Camping World Series News (5386)
Camping World Truck Series News
ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards graduate Justin Fontaine (@driverFontaine) will join Niece Motorsports (@NieceMotorsport) and contend for Rookie of the Year honors next season, piloting the No. 45 Chevrolet Silverado full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) beginning with the Feb. 16 running of the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
The 2018 season will mark Fontaine’s first full season of competition in the NCWTS.
He made the announcement live on SiriusXM Satellite Radio NASCAR channel 90 during The Morning Drive with hosts Mike Bagley and Pete Pistone.
“This is an exciting time in my career and I believe I’m ready for this next challenge with Niece Motorsports,” said Fontaine, a native of Asheville, N.C.
“I know I have a lot to learn, but with the leadership of Niece Motorsports and the support of my management team at AM Racing, I believe I can transition well and produce some good results in my rookie season.”
Fontaine, the cousin of NCWTS driver Chris Fontaine has three NCWTS starts to his credit, including one in 2017 for Niece Motorsports at Chicagoland Speedway.
To date, his best NCWTS finish came in his season debut at Pocono Raceway in Aug., where he earned a 15th-place finish.
The 20-year-old made his NCWTS debut in the fall of Oct. 2016 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
In addition to his NCWTS experience, Fontaine ran a partial ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season in 2017 for AM Racing’s development partner Win-Tron Racing.
Despite being injured in the open race of the ARCA Racing Series season, Fontaine only missed five races before returning to the tour in June at Elko (Minn.) Speedway, where he earned a solid 11th place finish. Overall, he picked up a career-best finish of ninth at the high-banks of Winchester (Ind.) Speedway and ended the year with a top-10 on the 1.5-mile track of Kentucky Speedway in the penultimate event of the season.
Fontaine started his racing career in 2008. With success in quarter midgets, he carefully moved up the racing ladder, competing in various racing divisions until his path led him to competing in Late Models across the Northeast in 2014.
From there, the North Carolinian moved into the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2016, shifting his concentration to ARCA and Trucks the following year.
Marketing partners and a crew chief for Fontaine will be named at a later date.
The marketing partnerships will be managed by AM Racing, as part of Fontaine’s management group, but hosted by Niece Motorsports.
“We are thrilled to have Justin join the team next season,” said team owner Al Niece. “In speaking with Justin, his excitement for the 2018 season is contagious.
“As a group we are really looking forward to getting this season started. There’s a lot of work to be done, but we have a solid group who’s ready to hit the ground running.”
Niece Motorsports PR
Since debuting in 2010, Kyle Busch Motorsports has quickly established itself as one of the most successful teams in all of NASCAR. When opening their new facility in Mooresville, North Carolina, they continued the momentum they wanted to ‘wow’ their fans by incorporating a 14-foot “welcome wall” of nine 55” HD monitors in the shop’s lobby. To ensure that staffers could control the showcase piece instantly and without hassle, technology integration firm Interactive Interiors installed an ELAN control solution to act as the brain of the entire system.
“Ryan Kingsbury, Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Manager, reached out to us to design and install a system that would allow him to control and automate the facility’s new high-end videowall, as well as all of the traditional audio and video throughout the building,” Interactive Interiors President Brian Berg said. “ELAN is the perfect automation system for this job. Ryan can change the content on the display instantly, and set it to automatically turn on or off depending on the day and time.”
Interactive Interiors installed an ELAN gSC10 controller paired with a Yamaha RXA840 receiver to communicate with Christie’s Phoenix software for control of the display. Kingsbury and his staff use an Apple iPad Mini mounted on a centrally-located wall in the gift shop as the central means of control.
“Our goal is to have fans come into the Motorsports shop and be totally immersed in a gorgeous showcase
display, which runs video of the team’s races on a loop,” Kingsbury explained. “The fact of the matter is that the success of this display largely depends on our ability to manage it. That’s why ELAN is so crucial. Turning it on or off, or changing the content, is as simple as tapping on a touch-screen. We can really use its full potential because of how easy it is to operate.”
