Xfinity Series News

Xfinity Series News (5589)

NASCAR Xfinity Series News

Two-time NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Champion Anthony Kumpen had an impressive showing in his second career race at the Daytona International Speedway, battling for a top-10 finish in the closing laps of the NASCAR XFINITY Series season opener at the wheel of the No. 46 LeasePlan Chevrolet Camaro fielded by Precision Performance Motorsports. His run was unfortunately stopped 15 laps short by a multi-car incident, which the Belgian caught while running in the front pack. Front-end damage forced Kumpen to retire to the garage and finish the PowerShares QQQ 300 in the 22nd position.

In what was only Kumpen's second-ever race on a 2.5-mile superspeedway, Kumpen proved how effective the NWES Road to Daytona program is in providing NASCAR Whelen Euro Series' drivers with the best opportunities to race in NASCAR in the U.S. and all the tools to battle with the sport's best drivers. Kumpen utilized this experience to avoid an onslaught of incidents and race solidly in the top-15 throughout much of the 300-lap event.

"It was great," said Kumpen. "We survived the big one in the first stage and we kept a good pace, managing our car as planned for the rest of the race to be there at the end. We have been in the top-10 and we were working for the final dash to the checkered flag, but we got caught in that multi-car wreck. It is unfortunate, but it happens. It's part of racing at Daytona and I am really happy because we did a great job and we had a blast! The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series is doing something amazing with its program. It is the place to be to have chances like this and I can't thank NASCAR, NWES, Whelen and all the partners enough for the Series and the program."

"The Precision Performance Team has once again put together the best value in XFINITY Series racing for this event," said team owner Richard Gdovic. "I am very proud of their efforts. Every time our team brings a car to the race track, we expect to be the top performing part time team and the best value for our driver's and their sponsors. Anthony had another great performance with our team while his sponsors and family enjoyed the hospitality and behind the scenes experience the Precision Performance Team is well known for."
 
Kumpen's attention will now turn completely towards defending his European crown against the strong NWES competitors, beginning with the April 8-9 season opener at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain.
 
PPM PR

Following his mother’s sudden death in 2011, NASCAR driver Joey Gase made the courageous decision to donate her organs and tissues, which ultimately touched the lives of 66 individuals in desperate need of a transplant.  Since then, Gase has become as passionate about donation as he is about racing.  In December 2015, he was awarded NASCAR’s inaugural Community Champion Award for his work supporting organ, eye and tissue donation.

Atlanta Motor Speedway will soon fill its 110,000 permanent seats with motorsport fans.  Meanwhile, over 119,000 men, women and children across the county are waiting for the gift of life through transplantation; over 5,600 wait in Georgia.  For the upcoming Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Gase will race the LifeLink® #52 car in honor of his mother and others touched by donation and transplantation, like Officer Jody Smith.   

Engaged to be married, Officer Smith, a Georgia Southwestern University Campus police officer, had a full life ahead of him when he was tragically killed in the line of duty. Officer Smith made the decision, before his death, to register as an organ donor. LifeLink is humbled to partner with Gase to honor Officer Smith on the LifeLink #52 car. Officer Smith’s picture will be placed on the back panel of the race car and will serve as a tribute to the legacy Officer Smith leaves with those whose lives are forever changed by his decision to donate life.

On Wednesday, March 2, Gase will visit the Georgia Department of Driver Services Customer Service Center in Locust Grove to share his personal experience as a donor family member and honor the life of Officer Smith, and donor families in general.  Recipients, donor families, and registered organ donors will be invited to sign and make handprints on Gases’ LifeLink #52 car during a special event called “Handprints of Hope.”  These personal tributes to organ donors, transplant recipients and healthcare professionals will ride with Gase on the track during his race as an inspiration for fans about the power of donation.

