Brett has been following the sport of NASCAR since the beginning of the 2006 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Since Brett was 13, he has had a passion of chasing a job in sports that not many get the opportunity of doing. He has been in the NASCAR media since the middle of the 2010 season. Since then, he has been a part of many racing podcast shows to improve his talents. You can find him on twitter @NASCAR_Brett.
ARCA East: Taylor Gray Captures Jeep Beach 175 Pole
Taylor Gray won the pole for Monday’s Jeep Beach 175 at New Smyrna Speedway, piloting the No. 17 Ford Performance Ford with owner David Gilliland. Gray, from North Carolina, secured his second career front row start across the East and West division at the 0.480-mile oval with a time of 18.768s / 92.072 mph.
Earlier in the day in final practice, Gray sat third quickest on the leaderboard behind practice leader Sammy Smith. Smith, piloting the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, will start ninth while second quickest Parker Retzlaff will start sixth.
Max Gutierrez will start beside Gray in the No. 30 Tough Built Ford. The Mexico City native will make his fourth career start across the East and West divisions. The 18-year old sat sixth fastest in the one and only practice.
Joey Iest will round out the top three starters in Monday’s East season opener. Iest enters the night making his first career appearance in the ARCA Menards Series East with four starts in the West division in 2020. Iest sat fourth fastest in final practice.
Jack Wood and Mason Diaz will round out the top five starters.
Chuck Buchanan crashed hard into turn one after completing his first of two laps.
The Jeep Beach 175 will air live on TrackPass NBC Sports Gold at 7:30 p.m. ET.
NASCAR Announces 2021 Stage Lengths
NASCAR announced stage lengths for the upcoming season for all three of their national series on Monday. The sanctioning body also announced technical rules ahead of the dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 28.
Despite today’s announcement, NASCAR has yet to determine stage lengths for the inaugural event at Circuit of The Americas - a 3.426-mile road course in Austin, TX. They have also not determined stage lengths for the annual NCS All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Other inaugural events on the Cup Series schedule include Road America, Nashville Superspeedway, Bristol race on dirt, and IMS road course.
Such as the Cup Series schedule, NASCAR has yet to announce stage lengths for the inaugural NXS and NCWTS events at Circuit of The Americas. Some other new tracks on the truck series schedule in 2021 include Knoxville and Watkins Glen Int’l.
The NXS and NCWTS series will return to Nashville Superspeedway after a 10-year hiatus.
Joe Gibbs Racing Announces '21 Crew Chief Lineup
Joe Gibbs Racing overhauled its NASCAR XFINITY and NASCAR Cup Series crew chief lineups ahead of the 2021 season, the team announced Tuesday.
Chris Gabehart will stay with Denny Hamlin while James Small will remain with Martin Truex Jr. in cup. Ben Beshore will lead the No. 18 Toyota with Kyle Busch while Adam Stevens will now lead the No. 20 Toyota with Christopher Bell.
CHRIS GABEHART (NO CHANGE)
MARTIN TRUEX JR.
JAMES SMALL (NO CHANGE)
Jason Ratcliff will return to Joe Gibbs Racing to lead the No. 20 Toyota with Harrison Burton in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Dave Rogers will lead the No. 18 Toyota with driver Daniel Hemric while Jeff Meendering will continue leading the No. 19 team with driver Brandon Jones.
Joe Gibbs Racing will field a fourth NASCAR XFINITY Series entry in 2021 with multiple drivers. Chris Gayle will lead this team from the pit box.
DAVE ROGERS (NO CHANGE)
JEFF MEENDERING (NO CHANGE)
“We go through a process at the conclusion of every season that includes evaluating each of our teams,” said Joe Gibbs, Owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “We believe our crew chief lineup for 2021 will best position each team and driver for success across both series. We take a lot of pride in our depth of talent across our entire organization. All of our crew chiefs are proven winners. We are also looking forward to bringing the No. 54 Toyota Supra back to the track in 2021 with an exciting team of drivers.”
