Xfinity Series News

Xfinity Series News (7639)

NASCAR Xfinity Series News

Being on edge before a NASCAR race is nothing new to Dale Earnhardt Jr., but his return to competition in Saturday’s Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 at Darlington Raceway (4 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) brings an added dimension of pressure.

After all, Earnhardt hasn’t raced a stock car since finishing fourth in last year’s one-off race at Richmond in September, and he hasn’t raced a NASCAR Xfinity Series entry at Darlington since 1999.

“I’m real nervous about getting in the car, just because I haven’t been in a car in a really long time,” said Earnhardt, whose No. 8 Chevrolet is sporting a throwback paint scheme commemorating the late Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s first Cup race at Charlotte in 1975. “I only drove at Richmond last year in 24 months. That was the only time I’ve been in a race car.

“I did come over here a couple months ago and ran about 15 laps when (JR Motorsports driver) Noah (Gragson) was testing. That didn’t do anything to help my anxiety. Noah was faster than me, and that just reminded me of how hard it is to drive these cars, how good these guys that drive ‘em are and how hot and miserable it is inside there—some of the things that you kind of forget about when you’re in the booth and being a broadcaster.”

The benefits of the experience, however, more than make up for the anxiety.

“It’s a real blessing to me to be able to run one race a year and sort of relive my past,” Earnhardt said on Friday in his first large-scale question-and-answer session with reporters since he, wife Amy and daughter Isla escaped a fiery plane crash in Elizabethton, Tenn., on the way to broadcast races from Bristol Motor Speedway for NBC Sports. “That’s kind of why I picked this race at Darlington because of the throwback weekend.

“It’s such a great celebration of the history of the sport, and I wanted to be more a part of that. I got to experience it from the broadcast booth last year, and I thought, ‘Man, I get to run a race a year. Why don’t I just go to Darlington and do something fun in a throwback car.”

Earnhardt quickly shook off the rust in Friday’s Xfinity practices. He was fifth fastest in the opening session and 10th on the speed chart in Happy Hour.

There’s an interesting side note from the race Earnhardt is memorializing with his paint scheme. Dale Earnhardt finished 22nd in what was then the World 600, his only race of 1975. Right behind him in 23rd was Richard Childress, the car owner with whom Earnhardt would later win six of his seven series championships. Both drivers were running at the finish, 45 laps down.


Darlington Raceway is a track that provides very little margin for error. That’s why Brad Keselowski likes it so much.

Yes, Darlington stripes from contact with the outside wall are commonplace, but if a driver strays just a little too far over the edge, the results can be disastrous.

As a test of talent, Darlington is unparalleled.

“I love coming here,” Keselowski said before opening Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice on Friday. “It’s always been one of my favorite race tracks. I love the challenge. I love running up against the wall. I’m not always a big fan of the heat, but I do like that it’s a very demanding track. It makes you feel like a race car driver.

“It makes you feel like you’re on the edge, and it makes me really kind of appreciate my job. All the race tracks have their challenges, but this one just has so many, and it’s so unforgiving. If you mess up just a little bit, you’re in the wall and your day is ruined. I appreciate that. It demands that, to be successful, you drive aggressively, but also that you not make any mistakes. That’s pretty cool to me.”

The defending winner of the Bojangles’ Southern 500, Keselowski was sixth fastest in final practice on Friday afternoon.


Another race weekend means another audition for driver Matt DiBenedetto.

But that’s nothing new. That has always been DiBenedetto’s mind-set.

DiBenedetto learned recently that Leavine Family Racing would not be picking up his option for 2020. On Aug. 17 at Bristol Motor Speedway, in his first race since receiving the bad news, DiBenedetto finished second after surrendering the lead to Denny Hamlin with 11 laps left.

That strong performance was a great addition to the resume, but DiBenedetto has yet to find a seat for next season.

“I got a lot of like really nice, encouraging texts and stuff from a lot of fellow drivers and such, so that was really neat and encouraging,” DiBenedetto said of the Bristol aftermath. “Nothing in particular. Just keeping all options open.”

DiBenedetto has 12 races left in the No. 95 LFR Toyota, and that means 12 more chances to showcase his talent. That doesn’t mean, however, that he’ll be doing things differently.