Joey Gase PR

Scott Lagasse Jr. is a veteran when it comes to racing at Daytona International Speedway and he showed that experience in the NASCAR XFINITY Series season opener on Saturday.  Lagasse Jr. overcame early trouble to pilot his No. 24 Alert Today Florida/Florida Lottery Toyota to a career best XFINITY Series finish of sixth in the running of the PowerShares QQQ 300.
"That was a crazy race out there today," said Lagasse Jr.  "We had a very strong No. 24 Alert Today Florida/Florida Lottery Toyota and that made it a lot of fun.  We got caught up in an early wreck but the guys on the JGL Racing team remained calm and did a great job with repairs to keep us with a competitive car.  We did get down a lap for repairs but we got the Lucky Dog and made a late run to the front."
Scott would start the scheduled 120-lap event from the 25th position as a result of his qualifying effort earlier in the day.  The St. Augustine, Florida native would quickly show his strength as he soared to the front of the field and inside the top-10 by lap 15.  Unfortunately, disaster would strike on lap 29 and Lagasse Jr. was collected in a big wreck just before the end of the first segment.
Many trips down pit road would highlight the next segment of the race as the JGL Racing team focused on making the necessary repairs to the No. 24 Toyota.  With calm and persistence, the crew did just that but would lose a lap to the field in the process.  A timely caution on lap 77 would find Lagasse Jr. earning the Lucky Dog award and returning to the lead lap.  From there, the Florida native would utilize his drafting skills and power back to the front of the field.
Scott would find himself inside the top-5 with just over 10 laps remaining in what would become a shootout.  Lagasse Jr. would avoid the last few on-track encounters and safely come across the finish line with an XFINITY Series career best sixth place finish.
"I can't thank everyone enough at JGL Racing for this opportunity - they are a great group to work with and provided me with a terrific  No. 24 Toyota," added Scott.  "Of course none of this would be possible without the great support of our partners Alert Today Florida and the Florida Lottery.  I had a blast and we had a good weekend sharing the message of pedestrian and cyclist safety and promoting Florida Lottery's support of education like mine with the Bright Futures Scholars program. Hopefully I will get the opportunity to work with everyone at JGL Racing again."
Racing in Daytona provides the perfect platform to spread the Alert Today Florida Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety message. Volusia County ranks in Florida's top 20 list for traffic crashes resulting in fatalities and serious injuries of pedestrians and bicyclists. "Every fatality is someone's friend, co-worker, or family member, and they are all important. If our efforts this weekend saves even one life, I will consider that a success, because Every Life Counts!"
The JGL Racing team will next head to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the running of the Rinnai 250 with Corey LaJoie climbing behind the wheel of the No. 24 Young Guns Toyota.  The second race of the NASCAR XFINITY Series season will be Saturday March 4th and can be seen LIVE on FOX Sports 1 at 2:00 pm ET.  It can also be heard on Performance Racing Network (PRN) and SiriusXM Channel 90.
JGL Racing PR
Kaulig Racing driver Blake Koch picked up a 15th-place finish in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) season opener at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) on Saturday evening after surviving multiple on-track incidents. Koch’s battered No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet Camaro looked much like it had endured a race at a short track at the end of the 124-lap event, but carried him through to the finish line in a race that saw 10 caution flags.

“I can’t say enough about how hard my Kaulig Racing team worked today,” said Koch. “We never gave up or let ourselves get discouraged despite having to make something close to 12 pit stops during the course of the race. We feel really good about the points we earned today and can’t wait to carry that momentum and drive into Atlanta next weekend.”

Koch started off the weekend with two practice sessions on Friday afternoon, averaging speeds in the top-10 in first practice and top-16 during single-car runs in second practice. Koch carried that speed over into qualifying on Saturday morning, earning an eighth-place starting position for the No. 11 team.  

Koch settled into the 16th-position after the green flag dropped on the first 30-lap stage of the race. Before the field could complete three laps, the race was slowed by a quick caution flag, putting Koch in the same position for the restart on Lap 8.

He reported his No. 11 machine was loose on Lap 16, just before the caution was displayed again a lap later. Crew chief Chris Rice brought Koch down pit road under the caution on Lap 19 for four fresh tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Koch restarted 19th on Lap 22.

