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Archive for August 14th, 2019

Sports Spotlight Feature: Ryan Tuchow, All-OAC LB counted on to lead defense for Otterbein Cardinals

 

Ryan Tuchow LB (photo by Stuart Mason)

RYAN TUCHOW INTERVIEW WITH OAC COMMISSIONER TIM GLEASON AT 2019 FOOTBALL MEDIA PREVIEW

65,199 Ryan Tuchow Otterbein All-OAC LB 2019 Football Media Preview

The Otterbein Cardinals had a very disappointing season in 2018, going 1-8 in the Ohio Athletic Conference and 2-8 overall. They lost several games in the finals seconds and one on the final possession.

It was the worst season in head coach Tim Doup’s 8 years at the Westerville, Ohio school.

That 2-8 record is misleading, but you are what you are or in this case where what you were.

The Cardinals do have some solid OAC talent. Sr. punter Luke Green-Lauber, Redshirt junior free safety Niall Lewison, sophomore nose guard, Nigel Chatman and senior linebacker Ryan Tuchow, were selected to some form of All-OAC team.

Tuchow, who prepped at nearby Ohio Capital Conference juggernaut, Hilliard Davidson High School, was one of the leaders on a defense that finished in the top five of the OAC at number 3.

Tuchow had a breakout season. He finished fourth in the league in tackles (94), sixth in tackles for loss (15). He had double-digit stops in five games, including a career-high and phenomenal 17 against the Heidelberg Student Princes. He also had four QB sacks.

He was selected 2nd team All-OAC.

Tuchow, who wears number 14, is 5’11, 225 pounds.

#14 Ryan Tuchow chasing down a Muskingum running back (courtesy Otterbein Sports Information)

 

For the third straight August, Kevin Harvick wins Consumers Energy 400 race at Michigan

 

Kevin Harvick celebrates with team members after winning Consumers Energy 400 (courtesy MIS Media Relations)

PRESS CONFERENCE AUDIO WITH WINNING CREW CHIEF RODNEY CHILDERS

65,179 Rodney Childers crew chief for Kevin Harvick Winning at Michigan for the 3rd straight August 8 11 2019

65,182 Rodney Childers crew chief for Kevin Harvick 2 wins in past 4 races is the team peaking for the playoffs right now 8 11 2019

PRESS CONFERENCE WITH WINNING DRIVER KEVIN HARVICK

65,184 Kevin Harvick winner Consumer Energy 400 Why so much success at Michigan 8 11 2019

65,185 Kevin Harvick winner Is winning the same as it was in his younger days 8 11 2019

65,192 Kevin Harvick winner He has been battling a shoulder injury for the past 2 months How is it now 8 11 2019

BROOKLYN, Mich. (August 11, 2019) – Kevin Harvick overcame early race trouble to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Consumers Energy 400 for the second consecutive season.

In the first stage of the race, Harvick suffered a flat tire that forced him to make an unscheduled pit stop. The stop put him a lap down early, but he continued to make adjustments on his car and by the third stage he was back on the lead lap.

Rodney Childers, Harvick's crew chief says they always run good at Michigan. The conditions causes for fast cars and good results. (photo by Stuart Mason)

“We just had a really fast car all weekend,” Harvick said. “Our car handled really well today, and with the multiple lanes, we were able to run all three lanes pretty well and make our way through traffic. So just really proud of everybody on our Mobil 1 Ford, everybody from Busch and Hunt Brothers and Jimmy John’s and everybody back at the shop from Haas Automation and Stewart‑Haas Racing, just put a really fast car on the racetrack and we were able to capitalize on it, and that’s always fun.”

 

Harvick’s crew made the right call on his last pit stop and the most important thing was they put enough fuel in the car. As other cars had to stop for fuel in the final 10 laps, Harvick managed his fuel and had just enough to win the race.

The driver of #4 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas has now won three times at MIS during his career.

The win capped an impressive season for Ford Performance at Michigan International Speedway. The manufacturer swept both races after Joey Logano won the FireKeepers Casino 400 in June. Ford has posted four consecutive wins at its home track, with Harvick taking two of them.

Ford Performance will take the Michigan Heritage for the fourth straight MENCS race at MIS. The manufacturer will proudly display the trophy at its corporate headquarters just down the road from the track, and celebrate with its employees.

Kevin Harvick, with his son, Keelan, says the team always wants to do well at Michigan. Its the hometrack for Ford and they want him up front in th Top 10. (photo by Stuart Mason)

“We want to win every race but we definitely want to win here at Michigan,” Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance said. “To have the Heritage Trophy, we display it proudly and it will go back and be in Dearborn first thing in the morning for our executives to see there and we will put it on display for our employees to see. It is kind of neat the way the trophy works. You bring it out here and give it back at the beginning of the race and it is kind of neat to take it right back at the end of the race. It is great to do it four races in a row. We want to keep that streak going.”

Michigan driver Brad Keselowski started on the pole and looked like he was the car to beat early in race. The first stage of the race saw two drivers make unscheduled pit stops as Jimmie Johnson and Harvick both had tires go flat.

But Martin Truex Jr. was the talk of the first round. He started at the back of the field after he failed prerace inspection. He quickly moved through the field and was in second place on the last lap behind Denny Hamlin. Truex got a run to get around Hamlin to the take the green and white checkered flag.

Keselowski spun with four laps remaining in stage two to bring out the caution flag and set up a one-lap dash to the finish. Kyle Busch took advantage to hold off Truex. The action was behind the leaders as Aric Almirola, Daniel Hemric and Austin Dillon were in a three-car accident coming to the green and white checkered flag.

Erik Jones, from Byron, Mich. brought his car home 18th and Keselowski finished 19th.

Nestled in the lush Irish Hills of Southeastern Michigan, Michigan International Speedway is NASCAR’s fastest racetrack. It has been the love of NASCAR racing and the thrill of a great time for race fans and drivers alike for more than 50 years.

PHOTO: Kevin Harvick celebrates in victory lane with his crew after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Consumers Energy 400 on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.

# # #

2020 Michigan International Speedway Schedule

Jan. 24-26                  Backyard Hockey Tournament

Friday, June 5           ARCA Menards Series

Saturday, June 6      NASCAR XFINITY Series LTi Printing 250

Sunday, June 7         Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400

July 17 – 19               Faster Horses

Friday, Aug. 7           Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Practice and Qualifying

Saturday, Aug. 8      NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series

Sunday, Aug. 11       Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Consumers Energy 400

 

 

RACE RECAP WRITTEN BY Brad Kuhbander; COURTESY MIS MEDIA RELATIONS

 

 

 

NASCAR Series visits “Thunder Valley” and Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend

 

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race

The Place: Bristol Motor Speedway

The Date: Saturday, August 17

The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN, 7 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 266.5 miles (500 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 125),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 250), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 500)

2018 Winner: Kyle Busch

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Food City 300

The Place: Bristol Motor Speedway

The Date: Friday, August 16

The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN, 7 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance:  159.9 miles (300 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 85),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 170), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 300)

2018 Winner: Kyle Larson

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series

Next Race: UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics

The Place: Bristol Motor Speedway

The Date: Thursday, August 15

The Time: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 8 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 100.6 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 55),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 110), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

2018 Winner: Johnny Sauter

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

 

Busch Brothers are back in Bristol

Especially in recent years there has been one last name in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series fans are fast to associate with the iconic Bristol Motor Speedway: Busch.

