Xfinity Series News (7295)
NASCAR Xfinity Series News
Building on a successful technical alliance, JR Motorsports and GMS Racing jointly announced today the establishment of Drivers Edge Development, a program presented by Chevrolet aimed at grooming the next generation of racing superstars through a tiered competition pipeline coupled with comprehensive off-track education.
Drivers Edge Development will give participating drivers, all with differing levels of experience, the opportunity to race in five types of developmental series with JRM or GMS-fielded entries while staying aligned with Chevrolet. The program allows the two teams to complement each other by offering participants competition options with JRM’s regional late model program leading into GMS’ NASCAR K&N Pro Series and ARCA entries. The next tier presents potential seat time in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series with GMS. Finally, at the program’s top level, JRM entries await in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Equally as important as the competition focus, Drivers Edge Development provides added training to enhance participants’ professional growth off the track. Drivers will have access to a host of programs focusing on their physical, mental and technical development. An emphasis will be placed on educating them in areas such as brand building, social media and digital content, media training and fan relations as well as support for partner procurement and retention.
“We have always prided ourselves on being a stepping stone for drivers that want to get to the top level of racing,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr., JRM team owner. “JR Motorsports was designed with that in mind, and now with the help of GMS and Chevrolet, Drivers Edge Development will provide a clear-cut path and more options for drivers to get there.”
Although mainly performance-based, there are no set criteria for selection into the program. Ideally, drivers between the ages of 14 and 21 years old will be considered. Currently, six drivers are enrolled in the Drivers Edge Development program:
· Noah Gragson (NXS driver for JRM)
· John Hunter Nemechek (NXS driver for GMS)
· Zane Smith (NXS driver for JRM in eight races)
· Sheldon Creed (Truck driver for GMS)
· Sam Mayer (Truck/ARCA/K&N driver for GMS and Late Model driver for JRM)
· Adam Lemke (Late Model driver for JRM)
“We couldn’t be more pleased to get this program off the ground,” said Mike Beam, GMS team president. “Between GMS and JRM, I feel our two programs are very complementary of each other and will give Drivers Edge Development participants multiple series options.
“We have to give Lorin Ranier some credit, too. He has been working behind the scenes and is a great help in scouting drivers for the program. He is really plugged into the local and regional short-track scene and has already worked with some of the drivers in the program.”
Drivers Edge Development participants will also benefit from the mentoring of veteran racers from both the JRM and GMS stables.
“Drivers Edge Development is going to be critical to the future of the sport and our race team,” said Kelley Earnhardt Miller, JRM general manager. “The fact that you have JRM, GMS and Chevrolet involved in getting this off the ground speaks to that importance.
“We’re emphasizing on-track experience in multiple series while still keeping the drivers under the Chevrolet umbrella. Off track, we’re going to offer these drivers decades of industry knowledge and best practices with the goal of helping them become the best versions of themselves in all aspects of the sport.”
The six drivers enrolled in Drivers Edge Development are joining established and successful operations. The JRM late model teams have delivered 40 wins in the last three seasons and own a total of four championships. GMS Racing has nine wins and a championship with its ARCA program. Its Truck teams have amassed 23 wins along with a championship in 2016. Over 13 years of competition, JRM’s NXS program lays claim to 44 wins and three championships, including consecutive titles in 2017-18.
Fire Alarm Services Continues Partnership with John Hunter Nemechek at GMS Racing in Select 2019 Xfinity Series Races18 Jan 2019 Written by Steven B. Wilson
GMS Racing announced today that Fire Alarm Services, Inc., (FAS), a provider in a superior fire, life safety, and security services, will serve as primary sponsor for John Hunter Nemechek and the No. 23 GMS Racing team in 13 NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) races in 2019.
Since 2016, FAS has been a supporter of Nemechek. The Colorado-based company served as a primary sponsor in multiple NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) races for Nemechek, as well as 11 NXS races in 2018. FAS has been apart of many of Nemechek’s career-first accomplishments, including his first NGOTS pole award at Iowa Speedway in 2016, his first NXS win at Kansas Speedway and his first NXS pole award at ISM Raceway, both took place in 2018.
