Faith Motorsports To Run Vegas Tribute At Texas

Faith Motorsports (FMS) announced today that North Texas native Ted Minor will pilot the #44 SMD Chevrolet Silverado in the Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on November 3rd. Shawn Magee Design (SMD), a North Canton, Ohio design firm and official graphics partner of Faith Motorsports, will serve as the primary sponsor in the JAGS Metals/Driving Hurricane Harvey Relief 350 in Fort Worth,Texas.

JAGSmetals/

44 SMD Truck NASCAR Texas

 

“I’m excited for the opportunity to drive the #44 SMD Silverado in my home state of Texas,” said Minor.

This will mark Minor’s third start in the 2017 Camping World Truck Series season but his first start driving for Faith Motorsports.

Ted MinorTed started his racing career on Texas dirt tracks and has progressed to racing nationwide on asphalt tracks in the ARCA, USST series, super late models and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. In his 16th season as a NASCAR driver, Ted brings veteran experience combined with a youthful drive to succeed.

The #44 SMD truck will also feature a special tribute graphic on the deck lid honoring all 58 people who lost their lives in the tragic shootings at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas on October 1st.

SMD 44 Vegas Tribute

“Our thoughts and prays go out to all of the families who lost loved ones during this tragic event in Las Vegas,” said Shane Lamb, owner of Faith Motorsports. “We wanted to honor the lives of those taken so senselessly and show love and support to those still grieving.”

The Texas race marks the 3rd appearance as primary sponsor for SMD. The last time SMD raced as a primary sponsor was back in 2016 at Kentucky Speedway in the #74 Chevrolet Silverado of NASCAR veteran driver, Mike Harmon.

“I love seeing the SMD brand being broadcasted on a national stage like the Camping World Truck Series,” said Shawn Magee, Owner of Shawn Magee Design. “NASCAR has always been a passion of mine. I am grateful for my partnership with Faith Motorsports which has allowed me to pursue those passions. I look forward to what 2018 has in store for SMD & Faith Motorsports.”

Faith Motorsports owns and operates a 2 truck team (#44 & #62). Through a partnership with Martin’s Motorsports, the #44 is piloted by fellow Texas native, Austin Wayne Self for most of the 2017 season.

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Ryan Blaney Started And Finished In The Same Position At Kansas

Ryan Blaney
Track:    Kansas Speedway

Race:     Kansas Lottery 300

Date:     October 21, 2017

 

No. 22  Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney

Start:    3rd

Finish:   3rd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 200/200

Laps Led: 3

Owner’s Points Position (leading by): 1st (+12)

 

Recap: Ryan Blaney started third and finished third in the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford in Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway. Blaney showed speed in the Mustang all weekend and wasted no time working his way to the second position at the drop of the green flag. In the opening 45-lap stage, Blaney’s Ford built loose over the long green-flag run. The third-generation driver would remain in the runner-up position before the first caution flag of the race at lap 45, ending the first stage of the 200 lap event. Blaney reported the handling of his Mustang to be slightly loose on corner entry and crew chief Greg Erwin elected to pit for slight adjustments, four tire and fuel.  When the second, 45-lap stage resumed, it was more of the same for the No. 22 Discount Tire Mustang, consistently running fast lap times on the track and battling for the second position. Over the course of the second stage, Blaney’s Ford began to lose rear grip, so Erwin called for more adjustments to help regain the lost handling. At the end of the final stage the 23-year-old would restart ninth with 104 laps remaining in the 300 mile race. Blaney again worked his way back to the front, battling for the second position by lap 112. When the caution flag was displayed for the final time at lap 137, Erwin called the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford into the pits for the final time, adjusting the track bar along with four fresh tires and fuel. Blaney would restart fourth and he immediately charged forward, battling three wide for the race lead on lap 147. Blaney would lead three laps before losing steam and settling into the second position.  With three laps reaming, Blaney ran over debris, cutting down his right rear tire. He would forfeit the runner-up position, limping his Ford to the finish line in third. The third place finish propelled the No. 22 Ford team to the lead in the Owners point standings, leading the No. 18 of Joe Gibbs Racing by 12 markers.

 

Quote: “The 18 and 20 were really strong today. I thought the Discount Tire Ford were getting better there at the end and then we had a right-rear come apart at the end of the race. That sucked. I thought that we had something at the end for the leaders. Just not our day. We just stalled out with 15 laps to go.”

OTIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Christopher Bell Grabs First NXS Victory At Kansas

Christopher Bell

Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 may have been the opening race in the Round of 8 of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoff, but the real drama involved two Joe Gibbs Racing teammates outside the championship battle.

On Lap 197 of 200 at Kansas Speedway, Christopher Bell caught and passed Erik Jones for the lead, clearing Jones’ No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota with a slide job and drifting up to the outside wall right in front of his JGR teammate.

Under a full head of steam, Jones plowed into the back of Bell’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, wrecking the No. 20 Camry, which slowed markedly and finished 15th, a lap down.

Bell took the checkered flag with polesitter Tyler Reddick and some hard feelings on Jones’ part in his wake.

“It’s not dirt racing,” Jones complained, referencing Bell’s dirt-track background. “He’s not clear. I can’t just stop on the top. I didn’t expect him to drive in on the bottom so hard he wouldn’t be able to hold his lane.

“It’s unfortunate. I thought we were going to race for the win, and unfortunately, it wasn’t much of a race—it was more of a wreck. We’ll just have to move on.”

Jones had led four times for 186 laps before Bell ran him down from more than two seconds back in the closing laps. The series leader in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Bell got the victory in his fifth start, becoming the first driver to get his maiden XFINITY win at the 1.5-mile track.

Bell also is the 10th straight different winner in the series.

“I never want to wreck anyone, especially my teammate,” Bell said. “I don’t know. My spotter said ‘Clear.’ I drove it in really deep. I felt like I cleared him – I don’t know.

“It’s my first XFINITY win. I’m sorry that Erik didn’t finish the race, but, man, I’m just stoked. This thing was awesome. To be able to win in the XFINITY Series is something I dreamed of as a kid. We were both on old tires. We were sliding around…

“Bummed for the way it finished, but I’m glad it held on, man. I was getting tire smoke in the car there those last couple of laps, and I was worried we weren’t going to make it.”

Ryan Blaney ran third, followed by playoff drivers and JR Motorsports teammates William Byron and Justin Allgaier, the latter of whom collected 11 stage points and took over the top spot in the standings by two points over Byron, who had to start from the rear of the field because of unapproved pre-race adjustments to his No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet.

Elliott Sadler, another JRM entry, recovered from a spin in Turn 4 on Lap 76 to finish seventh and is third in the Playoff standings, 11 points behind Allgaier.

“A tire came apart—I don’t know whether I ran over something or not,” said Sadler, who turned sideways in the path of oncoming traffic. Eventual sixth-place finisher Austin Dillon did a masterful job of avoiding Sadler’s spinning car.

“I gave ‘em a big target, but nobody hit us,” a relieved Sadler said after the race.

Beyond the top three Playoff positions, little was decided. With two races left in the Round of 8, there’s an eight-point gap between fourth-place Brennan Poole, who ran 12th on Saturday, and eighth-place Cole Custer, who brought his No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford to pit road with two laps left because of a cut tire and finished 19th, two laps down.

Check out the unofficial results of the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway.

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The Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Family Will Expand by One!

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. couldn’t help himself.

When he heard his unborn daughter’s heartbeat for the first time, Earnhardt responded with an instinctive, spontaneous laugh of pure joy.

“It’s not like a funny ‘ha-ha’ laugh,” Earnhardt said before final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice at Kansas Speedway. “It’s more like something just comes out. I’d play it for you. You just burst out like joy. It wasn’t ‘ha-ha’ funny. It was just a joyful moment.

“Somebody says your wife is pregnant, that registers a little bit. But man, when you hear that heartbeat it’s like ‘Yep, it’s real. This is a real thing in there and it’s here. This is happening.’ So, just all this emotion just pops out.”

Earnhardt learned in August that wife Amy was pregnant with the couple’s first child, but didn’t make the news public until last Monday. Nevertheless, the driver of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet recalls being consumed with anticipation while waiting for confirmation of the pregnancy.

“We went for a checkup, and Amy took a couple of tests, and the tests were saying she’s pregnant,” Earnhardt recounted. “We went to the doctor, and I’m still thinking, ‘Man, I’m not believing crap until this doctor tells me. So we’re sitting in there for like 20 minutes. And they’re talking woman language, and I’m not understanding.

