Cole Custer Makes His Second NXS Start At Bristol

Cole Custer

Event: Food City 300 (Round 22 of 33)

Date: Aug. 18, 2017

Location: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway

Layout: .533-mile oval

Cole Custer Notes of Interest
 

●  The Food City 300 will mark Custer’s 27th career NASCAR XFINITY Series start and his second XFINITY Series start at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

 

●  While the Food City 300 will be Custer’s second XFINITY Series start at Bristol, it will be his seventh overall start at the .533-mile oval in eastern Tennessee. Custer has three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts and two NASCAR K&N Pro Series starts at Bristol. Custer’s career-best Bristol finish is sixth in the 2016 Truck Series race.

 

●  Custer’s most impressive performance at Bristol was the 2015 Truck Series race, despite his 16th-place finish. He started fifth and led twice for a race-high 111 laps, holding off a handful of veterans including Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter and Kyle Busch. But when Custer was coming up on Spencer Gallagher to put him a lap down less than 40 laps from the finish, Gallagher spun right in front of Custer. With nowhere to go, Custer collided with him, all but ending his race.

 

●  In Custer’s first XFINITY Series start at Bristol in April of this year, he began the race from his career-best starting position of third and ran as high as third in the final stage before getting collected in an accident with less than 40 laps to go.

 

●  Since 2013, across nine Camping World Truck Series starts and two K&N Pro Series starts, Custer has one pole, one top-five finish, four top-10s and 226 laps led at half-mile tracks currently on the NASCAR circuit.

 

●  Custer’s best finish in the 21 XFINITY Series races run this season is fourth, earned June 3 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. It was his 11th career top-10 and fifth top-five and it equaled his best finish.

 

●  Custer has earned six Rookie of the Race awards this season. Rookie of the Race awards aregiven to the highest-finishing XFINITY Series rookie at each race.

 

●  Custer is third in the XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year standings, 59 points behind leader William Byron and seven points behind second-place Daniel Hemric.

 

●  Custer is sixth in the XFINITY Series driver standings, 258 points behind series leader Elliott Sadler.

 

●  Custer has earned nine top-10s, four top-fives and has led 29 laps thus far in the 2017 season.

 

●  Bristol added a chemical compound to the inside portion of its track surface to enhance the lower racing groove. This will mark the second year Bristol has applied the chemical to improve grip on the bottom of the racetrack.

 

Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation/One Cure Ford Mustang
 

You had a strong start in your first XFINITY Series race at Bristol but were caught up in an accident with less than 40 laps to go. What can we expect in the Food City 300?

 

“Bristol was definitely one of our strongest runs this year and it was a shame to get caught up in a wreck at the end. We have some great notes to look at and we think we can make our Haas Automation/One Cure Ford Mustang even better this time around.”

 

Explain the difference between running in the day compared to night racing at Bristol.

 

“Honestly, I would just say it’s the atmosphere that’s different from day to night at Bristol. The track doesn’t change a ton, but Bristol is definitely one of the most intense night races of the year.”

 

Your first XFINITY Series race at Bristol was a Dash 4 Cash race, which limited the field to full-time time NASCAR Cup Series drivers with five years of experience or less. With seasoned veterans like Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt Jr. running with you this weekend, do you think the competition level will change?

 

“Earlier in the year, there were still some pretty good Cup guys in the race and we ran hard with them, so we’re looking for the same this weekend. I expect to run the Haas Automation/One Cure Ford Mustang up front like we did last August. In my opinion, it helps us XFINITY drivers learn more when we have to battle with the Cup Series veterans.”

Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief of the No. 00 Haas Automation/One Cure Team
 

What will be the key to earning a solid finish in the Food City 300 at Bristol?

 

“Cole’s been great at short tracks his whole career. I like the idea of enhancing the bottom groove, so the track has more options for passing. We’re coming back to Bristol with more notes than we had before. We found top-five speeds there in April but, unfortunately, got caught in an accident when we were at the front of the field. As long as we stay out of trouble, I think we’ll have a good shot at it.”

 

C​ole Custer Bristol Performance Profile
 

 

No. 00 Haas Automation/One Cure Team Roster
Primary Team Members:

 

Driver: Cole Custer

Hometown: Ladera Ranch, California

 

Crew Chief: Jeff Meendering

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina

 

Car Chief: Eddie D’Hondt Jr.

Hometown: East Islip, New York

 

Lead Engineer: Bruce Schlickler

Hometown: Clarksburg, West Virginia

 

Engine Specialist: Craig Herrmann

Hometown: Albany, New York

 

Spotter: Eddie D’Hondt Sr.

