John Hunter Nemechek Partners With Chip Ganassi Racing’s NXS Team In 2018

John Hunter Nemechek

 Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) announced today that they have signed John Hunter Nemechek, a five-time winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) and former NASCAR NEXT driver, to pilot the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro in multiple NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) races in 2018. Nemechek, 20, will work with veteran NXS crew chief Mike Shiplett, who has led the team for the last four seasons. Nemechek’s No. 42 Chevrolet will carry primary sponsorship from Fire Alarm Services, Inc. in 2018.

NOTES OF INTEREST:

 

  • Behind the Wheel: Nemechek began his racing career in quarter midgets at the age of five. He was the 2011 Allison Legacy Race Series Rookie of the Year and followed-up with the series championship in 2012. Nemechek moved into late models in 2013 and won the Miller Lite Super Late Model Series Championship at Mobile (Ala.) International Speedway. He won three of the biggest Super Late Model races over the next two seasons including the famed All-American 400 in Nashville, Tenn., the Snowball Derby and Snowflake 100 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla.

 

  • Fully Covered: Headquartered in Arvada, Colo., Fire Alarm Services, Inc., provides superior fire, life safety, and security services and products for protecting their client’s real estate investment. They are the one source for all of their customer’s fire alarm, electrical, security, sprinkler, fire extinguisher and fire suppression needs.

 

  • Making His Way Through NASCAR: Nemechek made his NCWTS debut in 2013 at Martinsville Speedway at just 16 years old. He competed in the NCWTS on a part-time basis in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Nemechek captured his first series victory at Chicagoland Speedway in 2015 and was also named the series’ Most Popular Driver. He moved to full-time driving duties in 2016 and 2017, where he qualified for the NCWTS playoffs in both seasons. In 76 starts, Nemechek has five wins, one pole, 22 top-five and 38 top-10 finishes. He finished eighth in the final points standings in both 2016 and 2017.

 

  • Family Ties: John Hunter is the son of 1992 NXS Champion and multi-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) winner Joe Nemechek. Joe drove for CGR co-owner Felix Sabates’ SABCO Racing team from 1997-1999 and scored the team’s final MENCS victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September 1999. John Hunter’s namesake is his late uncle, John Nemechek, who competed in the NCWTS from 1995-1997. He passed away due to complications from head injuries sustained in an accident during a 1997 NCWTS race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, just three months before John Hunter was born.

 

CGR QUOTEBOARD:

 

  • Chip Ganassi, Owner, Chip Ganassi Racing: “We are happy to have John Hunter join our organization and also announce the relationship with Fire Alarm Services. We had a very successful 2017 with our XFINITY program and look to improve upon that.  We feel that John Hunter has the talent to be a future star in the sport and can’t wait to get him behind the wheel.”

 

  • John Hunter Nemechek, Driver No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro:  “I couldn’t be more excited to join Chip Ganassi Racing. I feel like their cars and organization were the talk of the garage in 2017 and I hope to play a part in continuing their run of success in 2018 and beyond. Also, Fire Alarm Services has been a supporter of my career since 2016 at our family-owned team, and I am looking forward to continuing that partnership at Chip Ganassi Racing. I am extremely grateful to Shannon and Connie Smith, owners of Fire Alarm Services, Inc. I also want to thank my father for all that he has done to help grow my passion for racing.”

 

About Chip Ganassi Racing:

Chip Ganassi has been a fixture in the auto racing industry for over 30 years and is considered one of the most successful as well as innovative owners the sport has anywhere in the world. Today his teams include two cars in the Verizon IndyCar Series, two cars in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, one car in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, two factory Ford GT’s in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and two factory Ford GT’s in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Overall his teams have 18 championships and more than 195 victories, including four Indianapolis 500s, a Daytona 500, a Brickyard 400, seven Rolex 24 At Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ganassi boasts state-of-the-art race shop facilities in Indianapolis and Concord, N.C., with a corporate office in Pittsburgh, Pa.

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

JD Motorsports Welcomes Vinne Miller For 2018

Vinnie Miller
JD Motorsports with Gary Keller (JDM) is excited to announce that NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) graduate Vinnie Miller will drive the No. 01 Chevrolet Camaro NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) entry full-time next season. Miller made the announcement live on SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio on “Tradin’ Paint with Jim Noble and Chocolate Myers.”

