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Venturini Motorsports has announced the addition of rookie driver Natalie Decker to team’s Toyota driver lineup for Friday’s upcoming ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards – General Tire Superweekend; Crosley Brands 150 at Kentucky Speedway.

Selected to pilot the No.55 N29 Capital Partners Toyota Camry, Decker’s originally unscheduled start comes on the heels of her early season success and the continued support from her driving partner, N29 Capital Partners, LLC.

“I couldn’t be anymore happy right now,” says Decker. “Our next race was not supposed to be until next month at Kansas – but the guys from N29 Capital Partners called yesterday and told me I’m running Kentucky. It’s awesome – totally caught me off-guard. I can’t thank them enough. The support they continue to show is simply amazing. And I can’t thank Venturini (Motorsports) and Toyota for believing and giving me this amazing opportunity in the ARCA Series.”

Making her big splash onto the ARCA Series scene back in May at Toledo Speedway, the popular 20-year old female driver has been impressive during each of her first five series starts earning back-to-back top-10 finishes in her last two attempts.

Shining on and off the track, Decker’s introduction to the series has been highlighted by her 10th place finish in July at Pocono and a career best 7th place finish in last month’s road course race at Road America.

Like any true racer, Decker appreciates every chance she gets to compete.

“Less than a week ago I was with the team (Venturini Motorsports) doing an appearance in Chicago. I was helping out Musselman’s and PADD (People Against Distracted Driving) doing an appearance at the Joliet Fan Rally and all I kept thinking about was how much it was killing me inside not to be at the track driving. Every driver feels this way when we’re not racing. Moments like these really make you appreciate the opportunity when you get the chance.”

This will be Decker’s first career start in the Bluegrass State and her first race on a 1.5 mile surface – also serving as a warm-up to her next appearance at Kansas Speedway on October 20.

Decker will not participate in ARCA’s rescheduled Wednesday open test session at Kentucky but will join the team on Friday for a full-slate of action leading up to the Crosley Brands 150.

Raceday Schedule, Friday, September 22
Practice for the Crosley 150 is Friday afternoon, Sept. 22 from 1 – 2:30 p.m., followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 5:10 p.m. The Crosley 150 is scheduled to get the green flag just after 8:00 p.m.

In addition to Live Timing and Scoring and Live Chat at arcaracing.com of all on-track activities, the Crosley 150 is live on FS1.

VMS PR

NASCAR Next 2017-member Chase Purdy will make his third and final start of the 2017 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Friday evening at the Kentucky Speedway with Mason Mitchell Motorsports (MMM).

Purdy has made two starts with MMM this season driving the No. 78 machine to two top-ten finishes at the Winchester Speedway and the Salem Speedway. Friday evening, Purdy will be behind the wheel of the BAMA Buggies No. 88 Chevrolet for the championship team. It marks the first time that the 17-year-old will be racing on an oval longer than 1.0-mile.  The team will partake in the open test on Tuesday to prepare for the Crosley Brands 150.

“I've never been to a mile and a half but, given what Kevin and Mason have told me, I feel like I'll be pretty comfortable with the speed and track and racing around other cars,” Purdy stated.

Purdy is coming off a sixth-place run at the New Jersey Motorsports Park with the NKNPSE. It marked the second time that he’s ever raced on a road course. Tuesdays test session at Kentucky will be a chance for Purdy to gain valuable seat time.

 “I'm really anxious to feel the air and how it works at those speeds. Test day will be very valuable and should help us a lot. I'm just really curious to see how important the air is and how it will all work. If everything goes according to plan and I do my job by making zero mistakes, I expect to have a run inside the top five. Mason Mitchell Motorsports nearly won the last speedway race, so their cars are plenty capable if I can step up and do my job behind the wheel.”

Chassis Information: Purdy will be behind the wheel of chassis No. 593 out of the MMM stable. Myatt Snider raced the vehicle to a ninth-place finish last week at the Chicagoland Speedway. The chassis has 17 starts, earning two wins (Chicago 2014, August Pocono 2017), six top-five’s and ten top-ten finishes.

MMM at Kentucky Speedway: MMM has Four prior starts at the 1.5-mile track located in Sparta, Kentucky. The team has a best finish of third coming in the 2014 race.