 

Brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch have won 14 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at the track since 2002. Kurt, a six-time winner, is defending champion of Saturday night’s always eagerly-anticipated Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race  at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

His younger brother Kyle is an eight-time Bristol winner and hoisted the trophy at the track’s April race earlier this year. He has won three of the last four Bristol races and is the winningest active driver at the venue.

 

The last time a driver NOT named Busch won was in the spring of 2017 when Jimmie Johnson earned his second career Bristol victory.

 

The half-mile, high-banked venue is easily one of NASCAR’s most popular tracks – for driver and fan alike. And the success for the Busch family there makes them simultaneously the odds-on favorites and the drivers to beat.

 

They immediately established a connection and ease with the facility. Kurt Busch won four times in a five-race span over the 2002-04 seasons while driving for team owner Jack Roush and he’s won twice more for two different teams – in 2006 with Team Penske and 2018 with Stewart-Haas Racing. He finished runner-up to his younger brother Kyle in April – in what was Kurt’s Bristol debut driving the No. 1 Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing.

 

Kyle Busch, 34, shows up to Bristol with plenty of motivation to hoist another trophy and is, by popular opinion, the absolute driver to beat. A four-time winner in 2019, the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota holds a 20-point edge over Joey Logano with three races remaining to crown the regular season champion. But it’s been 10 races since Busch last visited Victory Lane this season – at Pocono Raceway on June 2.

 

Victory has essentially been a way of competition for Kyle at Bristol, however. He won four races in a five-race stretch between 2009-11 and three races in a four-race stretch from 2017-19. He has 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes in 28 starts and has led 2,304 laps – tops among all competitors.

 

In fact, Kyle Busch holds a very distinctive – perhaps never to be matched – mark of winning in all three NASCAR national series at Bristol in a single weekend. In both 2010 and 2017 he swept the Gander Outdoors Truck Series, Xfinity Series and Monster Energy Series races.

 

“I remember watching when I was a kid – I wasn’t there racing, yet – watching Kurt win his first race at Bristol and then having the epic battle with Jimmy Spencer there,’’ Kyle Busch said. “That was a lot of fun to watch and see how Kurt was able to get his first win there and, of course, the years that I’ve been able to put cars in Victory Lane or wishing I could go back and get a few more of those wins that I missed out on – I’d have a heck of a lot more than just eight.’’

Charging into Playoff contention

Four drivers – Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Daniel Suarez and Jimmie Johnson – are vying for the final two Playoff positions on points with three regular season races remaining to set the 16-driver Playoff field.

 

Newman sits in 15th with a 10-point advantage over Clint Bowyer in the 16th and final Playoff transfer position. Bowyer holds a six-point edge over 17th place Suarez and a 12-point edge on Johnson in 18th. The four positions – from Newman to Johnson – are separated by 22 points.

 

The four drivers arrive in Bristol for the second race of the 2019 season with very different records. Although, in a strange twist of results, they finished consecutively in April – seventh through 10th – Bowyer then Suarez then Newman then Johnson.

 

Of the four, only the seven-time Cup champion Johnson has won at the .533-mile Bristol bullring previously. The driver of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet has two victories, 12 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes in 35 starts at the track. His most recent win was in the spring of 2017. He has only one finish outside the top-10 in the last six Bristol races – an 11th-place in the 2017 fall race. Johnson’s win in 2017 was the last time a driver not named Busch visited Victory Lane. Brothers Kyle and Kurt have won the last four Bristol races.

 

Newman, the driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, has an impressive 19 top-10 finishes in 35 starts but has never won at Bristol. In fact, for all those top-10 efforts, he has only a pair of top-five showings. However, he is trending upward with top-10 finishes in six of the previous nine races and three of the last four. He was 12th in this summer race last year. And Newman is coming off a 12th-place finish at Michigan on Sunday and has five top-10 finishes in a six-race summer stretch between Michigan-1 and New Hampshire last month.

 

Although he’s never won at Bristol, Bowyer has certainly run well at the track of late. He was runner-up to Johnson in 2017 and has led substantial laps in the last two races there. He led 120 laps and finished sixth in this night race last year and led 24 laps en route to a seventh-place finish in April’s race. He’s finished in the top-10 of four of the last five races and has 14 top-10 and seven top-five efforts in 27 career starts there.

 

Bristol’s good vibe will be welcome for the driver of the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford this weekend after a season-worst showing of 37th at Michigan last weekend. Bowyer’s had only one top-10 (sixth place at Kentucky) in the last nine Cup races.

 

Daniel Suarez, 27, has only five Bristol starts but earned his best showing in the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford this April – an eighth-place finish. He’s never finished worse than 18th at Bristol. He moves back into championship contention – surpassing Johnson in the standings – following a fifth-place finish at Michigan last weekend. Suarez is on track to turn in a “career year” – his three top-five finishes already equals his best season total and his eight top-10 efforts through 23 races is on good pace to equal or surpass his career high mark of 12 established in his 2017 rookie season.

Harvick’s timing could be golden

No doubt perennial championship favorite Kevin Harvick and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Team were starting to miss their frequent visits to Victory Lane. By the time the Monster Energy Cup Series made its second trip to Bristol, Tenn. for the “Night Race” summer highlight last year, Harvick had already hoisted seven trophies.

 

He picked up his second trophy of the 2019 season last week at Michigan – the second in the last four weeks – a sign perhaps the 2014 Cup champion will get a well-timed boost to his Playoff launch.

 

Harvick is a two-time Bristol winner – first in 2005 and the last victory coming in this 2016 August race. He was eighth in the first Bristol stop of the season. And the other two races to close out the regular season also look promising to give him a positive Playoff sendoff.

 

He won at next week’s stop, the notoriously tough Darlington (S.C.) Raceway from the pole position in his 2014 championship year and has finished in the top-10 in half his starts – 11 times in 22 races. Harvick is also a former winner at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – earning the victory from pole position in 2003. He has 12 top-10 finishes in 18 Indianapolis starts.

