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Archive for May 22nd, 2020

Beginning June 8, Southeastern Conference to allow Voluntary In-Person Athletics Activities

5/22/2020 | General

 

ADDING QUOTES FROM SOUTH CAROLINA:

“Based on the decision today by the Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors, the University of South Carolina will be ready to host football student-athletes on campus for voluntary workouts on June 8,” said University of South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner. “They will be on campus several days before to get tested for the COVID-19 virus. We are excited to have our student-athletes back on campus. Their health, safety and well-being are our number one priority. Our staff and medical team have developed a thorough set of protocols that exceed CDC guidelines and will help our student-athletes through the transition back to campus.”

“I am pleased that we will bring our student-athletes back to campus on June 8 for conditioning and I have confidence in our Department of Athletics to follow public health protocols to mitigate risk to our athletes, coaches and training staff,” said UofSC President Bob Caslen. “This is another step toward the phased reopening of our campus and another sign that we are ready to get back to the business of educating our next generation of leaders.”

SEC TO PERMIT VOLUNTARY IN-PERSON ATHLETICS ACTIVITIES BEGINNING ON JUNE 8

Student-Athletes Given Opportunity to Engage in Strength & Conditioning Activities That Can Be Effectively Monitored and Performed While Social Distancing

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (May 22, 2020) – Voluntary in-person athletics activities may resume on Southeastern Conference campuses, at the discretion of each university, beginning June 8 under strict supervision of designated university personnel and safety guidelines developed by each institution, the SEC announced Friday.

Due to the impact of COVID-19, the SEC had suspended all athletics activities through May 31. June 8 will begin a transition period that will allow student-athletes to gradually adapt to full training and sports activity after this recent period of inactivity. Under plans developed by each university and consistent with state and local health directives, certain activities will be permitted based on the ability to participate in controlled and safe environments, while also maintaining recommended social distancing measures.

The decision to resume athletics activities, which at this time is limited by the NCAA to voluntary activities supervised by strength and conditioning personnel, was made with the guidance of the Conference’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force. Created by the SEC’s Presidents and Chancellors in April and comprised of a cross-section of leading public health, infectious disease and sports medicine professionals from across the SEC’s 14 member institutions, the Task Force will remain active to provide continued advice and guidance to the SEC and its members as they prepare for a return to competition.

“The safe and healthy return of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and our greater university communities have been and will continue to serve as our guiding principle as we navigate this complex and constantly-evolving situation,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “At this time, we are preparing to begin the fall sports season as currently scheduled, and this limited resumption of voluntary athletic activities on June 8 is an important initial step in that process. Thanks to the blueprint established by our Task Force and the dedicated efforts of our universities and their athletics programs, we will be able to provide our student-athletes with far better health and wellness education, medical and psychological care and supervision than they would otherwise receive on their own while off campus or training at public facilities as states continue to reopen.”

As part of its recommendations, the Task Force prepared a series of best practices for screening, testing, monitoring, tracing, social distancing and maintaining cleaned environments. These recommendations will serve as a roadmap for each school prior to and upon the return of student-athletes to their campuses.

“While each institution will make its own decisions in creating defined plans to safely return student-athletes to activity, it is essential to employ a collaborative approach that involves input from public health officials, coaches, sports medicine staff, sports performance personnel and student-athletes,” Sankey said. “Elements of the Task Force recommendations provided key guidance for determining the date of the return to activity.”

In addition to standard infection prevention measures as approved by public health authorities such as facility cleaning and social distancing, recommended enhanced health and safety measures include:

  • Enhanced education of all team members on health and wellness best practices, including but not limited to preventing the spread of COVID-19
  • A 3-stage screening process that involves screening before student-athletes arrive on campus, within 72 hours of entering athletics facilities and on a daily basis upon resumption of athletics activities
  • Testing of symptomatic team members (including all student-athletes, coaches, team support and other appropriate individuals)
  • Immediate isolation of team members who are under investigation or diagnosed with COVID-19 followed by contact tracing, following CDC and local public health guidelines
  • A transition period that allows student-athletes to gradually adapt to full training and sport activity following a period of inactivity

During the month of June, NCAA regulations permit only strength and conditioning personnel to supervise voluntary on-campus athletics activities in the sports of football and men’s & women’s basketball. A current waiver that permits eight (8) hours of virtual film review has been extended through June 30 for football and basketball.

Consistent with NCAA regulations, organized practices and other required physical activities remain prohibited in all sports. A previously announced suspension of in-person camps and coaches clinics conducted by SEC institutions remains in effect until July 31.

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF THE SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE & SOUTH CAROLINA ATHLETICS

 

IndyCar fans can win exciting experiences in Memorial Day Weekend Benefit Auction

 

 

INDIANAPOLIS (May 22, 2020) – The green flag has waved on the virtual INDYCAR “One Drive To Get Back On Track” auction that features rare and exciting ultimate INDYCAR fan experiences and supports non-profit organizations on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19.

The auction, which can be found at INDYCAR.com/BackOnTrack , will end at 11:59 p.m. (ET) Sunday, May 24. Proceeds from the auction will support the American Red Cross, All Clear Foundation and Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana. Additionally, proceeds from a special edition #BackOnTrack T-shirt available on the website also will support those three organizations working tirelessly to support Indiana communities.

