Saturday, Sep 23
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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“The paint scheme is the same, it’s just the number to gold foil number. The gold ribbon signifies Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month which is September. We were at a Pediatric Cancer center giving out some joy jars, so it was fun doing that, interacting with the kids and giving out some stickers. Passing out some smiles. That was good stuff. It actually helps me, too, keeping in perspective how much of a blessing it is to do to what I do each weekend. We’ve got families with kids that are fighting for their lives. It’s a nice perspective adjustment before rolling into the racetrack for a race weekend.”



“It’s certainly something I’m proud of, being the only car so far, knock on wood, sitting here at Bristol where anything can happen in a split second. That was our biggest objective in the offseason leading into this season, where we ran only eighty-three percent of laps last year. That’s part driver mistake, a lot mechanical issues with the new car trying to figure out the weak links there. The growth of the small team, there’s a lot of growing pains there we’ve ironed out. We’ve got the right people in the right positions to negate all of those mechanical failures we had. If we continue that, keep executing, not putting ourselves in bad spots, I feel like I’ve been as focused as I’ve ever been in my career and getting more experience. We’ve had some decent pace over the last six or seven weeks, and we just need to do a better job of executing when we do have pace. I think that starts this weekend. If, for us, to be the only car so far 28 weeks in, we’re certainly proud of that as a team."


“It’s certainly not all that we’re looking for. We’re looking for some better runs, better qualifying efforts. I feel like a normal day for us right now should be top-20. If we execute, we have the pace to generally to finish between 16th and 18th, and that’s a big step from where we were the last couple of years. If we continue that trend in that direction, there’s a lot of growth to be had within Spire Motorsports and I’m excited to be a part of it.”



“It’s something I realize more so than ever, when I was getting a cup of coffee over at Hendrick (Motorsports) driving the No. 9, all four of those teams, the engineers, drivers and crew chiefs are consistently setting a higher watermark. When you’re in an environment like that where every team is pushing the entire team forward, that’s where the biggest growth and biggest development happens. I feel like, for us, the business model that Spire has had to have with part-time guys on the No. 77, it kind of slowed our rate of how much we collected data. It’s been nice to have a veteran guy like Ty (Dillon) and refine our baseline setup. I think that having more points of data over the course of the week and the course of a 20-minute practice session, you have to collect data fast and be efficient with applying it in your race car. That’s nice to be able to see improvements over the last two months.”



“It’s not like we’ve all sat around a campfire and sang Kumbaya and talked about it. But you look at certain guys, there are so many father and son relationships in this sport that have been prominent. The biggest one was Chase (Elliott) and the driver, son complex. I can relate somewhat, and even though Dad (Randy LaJoie) was voted in the top 75 greatest NASCAR drivers. Bill (Elliott) was known as 'Million Dollar Bill.' In my case, specifically in my opinion, no matter what I do in this sport, it’ll never be up to as good as my dad. My dad is my idol, my hero growing up. There’s a little bit of no matter what you achieve in this sport, you’re not going to be as good as your dad."


“I feel like that’s some of the things where Chase (Elliott) is the way he is, Ryan (Blaney) is the way he is. Dale (Earnhardt, Jr.) has been pretty vocal about that as well of his dad (Dale Earnhardt). I think as much as you’re under a microscope growing up as the son of a famous racecar driver, you still put that as much pressure and expectations on yourself to try to live up to what people expect you do being the son of somebody who has an established career. I’d be interested in hearing what those guys have to say on it, if it affects their psyche or not, but I think whether or not they acknowledge it, it shapes who you are and what kind of career you have.”



“I don’t feel like our place is under any pressure. The guys we are in striking distance of shouldn’t be back there with us anyway. A lot of those guys get eaten up a spot, it’s more fire under their seat. I’ve challenged our team, even though we’re not in the top-16 and resetting those points for a championship, I challenge my guys to reset the points of those four or five guys in front of us and the couple behind us, and have our own little Playoff points structure and see if we can chip away at them with the time with 10 races left. I don’t know for certain, but there is a big monetary difference at the end of the year with points payoff between 25th and 26th. Our car, too, is in different spots as the No. 7 finished last at (World Wide Technology Raceway) when it broke a rotor, so it’s 20 points behind where I am in drivers’ points. So I naturally look at drivers’ points because that’s where I compare and see my name on it, but the one that pays is the one that I need to go get a little more effort and get 20 more spots throughout the year. There are certainly three cars in the crosshairs that I feel like, when we execute, we can beat each and every week and we’re going to have to, we can’t have any off weeks if we want to go get those guys.”





"I was at the Trackside Live stage earlier, and Alex Weaver mentioned that. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard it, but it was the first official announcement and there was a majority of fans were excited. I said ‘Guys, you guys have to come to the race or else they’ll put ice or gravel or some sort of funky substance to make it a flash in the pan. So the people who are clapping, you better be here in the spring with your butt in a seat so the race doesn’t move somewhere else or they don’t figure out some other substance to put (on the track).’”



Schedule Updates:  NASCAR today announced that the Bass Pro Shops Night Race will now start at 6:30 p.m. ET on Saturday – advancing one hour from the original 7:30 p.m. ET start time – due to forecasted inclement weather. Bristol Motor Speedway parking lots will open at 11 a.m. ET. Grandstand gates will open at 1 p.m. ET and the NASCAR Cup Series garage will open at 2:30 p.m. ET.