Crosley Brands 150

Practice for the Crosley 150 is Friday afternoon, Sept. 22 from 1 – 2:30 p.m., followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 5;10. The Crosley 150 is scheduled to get the green flag just after 8.

In addition to Live Timing and Scoring and Live Chat at arcaracing.com of all on-track activities, the Crosley 150 is live on FS1 beginning at 8:00 pm ET.

MMM PR

Venturini Motorsports (VMS) announced today that 20-year old Cole Rouse will compete in the final two ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season events starting with Friday’s General Tire Super Weekend: Crosley Brands 150 at Kentucky Speedway.

Rouse, a native of Fort Smith, Arkansas, will make his ARCA series debut driving the VMS prepared No.15 Musselman’s BIG CUP Apple Sauce Toyota at Kentucky Speedway. He’ll also drive in the series’ season finale at Kansas Speedway on October 20.

“This is an exciting opportunity – one we’ve been working on for some time,” said Cole Rouse. “The ARCA Series has long been a great launching pad for so many drivers, and to make my first start this week at Kentucky with Toyota and Venturini Motorsports is a huge honor.”

Friday night’s ARCA race on Kentucky’s 1.5 mile surface will mark Rouse’s first ever start on a track larger than one-mile. Rouse will get a warmup as he’ll join VMS for a scheduled series open test session at Kentucky today (Tuesday).

“To make it in this sport you’ve got to win. I’m excited but putting a lot of pressure on myself to be fast and compete for the victory Friday night. I’ve watched a lot of guys come into the ARCA series and win in their first race. I hope I can add my name to this list.”

If Rouse does indeed drive to victory lane Friday at Kentucky he’ll become the ninth different VMS driver to do so in their first series attempt.

The list of drivers includes Joey Logano (Rockingham, 2008), Scott Lagasse Jr. (Chicagoland, 2008), Sean Caisse (Rockingham, 2009), Brennan Poole (Salem, 2011), Alex Bowman (Madison, 2011), Austin Theriault (Michigan, 2014), Todd Gilliland (Toledo, 2015) and Christopher Bell (Salem, 2016).

Currently leading the CARS Super Late Model Tour driver point standings, Rouse has notched two series victories (Orange County and Concord Speedway) racing under the Toyota Racing banner with Kyle Busch Motorsports Super Late Model team.

Rouse finished seventh in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West standings in 2016 after posting four top-five and 12 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 7.6 across 14 events in his rookie campaign. He began his racing career at the age of 14, competing in mini-cup cars before advancing to Late Model competition in 2013. He led a race-high 145 laps of the All-American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville in 2015, before being relegated to a fifth-place finish after a shock broke late in the race.

Venturini Motorsports, coming off Christopher Bell’s dramatic victory at Chicagoland Speedway last Thursday, now has 44 all-time ARCA Series Victories.

Race Day Schedule
Practice for the Crosley 150 is Friday afternoon, Sept. 22 from 1 – 2:30 p.m., followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 5:10 p.m. The Crosley 150 is scheduled to get the green flag just after 8:00pm and will be aired live on FOX SPORTS 1.

VMS PR

Harrison Burton and MDM Motorsports continued their chase of the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) Championship on Saturday afternoon in the JustDrive.com 125 at New Jersey Motorsports Park located in Millville, N.J. It was the second and final road course of the season. 

Burton, once again behind the wheel of the DEX Imaging No. 12 Toyota, qualified fourth. He ran inside the top-five the entire race with the exception of one time halfway through the 55-lap event. Although he struggled with forward drive due to worn tires, he was able to recover and finish third for his second straight top-three road course finish. He finished third at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International in August.
 
"I'm with the best team in the business," Burton told NASCAR Home Tracks. "I feel like we had a really good car today, just missing a little bit. I made a mistake and got us behind and had to burn the tires off trying to pass everyone back. I felt like we had a good car and were good in practice. I just made mistakes, and that's something you can't do if you want to win races in this series. It's so hard to win, and if you make mistakes, you're not going to win. I've got to get better and learn from experience."
 
Burton sits second in the NKNPSE points with just one event left. The NKNPSE Dover 125 at Dover International Speedway located in Dover, Del., is scheduled for September 29.
 