Hometown: East Islip, New York

Over-The-Wall Crew:

Front Tire Changer: Ryan Mulder

Hometown: Sioux City, Iowa

 

Front Tire Carrier: Tyler Bullard

Hometown: King, North Carolina

 

Rear Tire Changer: Chris JacksonHometown: Fort Mill, South Carolina

 

Rear Tire Carrier: Jeremy Howard

Hometown: Dalhant, Texas

 

Gas Man: Andrew Migliozzi

Hometown: West Borough, Massachusetts

 

Jackman: Sean Cotten

Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

Road Crew Members:

 

Truck Driver: Jason Gray

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina

 

Mechanic: Daren VanderLey

Hometown: Mobile, Alabama

 

Mechanic: Michael Brill

Hometown: Woodsville, New Hampshire

 

Tire Specialist: Bryan Honeycutt

Hometown: Asheboro, North Carolina

 

Shock Specialist: Dave Hansen

Hometown: York, Maine

 

Pit Support: Chris Justice

Hometown: Greensboro, South Carolina

Haas Automation Notes of Interest
 

The No. 00 Haas Automation/One Cure Ford Mustang will carry decals on the lower-rear quarter panels at Bristol for:

 

●  Savannah Technical College – Savannah Technical College serves Coastal Georgia with quality, market-driven technical education with campus locations in Chatham, Effingham and Liberty Counties. Serving more than 10,000 credit and non-credit students annually, Savannah Tech offers nearly 150 different instructional programs in aviation technology, business and technology, public service, industrial technology and health sciences, in addition to adult education classes, industry-specific training and continuing education. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. For more information, visithttp://www.savannahtech.edu/certified-manufacturing-specialist-training-offered-effingham-county/

 

●  Haas Factory Outlet (HFO) – Phillips, a division of Phillips Corp.an exclusive dealer for Haas Automation CNC machine tools. With its main office at 8500 Triad Drive Colfax, North Carolina, HFO Greensboro has Haas Factory Outlets in North Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Alabama – including locations at the Spartanburg (S.C.) Community College Haas Technical Education Center and the Barber Motorsports Museum near Birmingham, Alabama. Each location offers Haas sales, service, training, applications support and spare parts.

 

One Cure Notes of Interest
 

The No. 00 Haas Automation/One Cure Ford Mustang will sport a One Cure decal on both sides of the car.

 

●  One Cure – One Cure is a new initiative founded on the principle that cancer affects all creatures and that treatment breakthroughs come through collaboration between scientists and doctors who are working with both people and animals.

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

Blake Koch And Kaulig Racing Prepares For Bristol

Blake Koch

Blake Koch at Bristol Motor Speedway… Blake Koch has 12 previous starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS). He earned a track-best start of 16th in April of 2016 and tied that earlier this season when the NXS visited BMS in April. He earned a track-best finish of eighth in this race last year (August 2016) after starting 17th. The last time Koch visited BMS in April, he finished ninth, earning his first top-10 of the 2017 season. Koch has recorded a total of two top-10 finishes at BMS.

Sounding Off – Blake Koch… “Statistically, Bristol seems like it’s our best racetrack after finishing eighth and ninth in the last two races there. We have good notes to go off of from  and I really like the PJ1 substance that Bristol put down on the track last race and plan to put down again. I love short tracks and think this weekend is a good opportunity for us to secure some more points and our position in the playoffs.”

2017 Season… Koch is currently tied for ninth in the NXS Championship standings after 21 races. He has recorded one pole position, six top-10 starts, two top-10 finishes and nine top-15 finishes. The Kaulig Racing driver has led 32 laps so far in 2017. Last week at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Koch scored a track-best start of third and finish of 11th after winning Stage 1, finishing 10th in Stage 2 and suffering major damage in the final stage before battling back to capture a top-15 finish. The stage win was his second of the 2017 season, earning him an additional playoff point.

Meet Blake…Koch and crew chief Chris Rice will serve as grand marshals for Thursday night’s Speedway Children’s Charities Night Race 5K presented by Bojangles at BMS. Koch will address the crowd, take photos and meet with fans at 8:15 p.m. ET before joining Chris Rice to give the command for the 8:30 p.m. ET start time. Registration is $25 with all proceeds benefitting local children through Speedway Children’s Charities. 

Koch will visit the NXS XFINITY Zone presented by Comcast at BMS on Friday, August 28th at 2:30 p.m. ET for a Q&A and autographs.

Koch will meet with fans and sign autographs at the LeafFilter Gutter Protection display in the BMS FanZone on Saturday, August 18th at 5:45 p.m. ET.

Blake Koch NXS Career… Koch makes his 202nd NXS start this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. To date, Koch has a career-best NXS starting position of first at Talladega Superspeedway (May 2017), and a career-best NXS finish of eighth at RIR (April 2016), Bristol Motor Speedway (August 2016), Phoenix International Raceway (November 2016) and Iowa Speedway (July 2017).

