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MONSTER ENERY CUP SERIES

Kyle Busch notches second NASCAR Cup championship with win at Homestead-Miami

Sean Gardner/Getty Images

 



By Reid Spencer NASCAR Wire Service

HOMESTEAD, Fla. - With a flair for the dramatic and a car that asserted its superiority after a blood-red Florida sunset over Homestead-Miami Speedway, Kyle Busch claimed a milestone victory in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400—along with his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title.

At the same time, Busch emerged from the shadow cast by doubters who discounted the chances of the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, who hadn’t won a race in NASCAR’s top series since the June event at Pocono Raceway.

Other than seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, Busch is now the only active driver with more than one title. Finishing 4.578 seconds ahead of JGR teammate Martin Truex Jr., who was thwarted by a colossal mix-up on pit road after leading 8 of the first 120 laps, Busch is the first driver to win multiple titles under NASCAR’s elimination Playoff format.


Everybody always says you never give up," said Busch, who picked up his 56th victory, breaking a tie with NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace for ninth all-time. "We're no different. We just do what we can do each and every week.

"Sometimes we may not be the best. Sometimes we may not have the right track position. Today we had a really good car, and I could race around and move around. That's what's so special about Homestead-Miami Speedway, is the ability to put on a show.

"I felt like we did that there racing those guys. I know it kind of dulled out towards the end. It was exciting enough from my seat. It was a lot of fun to cap off such an amazing year."

After a cycle of green-flag pit stops, Busch led the last 45 laps. Crew chief Adam Stevens called the No. 18 Camry to pit road on Lap 210, and Truex didn’t pit for service until four laps later. With four extra laps on new tires, Busch cycled out to a lead of nearly 11 seconds, and though Truex, the 2017 champion, cut the margin down to fewer than five seconds, he ran out of time.

Truex already had lost his track position during a green-flag stop on Lap 120, when his crew bolted right-side tires to the left side of the car and vice versa. That rare mistake forced Truex to return to pit road under green, dropping him to 13th in the running order, one lap down.

Though Truex regained his lap under the only incident-related caution of the race—for John Hunter Nemechek’s spin on Lap 136—he was never in position to challenge Busch for the win.

"Yeah, ultimately it was the loss of track position that bit us," Truex said. "We restarted the third stage in third, and really wish I could have been either second or fourth. I got blitzed on the outside by the 20 (third-place finisher Erik Jones) and the 22 (fifth-place Joey Logano) and a couple of those guys, and then I had to just run the crap out of my right front to get back by them, and I got tight on that run, and it took me forever to just get by a few cars.

"Ultimately, it came down to track position, and I felt like if I could have been up front and controlled the race, I could have drove away from them."

Given the way the race played out, the other two Championship 4 contenders—Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin—weren’t factors in the run to the finish. Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford had excellent short-run speed, but the event stayed green for the final 101 laps, nullifying his strength on restarts.

Hamlin had to make an extra pit stop in the final run to pull tape from the grille of his No. 11 JGR Toyota to prevent the car from overheating. Under the Playoff format where he highest finishing of the Championship 4 drivers is crowned the champion, Harvick came home fourth, 14 seconds off Busch’s pace.

Hamlin was 10th, the last driver on the lead lap.

In an odd way, the 2019 run to the title seemed similar to the 2015 championship season, as far as Stevens was concerned. Busch missed the first 11 races that year because of injuries suffered in a crash in the season-opening NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona.

He won four races in a five-event stretch shortly after his return. Then he won at Homestead to secure the Cup trophy.

"We had a cold spell there," Stevens said of this year’s five-month drought. "It's been well documented, believe it or not. Quite a few questions about it. Felt a little bit like 2015 to me. Take the broken legs out of the equation. We were hot early in 2015 when Kyle came back. We didn't win since Indy that year, then came to Homestead and got the job done.

"You got to remember, too, we're in such a unique situation, as a competitive team that runs up front with the goal of winning the championship every year. Everything we do is to make that happen, right? To win the regular season points championship, then try to maintain that and get to Homestead--that's what it's all about."

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race - 21st Annual Ford EcoBoost 400

Homestead-Miami Speedway

Homestead, Florida

Sunday, November 17, 2019

1. (4) Kyle Busch (P), Toyota, 267.

2. (3) Martin Truex Jr. (P), Toyota, 267.

3. (16) Erik Jones, Toyota, 267.

4. (2) Kevin Harvick (P), Ford, 267.

5. (5) Joey Logano, Ford, 267.

6. (10) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 267.

7. (15) Ryan Newman, Ford, 267.

8. (22) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 267.

9. (12) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 267.

10. (1) Denny Hamlin (P), Toyota, 267.

11. (7) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 266.

12. (25) Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 266.

13. (18) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 266.

14. (17) Daniel Suarez, Ford, 266.

15. (11) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 266.

16. (20) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 266.

17. (19) Paul Menard, Ford, 266.

18. (8) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 265.

19. (23) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 265.

20. (21) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 265.

21. (13) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 265.

22. (14) Aric Almirola, Ford, 264.

23. (30) John Hunter Nemechek(i), Ford, 264.

24. (24) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 263.

25. (26) Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, 263.

26. (28) Michael McDowell, Ford, 263.

27. (31) David Ragan, Ford, 263.

28. (33) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 262.

29. (37) Drew Herring, Toyota, 262.

30. (34) JJ Yeley(i), Ford, 262.

31. (29) Corey LaJoie, Ford, 261.

32. (39) BJ McLeod(i), Chevrolet, 256.

33. (40) Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, 248.

34. (27) Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 243.

35. (36) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 242.

36. (38) Josh Bilicki(i), Ford, Brakes, 240.

37. (35) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, Brakes, 236.

38. (32) Joe Nemechek(i), Chevrolet, Steering, 227.

39. (9) William Byron, Chevrolet, Engine, 215.

40. (6) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, Engine, 209.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 142.654 mph.

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 48 Mins, 47 Secs. Margin of Victory: 4.578 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 3 for 15 laps.

Lead Changes: 14 among 5 drivers.

Lap Leaders: D. Hamlin (P) 0;K. Harvick (P) 1-20;M. Truex Jr. (P) 21-38;R. Stenhouse Jr. 39;M. Truex Jr. (P) 40-86;K. Busch (P) 87;M. Truex Jr. (P) 88-120;K. Busch (P) 121-143;K. Harvick (P) 144-156;K. Busch (P) 157-167;D. Hamlin (P) 168-169;K. Busch (P) 170-209;M. Truex Jr. (P) 210-214;K. Harvick (P) 215-222;K. Busch (P) 223-267.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Kyle Busch (P) 5 times for 120 laps; Martin Truex Jr. (P) 4 times for 103 laps; Kevin Harvick (P) 3 times for 41 laps; Denny Hamlin (P) 1 time for 2 laps; Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 19,42,18,4,11,12,14,24,48,3

Stage #2 Top Ten: 18,4,42,19,11,12,22,20,48,14

 

Hamlin Finds Redemption with Playoff Victory at ISM Raceway

 

 

By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service

AVONDALE, Ariz. – Out, demon!

Denny Hamlin’s exorcism is complete. At ISM Raceway, the site of one of his biggest disappointments, Hamlin barged back into the Championship 4 with a dominating victory in Sunday’s Bluegreen Vacations 500.

Hamlin joins Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch, Sunday’s runner-up, in the Nov. 17 race for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The three JGR drivers will battle Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing for the trophy.

After losing control of his car and sliding off Turn 4 last Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, Hamlin fell 20 points below the cut line for the Championship 4 entering the Phoenix race. But with his victory, Hamlin knocked defending champion Joey Logano out of title contention.

“I can’t believe it,” exulted Hamlin, who picked up his sixth victory of the season, his second at ISM Raceway and the 27th of his career. “This race team worked so hard this whole year. They deserve to be there.  I put them in a bad hole last week.

“I told them today in the meeting, I said, ‘I’m going to give everything I’ve got to make up for the mistake I made last week.’ That’s all I got.’

Logano finished ninth on Sunday and ended the Round of 8 fifth in the standings and seven points behind Busch, who grabbed the last berth in the title race.

Hamlin led a race-high 143 laps, including 142 of the last 146, and built a lead of more than 12 seconds before surrendering the top spot for four laps during a cycle of green-flag pit stops. Hamlin’s advantage was more than nine seconds when John Hunter Nemechek’s Ford slapped the Turn 1 to cause the fifth and final caution.

“One of the best cars of my career, I can tell you that,” said Hamlin, who came to Phoenix as the championship favorite in 2010, only to lose 18 points of his 33-point lead on a misguided pit call. “Fast car. But, yeah, I pushed for all I had.

“I mean, that’s all I got. Once we got the big lead there, a little over 10 seconds, I just kind of sat there. I got to thinking about if the caution does come out, I want to lap as many (cars) as I can.”

A week after his 2010 misfortune at Phoenix, a shell-shocked Hamlin spun early and lost the title to Jimmie Johnson. In contrast, it was a focused and determined Hamlin who showed up at Phoenix on Sunday.

Busch led the first 69 laps of the race but lost the first stage to Hamlin after Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s collision with the Turn 4 wall caused the first caution of the afternoon. When the race came down to a restart with three laps left, Busch couldn’t keep up with his teammate and finished .377 seconds behind the No. 11 Toyota Camry.

“Just didn’t quite have enough,” Busch said. “I knew the 11 was the best car in practice. I knew we were going to be about third to fifth. We were second. Guys did a great job, this M&M Toyota Camry was good.

“It’s cool to have a chance to go race for a championship. Just keep coming up short.”

Logano led 93 laps, won the second stage and was out front until Hamlin passed him for the lead on Lap 177. From that point, Logano dropped like a rock to 11th and fell a lap down to Hamlin before third-place finisher Ryan Blaney started a cycle of green-flag stops on Lap 243 of 312.

Kyle Larson ran fourth and failed to advance to the Championship 4, as did Blaney and Chase Elliott, who rocketed into the Turn 1 wall with a flat left rear tire on Lap 166 and finished 39th.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race – 32nd Annual Bluegreen Vacations 500

ISM Raceway

Avondale, Arizona

Sunday, November 10, 2019

  1. (3)  Denny Hamlin (P), Toyota, 312.
  2. (1)  Kyle Busch (P), Toyota, 312.
  3. (10)  Ryan Blaney (P), Ford, 312.
  4. (5)  Kyle Larson (P), Chevrolet, 312.
  5. (7)  Kevin Harvick (P), Ford, 312.
  6. (4)  Martin Truex Jr. (P), Toyota, 312.
  7. (9)  Erik Jones, Toyota, 312.
  8. (13)  Clint Bowyer, Ford, 312.
  9. (2)  Joey Logano (P), Ford, 312.
  10. (12)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 312.
  11. (8)  Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 312.
  12. (19)  Paul Menard, Ford, 312.
  13. (16)  Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 312.
  14. (22)  Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 312.
  15. (15)  Daniel Suarez, Ford, 312.
  16. (17)  Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 311.
  17. (18)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 311.
  18. (20)  Ryan Newman, Ford, 311.
  19. (24)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 311.
  20. (29)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 311.
  21. (27)  Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 311.
  22. (11)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 310.
  23. (14)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 310.
  24. (28)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 309.
  25. (23)  Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 308.
  26. (25)  Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, 307.
  27. (26)  John Hunter Nemechek(i), Ford, 307.
  28. (32)  Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 307.
  29. (39)  JJ Yeley(i), Ford, 306.
  30. (21)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 306.
  31. (35)  Garrett Smithley(i), Chevrolet, 304.
  32. (34)  Bayley Currey(i), Chevrolet, 304.
  33. (33)  Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 303.
  34. (36)  Joe Nemechek(i), Chevrolet, 296.
  35. (31)  Corey LaJoie, Ford, 294.
  36. (30)  David Ragan, Ford, Suspension, 261.
  37. (37)  Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, Brakes, 226.
  38. (38)  Joey Gase(i), Toyota, Engine, 170.
  39. (6)  Chase Elliott (P), Chevrolet, Accident, 165.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  111.429 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 48 Mins, 0 Secs. Margin of Victory:  .377 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  5 for 32 laps.

Lead Changes:  8 among 5 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   K. Busch (P) 1-69;B. Keselowski 70-72;D. Hamlin (P) 73-82;J. Logano (P) 83-153;D. Hamlin (P) 154;J. Logano (P) 155-176;D. Hamlin (P) 177-246;K. Busch 247-250;D. Hamlin (P) 251-312.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Denny Hamlin (P) 4 times for 143 laps; Joey Logano (P) 2 times for 93 laps; Kyle Busch (P) 1 time for 69 laps; Kurt Busch 1 time for 4 laps; Brad Keselowski 1 time for 3 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 11,9,18,22,42,2,12,24,4,1

Stage #2 Top Ten: 22,11,9,18,12,19,4,42,2,1

 

Harvick Punches Championship 4 Ticket with Texas-Sized Victory

By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service

FORT WORTH, Tex. – For Kevin Harvick, Texas is the new Phoenix.

Overcoming a pit road penalty for a tire placed in his pit box too early, Harvick took control of the AAA Texas 500 as the sun set on Texas Motor Speedway and won his third straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at the 1.5-mile track in Cowtown.

Locked into the Championship 4 race two weeks hence at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Harvick can now breathe easy heading into the final Round of 8 race at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, a track where Harvick has nine wins and a current streak of 12 top-10 finishes—but where Harvick struggled uncharacteristically in the spring while running ninth under the new 2019 rules package.

After leading a race-high 119 laps and finishing 1.594 seconds ahead of Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Aric Almirola, Harvick, the pole winner, won’t have to worry about the one-mile flat track in Arizona’s Sonoran desert.

“Texas has always been so great to us, and what a race track the last few years,” said Harvick, who won for the fourth time this season and the 49th time in his career, tying him with SHR co-owner Tony Stewart for 14th all-time. “It’s just been a lot of work put into this race. We knew this was a good race track for us. Felt like it fit the styles of our cars, and, man, did it.”

Harvick led an impressive contingent of SHR drivers, all of whom took turns at the front of the field before Harvick took control. Runner-up Almirola led 62 laps, Clint Bowyer led 36 and Daniel Suarez 25.

“That was a very solid night, and I’m very happy with the performance and speed that we brought from the shop,” said Suarez, who matched the third-place finish he posted at Texas in the spring. “Everyone back at the shop did a great job. We knew we would be fast here.

“We had a solid performance here last time. We did a good job. We had good execution and a good clean day. I’m very happy for Stewart-Haas Racing and the 41 Ford Mustang was pretty sporty. I am very happy for Kevin getting his ticket for Homestead.”

Harvick’s path wasn’t easy. On a Lap 186 pit stop under caution, a tire dropped from the top of the pit wall into Harvick’s stall before the No. 4 Ford arrived, forcing Harvick to restart from the rear. But Harvick charged forward and on Lap 255, he passed Almirola for the lead.

Suarez completed the 1-2-3 podium sweep for SHR, followed by Joey Logano, who held the fourth position in the standings and extended his margin above the current Championship cut line to 20 points. Alex Bowman ran fifth, and Martin Truex Jr., already locked into the season finale by virtue of last week’s Martinsville win, finished sixth.

Playoff drivers Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney were seventh and eighth, with Busch standing 22 points above the cut line and Blaney 23 points below, tied with 12th-place finisher Kyle Larson.

Chase Elliott’s dire Playoff situation crystallized on Lap 9 when he tried to run the high lane and slid into the outside wall in Turn 2. Elliott barely beat the repair clock on pit road and returned to the race, albeit it seven laps down.

The driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet leaves the Lone Star State with a 32nd-place finish and one path to the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway—he must win next Sunday’s race at Phoenix to advance.

Like Elliott, Denny Hamlin failed to score points in either of the first two stages. On Lap 80, five short of the completion of Stage 1, Hamlin got sideways in Turn 44 and spun through the infield grass. He lost two laps under repairs and two more on the track and came home 28th.

As a consequence, the five-time Cup winner this season fell 20 points below the cut line for the Championship 4.

Jimmie Johnson’s prospects of ending a 92-race drought looked promising early on but came to a disappointing finish early in the final stage. Johnson passed Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman for the lead on Lap 99 and held the top spot for 40 laps—the most laps the seven-time champion has led in a single race since his 60 at Texas in the spring.

But Johnson spun in Turns 1 and 2 while battling for third on Lap 185 and slapped the Turn 2 wall. Johnson couldn’t make minimum speed after repairs and retired to the garage after completing 199 laps.

Note: John Hunter Nemechek finished 21st, one lap down in his Cup debut—substituting for Front Row Motorsports driver Matt Tifft, who suffered a seizure last Saturday at Martinsville.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race – 15th Annual AAA Texas 500

Texas Motor Speedway

Fort Worth, Texas

Sunday, November 3, 2019

  1. (1)  Kevin Harvick (P), Ford, 334.
  2. (6)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 334.
  3. (7)  Daniel Suarez, Ford, 334.
  4. (11)  Joey Logano (P), Ford, 334.
  5. (5)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 334.
  6. (17)  Martin Truex Jr. (P), Toyota, 334.
  7. (12)  Kyle Busch (P), Toyota, 334.
  8. (15)  Ryan Blaney (P), Ford, 334.
  9. (4)  Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 334.
  10. (2)  Erik Jones, Toyota, 334.
  11. (24)  Clint Bowyer, Ford, 334.
  12. (13)  Kyle Larson (P), Chevrolet, 334.
  13. (21)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 334.
  14. (10)  Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 334.
  15. (25)  Ryan Newman, Ford, 333.
  16. (16)  Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 333.
  17. (18)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 333.
  18. (19)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 333.
  19. (20)  Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 333.
  20. (31)  Paul Menard, Ford, 333.
  21. (29)  John Hunter Nemechek(i), Ford, 333.
  22. (30)  Parker Kligerman(i), Toyota, 332.
  23. (28)  Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, 331.
  24. (22)  Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 331.
  25. (27)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 329.
  26. (34)  JJ Yeley(i), Ford, 329.
  27. (32)  Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 328.
  28. (3)  Denny Hamlin (P), Toyota, 328.
  29. (38)  Joe Nemechek(i), Chevrolet, 327.
  30. (39)  Josh Bilicki(i), Chevrolet, 323.
  31. (35)  Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 319.
  32. (14)  Chase Elliott (P), Chevrolet, 312.
  33. (37)  Quin Houff, Chevrolet, Hub, 202.
  34. (23)  Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, DVP, 199.
  35. (26)  David Ragan, Ford, Accident, 189.
  36. (36)  Garrett Smithley(i), Ford, Accident, 188.
  37. (40)  Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, Engine, 156.
  38. (33)  Corey LaJoie, Ford, Accident, 67.
  39. (8)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, Accident, 52.
  40. (9)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, Accident, 52.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  133.759 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 44 Mins, 44 Secs. Margin of Victory:  1.594 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  11 for 56 laps.

Lead Changes:  26 among 11 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   K. Harvick (P) 0;E. Jones 1;K. Harvick (P) 2-12;E. Jones 13-14;K. Harvick (P) 15-45;E. Jones 46-48;C. Bowyer 49-84;K. Harvick (P) 85-87;A. Bowman 88-98;J. Johnson 99-138;A. Almirola 139-143;D. Suarez 144-145;E. Jones 146-147;W. Byron 148-151;K. Harvick (P) 152;K. Busch 153;K. Busch (P) 154-164;A. Almirola 165-173;E. Jones 174;W. Byron 175-178;D. Suarez 179-201;A. Almirola 202-240;J. Logano (P) 241-245;A. Almirola 246-254;K. Harvick (P) 255-306;K. Busch (P) 307-313;K. Harvick (P) 314-334.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Kevin Harvick (P) 6 times for 119 laps; Aric Almirola 4 times for 62 laps; Jimmie Johnson 1 time for 40 laps; Clint Bowyer 1 time for 36 laps; Daniel Suarez 2 times for 25 laps; Kyle Busch (P) 2 times for 18 laps; Alex Bowman 1 time for 11 laps; Erik Jones 5 times for 9 laps; William Byron 2 times for 8 laps; Joey Logano (P) 1 time for 5 laps; Kurt Busch 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 4,14,42,88,18,3,1,47,12,8

Stage #2 Top Ten: 10,20,48,42,22,4,88,41,18,24

 

RACING RESULTS   RACING RESULTSRACING RESULTS   RACING RESULTS

XFINITY SERIES

Tyler Reddick gets back-to-back titles with scintillating victory at Homestead-Miami


By Reid Spencer NASCAR Wire Service

HOMESTEAD, Fla. - With his girlfriend expecting a baby, Tyler Reddick confessed on Thursday that he had practiced changing diapers on a pet cat.

Now, after winning Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 and his second straight NASCAR Xfinity Series championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Reddick gets to name the baby.

Finishing 1.038 seconds ahead of hard-charging Cole Custer, Reddick is the only driver to win consecutive titles in the series for two different car owners. The 23-year-old from Corning, Calif., won his first championship for JR Motorsports last year.

After switching rides to Richard Childress Racing, Reddick celebrated the organizations 50th anniversary by delivering his second straight title to team owner Richard Childress—the crowning achievement of a season in which Reddick collected a career-best six victories.
 

"It’s about this race team, man, and I was just honored to pilot this Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet," Reddick said. "I’m losing my breath—I’m that excited. This one means so much more. It was just a lot better year, and it was really cool to go back-to-back."

In winning for the second time at Homestead-Miami, Reddick was once again the quintessential rim rider, running within inches of the fence as he, Custer and fifth-place finisher Christopher Bell battled for the lead early in the final 79-lap green-flag run.

And now he can name his yet-to-be-born son "Beau," under an agreement he made with girlfriend Alexa De Leon before the championship weekend. De Leon had another name in mind but agreed to let Reddick have his choice if he won the title.

Reddick had been so successful running the top lane in 2018 that Custer studied his in-car video before the race—but to no avail.

"Tyler—he can rip the top here," Custer acknowledged after the race. "That’s about all you can say about it."

After the top two drivers separated from Bell on Lap 167, Reddick closed on Custer until he reached his rear bumper. On Lap 182, Reddick dived to the inside into Turn 1 and slid up in front of Custer’s No. 00 Ford. Custer got the lead back briefly into Turn 3 on the same lap, but Reddick crossed over and cleared Custer for good off Turn 4.

In trying to catch the No. 2 Chevrolet, Custer scraped the wall in the closing laps.

"I could kind of match his lap time there and studied his in-car all the way coming here trying to figure out how to run the top better," Custer said. "I got close. I tried to find a way to close the gap when I was behind and tried too hard and got into the fence.

