William Byron Prepares For Cup Career In A Simulator

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

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

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

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

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

William Byron Leads The NXS Into The Round Of Eight

William Byron

Last season, William Byron led the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series the majority of the season, racking up a rookie-record seven wins. When the Playoffs came around, his engine blew with a late lead in the penultimate race of the year, eliminating him from championship contention.

Byron has carried his success into the NASCAR XFINITY Series this season. He enters the Round of 8 opener – Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway – first on the Playoff Grid. He sits 19 points above Cole Custer on the cutoff line as a result of his three victories, three stage wins and third-place regular season points finish.

The 19-year-old Charlotte native has never made an XFINITY Series start at Kansas, but won the Camping World Truck Series race there last season.

“Kansas Speedway is a fun race track to go to. The last time I was there, I was fortunate enough to win my first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and I can’t wait to get back and have a good run in the XFINITY Series,” Byron said. “It is an important race to start out this round of the playoffs, so we plan on having a strong day and executing well.”

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

Cole Custer Returns To His Wheelhouse, 1 1/2 Mile Tracks

Cole Custer

Event: Kansas Lottery 300 (Round 30 of 33)

Date: Oct. 21, 2017

Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City

Layout: 1.5-mile oval

 

Cole Custer Notes of Interest
 

●  The Kansas Lottery 300 is the fourth of seven races in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoffs and the first race in the second playoff round. Four drivers will be eliminated at the conclusion of the three-race round, narrowing the field to four drivers who will compete for a winner-take-all championship battle in the season finale Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

 

●  Cole Custer is fifth in the XFINITY Series Playoffs with 3,007 points, 19 points behind series leader William Byron. Custer starts the second round of the playoffs with two bonus points, earned by his two stage wins in the Sept. 23 race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.

 

●  Kansas Speedway is the ninth of 11 1.5-mile tracks on the 2017 XFINITY Series schedule. Custer leads the 2017 XFINITY Series regular season drivers in points at 1.5-mile tracks with 303, he leads the series with a 7.8 average finish at 1.5-mile tracks, and he has led the most laps at 1.5-mile tracks this season with 90.

 

●  Custer is competing for his fifth consecutive top-10 finish. He has earned 10 top-10s in the last 13 races and three top-10s in the first three playoff races.

 

●  In 12 XFINITY Series starts and nine NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at 1.5-mile ovals, Custer has four top-five finishes and 12 top-10s. Custer has earned two top-fives this season at 1.5-mile tracks – Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth on April 8 (fifth) and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta on Sept. 23 (fifth) – and finished in the top-10 at three other venues – Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 4 (10th), Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on May 27 (seventh) and Oct. 7 (sixth), and Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois on Sept. 16 (seventh).

 

●  Custer’s best finish in the 29 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 earned in his series debut at Charlotte in May 2016.

 

●  Custer has six top-fives and 18 top-10s in 34 career XFINITY Series starts.

 

●  At 19 years and 8 months old, Custer is the youngest driver in the playoffs.

 

●  Custer’s best qualifying effort in the 29 XFINITY Series races run this season is third, earned three times – April 22 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, June 10 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and Sept. 23 at Kentucky. Custer has 21 top-10 starts and nine top-five starts this season.

 

●  Custer is third in the XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year standings, 51 points behind leader William Byron and 15 points behind second-place Daniel Hemric. Custer has earned eight Rookie of the Race awards this season, three having come at 1.5-mile tracks (fifth at Texas, 11th Las Vegas Motor Speedway and sixth at Charlotte). Rookie of the Race awards are given to the highest-finishing rookie.

 

●  The Kansas Lottery 300 will mark Custer’s 35th career XFINITY Series start and his third XFINITY Series start at Kansas.

 

Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation/Code 3 Associates Ford Mustang
 

You lead the XFINITY Series at 1.5-mile tracks and there are still three more of them to visit in the playoffs. Are you confident that you will perform well at the remainder of the intermediate tracks, and does this give you an advantage on the others?

 

“Mile-and-a-half tracks are what our Haas Automation/Code 3 Associates team looks forward to the most, and there’s no reason why we can’t go out and compete for wins at all of them. It’s going to be a tough round, so having some mile-and-a-half tracks will help us a lot.”