“They are just talking about things, and I’m like, ‘Well, when is she going to say it?’ I want to hear it from the doctor’s mouth that she’s pregnant, so we can rejoice. It took them a while. I was scared to speak up. Finally, they said something that confirmed it for me and I was like, ‘Awesome!’”

“And then we had the ultrasound and got to hear the heartbeat and all that right there, and that was great. We go back for another checkup here soon, in a couple of days, and those are awesome. They are so much fun because it’s like the closest you can get to it before they’re born, and I’m looking forward to each and every one of them.”

So as Dale Jr. exits stage left from fulltime driving, and moves up to the NBC TV booth next season, he and his wife will  be welcoming a daughter into his life!

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Inspections Issues Sends Blaney To The Tail End At Kansas

Image result for wood brothers racing kansas speedway

Ryan Blaney, who enters the final race of the Monster Energy Cup playoff’s Round of 12 in seventh place, had been among the fastest drivers in practice and qualifying on Friday at Kansas.

Now he’ll need all that speed to work his way up from his 40th starting spot in Sunday’s 400 miler.

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said that in today’s competitive environment, teams tend to take chances when it comes to preparing their cars.

“The rules are pushed to the max in every area, and today the NASCAR officials found something they didn’t like about our car,” Wood said. “We’re not disputing their decision. We’ll own it and move on.

“We’ll work on our car in Saturday’s practice, line up in the back on Sunday and look forward to watching Ryan drive his way to the front.”

Blaney and his Wood Brothers team, participating in the NASCAR playoffs for the first time, enter the final race of the Round of 12 two points ahead of eighth-place Jimmie Johnson and nine ahead of ninth-place Kyle Busch.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

William Byron Prepares For Cup Career In A Simulator

William byron
William Byron is right in the middle of a heated battle for the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship, but that doesn’t mean he’s not preparing for next year’s quantum leap to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Though Byron has yet to run his first Cup race, he has been spending time driving a simulator for Hendrick Motorsports to help Hendrick’s current Cup competitors prepare for their events. Alex Bowman, who will take over the No. 88 Chevrolet from Dale Earnhardt Jr. next year, shoulders most of the simulator duty, but Byron also takes advantage of the opportunity.

“I go in there and help them with Cup Series stuff most of the time,” said Byron, who is the top seed in the XFINITY standings. “Sometimes they give us stuff from XFINITY, but most of the time it’s Cup stuff and seeing what they’re going to do for the weekend.

“It’s a very helpful tool, and I’m very thankful for Chevy’s support to have that there for us. A critical part of the sport right now is doing those things. We’re trying to keep developing in it, and I think it’s going really well. I just enjoy being in there and being able to use it.”

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Kansas Is Do Or Die For Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch
Three weeks ago, after the Round of 16 elimination race at Dover, Kyle Busch was in a comfort zone.

Then Charlotte and Talladega happened.

In the first event in the Round of 12, Busch hit the wall at Charlotte and finished 29th, six laps down. In last Sunday’s thrilling race at Talladega, he crashed out in 27th.

Those two results wiped out the advantage he had built in playoff points and left him ninth in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings, seven points behind Jimmie Johnson in eighth.

With elimination looming in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, only 10 points separate Ryan Blaney in seventh from Matt Kenseth in 10th, with Johnson and Busch in-between. In all probability, two of those four drivers will advance to the Round of 8, and two won’t.

“I feel like I wouldn’t be worried about this if I didn’t have Charlotte or Talladega happen,” Busch said. “But that’s not the situation we’re in. We’ve just got to do a good job. This is our first ‘Homestead’ of this year.

“We’ve got to come through this race. It’s not a must-win, but it is a must-perform. We’ve got to do everything right in order to go out there and be the top guy all day out of the four legitimate candidates that are fighting for the two spots available. We’ve just got to concentrate on that and make sure we can get it done.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Lackluster Qualifying Puts Jimmie Johnson Behind The Eight Ball

Jimmie Johnson & David Ragan
Jimmie Johnson knows he needs to do better at qualifying, but he’s not sure how to accomplish that goal.

The numbers don’t lie. Johnson’s average starting position through 31 races this season is 17.0. His previous low mark was 14.3 in his 2002 rookie year.

The mid-pack starting spots have had dire consequences. The seven-time champion’s lackluster efforts in time trials have translated to a career-worst average finish of 15.8. Though Johnson has won three times this season, he has finished in the top five only one other time.

