Steven B. Wilson
Steven B. Wilson

Steven B. Wilson

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Roush Fenway Racing’s Elliott Sadler finished in 16th-place during Friday night’s NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) race at Richmond International Raceway (RIR). Sadler qualified for the 250 lap event on Friday afternoon in a special green paint scheme and started the race from the 17th position. Sadler’s car performed best during long runs and the No. 1 OneMain Financial team rolled the dice on a fuel strategy plan with 100 laps to go. At one point, Sadler was the leader of the race with only 25 laps to go.  Without a caution in the final 20 laps, the field caught up to Sadler on his old tires and passed him in the closing laps. Sadler crossed the finish line in the 16th position.

“My No. 1 OneMain Financial Ford Mustang performed best during long run situations,” Sadler said at the end of the race.  “We had a chance to take a risk and we gambled by coming down pit road during a caution lap to top the car off with fuel, knowing the leaders would have to make one more stop. The plan worked out at first and we quickly made it to the front and took the lead. But without a caution in the final laps, the rest of the field who pitted, passed me in closing laps. It was a gamble, but I liked how we took a risk to go for the win.”

Sadler ran a special green paint scheme this weekend to support the partnership between OneMain Financial and the National Forest Foundation. This year, OneMain Financial will help plant 200,000 trees in Montana’s Custer-Gallatin National Forest, which is a key part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Sadler qualified Friday afternoon in the green No. 1 Ford and started the race from the 17th position.

On Lap 48, the first caution flag came out for debris. Sadler entered pit road 17th and the crew added four fresh tires, fuel and made a track bar adjustment. When the race went back to green, Sadler restarted from the 16th position.

After 50 laps of green flag racing, the yellow flag waved again on Lap 109. Sadler came down pit road with the field and the crew added four tires, two cans of fuel and a crew member pulled a rubber from the right rear. Sadler exited pit road and lined up in the 14th position.

On Lap 144, the yellow flag came out again for debris on the track. Anticipating another long run, the No. 1 OneMain Financial team decided to roll the dice and come down pit road to top off the car with fuel only. This strategy would allow Sadler to make it to the end of the race, compared to the leaders who would have to make at least one more stop.

In the closing 30 laps, the leaders started to come down pit road for fuel and tires. Meanwhile, each time a driver came down pit road, Sadler would move up one position. With 25 laps to go, the fuel strategy paid off and Sadler took the lead. However, without a caution flag in the final 20 laps, Sadler didn’t have a chance to come down pit road for fresh tires. The leaders, who did pit in the closing laps, caught up and passed Sadler on his old tires. Sadler ended up crossing the finish line in the 16th position.

Roush Fenway Racing’s Bubba Wallace and the No. 6 Bleacher Report team battled a tight Ford Mustang in Friday night’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Richmond International Raceway, ultimately finishing 12th.

“My Mustang was okay,” said Wallace.  “We got it the best on the last run, but I think it was too late.  With the way my guys worked on it all day it made me proud.  We will go to Talladega where we know we are fast.”

The NASCAR XFINITY Series traveled to Richmond International Raceway for the second consecutive short track race.  After a two hour practice session in the morning, and qualifying later Friday afternoon, Wallace lined up 11th for the 250 lap race under the lights.

At the drop of the green, Wallace gained four positions, moving up to seventh by the completion of Lap 1.  As the opening green flag of the run of the race progressed, Wallace’s Mustang was too free on entry dropping the No. 6 back to 10th by the time Wallace visited pit road for the first time of the day on Lap 51.

Crew chief Chad Norris called for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment.  The No. 6 Bleacher Report Ford lined up ninth for the Lap 55 restart.  Two laps after the restart, Wallace had advanced to sixth, radioing to the team that he was happy with how his car fired off after the adjustments.

As the run progressed, Wallace again battled a Mustang that was loose on entry and tight in the center.  The driver of the No. 6 Ford Mustang visited pit road for the second time of the day on Lap 112 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.

