Xfinity Series News (7295)
NASCAR Xfinity Series News
Last Friday night, the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) made its first trip of the year to Richmond Raceway, a ¾ mile short track right in the heart of Richmond, Virginia, for the running of the ToyotaCare 250 under the lights.
Being that this was the first night race of the year, held at one of the series’ best short tracks on the schedule, the teams expected nothing less than a night filled with excitement and drama. Thankfully, after battling rain all throughout the day, the race was able to get through with no delays, despite Qualifying being rained out earlier in the afternoon.
Ross Chastain and the No. 4 Flex Seal crew went into the weekend knowing that they had some ground to make up in the points standings after getting taken out with a lapped car early on last race in Bristol. Their goal was to have an incident-free night, and after struggling to find speed in practice, veteran crew chief Paul Clapprood decided to make a “Hail Mary” call and make huge changes to the racecar before Qualifying.
Since they ended up having to start the field based on Owner’s Points, Ross would start the race on these changes with no laps or prior knowledge on hand, from the 15th position. From there, he quickly jumped up to the 10th-12th position, and knew that the changes were the right call. The 4 team stayed competitive throughout the race, and had a shot at earning his second Top 10 finish of the season, until getting knocked out of the way on the last lap. They had to settle for 11th that night, but the crew was able to accomplish what they came to do. Ross currently sits 13th in the standings, 32 points back from the Playoff cutoff line.
Stephen Leicht entered the weekend with high hopes as well, after getting some last-minute sponsorship from PG Tech secured the team with some valuable funding for the short track. A veteran of the old ASA late model series, Stephen grew up cutting his teeth on the bullrings of the Southeast, so Richmond fell perfectly within his wheelhouse. The 01 team was fast in practice, posting a lap good enough for 9th place overall. Unfortunately, they never got to show the speed in Qualifying, and were forced to start all the way back in the 31st position.
Leicht and company knew they were going to have to fight an uphill battle starting that far back, but they are never ones to back down from a challenge. As soon as the green flag dropped, they started picking up positions right away. By the end of Stage 1, they had made it into the Top 20. From there, they fought up near the Top 15 for the remainder of the race, before ultimately coming home with a 18th place finish. This is Stephen’s best finish of the season, and he hopes to keep the momentum rolling heading into Talladega. He currently sits in 27th position in points, just 1 back from the Top 25.
Garrett Smithley, driver of the No. 0 Chevrolet Camaro, came into Richmond looking to build on his short track momentum from a 22nd place finish last time out in Bristol. The #NumberNuthin crew started the night off from 20th on the grid, and raced at around the 18th-25th positions all night. Smithley was able to take advantage of the wave around at one point, helping him stay on the lead lap for the remainder of the race.
When it came down to crunch time, the No. 0 team shined late in the going with a great pitstop, getting Smithley into the Top 20 with few laps remaining. From there, he fought hard with JDM teammate Stephen Leicht for the rest of the race, where he rounded out with a 19th place finish to end the night. Garrett still sits in 18th place in points, just 1 point back of 17th heading into Talladega.
One driver who couldn’t wait to get to Richmond was Tyler Matthews, who made his NXS debut driving the No. 15 Linetec Services Camaro usually driven by BJ McLeod. Matthews, who has three previous NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts to his name, entered into Richmond as cool as could be, not nervous at all like one would expect.
Tyler used the night as a learning experience, something to put in the memory bank for the future. The #15Machine crew’s goals were to finish the race in one piece and gain as much experience as possible, and they were able to accomplish just that. The stat books will show a 24th place finish for Matthews, not a bad first start at all. The next time he will be in the 15 will be at Iowa Speedway on June 16th, with BJ returning to the seat next race at Talladega.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, April 27th for the running of the Money Lion 300. Always known as a track filled with exciting racing and dangerously close quarters, Talladega never disappoints. Fans can watch live coverage of the race on FS1 or listen along on MRN radio. Be sure to tune in to see the JD Motorsports drivers take on the task of restrictor plate racing from the series’ biggest oval on the circuit. For all things JD Motorsports, follow along on our social media pages @JDMotorsports01. #TeamJDM
JD Motorsports with Gary Keller (JDM) is proud to announce that longtime driver Landon Cassill will make a return to the team at Talladega Superspeedway driving the team’s No. 4 Flex Seal / Contec Chevrolet Camaro.