The final item added to the list of once-in-a-lifetime experiences up for auction is the Ultimate INDYCAR Backstage Pass. This special access for a practice day at the race weekend of the highest bidder’s choosing will offer a rare, behind-the-scenes look for two at an NTT INDYCAR SERIES race weekend. Items included in the package:

• Lunch at INDYCAR VIP Hospitality with an INDYCAR executive

• A meet and greet with the highest bidder’s favorite NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver

• A private tour of Race Control with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Director

• A tour of INDYCAR technical inspection with an NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race Official

• A Media Center tour and attendance at an INDYCAR-hosted press conference

• A tour of the TV compound

• The opportunity to wave the green or checkered flag during an INDYCAR practice

• Event car rides around the racetrack for each of the two guests

• VIP hospitality for the day

• Race weekend credentials for the entire weekend

This Backstage Pass package is valid on any NTT INDYCAR SERIES race weekend in 2021 except for Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge qualification weekend and Indy 500 Race Day.

The “One Drive To Get Back On Track” auction features dozens of unique opportunities for race fans to meet their favorite driver or to spend a race weekend, including the Arrow McLaren SP VIP 2021 St. Pete Grand Prix Package. This all-access experience at the 2021 INDYCAR season opener in St. Petersburg, Florida, includes a garage tour, Arrow McLaren SP team gear, a karting session with an Arrow McLaren SP driver and more.

Also up for grabs is the “priceless” Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach VIP Experience For Two at the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. This package includes VIP suite access during the race, two Acura Grand Prix Overpasses, two Sunday pace car rides and an invitation for two to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES pre-race grid.

Additionally, race fans can enter for a chance to win the free, exclusive Indianapolis Motor Speedway “Epic Racing Capital of the World Experience” sweepstakes, which includes the opportunity to wave the green flag to start an Indy 500 practice day, take a track lap in a Speedway Chevrolet event car with IMS President J. Douglas Boles and end the day with dinner for four with the Borg-Warner Trophy and a former Indy 500 winner.

To learn more about each package up for auction, as well as to place a bid, visit INDYCAR.com/BackOnTrack.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Alex Damron & Kate Davis; COURTESY INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

South Carolina welcoming Student-Athletes back to campus for voluntary in-person activities on June 8

 

 

5/22/2020 | General

Voluntary in-person athletics activities will resume at The University of South Carolina beginning on June 8, under protocols and procedures that have been developed by the Gamecocks Athletics Department and medical advisors, Athletics Director Ray Tanner announced today.

“Based on the decision today by the Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors, the University of South Carolina will be ready to host football student-athletes on campus for voluntary workouts on June 8,” said Tanner. “They will return to campus several days before to get tested for the COVID-19 virus. We are excited to have our student-athletes back on campus. Their health, safety and well-being are our number one priority. Our staff and medical team have developed a thorough set of protocols that exceed CDC guidelines and will help our student-athletes through the transition back to campus.”

Due to the impact of COVID-19, the SEC had suspended all athletics activities through May 31. June 1 will begin a transition period that will allow student-athletes to get tested for the virus on campus as well as gradually adapt to the full training and sports activities.

The decision by the SEC Presidents and Chancellors to resume athletics activities, which at this time is limited by the NCAA to voluntary activities supervised by strength and conditioning personnel, was made with the guidance of the Conference’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force. The group is comprised of a cross-section of leading public health and sports medicine professionals from across the SEC’s 14-member institutions. The Task Force will remain active to provide continued advice and guidance to the SEC and its members as they prepare for a return to competition. Dr. Zoë Foster, athletics team physician, is the University of South Carolina’s representative on the Task Force.

Highlighted among the protocols that have been developed for Gamecock student-athletes are:

  • Student-athletes will receive a COVID-19 and antibody test upon arrival on campus. They will also receive a daily symptoms and temperature check and trace contacting will take place.
  • All facilities used by student-athletes have undergone a strict cleaning process to ensure they have been fully disinfected and will include additional hand sanitizing stations.
  • All student-athletes and staff are required to wear face coverings in public spaces and wash their hands frequently.
  • Physical distancing with staff and student-athletes will be emphasized.
  • There are extensive educational efforts including videos, in-person communication and signage.

Procedures in place of a student-athlete or staff members shows symptoms of the virus. Student-athletes will also be set up in “clusters” for all activities as to keep a possible positive inside the small unit rather than impacting the entire group.

During the month of June, NCAA regulations permit only strength and conditioning personnel to supervise voluntary on-campus athletics activities in the sports of football, as well as men’s and women’s basketball. A current waiver that permits eight (8) hours of virtual film review has been extended through June 30 for football and basketball.

Consistent with NCAA regulations, organized practices and other required physical activities remain prohibited in all sports. A previously announced suspension of in-person camps and coaches clinics conducted by SEC institutions remains in effect until July 31.

