Xfinity Series News

Xfinity Series News (7255)

NASCAR Xfinity Series News

Quin Houff ended the Xfinity Series season with a 29th-place run in Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
 
Houff ran the final weeks of the season with JD Motorsports with Gary Keller, gaining valuable experience and turning a lot of laps on tracks that were new to him. The payoff will come in the future as Houff advances in the series.
 
“Homestead was definitely a challenge for me,” he said. “But my JDM guys stuck behind me all weekend. We got faster and faster all weekend. We ran all the laps and brought the car home in one piece.
 
“That is a solid note to end the season on, and I can’t thank Johnny and the team enough for this opportunity to run for them this past month. I’m excited to see what the future holds!”
 
Tyler Reddick won Saturday’s race and the seasonal championship.
 
The 2019 Xfinity season will begin next February at Daytona International Speedway in Florida.

JDM PR

Garrett Smithley closed out the 2018 Xfinity Series season with a 27th-place finish in Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
 
Smithley, driving the KSDT No. 0 Chevrolet for JD Motorsports with Gary Keller, raced in mid-pack much of the afternoon as he completed another year with the Gaffney, S.C.-based team.
 
The race was slowed by only two cautions – both for the end of stages.
 
“It was a fast race with a lot of fast cars up in the front group,” Smithley said. “Going green so long made it tougher on us to make up spots. But we brought home another car with a decent run.
 
“It’s been another interesting year with all the guys on the team. We’ve had some really good runs and some others where we should have gotten better spots, but the year was full of fun and a lot of learning.”
 
Tyler Reddick won Saturday’s race and the seasonal championship.
 
The 2019 Xfinity season will begin next February at Daytona International Speedway in Florida.

JDM PR

Ross Chastain closed out the NASCAR Xfinity Series season Saturday and reached a key goal.
 
Chastain finished 16th in Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 and ended the year in 10th in Xfinity driver points. Driving the No. 4 Chevrolet for JD Motorsports with Gary Keller, he finished 14 points in front of 11th-place Ryan Reed.
 
“I can’t say enough about this team and what they’ve done for me this year – and in all our years together,” Chastain said. “To finish in the top 10 in what is a very competitive and tough series is a major accomplishment. This year is one I’ll remember no matter what happens from here forward.”
 
The race was made even tougher because of the fact that there were only two cautions – both for stage conclusions.
 
Tyler Reddick won the race and the seasonal championship.
 
The 2019 Xfinity season will begin next February at Daytona International Speedway in Florida.

JDM PR

The NASCAR Xfinity Series wrapped up their final race of the 2018 season this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. With everything on the line for the final four the action was sure to be at an all time high. After a season of many firsts, Boyd was ready to wrap up his first full-time NASCAR campaign. 

After all the hard work the Grunt Style Gladiators have poured into the team all season, it was time for Boyd to give them one last ride for 2018. The green flag fell in Miami and the battle began. 
Cole Custer jumped out to an early lead and absolutely dominated the early laps. Boyd struggled, fighting an extremely loose handling Grunt Style Chevy in stage one. The first stage went caution free and saw Cole Custer picking up the stage win. Despite Boyd fighting an ill-handling car, he still managed to pick a few positions in the stage. 

Miller brought Boyd to the pits for four tires, fuel, and adjustments to help tighten up the Grunt Style Chevy. The second stage had a very similar look to the first. Boyd continually improved his lap times, although he still fought the handling of his race car. Cole Custer once again captured the stage win and Boyd managed to pick up a few more positions. 

The final stage saw the lead cycle among multiple drivers, but ultimately it was the No. 9 of Tyler Reddick that rose to the occasion. The final stage went entirely caution free and Reddick soared to victory, capturing the win and the Xfinity Series Championship. Boyd fought hard all day and brought the Grunt Style Chevy home in the 30th position. 

After the race Boyd reflected, “I'm just really thankful to have had the opportunity to wheel this No. 76 Grunt Style Chevy every week for Bobby Dotter and SS Greenlight Racing for my rookie year. I feel like I've learned so much and I'm excited to take what I've learned and apply it for next year." 

Boyd earned seventeen top 25 finishes throughout 2018 for SS Greenlight Racing. This included his career best finish of 17th at Daytona International Speedway in July. Boyd finishes out his 2018 rookie campaign with a 30th place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway and will finish 26th in driver standings. 

