Xfinity Series News (7158)
NASCAR Xfinity Series News
In a Playoff round that has been feast or famine for Christopher Bell, the driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry gorged to his heart’s content on Saturday at ISM Raceway.
Starting from 38th, Bell roared through the field to win the Whelen Trusted To Perform 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race and advance to the Nov. 17 season championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Faced with a must-win situation entering the Round of 8 elimination race, Bell did exactly that. By the end of Stage 1, he had cracked the top 10. At the end of Stage 2, he was fourth. And on Lap 108 of 200, he took the lead under green for the first time, forcing his way past pole winner John Hunter Nemechek for the top spot.
The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender never trailed after that, winning for the seventh time this season, the first time at Phoenix and the eighth time in his career. In a Playoff format in which victory provides redemption for a multitude of ills, Bell rallied from first-lap crashes at both Kansas and Texas to earn his spot in the final four.
“I’ll be honest, after Kansas and Texas, I just kind of accepted that we weren’t going to be able to get there,” Bell said. “I just came over here with a ‘Let’s have fun attitude.’ To start in the back, we didn’t really make our way up front that fast. I kind of got stalled out once I got into the top 15.
“I knew this thing was really fast, because (on Friday) in practice, it was really good… I’m just thankful for my team. They brought probably the best car we’ve had all year here this weekend. It’s a pleasure to drive ‘em, and a race car driver is only as good as his race car. This thing was unbelievably fast.”
Bell joined Texas winner Cole Custer in the Championship 4 Round, along with Saturday’s runner-up Daniel Hemric and sixth-place finisher Tyler Reddick, both of whom advanced on points.
Matt Tifft ran third but fell short in the Playoffs, as did regular-season champion Justin Allgaier, who won the first and second stages but sustained heavy damage to the right front of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet when Nemechek slid sideways across the track on Lap 145 and clobbered Allgaier’s car.
Allgaier later lost his brakes before finishing 24th.
“It’s extremely disappointing,” said Allgaier, who lost seven spots on pit road after sliding into his stall under caution on Lap 139. “But we did everything we could in the first two stages. We had a really fast Brandt Camaro. We had a lot of trouble today, seeing our pit stall. It was really difficult to see where we were at and navigate that. I lost us some spots on pit road.
“Ultimately, that put ourselves in a bad position. Got some damage, and we lost the brakes there at the end. At that point it was just about survival, finishing the race and getting as many points as we could gain.”
Likewise, veteran Elliott Sadler left Phoenix disappointed after early contact with the No. 40 Toyota of Chad Finchum cost him track position he could never regain. Sadler finished 11th and failed to advance to Homestead in his final year as a full-time NASCAR driver.
“I made too many mistakes today to give my guys an opportunity,” Sadler said. “It’s all on me. My guys work too hard and deserve to be a part of this Championship 4 at Homestead, but I just didn’t pull my part through.
“It’s going to be an emotional week. I have one race left, and my wife and kids are coming to Homestead, and we’ll make the most of it, but it’s definitely going to be hard to look my guys in the eye, knowing we’re not part of the championship.”
Austin Cindric, whose only path to the Championship 4 was to win at ISM, finished fourth. Ryan Preece and Brandon Jones were fifth and seventh, respectively, with Custer finishing eighth. Nemechek and Spencer Gallagher completed the top 10.
Jeffrey Earnhardt Set for Nine-Race NXS Schedule with JGR in 2019; Sponsorship from Xtreme Concepts Inc.10 Nov 2018 Written by Steven B. Wilson
Jeffrey Earnhardt will compete in a nine-race NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) in 2019 with sponsorship from Xtreme Concepts Inc., a worldwide leader in providing turnkey security solutions, along with training and technology integration to U.S. government, military and commercial clients on a global scale.
Earnhardt will make his debut in the No. 18 Xtreme Concepts Toyota Supra in the season-opening Xfinity Series race Feb. 16 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Eight more races will follow, allowing the 29-year-old from Mooresville, North Carolina, to compete in the same front-running equipment that has secured more than 150 Xfinity Series victories for JGR.