MDM Motorsports PR
Saturday afternoon’s penultimate NASCAR K&N Pro Series race at New Jersey Motorsports Park was a tumultuous affair for Chase Purdy, but one which resulted in him finishing sixth after having a shot at a top three finish in the final handful of laps. The finish extended his lead in the Rookie of the Year standings going into the series finale.
 
Purdy and the David Gilliland Racing team unloaded at New Jersey looking to rebound after a lackluster performance at Watkins Glen a month ago. In practice, Chase labored to get a rhythm on the challenging layout which features both high-speed right-handers and a lower-speed technical section. At the end, he was only 12th fastest, 3.5 seconds off the pace.
 
By qualifying, a chance to debrief with the crew and apply what he learned paid off. Chase picked up nearly three seconds, good enough for fifth fastest in time trials and a starting spot inside of row three.
 
As the race played out, Chase continued to test the limits of his car and the racetrack, finding the edge on occasion but ultimately positioning himself inside the top five late in the race. A restart in the closing circuits gave him an opportunity to improve himself into the top three, but a defensive miscue caused him to drop multiple spots before charging back to sixth by the checkered flag.
 
“I'd like to think this was an above average weekend for us,” Chase said following the race. “The strong parts were that I had the opportunity to learn a lot more about road racing and work on my consistency, but I also think I was weak on taking advantage of breaks as they presented themselves. At the end of the race, the car was more unstable over the bumps after I had to drive through the field, and without as much tire left I needed more forward drive off. Overall, it was a good weekend. I'm proud of my David Gilliland Racing crew and looking forward to Dover.”
 
Chase’s final NASCAR K&N Pro Series event of the season comes in two weeks at Dover International Speedway, a companion event to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and the fastest track on which Chase has competed in a K&N car. Before then, he will make his first career intermediate track start at Kentucky Speedway on Friday, September 22, in the ARCA Racing Series with Mason Mitchell Motorsports. The next night, he will pilot a super late model at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.
 
For more information on Chase Purdy, visit his website at ChasePurdyRacing.com and follow him on Facebook (@ChasePurdyRacing), Twitter (@ChasePurdy12) and Instagram (@chase_purdy).

Chase Purdy PR

17-Year-Old Blaine Perkins will make his ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards debut next Friday evening under the lights at the Kentucky Speedway driving for Mason Mitchell Motorsports.

Perkins who’s in his second season racing with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will drive the Vision Wheels/Four Star Fruit No. 78 Chevrolet for MMM. The team will participate in the open test session Tuesday at the 1.5-mile track in preparation for Friday evenings Crosley Brands 150.

“Making my debut in the ARCA Series this week means a lot because it is also my first start on a track over a mile,” Perkins stated. “The biggest challenges will come with learning the track and getting used to the radial tires used in ARCA. The test on Tuesday is going to be very important for me as a driver. Every lap I will be learning. It is an honor to run for such a successful team like Mason Mitchell Motorsports. They are an elite team and I am looking forward to having a great run on Friday.”

In the last two seasons, Perkins has made 26 starts with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West earning one top-five and 14 top-ten finishes. His best finish came in his rookie season (16) where he finished fifth at Colorado National Speedway.

The Bakersfield, California native began racing with the SRL Legends Tour in 2012. During his first full-time season in 2013 he earned three-top five finishes and finished runner-up in championship points. From there he made several starts with the SRL Southwest Tour as well as the Lucas Oil Modifieds. In 2016, he made the jump up to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West tour earning one top-five and ten top-ten finishes and finishing tenth in points.

Chassis Information: Perkins will be behind chassis No. 589 out of the MMM stable. Chase Purdy raced this car two weeks ago on the high banks of the Salem Speedway to a sixth-place finish. In 23 starts the chassis has two wins (Iowa 15 and Springfield 16), 13 top-five finishes and 20 top-ten finishes.

MMM PR

For Team Penske, it was the perfect day at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma. Simon Pagenaud won the race to conclude the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season. Teammate Josef Newgarden finished second to wrap up the championship.

Pagenaud, the 2016 champion driving the No. 1 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet, beat Newgarden to the finish line by 1.0986 seconds to win the 85-lap race at Sonoma Raceway. It was the Frenchman's 11th career victory and second straight on the 2.385-mile, 12-turn permanent road course. A year ago, Pagenaud won from the pole position at Sonoma to sew up his first championship.