The Interactive Interiors team also configured particular Event Maps through ELAN that automate the facility’s audio and video to automatically turn on and off during business hours. “ELAN makes the entire operation run smoothly,” Berg added. “Ryan and his staff do not need to think about managing the system on a daily basis. ELAN does it for them.”
According to Kingsbury, another benefit of integrating an ELAN system is the ability to easily expand the system. “Although we’re only controlling our audio and video right now, we know that ELAN always leaves room for more expansion in the future.”
Just days after racking in another solid NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) performance at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway to close his second season of competition, Austin Wayne Self (@AustinWSelf) has spent the last few days reflecting on a year filled with plenty of accomplishments and motivation.
The Austin, Texas native opened the year with a career-best runner-up performance at Daytona (Fla.) Speedway driving for AM Racing. Self was driving the team’s second truck as the Mooresville, N.C. organization debuted a second-truck for the event and tallied two top-10 efforts in the NextEra Energy Resources 250.
Despite the strong start to the year, Self’s schedule remained fluid for much of the opening races of the year until the driver partnered with Niece Motorsports and Martins Motorsports in a collaborative effort with Faith Motorsports to complete in a majority of the 2017 schedule.
From his debut at Kansas Speedway with Niece which kicked off with a solid top-15 performance to a 17th place result in the Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead with Martins Motorsports, the Texan showcased his talent and proved that that his sophomore season was no slump.
The 21-year-old would go on to race in four more races for AM Racing which ended with a ninth-place effort on the road course at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario.
In all, the former ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Rookie of the Year tallied one top-five, two top-10, eight top-15 and 13 top-20 finishes overall. Despite missing five races from February to Nov., Self still placed 15th overall in the championship standings.
“We certainly have a lot to be thankful for this season,” said Self. “To open our year up with a second-place finish at Daytona – almost a win. That’s pretty incredible. I was proud of that.
“We skipped a couple races and came back to Kansas with Niece and I think I proved to others that no matter what truck I’m in – I leave nothing on the table and work hard to develop the best finish possible week in and week out.”
Other highlights in the year included a 12th place result at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and the same at Texas Motor Speedway.
On his home turf at Texas Motor Speedway, Self saw the opportunity for at the time would have been his second top-10 finish of the season end in smoke and crunch after tangling with another truck on the last lap.
Still, despite the outcome, Self says it was one of the more pivotal races in 2017.
“When I look back at the spring in Texas, our truck was bad to the bone. We’re very grateful to have a truck that is backed with a lot of help from Texas-based partners and supporters and we were giving them a show.
“I was able to climb from the back and maintain a comfortable spot inside the top-10 until I spun on the last lap going for another position.
“I was pretty bummed afterwards, but my team rallied behind me and they told me they would rather me wreck a truck while going for seventh than bring home a truck hovering in 25th. I never forgot that and it was pretty much game on from there.”
With another solid effort to bring down the curtain to his sophomore season, Self says he’s eager to start working on next season – which was previously announced he’ll run for Niece Motorsports’ No. 22 Chevrolet truck for his junior year of competition.
“I’m ready to go,” Self added. “You know, I’m very fortunate. I have a lot of great partners that have allowed me to thrive this season and they’re all coming back next year.
“Without the support of Don’t mess with Texas, GO TEXAN, AM Technical Solutions and B&D Industries Inc. – there would be no Austin Wayne Self on the race track. We’re working hard on some awesome things both on and off the track next year and it’s hard to believe that Daytona will be here in less than 90 days.”
Additional marketing partnership(s) at Niece Motorsports for Self are forthcoming.
In 18 races this season driving for AM Racing, Martins Motorsports and Niece Motorsports, Self earned a career-best second place performance in the season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and earned an additional top-10 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, both finishes driving for AM Racing. Overall, Self earned one top-five, two top-10, eight top-15 and 13 top-20 finishes respectively en route to a 15th place finish in the championship standings.
