Xfinity Series News (7335)
NASCAR Xfinity Series News
Christopher Bell will leave Dover International Speedway with a limited-edition Miles the Monster trophy and an extra $100,000 by taking his No. 20 Toyota to victory lane on Saturday. Bell, who led only 44 of the 200 circuits, scored his 11th career win in the series.
“It was a little bit better, but I knew we had a really good Rheem Supra from really the drop of the green flag. I was able to keep pace with them, it was just tough to pass,” said Bell in Victory Lane. “There’s no doubt that he (Cole Custer) was really good. Over that long run there, I felt like I could make gains on him running the top. Last time we were here, the top was really good for me, but it seemed like it rubbered up more and the top was a little less of a disadvantage. Once we got the lead – thank you to my pit crew, they did an outstanding job – it's really special to be here.”
Bell took the lead away from Cole Custer by being the first driver off pit road during a set of yellow flag stops on lap 156. Custer, who finished fourth in the No. 00 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing, started on the pole and led 155 of the 200 laps – even claiming both stages.
“This place, you can pass on long green flag runs and it’s one of my favorite race tracks because you can move around and kind of find different lines and get going,” Bell continued. “Over the short run, it’s pretty difficult to make it happen because there’s so much grip on the bottom. Just really thankful for everyone at Toyota and TRD too. They’re the ones that have believed in me since day one on the dirt side of things and now here we are holding up my second cardboard check.”
Bell will go into a two-week hiatus for the NASCAR XFINITY Series with six top five and seven top 10 finishes through 10 completed races.
Justin Allgaier finished the day in the runner-up spot after starting the afternoon in second. Allgaier led one lap and sat third in stage one and fourth in stage two in the No. 7 BRANDT Chevrolet for JR Motorsports.
The Illinois native will leave the one-mile concrete oval holding four top five and five top 10 finishes this year.
Tyler Reddick, the fifth-place starter on Saturday, rounded out the top three finishers. The Talladega Superspeedway winner last weekend sat fourth in stage one and third in stage two.
Cole Custer and Chase Briscoe rounded out the top five.
Austin Cindric, Brandon Jones, John Hunter Nemechek, Zane Smith and Michael Annett rounded out the top 10.
The next race for the NASCAR XFINITY Series will be at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 25th. The Alsco 300 will take place at 1:00 p.m. ET. live on FS1 and PRN Radio.
Even though Tyler Reddick won the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship on the strength of his final-race performance at Homestead-Miami Speedway last year, he concedes that Christopher Bell, driving the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, was the class of the Xfinity field.
“Last year, I thought he was just in another zip code whenever we were racing together,” Reddick said on Friday at Dover International Speedway, site of Saturday’s Allied Steel Buildings 200 (1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
After a switch from JR Motorsports to Richard Childress Racing and a new pairing with crew chief Randall Burnett, Reddick feels more competitive with the top cars in the series this year. And well, he should.
With last Saturday’s victory at Talladega, Reddick leads the series standings by 32 points over Bell. In the first nine races of the season, he has seven top fives and has finished no worse than fourth in the six events since Las Vegas in March. That translates to a series-best average result of 4.9.
“We enjoy being in the points lead right now,” Reddick said of the No. 1 ranking. “I know the 18 and the 20 (Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas) really like having that spot. It’s cool to be in their spot, and we’re trying to make the case that it’s our spot.
“We want to keep that points lead going. We want to keep scoring stage points. But we want to try and learn some things that are going to help us over the summer stretch—and definitely in the Playoffs."
TOP SPEED IS A PLEASANT SURPRISE TO RAPHAEL LESSARD
On his first visit to Dover International Speedway, Raphael Lessard topped the speed chart at 154.999 mph in opening NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series practice.
For the 17-year-old from St. Joseph de Beauce, Quebec, it was a gratifying, yet eye-opening experience.