Wallace lined up sixth for the restart on Lap 120, and settled into eighth on the following run.  When the caution came out 24 laps later, Norris did not call his driver down pit road, as he did not want to lose another set of tires too quickly.

The team hoped for a caution in the closing laps to bring Wallace down pit road for a fresh set of tires.  The caution never materialized, forcing a green flag stop with 25 laps left.  Wallace closed out the day in 12th.

With the result, Wallace is fourth in the NASCAR XFINITY Series point standings as the series travels to Talladega Superspeedway.

Roush Fenway Racing’s Chris Buescher battled a tight-handling Roush Performance Ford Mustang in Friday night’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Richmond International Raceway to earn a 20th-place finish.

Qualifying on Friday afternoon netted the driver of the No. 60 Ford Mustang a 12th-place starting position for 250 laps of racing under the lights.  From the drop of the green, Buescher settled into the top-20, battling a Mustang that was too loose on entry and too tight in the center and exit.

Crew chief Scott Graves called his driver down pit road for the first time of the day on Lap 51 under the caution flag for four tires, fuel and a spring rubber adjustment to try and help the tight-handling condition.

Buescher lined up 17th for the restart and settled into that position on the next long green flag run.  After losing a lap to the leaders, Buescher earned the free pass when the caution flew again on Lap 109.

The Prosper, Texas native came down pit road for more adjustments, after battling a Mustang that was still too tight.  Graves opted for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment.

Again, Buescher lined up 17th for the restart on Lap 118, and broke into the top-15 by Lap 135.  Ten laps later when the caution flew, Buescher came back down pit road for fuel and a track bar adjustment.

Buescher battled inside the top-20 for the remainder of the race, ultimately crossing the line in that position.

With the result, Buescher is third in the NASCAR XFINITY Series point standings, 11 points out of the lead.


Chastain 17th at Richmond

Published in Xfinity Series News
Saturday, 25 April 2015 14:26
Ross Chastain rallied from a mid-race accident to finish 17th in Friday night’s ToyotaCare 250 Xfinity Series race at Richmond International Raceway.

The finish is Chastain’s fourth in the top 20 in eight races this season. He is 13th in Xfinity driver points.

Chastain, driving the Chevrolet for JD Motorsports with Gary Keller, slid in the loose stuff near the wall on lap 146 to bring out a caution flag. He dropped to 30th place but climbed steadily over the remaining 100 laps to score the strong finish.

“We had a good car all night,” Chastain said. “I got a little too high there that one time and messed things up, but we came back strong. It was another good night overall.”

JD Motorsports PR

Rhodes 22nd in first Richmond race

Published in Xfinity Series News
Saturday, 25 April 2015 10:16
Harrison Rhodes scored his best seasonal finish in Friday night’s ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway, bringing the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller Chevrolet home 22nd.

The finish is Rhodes’ best in seven Xfinity Series races this season, his rookie year. The race was his first in a national-series event at RIR.

“We’re gaining on it,” Rhodes said. “It was a pretty solid night for us. Stayed out of trouble and completed another full race. We’re gaining experience every week, and that’s a very good thing.”

Rhodes gained a spot in the Xfinity Series driver standings to 23rd.