Spencer Boyd Racing PR

Rookie Tyler Reddick started and ended the season on a high note, as he reached Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway in the first race of the year and then capped it off by winning the Ford EcoBoost 300 on Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway to capture the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) Championship. Reddick is the only driver in NXS history to win the first and last race of the season.

“The year wasn’t the smoothest for us, but I knew coming in here if we just made it to Homestead, this is a great track for me, it rewards my aggression” Reddick said. “We had to overcome a lot. This year was all about learning. It was an up and down year and with everything we had to do, we had to do it in the Playoffs and it rewarded us with a championship. We can hang our hat on that. I know people will say we weren’t consistent, but we got it done when it counted most.”

Reddick beat out the remaining Championship 4 contenders – Christopher Bell, Cole Custer and Daniel Hemric – by leading 44 laps, including the final 37. Custer led the most laps in the race (95) and won both Stage 1 and 2.

The championship makes Reddick the 29th different driver to win the Xfinity Series title. The driver of the No. 9 car for JR Motorsports won the championship in his rookie season, joining former JR Motorsports drivers Chase Elliott (2014) and William Byron (2017) as the only drivers in series history to accomplish this feat.

Tony Stewart and Gene Haas claimed the owner championship in their second season in the series. The win marks Stewart-Haas Racing’s first Xfinity Series owner championship. Custer won one race for Stewart-Haas this season and scored a series-high 26 top-10s.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will cap its 2018 season Sunday from Homestead-Miami Speedway with the Ford EcoBoost 400 championship race, which will be broadcast on NBC at 2:30 p.m.

Homestead Miami Speedway PR

Race Winner:  Tyler Reddick of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Winner:  Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner:  Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):

Custer started first after securing his sixth career NASCAR Xfinity Series pole and finished first.

● Custer dominated Stage 1 by leading all 45 laps.

● At the end of the stage, Custer said his Haas Automation Ford was loose on the restart and became tighter as the race wore on.

● Custer pitted for four tires and fuel and won the race off pit road. 

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):

● Custer started first and finished first.

● The driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford held the lead during the restart, where he ran for the entirety of Stage 2.

● At this point, Custer had led every lap at Homestead since lap 61 in 2017.

● Custer pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments at the conclusion of the stage.

● Caught in traffic on pit road, Custer exited in the third position.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200):

Custer started third, finished second.

● On lap 98, Custer advanced to second and regained the lead over the other Championship 4 competitors.

● On lap 146, Custer pitted under green-flag conditions for four tires and fuel. He returned to the track in fifth place.

● Climbed all the way back to second, but leader Tyler Reddick established an insurmountable lead.

● Finished 6.902 seconds behind Reddick in second place.

 

Championship 4 Notes:    

● Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste (SHR) won the Xfinity Series owners’ championship, its first in the series.

● Custer finished second among the Championship 4 contenders for the Xfinity Series drivers’ title.

● Custer was the highest finishing Ford driver in the 2018 Xfinity Series championship.

● This was Custer’s first time participating in the Championship 4 in his two-year Xfinity Series career.

 

Race Notes:         

Custer led twice for a race-high 95 laps in the Ford EcoBoost 300.

● In Custer’s two career Xfinity Series starts at Homestead, he finished first (2017) and second (2018).

● Custer earned his 14th top-five of the season and second top-five at Homestead.

● Custer’s 26 top-10s this season are the most among full-time Xfinity Series drivers.

● Custer earned the most points at 1.5-mile tracks this season (369 points).

● Both Custer and his SHR teammate in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Kurt Busch, earned the most pole awards among competitors in their respective series. Busch earned a total of five poles this season.

● Only two cautions slowed the race for a total of10 laps.

● Reddick’s victory in the Ford EcoBoost 300 was the third of his Xfinity series career, his second of 2018 and his first at Homestead.

 

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste:   

          

“First off, congrats to Tyler. I’m happy for him. He could run the wall better than I could at the end there and we were so far back from our pit stop with their strategy that once I got to him it seemed like our tires kind of equaled out and then he started running the top and I couldn’t keep up with him. It is what it is. It was a solid day. We had a fast car, we just didn’t have it play out right at the end. I’ve just got to thank everybody at Haas Automation, Gene Haas, Tony Stewart – everybody that’s been behind us all year. We were really close, it’s just sucks to be second.

