BK facing turmoil?

Will BK Racing be around when it comes to the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season? In recent weeks, the future of the organization is up in the air. Ryan Sieg was in the car at Michigan that was driven by Gray Gaulding. Alon Day, the first Israeli driver to compete in Cup, will replace Gaulding at Sonoma this weekend. Gaulding and Sieg went to social media last week before Michigan to discuss what is going on. At Dover, Sieg was in the car for Corey LaJoie

Over the past couple of weeks, the organization has also reorganized their crew chiefs. Randy Cox moved from the No. 83 team and take over duties as the No. 23 crew chief. Doug George has been named as crew chief for the No. 83 Toyota. Patrick Donahue was relieved from his duties as crew chief for Gaulding after Pocono.

BK Racing has been the joke of many fans and drivers alike because the organization tends to bring out a caution each week.

Ron Devine told "The Pit Stop" on the Speedway Digest Radio Network earlier in the year that they would remain consistent with two drivers throughout the season no matter what and use a third car, if needed, for a rotisserie of drivers.

BK Racing only has one charter in 2017. In 2016, they had two, but over the offseason sold the charter to Front Row Motorsports then leased out to TriStar Motorsports. Because of the charter setup, Front Row will either have to start a third team or sell the charter they acquired.

On the preliminary entry list, BK Racing only has the entry for Alon Day at Sonoma.

Truck count at Gateway

Only 30 trucks in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series made their way to Gateway Motorsports Park this past weekend. At Texas Motor Speedway, the truck count was 28.

When the Truck field is paired with the Cup Series, the field is at capacity or teams are being sent home from the event.

Many fans and media were worried about the truck count. However, it is going to be ok. Many standalone events do not have a high enough purse for many teams to even consider showing up. It would usually be cheaper for a team to sit out of an event that doesn't pay well, than to show up and wrecking the vehicle. 

GMS Moves to Cup?

News broke early Saturday evening that GMS Racing could potentially field a team in the Cup Series. According to a report by Motorsport.com, that decision couple come within the next month.

This move would be welcomes as the Cup field has struggled to have 40 or more cars arrive at every single race. Although NASCAR deems a full field as 36, it is concerning that only a couple of "open" teams show up on a given weekend.

Last week, GMS Racing hired on Mike Ford to help run the Xfinity Series program. Ford was a Cup crew chief for Denny Hamlin and Bill Elliott resulting in 21 Cup wins.

With the lose of Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports lost a key player in the Cup series. The addition of GMS Racing would allow more information to be shared among teams at Chevrolet.

Because sponsorship and charters are crucial in Cup today, GMS and Maurice Gallagher are looking at running one car. However, if the move to Cup happens, the organization will use Spencer Gallagher for a test run.

It is also interesting to note that just a few short years ago, GMS Racing was a team that would be sent home for failing to qualify in Truck competition. Now, they are a power house in that series as well as a strong dark horse in the Xfinity series.

Standalones

It is a love hate relationship when it comes to standalone events in NASCAR’s top-three national divisions. In 2017, the Truck series will have a stand alone event at Texas, Gateway, Eldora, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The NASCAR Xfinity Series has standalone events at Kentucky, Iowa, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and Road America.

In 2018, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway standalone for Trucks and the Xfinity standalone at Kentucky will be no more.

Standalone events have become more cost consuming for many teams. The Xfintiy Series has been called “Cup Lite” because of how many races they run with Cup. The viability of these series is contingent on the performance and presence of drivers in the Cup series.

The slogan for the Xfinity Series is “Names are Made Here”. That slogan is true in the fact that when an Xfinity regular is able to run alongside and compete against a Cup regular it shows that they can beat and compete against the “best of the best”.

The crowd at Gateway was one of the best that has been seen at a standalone event in quiet some time. However, not many Trucks arrived at Gateway.

NASCAR should look at potentially moving the Trucks away from contingent weekends with Cup and Xfinity, but look at ways to help promote the K&N Series at some of their own tracks. This could help NASCAR get reconnected with the grassroots of the sport, something that has been lost as NASCAR has become more corporate.

Debris cautions. 

Debris cautions have been a hot topic after the FireKeepers Casino 400 from Michigan International Speedway. The third to last caution was thrown for debris within the final 20 laps of the event. After that caution, the caution flag flew a total of two more times to do incidents on the restartL Tony Stewart went to Twitter to explain his frustrations:

NASCAR threw the caution for a trash bag on the racing surface, but did not throw the caution for debris due to a straw hat on the racing surface.

Scott Miller, NASCAR’s Senior Vice President of Racing Competition, went on SiriusXM’s “The Morning Drive” to discuss this situation.

