Gander Outdoors Truck Series News (5852)
Gander Outdoors Truck Series News
Inside the final stretch of four races to conclude the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season, Niece Motorsports rookie driver Justin Fontaine (@driverFontaine) returns to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway hoping to improve on his spring performance in Saturday afternoon’s Texas Roadhouse 200.
Developing his craft on the short tracks in the northeast, Fontaine was hoping his first tango with Martinsville in the spring would deliver his third top-10 finish of the season. Instead, Fontaine was dealt a banged-up truck and a tough finish.
Seven months later, however, the driver of the No. 45 ProMATIC Automation Inc. Chevrolet Silverado returns to the famed paperclip oval seeking a rematch and a good result in the penultimate short track race of the year.
“I’m returning to Martinsville with an open mind,” offered Fontaine who will make his third Truck Series start at the historic Martinsville facility. “Martinsville was the site of my Truck Series debut in 2016 and while it’s proven to be a somewhat difficult track for me, I know that the more laps I turn, the better I’m getting.
“A lot of that goes to my Niece Motorsports team. They are bringing fast race trucks every week. We had a super strong run going at Talladega and was at the wrong place at the wrong time and had nothing to show for our effort. I’d like to be at the right place at the right time on Saturday and give our team a boost heading into the final stretch of races.”
When it comes to Martinsville, Fontaine has quickly learned that it’s a momentum track and sometimes going slower means going faster and patience is everything.
“You would think that looking at Martinsville it would be a pretty easy track to drive. Looks are deceiving,” he laughed. “It’s a fun place to race if you get into a good rhythm – but I’ve learned that Martinsville is also a very technical race track too. At the end of the day, that usually provides great racing for the fans.
“I also learned that in the spring and throughout the year how critical patience is, especially at a place like Martinsville. You can get easily frustrated and that opens up the potential to ruin your day.”
Hunting his third top-10 run of the year and first since Las Vegas in March, Fontaine says in order to be a contender, starting as close to the front as possible is crucial.
“It’s no different than any short track really,” Fontaine offered. “If you start near the front – you have the better chance of keeping your nose clean and pacing yourself for the end of the race. If you start near the back, we as a team are chasing ourselves all race long.
“We have a good plan going to Martinsville this weekend and I hope it means a good result returning to Texas next weekend. I can’t believe the end of the season is going to be here soon. I certainly want to make the best of it.”
During the off-week, Fontaine celebrated his 21st birthday on Oct. 18.
“It was a good birthday with family and friends,” he said. “An even better “late” birthday present would be a career-best finish from now until Homestead. That would be good.”
After 19 races, Fontaine sits 17th in the series’ standings. He carries an average finish of 19.7 entering Martinsville. He earned a career-best ninth-place result at Las Vegas in March.
In addition to a full-time NASCAR driver, Fontaine just started his sophomore year as a student at the University of North Carolina (Charlotte), where he is pursuing a political science degree.
For more on Justin Fontaine, please visit JustinFontaine.com, like his Facebook page (Justin Fontaine) or follow him on Twitter @driverFontaine.
The Texas Roadhouse 200 (200 laps | 105.2 miles) is the 20th of 23 races on the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck schedule. Practice begins on Fri., Oct. 26 from 12:05 p.m. – 12:55 p.m., while final practice is set for 2:05 p.m. – 2:55 p.m. Qualifying is set for race day, Sat., Oct. 27 beginning at 10:05 a.m. The 32-truck field will take the green flag shortly after 1:00 p.m. with live coverage on FS1, the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90). All times are local (Eastern).
Justin Fontaine PR
Set for the final stretch of the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season, Austin Wayne Self (@AustinWSelf) heads to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway hoping to spook the competition with a strong performance in Saturday afternoon’s Texas Roadhouse 200.
With the Austin, Texas native’s grassroots extending back to the Lone Star state, Self has been able to apply those short track fundamentals throughout most of his career and especially at a demanding short track like Martinsville.
Traditionally, the famed 0.526-mile paperclip has been a favorite for the Niece Motorsports veteran driver, but the Texan admits he doesn’t have the results to show for it lately. He hopes to change that in the penultimate short track event of the year.
“Honestly, I enjoy racing at Martinsville,” said Self, driver of the No. 22 GO TEXAN | AM Technical Solutions Chevrolet Silverado. “It’s a very demanding short track where you almost have to treat every race lap like a qualifying lap. Stuff happens in a hurry and momentum is key to success.
“For me, once I get into a rhythm and the race settles down into a good pace, that’s where I tend to make up most of my ground. I finished 15th in my first start in 2016, I’d like to better that this weekend.”