A lap after the restart, the first big wreck of the day transpired in front of Koch. He was able to avoid damage by maneuvering through the infield grass, leaving grass stuck in the grille of the car. The race was eventually put under a red flag, but Koch was able to come into the pits when it was lifted on Lap 25. The team removed the grass for the grille and topped off with fuel before restarting 18th with three laps remaining the first stage.

With just two laps to go in the first 30-lap stage, another big incident occurred again bringing the race under a red flag. With the field stopped before Turn 4, the stage would not end until the field crossed the start/finish line. The No. 11 car had suffered damage to the right-front nose area, which the team made a plan to fix while they waited out the red flag. When the race returned to caution, Koch crossed the finish line fifth to complete Stage 1, adding six championship points to his record.

In the break in between stages, Koch came down pit road for damage repair on Lap 31 and then again on Lap 32 for a routine, four-tire stop. He restarted in the 20th position in Stage 2 before a caution for debris came out on Lap 38. The team stayed out under the caution to restart 14th on Lap 42.

By Lap 50, Koch had advanced to the eighth position and was up to fourth with four laps remaining in Stage 2. With one lap remaining in the stage, Koch was involved in an incident, causing heavy damage to the left-front of the No. 11 Camaro. Fortunately, Koch was able to maintain speed and crossed the finish line at the end of Stage 2 in the 10th position, again adding to his championship points total.

After the end of Stage 2, Koch came in the pits for damage repair on Laps 62 and 63 to fix the splitter and remove sheet metal from the wheel well. Koch started the final stage on the race from the 21st position on Lap 65.

One lap after the restart, Koch’s left-front tire shredded, bringing out the caution and sending Koch down pit road for the eighth stop of the race. The team secured the hood, worked on the splitter and changed tires during pit stops on Laps 79 and 80. Koch restarted in the 20th position on Lap 81.

The race saw a green-flag run from Lap 81 until the caution was displayed with under 20 laps remaining in the event. Koch avoided additional damage but reported he had flat-spotted his tires avoiding the incident. Rice brought Koch down pit road under caution on Lap 105 for the team’s 10th stop of the day to change tires and again on Lap 106 to secure tape that had been applied to the front-end of the No. 11 Camaro. Koch restarted 11th with seven laps remaining in the event.

With five laps to go, Koch reported he had lost all front-turn in the car. The caution was displayed soon after and he came down pit road to finish repairs. Koch restarted the race 16th for the green-white-checker finish, ultimately crossing the finish line 15th.

Koch and the No. 11 team leave DIS ninth in the NXS championship standings. The team returns to racing action Saturday, March 4th, 2017 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. 
 