“It is amazing how fast you are going here,” Lessard said on Friday at Dover. “It is my first time at a race track like that, and it feels weird at first. You want to let off your foot off the gas pedal, but your mind says not to, because you want to go fast.
“It just feels like a roller coaster. But it was fun. First time here and to end up P1 in first practice was amazing.”
Being close to the edge on a one-mile track was a new sensation for Lessard, who has four races scheduled with Kyle Busch Motorsports this season. But the teenager adapted quickly.
“It feels like you are jumping in a hole getting into the corner,” Lessard said. “At first it feels very tricky, like you are going to get out of control. I told myself that those guys can do it, so I was going to try. If they can, I can. That’s what I told myself. So it went pretty well. At one point, when you get used to that sensation it just gets normal.
“The speed you carry on new tires, you don’t even let all the way off the gas pedal. It is amazing. I am not used to not using any brakes into the corner. Like every short track that I have been too, has been brake, then let off, then gas it up really hard. But here you have to have momentum, but kind of, you don’t want to use any brakes. You kind of want to let it roll.”
KYLE LARSON'S WILD RIDE WAS A TESTAMENT TO NASCAR SAFETY Last Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, Kyle Larson experienced a wild barrel-roll down the backstretch on the final lap.
On Friday, Larson got to see the incident from another point of view— the in-car camera in his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, as NASCAR continued to study the reasons for the liftoff and how to prevent it in the future.
“Yeah, I’ve got a lot of confidence in NASCAR,” Larson said on Friday at Dover International Speedway. “I’ve been involved in some big crashes. It seems like, with any crash I’ve been in or that other drivers have been in, they’ve made improvements from them and made the cars safer and all that.
“So yeah, they have a lot of smart people in the safety area of their business. I’m confident that they’ll look at it and make improvements from it.”
Larson also had an amusing takeaway from watching the video of the incident.
“It makes me feel like I’m really tough,” he quipped. “Yeah, it’s pretty crazy how much everything stretches. My seat belts, my harness, everything stretch with an impact like that. So, I stretched far enough that my head hit the steering wheel a little bit.
“And with each tumble, just the jolts that my body went through was pretty crazy to see. And then you slow it down and look at how the chassis is flexing when it makes contact with the pavement, it’s pretty incredible. We’re driving heavy vehicles. So, for it to hold up as well as it did was pretty amazing.”
This past Saturday, the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) took to the high banks of Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama for the running of the Money Lion 300. This was the series’ second visit to a super speedway in the 2019 season, following the season opener at Daytona.
Longtime JD Motorsports with Gary Keller (JDM) driver Landon Cassill made a return to the team driving the No. 4 Flex Seal / Contec Chevrolet Camaro, filling in for Ross Chastain. The Cedar Rapids, IA driver made it his goal to have a clean race and return the car in one piece, so he rode around the 20th position for most of the race.
As the big wrecks continued to take out numbers of cars, Cassill found his way up near the Top 10 late in the going. Team Owner Johnny Davis gave him the signal that it was ‘go time’, and with that, the 4 shot up to the front. With the last restart being a Green White Checkered finish, Landon methodically sliced his way through the pack in the two-lap sprint, coming home with a clean car and a 9th place finish – his first in the series since 2015.
Coming in right behind Cassill was Garrett Smithley, driver of the No. 0 Flex Tape Chevy. He, like Landon, rode around near the middle of the pack for most of the afternoon to avoid all of the crashes that come with super speedway racing. However, he found himself running right behind Cassill on the last restart, and followed him through the pack to a 12th place finish. This marked Smithley’s best finish of the season, and he moved up two spots in points up to 16th. Not a bad way to celebrate your 27th birthday!
BJ McLeod, driver of the No. 15 Camaro, exercised a similar strategy as the two drivers previously mentioned, but rode off of the pack along with the three cars that he is a team owner for. He knew that he needed to have a clean weekend to get to Daytona in July with no issues, so the team was content with him saving his equipment back near the rear of the pack. As the smoke cleared from the carnage, McLeod came home with a 22nd place finish, further securing his 22nd position in points – now just a lone point out of 21st.