Miller, 20 years of age, grew up racing on the same Michigan short tracks as fellow Michiganders and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Drivers Brad Keselowski and Erik Jones. The Ortonville, Mich., native ran events in both the NKNPSE and the ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards last season, scoring an impressive six top-10s, which included leading laps at his home track, Michigan International Speedway.

He made his NXS debut at Chicagoland Speedway with JDM on September 16, scoring a 29th-place finish. Additionally, he made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Talladega Superspeedway on October 14, 2017, scoring a strong seventh-place finish.

“It’s a dream come true,” Miller said. “As a young racer, you certainly dream of making it to this level and competing with the best of the best, without being sure it will ever happen. I have several people to thank, but mostly importantly, I need to thank my family for their support. The sacrifices they have made to allow me to chase my dreams do not go unnoticed, and it will be really special to share the next step in this journey with them.”

“I see a lot of potential in Vinnie,” said team owner, Johnny Davis. “He is a hard-working young man, and he has demonstrated his ability as a racer. He’ll have a lot to learn next year, but my team is committed to giving him the resources he needs to have a successful rookie year. Vinnie already fits in great with the team, so we’re looking forward to the 2018 season.”

“I’m really looking forward to joining JD Motorsports with Gary Keller,” Miller added. “In the ever changing motorsports landscape, to join a team that has raced full-time since 2002 is super exciting, and shows the dedication the organization has to the sport.”

For more information about Vinnie Miller, please visit www.VinnieMillerRacing.com, follow him on Twitter, @VinnieMiller_ and “like” his Facebook page, @VinnieMillerRacing. Additional information about JDM with Gary Keller can be found at www.TeamJDMotorsports.com, follow JDM on Twitter, @JDMotorsports01, and “like” JDM on Facebook, @JDMotorsports0101.

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

Roush Fenway Racing Fields NXS Developmental Driving Team in 2018

Chase Briscoe

(Chase Briscoe)
Roush Fenway Racing will field a driver development team in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) in 2018, with Ty Majeski, Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe, each a driver in the Ford family of NASCAR race teams, sharing the iconic No. 60 Ford Mustang. The project is intended to continue the progression and development of the three drivers and will be run by Roush Fenway with collaboration from Ford Performance and Team Penske. Roush Fenway veteran Mike Kelley, who helped guide Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to a pair of NXS championships, will serve as crew chief on the car.

“Driver development has always been part of our DNA at Roush Fenway and Jack Roush has always taken pride in providing opportunities for up and coming drivers,” said Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark. “All three of these drivers have exhibited a great deal of potential on and off the track and it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch as they hone their skills together and grow into the next generation of champions in our sport.”

Majeski, who finished 10th in his third NXS start last weekend at Homestead, recently captured his fourth-consecutive ARCA Midwest Tour championship, winning six of the 12 races. In 32 Late Model races this year, the Wisconsin phenom has scored an impressive 20 wins and 29 top-three finishes. He is coming off a dominating performance in the Governor’s Cup at New Smyrna, where he won the event for the third consecutive year. Majeski is also the No. 1 ranked iRacer in the world, with over 830 wins in 1,112 starts.

Austin Cindric

(Austin Cindric)
At the age of 19, Cindric has a very diverse racing background. He has won races in rallycross, IMSA, ARCA, the NASCAR K&N Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). In only his rookie season, Cindric advanced to the championship round in the NCWTS playoffs at Homestead. In 2017, Cindric scored eight top fives and 16 top-10 NCWS finishes; including a win this season at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

Briscoe, whose family has a rich history driving and owning sprint cars, scored 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes and finished sixth in the points standings in his NCWTS rookie season, including a dominating victory in the season finale at Homestead. He won the 2016 ARCA championship in dramatic fashion, tallying six victories, leading almost 1000 laps and distancing himself from the second-place finisher by over 500 points.

The trio will look to build on the rich history of Roush Fenway’s No. 60 that includes a NASCAR record 93 wins and almost 16,000 laps led. Mark Martin was a dominating fixture in the car in the 90s and Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Chris Buescher each drove the car to NXS championships.

The No. 60 is set to run all of the NXS races in 2018, while competing for the NXS Owner’s Championship. Further details will be made available – and a media availability for all three drivers will be conducted – after the Thanksgiving Holiday.

