Gander Outdoors Truck Series News (5852)
Gander Outdoors Truck Series News
With his Thunder Valley debut behind him, Justin Fontaine (@driverFontaine) is ready to check off another “first” during his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie campaign, as the Niece Motorsports driver will make his road course debut in Sunday afternoon’s Chevrolet Silverado 250 from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP).
Fontaine has embraced the challenges of new surroundings with an upbeat demeanor and “never give up” attitude, and while his newest test awaits him, the Asheville, N.C. native, is ready to embrace Canada’s 10-turn course.
“It’s now or never,” Fontaine joked about his road course debut. “Seriously, though. It’s important for me to take these steps to broaden my racing resume – while experiencing all elements of Motorsports competition. I made my dirt debut last month at Eldora, now it’s time to go road course racing.”
To help adjust to turning right and left, Fontaine’s Niece Motorsports sent him to a driving school at the Bowmanville, Ontario race track, where he spent a few days with teammate Austin Wayne Self studying the course and experiencing its technique for himself, driving around the 2.459-mile road course in an equipped vehicle.
“My Niece Motorsports team has done everything that they can to prepare me for Canada,” said Fontaine. “They’ve provided support with video, photos and even sent me to Canada earlier this summer to experience its twists and turns for myself.
“It’s a nice venue with some speed and finesse mixed in. The goal for me is making gains from the first practice to the final practice and getting ourselves in a good spot for qualifying and seeing if we can utilize some strategy to put us near the front during the race.
“I think if you can keep all four-wheels on the track, it’s going to be a good day.”
Fontaine also plans to rely on the support of Self for guidance and advice around conquering Canadian Tire.
“Austin’s been here twice, and I’ll be able to pick his brain a little bit with any questions that I have,” he explained. “I think it’s going to be important for me to get behind someone like Austin who has been to Canada before and see if I can follow them in their footsteps.
“Once the race starts, it’s every man for himself. I’d be happy to come out of Canada with a top-15. A top-10 would feel like a win for sure.”
After 16 races, Fontaine sits 16th in the series’ standings. He carries an average finish of 20.1 entering Canada. He earned a career-best ninth place result at Las Vegas in March.
In addition to a full-time NASCAR driver, Fontaine is starting his sophomore year as a student at the University of North Carolina (Charlotte), where he is pursuing a political science degree.
The Chevrolet Silverado 250 (64 laps | 157.37 miles) is the 17th of 23 races on the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck schedule. Practice begins on Sat., Aug. 25 from 9:30 a.m. – 10:25 a.m., while final practice is set for 11:35 a.m. – 12:55 p.m. Qualifying is set for later in the day beginning at 6:00 p.m. The 32-truck field will take the green flag on Sun., Aug. 26 shortly after 2:30 p.m. with live coverage on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90). All times are local (Eastern).
Justin Fontaine PR
On the heels of another strong finish this past Thursday night at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Austin Wayne Self (@AustinWSelf) and his Niece Motorsports team trek North of the Border this weekend, looking to continue their recent surge in performance, in Sunday afternoon’s Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP).
With plenty of road racing skills, Self eyes his return to the 2.459-mile road course as the perfect venue to earn his first top-10 finish of the season aboard his No. 22 GO TEXAN | AM Technical Solutions Chevrolet Silverado.
Riding the momentum of 11 top-20 finishes in the last 12 races, including back-to-back top-15 efforts, Self’s run at Bristol is propelling him to keep the team’s mojo going in the lone road course event of the year.
“Man, I’m feeling pretty good about the direction of our Niece Motorsports team,” said Self. “Throughout this summer stretch, we’ve only been getting stronger. Sure, we’ve had some bumps along the way, but we’ve been able to recover quickly and get back on track.
“Bristol was really good for us. We started at the rear after making an adjustment prior to the race, but the truck came to life and we just ran out of laps to be better than 13th. But, we’re going back to Canada and I can’t wait to get there and get down to business.”
Self, 22, will make his third start at the 10-turn track and looks to better his ninth-place effort from last August, driving under the AM Racing banner. In his Canada debut in 2016, Self finished 15th after starting 22nd.
“The more laps I get at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, the better,” Self added. “It’s all about being comfortable and getting into a rhythm. I think Canadian Tire is a very technical track where it has some slow portions, but also has some areas of the track, where it’s very high speed.