 

“It means a lot being through this scenario. I thought we kept our calm all day. We did a great job it’s just that it didn’t play out right at the end. We still have something to hang our hats on. We still won the owner’s championship, which is really awesome, but I still wanted the driver’s one too.

 

“The strategy wasn’t all of it. Tyler could just run the top better than I could at the end, but looking back on it I don’t know if the call that we made, I think we would have rethought things, but you don’t want to be caught a lap down. There’s a lot of risk involved with pitting early, so it is what it is. If I could have run the top better, we probably would’ve won also.

 

“They (the tires) weren’t done, it’s just that you reach a certain point on tires where everything just starts to level out, and once I caught him I feel like everything just kind of leveled out and then he could run the top better than I could.

 

“Within my means I did as good as I could do as a driver at this point in my career. Maybe down the road if I could drive the top better we would have probably been better, but I couldn’t run the top. I don’t know. It is what it is. You run consistent and you do what you can and it just didn’t play out.

 

“I think I got way better as a driver this year just because I think I got way better at racing, so now it’s just a matter of kind of closing it out. That’s the biggest thing for me, but we’re really close. We’re one step away.

 

“We’ve come a long ways and everybody has worked really hard. It means a lot, but it’s still bittersweet when you finish second.”

 

Tony Stewart, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste:    

        

“Like Cole said, we all think it is bittersweet. We are proud as an organization to get the owners’ championship, but we wanted to do it with our driver winning the drivers’ championship. Cole did an awesome job. The whole team did an awesome job all year. That is the hard part about the last race is that it is down to a one-race deal and we just fell a little short. We might have made a mistake on the strategy on pitting too late.

 

“We will just come back next year and try to get him one. I am excited that we were able to get Ford their first one for the weekend and, hopefully, get another for them tomorrow. I’m excited about our Xfinity program – in such a short amount of time to have cars and the personnel that can put these cars up front each weekend and excited about having a second full-time car next year. More resources for Cole and another young driver and we are excited about the program.

 

“It is an awesome day for us, but it would be a hell of a lot more exciting if Cole was out there hoisting the trophy over his head for winning the drivers’ championship. We came up short but it wasn’t for a lack of effort. I am proud of Cole as a driver. He has come a long way and keeps getting better and better.”

 

TSC PR

Spencer Gallagher, No. 23 Allegiant Chevrolet Camaro

START: 17th

FINISH:17th

POINTS:11th

Notes & Quotes:—

-GMS Racing finishes 11th-place in the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) owners points standings.

-In 2018, Gallagher participated in 19 of the 33 NXS races, collecting one win, three top-fives, and 10 top-10’s.

“I was battling with a really tight Allegiant Chevrolet throughout the entire race. I came to pit road a few times to try and loosen me up but nothing seemed to really fix it completely. I had a better drive off the longer the run went on and that’s when I would make some gains. I appreciate all of the hard work team 23 put in this year. From the first lap to the last, it’s been an adventure I’ll never forget. Thank you all for your support throughout my career. Here’s to new beginnings.”

 

GMS Racing PR

Matt Tifft Secures Top-10 Finish with No. 2 Tunity Team in 
2018 Season Finale
 

10th 
 
 
 9th
 
 6th
"We may have finished 10th, but this result doesn't show how fast our No. 2 Tunity Camaro was all weekend long. My team worked hard during both practice sessions to get our Chevrolet to where I could run the top lane, and I thought we were in a good spot for the race. We also qualified well, grabbing the ninth spot with a decent balance on the car. Unfortunately, when the race started I just couldn't get the front grip out of the tires that I needed to make the top groove work. My team fought hard to get it to where I could stick and make the bottom work to my advantage, and that really helped give me just enough to break into the top 10 for the finish. I can't thank this No. 2 team enough for everything they've done for me this season. We had a great year together, and I learned a lot. I also want to thank all my partners for coming on board this season. Their support means a lot to me, and I hope we did them all proud this year."
-Matt Tifft 
Shane Lee Earns Gritty Performance in His First Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in CMR Contruction Chevrolet
 