Only one previous time in his career has Johnson failed to crack double digits in top fives. That was 15 years ago, when he posted six top-five results in his rookie season.

But the real negative of mediocrity in time trials manifests itself in stage racing. Starting from an average of 17th on the grid, Johnson has had difficulty accumulating stage points to any significant degree.

As a consequence, he’s eighth in the standings, fighting to retain a spot in the Round of 8 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff. It doesn’t help that the driver who is seven points behind him—Kyle Busch—has eight poles this season and an average starting position of 7.1.

That’s an average advantage of 10 spots over Johnson, or 10 points, to start every race. That’s why qualifying is number one on Johnson’s to-do list of areas to improve.

“It hasn’t been a strong suit of mine, and over the last couple of years, it has slipped even more,” Johnson told the NASCAR Wire Service on Friday at Kansas Speedway, site of Sunday’s Round of 12 elimination race the Hollywood Casino 400. “This year, we knew before the season ever started that the importance of qualifying was going to ratchet up and be two to three times more important, essentially.

“Even with all that awareness and the thought process and attempts to raise our qualifying performance, we haven’t yet. And we’re looking at every option possible. Again, here this weekend, I personally am trying to find the right rhythm that is needed out there on the track to put up that lap time. Through practice and the three rounds of qualifying, at some point I can sneak the speed out of the car and post a good lap, and for whatever reason trying to back that up or do it lap after lap, just haven’t been able to pull that off.”

It’s not that Johnson has neglected qualifying in preparing for each race.

“We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on it, and we’re almost to a point now where we overthought it,” he said. “Are we slowing ourselves down from overthinking it in some regards?

“We’re aware and trying hard and have been trying hard to get that right. Hopefully, we get it.”

As an added incentive, Friday’s pole winner at Kansas Speedway will earn the No. 1 pit stall next week at Martinsville, where the stall closest to the exit from pit road is a huge advantage.

But Johnson can’t worry about that now. If he doesn’t survive Kansas in the top eight, Martinsville won’t matter, where a possible record eighth championship is concerned.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Martin Truex, Jr. Snags The Pole At Kansas

Martin Truex, Jr.
You can’t blame Martin Truex Jr. for looking ahead.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series leader didn’t need to win the pole position at Kansas Speedway, having already qualified for the Playoff’s Round of 8 with a victory two weeks ago at Charlotte.

But by posting the fastest lap in Friday’s knockout qualifying session at the 1.5-mile track, Truex got a leg up on a trip to the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, because the time trials at Kansas came with a significant bonus—first choice of pit stalls for the Oct. 29 Round of 8 opener at Martinsville Speedway.

For the record, Truex ran the fastest lap of the afternoon in the final round of qualifying for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400, covering the distance in 28.719 seconds (188.029 mph) to beat Kevin Harvick (187.682 mph) for the top starting spot by .053 seconds.

But Truex had to push his car to the limit in the final round to earn his third Coors Light Pole Award of the season, his second at Kansas and the 15th of his career.

“I was shaking a little—I’m not going to lie,” Truex said. “My heart was beating. It gets the adrenaline going so high to put down a lap like that, to go the fastest you’ve gone all day in that final round.

“We put it all together. We got the balance better, and I stepped up and put it on the line out there, and it stuck. The commitment level was high, and the car handled it well. That’s always a good combination.”

Ryan Blaney qualified third, Matt Kenseth fourth and Denny Hamlin fifth, as Playoff drivers garnered the top five spots on the grid. Daniel Suarez was sixth, followed by Erik Jones and Kyle Busch, as Toyota drivers claimed six of the top eight starting positions, the only exceptions being the Fords of Harvick and Blaney.

Because qualifying at Martinsville is on the same day as the race, pit selection at the .526-mile short track was tied to qualifying at Kansas, where the No. 1 pit stall gives a driver unfettered egress from pit road.

“It was definitely on our minds,” said Truex, who has won a series-best six races in a dream season for the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team. “We talked about it. It was like ‘It’d be pretty nice to go to Martinsville and have the No. 1 pit stall.’

“It was definitely on our minds, but I don’t know if it really played into how we got the job done or not. But it was definitely good timing, more than anything, because that’s going to be huge for us going into the Round of 8 next week.”

Harvick, the 2014 series champion described his qualifying session as “three sketchy laps,” but feels he has a competitive car for the race that will trim the Playoff field from 12 drivers to eight.