The Fan Track Walk will start at 2 p.m. Trackside Live with hosts Kenny Wallace and John Roberts at the Food City Fan Zone Stage now starts at 3 p.m. The Midland pre-race concert will now begin at 4:15 p.m. and Bristol's tradition-rich driver introductions led by the great Michael Buffer will start at 5:45 p.m. 

* * *

As usual, there are plenty of intriguing storylines heading into Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race at iconic Bristol Motor Speedway, but the main theme will once again be who advances in the NASCAR Playoffs and who doesn’t.

With its challenging all-concrete high banks, the .533-mile bullring nestled in the rolling hills of Northeast Tennessee that’s been christened as the “Holy Grail of Short Tracks” stands ready to deliver in its important role as the Round of 16 elimination race.

When the checkered flag falls, four drivers are going to be disappointed that they have been eliminated from championship contention and the few who are able to survive 500 laps of mayhem and chaos when the green flag drops at the new race start time of 6:30 p.m. for America’s Night Race (USA Network and PRN Radio) will celebrate their advancement to NASCAR’s Round of 12.

Defending race winner Chris Buescher, who won here last year as a non-Playoff contender, will try to repeat by feeling the full effects of Playoff pressure. Buescher won three times this year and hopes to continue his breakout season and reignite his love affair with the World’s Fastest Half-Mile by scoring another victory here at the controls of his No. 17 RFK machine.

Buescher isn’t taking anything for granted. He knows that he’ll need to put on his best game face to accomplish his mission.

“We want to come in to Bristol with guns blazing,” Buescher said. “This night race at Bristol has been the top of my bucket list for a really long time and to get that one last year was really special.”

The Texas driver said when he raced in the Xinfity Series at Bristol he would stay over and watch the Cup race from the grandstands, especially the Night Race. For him to now be coming into the arena as the defending winner and a Playoff contender during the Night Race, is a bit surreal for him.

“Bristol is my favorite race track, so I’m always wanting to come to Bristol no matter what,” Buescher said. “To come back as the defending winner of the Night Race, we know we’re going to be fast. RFK always brings really fast Ford Mustangs to that race track, so I feel we will be in a really good spot.”

While Buescher is the defending winner, the most recent winner at Bristol came in April on the dirt surface and now Christopher Bell has an opportunity this weekend to become the only driver to sweep Cup races at Bristol in a single season by winning on both dirt and concrete.

“We were in a great position to race for a win last year (at the Night Race) before I had a flat tire,” Bell said. “So I would expect us to have a shot at it. But yeah, that would be pretty historic to be able to win there on dirt and concrete in the same year.”

Bell, who is currently 10th in the standings, 13 points above the cutline, will be battling with a host of talented drivers to claim those final few transfer spots to the Round of 12, including past Cup champions Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr., among others.

“With it being a cut-off race, it makes it just a lot more stressful,” Bell said. “I don’t think that we approach the race any differently, but it certainly is a very important race. This Bristol race in the fall it’s a very, very iconic event, whether it’s in the playoffs or not. If we go out there and do what we’re capable of, you know, we don’t have to do anything special and we’ll be in good shape.”

Logano, the defending Cup Series champion, is a two-time winner of the Night Race and he says winning the crown jewel event is one of the best experiences for a driver in the NASCAR Cup Series. He is looking forward to a wild night on Saturday.

“It’s just something special about winning at Bristol,” Logano said. “The fans make it special because you have that stadium environment. It is the one place where you can really hear the fans yelling and screaming, cheering or booing. When you’re under the lights, you see all the flashbulbs and you can hear everybody. Being able to put your car up on top of the media center there for Victory Lane is probably the coolest thing. You can do a burnout up the ramp, it’s just so cool to win there.”

And finally, NASCAR legend Kevin Harvick will be making his final Night Race start in his No. 4 SHR Ford as a full-time Cup driver. Harvick is a three-time Bristol winner and two of those came in America's Night Race. 

Harvick is on the cutline in 12th place and will need a strong run to keep his Playoff chances alive. He is well-aware of the chaos that can erupt at Thunder Valley at any time and also enjoys the overall atmosphere that the race produces.

“Bristol, the Night Race, especially, is a place that just has a special feel,” Harvick said. “Being a part of that event for a long time just gets you jacked up as a driver. It’s just a very intense place to race. It’s an intense place just to make laps, honestly.”

To purchase tickets, visit the Bristol Motor Speedway website or call (866) 415-4158.


Joe Gibbs Racing driver Martin Truex Jr.  was made available to media after before practice for the NASCAR Cup Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday:


MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing  

If you don’t advance, is there something wrong with the system?

“I don’t think so, we just had two terrible races. That’s kind of the way it is. You can’t afford to have bad races and we’ve had two of the three so far. Hopefully tomorrow night goes better.”


What is it like to be in your position?

“It’s a terrible spot to be in, last week, we didn’t even get a chance to race, which was disappointing. I felt like it was probably the best car I had on a mile-and-a-half all year long. I was really excited about it after coming off a tough Darlington race, and then two laps in, you feel like you’re in trouble with a flat tire and it turns out you ran something over. It’s terrible bad luck. I don’t know what you do about it. You just move on and do the best you can tomorrow night. Obviously, it’s a bad spot to be in.”


What is it about Texas that hasn’t suited your driving style?

