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!

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!

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!

Kevin Harvick And SHR Unveils Their Darlington Throwback Paint Scheme

Kevin Harvick
Hunt Brothers Pizza will pay tribute to its first year in NASCAR with a throwback paint scheme on the No. 41 Ford Mustang Kevin Harvick will drive during the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series race Sept. 2 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

 

The 2017 scheme was inspired by Hunt Brothers Pizza’s No. 70 car that debuted at the 2008 Talladega Superspeedway for what was then known as Haas CNC Racing, the precursor to Stewart-Haas Racing.

 

In addition to the iconic green base, the No. 41 Ford Mustang will feature red and white ribbon accents mirroring the brand’s former pizza shoppe design that race fans recognize from convenience stores across the country.

“Hunt Brothers Pizza has been a proud sponsor of NASCAR drivers for 10 seasons. Participating in the Darlington throwback weekend is incredibly exciting and brings back very humbling memories,” said Scott Hunt, Chief Executive Officer at Hunt Brothers Pizza. “Everyone remembers their first NASCAR race, and to have this paint scheme back on the track makes us reminisce about ours. What incredible experiences we have had along the way with so many great drivers, teams and partners. We are truly thankful and blessed.”

Hunt Brothers Pizza and Haas CNC Racing first teamed up for the 2008 season. In 2014, Hunt Brothers Pizza reunited with what had become Stewart-Haas Racing to serve as a sponsor in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. When Stewart-Haas Racing formed an XFINITY Series team for the 2017 season, Hunt Brothers Pizza became a primary sponsor with Harvick and the No. 41 team.

“We love that the Hunt Brothers Pizza throwback scheme is celebrating NASCAR roots. When I look at this car, I am instantly reminded of our first race together back in 2008 under the Haas name,” said Gene Haas, co-owner and founder of Stewart-Haas Racing.

The No. 41 Ford Mustang will also include a nod to Harvick’s early days of NASCAR in the Camping World Truck Series. A classic pepperoni pizza is displayed on the car, just as the saw blade sliced across the rear quarter panel of Harvick’s No. 98 Porter Cable Ford F-150 truck in 1999.

“As Hunt Brothers Pizza celebrates its 10th season in NASCAR, I am honored to have been a part of their journey as they’ve supported me in the Truck, XFINITY and NASCAR Cup Series. But I am completely floored by their creative way to implement an element of my beginnings in NASCAR for this memorable weekend,” Harvick said. “This is our eighth season together and Hunt Brothers Pizza has been a great sponsor over the years. I’m looking forward to a strong race in their throwback car.”

In addition to its throwback paint scheme, Hunt Brothers Pizza is offering its fans the opportunity to win throwback-themed T-shirts and hats and to request a limited-edition throwback hero card. All items are available in limited quantities and for a limited time. Fans are encouraged to follow along on social media (Facebook.com/HuntBrothersPizza, @HuntBrothersPizza on Instagram and @HBPizza on Twitter) for more information.

Hunt Brothers Pizza is committed to NASCAR. Along with sponsoring Harvick, Hunt Brothers Pizza is also a sponsor of Elliott Sadler, Cole Custer, Ken Schrader and Harrison Burton. For more information on the Hunt Brothers Pizza racing team, please visit huntbrotherspizza.com/hbpracing.

To find the Hunt Brothers Pizza location nearest you, please download the Hunt Brothers Pizza app in the Apple or Google stores.

About Hunt Brothers Pizza:

With more than 7,500 locations in 28 states, Hunt Brothers® Pizza is the nation’s largest brand of made-to-order pizza in the convenience store industry. Hunt Brothers Pizza offers original and thin crust pizzas available as a grab-and-go Hunk perfect for today’s on-the-go lifestyle or as a customizable whole pizza that is an exception value with All Toppings No Extra Charge®. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, Hunt Brothers Pizza is family owned and operated with more than 25 years of experience serving great pizza to convenience store shoppers through its store partners.

About Stewart-Haas Racing:

Stewart-Haas Racing is the title-winning NASCAR team co-owned by three-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation – the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America. The organization fields four entries in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – the No. 4 Ford Fusion for Kevin Harvick, the No. 10 Ford Fusion for Danica Patrick, the No. 14 Ford Fusion for Clint Bowyer and the No. 41 Ford Fusion for Kurt Busch. The team also competes in the NASCAR XFINITY Series by fielding a full time entry – the No. 00 Ford Mustang for Cole Custer – and one part-time entry – the No. 41 Ford Mustang. Based in Kannapolis, North Carolina, Stewart-Haas Racing operates out of a 200,000-square-foot facility with more than 300 employees. For more information, please visit us on the Web at  www.StewartHaasRacing.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/StewartHaasRacing, on Twitter @StewartHaasRcng and on Instagram @StewartHaasRacing.