“It produces great racing for the fans and the drivers, so it’s a win-win. I think it’s very reasonable to expect that we can duplicate or better our performance from last season on Sunday.
“Who knows, maybe if we play the strategy card right, we can get a top-five. That would be awesome.”
The Chevrolet Silverado 250 marks the first race of the Truck Series Playoffs, and although the No. 22 team is not part of the eight-man chase for the championship crown, Self says there’s plenty of opportunity for his team to make some noise over the final seven races of the year.
“I’m excited about the upcoming races,” added Self. “Canada, Las Vegas, Talladega, Martinsville, returning to my home state of Texas, it goes on an on. We should have very competitive trucks for the remainder of the season and even though we’re not a part of the Playoffs, I think it will allow us the opportunity to hit our stride when it counts.”
After 16 races, Self sits 14th in the series’ standings. He carries an average finish of 16.8 entering Canada.
Like last year, the Texas Department of Agriculture’s GO TEXAN program and AM Technical Solutions will also support Self in his 57th career start.
GO TEXAN represents Texas agri-business on state, national and international levels by building recognition with the GO TEXAN mark.
Along with its signature mark in the shape of Texas, GO TEXAN celebrates, promotes and supports the business savvy and plainspoken grit Texas agriculture is known throughout the world.
Don’t mess with Texas, CForce Bottling Company, Flying Circle and Kreuz Market will serve as associate partners in the 17th race of the year.
In 56 NCWTS races, the 2015 ARCA Racing Series rookie of the year has one top-five (second at Daytona 2017) and three top-10 finishes. The Texan maintains an average finish of 18.5 during his three years of competition.
For more on Austin Wayne Self, like his Facebook page (Austin Wayne Self) or follow him on Twitter @AustinWSelf.
For additional information on CForce premium artesian water, please visit cforce.com.
For more on Flying Circle, please visit flyingcirclegear.com, like them on Facebook (FlyingCircleGear) and follow them on Instagram (@flyingcirclegear) and Twitter (@flyingcircle_). Also connect with Flying Circle on Pinterest and YouTube.
Garrett Smithley raced through a long overtime period and brought the No. 0 JD Motorsports with Gary Keller Chevrolet home 16th in Friday night’s Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The race was scheduled for 300 laps, but a caution flag extended it by 10.
“It was a long night, and we worked through it,” Smithley said. “The car was good, and we were able to run with some of the faster teams. Overall, a pretty good night on a tough track.”
Smithley is 20th in Xfinity points.
Kyle Larson won the race in overtime.
The series moves on to Road America for an Aug. 25 race. Remaining in the regular season are visits to Darlington Raceway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Young's Motorsports PR
Johnny Sauter secured his fifth win of the 2018 season Thursday night at Bristol Motor Speedway to claim the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Regular Season Championship and the top spot in the NCWTS Playoff field heading into next Sunday’s race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The victory is Sauter’s 22nd win in the series, placing him in a tie with two-time NCWTS champion Todd Bodine for fifth on the NCWTS all-time wins list.
The Necedah, Wis., native joined GMS Racing in 2016 and started off the season with a win at Daytona International Speedway. In addition to winning the 2016 NCWTS Championship, Sauter has earned 12 wins, 37 top-five and 51 top-10 finishes in 62 starts with the team.
The title of NCWTS Regular Season Champion is just the latest accomplishment in a long list of milestone moments for Sauter this season. His season-opening win at Daytona, his third win at the track, made him the winningest driver at Daytona in NCWTS history. It was also GMS Racing’s third consecutive Daytona win (2016 J. Sauter, 2017 K. Grala, 2018 J. Sauter), tying Bobbly Hamilton Racing for series-most wins at Daytona.
Sauter became only the second driver in NCWTS history to claim multiple wins at Dover International Speedway in May; it was also the first time Chevrolet claimed back-to-back wins at the track. Sauter picked up his 20th career NCWTS win and 10th win with GMS at Charlotte Motor Speedway and followed that up with another win two weeks later at Texas Motor Speedway. The win at Texas was his fifth win in Fort Worth and made him just the third driver in NCWTS history to earn four or more wins in the first eight races of the season.