The 2021 driver lineup for the fourth NASCAR XFINITY Series entry will be announced at a later date.
John Hunter Nemechek informed Front Row Motorsports that he will not return in 2021. The move is just one of several dominoes to fall surrounding NASCAR Silly Season on Monday.
Bob Jenkins, the owner of Front Row Motorsports, issued the following statement:
“We want to thank John Hunter for being a part of Front Row Motorsports and beginning his NASCAR Cup Series career with us. He certainly helped elevate our performance this past season and brought added value to our No. 38 team. We wish him the best in the next phase in his career and he will always be a friend of ours.”
The team says it will announce plans to fill the vacancy at a future date.
It is unknown where John Hunter Nemechek will go.
Statement from Nemechek:
“I’m so thankful for the chance that Bob Jenkins, Jerry Freeze and all our partners took on myself this past season. I would like to thank every employee for the opportunity and the hard work that they put into myself and the No. 38 team at Front Row Motorsports. I am grateful for my time, relationships, and all the knowledge I have gained. I appreciate the patience of our fans, with future plans to be announced at a later date.”
Nemechek made three starts for the team in 2019 before joining Front Row Motorsports full time in 2020. The son of veteran racer Joe Nemechek scored three top 10 finishes for the two-car Cup Series operation.
Our Motorsports unveiled Thursday that Brett Moffitt will pilot the No. 02 Chevrolet full-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2021. The Iowa native made 29 starts with the team in 2020, earning one top-five and seven top 10s.
Moffitt finished his third consecutive full-time season in the NASCAR Gander & RV Outdoors Truck Series with GMS Racing. There, Moffitt posted a victory along with 10 top-five and 16 top 10 finishes and contested for a championship in the season finale at Phoenix. Ultimately, Moffitt finished the season third out of the four Playoff drivers.
“We all believe in winning. We are all competitors and we want to win,” Moffitt told SiriusXMNASCAR on Thursday. “We don’t have the backing that a Joe Gibbs Racing or a Hendrick Motorsports or JRM has, but I believe in the people and I think we’re making the right steps to move forward as competitive as ever.”
Moffit is not a new name in NASCAR.
The 27-year-old has 45 career starts in the NASCAR Cup Series spanning from 2014 through 2017 with several teams. The driver from Grimes, Iowa, captured the Truck Series championship in 2018 with Hattori Racing Enterprises. Moffitt was asked about how coming up through the sport has worked out for him schedule-wise.
“Yeah. 100%,” said Moffitt. “A crap show is the best way I would describe it. That’s part of the sport. You gotta take the opportunities that are given to you and you gotta weigh those opportunities and see what matters most. I’m not behind schedule by any means if you asked the 16-year-old Brett Moffitt. I’m doing everything I can to serve and be in competitive equipment. I just wanna go out there and race at the end of the day.”
Mike Beam, President of GMS Racing, issued the following statement regarding today’s news:
“Brett Moffitt will not be returning to GMS Racing for the 2021 season. We can't thank Moffitt enough for his commitment to GMS over the past two years. We wish him the best of luck at Our Motorsports next year.”
“I look forward to it,” Moffitt said when asked about building Our Motorsports up. “I look forward to seeing what our potential is with this team. I feel like we’re doing all the right steps, but it is gonna be a challenge, and I look forward to that challenge.”
Crew chief Joe Williams led the No. 02 Our Motorsports Chevrolet from the pit box in 2020. The single-car entry owned by Chris Our featured three other drivers throughout their inaugural season.
NCS: NASCAR to Hold Two-Day Next-Gen Test at Charlotte Motor Speedway
NASCAR announced Wednesday that the sanctioning body will host a two-day Next-Gen test at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday, November 16 and Wednesday, November 18. The first day will feature laps on the road course while the second day will feature laps on the oval.
