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XFINITY

Cindric Confident Leaving Vegas

LAS VEGAS — Austin Cindric may have missed the top-10 on Saturday night, but showed speed across what was a chaotic night at Las Vega Motor Speedway.

Most of his time was spent moving his way through the field, as he had to fight back from two pit-road penalties, and an unscheduled stop.

“Yeah, we just need to minimize mistakes, I think as far as the playoffs go, I think we got them all out of the way tonight,” Cindric told POPULAR SPEED. “But my guys dug me out of a lot of holes this year and last, so I got plenty of patience for my crew behind me. Really proud of the speed we have in my Money Lion Ford Mustang. Hoping to keep bringing it on later in the playoffs.”

To his credit though, Cindric was able to make the best of the day, capturing points in Stage 1 and 2 with a fourth and seventh-place finish. However, the unscheduled pit stop that came in the final leg of the race proved too much ato rebound from, and the driver of the No. 22 would have to settle for 12th place finish.

Now, you would expect more disappointment out of a driver who had a day like his, but that was not the case.
Instead, Cindric took a more positive route, noting how his ability to drive through the field showed that he and his team have the strength, and they could contend with the top teams in the series.

But, most importantly, that they are much more than just a team that is good a road courses.

“I think it makes a statement. I think it makes the right statement, shows that we’re here to play,” Cindric said. “Not to sound cocky but that’s some of the best speed we’ve shown all year on these types of tracks, and a track that’s very, very track position-dependent.”

The confidence shown post-race could prove to be a very powerful tool for him heading into the playoffs.

Something else that will very much aid Cindric is his seeding, as he will start the playoffs as the fourth seed and have 17 playoff points, five more than Chase Briscoe in fifth, and give him a big 13-point advantage of ninth.

With the improvement shown throughout the season, it will certainly be interesting to see if Cindiric can capitalize and fully cemented himself as an even bigger threat to win the championship.

EMAIL MITCHELL AT mitchell.breuer@popularspeed.com

TWITTER: @MitchellB66

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.

 

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XFINITY

Gray Gaulding Comes Up Short in Las Vegas Gamble

LAS VEGAS — Entering Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Rhino Pro Truck Outfitters 300 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Gray Gaulding was in a must-win scenario to make the playoffs.

Many people did not expect him to get close to accomplishing that goal, but he proved them wrong.

After finishing 17th and 18th in the first two stages, a caution would allow Gaulding the opportunity to pit off sequence; however, the gamble was fuel, and it seemed unlikely that he would be able to make it to the end of the race.

During the following green-flag stretch that would lead to the finish, the driver of the No. 08 would run as high as second in the closing laps before eventually being passed by drivers who had pitted during the run. However, Gaulding would make still make it to the checkered flag finish on fuel and capture his fourth top-10 of the season with a seventh.

“It was a great night. I mean this is probably my best car I’ve had in the mile and a half all year,” Gaulding told POPULAR SPEED. “You know, we’ve, we’ve had a really successful season, you know, we rolled the dice, you know, we’re here in Vegas, we did everything we could to win. We tried to stretch it on fuel, I actually ran out, coming to the checkered. So it’s really good to, have speed but also finish top-10 and, we’re going to celebrate this one cause it’s so hard to finish top-10 as a small race team, and to be able to do that and accomplish that, I’m just really thankful, and I’m super happy right now.”

Though he will end the regular season as the first car out of the playoff, the 21-year-old is still very excited for the rest of the season. Gaulding fully believes that he can build off the energy surrounding his night in Vegas.

“You know, we, we got a lot of momentum on our side right now,” Gaulding said. “Coming off of finishing second earlier in the year, sixth at the Bristol, and now seventh here in, inside the top 15 pretty much week in and week out. I’m driving my heart out. I’m thankful to be here.”

After a career of bouncing around from ride to ride, the 2019 season has really shown what the young driver is made of with him making the most of this full-time ride.

“Bobby Dotter and SS-Green Light Racing have given me a huge opportunity because I didn’t know where my career was going,” Gaulding said. “A year and a half ago, and I just stuck with it and got in the right place at the right people, and here I am today. So yeah, we didn’t make it, but I’ll tell you what, it wasn’t easy. And we, we fought all year long and don’t, we just came up short, so we can’t, there’s nothing to be upset about. It’s part of it.”