“It’s been different things over the years. It’s always been a good track for us. Last year, we were leading, and we blew a tire. It’s one of those plays that I feel like we’ve been snakebit a lot We’ve had some good runs, and we’ve had some struggles at times since they repaved it. It’s just one of those things. It’s been up-and-down, but I feel confident going there with what we have this year that we will run well, especially, after we did last year. It’s been tough. Got poles there, led lots of laps, just haven’t been able to win at. Always look forward going there, and I think next week we will have a good shot to win.”


What can you tell us about your approach that doesn’t allow you to be bothered in this situation?

“I think just working together for a while helps. We feel confident in one another and our abilities. I’ve got a great team. I know what they are capable of. For me, you can’t change what happened last week or the week before – you just learn from it and move on and try not to let it affect this week. Tomorrow night is a big race. This hasn’t been our best place, by any means, but I look forward to the challenge. It’s going to be what it’s going to be. We just have to do our best. Hopefully, it shakes out and we can start round two in a good spot again.”


Why hasn’t Bristol been good to you and does it make you nervous?

“I guess a little bit. I think it has been a lot of different issues over the years. We’ve run well here at times. We’ve certainly struggled at times, but I think everybody has. This place is tricky with the spray, and the groove moving around. We won’t race where we practice. It’s a little bit of a challenge there, but all of the times we’ve run here it’s always been a flat tire or a loose wheel. I can’t even use both hands to count all of the times that has happened. It’s just been a tough place, hopefully no bad luck tomorrow night and we can go just have a smooth race and hopefully have the performance to get the job done.”


Are you approaching that you can still point your way in?

“That’s the goal every week – try to get as many points as you can. You want to run up front and be in the mix with whatever position you are in. We certainly try to do that. It is going to be tough to point our way in, but it is a long race and a lot can happen and we are looking forward to the opportunity.”


What is the balance of looking at where your competitors are doing versus what you are doing tomorrow night?

“You kind of just take it as it comes. Right now, we know where we stand and what we have to do, but things change and if things change in a major way, they will let me know, but we just have to go race and do the best job that we can do.”


Do you have to be a jerk tomorrow night?

“It’s possible.”

Are you comfortable with that?

“No, of course not. I’m not really good at hypotheticals, either (laughter). We will see how it plays out tomorrow night and what position we are in and what needs to be done and go from there and make a decision on the fly.”


Is it similar feeling to the Championship 4 race?

“I don’t know. I guess it feels a little bit similar, but at the same time different. You always go to the last race knowing that you are only racing three other guys, and tomorrow night, we essentially have no idea who we are racing yet, so we just have to go and not over complicate it and go and give our best effort and not have any mistakes and stay on top of things. I think we are ready to do it, just again, wait and see. We are ready to go. What’s going to happen is going to happen.”




Are the mechanical issues that were suffered last year worked out for this season’s race?

“I think the issue we had with the steering should be worked out. I don’t think you know for sure until you come here. This place is so unique. Nowhere else we race is like this and puts such a demand on the steering system, so your guess is as good as mine, but I think it should be fine. I don’t think it should be an issue. Tire wise, I don’t know. A lot of times, that is just bad luck like last week. We must have run something over on pace laps or coming down pit road for our speed check. You just never know with tires.”


After a couple bad weeks, does Catwalk for a Cause put things in a different perspective?

“Yeah, for sure. It always does. Even after a good week, it’s always a reminder of what people are going through. A lot of people are dealing with a lot of bad things, and we are all very lucky to be here doing this, and that’s kind of the way I approach it.”


How successful was it?

“I don’t know exactly yet, but it was amazing. Everybody did a great job. It was a lot of fun. The kids were awesome, and they had a blast. That is what it is all about.”


MATT KAULIG, OWNER OF KAULIG RACING; CHRIS RICE, PRESIDENT OF KAULIG RACING; and DANIEL HEMRIC, DRIVER FOR KAULIG RACING, met with the media at Bristol Motor Speedway to announce that Hemric will drive the No. 31 Kaulig Racing Camaro ZL1 in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2024. Media Availability Quotes:  


CHRIS RICE: “We love doing these at the race track because of you guys. We know that if we don’t have you, the media, and we don’t have the people that is in this sport, there’s no way that we get this out to our race fans. We love our race fans; we love everything about our race fans. And I said this to our race team on Wednesday – tough times only last a short period of time.. tough people last a long time. And when we started this journey with Daniel Hemric back in February – about Cup racing and different things – that’s what we talked about. We talked about it a lot. With the partnership with Cirkul and everybody that goes along with this, it was just evident that it wasn’t going to take long for Daniel to work as hard as he worked behind the scenes – not just on the race track, but behind the scenes, to be able to go back Cup racing. I know the first time he went Cup racing; it wasn’t the best. He probably beat himself to death every time he left, and he probably didn’t have a good time with it. But our plan is to go have a good time with it. We obviously want to win and we want to win trophies.. that’s what Matt (Kaulig) wants to do.


But for our partners, Daniel’s partners and everybody else, we’re glad to tell you that Daniel Hemric will drive the No. 31 Chevy in 2024.


MATT KAULIG: “We’ve been working on this probably since February – just to advance our race team, to advance our Cup program. Even since last year, even looking at the race shop, we’re trying to improve our program – whether it’s with the Xfinity cars or with the Cup cars. We feel like the best way to even advance our Cup program is to have Daniel Hemric in that No. 31 car. Couldn’t be more excited. I’m super excited for you (Daniel). Daniel has been a huge part of our race team. He’s been a great teammate. He’s been a great family member. I’m just super excited that he’s staying on with us and we’re going to be Cup racing.”