Kaulig Racing PR
Dakoda Armstrong once again showed his ability to avoid major disaster at Daytona International Speedway as the NASCAR XFINITY Series kicked off its 2017 season.  Armstrong safely piloted his No. 28 WinField United Toyota to top-10 finishes in the first two segments of the newly implemented race format and ultimately took the checkered flag in the 12th position in the running of the PowerShares QQQ 300 at "The World Center of Speed".
"Well that was a wild race and thankfully I was able to miss all of the wrecks until right after we took the checkered flag," said Armstrong.  "This new racing format and package we raced for the first time made it interesting.  Our No. 28 WinField Toyota was strong all weekend and it felt good to get back behind the wheel of it.  We should have had a better finish there at the end but sometimes its hard to choose who you want to go with and which line to fall into.  In all, not a bad start to the 2017 season."
Dakoda would start the scheduled 120-lap event from the 23rd position as a result of his qualifying effort earlier in the day.  The New Castle, Indiana native would patiently work his way through traffic in the early stages of the event and slowly move forward in the field.  Armstrong showed his ability to navigate traffic and avoid major wrecks as he put himself in position to avoid two major wrecks in the first segment and finish in the eighth position to gain three valuable bonus points.
The second race segment would see the No. 28 WinField Toyota slide up into the lead pack and ride inside the top-10 for most of the 30 laps.  Dakoda radioed to his crew that he was much better staying in the top groove and he did that as he once again avoided a few wrecks around him and finished in the eighth spot for the second straight segment.
The last half of the race would continue to see some wild action as Armstrong remained inside the top-10 until late action would shuffle him back in the field.  A late charge in the closing laps would see the No. 28 WinField United Toyota close back in on the top-10 before crossing the finish line in 12th.  Dakoda did a masterful job all day in avoiding the multiple wrecks but as he crossed the finish line he would be collected in one last melee resulting in significant damage to the No. 28 Toyota.
"We kept our car clean all day until right there at the finish line," added Dakoda.  "The JGL Racing organization worked hard over the winter and the fact that we had two strong cars here today showed just that.  I want to thank all of my guys for a great effort and I look forward to getting to Atlanta next week."
The 12th-place finish along with the two eighth place finishes in the first two segments has Armstrong sitting tied for fourth in the NASCAR XFINITY Series overall driver standings.
Armstrong and his JGL Racing team will next head to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the running of the Rinnai 250.  The 2nd race of the NASCAR XFINITY Series season will be Saturday March 4th and can be seen LIVE on FOX Sports 1 at 2:00 pm ET.  It can also be heard on Performance Racing Network (PRN) and SiriusXM Channel 90.

ISM PR

Anthony Kumpen was impressive in his second career race at the Daytona International Speedway, battling for a top-10 finish in the closing laps of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season opener at the wheel of the #46 LeasePlan Chevrolet Camaro fielded by Precision Performance Motorsports. 

The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Champion’s excellent run was unfortunately stopped by the third multi-car wreck of the night with 15 laps to go, in which the Belgian was caught while running in the front pack. The #46 Chevrolet started overheating forced Kumpen to retire and he was classified in 22nd position at the end of the PowerShare QQQ 300, but he left the speedway extremely pleased with his race.

“It was great! We survived the big one in the first stage and we kept a good pace, managing our car as planned for the rest of the race to be there at the end. We have been in the top-10 and we were working for the final dash to the checkered flag but we got caught in that multi-car wreck,” said Kumpen. “It is unfortunate, but it happens. It’s part of racing at Daytona and I am really happy because we did a great job and we had a blast!” 

In what was only his second ever race on a 2.5-mile superspeedway, Kumpen proved how effective the NWES Road To Daytona program is in providing NASCAR Whelen Euro Series with the best opportunities to race in NASCAR in the US and all the tools to battle with the sport’s best drivers. 

The Hasselt-native will be back in NXS during the summer break of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series summer break to take part in the August 12 MID-OHIO 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and he believes he can take advantage of his European success.

“The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series is doing something amazing with its program. It is the place to be to have chances like this and I can’t thank NASCAR, NWES, Whelen and all the partners enough for the Series and the program. This race is probably the most distant from what we do in Europe, so I am really looking forward to our next US appointment at Mid-Ohio, where we will have our NWES experience on road courses on our side. I believe we can shoot for a top-5 finish,” said Kumpen.

Kumpen’s attention will now turn completely towards defending his European crown against the assaults of a competition that gets stronger and stronger, beginning with the April 8-9 season opener at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain.

“We want to win our third Championship and if anybody else wants to have this kind of opportunities, they will have to beat us in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and I can’t wait for the first race of the season,” smiled the two-time NWES Champion.

Before heading to Valencia, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will return to action on March 3 at the Autodromo di Franciacorta in Italy for the official Prologue of the 2017 NWES season.

NASCAR PR

Aric Almirola piloted the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford for Biagi DenBeste Racing to kick off the 2017 season of the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Almirola started the Powershare QQQ 300 from the 22nd position but quickly raced his way to the Top 15 by Lap 3 at his home track, Daytona International Speedway. Lap 5 brought out the first of ten cautions for the night. Almirola was happy with how his car was handling, and the No. 98 crew decided to stay out under the caution.
 