EMAIL MITCHELL AT mitchell.breuer@popularspeed.com

TWITTER: @MitchellB66

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.

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XFINITY

Ryan Sieg Hopeful of Locking Up Playoff Berth in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, Nev — Barring any unexpected winners, Ryan Sieg and his family-owned team will be back in the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs.

“It’s huge for our team and our sponsors, and we’re looking to try to make it to the next round, at least get a win somewhere,” Sieg told POPULAR SPEED. “Maybe the next two weeks or something. We’re pretty decent at Richmond and at the ROVAL, you know. Shane, the crew chief, is pretty up to speed on the road course stuff and he ran good there last year, so he’s, he’s pretty excited, puts a lot into the road course.

“So hopefully we’ll get the win before the season’s end.”

The last time the team made the 12-driver cutoff was in 2016 and, it was considered an upset. However, that is not the case this year.

Sieg has proven to be impressive throughout the year, scoring two top-five’s and nine top-10’s, in addition to only having four finishes of 20th or worse.

“A couple of years ago it was all new to us, and our stuff wasn’t as good,” Sieg said. “It was decent, but we had a couple of mishaps in that first round and really, we probably should’ve went almost to the next round on points, but just a few mishaps by myself. I think we sped on pit road, we should have finished like sixth of the Dover and we ended up 19th. This year everybody’s more experienced, to Shane (Wilson, crew chief) and myself, so I think we got a better shot to try to make it to the next round this year.”

Looking ahead to the potential opportunity in front of him, the driver of the No. 39 is confident in his team’s ability.

That being said, Sieg knows that he will need to bring his best in order to compete against the likes of Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Penske, and JR Motorsports.

“You just have to execute everything, and hopefully they have a bad day, you know, not wishing anything on anyone, but you know what I mean?” Sieg said. “It’s going to be fun to see where we stack up this weekend and next, but next weekend, we should have been top-three at Richmond the first time around. Just pit crew lows really. We lost like 30 spots total during that race, should’ve been better than we were, but that is what it is. You know what I mean?

“Even this first race here, earlier in the year, we had pit crew struggles, and we corrected that situation and got a different pit crew. It’s definitely going to be better this time around.”

This Saturday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will determine if Sieg will be a part of the playoffs or not. If everything holds steady, he would enter the final seven races with one playoff point as of right now.

EMAIL MITCHELL AT mitchell.breuer@popularspeed.com

TWITTER: @MitchellB66

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.

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XFINITY

Jones Builds Momentum in Chicago

JOLIET, Illinois — On the edge of the playoffs, Brandon Jones entered this weekend’s race at Chicagoland Speedway needing a good run to give some breathing room between himself and the cutoff.

After an eventful day, Jones was able to provide just that, capturing a fourth-place finish in Saturday’s Camping World 300.

The 22-year-old was a constant threat in the top-five all day, but did have to face adversity just past halfway when he received a penalty on pit road for speeding. Despite that though, Jones was able to rally in quick fashion.

“Yeah, I think we were two spots shy of what we really were capable of today,” Jones told POPULAR SPEED. “Kind of got behind that pit road penalty some. Got out of the box, looked down, I was way over my mark, so I knew it was coming. I told them just be ready for it. All in all, we fought back. We had plenty of laps. I wish we may have had one more stop. I think that would have really got us back in the hunt pretty good there. But all in all, man, that was a great day for us. Really what we needed to do. Finished great in both stages there and have a top five at the end of the day.”

He also believes that his experience from running the NASCAR Ganders Outdoor Truck Series race the night before behind the wheel of the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota helped learn in preparation for Saturday.

“It helped me for sure run on the top side,” Jones said. “I figured that out in the truck race what I was doing there, kind of straddling that top seam and then moving all four tires above it. I used that for the Xfinity car and it seemed to help today.

After the up and down season he has had, the top-five puts them in solid shape moving forward; however, the No. 19 team is still looking for more.

“I still want wins,” Jones said. “I feel like that this car was capable of running to compete for the win there today, and we just got to keep plugging along.”