“I drive the same really any race under any circumstances,” said DiBenedetto, who was fifth fastest in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice. “At Bristol, some people were like, ‘Oh, did you drive different there?’ and I’m like, ‘No, it doesn’t make a difference.’ When I strap in the car, I’m 100 percent every single lap I’m on the race track, no matter what.

“I’ve learned that lesson and been that way a long time. I always feel like I’m auditioning every time I climb in a race car for basically my whole life. That’s nothing any different, but I want to win for this team really, really bad, because it would be really special to get their first win for the team.”

NBC Sports NASCAR analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive in this Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race from Darlington Raceway at 4 p.m. ET on NBC. This marks Earnhardt Jr.’s first race since last September’s Xfinity Series race at Richmond where he led a race-high 96 laps and finished in fourth place.

Coverage of Saturday’s Xfinity Series race from Darlington begins at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC with Countdown to Green, hosted by Krista Voda alongside Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett atop the Peacock Pit Box on pit road.

NBC Sports’ lead race announcer Rick Allen will call the action alongside Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte and 21-time Cup Series winner Jeff Burton, who swept both races at Darlington in 1999.

Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, and Dave Burns will provide commentary and interviews from pit road. Rutledge Wood will report around the track leading up to and during the race with stories focused on the Throwback Weekend.


Coverage of Sunday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 will feature the voices from three of NASCAR’s most famous families, as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett will call Stage Two of the race on NBCSN. Jarrett is a three-time winner at Darlington and the trio earned a combined 28 Top 10 finishes at Darlington in their careers.

Sunday’s pre-race coverage on NBCSN from Darlington will also include:

  • A feature voiced by long-time NASCAR broadcaster Ken Squier, looking back at the intersection between 1990s pop culture and NASCAR as part of Throwback Weekend;


  • The latest installment of NBC Sports “Behind the Driver” segments featuring Matt DiBenedetto, driver of the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Toyota.


In conjunction with NASCAR Productions, NBC Sports profiles The Wood Brothers in a new documentary looking at the legacy of NASCAR’s longest-running team this Friday at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Click here to watch the trailer.

The Wood Brothers impacted motorsports by pioneering groundbreaking competitive techniques and employing some of the most notable names in racing, all while keeping their team in family hands. Airing immediately following NASCAR America Fan Friday live from Darlington Raceway, the documentary includes interviews with numerous members of the Wood family, as well as Richard Petty.


The official home of the NASCAR Playoffs, NBC Sports will present the final 20 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR Xfinity Series races, and select NASCAR Regional & Touring Series events in 2019. NBC Sports’ NASCAR programming also includes NBCSN’s daily motorsports show NASCAR America, coverage of NASCAR’s Awards Ceremonies, the annual NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony, as well as original programming specials. For more information about NBC Sports Group shows and properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios and headshots, please visit

NBC Sports PR

MBM Motorsports and Joey Gase are proud to announce they are teaming up Agri Supply and Carolina Cooker this Saturday for throwback weekend at Darlington Speedway.

Thanks to Agri Supply and Carolina Cooker Joey Gase will be honoring Todd Bodine by running his 1998 Tobacso Hot Sauce scheme. “I am thrilled to be running this awesome scheme!” said Gase. “The great folks at Agri Supply and Caronia Cooker wanted to do something to highlight their Carolina Cooker Hot Sauce and with this Tobasco Sauce paint scheme that Todd ran in ‘98 we are doing just that!”

Agri Supply started as farm supply store over 50 years ago but now has over 26,000 items and counting for your Farm, Tractor, Garden, and Home. Agri Supply has eight retail locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia; releases several unique catalogs per year; and has a thriving website with a huge product selection available.

Agri Supply's goal is to provide quality merchandise at the most reasonable price, to give our customers the best service possible and to treat all customers fairly.

You can be one of the first to see this amazing car at Customer Appreciation day at the Florence Agri Supply (1918 E Palmetto Street Florence, SC 29506) this Thursday from 12:00-3:00pm. You can also meet Joey, enjoy free food and store wide discounts!

The action will start this Friday at 1:05 p.m. EST with the first session of NASCAR XFINITY Series practice on NBCSN and on Saturday the race starts at 4:00 p.m. on NBC. You can also keep up with all the action by following Joey Gase Racing on Twitter and Facebook!

