INDIANAPOLIS— For the Lilly Diabetes 200 from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the cars in the NASCAR Xfinity Series will have a different look when they hit the track for practice. Teams in the Xfinity garage will be running the 2016 splitter and spoiler, air ducts, and a restrictor plate in effort to create more passing and a better race.
Wayne Auton, Managing Director of the NASCAR Xfinity Series, emphasized on Friday morning that the changes were just for the Xfinity Series only.
“We did some extensive testing with sim work, we did a track test back in October before we went to the next race. This is all about the NASCAR Xfinity Series here at Indianapolis. I want to make that crystal clear,” said Auton.
In October, three teams came to Indianapolis to test the package. The drivers who participated in the test were Ryan Reed, Blake Koch, and Brandon Jones.
During the test, single car speeds were running around 56 seconds, but decreased to around 54 seconds when the cars were in a small pack.
“The one thing we did see was three cars running together once they got there cars dialed in is that halfway down the front stretch we had two cars lock up and run the single car down and pass them. We feel very confident that it will create some excitement to the race,” said Auton.
NASCAR added aero ducts in the same place where brake ducts went. The aero ducts are the most notable change according to Auton. Teams cannot make any changes to the aero ducts. NASCAR went to each shop over the past two months to make sure that the aero ducts would fit.
When it comes to returning to the 2016 splitter and spoiler, Wayne Auton said the teams still had those pieces still in the shop from last season. The spoiler and splitter were added to create some balance and wake to create some passing.
“The bigger spoiler it gets the balance back in the car, but we had to add the splitter to the front end to keep the balance there. The bigger spoiler will also make the wake. it’s a combination of the four ingredients on the car that make this package work.”
As teams look for ways to cut costs, NASCAR fully funded the effort this weekend at Indianapolis. Teams only had to build the cars to where NASCAR could place the appropriate parts.
“We supplied the ducts, the foam sealant, and all the bolts. The teams had absolutely no costs in the parts and pieces on the car. They had the spoilers and splitters from last year. We had the ducts in our possession at all times. Nobody could get their hands on them. We personally put them in every car here today.”
Auton emphasized that this was a collaborative effort amongst all partners. Auton stressed that everyone wants this package to work. NASCAR will constantly be in the garage talking to teams and sharing information across manufacturer lines in an effort to make this package work. “The teams were very instrumental in this package. They were all in,” said Auton.
After the event, NASCAR will talk to teams after the event to determine if the package was successful or not. However, Auton emphasized it will be what the fans thought about the event.
“It’s going to be hard to say if this will be a successful race or not. We will talk to fans and see what they say about it. We are very excited about it. It has been awhile since I have been excited about getting to a racetrack to try something new,”
When asked if this package could potentially be used in future races this season or in 2018, Auton stated, “Let’s concentrate on Indianapolis right now. This is a big test for us to. The results of that test in October showed it was the right way to go. We will be out in the garage listening to the drivers to see if we need to make any adjustments before tomorrow,” said Auton.
Ultimately, Auton hopes that it “is going to better than what we saw with three drivers at the test.”
After a wild race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers head to the world-renown Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the sixth annual Lilly Diabetes 250. The race will be consist of two stages of 30 laps each and a final stage of 40 laps for a race total of 100 laps.
40 drivers are scheduled to arrive in Indianapolis. There will be six notable Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers in the field including Paul Menard, Ty Dillon, Reed Sorenson, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, and Erik Jones.
This weekend will look different for fans as NASCAR as brought a new competition package exclusively for Indianapolis. The 2016 spoiler and splitter will be reimplemented, new aero ducts attached to the front bumper, and a 7/8-inch restrictor plate will be used. The goal of this package is to create close racing and passing opportunities for drivers. The new implementations are erected to increase the drat envelope by 25%.