20th 
 
 
 21st
 
 12th
"I can definitely say we worked hard and gave it our all at Homestead-Miami Speedway. We spent most of the race just searching for grip on the track. Crew chief Nick Harrison and the team did a good job making adjustments throughout the race to help our CMR Construction Chevy's handling, but  we unfortunately ended up with a flat right-rear tire after the car broke loose and we scraped the wall with less than 80 laps to go. That really affected our race because we had to make an unscheduled green-flag pit stop. The cautions just didn't fall the way we needed to. I'm thankful for the opportunity with Richard Childress Racing and I want to thank everyone at CMR Construction and Roofing for joining us at Homestead-Miami Speedway."
-Shane Lee
Daniel Hemric and The South Point Casino and Hotel Chevrolet Team Make Valiant Effort to Finish Third in
Championship Standings
 

4th 
 
 
 10th 
 
 3rd
"After qualifying in the 10th position, I drove the heck out of our South Point Hotel and Casino Chevrolet at the start of the race. At the end of Stage 1, we pitted and lost some spots on pit road but those guys rebounded really well and the rest of our stops were solid. The white line was my best friend all night.  I thought the race track maintained speed down there and I was able to make hay for the majority of time. About 25 laps into a run, our car really started to gain speed. I thought it was really going to pay off for us but when we went to the next-to-last green-flag run, I saw that the No. 9 car was going to pit. We knew that if we didn't pit within a lap of that, we were committed to a longer run. I applaud Danny Stockman for making a gutsy call to stretch it out. We gambled that the caution would come out, but it never did. I thought we did a great job of making our South Point Chevy the best we could throughout the night. We just didn't have enough."
-Daniel Hemric

RCR PR

Chase Briscoe finished out the NASCAR Xfinity Series season for the No. 60 team with a 13th-place finish in the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“I think we did a really good job all weekend long and just continuing to build on it,” said Briscoe. “Even in qualifying I felt like we made really good gains round to round and then at the start of the race we weren’t necessarily great and we continued to make it better and better. We still weren’t quite where we needed to be, but from the start of the weekend to the end of the weekend it was a lot better, so hopefully we can come back next year and be a little bit better.”

Briscoe’s steady Saturday started by advancing to the second round of qualifying and putting his Nutri Chomps Ford Mustang in the 13th position to begin the 300-mile race. After struggling to find the balance on handling all weekend, Briscoe continued to battle in the first segment of the race. He would complain of a loose handling car, ultimately finishing 16th at the stage break.

Crew chief Mike Kelley brought Briscoe down pit road at the caution for four fresh tires, fuel and chassis adjustments to help with handling. The changes made Briscoe’s Mustang tighter in the corners, and he slid through turn four on the first lap of stage two before collecting himself. He would surrender several positions after the slide, but on the long green flag run started to see the benefits of the changes. He would conclude stage two in the 17th position.

Briscoe would come down pit road again in the stage intermission for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments to fine tune his turning, leaving pit road in the 18th position. The Nutri Chomps Ford Mustang sprang to life in the final segment, and Briscoe began to motor forward through the field. Briscoe was clocked running lap times similar to the top five contenders in the race, and was able to work his way back up to 13th as the final segment ran caution-free.

RFR PR

Ryan Reed, driver of the No. 16 Drive Down A1C Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang, capped off a consistent day with an 12th-place finish in the final race of the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“We had moments of where the car was really good,” said Reed. “In the second practice, we were really good at firing off and put it top of the board there, but we just couldn’t ever get it to turn across the center like we needed in our Ford Mustang to be competitive and compete up in the top 10 and top five all night.”

Reed’s team worked on the Lilly Diabetes DriveDownA1C.com Ford Mustang all weekend to improve handling, paying off when the team topped the speed charts in Friday afternoon’s final practice. Reed would again have speed in his Mustang Saturday morning, advancing to the final round of qualifying and securing the 11th starting position.

Speed in the Mustang was consistent throughout the race, with Reed finishing the first two stages in 10th and 11th place, respectively. With track temperatures changing as the race went on, Reed’s handling worsened and he faded to 13th midway through the stage. With no cautions in the final segment, all Reed could do was maintain his position, ultimately finishing the season finale 12th.