Tune-In… The 300-lap Food City 300 from BMS will be televised live Friday, August 18th, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and will be broadcasted live on the Performance Racing Network (PRN) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel 90.

Keeping up with Kaulig Racing… To receive up-to-date information on the No. 11 NXS team, follow @KauligRacing on Twitter as well as on the Kaulig Racing™ Facebook page, www.facebook.com/kauligracing, and the team’s website, www.kauligracing.com.

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

Mechanical Woes Ruins Custer’s Day At Mid-Ohio

Cole Custer

Date: Aug. 12, 2017

Event: Mid-Ohio Challenge (Round 21 of 33)

Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series

Location: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington (2.4-mile road course)

Format: 75 laps, broken into three stages (20 laps/20 laps/35 laps)

Start/Finish: 9th/35th (Running, completed 54 of 75 laps)

Point Standing: 6th (505 points, 258 out of first)

 

Race Winner: Sam Hornish Jr. of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner: Blake Koch of Kaulig Racing (Chevy)

Stage 2 Winner: Sam Hornish Jr. of Team Penske (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-20):

● Started ninth, finished 40th.

● Due to Custer making contact with the grass in qualifying, he started the Mid-Ohio Challenge with his backup Haas Automation Ford Mustang.

● On lap two, a mechanical failure forced Custer to the pits.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 21-40):

● Started 40th, finished 37th.

● After repairs, Custer entered the field 22 laps down at the start of Stage 2.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 41-75):

● Started 37th, finished 35th.

● Custer gained one lap during the final stage.

● Due to multiple accidents, Custer gained two spots before the conclusion of the race.

 

Notes:              

 Nine cautions slowed the race for 27 laps.

● Sam Hornish Jr. won the Mid-Ohio Challenge to score his fifth career XFINITY Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Mid-Ohio.

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

Blake Koch Earns A Career Best Finish At Mid-Ohio

Blake Koch

Kaulig Racing driver Blake Koch earned a track-best start of third and a track-best finish of 11th on Saturday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The West Palm Beach, Fla. native won Stage 1 of the event, finished 10th in Stage 2 and rebounded from an incident on Lap 51 to finish 11th.

“It was awesome to win a stage today in front of all of the LeafFilter Gutter Protection employees who came out to their home track to support our team,” said Koch. “We had such a fast car this weekend and the team did a great job repairing the damage to the right rear to carry us to the finish. After a great points day, I’m excited to head to Bristol next week to get back to oval racing on a short track.”

After arriving in Ohio on Thursday to visit LeafFilter Gutter Protection’s corporate headquarters in Hudson, the team arrived at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Friday ready to lay down some fast laps in practice. Unfortunately, severe thunderstorms cancelled all on-track actitivty for the NASCAR XFINITY Series on Friday, moving the team’s sole practice session to Saturday morning. Koch finished eighth in that practice session and carried that confidence into qualifying Saturday afternoon, scoring a track-best starting spot of third.

After the drop of the green flag, the field made one complete lap before the race was slowed by caution for oil on the track. Koch maintained the third position through a lengthy clean-up period. The race returned to green on Lap 8, but fell under caution and eventually a red flag with five laps remaining in Stage 1. When the red was lifted, the leader pitted and Koch assumed the second position for the restart with just two laps remaining in the stage. With just one lap remaining, Koch took the lead and maintained it to win Stage 1, capturing 10 stage points and one playoff point.

Crew chief Chris Rice brought Koch down pit road under the stage caution for four fresh tires and fuel. A delayed entry into the pit box relegated Koch to a 24th-place position for the restart on Lap 23 to begin Stage 2.

Just five laps after the restart, Koch had raced his way up to the 19th position and was still running faster lap times than the leader.  He managed to avoid a wreck in front of him on Lap 32 as he climbed to the 14th position. He continued to pick off cars as the stage went on, eventually making the pass for the 10th position just before the stage ended on Lap 40. Koch earned one bonus point for his 10th-place stage finish.

Koch visited pit road under the stage caution for four fresh tires, fuel and to add some tape on the grille. He restarted ninth on Lap 44 to start the final stage of the Mid-Ohio Challenge.

The caution was displayed again on Lap 48 while Koch was running eighth.  The field returned to green on Lap 51. As the field worked Lap 51, Koch was tagged from behind and sent spinning across the course, collecting several cars and suffering severe damage to the right rear of his No. 11 Camaro. The team pitted twice to work on the damage before running out of time on the five-minute crash clock. With all parts and pieces on the No. 11 machine secured, Koch restarted 31st on Lap 57.