Self and his Niece Motorsports team certainly have had the speed, as of late, to boast another top-10 finish this season. A ninth-place at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway followed by a top-12 effort at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in the last two races have shown the team continues to have a bigger presence near the front when it counts the most.
“I thought for sure we were going to have back-to-back top-10 runs at Talladega,” Self recalled. “We had a really good truck and honestly a shot at the top-five – but we got turned when the big one happened on the backstretch. We still were able to finish, just wish it would have been in the top-10.
“Still, the pace we’ve been able to show lately is something to be proud of. We’ve had speed, whether it comes to the short tracks, a road course, an intermediate track and even a superspeedway. That’s a good shot in the arm for this final four-race stretch. I’m eager to get to Martinsville and see what we can deliver.”
For the second consecutive race, Self and his Niece Motorsports team will support Dwarfism Awareness month. Since 2009, Little People of America (LPA) has been recognizing October as Dwarfism Awareness Month with the intention of raising positive awareness around dwarfism, addressing common misconceptions and increasing opportunities for people with dwarfism around the country.
Abel Greene, a relative of Self is just two years old and was diagnosed with Achondroplasia, a type of Dwarfism. Greene’s parents Amanda and Adam are both of average height with no history of any type of Dwarfism on either side of the family.
Recently, Abel visited the Niece Motorsports shop, where he was given an exclusive tour as well as some one-on-one time with Self and teammate Justin Fontaine. The team hopes to have Abel and his family at the race track this weekend.
“Everyone at Niece is proud to continue to support Dwarfism Awareness Month,” sounded Self. “October is traditionally known for Breast Cancer Awareness month and we’re huge advocates of that, but it’s important for us to remember the others too. If we educate others on Dwarfism Awareness Month and everything the community has to offer, we’ve done a really great thing.”
After 19 races, Self sits 13th in the series’ standings. He carries an average finish of 16.3 entering Martinsville.
Like last year, the Texas Department of Agriculture’s GO TEXAN program and AM Technical Solutions will also support Self in his 60th 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 20th race of the year.
In 59 NCWTS races, the 2015 ARCA Racing Series Rookie of the Year has one top-five (second at Daytona 2017) and four top-10 finishes. The Texan maintains an average finish of 18.1 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.
For more on Niece Motorsports, please visit niecemotorsports.com.
The Texas Roadhouse 200 (200 laps | 105.2 miles) is the 20th of 23 races on the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck schedule. Practice begins on Fri., Oct. 26 from 12:05 p.m. – 12:55 p.m., while final practice is set for 2:05 p.m. – 2:55 p.m. Qualifying is set for race day, Sat., Oct. 27 beginning at 10:05 a.m. The 32-truck field will take the green flag shortly after 1:00 p.m. with live coverage on FS1, the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90). All times are local (Eastern)
Niece Motorsports PR
Timothy Peter’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season isn’t over after all.
GMS Racing and Autos By Nelson announced Monday that Peters will be driving a GMS Chevrolet Silverado sponsored by Autos By Nelson in the Texas Roadhouse 200 at Martinsville Speedway Saturday.
After winning at Talladega Superspeedway 10 days ago, Peters thought his season was finished following the third, and what was supposed to be final start, in a substitute role for GMS.
The folks at GMS had different thoughts, though. They immediately started putting together a plan for Peters to race at his home track this weekend. Barry Nelson, owner of Martinsville-based Autos By Nelson, made the deal complete when he stepped up to sponsor the entry.
“It’s a deal they didn’t have to do, but they made a spot for me,” Peters said of the efforts to have him in a truck for Martinsville. “Obviously I had hoped that Talladega would help (with a ride for Martinsville). Nothing is ever easy by any means, but I’m thankful. GMS’ fabrication shop, GMS racing and Chevrolet all made this easier to happen.”
Peters’ Talladega win was the 11th in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career, but he’s been without a fulltime ride since Red Horse Racing, his home for more than a decade, closed midway through the 2017 season. Since then he has served as general manager for Nelson’s growing Late Model Stock operation, which fielded five entries in Martinsville Speedway’s recent showcase Late Model race. He also makes selected starts in Late Model events.
“It’s cool Barry is going to help me out on our Chevrolet Silverado with Autos By Nelson. Barry has helped me so much professionally and personally since we first met a few years ago,” Peters said of Nelson, who built a small family car dealership into Autos By Nelson, a group of seven auto dealerships representing 13 manufacturers in Southern Virginia and North Carolina.