Cassill, who drove for JDM full time from 2013 to 2015, made a brief return to the team last season as well, driving in a three race schedule with a best finish of 14th at Darlington in September. Next weekend at Talladega will mark his first race on a Super Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) since the July Daytona race in 2015.
The Cedar Rapids, Iowa driver has spent the bulk of his career racing for various teams in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, and has one Top 5 and one Top 10 finish to his name, both coming at Talladega. His NXS stats are even better, with a showing of one Top 5 and twelve Top 10 finishes throughout his career.
“We are ecstatic to have Landon back in the seat for Talladega”, said team owner Johnny Davis. “He has always been considered one of the best drivers we had ever had in our cars in the time that he has spent driving for us, and I’m excited to see what we can accomplish with his wealth of experience on the Super Speedways.”
Longtime JDM sponsor Flex Seal will serve as primary sponsor on Cassill’s No. 4 Camaro, which will also be sporting associate sponsorship from new sponsor Contec, Inc. The team currently sits 15th in NXS Owner’s Points.
Ross Chastain, who usually drives JDM’s No. 4 car, will be back in the seat for the series’ next outing at Dover. He will spring back in action with his signature Protect Your Melon paint scheme once again to bring awareness of how important it is to be driving with a seat belt on. You won’t want to miss it!
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, April 27th for the running of the Money Lion 300. This will be the series’ second trip to a Super Speedway this season, following the season opener at Daytona in February. Fans can watch live coverage of the race on FS1 at 1:00 PM ET, or listen along on MRN. Be sure to see Landon Cassill take on the challenge of avoiding “The Big One” and wheel the No. 4 Flex Seal / Contec Camaro to the front of the pack. For all things JD Motorsports, follow along on our social media pages @JDMotorsports01. #TeamJDM
Ford teammates Cole Custer and Austin Cindric battled for their first short track win Friday night in Richmond, VA. But it was the No.00 of Cole Custer that finished top of the class, winning his second race of the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series while Cindric finished second.
“Congratulations to Cole, Tony, and Gene,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “It was great to see two young Ford Performance drivers battling it out tonight. It means so much to these guys to win and make a mark for themselves. We, at Roush Yates Engines, are just blessed to be part of that winning formula with Ford Performance tonight.”
“It is a great race for us,” said Custer in Victory Lane. “Our first short track win and second win of the year. It means a ton.”
The No.00, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang powered by the Ford FR9 Carb engine led a total of three times for a race high 122 laps in total. But it was the last 20 laps of the race which sealed the win for Custer. Custer’s patience and maturity showed during the closing 20 laps of the race, as he battled fellow Ford Performance teammate Cindric for the final lead on lap 231 and took the checkered flag 2.639 seconds in front of Cindric.
Custer “cashed in” on the weekend, not only winning for the fourth time in his career, but also claiming the $100,000 Xfinity Dash-4-Cash bonus check.
After a strong qualifying performance on Friday night, by the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Ford Mustangs, No. 4 Kevin Harvick captured the pole position at Richmond Raceway, while Team Penske teammates, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski lined up third and eighth, and Paul Menard ninth.
A total of six Ford Mustangs finished in the top-10 of the race, led by Stage 2 winner, Logano in P2, Stewart-Hass Racing teammates Clint Bowyer and Harvick in P3 and P4 respectively. In addition, Keselowski finished P7 with Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Newman in P9 and the Wood Brother’s Racing, Paul Menard in P10.
On the West coast, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, with the No. 66 and No. 67 Ford GTs were in an epic battle in the Bubba burger Sports Car Grand Prix Street Course. But it was not meant to be, as the No. 66 came up short on fuel, on the last lap of the race, to finish P4 while the No. 67 finished P6.
NASCAR and IMSA will take this weekend off. The NASCAR teams look forward to Talladega on April 27-28 and IMSA will be back in action on May 4-5 at Mid-Ohio, along with the FIA WEC on May 4 in Spa, Belgium. Reference the full 2019 schedule on www.roushyates.com.
Cole Custer said on Friday afternoon that his No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing NASCAR Xfinity Series team might be ready to peak in time for the Playoffs.
Clearly, Custer is ahead of schedule, after a convincing victory in Friday night’s ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway.