“Fire Alarm Services has been a supporter of my career since 2016 in the Truck Series starting at my family-owned team," said Nemechek. "I couldn’t be more excited to continue this relationship with them in 2019. I am super thankful and blessed that Shannon and Connie Smith, owners of Fire Alarm Services, Inc., believe in me and my career. They have been a staple in various first accomplishments for me, and I hope we can add an Xfinity Series Championship on to that list of firsts.”
FAS will sponsor the following races for Nemechek in 2019, Daytona International Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, ISM Raceway (spring and fall), Auto Club Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway (spring and fall), Darlington Raceway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The No. 23 Fire Alarm Services Inc., Chevrolet Camaro will sport a new red and black paint scheme beginning at the 2019 season-opening race, the Daytona 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 16 at 2:30 p.m. ET
GMS Racing PR
BJ McLeod Motorsports Announces it is Expanding to Three (3) Full Time NASCAR Xfinity Series Team in 201911 Jan 2019 Written by Steven B. Wilson
B.J. McLeod (Owner/Driver) and Jessica McLeod (Owner) of BJ McLeod Motorsports (BJMM) are excited to start a fourth season as a NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) Team in its new state of the art facility in Mooresville, NC. This year, the organization will field three (3) cars with its respected No. 78, No. 8 and No. 99 car numbers. "After going straight to work the week after Homestead, (Homestead-Miami Speedway, Fla) all in preparation for 2019, we feel like we got a great start for the upcoming season," said BJ McLeod. "We are stoked to announce our driver line-up and we are all looking forward to spend our weekends at the track," BJ added.
Vinnie Miller will pilot the BJMM flagship No. 78 NXS car. Vinnie will continue his campaign as announced in September last year. Vinnie signed a multi-year agreement to drive for BJMM. "Vinnie did a great job coming on board the last six (6) races of last year. We are ready to repeat and this time, it will be for a full season," said the team driver/owner who also competes in the MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP Series.
22-year-old Matt Mills from New Philadelphia, Ohio will pilot the No. 8 NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) entry in 2019 beginning at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Saturday, February 16.
"We’re thrilled to be working with Matt again this year," said team owner, BJ McLeod. "He is a very hard working young man with lots of talent. Our goal for the year is to work together to create a solid foundation for this season and beyond."
Mills enters his fourth year of NASCAR competition. He has 22 NASCAR starts between the NXS and the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
Supporting the effort will be JF Electric and longtime partner, Thompson Electric.
"We’ve been working extremely hard the last few years to put together an effort like this one," said Mills. "I can’t thank BJ and Jessica McLeod enough for the opportunity, as well as JF Electric and Thompson Electric. I’m focused on having a solid season, gaining experience and respect along the way."
Finally, the third car, No. 99 NXS will have a carousel of drivers such as B.J. McLeod, Tommy Joe Martins and JA Avila Jr. with open seats still available to welcome drivers to the team. "It is with great enthusiasm to have Tommy Joe Martins back with the team. Martins has played a great part in helping us improve our on-track performance over the last two years and we are looking forward to what’s to come. Avila joins the team again this year and after two top twenty finishes in his first two starts, the future looks promising," said owner Jessica McLeod.
For more information about BJ McLeod Motorsports, including sponsorship opportunities and public relations requests for the upcoming 2019 season, please visit www.bjmcleodmotorsports.com or call 704.230.8720.
Statement from Team Owner Chip Ganassi:
“Due to a lack of sponsorship funding we will cease operation of the No. 42 Xfinity team in 2019. This was a difficult decision for me to make and it comes with much anguish as this is a championship caliber team (having won six races and finished second in the owners championship) and more importantly because it affects a number of good people’s livelihoods. Running a car without proper funding is difficult to do.”
The team’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series program will not be affected as Kyle Larson and Kurt Busch will remain in the No. 42 and No. 1 cars respectively.