The caution was displayed for the seventh time on the restart lap, but Koch was able to gain several positions, putting him 23rd when the field returned to green on Lap 61. Koch continued to fight for position, advancing to the 16th position by the eighth caution flag on Lap 64.

Soon after the restart with eight laps remaining in the race, Koch had to maneuver through the grass to avoid a wreck in front of him. The field was eventually red flagged for the second time. When the race returned to caution, Koch was able to remove some of the grass from his grille by tucking under another car’s bumper. He restarted 13th with five laps remaining at Mid-Ohio.

Koch continued to pick off cars in the closing laps of the race, making bold moves to gain track position. After an eventful day, Koch eventually crossed the finish line 11th at the end of the Mid-Ohio Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Koch improved his track-best start by 10 positions and his track-best finish by one position today at Mid-Ohio. He earned his second stage win of the season, securing another playoff point for a total of two for the season.

Koch and the No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection team leave Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course tied for ninth in the NXS championship standings. The team returns to racing actionFriday, August 18, 2017 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

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

Sam Hornish Edges Hemric For The Victory At Mid-Ohio

Sam Hornish,Jr.
Sam Hornish Jr. dominated Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Mid-Ohio Challenge, but his victory was anything but certain until the waning laps of a caution-filled race.

Hornish, driving Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford Mustang, earlier had eclipsed his own qualifying record at the 13-turn, 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and edged series rookie Daniel Hemric by 1.335 seconds when the event ultimately went green for the final time with five circuits remaining in the 75-lap distance.

The victory was the fifth in the series by Hornish, whose last win came in June of 2016 at Iowa Speedway.

Hornish, who led four times for 61 laps, traded the top spot with Hemric’s No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro four times over the race’s third and final stage. He took the point for the last time on Lap 62, on a restart following the seventh caution.

Veteran Brendan Gaughan advanced to the second after Justin Allgaier and James Davison slipped off the track in Turn 3 at Lap 63, setting up a final restart battle that ended prematurely when Gaughan’s No. 62 RCR Chevrolet Camaro was forced off the track by Hornish shortly after the green flag.

“I finally got the win (at Mid-Ohio),” said Hornish, who finished second here a year ago. “We had a smart, almost flawless day but I feel bad about the 62. I didn’t want to beat him that way.”

Rookie Matt Tifft finish third in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry, improving his best NASCAR XFINITY Series finish from a fifth-place at Kentucky Speedway last September. Davison, an international racing star and Indianapolis 500 competitor, took fourth in the No. 20 JGR Toyota, followed by sports car veteran Andy Lally, whose No. 07 Chevrolet Camaro team posted their first top-10 finish in the series.

Twenty-four of the race’s 40 starters completed all 75 laps. Five drivers, Hornish, Hemric, Blake Koch, Ryan Reed and Elliott Sadler, traded the lead nine times.

NASCAR XFINITY Series points leader Sadler spotted the field an early spin and a green flag pit stop to change a flat tire, but he ultimately took sixth, ahead of Gaughan, Brennan Poole, Justin Marks and Dakoda Armstrong.

Koch won the race’s first stage when Hornish elected to pit with three laps left and leader Sadler was spun in Turn 1 by Poole.

Hornish quickly went back to the front of the field after Stage 1 pit stops, claiming Stage 2 over Hemric and Davison.

Saturday’s race left the playoff picture unchanged with no bubble drivers able to bump their way into the standings. Sadler holds an 81-point lead over William Byron, who appeared headed for a top 10 until being caught up in a late accident relegating him to a 25th-place finish.

Check out the unofficial results of the Mid-Ohio Challenge.

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

Cole Custer Makes His First Start At Mid-Ohio

Cole Custer

NASCAR XFINITY Series Overview
 

Event: Mid-Ohio Challenge (Round 21 of 33)

Date: Aug. 12, 2017

Location: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington

Layout: 2.4-mile road course

 

Cole Custer Notes of Interest
 

●  The Mid-Ohio Challenge will mark Custer’s 26th career NASCAR XFINITY Series start and his first XFINITY Series start at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington.

 

●  Custer’s best finish in the 20 XFINITY Series races run this season is fourth, earned June 3 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. It was his 11th top-10 and fifth top-five and it equaled his career-best finish.

 

●  Custer’s best qualifying effort in the 20 XFINITY Series races run this season is third, earned twice – April 22 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and June 10 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. Custer has 13 top-10 starts and four top-five starts this season.

 

●  Last week, Custer ran his career-first XFINITY Series road-course race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. He ran as high as second, turning consistent top-five lap speeds.

 

●  Custer has earned four top-five finishes, nine top-10s and has led 29 laps so far in the 2017 XFINITY Series season.

 

●  Custer is second in the XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year standings, 59 points behind leader William Byron.