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

NASCAR Standardizes At-Track Pit Rosters

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
NASCAR announced Wednesday morning that it will standardize at-track team rosters across all three national series in 2018, providing a structure for the number of personnel working on each vehicle during the course of a race weekend.

The biggest competition impact from the rules update is the the number of crew members who go over the wall for pit stops moving from six to five.

At-track rosters for all three series will fall under three headings: Organizational, Road Crew and Pit Crew. Job descriptions and roster maximums for each category:

• Organizational: Examples include competition director, team managers, technical director, IT specialists. In the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, teams will be allotted three organizational roster spots for one- and two-car operations, and four spots for three- and four-car outfits. XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series teams will be allowed one organizational roster spot each.

• Road Crew: Examples include crew chief, car chief, mechanics, engine tuners, engineers, specialists (for areas such as tires, aerodynamics and shocks) and spotters. The limits for these personnel by series: Monster Energy Series, 12; XFINITY, 7; Camping World Trucks, 6.

• Pit Crew: This designation refers solely to team members who perform over-the-wall service during pit stops. The maximum is five for all three series.

The exceptions to these numbers are slight. Monster Energy Series teams are allowed one extra road crew position at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the three road courses (Sonoma, Watkins Glen, Charlotte), where teams often use multiple spotters. Also, an additional road crew roster spot will be allowed for XFINITY teams at 10 races and Truck Series teams at five.

It will be left to the teams’ discretion on how to best assemble their team – including the over-the-wall crew – within the roster limits. All rosters will be made public – for fans and media – before each race weekend.

For routine four-tire stops starting next season, teams could forgo one tire carrier and devise a new framework for servicing their vehicles.

The responsibilities of the fueler will also be narrowed, with other over-the-wall duties such as wrenching out chassis adjustments prohibited in 2018.

In another effort to bring further recognition to team members, rostered crew will be assigned letters or numbers worn on their uniforms and on armbands to identify their duties.

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

Team Penske Grabs Fourth NXS Owners Championship

Ryan Blaney

Track:    Homestead-Miami Speedway

Race:     Ford EcoBoost 300

Date:     November 18, 2017

 

No. 22  REV Group Ford Mustang – Sam Hornish Jr.

Start:    8th

Finish:   2nd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 200/200

Laps Led: 0

Owner Points Position (leading by): 1st – Fourth NASCAR XFINITY Series Owner Championship

Recap: Sam Hornish Jr. raced his way to the second position and claimed Team Penske’s fourth NASCAR XFINITY Series Owner Championship in Saturday night’s Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the No. 22 REV Group Ford Mustang. While the team reached the ultimate goal at the end of the event, the race began with tension as Hornish reported the brakes on the No. 22 Ford Mustang were going soft in the opening twenty laps. Hornish moved from the eighth position inside the top-five despite the soft brakes and tight handling condition. When the first caution flag of the race was displayed at lap 18, crew chief Greg Erwin elected to leave the car on the track, as did the rest of the lead competitors. When the race resumed, the handling of the Mustang continued to deteriorate and Hornish dropped out of the top-10, concluding the first stage in the 13th position. To complicate matters, Hornish reported the brakes were starting to get extremely soft, making it difficult to carry speed into the corners and get the car to rotate. On the first stop of the day, Erwin elected to adjust with air pressure and added a piece of tape to the nose of the REV Group Mustang. During the opening 20 laps of the second stage, Hornish began moving forward, running the fastest laps on the track, quickly climbing back inside the top-five. At lap 73, Hornish reported to the team he hadn’t used the brakes in 20 laps, confirming that the adjustments had indeed helped the handling of the REV Mustang. Hornish finished the second stage in the second position, despite needing more center turn. On the second stop of the race, the team made a track bar adjustment and air pressure, making a minor swing on the handling of the car as conditions began to cool with the sun setting over turn 1 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Through the opening run of the final stage, Hornish ran consistently in the second position, maintaining the leaders pace while building a gap to the cars behind him also vying for the owner title. At lap 144, crew chief Greg Erwin called the No. 22 REV Ford to pit road for four tires and an air pressure  adjustment, hoping to give Hornish the center turn he needed for the rest of the race. After the green flag pit cycle, the team returned to the second position, running one position ahead of the No. 18 for the owner’s championship. Through the third run of the day, Erwin continued to remind Hornish to preserve the tires should the race go green to completion. In the last forty laps, spotter Joey Meier, who will spot for Brad Keselowski tomorrow as he chases his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title, worked on giving Hornish targeted lap times as the team worked to manage the gap behind to the other owners title competitors. The race remained green with Hornish running in the second position to the checkered flag and to the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series Owner Championship. The championship marked the 31st national title for Team Penske, in 51 years of motorsports.