California native Zane Smith has been tabbed to drive eight NASCAR Xfinity Series races for JR Motorsports in 2019, the team announced today. Smith, a member of the NASCAR Next Program, will take the wheel of the organization’s No. 9 entry in his series debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (March 2) in partnership with The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas for the event.
The 19-year-old Smith is the first driver to be named to the lineup of JRM’s No. 9 team, which is coming off its second consecutive NXS championship (2017-18). The team intends to run a full-time schedule next season with a number of drivers at the helm.
“Zane is going to be an important part of the lineup for the No. 9 team next year,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr., owner of JRM. “It’s a great opportunity for him. The team is going to take on a different feel with a handful of drivers taking turns throughout the year, but the goal remains the same - to help these drivers gain experience and continue to advance their careers. We started the Xfinity program with that mindset and it’s something we’re proud to continue.”
In addition to the Las Vegas event, Smith’s schedule is as follows: Bristol Motor Speedway (April 6), Richmond Raceway (April 12 and Sept. 20), Dover International Speedway (May 4 and Oct. 5) and Iowa Speedway (June 16 and July 27).
“JR Motorsports has a strong history of helping groom young talent and we’re looking forward to giving Zane that platform for success,” said Kelley Earnhardt Miller, general manager of JRM. “We feel Zane has much to offer both on and off the track. We’re going to have him in the car for these eight races, but also have him gain additional experience by traveling with the team for the season.”
Smith transitions to JRM from the ARCA Racing Series, where he posted a 2018 season that included four victories and a runner-up position in the season’s point standings. In 36 career ARCA starts, Smith has tallied 19 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes, along with three pole awards. The young racer also made one NASCAR Truck Series start this past year, earning a fifth-place finish.
“I’m super pumped to be a part of JR Motorsports with the No. 9 team for eight races,” Smith said. “I’m counting down the days until Las Vegas, which will be my debut in the Xfinity series. I can’t thank The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas enough for making this happen, along with all of my other partners who have gotten me this far. Having Dale and Kelley as bosses and to lean on is going to be awesome. They are huge icons of the sport. It is unreal to be a part of their team, so I’m just going to try and take it all in.”
Additional drivers of the team’s No. 9 Chevrolet, along with the crew chief and partner lineup will be named at a later date. Earlier this year, JRM announced its full-time roster which includes Noah Gragson in the No. 1, Michael Annett in the No. 5 and Justin Allgaier in the No. 7 entry.
NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers, team members, the sport’s national media and loyal fans descended upon Charlotte, NC last weekend to merge the spectacle surrounding the annual crowning of champions with the eagerness for the start of a new season. NASCAR Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series champions were crowned and the top drivers in their respective series were honored at an exclusive celebration held at the Charlotte Convention Center on December 8.
Brett Moffitt—a Grimes, Iowa native—is the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion after a decisive victory in the Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. Driving for underfunded Hattori Racing Enterprises, owned by former driver Shigeaki Hattori of Japan, Moffitt picked up his sixth victory of the season (second straight) and seventh of his career.
Moffitt formally received the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series trophy he earned. And the sport celebrated a dramatic season and recognized some of its most impactful participants which included former winners at Iowa Speedway.
The 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series M&Ms 200 presented by Casey’s General Store at Iowa Speedway served as a victorious homecoming for the Iowa native. Moffitt, in his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Iowa Speedway, led the final 76 laps en route to what was then his third career series victory.
Iowa Speedway is proud of the moniker for past winners … Stars Are Made Here. Christopher Bell earned a victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway in July, becoming the first Xfinity regular since Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 1999 to collect three consecutive race wins.
Footage from last year’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series races was provided by NASCAR Productions.
List of Participants:
Christopher Bell (finished fourth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship standings)
Brett Moffitt (2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion)
GMS Racing announced today that John Hunter Nemechek will join the team for the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) season. Nemechek will be the driver of the No. 23 Chevrolet Camaro under the GMS Racing banner and will contend for the 2019 Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors.