GOPRO GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA: Box score

This year, it was Newgarden who clinched his first title and the $1 million champion's prize by finishing second in the race. The 26-year-old Tennessean held off Pagenaud by 13 points in the final standings to become the first American driver to win the championship since Ryan Hunter-Reay five years ago.

"I don't even know what to say," said Newgarden, the driver of the No. 2 hum by Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who made his 100th career start today. "It was all year and it took a lot to make it happen. Thank you to my teammates. They were giving me a lot of help to make sure we got this done. It's a huge team effort at Team Penske.

"To finally get it done is a dream come true."

The championship is the 15th for Team Penske, the most decorated team in Indy car history. Newgarden joins the likes of Tom Sneva, Rick Mears, Al Unser, Danny Sullivan, Al Unser Jr., Gil de Ferran, Sam Hornish Jr., Will Power and Pagenaud as Team Penske drivers to win an Indy car title.

"I've had so many great drivers, and as I said, I don't have a favorite," team owner Roger Penske said. "I can't compare (Newgarden) to anyone exactly. He's an American, which is special in this sport because many of the other drivers have come from overseas and different parts of the world. To see Josef kind of take this route and be at the top right now is pretty exciting."

The race ran caution-free for the first time in Sonoma Raceway history, which now spans 14 Indy car events. Newgarden and Pagenaud each led 41 laps. Pagenaud opted for a four-stop strategy to Newgarden's three pit stops, but the Frenchman made up the extra time in pit lane by turning faster laps on an open track.

The decisive race moment came when Pagenaud made his final stop from the lead for fuel and tires on Lap 64. He returned to the track just ahead of the charging Newgarden and held on to first place as the teammates battled around the track. From there, Pagenaud kept Newgarden in his mirrors to the finish.

Pagenaud completed all 2,331 laps this season, becoming just the second driver to finish every lap in a season. Tony Kanaan was the first, when he completed all 3,305 laps when he won the 2004 championship.

"We did what we had to do," Pagenaud said. "We tried. We won the race; it wasn't enough. It's a whole championship. You've got to be strong in every race and I guess Josef was a little stronger this year, so we'll come back. Thirteen points. Next year we'll come back and give him a hell of a competition again."

Power, the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion, gave Team Penske a race podium sweep by placing third in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske. Scott Dixon finished fourth in the No. 9 NTT Data Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing to clinch third in the standings, 23 points behind Newgarden. It is the 11th time in his 17-year career that Dixon, a four-time champion, has finished in the top three in points.

Helio Castroneves wrapped up fourth in the standings by finishing fifth in the race driving the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. Completing his 20th year racing Indy cars, the 42-year-old Brazilian is still in search of his first series championship.

By finishing third in the race, Power - the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion - earned fifth place in the standings.

An hour-long special documenting the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season and Newgarden's championship will air at 7 p.m. ET Sept. 28 on NBCSN.  

VICS PR

The one in the ELITE 1 Semi Final 2 was a truly special win for Alon Day (#54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) and the whole CAAL Racing team. After jumping to the top of the standings with an impressive performance on Saturday, the Israeli dominated again the last race of the NASCAR GP of Italy, giving CAAL Racing its 20th NASCAR win in the team’s 100th race in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. 

ELITE 1 SEMI FINAL 2 RESULTSPOINTS STANDINGS

For Day, who led the race from flag to flag and will enter the Circuit Zolder Finals with 37 points on Borja Garcia (#6 Racers Motorsport Ford Mustang) and 41 on Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) it was the third win of the season and the 10th of his career, tying Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) as the winningest active drive in NWES.

“It was an awesome weekend for me and my CAAL Racing team”, said Day. “We all did a really good job to be as quick as possible here at Autodromo di Franciacorta. We showed everybody that we are very fast here in Italy. I have a good margin in the championship standings right and it’s very good for the Finals. Now we have to focus on Zolder because the Belgian teams are very strong there. I took two pole positions there in the past so the track is not that bad for us. I can’t wait to hit the track!”

Garcia and Kumpen both faced adversities in the closing race of the Franciacorta weekend. The two title contenders were involved in contacts that relegated them respectively in 15th and 16th place. 

BRAXX Racing also had a successful weekend in Italy with Marc Goossens (#90 BRAXX Racing Ford Mustang) finishing second in the Elite 1 Semi Final 2. The Belgian took second from a very strong Stienes Longin (#11 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) with a brilliant move in restart on lap 18 and fended off every attack for the next eight circuits. 