His second top-10 in the last three races allowed him to move from 12th to 11th in the standings and is now 117 points ahead of the cutoff.

“It’s momentum. It’s confidence for the guys. It’s morale for them to go back to the shop, and I know they want to work for me as much as they can, but when we have good finishes, it’s kind of a bonus,” Jones said. “It’s kind of like, we can kick in the butt to try to get to that first position. So, we’re close. This is how we started at the beginning of the year. Nothing really happened except for that pit road penalty today, and that’s what we’ve got to do, minimize mistakes.”

Looking ahead, the Georgia-native is confident in his ability to the newly found momentum the upcoming schedule.

“We got some good tracks coming up,” Jones said. “Daytona, you never know what’s going to happen there. Kentucky has always been great to us, also.”

The No. 19 will look to improve on a third-place finish at Daytona that they scored earlier this season.

EMAIL MITCHELL AT mitchell.breuer@popularspeed.com

TWITTER: @MitchellB66

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
XFINITY

‘Underdog’ Gaulding Continues To Impress

JOLIET, Illinois — The role of the underdog is one Gray Gaulding has become used to playing.

After seeing success in both NASCAR Pro K&N series, it looked like he was on his way to stardom as a part-time ride in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with Roush-Fenway Racing opened up in 2016. However, after nothing was able to develop further, Gaulding’s star appeared to fade, spending the last few years of his career bouncing around between lower-funded teams.

That was until a ride opened up with SS Green Light Racing opened up.

“It’s been, it’s probably been the most fun I’ve ever had racing every week in my career because you know, the last two years has just been such a grind to stay in the sport, you know, not having a sponsor,” Gaulding told POPULAR SPEED.

Just having the ability to have one consistent ride has been welcomed for the 21-year-old, saying that it means everything.

“The pressure of me not being in a car and having to do all this other stuff, me and Patrick (Donahue, crew chief) are actually able to sit down and work on our cars and get better because we, this small group, is all we got,” Gaulding said. “We make sure we’re all on the same page and we all come to the track and do our jobs.”

He is not taking the opportunity lightly though, providing solid season so far with 12 top-20’s in 14 races, and currently sits one spot outside of the playoffs.

“I love being the underdog, but I feel like the beginning of the year compared to now, people know we’re going to show up and be fast and do the best we can,” Gaulding said. “The results have been great. I mean, we’re one spot out of the playoffs, and the guy in front of us is a Joe Gibbs car, so that’s, I feel like that’s pretty solid so far.”

The highlight of the year by far though for the No. 08 team was at Talladega Superspeedway, where they started eighth and came home with a second-place finish. A performance that had team owner, Bobby Dotter, in tears.

The day at ‘Dega was not the only strong performance for the team though, with Gaulding competing inside the top-10 all day at Iowa Speedway, before running out of tires late and falling back to a 14th place finish.

“Iowa was just a solid day,” Gaulding said. “We ran in front of some Gibbs cars and just was up there, you know, up there all day long. That’s what we need to do. But a lot of things got to go our way too. We got to make sure we, our pit stops are good. Patrick’s been making great calls lately, and I feel like I’ve been doing a great job, me and my spotter, working traffic and not really getting stuff in our head. We know what our job is, and we just got to go do it.”

However, despite the success, there is still struggles the Virginia-native faces on a weekly basis.

“It’s still a grind,” Gaulding said. “A lot of people don’t know this, but I mean I’m out during the week and doing events. Shaking hands, kissing babies, doing whatever I can to get sponsors to come on board.”

Sponsors have been a struggle for the No. 08 team, so much so that Gaulding took it upon himself to ask the fans for by launching sponsorgray.com, where anyone can go to the site and donate money to fund the team.

“From, just from the fan support and even some of my peers in racing, it just shows that you know, at the end of the day, if you’re going through a rough time, I mean, what better deal than to go to the people that care about you the most,” Gaulding said. “Your race fans, your friends, your family, and the people in the sport that are our friends. We actually got a few sponsors off the deal.”

This experience, along with teams he has worked with the past, has opened Gaulding up to the not-so-glamorous side of the sport.