 

Not only are you in the playoffs for the first time, but you have advanced to the second round. How does a 19-year-old rookie feel after starting the season at Stewart-Haas Racing?

 

“It’s been pretty crazy to see how hard everyone has worked throughout the season to get us to where we are now. It would mean the world to our whole team to get to the final round in Homestead.”

 

Is it tough being a single-car team with minimal help in the majority of the races this season?

 

“Being a single-car team makes it a little bit harder on us. You don’t have a lot of teammates to rely on. Kevin (Harvick) runs the XFINITY car from time to time, so that helps a lot and we’ve learned a ton from it. I rely on Kevin the most. I ask him for advice going into pretty much every weekend about the track and what to expect going into it, especially these playoff races. I’ve never been in the playoffs before, so I asked him about what to expect. These guys have definitely helped me a ton and I don’t know if we would be as good without them.”

 

Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief of the No. 00 Haas Automation/Code 3 Associates Team
 

What are your expectations heading to another intermediate track where the team has run so well?

 

“We are bringing the car we ran really well with at Chicago, Chassis No. 1044. We feel that we have a good shot at winning this race. Cole has a lot of confidence in himself and that particular racecar. This round of the playoffs is tough. We know that we have to run up front in the next three races if we want to have a shot at a championship.”

Cole Custer Kansas 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

H​aas Automation Notes of Interest
 

The No. 00 Haas Automation/Code 3 Associates Ford Mustang will feature decals on the lower-rear quarter panel for:

 

●  State Fair Community College– Located at 3201 West 16th Street in Sedalia, Missouri, State Fair Community College (SFCC) provides relevant and innovative learning experiences that successfully prepare students for college transfer, career development and lifelong learning. SFCC is committed to being accessible and affordable; values collaborative partnerships; and strengthens and enriches the intellectual, economic and cultural vitality of the community it serves.

 

●  Haas Factory OutletKansas City, a division of NYMAT Machine Tool Corporation –Based at 15661 South Mahaffie in Olathe, Kansas, Haas Factory Outlet, Kansas City serves all of Kansas and Western Missouri. It is dedicated to providing the best service possible to ensure the Haas machines it sells provide the best overall value of any machine tool brand.

Code 3 Associates Notes of Interest
 

The No. 00 Haas Automation/Code 3 Associates Ford Mustang will feature Code 3 Associates on both sides of the car.

 

●  Code 3 Associates – Code 3 Associates is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization specializing in animal rescue and recovery in disaster areas. Formed in 1985, Colorado-based Code 3 Associates is a national response team that, at the request of local government officials, provides animal rescue and recovery in times of disaster. The organization has evolved from one unpaid volunteer to approximately 75 professional responders and thousands of members around the country, which include animal welfare, law enforcement, fire, EMS and veterinary specialists from the United States and Canada. While its focus is animals and their owners, Code 3 Associates trains its responders to the standards of human rescue, and Code 3 Associates also provides training to conduct thorough investigations into animal welfare issues, all of which is accredited by Colorado State University and the school’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Playoff Standings (first race, Round of 8)  
 

1.        William Byron (3,026 points)

2.        Justin Allgaier (3,023 points, -3)

3.        Elliott Sadler (3,020 points, -6)

4.        Daniel Hemric (3,009 points, -17)

5.        Cole Custer (3,007 points, -19)

6.        Brennan Poole (3,006 points, -20)

7.        Ryan Reed (3,005 points, -21)

8.        Matt Tifft (3,004 points, -22)

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

Kaz Grala Is Looking For Another Plate Victory

DSC_5748
In the February NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway, Kaz Grala – then 18 years, one month and 26 days old – etched his name into the record books as the youngest driver to ever win at Daytona.

Now, the Gallagher Motorsports Racing driver will try to advance to the Round of 6 in the series Playoffs with another superspeedway win in Saturday’s fred’s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Grala currently sits seventh on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings, eight points behind Austin Cindric on the cutoff line. He heads into the contest riding a four-race top five streak, including a fifth-place showing in the last event at Las Vegas. Saturday’s race marks his first career start at Talladega.