Quote: “Great day. It didn’t look really good after the first stint. I didn’t have any brakes left. Not sure what happened. We’ve been having a little bit of a brake issue. I may have rode them too hard trying to get the car to do what I wanted it to do. The Ford Mustang came to life after we were able to make some changes on it on the first stop. I basically didn’t use any brakes on the last 155 laps. It was great that we didn’t have a bunch of restarts. I felt that if we did we might have had to makes some adjustment to run with Cole. Congratulations on Cole (Custer) in winning his first race and William (Byron) for winning the championship. (They) brought me down here to take care of the car and make sure we got our goal accomplished and I felt that we did a good job doing that. As a racecar driver you always want a little more. You want to win the race. Just really happy. Looking forward in getting home tomorrow to see my wife and kids. I just want to thank everyone at Penske for putting me in this car. Thanks to Roger, Tim Cindric and the guys for giving me this opportunity.”

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

Cole Custer Grabs First NXS Victory In The Ford EcoBoost 300

Cole Custer
Haas Automation Driver Scores First Career XFINITY Series Victory

 

Date:  Nov. 18, 2017

Event:  Ford EcoBoost 300 (Round 33 of 33)

Series:  NASCAR XFINITY Series

Location:  Homestead-Miami Speedway (1.5-mile oval)

Format:  200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps)

Start/Finish:  2nd/1st (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)

Point Standing:  5th with 2,288 points

 

Race Winner:  Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner:  Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner:  Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):

● Cole Custer started second, finished first. Earned 10 bonus points.

● Took the lead on lap three and held it for the next 21 laps around the 1.5-mile oval.

● Relinquished the lead for only three laps following a lap-24 restart before retaking lead on lap 27 from Tyler Reddick.

● Custer led through the end of Stage 1.

● Pitted for four tires, fuel and tire pressure adjustments at the conclusion of Stage 1.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):           

● Started third, finished first. Earned 10 bonus points.

● Custer ran inside the top-five and reassumed his position at the front by lap 62, leading through the end of the stage.

● At the end of Stage 2, pitted for four fresh tires, fuel and tire pressure adjustments to improve his drive off the track’s corners.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200): 

● Started first, finished first.

● After taking the lead in Stage 2, Custer never gave up the point, leading the race’s final 139 laps, even during a scheduled, green-flag pit stop on lap 144 for four tires and fuel.

● Custer crossed the stripe with a whopping 15.405-second margin of victory over second-place Sam Hornish Jr., the three-time IndyCar Series champion and 2006 Indianapolis 500 winner.

 

Notes:         

● This marks Custer’s first career NASCAR XFINITY Series victory and it came in only his 38th XFINITY Series start.

● Earned a perfect driver rating by sweeping both stages and taking the race victory (150.0).

● Custer led three times for a race-high 182 laps. It is a record for the most laps led in a single XFINITY Series race at Homestead.

● This was Custer’s rookie season in the XFINITY Series, and he ends it with seven top-five and 19 top-10 finishes.

● Custer earned the most points at 1.5-mile tracks among XFINITY Series drivers this season (422).

● This was Stewart-Haas Racing’s first win in the XFINITY Series, as the team debuted its XFINITY Series program this season.

● Custer’s win was the ninth XFINITY Series victory of the season for Ford.

● Custer is the 36th different driver to win an XFINITY Series race with Ford.

 

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:    

“We knew we were gonna be really good this weekend, but our Haas Automation Mustang was unreal. We really wanted to have a good showing at Ford Championship Weekend. Even though we weren’t in (the Championship 4), we wanted to win.

 

“I want to thank everybody at Haas Automation, Code 3 Associates and Roush Yates Engines – the engines have been unbelievable all year – and XFINITY and everybody at NASCAR and all of our fans, it’s just been unbelievable.