After losing the lead to Austin Cindric on a restart with 26 laps left, Custer regained the top spot on Lap 231 of 250 and pulled away for his second victory of the season. In a race that dodged a persistent threat of rain, Custer crossed the finish line 2.639 seconds ahead of Cindric.
Not only did Custer win for the fourth time in his career—and for the first time on a short track—but he also claimed the $100,000 Xfinity Dash 4 Cash bonus that goes to the highest finisher of four eligible contenders.
“We had a great car,” Custer said. “(Crew chief Mike Shiplett) made great adjustments as it went… This one mean s a lot. We hadn’t had a short-track win yet. We’ve struggled a lot at short tracks, but this help.
“A lot of my friends give me crap for being bad at this place, but I finally won, so I’ve got a little bit of bragging rights there, so that’s night. I’m just so happy. Two wins—that’s pretty awesome.”
Custer also served notice that he expects the team to get even better as the season progresses.
“I think we’re in a great place,” Custer said. “We’re going to get better and better. I think we’ve started to figure out our cars later in the race, and I think the second time we go back (to the same tracks), we’re going to be even better—just me and Mike working together at these tracks for the first time.
“We’re just going to be a team that gets better and better as the year goes on.”
Custer led three times for a race-high 122 laps. Third-place finisher Justin Allgaier led 86 and won the first stage but had to charge to the front after contrarian pit strategy left him 16th for a Lap 161 restart.
Allgaier was second by the time caution slowed the race for the sixth time on Lap 211, but he spun his tires on the subsequent restart on Lap 219 and fell back to fifth before recovering to third at the finish.
“The pit call we made at the end of the (second) stage there, it worked out, obviously, in our favor,” said Allgaier, who had crasjed out of last week’s Bristol race after leading 138 laps. “But I pushed really hard to get back up to the front, and I just didn’t quite have enough there at the end to really do anything.
“I made a mistake on that restart. It really burns me up that I made the mistake, but all in all, a great day. I hope we got the monkey off our back.”
Cindric was hoping rain would halt the race when he was in the lead, but that didn’t happen. He did, however, qualify for the Dash 4 Cash two weeks hence at Talladega, where his sponsor, MoneyLion, also holds the entitlement for the race.
“Congrats to Cole and those guys,” Cindirc said. “I tried my best on that restart to hold him off, but they were obviously the class of the field. Him and the 7 (Allgaier). We had some fun and got some points and now we will move on to Talladega for the MoneyLion 300.
“That will be a big one for me. I would love to win that race and the Dash for Cash at Talladega.”
Tyler Reddick came home fourth, followed by Ryan Sieg, who has finished no worse than 12th in the first eight races of the season. Zane Smith, John Hunter Nemechek, Chase Briscoe, Riley Herbst and Justin Haley completed the top 10.
Making the first of two planned starts this season, Elliott Sadler ran 12th in an emotional return to his home track.
Todays ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway started with Riley Herbst making his first Xfinity start from the pole in the #18 Joe Gibbs because of a rained out qualifying effort and Kyle Busch. It rained throughout the day and the weather continued to be a concern all night.
The Dash 4 Cash was again in play this week as Christopher Bell chased another $100,000 check. Competing with Bell this week was Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer, and Chase Briscoe.
It didn’t take long for Custer to find himself in the lead where he would stay for 18 laps before Justin Allgaier put his Jr. Motorsports Chevrolet out front. Soon the leaders would be navigating lapped traffic as Bell joined the battle. Bell would become the fourth different leader of the race on lap 38.
The first caution of the night would fly on lap 66 as Mason Diaz would find himself in trouble in turn 2. While most teams took this opportunity to service their cars Michael Annett stayed out front for the final laps of stage one, but dropped like a rock.
Allgaier took the green and white checkered for stage one, and lead the field back to the green for the start of stage two. He was able to maintain the lead until Jeremy Clements blew an engine bringing out the second caution of the night. Rain drops were felt amongst the crowd, but the race went back to green.
Allgaier stayed out with five other cars holding off a pack of competitors with fresh tires as the cars ran around the track three and four wide. Custer was the first with fresh tires to make it out front. In all of the chaos Bell got a nudge by Noah gragson getting into turn 3 and spun bringing out another caution shortly before the end of stage two.