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF SOUTH CAROLINA ATHLETICS

NASCAR invades Charlotte for Memorial Day Week Racing (May 24,25,26)

NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Coca-Cola 600

The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway

The Date: Sunday, May 24

The Time: 6 p.m. ET

TV: FOX, 5:30 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 600 miles (400 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 100),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 200), Stage 3 (Ends on Lap 300), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 400)

2019 Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Alsco 300

The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway

The Date: Monday, May 25

The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 300 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

2019 Race Winner: Brad Keselowski

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series

Next Race: North Carolina Education Lottery 200

The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway

The Date: Tuesday, May 26

The Time: 8 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 7:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 201 miles (134 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 134)

2019 Winner: Kyle Busch

NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Also Uniforms 500

The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway

The Date: Wednesday, May 27

The Time: 8 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 310.6 miles (205 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 55),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 115), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 208)

Expanded NASCAR partnership with Safety Kleen

As the NASCAR industry moves from Darlington Raceway to Charlotte Motor Speedway to continue racing this weekend, ensuring that the track is a clean and safe location to race is of utmost concern during these times.

 

Beginning last week at Darlington, and continuing this weekend in Charlotte and beyond, NASCAR’s expanded partnership with Clean Harbors, the parent company of Safety Kleen, includes disinfection and decontamination services to prepare the tracks and clean the inbound haulers and equipment used during the race weekend.

 

“As NASCAR returns to racing, it’s essential that our drivers, teams and staff are safe at the track,” said John Bobo, NASCAR’s vice president of racing operations. “We appreciate the expanded partnership with Clean Harbors during these unprecedented times, as they will play a critical role in the ongoing disinfection of our facilities leading into and during race weekends.”

NASCAR Cup Series

Moving on to the Queen City
Now with two races completed in NASCAR’s return to racing following the stoppage due to the COVID-19 outbreak, NASCAR moves on to Charlotte Motor Speedway for a pair of NASCAR Cup Series races over four days.

 

The homestand starts off with the traditional Memorial Day weekend Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, May 24, at 6 p.m. ET (FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). That race is followed up three days later by the Alsco Uniforms 500 in a mid-week prime-time race on Wednesday, May 27, at 8 p.m. ET (FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

While the Coca-Cola 600 is taking place during it’s originally scheduled slot in the schedule, the Alsco Uniforms 500 is replacing what would have been the road course race at Sonoma in June.

This marks the third of the three Cup Series race realignments announced by NASCAR earlier this month. The two Darlington races earlier this week took the place of Chicagoland’s June date and the spring Richmond race that was originally slated for April.

In a statement, NASCAR said, ”Due to the current pandemic, NASCAR has faced several difficult decisions, including realigning race dates from several race tracks. These decisions were made following thorough collaboration with local and state government officials from across the country, including the areas of the affected race tracks. We thank all our fans for their support, and we look forward to our return to racing.”

Qualifying returns for the Coca-Cola 600

For the first time since NASCAR returned to racing at Darlington, Busch Pole Award qualifying will set the field for the NASCAR Cup Series.

 

Qualifying will take place on Sunday at 2 p.m., mere hours before the start of the 600-mile race.

 

William Byron started on the Busch Pole last year for the Coca-Cola 600.

 

“600 Miles of Remembrance” returns to honor fallen service members
In what has become an annual tradition during the Coca-Cola 600, the names of U.S. Armed Forces members who sacrificed their lives for our country will be proudly displayed on the windshields of each of the 40 NASCAR Cup Series cars participating in the race.

Several of the names were chosen due to personal connections the team or sponsor had to the fallen service members.

Three of the Stewart-Haas Racing cars will feature the names of soldiers killed on May 23, 2011, when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device in the country’s eastern Kunar province. The deaths of Staff Sergeant Kristofferson Lorenzo (will be on Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Ford), Private First Class William Blevins (on the No. 10 of Aric Almirola) and Private First Class Andrew Krippner (on the No. 14 of Clint Bowyer) had an impact on team fabricator Matthew Ridgway, a U.S. Army veteran. While Ridgway did not know the three men personally, he would later serve in the same battalion as the fallen soldiers honored on the team’s cars.

Kurt Busch and the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet will carry the name of U.S. Navy Petty Officer Second Class Philip Grieser on the windshield during Sunday’s race. Grieser was the chief of Seabee team 1013 and was killed in a base attack in 1969 while serving in the Vietnam War. His son, Doug Newell, is an electrician for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Brennan Poole’s No. 15 Spartan Mosquito Chevy Camaro will proudly honor SFC. Nathan Ross

Chapman from 1st Special Forces Group. Chapman, from San Antonio, Texas, was killed on January 4, 2002, in Khost, Afghanistan. Three members of the Spartan Mosquito family also served in the 1st Special Forces Group.

With Sunday’s race to run without fans or special guests in attendance, each of the families honored as part of 600 Miles of Remembrance on Sunday will receive an acrylic replica of the racecar header with the fallen service member’s name and rank from NASCAR and Coca-Cola. Additionally, Coca-Cola is hosting a private pre-race virtual concert by country artist Justin Moore for Gold Star Families.

Charlotte Motor Speedway will continue its long-standing tradition of military tributes in recognition of Memorial Day Weekend. In addition to the pre-race military flyover, the race broadcast on FOX will capture a moment of silence at the conclusion of Stage 2, when all cars will stop on pit road to honor to the fallen.

Best in the return
While clearly the fans at home were the big winners in NASCAR’s return to racing this week, on the track it was Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin who took home the hardware from the first two races following the resumption of competition.

And not only did they each win (Harvick – Sunday’s event, Hamlin – on Wednesday night), but they put together exceptional average finishes in the two races.