 

“Going into this year there were so many question marks, and to see how far we’ve come is really unbelievable. I have to especially thank Gene Haas. I would never be here without him and I can’t thank him enough.

 

“I can’t stress enough how good this Haas Automation Mustang was. I was just pedaling it going half-speed the last few laps. I’ve had some good cars before, but that was pretty impressive. I can’t say enough about this group. They’ve worked so hard all year getting us up and going and it’s just unbelievable.  There’s no better team I’ve worked with before and I can’t thank them enough.”

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

Childress To Reduce To Just Three NXS Teams In 2018

Ty Dillon
Entering the 2017 season, Richard Childress Racing chose to run five full-time XFINITY Series teams. It was an ambitious move for the organization while plotting their future in the sport’s lower divisions.

Come 2018, that experiment is getting rolled back.

At Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday, team owner Richard Childress told Frontstretch the organization is cutting 40 percent of its XFINITY program.

“There will be three teams,” Childress said of the team’s 2018 plans. “I’m not doing more than three teams, I promise you. I learned a pretty big lesson by doing five this year.”

Who will be the odd man out in this new lineup? In early October, RCR announced it had re-signed XFINITY Series championship contender, Daniel Hemric, for the 2018 season. The team also added Matt Tifft, who is jumping on board after running this year with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Hemric will continue to pilot the #21 car in 2018. Tifft takes over the #2 machine, which has primarily been run by Austin Dillon, Paul Menard, and Ben Kennedy this season. The #3 car will also be run in 2018 by a variety of drivers. That eliminates the #33 and #62 teams, which were driven by Brandon Jones and Brendan Gaughan in 2017.

Jones is heading to Joe Gibbs Racing. Childress admits that he and Gaughan are working on a potential partial schedule for 2018, but nothing is finalized. Those races would likely be run in the #3.

“I’m still not sure yet,” Gaughan told Frontstretch. “I’m debating right now on what we are going to do for next year. I’m always on a one year, year-to-year thing with Richard [Childress]. We haven’t quite decided what our plans are yet, but we will be making that decision here pretty soon.

“I don’t know if we’re scaling back. I know you can never use the word retire with me. I’m going to race until I’m 80. I’ll race until they have to pry a wheel out of my hand and where it’s going to be will be in the desert and places like that. I will never be retired.”

Gaughan did confirm he will return to the #75 Cup Series ride for Beard Motorsports at the four restrictor plate races in 2018. In four races this season for the first-year team, he had a seventh-place finish at the July Daytona event, his first top-10 effort since 2004.

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

Joe Gibbs Racing Announces Their 2018 NXS Driver Stable

Christopher Bell
Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces today its driver and crew chief lineup for 2018 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The lineup will feature Christopher Bell, Brandon Jones, Ryan Preece and an all-star lineup of current Monster Energy Cup Series drivers.

JGR announced last month that Christopher Bell would compete fulltime in the XFINITY Series next season. Since that time, he earned his first victory in the Series at Kansas Speedway on October 21. He will pilot the No. 20 Toyota Camry with Jason Ratcliff serving as the team’s crew chief. Ratcliff is currently the crew chief for JGR’s No. 20 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team.

Joining Bell fulltime next season will be Brandon Jones behind the wheel of the No. 19 Toyota Camry for JGR. Chris Gabehart will handle the crew chief duties for the team in 2018.

In addition, JGR announces that Ryan Preece will return to drive a partial schedule behind the wheel of the No. 18 Toyota Camry, with Eric Phillips serving as crew chief. Preece competed in three races for JGR this season and earned a top-five finish in each, including his first-career win at Iowa Speedway. He will also be behind the wheel of the No. 18 this weekend in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“Our NASCAR XFINITY Series program is so important to us at Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “We are focused on the opportunities we have this weekend in Miami of course, but excited about the talented lineup of drivers we will have competing for us in 2018. The addition of Brandon Jones to our lineup will provide tremendous competition to the Series and give us two opportunities to run for the XFINITY Driver’s Championship, as well as the Owner’s Championship next season. For as young as he is, Brandon has gained a lot of experience across several different series and we are excited to see what he can do in our equipment and with Chris (Gabehart) leading that team.