JD Motorsports PR
April is Autism Awareness Month, and even a cool night in Northeast Tennessee didn't keep a good crowd from attending to support Autism Awareness Night at the Races Friday at Kingsport Speedway.
It had been almost one year to the day since Zeke Shell of Johnson City visited victory lane at Kingsport Speedway last April 25, and he finished third in points on strength of nine top-five finishes.
Shell began the 2015 racing campaign fast in each of the four races held entering tonight's racing program, but for some reason it seems he was carrying a monkey on his back. Bad luck caused him to get collected in wrecks not of his own making while running inside the top five, while the race team also struggled to determine electrical issues with the racing engine.
Finally finding the electrical problem that had plagued the motor, and also having “lady luck” riding with him, the 27-year-old Shell made a bold statement with a strong performance en route to capturing his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series “First Kingsport Credit Union” Late Model Stock win of the season at “The Concrete Jungle.”
Ronnie McCarty, already with one victory to his credit this season, entered the night leading Late Model Stock points and earned the pole position for the 60-lap main event.
McCarty and Shell brought the 16-car field to the green flag from the front row, with McCarty quickly taking the lead over Shell. But the event’s first caution waved just three laps in when Bruce Blessing slowed in turn two with a flat left-front tire.
Off the double-file restart, McCarty once again moved back out ahead of Shell, while Kres VanDyke and Kyle Barnes battled for third. Barnes took the position from VanDyke on the sixth circuit racing off the fourth turn.
With the race running clean-and-green following the lap 3 caution period, McCarty and Shell were setting a blistering pace around the .375-mile banked concrete oval to hold almost a half-straightaway advantage over Barnes and VanDyke as the raced reached the halfway point.
It’s said in short-track racing that rubbin’ is racin’ and when competitors’ need to use the bump-and-run, it’s acceptable. Shell was glued to leader McCarty’s rear bumper lap-after-lap, while also sticking the nose of his ride up underneath the leader as they raced off the corners.
Shell moved McCarty up the track on lap 40 between turns three and four to assume the lead. But McCarty was not about to go down without a fight, as he roared back strong to get up under Shell on opposite end of the track between turns one and two. But Shell slammed the door racing off the second corner to hold onto the top spot.
With Shell showing the way out front, the last thing he wanted to see was the caution flag wave. Jerry Lane, making his first Late Model Stock start, brought the caution out on lap 46 when he had a little assist from behind to send his car spinning.
Shell and McCarty were lined up door-to-door on the front row for the restart, with Barnes and VanDyke behind in the second row. With the green flag waving, Shell rocketed back out ahead while the trio of McCarty, Barnes and VanDyke were battling hard for real estate.
Close quarters racing action on lap 49 between turns one and two produced contact between VanDyke and McCarty, with both McCarty and Barnes getting out of shape exiting turn two onto the backstretch. While McCarty and Barnes had to reel their mounts back in, VanDyke took over second in the running order followed by Lee Tissot and Justin Fontaine.
But out front, Shell was in control driving the Tennessee Hills Distillery (Jonesborough)/Capone’s (Johnson City)/Vape On (Johnson City)/Pit Stop Garage (Johnson City)/Shell Media (Printing, Design, Graphics, Wraps, Promotions, Marketing, Advertising) of Johnson City/Roush Yates Performance Products/Performancenter Racing Warehouse/LTO-PRW Chassis (Statesville, N.C.)/Bobby Myers Performance Racing Engines/No. 97 Ford Fusion to victory over VanDyke, Tissot, Fontaine and McCarty.
Completing the top 10 finishers were Barnes, Wayne Hale, Joey Trent, Allen Hawkins and Rick Pannell.
“Man, hopefully we’ve got all of our bad luck behind us,” said a smiling Shell after climbing from his car in victory lane. “Sitting parked in victory lane – this right here is what it’s all about. It makes all the hours you work back at the race shop worthwhile. To say that our season up until tonight has been frustrating, well, that would be a major understatement. We’ve had a fast race car at each event. But we’ve either gotten collected in somebody else's wreck while running inside the top five, or the electrical issue we struggled to determine the cause of on our race engine has hurt us. Hopefully this win will be the first of several others we’ll get this season. We had a really good car tonight and I believe we showed that during the race.
“It’s really gratifying to be able to win races with my father (Pat Shell), and now with my pregnant wife (Amber Shell) supporting me on race night’s. We’re just a small, family-owned race team and we don’t have a big pit crew. Tonight at the track it was just myself, dad, Amber and spotter Scott Clark helping. We’ve got some friends whose businesses help us a little with our racing, but basically our racing budget consists of we need to win enough purse money each week to help fund us getting back to the track the following race. With my wife and I expecting our first child later this year, who knows once our baby arrives if I’ll be able to continue racing. All I know is, I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve had driving a race car and I’m just going to enjoy racing for as long as possible.”
John Harrell of Surgoinsville is approaching the half-century mark, but judging from his on-track racing exploits so far this season, age isn’t slowing the veteran racer down. The 49-year-old, who will turn 50 on July 5, drove the MWH Construction/Mark’s Auto Parts/Perfection Plus Painting/Castle’s Customs Muffler & Paint/J.D. Light Race Engines/Outlaw Graphics/No. 19 Chevrolet Monte Carlo to his fourth straight Street Stock win to remain a perfect four-for-four on the season. Harrell easily won over Jared Broadbent, Paul Shull, Chris Tunnell and Mark Christian.
John Ketron grabbed the lead at start of the 25-lap Pure 4 feature, while his son Billy Ketron and Keith Helton raced side-by-side the opening five circuits before Helton moved into second place. Helton began pressuring the elder Ketron for the lead. The event’s first caution waved on lap 7, when Bruce Crumbley and Dylan Bates wrecked between turns one and two.
John Ketron and Helton battled for the lead back under green, with Helton, driving the Pizza Plus of Kingsport (Sullivan Gardens location)/Catch 22/Toy-Auto of Kingsport/4 Way Mini Storage/No. 9 Saturn into the lead on lap 11. While Helton would go on to capture his third victory on the season, behind him the Ketrons raced hard for family bragging rights.
Helton recorded the win over Billy Ketron, John Ketron, Chris Neeley and last week’s winner Kenny Absher.
Nasty Jones of Chilhowie,Va., earned his second consecutive Pure Street victory over Hershell Robinette, Jake Phipps, Robbie Allison and Gary Crumbley.
Dennis Stanley of Kingsport recorded his first-ever victory at Kingsport Speedway. The 49-year-old Stanley got the Rookie Pure 4 win over Dwayne Banks, Chris Wilhelm, William Hale and Craig Phelps.