 

●  Custer has earned six Rookie of the Race awards this season. Rookie of the Race awards aregiven to the highest-finishing XFINITY Series rookie at each race.

 

●  Custer is sixth in the XFINITY Series driver standings, 229 points behind series leader Elliott Sadler.

 

●  This will be Stewart-Haas Racing’s second XFINITY Series road-course race.

 

Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang
 

What was it like testing at Mid-Ohio?

“I think the test went fairly well. It’s hard to tell because it’s a different kind of car and everything, but I thought it was a fun place to run around. I can’t wait to hit the track with my Haas Automation Ford Mustang this weekend.”

Run us through a lap at Mid-Ohio.

“Mid-Ohio seems to definitely be one of the more technical places we go to, especially through the back section, so it will be fun to figure that out.”

Based on your performance at Watkins Glen, what are your expectations going into your second straight road-course race?

“I felt like we had pretty solid speed at Watkins Glen and we were one of the faster XFINITY guys. Hopefully, we can keep it in the top-five and be there at the end to get our first XFINITY win of the season.”

Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief of the No. 00 Haas Automation Team
 

What is your strategy going into your second straight road-course race?

 

“We didn’t get the finish we were hoping for in Watkins Glen, but I am very happy with the speed we showed in the race. Our team is going into Mid-Ohio with the confidence that we can compete for the win.”

No. 00 Haas Automation Team Roster
Primary Team Members:

 

Driver: Cole Custer

Hometown: Ladera Ranch, California

 

Crew Chief: Jeff Meendering

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina

 

Car Chief: Eddie D’Hondt Jr.

Hometown: East Islip, New York

 

Lead Engineer: Bruce Schlickler

Hometown: Clarksburg, West Virginia

 

Engine Specialist: Craig Herrmann

Hometown: Albany, New York

 

Spotter: Eddie D’Hondt Sr.

Hometown: East Islip, New York

Over-The-Wall Crew:

Front Tire Changer: Ryan Mulder

Hometown: Sioux City, Iowa

 

Front Tire Carrier: Tyler Bullard

Hometown: King, North Carolina

 

Rear Tire Changer: Chris JacksonHometown: Fort Mill, South Carolina

 

Rear Tire Carrier: Jeremy Howard

Hometown: Dalhant, Texas

 

Gas Man: Andrew Migliozzi

Hometown: West Borough, Massachusetts

 

Jackman: Sean Cotten

Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

Road Crew Members:

 

Truck Driver: Jason Gray

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina

 

Mechanic: Daren VanderLey

Hometown: Mobile, Alabama

 

Mechanic: Michael Brill

Hometown: Woodsville, New Hampshire

 

Tire Specialist: Bryan Honeycutt

Hometown: Asheboro, North Carolina

 

Shock Specialist: Dave Hansen

Hometown: York, Maine

 

Pit Support: Chris Justice

Hometown: Greensboro, South Carolina

Haas Automation Notes of Interest
 

The No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang will feature decals on the lower-rear quarter panel for:

 

●  Clark State Community College – With campus locations in Springfield, Beavercreek and Bellefontaine, as well as an extensive offering of online classes, Clark State is just a short drive or a click away. Its students and corporate customers have chosen Clark State because of its reputation for quality and customer service. It offers a wide variety of academic and technical courses; with one of the unique offerings being its Manufacturing Engineering Technology program. This program prepares students for a variety of positions within a manufacturing enterprise. The program builds on the student’s knowledge of computer-aided design, electronics, and manufacturing processes, providing additional skills in areas such as statistical process control, automation, and computer numerical control.

 

●  Stark State College – Located at 6200 Frank Avenue NW North in Canton, Ohio, Stark State College provides quality, high-value associate degrees, certificates, and professional development in diverse, student-centered learning environments. The College is dedicated to lifelong learning; affordable, transferable higher education; and career success. Stark State College advances qualityof life through access, academic success, stewardship, and business and community partnerships.

 

●  Haas Factory Outlet Cleveland, a division of Midwest Mfg. Resources – Located at 1993 Case Parkway North in Twinsburg, Ohio, Haas Factory Outlet Cleveland is the exclusive dealer for Haas Automation CNC machine tools in Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Northeast & Southern Indiana. All Haas machines come with the most user-friendly CNC control in the industry, and the Haas Platinum One-Call policy provides expert service and dependable, immediate response. Midwest Manufacturing Resources also supports manufacturing education through the Haas Technical Education Centers at Sinclair Community College, Vincennes University and the University of Louisville, among others.

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

Blake Koch Is Hoping For A Dry Race Weekend At Mid-Ohio

Blake Koch

Blake Koch at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course… Blake Koch has four previous starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. He earned a track-best start (13th) and finish (12th) in this race last year. Last year’s event saw periods of heavy rain followed by dry conditions, then eventually another period of heavy rain at the end of the race. While other cars struggled to stay on-track, Koch was able to glide his way to a track-best finish of 12th in the Mid-Ohio Challenge.