Harvick followed up the win with a third-place finish in Wednesday’s event, posting an average finish of 2.0 in the return. Hamlin placed fifth in the opener at Darlington and therefore posted an average finish of 3.0 in the two races.

Two other drivers managed to put together a pair of top-10 finishes in both Darlington starts – Martin Truex Jr. (sixth in the first, 10th in the second race) and Erik Jones (eighth in the first, fifth in the second race).

Matt DiBenedetto had a solid pair of races for Wood Brothers Racing, turning in a 14th-place effort in Sunday’s race and then jumping into the top 10 with a ninth-place finish under the lights on Wednesday. And Aric Almirola also had a productive week at Darlington, finishing 12th in the opener and then seventh on Wednesday.

Another driver who showed consistency in the return was Brad Keselowski, taking his Team Penske Ford to a 13th-place finish on Sunday and then ending the night in fourth on Wednesday.

2020 winners at Charlotte Motor Speedway

With his win on Wednesday night, Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin became the second driver in 2020 with two visits to Victory Lane. Joey Logano (Las Vegas, Phoenix) is the other. Alex Bowman (Auto Club) and Kevin Harvick (Darlington-1) are the only other drivers with wins this season

If Hamlin is to complete a hat trick on the season next week at Charlotte, he would have to win his first race on the 1.5-mile track to do so. The driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota has an average finish of 12.3 at Charlotte, including a pair of runner-up finishes at the track (both races in 2012). However, his work as of late in the Queen City has been impressive as he has finished in the top five in five of the last seven races at Charlotte.

Logano does have a victory in Charlotte, albeit in the slightly shorter 500-mile fall version that used to run on the oval prior to 2018. He took the win in 2015, and struggled a bit since then. After placing ninth in this May race in 2016, Logano averaged a finish of 26.25 in the next four races (36th, 21st, 26th, 22nd) until his runner-up finish in the Coca-Cola 600 last spring.

If Bowman continues on the upward trajectory that he has followed in the past year, it’s entirely possible that he could become the third two-time winner of the season, despite Charlotte stats that trend otherwise.

In his first five Cup races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Bowman posted an average finish of 32.0. Since taking over the No. 88 full-time in 2018 he has finished ninth and seventh in the Coca-Cola 600. (Of note, his 2016 fall start at Charlotte was also in the No. 88 while filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. – and his effort ended early with a crash on lap 61.)

This could correspond to a trip to Victory Lane at Charlotte for the young driver. At Chicagoland, where he earned his first NASCAR Cup Series win last year, Bowman placed 35th and 37th in his first two races there in 2014 and 2015. He followed that up with a pair of 10th-place results in 2016 and 2018 before the win last year.

And at Auto Club Speedway in California, where he captured his second career win earlier this year, Bowman had an average finish of 22.25 in the four starts before his victory. His previous best was 13th in the 2018 race in Fontana.

Harvick is the 2020 winner with the best record at Charlotte in terms of wins – with three (Coca-Cola 600 in 2011 and 2013, as well as the fall 500-mile event in 2014. He also has eight top-five and 17 top-10 finishes in 36 starts at the track on the oval.

Truex rebounding after the break
It’s fair to say that the opening four races of the 2020 season didn’t bring the success that 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. is used to seeing.

With a pair of 32nd-place finishes (Daytona, Phoenix), Truex produced an average finish of 24.5 in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota over that stretch before the shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But it appears that over the break, Truex and his new crew chief this season, James Smalls, may have found their stride as they rebounded to put together a pair of top-10 results at Darlington (sixth on Sunday, 10th on Wednesday). The results dropped his average finish over the first six races to 16.2 and mark his only two top-10s of the season.

And with two shots at the 1.5-mile Charlotte track next week, it could be the place at which Truex breaks into the top five for the first time this season – or maybe even visits Victory Lane. Truex is a two-time winner of the Coca-Cola 600, including a dominant performance in 2016 in which he led 392 of the 400 laps. His other win in the endurance race came just a year ago. He also has a win in the fall 500-mile race in 2017, back when that was still contended on the oval.

Austin Dillon, Brennan Poole team up with partners to provide hometown support
Austin Dillon and Brennan Poole each announced separate projects to take place over Memorial Day weekend with their corporate partners to provide support to for residents in their hometowns.

Through his collaboration with the GM BuyPower Card®, Dillon is coming to the aid of his local community in advance of the Coca-Cola 600 through a contribution to Pit Stops for Hope.

Pit Stops for Hope, a charitable collaboration within the racing community focused on addressing educational and nutritional needs among the youth, will use the funds from the contribution within the Piedmont-Triad and Charlotte areas of North Carolina to provide meals and educational materials.

“Pit Stops for Hope is an organization close to my heart since it started over 10 years ago, but as I prepare for fatherhood, the mission to support children in poverty has become even more meaningful to me,” said Dillon. “So many families across the country are in need right now, and I hope this contribution will offer some much-needed assistance to the city we call home.”

In conjunction with his sponsor for the Coca-Cola 600, Spartan Mosquito, Poole will be making an impact off the track for residents and veterans in need in his hometown of Houston, Texas.