“I’ve worked incredibly hard for this opportunity and I’ve got to thank Xtreme Concepts for making it happen,” said Earnhardt, the grandson of seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt. “You see the level of expertise Joe Gibbs Racing has and the caliber of equipment they bring to the racetrack every week. As a driver, it’s exactly where you want to be. It’s the best opportunity I’ve had in my career and I plan to make the most of it.”
Xtreme Concepts is backing Earnhardt’s endeavor, with the Birmingham, Alabama-based company showcasing its brands on the No. 18 Toyota, most notably iK9, a comprehensive canine solutions provider for detection and service dogs, along with professional handler education.
“We believe motorsports is an incredibly strong platform to highlight the many services Xtreme Concepts can provide, and we also believe in Jeffrey Earnhardt,” said Landon Ash, founder, Xtreme Concepts. “I know firsthand how just having the opportunity to show what you can do is all you need to find success. It’s how we’ve grown Xtreme Concepts since our founding in 2008 to a worldwide leader in security concepts and solutions. Jeffrey has been an excellent representative for Xtreme Concepts and our brands like iK9, and through this endeavor with Joe Gibbs Racing we plan to grow together.”
Earnhardt has made a total of 151 starts across the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series, but none have been with an organization with the depth and resources of JGR. Earnhardt is taking a path most recently traveled by Ryan Preece, a driver who joined JGR in 2017 and promptly won two Xfinity Series races after finally getting into equipment befitting his talent.
“From the time we first came to NASCAR in 1992, we’ve always put forth maximum effort to have the best possible results on the racetrack,” said Coy Gibbs, Vice Chairman and COO, JGR. “Our Xfinity Series program is the perfect example of what happens when preparation meets execution. We’ve had both up-and-coming and veteran drivers achieve success in our racecars, and that success has translated to the partners they’ve represented. We think Jeffrey Earnhardt has the talent to win races and deliver strong results for Xtreme Concepts.”
Details regarding Earnhardt’s nine-race Xfinity Series schedule will be announced prior to the start of the 2019 season.
DC Solar to Expand Partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing to Include a Full-Time NASCAR Xfinity Series Entry in 2019 with Ross Chastain09 Nov 2018 Written by Steven B. Wilson
DC Solar and Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) announce today that the clean energy company will continue their partnership with CGR to include sponsorship of the No. 42 DC Solar Chevrolet Camaro SS in the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS). Recent series winner, Ross Chastain will compete full-time in the No. 42 DC Solar Chevy during the 2019 NXS campaign.
Chastain made the most of his career-changing three NXS starts this season driving the No. 42 DC Solar Chevy for CGR. In those three starts he led 270 of 597 laps, won a pole and captured his first series win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the DC Solar 300. Prior to his first start with CGR, he had only led 14 laps and had just one top-five and two top-10 finishes. Chastain is currently ninth in the NXS driver point standings.
NOTES OF INTEREST:
- Their Presence is Being Felt: DC Solar’s investment in the sport has helped them to become one of the more recognizable brands both on and around the track in NASCAR. DC Solar provides mobile solar lighting solutions, EV chargers, and power stations to numerous tracks, including Charlotte Motor Speedway, ISM Raceway (Phoenix) and Darlington Raceway among many others. This weekend ISM Raceway will debut its $178 million modernization project that features many new fan amenities around the facility, including the DC Solar Power Pavilion. DC Solar has powered nighttime construction throughout the process at ISM Raceway, for what is sure to be one of the most exciting new venues in motorsports.
- Power Surge: DC Solar’s partnership with CGR began in 2015 in the NXS and has continued to expand to include sponsorships with CGR teams and drivers in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series (MENCS) and NXS. DC Solar has made trips to victory lane with Kyle Larson in 2016 in the NCWTS at Eldora Speedway and on three occasions in 2018 in the NXS (Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Daytona International Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway), in addition to the career first win with Ross Chastain in Las Vegas.