“A lot of people look at NASCAR drivers, NASCAR teams, we got all the money, we show up, we laugh, we smile, we go home, we race and we go home, but for our team and myself, that’s not how it works,” Gaulding said. “We grind for every opportunity, every sponsor, and we appreciate the ones that do support us.”

Despite the hills to climb, Gaulding believes in his team’s ability and has set a standard that he hopes to attain.

“I think the goal this year is just keep building on what we got working, but also, I looked at the schedule a couple of days ago and the tracks that are coming up, probably the next 10 tracks, I don’t think I could have picked a better 10 tracks coming up for me,” Gaulding said. “From Bristol, the road courses, Kentucky, and Daytona next week. I mean all those tracks are right up my alley, especially the road races.”

He isn’t counting himself out of the playoffs either, as despite the strong competition surrounding him, he still believes in his ability to make the 12-driver field.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if you probably saw the 08 and this team in the playoffs,” Gaulding said. “That’s what we’re shooting for. We’re one spot out, and we’re going to give them hell at Daytona and do the best we can for the rest of the year.”

Gaulding currently sits 13th in points, 81 points outside the cutoff.

EMAIL MITCHELL AT mitchell.breuer@popularspeed.com

TWITTER: @MitchellB66

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.

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XFINITY

Cindric Finding Consistency In Second Season

JOLIET, Illinois — Through the first 14 races of the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series, Austin Cindric has quietly been among the best on-track.

The 20-year-old has 11 top-10’s and four top-five’s, which is currently places him fifth in the points standings. When asked what the key to his strong start, Cindric credited the consistency him and the No. 22 team have been able to have.

“I think consistency has been really important,” Cindric told POPULAR SPEED. “We’ve really only had, I think we’ve only had one DNF. As far as that goes, I think we’ve been really strong and being able to at least put numbers up on the board when we need to get stage points every race.”

Another place he has been able to find consistency is in his ride.

Last year, Cindric spent the entire season bouncing around between rides at Team Penske and Roush-Fenway Racing. That is no longer the case though, as he has been able to dedicate all of his time to one team in the No. 22.

“It’s been great to have continuity. I think a lot of things have changed for me during the week, during the lead up to a race, I’ve been able to get kind of a rhythm with my team, with my schedule, with my process,” Cindric said. “As far as preparation goes, I’m not really having to cram so much, not having to jump around town that much. Really being able to generate a relationship with the guys that I work with week in and week out. I think that’s paid dividends and consistency on track and obviously, we want to be winning races every weekend, and those steps are on the way and it’s about that consistency to make that step first.”

The consistency with his team has also allowed himself to apply the lessons he has learned from his rookie season a year ago, as he tries to gain ground on the “Big 3” of Xfinity in Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell, and Cole Custer.

“As I start to learn more, and as I start to come to tracks I’ve been to a second time or a third time and really being able to apply what I know, there are things going throughout the year. I think it’s great,” Cindric said.

This weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, Cindric will have the opportunity to work alongside Joey Logano, and he is excited about the feedback that will be received from the most recent Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion.

“This weekend we got a teammate with Joey, and I think I’ll be able to learn a lot from him from the driving side, as well as either get validation or, another direction that we can work on our cars,” Cindric said. “I think having him at a track like this is important. I haven’t had a teammate that often this year, so having someone to lean on is going to be nice. Being able to talk with him in between practices, get his ideas, get his feedback and really be able to use that as a resource.”

Looking ahead, the Ohio-native appears to be a lock for the playoffs; however, he is still looking to do more before the regular season comes to a close.

“The most important thing right now is to be able to generate playoff points, and that’s winning stages and winning races,” Cindric said. “So, we’ve got to be on it up front, and obviously we’ve got some road courses coming up and that’s a strength of mine.”

The upcoming races also play into Cindric’s wheelhouse, which includes multiple trips to road courses where he was constantly a contender a year ago.

“I feel like we’ll be able to have some opportunities to do that, but also to be able to get better on tracks that we know we’re going to be good at in the playoffs. So to be able to circle back and get ourselves in a good position. Hopefully, get some wins before the playoff starts. So, like I said, generate those playoff points.”