Poole has donated a portion of his salary to provide 500,000 meals to his hometown of Houston in support of Houston Food Bank during the COVID-19 Pandemic. In that same spirit of giving and celebrating our nation’s heroes, Poole’s sponsor Spartan Mosquito has committed $125,000 in mosquito products for the city of Houston’s veterans this Memorial Day Weekend.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Houston Food Bank is distributing unprecedented amounts of food to those in need, about 1 million pounds a day. In fact, the food bank is experiencing a 130%-150% increase in demand over the 1.1 million food insecure people in their service area and is serving 128,333 households per week, a 93% increase from this time last year.

“During this incredibly hard time, it is so important to me to make an impact and provide some relief to the city that built me,” Poole said. “Food fuels our communities. When we support food banks, we directly get food into the hands of those who need it and broaden the strength of our recovery.”

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Charlotte Motor Speedway continues to heat things up for Xfinity Series

The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday, May 25 for the Alsco 300 (7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

Due to having no qualifying or practice sessions, the starting lineup will be decided as follows:

  • Positions 1 -12:  The first 12 NXS Teams based on the Adverse Conditions Line Up Eligibility will be assigned starting positions 1st – 12th using a random draw.
  • Positions 13 – 24:  The next 12 NXS Teams based on the Adverse Conditions Line Up eligibility will be assigned starting positions 12th- 24th using a random draw.
  • Starting positions 25 – 36: The next 12 NXS Teams based on the Adverse Conditions Line Up eligibility will be assigned starting positions 25th -36th using a random draw.
  • Any vehicles that are eligible for the event in position 37th – 40th will be assigned starting positions based on their order of eligibility.

NASCAR officials announced that the field size for the Xfinity Series will be temporarily expanded to a maximum of 40 vehicles for all events without qualifying.

 

As far as the points structure, the change will not alter the standings much at all. In the Xfinity Series, officials will continue to award a baseline of 40 championship points for first place and one point for 36th (which was formerly the last place) place. As a result, teams finishing 37th through 40th will also receive one point.

 

Pit selection for Charlotte Motor Speedway will be based on finishing position from Thursday’s race at Darlington followed by new entries in order of points.

 

After Tuesday’s race was postponed due to rain and moved to Thursday, the Xfinity Series finally got to hit the track for the first time in over two months at Darlington Raceway for the Toyota 200.

 

Chase Briscoe took home the checkered flag in the No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford while battling Kyle Busch on the final lap.

 

Noah Gragson started from the pole alongside JR Motorsports teammate Michael Annett and won Stage 1, leading 46 laps en route to a fifth-place finish.

 

Busch led 45 laps at Darlington and won Stage 2 in his No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

 

Busch finished runner-up while Justin Allgaier in the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet finished third, Austin Cindric finished fourth in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford and Gragson rounded out the top five.

 

An emotional Briscoe emerged from his car after bumping and grinding with Busch on the final lap. He and his wife, Marissa, had a heartbreaking week and he dedicated his win to her.

 

Briscoe takes over points lead

With his performance on Thursday night at Darlington Raceway, Chase Briscoe took over the points standings by 19 points over second-place Harrison Burton.

 

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Burton had held onto his points lead after finishing in the top five at Phoenix Raceway before the season’s pause. His ninth-place finish at Darlington took away his lead but still has him sitting pretty in second. He is the only driver in the series to have finished in the top 10 in every race so far this season.

 

Briscoe, who won the Toyota 200 at Darlington in a last-lap battle with veteran Cup Series driver Kyle Busch, also won the season’s second race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He is the first driver this season to win multiple Xfinity Series races.

 

JR Motorsports’ Noah Gragson won Stage 1 and earned points, moving him up to fourth in the standings.

 

Here is a look at the Xfinity Series points standings currently:

 

DRIVER POINTS BEHIND WINS
Chase Briscoe 223 0 2
Harrison Burton* 204 -19 1
Austin Cindric 197 -26 0
Noah Gragson 193 -30 1
Ross Chastain 188 -35 0
Justin Allgaier 186 -37 0
Ryan Sieg 183 -40 0
Justin Haley 168 -55 0
Brandon Jones 165 -58 1
Michael Annett 139 -84 0

 

Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings

Harrison Burton may have lost the top spot in the standings after Thursday’s race at Darlington Raceway, but he still leads the Sunoco Rooke of the Year standings and is sitting in second place in the championship points standings.

 

He has won every single rookie award so far this season and is the only contender in the top 10 in points.

 

NAME POINTS AWARDS
Harrison Burton 204 5
Riley Herbst 128 0
Jesse Little 67 0
Joe Graf Jr. 48 0
Kody Vanderwal 13 0

 

Herbst is currently one spot outside of the top 10 in 11th. He finished 18th at Darlington Raceway and will make his Xfinity Series debut at Charlotte on Monday.

 

Little is sitting in 22nd place in the points standings and finished 36th at Darlington. He will also be making his Xfinity Series track debut.

 

Joe Graf Jr. finished 19th at Darlington and Kody Vanderwal finished 32nd. They will both be making their debuts at Charlotte, as well.

JR Motorsports showing strength heading to Charlotte

Returning to the racetrack after being off for over two months could have been a difficult task for drivers that usually spend time behind the wheel of their cars multiple times a week. However, it didn’t seem so bad for the JR Motorsports camp of Noah Gragson, Justin Allgaier, Michael Annett and Daniel Hemric.

 

Three of those JR Motorsports teams finished in the top 10 on Thursday at Darlington Raceway. Allgaier started 10th and finished sixth in Stage 1. He went on to finish second in Stage 2 and finished third at the conclusion of the 147-lap race.