“Obviously it’s cool knowing that the last superspeedway race we were able to get the pole and the win, but anything can happen in these types of races,” Grala said. “You can have the fastest truck or be the best plate racer, but we’ve seen it time and time again in every series, that doesn’t guarantee you any sort of favorable finishing position. We’re looking at this race as a wild card, just like everyone else is.”

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

Matt Tifft Leaves JGR For Richard Childress Racing In 2018

Matt Tifft
Richard Childress Racing has signed Matt Tifft to a multi-year agreement to join RCR’s NASCAR XFINITY Series driver lineup. Tifft will pilot the #2 Chevrolet Camaro beginning in 2018 and will compete for the 2018 driver championship. The 21-year-old driver is currently a contender in the XFINITY Series Playoffs in his rookie season.

Tifft, a native of Hinckley, Ohio, has made 70 starts across NASCAR’s top three national touring series dating back to 2013, including 39 in the XFINITY Series. Tifft’s racing background includes dirt late model and super late model racing on dirt tracks in Ohio and Michigan. His asphalt racing experience includes 26 starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and 25 starts in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. Tifft was awarded Rookie of the Year honors in the ARCA Racing Midwest Tour.

“I am very appreciative and grateful for the opportunity to race for a championship and grow as a driver under one the most successful and historic teams in NASCAR,” said Tifft. “RCR has a long history of developing partnerships through its XFINITY Series program. I am looking forward to being a part of the family and applying what I have learned in my first full-time XFINITY Series season while continuing to grow with the goal of competing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in the future.”

“Matt is a talented race car driver and an even better young man,” said Richard Childress, Chairman and CEO of RCR. “I’ve watched him race for the past few years and we were impressed by his ability. We look forward to welcoming Matt to our XFINITY Series program and having him compete for a championship with RCR.”

An announcement regarding sponsorship and crew chief for Tifft and the #2 Chevrolet Camaro will come at a later date.

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

Ryan Reed Is Clinging On To The Final Transfer Spot

Ryan Reed
At the moment, Ryan Reed is clinging onto the final transfer spot to the NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoffs Round of 8.

The 24-year-old Californian sits two points above ninth-place Brendan Guaghan for advancement heading into Saturday’s Drive for the Cure 300 Presented by Blue Cross and Blues Shield of North Carolina cutoff race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Reed finished 10th in the XFINITY Playoffs opener at Kentucky and 16th last week at Dover. In eight career starts at Charlotte, he owns a high finish of 11th and an average showing of 13.9.

Reed advanced to the Round of 8 last season, placing sixth in the final championship standings.

“Charlotte is obviously a huge race for us,” Reed said. “Being a cutoff race and currently only being two points (ahead), it is super important to be fast and not make any mistakes. Charlotte is a good track for us and another 1.5-mile track, and our 1.5-mile program is where we are the strongest.”

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

Charlotte Poses Real Challenges For Cole Custer

Cole Custer

Event: Drive for the Cure 300 (Round 29 of 33)

Date: Oct. 7, 2017

Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway

Layout: 1.5-mile oval

 

Cole Custer Notes of Interest
 

 The Drive for the Cure 300 is the third of seven races in the NASCAR XFINITY Series playoffs and the last race in the series’ first playoff round. Four drivers will be eliminated at the conclusion of the race, narrowing the field to eight drivers. Those eight drivers will compete in three more races before the playoff field is whittled down to just four drivers for a winner-take-all championship battle in the season finale Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

 

●  Cole Custer is fourth in the XFINITY Series playoffs with 2,093 points, 14 points behind series leader Justin Allgaier and one point behind third-place Elliott Sadler. Custer has accumulated two bonus points for the second round of the playoffs, earned by his two stage wins in the Sept. 23 race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.

 

●  The Drive for the Cure 300 will mark Custer’s 34th career XFINITY Series start and his third XFINITY Series start at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

 

●  Custer is competing for his fourth-straight top-10 and his third-straight top-10 at Charlotte. He has earned seven top-10s in the last eight races and two top-10s in the first two playoff races.