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

FIELDS Jumps Onboard With Harvick and SHR’s Xfinity Entry At The Glen

Kevin Harvick

Event: Zippo 200 at The Glen

Date: Saturday, August 5, 2017

Location: Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International

Layout: 2.45-mile road course

 

Kevin Harvick Notes of Interest
· FIELDS makes its debut with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) as a primary sponsor with driver Kevin Harvick.

· FIELDS is an internationally recognized sports fields and parks master planning, pre-construction, construction, maintenance and operations organization headquartered in the greater Atlanta area. It provides end-to-end or single-source solutions to a wide range of clients who are seeking to address their sports applications needs.

· Harvick is making his fifth of six scheduled XFINITY Series starts in the No. 41 Ford Mustang for SHR in 2017.

· He finished fourth at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March, third at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth in April, second at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May, fourth at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.

· Harvick has one win, one pole, six top-five finishes, seven top-10s and has led 80 laps in seven XFINITY starts at Watkins Glen.

· Harvick won the XFINITY Series race at Watkins Glen in August 2011 by 3.529 seconds over Jeff Burton.

· Harvick won the XFINITY Series pole at The Glen in August 2009 with a lap at 121.998 mph.

· His XFINITY Series career includes 46 wins, 182 top-five finishes, 254 top-10s, 25 poles and 9,444 laps led in 339 starts.

· Harvick will be joined Saturday by SHR teammate Cole Custer in the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang at The Glen.

 

Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 41 FIELDS Ford Mustang
“I can’t thank FIELDS enough for supporting me in NASCAR XFINITY Series visit to Watkins Glen. They came on to help me work on our road-course program this year and we got off to a pretty good start with a win in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Sonoma. When we planned out our year we really wanted to focus on our road-course program knowing that Charlotte Motor Speedway is adding the roval next year in the playoffs. This allows us to do that and also bring on a partner in FIELDS that has worked with us through the Kevin Harvick Foundation and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation parks that we’ve built over the last few years in Greensboro, North Carolina, in my hometown of Bakersfield, California and our most recent field in Vero Beach, Florida. It’s a chance for us to highlight their work and at the same time work on our program to always be improving another area of our race team.”
Richard Boswell, Crew Chief of the No. 41 Hunt Brothers Pizza Team
 

You called Kevin Harvick’s race in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Sonoma. Is there anything that you can take from that experience and apply to the XFINITY race at Watkins Glen?

“Yes. I think the biggest thing is in understanding how Kevin communicates when you’re turning left and right. That’s a big help. The FIELDS car helped me at Sonoma in understanding the communication, but also being there for the Cup race on Sunday allowed me to listen to (crew Chief) Rodney (Childers) and Kevin communicate as well. That’s the biggest thing that we’ll take away from our experience in Sonoma.”

 

How much have you been able to lean on Rodney Childers for information in preparing your XFINITY cars?

“He helps with pretty much anything we need. You know, he’s awesome and he helps a ton. If we have a question he is as helpful as he can be. If he doesn’t have the answer right away he does everything he can to get it for us.”

 

Kevin Harvick Watkins Glen Performance Profile
No. 41 FIELDS Team Roster
Primary Team Members:

 

Driver: Kevin Harvick

Hometown: Bakersfield, California

 

Crew Chief: Richard Boswell

Hometown: Friendship, Maryland

 

Car Chief: Matt Noyce

Hometown: Oregon, Wisconsin

 

Lead Engineer: Jonathon Toney

Hometown: Newton, North Carolina

 

Second Engineer: Dillion Silverman

Hometown: Chico, California

 

Engine Specialist: Sean Irvan

Hometown: Monterey, California

 

Spotter: Tim Fedewa

Hometown: Holt, Michigan

Over-The-Wall Crew:

Front Tire Changer: Eric Maycroft

Hometown: Algonmquin, Illinois

 

Front Tire Carrier: Matt Holzbaur

Hometown: New Egypt, New Jersey

 

Rear Tire Changer: Daniel SmithHometown: Concord, North Carolina

 