"It sucks to come home second two years in a row. We’ll take it. We were a lot closer this year."

Reddick, Custer and Bell all will graduate to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series next year—Reddick with RCR, Custer with Stewart-Haas Racing and Bell with Leavine Family Racing. But Reddick is the only one who will do so with an Xfinity title.

Chase Briscoe and Noah Gragson ran third and fourth, respectively, ahead of Bell, who claimed third place in the final standings behind the race winner and runner-up.

Despite missing pit road on his first attempt at a green-flag pit stop on Lap 159, Bell grabbed the lead on new tires by pitting three laps before Reddick and Custer. But the two chasers soon ran him down in a thrilling three-way battle for the top spot.

By the time Reddick took the checkered flag, Bell was 17 seconds in arrears.

"We just had great pit stops," said Bell, who came to Homestead last year as the championship favorite and finished fourth. "Our pit stops would allow us to get up front, and then we would maintain until we started falling off, and then they would drive by me. For some reason, just can’t hit on what I need to, to be able to get around this place for a 30- or 40-lap run."

A late brush with the wall and resulting flat tire relegated Championship 4 contender Justin Allgaier to a 14th-place finish.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race - 25th Annual Ford EcoBoost 300

Homestead-Miami Speedway

Homestead, Florida

Saturday, November 16, 2019

1. (1) Tyler Reddick (P), Chevrolet, 200.

2. (2) Cole Custer (P), Ford, 200.

3. (5) Chase Briscoe #, Ford, 200.

4. (10) Noah Gragson #, Chevrolet, 200.

5. (7) Christopher Bell (P), Toyota, 200.

6. (6) John Hunter Nemechek #, Chevrolet, 200.

7. (3) Austin Cindric, Ford, 200.

8. (4) Brandon Jones, Toyota, 200.

9. (18) Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, 199.

10. (9) Harrison Burton(i), Toyota, 199.

11. (20) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 199.

12. (14) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 199.

13. (23) Brandon Brown #, Chevrolet, 199.

14. (16) Justin Allgaier (P), Chevrolet, 199.

15. (13) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 199.

16. (11) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 198.

17. (26) Gray Gaulding, Chevrolet, 198.

18. (17) Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, 198.

19. (22) Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 198.

20. (12) BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 198.

21. (15) Colin Garrett, Toyota, 198.

22. (32) Will Rodgers, Chevrolet, 197.

23. (25) David Starr, Chevrolet, 196.

24. (21) Stephen Leicht, Chevrolet, 195.

25. (36) Ja Junior Avila, Chevrolet, 195.

26. (37) Vinnie Miller, Chevrolet, 193.

27. (35) Joey Gase, Toyota, 193.

28. (33) Robby Lyons II(i), Chevrolet, 192.

29. (38) Joe Nemechek(i), Chevrolet, 192.

30. (28) Matt Mills, Chevrolet, Clutch, 141.

31. (27) CJ McLaughlin, Chevrolet, Vibration, 131.

32. (31) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, Oil Line, 112.

33. (8) Justin Haley #, Chevrolet, DVP, 95.

34. (24) Timmy Hill, Toyota, Brakes, 57.

35. (29) Chad Finchum, Toyota, Engine, 53.

36. (19) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, Suspension, 20.

37. (34) Tyler Matthews, Chevrolet, Accident, 14.

38. (30) Ray Black II, Chevrolet, Engine, 4.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 118.564 mph.

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 31 Mins, 49 Secs. Margin of Victory: 1.038 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 7 for 35 laps.

Lead Changes: 15 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders: T. Reddick (P) 1-33;C. Bell (P) 34-37;N. Gragson # 38-39;C. Briscoe # 40-53;A. Cindric 54-92;C. Bell (P) 93-96;N. Gragson # 97-104;T. Reddick (P) 105-124;C. Bell (P) 125-128;T. Reddick (P) 129;C. Bell (P) 130-152;T. Reddick (P) 153-163;A. Cindric 164;C. Bell (P) 165-166;C. Custer (P) 167-181;T. Reddick (P) 182-200.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Tyler Reddick (P) 5 times for 84 laps; Austin Cindric 2 times for 40 laps; Christopher Bell (P) 5 times for 37 laps; Cole Custer (P) 1 time for 15 laps; Chase Briscoe # 1 time for 14 laps; Noah Gragson # 2 times for 10 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 98,00,11,2,23,19,8,51,22,36

Stage #2 Top Ten: 22,20,7,2,98,9,23,1,18,11


 
Justin Allgaier clinches Championship 4 spot with convincing Phoenix win


 



AVONDALE, Ariz. - Justin Allgaier’s timing was impeccable.

After a pit road speeding penalty and a subsequent spin KO’d the winning chances of polesitter Christopher Bell, Allgaier took full advantage, leading the final 66 laps of Saturday’s Desert Diamond West Valley 200 to win for the first time this season and advance to next week’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship 4 event at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Allgaier joins the so-called Big Three of Bell, Saturday’s runner-up Cole Custer and third-place finisher Tyler Reddick in the title race. Custer clinched his spot after running third in the second 45-lap stage. Reddick, the defending series champion, earned his spot on points after saving fuel over the final 79-lap green-flag run.

Allgaier won the race wearing a helmet designed by his six-year-old daughter, Harper.

"This is the first time I’ve won with Harper’s helmet in the car, and it means a lot," Allgaier said. "To have the speed that we’ve had (this year) and not be able to pull it off has been disappointing. These guys have rallied behind it. We said when we came here that we need to come here and get a win so we could go to Homestead, and we did that…

"We had a hotrod today. I don’t think we could have beaten the 20 (Bell), but when he made his mistake, we capitalized on it. That’s what it’s all about… No question (not winning) is a weight on your shoulders, man. You can’t even begin to describe it."

Custer was closing fast at the finish and cut Allgaier’s lead of more than three seconds to .810 seconds at the checkered flag on Lap 200.

"I was giving it all I had," Custer said. "I was really struggling with the brake pedal. I kind of lost it at the start of the run. I had to save the whole run until like 15 laps to go, and then I just let it happen. I just came up a little bit short, but I think that was the best run we’ve had at Phoenix in a long time.

"I’m looking forward to Homestead, and hopefully we can do one spot better."

The top four drivers in the Playoff standings entering Saturday’s race were the four who will compete for the championship at Homestead. Missing out on points were sixth-place finisher Austin Cindric, eighth-place Chase Briscoe, ninth-place Michael Annett and 10th-place Noah Gragson.

John Hunter Nemechek ran fourth behind Reddick followed by an impressive Zane Smith, who tied his career-best result in his 10th Xfinity Series start.

Bell won the first two stages, bringing his total of stage victories for the season to 22, but was flagged for speeding .03 mph over tolerance under caution at the end of Stage 2. After restarting from the rear, Bell climbed to eighth before spinning out while trying to cut the apron off Turn 2.

"I feel like I gave up a winner," said Bell, whose focus nevertheless has been on next weekend’s race at Homestead, where he turned in a disappointing performance in the title event last year.

"This is what it’s all about," Bell said. "It all comes down to this one next week. I’m ready for it. I feel really good about where we’re at, and our car is going to be extremely strong next week.

"We’ve prepared a ton for this. Ever since we left Homestead last year, we knew that this race was where we needed to improve. Pretty much all year long, we’ve been focused on Homestead."

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race - 21st Annual Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200

ISM Raceway

Avondale, Arizona

Saturday, November 9, 2019

1. (5) Justin Allgaier (P), Chevrolet, 200.

2. (2) Cole Custer (P), Ford, 200.

3. (4) Tyler Reddick (P), Chevrolet, 200.

4. (13) John Hunter Nemechek #, Chevrolet, 200.

5. (6) Zane Smith, Chevrolet, 200.

6. (7) Austin Cindric (P), Ford, 200.

7. (14) Justin Haley #, Chevrolet, 200.

8. (3) Chase Briscoe # (P), Ford, 200.

9. (9) Michael Annett (P), Chevrolet, 200.

10. (12) Noah Gragson # (P), Chevrolet, 200.

11. (8) Brandon Jones, Toyota, 199.

12. (15) Gray Gaulding, Chevrolet, 199.

13. (16) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 199.

14. (19) Ray Black II, Chevrolet, 199.

15. (23) Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 199.

16. (1) Christopher Bell (P), Toyota, 199.

17. (27) Tommy Joe Martins, Toyota, 199.

18. (10) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 198.

19. (21) Matt Mills, Chevrolet, 198.

20. (17) Brandon Brown #, Chevrolet, 198.

21. (25) Stephen Leicht, Chevrolet, 198.

22. (33) Tyler Matthews, Chevrolet, 197.

23. (32) Josh Bilicki, Toyota, 197.

24. (22) Joey Gase, Toyota, 196.

25. (31) David Starr, Chevrolet, 196.

26. (29) Ryan Vargas, Chevrolet, 195.

27. (35) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 195.

28. (38) Bobby Earnhardt, Toyota, 193.

29. (37) Mike Harmon, Chevrolet, 193.

30. (11) Riley Herbst(i), Toyota, 163.

31. (36) Vinnie Miller, Chevrolet, Oil Cooler, 58.

32. (34) Chad Finchum, Toyota, Vibration, 58.

33. (24) Ronnie Bassett Jr, Chevrolet, Engine, 55.

34. (30) Joe Nemechek(i), Chevrolet, Brakes, 55.

35. (28) Dexter Bean, Chevrolet, Brakes, 39.

36. (26) Bayley Currey(i), Chevrolet, Brakes, 34.

37. (20) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, Brakes, 32.

38. (18) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, Suspension, 27.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 106.936 mph.

Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 52 Mins, 13 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.810 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 4 for 23 laps.

Lead Changes: 9 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders: C. Bell (P) 1-48;T. Reddick (P) 49;C. Bell (P) 50-93;T. Reddick (P) 94;C. Custer (P) 95-98;J. Allgaier (P) 99-117;T. Reddick (P) 118;J. Clements 119-120;C. Briscoe # (P) 121-134;J. Allgaier (P) 135-200.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Christopher Bell (P) 2 times for 92 laps; Justin Allgaier (P) 2 times for 85 laps; Chase Briscoe # (P) 1 time for 14 laps; Cole Custer (P) 1 time for 4 laps; Tyler Reddick (P) 3 times for 3 laps; Jeremy Clements 1 time for 2 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 20,7,00,2,98,1,19,8,23,22

Stage #2 Top Ten: 20,7,00,2,1,98,22,23,9,8

 

 

Christopher Bell Makes a Statement with Dominant Win in Texas

 

By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service

FORT WORTH, Tex. – Christopher Bell shrugged off a short-lived brake problem in his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and cruised to a 5.635-second victory in Saturday night’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway.

With his eighth win of the year—a career-best for a single season—Bell locked himself into the Championship 4 Round of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, with the title to be decided two weeks hence at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Bell led 101 of 200 laps in winning for the first time at the 1.5-mile track and the 16th time in his career. Bell swept the first and second stages of the event, bringing his total of 2019 stage victories to 20.

“That’s pretty special to win here at Texas,” said Bell, a native off Norman, Oklahoma. “I have a lot of family here. This (checkered) flag right here is for my nephew (Trip). I promised him years ago that if I ever won, I’d give him the flag at Texas.

“I knew we were very competitive, and then I began having brake problems. And then whenever I got those brake problems, I just wasn’t as good. I couldn’t keep the car underneath me and I was really loose. So I had to work a little harder, and that red flag helped me and my brakes came back. We were able to drive away.”

Ross Chastain came home second after taking the lead by staying on the track under caution on Lap 12 while the other top contenders came to pit road for fuel. Chastain, driving the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet he will race full-time next year, held the top spot through two subsequent cautions and led the field to the final restart on Lap 171.

But Bell surged past Chastain on the restart lap and widened his advantage over the final 29 laps.

One of the Xfinity Series’ Big Three took a big hit on Lap 161. Racing behind Chase Briscoe for the seventh position, Tyler Reddick lost control of his No. 2 Chevrolet when Briscoe ran too high in Turn 2 and hit the outside wall.

Reddick’s Chevy bounced off the outside wall, slid across the track and slammed nose-first into the inside SAFER barrier on the backstretch, destroying the radiator and knocking him out of the race. Reddick ended the night third in the Playoff standings, and despite the DNF, he holds a 36-point edge over fifth-place Briscoe heading to next Saturday’s elimination event at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.

“You’re never safe,” Reddick said after leaving the infield care center. “We had a lot better (points) cushion than that… I got us mired back in that mess there (after a restart on Lap 157) and that’s what I deserve, if I can’t be up front with a car like that, that fast.”

Briscoe stayed on the track after the contact with the wall and eventually paid the price. He lost three laps after his tire shredded and finished 22nd, falling 18 points behind sixth-place finisher Justin Allgaier for the final berth in the Championship 4.

“That was just unfortunate,” Briscoe said. “I don’t think we were the car to win by any means, but I think we would have run fifth to eighth area. We just had to stay in that same ballpark where the 7 (Allgaier) was. We were in really good contention to do that, and then I made a mistake running the top and tried to get too much.

“We thought all our tires looked good, but we had a rub and the tire went flat and put us three laps down. Obviously, we have our backs against the wall going into next week but we have really good fast race cars. We’ll go there and try to win the race.”

Playoff driver Austin Cindric finished third but goes to Phoenix seventh in the standings, 31 points behind Allgaier. Brandon Jones, John Hunter Nemechek, Allgaier, Harrison Burton and Cole Custer finished fourth through eighth, respectively.

Custer is second in the Playoff standings, 52 points ahead of Briscoe. Noah Gragson took the biggest hit in the Playoff race, crashing out of the race in 30th place after turning down across the nose of Burton’s Toyota on Lap 149 and oiling the track.

Gragson leaves Texas 57 points below the current cut line needing a victory at Phoenix to advance to the Championship 4.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – 15th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts 300

Texas Motor Speedway

Fort Worth, Texas

Saturday, November 2, 2019

  1. (3)  Christopher Bell (P), Toyota, 200.
  2. (7)  Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 200.
  3. (14)  Austin Cindric (P), Ford, 200.
  4. (9)  Brandon Jones, Toyota, 200.
  5. (11)  John Hunter Nemechek #, Chevrolet, 200.
  6. (6)  Justin Allgaier (P), Chevrolet, 200.
  7. (2)  Harrison Burton(i), Toyota, 200.
  8. (4)  Cole Custer (P), Ford, 200.
  9. (8)  Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, 200.
  10. (21)  Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 200.
  11. (19)  Michael Annett (P), Chevrolet, 200.
  12. (17)  Ray Black II, Chevrolet, 200.
  13. (22)  Gray Gaulding, Chevrolet, 200.
  14. (24)  Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 200.
  15. (28)  Chad Finchum, Toyota, 199.
  16. (15)  BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 199.
  17. (27)  Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 199.
  18. (26)  Matt Mills, Chevrolet, 199.
  19. (29)  Stephen Leicht, Chevrolet, 199.
  20. (18)  Bayley Currey(i), Chevrolet, 199.
  21. (36)  Josh Bilicki, Toyota, 197.
  22. (5)  Chase Briscoe # (P), Ford, 197.
  23. (16)  Stefan Parsons, Chevrolet, 197.
  24. (34)  Vinnie Miller, Chevrolet, 196.
  25. (13)  Brandon Brown #, Chevrolet, 194.
  26. (37)  Joey Gase, Toyota, 193.
  27. (32)  CJ McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 175.
  28. (12)  Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 162.
  29. (1)  Tyler Reddick (P), Chevrolet, Accident, 160.
  30. (10)  Noah Gragson # (P), Chevrolet, Accident, 150.
  31. (20)  Ronnie Bassett Jr, Chevrolet, Accident, 139.
  32. (38)  Justin Haley #, Chevrolet, Engine, 88.
  33. (31)  David Starr, Chevrolet, Accident, 77.
  34. (30)  Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, Transmission, 48.
  35. (35)  Timmy Hill, Toyota, Carburetor, 35.
  36. (23)  Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, Brakes, 32.
  37. (33)  Bobby Earnhardt, Toyota, Accident, 17.
  38. (25)  JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, Electrical, 3.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  116.543 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 34 Mins, 27 Secs. Margin of Victory:  5.561 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  9 for 51 laps.

Lead Changes:  9 among 4 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   T. Reddick (P) 1-5;C. Bell (P) 6-59;T. Reddick (P) 60-74;C. Bell (P) 75;T. Reddick (P) 76;C. Bell (P) 77-92;A. Cindric (P) 93-130;T. Reddick (P) 131-141;R. Chastain(i) 142-170;C. Bell (P) 171-200.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Christopher Bell (P) 4 times for 101 laps; Austin Cindric (P) 1 time for 38 laps; Tyler Reddick (P) 4 times for 32 laps; Ross Chastain(i) 1 time for 29 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 20,2,00,23,10,98,18,22,7,8

Stage #2 Top Ten: 20,7,2,23,98,9,22,00,19,8

 

RACING RESULTS   RACING RESULTSraCING RESULTS   RACING RESULTS

gander outdoors TRUCK SERIES


 
Matt Crafton wins Gander Outdoors Truck title, Austin Hill takes Homestead-Miami victory

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

 



By Holly Cain NASCAR Wire Service

HOMESTEAD, Fla. - Austin Hill bookended his 2019 season with a victory in Friday night’s Ford EcoBoost 200 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway - finishing a comfortable 1.569-seconds ahead of veteran Matt Crafton, whose runner-up effort was enough to earn him his third NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship.

Hill won all three stages in the race and led a race best 56 laps to give the No. 16 Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota its second consecutive Homestead win. Last year Brett Moffitt drove the truck to a race and series championship trophy.

Christian Eckes finished third on Friday to earn Kyle Busch Motorsports its record seventh series owner championship - the organization’s sixth in the last seven years.

From the drop of the rain-delayed green flag, the four championship eligible drivers - Crafton, fourth place Ross Chastain, fifth place Moffitt and 11th place Stewart Friesen - had to deal with a highly motivated Hill for the race win. Officially eliminated from Playoff contention last week at Phoenix’s ISM Raceway, Hill came into the event highly-motivated nonetheless.

He drove around title contender Chastain to win the first stage and held off Crafton for wins in both the second stage and ultimately the race trophy.

The 25-year old Georgia native finished the season as he started - in Victory Lane - matching his work in the season-opening Daytona race - his first career win. He won again at Michigan in the summer and then again at Las Vegas and was truly a formidable contender through the Playoffs. Unable to overcome a points deficit after a crash at Martinsville, Va. in the final Playoff round, however, kept him from the Championship 4. However his work Friday sent a strong message that he’s ready to contend for the championship next year as well.

"I’m excited for the win, but at the same time it stings a little bit just because I know that if we would have been a little bit better in the round of six, we could be celebrating a win and a championship," Hill said. "But like I say, I can’t thank everybody out there enough.

And Hill conceded with a smile, "It’s awesome to get my fourth win of the season and end on a high note."

This year’s champion Crafton matches a three-title mark equaled only by Jack Sprague (2001, 1999 and 1997) and exceeded by only NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. Crafton is the only driver to ever win back-to-back truck titles (2013-14).

"It feels amazing and we’re one step closer to what Hornaday’s done," Crafton said after climbing out of his car, noting that many underestimated his No. 88 ThorSport Racing Ford team. "And they called us the underdog."

Moffitt, who led the series with four wins, 13 top fives along with 17 top 10s and three pole positions, was clearly disappointed with his fifth-place finish.

"We were just pretty bad from the get-go this morning, just missing speed," said Moffitt, who drives the No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet. "It is what it is, we had a good year and we’ll re-group and go after it again next year."

"It’s a disappointment but we’ll move on and get better," he added.

Chastain, who was a strong favorite to earn his first title, was equally as disappointed following the race. He led 36 laps on the night and for much of the early race looked ready to challenge Hill for the race win to land his first NASCAR title.

He won three races and earned a series best 19 top-10 finishes. A competitor in all three NASCAR national series, Chastain only declared himself championship eligible in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series in June.

"I want to throw up right now to be honest with you, but it has been an absolute dream," said Chastain, who will drive for Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity Series next year.

"It’s pretty crazy that we did that [made the Playoffs], and made it to Homestead," he added. "We did everything we could and that says a lot."

Tyler Ankrum, the driver of the No. 17 DGR Crosley Toyota, finished 22nd on Friday, but officially earned the series’ Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors for his season’s work. He wasn’t allowed to compete on the big tracks until he turned 18 in March and he missed the opening three races of the season calendar.

"We had a really great season I thought," said the 18-year old Ankrum, who won his career first series race at Kentucky this summer and qualified for the Playoffs as a rookie.

"When we had highs they were really, really high."

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Race - 24th Annual Ford EcoBoost 200

Homestead-Miami Speedway

Homestead, Florida

Friday, November 15, 2019

1. (5) Austin Hill, Toyota, 134.

2. (9) Matt Crafton (P), Ford, 134.

3. (2) Christian Eckes, Toyota, 134.

4. (3) Ross Chastain (P), Chevrolet, 134.

5. (4) Brett Moffitt (P), Chevrolet, 134.

6. (6) Johnny Sauter, Ford, 134.

7. (7) Grant Enfinger, Ford, 134.

8. (11) Todd Gilliland, Toyota, 134.

9. (12) Sheldon Creed #, Chevrolet, 134.

10. (27) Parker Kligerman, Chevrolet, 134.

11. (1) Stewart Friesen (P), Chevrolet, 134.

12. (10) Ben Rhodes, Ford, 134.

13. (13) Harrison Burton #, Toyota, 134.

14. (23) Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet, 133.

15. (19) Gus Dean #, Chevrolet, 133.

16. (26) Tanner Gray, Toyota, 133.

17. (32) Jesse Little, Ford, 133.

18. (15) Tyler Dippel #, Chevrolet, 133.

19. (14) Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, 133.

20. (20) Natalie Decker #, Toyota, 133.

21. (18) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 132.

22. (8) Tyler Ankrum #, Toyota, 132.

23. (28) Tyler Hill, Chevrolet, 132.

24. (16) Colby Howard, Chevrolet, 132.

25. (22) Danny Bohn, Toyota, 132.

26. (30) Codie Rohrbaugh, Chevrolet, 130.

27. (29) Cory Roper, Ford, 129.

28. (25) Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, 128.

29. (17) Angela Ruch, Chevrolet, 127.

30. (21) Josh Bilicki, Chevrolet, Electrical, 113.

31. (31) Ray Ciccarelli, Chevrolet, Oil Line, 48.

32. (24) Anthony Alfredo #, Toyota, Engine, 0.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 131.492 mph.

Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 31 Mins, 43 Secs. Margin of Victory: 1.569 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 3 for 14 laps.

Lead Changes: 12 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders: S. Friesen (P) 0;R. Chastain (P) 1-28;A. Hill 29-32;B. Moffitt (P) 33-35;R. Chastain (P) 36-43;A. Hill 44-55;M. Crafton (P) 56;A. Hill 57-63;C. Eckes 64-89;A. Hill 90-99;G. Dean # 100-103;M. Crafton (P) 104-111;A. Hill 112-134.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Austin Hill 5 times for 56 laps; Ross Chastain (P) 2 times for 36 laps; Christian Eckes 1 time for 26 laps; Matt Crafton (P) 2 times for 9 laps; Gus Dean # 1 time for 4 laps; Brett Moffitt (P) 1 time for 3 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 16,45,52,24,51,88,2,17,98,13

Stage #2 Top Ten: 16,88,45,24,52,98,75,13,2,7


 
Stewart Friesen locks into Championship 4 with victory at ISM Raceway


By Reid Spencer NASCAR Wire Service

AVONDALE, Ariz. - Stewart Friesen thought he had led the first lap of Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.

He was wrong.

After suffering a penalty for jumping the start of the race, however, Friesen rallied to lead the lap that counted most—the last one— and secured a spot in next weekend’s Championship 4 race with the second NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series victory of the season and his career.

"We’ve got a badass piece for next week, too," promised Friesen, who will try for the title next Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Friesen will have to contend with defending series champion Brett Moffitt, who locked himself into the Championship 4 after finishing ninth in the second stage of Friday night’s race.

Ross Chastain also gained a berth in the title race with a 14-place finish, and two-time series champion Matt Crafton claimed the final spot after finishing sixth—and edging pole winner Austin Hill (13th) — by six points for the final spot.

After the fifth and final caution of the evening for a wreck in Turn 3 involving Sam Mayer and John Hunter Nemechek, Friesen charged into the lead before past Brandon Jones and Ben Rhodes and led the final 44 circuits.

It was no cakewalk, though. With five laps left, Jones made a last-ditch run to the inside of Friesen but couldn’t get past the No. 52 Chevrolet. Friesen pulled away on the last two laps to beat Jones to the finish line by .860 seconds.

"It was a great race car," said Friesen, who was sent to the rear of the field after getting to the stripe ahead of Hill, who spun his tires on the initial start. "We were able to pass ‘em all, pass ‘em all clean," said Friesen.

"Great race car, great race team. We’ll all celebrate tomorrow, and then it’s game on."

Moffitt came to Phoenix with the series lead and was first to clinch a spot in the final race. But the driver of the No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet, who won last year’s championship driving for Hattori Racing Enterprises, had two objectives on Friday.

My main concern for the day was getting us locked into the owner points as well," Moffitt said. "We got both jobs done today."

Chastain finished with a 13-point margin over Hill, who lost ground to Crafton on the Lap 107 restart and never recovered. Chastain didn’t declare for the Truck Series championship until nine races into the season but qualified for the Championship 4 nevertheless.

"Man, this is crazy—a dream come true though," Chastain said.

Crafton came to Phoenix nine points behind Hill but made up most of the deficit with 17 points combined in the first two stages.

"I didn’t have anything to lose and everything to gain," Crafton said. "And that’s the way I drove it from the green flag to the checkered flag."

Hill joined fellow Toyota driver Tyler Ankrum on the sidelines for the final race. Ankrum suffered early damage and finished 26th, six laps down. Hill simply didn’t have any juice on the restarts.

"We just didn’t have any short-run speed," Hill said. "I hate it for my guys. I just couldn’t do anything on the restarts. The front end would slide, the rear would slide, and during that last long green-flag run, it was terrible.

"I hate that we finished where we did, especially after qualifying from the pole. I definitely had high hopes for the race after qualifying on the pole and showing speed in second practice. We’ll move on to Homestead and regroup for next year."

Chandler Smith finished third, followed by Rhodes and Grant Enfinger. Crafton, Harrison Burton, Johnny Sauter, Chastain and Moffitt completed the top 10.

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Race - 25th Annual Lucas Oil 150

ISM Raceway

Avondale, Arizona

Friday, November 8, 2019

1. (2) Stewart Friesen (P), Chevrolet, 150.

2. (7) Brandon Jones(i), Toyota, 150.

3. (6) Chandler Smith, Toyota, 150.

4. (4) Ben Rhodes, Ford, 150.

5. (8) Grant Enfinger, Ford, 150.

6. (10) Matt Crafton (P), Ford, 150.

7. (32) Harrison Burton #, Toyota, 150.

8. (11) Johnny Sauter, Ford, 150.

9. (14) Ross Chastain (P), Chevrolet, 150.

10. (12) Brett Moffitt (P), Chevrolet, 150.

11. (5) Ty Majeski, Chevrolet, 150.

12. (3) Sheldon Creed #, Chevrolet, 150.

13. (1) Austin Hill (P), Toyota, 150.

14. (9) Todd Gilliland, Toyota, 150.

15. (18) Tyler Dippel #, Chevrolet, 150.

16. (16) Dylan Lupton, Toyota, 150.

17. (20) Tanner Gray, Toyota, 149.

18. (25) Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, 149.

19. (21) Sam Mayer, Chevrolet, 149.

20. (19) Gus Dean #, Chevrolet, 149.

21. (28) Colby Howard, Chevrolet, 149.

22. (30) Natalie Decker #, Toyota, 149.

23. (17) Carson Hocevar, Chevrolet, 149.

24. (13) Anthony Alfredo #, Toyota, 148.

25. (29) Kyle Plott, Toyota, 148.

26. (15) Tyler Ankrum # (P), Toyota, 144.

27. (27) Danny Bohn, Toyota, 144.

28. (24) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 120.

29. (22) John Hunter Nemechek(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 108.

30. (31) Carson Ware, Toyota, Electrical, 37.

31. (23) Derek Kraus, Toyota, Accident, 28.

32. (26) Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet, Overheating, 11.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 97.35 mph.

Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 32 Mins, 27 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.860 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 5 for 30 laps.

Lead Changes: 9 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders: A. Hill (P) 0;B. Rhodes 1-29;C. Smith 30;B. Rhodes 31-48;T. Gilliland 49;S. Creed # 50-65;B. Jones(i) 66-94;J. Sauter 95-99;B. Jones(i) 100-106;S. Friesen (P) 107-150.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Ben Rhodes 2 times for 47 laps; Stewart Friesen (P) 1 time for 44 laps; Brandon Jones(i) 2 times for 36 laps; Sheldon Creed # 1 time for 16 laps; Johnny Sauter 1 time for 5 laps; Todd Gilliland 1 time for 1 lap; Chandler Smith 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 99,46,88,45,24,4,16,98,52,13

Stage #2 Top Ten: 51,88,46,52,18,16,4,2,24,13

 

NEWS AND NOTES   NEWS AND NOTESNEWS AND NOTES   NEWS AND NOTES

MONSTER ENERGY CUP SERIES

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

 

By The Numbers: Homestead-Miami Speedway

1 – Tony Stewart is the only driver in series history to win at the famed 1.5-mile speedway in his first appearance (1999).

 

2 – Number of times the Busch pole-winner has won the race – 2001, Bill Elliott and 2002, Kurt Busch

 

3 – Number of Busch poles at Homestead-Miami Speedway by Denny Hamlin – most all-time

 

6 – Number of times the winner of the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway has won the title during the Playoff Era; including the last five seasons in the elimination-style format of the Playoffs (Tony Stewart, 2011; Kevin Harvick, 2014; Kyle Busch, 2015; Jimmie Johnson, 2016, Martin Truex Jr., 2017, Joey Logano, 2018).

 

12 – Number of Playoff races at Homestead-Miami Speedway that were won by Playoff contenders; three times a non-Playoff contender has won season finale: Greg Biffle (2004 and 2006) and Denny Hamlin (2013).     

 

14 – Number of different Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winners at Homestead-Miami Speedway; led by Greg Biffle and Tony Stewart with three each.

 

14 – The most cautions in a single Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (11/21/2004; the inaugural Playoff race in Miami)

 

14 – Number of different Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Busch pole winners at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

 

15 – Number of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff races Homestead-Miami Speedway has hosted (2004-2019).

 

15 – The worst finish by the eventual series champion in a Playoffs race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (it happened three times: Tony Stewart in 2005, Jimmie Johnson in 2008 and Brad Keselowski in 2012). 

 

19 – Most Homestead-Miami Cup starts – Matt Kenseth

 

20 – Total number of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races held at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

 

18-20 – The degrees of banking in all four turns of Homestead-Miami Speedway.

 

22 – The age of the youngest Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Busch Pole Award winner at Homestead-Miami Speedway: Joey Logano (11/18/2012 – 22 years, 5 months, 25 days).

 

24 – The age of the youngest Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race winner at Homestead-Miami Speedway: Kurt Busch (11/17/2002 – 24 years, 3 months, 13 days).

 

26 – The greatest number of lead changes in a single race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (11/20/2011).

 

38 – The lowest starting position by a race winner at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Denny Hamlin, 2009).

 

46 – The age of the oldest Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Busch Pole Award and race winner at Homestead-Miami Speedway: Bill Elliott set both records in 2001 (11/11/2001 – 46 years, 1 month, 3 days).

 

73 – Total number of NASCAR national series races held at Homestead-Miami Speedway, second-most by a track in the state of Florida: MENCS (20), NXS (24) and NGOTS (23).

 

150.0 – The highest score in driver rating scale, considered a perfect performance, and has only been accomplished at Homestead-Miami Speedway once, in 2010 by Carl Edwards.

 

267 – Number of laps scheduled for this weekend’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

 

Homestead Heroes: Recent Title-Clinching Performances

Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will mark the conclusion of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. Below are how the last nine season finales at Homestead-Miami Speedway turned out:

 

2010 – Jimmie Johnson Tracks Down Denny Hamlin For Fifth Straight Title

Denny Hamlin held a comfortable 15-point lead on Jimmie Johnson for the championship heading into the season finale. However, Hamlin could not close out the title. Hamlin damaged his Toyota with an early-race spin and finished 14th as a result. Kevin Harvick, who was third in points entering the race, finished third. Johnson placed runner-up to take home his fifth consecutive championship.

 

2011 – Tony Stewart Wins Third Championship In Epic Race

Trailing leader Carl Edwards by three points entering the 2011 finale, Tony Stewart virtually needed a win to capture the title – especially considering that Edwards ultimately finished runner-up in the race.

 

Stewart drove to the front from the back of the field twice and edged out Edwards to get to Victory Lane.

 

The pair finished the season tied in points, but Stewart held the tiebreaker over Edwards of most wins during the season (five to one).

 

2012 – Brad Keselowski Fends Off Jimmie Johnson For First Championship

Brad Keselowski entered the 2012 season finale 20 points ahead of second-place Jimmie Johnson in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings.

 

Keselowski, who won two Playoff races to help put himself in championship-clinching position, didn’t produce his best performance with a 15th-place showing.

 

But problems in the pits for Johnson caused the five-time champion to finish 36th and helped Keselowski secure his first championship, as well as the first title for Team Penske.

 

2013 – Jimmie Johnson Closes In On Earnhardt And Petty With Sixth Title

After building up his points lead on the strength of six wins, 16 top fives and 23 top 10s, Jimmie Johnson needed to finish 23rd to capture his sixth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.

 

Following an incident on a restart just shy of the 200-lap mark, Johnson ended up 23rd when it all sorted itself out.

 

By the end of the race, he worked his way up to finish ninth, earning Hendrick Motorsports a record 11th championship.

 

2014 – Harvick Rides To Two ‘Do Or Die’ Victories To Earn First Series Title

Kevin Harvick started the penultimate race of the 2014 season needing a win to get into the Championship 4 race at Phoenix. He dominated the contest, leading 264 laps to earn the victory and a spot in the Championship 4. After playing mind games throughout Homestead week with the rest of the field, Harvick held off runner-up Ryan Newman to earn his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title.

 

2015 – Kyle Busch Overcomes Injury For Improbable Comeback

Just ninth months after breaking his right leg and fracturing his left foot, Kyle Busch edged out defending champion Kevin Harvick for the Homestead race win and his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship. Busch missed the first 11 races of the season after sustaining his injuries in a crash in the season-opening race NASCAR Xfinity race at Daytona. He came back to win five races and cement his name in NASCAR history.

 

2016 – Johnson Ties Series Record With Seventh Championship

Jimmie Johnson proved once again to not count him out in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. He won his way into the Round of 8 with a victory at Charlotte, then took the checkered flag at Martinsville to punch his ticket to Homestead. He provided a walk-off win at Homestead to capture his seventh championship, tying Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series record.

 

2017 – Martin Truex Jr. Earns First Championship

Driving for the Denver-based Furniture Row Racing Team, Truex turned a career best season into a championship for the ages. His victory in the Homestead finale was a personal best eighth on the year. He led the final 34 laps and held off a hard charging Kyle Busch by .681-seconds to earn the trophy hoist. It was an emotional victory with team owner, Barney Visser recovering from a recent heart attack back in Denver and Truex’s longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex trackside after a year of major medical obstacles.

 

2018 – Joey Logano Wins First Championship

After qualifying for the Championship 4 in the Round of 8 opening race at Martinsville Speedway, the 28-year old Logano headed to Homestead-Miami largely considered the “underdog” to 2018’s “Big 3” – Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick. The threesome (Busch, 9, Harvick, 8 and Truex, 4) won 21 of the first 35 races in 2018. However, the Team Penske driver grabbed his opportunity and took it to the Big 3, winning the season finale by a sizable 1.7-seconds over Truex, Harvick and Busch and taking his career first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship trophy – Team Penske’s second.

 

Familiar Faces

This will be the third consecutive year that Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. have advanced to the Homestead-Miami Speedway Championship 4 round. This marks the second time in NASCAR’s Playoff era that three of the four title contenders were championship eligible in consecutive years. It marks the fourth consecutive time that three of the four drivers vying for the big trophy are former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champs.

 

Harvick won the 2014 championship, Busch in 2015 and Truex in 2017.

  

A Spoiler At Homestead?

Since the introduction of the "win and you’re in" elimination-style Playoff format, the eventual champion has won at Homestead-Miami Speedway each of the five years (Kevin Harvick, 2014; Kyle Busch, 2015; Jimmie Johnson, 2016, Martin Truex Jr., 2017 and Joey Logano, 2018). Still, a driver out of championship contention can win the race.

 

There is plenty of motivation. Jimmie Johnson won the race in 2016 en route to his record-tying seventh Cup title. He is looking to snap a career long 94-race winless streak. This season marks the first time Johnson didn’t qualify for the Playoffs and he’d love nothing more than to end it in Victory Lane.

 

Logano is the defending race winner and reigning champion and having just missed a shot at defending his title – fifth best after the previous Playoff round, motivation is not an issue.

 

In addition to Logano and Johnson, both previous Homestead winners, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson claims Homestead-Miami Speedway as his favorite track.

 

The 27-year-old NASCAR Next alumnus finished runner-up at Homestead in 2016 after leading a race-high 132 laps and placed fifth at the 1.5-mile track in 2015. After a breakout season in 2017, when he set career highs in wins (four), top fives (14), top 10s (19) and average finish (13.6), Larson team struggled in 2019. But he won his first race (at Dover, Del.) in two years during the Playoff push and arrives in South Florida fresh off a fourth place run at Phoenix. He’s led 322 laps at Homestead in the last three Playoff races seeking his first Cup win at the track.

 

And Larson does have a win in the sun at Miami – in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He took the checkered flag in 2015 after finishing third in 2013 and second in 2014 in the Xfinity Series races.

 

Atop the Leader Board

All five Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champions crowned since the elimination-style Playoff format was introduced in 2014 earned their title by taking the checkered flag. In four of those years (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018), second place in the standings finished second in the race.

 

That means there’s a lot of pressure on this year’s Championship 4 to win, or at least finish very close to the front, to secure the title.

 

Denny Hamlin leads the Championship 4 in top-five finishes in 2019 with 19, followed by Kyle Busch’s 16.  Busch has the most top 10s on the year with 26 and Martin Truex Jr. has the most victories (seven).

 

Hamlin, making his first Playoff appearance since 2015, leads the champion foursome as the only multi-time Homestead winner, taking the checkered flag in 2009 and 2013. Harvick, however, leads the four title contenders – in fact the entire field - in average finish (5.643). Truex is next with a 9.154, followed by Hamlin (10.571) and Busch (17.429).

 

Best of the Rest

In 2018, Stewart-Haas Racing driver Aric Almirola raced his way to fifth place in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings – a career-best showing for the Tampa native and an example of the motivation that remains even for those drivers who did not advance to the Championship 4.

 

As the points stand now, Joey Logano sits in fifth place with a 23-point advantage over sixth place Kyle Larson and a 41-point edge over Logano’s Team Penske teammate Ryan Blaney in seventh. Larson’s best career championship standings was eighth place in 2017. Blaney’s top finish in the standings was ninth place in 2017.

 

As for the top non-Playoff drivers from this season, Jimmie Johnson and Daniel Suarez have been battling for the 17th position since the Playoffs began. As of now, Suarez holds a 16-point advantage on Johnson heading into Homestead, where Johnson won the race in 2016 and has 11 top-10 finishes.

 

Johnson had been ranked 17th for four weeks until the Playoff race at Martinsville where the seven-time Cup champion suffered the first of two consecutive sub 30th-place finishes. He was 38th at Martinsville, Va. and 34th at Texas.

 

Suarez has not finished better than 30th in two Cup Series starts at Homestead. His best career Cup championship finish – in two seasons – was a 20th-place finish in his 2017 rookie season so he would appear in good shape to set a new high this week.

 

Rookies Race for the Checkered Flag

Richard Childress Racing driver Daniel Hemric and JTG Daugherty Racing’s Ryan Preece have kept the Sunoco Rookie of the Year crown battle intense and it remains competitive even heading into the season’s final race at Miami.

 

Hemric is ranked 25th in the championship standings only 10 points ahead of Preece in 26th place.

 

Their primary season statistics read similarly. Hemric won a pole position (at Kansas-2) and has one top-five and two top-10 finishes – his best outcome a seventh-place finish at Talladega-1. His best career finish at Homestead is a fourth place in the 2018 Xfinity Series championship race there last year. He was fifth there in 2016 NASCARA Gander Outdoors Truck Series finale.

 

Preece’s best rookie showing this season was a third place at Talladega-1. He also has a previous top five effort at Homestead, finishing fifth in the Xfinity Series finale there in 2017.

 

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Ford EcoBoost 400The Place: Homestead-Miami Speedway

The Date: Sunday, November 17

The Time: 3 p.m. ET

TV: NBC, 2 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400.5 miles (267 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 80),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 160), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 267)

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 (In Alphabetical Order)

The stage is set and it can be argued that the cream has risen to the top this season as the four winningest drivers will be contending for the championship this Sunday in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN, and  SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). 

 

That foursome, comprised of Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr., as well as Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick, account for 21 victories in the 35 races leading up to Sunday’s finale.

 

Of note, last year’s Championship 4 (Kyle Busch, Hamlin, Truex and Logano) combined for 22 wins through the opening 35 events.

 

Truex leads the pack with seven wins this season – the same number he had tallied heading into Miami the year he won the championship (2017). Hamlin trails slightly with six wins and Harvick and Busch have four victories apiece.

 

Three of the four drivers are former champions – Truex (2017), Busch (2015) and Harvick (2014) - with Hamlin looking for his first Cup title.

 

Here’s an in-depth look at the championship contenders in 2019: 

 

Kyle Busch (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry)

 

By The Numbers:

1 – Number of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series titles Kyle Busch has won (2015).

1 – Number of wins Kyle Busch has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway - 2015 (tied with Championship 4 drivers Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.)

4 – Number of top-five finishes Kyle Busch has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway. 

5 – Number of times Kyle Busch has made it to the Championship 4 in the current Playoff format (tied with Kevin Harvick for the most Championship 4 appearances).

4 – Number of Monster Energy Cup Series wins Kyle Busch posted in 2019 (Phoenix-1, Fontana, Bristol-1, Pocono-1)

7 – Number of top-10 finishes Kyle Busch has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

9.2 – Busch’s average finish during the entire 2019 season.

11 – Stage wins in 2019 – tied with Joey Logano for most in series.

12.11 – Busch’s average finish during the first nine races of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs

12.5 – Busch’s average starting position during the 2019 season

16 – Number of top-five finishes Kyle Busch has posted this season.

17.4 – Busch’s average finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway

26 – Number of top-10 finishes Kyle Busch has posted during the 2019 season

99.8 – Kyle Busch’s career driver rating at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

107.5 – Season-to-date driver rating, tops in the series.

343 – Total number of laps led at Homestead-Miami Speedway by Kyle Busch (second best among the Championship 4)

1462 - Total number of laps led in 2019 season

 

Busch eyeing multi-Cup championships club

After winning the 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship in dramatic come-from-behind fashion, Kyle Busch is looking to become just the 16th driver in series history to win two or more championships when he races in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio).

 

Busch would be joining prestigious company:

 

Drivers with Multiple Championships (1949-2018)

Rank

No. of Titles

Drivers

Years

1

7

Jimmie Johnson

2016, ‘13, ’10, ‘09, ‘08, ‘07, ‘06

   

Dale Earnhardt

1994, ’93, ‘91, ‘90, ‘87, ‘86, ‘80

   

Richard Petty

1979, ‘75, ‘74, ‘72, ‘71, ‘67, ‘64

4

4

Jeff Gordon

2001, ‘98, ‘97, ‘95

5

3

Darrell Waltrip

1985, ‘82, ‘81

   

Cale Yarborough

1978, ‘77, ‘76

   

David Pearson

1969, ‘68, ‘66

   

Lee Petty

1959, ‘58, ‘54

   

Tony Stewart

2011, ‘05, ‘02

10

2

Terry Labonte

1996, ‘84

   

Ned Jarrett

1965, ‘61

   

Joe Weatherly

1963, ‘62

   

Buck Baker

1957, ‘56

   

Tim Flock

1955, ‘52

   

Herb Thomas

1953, ‘51

* 15 total multiple Monster Energy Series champions

 

Kyle Busch will have to battle two other Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers also looking for their second series championship in Martin Truex Jr. (2017) and Kevin Harvick (2014).

 

Regular season champion looking to reign in the end

Kyle Busch earned the 2019 Monster Energy Series regular season championship with four wins, 13 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes through the opening 26 races. He tied a series all-time record with 11 consecutive top-10 finishes to start the season.