Joey Gase PR

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series
Date Track Team/Member Level Infraction Penalty/Remarks
8/25/2019 (post-race inspection) CTMP No. 52 Safety Sections Tires and Wheels
Note: Lug nut(s) not properly installed.
Crew chief (Trip Bruce lll) has been fined $2,500.
Date Track Team/Member Level Infraction Penalty/Remarks
8/22/2019 N/A Matt Borland Behavioral
Sections 12.1; 19 Indefinite suspension from NASCAR
8/22/2019 N/A Tyler Dippel Behavioral Sections 12.1.; 12.8.1.e & f. Indefinite suspension from NASCAR

Richard Childress Racing's Tyler Reddick will celebrate NASCAR's history at Darlington Raceway with a throwback design honoring Kyle Petty's 1980s 7-Eleven scheme. The design scheme will prominently feature both 7-Eleven and blu, a leader in the electronic cigarette industry, that retails at 7-Eleven.
"We're excited to enter the sport of NASCAR and partner with Richard Childress Racing, one of the most iconic teams in the sport," said Greg Moser, VP of Marketing at blu. "Naturally, we did a lot of homework before taking this step and in the end, it was a natural fit. NASCAR is a passion point of our existing blu consumers and the sport has a well-documented adult audience, where the incidence of smoking is higher than the national average. This was a perfect opportunity to connect adult smokers with our myblu product and recognize one of our top retail partners, 7-Eleven, with an iconic scheme for the No. 2 myblu Chevrolet."
"The Throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway is always one of my favorite races of the year because I love NASCAR history and it's so fun to celebrate the heritage of our sport at one of NASCAR's oldest and most exciting tracks," said Reddick. "I grew up watching Kyle Petty race, so being able to celebrate his career and impact on the sport is special to me. I'm so thankful to be able to participate in NASCAR's Throwback weekend and honor an icon of the sport this year."
Petty's 7-Eleven machine was an iconic scheme for much of his career in the 1980s, including his 1986 win at Richmond Raceway that came after Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip wrecked hard on the final lap. The No. 2 myblu Chevrolet Camaro pays homage to the scheme with its layered lines and 7-Eleven orange stripe.
blu is one of the original e-vapor brands, celebrating 10 years of providing adult smokers with a high-quality alternative to traditional cigarettes. The Throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway marks the first primary sponsorship secured by blu in NASCAR. myblu is the latest product from blu, delivering a simple and satisfying nicotine experience for adult smokers.
Reddick is currently first in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings, with four wins, three pole awards, 18 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes. The defending Xfinity Series champion has already clinched his 2019 playoff berth and is currently in the hunt to secure the regular season championship.
For additional information about blu, please visit For additional information on today's announcement, and all that's happening at RCR, please visit

JD Motorsports with Gary Keller is proud to announce the South Carolina Education Lottery and BJ McLeod will be partnering with the No. 4 Chevrolet for this Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina.

This will be the South Carolina Education Lottery’s fifth year partnering with JDM. This year, the team plans to honor 2020 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Labonte by running a throwback paint scheme to his 1992 Slim Jim Chevrolet.

McLeod, who currently sits 20th in the NASCAR Xfinity Series points standings, cites Darlington Raceway as one of his favorite tracks. “I truly am excited to get behind the wheel of the No. 4 South Carolina Education Lottery Chevrolet this weekend. Add in the fact that we’re running the throwback paint scheme to the Slim Jim car, and it feels like I’m back to being a kid again! I mean, I grew up watching that car win races and championships, so this is all really cool for me. I’m sure we will be able to go out and have a good run for all of our supporters and fans,” McLeod said.

In four starts at Darlington, McLeod has a best finish of 23rd. Entering the weekend, his best finish of the 2019 season is 17th, which came at Pocono Raceway earlier this year.

“Darlington has been circled on my calendar for a while now, because I feel like I seem to excel at the tracks that are hard to drive,” McLeod said. “We will be slipping around out there on the ragged edge, and that all fits perfectly with my driving style. It will be a fun one, that’s for sure!”