The test will resume preparation for the Next-Gen car set to debut in 2022. NASCAR was going to debut the car in 2021, but with the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of on-track testing, it forced NASCAR to postpone its debut.
Drivers Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. will take part in the two-day test.
Media will be allowed to attend the first day of testing from 2-7 p.m. on Monday.
Testing will run from 1:00 p.m. ET. to 9:00 p.m. ET.
The ARCA Menards Series West tackled the one-mile Phoenix Raceway for their season finale on Saturday. David Gilliland, passing leader Ty Gibbs on the last lap, led 23 of the 100 circuits to score his fifth career West victory. Meanwhile, 15-year-old Jesse Love captured the 2020 series championship by winning three of the 11 races.
Gibbs, leading 75 of the 100 laps, finished in the runner-up spot. The driver of the No. 18 Toyota started the event third.
Taking home the third spot in the Arizona Lottery 100 at Phoenix Raceway was Taylor Gray, earning his third top-five finish of the year.
Todd Gilliland and Drew Dollar rounded out the top five.
Taking home top 10s were Justin Lofton, Trevor Huddleston, Corey Heim, Gracie Trotter, and Keith Rocco.
Gilliland’s win did not come easy for the veteran racer and team owner on Saturday. Late in the event while leading the field, Gilliland had to serve a pass-through penalty for changing lanes before the start-finish line. Though it wasn’t long before Gilliland made the ground up to put himself back into contention for the victory.
The California native now has 22 top-fives and 28 top 10 finishes through 50 career West starts.
Jesse Love and Blaine Perkins entered Saturday with a shot of winning the ARCA Menards Series West title at Phoenix. Despite all the scenarios in place, Love had one goal in mind: finish ahead of Perkins.
Perkins did not have a result they expected as he fell out of the race on lap 67 due to the engine expiring. The 25th-place finish allowed Love, finishing 14th on the leaderboard, to clinch the series title.
Along with three victories, Love captured nine top fives and 10 top 10 finishes in 2020.
The Arizona Lottery 100 will air Wednesday, November 11th at 6:00 p.m. ET. on NBCSN.
NASCAR announced Monday in a statement that they will issue no penalties to the No. 20 NASCAR Cup Series team or Joe Gibbs Racing following Sunday’s penultimate race at Martinsville Speedway.
NASCAR reviewed a situation in Sunday’s race where Erik Jones did not pass teammate Denny Hamlin for position in the closing laps. NASCAR reviewed in-car radio chatter and on-track competition to reach its conclusion.
Statement from NASCAR:
“After conducting a review of the on-track competition and 20 team radio communication from Sunday’s race at Martinsville, NASCAR will not issue any penalties to the 20 team.”
It was also announced that Kevin Harvick will not be penalized for attempting to spin Kyle Busch on the last lap in an attempt to gain one more position.
From the rulebook:
7.5 PERFORMANCE OBLIGATION
.a NASCAR requires its Competitor(s) to race at 100% of their ability with the goal of achieving their best possible finishing position in the Event.
.b Any Competitor(s) who takes action with the intent to Artificially Alter the finishing positions of the Event or encourages, persuades or induces others to Artificially Alter the finishing positions of the Event shall be subject to a penalty from NASCAR, as specified in Section 12 Violations and Disciplinary Action.
.c "Artificially Alter" shall be defined as actions by any Competitor(s) that show or suggest that the Competitor(s) did not race at 100% of their ability for the purpose of changing finishing positions in the Event, in NASCAR’s sole discretion.
Did NASCAR make the right call?
I think so.
Telling a driver not to pass a teammate differs from a teammate not in the Playoffs intentionally wrecking another competitor or Playoff driver. Or, in NASCAR’s judgment, crashing their own car to bring out a caution to help a teammate advance.
Where’s the line drawn?