The Mooresville, N.C., driver started his first season of NASCAR Xfinity Series competition in 2018 with Chip-Ganassi Racing. Nemechek collected one win (Kansas Speedway), six top-five finishes, 11 top-10 finishes, and one pole award (ISM Raceway), with an average starting position of 8.5, producing an average finishing position of 10.1 across just 18 starts with 211 laps led.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Gallagher and the entire GMS Racing organization has presented to me to be able to run full-time in 2019,” Nemechek said. “The results that GMS Racing showed last year in their NASCAR Xfinity Series program were impressive. Their goal is to create a championship-caliber team, like their truck series program, and I believe that we can achieve that goal in the 2019 season.”
Nemechek capitalized on his six NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) seasons, where he collected six victories, 28 top-five finishes, and 48 top-10 finishes. He captured his first pole award in 2016, and added to his collection in with a second pole award in 2018. In addition to his successful NGOTS campaign, Nemechek was named to the 2015-2016 NASCAR Next class, and was awarded the 2015 Most Popular Driver for the NGOTS.
The 21-year old will be under the guidance of NASCAR Xfinity Series veteran crew chief Chad Norris, who joined GMS Racing at the beginning of the 2018 season. Norris led the No. 23 Chevrolet Camaro team to a record year after collecting the Statesville, N.C.,-based organization’s first NASCAR Xfinity Series win at the Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway with Spencer Gallagher, as well as producing six top-five and 17 top-10 finishes.
“John Hunter (Nemechek) is a wheelman,” Mike Beam, president of GMS Racing, said. “We are excited to have him on board for the 2019 season. With how much progress we showed last year in our NASCAR Xfinity Series program, I know that John Hunter will take us to the next level.”
GMS Racing PR
Blake Koch has officially signed to drive the No. 4 car at JD Motorsports with Gary Keller for the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity season with help from his company, FilterTime.
“It’s hard for me to explain how excited I am to race again and to do it for JD Motorsports. I have seen the progress of this team and have raced against them for many years. Coming off their best season with Ross (Chastain) making the playoffs, it’s a perfect time to join them,” Koch said.
Koch was released from Kaulig Racing in early 2018 and was unable to secure another ride for the remainder of the year. In efforts to secure sponsorship, he created his own business in order to get back in a race car for 2019.
FilterTime (FilterTime.com), an air filter subscription service, will be the primary sponsor in select races throughout the 2019 season, beginning with the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway in February.
“I have always known how important it was to change my air filters at least every three months, but I always forgot to actually go to the store and buy them, or what my size was and what quality I bought the time before,” Koch said. “So I figured there has to be a better way to do this. That’s when I started FilterTime.”
With Koch having made the Xfinity Series playoffs in 2016 and 2017, team owner Johnny Davis is hopeful he will see the 4 car back in playoff contention next year.
“We are excited to get Blake back in a race car,” Davis said. “He is another overlooked talent that needs an opportunity to race, and we’re happy to have him at our organization.”
Koch has been racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series since 2009, completing his first full-time season in 2015.
“Johnny has given me an amazing opportunity to be back in the series and to also have my company, FilterTime, on the car,” he said. “This is truly a dream come true. I started this company to eventually get me back in a seat, and it’s happening.”
Stewart-Haas Racing with Fred Biagi (SHR) will field driver Chase Briscoe in its No. 98 Ford Mustang fulltime in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2019, with Nutri Chomps serving as the primary sponsor for the first 13 races.
Briscoe won his first career Xfinity Series race in October at the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval in SHR’s No. 98 Ford Mustang in just his 14th career start. The 23-year-old from Mitchell, Indiana, has run 17 Xfinity Series races in 2018 with next year marking his first fulltime season in the stepping-stone division to the elite Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Nutri Chomps and its parent company, Indiana-based Scott Pet, have been longtime supporters of Briscoe. Nutri Chomps are rawhide-free alternative dog chews made with real chicken and pork skin. Nutri Chomps are high in protein and fiber, low in carbohydrates, and come in milk, chicken and peanut butter flavors.