 

Gragson, who started on the pole, won Stage 1 and finished third in Stage 2. He finished the race in fifth.

 

Right behind Gragson was Hemric. Hemric runs a part-time schedule for JR Motorsports in the No. 8 Chevrolet. Hemric finished Stage 1 in seventh and Stage 2 in sixth. At the end of the race, Hemric ralled to a sixth-place finish.

 

Lastly, Annett, who started alongside his teammate Gragson on the front row, finished Stage 1 in ninth and Stage 2 in fifth. Unfortunately in the final stage, Annett went for a spin and ultimately had to head to pit road for repairs, resulting in a 25th-place finish for the No. 1 Chevrolet team.

 

However, JR Motorsports has shown so much strength in the opening races of the Xfinity Series, especially on Thursday’s return to racing. The team has put up good numbers at the upcoming Charlotte Motor Speedway, too.

 

Allgaier has 17 starts at the track with four top fives, nine top 10s and one pole award. Annett has 14 starts with three top 10s and Gragson made his first Xfinity Series start at Charlotte last season and finished fourth. Hemric has three starts at the track and finished seventh in his last two starts.

 

Three down, four to go for Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch may be the busiest guy in NASCAR right now. The fulltime Cup Series driver is on a quest to run seven races among all three series in 11 days. As NASCAR heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for a four-day race schedule, Busch is entered to run both Cup Series races (Sunday, Wednesday), Xfinity (Monday) and Gander Trucks (Tuesday).

 

Busch was almost victorious on Thursday night at Darlington Raceway when the Xfinity Series hit the track after their race was postpone due to rain. He finished runner-up to Chase Briscoe but battled incredibly hard on the last lap for the win. He also won Stage 2.

 

Busch finished runner-up the day before in the second Cup Series race at Darlington, too.

 

The last time Busch ran in the Xfinity Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway was in 2018 and he finished eighth. He has 25 series start to his name with eight wins, 18 top fives, 21 top 10s and two pole awards.

 

Xfinity Series fast facts, numbers at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Charlotte Motor Speedway is a historic 1.5-mile track with 24 degrees of banking in corners and five degrees of banking on straightaways. The frontstretch is 1,980 feet and the backstretch is 1,500 feet.

 

Jimmie Johnson holds the Xfinity Series qualifying record at the track with a speed of 187.735 mph on Oct. 14, 2005. Mark Martin holds the race record at the track for the series at 155.799 mph on May 25, 1996.

 

Kyle Busch holds the record for the most wins (8) at the track and Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth are tied for the most poles (4). Busch also has the most top fives (18) and top 10s (21) in the Xfinity Series at Charlotte.

 

The most lead changes in an Xfinity Series race at the track was 26 in 1984 and the fewest was four in 1991. Ford and Chevrolet are both tired for the most wins by a manufacturer with 21. In 196, there was only one finisher on the lead lap. In 2005, there were 67 caution laps, the most of any race run at he track in the series. And In 1996, there were only six caution laps.

 

Twelve of the 74 races run were won from the pole position and 14 races were won from the third position.

 

There have been 36 different race winners and 48 different pole winners at the track for the Xfinity Series.

 

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Trucks Series

Charlotte awaits the Gander Trucks

After a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a two-week break in the schedule prior to the pause in sports, the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series will be back in action on Tuesday, May 26 at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 (8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

The event will be the third of the 2020 season for the Gander Trucks and the 18th for the series at Charlotte Motor Speedway, located in Concord, North Carolina. The 17 previous series races at the 1.5-mile speedway have produced 10 different poles winners, led by Kyle Busch and Mike Skinner with three each. And eight different winners, led by Kyle Busch with eight victories.

 

To kick off the year, Grant Enfinger secured the season-opening win at Daytona International Speedway and Kyle Busch returned to the series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and took home the checkered flag.

 

Last season, Kyle Busch dominated the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway leading 102 of the scheduled 134 laps (76%) and winning his eighth series career race at the track.

 

Points on points on points
Although the series is only two races into the season for the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Trucks, taking a look at the driver point standings shows us who has been on top of their game since the start of the season.

 

Hattori Racing Enterprises driver Austin Hill leads the driver standings with 82 points, nine markers up on second-place Johnny Sauter. Hill has one top five and two top 10s in the first two races of the season and has led 11 laps.

 

Veteran ThorSport Racing driver Sauter is right in Hill’s rearview mirror in second in the Gander Trucks driver standings with 73 points. He also has one top five and two top 10s on the year.

 

Ben Rhodes sits in third in the series driver standings, 22 points back from driver standings lead, with one top-five finish this season. Rhodes gained a massive 16 spots in the standings after Vegas, and is now just 13 points behind second-place Sauter.

 

GMS Racing’s Brett Moffitt, the 2018 series champion, is in fourth in the Gander Trucks driver standings following Las Vegas with 59 points, 23 back from Austin Hill in the standings lead.

 

Moffitt’s GMS Racing teammate Sheldon Creed rounds out the top five in the standings with two top-10 performances in as many races. He has accumulated 58 points this season, 24 back from Hill and just one back from Moffitt.