NASCAR would manage to get the restart in with four to go, everyone knew this could be the end of the race. Custer pulled away to win stage two, and continued to lead the majority of stage three. David Starr spun on the front stretch to bring out a caution with 38 laps to go.
The restart was short lived as Allgaier spun his tires backing up the field and causing Gragson to get spun in turn 1. The next attempt was better as Austin Cindric took the lead before giving back to Custer with 18 laps to go.
Cole Custer hung on to win the race and $100,000.
Top five: Cole Custer, Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier, Tyler Reddick, Ryan Seig.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will be back on track April 27th at 1:00PM ET. at Talladega Superspeedway for the Sparks Energy 300.
Fresh off a top-10 finish in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, officials from Brandonbilt Motorsports and Mason Diaz Motorsports jointly announced today that rising star Mason Diaz (@masondiazracing) will drive the team’s No. 86 Chevrolet Camaro in Friday night’s ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.
Diaz returns to the site of his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut in 2018 – were driving for Virginia-based Brandonbilt Motorsports qualified 22nd and drove to a lead-lap 19th place finish. This year, Diaz sets his sights on a top-15 finish.
“Very humbled and excited at the same time to return to Brandonbilt Motorsports this weekend at Richmond,” said Diaz.
“Brandonbilt Motorsports has had a strong start to the 2019 season, and I feel confident that I can help them build on that success with another strong outing on Friday night.”
Diaz’s efforts on Friday night will be supported by longtime partner Solid Rock Carriers. Solid Rock Carriers Inc. is a licensed and bonded freight shipping and trucking company running freight hauling business from Lagrange, North Carolina. Serving the eastern United States for over 20 years, Solid Rock Carriers provides on-time delivery and superior customer service.
Additional support for Diaz’s second career Xfinity Series includes: Prince William Marina, Extreme Collision and Trebor Yelgab, King Roofing and Construction, Barrett Capital, Dominion (Va.) Raceway and Racing Virginia.
“I’m very thankful for the support of my marketing partners,” added Diaz. “Solid Rock Carriers has been with me for a long time and their continued support is appreciated. But without the support of Prince William Marina, Extreme Collision and Trebor Yelgab, King Roofing and Construction, Barrett Capital, Dominion (Va.) Raceway and Racing Virginia -- a lot of my racing in 2019 would not be possible. A good run on Friday night is a perfect opportunity for me to show them my gratitude.”
With confidence on his side from Bristol, Diaz returns to Richmond hoping that 250 laps of experience last April will play into his hands. With Brandonbilt Motorsports also making an effort to improve their program, Diaz believes he will have the opportunity to showcase the team’s ability – no matter the driver.
“For me, Richmond is my home track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, so I want to do well,” added Diaz. “I think we learned a lot in a short amount of time last year and we’ll take those notes and apply them on Friday. Practice and qualifying will be during the day and then we’ll race at night so we need to make sure our No. 86 Solid Rock Carriers | Prince William Marina Chevrolet is balanced well enough that we can keep up with the track changes as we transition from day to night.
“A goal would be to make it to the final round of qualifying and then push ourselves to finish as close to the top-10 as possible. From there, we can focus on our next race with Brandonbilt Motorsports.”
Touted as up and coming driver in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, Diaz will expand his resume in the NASCAR Xfinity Series hoping to compete on both the intermediate and superspeedways in 2019.
“I’m committed to building my resume this year with hopes of competing more on the NASCAR national series level in 2020,” added Diaz. “We’re running full-time K&N East and then a few Xfinity Series races and hope the results that will point us in a good direction for what’s next. I have a lot going on and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities.”
For more on Mason Diaz, please visit MasonDiazRacing.com, like him on Facebook (Mason Diaz Racing) and follow him on Instagram (@masondiazracing) and Twitter (@masondiazracing).
For more on Brandonbilt Motorsports, please like them on Facebook (Brandon Brown Racing) and follow them on Instagram (@bmsraceteam) and Twitter (@bmsraceteam).
The ToyotaCare 250 (250 laps | 187.5 miles) is the eighth of 33 races on the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule. Practice begins Fri., Apr. 12 with an hour and 55-minute session from 8:00 a.m. – 9:55 a.m. Qualifying is set for later in the day at 3:40 p.m. The race is set to take the green flag later that night beginning at 7:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90). All times are local (Eastern).
Mason Diaz Racing PR