“I think we have a car that can be capable of staying up there and hopefully having a chance to win the race at the end,” Harvick said. “It’s a good start to the weekend. That’s half the battle when you’re trying to collect stage points in the first stage and get pit stall selection and try and gain all the advantages that you can on Friday.

“That’s something that our team did a good job at this year. I feel like our cars are a lot faster from the beginning of the year on the mile-and-a-half race tracks, and we’re on the game. It’s been a fun few weeks.”

Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, who currently leads Kyle Busch by seven points for the final spot in the Round of 8, and will start 13th after missing the final round by .020 seconds. Playoff driver Jamie McMurray qualified ninth in the fastest Chevrolet.

Playoff drivers Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott will start 14th and 15th, respectively. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the only Playoff driver who failed to make the second round, will take the green flag from 25th.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Andretti Autoport Fields Three Cars For The Indy Lights Test

Andretti Autosport Sheild
ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT TO FIELD THREE AT SEVENTH ANNUAL CHRIS GRIFFIS MEMORIAL OPEN TEST
Honoring Chris Griffis, Andretti Autosport Takes to the Road Course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for This Weekend’s Mazda Road to Indy Chris Griffis Memorial Open Test
INDIANAPOLIS (October 20, 2017) – Three drivers in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder series will have the opportunity to get behind the wheel of Andretti Autosport’s Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Dallara IL-15 cars this weekend for the Chris Griffis Memorial Open Test.
With over 40 drivers representing 12 countries in 2016’s test, Australian Anthony Martin, 2017 Pro Mazda Championship runner-up and 2016 USF2000 Championship winner, will join Colton Herta and Ryan Norman at the test, piloting Andretti Autosport’s Indy Lights machines around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course.Debuting in 2011, the test honors Chris Griffis, a longtime member of the motorsports community who led the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports w/ Curb-Agajanian Indy Lights organization before passing unexpectedly in September 2011.

The two-day event will feature all three tiers of the Mazda Road to Indy on track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Road Course Circuit Saturday, Oct. 21, and Sunday, Oct. 22. This year’s test will have live timing available through IndyCar.com, IndyLights.com and the RoadtoIndyTV app.

Colton Herta 
“I think the test is going to be interesting. Hopefully, the weather plays out nicely. You can switch up pretty quickly from cold to hot this time of year, and we hope to have weather on our side. Indy was a place where, I think, we struggled for race pace, so I’m looking forward to getting back and seeing what we can do. I’m super excited to get the testing going. I think we just need to get the balance right – that’s the main thing. Hopefully, we can get the balance sorted out and more to my liking. We had great qualifying pace at Indy, we qualified P2 there for the second race of the weekend, but want to work on long run pace.”

Anthony Martin
“The time has finally come to jump into an Indy Lights car. I am so excited to be testing at Indianapolis with Andretti Autosport, and I am looking forward to working in a professional environment with everyone, eager and ready to learn more. The Mazda Road to Indy program has given me the opportunity to move forward and advance my motorsport career, having goals when I first came to America in 2015 to do the best I could in USF2000. I turned that into a championship win in 2016, earning a scholarship from Mazda to move up the ladder to Pro Mazda. I can’t wait for what my future holds in this new challenge!”

Ryan Norman 
“I can’t wait to get back into the car at the Chris Griffis Memorial this weekend. I absolutely love Indianapolis Motor Speedway and we showed good speed in the races this past year. I’m looking forward to building off that experience, and working with Andretti Autosport toward a successful test.”

Editor’s Note: Andretti Autosport planned to complete a four-car test, however due to illness, Dalton Kellett will not participate in the Chris Griffiths Memorial Test this weekend.
About Andretti Autosport
Based in Indianapolis and led by racing legend Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport boasts a wide racing portfolio rooted in tradition and designed for success. Together with Andretti Formula E and Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, Andretti Autosport fields multiple entries in the IndyCar Series and Indy Lights, along with entries in the FIA Formula E Championship and Global Rallycross. The company boasts four IndyCar Series championships (2004, 2005, 2007, 2012), two Indy Lights titles (2008, 2009), one Pro Mazda championship (2013) and one USF2000 championship (2010) and has captured victory five times at the famed Indianapolis 500-Mile Race (2005, 2007, 2014, 2016, 2017). Additionally, the team holds two X Games Gold Medals and three Global Rallycross championship (2015, 2016, 2017).

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