“We’re proud of our crew chiefs in that series as well,” added Gibbs. “Jason (Ratcliff) is someone we obviously have a lot of confidence in having had great success for us in both the XFINITY and Cup Series. Having Chris (Gabehart) and Eric (Phillips) back gives us proven winners atop each pit box. We believe their experience and ability to work together will really help the development of our young drivers and help our veterans compete for wins each weekend.”

Jones has spent the past two seasons driving in the XFINITY Series. He has also competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), K&N Pro Series East, and ARCA this season. Over the course of his young career he has built an impressive resume of accomplishments which includes making the Chase in his NASCAR XFINITY Series rookie season (2016), compiling four second-place finishes in NCWTS and picking up a win in the K&N Pro Series (Iowa). He also has four ARCA Series wins, including two consecutive wins at Michigan, and was the first driver in ARCA history to win their first two races.

“I’m really fortunate to have gotten as much experience as I have to this point of my career and very thankful to have worked with so many great people and teams over the past several years,” said Jones. “When you look at what JGR has done with Toyota in the XFINITY Series over the past decade the results speak for themselves and I’m excited to go out next season knowing I have an opportunity to be successful each and every week.”

Preece has made three starts in the XFINITY Series for JGR this season and has earned one win, a second and a fourth-place finish. He will be driving JGR’s No. 18 entry on Saturday looking to earn the organization’s fifth Series owner’s Championship. The 26-year-old Berlin, Connecticut native is a very accomplished short-track racer with 20 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT) career victories, 70 top-five and 96 top-10 finishes. He was crowned the 2013 season champion.

“Obviously I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities that I have already had with JGR this season and now to be able to increase the number of races next season is a great step in my career,” said Preece. “I’m looking forward to going out there and make the most out of the opportunity.”

Preece will share JGR’s third XFINITY Series entry with the organization’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Kyle Busch, the all-time leader in XFINITY Series wins with 91, is expected to run seven races in 2018, while Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones, Daniel Suárez and others will fill out the remaining races.

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

Kaz Grala And JGL Racing Join Forces In The NXS For 2018

Kaz Grala
JGL Racing officials announced today that the team will make a manufacturer switch as they join the Ford Performance family for the 2018 NASCAR season. JGL currently fields the #24 and #28 entries in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The team has fielded Toyota’s for the last three seasons and is excited about switching to Ford Performance and their partnership with Roush Fenway Racing.

“These are exciting times for the JGL Racing organization,” said James Whitener, owner of JGL Racing. “We appreciate the support we have received from Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing over the last few years. We felt that in order for our team to make the next step in our growth process that we needed a more robust technical alliance behind us – and this opportunity with Ford Performance and Roush Fenway Racing provided us that and made the most sense. We look forward to finishing out the season in our No. 24 car and then we will turn our attention to 2018 and getting all of the proper pieces into place.”

JGL Racing has fielded entries during the 2017 season for drivers Dakoda Armstrong, Dylan Lupton, Corey LaJoie, Jeb Burton and Scott Lagasse Jr. The team narrowly missed out on making the NASCAR Playoffs with Armstrong by one spot for the second season in a row.

JGL Racing is also proud to announce that Kaz Grala has signed a multi-year agreement that will see the 18-year-old driver pilot the team’s #24 Ford. Grala will complete his first full season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend. His 2017 season started off with a bang as he became the youngest NASCAR driver in history to win at Daytona International Speedway, securing himself a spot in the Playoffs.

“I am beyond excited about the opportunity to drive for JGL Racing next year full-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series,” said Grala. “I’ve been watching XFINITY races since I was a little kid, so to be able to compete at that high of a level is nothing short of a dream come true. I can’t thank James Whitener (owner of JGL Racing) and everyone at JGL enough for this opportunity. Bring on Daytona!”

This year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Kaz has garnered one win, top-five finishes at every type of track on the circuit, and 11 top-10 finishes. He will compete for the 2018 NASCAR XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year title next season.
“Roush Fenway Racing is obviously a very successful organization, and I think the relationship with them will be extremely beneficial to myself and JGL Racing,” added Kaz. “Plus, I am from Boston, so the alliance feels right at home for me. Ford’s enthusiasm and aggression for building the best program possible is exciting to me, and I can’t wait to be a part of the Ford family next year.”