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will race at Darlington Raceway this Saturday for the running of the Sport Clips 200. The race can be viewed live on NBC, or listened to on MRN. Be sure to tune in to see JD Motorsports with Gary Keller drivers BJ McLeod, Garrett Smithley, Stephen Leicht, and Landon Cassill try to tackle the track dubbed “Too Tough to Tame.” For all things JDM, follow us along on social media with the handle @JDMotorsports01. #TeamJDM


On Saturday, the NASCAR Xfinity Series made its’ final trip out to a permanent road course on the year out at Road America near Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. This was the series’ third road course race in a month, and it turned out to be a very exciting race for the fans to watch.

Entering the weekend, Ryan Vargas, driver of the No. 4 Chevrolet, didn’t have much road course experience, but he was eager to gain some valuable seat time in just his second career NXS start. Vargas started deep in the field in 33rd when a slower car blocked his timed lap, but that didn’t prevent him from learning how to pass smoothly and make his way up through the pack. At the end of the caution less Stage One, Vargas was scored in 25th, and the eighteen-year-old made up some more spots to 22nd at the end of Stage Two. In the final stage, the NASCAR Next driver was able to climb even further up the leaderboard, coming home with a respectable 18th place finish in just his second start.

BJ McLeod, who drove the No. 15 Chevrolet on Saturday, continued his learning process on the road courses, where he is self-admittedly unaccustomed to racing on. McLeod drove a clean, conservative race all day, after rolling off the starting grid in 34th position. A pair of 30th place finishes in both Stage One and Stage Two were due to the #15Machine crew electing to hang back and keep their Camaro in one piece, but as chaos ensued in the final stage, BJ was able to steer clear of all the mess and come home with a 23rd place finish. The solid run keeps McLeod scored in 20th in the drivers’ standings heading into Darlington next weekend.

Garrett Smithley, driver of the No. 0 Chevrolet, had a very promising run going at the 4-mile road course. Smithley practiced in 17th, and started the race from 21st, and when it came to race time, many thought he would have a great finish. Stage One showed Garrett in 15th, with Stage Two showing him 13th, but unfortunately, on lap 37/45, the engine let go, forcing him behind the wall. Smithley would end up coming home with a 33rd place finish, keeping him 18th in the drivers’ points standings.

Stephen Leicht, driver of the No. 01 Chevrolet, faced the same fate as Garrett Smithley. Leicht started his Camaro from the 25th position, but was able to make up some ground early to 18th at the end of Stage One. Stephen was all the way up to 11th at the end of Stage Two, and appeared to have a solid run going, until he lost his engine one lap prior to Garrett. Stephen remains in the 19th position in drivers’ standings heading into Darlington.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will race at Darlington Raceway this Saturday for the running of the Sport Clips 200. The race can be viewed live on NBC, or listened to on MRN. Be sure to tune in to see JD Motorsports with Gary Keller drivers BJ McLeod, Garrett Smithley, Stephen Leicht, and Landon Cassill try to tackle the track dubbed “Too Tough to Tame”. For all things JDM, follow us along on social media with the handle @JDMotorsports01. #TeamJDM


Team 08 GPS PURE/ Panini Chevrolet Camaro: 

Gray Gaulding and his No. 08 Panini team started off the day from the 19th position at Road America. With the race track being four miles long the first two stages were only ten laps each. Gaulding quickly made his way forward in the opening stage. Just before the end of the first stage the 7 car of Justin Allgaier lost a left front tire and got trapped in the gravel pit, which brought out the first caution of the day. The caution also marked the conclusion of the first stage with Gaulding in the 12th position. 

Crew Chief Patrick Donahue called Gaulding to the pits for four tires and fuel during the stage break. The pit strategy allowed Gaulding to stay on track for the entire second stage. After restarting in the 19th position, Gaulding found himself in the 7th position at the conclusion of stage two, collecting four valuable stage points. 

Gaulding brought his No. 08 Chevy to pit road for service during the final stage break and was ready to go for the third and final stage. Gaulding started the final stage from the 16th position, but it did not take long for him to start moving forward. After just a handful of green flag laps into the run, Gaulding flexed his muscles, driving up to the 11th position. On lap 32 the 19 car brought out the third caution of the day. Gaulding pitted for what was the last planned stop of the day and restarted from the 16th position with 11 laps remaining. With only 4 laps remaining Gaulding's brake pedal went to the floor and he went for a wild ride through the gravel pit. It was a broken brake line that caused Gaulding to go flying off course. The team was able to limp around to a 29th place finish. It was the team's worst finish since the season opener at Daytona in February. 