 

This marks the fifth consecutive year Busch has won at least four races and he’s won multiple races in 11 of his 15 fulltime seasons. His pole-winning lap at Phoenix’s ISM Raceway last week marked the first pole position of the season – extending his run of seasons with a pole win to 12 straight years (and 14 of his 15 full-time seasons overall).

 

Certainly, Busch established himself as championship-ready from the drop of the first green flag this season – reeling off that streak of top-10 finishes and becoming the first driver to hoist four trophies this year. He’d now like to become the first active driver since Jimmie Johnson won his record-tying seventh season title in 2016 to repeat as Monster Energy Series champion.

 

This is Busch’s fifth consecutive Championship 4 appearance at the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway. His lone win at the track came in 2015 resulting in his first series championship. He was runner-up to Martin Truex Jr. in 2017 and finished fourth last year.

 

Busch has momentum at Miami

For years it appeared the Homestead-Miami Speedway was a thorn in Kyle Busch’s side – a rare venue on the schedule where the certain future NASCAR Hall of Famer struggled to find Victory Lane. He found it when it mattered most, however, winning the 2015 race and his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.

 

Since hoisting the champion’s trophy, Busch has three top-10 finishes, including a championship near-miss of runner-up to Martin Truex Jr. in 2017. He finished fourth last year.

 

Although Busch won the 2019 regular season championship, he hasn’t hoisted a race trophy since June 2 at Pocono. But that might not be of concern for Busch. Of the five Playoff seasons in which Busch has qualified for the Championship 4 (2015-present), twice (2015 and 2016) he did not win during the nine-race Playoff stretch that set the final quartet of championship contenders. In 2015, however, he still went on to claim the championship.

 

Busch has seven top-10 finishes in 14 starts at the South Florida 1.5-miler, including six in the last seven seasons. His one win came in 2015 when he led only 41 laps and held off Kevin Harvick by 1.552-seconds for the race victory that secured that Cup title.

 

Adam Stevens: The man atop the pit box 

Since pairing up in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with Kyle Busch in 2015, crew chief Adam Stevens has shown that he is one of the best crew chiefs in the sport.

 

The Busch-Stevens pair has combined for the following achievements in 126 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races together since 2015:

·         26 wins

·         80 top fives

·         114 top 10s

·         6,925 laps led

·         15 Busch Pole awards

·         One Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship (2015)

·         Five consecutive Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 appearances

·         Six consecutive Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs appearances

 

The two will look to capture their second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship together this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. If they accomplish the feat, Stevens will become just the 15th different crew chief in the series with multiple titles.

 

Coach Gibbs pursuing fifth championship

How do you follow-up a hall of fame football coaching career that included three championships at the highest level of your sport?

 

With four – and counting – championships at the highest level of motorsports.

 

Coach Joe Gibbs led the Washington Redskins to Super Bowl titles in 1983, ’88 and ’92. His Joe Gibbs Racing stable has won Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championships with Bobby Labonte (2000), Tony Stewart (2002, 2005) and Kyle Busch (2015). Toss in two NASCAR Xfinity Series crowns in 2009 with Kyle Busch and 2016 with Daniel Suarez, and easy to understand why Gibbs was chosen this year for the NASCAR Hall of Fame – the second professional sports hall of fame for the former football coach.

 

The odds certainly seem stacked in his favor this year to add to that legacy. Three of the four Cup Series championship eligible drivers are Joe Gibbs Racing competitors – Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin. All four of his Monster Energy Series team drivers – also including Erik Jones – qualified for the 2019 Playoffs. And his NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Christopher Bell won a series-best eight races and will contend for that series championship at Homestead as well.

 

 

Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry)

 

By The Numbers:

0 – Number of career DNFs at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 14 career starts. He is the only Playoff driver without a DNF at the track.

2 – Number of wins Denny Hamlin has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2009 and 2013) – most among Championship 4 drivers 

2 – Number of times Denny Hamlin has made it to the Championship 4 in the new Playoff format (2014 and 2019)

3 – Pole positions Denny Hamlin has won at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2015, 2017-18)

4 – Number of top-five finishes Denny Hamlin has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway 

6 – Number of wins Denny Hamlin has during the 2019 season, including two during the Playoffs (Daytona-1, Texas-1, Pocono-2, Bristol-2, Kansas-2, Phoenix-2)

6 – Number of stage wins Denny Hamlin has posted during the 2019 season.

8.78 – Denny Hamlin’s average finish in first nine Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff races of 2019

9 – Number of top-10 finishes Denny Hamlin has recorded at Homestead-Miami Speedway

9.5 – Hamlin’s average finish during the 2019 season

10.6 – Denny Hamlin’s average finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway 

11.3 – Denny Hamlin’s average starting position during the 2019 season

19 – Number of top-five finishes Denny Hamlin has logged during the 2019 season.

23 – Number of top-10 finishes Denny Hamlin has tallied this season

96.7 – Denny Hamlin’s career driver rating at Homestead-Miami Speedway

97.7 – Denny Hamlin’s 2019 season-to-date driver rating

254 – Total number of laps led at Homestead-Miami Speedway by Denny Hamlin

920 – Total number of laps led in 2019 

 

Back at HOME-stead

The last time that Denny Hamlin competed among the Championship 4 for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship was 2014 – the debut of the series’ new Playoff system. He finished third in the race, which was won by fellow 2019 Championship 4 driver Kevin Harvick.

 

But even though Hamlin won multiple races in the ensuing three seasons, his best championship finish in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was sixth place – in both 2016 and 2017.

 

That’s not to say, however, that Hamlin hasn’t raced for the title at Homestead previously. His closest near-miss to hoisting the big trophy came in 2010 when Hamlin finished runner-up to Jimmie Johnson – who won his record fifth straight championship that year. Hamlin won at Texas and held a solid points lead over Johnson as the series headed to Phoenix for the penultimate race.

 

But instead of clinching his first championship in the desert after leading a commanding 190 of 312 laps at the Arizona mile-long circuit, Hamlin had to pit late for fuel and ended up 12th. He took a 15-point lead over Johnson into the Homestead finale, but made contact with Greg Biffle early in the race and only managed to climb back to a 14th-place finish. Johnson finished runner-up and took the championship by 39 points over the then 30-year-old Hamlin.

 

However, the most recent race winner among the four title hopefuls – with a statement-making win at Phoenix on Sunday – has said he has been looking forward to another championship opportunity for years. He is the only multi-time Homestead winner among the Championship 4 – winning in 2009 and 2013. He’s won the pole position in three of the last four races (2015, 2017, 2018) and has top-10 finishes in five of the last six races.

 

Championship race debut for crew chief Chris Gabehart

This week marks the return of Denny Hamlin to championship eligibility for the first time in five seasons – and it will be the title race debut for his first-year Cup crew chief Chris Gabehart. The longtime Joe Gibbs Racing team member led Erik Jones to a fourth-place finish in the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship and last year led the efforts of the team’s Xfinity Series standout Brandon Jones.

 

Since joining forces with Hamlin and the No. 11 JGR Toyota team, Gabehart is 1-for-1 in title eligibility, won a Daytona 500 trophy and five other races – including Sunday’s must-win race at Phoenix. Not only has he led the team to a position in the Championship 4, but his team is considered a very legitimate championship favorite.

  

Under Gabehart’s leadership Hamlin has earned a career-high in top-five finishes (19) and hoisted the most trophies (six) since a career best eight-win year in 2010.

 

“Myself, I’m just a newcomer,’’ Gabehart, 38, said following Sunday’s Phoenix victory. “Was tasked with a job from Coach (Gibbs) and everybody at (sponsor) FedEx and Toyota and Denny. Just so thankful that they believe in me and gave me the reins to get it done.

 

“[Denny] gave me the leash I needed to get going,’’ Gabehart continued. “Quickly we all marched in the right direction. I’m just glad that, yes, I feel like we’ve proven ourselves to be one of the four best race teams this year.’’

 

More-mentum

Denny Hamlin earned his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole position at Phoenix in 2005 in only his sixth career start.

 

The following year he marked his fulltime debut with Joe Gibbs Racing and he immediately started things on the right foot winning the 2006 Daytona Speedweeks season-opening Budweiser Shootout in his first try. Since then Hamlin has earned 37 Cup points-race victories – picking up his second Daytona 500 win this February.

 

In 2010, Hamlin finished a career best runner-up to Jimmie Johnson for the Cup championship. In 2014, he qualified for the series’ first ever four-driver Championship round at Homestead-Miami Speedway and finished third. This week marks the first time he’s advanced to the Championship 4 since then and he comes into Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 riding momentum as the most recent race winner – leading 143 laps en route to the win at Phoenix last weekend. 

 

Hamlin has started and finished strong, opening the season by winning the first race at Daytona and then the penultimate event of the season at Phoenix. In between, Hamlin’s turned in career high marks for top-five (19) and top-10 (23) results. His six wins is the second-highest single season total he’s ever had – second only to an eight-win 2010.

 

His 920 laps led in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota is the most in eight seasons and more than double his output (380 laps) of last season.

 

Hamlin joins JGR teammate and fellow Cup title contender Martin Truex Jr. as the only drivers with multiple Playoff wins. Hamlin won at Kansas and Phoenix. Truex won at Las Vegas, Richmond, and Martinsville.

 

 

Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang)

 

By The Numbers:

1 – Number of wins Kevin Harvick has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2014) 

2 – Number of wins from pole position in 2019 (Indianapolis, Texas-2)

4 – Number of wins Kevin Harvick has during the 2019 season, including one during the Playoffs (New Hampshire, Michigan-2, Indianapolis, Texas-2)

5 – Number of times Kevin Harvick has made it to the Championship 4 in the new Playoff format.

6 – Number of stage wins Kevin Harvick has posted during the 2019 season.

6 – Number of Busch Pole Awards Harvick has earned in 2019 season – most in series

6.11 – Kevin Harvick’s average finish in first nine Playoff races of 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs

6.6 – Kevin Harvick’s average finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway 

8.7 – Kevin Harvick’s average starting position during the 2019 season

10.2 – Kevin Harvick’s average finish during the 2019 season

10 – Number of top-five finishes Kevin Harvick has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway – most all-time.

14 – Number of top-five finishes Kevin Harvick has logged during the 2019 season.

16 – Number of top-10 finishes Kevin Harvick has recorded at Homestead-Miami Speedway – most all-time.

25 – Number of top-10 finishes Kevin Harvick has tallied this season.

104.9 – Kevin Harvick’s 2019 season-to-date driver rating –  second-best in the Monster Energy Series.

108.2 – Kevin Harvick’s career driver rating at Homestead-Miami Speedway (best among the Championship 4).

373 – Total number of laps led at Homestead-Miami Speedway by Kevin Harvick (most among the Championship 4).

912 – Total number of laps led in 2019 

 

Happy hopes to take tome second championship in Miami

Kevin Harvick will attempt to capture his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title in Sunday’s season finale Ford EcoBoost 400 championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

The No. 4 SHR Ford driver won the first championship race at Homestead under the current elimination-style postseason format in 2014 for his first and only series crown.

 

In 18 starts at the 1.5-mile track, Harvick claims one win and a series-high 10 top fives and 16 top 10s. He has the track series-best average finish (6.6) and second-ranked driver rating (108.2). His 373 laps led is tops among the championship contenders at Homestead.

 

He has finished worse than third-place only once (fourth in 2017) in five championship races (under this current format) there. It also marks the only time in those five races he did not lead a lap. He’s led at least 46 laps in four of the five races.

 

Rodney Childers calling the shots for Harvick

A most familiar face will be back atop Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team pit box this week after missing the 2018 Championship race while serving a two-race suspension. The penalty was handed down after failing post-race inspection at the R&D Center following the race in Texas.

 

Childers guided Harvick to the Monster Energy Series title in 2014 – the pair’s first year working together at the Stewart-Haas Racing team. The pairing and the success it has produced makes Harvick a favorite at any track any week of the season. But after missing a title opportunity last year, Childers is eager to re-take his position on the pit box and try to lead Harvick to a second title – to make him the only other active driver besides seven-time Cup champ Jimmie Johnson with multiple series championships.

 

Since the two joined forces fulltime at SHR six years ago, they have won 26 races and earned 102 top-five and 149 top-10 finishes together. The pairing has recorded at least 14 top fives and 20 top 10s all six seasons they have worked together. During that time, Harvick has won multiple races each season, including a career-high of eight in 2018.

 

In earning the victory at Texas Motor Speedway two weeks ago, Harvick now has 49 career wins – tying him with his team owner and newly named NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Tony Stewart. A 50th win this weekend at Homestead would tie Harvick with NASCAR Hall of Famers Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett on the wins list.

 

NASCAR’s intermediate master

For years, Kevin Harvick has been known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ top driver on intermediate tracks.

 

Harvick has 16 wins on intermediate tracks in his career – most among the four championship contenders. Kyle Busch has 13, Martin Truex Jr. has 12 and Denny Hamlin has nine. All four of the drivers have won at the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway with Harvick (2014), Busch (2015) and Truex (2017) doing it in their championship years. Hamlin won twice there prior to the 2014 Playoff format.

 

Since the beginning of the Playoff system in 2014, Truex leads this title-seeking foursome with 12 wins on 1.5-mile tracks. Harvick has 10, Busch has seven and Hamlin has three.

 

This season, Harvick has led more than twice the number of laps (549) at 1.5-mile venues compared to his three fellow title contenders. Busch, who did not win this season at a 1.5-mile track, has led 249 laps on the intermediate tracks, slightly more than his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin (232) and Truex (195).

 

Stewart-Haas Racing can win third championship in 10 years

If Kevin Harvick wins the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title on Sunday, he would give Stewart-Haas Racing its third championship in the 10 years since Tony Stewart left Joe Gibbs Racing to form the team with Gene Haas.

 

Stewart won the organization its first championship in 2011, while Harvick earned the second title for it in 2014.

 

Over the same time frame only Hendrick Motorsports has more titles with Jimmie Johnson’s four.

 

Championships with different manufacturers

Kevin Harvick won his 2014 championship in a Chevrolet and is attempting to earn his second title driving a Ford. The last driver to win a new championship with different manufacturers was Harvick’s team owner, Tony Stewart. He earned the 2002 crown racing a Pontiac, then captured the 2005 and 2011 titles driving a Chevrolet.

 

Nine drivers have won championships with multiple manufacturers: Buck Baker, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, David Pearson, Lee Petty, Ned Jarrett, Richard Petty, Tim Flock and Stewart.

 

 

Martin Truex Jr. (No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry)

 

By The Numbers:

1 – Wins at Homestead-Miami Speedway for Martin Truex Jr. (2017)

4 – Number of times Martin Truex Jr. has made it to the Championship 4 in the new Playoffs format.

5 – Number of top-five finishes Martin Truex Jr. has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway. 

6.22 – Martin Truex Jr.’s average finish during the first nine races of the 2019 Playoffs.

7– Number of wins Martin Truex Jr. has posted during the 2019 season (Richmond-1, Dover-1, Charlotte-1, Sonoma, Las Vegas-2, Richmond-2, Martinsville-2) – Most in the Series.

8 – Number of stage wins during the 2019 season

9 – Number of top-10 finishes Martin Truex Jr. has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

10.0 – Martin Truex Jr.’s average finish during the entire 2019 season

10.8 – Martin Truex Jr.’s average finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway

14 – Number of top-five finishes Martin Truex Jr. has posted during the 2019 season.

23 – Number of top-10 finishes Martin Truex Jr. has posted during the 2019 season.

102.7 – Martin Truex Jr.’s 2019 season-to-date driver rating.

105.5 – Martin Truex Jr.’s career driver rating at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

209 – Total number of laps led at Homestead-Miami Speedway by Martin Truex Jr.

1,268 – Laps led by Martin Truex Jr. in 2019.

 

Martin Truex Jr. and JGR gel from the start

Martin Truex Jr. answered any doubters with a hugely successful and arguably seamless move to the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota this season. Coming off a 2017 title in which he won a personal best eight races en route to the championship and a following that up with a four-victory, Championship 4 appearance last season with Furniture Row Racing, many wondered how the transition to JGR would go. And Truex and his crew chief Cole Pearn have answered with an unquestionable statement-making season.

 

Truex leads the Monster Energy Series in wins with seven – including a series-best three in the nine Playoff races to date. He won on short tracks, a road course and two 1.5-mile tracks, which are the same length as Homestead-Miami Speedway where he will race for his second championship on Sunday. Truex’s 23 top-10 finishes are his best outside his 2017 championship season when he scored 26 top 10s.

 

He won four races during an eight-week stretch in late spring/early summer. His three Playoff victories (at Las Vegas, Richmond, Va. and Martinsville, Va.) are tops in the field – as is his 6.2 average finish in the nine Playoff races so far. And his 654 laps led in the Playoffs is most among the Championship 4 drivers. Hamlin has led 547 laps; Busch has led 296 and Harvick has led 200 laps in the previous nine Playoff races.

 

On track in Miami

Though there have been some “rough patches” in Martin Truex Jr.’s Homestead-Miami Speedway resume, his resume of late has been outstanding. Truex finished first (2017) and second (2018) in the last two years. He was also runner-up in 2006 and third place in 2011 and is averaging a 10.8 finish in 14 starts at the track.

 

Kevin Harvick’s (6.6) average finish at Homestead is best among the Championship 4 drivers. Truex’s (10.8) average finish is just slightly off pace of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate’s Denny Hamlin (10.6). Kyle Busch is averaging 17.4.

 

In the five Playoff races at Homestead (since 2014), Truex has led 101 laps, third best among the current four championship eligible drivers. Harvick has led 237, Busch 106 and Hamlin, 91.

 

Cole Pearn looking for second championship atop the pit box

Most unusual about Cole Pearn is that his only experience as a crew chief has been atop a Monster Energy Series pit box – and only for Martin Truex Jr. But he has shown over the past five seasons that he’s made for this role.

 

Prior to 2015, Truex had two career wins – in 2007 and 2013. Since Pearn took over calling the shots for the New Jersey native, Truex has recorded an impressive 25 wins.

 

And the most important of those wins came at this weekend’s venue back in 2017 with the pair united to win their first championship together – and the only championship that Furniture Row Racing would record. Following the 2018 season, Furniture Row Racing disbanded and Pearn and Truex moved together to Joe Gibbs Racing.

 

It wasn’t unfamiliar territory, as the two teams had an alliance. But it did require that Pearn (and his family) relocate from Denver, Colorado, where FRR had been headquartered to NASCAR’s hub in the Charlotte area.

 

The move didn’t slow them down, however, as the pair have matched their 2017 efforts prior to Miami (seven wins through the 35 races).

 

Multi-team champion a possibility

Should Martin Truex Jr. claim the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship on Sunday evening at Homestead-Miami Speedway he would become the seventh driver in NASCAR history to earn the season-ending trophy for multiple teams.

 

Truex won the Cup championship in 2017 driving for Furniture Row Racing team. And he is one of three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers in the Championship 4 this weekend in South Florida.

 

Buck Baker, Ned Jarrett, David Pearson, Dale Earnhardt, Terry Labonte and Tony Stewart all won NASCAR’s most prestigious title for more than one team. Stewart was the last to do so – winning a Cup championship at Joe Gibbs Racing in 2002 and 2005 and then for his own Stewart-Haas Racing team in 2011.

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Bluegreen Vacations 500

The Place: ISM Raceway

The Date: Sunday, November 10

The Time: 2:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBC, 2 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 312 miles (312 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 75),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 150), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 312)

2018 Race Winner: Kyle Busch

 

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

 

Valley of the Sun could shine on Kyle Busch’s Playoff hopes

Kyle Busch must feel buoyed by his record at the ISM Raceway in Phoenix, where he is the only driver to win in the two races since the facility completed a major renovation and re-configuration last year.

 

A victory in Sunday’s Bluegreen Vacations 500 (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) would be a huge boost to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular season champion – securing his position in the Championship 4 to compete for a season title and giving him all kinds of momentum to do so.

 

Busch has three career victories at Phoenix and is the only one of the current eight championship-eligible drivers with multiple wins at all three of the tracks – Martinsville, Va., Texas and Phoenix – that comprised this championship set-up Playoff round.

 

Only nine-time Phoenix winner Kevin Harvick has more top-10 finishes (22) at ISM Raceway than Busch (20) among the eight drivers still contending for a championship berth. And with both wins on the new-look facility, there’s plenty of reason for Busch to feel optimistic about his chances Sunday. He has hoisted four trophies this season but doing so Sunday would be the first time since a June 2 victory at Pocono.

 

Martin Truex Jr. and Harvick have secured two of the four positions for next weekend’s title chase. The 2015 series champion Busch is ranked third in the standings with a two-point advantage on defending series champion Joey Logano. He holds a 22-point edge on Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin in fifth place and a 25-point edge over Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson. Chase Elliott is 80 points behind Busch and 78 points out of fourth – mathematically, he can only get into the Championship 4 with a win at ISM Raceway.

 

Should a non-Playoff driver win on Sunday then both the third and fourth place positions in the points standings would earn a position in the Championship 4. 

 

“We all know one guy is going to move through on points and we have to do whatever we have to do in order to be that guy,’’ said Busch, who drives the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

 

“If we can obviously go to Phoenix and have a strong run and be able to go out there and win that will put us through, as well. We’re two points up on the 22 (Logano), so it’s going to be a race between the 18 and 22. Imagine that. We’ll look forward to the challenge and hope we have a strong run in order to make it through to Homestead.’’

 

Go time for Logano

Joey Logano nearly won the regular season championship, racing hard and keeping Kyle Busch honest for the first 26 races of the year. Busch ended up with the regular season title but Logano is still vying to become the first back-to-back champion since Jimmie Johnson won five consecutive Monster Energy Series titles from 2006-2010.

 

Logano is in fourth place in the standings heading to Phoenix’s ISM Raceway – two points behind third-place Busch and with a 20-point edge on fifth-place Denny Hamlin.

 

The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford will need an improved outing this fall at the newly reconfigured Phoenix one-miler. Last year Logano finished 37th at Phoenix – but held a position in the Championship 4 because of a win at Martinsville earlier in the round.

 

Logano bounced back with a 10th-place run at Phoenix this March but it’s his only top 10 in the last five races at the track. His previous top 10 was his only victory there in 2016. Since then he’s had a pair of DNFs. In 21 starts, Logano has four top-five and 10 top-10 finishes at Phoenix.