 

“So, we’ve had a lot of things that we’ve had to overcome to get to this point,’’ Harvick said. “But it’s kind of like last year – we started off on fire, we won eight races and then didn’t win the championship. In the end, you want to win that championship and hopefully we’re peaking at the right time.”

 

Wins come in spades

Kyle and Kurt Busch’s amazing 14 wins at Bristol Motor Speedway is indicative of the character of this track. Judging by the list of winners, once a driver gets the nuance of this one-of-a-kind venue, he tends to have success. And then more success.

 

Of the seven active Cup drivers with Bristol victories – six of them have won multiple times. Kyle Busch leads the series with eight wins, followed by his older brother Kurt (six) who is the defending winner this weekend. Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have all won twice here. The only other former winner in the field this weekend is Denny Hamlin, who won in the summer of 2012.

 

Noticeably absent from that list is 2017 Cup champion Martin Truex Jr. – a four-race winner already in 2019 that has only a pair of top-five and three top-10 finishes in 27 Bristol starts. The Cup veteran reminds it isn’t for a lack of trying.

 

“The Bristol night race is one that every driver wants to win,’’ Truex acknowledged. “It’s a big weekend for [his sponsor] Bass Pro Shops sponsoring the race, so we want to do our best to have a good run for them.

 

“If you look at the stats, Bristol hasn’t been one of our better tracks, but we’ve had so many crazy things happen over the years that cost us good finishes. Like last year, we were racing for the lead in the last 100 laps and get wrecked. Then in the spring this year, we made our way to the top five and were in a good spot but had a loose wheel.

 

“Our team has been improving at Bristol and we’ve got some nice momentum from the past month or so that gives me confidence we can run up front this weekend and hopefully put it all together to have a good finish.’’

 

Competition update

Two-thirds of the way through the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup season the competition highlights demonstrate a decided uptick in the season’s most telling race statistics.

 

There have been 11 Busch Pole winners representing five race organizations through the first 23 races. Hendrick Motorsports has won the most poles (7). William Byron and Chase Elliott have three each and Jimmie Johnson has one.

 

There have been 10 different race winners from six organizations. Joe Gibbs Racing leads this statistic with 11 victories. Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. have four wins apiece and Denny Hamlin has three.

 

And, the numbers show, racing itself has been close. The average Margin of Victory through the first 23 races is 1.209-seconds and 14 of the 23 races have been decided by less than 1-second (60.8 percent).

 

The average number of lead changes (17.74) is the most during the same opening 23 races of a season since 2015 (18.0). In a year-over-year comparison, green flag passes for the lead are up 41.1 percent from 2018.

 

Five races – at Las Vegas, Bristol, Tenn.-1, Kansas-1, Chicago and Kentucky – have produced a record number of green flag passes for the lead.

 

Track countdown

The 2019 Monster Energy Series regular season schedule wraps up with three unique venues – from the iconic Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway short track to the famously challenging Darlington (S.C.) Raceway to the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, providing opportunities for several drivers to win their way into the Playoffs. Below is a look at the three remaining facilities in the regular season:

 

Bristol Motor Speedway – Thunder Valley sets the scene for the half-mile, high-banked short track featuring variable banking (from 24 to 28 degrees) in the turns. Jimmie Johnson is the only active former Bristol winner still in Playoff contention and needing a win in 2019. He is a two-time winner at the short track taking the trophies in the 2010 and 2017 spring races.

 

Darlington Raceway – “The Track Too Tough To Tame” is an egg-shaped 1.366-mile track with 25 degrees of banking in Turns 1 and 2, and 23 degrees of banking in 3 and 4. Jimmie Johnson’s three wins top the list of drivers who have bested the challenge of the unique configuration and he is the only active former winner at Darlington who has not won this season.

 

Indianapolis Motor Speedway – While Pocono is a triangle that modeled Turn 2 after Indianapolis, the “Brickyard” is basically a 2.5-mile flat rectangle, featuring short straights between the turns, which are all banked at nine degrees. Jimmie Johnson’s four wins at the famed track are most among active drivers and are second-most all-time (to Jeff Gordon’s five). Joining him on the list of active Brickyard winners who are searching for their first win this season are Paul Menard and Ryan Newman (one win each).

 

Parade Laps: Insights ahead of this week’s driver media rotations

Six drivers from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr., Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron, JTG Daugherty Racing’s Ryan Preece, Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney, Front Row Motorsports’ David Ragan and Richard Petty Motorsports’ Bubba Wallace will be participating in this week’s media rotations at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in advance of Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

*Martin Truex Jr., 39, of Mayetta, N.J., is still looking for his first Bristol Motor Speedway victory. In fact, this track has been a statistical challenge to the 2017 series champ, who has earned only three top-10 finishes in 27 starts there. His last top-10 – an eighth place – came in his 2017 championship season. His best career finishes were a runner-up followed by a third place in the 2011 Fall and 2012 Spring races. Truex certainly shows up in Bristol on a hot streak. He has four victories already this season in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and is on a four-race streak of top-10 finishes. He was runner-up at Watkins Glen, N.Y. two races ago. Truex started 23rd and finished 17th at Bristol earlier this season.

 

*William Byron, 21, of Charlotte, has decidedly made his mark in the series, despite this being only his second year at the Cup level. The driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet is ranked 12th place in the driver standings – safely in the Playoffs. He earned his eighth top-10 of the year last week at Michigan (eighth place) – his second in the last three races. He’s looking to finish out races at Bristol Motor Speedway the way he starts them – up front. He has a pair of top-five starts but is 0-for-3 in top-10 finishes. He started on the outside of the front row in April but finished 16th and did not lead a lap. He does have a top-five (fourth place) in the 2016 Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Bristol.

 

*Ryan Preece, 28, of Berlin, Conn., is coming off his third top-10 finish of the season and first since the Talladega, Ala. race – 13 races earlier on the schedule. It was a well-timed uptick in his performance considering he’s had three DNFs in the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet in the last six races. He must arrive at Bristol Motor Speedway feeling optimistic. He won the 2018 Xfinity Series race at the track – one of his two career Xfinity wins. Preece started 20thand finished 25th in the Cup Series’ first stop at Bristol in April. He trails Daniel Hemric by 53 points in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year chase.

 

*Ryan Blaney, 25, of High Point, N.C., spent most of last week’s Michigan race running toward the front of the field only to run out of gas at the end and claim a 24th-place finish instead of a top-10. He did lead three laps at Michigan however, the first time he’s led multiple laps in a race since the Charlotte 600-miler. The bad luck Sunday is just a blip on Blaney’s impressive 2019 scorecard. He has 10 top-10 and seven top-five finishes through the opening 22 races and Bristol Motor Speedway has been a source of much promise for the popular driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford. He has three top-10 finishes in eight starts and is coming off his best effort – a fourth-place finish this spring. He’s led at least 100 laps in the last three Bristol races, including a career-high 158 laps in April.