- Grassroots Racer: Over the last five seasons Chastain has competed in the NXS (2014-present), including full-time competition in the last three seasons. He has made 137 series starts to-date. After making the NXS Playoffs for the first time, Chastain will look to improve on his best year-end result of 17th, in the series final point standings, he is currently ninth with just two races remaining. The Alva, FL native began competing in late model stock cars at the age of 12 where he scored more than 50 feature wins in his early years of short-track racing, including the 2011 World Series of Asphalt at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna, FL.
- Jeff Carpoff, Co-Founder and CEO, DC Solar: “DC Solar is excited to continue its partnership with CGR, and we're extremely proud to sponsor Ross during the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity season. From the moment I met Ross, I knew there was something special about him, so the decision to support him came easy. Witnessing his raw talent, as well as his humility and gratitude for the opportunity, only confirmed that he would be a great representative for the DC Solar brand.
- Chip Ganassi, Owner, Chip Ganassi Racing: “DC Solar is a great example of partnership. Since coming to our organization, both of our teams have worked together to build a platform that is beneficial to their business. When we first talked about putting Ross in the car this year, this was something that Jeff and Paulette felt strongly about and Ross made the most of the opportunity running well in all three races and bringing home a win and a runner-up finish. We are looking forward to him continuing that success in 2019 and competing for his first NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship.”
- Ross Chastain, Driver No. 42 DC Solar Chevrolet Camaro: “I’m an eighth-generation farmer from Florida who was fortunate enough to get a shot in top-flight equipment. I’m incredibly grateful to everyone, especially my family, who helped me get to this point. I’ve had a great run with Johnny Davis Motorsports and it’s obvious I wouldn’t be in the position I am today without Johnny’s support. I have been racing everything that I can since breaking into NASCAR seven years ago. Until DC Solar and Chip (Ganassi) gave me a shot in Darlington, nobody knew who I was. I want to remain humble. I enjoy being the underdog. Excited or thrilled doesn’t begin to capture how I feel about joining CGR full time. I’m eager to take full advantage of the opportunity in front of me. The obvious goal is to win races, compete for an Xfinity Series Championship and represent DC Solar to the best of my ability.”
Team Penske has announced that 20-year-old Austin Cindric will compete full time in the 2019 NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS), driving the No. 22 Ford Mustang. In the midst of completing his NXS rookie season in 2018, Cindric will get the opportunity to build on that success as he works to bring another driver’s championship to the No. 22 Ford team next season.
"I have had such a unique opportunity this year to learn from so many people, and to learn quite a lot in a short amount of time,” said Cindric. “To have the chance to apply that experience for a full season with Team Penske in 2019 is a huge step in my career. I am so grateful for the confidence Mr. Penske, the 22 team, Ford Performance, Team Penske and all of their partners have put in me. I can't wait to see what we'll be able to accomplish together."
Cindric began the 2018 XFINITY Series season competing for Roush Fenway Racing and made nine starts in the No. 60 Ford Mustang over the course of the year. The Mooresville, NC driver also competed in eight races behind the wheel of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford Mustang, but the majority of Cindric’s NXS experience, and his best results, have come while racing the No. 22 Ford Mustang this season.
Entering this weekend’s event at ISM Raceway, Cindric has competed in 14 races driving the No. 22 Ford Mustang, and he has earned four of his five top-5 results and seven of his 11 top-10 finishes racing the No. 22 Ford. He has also won all three of his pole positions this season in the No. 22. Despite competing for three different teams this season, Cindric raced his way into the NXS Championship Round of 8 as the youngest series title contender and he was one of only three rookies to earn a spot in the Championship 12.
Cindric, who made the Final 4 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs in 2017 and finished third in the series championship standings while driving for Brad Keselowski Racing, made his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut driving the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang at Road America in 2017. Prior to 2017, Austin found victory lane in both the ARCA and NASCAR K&N Series.
“Austin (Cindric) has done a solid job in his rookie season in the XFINITY Series under some tough circumstances. He has earned the opportunity to compete full time and fight for the championship in 2019,” said Roger Penske. “We are excited to continue to see him develop his stock car skills and he should be one of the exciting young drivers to watch next season.”