  

“It’s going to be a good battle for sure,’’ Logano said. “We are racing for that last spot just in case someone behind us outside of the Top-4 wins. It will be a good time.

 

“Obviously, the No. 18 team is good and Kyle (Busch) is a good driver, but I think we are a great team and they are beatable just like everybody else.’’

 

“Happy Harvick” not content

Kevin Harvick secured his position in the Championship 4 for the fifth time in the six-year history of the format with a win at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday – his third consecutive Playoff victory on the Texas circuit.

 

And with the pressure off to qualify for championship eligibility, Harvick heads to his best track – ISM Raceway in Phoenix. The 2014 Monster Energy Series champ has a series-best nine victories there. His 16 top-five finishes are most all time as are his 1,595 laps led.

 

Between November 2012, and March 2016, Harvick won six races, including a record four consecutively from November 2013-March 2015. He is on a streak of 12 consecutive top-10 finishes – 10 of them top fives. In just six races between 2013-2016 he led 1,064 laps – 66.7 percent of his career total. Three times he’s led more than 200 laps en route to route a victory (2014 sweep, 2015 spring race).

 

A win this weekend at ISM Raceway would be Harvick’s 50th career Monster Energy Series win – breaking a tie he holds with his team owner, three-time Cup champion Tony Stewart, who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2020.

 

“I’m surprised [by the Texas win] but I’m not because of the character of the team,’’ Harvick said. “I love the way it’s evolved and the battle we’ve had to get there and really tried to achieve something that wasn’t really achievable when we first started the season this year. We’ve grounded out all year.’’

 

Harvick, who now has four wins this season, acknowledged the gap before his first win of the year, which didn’t come until the 20th race of the season (at New Hampshire). He’s won three more times in the 14 races since. Last year he won three of the first four races and had five wins by the season’s midpoint. This year’s first win took the longest for him since 2012 when he didn’t win until the next to last race of the year – at Phoenix.

 

“It’s been a strange year, and here you are lingering around and end up in Victory Lane with two races to go and now you go race for a championship,’’ Harvick said.

 

Fighting to get in

Denny Hamlin is the only previous Phoenix winner among the four drivers who sit on the outside of the Championship 4 and must and earn a position in the Nov. 17 championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His win came back in the spring of 2012.

 

Ranked fifth heading into Sunday’s race, Hamlin is averaging a 13.6 finish in the five Cup Playoff races at ISM Raceway since 2014. His best fall finish is runner-up in 2012. He led a race-best 193 laps in the 2017 Playoff race only to fall out of the race – while leading - after contact from Chase Elliott.

 

Hamlin’s 678 career laps led at Phoenix is more than the combined career totals of Joey Logano (296), Kyle Larson (69), Ryan Blaney (108) and Elliott (156).

 

Larson’s best Playoff showing is third place in 2016 and 2018. He has an average finish of 16.0 in the last five Playoff events at the track. Ryan Blaney, who is tied with Larson, 23 points behind fourth-place Logano, is averaging a 19.7 finish in the three Playoff races he’s competed in at Phoenix – the lowest average Playoff finish among the four drivers needing to race their way into the Championship 4.

 

Eighth-place driver Elliott, who is 78 points behind fourth-place Logano, has an average finish of 11.3 in the three Playoff races he’s competed in. His best showing in seven career starts at ISM Raceway is runner-up in the 2017 Playoff race.

 

Kevin Harvick is the only driver in the “Playoff era” who went into the ISM Raceway race not already ranked among the top four in the standings and earned a position contending for the championship in the finale. He was ranked eighth going into the Phoenix race in 2014, earning a Championship 4 berth with his win and going on to earn his first Cup championship the following week with a victory at Homestead. 

 

Clinch scenarios

Any of the six drivers would advance with a victory (Truex Jr. and Harvick have already clinched). And the highest standing driver in the points standings earns the fourth and final Playoff position. If a driver other than the eight Championship-eligible wins, then the top two positions in points would advance. Should there be a tie in points, the advantage goes to the driver who scored the highest finish in this three-race round (at Martinsville, Texas and Phoenix).

 

Kyle Busch (4,113 points) – Would clinch with 53 points earned and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Joey Logano) he would clinch a position having earned 34 points.

Joey Logano (4,111 points) – Would clinch with 55 points earned and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner or a Kyle Busch victory, he would need to earn only 36 points.

Denny Hamlin (4,091 points) – Would clinch with a win. Could clinch on points, with help.

Ryan Blaney (4,088 points) – Would clinch with a win. Could clinch on points, with help.

Kyle Larson (4,088 points) – Would clinch with a win. Could clinch on points, with help.

Chase Elliott (4,033 points) – Must win to earn a Championship 4 position.

 

New territory

Four of the eight championship drivers have never won a Monster Energy Series race at Phoenix. And, technically, only Kyle Busch has won on the newly remodeled ISM Raceway – earning trophies in the first two races on the new configuration.

 

Current points leader Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott are still looking to celebrate in the desert. Among these four, 2017 series champion Truex is the only one who has previously advanced to the Homestead-Miami Speedway championship finale.

 

Truex scored his best-ever Phoenix finish just this March – finishing runner-up to Busch. He has three top-five finishes in the last four races at the one-mile track and was 14th in the 2018 Playoff race there.

 

Blaney won the pole position and finished third this March – just behind Busch and Truex – leading a personal best 94 laps. The driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford has two pole positions and three top-10 finishes in seven Phoenix starts. His worst outing (34th) came in last year’s Playoff race.

 

Larson and Elliott have both scored runner-up finishes. Larson finished second in 2017 spring race. He has three top-five and five top-10 finishes in 11 starts in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, including third place showings in both the 2016 and 2018 Playoff races at Phoenix.

 

Elliott, who sits eighth – 78 points behind Joey Logano in fourth place – must win at Phoenix to advance to his first career Championship 4. The driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet has four top-10 finishes in seven Phoenix starts, earning his runner-up showing in the 2017 Playoff race there. He started on the outside pole this March but finished 14th.

 

Competition highlights

Kevin Harvick’s win from the Busch Pole position last week at Texas Motor Speedway marked several competitive milestones. The pole gave Harvick a series-best six on the year. It was the second time this season (also at Indianapolis) that he’s won from pole. And the driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford is the first driver to win the same Playoff race for three consecutive years.

 

Hendrick Motorsports still maintains the overall edge in pole positions on the season with 10 – one more than Stewart-Haas Racing.

 

There have been 13 different race winners with the Joe Gibbs Racing organization owning a series best 17 wins in the opening 34 races. JGR’s Martin Truex Jr. leads all drivers with seven victories, his teammates Denny Hamlin (five) and Kyle Busch (four) are among four drivers with at least four wins. Harvick (four) is the other.

 

The average margin of victory through the opening 34 races this season is 1.549 seconds. In 18 of the 34 races (52.9 percent), the margin of victory was less than one second.

 

The average number of race leaders on the season is 9.18 – the most since 2014 (10.00) and the average number of lead changes (17.79) is the most since 2015 (18.03). 

 

There have been 1,086 green flag passes for the lead – up 51 percent from last season. The number has increased in 23 of the 34 races including at all seven of the 1.5-mile tracks. Last week’s Texas race doubled that statistic from 2018 – with 57 green flag passes for the lead. Green flag passes across the board, are up 28 percent over 2018.

 

The Playoffs have seen a 33.4 percent increase in green flag passing as well.

 

Parade Laps: Insights ahead of this week’s driver media rotations

Six drivers from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series –Front Row Motorsports’ John Hunter Nemechek, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson, Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney, and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. will be participating in this week’s media rotations at ISM Raceway in advance of Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ Bluegreen Vacations 500 (2:30 p.m., ET on NBC, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

John Hunter Nemechek, 22, of Mooresville, N.C., is coming off his first career Monster Energy Series start – finishing 21st after starting 29th at Texas Motor Speedway in the No. 36 Front Row Motorsports Ford – filling in for Matt Tifft who is on medical leave. Nemechek has had good success in Phoenix, earning a pair of runner-up finishes in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series in 2015 and 2017 and a pair of ninth place finishes in the Xfinity Series in 2018 and 2019. Nemechek and his father, Cup veteran Joe Nemechek are entered in all three national series races at Phoenix’s ISM Raceway this weekend. Last weekend at Texas, the duo became the first father-son pairing in a Cup race since the late Bobby Hamilton raced his son, Bobby Hamilton Jr., at Atlanta in 2005.

 

Kyle Busch, 34, of Las Vegas, is the defending ISM Raceway Playoff winner and won again there this March. He has three Cup wins all-time at the track and 11 Xfinity Series wins there – an all-time high mark. The driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota enters the race ranked third in the points standings – two points up on reigning Monster Energy Series champion Joey Logano. His seventh-place effort at Texas last weekend included 18 laps led. Busch has four wins on the season, but the last came June 2 at Pocono, Pa. This week’s one-miler has been a bright spot on his resume, however, with 20 top-10 finishes in 28 career starts. He’s finished seventh or better in the last eight races – six of those top-five efforts. In the last three races he’s earned a pair of wins and a runner-up finish (Spring, 2018).

 

Kyle Larson, 27, of Elk Grove, Calif., arrives at ISM Raceway still fighting for a Championship 4 berth in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series finale next week. He is ranked seventh – 23 points behind fourth-place Joey Logano. Larson is coming off a 12th-place run at Texas and has four top-10 finishes in the eight Playoff races to date including a victory at Dover last month. The driver of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet was sixth at Phoenix this March and third in the 2018 Phoenix Playoff race on the facility’s reconfigured track debut. His best finish at the one-mile track is runner-up in the 2017 spring race. He has three top-five and five top-10 finishes in 11 starts there and an average finish of 13.5.

 

Ryan Blaney, 25, of High Point, N.C., finished eighth last weekend in Texas – his third top-10 result in the last four races, including a Playoff victory at Talladega. Blaney has three top-10 finishes in seven ISM Raceway starts and posted his best effort result this March, starting on the pole position, leading 94 laps and finishing third in the No. 12 Team Penske Ford. He suffered his only DNF at the track in the 2018 Playoff race, finishing 34th with a radiator problem. He is sixth in the standings – 23 points behind Joey Logano in the fourth and final Championship transfer position.

 

Denny Hamlin, 38, of Chesterfield, Va., looked like a sure-bet to qualify for the Championship 4 during the opening Playoff races, but a tough-luck 28th-place finish at Texas on Sunday dropped him to fifth place in the standings, 20 points behind Joey Logano. Hamlin had four consecutive top-five finishes before Sunday’s Texas race and has five top-five finishes in six of the eight Playoff races, including a win at Kansas Speedway three weeks ago. The driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was fifth at ISM Raceway in March and 13th in his 2018 Playoff run on the newly-reconfigured track. He scored his only Phoenix win in 2012 but has six top-10 finishes in the last eight races. He’s finished eighth or better in three of the last five Playoff races there.

 

Martin Truex Jr., 39, of Mayetta, N.J., is the year’s winningest driver with seven trophies – including three wins (at Las Vegas, Richmond, and Martinsville) in the first eight Playoff races. He was the first driver to secure a Championship 4 berth with his Martinsville victory two weeks ago. He is still looking for a first career win at ISM Raceway. The driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota has three top-five finishes in the last four Phoenix races, including a career best result of runner-up this March. He was 14th in the track’s reconfiguration-debut last November and has four top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 27 career starts at the track.

 

 

NEWS AND NOTES   NEWS AND NOTESNEWS AND NOTES   NEWS AND NOTES

XFINITY SERIES

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Ford EcoBoost 300

The Place: Homestead-Miami Speedway

The Date: Saturday, Nov. 16

The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN, 3 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio                   

Distance: 300 miles (200 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on lap 200)

 

 

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200

The Place: ISM Raceway

The Date: Saturday, November 9

The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBC, 3 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 200 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

2018 Race Winner: Christopher Bell

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

 

Locked In: Christopher Bell is the first to secure his Championship 4 spot

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell became the first of the eight NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff drivers to secure his spot in the Championship 4 with his victory at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend. It was his eighth victory on the season and 16th of his Xfinity Series career. This is the second consecutive season Bell has made the Championship 4; he ultimately finished fourth in the final standings last season. 

 

The Playoff standings leader heads to ISM Raceway to pad his stats. The Oklahoma native has made four series starts at the one-mile track posting one pole, one win (Playoff race, 2018), three top fives and an average finish of 9.8. He dominated this race last season, leading 94 of 200 laps and winning his way into the final round at Miami.

 

Cole Custer is looking for his second chance at title

He just barely missed it in his rookie season in 2017, but Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer made the Championship 4 Round last season by winning at Texas and ultimately finishing runner-up in the final standings. Now the California wheelman heads to ISM Raceway second in the Playoff standings, 52 points up on the cutline and a chance at making the Championship 4 for the second consecutive season.

 

Out in the desert, Custer has made five series starts at ISM Raceway, posting one top five and four top 10s. His average finish is 9.6 and he finished eighth in this race last season.  

 

Defending champion Tyler Reddick is close to an opportunity to repeat

Tyler Reddick became just the third Sunoco rookie in NASCAR Xfinity Series history to win the title last season, joining Chase Elliott (2014) and William Byron (2017). Now the rising star from California is close to the opportunity to become the seventh driver in series history to win back-to-back championships joining Sam Ard (1983-84), Larry Pearson (1986-87), Randy Lajoie (1996-97), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1998-99), Martin Truex Jr. (2004-05) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2011-12). All he needs to do is secure his spot in the Championship 4 this weekend at ISM Raceway.

 

Currently third in the Playoff standings, Reddick is 36 points ahead of fifth-place Chase Briscoe – in the first spot outside the Championship 4. The RCR driver has made four series starts at Phoenix posting one top five, three top 10s and an average finish of 8.2. 

 

Justin Allgaier looks to make Championship 4 Round for first time since 2017

After the heartbreak Justin Allgaier suffered last season, from winning a career-best five races and taking the regular season championship to ultimately falling short of making the Championship 4 in the Playoffs, the Illinois native and JR Motorsports driver returns to the “Valley of the Sun” for redemption. 

 

Allgaier is currently fourth in the Playoff standings – the final transfer spot to the Championship 4 – 18 points ahead of fifth place Chase Briscoe.

 

“There is a lot on the line this weekend at Phoenix,” said Allgaier. “Right now, we’re in a good position sitting fourth in points, but I know there are a lot of guys behind us that are battling for that same spot. Hopefully at the end of it all, we’ll be one of the four heading to Homestead battling for the championship.”

 

Allgaier has made 18 series starts (most among Playoff drivers) at ISM Raceway, posting one pole, one win (Spring 2017), six top fives, 11 top 10s and an average finish of 9.1. In last season’s Playoff race he led 69 laps and won the first two stages but finished the race 24th one lap down. He finished 14th at ISM Raceway earlier this season. 

 

Briscoe, Gragson on verge of joining elite list of rookies to make the Championship 4

Since the inception of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs in 2016, just five Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders have made it to the Championship 4 Round and this weekend at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, Stewart-Haas Racing with Fred Biagi’s Chase Briscoe and JR Motorsport’s Noah Gragson have an opportunity to add their names to the elite list of rookies to accomplish the feat.

 

Sunoco Rookies that made the Championship 4 and their finish in the final standings:

2016 – Erik Jones (fourth)

2017 – William Byron (champion), Daniel Hemric (fourth)

2018 – Tyler Reddick (champion), Christopher Bell (fourth)

 

Briscoe is fifth in the Playoff standings heading to ISM Raceway, 18 points behind Justin Allgaier in the final Championship 4 transfer spot. Briscoe made his series track debut at Phoenix earlier this season; he started 12th and raced his way up to a sixth-place finish.

 

Gragson is currently eighth in the Playoff standings, 47 points back from the Championship 4 cutoff. Much like Briscoe, Gragson made his series track debut at ISM Raceway earlier this season; he started sixth and finished 11th.

 

Veteran Michael Annett rides career-best season to chance at Championship 4

The whole season to this point comes down to this weekend at ISM Raceway and veteran Michael Annett is riding his best season statistically to a chance at the Championship 4. Annett resides in sixth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, 28 points behind his JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier in the final transfer spot.

 

“We know what we have to do to make it to Homestead for the Championship 4,” said Michael Annett. “Travis (Mack, crew chief) has done a fantastic job on strategy to get us to this point, and it is up to us to get to Miami with a chance to race for the championship. We’re going to give it everything we have.”

 

Annett has made 14 series starts at ISM Raceway posting five top 10s. His average finish is 15.2. He finished 16th in this Playoff race last season and eighth in the spring race earlier this year.

 

Breakout season for Team Penske’s Austin Cindric has him in title hunt

His first full season with Team Penske (after splitting last season’s Playoff campaign between Team Penske and Roush Fenway Racing) has been a breakout one for North Carolina’s Austin Cindric, who is currently seventh in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff standings, 31 points back from the cutoff and still in the hunt for a title.

 

Heading to Phoenix this weekend, Cindric is looking forward to the challenge of making the Championship 4. In three starts on the one-mile track he has put up two top fives and an average finish of 8.3. He finished fourth in this Playoff race last season and fifth in the spring race earlier this year.

 

ISM Raceway: Xfinity’s stage for the penultimate race of 2019

Located just outside Phoenix, Arizona, ISM Raceway is a uniquely-shaped one-mile track that will play host to this weekend’s NASCAR Xfinity Series penultimate Playoff race, the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino 200 (Saturday, Nov. 9, at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

ISM Raceway has been the sixth race in the seven-race NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff since its inception in 2016. Interestingly, the mile circuit has produced three different winners in the three previous Xfinity Playoff races.

 

In 2016, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch played spoiler, winning the first Xfinity Playoff race at the facility. He controlled the event from start to finish, leading 190 of the scheduled 200 laps. Five of the eight Playoff drivers finished inside the top-10 that evening – Justin Allgaier (fourth), eventual champion Daniel Suarez (fifth), Ryan Reed (sixth), Blake Koch (eighth), Erik Jones (10th).   

 

In 2017, JR Motorsports rookie William Byron took the lead with just 17 laps to go and grabbed the checkered flag at ISM Raceway to secure his spot in the Championship 4. Byron would go on to win the series title that season. Four Xfinity Playoff drivers finished inside the top-10 – Byron (first), Daniel Hemric (fifth), Cole Custer (seventh) and Justin Allgaier (10th).

 

In 2018, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell won his seventh race of the season at ISM Raceway, securing his spot in Championship 4 as a rookie. He put on an impressive show en route to his victory leading 94 of the scheduled 200 laps. But Bell would go on to finish fourth in the series’ final standings in Miami.

 

Championship 4 clinch scenarios for ISM Raceway at Phoenix

Below are clinch scenarios at ISM Raceway for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff drivers still vying for a spot in the Championship 4 Round in Miami. As is well known, any driver can clinch with a win.

 

Cole Custer can clinch on points with 22 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Tyler Reddick or Justin Allgaier), he could clinch on points with four points.

 

Tyler Reddick can clinch on points with 38 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Cole Custer or Justin Allgaier), he could clinch on points with 20 points.

 

Justin Allgaier can clinch on points if there is a repeat winner (or a win by Cole Custer or Tyler Reddick) with 38 points. He could also clinch on points with a new winner and help.

 

Chase Briscoe, Michael Annett and Austin Cindric can all clinch a spot in the Championship 4 on points with help.

 

Noah Gragson could also clinch on points with a repeat winner and help.

 

Previous Playoff Round of 8 eliminations

The NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs are tough, and this weekend’s event will help to thin the herd of contenders for this season’s title. Each round of the Playoffs eliminates four drivers, below is a look at the past three seasons and the drivers that advanced to the Championship 4 Round in Homestead-Miami and the drivers listed in Red were eliminated: 

 

2016 Championship 4

2017 Championship 4

2018 Championship 4

Homestead-Miami

Homestead-Miami

Homestead-Miami

Erik Jones

William Byron*

Christopher Bell

Elliott Sadler

Justin Allgaier

Tyler Reddick*

Daniel Suarez*

Daniel Hemric

Cole Custer

Justin Allgaier

Elliott Sadler

Daniel Hemric

Ryan Reed

Cole Custer

Elliott Sadler

Blake Koch

Matt Tifft

Matt Tifft

Bubba Wallace

Brennan Poole

Justin Allgaier

Brendan Gaughan

Ryan Reed

Austin Cindric

     

Note: * - Identifies the eventual champion of that season

 

 

Parade Laps: Insight to the drivers participating in this week’s media breakouts

Six Xfinity drivers – JR Motorsport’s Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell and Riley Herbst and Stewart-Haas Racing with Fred Biagi’s Chase Briscoe - will be participating in this weekend’s media breakout session at ISM Raceway this Friday, Nov. 8 at 11:45 a.m. (local time) in the Driver’s Meeting Room.

 

Justin Allgaier (No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro)

Birthdate: June 6, 1986

Driver’s Age: 33

Hometown: Riverton, Illinois

Hobbies: R/C cars, wakeboarding, graphic design, dirt racing

Team: JR Motorsports

Crew Chief: Jason Burdett

Xfinity Career Highlights:

  • In 2018, he won the NASCAR Xfinity Series regular season championship and made the Playoffs for the third consecutive season after posting a career-high five wins on the year.
  • In 2016 and 2017, made the Championship 4 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs.
  • In 2011, 2016 and 2017, scored career-best third-place finish in NASCAR Xfinity Series standings.
  • Won first career NASCAR Xfinity Series race in 2010, at Bristol in March. Currently has 10 career Xfinity wins.
  • Won 2009 NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Currently fourth in the NASCAR Xfinity Playoff points standings in the final Championship 4 transfer spot 18 points ahead of fifth place Chase Briscoe.
  • In 31 starts this season he has posted 15 top fives, 23 top 10s and an average finish of 9.1.

ISM Raceway Performance:

  • Has the most experience at ISM Raceway among the Playoff drivers having made 18 series starts collecting one pole, one win (Spring 2017), six top fives and 11 top 10s.
  • His average finish 9.056.

 

Michael Annett (No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro)

Birthdate: June 23, 1986

Driver’s Age: 32

Hometown: Des Moines, Iowa

Hobbies: Cycling, working out, boating

Team: JR Motorsports

Crew Chief: Travis Mack

Xfinity Career Highlights:

  • Won first career NASCAR Xfinity Series race in the 2019 season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, qualifying him for the Playoffs.
  • In 2017, he made the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs and finished the season ninth in the championship standings.
  • In 2012, finished a career-best fifth in the series championship driver standings. 