 

*David Ragan, 33, of Unadilla, Ga., earned a 16th-place finish at Michigan last week – his third top-20 of the season and best showing since a season high 15th at Charlotte in May, where he led three laps. Ragan, who drivers the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford, has one top-10 finish in 25 Bristol starts. He was 17th in this race last year and 21st this April. He has three top-20 finishes in the last four races. He also recently announced that 2019 will be his last season of full-time competition.

 

*Bubba Wallace, 25, of Mobile, Ala., is looking for his first top-10 of the season. His best finish is 15th at the Daytona summer 400-miler and he was 27th at Michigan last week. The driver of the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford has two top-20 finishes in three Bristol Cup starts, including a 20th-place finish this April. He scored a top 10 at Bristol in the 2016 Xfinity Series race and was runner-up to Bristol winner Brad Keselowski in the 2014 Gander Outdoors Truck Series race.

 

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Five to go and ‘It’s Bristol Baby!’

Nothing like some good ‘ole short track racing with just five to go in the NASCAR Xfinity Series regular season. The competitors will test their skills on the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway under the Friday night lights in the Food City 300 at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

Bristol will be the last short track the NASCAR Xfinity Series competes on in the regular season and the second time the series has visited the track this year. Nestled in Thunder Valley, Bristol Motor Speedway is a 0.533-mile track in length with variable banking of 24 to 28 degrees in the turns.

 

Bristol has hosted 74 NASCAR Xfinity Series races, producing 48 different pole winners and 47 different race winners. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson won last season’s Xfinity Series Bristol August race and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell won at the half-mile track earlier this season.

 

This season’s Food City 300 is scheduled to run 300 laps (159.9 miles). The first stage will end on Lap 85 and the second stage will end on Lap 170. Keep in mind each stage winner banks an all-too-valuable Playoff point which will come in handy once the postseason starts. Earlier this year, Justin Allgaier led the most laps in the race (138) and won both stages but finished 30th due to a late race accident.

 

Playoff Picture looks good for some, not so much for others

With five races to go and each of the six drivers with at least one win already clinching their spot in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, six postseason positions are still up for grabs as the series heads to Thunder Valley on Friday night for the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

The six drivers who have clinched their spot in the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs are Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell, Cole Custer, Austin Cindric, chase Briscoe and Michael Annett.

 

Below are the Bristol stats for the drivers inside the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver standings Top 12 – all of whom have clinched a spot in the top 20 in the points standings, but have yet to clinch a Playoff berth on points – although a win would lock them in immediately:

 

ü  Justin Allgaier (0 Wins, 773 Points, +534 Points Ahead of 21st) If Allgaier hasn’t clinched a spot on points, none of the other winless drivers below him in the standings could clinch either at this point. Allgaier has made 17 series starts posting one pole, one win (2010), eight top fives, 10 top 10s and an average finish of 12.2.

 

ü  Noah Gragson (0 Wins, 702 Points, +463 Points Ahead of 21st) Gragson made his series track debut at Bristol earlier this season starting seventh and finishing ninth.

 

ü  Justin Haley (0 Wins, 658 Points, +419 Points Ahead of 21st) Haley made his series track debut at Bristol earlier this season; he started 11th and finished seventh.

 

ü  John Hunter Nemechek (0 Wins, 613 Points, +374 Points Ahead of 21st) Nemechek has made two series starts at Bristol, posting one top five (fifth earlier this season) and an average finish of 9.0.

 

ü  Ryan Sieg (0 Wins, 569 Points, +330 Points Ahead of 21st) Sieg has made 11 starts at Bristol posting an average finish of 19.2. He posted his series best finish (11th) at Bristol in this race last season.

 

ü  Brandon Jones (0 Wins, 568 Points, +329 Points Ahead of 21st) Of the six drivers in the Top 12 in the series driver standings needing a win, most desperate for that victory is Jones. If a driver outside the top 12 were to win over the next five races, he could possibly be bumped from the Playoffs because he is in the final points transfer spot. Jones has made eight series starts at Bristol putting up two top 10s and an average finish of 15.3.

 

Jones, in that 12th and final Playoff transfer spot, can rest assured he does have a healthy points gap between himself and the rest of the drivers trying to make the Playoffs. Jones is currently 108 points ahead of Gray Gaulding in 13th; meaning it will most likely take a win from the drivers outside of the current 12 Playoff contenders to make the postseason.

 

Expect Xfinity’s Big 3 to remind everyone why they have that nickname

Earlier this season, when the NASCAR Xfinity Series first visited Bristol Motor Speedway, the series’ Big 3 – Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick and Cole Custer – stretched their muscles and finished 1-2-3. And it was the beginning of a dominant nine-race stretch of consecutive victories (Race No. 7 at Bristol all the way to Race No. 15 at Chicago). In total the three drivers have accumulated  13 of the first 21 races of the season.

 

Earlier this season at Bristol, not only did the Big 3 finish strong, each of the three led considerable laps that day as well (each with 25 or more: Bell 57 laps led, Reddick 61, Custer 25).

 

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell is looking to become just the third driver since the series inception in 1982 to accomplish the Bristol Xfinity season sweep, joining Steve Grissom (1995) and Kyle Busch (three consecutive victories twice: Aug. 2010-2011 season sweep and 2013 season sweep-March 2014).  Bell has made three starts at Bristol Motor Speedway posting one win (2019), two top fives and an average finish of 10.7. Among the Big 3, Bell has spent the most time out front at Bristol, leading a total of 110 laps.

 

Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick finished second in the spring Bristol event after leading on three different occasions earlier in the race. Reddick has a knack for Bristol, in four series starts at ‘The Last Great Colosseum’ he has chiseled out one top five, three top 10s and an average finish of 7.250 – best of the Big 3.

 

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer started on the pole and commanded the first 25 laps but ultimately finished third at Bristol earlier this season. Much like his fellow Big 3 competitors, Custer has taken to Bristol with ease. With the most experience at the track among the three, Custer’s five starts have yielded two poles (2018 and 2019 spring race), two top fives, four top 10s and an average finish of 11.4. Plus, he has led laps in his last three consecutive starts at Bristol.

 

With the Big 3 locked into the Playoffs, these last five races of the season are perfect opportunities to pad their Playoff points as 35 are still on the table (seven per race). JGR’s Christopher Bell currently has the season’s most Playoff points at 38; followed by Cole Custer’s 31 and Reddick’s 18.