AM Racing PR
Young’s Motorsports (YMS) successfully completed their fourth season of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway this past Friday night and the team’s top-10 performance in the Ford EcoBoost 200 is just a glimpse of what’s to come next season.
For the season finale at Homestead, the team tapped series veteran Timothy Peters to steer the No. 02 Brandt Chevrolet Silverado. The likable and experienced driver made his team debut at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway in Sept., and his 11th place finish left more to be desired.
The weekend didn’t start off on the right foot for the Mooresville, N.C.-based team. While the team was able to showcase speed right off the hauler, Peters believed he was having engine issues. Upon further inspection from the team, they confirmed Peters’ hunch limiting their practice in preparation for the 134-lap race.
Still, quick work by the Young’s Motorsports team and crew chief Chad Kendrick left more to be desired for qualifying and the race.
During time trials, Peters qualified 17th but felt confident in the truck’s ability for racing later that afternoon.
When the green flag was thrown, Peters steadily utilized traffic to come through the field and eventually latch himself onto the top-10. As the race motored on during Stage 1, the better Peter’s truck became.
By the conclusion of Stage 1, Peters had worked his way though the pack and landed 10th overall.
Continuing to pluck away at the field, a well-balanced truck found Peters seventh by the end of Stage 2 and with a legitimate opportunity to score Young’s Motorsports another solid outing.
Just four tires and fuel were the call for the 37-year-old driver heading into the final stage.
Making sure Peters had enough gas to make it to the end, he lost a few positions on pit road and slipped to 11th for the Lap 88 restart.
Methodically and patiently, Peters continued to stalk his competition and after a quick spat back in the top-10, a loose truck slipped the Danville, Va. native back to 11th with the laps winding down for the season finale.
Perseverance behind the wheel and a little luck bolted Peters back inside the top-10 in the closing laps where he took the checkered flag in 10th, earning his fourth top-10 finish in eight starts this season.
Two of those outings were for Young’s Motorsports.
“I really can’t thank Tyler (Young), Chad (Kendrick, crew chief), Rick (Brandt, CEO of Brandt) for the opportunity to come to Homestead and have a good showing,” offered Peters.
“You know I thought we could be a little better in the day, but we didn’t quite get the handling we needed on the truck to make an impact on the other teams. Still, we finished 10th, so there’s a lot to be thankful and appreciative.
Young’s Motorsports team principal and veteran NCWTS driver Tyler Young echoed his driver’s sentiments and feels the Homestead finish is exactly what his team needed to propel them into the offseason.
“Timothy did an awesome job for us,” added Young. “I can’t thank him enough. I was really impressed with the way he drove Homestead. He has a niche for that place and he really kept us pumped up.
“He certainly put us in the spotlight and proved that we’re going in the right direction with our program. No doubt his effort really boosted the spirits of everyone on the team.”
With the off-season now here, Young says it’s time for some rest, relaxation and reflection – but also focus hard on improving the operation for an impending stronger 2018 Truck Series season.
“I feel like we’re making some big gains, especially towards the end of the season,” Young added. “We’ll keep working on it, making tweaks – building new trucks and more. The future looks pretty bright for us and I can’t wait to see all unfold in less than 90 days at Daytona.”
Earlier this month, Young’s Motorsports announced that Austin Hill will drive the team’s flagship, No. 02 Chevrolet Silverado truck next season, but the team is planning to enter a second-truck for the full-23 race slate with announcements regarding that program announced at a later date.
Overall, in 238 NCWTS starts, Peters has earned eight poles, 10 wins, 57 top-five and 122 top-10 finishes and has led over 1,500 laps in competition. In a span of 13 years, Peters has crafted an average start and finish of 12.7 respectively.
Young Motorsports PR
AUSTIN CINDRIC BREAKDOWN
After testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway earlier in the year, the No.33 STEALTH team unloaded fast, finishing Friday morning’s practice sessions second and third-fastest overall. With track conditions changing later in the day heading into qualifying, Kaz secured a 10th-place starting position for Friday night’s NCWTS 200.