EMAIL MITCHELL AT mitchell.breuer@popularspeed.com

TWITTER: @MitchellB66

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.

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XFINITY

OBSERVATIONS: Alsco 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway

The continued chant from fans is to see more short tracks on the schedule for all three NASCAR National divisions, and Saturday’s Alsco 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway was a good example as to why.

From the drop of the green flag to the checkered, drivers battled side-by-side for positions throughout the field. Although the high line has become the preferred groove since the reconfiguration, track officials managed to put down enough sticky compound on the bottom that enabled drivers to be able to get runs underneath each other through the corners. 

Ultimately, fans were able to entertained right down to the checkered flag, with four-way battle for the win between Christopher Bell, Brandon Jones, Cole Custer, and Tyler Reddick

Prior to the event, a bunch of discussion surrounded Bell, and his future in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. For many, it’s not a matter of if he will get a chance in the top-tier division, but when. Certainly scoring his second win of the season adds merit to that.

Though while everybody wants to move him forward, he says he’s right now comfortable in the Xfinity Series.

“It’s cool to have people talking about it, but I love where I’m at,” he said. “Honestly I love these Xfinity cars. They’re a ton of fun to drive. I sent Wayne (Auton), the Xfinity (Series) competition director, a text this last week saying that I love the Xfinity rules package right now. I don’t know if you want to call it the small spoiler, the small splitter, whatever it is. I feel like dirty air is not really that big of a deal in these cars, so they’re a ton of fun to drive and they’re a lot of fun to race too.”

Bell has always been a driver that likes to challenge himself, and push the envelope. When comparing the rules packages and hearing him say that right now it seems the Cup Series cars “would be a little bit easier to drive than what we’re doing right now,” it makes you wonder if that’s where the comments are coming from.

Regardless, you cannot argue that Bell put together the run that he need to today, as he kept himself up in second to pounce when Justin Allgaier had problems, and was able to work his way around Jones when Jones stayed out on old tires. Bell entered the season as the championship favorite, and this probably won’t be his last win of the year.

But let it be known – he did not have the dominant car today. That honor went to Allgaier, who dominated through the first two stages until mechanical issues sent him to the garage. It adds to the JR Motorsports’ driver’s frustration, as he was taken out of the Las Vegas event with a blown engine, and has not scored a top-five since placing third in the second event of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway – despite showing speed on a weekly basis. 

Although JR Motorsports has been right up there with Joe Gibbs Racing in the past couple of seasons, it seems they are lacking this year as none of their drives have truly contended for a win – except for Allgaier today, and Michael Annett winning at Daytona International Speedway. In contrast, Reddick is putting Richard Childress Racing on the map after leaving JRM following his 2018 championship.

As we move into the summer months and the true contenders begin to emerge from the pack, it will be interesting to keep an eye on both teams, as well as Cole Custer and Stewart-Haas Racing.

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.

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News

Bell collects first victory at Bristol, Dash 4 Cash prize

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Christopher Bell overtook Brandon Jones with less than 20 laps remaining to capture Saturday’s Alsco 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race and pocketed a $100,000 bonus for his efforts.

Bell, driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, was one of four drivers competing for the series’ Dash 4 Cash bonus. Other eligible drivers didn’t finish far behind – Tyler Reddick finished second, Chase Briscoe finished fourth and Michael Annett wound up eighth.

“That’s pretty cool to get my first win here with the Dash 4 Cash bonus,” Bell said in Victory Lane. “Joe Gibbs Racing has a really, really good package at Bristol. For whatever reason, we struggled to find that. I didn’t feel good basically all practice and didn’t qualify good.

“As soon as they dropped the green flag for the race, I was really, really loose. But the longer the runs went the better I got.”

Third place went to Cole Custer while John Hunter Nemechek rounded out the top five.

Reddick, piloting the No. 2 Chevrolet out of the Richard Childress Racing shops, was second in both the first and second stages en route to his runner-up finish.

After leading 61 laps, he mistakenly thought the first stage had ended, and the hesitation while still under green allowed Justin Allgaier to shoot past for the stage win.

Reddick shadowed Allgaier for the entire second stage, only to finish second, then lost five spots on pit road due to a problem in the pits. Late contact with the wall wasn’t an issue, he said, as he tried to chase down Bell.