 

●  In Custer’s first XFINITY Series start at Charlotte in May 2016, he led one lap around the 1.5-mile oval and equaled his career-best finish of fourth. He was the highest-placing XFINITY Series regular behind Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon and Joey Logano. In his second race at Charlotte this past May, Custer ran in and around the top-five before securing his seventh Rookie of the Race award with a seventh-place finish.

 

●  In 11 XFINITY Series starts and nine NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at 1.5-mile ovals, Custer has four top-five finishes and 11 top-10s. Custer has earned two top-fives this season at 1.5-mile tracks – Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth on April 8 (fifth) and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta on Sept. 23 (fifth) – and finished in the top-10 at three other venues – Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 4 (10th), Charlotte on May 27 (seventh) and Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois on Sept. 16 (seventh).

 

●  Custer’s best finish in the 28 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 earned in his series debut at Charlotte in May 2016.

 

●  Custer has six top-fives and 15 top-10s in 33 career XFINITY Series starts.

 

●  Custer’s best qualifying effort in the 28 XFINITY Series races run this season is third, earned three times – April 22 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, June 10 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and Sept. 23 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Custer has 20 top-10 starts and nine top-five starts this season.

 

●  Custer is third in the XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year standings, 57 points behind leader William Byron and 17 points behind third-place Daniel Hemric. Custer has earned seven Rookie of the Race awards this season, two having come at 1.5-mile tracks (fifth at Texas and 11th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway). Rookie of the Race awards are given to the highest-finishing rookie.

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

What are your thoughts on racing at Charlotte?

“Coming back to Charlotte is pretty important because you have all of the shop members around and all of their family and friends. It’s an important race for everybody and everyone wants to step up their game up to win here. I wouldn’t say Charlotte is my favorite track to race at, but it’s a track where I’ve had some really good runs. There’s no reason why we can’t do that again. I don’t think there’s a better track we could go to as a cutoff race for the second round. I think we’re in a good position now and another decent finish will lock our Haas Automation team into the next round.”

What is a lap around Charlotte Motor Speedway like?

“It’s a really edgy racetrack. Age-wise, it’s in the middle of a grippy track and a really worn-out track. It has a lot of tiny, high-speed bumps throughout the track that will upset the car. It’s a really challenging place to get around. Honestly, it’s one of the most difficult tracks I’ve been to. You have to hit your marks just right, but it’s a fun track. Last race, when they put the VHT down, it was a challenge to get used to. Now that we understand the way the compound works, we’re more confident with it, but it still throws you a curveball when you get out there.”

Some of your best finishes in your XFINITY Series career have been at 1.5-mile tracks. Why is that?

“I think we’ve unloaded some great cars at the 1.5-mile tracks, which seems to be our strong suit this year. The team has given me some great Haas Automation Ford Mustangs that have helped me adapt to the track faster than I normally would. The team has done a great job with the cars and it has given me the opportunity to race up front. I think we understand and have a really good package going to the intermediate tracks like Charlotte. I think they are definitely our strong suit right now.”

What is the strategy with playoff racing?

“It’s kind of a mix. I think you want to get as many stage points as you can in the first stage because you want to keep buffering yourself away from the cutoff line, but you want to make sure you’re setting yourself up for a win because that’s a lot of bonus points, as well.”

You’re headed to Charlotte after earning another top-10 the race prior at Dover. How does it feel?

“It’s crazy, honestly. I think the last few races have kind of come together for us, but we have to keep our heads down and focus on not just being first in the first round, but being first at Homestead.”

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

What is the strategy heading into Charlotte?

“We have some buffer room now to go out there and contend for a win. After our performance at Dover, we can race a little harder and compete for those bonus points and a win to help us out in the second round.”

What are your thoughts on racing at Charlotte?

“I’ve attended every race at Charlotte for as long as I can remember. For that reason alone, it makes the track special to me. The fact that I can sleep in my own bed over the race weekend is just a bonus.”

Cole Custer Charlotte 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

H​aas Automation Notes of Interest
 

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

 

●  Greenville Technical College Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI) – Located at575 Millennium Blvd. in Greenville, South Carolina, CMI provides an engaging environment that gives students the tools needed to succeed in advanced manufacturing careers and employers the skilled workforce required for commercial success. By bringing together interested students, respected faculty and motivated employers, CMI offers the opportunity to change people’s lives in the short and long term.