“The Nutri Chomps brand has grown in lockstep with Chase Briscoe’s career, and as Chase seizes this opportunity at Stewart-Haas Racing, we’re doing the same,” said Mike Bassett, CEO, Scott Pet. “Chase is an excellent ambassador for our brand and this is a very strong platform for Nutri Chomps to showcase its products to an extremely loyal fan base, many of whom are pet owners.”
Briscoe will drive the No. 98 Nutri Chomps Ford Mustang alongside SHR teammate Cole Custer in the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang.
“I got a taste of what Stewart-Haas Racing is capable of in the five races I ran with the team this year,” Briscoe said. “Winning at Charlotte was one of the greatest moments of my career, and I have to thank Nutri Chomps, Ford, Tony Stewart, Gene Haas and Fred Biagi for believing in me and providing this opportunity to race fulltime. I’ve been working so hard for this moment and 2019 can’t come soon enough. If I could fast forward to February and climb inside the No. 98 Nutri Chomps Ford Mustang there at Daytona, I would.”
Briscoe’s background makes him an excellent fit at the team co-owned by three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart. Like Stewart, Briscoe’s path to NASCAR began on dirt tracks where the third-generation driver has been running sprint cars since he was 13 years old.
“I’ve been paying attention to Chase since he raced sprint cars and I saw how well he transitioned to stock cars,” Stewart said. “It was obviously great to see him in our Ford Mustangs a few times this year, and Chase didn’t disappoint. His win at Charlotte showed us a lot. He was patiently aggressive and he did a really good job of managing his tires. He’s learned a lot in a very short period of time and we’re really looking forward to seeing what he can do when he’s in the same car, working with the same crew, week in and week out. It was our desire to have him in our racecars, but thanks to Nutri Chomps and Ford, they made it happen.”
Briscoe has thrived in his transition to NASCAR, which began after a six-win campaign in the 2016 ARCA Racing Series earned him the championship by a whopping 535 points. He advanced to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2017, earning four poles and winning the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes allowed Briscoe to make the playoffs, finish sixth in points and score the series’ rookie of the year and most popular driver awards.
“Chase Briscoe is the kind of person we’re looking to develop with our Xfinity Series program,” said Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition, SHR. “Young, hungry and talented is the best way to describe Chase, and there’s no better place for him to learn and, ultimately, succeed than here at Stewart-Haas Racing. I know he’s looking forward to this opportunity, and we are too.”
The Briscoe name is still relatively new in NASCAR, but it’s a venerable name in the sprint car community.
Chase’s grandfather, Richard Briscoe, is a legendary sprint car team owner, who has fielded entries for 37 different drivers including such renowned wheelmen as Chuck Amati, Dave Blaney, Dick Gaines, Jack Hewitt, Steve Kinser and Rich Vogler. Chase’s father, Kevin Briscoe, raced sprint cars for over 20 years and won more than 150 feature events. He claimed track championships at Indiana’s Tri-State Speedway and Bloomington Speedway five times, including a streak of three straight titles.
Chase Briscoe’s first time behind the wheel of a racecar came in 2001. Driving a quarter midget, he won his first heat race and then won the feature event later that evening. Briscoe moved on to mini sprints and, when he was 13, stepped into a 410 sprint car where in his first race he finished 10th in a 40-car field. In a rookie season that saw 37 starts, Briscoe racked up eight top-five and 17 top-10 finishes, including a win in the last race of the season, where he broke Jeff Gordon’s record for being the youngest person to win a 410 sprint car race.
Briscoe continued to race 410 sprint cars in Indiana and other surrounding states. People began to take notice, and soon the switch from sprint cars to stock cars was on. Cunningham Motorsports hired Briscoe in 2016 to pilot its No. 77 Ford Fusion for a fulltime drive in ARCA. Briscoe responded by winning six races and the championship.
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.