“Not necessarily getting into the wall,” he said. “These composite bodies are just as durable as can be. I just needed a little bit more there to get past Christopher.

“The unfortunate part is when I got behind him it is hard to make the pass.”

Allgaier (JR Motorsports No. 7 Chevrolet) won two stages and led 138 of the race’s 300 laps. But during a heated battle up front among himself, Bell, Reddick and Custer, Allgaier’s entry began to slow. Moments later he was pulling his blue and white entry behind pit wall, the victim of an apparent engine issue.

Custer rallied from an early setback that saw him pit twice under yellow to repair damage to his Ford after the opening stage. By the start of the final stage, he was back among the race leaders.

“We just didn’t really have the fire-off speed or the perfect scenarios to pass people when we got up in the top five to really get track position,” Custer said. “It was impossible to pass, really. I don’t know. I’m pretty mad because I think we had the best car there at the end, we just didn’t have the best fire-off (speed). I know we’ve got to get a little bit better.”

The top four finishers — Bell, Reddick, Custer and Briscoe — will be eligible for the $100,000 bonus next week at Richmond Raceway. The program will continue in subsequent races at Talladega Superspeedway and Dover International Speedway.

Jones inherited the lead when he did not pit after Harrison Burton brought out the caution flag at lap 261. With nearly 80-lap old tires, Jones still managed to hold Bell and the others at bay for nearly 20 laps.

“He (Jones) did a great job,” Bell said of his JGR teammate. “He really did. This place, for whatever reason, suits his driving style. He should have won this race last year. … He just couldn’t quite hang on on those older tires. …

“I knew I was going to have to do the slide job and hopefully take the top away, which I was able to do.”

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News

Short Tracks Return to NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Slates as Part of 2020 Schedule Announcement

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 3, 2019) – NASCAR today announced the 2020 schedules for both the NASCAR Xfinity Series™ and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series™, and both include a return to race tracks that were part of the original schedule for each series – venues that have been absent from the respective slates for more than a decade.

For the first time since 2006 – and only the second time in the last 25 years – the Xfinity Series will race at Martinsville Speedway, and the stakes have never been higher. Expect tempers to flare, and emotions to boil over. With a final chance to lock up a spot in the Championship 4, Martinsville will serve as the final Playoff cutoff race in all three national series. The Gander Trucks will race at The Paperclip on Oct. 30 under the lights, with the Xfinity Series making its return on Oct. 31.

Likewise, Richmond Raceway plays a prominent role in both schedules. The Gander Trucks will return to Richmond for the first time since 2005, while the newly-renovated raceway will play host to the regular season finale in the Xfinity Series to set the field for the 12-driver Playoff field.

“The NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series were both built on short track racing, and it is important that short tracks remain a prominent part of our series schedules,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR managing director of racing operations and international development. “We returned to our roots in many ways with today’s announcement. Martinsville and Richmond were part of the original Xfinity and Gander Trucks schedules, and we’re excited for their return as part of a strong overall slate.”

As announced as part of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule unveil, ISM Raceway near Phoenix will host the Championship Race for all three national series. ISM Raceway underwent a significant renovation, transforming the gem in the desert into one of the premier facilities in all of sports.

Xfinity Series drivers will hit the ‘road’ a little earlier in 2020, as Mid-Ohio moves up in the schedule to May 30. Two new cutoff races will face the Xfinity Series drivers during the Playoffs, with the Charlotte Roval (Oct. 10) and Martinsville set to pare the field from 12 to 8 to 4.

Gateway Motorsports Park will host the Playoff opener for the Gander Trucks on Aug. 21, part of a postseason reshuffle that will feature two new cutoff races. The Round of 8 will culminate with a race at Bristol Motor Speedway (Sept. 17), and the Round of 6 will end with Martinsville.

Once again, both series will open at the ‘World Center of Racing,’ Daytona International Speedway. The Gander Trucks kick off their season on Feb. 14, with the Xfinity Series following on Feb. 15. Both series will then immediately head west to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, joining the Cup Series in that marquee market.