“I think it was been a very good weekend for all of us at BRAXX Racing especially because I missed the races in Valencia and Hockenheim”, Goossens explained. “ I had a big crash in Venray. All we had before coming here was a very painful race in Venray and a very clean race in Brands Hatch where we scored a podium. In between we were never been able to test the car so we had limited seat time. We should be jumping high now because we scored such good results on a track we didn’t even know as I’ve never been racing here before. It’s all about track position here and 33 years of experience helped me a lot, said “The Goose”.

For Goossens it was a very special second place: “I want to dedicate this podium to all the people in Florida who had a really hard time because of the hurricane Irma. I race a lot in that part of the USA so I wish all of the a fast recovery.”

Stienes Login (#11 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) rounded out the podium with an impressive performance and the win in the Junior Trophy. He took the checkered flag ahead of Frederic Gabillon (#3 RDV Competition Ford Mustang) and Thomas Ferrando (#37 Knauf Racing Ford Mustang). 

Just outside the top 5 Gianmarco Ercoli (#9 Racers Motorsports Ford Mustang) had a intense battle with Salvador Tineo Arroyo (#56 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS), while
Marconi Abreu (#47 RDV Competition Toyota Camry) ended up 8th and took the win in the Challenger Trophy. Renzo Calzinati (#12 MRT Ford Mustang) and Hugo Bec (#31 RDV Competition Ford Mustang) completed the top-10. 

The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will now head to Belgium for the Circuit Zolder Finals on October 14-15 to crown the 2017 NWES Champion.

NASCAR Euro Series PR

In what was his first ever NASCAR weekend, Italian Hillclimb and GT veteran Denny Zardo (#2 Alex Caffi Motorsport Toyota Camry) won his maiden race in impressive fashion for Alex Caffi Motorsport, preceding Saturday’s winner Thomas Ferrando (#37 Knauf Racing Team Ford Mustang), who further reinforced his points lead heading into final event of the 2017 season.

ELITE 2 SEMI FINAL 2 RESULTSRACE CENTRAL LIVE

After Saturday’s misfortune – he was involved in a late contact while battling for a place on the podium – Zardo was all smiles in Victory Lane.

“I saw the car for the first time on Friday but with the great work of the Alex Caffi Motorsport team we found a good feeling pretty quickly,” said Zardo, who started from the pole and brilliantly answered every attack brought by Ferrando in the first part of the race before building a good gap and crossing the finish line with 2.5 seconds on the Frenchman. “Ferrando is a veteran of the Series and it was a great, fair battle for the lead. I want to thank the team for this unique opportunity. The cars are really funny to drive, they truly surprised me for how quick they are and how easily you can adapt and have a ton of fun at the wheel."

Ferrando, who tried his best to win his seventh race of the season, is now heading to the Zolder Finals with a reassuring lead on the other title contenders.

“I'm really happy with this result because we have gained a lot of points today. We have made an important step for the Zolder Finals next month in Belgium.The Knauf Racing Team always does a very good job on the car and I am really thankful for being able to work with them,” said Ferrando after receiving once again the red Whelen sticker for being the ELITE 2 points leader at the end of the weekend. “Knauf is family for me and I thank all of them for what they do for my career. They are unique. In Zolder I want to score as many points as I can. My goal is to tie Stienes Login for the most wins in one season and for that I will have to win all the races in Belgium, but the title is the most important goal.”

Championship contender Ulysse Delsaux (#3 RDV Competition Ford Mustang) finished 3rd. The young Frenchman will have to give his best at the Zolder Finals to have a shot on the Elite 2 title this season.

The battle for the Rookie Cup was on behind Delsaux. Guillaume Dumarey (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) had the better hand on Nicki Petersen (#33 Mishumotors Chevrolet SS), who rounded up the top 5. Maciej Dreszer (#66 DF1 Racing Chevrolet SS) finished sixth at the end of a fierce battle with Petersen.

Paul Guiod (#73 Knauf Racing Ford Mustang) had a solid run and ended up sixth ahead of Felipe Rabello (#55 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS). Justin Kunz (#11 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) and Roberto Benedetti (#41 The Club Motorsports Ford Mustang), who won the Challenger Trophy, rounded up the top 10.