 

Looking ahead to the first race back at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Hill will have his work cut out for him to hold on to the standings lead as of the top five in points, Rhodes has the best average finish on the 1.54-mile track with a 4.8; followed by Moffitt (5.3), Creed (12.0), Sauter (12.1) and Hill (13.8).

 

Rookie Battle update: Zane Smith out front early

We’re only two races into the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series 2020 season, but here’s how the top three drivers in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings are faring thus far.

NGROTS Sunoco Rookie of the Year Standings
Rookies Points Awards
Zane Smith 57 1
Christian Eckes 55 0
Derek Kraus 48 1
Tanner Gray 44 0
Raphael Lessard 39 0
Ty Majeski 29 0
Spencer Davis 25 0
Tate Fogleman 25 0

 

GMS Racing’s Zane Smith stands atop the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings with 58 points; sixth in the Gander Trucks driver points after one top-10 finish in two starts this season.

 

Two points behind Smith is Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Christian Eckes in second in the rookie points and eighth in the Gander Truck driver standings. And seven points back from Eckes is McAnally Hilgemann Racing’s Derek Kraus in third in the rookie standings and 15th in the series driver standings.

 

Smith and Kraus are the first two drivers to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Race awards in 2020.

 

Smith opened the season strong with an 11th-place finish at Daytona and a sixth-place finish at Las Vegas. He has completed 100% of laps attempted and has earned an average finish of 8.5.

 

Eckes has had a slow start to the season, finishing 22nd at Daytona and 23rd at Las Vegas. The driver of the No. 18 Toyota was competing hard with his owner (and teammate) during the race at Las Vegas but ended up suffering from penalties and being involved in an incident late in the race.

 

Kraus has had mixed results too in 2020, finishing fourth at Daytona and 22nd at Las Vegas due to an incident on the third lap of the race and was unable to work his way back to the front of the field.

 

Brett Moffitt returns to racing after dirt-bike accident

Coming off an unscheduled two-month hiatus is tough on any driver in any series. But, for Brett Moffitt, it was even harder as he was recovering from a dirt-bike accident that broke both of his legs.

 

Moffitt endured a tough recovery after extensive surgery during which metal rods were inserted to help heal both of his fractured femurs, and kept left him in the hospital for three days.

 

The 27-year-old fulltime NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series driver made his first start back in Thursday’s Xfinity Series race at Darlington for Our Motorsports.

 

 

The 2018 champion is currently fourth in the championship points standings for GMS Racing, 23 points behind series leader Austin Hill. The season didn’t start out extremely strong for him, finishing 13th in the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway and 16th at the second and most recent Gander Trucks race at Las Vegas.

All Out Motorsports honoring nursing home caregivers
Korbin Forrister and the No. 7 All Out Motorsports Toyota team has partnered with the America Health Care Association, Georgia Health Care Association, North Carolina Association of Health Care Facilities and the Florida Health Care Association to show support for nursing home caregivers who are dedicating their time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team wanted to use their platform to send a message of support for the selfless individuals and honor their hard work.

Hattori Racing Enterprises, Austin Hill honoring Armed Forces at Charlotte

The No. 16 United Rentals Toyota Tundra of Austin Hill and Hattori Racing Enterprises will be wrapped in a different paint scheme this week at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

 

In honor of Memorial Day weekend, Hill’s No. 16 Toyota will sport a patriotic, American-flag colored scheme to salute and honor current and former members of the Armed Forces.

 

United Rentals has been a longtime supporter of veterans and is ranking seventh on the G.I. Jobs list of the top 100 military friendly employers.

 

“It’s going to be a great feeling when we get back to business at the track, and to have this paint scheme honoring the veteran employees at United Rentals and everyone who has served in the military will make it extra special,” Hill said of his paint scheme for Charlotte.

 

“We’ve been fortunate to have a close relationship with United Rentals for a while and this is a small way that we can say ‘thank you’ to those folks who sacrificed and served our country.”

 

Hill will lead the field to green on Tuesday night for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 (8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the first race back for the series in over two and a half months. Hill currently leads the championship points standings by nine points over series veteran Johnny Sauter.

 

Charlotte Motor Speedway Fast Facts: Gander Trucks

Charlotte Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile oval with 24-degree banking in corners and five-degree banking on straights. The frontstretch is 1,980 feet and the backstretch is 1,500 feet.

 

Kyle Busch holds the Gander Trucks qualifying record at the track at a speed of 183.773 mph on May 16, 2014. Matt Crafton holds the series race record at the track at 141.855 mph on May 21, 2016.

 

Busch also leads the record books with the most wins (eight), most poles (3, tied with Mike Skinner) and top fives (11). The most lead changes in a Gander Trucks race at Charlotte was last season with 19 and the fewest came in 2014.

 

Chevrolet has the most wins by a manufacturer with nine at Charlotte Motor Speedway and three of the 17 Gander Trucks races run at the track were won from the pole.

 

There have only been eight different race winners at the track and 10 different pole winners.

 

Competition updates for Gander Trucks

NASCAR officials announced that the field size for the Gander Trucks series will be temporarily expanded to a maximum of 40 vehicles. This change is in effect for events scheduled without qualifying.

 

The temporary procedure change increases the field from the usual 32 trucks to 40. For Gander Trucks series points, first place will continue to earn 40 points with five points for 32nd (formerly last). Teams finished 33rd through 40th in the expanded field will each receive five points.