Lap 19 saw the second caution, and the No. 98 Ford won the race off pit road after taking two tires and fuel. Almirola was caught in a 20-car incident on Lap 24, which caused minor damage to the right-rear of the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford. The team pitted for four tires and some repairs before the red flag waved on Lap 25. Thankfully, the damage didn't hurt the car's speed, and after one more caution, Almirola ended Stage One in the 16th position. Restarting third on Lap 34, Almirola fought a tight car but decided not to pit during the next caution. Almirola ran in the Top 15 for the remainder of Stage Two and started the final stage from the 12th position.
 
After the Lap 65 restart, Almirola swiftly made his way to the Top Five and was able to consistently run in the Top 10 for the next 35 laps. On Lap 103, an issue with Almirola's left-front wheel hub caused steering issues for the No. 98 Ford. Almirola brought the Fresh From Florida Ford down pit road when a caution came out, so Almirola headed back on track to stay on the lead lap. During the caution, Almirola brought the No. 98 back down pit road two more times. Unfortunately, the crew determined that the issue could not be fixed. Almirola had to drive his Fresh From Florida Ford to the garage ending his race. Scored with a 23rd-place finish, Almirola looks forward to another good run with the No. 98 crew at Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend.
 
"I thought for sure we were going to put a Ford Mustang in Victory Lane, especially our Fresh from Florida Mustang because it was strong," said Almirola. "I put myself in a position I wanted to be in, and I was kind of content right there just to chill and get ready for the end of the race, but we had some sort of mechanical failure right there. I had to bail out of the draft. Something in the front-end, but I'm not sure what really happened. I couldn't drive it anymore. It wouldn't even go in a straight line, so I don't know. We failed a part or a piece. It's disappointing. I thought we had a really good shot to win. Every time we come to these races with Biagi we have fun and we run up front, and today was no different, but unfortunately something happened."
 
RPM PR
"It was wild for sure. I got into that first little scuffle. I saved it, but the right-rear quarter panel of the Rheem Chevrolet incurred damage. The team did a great job fixing it in under five minutes. After that the Rheem Chevrolet was pretty fast, but evil to drive. We had to get four tires at the end, which turned out to be a good thing because the right rear tire had started to separate. All-in-all it was a good run. I wanted to get a Chevy in Victory Lane but it didn't happen. When the No. 3 car ran out of gas, I thought my only option was to push the No. 16 car out front. We had a big lead going and then Kasey Kahne came with a big run. It just didn't work out. We'll take a third-place finish. Everyone is safe and that's all we could ask for."

- Austin Dillon

Fuel Shortage Spoils Top-Five Finish at Daytona for Ty Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet
"We had a really fast No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Camaro all weekend. The high line was definitely the fastest, and we kept getting stuck on the bottom on the restarts. We were always able to work the draft and get up to the front. We were one of the strongest cars in the final stage, and I really thought we had a shot at winning. I was running up in the top six for the last 30 laps, and was third at the green-white-checkered. Unfortunately, my fuel gauge dropped and the car started shaking without fuel. I had to drop to the bottom to get it to re-fire and lost my position. The bright side is that this has been a great start to the year for the No. 3 team with how strong we were, and I'm looking forward to continue working with this team."
- Ty Dillon

On-Track Contact Cuts Brandon Jones' Sophomore Season Opener Short
"I'm not exactly sure what happened, but I just know I got turned from behind and it went out from there. It was definitely the hardest hit I've ever had, but I'll be alright. It's a bummer. Our No. 33 Nexteer Chevrolet Camaro was really fast all weekend, and I had just earned the first pole award of my career. The car was handling great and we were working well with our teammates up front. Unfortunately, this is what happens at Daytona, you never know what's going to happen out there. I'm looking forward to getting to Atlanta next weekend to get back on track."
 