When GMS Racing needed a substitute driver for three races beginning in late August, they called on Peters, who had made only a couple of truck series races this season. Those three starts resulted in strong runs, including the Talladega win and a fifth-place finish at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
“I can’t thank Maury Gallagher (GMS owner) for the confidence he has shown in me and this opportunity. Jerry Baxter and all of the guys on the 25 truck (the group Peters raced with the past three events) are such a big part of my success, of all of this. Without them I certainly wouldn’t be here,” said Peters. “This is such a great opportunity and it is so humbling. What still sticks out is that call from Mike Beam (GMS Racing president) to go to Canada … that we could have still been on someone’s mind …”
Peters, who lives about 30 minutes from Martinsville Speedway, has 24 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts on the iconic half-mile track along with numerous Late Model Stock races. He has won at Martinsville in both the truck series and Late Model Stock cars.
Chad Norris will serve as crew chief for Peters’ Martinsville entry, which will be the No. 23 Silverado. Norris, who normally heads up the GMS Xfinity Series entry, will bring over crew members from that team for Martinsville. The Xfinity Series is idle this weekend.
“I feel like we will adjust quickly,” Peters said of the new combination. “Obviously the laps I have around Martinsville and the success I’ve had there will help, plus the great equipment gives us confidence. Chad has a ton of experience plus the other GMS crew chiefs that will be there. Everybody works so well together; I’m sure we’ll all collaborate well together.”
Timothy Peters PR
Premium Motorsports announced today that they will not field a team in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series in 2019. They will finish the season racing the #49 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Chevrolet Silverado with Sobriety Nation as the team’s primary sponsor before ceasing operations after the final race of the 2018 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The reason given for doing this is to be able to focus solely on their Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing program in 2019. Premium Motorsports has retained Gavel Auction Company NCAL6177 to liquidate most of the team’s assets on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 296 Cayuga Dr. Mooresville, NC 28117 following the Martinsville race weekend.
Inspection day will be Monday, October 29, 2018 from 11:00am-6:00pm. Registration for the auction will be on Tuesday at 9:00am with the auction beginning at 10:00am.
Premium Motorsports PR
- Gragson started from the 13th position and adhered to the plan that he and crew chief Rudy Fugle implemented. The Safelite Tundra remained glued to the yellow line along the inside of the track for all 20 laps of Stage One. He slowly but surely maneuvered his way forward as other drivers got impatient and tried to make moves to the outside. When the field crossed the stripe to complete the stage he was in the fifth position and collected five points.
- When pit road opened, Fugle summoned the Safelite Tundra to pit road for a fuel-only stop. Gragson returned to the track scored in the fourth position for the start of Stage Two.
- Gragson pushed Spencer Gallagher to the lead in the outside lane and then was getting a push of his own from Todd Gilliland, when Gilliland maneuvered to the middle lane leaving his teammate hung out of line. Gragson would fall all the way back to the 19th position.
- In the closing laps of the stage Gragson was able to gain back some of the positions he lost and would finish Stage Two in the 12th spot.
- When pit road opened, Gragson brought the Safelite Tundra to pit road for a four-tire and fuel stop with a trackbar adjustment. He returned to the track scored in the 10th position when the Final stage went green on lap 45.
- The Las Vegas native was running 15th when "the big one" broke loose in front of him on lap 59. After getting tapped in the rear end as he began to slow down, he was able to dive down onto the apron and narrowly escaped through the wreckage with minimal damage.
- After the red-flag conditions were lifted, Fugle summoned his driver to pit road to asses the damage and put four fresh tires on the Safelite Tundra. After returning the track, Gragson came down pit road one more time before the field went green for the crew to take another look at the truck and top it off with fuel.
- The field went back green with 31 laps remaining with the No. 18 Toyota scored in the 12th position. Gragson rode near the back of what was a smaller field of trucks for the next phase of the race, hoping to avoid any further incidents to have his truck in one piece for the finish of the race.
- He was running in the 12th position when the fifth caution of the day slowed the field with 10 laps remaining and restarted from the 11th position when the field went back green with six laps remaining.
- David Gilliland and Grant Enfinger made contact battling for the lead and Enfinger went spinning. The caution didn't come out, but while drivers were trying to avoid the spinning truck it put the field three wide. Gragson made a strong run up the middle and with five to go he had advanced up to the third spot.
- Running third, Gragson slowed down to get to the bumper of his teammate David Gilliland and then used a push from Gilliland to vault to the outside around the top two into the lead with four laps remaining.
- Halfway down the backstretch on the final lap the field began making moves in an effort to get around Gragson. Peters had a strong run in the middle lane when Gragson moved up in front of him in an effort to impede his momentum. Peters slammed into the back of Gragson and sent him crashing hard into the outside wall. Unable to get his truck fired after the accident, Gragson was relegated to a 13th-place finish one lap down.