Kingsport Speedway PR

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe will lead the field to green for the start of the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 tonight. McAuliffe has been named the Honorary Pace Car Driver for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway.

McAuliffe will make history, as he will be the first to pilot the 2016 Toyota Mirai, the first hydrogen fuel cell electric powered vehicle to pace a NASCAR race.

“Virginia is a state that is rich in history and NASCAR has a huge place in that history,” Richmond International Raceway President Dennis Bickmeier said. “To have the Governor further that history here is a natural fit and a great honor for the raceway.”

McAuliffe is the 72nd Governor of Virginia. He was elected in 2013 and assumed his duties in 2014.

The TOYOTA OWNERS 400 is NASCAR’s “green” race, the final event in the NASCAR Race to Green Week, a week-long initiative promoting NASCAR’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and remain the industry leader in green initiatives.

Back by popular demand, Track Takeover powered by Nationwide at RIR tonight.  Fans can step out onto the Action Track just hours before the green flag waves for the 2015 TOYOTA OWNERS 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, all you need is a ticket to the race! Tickets for tonight’s race are on sale now. Click here, call 866-455-7223 or purchase at any ticket window at the track.


Cassill scores top 10 at Richmond

Published in Xfinity Series News
Saturday, 25 April 2015 10:11
Landon Cassill turned in his best run of the Xfinity Series season Friday night, finishing 10th in the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway.

The race marked Cassill’s first top-10 finish of the season.

Cassill, driving the Flex Seal Chevrolet, qualified a strong 21st and climbed steadily through the field to roll into the top 10.

“Great car and a great night,” Cassill said. “This is what we’re used to doing. Didn’t think it would take us this long to get a top 10, but hopefully it gives us some momentum going forward.”

The finish boosted Cassill to 17th in the Xfinity driver standings.