 

Pit selection for the Gander Trucks will be based on the Las Vegas qualifying results.

 

The starting lineup will be chosen as follows:

  • Positions 1 -10:  The first 10 NGROTS Teams based on the Adverse Conditions Line Up Eligibility will be assigned starting positions 1st – 10th using a random draw.
  • Positions 11 – 21:  The next 11 NGROTS Teams based on the Adverse Conditions Line Up eligibility will be assigned starting positions 11- 21 using a random draw.
  • positions 22 – 32: The next 11 NGROTS Teams based on the Adverse Conditions Line Up eligibility will be assigned starting positions 22nd – 32nd using a random draw.
  • Any vehicles that are eligible for the Event in position 33rd – 40th will be assigned starting positions based on their order of eligibility.

The order of eligibility for positions 1-27 will be based on 2019 owner points and 28-20 will be based on 2020 owner points.

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, Etc.

Packed lineup for Niece Motorsports: Niece Motorsports is heading to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday with a hefty lineup. Ty Majeski, who runs fulltime for the team, will be behind the wheel of the No. 45 Chevrolet. Also joining him is Natalie Decker, who runs a part-time schedule for the team and was not originally planning to run Charlotte. She will pilot the No. 44. It will be a happy homecoming for Ross Chastain who is coming back to Niece Motorsports to run the No. 42 Circle Track Warehouse/Florida Watermelon Association Chevrolet. The team also just announced that Garrett Smithley will pilot the fourth truck for the team. He’ll make his Niece Motorsports debut at Charlotte in the No. 40 Chevrolet.

 

CMI Motorsports adds new driver: CMI Motorsports announced that TJ Bell will make his team debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the No. 49 CMI Properties/Springrates Chevrolet. Bell has experience in the series over the last 15 years. He’s made 118 starts with one top five and 13 top 10s. He made three starts last season and finished 26th at Kansas Speedway and Pocono Raceway.

 

RACE PREVIEW WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF NASCAR INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS

 

South Carolina Gamecocks Student-Athletes preparing 2020 Summer workouts

5/22/2020 | General

 

The University of South Carolina Athletics Department is ready to host all student-athletes who return to campus this summer for voluntary workouts. The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes is paramount. The protocol that has been developed for Gamecock student-athletes exceeds CDC guidelines to ensure this priority.

While this mission pertains to all student-athletes at the University of South Carolina, most of this document pertains to the sport of football. Details on other sports arrival on campus will mirror most of these details but would likely change based on facility, workouts, and guidelines when they return.

All protocols and procedures will be consistently reviewed to ensure student-athletes on campus are receiving the highest quality care.

TESTING

  • Upon arrival at the University, all student-athletes will be given a COVID-19 and antibody test. All student-athletes must have a negative COVID-19 result before taking part in voluntary workouts or the start of practice activities to immediately learn whether the student may have the virus. The antibody test indicates if the student may have previously had the virus.
  • Any student-athlete who tests positive for COVID-19 will immediately be isolated away from the team and either return home or remain on campus until the end of the isolation period. The University will interview the student to trace contacts that have occurred with the other individuals. Medical staff will provide health monitoring of the student multiple times each day and football staff, dieticians, counselors, and Student Development staff will consistently keep in close contact with the student during the isolation period.
  • Should a roommate or member of his cluster test positive, the player(s) must quarantine themselves for 14 days from the last exposure of positive individual. Those individuals will be monitored daily by the athletic trainer. If the individuals develop symptoms themselves, they would be referred to the team physician and staff at Student Health Services.
  • The return to workouts would only occur after the player is symptom free for the 14-day quarantine period.

FACILITIES

  • All facilities that are to be used by football players have undergone a strict cleaning process to ensure that they are fully disinfected. Touch surfaces in all these facilities will be disinfected at least once per day.
  • There will be staggered entry and departure from the Long Family Football Operations Building. Cell phones, keys and other personal items are disinfected upon entry into these facilities.
  • Additional hand sanitizing stations will be in the lobby elevator, all lobby entrances, and the parking garage at 650 Lincoln, the student-athletes’ on-campus housing.

DAILY PROTOCOL

  • A daily medical check will be administered to each student or staff member before entering the Long Family Football Operations Building. This includes a checklist of symptoms and a temperature check. Student-Athletes who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms will be evaluated by a medical professional for appropriate follow up.
  • All football players and staff will be required to wear face coverings in public spaces and wash their hands frequently.
  • Physical distancing with staff and students will be emphasized
  • As an added precaution, players will be divided into small clusters. This helps limit any possible exposure to COVID-19 within the football team. Workouts, housing accommodations, eating, and socializing activities will be restricted to teammates in a player’s cluster. Ready-made meals will be available to all players and distributed to keep the player’s cluster together.
  • Strict protocols are used in the weight room and athletics training spaces, using physical distancing as well as disinfecting of machines and apparatus.

EDUCATION

  • In addition to the rigorous safety protocols in place, there will be extensive educational efforts including videos, in-person communication and signage.
  • Medical staff will have an educational session next week with parents of the players on campus to provide them with information and answer questions that they have.

MEDICAL AUTHORITY

  • All medical decisions related to practice and competition will be made by the medical director in consultation with team physicians and other medical staff.

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF SOUTH CAROLINA ATHLETICS

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