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Development Journalists

Ty Dillon Snatches $100,000 Dash 4 Cash Bonus

After a challenging day at Richmond International Raceway, Ty Dillon took second place in the ToyotaCare 250, earning him the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus.

Despite having 15 fewer minutes at practice and competing without his crew chief Nick Harrison due to a penalty last weekend at Bristol, Dillon won the second Heat Race. That made him eligible for the bonus, along with fellow competitors Justin Allgaier, Erik Jones and Brennan Poole.

The North Carolina native started second for the main event, but for the majority of the race Dale Earnhardt Jr., Allgaier and Jones battled it out in the top three spots. As the last few laps wound down, Allgaier got into a wreck in Turn 1, taking Jones and others with him.

“I followed (Earnhardt Jr.) and took the same path up, but there was just no car out there for me to hit,” Dillon said. “You got to be aggressive on those restarts … you got to know the risk when you’re going into it.”

The No. 3 WESCO Chevrolet maneuvered back into the second spot behind Earnhardt Jr. in overtime, earning him the cool $100,000.

“To finish second, to run the way we did all day was impressive for us,” he said. “We finished strong, so (I’m) really proud of our effort.”

When asked what he’ll do with the cash, Dillon said he hopes to put it toward a home for himself and his wife, Haley.

Since he and Jones have won the first two Dash 4 Cash events, if either driver earns another one, it would earn them a berth in the XFINITY Series Chase.

“This has gotten me really excited about what we’re going to be doing down the road when we get Nick back; we can get full power again,” Dillon said.

The next Dash 4 Cash will be held at Dover International Speedway on May 14.

Vivian Meza is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL VIVIAN AT vivian.meza@popularspeed.com

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

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NASCAR Cup Series

Kurt Busch Will Not Attempt This Year’s Indianapolis 500

In a statement released on his website earlier today, Kurt Busch said he has decided not to participate in this year’s Indianapolis 500.

Though it was not an easy decision for the Stewart-Haas Racing driver, he said that the choice is “based solely on a need to maintain the focus and momentum we have built early in this NASCAR season … hopefully all the way to Homestead and the championship weekend.”

Busch, who finished sixth in the 2014 Indy 500 for Andretti Autosport, added although he will not compete in the 100th running of the iconic race, it does not mean he will not take part again in the future.

“Fortunately, Michael (Andretti) and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have left the door open for a future run, and perhaps one day I will take them up on that, it just won’t be this year,” he concluded in the statement.

Andretti, who has worked with the No.41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevy driver since 2013, took to Twitter to express his support of Busch’s decision, saying, “You can drive for me anytime!”

Marco Andretti, his son, also tweeted that Busch will be missed, but “maybe next year we both do the double!”

While Busch is now officially out of the running, RACER.com has reported that another NASCAR driver, Brian Vickers, could possibly run in the Indy 500 for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. More information on that here.

For more IndyCar Series coverage, check out our partners at POPULAR OPEN WHEEL.

Vivian Meza is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL VIVIAN AT vivian.meza@popularspeed.com

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

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Development Journalists

Final Pit Stop Ends Jones Charge on Busch for XFINITY Win

AVONDALE, Ariz. – After being the runner-up to Kyle Busch in Saturday’s Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 at Phoenix International Raceway, Erik Jones admitted had it not been for the final pit stop, he and Busch would have raced each other more aggressively and possibly produced a different outcome.

When asked if anything other than the fact that he is a rookie and Busch is a seasoned veteran could have affected the results, Jones told FOX Sports 1,“If it would have stayed green I feel like we could’ve got him. It stayed green, but we had to pit.”

The event’s last pit stop came with less than 30 laps to go and both Jones’ No. 20 Reser’s Fine Foods Toyota and Busch’s No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota took only two tires and fuel. Prior to that, the two had been engaged in a frantic battle for the race lead.

“On that second to last run there, before we pitted with 15 to go or 20 to go, whatever it was, I thought we were just as good as him if not better, and started to work underneath him,” Jones said. “And then on the pit stop we lost some ground coming off pit road. After that, I was too tight and he started to run away.”

Busch led the most laps, 175 of the 200, and picked up his third consecutive win. Jones only led for five laps after starting on the pole.

“We didn’t start really breaking even with him until about 10, less than 10 [laps] to go,” Jones said.

Overall, it was a beneficial outcome for the 19-year-old driver. The result moved him up one position in the points standings and garnered his third top five in four starts this season.