- Brandon Jones

Teamwork Pays Off in a Fifth-Place Finish for Brendan Gaughan at Daytona International Speedway
"Listen, every single wreck happened around the South Point Chevy. We were a magnet tonight, but we made it through. I can't believe how clean our Chevy is considering the amazing incidents around us. It came out looking really, really good. Everyone talks about teammates at Daytona and working together. Austin (Dillon) and I worked all day long, one behind the other. We really had a plan and the RCR team stuck to it. What a great job by teammates, we kicked tail together. It was awesome to see and I love being at Richard Childress Racing. I think tonight was a product of stage racing, where guys went for more than I thought they would. The fans sure got a show, a long show but a great show."
 
- Brendan Gaughan

Early Incident Ends XFINITY Series Debut for Daniel Hemric and No. 21 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Team
"That was tough. They put down all of that oil and speedy dry during the red flag right before we went back racing. I felt like we were just trying to bide our time to that first segment. We got down into Turn 3 at speed and as soon as I turned the corner the car felt like it was on ice and just went straight. I got into the 7 (Justin Allgaier) and after that happened it was just a matter of trying to gather it back up. I hate it for everyone that got caught up with us. Huge thanks to everyone at Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff for coming on board with us and helping us out here at Daytona. We have them on the car a few more races this year and hopefully we can give them the run they deserve." 

- Daniel Hemric

RCR PR

Ross Chastain drove through several accidents and rolled home 16th in the PowerShares QQQ 300, the season-opener for the Xfinity Series Saturday at Daytona International Speedway.

Chastain finished on the lead lap despite being swept into a 16-car crash on lap 105.

“It was a wild race,” Chastain said. “Cars were going everywhere, bouncing off the wall and off each other. It feels great to bring the car home after all that. A pretty good start to the year.”

Chastain’s JD Motorsports with Gary Keller teammates did well. Garrett Smithley finished eighth, and Harrison Rhodes was two spots back in 10th.

JDM PR

Unfortunate circumstances ended the day early for TriStar Motorsports driver Benny Gordon in the No. 44 Florida Lottery Toyota at Daytona International Speedway. Gordon qualified 27th to start the PowerShares QQQ 300. Soon after race start, on lap three a caution came out and Gordon relayed he was battling an aero-loose condition when others were behind him in traffic but otherwise tight off Turn 4. Soon thereafter and under green flag racing, a flat right front tire caused damage to the No. 44 Florida Lottery Toyota. On lap eight, Crew Chief Bryan Smith called Gordon to pit under green for right side tires and repairs with Gordon returning to the field 39th and three laps down. Soon after returning to green flag racing, a multi-car accident collected Gordon causing damage to both sides of the No. 44.
 
As repairs were being made, the race was red flagged haulting all work to those who sustained damage and were on pit road for repairs. When the race returned to yellow, the crew completed repairs and Gordon returned to the field to re-start in the 39th position. Still within the first segment of race, another multi-car accident brought out the caution and ultimately another red flag to clear the track of debris. Upon returning to green flag racing, Gordon incurred another right side tire blow out which unfortunately caused extensive damage ending his day with 35 laps complete and finishing 27th in the PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway.
 
Qualified: 27th       Finished: 27th
 
TMI PR

Garrett Smithley survived a wild Xfinity Series season opener Saturday and scored the best finish of his career.

Smithley finished eighth in the Flex Shot Chevrolet in the PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway despite being involved in two multi-car accidents.

“What a great start to the season,” Smithley said. “We were able to bounce back from being in a couple of wrecks and get a great finish. The guys did a really good job.”

The wreck-happy race was red-flagged twice. Smithley was swept into a 20-car wreck on lap 24 and into a 16-car crash on lap 105.

Team owner Johnny Davis was excited about Smithley’s finish and an overall great day for his three-car team. Harrison Rhodes finished 10th, and Ross Chastain was 16th.

“I think we were the only three-car team that had three still running, but I owe it all to God for watching over these boys and to the hard work and underpaid workers that believe in our goal to beat the best,” Davis said.

JDM PR