DANIEL HEMRIC: “I appreciate these guys. They went for bat for me when I didn’t know what I had next in 2021. When I got to sit down and hear them out, hear what their vision was – not only for 2021, but 2024, 2025 and beyond – back well before that was on the horizon, I knew after hearing what they had to say that I wanted to be a part of it. You’re never promised anything and you never know what’s to come, but one thing that’s always been true is that if you keep showing up - you put the work in and you bring that heart each and every week, you’re going to have the same shot that you can only dream of. It’s been a whirlwind, to say the least. I’m doing the best I can to hold it together up here, but it’s here. We’re going back.”



DANIEL HEMRIC: “Yeah, that was a bit bizarre (laughs). I actually told these two guys walking over here, literally 30 seconds before we walked in, I’m like – at many moments this week where I got these random texts and everybody knows I’m not going to lie to them, and they know if they didn’t get a response that they knew the answer. I actually took a screenshot and sent it to Chris (Rice) within 15 minutes of it getting posted, of the handshake photo, and (Ryan) Blaney was like – we’ve been on enough vacations together, I know those arms (laughs). So it was funny to just have people within the industry and family members reach out and I’m like – lips are tied until Friday. But yeah, it was pretty bizarre to witness how all of that went down.”



CHRIS RICE: “Daniel (Hemric) can tell you how that come about. I’m always trying to figure out what’s going to stump the crowd, right? No matter what it is. I didn’t think it would go that deep. I did think they’d figure it out, but man race fans want to find out. Bob (Pockrass) walked up to me last week or a couple of weeks ago, and he said it was Daniel Hemric. I can’t lie, right. I can’t lie.. I might not tell you something, but I can’t lie. When we did that, I never knew it would get down to the freckle. My daughter is pregnant and I think she went into labor after looking at all of the comments, and I’m like – quit looking at all of the comments (laughs).”



DANIEL HEMRIC: “We’re going to find out. In all reality, through the process of just trying to be a better person, a better racer, over the last five years – you do learn a lot about yourself through those ups and downs. I know just from attaching to what a racecar driver at that level has to go through – through preparation and being on the race track – but more so what happens once you leave the race track. How to detach, how to mentally stay sound at home and still be the best father and best husband. I know without a shadow of doubt that it would be naïve for me to think that I’m the same person and I’m not. I’m excited about the person I am going into this new opportunity.”



CHRIS RICE: “We’re super excited about our No. 16 car, but we’re honestly coming in here today about the No. 31. I would love to sit here and tell you everything that’s going on. Yes, AJ (Allmendinger) is very crucial. He was a big decision factor with Daniel (Hemric). I’ll be dead honest with you – we brought it to AJ first because AJ is big part of Kaulig Racing. I think his middle name is ‘Kaulig’.”



DANIEL HEMRIC: “Yeah, that’s a great question. I think I said it after I ran the first handful of races in that car. It was brand new to the entire garage. We went to Daytona (International Speedway) and kind of survived and ran top-15. But then when we went to Fontana (Auto Club Speedway) - unloaded inside the top-10 and qualified inside the top-five, I believe. We had a mechanical failure that put us six laps down, and then to come back, made those laps up and get a top-10 finish. I got out of the car right then and man, for me, all of 2019 and the years of trying to figure out how to even get back into a Cup seat, period, even though then it was on a part-time basis, it felt like – yeah, you’re right, you can do it back at this level. For me, that was like – OK, how do we bridge this gap.. how do I get back there full-time. So I used a lot of that experience and I’ll be able to continue to use that experience that I got last year. I really feel like, just in general, the garage changes so fast. I’m sure if we went back to Fontana tomorrow, what I drove and felt in that car is not what it’s going to feel like today. But just to know that you can go and compete – run upfront, qualify that good and race that good – when you’ve been in that situation where you struggle to feel like you’re physically capable of doing it after getting let down, whether it’s self-induced or team-induced, to go and prove to yourself that you can do it, that’s all the experience I needed to gain that particular day and that’s why I look forward to what’s ahead.”



DANIEL HEMRIC: “Yeah, just because this opportunity is here doesn’t mean that it’ll be there well into the future, right? So you just try to do your best right now, and right now is all that matters. Through the past, it’s taken a support group that’s been incredible, like my wife Kenzie, Matt (Kaulig) and Chris (Rice), and everybody else around me - to lift you up in those times where you are second-guessing yourself. At the end of the day, everything else outside of that – if they’re not on your team, or your core group, it’s just noise. And to me, it’s been about eliminating that noise and just keeping your head down. It’s very surreal, but not something that I haven’t worked every day since 2019 to figure out.”



DANIEL HEMRIC: “It’s a testament of the values you have as a kid. Like you are constantly trying to find your way, whether it be in racing or not. I think all the way back to my short-track career - watching people that I’d go mentor or driver coach.. they get their shot to get up the ladder and I’d still be at that same local level trying to figure out how they got to go on. I bring that up because this opportunity feels no different than that. I feel like in do time and the right time, in general, you just end up exactly where you’re supposed to be. I think about that.. I think about all the kids around the world trying to figure this out. My mentality was to keep going.. one more step, figure it out. And when that guy decides he can’t go no more, I went one more and I get the shot.”