Rear Tire Carrier: Mike Morneau

Hometown: Oxford, Maine

 

Gas Man: Justin White

Hometown: Lynnville, Tennessee

 

Jackman: Stan Doolittle

Hometown: Ninety-Six, South Carolina

 

 

Road Crew Members:

 

Truck Driver: Al Rohrer

Hometown: Perrysville, Ohio

 

Mechanic: Scott Plattenberger

Hometown: Monroe, North Carolina

 

Mechanic: Shawn Warren

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina

 

Tire Specialist: Tom Gagliano

Hometown: East Hampton, Connecticut

 

Shock Specialist: Adam Gravitt

Hometown: South Boston, Virginia

 

Interior Specialist: Kyle Spinner

Hometown: Huntingburg, Indiana

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

Cole Custer Looks Forward To The Zippo 200 At The Glen

Cole Custer

Event: Zippo 200 at The Glen (Round 20 of 33)

Date: Aug. 5, 2017

Location: Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International

Layout: 2.45-mile road course

 

Cole Custer Notes of Interest
 

●  The Zippo 200 at The Glen will mark Custer’s 25th career NASCAR XFINITY Series start and his first XFINITY Series start at Watkins Glen International.

 

●  While the Zippo 200 at The Glen will be Custer’s first XFINITY Series start at Watkins Glen, it will be his fourth overall start at the 2.45-mile road course. In Custer’s three NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts at The Glen, he earned a pole, two top-five finishes and led 17 laps.

 

●  Custer’s best finish in the 19 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 19 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 12 top-10 starts and four top-five starts this season.

 

●  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, 58 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, 233 points behind series leader Elliott Sadler.

 

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

 

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

Do you enjoy road-course racing?

 

“I never really grew up road racing or anything, but when I started doing it I thought it was one of the more fun things we do here throughout the season. I feel like it was something I started getting better at and there was a different level of competition in road-course racing. I’m really looking forward to all of the road courses coming up this season.”

 

What will it take to run a successful race at Watkins Glen?

 

First, you have to be good as a driver. However, Watkins Glen is one of the tracks where the car comes into play more than most road courses. It’s definitely a fast track and one of the more fun places we go to.

 

This is your first road-course run of the season. Do you feel rusty at all?

 

I’ve been trying to get back into road-course racing a bit. We tested some sports cars at Mid-Ohio, so that helped me get used to the sharp corners and get back in the flow of road courses. Our Haas Automation team has never raced before at a road course, but we definitely have a lot of smart guys that know how to set up a car, so we should be pretty strong this weekend.” 

 

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

This is the XFINITY team’s first ever road-course race. What are your expectations and how have you been preparing for this moment?  

 

I think we have a great shot this weekend as Cole has been successful in the past at road courses. Our team has done a great job this season adapting to new territory and I expect the same to happen this weekend. We’re heading into Watkins Glen with momentum and plan to have another solid top-five finish and hopefully a win.

Cole Custer Watkins Glen 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

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

Blake Koch Loves Road Racing

Blake Koch

Blake Koch at Watkins Glen International… Blake Koch has five previous starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) at Watkins Glen International (WGI).  Koch earned a track-best starting position of 14th in 2016, but finished 35th after a multi-car pileup on Lap 17 ended the team’s day. Koch’s best finish of 18th at the track came in 2015 after starting 29th.

Milestone Weekend… Koch makes his 200th career NXS start this weekend at WGI. The West Palm Beach, Fla. native grew up racing dirt bikes, but did not drive a stock car until the age of 21. Koch joined NXS competition in 2011 and ran his first full NXS season in 2015. He also has six Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts and 10 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts under his belt.

Sounding Off – Blake Koch… “I really do enjoy road course racing. This weekend at Watkins Glen will be different with the new downforce package for the XFINITY cars. The most difficult part of the track for me is typically the esses so we will make the most of practice and put all of the moving pieces together. We have great engines, brakes and people so we have all of the right ingredients for our No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevy to run well at road courses.”

2017 Season… Koch is currently 10th in the NXS Championship standings after 19 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 Iowa Speedway, Koch qualified a track-best seventh en route to a track-best finish and career-tying best finish of eighth.

Blake Koch NXS Career… Koch makes his 200th NXS start this weekend at WGI. 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 82-lap Zippo 200 at The Glen from WGI will be televised live Saturday, August 5th, 2017 at 2 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 ON MY REDNECK!