"We use all the resources that we have to try to identity what it is that is out there - that being camera, turn spotters and the communication that we've got around the race track to different people who may be able to see it," Miller said.

"If we are actually able to identify what it is and feel like it's something that is OK to leave out there, then we'll do so. But if we can't identify what it is exactly and it could pose something dangerous, then we'll usually, or almost always, error on the side of caution and safety and put the caution out in those circumstances. Sometimes it's untimely and a little bit unfortunate, but we do have to do our job and make sure that everybody is safe."

NASCAR needs to work with its TV partners to show why the caution was flown for debris. This will help clear the air of the black helicopters that encompass debris cautions.

Since instituting the “crash damaged vehicle” policy in 2017, the number of cautions for debris is at 12, while the number of debris cautions in 2016 were at 21.

 

With varying strategies on pit road it was Johnny Sauter who was able to go to victory lane in the  Bar Harbor 200 from Dover International Speedway

“There’s just some days when you wake up and you don’t feel like it’s going to be your day and things don’t feel like they’re clicking,” said Sauter. “And I just felt like we were off a little all weekend. … It’s just a great day, an unbelievable effort.”

This is Sauter’s 14th career win, but his first ever victory from the Monster Mile. This is also his first win of the 2017 season. This was also Sauter’s first time leading laps at the track.

Sauter and his crew chief, Joe Sear Jr., stayed out 50 laps longer on older tires as many drivers went down pit road for tires and fuel. The GMS Racing team’s strategy played in their favor as they were able to grab the lead and stay there in the closing laps of the race.Although his tires were older than the drivers behind him, clean air still remained king.

Kaz Grala finished second after trying to chase down Sauter in the closing laps. Grala had fresher tires, but was unable to catch Sauter. Grala was close to battling for the lead, but came up short at the end.

Grant Enfinger finished third, Ben Rhodes finished fourth, Austin Cindric finished fifth, Brandon Jones finished sixth, Regan Smith finished seventh, Justin Hayley finished eighth, Noah Gragson finished ninth, and Ryan Truex rounded out the top-10.

Next up for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is a trip to Texas Motor Speedway for the winstaronlinegaming.com 400. The race will be broadcasted on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network on June 9th beginning at 8:00 p.m. EDT.

CONCORD, N.C. — Surviving a late race restart with three laps to go, Kyle Busch was able to dominate the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 from Charlotte Motor Speedway to score his second victory of 2017. Busch swept all three stages during the event to score his seventh career victory in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition. Busch led 90 laps, the most among any drivers. This is his 48th career victory in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition.

 

“These guys pour their hearts and souls into these trucks and what we do (at KBM). It’s awesome to get back-to-back wins and get back to Victory Lane again,” Busch said in Victory Lane. “This is a true testament to everybody at Kyle Busch Motorsports. We’re all working as a cohesive group and the guys are doing a great job. It was challenging there in the middle section of the race – I didn’t know what was going on half the time. I’m proud of the whole team effort.”

 

After leading 22 laps, Johnny Sauter stayed towards the front of the field for majority of the race to score a second place finish, his best career finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

 

“It was a good night for us. This has been a place that I have typically struggled with in the past. We brought a different truck back. This is ‘Old Faithful’, a truck we had success last fall and this year. Our Chevy was phenomenal in that second stage. I called for an adjustment and I should’ve got more on that final pit stop. I felt like the track was going to go free like it always does, but it really didn’t do that for me. I needed more front grip. We executed the last restart pretty well to get a second place finish out of it,” said Sauter post-race.

 

After starting on the pole, Bell had a tire going down just three laps into the event. Bell went one lap down after hitting pit road, but was able to rally to finish third at Charlotte.

 

“I think we had a flat right rear – or left rear when we fired off. It was really really loose the first couple laps and then finally went down off of (turn) four there. All these guys on this SiriusXM Tundra did a great job of getting me back out there. I had a second-place truck. Ran third with it. That’s what’s frustrating. Glad my boss won, that’s cool. We’ll be back and stronger than ever at Dover,” said Bell post race.

 

Ryan Truex, Timothy Peters, Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger, Ben Rhodes, Noah Gragson, and Parker Kligerman rounded out the top-10 in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200.

 

There were 10 different lead changes among eight different drivers. The caution flew nine times for 38 laps. The time of race was one hour, 49 minutes, and 32 seconds. Average speed for the race was 110.103 mph.

 

At track inspection is clear. The No. 24 truck of Justin Hayley failed heights in post-race inspection. Five trucks will be taken to the R&D Center including the 19, 45, 4, 24, and 16. Any penalties will be announced next week.

 

Sauter still holds the point lead over Bell by 15 points. Crafton is third only 51 points behind Sauter, Chase Briscoe is fourth only 71 points behind, and Rhodes rounds out the top-five only 72 points away from the leader.