MATT KAULIG: “It is our second full-time season. Yeah, I wouldn’t say it’s been tough. I think we’re making progress exactly the way that we planned. If we look at when we started the team eight years ago, it wasn’t easy. We weren’t running great in the Xfinity Series in year two. So it takes a little bit. You have to get the right team. You have to get the right teammates. You have to get the right drivers. Even what we’re doing here today, talking about Daniel (Hemric), the No. 31 car and how we continue to get better, we’re just making progress. Whenever you’re talking about anything in business, sometimes it just takes time. It takes experience, it takes time. I’m really, really proud of how all of our teams have run this year. I’m really looking forward to the future.”



MATT KAULIG: “I think we’re making good progress. I feel good about everything that’s going on, actually. I don’t really have too many comments about that.”



DANIEL HEMRIC: “Oh yeah, sure.. absolutely and I’m sure they still will. And that’s fine.. I’ll keep showing up. It’s pretty simple.”



DANIEL HEMRIC: “Yeah, for me, my wife and I joke about this – I say joke about it, but it’s a series conversation when you’re trying to go through these waters and navigate it. When it’s just you and you’re only worried about you – like you can afford to work on stuff like this, fail at it and there’s nobody else relying on you. And I think anybody in here with kids, wives and family – when there’s more and more people that depend on you, it becomes a bigger distraction, without a doubt. It’s the best sleep aid.. it helps you sleep when you know you get your deals done and you don’t have to worry about it. It’s only fair to the men and women inside of our shop, everyone at Kaulig Racing – everybody wants to know what’s happening. They want to know if they have a job next year, who’s running what. That matters to everybody’s decisions. There’s a lot of people depending on them, so it’s just a trickle effect of let’s all of us buckle down and zero back in on the task at-hand. There’s no better time than now to get it out there in front of everyone just so we can refocus. I wouldn’t have came here when I did if I didn’t think we could win races and win championships. To have partners like Cirkul that believe the same thing – they want us back focused. To be able to announce this today and put where our head where it needs to be, that’s what it’s all about today.”


CHRIS RICE: “You talk about can Daniel win a championship. As a race team, we have to get better. I don’t think we’re where we need to be. I told Claire at Darlington (Raceway) – it’s unacceptable. Last week, we go and have two failures that are outside of our control. But actually what that did was made us learn – we learned a lot last week. Daniel has unloaded the last two weeks at the top of the board and I think we have to do our job. I think right now, the team, us as a group – we have to get together and start clicking off some wins. We have to win stages and we have to do stuff like that and have good runs to get to the Championship Four. I feel like two cars are already locked-in, with the No. 20 (John H. Nemechek) and the No. 21 (Austin Hill). I think there’s only two places left open, so we have to beat everybody to get there. I think with Daniel knowing what he’s doing over the next year is always good. But as a team, I think Alex Yontz (crew chief) and everybody has worked super hard to fix all the issues. I look forward to today and Texas (Motor Speedway) will be a good test for us.”



DANIEL HEMRIC: “I feel like it’s any good relationship, marriage or whatever you want to call it – you just have to communicate. You try to show your cards right in front of the next person and try to just understand the goals – where everybody wants to get to and where the vision is. Yeah, of course I wanted to be in Cup races this year, but the task at-hand was to spend as much time as possible in the Xfinity Series and give ourselves the best opportunity possible to win and run for a championship. For me, sometimes taking a step back is actually taking a step forward, and I think this is no bigger testament of that. You just have to continue the process and have faith that it’ll work out just how it’s supposed to.”


CHRIS RICE: “I think we learned as a group early on by letting AJ (Allmendinger) run some cars, we’ve let other people run some cars – I don’t think it was as good as we thought it would be.. getting the track time and all that. We could have ran Daniel in a couple of races – Cirkul would have loved to have him in a couple of races, but we saw that it didn’t really elevate what we needed and we don’t want to mess up with the mojo or whatever he might have going at the time. So I think that was more of a call on our end.. probably Matt’s end more than mine. But I think that wouldn’t be a step back.. I think it was a controlled – hey, let’s go for this Xfinity deal instead of putting the efforts in Cup right this second.”


Kaulig Racing PR

Fast Facts 

No. 38 RSS Racing with Lefcourt Brothers Team:


Driver: Joe Graf Jr. 


Primary Partner(s): Food City | Bucked Up Miami Energy Drink


Manufacturer: Ford Mustang


Crew Chief: Steve Addington


Spotter: Joe Campbell


Engine: Roush-Yates Engines


Driver Championship Point Standings: 23rd


Team Championship Point Standings: 28th

Notes of Interest:


Settled In: After spending the last three seasons with SS GreenLight Racing with Jeff Lefcourt (2020 – 2022), Joe Graf Jr. moved to RSS Racing during the offseason, where he’ll spend the majority of the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series season competing for the Sugar Hill, Ga.-based team.


In addition to RSS Racing, Graf will also compete in a limited NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule, driving the No. 19 Toyota Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing.


Welcome Aboard: RSS Racing with Lefcourt Brothers Racing and driver Joe Graf Jr. welcome race entitlement partner Food City as a co-primary partner for Friday night’s Food City 300 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.


Headquartered in Abingdon, Virginia, Food City is a local, family-owned company operating 152 retail outlets throughout southeast Kentucky, southwest Virginia, east Tennessee, north Georgia and Alabama.


The company serves as the title sponsor of the Spring Cup Series Food City Dirt Race and fall Food City 300 Xfinity race.


Celebrating more than 30 years of racing, Food City is Bristol Motor Speedway’s longest-running sponsor and the second-longest in NASCAR Motorsports. 


Glad To Have You Back: Joining Food City as a co-primary partner this weekend at Bristol is Bucked Up Energy Drink.