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Monsters invade Thunder Valley – Three stout short tracks drivers from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Food City 300 on Friday night. Joe Gibbs Racing has tapped Kyle Busch to pilot the No. 18 Toyota Supra. Busch leads the series in poles (six), wins (nine), top fives (17) and laps led (2,067) at Bristol Motor Speedway. Team Penske has called on Joey Logano to strap into the No. 12 Ford Mustang on Friday. Logano has made 12 series starts at Bristol posting a pole, two wins, six top fives and 10 top 10s. Finally, XCI Racing has dialed-up Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones to jump behind the wheel of their No. 81 Toyota Supra. Bristol is one of Jones’ best tracks as in five starts he put up three poles, two wins, three top fives and four top 10s.

 

Cindric looking for Three-peat – Team Penske’s Austin Cindric has become quite familiar with Victory Lane the past two weekends as the North Carolina native has bagged the last two checkered flags in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and this weekend is looking to become just the ninth driver to win three-in-a-row.

 

Below is a look at the drivers that have won three or more races consecutively:

RANK DRIVER CONSECUTIVE WINS FROM TO
1 Sam Ard 4 9/17/1983 10/8/1983
2 Sam Ard 3 5/5/1984 5/19/1984
Christopher Bell 3 7/13/2018 7/28/2018
Kyle Busch 3 4/5/2008 4/20/2008
Kyle Busch 3 3/16/2013 4/12/2013
Kyle Busch 3 2/27/2016 3/12/2016
Kyle Busch 3 7/8/2016 7/23/2016
Dale Earnhardt Jr 3 6/5/1999 6/27/1999
Harry Gant 3 9/6/1991 10/5/1991
Mark Martin 3 2/22/1997 3/8/1997
Ryan Newman 3 8/13/2005 8/26/2005
Larry Pearson 3 8/15/1987 8/30/1987

 

 

Parade Laps: Insights to the drivers participating in the media breakouts

Four drivers from the NASCAR Xfinity Series – Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell, Team Penske’s Austin Cindric, GMS Racing’s John Hunter Nemechek and SS Green Light Racing’s Gray Gaulding – will be participating in this week’s media rotations at Bristol Motor Speedway leading into the Food City 300 on Friday, August 16 at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Rotations are scheduled from 5:30-5:45 p.m. ET on Thursday, August 15 in the Media Center Deadline Room.

 

Christopher Bell (No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra)

Birthdate: December 16, 1994

Driver’s Age: 24

Hometown: Norman, Oklahoma

Hobbies: Dirt track racing, iRacing, golf

Team: Joe Gibbs Racing

Crew Chief: Jason Ratcliff

Xfinity Career Highlights:

  • In 2018, he set the rookie single season Xfinity Series wins record with seven victories; the previous record of five wins was held by three drivers – Greg Biffle (2001), Kyle Busch (2004) and Carl Edwards (2005).
  • Made the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs in rookie season (2018), and advanced to the Championship 4; ultimately finishing fourth in the championship standings.
  • Recorded 13 career NASCAR Xfinity Series wins in just 62 starts; including five this season (Atlanta, Bristol, Dover, Iowa and New Hampshire).

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Currently second in the NASCAR Xfinity driver points standings, 28 points back from series standings leader Tyler Reddick.
  • In 21 starts this season, he has posted four poles (ISM Raceway, Texas, Charlotte, Iowa-2), five wins (Atlanta, Bristol, Dover, Iowa, New Hampshire), 14 top fives, 15 top 10s and an average finish of 8.4.
  • Has won 12 stages and accumulated 38 Playoff points.

Bristol Motor Speedway Performance:

  • Has made three series starts at Bristol posting one win (2019) and two top fives.
  • Has led 110 laps.
  • Has an average start, 4.3 and an average finish, 10.7.

 

Austin Cindric (No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang)

Birthdate: September 2, 1998

Driver’s Age: 23

Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

Hobbies: Mountain biking, water sports, listening to music

Team: Team Penske

Crew Chief: Brian Wilson

Xfinity Career Highlights:

  • Won his first two career NASCAR Xfinity Series race back-to-back at Watkins Glen International and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
  • Ran a full Xfinity season in 2018, splitting time with Roush Fenway Racing and Team Penske, making the Playoffs and ultimately finishing eighth in championship standings.
  • In 2017, he made his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Road America driving for Team Penske; he started on the pole but finished 16th.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Currently fifth in the NASCAR Xfinity driver points standings, 183 points back from the series standings lead.
  • In 21 starts this season he has posted two poles(Kentucky, Mid-Ohio), two wins (Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio), eight top fives and 15 top 10s.
  • Has one stage win and has accumulated 11 Playoff points.

Bristol Motor Speedway Performance:

  • Has made three series starts at Bristol posting one top-five finish (sixth earlier this season).
  • Has average start, 10.3 and an average finish, 10.7

 

John Hunter Nemechek (No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet Camaro)

Birthdate: June 11, 1997

Driver’s Age: 22

Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

Hobbies: Snowboarding, surfing, mountain biking and cycling

Crew Chief: Chad Norris

Xfinity Career Highlights:

  • Competed part-time in 2018 for Chip Ganassi Racing, posting his first NASCAR Xfinity Series career win (Kansas Speedway) and first pole (ISM Raceway).

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Currently 10th in the driver championship standings, 316 points back from series standings leader Tyler Reddick.
  • In 21 starts this season he has posted three top fives, 11 top 10s and an average finish of 12.8.

Bristol Motor Speedway Performance:

  • Has made two series starts at Bristol posting one top-five finish (fifth earlier this season).
  • Has an average start, 7.5 and an average finish of 9.0.

 

Gray Gaulding (No. 08 SS Green Light Racing Chevrolet Camaro)

Birthdate: February 10, 1998

Driver’s Age: 21

Hometown: Colonial Heights, Virginia

Hobbies: Weightlifting, basketball, spending time on the lake, Go-Karting

Team: SS Green Light Racing

Crew Chief: Patrick Donahue

Xfinity Career Highlights:

  • Has made 29 NASCAR Xfinity Series career starts; posting a best finish of runner-up earlier this season at Talladega Superspeedway.
  • Made five series starts in 2017 gaining experience driving for RSS Racing.
  • Made NASCAR Xfinity Series debut in 2016 with Roush Fenway Racing – competed in two races in 2016 finishing 13th at both (Bristol and Richmond).

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Current 13th in the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver championship standings, the first spot outside the Playoffs. He is 460 points behind the standings lead and 108 points behind the 12th position – the final Playoff transfer spot.
  • In 21 starts this season he has posted one top five, two top 10s and an average finish of 15.7.

Bristol Motor Speedway Performance:

  • Has made two series starts at Bristol posting a best finish of 13th in 2016.

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series

We’re talkin’ ‘bout Playoffs

Thursday’s UNOH 200 (8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) marks the start of the 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs and eight drivers – Brett Moffitt, Grant Enfinger, Stewart Friesen, Austin Hill, Ross Chastain, Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter and Tyler Ankrum – will battle it out over the next seven races for the series title.