LeafFilter Gutter Protection’s Home Track…LeafFilter Gutter Protection, founded and owned by Kaulig Racing team owner Matt Kaulig, is headquartered in Hudson, Ohio, just 80 miles from Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Kaulig originally moved to Northeast Ohio to attend the University of Akron, where he was a standout quarterback for the Zips. He remains heavily involved in the Akron Zips community as he provides aid for the school’s football programs and lends a helping-hand in sponsoring events.

Sounding Off – Blake Koch… “I did not enjoy racing in the rain last year, but we were really fast when the track was dry. It was just about survival when the rain came. I would say the hardest turn at Mid-Ohio is Turn 4 because you carry a lot of speed and it’s easy to wheel hop. You can also gain a lot of speed in that turn, so it’s important to really master your line each time. I’m excited to get back to LeafFilter Gutter Protection’s home track and hope it stays dry!”

2017 Season… Koch is currently 10th in the NXS Championship standings after 20 races. He has recorded one pole position, five top-10 starts, two top-10 finishes and eight top-15 finishes. The Kaulig Racing driver has led 29 laps so far in 2017. Last week at Watkins Glen International, Koch tied his track-best start of 14th and earned stage points in the first two stages of the event, finishing 10th and seventh, respectively. Koch ultimately finished 22nd when contact with a lapped car left him mired back in traffic with no opportunity to make up ground.

 

Blake Koch NXS Career… Koch makes his 201st NXS start this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. To date, Koch has a career-best NXS starting position of first at Talladega Superspeedway (May 2017), and a career-best NXS finish of eighth at RIR (April 2016), Bristol Motor Speedway (August 2016), Phoenix International Raceway (November 2016) and Iowa Speedway (July 2017).Tune-In… The 75-lap Mid-Ohio Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will be televised live Saturday, August 12th, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and will be broadcasted live on the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel 90.

Keeping up with Kaulig Racing… To receive up-to-date information on the No. 11 NXS team, follow @KauligRacing on Twitter as well as on the Kaulig Racing™ Facebook page, www.facebook.com/kauligracing, and the team’s website, www.kauligracing.com.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING O N MY REDNECK!

Regan Smith Gets Into The JGR NXS No. 18 At Mid-Ohio

Regan Smith

NASCAR’s “summer swing,” the unofficial title for the stretch of races running from Memorial Day to Labor Day across the schedules of NASCAR’s top-three touring series, is a daunting segment of the nearly 10-month-long season and can be the difference maker for teams hoping to be a championship contender come playoff time.

Aside from the toll of crisscrossing the continental United States for events, it also happens to the hottest part of the season, with select race venues seeing record temperatures. The summer months can be taxing on both man and machine. Caring for the latter is one of the ways that Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) founding partner Interstate Batteries leverages its NASCAR program, through reminding consumers to have their batteries checked prior to any summer road trips.

Driver Regan Smith will help deliver that message – and perhaps a little more – during this weekend’s Mid-Ohio Challenge NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, where he will pilot the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for JGR.

A six-time winner in XFINITY Series competition, Smith goes into this weekend’s race a former winner at the 2.258-mile road course, having scored the victory during the track’s 2015 event.Saturday’s 75-lap race will be Smith’s fourth career start at Mid-Ohio. In addition to the 2015 win, Smith scored a runner-up finish in 2014, so he has one win and two top-five finishes. He’s completed 259 of the 259 laps run in his three starts for a perfect lap-completion record, and he has an average starting position of seventh and an average finishing position of sixth.

As impressive as Smith’s record at Mid-Ohio has been, so too has been his overall efforts in the series. In addition to six wins, Smith has a total of 30 top-fives and 79 top-10 finishes. From 2013 to 2015 – the last three seasons in which Smith competed in the series on a full-time basis – he finished the season ranked among the top-four in the championship point standings, including a career-best second place in 2014.

While he is a series veteran, it will still be a weekend of firsts for the Cato, New York, native. In addition to the race being his first start of the season in the XFINITY Series, it will also be his first time racing for JGR and being an ambassador for the Interstate Batteries brand.

Interstate Batteries has been powering the championship-winning organization for more than 25 years and is the “Official Battery of Joe Gibbs Racing.” The iconic brand is in the midst of celebrating its 65th anniversary and has featured special branding on each of the paint schemes to reflect the milestone during its 2017 campaign.

Given JGR’s record in XFINITY Series competition and his affinity for the track, Smith has high hopes of being more than just a “messenger” by adding another check in the win column at Mid-Ohio.