Gray Gaulding: 

"I thought we had a good run going running inside the top-15 until my left front brake line busted causing my brake pedal to go straight to the floor and pretty much ruined our day. Hate that we didn’t get the result we deserved. It was a good effort though and I learned a ton. Thanks to Panini and PURE for sticking behind me and this SS Green Light Racing team. We’ll get back on the ovals next week at Darlington Raceway next week and hope to have a solid run." 

Bobby Dotter Thoughts on the 08 Team:

““Gray continued to show what kind of speed that 08 car is capable of. Unfortunately, we broke a brake line with 4 laps to go, which ruined our day. I’m confident the team will bounce back next week in Darlington.”

Team 07 Isokern Fireplaces & Chimneys Chevrolet Camaro: 

Ray Black Jr. came into Road America this weekend after a strong 15th place finish last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. The 07 team had a little work cut out for them after qualifying in the 29th position. Black quickly made his way forward in the opening stage. At the end of stage one, Black had advanced ten positions to the 19th position. 

Crew Chief Jason Miller called his driver in for service during the stage break. Like his teammate, the 07 also stayed on track the entirety of the second stage. After a caution- free stage, Black found himself in the 15th position after two stages. 

Miller once again called his driver to the pits during the stage break, in preparation for the twenty-five lap final stage. After charging through the field, Black would be forced to repeat his performance as he would restart from the 26th position for the final stage. With only 14 laps remaining in the race, Black was able to advance eleven positions to the 15th position before the 19 car brought out the third caution of the day. Miller made the call to stay on the race track during the caution, which put Black restarting in the 12th position. The final caution of the day waved with only 4 laps remaining. Black was able to avoid all the late carnage and power through to a 14th place finish. 

Ray Black Jr: 

“Really proud of our team today! We got better all day and were able to capitalize at the end. On to Darlington!" 

Bobby Dotter Thoughts on the 07 Team: 

“”Ray and the 07 team drove a great race today at Road America. They were able to improve throughout the day and Ray was able to bring it home in 14th. Really solid day for this team.”

Looking Ahead: 
SS Green Light Racing drivers Gray Gaulding and Ray Black Jr. remain 13th and 16th respectively in the NASCAR Xfinity Series points standings. The Xfinity Series will get prepared for throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway. Coverage Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 from Darlington Raceway will begin Saturday August 31st at 4:00 PM ET on NBC. 

SS Green Light Racing PR

Loris Hezemans was impressive in his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut, running as high as 15th in the closing laps of the CTECH Manufacturing 180 at Road America before picking up significant damage from a crash in front of him and crossing the finish line 22nd. 

Hezemans was 24th quickest out of 38 competitors in Qualifying, but was forced to start from the back of the grid due to a repair his BJ Mcleod Motorsports team had to perform on the #99 Roux Helmets Camaro. In the first two stages of the CTECH Manufacturing 180, the Dutch driver climbed back up to 23rd and 21st recovering from a couple of slow pit stops, while in the final stage he had to settle for 22nd despite proving a top-15 finish was within his reach.  

A power steering failure and a crash he couldn’t avoid proved to be fatal for Hezemans’ ambitions.

“It was a crazy race. It was funny in many ways but it was just a shame in the end. I was running 15th with two laps to go when the power steering gave up! After that somebody wrecked ahead of us and we had no way to avoid the crash. We got some damage at the front which brought the hood open, so I had to drive full throttle looking through the hood flaps holes. Definitely an eventful last couple of laps,” said Hezemans after the race.

The 22-year-old NWES title contender immediately found himself at ease in the very competitive environment of the NASCAR Xfinity Series and battled door-to-door against some of the best NASCAR drivers in the world, showing an impressive pace on the 4.048-mile road course of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

“I think we progressed well throughout the weekend and we were on the way to a top-15 finish but in the end we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” concluded Hezemans. “I hope I can have an opportunity to run another event, maybe as European Champion, and use this experience to perform better next time.”

Up next for Hezemans are the September 21-22 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Semi Finals at the Hockenheimring. The Dutchman won his first career NWES race at the iconic German track and will enter the playoffs as one of the main candidates to wear the crown of Euro NASCAR Champion, a feature that would definitely open even more doors for him in North America.


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