 

Next up for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is the Bar Harbor 200 Presented by Sea Watch International from Dover International Speedway on June Second at 5:30 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network.

TALLADEGA, Al.— In only his second career NASCAR Xfinity Series start, Ben Kennedy was able to snag a fourth place finish in Saturday’s Sparks Energy 300 from Talladega Superspeedway.

 

Kennedy will race nine times with Richard Childress Racing, while racing for GMS Racing for 12 races

 

The long off season for Kennedy was full of preparation, including competing in “America Ninja Warrior”. Kennedy spent time at track learning how Austin Dillon interacted with crew chief, Justin Alexander. Kennedy has also watched extensive amounts of film in preparation for running in the Xfiniy Series.

 

At Talladega, that hard work paid off.

 

Kennedy started the weekend strong in the only two practice sessions where he was third and fourth. Kennedy also had a strong showing in qualifying on Saturday morning Kennedy was able to make it to the second round and ended up qualifying fourth.

 

When the green flag fell, Kennedy quickly worked his way to the lead. Kennedy led for five laps throughout the event. Although it was a fourth place finish, Kennedy avoided numerous wrecks in his quest for a top-five finish.

 

"I learned a lot out there today in the Rheem Chevrolet,” said Kennedy. “I knocked the rust off of it the first couple of laps and then started to get after it. On the last lap, Joey Logano and I had a run, but we just kind of lost our momentum on the high side.  It's amazing how these cars run and the lines they run. I got a lot out of today and I'm really happy with the finish. It was a lot of fun.”

 

Kennedy’s next NASCAR Xfinity Series race will be at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Hisense 4K TV 300.

RIDGEWAY, Va.—  After beating and banging for 250 laps and a late race charge from Johnny Sauter, Chase Elliott was victorious in the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 from Martinsville Speedway.

 

“Obviously, we had a little help with (Bell’s) misfortune, but once we got by him, I thought our truck was a little better than his,” said Elliott to FOX in Victory Lane. “It was just a matter of getting by (Sauter) quickly and doing it decently, in a quick manner. Luckily, we only had to do it once with it staying green until the end.”

 

This is Elliott’s second victory in 12 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events, his first of 2017.

 

The first stage was dominated by Chase Elliott. Elliott chose the inside lane to start the race. The caution flew shortly after the green flag fell for oil on the track by the No. 1 car of Bryce Napier. NASCAR did warn Elliott after the initial start about pulling down too soon on restarts. Towards the end of the stage, Johnny Sauter was catching Elliott while they were in lapped traffic. Elliott went on to win the stage, Sauter finished second, Matt Crafton finished third, Christopher Bell finished fourth, and Grant Enfinger rounded out the top-five in the first stage. The caution flew twice in this stage for eight laps.

 

Elliott lost that lead as the field went down pit road between the start of the second stage. Bell took two tires on pit-road to gain the lead.

 

When the second stage began, Sauter was able to pass Bell to dominate the stage. On the first restart in this stage, Sauter chose the inside lane, but Bell tried to push him down. However, Sauter was able to hash the lead. The complexion of the stage changed as drivers like Elliott and Bell hit pit toad with 12 laps remaining in the stage. The stage ended under the caution due to Elliott dumping Ross Chastain on lap 137. Sauter went on to win the stage, Crafton finished second, Chase Briscoe was third, Timothy Peters was fourth, and Grant Enfinger rounded out the top-five at the conclusion of the stage. The caution flew five times in the stage for 38 laps.

 

As the leaders pitted between the stages, Bell moved up to the first position, Elliott was second, Brett Moffit was third, Enfinger,and Joe Nemechek were the top-five on the restart to begin the final stage.

 

Bell was the dominate car in the final stage, but late-race aggression and lapped traffic cost him the victory.  As the stage was in the final 50 laps, Bell, Elliott, Sauter, and Noah Gragson were within a second of each other battling for the lead. As they progressed through the field, lapped traffic began to separate the drivers. As Bell reached Austin Cindric, Cindric attempted to stay on the lead lap. Bell was frustrated with Cindric and dumped him in the first turn. However, with the move to dump Cindric, Bell lost the lead to Elliott. As the race restarted with 12 laps remain, Elliott throw a successful block on Sauter to go on and score the victory at Martinsville.

 

Sauter finished second, Bell finished third, Gragson finished fourth, and Ty Dillon rounded out the top-five in the Alpha Energy Solutions 250.

 

The race ran for two hours, one minute, and 38 seconds. The average speed of the race was 64.867 mph.

 

The next race for the drivers will be at Kansas Speedway for the Toyota Tundra 250 on May 12th at 8:30 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network.

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