The regular season finale at Bristol locked-in the eight-driver Playoff field, which includes Sauter’s GMS Racing teammate Justin Haley. Haley secured his chance to compete for his first NCWTS title with his first NCWTS career win at Gateway Motorsports Park in June. This is the third-consecutive season GMS has had two drivers competing in the Playoffs, and the first time GMS Fabrication will compete with three entries by way of Halmar Friesen Racing driver Stewart Friesen racing his way into the Playoff field in Bristol.
The 2018 NCWTS Playoffs kicks off at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Sunday, August 26 with the Chevrolet Silverado 250. The race will air live at 2:30pm ET on FS1 and MRN.
GMS Racing PR
Going into Bristol, Stewart Friesen was just outside being on the bubble for making the NCWTS playoffs. If the race were to be won by a driver with no other wins, Friesen and Matt Crafton would have had to compete for the final 8th spot. 19 points were needed by Friesen to finish ahead of Crafton to clinch it. With Sauter taking first, both Friesen and Crafton would secure their playoff positions.
Having finished 2nd in his no.112 Super Late Model at Bristol earlier in the season for the Short Track U.S. Nationals, Friesen went into Thursday's race confident that he would get the finish the team needed for a playoffs run. Friesen's short track prowess was on full display as he took 2nd place again at the world's fastest half mile, finishing just behind Johnny Sauter.
It wasn't exactly smooth sailing for Friesen, who started 13th despite being fastest in final practice. Although having one of his worst starting positions of the season, he was quickly able to work his way up, finishing the first stage in 7th place and the second in 4th, picking up 7 stage points.
In the final 20 laps of the race, Friesen was able to reach front runners Nemechek and Sauter who were caught up in lapped traffic. With just 5 laps remaining, Sauter and Friesen were able to pass the no.8 of Nemechek. Running out of laps, Friesen pushed for the lead but was unable to steal it away from Sauter, ultimately finishing just 2 tenths of a second behind 2016's points champion.
HFR fans have been waiting on the edges of their seats for a Friesen win and came as close as ever last night. Despite their disappointment, Friesen has officially made the playoffs and is in contention for the championship in only his second full-time NCWTS season. Asked about winning, Friesen said “Wins will come, but battling for wins is all you can ask for, and that’s what we’re doing as a race team.”
Next week, Stewart Friesen heads to home country turf at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park for the Chevrolet Silverado 250.
Stage 2 Finish: 15th
- Gragson started the race from the seventh position and had advanced one spot when the first caution of the race occurred on lap 14. When a one-truck spin slowed the field for the second time on lap 27 he had returned to the seventh spot.
- Battling what he described as an extremely loose Safelite Tundra, the Las Vegas native crossed the stripe to complete Stage One in the ninth position.
- When pit road opened, Fugle summoned the Safelite Tundra to pit road for four fresh tires, a full tank of fuel and a major trackbar adjustment.
- Stage Two went green on lap 26 with Gragson scored in the 11th position, but he lost a handful positions when he had to slow to avoid a spin in front of him early in the stage.
- After falling back to the 16th spot early in the Stage, the 20-year-old driver communicated that that handling of his truck had improved late in the stage and he was able to work his way back up to 14th before the end of Stage Two.
- With the handling of the Safelite Tundra improved, Fugle called for a two-tire and fuel stop in an effort to gain track position for the Final Stage.
- Gragson took the restart from the second position, on the outside of row one, and was able to get a good launch down the backstretch and was able to clear Johnny Sauter for the race lead through Turns 3 and 4.
- The Safelite Tundra would remain out front for seven laps before Sauter retook the lead.
- Gragson slowly fell back in the running order as the entirety of the Final Stage was run under green-flag conditions. He would cross the stripe in the ninth position earning his 10th consecutive and 12th overall top-10 finish across 15 starts in 2018.
- Bell won the pole to start on the front row. He led the first 31 laps until he was passed by John Hunter Nemechek on a restart.
- The truck became loose and he finished the first 55-lap stage in fourth.
- When the pits opened, Bell came in for four tires and a track bar adjustment.
- Bell was fifth when the race resumed on lap 67.
- He fell back a few positions throughout the stage, but finished the second 55-lap stage in fifth.
- He pitted for four tires and a wedge adjustment to help the handling.
- Bell was sixth when the final 90-lap stage began.
- He worked his way up to third with 50 laps to go, but shortly after that radioed to the team he had lost power steering.
- His KBM team was able to change the power steering belt and get Bell back on track, but not before he lost several laps which resulted in a 28th-place finish.