REGAN SMITH, Driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 
What challenges does Mid-Ohio present?

“Mid-Ohio is tough. It’s an extremely tight and technical road course that penalizes even the smallest mistake. It has less runoff room than a lot of the road courses we race at, which means you can end your day in a hurry. It’s one of my favorite tracks we visit.”

 

You had an exciting win there in 2015. What do you remember about that race?

“Yeah, the 2015 race there was fun. We had good speed the whole weekend and we were very similar in pace to the 22 car (Alex Tagliani). The last run of the race he was just slightly quicker than us, but he made just enough mistakes to where I was able to close in on him enough and make a move in the final corner. That was definitely one of the more exciting wins I’ve had, for sure.”

 

You have been competing in the XFINITY Series in some capacity since 2002, but this is your first time racing for JGR. Given their success in the XFINITY Series how much confidence does that give you going into the race weekend?

“Yes, this is my first race for JGR. My confidence is sky high going into Mid-Ohio. I know how fast the JGR equipment is, and I know what I’m capable of on that track. In my mind, there’s only one result that’s acceptable next weekend.”

 

Interstate Batteries is the founding partner for JGR. What does it mean to race with those colors, and do you have any memories of seeing the Interstate car on the track?

“Interstate Batteries has been around for as long as I can remember. I think when you have that kind of longevity in this sport the importance of it really speaks for itself. It’s great to be able to be a part of it. I think the biggest thing I remember about the Interstate Batteries car is one almost everyone talks about, and it’s the 1993 Daytona 500. I was in the stands watching that race – 9 years old at the time – and have so many images imprinted in my brain from it.”

Meet the No. 18 Interstate Batteries/Joe Gibbs Racing Team
Car No.: 18 – Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry

 

At-Track PR Contact: Penny Copen Fender with True Speed Communication

704.875.3388 ext. 810 or Penny.Copen@TrueSpeedCommunication.com

Road Crew Members:

Driver: Regan Smith

 

Crew Chief: Eric Phillips

 

Car Chief: Chris Meyers

 

Engine Builder: Mark Cronquist

 

Engine Tuner: Roger Purcell

 

Tire Specialist: John Lanham

 

Engineer: Chris Whitenight

 

Engineer: Dustin Zacharyasz

 

Mechanic: John Egbert

 

Mechanic: Tyler Paxton

 

Truck Driver: Steve Fielder

 

Spotters: Mark Green, J Gotelaer, Jon Kerley, Steve Nivison

Pit Crew Members:

Front Tire Changer: Houston Stamper

 

Front Tire Carrier: Kevin Harris

 

Gas Man: Kenneth Purcell

 

Rear Tire Changer: Kip Wolfmeir

 

Rear Tire Carrier: Joe Crossen

 

Jack Man: Bailey Walker

 

 

Regan Smith Highlights at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course:
● Saturday’s Mid-Ohio Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will be Smith’s fourth start in NASCAR XFINITY Series competition at the 2.4-mile road course.

● In three previous XFINITY Series starts at Mid-Ohio, Smith’s best result is the victory he scored during the track’s event in 2015. He also earned a runner-up finish at Mid-Ohio in 2014.

● Smith has completed 259 of the 259 laps run at Mid-Ohio in the three starts he’s made at the track for a perfect lap completion record. He has an average starting position of seventh, averages a finishing position of sixth and has led a total of 19 laps.

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

Blake Koch Scores 5 Stage Points At Watkins Glen

Blake Koch
Kaulig Racing driver Blake Koch finished 22nd on Saturday at Watkins Glen International (WGI) in his 200th career NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) start. The West Palm Beach, Fla. native tied his track-best starting position of 14th and captured stage points in the first two stages before getting tangled with a lapped car near the end of the Zippo 200.

“We had some positive things come out of today, despite not taking home the finish we deserved,” said Koch. “We scored stage points in the first two stages, which is something we haven’t done yet this season and were in a great position until we got twisted up with a lapped car as the green-flag pit stops were cycling through. Our No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevy was mostly uninjured so that’s great news heading into Mid-Ohio next week.”

The team made significant improvements to the No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet Camaro during Friday’s two practice sessions, eventually posting the 15th-fastest time in the final practice session. Koch noted the improvement during his qualifying run Saturday morning, securing a 14th-place starting spot for the Zippo 200.

After the drop of the green flag, Koch reported that the car was a bit loose as he settled into the 17th position. The team did not pit during the Lap 4 caution period, allowing Koch to restart 16th on Lap 7. The caution was again displayed with three laps remaining in Stage 1 as several drivers had begun to pit. Koch was scored 10th as the stage ended under caution on Lap 20, earning him one stage point to be added to his race total.