 

Moffitt enters the postseason as the top seed, carrying 22 Playoff points following two wins (Iowa, Chicago) and two stage wins. Regular season champion Enfinger trails just slightly with 19 Playoff points – four from stage wins and the remainder as the bonus earned by finishing atop the points standings after Michigan.

 

Friesen (Eldora), Hill (Daytona, Michigan), Chastain (Gateway, Pocono – Playoff-eligible wins; Kansas – prior to declaring for Gander Trucks points), Sauter (Dover) and Ankrum (Kentucky) all made their way to the postseason with wins.

 

ThorSport Racing teammates Enfinger and Crafton, who finished first and third in the regular season points, respectively, raced their way in on consistent finishes throughout the season.

 

Bristol Motor Speedway, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Las Vegas Motor Speedway make up the trio of tracks in the opening Round of 8 in the Playoffs. Two drivers will be eliminated from title contention following Las Vegas, and the Round of 6 will consist of Talladega Superspeedway, Martinsville Speedway and ISM Raceway. That will narrow the field down to the Championship 4 who will race for all the marbles at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.

 

Click here for a complete look at the 2019 statistics and Gander Trucks Playoff history of each of the eight drivers.

 

Looking back on Gander Trucks Playoff history

The 2019 edition of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs will be the fourth season using the elimination-style, three-round system to determine a champion.

 

Johnny Sauter won the initial showdown in Miami in 2016, holding off Matt Crafton, Christopher Bell and Timothy Peters to claim the crown. Bell turned the tables the next year, bettering Sauter, Crafton and Austin Cindric for the title.

 

And last year, Brett Moffitt won the race and the championship with Hattori Racing Enterprises, defeating Sauter, Justin Haley and Noah Gragson in South Florida.

 

Sauter is the only driver who has made it to the Championship 4 in each season of the elimination-style Playoff system. Crafton and Bell have each been there twice.

 

Austin Hill, Ross Chastain and Tyler Ankrum are all making their Gander Trucks Playoffs debuts this week. Moffitt, Stewart Friesen and Grant Enfinger each have one previous postseason appearance (last year). Sauter and Crafton lead the field, having qualified for the Playoffs in each year of the current format’s existence.

 

This year’s Playoffs features three previous series champions, as in addition to Sauter and Moffitt who won under the current format, Crafton captured back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014, prior to the introduction of the elimination-style Playoff grid.

 

Prior performances at Bristol

Only one of the 2019 Gander Truck Playoff drivers has visited Victory Lane at this weekend’s venue – Bristol Motor Speedway – and he did it just a year ago. Johnny Sauter enters “The Last Great Colosseum” as the defending winner and hopes to repeat to guarantee his spot in the Round of 6.

 

And only one of the Playoff drivers has yet to race at Bristol – Sunoco Rookie of the Year Tyler Ankrum.

 

Matt Crafton leads the group with 16 starts (five more than Sauter’s 11) at Bristol. He has four top fives and 10 top 10s, with a pair of runner-up finishes (2009, 2017). Sauter has the win, five top-five and seven top-10 finishes.

 

Of the rest of the contenders, the most appearances any driver has at Bristol is three – by Ross Chastain, Stewart Friesen and Austin Hill.

 

Chastain’s starts are spread out a bit – he raced there in 2012 and 2013, posting his best Bristol finish of third in that second start. He was 12th in last year’s race. Meanwhile, Friesen had rough outings with results of 22nd or worse in his first two starts – but finished second to Sauter last season.

 

Hill is the lone Playoff contender with Bristol experience who has not tallied a top 10 at the track. In his three starts, his average finish is 20.7.

 

Brett Moffitt and Grant Enfinger each have two races under their belts at Bristol – and each has a top-five finish. Enfinger was fourth and 10th in his two starts while Moffitt finished second (2016) and 18th (last year).

 

The teams behind the contenders

ThorSport Racing leads the garage with three drivers contending for a championship in the 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs. And they are the only team with more than one driver qualified for the postseason.

 

In all, six different teams are fielding Playoff drivers – and all six teams won at least one race during the regular season.

 

Although ThorSport Racing’s Grant Enfinger and Matt Crafton secured their Playoff berths on points without a win, their teammate Johnny Sauter visited Victory Lane at Dover earlier this year.

 

GMS Racing (Brett Moffitt – two wins), Halmar Friesen Racing (Stewart Friesen – one win), Hattori Racing Enterprises (Austin Hill – two wins), Niece Motorsports (Ross Chastain – two Playoff-eligible wins, three overall) and DGR-Crosley (Tyler Ankrum – one win) make up the balance of the teams fielding Playoff contenders.

 

Tyler Ankrum locks up Sunoco Rookie of the Year title early

Heading into last weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway, Harrison Burton had a 56-point lead over Sheldon Creed in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings (506 to 450). Tyler Dippel was third with 337 points while Tyler Ankrum had 322 points in fourth.

 

But that all changed at the drop of the checkered flag in the Irish Hills.

 

As luck would have it for Ankrum, he is the only Sunoco Rookie contender who qualified for the Playoffs, therefore he has already clinched the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title with seven races to go.

 

This is due to the points reset that happened at the beginning of the Playoffs, guaranteeing Ankrum would finish the season with no less than 2000 points.

 

Potential Bristol spoilers come in form of part-time entries

A pair of young rising stars and two seasoned veterans make up a quartet of drivers to watch as they attempt to play the role of spoiler this weekend to the Playoff drivers’ postseason hopes and dreams.

 

Seventeen-year old ARCA Menards Series standout Chandler Smith heads to the half-mile oval to make his third NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series start of the season. In two races so far with Kyle Busch Motorsports, he has recorded a pole (in his debut at Iowa) and two top-10 finishes (eighth at Iowa, fourth at Gateway). He’ll be behind the wheel of the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota on Thursday night.

 

And he’s shown that he has the coordinates to Victory Lane plugged into his GPS in ARCA – in only 18 starts over the past two seasons, he’s collected six race trophies, including four of the last six races he’s entered. (His participation has been limited by age at the larger tracks.) He has also recorded eight poles, including in the first four races he entered.

 

Also making is his series debut at Thunder Valley will be Raphael Lessard, as the 18-year-old Quebec, Canada, native will be starting his fourth Gander Trucks race. He made his debut at Martinsville with KBM, finishing 14th, and then ran a second race with the outfit at Dover, recording an 11th-place result. His third start came with DGR-Crosley at Iowa, where he notched his first top 10, placing ninth.

 

He will return to Kyle Busch Motorsports equipment this week, piloting the No. 46 entry for the team.