Both series will also take part in the historic Cup Series double-header at Pocono Raceway, for what will be a must-see national series quadruple header. The Gander Trucks will race on Saturday, June 27, with the Xfinity Series on June 28.

For fans worried about missing NASCAR racing during the two-week Cup Series break for the Olympics, fret not. The Gander Trucks will have their annual fan-favorite event at Eldora Speedway dirt track on Thursday, July 30. The Xfinity Series will fill the void during the second weekend with short-track action at Iowa Speedway (Aug. 1).

Broadcast times and networks for all three series will be announced at a later date.

See below for full schedules.

About NASCAR

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States. NASCAR consists of three national series (Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series™, NASCAR Xfinity Series™, and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series™), three regional series, one local grassroots series, three international series and the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA). The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information visit www.NASCAR.com and www.IMSA.com, and follow NASCAR on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Snapchat (‘NASCAR’).

2020 NASCAR XFINITY SERIES SCHEDULE 

DATE

TRACK

Saturday, Feb. 15

Daytona International Speedway

Saturday, Feb. 22

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Saturday, Feb. 29

Auto Club Speedway

Saturday, March 7

ISM Raceway

Saturday, March 14

Atlanta Motor Speedway

Saturday, March 21

Homestead-Miami Speedway

Saturday, March 28

Texas Motor Speedway

Saturday, April 4

Bristol Motor Speedway

Saturday, April 25

Talladega Superspeedway

Saturday, May 2

Dover International Speedway

Saturday, May 23

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Saturday, May 30

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

Saturday, June 6

Michigan International Speedway

Saturday, June 13

Iowa Speedway

Saturday, June 20

Chicagoland Speedway

Sunday, June 28

Pocono Raceway

Saturday, July 4

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Friday, July 10

Kentucky Speedway

Saturday, July 18

New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Saturday, Aug. 1

Iowa Speedway

Saturday, Aug. 8

Road America

Saturday, Aug. 15

Watkins Glen International

Saturday, Aug. 22

Dover International Speedway

Friday, Aug. 28

Daytona International Speedway

Saturday, Sept. 5

Darlington Raceway

Friday, Sept. 11

Richmond Raceway

Friday, Sept. 18

Bristol Motor Speedway

Saturday, Sept. 26

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Saturday, Oct. 10

Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval

Saturday, Oct. 17

Kansas Speedway

Saturday, Oct. 24

Texas Motor Speedway

Saturday, Oct. 31

Martinsville Speedway

Saturday, Nov. 7

ISM Raceway

 

2020 NASCAR GANDER OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES SCHEDULE

DATE

TRACK

Friday, Feb. 14

Daytona International Speedway

Friday, Feb. 21

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Saturday, March 14

Atlanta Motor Speedway

Friday, March 20

Homestead-Miami Speedway

Friday, March 27

Texas Motor Speedway

Saturday, April 18

Richmond Raceway

Friday, May 1

Dover International Speedway

Friday, May 15

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Saturday, May 30

Kansas Speedway

Friday, June 5

Texas Motor Speedway

Friday, June 12

Iowa Speedway

Friday, June 19

Chicagoland Speedway

Saturday, June 27

Pocono Raceway

Thursday, July 9

Kentucky Speedway

Thursday, July 30

Eldora Speedway

Saturday, Aug. 8

Michigan International Speedway

Friday, Aug. 21

Gateway Motorsports Park

Sunday, Sept. 6

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

Thursday, Sept. 17

Bristol Motor Speedway

Friday, Sept. 25

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Saturday, Oct. 3

Talladega Superspeedway

Friday, Oct. 30

Martinsville Speedway

Friday, Nov. 6

ISM Raceway

 

Categories
News

Kyle Busch surges late to claim Xfinity Series victory at Texas

FORT WORTH, Texas — Kyle Busch moved one win closer to a Lone Star sweep with his victory this afternoon in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, the My Bariatric Solutions 300.

While his car wasn’t the class of the field on Saturday, Busch executed a perfect launch on the final restart to take the lead. Over the final eight laps, Busch held off Tyler Reddick to secure his ninth NASCAR Xfinity Series win at Texas Motor Speedway and the 95th of his series career.