When the green flag flew on the 134-lap race, Kaz immediately reported that his STEALTH Chevrolet Silverado was “wrecking loose.” Holding on to finish 15th in Stage One, crew chief Jerry Baxter called the No. 33 down pit road for four tires, fuel and major chassis adjustments. After a lengthy stop for changes, Kaz restarted 18th for Stage Two but still fought a STEALTH Chevy that was extremely loose. Finishing Stage Two in 17th, Kaz once again pitted for four tires, fuel and major adjustments to try to tighten up his Silverado. Restarting 18th for the final stage, Kaz used the remaining 47 laps to race his way to a 13th-place finish, one lap down to the leaders, in the NCWTS season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"The No.33 team fought hard tonight. The track was much more loose than originally anticipated and it was just hard to ever get comfortable with the lack of grip on the track. My STEALTH Chevy was fast at the end of a long run, but at that point track position was hard to get back. I can’t thank my guys enough for all their work, not only tonight but the entire season.”
- After the last race of the season, Kaz finished seventh in the NCWTS driver point standings and sixth in the owner point standings.
GMS Racing PR
In his first start at the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway, Justin Haley qualified in the seventh position after finishing 10th in both morning practice sessions.
After falling back on the initial green flag for the 134 lap race, Haley reported he was fighting a loose condition while running just outside the top 10. As the first 40-lap stage progressed, he worked his way into the ninth position, searching for a line that would help with the handling troubles. Visiting pit road for the first time, Haley received four tires, fuel and air pressure and chassis adjustments and returns to the track in the 10th position. Once again struggling to gain ground on the restart, Haley fought to stay within the top-10 during the second stage of the race, battling a now tight MyWhy Chevrolet. On the last stop of the night, the team made a chassis adjustment to help Haley over the final 54 laps of the race.
As the race returned to green, Haley gradually made his way up to the seventh position but as the race went on he fell back to ninth. He held on to the ninth position in the final 10 laps to earn his 12th top-10 of the season.
“The 24 guys and I finished off the year well. It was a smooth night under the lights in Homestead. Mike Ford did a great job on the pit box calling the race for us. I can’t ask much more out of our rookie season together. Everyone that pitched in this year from the road crew, to the pit crew and the guys back home means the world to me.”
GMS Racing PR
Looking for his second consecutive NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship, Johnny Sauter finished the first practice session in first and the final session of the morning in 14th. As trucks took to the track for qualifying, Sauter was fastest in the first round but after the ISM Connect Chevrolet swung loose on his second round lap, he qualified 11th for Friday night’s season finale.
Shortly after the green flag waved, Sauter reported he was fighting the same loose condition he battled in qualifying, but was running comparable lap times to the leaders. Finishing the first stage in the eighth position, he brought his Chevy to pit road for tires, fuel, and air pressure and chassis adjustments under caution. The race returned to green on lap 48 with Sauter immediately getting to work, entering the top five on lap 61. On the last stop of the night under the stage two break, crew chief Joe Shear, Jr., brought his driver to pit road for another round of adjustments for the continuing loose-handling condition.
The handling troubles continued for the No. 21 team as the race progressed, with Sauter sitting in the fourth position with 10 laps to go as fellow Championship contender Christopher Bell ran in third. Needing a caution to close a nearly 10-second gap, Sauter maintained his position within the top-five to earn his 13th top-five finish of the season and 19th top-10.
Sauter earned a runner-up finish in the NCWTS Championship in just his second season with GMS Racing. Headlined by four wins, the 2017 season marked the best season of his career.
“We started the race way too free, the loosest I’ve been in I don’t know how long. We made some good adjustments on the first stop, but it just eventually went away on me and was still way too free. I could never commit to the top, I’d have to drive in the corner shallow. I thought we had a little bit for the 4 toward the end but I just couldn’t touch the throttle on corner exit. We gave it everything we had, but I guess that’s what you get when it comes down to one race like this. I’m proud of everyone’s effort at GMS Racing, we did a good job, we’ve just got a lot of work to do.”