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Currently sixth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff standings, 28 points behind his JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier in the fourth and final transfer spot.
  • Posted first career NASCAR Xfinity Series win in the 2019 season-opener at Daytona.
  • In 31 starts this season he has posted one pole, one win, six top fives, 18 top 10s and an average finish of 10.0.

ISM Raceway Performance:

  • He has made 14 series starts at ISM Raceway posting five top 10s.
  • His average finish is 15.2.

 

Christopher Bell (No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra)

Birthdate: December 16, 1994

Driver’s Age: 24

Hometown: Norman, Oklahoma

Hobbies: Dirt track racing, iRacing, golf

Team: Joe Gibbs Racing

Crew Chief: Jason Ratcliff

Xfinity Career Highlights:

  • In 2018, he set the rookie single season Xfinity Series wins record with seven victories; the previous record of five wins was held by three drivers – Greg Biffle (2001), Kyle Busch (2004) and Carl Edwards (2005).
  • Made the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs in rookie season (2018), and advanced to the Championship 4; ultimately finishing fourth in the championship standings.
  • Has recorded 16 career NASCAR Xfinity Series wins in just 72 starts; including seven this season (Atlanta, Bristol, Dover, Iowa, New Hampshire, Road America, Richmond and Texas). The 16th win ties him with Jack Ingram and Sam Ard for the most wins by driver in the NXS in their first 72 starts.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Currently the NASCAR Xfinity Playoff standings leader with a guaranteed spot in the Championship 4 following his victory last weekend at Texas.  
  • In 31 starts this season he has posted five poles (ISM Raceway, Texas, Charlotte, Iowa-2, Kansas), eight wins (Atlanta, Bristol, Dover, Iowa, New Hampshire, Road America,  Richmond and Texas), 19 top fives, 20 top 10s and an average finish of 9.0.

ISM Raceway Performance:

  • Has made four series starts at ISM Raceway posting one win (2018 Playoff race) and three top fives.
  • His average finish is 9.750.

 

Riley Herbst (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra)

Birthdate: February 24, 1999

Driver’s Age: 20

Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada

Team: Joe Gibbs Racing

Crew Chief: Ben Beshore

Xfinity Career Highlights:

  • Has run a part-time NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule the past two seasons (2018-19) making nine total starts for Joe Gibbs Racing posting four top-10 finishes.
  • Made his series debut for Joe Gibbs Racing at Iowa Speedway in 2018; he started ninth and finished sixth – his career-best finish in the Xfinity Series.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Has made eight series starts this season for Joe Gibbs Racing posting three top 10s.
  • His best finishes this season were ninth (twice) – Richmond-1 and Las Vegas-2.

ISM Raceway Performance:

  • He will be making his series track debut this weekend at ISM Raceway.

 

Chase Briscoe (No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing with Fred Biagi Ford Mustang)

Birthdate: December 15, 1994

Driver’s Age: 24

Hometown: Mitchell, Indiana

Hobbies: Spending time with family, online racing, watching sports

Team: Stewart-Haas Racing with Fred Biagi

Crew Chief: Richard Boswell II

Xfinity Career Highlights:

  • Made NASCAR Xfinity Series debut in 2018 at Atlanta.
  • Ran 17 Xfinity races last season for Roush Fenway Racing (12) and Stewart-Haas Racing with Fred Biagi (five) and won the inaugural race at the Charlotte ROVAL.
  • Has made the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs in his rookie season.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Currently ranked fifth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff standings, 18 points behind Justin Allgaier in the final Championship 4 transfer position. 
  • In 31 starts this season he has posted two poles (Charlotte ROVAL and Dover-2), one win (Iowa-2), 12 top fives, 22 top 10s and an average finish of 8.4.

ISM Raceway Performance:

  • Made his series track debut at ISM Raceway earlier this season; he started 12th and raced his way up to a sixth-place finish.

 

 

NEWS AND NOTES   NEWS AND NOTESNEWS AND NOTES   NEWS AND NOTES

gander outdoors TRUCK SERIES

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series

Next Race: Ford EcoBoost 200

The Place: Homestead-Miami Speedway

The Date: Friday, Nov. 15

The Time: 8 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 7:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio                   

Distance: 201 miles (134 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 30),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on lap 134)

 

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series

 

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Championship 4 (In Alphabetical Order)

Below is an in-depth look at the four drivers who have qualified for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Championship 4 and will race for the title at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Ford EcoBoost 200 on Friday night, Nov. 15 (at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

Ross Chastain (No. 45 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado)

In May, no one had Ross Chastain in their NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Championship 4.

 

It wasn’t because they didn’t believe in him – it was because he wasn’t eligible for the series title.

 

At the time, Chastain was still running for points in the NASCAR Xfinity Series while running full-time in all three national series – earning the moniker of “NASCAR’s busiest driver.” But as the calendar flipped to June, Chastain opted to switch to earning points in the Gander Trucks – starting with the June Texas Motor Speedway “standalone” race – and compete for a title in that series.

 

The eighth-generation farmer Chastain smashed his first Victory Lane watermelon after the May Kansas Gander Trucks race – but it was before he decided to commit to earning points in the series, so the win didn’t count for Playoff eligibility. Therefore, in order to contend for the title, he would have to work his way into the top 20 in points and get a win.

 

In his second race after declaring for Gander Trucks points, Iowa, Chastain crossed the finish line first, but his truck failed post-race inspection – relegating him to a last-place finish. That damaged his points standing and took away the automatic postseason bid that a win affords a driver.

 

But he rebounded the next week to get the win at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway and then managed to climb into the top 20 in just his fifth race after deciding to pursue the truck title – Kentucky.

 

And the rest, as they say, was history. Chastain added another win at Pocono in July and tallied nine top-five and 18 top-10 finishes on the year to go with the three wins (only two of which counted towards the postseason).

 

In all this season, Chastain has competed in 75 races across the three national series – and recorded a NASCAR Xfinity Series win at Daytona in July for Kaulig Racing, the team he will race for full-time in 2020 as he pursues a Xfinity Series title.

 

Playoffs Recap: Ross Chastain entered the Playoffs seeded fourth on the strength of 12 Playoff points. And he put together solid finishes in the opening round – averaging a finish of 4.33 through the three races. He led a race-high 88 laps in the final race of the round at Las Vegas, but wound up finishing second to Austin Hill after a late-race pass. And he was leading with six laps to go at Talladega to open the Round of 6 but triggered the “Big One” while attempting a block and was knocked out of the race – leaving Alabama in sixth in the standings. He rebounded the next week in Martinsville – again leading a race-high number of laps (68) before being edged out by Todd Gilliland on a late-race restart and finishing second. That finish, along with trouble for nearly all of the other Playoff contenders, vaulted Chastain to third in the standings heading into the final race to set the Playoff field at ISM Raceway this past weekend. After not finding much speed through practice or qualifying (he started 14th), he was able to cross the line ninth to secure one of the Championship 4 slots contending for the title in Miami.

 

Homestead-Miami Outlook: Ross Chastain has made five NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway – spread out between 2011 and last year. His first start was in 2011, finishing 27th. He then put together a pair of top 10s in 2012 (10th) and 2013 (eighth) before finishing 11th in 2014. He took a break from the Gander Trucks at Miami before returning last year – finishing 16th while running for Niece Motorsports. In all, Chastain has driven three different manufacturers (Chevrolet in 2011, 2018 and now again in 2019), Ford (2013) and Toyota (2012, 2014) at Miami. And he has driven for five different teams there – RSS Racing (2011), SS Green Light Racing (2012), Brad Keselowski Racing (2013), Win-Tron Racing (2014) and Niece Motorsports (2018, 2019). And of note for Chastain, his first Gander Trucks win earlier this year came on the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway – the same length as the circuit outside Miami.

 

Crew Chief Corner: Phil Gould has been atop the pit box for all but one Gander Trucks race with Ross Chastain this year (the June Texas race when he was the crew chief for Kyle Benjamin). The pair teamed up for three wins, nine top fives and 17 top 10s, as well as a pole at Michigan. This season is Gould’s first at the helm of a Gander Trucks team – he spent the past six seasons in the NASCAR Xfinity Series overseeing the operations of Roush Fenway Racing’s efforts with Ryan Reed (2016-2018) and Elliott Sadler (2015) and with Brian Scott at Richard Childress Racing (2013-2014). Friday night’s race will be Gould’s first Gander Trucks start at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but he’s made six trips there in the Xfinity Series, recording one top 10 (with Brian Scott in 2014 - 10th).

 

Team Talk: This season marks Niece Motorsports’ third campaign in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series – and their first appearance in the Gander Trucks Playoffs. Chastain’s three wins this season were the first for the organization, and they’ve tallied 23 top-10 finishes in 2019 (in addition to 18 from Chastain, Jeb Burton had two, Timothy Peters had two and Bayley Currey had one). While Chastain has been the team’s lone full-time entry this year, they’ve had a total of 13 other drivers record at least one race behind the wheel of Niece Motorsports equipment this year. Angela Ruch will be making her eighth start for Niece Motorsports this season (and her 10th overall in 2019) as she’s entered in their second truck at Miami.

 

Matt Crafton (No. 88 ThorSport Racing Ford F-150)

After missing the Championship 4 last season for the first time since the elimination-style Playoffs were introduced to the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, Matt Crafton is back to contend for the title in Miami.

 

The lone back-to-back champion in series history (2013, 2014) got to Miami the hard way – through consistency. Crafton is the only driver in the Championship 4 who hasn’t visited Victory Lane this season. In fact, he hasn’t hoisted a trophy since Eldora Speedway in July of 2017 – a string of 57 races without a win. But he’s put together six top-five and 17 top-10 finishes this season.

 

During the regular season, Crafton finished on the lead lap in all but one race – Kentucky – in which he was only two laps down at the finish. He had just two regular season race finishes outside the top 10 (14th at Atlanta and 13th at Kentucky). And during those 16 races that set the Playoff field, Crafton posted an average finish of 7.25.

 

Including the six Playoff races, he has an average finish of 9.1 on the season.

 

To take a look back at Crafton’s championship seasons – both of which were before the current Playoff format was introduced to the Gander Trucks – he had only one win in his first title campaign in 2013, the fourth race of the season at Kansas (a 1.5-mile track like Miami). He then finished 21st in the season finale at Miami but had already locked up the title by starting the race.

 

Then in 2014, Crafton won a pair of races en route to the title – but both wins were early in the season, at Martinsville in the second race and then at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway in the sixth race. He then finished ninth at Miami to close out the title by 21 points over Ryan Blaney.

 

Playoffs Recap: For as consistently good as his regular season was, the Playoffs have been a roller coaster for Crafton. After an average finish of 7.25 in the opening 16 races, Crafton had an average finish of 14.12 in the six Playoff races thus far. Engine issues at Las Vegas, that also knocked his ThorSport Racing teammates Johnny Sauter and Grant Enfinger out of the Playoffs, relegated him to a 30th-place finish after completing only 39 laps. And fortunately for Crafton, he was in good company with Playoff drivers having issues at Martinsville as he finished 23rd there. A strong showing through the opening two stages of the race at ISM Raceway last weekend helps Crafton jump from fifth in the standings entering the race to the fourth and final championship-contending slot, beating out Austin Hill by six points for that position.

 

Homestead-Miami Outlook: The elder statesman of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Championship 4 field has the most experience at this weekend’s finale venue – by a lot. Crafton has raced at the South Florida track 18 times, recording a win in 2015 and three top-five and 10 top-10 finishes, and he’s completed all but six of the laps ran in those 18 events. In his last five visits to Miami, he’s tallied a top 10 and also has a runner-up finish from 2009. In all, Crafton has 163 starts at 1.5-mile circuits, recording nine wins, 54 top fives, 103 top 10s, and 10 poles.

 

Crew Chief Corner: Carl “Junior” Joiner and Matt Crafton have been teamed up together at the track since 2012 and it’s been quite the successful pairing. Together they have won 12 races (all but two of Crafton’s career Gander Trucks total) and put together 67 top-five and 130 top-10 finishes. Joiner was also atop the pit box for Crafton’s two championships in 2013 and 2014. At Homestead-Miami Speedway, Joiner has helmed seven races – all with Crafton – with a win (2015) being his only top five at the venue and five total top 10s. The pair have an average finish of 8.9 together at Miami and have completed every lap run during those seven races.

 

Team Talk: Matt Crafton and ThorSport Racing go together like peanut butter and jelly. Crafton has raced all but 25 of his 452 career Gander Trucks races with ThorSport (his lone year away was the 2004 season, in which he raced fulltime for Kevin Harvick Incorporated). In addition to longevity with ThorSport Racing, Crafton is also in his 15th consecutive season with sponsor Menards on the hood of his truck. ThorSport Racing is the longest tenured team in the Gander Trucks and does it all from their Sandusky, Ohio, headquarters. They have a pair of Gander Trucks titles to their credit – from Crafton in 2013 and 2014.

 

Stewart Friesen (No. 52 Halmar Friesen Chevrolet)

A journeyman dirt track racer who cut his teeth on short tracks in the northeast, the 36-year-old Stewart Friesen is a bit of a late bloomer on the NASCAR national series scene. But he has quickly made up for lost time, winning a pair of races and qualifying for the Championship 4 in just his second season of entering every race on the schedule.

 

Friesen made his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series debut in 2016, running six races that year and putting together a best finish of 13th in New Hampshire. His team upped their commitment the next season, running 19 races and posting two top-five and five top-10 finishes – including a tough runner-up result on the dirt at Eldora.

 

A fulltime campaign last year earned Friesen his first Playoff berth after nine top fives and 16 top 10s. But this year has been especially impressive, as Friesen captured his first Gander Trucks win at Eldora and followed that up with his first national series win on a paved track last weekend at ISM Raceway to clinch his spot in the Championship 4.

 

So far this season Friesen has recorded 12 top fives and 16 top 10s, as well as a pole at Martinsville early in the season. He’s been very consistent with only three DNFs – two due to crashes (Daytona and the opening lap of Pocono) and one to mechanical issues (June Texas). And his average finish is 8.4.

 

Playoffs Recap: Stewart Friesen’s regular season consistency carried into the Playoffs, as he’s put together an average finish of 7.0 during the six postseason races. The lone finish worse than seventh was a 19th-place effort at Las Vegas. He’s been in a solid points position throughout the postseason, entering the Playoffs at Bristol seeded third. He was then fourth in points following the first cutoff at Las Vegas and entered last weekend’s race in Phoenix in second – 35 points ahead of fifth place and was in solid position to advance to the Championship 4 even without the automatic qualifier in the win.

 

Homestead-Miami Outlook: Friesen has a solid history at this weekend’s season finale venue. He finished 29th in his first visit to Miami in 2016, but was seventh in 2017 and then fourth last year. Overall at 1.5-mile tracks, Friesen has made 29 starts and posted 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes. His performance this year has been up and down at tracks of that distance. While he has a pair of runner-up results (Texas-1 and Kentucky) and two third-place finishes (Charlotte and Chicago), he has also had four finishes of 15th or worse.

 

Crew Chief Corner: Long-time crew chief Trip Bruce has been atop Friesen’s pit box since the start of the 2017 season and the pair have partnered for 23 top fives and 32 top 10s as well as both of Friesen’s wins this season. Bruce has served as crew chief for at least a portion of 13 seasons in the Gander Trucks and four seasons in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. And he’s very familiar with Homestead-Miami Speedway – and knows how to take a driver to Victory Lane there. He’s been at the helm for seven races in South Florida and won his first two starts at the track – in 2004 with Kasey Kahne and in 2007 with Johnny Benson Jr. His drivers have an average finish of 9.4 at the track and have compiled the two wins, three top fives and five top 10s.

 

Team Talk: Halmar Friesen Racing is synonymous with Stewart Friesen’s assent to the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. And is a tribute to his roots, as it’s tied into his dirt racing team – Halmar Racing. The team made the Playoffs for the first time in 2018 with Friesen and was eliminated after the opening round. This year marks their first shot at the title after advancing to the Championship 4.

 

Brett Moffitt (No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet)

Defending NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series champion Brett Moffitt is looking to become just the second driver in series history, after Matt Crafton in 2013 and 2014, to repeat as champion.

 

And although the results from year-to-year look the same (six wins, 13 top fives, 13 top 10s in 2018 and four wins, 12 top fives and 16 top 10s this season) – not much else looks the same for Moffitt.

 

Last year he won the championship with the “little team that could,” Hattori Racing Enterprises, in a Toyota with Scott Zipadelli as his crew chief. This year he’s in a Chevrolet with the multi-truck GMS Racing outfit and has Jerry Baxter atop his pit box.

 

Moffitt’s versatility was shown this season as his four wins came at a wide variety of tracks – the 7/8-mile oval in Iowa, the 1.5-mile speedway in Chicago, the half-mile concrete short track of Bristol, and then the 2.459-mile, 10-turn road course at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

 

In addition to his Gander Trucks accomplishments, the 27-year old was the 2015 Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the Monster Energy Series.

 

Playoffs Recap: Brett Moffitt started out the Playoffs strong, winning the opening two races at Bristol and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Those victories vaulted him into the Round of 6 and added to his Playoff point total – helping put him into the Championship 4 following ISM Raceway. And those points, as well as the misfortunes of other Playoff drivers, carried him through after a tough Martinsville outing where he finished 29th after a crash took him out early. 

 

Homestead-Miami Outlook: If there’s a Playoff venue where Moffitt should feel confident, it’s this weekend’s season finale track. Moffitt won last year’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway to take his first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship – in his only career series start at the track. Plus, four of his 11 career Gander Trucks wins have come at 1.5-mile tracks (Atlanta, Chicago – twice, and Miami).

 

Crew Chief Corner: Jerry Baxter is the third of the four Championship 4 crew chiefs looking to win his first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series title. The veteran has sat atop the pit box for 388 NASCAR national series races, 184 of them in the Gander Trucks. He’s recorded 15 wins with seven different drivers over nine seasons with the trucks, but has definitely put up his best numbers across the board this season recording four wins (tied for most in his career – 2013 with Bubba Wallace), 12 top fives (best in his career) and 16 top 10s (one shy of his career best of 17 in 2016 with Christopher Bell). Baxter has also had success at Miami – winning in his debut as a Gander Trucks crew chief at the track in 2012 with Cale Gale. He also won there with Bubba Wallace in 2014. He has two wins, two top fives and three top 10s in seven races at Miami.

 

Team Talk: GMS Racing won the 2016 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series title with Johnny Sauter behind the wheel. It was their first, and to date only, NASCAR national series title. GMS has 27 Gander Trucks wins to their credit since joining the series in 2013. They are the only team to have fielded a Gander Trucks Championship 4 driver (Johnny Sauter, 2016-2018; Justin Haley in 2018 and Brett Moffitt in 2019) in all four years of the current elimination-style Playoff format.

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.

Spoiler Alert - Spoilers aren’t unusual at Miami in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. In fact, when Brett Moffitt won last year for the title, it was the first year since the elimination-style format was introduced to the Gander Trucks Playoffs that the champion was also the race winner. William Byron won in the first year of the format while Johnny Sauter won the championship, and Chase Briscoe took the checkered flag while William Byron was the champ in 2017. The only non-Championship 4 driver entered in the race this weekend who has a win at Miami is Johnny Sauter (2011 winner).

 

Owner’s Crown - Three of the four teams with drivers entered in the Championship 4 (the No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet with Brett Moffitt, the No. 45 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet with Ross Chastain and No. 52 Halmar Friesen Chevrolet of Stewart Friesen) are in the hunt for the owner’s championship on Friday night. The No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota entry to be driven by Christian Eckes is also in the title bout, knocking out the No. 88 ThorSport Racing truck that has Matt Crafton contending for the driver’s championship. KBM has won a series-record six owner’s championships – including one with the No. 51 truck in 2013. Eckes has driven the No. 51 seven times this season for KBM, putting together two top fives and three top 10s. He also won the pole at Las Vegas in the fall and Martinsville two races ago.

 

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship 4 (In Alphabetical Order)

Below is an in-depth look at the four drivers who have qualified for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship 4 and will race for the title at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Ford EcoBoost 300 on Saturday, Nov. 16 (at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

Justin Allgaier (No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro)

Following a winless drought all season, JR Motorsport’s driver Justin Allgaier pulled out a big win last Saturday at ISM Raceway to advance to the Championship 4 and have a shot this weekend at the NASCAR Xfinity Series title at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Allgaier’s season has been a struggle in comparison to past seasons, as the Illinois native hadn’t won until last weekend at Phoenix. Now for the third time in four years the veteran Allgaier has a shot at the Xfinity championship in Miami – he finished third is his previous two Championship 4 appearances (2016, 2017).

 

Allgaier has made 32 series starts in 2019 gathering one win (ISM Raceway-2), 16 top fives, and 24 top 10s. He has also led 607 laps this season and has managed an average start of 7.1 and an average finish of 8.9. In addition, Allgaier has posted solid season-to-date loop data stats, including a driver rating of 109.6 (fourth-best), an average running position of 6.769 (second-best), a total of 391 fastest laps run (fourth-most), and completed 92.9% of his laps (5,206) in the top 15 (series-best).  

 

Playoff Recap: Allgaier has been one of the most consistent of the Playoff drivers this season. The 33-year old posted a fourth-place finish at Richmond Raceway, a fourth-place finish at the Charlotte Roval and then a runner-up finish at Dover International Speedway to close out the Round of 12. Allgaier didn’t slow down there, in the Round of 8 he finished fifth at Kansas, sixth at Texas and then grabbed the checkered flag at ISM Raceway last weekend to guarantee his spot in the Championship 4.  

 

Homestead-Miami Outlook: Expect Allgaier to run well this weekend for the title, as he has the most NASCAR Xfinity Series starts (nine) at Homestead-Miami Speedway among the Championship 4. The JRM standout has made nine series starts in Miami, posting two top 10s and an average finish of 14.1. In his first Championship 4 appearance in 2016, he started sixth and finished sixth. Then in his second appearance in the Championship 4 in 2017, he started 16th and finished 12th. He finished seventh in last season’s series finale. 