 

Parker Kligerman will be making his second series start this season and 78th overall in a truck, driving the No. 75 Henderson Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend. Kligerman has a pair of wins in the Gander Trucks and brings a pretty successful track record into Bristol. In five starts, he’s posted an average finish of 8.8, highlighted by a runner-up finish in 2012. Additionally, he finished fourth in this race last season.

 

And Timothy Peters will be racing for the fourth time this season in the Gander Trucks. A veteran with 246 series races and 11 wins under his belt, he’ll be driving the No. 92 Ricky Benton Racing Enterprises Ford.

 

Peters has climbed up into Victory Lane at “The Last Great Colosseum,” having taken the win in 2012. He has a total of three top-five and five top-10 finishes in 12 starts at Bristol, following up his win with a runner-up result in 2013.

 

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Etc.

Manufacturer standings: At the conclusion of the regular season, Toyota holds a 19-point lead over Chevrolet in the manufacturer standings (600 – 581). Ford is third with 533 points. Toyota also leads in wins this season, totaling nine victories. Chevrolet has visited Victory Lane six times while Ford has one win.

 

Owner’s championship outlook: Of the eight trucks contending for the 2019 Gander Trucks driver’s championship, seven are also entered in the fight for the owner’s title. The only outlier is the No. 88 ThorSport Racing Toyota – without a win on the season, they were replaced by the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota entry, which scored a post-season qualifying win at Texas Motor Speedway with Greg Biffle in June. That truck will be piloted by Chandler Smith this weekend.

 

Parade Laps: Insights into the driver in this week’s media breakouts

Four drivers from the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series – Hattori Racing Enterprises’ Austin Hill, ThorSport Racing’s Johnny Sauter, DGR-Crosley’s Tyler Ankrum and Niece Motorsports Ross Chastain – will be participating in this week’s media rotations at Bristol Motor Speedway leading into the UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics on Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Gander Trucks media rotations are scheduled for Thursday, August 15 from 1-1:15 p.m. ET in Media Center Deadline Room.

Austin Hill (No. 16 Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota Tundra)

Birthdate: April 21, 1994

Driver’s Age: 25

Hometown: Winston, Georgia

Hobbies: Hunting, spending time with family and boating

Crew Chief: Scott Zipadelli

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • 2019 marks Hill’s second full-time season in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Trucks Series.
  • He made his Truck Series debut in 2014 at Martinsville, finishing 26th.
  • Finished 11th in 2018 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship points, his first full season.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Enters the 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs as the fourth seed, 10 points behind the Playoff standings leader Brett Moffitt and two points behind of third place Stewart Friesen.
  • This is his first career Gander Trucks Playoff appearance.
  • Through 16 races this season, Hill has put up two wins (Daytona, Michigan), four top fives, eight top 10s and two poles (Chicago, Pocono).
  • Has yet to win a stage this season but has accumulated 12 Playoff points.
  • Has led 121 of 2,059 laps completed (5.8%)
  • 2019 average starting position, 8.9 and average finishing position, 14.2.

Bristol Motor Speedway Performance:

  • Has made three starts at Bristol Motor Speedway posting a best finish of 19th in 2016
  • Has an average start of 21.0 and an average finish of 20.7.

Johnny Sauter (No. 13 ThorSport Racing Ford F-150)

Birthdate: May 1, 1978

Driver’s Age: 41

Hometown: Necedah, Wisconsin

Hobbies: Late-model racing, family activities, hockey

Crew Chief: Joe Shear Jr.

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • In 2018, he made the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Championship 4 for the third consecutive season; posted a career-high six wins on the season.
  • Finished second in 2017 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs, amassing a then career-high four wins along the way.
  • In 2016, he won the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship.
  • In 2009, he won the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Enters the 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs as the seventh seed, 13 points behind the Playoff standings leader Brett Moffitt and two points behind of sixth place Matt Crafton.
  • This is Sauter’s fourth consecutive career Gander Trucks Playoff appearance.
  • Through 15 races this season, Sauter has posted one win (Dover), three top fives, and seven top 10s – *Sauter only competed in 15 of the 16 scheduled races due to being suspended for one race (Charlotte).
  • Has won three stages and accumulated nine Playoff points.
  • Has led 76 of 2,060 laps completed (3.6%).
  • 2019 average starting position, 7.4 and average finishing position, 7.2.

Bristol Motor Speedway Performance:

  • Has made 11 series starts at Bristol Motor Speedway posting one win (2018), five top fives and seven top 10s. Has also led 65 laps.
  • Average start, 11.6 and average finish, 8.8.

Ross Chastain (No. 45 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado)

Birthdate: December 4, 1992

Driver’s Age: 26

Hometown: Alva, Florida

Hobbies: Farming watermelons

Crew Chief: Phil Gould

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • Chastain has raced part-time over nine seasons competing in 75 series races, recording three wins (Kansas, Gateway, Pocono – all in 2019), eight top-five and 22 top-10 finishes.
  • In 2012, he ran his only full-time season in the Gander Trucks. He tallied a top five and four top 10s.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Enters the 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs as the fifth seed, 10 points behind the Playoff standings leader Brett Moffitt and two points behind of third place Stewart Friesen. Hill and Chastain are tied in the points, but currently Hill owns the tiebreaker (highest finishes).
  • This is Chastain’s first career Gander Trucks Playoff appearance.
  • Through 16 this season, Chastain has posted three wins (Kansas, Gateway, Pocono), six top fives, 13 top 10s and a pole (Michigan).
  • Has won three stages and accumulated 12 Playoff points.
  • Has led 305 of 2,334 laps completed (13.1%)
  • 2019 average starting position, 12.1 and average finishing position, 9.2.

Bristol Motor Speedway Performance:

  • Has made three series starts at Bristol posting one top-five finish.
  • Has an average start of 19.7 and average finish of 11.3.

Tyler Ankrum (No. 17 DGR-Crosley Toyota Tundra)

Birthdate: March 6, 2001

Driver’s Age: 18

Hometown: San Bernardino, California

Crew Chief: Kevin Manion

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • Clinched the 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors by becoming the only rookie to make the Playoffs.
  • Due to age restrictions, Ankrum missed the first three races of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series season before turning 18-years old in March.
  • Made NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series debut on Oct. 27, 2018 at Martinsville Speedway driving for DGR-Crosley; he started 19thand finished 18th.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Enters the 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs as the eighth and final seed, 17 points behind the Playoff standings leader Brett Moffitt and four points behind of seventh place Johnny Sauter.
  • Ankrum has clinched the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series for 2018 because he is the only rookie this season to make the Playoffs.
  • Through the first 16 races of the season Ankrum has only competed in 13 of the events due to being too young to compete at the beginning of the season. In his 13 starts he has posted one win (Kentucky), three top fives and six top 10s.
  • Has yet to win a stage in 2019 but he has accumulated five Playoff points.
  • Has led 52 of 1,678 laps completed (3.1%)
  • 2019 average starting position, 12.4 and average finishing position, 14.3.