Teams will have six sets of Goodyear tires at their disposal for the whole event at Indianapolis. Teams will run the same tire combination on the right side of the car as they did last season. The left-side tire compound is slated to provide more grip
This will be the sixth event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Xfinity Series. There have only been two pole winners and three race winners. Three races have been won from the pole with Ky. Busch being the last driver to do so last season. In 2014, Ty Dillon set the race record at 137.153 mph. In 2016, Ky. Busch set the pole winning speed at 181.939 mph.
Here is what drivers are saying about this weekend at Indianapolis:
“I am stoked to be going to Indy this weekend, it isn’t every day that we are able to race at such a historic track. This will be an interesting race to see how it plays out with NASCAR adding restrictor plates to the cars this week,” said Matt Tifft. “Everyone will be on the same playing field where strategy will be a huge determining factor in who comes out on top. With Indy being narrow, it will be important for our No. 19 Camry to get up front and stay there so that we don’t get wrapped up in any wrecks.”
“I tested this superspeedway package at IMS and I think we are definitely going to be in a pack, but I really don’t know how it’s going to race with 39 other cars. At the test we did it with three, but it’s going to change a lot when we get a whole pack out there. It’s a unique situation, something we’ve never done in NASCAR with a track like IMS and a Superspeedway package,” said Ryan Reed.
"It is going to be incredible to roll through the gates at Indianapolis and know the history you are amongst. To know the past, the people that have run there and won there, it's truly incredible. Especially coming from the short track background, where you read all of the stories of everyone back in the 1960s, '70s and even before, and how they wanted to get to Indy and that was their goal,” said Daniel Hemric. “To know that nonchalantly we're going there this week is pretty incredible. I'm looking forward to it. I know it is a place where RCR has had success in the past, which is always a good thing. I've won races at the old IRP short track and other tracks in the area, but to know we'll be battling there on the main stage in the Blue Gate Bank Chevrolet is pretty cool.”
On Friday, Xfinity teams will be the only drivers on the track. Teams will have two practice sessions at 1:00 p.m. EDT and 3:00 p.m. EDT on the NBC Sports App. Xfinity teams will qualify at 12:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday and race at 3:30 p.m. EDT on NBC Sports Network. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network, in conjunction with Performance Racing Network, will have radio coverage of the Lilly Diabetes 250.
It was a tale of two days for Roush Fenway’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and NASCAR Xfinity Series teams this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 from Bristol Motor Speedway was not the best race in 2017 for Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Reed and Darrell Wallace Jr.
In qualifying early Saturday Morning, Reed qualified 24th and Wallace Jr. qualified 14th. However, both drivers had to start in the rear of the field. In pre-race technical inspection, NASCAR found an unapproved splitter mount on both the cars.
For Reed, the first stage of the race was his last. After dropping to the rear of the field to serve his penalty, he began to make strides towards the front. Due to a tight handling race car in the early stages, Reed was put a lapped down by the leaders. Reed never had the chance to make a pit stop to fix the issue.
Reed’s day ended on lap 79 of the 300 lap event. The right front tire blew sending Reed into the wall. Reed also suffered a sprain to his wrist as he did not let go of the steering wheel in time before contact was made. Reed and his team deemed the car as unrepairable to finish 38th
“It was a tough day altogether, starting in the back,” said Reed. “The balance wasn’t very good and we went a lap down early. We were trying to fight through it, but had a tire go down and that ended our day. We’ll move on. We’ll go to Richmond, which is one of my favorite tracks, and rebound. The good thing about getting a win at Daytona is that buys you some insurance in case you have some days like this, so we’ll rebound. I’m really proud of everyone on the Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang. It’s a tough group mentally and physically, so we’ll persevere.”
After getting out of the car, Reed though his wrist was fractured. However, He went to social media to confirm it was just a sprain.
Ohh and wrist is all good. Just a little tight. ??— Ryan Reed (@driverRyanReed) April 22, 2017
For Wallace Jr., his day ended with 40 laps remaining ending his streak of five consecutive sixth place finishes.