The line gets crossed when a teammate not in the Playoffs wrecks another competitor in the Playoffs or wrecks themselves on purpose to bring out a yellow. Wrecking or wrecking someone else, under those circumstances, is a foolish thing to do.
What Harvick did on Sunday in my mind was 100% legal and going by NASCAR’s performance obligation, it encourages drivers to do so. Harvick was also on the same lap as Kyle Busch as he tried everything he could to gain one more valuable spot, penalizing himself in the end by spinning.
It’ll be interesting to see how this rule progresses. Does it get changed this offseason? It’s very doubtful as NASCAR designed the rule to protect the integrity of the sport. That said, the rule is admittingly difficult to enforce.
Austin Hill entered Martinsville Speedway on Friday with one goal in mind: win and race for a championship next weekend at Phoenix Raceway. Instead, engine issues impacted Hill and the No. 16 AISIN Group Toyota.
Hill started Martinsville third and finished stage one in 18th. He went on to finish 29th in stage two just prior going to the garage.
The run to the front of the field began quickly as he sat third with nine laps complete. He then fought loose conditions for the remainder of stage one.
In stage two, as engine issues took hold, Hill and crew chief Scott Zipadelli believed that a tire was going down on the Toyota Tundra. On lap 74 of 200, Hill reported over the team radio that he may have developed an engine issue. It wasn’t long before the team came to pit road and went behind the wall as a result, ending their chances of racing for a championship next week with a 35th-place finish.
“We aren’t 100% sure what happened, but it was definitely blowing up on us. The first stage, I thought we had a tire going down maybe. We lost some track position and then got back to the lucky dog and then as soon as I got to the lucky dog, we started blowing up,” said a frustrated Austin Hill after getting knocked out of the race. “It started cutting in and out, so I guess it’s those really great built Ilmor engines. They like to breathe fire. It’s just frustrating to potentially end your season on an engine failure like that.”
Hill captured the regular season championship and led the series driver standings in the first 16 of 17 races. The Georgia native believes they should definitely be in the final four racing for a championship next week at Phoenix.
“Everybody at HRE (Hattori Racing Enterprises), all of our partners, everyone that makes this deal happen deserves a lot better. We should definitely be in this final four. It’s frustrating. I can’t even put it in to words what I’m feeling right now.”
The driver started on the pole and finished 13th last season at Phoenix. The very next week at Homestead, Hill ended 2019 with a victory, earning valuable momentum for 2020.
NGROTS: Austin Wayne Self Scores Back to Back Top 10s, Looks Ahead to Phoenix Raceway
Austin Wayne Self ended Martinsville Speedway by scoring his second top 10 finish of 2020 on Friday under the lights. The driver from Austin, Texas, piloting the No. 22 Chevrolet took the small team to a ninth-place finish.
A week prior to Martinsville, at Texas Motor Speedway, Self took the small racing team to a seventh-place finish at his home track. The Texas native started 18th on the grid and finished stage one in 20th while finishing stage two in 19th.
“I’m super proud of this AM Racing team. We had such a strong and fast No. 22 GO TEXAN | AM Technical Solutions Chevrolet Silverado all night long,” said Self after the race. “We got off on strategy a little bit hoping to save a set of tires for the end of the race.”
Heading into the season finale next weekend at Phoenix, a one-mile oval, Self is quite proud of the team as they look to continue the momentum.
“Luckily, that caution came out and we came from the back of the lead lap group and got back to the top-10 but ran out of laps to finish better than ninth. Still, this finish is exactly what we were looking for. I had a lot of fun and I’m proud of Ryan (Salomon, crew chief) and all the AM Racing guys. Excited to go to Phoenix and end the year with a chance to chase another top-10 finish.”
Self capped stage one and stage two sitting 13th, same spot where he started.
In four career Gander & Outdoors Truck Series starts at Phoenix, Self’s best finish there came in November of 2019 of 18th. The year prior in 2018, the 24-year old posted a 19th-place finish.