The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will be back on track from 14th to 15th October at Circuit Zolder, where the 2017 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series champions will be crowned.

NASCAR Euro Series PR

Raphaël Lessard, the St-Joseph-de-Beauce, Quebec, native, was participating in the Glass City 200 in the ARCA/CRA Super Series at the Toledo Speedway in Ohio this Saturday evening. Victim of an accident in the early stage of the race, the 16-year-old driver had to retire on the 73rd lap.

The Toyota Camry #99 FRL Express/Toyota-TRD/JBL Audio prepared by David Gilliland Racing driver had set the 4th best time during qualifying earlier in the day. With the first 9 positions being inverted on the starting grid, he began the race in 6th place.

After 10 laps, an accident on the track ruined Raphaël's hopes for a Top 3 finish. Dalton Armstrong and Tristan Van Wieringen made contact, which created a ripple effect behind them. Raphaël  was not able to avoid a competitor in front of him. With the front bumper and wing gone, he had to return to the pits in order for the team to work on the car.

After returning on the track, the car was not performing, and at the 73rd lap, the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) driver was forced to retire from the race to preserve the car. Although he only completed 73 laps, he finished 13th on a 22-car field.

“We had a great car today”, said Raphaël, visibly disappointed. “I am sure that we could have finished in the Top 3 since it was going so well in the early stage of the race. I was managing my tires and was moving up. It was my first time on this very special track, so to set the 4th time in qualifying surprised me. I had the feeling that I was improving every lap. There was nothing more we could have done after the accident. We will continue working hard. Many thanks to the team who did a tremendous job on the car this weekend.”

Raphaël’s next race will be September 23rd in the SSS series at the 5 Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.

RLR PR

Will Rodgers continued his road-course mastery Saturday.

The 22-year-old from Murrieta, California, drove away from NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship points leader Todd Gilliland en route to winning the JustDrive.com 125 at New Jersey Motorsports Park. The victory was Rogers’ second career win in the series and his second of the season – both victories coming at road courses.

Rodgers battled Gilliland throughout much of the second half of the race, making his final pass on Gilliland on lap 40 of the 55-lap event on the 2.3-mile road course. He survived a late-race restart and his No. 7 Solvang Brewing Company Ford crossed the finish line 2.430 seconds ahead of Gilliland.

“Todd Gilliland is always great at restarts,” Rodgers said about the duel for the win. “I only have so much time in these full-bodied, solid rear-end stock cars. It’s kind of tough to go from what I’ve been racing before to master restarts but we’re getting there. I’m happy with the ones we had today. I was able to get in front of Todd there and that was the highlight of the race.”

The road-racing ace finished second to 2014 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick earlier this year in a K&N Pro West race at Sonoma and said it was Harvick’s encouragement that convinced him to run the K&N Pro East races at Watkins Glen and New Jersey.

“It was really good advice from him," said Rodgers, "and I’m happy we were able to pull off a sweep.”

Burton finished third, which allowed Gilliland to push his points lead to eight heading into the season finale at Dover International Speedway on Sept. 29.

“I think this was a big step in the right direction with the road course package,” Gilliland said. “Just another solid day for the Bill McAnally Racing team. It’s been a battle for the points lead and it’s nice to add a few points to that. I’m really confident about our Dover package. I was lucky enough to run the Truck race earlier this year and get some laps there. It’s going to be a huge race for us but I have confidence in everyone on our team.

Harrison Burton salvaged a podium finish after falling back to sixth during a restart in the second half of the race.

“I’m with the best team in the business,” Burton commented. “I feel like we had a really good car today, just missing a little bit. I made mistake and got us behind and had to burn the tires off trying to pass everyone back. I felt like we had a good car and were good in practice, I just made mistakes and that’s something you can’t do if you want to win races in this series. It’s so hard to win and if you make mistakes, you’re not going to win. I’ve got to get better and learn from experience.”

Jay Beasley finished in fourth while Ronnie Basset Jr. was fifth.

Chase Purdy, Dillon Bassett, Grant Quinlan, Max Tullman and Ruben Garcia, Jr. completed the top 10 at New Jersey. Purdy, the leading Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate, is third in points -- 60 back of Burton and three ahead of Ronnie Bassett. Ruben Garcia Jr. rounds out the top five in points.

NASCAR PR