In the first stage, Wallace Jr. worked his way towards the top-15 after starting from the rear. He improved over 20 positions in the stage, but went a lap down to the leaders due to a long green flag run. Wallace finished 15th in the first stage.
The second stage saw Wallace Jr. fighting to get his lap back that he lost in the first stage. Wallace Jr. battled Matt Tifft for that free pass position through much of the second and third stage. However, an accident on lap 259 that damaged the left rear of the car regulated Wallace Jr. to a 33rd place finish, tying his worst finish of the season at Daytona.
“It’s just an unfortunate day,” said Wallace. “I was just fighting hard for the lucky dog. We were put in the back for some circumstances we’ve got to get straightened out, but we were trying to make the most of it. We were fast. We were so fast there with our Leidos Mustang. It’s just unfortunate. We were clawing ourselves out of that lap-down spot and just ran out of time and ran out of luck.
The Food City 500 provided Roush Fenway’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers, Trevor Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., with the best luck of the weekend for the organization. Both drivers ran up front most of the day and ended up with top-11 finishes.
Bayne started in the 12th position due to qualifying being cancelled on Friday. Bayne maintained a top-20 position throughout much of the first stage. As the track rubbered up, Bayne began to experience a tight handling race car towards the end of the stage. Bayne finished the stage in the 15th position.
The second stage Bayne continued to work on his handling working his way up into the top-10. Bayne held off Stenhouse Jr. towards the conclusion to score two points by finishing in the ninth position.
The third stage saw Bayne going from tight conditions in the middle of the corners and loose on corner entry. Bayne was on and off in the top-10. Using the top lane, Bayne gained track position to finish in the 11th position to score his sixth top-15 finish of 2017.
Just like Bayne, Stenhouse Jr. ran up front throughout much of the race and scored a ninth place finish.
Stenhouse was almost going to a backup car after contact with the wall in the only practice session on Friday, but the team repaired the car to full glory for the race.
Stenhouse held onto a position in the top-20 throughout much of the first stage. while battling a loose car. Once the loose condition was treated, Stenhouse marched his way to the front of the field. Stenhouse worked his way towards the top-10 at the conclusion of the second stage.
Stenhouse used the high lane to work his way up to seventh, but ultimately ended up in the ninth position in the Food City 500.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fl.— Ryan Reed scored the victory at Daytona International Speedway in the Powershares QQQ 300, a race that was plagued with two red flags. This is Reed’s second career win at Daytona.
“I had several people come up to me today and tell me how amazing my first win was. To see what that win meant to people, it drove me to get back into victory lane,” said Reed in victory lane.
Reed started the race in stage one in the second position. Reed ran up front for the first stage, while being the pushee and pusher through much of the first segment. Reed was involved in the second caution of the day on the backstretch that collected 20 cars. Reed was able to continue in the race. Elliott Sadler won the stage wth Kasey Kahne in second, Brennan Poole in third, Ty Dillon in fourth, and Blake Koch rounded out the top-five.
In the second stage, Reed was a silent contender working his way back to the front. Reed hooked-up with Sadler to help him get towards the lead on lap 46. Shortly after pushing Sadler to the lead, the field went single file for a few laps before Reed went to the bottom to form a second lane going into ending of the stage, but lost momentum as he was side drafted. Sadler won the second round with Austin Dillon was second, T. Dillon was third, Reed was fourth, and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-five.
In the third and final stage, Reed was silent at the beginning, but on lap 82 Reed pushed Keselowski to the lead. When Reed pushed Keselowski to the lead, Keselowski dropped to the bottom leaving Reed on the high side with Sadler pushing him. A. Dillon found a hole on lap 85 to jump in front of Reed. A. Dillon gained a huge lead from the push by Reed, but was sidelined as Reed passed him to gain the lead. Reed also received a huge push from behind, but as quickly as he gained the lead, he was split on both sides by the draft, getting shuffled towards the back of the pack. Reed moved his way back towards the front before the caution fell for an accident on the backstretch. On the restart, Reed challenged Kahne with eight laps to go for the lead. Reed blocked Kahne from taking his position, and received drafting help from T. Dillon. With just three laps remaining, the caution flag flew sending the race into NASCAR Overtime. On the final restart of the race, Reed was able to get a jump on the field to win the race.