The team made their first pit stop of the day under caution on Lap 21 for fresh tires, fuel, track bar and air pressure adjustments. Koch restarted 20th on Lap 23 when Stage 2 began.

The race was slowed by caution for the third time on Lap 34 as Koch had raced his way up to the 10th position. He restarted ninth with two laps remaining in Stage 2. In the closing laps of the stage, Koch rocketed past two more cars, taking the stage flag from the seventh position and earning three stage points.

The team opted not to pit under caution to conserve track position. Koch reported that the car was handling much better as he was told to save fuel. He restarted seventh to begin the final stage of the event on Lap 43.

The team made their only green-flag pit stop of the day on Lap 51 for new tires and fuel. As stops continued to cycle through in the next two or so laps, Koch had a dust up with a lapped car, impeding his progress through the field. With no damage, Koch soldiered on and was scored 19th when the caution was displayed with five laps remaining in the race. The team pitted for the final time under that caution for fresh tires and fuel, putting Koch 24th for the restart with three laps remaining.

In the closing laps, Koch avoided chaos around him to gain two positions and cross the finish line 22nd.

Koch and the No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection team leave WGI 10th in the NXS championship standings. The team returns to racing action Saturday, August 12, 2017 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

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

Team Penske Let Their Presence Be Known At The Zippo 200

Joey Logano
Track:                     Watkins Glen International

Race:                      Zippo 200

Date:                      August 5, 2017

 

No. 12 Snap-on Ford Mustang – Joey Logano

Start:  1st (33rd career pole)

Finish: 2nd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 82/82

Laps Led: 0

 

Recap: Joey Logano started first and finished second in the No. 12 Snap-on Tools Ford Mustang in Saturday’s Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International. Logano, who was seeking his third-consecutive victory on the historic circuit, claimed his 33rd career pole earlier in the day in qualifying. On the initial start, Logano dropped into the second position and rode there until the end of the first stage. Crew chief Brian Wilson called for a track bar adjustment on the first stop, attempting to help Logano with the tightness in turn 1 and through the carousel. The changes helped, but only incrementally as Logano reported he had a great short run car, but struggled to maintain forward turn over the long run. The pit stop also shuffled the team back to the 13th position as numerous cars had pitted prior to the end of the first stage. On the ensuing restart, Logano made quick work of the cars in front, moving to the top-five on the first lap, then into the top-three by the next lap. Logano continued forward, ultimately moving into the second position by the end of the second stage. The team would opt to remain on the track, continuing under green flag conditions until lap 49 when Wilson called Logano back to the pits for the final time of the afternoon. Over the final run, Logano reported the car was loose on the left turns and slightly tight on the right-hand corners. Unfortunately, the final caution only allowed four laps of racing so track position became too important to pit the Snap-on Tools Mustang so Logano was left to fight from the third position. On the final restart of the day, Logano was able to battle teammate Brad Keselowski for the second position, where he ended the afternoon.

 

Quote: “It’s fun. Dang, I wish it was for the win and not for second. I had such a good short run car, just in the wrong position to start that last run. I feel like if I was second I could have won the race. I just had a really good short run car. Our long run speed was off a bit and that’s when the 18 and 22 would drive by us and we were a third-place car on the long run but probably a winning car on the short run. By time I cleared the 22 the 18 was gone. If we had another four or five laps (he would have drove off again). I needed a caution”

 

 

No. 22 REV Group Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski

Start:  5th

Finish: 3rd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 82/82

Laps Led: 6

Owner’s Points Position (behind leader): 1st (+101)

 

Recap: After starting Saturday’s Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International from the fifth position Brad Keselowski fought his way to a third-place finish on the 2.45-mile road course. The 2013 winner of this event, Keselowski raced his way into the lead at lap 17 and would go on to win the first, 20-lap stage that ended under the caution flag. Following a four-tire pit stop during the break the No. 22 team won the race off pit road and line up fourth on the restart, behind drivers that made their pit stops before the end of the stage. The REV Group Ford was very loose at the start of the second, 20-lap stage, but Keselowski was able to hang on to it to finish third in the stage. Crew chief Greg Erwin left his driver on the racing surface during the break between stages as their strategy was to make the end of the race on two pit stops. After racing back into the lead at lap 47, Keselowski made his final pit stop of the day on lap 49. He would cycle to the second position after all pit stops had been completed, behind eventual race winner Kyle Busch. A lap 77 caution gave Keselowski another shot to win but he could not make his way around Busch and would cross the finish line in the third position behind Busch and his teammate, Joey Logano. The finish is Keselowski’s fourth-consecutive top-five finish in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.

 

Quote: “Probably needed a little bit everywhere. I gave it all I had. Joey and I were racing for best in class and he did a good job. It was a heck of a race there at the end.”

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