RFR PR

Tyler Reddick book-ended his rookie NASCAR Xfinity season run – with wins in the season-opener in Daytona Beach and again Saturday evening in the Homestead-Miami season finale.

But a stellar championship field kept him honest – truly settling the season trophy among themselves. Last year’s Homestead winner Cole Custer finished second- a full 6.9-seconds behind Bell in the race and therefore second also in the title chase. But his effort was still good enough Saturday to give Stewart-Haas Racing its first Xfinity Series owner’s championship.

Richard Childress Racing driver Daniel Hemric was fourth in the race and seven-time season winner Christopher Bell drove his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota home to an 11th-place finish after a late race green flag pit stop to change a tire. They finished third and fourth in the title chase.

Reddick led 44 of the race’s 200 laps - including the final 37. Custer was out front for 95 laps and Bell led nine too. All four championship-eligible drivers spent the majority of the day among the top–five.

Custer who set a race record, leading 182 of the 200 laps in his 2017 victory, won the pole position Saturday morning and paced the field for the opening 93 circuits Saturday afternoon. Pit strategy later in the evening, however, shuffled the leaders. Reddick was able to take the lead, pitting three laps before Custer and forcing the Stewart-Haas driver to play catch up. While Reddick was able to hug the wall and excel in the track top-line and pull away, that line didn’t work so well for Custer.

“Congrats to Tyler," Custer said immediately, sitting on pit wall after the race. “He could run the wall better than I could and I was so far back from my pit stop and strategy. Once I got there [back to the front group] my tires kind of equaled out and he could run the top and I couldn’t keep up with him.

“I couldn’t’ do it. I don’t know if I just need to practice I guess.”

His team owner Tony Stewart - a three-time Cup championship driver, who also fields a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup championship-eligible car for Kevin Harvick in Sunday’s race – was happy for the owner’s title. But he felt badly Custer’s stellar season-long effort fell a little short.

“We're proud as an organization to win an owner's championship, but we wanted to do it with our driver winning the driver championship," Stewart said. “Cole did an awesome job all year. The whole team did an awesome job all year. That's the hard part about the last race is it's down to a one race deal, and we just fell a little short.

“We might have made a mistake on the strategy, on pitting too late. But like Cole said, he got to his bumper there, and I thought we were going to be in good shape there, and then just the balance shifted on him.

“You know, you take the lump, and at the same time, like I said, we're excited about the championship on the owner's side. But the goal was to win Cole a driver championship. We would get ours that way, as well.

“We'll just come back next year and try again and try to get him one, but excited that we were able to get Ford their first one for the weekend here and hopefully get another one for them tomorrow for sure.”

Bell, who won a series best seven races this year, was equally as disappointed. But like Custer, he’ll be back again in 2019 to try again to claim the season championship.

“Ultimately just wasn't fast enough tonight," Bell said. “It's disappointing to end our season like that, but really proud of everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and everyone on this team 20 group. They work really hard to bring really fast race cars to the track every single week, and winning seven races is something that I'm super proud of and super thankful for and wouldn't trade the world for.

“Excited to get back and do it again in February.”

Hemric, who finished fourth in the No. 21 RCR Chevrolet, is the only one among the four championship-eligible drivers who did not lead a lap Saturday. He maintained a top-five running position for the vast majority of the race, but couldn’t legitimately challenge for the lead.

“About 20 laps into the run I thought our car would really, really come on," said Hemric, who moves up to the Cup Series in 2019, driving RCR’s No. 31 Chevrolet.

“I thought it was really going to pay off for us, but whenever we went to that next to last green flag run, and I saw the 9 car [Reddick] was the first one to pit, it was borderline like if you don't pit within a lap of that, then you're committed to run a long time.

“You know, I applaud [crew chief] Danny Stockman for at least making a gutsy call to try to stretch it as long as we could, hoping a caution would come out. It never did, and we got to a point where we had to pit, and by that point we had lost, I don't know the numbers exactly, but probably at least nine to 12 seconds to the leaders as early as they pitted.

“Just not ideal. Just cautions and stuff didn't fall the way we needed them to give ourselves a shot, but I thought we did a good job of making our race car the best we could throughout the night, and just didn't have enough.”

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