Bad luck continued to strike the No. 01 Flex Glue team of Stephen Leicht, who started the day out by out qualifying all of his JDM teammates in 20th. He ran right with Cassill and Smithley for the majority of the event, but “The Big One” late in the race on the backstretch crumpled his hopes of coming away with a Top 15 finish. Thankfully, the crew was able to repair his car by putting loads of Flex Tape on the left front fender, allowing him to stay in the draft for the rest of the race. Stephen came home with a 24th place finish, but actually was able to move up a spot in the standings, now up to 25th.
Ross Chastain, who normally pilots the No. 4 Chevy, ran up front for the majority of the race, capturing some valuable Stage Points and laps led. However, as he was avoiding the crash that caught Stephen up, he ran over a piece of debris that broke an internal component of his racecar, forcing him to retire from the race early. He came away with a 30th place finish, but still sits in 13th in the season standings, just 36 points outside of the Playoffs. He returns to the JDM No. 4 Protect Your Melon Camaro this weekend in Dover looking to get back into the swing of things.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware this Saturday afternoon for the running of the Allied Steel Buildings 200. The track is often referred to as “The Monster Mile”, and with blindingly fast speeds and high banks, it is a driver’s paradise. Be sure to tune into FS1 at 1:30 PM ET to see all of the JD Motorsports drivers take on the concrete and try to tame Miles the Monster. For all things JDM, follow along with us on our social media accounts @JDMotorsports01. #TeamJDM
RSS Racing is pleased to welcome Anglin Construction as the primary sponsor for driver Ryan Sieg at Dover Speedway. This will be the first time the Delaware based company will be involved in NASCAR.
Anglin Construction is a family owned and operated small business. They have been serving Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey since 2005, however owner Stuart Anglin has more than 30 years of experience in the industry. Stuart is third generation in the construction industry and his sons are fourth generation. They specialize in residential construction, commercial and industrial construction, and cultured marble manufacturing.
Driver Ryan Sieg heads to Dover Speedway sitting 8th in the point standings following a 16th place finish at Talladega. “Dover is one of my favorite stops on the schedule. It really fits my driving style and I have always had fast race cars there. I’m excited to represent Anglin Construction and that awesome paint scheme,” commented Sieg.
RSS Racing PR
Team 08 Panini Chevrolet Camaro:
Gray Gaulding and his No. 08 Panini Chevy rolled off from the 8th position for the MoneyLion 300 at Talladega Superspeedway.
The game plan was simple: go for it. The 08 team had something to prove after getting caught up in an incident back in Daytona, where they felt like they had a shot to run towards the front. The team brought back that same fast race car to Talladega.
The opening stage was extremely intense as the race began. Gaulding stayed in the top ten throughout the stage and finished in the 5th position, accumulating 6 stage points.
The second stage was relatively calm. As the race began to settle down the pack racing turned into a single car train. Gaulding dropped back a bit, but still finished the second stage in the 14th position.
As the final stage began the intensity began to build. Gaulding steered clear of multiple wrecks. On the final restart Gaulding found himself in the 6th position and in contention to win. Gaulding aggressively weaved from top to bottom, battling the best of the Xfinity Series. On the final lap Gaulding was all over the reigning series champion for the race win. Gray Gaulding and his No. 08 Panini Chevy crossed the stripe in 2nd place. This was the best career finish for Gray Gaulding and SS Green Light Racing as an organization.
“Man what a day! I can't thank all my guys enough, Bobby Dotter and this whole crew, without them this wouldn't be possible. I hung tough all day today, they were just trying to pin me on an island all day, but I think I got a lot of respect at the end. When the 98 pulled up in front of me, I think that just hurt my chance to get up beside the 2 car, but to have a shot like that and almost have a photo finish was pretty damn cool. I can't think Panini, all my guys, all my family, and friends enough. Today was a really good day.