 

Crew Chief Corner: Jason Burdett, crew chief for the JR Motorsport’s No. 7 Chevrolet team, began his racing career with several local teams around the Watkins Glen area. In 1998, he transitioned to North Carolina and joined Robert Yates Racing. A year later, he helped Jarrett’s team to the title as a tire specialist. He then moved to Hendrick Motorsports, and in 2001 Burdett earned a second championship with driver Jeff Gordon. In 2007, Burdett joined Michael Waltrip Racing, reuniting with Jarrett and serving as crew chief of the No. 44 team in the latter half of the season. It was there he honed his skills at the top level of NASCAR competition and leveraged the experience into a return to Hendrick Motorsports in 2008. In the five years since, Burdett excelled as car chief on the No. 24 team from 2008-10 before moving over to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 team from 2011-14. In 2015, he joined JR Motorsports as crew chief of the No. 7 car with driver Regan Smith; the pair finished fourth in series standings that season. Allgaier replaced Smith in the No. 7 car in 2016 and duo has worked together ever since producing eight wins and three Championship 4 appearances.

 

Team Talk: JR Motorsports has won three NASCAR Xfinity Series driver championships, all with Sunoco rookies – Chase Elliott in 2014, William Byron (2017) and Tyler Reddick (2018). JR Motorsports began its NASCAR Xfinity Series program in 2005 with driver Mark McFarland and since has won 46 series races; including two this season.

 

Christopher Bell (No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra)

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell is having another outstanding NASCAR Xfinity Series season, putting up a career-best eight wins and clinching his spot in the Championship 4 for the second consecutive year. If Bell were to win the Xfinity title this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he would become just the fourth driver in NASCAR national series history to win both the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship in his career; joining Austin Dillon, Johnny Benson Jr. and Greg Biffle.

 

Bell has made 32 series starts in 2019 producing a career-best eight wins (Atlanta, Bristol-1, Dover-1, Iowa-1, New Hampshire, Road America, Richmond-2, Texas-2), 19 top fives, 20 top 10s and six poles (ISM Raceway-1, Texas-1, Charlotte, Iowa-2, Kansas, ISM Raceway-2). He has led 1,968 laps (series-most) this season and has managed an average start of 4.2 and an average finish of 9.2. In addition, Bell has posted solid season-to-date loop data stats, including a driver rating of 120.6 (series-best), an average running position of 6.139 (series-best), a total of 1,173 fastest laps run (series-most), and completed 85.3% of his laps (4,779) in the top 15 (eighth-best).   

 

Playoffs Recap: Christopher Bell returns to NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs in 2019 looking for redemption after the title slipped through his fingers last season. Once again, the Round of 12 was a tumultuous one for Bell, he won the postseason opener at Richmond Raceway to clinch his spot in the Round of 8, but then fought through a 12th-place finish at the Charlotte Roval and a 25th-place finish at Dover International Speedway due to carburetor failure the next week. Much like the first round for Bell, the Round of 8 was filled with mixed results. He started on the pole at Kansas and finished 12th and then went to Texas the following week and won to clinch his spot in the Championship 4 for the second consecutive season. But last weekend he looked to have the dominate car at ISM Raceway after winning the pole, but due to an early pit penalty and subsequent spin when trying to come back through the field he finished 16th.  

 

Homestead-Miami Outlook: Bell made his NASCAR Xfinity Series track debut at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2017 while running part-time for Joe Gibbs Racing and competing fulltime in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. He started the race third but finished 36th due to an engine failure. Then last season at Miami as part of the Championship 4, Bell started on the outside front row, led nine laps and finished a disappointing 11th in the race – the lowest among the Championship 4 drivers – Tyler Reddick (first), Cole Custer (second), Daniel Hemric (fourth) and Bell (11th). Ultimately, he finished fourth in the series’ final championship standings. In his two Xfinity career starts at the track he has posted an average start of 2.5 and an average finish of 23.5.  Bell has also made three NASCAR Gander Outdoors Series starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway posting one top five (runner-up), two top 10s and an average finish of 11.7.  

 

Crew Chief Corner: Jason Ratcliff, crew chief for the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota Supra team with driver Christopher Bell, is one of the most successful crew chiefs in the series. He led Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch to a unified NASCAR Xfinity Series driver and owner championship in 2009 and then followed that up with a second consecutive owner title in 2010. Ratcliff also guided Busch to the NASCAR Xfinity Series single season record of 13 wins in 2010. Ratcliff began his crew chief career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series back in 2000 at Brewco Motorsports working with driver Casey Atwood. He stayed at Brewco for three more years working with Jamie McMurray and David Green before joining Joe Gibbs Racing in in 2005. From then he has worked with multiple drivers in both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for Joe Gibbs Racing. Bell and Ratcliff combined to put up the NASCAR Xfinity Series rookie record of most wins in a single season with seven victories last year. In total the duo has visited Victory Lane 15 times in the two full seasons they have worked together (2018-2019). If Ratcliff leads Bell to a title this weekend, he will become the 11th different crew chief to win multiple driver championships in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.  

 

Team Talk: Joe Gibbs Racing started its NASCAR Xfinity Series program in 1997 and since then has amassed 165 series victories, two unified driver and owner championships (2009 Kyle Busch and 2016 Daniel Suarez) and three owner championships (2008, 2010, 2012). The 2019 season marks the third time the Joe Gibbs Racing organization has fielded drivers in the Championship 4 – in 2016 (Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez), in 2018 and 2019 (Christopher Bell). If Joe Gibbs Racing wins the owner championship this season the organization will extend their series lead in owner titles to six.   

 

Cole Custer (No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang)

After posting a career-best seven victories on the year, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer returns to the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship 4 for the second consecutive time in his career. In 2017, Custer fell just short of making the Championship 4, but at the end of the day finished fifth in the series standings as a rookie. Then last season, Custer fought hard for his opportunity to make the Championship 4 but finished runner-up in the season finale at Miami to Tyler Reddick. In the end, Custer managed to finish second in the 2018 driver Playoff standings and bring Stewart-Haas Racing its first series owner championship. Now the California native returns to Miami looking to add an Xfinity Series driver championship to his resume.

 

Custer has made 32 series starts in 2019 collecting a career-best seven wins (California, Richmond-1, Pocono, Chicago, Kentucky, Darlington, Dover-2), 16 top fives, 23 top 10s and six poles. He has also led 907 laps this season and has managed an average start of 5.7 and an average finish of 9.2. In addition, Custer has posted stout season-to-date loop data stats, including a driver rating of 113.0 (second-best), an average running position of 7.249 (fourth-best), a total of 763 fastest laps run (second-most), and completed 88.2% of his laps (4,944) in the top 15 (seventh-best).  

 

Playoffs Recap: The California ace, Cole Custer, is laser focused on the title this season and it shows in his Playoff performance thus far. He started the postseason off with a third-place finish at Richmond, an eighth at the Charlotte Roval and then rounded out the Round of 12 with a victory at Dover International Speedway to advance. Custer’s good fortune continued in the Round of 8, he finished 11th at Kansas, eighth at Texas and secured his spot in the Championship 4 with a runner-up finish at ISM Raceway last weekend.  

 

Homestead-Miami Outlook: Homestead-Miami Speedway holds a special place in Custer’s heart, because posted his first NASCAR Xfinity Series career win at the 1.5-mile track in dominating fashion in 2017. He started from the outside front row, leading 182 of the 200 scheduled laps (91% - a race record) and set the record average speed for the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the track (136.140 MPH, 11/18/2017). Then last season among the Championship 4, he started from the pole, led a race-most 95 laps but finished runner-up to Tyler Reddick. In total Custer has made three series starts at Miami, posting an average start of 7.0 and an average finish of 6.7.

 

Crew Chief Corner: Mike Shiplett, crew chief of the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 00 Ford Mustang team, has spent most of his NASCAR career working with multiple part-time drivers during a season, but this year looks to make his name amongst the championship crew chiefs of the series. Shiplett began his NASCAR crew chief career with Evernham Motorsports in 2007 and in 2008 he was promoted to crew chief in the Monster Energy Series for Gillette Evernham Motorsports. Then in 2009, he moved to Richard Petty Motorsports to crew chief multiple drivers on No. 44 car in the Cup Series and hit it off with AJ Allmendinger, so he moved to No. 43 car with him in 2010-11. Shiplett then returned to NASCAR Xfinity Series as crew chief on a part-time basis working with Turner Scott Motorsport in 2012-2014 until the team was acquired by Chip Ganassi Racing in 2015. He worked with multiple drivers in the series at CGR from 2015 until this season when he joined Stewart-Haas Racing after Chip Ganassi Racing discontinued its Xfinity program following 2018. In total Shiplett has led seven different drivers to Victory Lane in the NASCAR Xfinity Series totaling 24 wins. This season, Shiplett has led the No. 00 team with Cole Custer to seven victories, 16 top fives and 23 top 10s. Shiplett is looking to become the 27th different crew chief to win a NASCAR Xfinity Series driver championship.

 

Team Talk: Stewart-Haas Racing started its NASCAR Xfinity Series program in 2017, fielding the No. 00 Ford Mustang team fulltime with driver Cole Custer. Since then the team has finished fifth (2017) and second (2018) in the driver championship standings. Custer’s runner-up finish in the 2018 season finale was good enough to grant Stewart-Haas Racing with its first NASCAR Xfinity Series owner championship. Now the organization returns with the No. 00 team looking to bring home the organization’s first unified driver and owner championship this weekend. The 2019 season marks the second-time a Stewart-Haas Racing driver has made it to the Championship 4 – 2018, 2019 (Cole Custer).  

 

Tyler Reddick (No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro)

Defending NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Tyler Reddick heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway looking to become just the seventh driver all-time to win back-to-back titles; joining Sam Ard (1983-84), Larry Pearson (1986-87), Randy LaJoie (1996-97), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1998-99), Martin Truex Jr. (2004-05) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2011-12). And he would be the first to do it under two different teams – Reddick won last season’s title driving for JR Motorsports. But what’s even more impressive is Reddick’s 2019 season has been even better statistically than his championship rookie year. The California native has hoisted a career-best five trophies this season and leads the series in top fives (23) and top 10s (26).

 

Reddick has made 32 series starts in 2019 rallying off five wins (Talladega, Charlotte, Michigan, Bristol and Las Vegas), 23 top fives, and 26 top 10s. He has also led 484 laps this season and has managed an average start of 6.2 and an average finish of 6.5. In addition, Reddick has posted notable season-to-date loop data stats, including a driver rating of 110.5 (third-best), an average running position of 6.779 (third-best), a total of 519 fastest laps run (third-most), and completed 90.6% of his laps (5,074) in the top 15 (third-best).  

 

Playoffs Recap: Reddick has been strong during the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, kicking off the postseason with a 10th-place finish at Richmond Raceway, a runner-up finish at the Charlotte Roval and then a 12th at Dover International Speedway to close out the Round of 12. Reddick’s Round of 8 was also full of momentum, he finished runner-up at Kansas, sat on the pole at Texas but finished 29th due to a late-race incident and then locked himself into the Championship 4 with a third-place finish at ISM Raceway last weekend.  

 

Homestead-Miami Outlook: Expect Reddick to be poised to give it all he has this weekend for the title, as he put on a clinic last season at Homestead-Miami Speedway en route to his first series championship. In 2017, Reddick made his series track debut by winning the pole and leading 18 laps on his way to a fourth-place finish. Then last season, he started fourth and raced his way up to the lead, bouncing off the outside wall multiple times. He led the final 37 laps as he cruised to Victory Lane and the championship. In two starts his average finish at Miami is 2.5 – best among the Championship 4. Reddick also has three NASCAR Gander Outdoors Series starts at Homestead, where he amassed two top fives, three top 10s and an average finish of 3.7.

 

Crew Chief Corner: Randall Burnett, a former Late Model racer, received a mechanical engineering degree from UNC Charlotte before beginning his career in NASCAR in 2005 as a 7-post analysis engineer, a lead team engineer and a data acquisition engineer for Chip Ganassi Racing. Then in 2010, Burnett was named lead race engineer for driver Jamie McMurray (2010-2012) at Chip Ganassi Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The following seasons he worked with Juan Pablo Montoya (2013) and Kyle Larson (2014-2015). In 2016 and 2017, Burnett was promoted to crew chief and took a job with JTG Daugherty Racing leading driver AJ Allmendinger. Then in late 2017, Burnett moved to Richard Childress Racing to work as crew chief on RCR’s Xfinity Series flagship car – the No. 2 Chevrolet – with multiple drivers. In 2018 he led Matt Tifft to the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, the pair finished fifth in the final standings. Burnett continued with the No. 2 team this season and has led Reddick to five wins, 23 top fives and 26 top 10s. Burnett is looking to become the 27th different crew chief to win a NASCAR Xfinity Series driver championship.

 

Team Talk: Richard Childress Racing has won two NASCAR Xfinity Series unified driver and owner championships with driver Kevin Harvick in 2001 and 2006. In addition, RCR has won two driver championships with Austin Dillon in 2013 and Clint Bowyer in 2008. The organization has also won Xfinity Series owner championships in 2003 and in 2007. Richard Childress Racing began its NASCAR Xfinity Series program in 1995 and since has won 84 series races. The 2019 season marks the third time the Richard Childress Racing organization has fielded drivers in the Championship 4 – in 2017 and 2018 with Daniel Hemric and now in 2019 with Tyler Reddick.

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year finale – Just two NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookies are still eligible for the 2019 end of the year honors – Stewart-Haas Racing with Fred Biagi’s Chase Briscoe (2,252 points) and JR Motorsport’s Noah Gragson (2,208). Briscoe currently leads the rookie standings by 44 points over second-place Gragson. Briscoe made his series track debut at Homestead last season where he started and finished 13th. This weekend will be Gragson’s series track debut at Miami.

 

Xfinity Owner championship update – The four cars and drivers that made it to the driver Playoff standings Championship 4 are the same in the owner Playoff standings this season; guaranteeing a unified driver and owner championship this year. 

 

 

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series 

Next Race: Lucas Oil 150

The Place: ISM Raceway

The Date: Friday, November 8

The Time: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 8 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 150 miles (150 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 150)

2018 Winner: Brett Moffitt

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series

 

ISM Raceway to set the Championship 4

After opening with the high-speed, high-banked, 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway, then taking on much shorter and flatter 0.52-mile Martinsville Speedway last weekend, the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series wraps up the Round of 6 at ISM Raceway near Phoenix, Arizona, this Friday night.

 

The Lucas Oil 150 (8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will take place on the one-mile track that was recently reconfigured (prior to the 2018 fall race) to move the start/finish line to the former backstretch, just before the dog leg.

 

The banking in Turns 1 and 2 is 11 degrees while it’s nine degrees in Turns 3 and 4. The frontstretch is 1,179 feet long and banked at three degrees and the backstretch is 1,551 feet long and has nine degrees of banking.

 

Brett Moffitt won this race last year and is the only remaining Playoff contender with a victory at the track.

 

How they got to this point in the Round of 6…and performance at ISM Raceway

With all four slots in the Miami championship showdown still up for grabs after Playoff outsiders captured the wins at Talladega and Martinsville, the heat will be on at ISM Raceway for the Lucas Oil 150 this Friday night (8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

Here’s a breakdown of how the six Playoff drivers have fared in this round and the past ISM Raceway performances for each, in order of points standing:

 

Brett Moffitt – No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet: The defending series champion started this round off strong, finishing fourth at the always-unpredictable Talladega Superspeedway. But, like a good chunk of the field at Martinsville, was involved in a wreck last weekend and, as a result, was relegated to a 29th-place finish. Fortunately, he has a large stockpile of Playoff points from throughout the year that are letting him keep hold of the top spot in the points – by 10 points over second-place Stewart Friesen and by 45 points over fifth-place Matt Crafton just outside the Championship 4 cutoff.

 

Moffitt enters the penultimate race of the season as the lone Playoff contender who has won at ISM Raceway – and he did so in his only series start to date at the track during which he started fifth. 

 

Stewart Friesen – No. 52 Halmar Friesen Racing Chevrolet: Friesen has been impressive in this round – finishing fifth at Talladega and sixth last week at Martinsville, keeping him in second place in the points standings. He’s only 10 points behind the leader, Moffitt, and holds a 35-point advantage over Crafton in fifth.

 

Friesen has gotten progressively better over each of his three starts at ISM Raceway – finishing 18th in his track debut in 2016, then sixth in 2017 and fifth last year for an average finish of 9.7. His starting position has also improved each time – 20th in 2016, 12th in 2017 and then fourth last fall.

 

Ross Chastain – No. 45 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet: Chastain’s Round of 6 started off rough, as he wrecked from the lead late in the race and wound up with a 22nd-place finish at Talladega. But he nearly flipped that around last weekend in Martinsville, leading 68 laps before finishing second after being edged out by Todd Gilliland following an overtime restart. That Martinsville finish, coupled with a great deal of misfortune by the rest of the Playoff field (after Friesen’s fifth-place finish, the next highest finishing postseason contender was Crafton in 23rd) vaulted Chastain from sixth in the points entering the race to third coming out of it. He’s now 20 points ahead of Crafton in fifth.

 

It’s been six years since Chastain has raced in the Gander Trucks at ISM Raceway. He was 33rd in his track debut in 2012 after mechanical issues eliminated him early in the race. However, he started from the pole and finished second in 2013. 

 

Austin Hill – No. 16 Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota: Hill has a precarious nine-point advantage over Crafton for the fourth and final Championship 4 slot. He opened the round with a sixth-place finish at Talladega but then was one of the unfortunate drivers caught up in myriad of incidents at Martinsville that ended his day early and he left with a 26th-place result.

 

Hill’s going to have to improve upon his past efforts at ISM Raceway if he’s going to have a shot to contend for the title in Miami. In two starts at the track, he has a best finish of 23rd and an average finish of 26.5.

 

Matt Crafton – No. 88 ThorSport Racing Ford: Crafton’s Round of 6 results closely mirrors those of Moffitt and Hill – a solid eighth-place result at Talladega before finishing several laps down in 23rd at Martinsville. He currently sits in fifth in the standings – one spot outside the Championship 4 – trailing fourth-place Hill by nine points.

 

Crafton has the largest body of work at ISM Raceway of the remaining Playoff drivers. However, in 18 starts at the one-mile circuit, he has yet to win a race – although he was the runner-up in 2014, the year of his second championship. He’s recorded six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes, putting together an average finish of 10.0. However, in the most recent four trips to ISM, he’s tallied two finishes outside the top 20. He was 11th last fall.

 

Tyler Ankrum – No. 17 DGR-Crosley Toyota: Have you heard this before regarding the Round of 6 for this Playoff group? Ankrum had a solid race at Talladega, finishing seventh. But was eliminated from contention at Martinsville by a crash – placing 25th. He now sits sixth, 15 points back from Hill, who holds that fourth and final Championship 4 slot.

 

Ankrum has made one visit to ISM Raceway, placing an impressive sixth in the second of two starts he made last season.

 

ISM Raceway’s history in setting the Championship 4

This season marks the fourth year the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Trucks Series has used the elimination-style postseason format to crown a champion. And in each season, ISM Raceway has served as the penultimate race – setting the Championship 4 field that will race for the title in Miami.

 

Here’s a look at how the Valley of the Sun played a role in the Playoff madness the past three seasons:

 

2016 – Entering the final race in the Round of 6, only Johnny Sauter had clinched a spot in the Championship 4 after winning both Martinsville and Texas to open the round. At the start of the race, William Byron, Christopher Bell and Matt Crafton held the other three Championship 4 slots based on points – and all were separated by only four points. And they held those spots by the narrowest of margins, as Timothy Peters sat just one point behind Crafton in fifth. It proved to be a heartbreaking day for current Monster Energy Series driver Byron – as a late-race engine failure relegated him to a 27th-place result and knocked him out of championship contention. Sauter would go on to win his first series title the following week.

 

2017 – Once again, Johnny Sauter won a pair of races in the Round of 6 to lock himself into the Championship 4 – but this year is was Texas and Phoenix where he prevailed. He was the lone driver locked into the Miami title bout entering the race at ISM Raceway, and Christopher Bell, Matt Crafton and Austin Cindric held the other three spots on points entering the desert showdown. And when the dust settled, Sauter, Bell, Crafton and Cindric were the foursome who moved on to contend for the championship. Bell would come out on top in South Florida a week later.

 

2018 – Last year, the Gander Trucks drove into Phoenix needing to fill two spots in the Championship 4 – as Johnny Sauter had won at Martinsville while Justin Haley was victorious in Texas. Brett Moffitt and Noah Gragson had just under a 20-point hold over fifth place for the other two slots based on points entering Friday night’s race. And at the end of the evening, a win by Moffitt secured his Miami title berth and Gragson held on to fourth in points. Moffitt then went on to win his first championship, racing for Hattori Racing Enterprises at the time (he’s now with GMS Racing).

 

Spoilers prevailing in the Round of 6

Todd Gilliland became the second winner in as many Round of 6 races to capture his first NASCAR national series win and play the spoiler – preventing a Playoff driver from locking themselves into the Championship 4 by visiting Victory Lane.

 

A week earlier, it was Spencer Boyd who upset the field and took the checkered flag at Talladega Superspeedway.

 

Since the elimination-style postseason format was introduced in the Gander Trucks in 2016, there hasn’t been a round of three races completed without at least one Playoff driver earning a win. That would all change if one of the six remaining Playoff contenders doesn’t win at ISM Raceway next weekend.

 

And it’s entirely possible that a spoiler will prevail again in the desert. Brett Moffitt is the lone Playoff contender who has won at the one-mile circuit. And Johnny Sauter is the only other 2019 regular racer who has won there.

 

If a third straight driver captures their first career Gander Trucks win at ISM Raceway, they would be the sixth driver to do so at that track:

 

Mike Skinner – 1995

Jack Sprague – 1996

Kevin Harvick – 2002

Erik Jones – 2013

Daniel Suarez – 2016

 

Champs’ history at ISM Raceway

Last year Brett Moffitt won at ISM Raceway and then went on to win at Homestead-Miami Speedway to capture his first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship.

 

And that marked the first time since Ron Hornaday Jr. won the spring 1998 race, when the Gander Trucks last competed twice per season at the track, that the series champion won at ISM en route to the championship. In fact, it also happened in 1995 (Mike Skinner swept the races) and 1997 (Jack Sprague won the April race).

 

The records show – if you’re good enough to win in Phoenix at some point in your career, then you’re good enough to win the series title. Of the 17 individual drivers who have won a Gander Trucks championship, more than half (nine) have recorded at least one win at ISM Raceway in their career.

 

That includes three of the past four series titleholders – Moffitt (2018), Johnny Sauter (2016 champion) and Erik Jones (2015 champion).

 

Part-timers looking to play spoiler with Toyota teams in Phoenix

Kyle Busch Motorsports and DGR-Crosley will yield six drivers between them who are running the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series on a part-time basis this season – and the drivers combine for three total previous starts at ISM Raceway. The drivers are listed below in numerical order by truck number.