 

●  Machining Training Solutions – Located at 910 Waterway Place Longwood, Florida, Machining Training Solutions is the leading software provider of training for CNC manufacturing companies and educational institutions. Machining Solutions has transformed the training of thousands of organizations, including Fortune 500 corporations, small companies and technical schools with targeted, powerful software packages in Mekams, MillTurnSim, TopCAM, TopCAT,TopTurn and TopMill.

 

●  Haas Factory Outlet – Phillips, a division of Phillips Corp – Located at 8500 Triad Drive, Colfax, North Carolina, Haas Factory Outlet Phillips is an exclusive dealer of Haas Automation CNC machine tools, serving Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Eastern Pennsylvania, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Southern New Jersey and Tennessee. Phillips offers outstanding Haas sales, service, training, applications, and spare parts.

 

Playoff Standings 
 

1.     Justin Allgaier (2,107 points) +54 points

2.     William Byron (2,104, points, -3) +51 points

3.     Elliott Sadler (2,094 points, -13) +41 points

4.     Cole Custer (2,093 points, -14) +40 points

5.     Daniel Hemric (2,090 points, -17) +37 points

6.     Brennan Poole (2,082 points, -25) +29 points

7.     Matt Tifft (2,067 points, -40) +14 points

8.     Ryan Reed (2,055 points, -52) +2 points

9.     Brendan Gaughan (2,053 points, -54) -2 points

10.   Michael Annett (2,048 points, -59) -7 points

11.   Blake Koch (2,043 points, -64) -12 points

12.   Jeremy Clements (2,035 points, -72) -20 points

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

HMS Gets Alex Bowman Two NXS Rides, Charlotte And Phoenix

Alex Bowman
Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) announced today that through their technical partnership with Hendrick Motorsports, Alex Bowman, 24, will pilot the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) races at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Oct. 7) and Phoenix International Raceway (Nov. 11). Hendrick Automotive Group’s HendrickCars.com, which features more than 43,000 new and pre-owned cars for sale, will serve as the primary sponsor in Charlotte with additional support from Vannoy Construction. A sponsor for Phoenix will be announced at a later date.

 NOTES OF INTEREST:

 

  • Racing for a Title: Bowman joins Kyle Larson, Tyler Reddick and Justin Marks as drivers of the No. 42 Chevrolet in 2017. Currently the No. 42 team leads the NXS owners’ standings following Reddick’s win at Kentucky Speedway. Through 27 starts, the combination of Larson, Reddick and Marks has four wins, 11 top-five, 15 top-10 finishes and two poles. Larson picked up victories in Fontana, Richmond and Dover prior to Reddick’s win in the first round of the NXS playoffs.

 

  • Bowman in the NXS: The Tucson, AZ native made his NXS debut in 2012, and finished runner-up to Larson in the 2013 NXS Rookie of the Year standings. In 50 series starts, Bowman has five top-five and 13 top-10 finishes along with three poles. Bowman moves into the No. 88 Chevrolet in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for Hendrick Motorsports beginning in 2018.

 

CGR QUOTEBOARD:

 

  • Chip Ganassi, Owner, Chip Ganassi Racing: “We’re excited to welcome Alex to the No. 42 team for two races. He’s a great young talent, who can help us with our goal of winning an NXS owners’ championship. Initially those two races were earmarked for Larson but we wanted him to focus on the Cup playoffs so we appreciate Rick (Hendrick) and his team for allowing us to put Alex in our car. Hendrick Motorsports has been a tremendous partner of CGR for many years.”

 

  • Rick Hendrick, Owner of Hendrick Motorsports and Chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group: “This is a terrific opportunity for Alex to get back into a competitive environment and work with a championship-caliber team. I think he’ll pick up right where he left off. It’s also a valuable platform for us to promote HendrickCars.com in our (Hendrick Automotive Group’s) home market. Chip is a great friend, and we’re looking forward to working with his team on and off the track.”

 

  • Alex Bowman, Driver, No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro: “I’m really excited to get back in a race-winning car with a team like CGR. A huge thanks to Chip and Mr. Hendrick for putting this together for me to get some valuable seat time heading into 2018. My goal is to win two races and help the No. 42 team win the NXS owners’ championship.”