“Overall a good day for the Reser’s Camry and a solid finish,” he said. “We’ve got really fast Camry’s, and it shows every week.”

Vivian Meza is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL VIVIAN AT vivian.meza@popularspeed.com

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

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Development Journalists

Suarez Speaks on Brian France’s Endorsement of Donald Trump

AVONDALE, Ariz. – During his media availability at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday afternoon, Mexican-born Daniel Suarez was asked about NASCAR Chairman Brian France’s endorsement of Donald Trump.

Suarez, who drives the No. 19 Juniper Networks Toyota in the XFINITY Series, did not have much to say on France or the Republican presidential candidate who has made critical comments in the past on illegal Mexican immigrants. But Suarez did express his appreciation for the support and opportunities he’s received from NASCAR since moving to the United States more than four years ago.

Not very interested in politics, Suarez admitted he wasn’t aware of France’s endorsement until someone from his public relations team called and told him to be careful about the situation.

“I didn’t have any idea what was going on,” he added.

“All I can say about that is that I’m super proud to be Mexican, to be Latin American here in the United States. I’ve been very lucky to have a lot of support from the United States, from NASCAR, in the past four years.”

Suarez, who is from Monterrey, Mexico, began his career with NASCAR in 2008 when he competed in the preliminary category of NASCAR Mexico, where he became the youngest driver to to win a race in the series. He then went on to alternate his time between competing in the K&N Pro Series East and the Mexico Series in 2012. He made the full switch to the K&N Pro Series East in 2013 and also competed in the NASCAR Toyota Series that same year.

During the 2013 season, he was named to NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program, which encourages minority and female individuals to learn more about the sport and everything that goes into it.

Politics in NASCAR has been a controversial topic in recent weeks following France’s public support of Trump. But Suarez, the current XFINITY Series points leader, was not interested in inserting himself into the conversation.

“Who knows, without being Mexican, if I would be here right now because of the support I’ve had from NASCAR in the Drive for Diversity program [that] put myself in the right position and to get an opportunity like I have right now,” Suarez said.

“Like I said, I’m very proud to be Mexican. Whatever’s going on in politics doesn’t change anything.”

Vivian Meza is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL VIVIAN AT vivian.meza@popularspeed.com

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

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Development Journalists

Stewart Eager for Injury Update and His Return to Racing

Tony Stewart says though he hopes to return to racing soon, his main priority is to ensure his back, which he injured in a Jan. 31 ATV accident, heals properly. He isn’t staying far away from the action, though.

Stewart traveled to Atlanta Motor Speedway last week and is in Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend, despite doctors advising him to stay in bed.

“I’m definitely breaking the rules,” he said. “But I can’t lay in bed any longer. It’s about to kill me. We did everything we could. We did everything short of bubble wrap me to ride out here on the plane.”

When asked if he thinks he’ll get the green light to come back in time to make the Chase, Stewart replied he’d like his situation to go similarly to that of Kyle Busch after he broke both his leg and foot last season. But Stewart doesn’t want to rush back because he’s focused on “making sure it heals right the first time.”

Regarding the actual injury itself, Stewart can handle driving street cars, but not for long periods of time. He can walk and stand, but must take breaks by sitting or lying down in order to recharge. An x-ray is scheduled for this coming week, which will provide the three-time NASCAR champion with a better idea of his healing and to see the effects of his Feb. 3 surgery.

“I’m probably more eager than anybody to know what the result of this is going to be,” Stewart said.

“The hard part is I don’t know if being here is actually hurting me or helping me,” he said on the effects of travelling with his injury. “I want to be at the track. That’s where I always want to be.”

Vivian Meza is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL VIVIAN AT vivian.meza@popularspeed.com

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

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News

Pearn Suspended; Five Others Penalized Following Atlanta

Crew chief of Furniture Row Racing’s No. 78 Toyota, Cole Pearn, has been suspended by NASCAR for one Sprint Cup Series point race and fined $50,000 for a rules violation that occurred last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Driver Martin Truex Jr., who finished second to Denny Hamlin at Daytona and seventh in Atlanta, has also been penalized 15 championship driver points while team owner Barney Visser has also been penalized 15 championship owner points in connection to the violation.

The infraction involving the roof flap(s) was found during pre-race inspection for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.