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

Cole Custer Hopes To Close The Season With A Victory At Homestead

Cole Custer

 

Event: Ford EcoBoost 300 (Round 33 of 33)

Date: Nov. 18, 2017

Location: Homestead-Miami Speedway

Layout: 1.5-mile oval

 

Cole Custer Notes of Interest
 

●  The Ford EcoBoost 300 is the final race of the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. In Custer’s 32 starts this season, he has earned six top-five and 18 top-10 finishes while leading 119 laps.

 

●  Homestead-Miami Speedway is the last of the 11 1.5-mile tracks on the 2017 XFINITY Series schedule. Custer leads the 2017 XFINITY Series in points at 1.5-mile tracks this season with 362.

 

●  In 14 XFINITY Series starts and nine NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at 1.5-mile ovals, Custer has five top-five finishes and 13 top-10s.

 

Cole Custer has earned three top-fives in the XFNITY Series this season at 1.5-mile tracks – April 8 and Nov. 4 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (fifth each time) and Sept. 23 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta (fifth) – and finished in the top-10 at three other venues – March 4 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (10th), May 27 and Oct. 7 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (seventh and sixth, respectively) and Sept. 16 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois (seventh).

 

●  Custer’s best finish in the 32 XFINITY Series races run this season is fourth, earned in the 11th race of the year June 3 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The result equaled Custer’s best career XFINITY Series finish, which he claimed in his series debut in May 2016 at Charlotte.

 

●  Custer’s best qualifying effort in the 32 XFINITY Series races run this season is second on Nov. 4 at Texas. Custer has 10 top-five and 23 top-10 starts this season.

 

●  Custer is third in the XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year standings, 42 points behind leader William Byron and 13 points behind second-place Daniel Hemric. Custer has earned nine Rookie of the Race awards this season, four of which have come at 1.5-mile tracks (fifth at Texas, twice; 11th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and sixth at Charlotte). Rookie of the Race awards are given to the highest-finishing rookie.

 

●  Last week at Phoenix Raceway, Custer battled above and below the championship-contention line to finish just four points out of the cutoff to advance to the Championship 4 at Homestead. Custer has clinched the fifth spot in the season-ending point standings.

 

●  The Ford EcoBoost 300 will mark Custer’s 38th career XFINITY Series start and his second XFINITY Series start at Homestead.

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

Before the XFINITY Series season opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, you said the goal was to run consistently in the top-10 and earn a spot in the playoffs. You’ve earned six top-fives and 18 top-10s and were only two positions short of clinching a spot in the Championship 4. From a young rookie looking at an empty shop floor in December to a near-Championship 4 contender, have you exceeded your own expectations?

 

“At the start of the year we would’ve been really happy with where we ended up this season. We accomplished a lot for not knowing what to expect. In the moment, it hurts, but this Haas Automation team has come such a long way from where we started the year. It’s nothing to hang our heads about, but we really do think we could have competed for a championship at Homestead.”

 

The Haas Automation team has statistically performed better at 1.5-mile tracks than any other team in the XFINITY Series. Does this give you something to prove at Homestead this weekend?

 

“We want to go to Homestead and prove that we could’ve won this thing. I think the other competitors in the Championship 4 would’ve had somebody to worry about if we were in this thing. I think we’re going to have a really strong car and a really strong run if we stay out of trouble. There’s no reason why we can’t go down there and win.”

 

What’s a lap around Homestead like?

 

“Homestead is pretty tough because it’s almost like you’re on ice the whole time. It’s worn out, it’s wide and you can move around a lot. It’s really fun when you’re up against the wall. Some of the race is going to be about conserving your car and making sure you have something at the end of the race. Homestead is definitely one of the most fun races we go to because you get to slide around and it’s just unique in that way.”

 

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

Is there something to be shown for how well the team has run at 1.5-mile tracks this year as you get ready for the season finale at Homestead, which happens to be a 1.5-mile oval?

 

“Regardless of points, our goal all season has been to win a race our first year. We have put a lot of time in preparing for this race and feel that we have a good shot to make that happen this weekend. We are taking what we feel is our best car, Chassis No. 1059.”

 

Cole Custer Homestead Performance Profile
 

 

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

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