Kahne finished second, A. Dillon finished third, Keselowski finished fourth, and Brendan Gaughan finished in the fifth position.
The Powershares QQQ 300 from Daytona was slowed by 10 cautions for 42 laps with two red flags, resulting in the race being stopped for 46 minutes, 13 seconds. There were 23 lead changes among seven drivers with Reed leading nine laps.
Next up for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is the Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series season for Roush Fenway Racing was not one of great acclaim for the team. The team fielded two full-time drivers in Darrell Wallace Jr. and Ryan Reed, while having part-time entries for Trevor Bayne, Gray Gaulding, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Bayne completed at Watkins Glen for Roush-Fenway. He started seventh and finished in the fifth position.
Gaulding completed in the second events at Bristol and Richmond. At Bristol he started 21st and finished 13th. At Richmond, he started 11th and finished 13th.
Stenhouse Jr. competed at Phoenix in the fall. He started 13th and finished third.
For Wallace Jr, the season started off with a sixth place finish at Daytona, but at Atlanta he finished 18th. His first DNF came at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where he was involved in a crash. However, he was able to have three consecutive top-20 finshes. At Bristol, he received a 25th place finish. Over the next three weeks, he had top-20 finishes with his best finish of second coming at Dover. Wallace did not find his mojo at Charlotte, which resulted in a 27th place finish. As the season entered the summer months, Wallace had seven consecutive top-20 finishes with his best coming at Kentucky. At Iowa and Watkins Glen, Wallace finished 27th and 29th, respectively. Going into the inaugural playoffs in the Xfinity Series, Wallace had six consecutive top-20 finishes with the best coming at Bristol.
In the opening round of the playoffs, Wallace opened at Kentucky with an eighth place finish. At Dover, he finished 11th. At Charlotte, he finished 20th. Those finishes allowed him to advance into the next round.
The next round was not as nice for Wallace. He suffered two DNF’s at Charlotte and Phoenix. At Texas, he finished in the 11th position. The two DNF’s served as his Achilles Heel to advance into the final four at Homestead. Wallace finished the season at Homestead with an 11th place finish.
2016 was Reed’s third full-time season in Xfinity competition. He started out Daytona with a 16th place finish. He went into the next five races with consecutive top-20 finished with the best coming at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a 13th place finish. At Bristol, he finished 21st, but was able to rebound for an 11th place finish at Richmond. At Talladega, Reed finished 31st, but backed it up at Dover and Charlotte with an 18th and 19th place finish. His first DNF of the season came at Pocono, where he was involved in a crash that resulted in a 33rd place finis. However, Reed went on a streak of three consecutive top-15 finishes with his best being a sixth place finish at Daytona. Kentucky was not one his stronger tracks, but he went on a tear of five consecutive top-15 finishes with the best coming atWatkins Glen where he finished ninth. At Bristol, he finished 35th, but leading into the playoffs, Reed had four top-15 finishes. In the final race of the regular season, he finished 32nd due to a crash, but was able to make the inaugural playoffs.
When the playoffs began, Reed knocked a seventh place finish at Kentucky, a 10th place finish at Dover, and a 15th place finish at Dover to advance to the second round.
The next round saw consistency from Reed, but that was not enough to advance to the final four at Homestead. Reed finished 16th at Kansas, 12th at Texas, and sixth at Phoenix. At Homestead, he closed out the season with a 16th place finish.
2017 is not looking bright for Roush-Fenway’s Xfinity Series program. Wallace Jr. only has sponsorship for the first six races of 2016. Wallace knows that his job in the first six races is to win and run up front to help with the sponsorship deal. Reed will continue to have the sponsorship of Lilly’s Diabetes in 2017. Just like in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, 2017 is a crucial year for Roush-Fenway’s future.