 

Dylan Lupton – No. 5 DGR-Crosley Toyota: The 25-year-old driver will be making his sixth start of the season – and is scheduled to finish out the season in this truck at Miami, as well. He’s recorded a top five (Kentucky) and three top 10s in his five starts this year. Lupton has one start at ISM Raceway – recording a 19th-place finish in 2016.

 

Tanner Gray – No. 7 DGR-Crosley Toyota: The 2018 NHRA Pro Stock champion made his NASCAR national series debut two races ago at Martinsville – spending a chunk of the race in the top 10 before being collected in a last-lap incident that left him with a 20th-place finish. Of note – the No. 7 will be making its debut on a DGR-Crosley truck as the team fields five entries this weekend. Gray will, however, be working with the same crew chief (Seth Smith) and team he had behind him at Martinsville while driving the No. 15.

 

Anthony Alfredo – No. 15 DGR-Crosley Toyota: Alfredo has made 11 starts this year, posting a pair of top-10 finishes at Charlotte (eighth) and Chicago (ninth). His last race was Talladega, where he finished 15th. The 20-year-old has one NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win to his credit – last year at South Boston. This weekend will be his first trip to ISM Raceway.

 

Chandler Smith – No. 46 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota: If you’ve been following the ARCA Menards Series the past two seasons, you know the name Chandler Smith. The 17-year-old has been limited in race opportunities due to age restrictions, but he has been a shining star when he makes it onto the track. In 20 total ARCA starts he has seven wins – including five in 11 starts this season. He also has 14 top fives and 19 top 10s in those 20 appearances. This season he’s made three Gander Trucks starts – finishing eighth (Iowa), fourth (World Wide Technology Raceway) and second (Bristol).

 

Brandon Jones – No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota: Jones, a NASCAR Xfinity Series regular with Joe Gibbs Racing who made the Playoffs this season but was knocked out of the opening round, will be making his fifth Gander Trucks start of the season. In four races this season he has a pair of top fives, including a runner-up at Chicago. He has a pair of previous starts at ISM Raceway, with a best finish of 12th in 2014.

 

Natalie Decker – No. 54 DGR-Crosley Toyota: Decker will be making her track debut at ISM Raceway this Friday. She has the most races under her belt this season of the above group, with 17 starts, but has had a rough go of it – exiting nine races early due to a crash or mechanical issue. In the other eight races, she has an average finish of 17.4 and has a best finish of 13th at Las Vegas in the spring.

 

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, Etc.

Ty Majeski to make Gander Trucks debut: NASCAR Next alum Ty Majeski will make his Gander Trucks debut this weekend for Niece Motorsports in the No. 44 Chevrolet. Majeski has 15 NASCAR Xfinity starts to his credit, all with Roush Fenway Racing, posting three top 10s. He also has 15 starts in the ARCA Menards Series across three seasons…and recorded wins in three of six races entered this season (Charlotte, Pocono, Chicago).

 

Jesse Little back in the truck: Jesse Little and JJL Motorsports return to the track for their first start since Bristol in August – and they plan to finish out the season by racing at ISM Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Little has posted seven top 10s in 30 series starts. This season, he recorded a best finish of 13th at the spring Texas race.

 

Parade Laps: Insights ahead of this week’s driver media breakouts  

Five drivers from the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series – ThorSport Racing driver Matt Crafton, Hattori Racing Enterprises driver Austin Hill, GMS Racing driver Brett Moffitt, Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Todd Gilliland and DGR-Crosley driver Tyler Ankrum will participate in the media breakouts this weekend at ISM Raceway. These five drivers are preparing for the Lucas Oil 150 this Friday, November 8, at 8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. 

 

Matt Crafton (No. 88 ThorSport Racing Ford F-150)

Birthdate: July 11, 1976

Driver’s Age: 42

Hometown: Tulare, California

Hobbies: Riding Glamis dunes in sand rails, karting

Crew Chief: Carl Joiner Jr.

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • In 2018, he finished sixth in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series points standings, his 12th consecutive season inside the top 10 in points. He also clinched his third-straight Playoff berth based on points performance but was eliminated in the Round of 6.
  • In 2017, he finished fourth in the Gander Trucks championship point standings making the Championship 4 for the second straight season.
  • In 2016, he scored a berth in the inaugural NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs and made it into the Championship 4 but ultimately finished runner-up in the final standings.
  • In 2015, he led series with career-best six wins, finishing third in the championship point standings.
  • In 2013 and 2014, he became the first driver in NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series history to win back-to-back championships.
  • In 2008, he earned his first career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series win at Charlotte.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Currently fifth in Playoff competition, 45 points behind the series standings leader Brett Moffitt and 11 points behind Austin Hill in fourth 
  • This is Crafton’s fourth consecutive career Gander Trucks Playoff appearance. 
  • Through 21 races this season, Crafton has posted six top fives, 16 top 10s and three poles (Kansas, Charlotte, Talladega).
  • Has led 35 of 3,007 laps completed
  • 2019 average starting position, 7.1 and average finishing position, 9.3.

ISM Raceway Performance:

  • Crafton has made 18 series starts at ISM Raceway posting six top-five finishes. 
  • Has led 16 laps at the famed short track
  • Average starting position of 8.1 and average finish of 10.0.

 

Todd Gilliland (No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra)

Birthdate: May 15, 2000

Driver’s Age: 19

Hometown: Sherrills Ford, NC

Hobbies: Video games, Spending time with family & friends

Team: Kyle Busch Motorsports

Crew Chief: Wes Ward

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • Scored first career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series win in 2019 (Martinsville).
  • In 2018, he competed in 19 races finishing 10th in the championship points after posting four top fives and nine top 10s.
  • In 2017, he made his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series debut at Dover International Speedway for Kyle Busch Motorsports. In total, made six starts, posting two top fives and three top 10s.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Currently 11th in NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series driver championship point standings
  • In 21 starts this season he has posted one win (Martinsville), six top fives and 13 top 10s. 
  • 2019 average starting position, 7.9 and average finishing position, 10.6.
  • He has led 71 laps this season.

ISM Raceway Performance:

  • He has two Gander Trucks start at ISM Raceway, he finished seventh in 2017 and 17th in 2018.
  • Won K&N Pro Series West race at ISM Raceway in 2015 

 

Austin Hill (No. 16 Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota Tundra)

Birthdate: April 21, 1994

Driver’s Age: 25

Hometown: Winston, GA

Hobbies: Hunting, spending time with family and boating

Crew Chief: Scott Zipadelli

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • Scored first three career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series wins in 2019 (Daytona, Michigan, Las Vegas).
  • Finished 11th in 2018 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Championship points, his first full season.
  • In 2017, he joined Young’s Motorsports and made 12 starts finishing a then career-best 23rd in the final standings.
  • In 2016, he posted his first top-10 finish in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (Martinsville).
  • In 2014, he made his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series debut at Martinsville Speedway.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Heads to ISM Raceway seeded fourth in the Gander Trucks Playoffs standings; nine points ahead of fifth place Matt Crafton.
  • This is his first career Gander Trucks Playoff appearance. 
  • Through 21 races this season, Hill has put up three wins (Daytona, Michigan, Las Vegas), six top fives, 12 top 10s and two poles (Chicago, Pocono).
  • Has led 153 laps.
  • 2019 average starting position, 9.2 and average finishing position, 13.1.

IMS Raceway Performance:

  • Hill has two starts at ISM Raceway – finishing 23rd (2017) and 30th (2018).

 

Tyler Ankrum (No. 17 DGR-Crosley Toyota Tundra)

Birthdate: March 6, 2001

Driver’s Age: 18

Hometown: San Bernardino, California

Crew Chief: Kevin Manion

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • Clinched the 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors by becoming the only rookie to make the Playoffs.
  • Due to age restrictions, Ankrum missed the first three races of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series season before turning 18-years old in March.
  • Made Gander Trucks debut on Oct. 27, 2018 at Martinsville Speedway driving for DGR-Crosley; he started 19th and finished 18th.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Heads to Phoenix as the sixth and final seed in the Gander Trucks Playoff standings, 15 points behind Austin Hill in the fourth and final transfer spot. 
  • Ankrum has clinched the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the series for 2019 because he is the only rookie this season to make the Playoffs.  
  • Through the first 21 races of the season Ankrum has only competed in 18 of the events due to being too young to compete at the beginning of the season.
  • In his 18 starts he has posted one win (Kentucky), three top fives and eight top 10s. 
  • Has led 58 of 2,301 laps completed.
  • 2019 average starting position, 10.9 and average finishing position, 14.3

ISM Raceway Performance:

  • Has one start at ISM Raceway, posting a sixth-place finish in 2018.

 

Brett Moffitt (No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet Silverado)

Birthdate: August 7, 1992

Driver’s Age: 27

Hometown: Grimes, Iowa

Team: GMS Racing

Crew Chief: Jerry Baxter

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • Last season, Moffitt drove Hattori Racing Enterprise’s No. 16 Toyota to six wins, leading the way for the first career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship for both Moffitt and HRE.
  • Won his first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race in 2016, taking home the checkers at Michigan for Red Horse Racing.
  • Made the most of his six NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts in 2016, with three top-three finishes and four top 10s.
  • In 2013, entered the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series scene with a pair of starts (Kentucky and Michigan).

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Won the NASCAR Ganders Outdoors Truck Series races at Iowa, Chicagoland, Bristol, and Canadian Tire.
  • Currently the top seed in the Round of 6 with 3,107 points – 10 points ahead of second-place Stewart Friesen and 45 points ahead of fifth place Matt Crafton.
  • In 21 starts this season he has posted four victories, 12 top fives and 15 top 10s with an average starting position of 4.1 and finish of 9.0.
  • Has led 449 of the 2,960 laps completed this season.

Martinsville Speedway Performance:

  • Moffitt – in his first NGOTS start at the track - won at ISM Raceway last season (2018).

 

NEWS AND NOTES   NEWS AND NOTESNEWS AND NOTES   NEWS AND NOTES

NASCAR

NASCAR and Rev Racing Announce 2020 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Team

Mix of Rev Racing Veterans and Newcomers Selected to Drive ARCA Menards Series and Late Model Cars Next Season

                                   

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (November 20, 2019) – Following a national search for top diverse driver talent, NASCAR and Rev Racing today announced the six ethnically diverse and female drivers selected to the 2020 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program. 

 

The program’s newest class features five drivers who will make their return to Rev Racing next season including Chase Cabre, Nicholas Sanchez, Gracie Trotter, Rajah Caruth and Isabella Robusto. Late model driver Perry Patino will make his debut with NASCAR Drive for Diversity in 2020.

 

Caruth and Robusto competed in the 2019 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Youth Driver Development Program and raced Legends cars for Rev Racing at this year’s Bojangles’ Summer Shootout in Charlotte, N.C. They also ran five other races with Rev Racing as part of the youth program.

 

“We are very enthusiastic about the progress we continue to make with the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program, and the 2020 class exemplifies the evolution of the program,” said Jusan Hamilton, Director, Racing Operations and Event Management at NASCAR. “We were extremely impressed with the confidence, competitive drive and raw talent of the drivers that competed at this year’s combine, which made the selection process challenging for us. Our partners at Rev Racing work hard every year to develop the best diverse drivers around the world. To see familiar faces in this class that have grown and advanced through the youth ranks of the program bolsters our belief that we will see some of these same drivers at the top levels of NASCAR in the future.”     

  

The six drivers were selected from a group of invitees that competed in the two-day NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Combine in October at Daytona International Speedway and New Smyrna Speedway.

The combine included fitness assessments and evaluations of each driver’s marketing and media skills. The on-track portion tested the drivers’ abilities behind the wheel and proficiencies in late model stock cars. Representatives from NASCAR and Rev Racing were on-hand to evaluate the talent and determine the 2020 team.

 

"We have seen great success this past year with our drivers having multiple wins in every series we participated in this season," said Max Siegel, Owner of Rev Racing. "Our returning drivers have certainly set the bar high. We are all excited to welcome the new members of this year’s class to the Rev Racing family and continue the momentum moving into the 2020 season."

 

Caruth, Patino, Robusto and Trotter will compete in a NASCAR Late Model, while Cabre and Sanchez will compete in the ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Showdown Series in 2020.

Competing in a late model stock car will be a first for drivers like Caruth, whose background is in iRacing and Robusto who has experience racing Legends cars.

 

Rajah Caruth will become the first driver with an iRacing background to be selected for the program. He is a product of the eNASCAR IGNITE Series – a first-of-its kind esports competition created to identify young talent by providing a low barrier of entry to the sport.

 

NASCAR Drive for Diversity provides opportunities for women and minorities to pursue career opportunities in NASCAR in the driver’s seat and on pit crews through the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Development Program and off the track through the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program.

 

The 2020 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development team includes:

 

  • Chase Cabre: The 22-year-old from Tampa, Fla., will join Rev Racing for his fourth-consecutive racing season and compete in the ARCA Menards Series East. Cabre won twice in 2019 in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.

 

  • Rajah Caruth: In just 42 starts, Caruth, 17, of Washington, D.C., has twice won races in the eNASCAR IGNITE Series, driving the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1/Ford Mustang. Additionally, he earned two heat wins with Rev Racing in the 2019 Bojangles’ Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  

 

  • Perry Patino: The 20-year-old, Montgomery, Ala. native will join Rev Racing for the first time with one Limited Late Model win at Montgomery Speedway and the 2018 Limited Late Model championship under his belt.

 

  • Isabella Robusto: The 15-year-old won the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout in the Semi-Pro class in 2019 and finished second in Semi-Pro points. The Fort Mill, S.C., native was honored with the Young Racer award at the 2018 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Awards.

 

  • Nicholas Sanchez: The 18-year-old Miami native returns to Rev Racing for his fourth-consecutive season after winning at Myrtle Beach Speedway and Langley Speedway in a Late Model Stock Car in 2019.

 

  • Gracie Trotter: Denver, N.C. native, Gracie Trotter, 18, returns to Rev Racing as the 2019 Winter Heat Series champion at Charlotte Motor Speedway. She also won Round 5 of the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout in the Semi-Pro Division.

 

 

NASCAR, Dixie Vodka Announce Multi-Year Partnership

Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway Will Commemorate Track’s 25th Anniversary Season;

Partnership Includes Unique Assets Across Iconic NASCAR Tracks Daytona International Speedway and Richmond Raceway

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 13, 2019) – NASCAR and Dixie Vodka announced today a multi-year official partnership, designating the American-made craft spirit brand as the “Official Vodka of NASCAR.” Central to the agreement, Dixie Vodka will sponsor the NASCAR Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway next season, commemorating the track’s 25th anniversary.

 

Launched in 2014 by Grain & Barrel Spirits, Dixie Vodka is the largest premium craft vodka produced in the Southeast and includes a lineup of six unique expressions all representing the best of Southern flavor and craftmanship. The South Carolina-based brand is one of the fastest-growing spirit brands in the United States and recently expanded its distribution footprint west of the Mississippi.

 

“Dixie Vodka is entering the sport with an integrated industry approach, introducing its product to a national fan base that actively supports partners of the sport,” said Daryl Wolfe, executive vice president and chief operations and sales officer, NASCAR. “NASCAR is rooted in heritage and tradition, beginning as a regional sport that eventually grew into a global property. Our new partners have emulated that approach and are utilizing this partnership to expand Dixie’s presence and brand awareness.”

 

For its first taste of NASCAR, Dixie Vodka will join NASCAR Champion’s Week celebrations at the Fan Fest in Nashville, serving cocktails in Music City’s Riverfront Park alongside all 16 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs race cars and other fan displays Dec. 3 - 5.

 

“Our goal from day one has been to align with partners who share our mission of promoting the best of our region's wonderful hospitality, flavors and craftsmanship,” said Matti Christian Anttila, founder of Dixie Vodka and CEO of Grain & Barrel Spirits. “NASCAR is an iconic brand that has grown from southern roots into a national sport watched by millions of people every race day. This partnership allows us to speak directly to that amazing fanbase, introducing them to the best of the flavors of the south and the heart and soul we put into every single bottle of Dixie Vodka. We’ll toast to that.”

 

The Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 22, 2020 will help celebrate the track’s 25th anniversary season. As part of the event, Dixie Vodka will be featured at bars throughout the racetrack, serving cocktails that showcase the brand’s expressions – Southern, Black Pepper, Peach, Wildflower Honey, Citrus and Mint.

 

“Dixie Vodka aligns perfectly with what Miami and Homestead-Miami Speedway are all about,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Al Garcia. “Not only can our fans witness some of the most exciting racing in NASCAR, but we also have tremendous amenities throughout our facility that they are able to experience as well. It’s all about fun, and that’s what Homestead-Miami Speedway and Dixie Vodka will offer all of our guests. We are thrilled about this new partnership as we commemorate the 25th anniversary of our venue.”

 

At the start of the 2020 season, fans will have the opportunity to taste Dixie Vodka and a lineup of its all-American cocktails at the Dixie Vodka-branded bar at Daytona International Speedway. Additionally, fans will be able to celebrate every win at Richmond Raceway from the Dixie Vodka Victory Lane Club, which provides unprecedented access to the action in the infield.

 

As part of the partnership, Dixie Vodka also becomes the Official Vodka of the DAYTONA 500, Daytona International Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Richmond Raceway.

 

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs concludes at Homestead-Miami Speedway with the Ford EcoBoost 400 Sunday, Nov. 17 at 3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

 

Finalists Announced for The NASCAR Foundation’s

9th Annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award

  • On-Line Fan Voting to Run Until Dec. 3
  • Winner’s Charity to Receive $100,000 Donation from The NASCAR Foundation
  • Award to be Presented at Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards Dec. 5 in Nashville

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 8, 2019) – The NASCAR Foundation announced the four finalists for the Ninth Annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award on Friday, initiating a month-long on-line fan vote to determine the award winner.

 

The finalists were introduced during a news conference at ISM Raceway in Avondale, Arizona, prior to Sunday’s Bluegreen Vacations 500, the finale of the “Round of 8” in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

 

The award, named in honor of the foundation’s late founder and chairwoman, is presented to a NASCAR fan who has done exceptional volunteer work on behalf of children in their community. Results of the fan vote – which begins today and runs through Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. (ET), conducted at NASCARfoundation.org/Award – will be announced on Dec. 5 during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards at Music City Center in Nashville. The NASCAR Foundation will donate $100,000 to the charity represented by the award winner and $25,000 to each of the other three finalists’ charities.

 

Those finalists:

 

  • Bob Behounek of Berwyn, Illinois, a NASCAR fan for 56 years representing Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. Behounek, an artist, has volunteered for 13 years, raising funds to help families of hospitalized children with housing needs during extended hospital stays.
  • Angela Hamby of Locust, North Carolina, a 40-year NASCAR fan representing the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte. She has volunteered for 12 years as head nurse for Camp Horizon, which serves children with Down syndrome.
  • Todd Smith of Perris, California, a NASCAR fan since 2007 (when he attended his first race at Auto Club Speedway) who represents Fuel for Success, a national organization founded by Smith. He has volunteered for 12 years, introducing at-risk students to NASCAR while fostering better relationships between students and police officers.
  • Joe Vaughn of Woodruff, South Carolina, a NASCAR fan of 45 years representing Project HOPE Foundation of Greenville, South Carolina. Vaughn is the chairman of Project HOPE, which serves children with autism.

 

“Avid NASCAR fans; that’s the best way to begin when describing this year’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award finalists,” said The NASCAR Foundation Chairman Mike Helton. “Each one represents what Betty Jane France stood for and what she wanted this award to be: a recognition of people who love our sport but also love the charities they are passionate about.

 

“These finalists are folks who root for their favorite drivers on race day but every day – 365 days a year – they’re out there rooting for the children in their community, working hard to better children’s lives. This year’s group of finalists is exceptional. Picking one to vote for will be tough for our fans.”

 

Since the award’s inception, The NASCAR Foundation has impacted the lives of more than 300,000 children by providing nearly $1.5 million in contributions to charities represented by finalists for the award.

 

To learn more about The NASCAR Foundation’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award and the 2019 finalists, visit NASCARfoundation.org/Award.

 

 

NASCAR and HotelPlanner Ink Multi-Year Deal

Leading Online Hotel Booking Platform to Serve as

the ‘Official Online Booking Partner of NASCAR’

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 4, 2019) – NASCAR announced today a multi-year partnership with HotelPlanner, designating the company as the “Official Online Booking Partner of NASCAR®.” HotelPlanner, the leading online seller of group hotel bookings and individual hotel stays worldwide, has been serving travelers since 2002 and will now offer its travel hotel booking platform for NASCAR’s corporate offices, and serve as a valued resource for the industry and fans.

 

As a key part of the partnership, HotelPlanner will have a customized hotel booking platform on NASCAR.com enabling the industry and fans to conveniently book hotels for upcoming race weekends at the lowest available price. In the coming weeks, NASCAR fans, the most brand loyal in all sports, can look for special deal packages and sweepstakes on NASCAR.com via HotelPlanner.

 

“As a customer-centric organization, we look forward to enhancing the lodging experience for millions of passionate NASCAR fans in the United States and abroad,” said Tim Hentschel, co-founder and CEO, HotelPlanner. “Our customized booking solution will make it easier than ever to book travel lodging for race days.”

 

HotelPlanner’s customized hotel booking solution is now available for NASCAR’s three national series – Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series™, NASCAR Xfinity Series™ and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series™ as well as NASCAR’s regional series – K&N Pro Series East and West™, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour™, NASCAR Pinty’s Series™, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series™ and NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series™.

 

“NASCAR is truly a global sport, sanctioning races across the country as well as in Canada, Mexico and Europe,” said Jon Tuck, chief revenue officer, NASCAR. “With years of experience in customized hotel booking, HotelPlanner will be a tremendous resource for our industry and provide our fans with a convenient, streamlined process to book lodging at NASCAR events throughout the year.”

 

HotelPlanner.com provides its hotel booking technology expertise to over five million customers globally while servicing an estimated $10 billion in hotel sourcing efforts in 2019. In addition to NASCAR, HotelPlanner partners with renowned sports teams and leagues, most notably, the NFL’s Washington Redskins, USA Triathlon and Street League Skateboarding.

 

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs will continue at ISM Raceway this weekend for the Bluegreen Vacations 500 (Nov. 10 at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, SiriusXM and MRN), the Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 (Nov. 9 at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC, SiriusXM, and MRN) and the Lucas Oil 150 (Nov. 8 at 8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, SiriusXM and MRN), respectively.

 

 

 

 

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