“This Toyota Supra was awesome today,” Busch said. “It was really fast on the long run I could just never get people away from me on the front side of the run to get settled into my rhythm and be able to go. Every time I got to the outside, people would just drive by me on the bottom. Then when I’d get to the inside, somebody would bust it on the outside on me and make me loose.

“We were just all over the place today. Certainly a fast race car once I could get rolling. Christopher Bell ran a great race, he should have won this thing today.”

Bell, who finished third, led a race-high 128 laps. But the “fuel only” decision by crew chief Ben Beshore on the final pit stop afforded the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra to the lead for the last run. Busch extended his advantage over Reddick by .861-seconds at the finish line.

“Not taking any tires was certainly a help,” Busch said. “We jumped the field there and I was worried about the restart because I didn’t think there was going to be enough grip, but the car certainly had enough grip in it.”

Chase Briscoe, Jeb Burton, Michael Annett, Justin Haley, Jeffrey Earnhardt, John Hunter Nemechek and Ryan Sieg rounded out the top 10.

Bell ran flag-to-flag in the first stage to score his fourth stage win of 2019. However, he was busted for speeding on pit road during his pit stop. Bell wasn’t the only JGR driver with a penalty. Brandon Jones left his pits with a jack still underneath the No. 19 Toyota Supra. Both drivers dropped to the rear of the field for the Lap 54 restart.

The second stage was slowed by two cautions in the early laps. Tyler Hill and David Starr collided on Lap 57. Before the drivers were up to full speed, Justin Haley’s car became loose and he slid into Brad Keselowski.

“Frustrating day,” Keselowski said after he was released from the infield care center. The 2010 Xfinity Series champion finished 35th.

Gragson took the lead from Busch on the Lap 71 restart. Ray Black Jr., went for a wild ride when he spun backward into the Turn 2 wall on Lap 79. Five laps later, the leaders pitted with just six laps remaining in the stage.

Ryan Sieg remained on the track and assumed the lead. Ross Chastain and Haley lined up second and third. Busch, the first car off of pit road, restarted fourth on Lap 87. Sieg held on for the first stage win of his career followed by Chastain, Reddick, Busch and Bell.

Reddick restarted on the point, but the Joe Gibbs Racing tandem of Bell and Busch teamed up on the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro. Bell returned to the lead on Lap 99. He held the position for 28 laps until Allgaier, who was battling the lapped vehicle of Gray Gaulding and Cole Custer for sixth, entered the spin cycle. The No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro went for a ride through the front stretch grass before a trip to pit road.

Reddick exited the pits with the lead. Bell, Busch, Jones and Custer lined up for the Lap 131 restart. As the field completed the first lap and rolled into Turn 2, Jones and Custer collided to trigger Caution 8. Entering Texas, Custer and Jones were second and fourth, respectively in the standings. They were scored 32nd and 33rd.

Bell and Reddick battled for the next 15 laps until the No. 20. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra finally checked out. The final 20 laps became an exercise in fuel management before Jeremy Clements ran out of fuel on pit road to bring out the ninth and final caution.

Bell led the field onto pit lane but when the No. 20 team opted for tires, Busch exited the pit with the lead.

“I was starting to struggle on that long run,” Bell said. “It was frustrating to be beat by guys with no tires, but that’s just how it goes at Texas.

Busch nailed the restart and sailed off to a .824-second lead after taking the white flag. He easily held off Reddick for his third Xfinity win of the season and his ninth victory across NASCAR’s top three series this season.

While Busch has swept the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck, Xfinity and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races before at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2010 and 2017, he’s never pulled off the feat at Texas.

“Excited for my group to bring home a win for Joe Gibbs Racing,” Busch said. “I look forward to hopefully getting another one tomorrow.”

Reddick retained the lead in the Xfinity Series standings by 12 points over Bell.

“He wasn’t better anywhere, he just had track position,” Reddick said of Busch. “I want to beat him one of these days. We’re getting there. Every time I race against Kyle, it makes me a better driver.”

Reddick, Bell, Briscoe and Annett are qualified for the Dash 4 Cash program starting next weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. All four drivers will have a chance to compete for the $100,000 bonus.