JD Motorsports PR

Race Highlights: 

  • Brian Scott qualified fifth and was the highest qualifying Richard Childress Racing driver at Richmond International Raceway. Austin Dillon qualified 13th, Ty Dillon 15th and Brendan Gaughan 16th.
  • Brian Scott finished seventh, Austin Dillon eighth, Ty Dillon, ninth and Brendan Gaughan 11th.
  • Next up for the NASCAR XFINITY Series is the Talladega 300 at Talladega Superspeedway. Catch all the action live on Saturday, May 2 at 3 p.m. Eastern Time on FOX, broadcasted live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio, channel 90.  
Brian Scott Finishes Seventh at Richmond International Raceway

Brian Scott and the No. 2 Safeway/Reser's Chevrolet qualified for the Richmond 250 at Richmond International Raceway in the fifth position for the Friday night's NASCAR XFINITY Series feature. Early in the 250-lap event, Scott was battling loose conditions both in the entry and exit of the corners. The team was running in the 10th position and made multiple adjustments during the first pit stop on lap 51. During the second green-flag run, Scott radioed to the team the car was much better and more secure. He began picking away at the competition and was running in the seventh position when the caution came out for the second time on lap 109. The Safeway/Reser's pit crew made an air pressure adjustment and gained three spots on pit road to restart in the fourth position on lap 121. Gaining one position on track, the Mike Hillman, Jr., led team elected to stay out when the caution waved on lap 144. With a great restart on lap 151, Scott led the field for one lap then moved into the second position for the next 30 laps. The Boise, Idaho native raced in the third position  until lap 210 when he moved to fourth. Green-flag stops began, and the Safeway/Reser's crew made their four-tire stop on lap 233. The race continued under green-flag conditions, and the No. 2 team crossed the finish line seventh. Scott is currently tied for eighth in the driver championship point standings as the Series heads to Talladega Superspeedway next weekend.


Start - 5             Finish - 7          Laps Led - 1           Points - 8


"In order to win one of these NASCAR XFINITY Series races, we need to be 100 percent. We haven't been that yet. We'll get there and finally win one of these things."




Ty Dillon Cruises to Ninth-Place Finish at Richmond International Raceway,
Extends Points Lead


Ty Dillon drove Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 Yuengling Light Lager Chevrolet Camaro to a ninth-place finish Friday evening, retaining the NASCAR XFINITY Series points lead and extending his lead to eight points. Dillon qualified 15th earlier in the afternoon and raced in-and-around the top 15 for the entire 250-lap race. Fighting a loose-handling issue exiting the corners, Dillon found himself battling for top-10 positioning late in the race. Long green-flag stretches created an even looser race car as he found himself battling to stay on the lead lap. In the end, the No. 3 Yuengling Light Lager team used a green-flag pit stop on lap 216 to improve the car's handle for the remaining 34 laps. Dillon crossed the finish line ninth, recording the team's sixth top-10 finish of the season.


Start - 15            Finish - 9            Laps Led - 0            Points - 1



"Tonight was a pretty decent night for our No. 3 Yuengling Light Lager Chevrolet Camaro. We've struggled here in the past, but I think we overcame some of our previous issues and put together a solid performance. We'll definitely be better when we come back in the fall. We'll take the points lead and move to Talladega."


Austin Dillon Earns Hard Fought Eighth-Place Finish at Richmond International Raceway 


Austin Dillon and the No. 33 Ruud Chevrolet team finished eighth at Richmond International Raceway on Friday night despite battling a tight-handling race car for the majority of the 250-lap event. Within the first five laps of the race, Dillon improved his positon by six spots but soon reported a tight-handling condition developing on the No. 33 Chevrolet. Crew chief Nick Harrison called the Welcome, N.C., native to pit road under green flag conditions on lap 207 for the final stop of the night. The Ruud pit crew serviced the No. 33 machine with four fresh tires, fuel and a round of chassis adjustments to combat the tight-handling Chevrolet. Dillon rejoined the racing surface in the 17th position, two laps down to the leader. As the green-flag pit stops cycled through the field, Dillon gained his laps back and was able to advance in the running order to the seventh position. The tight-handling condition returned and Dillon slipped one position, to eighth, before the checkered flag waved.