The No. 22 Ford Mustang team has established itself as one of the most consistent and successful units in the XFINITY Series. The team has won the NXS Owners’ Championship in four out of the last five years and it continues to fight for the fifth title this season.
Team Penske will continue to run the No. 12 Ford Mustang on a limited basis in 2019 with Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and Paul Menard sharing the driving duties.
The 2019 NASCAR XFINITY Series season begins with the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 16.
Penske Racing PR
Vinnie Miller piloting and the No. 78 BJ McLeod Motorsports NASCAR Xfinity team are excited to go back to the reconfigured ISM Raceway for the Whelen Trusted To Perform 200 Saturday afternoon.
This will be Miller’s second start on the 1.-mile Avondale, AZ track.
“I’m really excited to return to ISM (Raceway). I know they moved the start finish line and have redone the infield. It will be cool to see the new construction. I wasn’t very strong during the spring race but I’m hopeful to have a successful run this weekend with the No. 78 BJ McLeod Motorsports team. We have some guests coming this weekend from Pit Viper Shades, the owners and Larry Enticer will be in our pit all weekend so it should be a lot of fun."
The Whelen Trusted To Perform 200 is slated to begin at 3:30pm ET on Saturday, November 10th.
For more information on Vinnie Miller and BJMM visit www.bjmcleodmotorsports.com and www.VinnieMillerRacing.com
Vinner Miller PR
Ross Chastain sits ninth in Xfinity Series driver points entering Saturday’s Whelen 200 at ISM Raceway, and he intends to protect that spot over the season’s final two races.
The season will end at Homestead, Fla. Nov. 17.
“We’ve had a great season, and we intend for it to continue over these final two weeks,” Chastain said. “We’ve had great cars recently, and I’m sure we’ll have another strong Chevy at Phoenix. To finish in the seasonal top 10 will be a major accomplishment.”
Chastain has raced in seven Xfinity events at Phoenix and has a top finish of 19th.
Practice is scheduled Friday at 2:35 and 4:35 p.m. (ET). Qualifying is set for 12:35 p.m. Saturday, with the race to follow at 3:30 p.m.
Garrett Smithley rolls into ISM Raceway this week as a sort of veteran.
Smithley has raced on the one-mile track in Xfinity Series events five times. Although its configuration has changed over recent years, he says he knows the track well.
“I like Phoenix because it’s basically a big ‘short’ track,” said Smithley, who’ll drive the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller No. 0 Chevrolet in Saturday’s Whelen 200. “We get big speed there, but it’s also the kind of track where you can maneuver and make moves. We’re looking for a good finish this week.”
The race is the next-to-last on the Xfinity schedule. The season will end in Homestead, Fla. Nov. 17.
Practice is scheduled Friday at 2:35 and 4:35 p.m. (ET). Qualifying is set for 12:35 p.m. Saturday, with the race to follow at 3:30 p.m.
Quin Houff is ready to slow down a bit and enjoy the scenery.
The Xfinity Series tour rolls into ISM Raceway near Phoenix this weekend for the Whelen 200. Although the speedway is a mile in length, most NASCAR regulars consider it a “short” track because speeds are not as fast as at the 1.5-mile tracks that make up much of the circuit.
“I am very excited to get to a ‘short’ track this week,” Houff said. “I have had a blast learning some new 1.5-mile tracks the past few weeks, but growing up a short-track racer out of Virginia, I am very eager to go learn this short track out West.
“I am sure the guys will bring me a great piece to work with and do all they can to get me faster and faster all weekend. We will build off these last two races, complete all the laps, and hope for a little luck, and I know we will come out of Phoenix with another great finish!”
The race will be Houff’s fourth with JD Motorsports with Gary Keller this year and his ninth career Xfinity start. His best finish this year is a 14th at Kansas.
Practice is scheduled Friday at 2:35 and 4:35 p.m. (ET). Qualifying is set for 12:35 p.m. Saturday, with the race to follow at 3:30 p.m