Pearn, 33, was already on probation through Dec. 31, 2016, after the Daytona 500 also for a roof flap(s) infraction found during qualifying. Furniture Row Racing will appeal the penalty and NASCAR has temporarily deferred the suspension and points penalty, which will allow Pearn to join the team this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“Due to the severity of the P3 penalty levied against Furniture Row Racing and its crew chief Cole Pearn today (Wednesday), the No. 78 Sprint Cup team has informed NASCAR it will appeal the decision,” Joe Garone, president of Furniture Row, said in a statement.

“The infraction, which was immediately corrected following technical inspection at Atlanta Motor Speedway last week, was safety related and not competition related. We sincerely appreciate that NASCAR has an appeal process so we can review the level of the penalty. 

Other penalties from Atlanta include Randall Burnett, crew chief of the No. 47 JTG Daugherty entry with driver AJ Allmendinger, who was penalized for rear wheel crush panel issues found during pre-qualifying inspection. 

Richard Childress Racing crew chiefs Slugger Labbe (No. 3), Justin Alexander (No. 27), Luke Lambert (No. 31), and Leavine Family Racing crew chief Dave Winston (No. 95 Circle Sport) being fined $15,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31. Each team also lost 10 championship owner and driver points for violating rule 20.4 e – “Unless otherwise stated, all body attachment mounts and supports used to connect body components to the chassis must be constructed of magnetic steel round tubing with a minimum outside diameter of 0.168 inch and a maximum outside diameter of 0.5 inch. All body attachment mounts and supports must be non-adjustable and completely welded at both ends” 

Four additional teams (Nos. 32, 83, 88 and 98) received warnings from officials at NASCAR for failing template inspections on multiple occasions.

Vivian Meza is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL VIVIAN AT vivian.meza@popularspeed.com

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

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Development Journalists

Richard Petty Motorsports, Empire Racing Partner in Trucks

Richard Petty Motorsports announced a driver development partnership with Empire Racing Group for the 2016 season, which is the first such partnership in the truck series for RPM.

Empire Racing Group will field a truck in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series adorned with the classic No. 43 made famous by “The King” Richard Petty. The truck will also carry the colors of Petty’s Garage as the primary sponsor.

Austin Hill, who debuted in the NCWTS in 2014 with Richard Petty Motorsports, will be the first of various drivers to pilot the truck this season.

“It will be great to see the No. 43 return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and to have Petty’s Garage as the primary sponsor of the race at Daytona,” said Brian Moffitt, Chief Executive Officer of Richard Petty Motorsports.

After serving as crew chief for driver Rich Bickle as part of the Petty Enterprises stable, Empire Racing Group Crew Chief Michael Creek will lead the team this season, which marks the 20th anniversary of Cheek’s first run with the No. 43 truck.

“I am excited to once again partner with Richard Petty and his organization to race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series,” said Cheek. “Together, we have the opportunity to put great drivers in this truck and keep our machine at the front of the field. We have a lot of great things planned for this season, and we’re excited to see where this program will take both race teams.”

Vivian Meza is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL VIVIAN AT vivian.meza@popularspeed.com

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

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Development Journalists

Theriault to Run Third Entry For Brad Keselowski Racing in Daytona

Brad Keselowski Racing will run three trucks in the Camping World Truck Series season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, with Austin Theriault filling out their lineup.

Theriault will drive the No. 2 Ford F-150 in the NextEra Energy Resources 250 alongside teammates and full-time drivers Tyler Reddick and Daniel Hemric. Buddy Sisco, a special projects coordinator and liaison between the 19 and 29 teams, will be his crew chief.

“You always want to run well at Daytona and I think we have an excellent chance to do that with Austin,” Sisco said of Theriault’s entry in the race.

“I’m looking forward to with both Tyler and Daniel,” Theriault said. “Hopefully we can help each other stay in the top five throughout the race and be in position to challenge for the win. it will be a big help to have another teammate in Daytona.”

Theriault began his career as part of BKR’s driver development program during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. In his CWTS debut at Daytona in 2015, Theriault scored an impressive fourth-place finish, leading the race once for nine laps after starting fourth.

He then made nine additional starts for BKR in 2015, earning two top-five and four top-10 finishes.

“I’m really excited and can’t wait to get back to Daytona,” Theriault said. “I can’t thank Brad enough for this opportunity. I’m going there with the expectation to win and I’ll do whatever it takes to get the checkered flag.”

Vivian Meza is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL VIVIAN AT vivian.meza@popularspeed.com

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