Start - 13             Finish - 8            Laps Led - 0       Owner's Points - 7      


"We had a really fast Ruud Chevrolet today. We showed a lot of speed there in the beginning of the run, but it seemed like the more rubber that we laid down on the track, the tighter the car got throughout the night. Nick (Harrison, crew chief) and the guys made some good adjustments, we just didn't make them big enough there at the end of the race."  




Brendan Gaughan Finishes 11th at Richmond International Raceway


Brendan Gaughan and the No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet team qualified 16th for Friday night's NASCAR XFINITY Series Richmond 250 at Richmond International Raceway. The Shane Wilson-led team made early adjustments to the Richard Childress Racing Camaro and an 11.6-second pit stop put Gaughan in the ideal place to advance his position on the track. The Las Vegas native remained in the top 15 for the first half of the 250-lap event at the 0.75-mile race way. On lap 109, there was an incident on pit road and a brief fire broke out that was quickly doused by the Richmond International Raceway fire crew. As a result of the fire, two crew members from the No. 62 team were transported to the hospital to be evaluated. Gaughan continued to advance his position and earned an 11th-place finish at RIR. Gaughan and his Richard Childress Racing team are now sixth in the driver point standings as the XFINITY Series heads to Talladega Superspeedway next weekend.  

Start - 16              Finish - 11           Laps Led - 0            Points - 6      



"An emotional night for this entire South Point team and I here at Richmond. When I saw the flame and that none of the guys were near my car, I tried to get away as fast as I could. That race car only had more fuel in it that could potentially ignite and I didn't want that to happen. Don't tell me these guys aren't professional athletes, they are the toughest, most athletic guys I have seen. We had a strong finish and now I am going to go check on my boys."


Reed Finishes 21st at Richmond

Published in Xfinity Series News
Saturday, 25 April 2015 10:08
Roush Fenway Racing driver Ryan Reed and the No. 16 Lilly Diabetes American Diabetes Association team finished 21st for the second week in a row in Friday night’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Richmond International Raceway (RIR).

“I hate to leave this track with such a disappointing finish,” said Reed. “I really thought we had a top-10 Lilly Diabetes American Diabetes Association Ford Mustang after today’s practice and qualifying sessions but we just missed our mark when it came to tonight’s race. We do well at superspeedways so hopefully next weekend at Talladega will be a chance for us to turn things around.”

Reed started Friday night’s race in the 14th position after surviving two of three rounds of qualifying earlier in the afternoon. After the green flag flew, it was quickly apparent that the car’s handling was not where Reed expected it to be as he had fallen back to the 19th position by Lap 35. Reed reported to the team that the car’s handling would not allow him to run the bottom line of the racetrack.

The first caution flag flew on Lap 48 and allowed the team to bring Reed down pit road to make adjustments to the car. Reed reported he was loose on the entry to the turns and tight in the center. Crew Chief Seth Barbour called for a spring rubber and wedge adjustment to help the handling of the car. Reed received his lap back for being the first car one lap down and restarted in the 19th position on Lap 55.

On the next green flag run, Reed was quiet on the radio and continued to run in the 19th position. By the Lap 109 caution flag, Reed reported the car was tight and kept getting tighter as the green-flag run progressed. The team had to wait to pit as a fire on pit road closed the pit road down for several laps. When it reopened, Reed came in for a track bar and wedge adjustment to try to free up the racecar.

Reed restarted in the 18th position on Lap 120 and reported the car had not improved by the Lap 144 caution flag. The team did not pit in an effort to save track position and wait a few more laps before using the last set of tires.

Reed’s final pit stop of the night for four tires and a wedge adjustment came on Lap 217 under the green flag. Reed held his ground on the track to bring home a 21st-place finish in the 250-lap event.

Reed drops to eighth in the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship standings after Friday night’s race at RIR, 50 points out of the lead. He is still the only series regular to win a race so far in the 2015 season with his win in the season opener at Daytona.

Reed and the No. 16 team return to the track next Saturday, May 2 at Talladega Superspeedway.