Xfinity Series News (5589)
NASCAR Xfinity Series News
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
“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.
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.
"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
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.
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.