- It was announced Friday morning that Sauter will return to GMS Racing in the No. 21 truck for the 2018 NCWTS season.
GMS Racing PR
Ryan Truex closed out the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season with a late-race rally that resulted in a fourth-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Truex blitzed through the field and came from 18th to fourth position in the last 47 laps. The result gave Truex and the No. 16 Chiba Toyopet team a total of eight top-five’s and 13 top-10 finishes in the 2017 season.
For the ninth-consecutive race, Truex transferred into the final round of qualifying and earned the sixth starting position. At the drop of the green flag, Truex immediately made progress towards the front, running as high as fourth before a loose condition stalled his charge. As the tires wore during the 40-lap stage, Truex’s balance began to improve as he adjusted his line, and rode the extreme outside around Homestead-Miami Speedway. Truex fought his way back up to fifth the end of Stage 1 and collected six points.
Crew chief Scott Zipadelli brought Truex to pit road under the stage caution for minimal adjustments to compliment four new Goodyear tires and fuel. The Chiba Toyopet team gained one spot on pit road and allowed Truex to restart fourth on lap 48. The loose balance returned and caused Truex to slide back to sixth position by lap 60. However, Truex remained patient, changed his line, and chased down a top-five position by lap 72, and ended Stage 2 in fourth.
Truex’s night took an unexpected turn under the subsequent pit stop under caution. After taking four tires, fuel, and air pressure adjustments, Truex was put to the tail of the lead lap after a pit road penalty and restarted 18th on lap 88. Truex would put on a show over the final 47 laps, and quickly advanced into the top 10 by lap 95. As his balance improved throughout the fuel run, Truex continued his march through the field using every inch of the 1.5-mile speedway to gain positions. Truex rejoined the top five on lap 121 and went on to take the checkered flag in fourth position. The result was his career-best finish in any series at Homestead-Miami and secured a ninth-place finish in the point standings in his first-career NCWTS season.
Ryan Truex Quote:
"Thank you to everyone on this race team. Zippy (Scott Zipadelli), (team owner) Shige (Hattori), and every person at HRE has made this into a top-five race team each week. We had a great Chiba Toyopet Tundra on the long runs tonight and just lacked speed at the start of the runs to challenge the top two or three. We had an issue on pit road on the last stop, but we had everything we needed to drive back into the top five. We all wanted to win, and these guys deserve a win, but to finish out the year strong with a top-five feels great. We were close to breaking though for a win, especially in the second half of the year, so hopefully we can have more opportunities at it.”
Shige Hattori Quote:
"I'm so proud of what this team accomplished in our first full-time season. Ryan, Scott, and every person on this race team did a great job this year. We were close to winning and nearly made the playoffs. This is a very competitive series and we were contending to win and run in the top five each week. Thank you to each and every sponsor that make this program possible, and to TRD and Toyota. I'm really proud of the program we've built this season, and hope to continue this performance and improve even more in 2018.
- Gragson started fifth, but fell back throughout the first stage as he told the team his Switch Tundra was "wrecking loose." He finished the first 40-lap stage in 11th and came to pit road for four tires and some major chassis adjustments to help the handling.
- Gragson started the second stage in 11th place and said the truck was still a bit loose, but not as bad as the first stage. He worked his way up to ninth to finish Stage Two. He pitted for four tires and another track bar adjustment. Quick work by the Switch crew helped him gain two positions on pit road moving up to seventh place.
- After a pit road penalty for another competitor, Gragson started the final 54-lap stage in sixth place. Unfortunately, he did not get the chance to see if he could compete for the win. Only seven laps after the restart, Gragson radioed to the team he had a tire going down. He came to pit road under green for new left-side tires, which put him three laps behind the leaders. He finished the race in 18th, while his KBM teammate, Christopher Bell, finished second to claim KBM's second driver's championship and sixth owner's championship.