The team will promote Bucked Up's Miami flavor for the first time this year and the second time in Graf’s Xfinity Series career.


Party in the city where the heat is on, all night energy till the break of dawn. Welcome to Miami — Bienvenidos a Miami!


Let the strawberry, mango, and pineapple whisk you away from daily drudgery and drop you off at your dream destinations.


Sip that neon-berry bliss, feel the energy surging and listen.


Because in Miami, the music never ends — pop the tab and taste vacation.


More Than Just Energy: Did you know that Bucked Up has continued to expand its footprint since

debuting its relationship with Joe Graf Jr. during the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series season. 


Bucked Up is a sports nutrition and lifestyle brand focused on helping all athletes and individuals achieve their health and fitness goals. Offering over 500 different products ranging from supplements and energy drinks to apparel and accessories,


Bucked Up is committed to providing customers with the best products available. Dedicated to using high-quality ingredients and non-proprietary blends, Bucked Up’s pre-workout is the No. 1 best-selling product in its class.


The brand’s products are now offered in over 25,000 stores worldwide, including Walmart, Amazon, GNC and Vitamin Shoppe.


Driven To Support: Graf will sport a unique pair of driving gloves this weekend at Bristol as part of the Driven to Give Glove Program in collaboration with the Dale Jr. Foundation.


At the conclusion of Friday night’s race, Graf will autograph the two-toned gloves, featuring exclusive

skeleton imagery, and they will be auctioned off to raise money for the foundation.


From Friday night through Monday, September 18, 2023, the gloves will be up for bid at


Thanks For Your Support: With a little more than 78 percent of the 2023 Xfinity Series season complete, Joe Graf Jr. and RSS Racing would like to thank their associate marketing partners:, AVOID, Bass Reaper Bait Company,  Bucked Up Energy Drink, CoverSeal, EAT SLEEP RACE Apparel, fgrACCEL, G-Coin®, GTECHNIQ, JACOB Companies, Lefcourt Brothers Racing, Love Motorsports, Model Electronics and ShopRite for their continued support.


Joe Graf Jr. Xfinity Series Bristol Motor Speedway Stats: Friday night’s Food City 300 will mark Graf’s fifth Xfinity Series start at the famed 0.533-mile track.


In his previous four Bristol efforts, he delivered a track-best of 13th after starting 36th for SS GreenLight Racing in his Thunder Valley debut in June 2020, running of the Cheddar’s 300 during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Mahwah, New Jersey native also earned a respectable 17th place finish in the 2021 running of the Food City 300 at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile.”


Joe Graf Jr. Xfinity Series Career Speedway Stats: At tracks classified as a short track, Graf has competed in 17 NASCAR Xfinity Series races. He holds an average starting position of 25.5 and an average result of 24.7.


Joe Graf Jr. NASCAR Xfinity Series Career Stats: In 119 career Xfinity Series starts, Graf has earned four top-10 finishes, including a seventh-place outing at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February 2023. During that tenure, he also holds an average finishing position of 25.7.


He earned a career-best Xfinity Series qualifying effort of fifth in 2020 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway with SS GreenLight Racing.


With Joe Gibbs Racing, he earned his non-superspeedway career-best qualifying effort of 11th at Kansas Speedway in September 2023.


Kansas Speedway | Kansas Lottery 300 Race Recap: In the most recent NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Kansas Speedway, Graf hunted for his second top-10 finish of the season.


In his penultimate Xfinity Series race driving the No. 19 car for Joe Gibbs Racing, Graf was able to improve on his practice result and qualify his No. 19 RUT machine 11th and utilized that track position to maintain a strong presence inside the top-15 for a majority of the race.


Graf and his car in the closing laps of Stage 3 were mounting lap times equal or better to eventual race winner John Hunter Nemechek, which allowed the former ARCA Menards Series winner to pick up five spots over the closing 30 laps of the race to net a ninth-place result at the checkered flag.


The finish delivered Graf his second top-10 finish of the season and his best result for JGR, bettering his 11th-place effort at Auto Club (Calif.) Speedway in February.


Late Model racer Nick Leitz drove RSS Racing with Lefcourt Brothers Racing No. 38 Ford Mustang to a 31st place finish after encountering some setbacks throughout the 200-lap race.


Sneaker Mania: Along with the adrenaline of the Motorsports competition, Joe Graf Jr. also has a vogue for hype sneakers. In his current collection, he owns and wears at least 90 limited edition sneakers – and his collection continues to grow monthly.


The current estimated value of his collection tops $100,000.


From the Pit Box: Industry veteran Steve Addington is Joe Graf Jr.’s crew chief.


He will be crew chief for his 290th NASCAR Xfinity Series race as crew chief on Friday night and his 18th at the historic track in Bristol, Tenn.


In his previous 289 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts, he has collected 11 wins, 10 poles, 68 top-five and 118 top-10 finishes.


Hello From The Other Side: Graf Jr. has two teammates at RSS Racing.


Veteran Ryan Sieg will drive the No. 39 Sci Apps Ford Mustang, while younger brother Kyle Sieg will drive the No. 28 Cooks Comfort Ford Mustang. 


Ryan Sieg is set to make his 328th career Xfinity Series start overall and 17th at Bristol.


Kyle Sieg is poised to make his 44th career Xfinity Series start and first at Bristol. 