Earlier in the season (7/20/17), shortly after the HMS announcement of Bowman replacing Dale Jr., I asked the question about whether HMS would try to get Bowman a few races under his belt before the 2018 season?  At that time, I thought that it would be extremely foolish for Hendrick to throw Bowman to the wolves in 2018 without at least a couple of races in either the CWTS, NXS, or Cup series before the season begins in February.

Now we know the answer to that question!

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

Byron Is Hoping To Produce Another Strong Finish At Dover

William Byron
William Byron entered the NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoffs leading in points after finishing second in the regular season standings and accumulating 17 playoff points via his series-best three victories and two stage wins.

He left the Playoff opener at Kentucky fifth on the Playoff Grid following an 18th-place showing. Still, Byron sits 25 points ahead of Brendan Gaughan for the final advancement spot to the Round of 8.

Byron will attempt to pad his points total in Saturday’s Use Your Melon. Drive Sober 200 at Dover International Speedway where he was the highest-finishing XFINITY regular (sixth) in its June race.

“I am ready to get to Dover,” Byron said. “We got the Dash 4 Cash win there last time and I can’t wait to see what we can do this time around. I know our team is ready to rebound from last week and have a solid weekend for the second playoff race.”

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

Cole Custer Rolls Into Dover Tied In The Points Lead

Cole Custer

 

Event: Use Your Melon. Drive Sober 200 (Round 28 of 33)

Date: Sept. 30, 2017

Location: Dover (Del.) International Speedway

Layout: Concrete, mile oval

Cole Custer Notes of Interest
 

●  The Use Your Melon. Drive Sober 200 will be the second of seven races in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoffs. It will also mark Cole Custer’s 33rd career NASCAR XFINITY Series start and his second XFINITY Series start at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

 

●  Custer is tied with Justin Allgaier for first place in the XFINITY Series Playoffs with 2,057 points, two points ahead of second-place Elliot Sadler.

 

●  In Custer’s seven overall starts at Dover, three are in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, two are in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and one is in the XFINITY Series. Custer’s best overall finish at Dover is fourth, earned in this year’s XFINITY Series race June 3. It tied his career-best XFINITY Series finish and was his 16th top-10 and sixth top-five in 32 XFINITY Series starts.

 

●  In the 2015 Truck Series race at Dover, Custer led 67 laps and ran in and around the top-five until lap 138 when a fueling issue pushed him off the lead lap and into the 13th position, where he would ultimately finish the race.

 

●  In 32 XFINITY Series starts, 42 Camping World Truck Series starts and 29 K&N Pro Series starts since 2015, Custer has five wins, six poles, 14 top-five finishes, 25 top-10s and 919 laps led at tracks that are a mile in length or shorter.

 

●  Custer’s best qualifying effort in the 27 XFINITY Series races run this season is third, earned three times – April 22 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, June 10 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and Sept. 23 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Custer has 19 top-10 starts and nine top-five starts this season.

 

●  Custer is third in the XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year standings, 52 points behind leader William Byron and 12 points behind second-place Daniel Hemric. Custer has earned seven Rookie of the Race awards this season, including at Dover earlier this season.

 

●  Last weekend at Kentucky Speedway, Custer won Stages 1-2 for his first career XFINITY Series stage wins. He led the field for 49 laps and earned two playoff points on his way to a fifth-place finish.

 

●  Custer has earned 15 top-10s, five top-fives and has led 119 laps so far in the 2017 season.

 

●  Custer will pilot chassis No. 1090 in the second race of the playoffs. Chassis No. 1090 holds the new flange-fit composite body that was used at Richmond (Va.) Raceway two weeks ago where Custer ran in and around the top-10 for the majority of the race.

 

●  The playoffs are divided into three rounds, with the first two rounds consisting of three races apiece and the final, single-race round being the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Four drivers are eliminated after each round to ultimately establish four finalists to decide the championship at Homestead. Drivers automatically qualify for the next round with a win in the current playoff round, with the remaining spots determined by point standings. At Homestead, the top-finishing driver among the four finalists wins the title.

