a pair of crashes and mechanical failure.

Going into the year, Herbst says he wants to continue the success the organization has had, claiming some wins of his own to add to their collection.

Herbst knows success himself, as this past season in the NASCAR K&N Pro East & West Series, he scored seven top-fives and 13 top-10s in 17 starts with Billy McAnally Racing. He also spent time competing in a super late model with Fury Racing, with crew chief Jeff Fultz and the guidance of Tony Eury Sr./Jr. He also did double duty as a rookie at the California Speedway in 2015, winning the track championship in the Irwindale Speed Trucks.

“I feel like our season went alright,” he said. “It could’ve gotten better as it was disappointing that we never got to victory lane with the Bill McAnally Crew. But overall, it was pretty good.”

Looking back on the experience, Herbst says the biggest thing he learned was “to take it one race a time and just be smart”. He also noted of the memorable moments in his career to date, there’s not a single one in which he could pick over the other.

“There’s a bunch of them,” he said. “Probably just going to the track with my family and hanging out. That’s what racing is all about.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.