Follow on Social Media: For more on Joe Graf Jr. visit, like him on Facebook (Joe Graf Jr.), follow him on TikTok (@JoeGrafJr), X | Twitter (@JoeGrafJr) and Instagram (@joegrafjr).

For more on RSS Racing, please like them on Facebook (RSS283839) and follow them on Instagram (@rss283839) and X | Twitter (@RSS283839). 

Joe Graf Jr. Quoteboard:


On Bristol Motor Speedway: “I always enjoy going to Bristol. It is a fun short track, and I have learned a lot in my previous races. After a strong run at Kansas Speedway, I am feeling pretty good about climbing back behind the wheel of the No. 38 Food City | Bucked Up Miami Energy Drink Ford Mustang.


“I hope to return that momentum with the RSS Racing with Lefcourt Brothers Racing team and contend for another top-10 on Friday night. In my previous four races, I learned that track position is everything, so we’ll work hard to start as close to the front as possible and let the race play out and hope for a strong showing at the checkered flag.”


On The 2023 Season: “The end of the season is on the horizon, and I am working hard between my responsibilities with RSS Racing with Lefcourt Brothers Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing to ensure I can give 100 percent the wheel.


“I want to make the most of these last two months and deliver some strong results.


“I just need to stay focused, communicate with my team, and utilize the knowledge I’ve gained over the past three years to recover and end the season on a high.”

Race Information:


The Food City 300 (300 laps | 159.9 miles) is the 26th of 33 NASCAR Xfinity Series races on the 2023 schedule. Practice begins on Friday, September 15, from 2:35 p.m. – 3:10 p.m. Qualifying immediately follows at 3:10 p.m. The 38-car field will take the green flag shortly after 7:30 p.m. with live coverage on the USA Network, the Performance Racing Network (Radio), and SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90. All times are Eastern (ET).

RSS Racing PR

Jeb Burton – No. 27 Alsco Uniforms
Chevrolet Camaro SS Preview- Bristol Motor Speedway

NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs; Round of 12

Social Media; Facebook, X, Instagram

News and Notes: 

- Playoffs: The opening round of the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs begin at Bristol Motor Speedway Friday night with the Food City 300. Entering the event Burton is seeded in the 10th position with his collection of a race win and playoff points accumulated throughout the regular season. The first round of Playoffs includes Bristol Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and the elimination race of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval before the Playoff field is cut down to eight competitors.

- Practice; After technical inspection on Friday morning, Burton and the No. 27 Alsco Uniforms Chevrolet will hit the famed half-mile high banked concrete oval of Bristol Motor Speedway at 2:52 PM ET on Friday afternoon for a brief 20-minute practice session. NXS practice will be split into two different groups, Burton is scheduled to be a part of the second group.  Coverage of practice will air LIVE USA Network and on the NBC Sports App.

– Starting Position; Directly after practice at 3:10 PM ET, Burton and his No 27 Alsco Uniforms Chevrolet will line up to qualify for starting position in the Food City 300. In 2023, short-track qualifying would consist of a single round of single car qualifying for two laps. Burton will roll off 33rd for his qualifying laps based the Round of 12 playoff cars and positioning in the performance-based matrix factoring owner points, driver points, race finish, and fastest lap of the previous week. With 39 cars entered, one will miss the race. Coverage of qualifying will air LIVE on USA Network and the NBC Sports App.

– Bristol Motor Speedway Stats; Friday nights NXS Food City 300 will mark Burton’s eighth NXS start at Bristol Motor Speedway. In seven previous starts, Burton holds an average finish of 21.0 with a 89.7% lap completion rate completing 1800 laps of the possible 2006. With a total of seven laps lead Burton has earned one Top-Ten finish in 2020 and three Top-15 finishes.
Featured Partners

- Alsco Uniforms; Alsco Uniforms is a fifth-generation family-owned and -operated uniform company founded in 1889 and recognized by the prestigious Hohenstein Institute for having invented the uniform rental industry. Celebrating over 130 years of business, Alsco Uniforms provides uniform laundry services and other products that keep businesses clean and safe for all kinds of customers in the healthcare, automotive, industrial and hospitality industries. With more than 180 locations and 20,000 employees, Alsco Uniforms provides laundry rental services to over 355,000 customers in 14 countries, which makes Alsco Uniforms the largest uniform company in the world. Visit to learn more about how Alsco Uniforms is the industry’s best-kept secret.

Parker Retzlaff – No. 31 FUNKAWAY
Chevrolet Camaro SS Preview- Bristol Motor Speedway

Social Media; Facebook, X, Instagram

- Practice; After technical inspection on Friday morning, Retzlaff and the No. 31 FUNKAWAY Chevrolet will hit the half-mile high banked concrete oval nicknamed “The Last Great Coliseum” at 2:52 PM ET on Friday afternoon for a brief 20-minute practice session. NXS practice will be split into two different groups, Retzlaff is scheduled to be a part of the second group.  Coverage of practice will air LIVE USA Network and on the NBC Sports App.

– Starting Position; Directly after practice at 3:10 PM ET, Retzlaff and his No 31 FUNKAWAY Chevrolet will line up to qualify for starting position in the Food City 300. In 2023, short-track qualifying would consist of a single round of single car qualifying for two laps. Retzlaff will roll off 23rd for his qualifying laps based on the performance-based matrix factoring owner points, driver points, race finish, and fastest lap of the previous week. With 39 cars entered, one will miss the race. Coverage of qualifying will air LIVE on USA Network and the NBC Sports App.