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

Your best finish of your 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series career came at Dover earlier this season. Why do you run so well there?

“I’ve always been a fan of the concrete tracks. There’s a lot of speed and a lot of banking. Dover is somewhere I’ve always run well at, but I’ve never really gotten the finishes I would’ve liked. It seems like we’ve always been in the fight for a win there. I’m looking forward to getting back there in our Haas Automation Ford Mustang and logging another solid finish.”

Is there a level of confidence heading to tracks for the second time this season?

“Yes. Coming back to a place for the second time at Kentucky, we found so many things that I’ve liked and that our team has found speed in with our team running week to week. It’s just incorporating those things that I’ve found to like. From practice to race, I think we just kind of fine tune what we have. We’re confident heading back to Dover with the notes we have, especially after our performance last weekend at Kentucky. We finished fourth earlier in the year, so hopefullywe can do that again, or better.”

Describe a qualifying lap at Dover.

“You come in shaking. It’s pretty crazy. You’re getting all that you can out of it and you’re just on edge the whole time. It’s so fast for such a small place.”

Is there any major difference in the feel of the flange-fit composite body?

Not that I can tell. I had no issues with it at Richmond, so I’m looking forward to running it again at Dover.”

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

Last weekend the Haas Automation Ford team earned two playoff points after Custer won Stages 1-2. Are stage wins the goal in the playoffs? 

“Stage wins have been on our radar all season. We’ve been improving each week and now have the speed it takes to contend for them. Those two points will be nice in the next round, but the 20 extra points we gained for this round gave us a little cushion to help get through the next two races.”

What car are you bringing to the second race of the playoffs this weekend at Dover?

“We are bringing the same car we ran at Richmond, chassis No. 1090. We had a lot of good speed out of that Haas Automation Mustang, but didn’t get the finish we wanted. This will be the second race for this car with the new composite body. I think NASCAR did a really good job with the design and working with the teams to make the composite bodies a success”

Cole Custer Dover 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

H​aas Automation Notes of Interest
 

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

 

●  Pennsylvania College of Technology – Located at One College Avenue in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania College of Technology has many programs and courses available, one of which is a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering technology. The curriculum has a strong emphasis in manufacturing, automation and metals-oriented industries. National Institute ofMetalworking Skills (NIMS) accreditation enables its certified faculty to offer NIMS certification exams to the students. Students who successfully earn NIMS certification enjoy a competitive edge in the job market.

 

●  Lehigh Career & Technical Institute – Located at 4500 Education Park Drive in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania, Lehigh Career & Technical Institute (LCTI) is Pennsylvania’s largest career and technical school. Founded in 1971, LCTI today provides more than 45 skills-based programs of study, as well as academic instruction for about 2,700 ninth- through 12th-grade students from Lehigh County’s nine public school districts. There are several programs of study to choose from – arts and humanities, business and communication, engineering healthy and human services, industrial technology and academia. For those young adults searching for a manufacturing job, Lehigh offers through its Workforce Education Department a few fields of study: Electromechanical/Mechatronics and CNC Precision Machine.

 

●  Haas Factory Outlet – Phillips, a division of Phillips Corp – Located at 8500 Triad Drive, Colfax, North Carolina, Haas Factory Outlet Phillips is an exclusive dealer of Haas Automation CNC machine tools, serving Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Eastern Pennsylvania, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Southern New Jersey and Tennessee. Phillips offers outstanding Haas sales, service, training, applications, and spare parts.

 

Playoff Standings 
 

1.     Justin Allgaier (2,057 points)

2.     Cole Custer (2,057 points) -0

3.   Elliott Sadler (2,055 points, -2)

4.   Daniel Hemric (2,052 points, -5)

5.   William Byron (2,051, points, -6)

6.   Brennan Poole (2,047 points, -10)

7.   Matt Tifft (2,036 points, -21)

8.   Ryan Reed (2,034 points, -23)

9.   Brendan Gaughan (2,026 points, -31)

10.  Blake Koch (2,025 points, -32)

11.  Michael Annett (2,022 points, -35)

12.  Jeremy Clements (2,020 points, -37)

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