Bristol Motor Speedway Performance:

  • He will make his first series start at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend.

Bristol Motor Speedway 2013 photo By CDJudd76 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

 

RACE PREVIEW COURTESY OF NASCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

NHRA star Ron Capps loves Brainerd fans; brings out the best in his performance

 

Ron Capps (photo by National Dragster, courtesy NHRAmedia.com)

 

BRAINERD, Minn. – There’s a certain affinity Ron Capps has with Brainerd International Raceway and its huge on-site campground known as “The Zoo.” After all, there is a part of the campground named after the Funny Car world champion, a corner aptly called “Capps Corner.” It’s an honor the veteran takes seriously and that is evident in Capps’ track record at the fan-favorite facility.

Capps has five career wins in Brainerd, the site of this weekend’s 38th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, the most recent coming in 2014 to finish off a stretch of three straight Funny Car wins at the track. In the midst of another solid NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, Capps hopes to start a new streak in his 11,000-horsepower NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. After all, he feels a certain responsibility when it comes to performing well in Brainerd.

“When the fans started ‘Capps Corner’ you couldn’t ask for a bigger compliment,” said Capps, who has 63 career wins. “There’s certain accolades you get, but to have a corner named after you at Brainerd in ‘The Zoo’ it ranks right up there with anything. It’s a cool thing. The Canadians that come down are so much fun, and just the people that come out, you almost have to pay them back by going out to see them. Obviously it’s paid great dividends for me on the track.”

Billy Torrence (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car) and Deric Kramer (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including live final eliminations coverage starting at 2:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Aug. 18. It is the 17th of 24 events during the 2019 NHRA season, and as the penultimate race of the NHRA regular season, Capps is fully aware of where his team needs to be heading into Brainerd.

The Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship is a month away, and Capps wants to see his team, led by crew chief Rahn Tobler, at its best. He grabbed back-to-back wins earlier in the year, adding another final round appearance at the most recent race in Seattle. It’s a good sign heading into the most important time of the year and Capps wants to keep that momentum going.

“Right around the corner is Indy and the Countdown, so this time of the year is unique and you couldn’t ask for a better race at this time of the year because it’s so fun,” said Capps, who is fourth in Funny Car points. “Everything about Brainerd just takes the edge off. You’ve got teams, like ours, that are fighting for position. We want to be race ready for the Countdown, and if you’re a little lost in your tune-up right now, you’re not in a good place.”
Capps, though, seems to be in a really good place in a loaded class. Winning in Brainerd remains an important task for him, though he’ll have to deal with the likes of points leader Robert Hight, John Force, who picked up his 150th career win by beating Capps in the final round in Seattle, defending world champ J.R. Todd and Don Schumacher Racing teammates Tommy Johnson Jr., Beckman and Matt Hagan. But Capps promises to have plenty of motivation this weekend.
“Brainerd has a lot of deep-rooted memories for me,” Capps said. “Certain tracks you learn to balance the karma, and the karma for Brainerd is you need to go to ‘The Zoo’ and hang out with the fans a little bit. In the past it’s definitely paid me back. You don’t have to go and get crazy, but you need to go enjoy it with the fans. Every Saturday night, we go to ’The Zoo’ and I tell Tobler we’ll have him back right after the fireworks and back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.”
B. Torrence won his first career Top Fuel victory last year in Brainerd. He already has two wins in 2019, and will look for more competing against his son, points leader and defending champ Steve Torrence, Seattle winner Austin Prock, Brittany Force, Clay Millican and Antron Brown.
Deric Kramer enjoyed a breakout season in Pro Stock a year ago, winning his first two career races. He has a win this year and will try for another against the likes of points leader Bo Butner, area natives Greg Anderson and Jason Line, Jeg Couglin Jr., Chris McGaha and Alex Laughlin.
The event also features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, showcasing future stars of the sport. After Nitro qualifying on both days, fans can watch the spectacular Lucas Oil “Muy Caliente” jet cars. Jet cars are propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.
NHRA fans can take part in the Mello Yello Walking Tour to see the teams hard at work in the pits. Fans can also attend Pro Stock Motorcycle school at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, as well as Nitro School to learn how the cars and motorcycles operate and reach their thrilling speeds. Brainerd International Raceway will host a Mello Yello autograph session and allow fans to meet their favorite drivers. Another can’t-miss experience is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes. NHRA fans can congratulate the winners as they celebrate their Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals victories.
As always, fans can interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 16 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Aug. 17, at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18.
Tickets are available at the front gate of Brainerd International Raceway. Kids 12 and under are free with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on tickets. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF NHRA COMMUNICATIONS;

NFL, Roc Nation sign agreement; company to be league’s long-term Live Music Entertainment Strategists

 

Partnership will support NFL’s Inspire Change social justice initiative -

New York, NY – Today, Roc Nation announced it has entered into a long-term partnership with the National Football League as the league’s official Live Music Entertainment Strategists. The partnership will begin as the NFL’s 100th season kicks off and will serve as a commitment from Roc Nation and the NFL to nurture and strengthen community through music and the NFL’s Inspire Change initiative.

Roc Nation will spearhead and advise on the selection of artists for NFL tentpole performances, including the Super Bowl, and will assist in the production and promotion of new music as well as culture- and cause-focused initiatives.

A core component of the partnership will be to amplify the Inspire Change platform priority areas identified by NFL Players, including Education and Economic Advancement, Improving Police-Community Relations, and Criminal Justice Reform.

“With its global reach, the National Football League has the platform and opportunity to inspire change across the country,” said Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter. “Roc Nation has shown that entertainment and enacting change are not mutually exclusive ideas – instead, we unify them. This partnership is an opportunity to strengthen the fabric of communities across America.”

Roc Nation and the NFL will work together to create and distribute music content across multiple music streaming services for a variety of initiatives. Roc Nation will work alongside the league with artists to curate the richness of football culture nationwide. Content initiatives may include a Live Visual Album, “Songs of the Season” original music, archived and current content from live NFL music events and artist podcasts.

“Roc Nation is one of the most globally influential and impactful organizations in entertainment,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “The NFL and Roc Nation share a vision of inspiring meaningful social change across our country. We are thrilled to partner with Roc Nation and look forward to making a difference in our communities together.”

Roc Nation will also consult and collaborate on various aspects of production, promotion, marketing, and communications for live music events and related activations, which include new endeavors such as Songs of the Season and a Pro Bowl Community Concert.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NFL: Jocelyn Moore and Brian McCarthy; ROC NATION: Jana Fleishman and Ron Berkowitz; COURTESY NFLmedia.com

 

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