Bobby Dotter Thoughts on the 08 Team:
“We had a really fast car in Daytona and we never really had a chance to show it, so today we came in with a completely different mindset. We just tried to run up front all day, we got some stage points in the first stage and were able to come home second. I've never had that much excitement before where we were that close to a win, especially in the Xfinity Series. He (Gray Gaulding) did an unbelievable job out there."
Team 07 Isokern Fireplaces & Chimneys Chevrolet Camaro:
Ray Black Jr. and the 07 team came into Talladega on the heels of a 21st place finish at Richmond Raceway. With Super Speedway racing being the great equalizer, the team was optimistic at their chances.
Ray Black Jr. took his time in the opening stage, playing it conservative. At the end of the first stage Black was scored in the 27th position. In the second stage, the 07 team continued to slowly pick their way forward. At the end of the second stage Ray Black Jr. was in the 21st position.
As the final stage was set to begin the plan was to head to the front. With about 30 laps remaining, Ray Black Jr. came over the radio to report something was wrong with the engine. A shredded oil pump belt caused the 07 team's engine to expire and ended Black's late race charge prematurely. The DNF placed Ray Black Jr. back in the 34th position.
After a career best finish for SS Green Light Racing, drivers Gray Gaulding and Ray Black Jr. sit 14th place and 20th place respectively in the NASCAR Xfinity Series points standings. With Talladega in the rear view, the team will shift the focus to the "Monster Mile." Coverage of the Allied Steel Buildings 200 from Dover will begin Saturday May 4th at 1:30 PM ET on FS1.
SS Green Light Racing PR
Today’s at Talladega Superspeedway saw Michael Annett on pole starting where he left off after Daytona. For the another week four drivers are eligible to win the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash; Tyle Rddick, Austin Cindric, Cole Custer, and Justin Allgaier.
On the start both lines were able to organize and maintain two wide racing, Reddick quickly found himself in the lead as Annett faded to the back.
Brandon Jones spun off of turn 4 to bring out the first caution on lap eight. On the restart the outside line struggled to get together, but the cars were still able to stay in a pack.
The entire field battled for position in the closing laps of stage one. Reddick was able to hold off a hard charging Ross Chastain for the first green and white checkered flag.
Reddick and Chastain both received speeding penalties on the ensuing pit stops leaving Allgaier in the lead on the restart. Again the cars were able to maintain multiple lanes, however half way through stage two the cars found themselves single file as we have seen in recent superspeedway races.
The final lap of stage two was exciting as multiple drivers made moves to contend for the lead, but it was Noah Gragson holding them off to win his first career NXS stage win.
The early laps of stage three saw the recovery of Annett, Jones, and Chastain as the entire field of cars raced three wide in a single pack before caution for debris came out and the field had to restart with 42 laps to go leaving teams with questionable fuel mileage.
With 28 laps to go Gragson spun through the tri-oval making some contact with the inside wall and bringing out a caution.
Cars raced side by side when they got a little too aggressive with 18 to go as Cindric turned Annett into his teammate Allgaier, and collected several other drivers as the caution flag flew once again.
Christopher Bell held the lead blocking both lanes until Reddick who has had trouble all day found himself back in the lead when caution came out for debris with 11 to go.
The restart was as wild as predicted with Reddick blocking with everything he had when Jeffery Earnhardt got shuffled back and went four wide before wrecking with half a dozen other cars causing the race to stop with a red flag.
The final laps were wild as the everyone took their shot at the lead, but Reddick continue to throw daring blocks to hold on and win the race along with the Dash 4 Cash.
Top five: Tyler Reddick, Gray Gaulding, Christopher Bell, Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric.
The Nascar Xfinity Series is back on Track next week at Dover on May 4th at 1:30PM ET. for the One Main Financial 200.