Bristol Motor Speedway StatsFriday night’s Food City 300 will mark Retzlaff’s debut at the 0.5-mile East Tennessee oval.

Featured Partner

- FUNKAWAY; Headquartered in Waukegan, Illinois, FunkAway is a line of odor elimination products that removes the horrible effects of bad smells. Guaranteed to work on clothing, shoes, gear, pet products, car interiors and more, FunkAway allows customers to renew and refresh, rather than throw away. To learn more about FunkAway, visit and connect on Instagram and Facebook. #FUNKINFAST31


Imagine yourself sitting behind the wheel of a sleek, powerful race car. The engine roars to life as you grip the steering wheel tightly, feeling the adrenaline coursing through your veins. Auto racing is an exhilarating sport that captivates millions of people worldwide. However, amidst the excitement and thrill, it's crucial to prioritize safety.

Auto racing comes with inherent risks. From high speeds to tight turns, drivers face challenges that demand utmost caution and preparedness.

But why is safety so important? Well, besides protecting your well-being, following proper safety measures can enhance your performance on the track. You can focus on honing your skills and achieving remarkable results by minimizing risks and avoiding accidents.

So buckle up, because in the upcoming sections, we will dive into practical advice and strategies to ensure your safety while indulging in this electrifying sport. You will also get up to speed with the latest auto racing news, picks, odds & tips.

Understanding Motorsport Safety Regulations

Motorsport is an exhilarating sport that combines speed, skill, and precision. However, the high-octane nature of auto racing also poses significant risks to participants. Strict motorsport safety regulations are in place to mitigate these risks and ensure the safety of drivers, officials, and spectators alike.

Role of regulations in ensuring safety

Regulations play a vital role in maintaining safety standards within motorsport. These rules and guidelines are designed to minimize the potential for accidents and injuries during races. By setting specific requirements for track design, vehicle specifications, driver equipment, and race procedures, regulations aim to create a safer environment for all involved.

Different governing bodies and their regulations

Various governing bodies oversee different forms of motorsport around the world. Each organization establishes its own safety regulations tailored to its specific discipline. For instance:

  • The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) governs Formula One racing and sets stringent safety standards for cars and circuits.
  • NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) has a comprehensive rulebook covering everything from car construction to race procedures.
  • The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) regulates endurance racing events like the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Compliance with safety standards is mandatory

Complying with safety standards is not optional; it is mandatory for all participants in motorsport. Drivers must adhere to strict protocols regarding their protective gear, such as helmets, fire-resistant suits, gloves, and shoes. Vehicles must meet specific technical specifications related to chassis strength, fuel systems, roll cages, and more.

Consequences of non-compliance with regulations

Non-compliance with motorsport safety regulations can have severe consequences. Drivers may face fines or disqualification from races if they fail to meet the necessary requirements. Non-compliant vehicles may be deemed ineligible to compete until necessary modifications are made.

Key Takeaways for Auto Racing Safety

In conclusion, It's crucial to prioritize your well-being and take the necessary precautions. Understanding motorsport safety regulations is essential to ensure you comply with the standards set by governing bodies. By prioritizing driving and staying focused, you can minimize distractions and react quickly to any potential hazards on the track. Ensuring proper restraints and harnesses will provide vital protection in case of accidents.

Remember, auto racing can be a thrilling sport, but it's essential to prioritize safety at all times. By following these key takeaways, you can enjoy the adrenaline rush while minimizing risks.

NASCAR Arcade Rush launches today for PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam. Jump into the driver’s seat for heart-pumping, high-speed NASCAR competition and excitement like you’ve never seen before on wildly reimagined versions of the motorsport’s most iconic racetracks!

Trailer: YouTube
Assets: Download

Experience the thrill of NASCAR racing in a completely new way with intense arcade races on real-world NASCAR tracks, totally reengineered with jaw-dropping twists, hair-raising turns, gravity-defying jumps, nitro boosts and other surprises. Customize your car and driver as you compete to take the top position across a variety of game modes, including the Career NASCAR Cup Series plus online and local multiplayer.

Key Features

  • Iconic Tracks, Wild Twists: Experience real-world NASCAR locales like Talladega Superspeedway, Daytona International Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Martinsville Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and more in all-new ways that will thrill your imagination and deliver a new level of playability within the vaunted NASCAR video game franchise.
  • Race Your Way: Choose from a full array of vehicles spanning 75 years of stock car racing history and horsepower. Customize your car and driver to suit your style with new paint schemes, rims, spoilers, visual effects, suits, helmets and more, with thousands of combinations to discover.
  • Robust Racing Modes: NASCAR Arcade Rush features expansive single-player modes, including the Career NASCAR Cup Series, Quick Race and Time Attack. Take on your friends in thrilling head-to-head local multiplayer*, or race rivals around the world in 12-player online multiplayer.

NASCAR Arcade Rush is available now for $49.99 on digital stores and at major retailers.

Fans can also purchase the NASCAR Arcade Rush Project-X Bundle for $59.99. This fully loaded digital exclusive features the complete base game, as well as a ton of bonus NASCAR Arcade Rush Project-X playable content, including:

  • A hovercraft car model developed as part of Project-X
  • Project-X paint scheme, rims, wheels and spoiler
  • Project-X themed drivers suit and helmet
  • Project-X team sponsorship option
  • Project-X vehicle FX package
  • A set of four additional in-game emojis to showcase your style

NASCAR Arcade Rush is published by GameMill Entertainment. For more information, visit

*Local multiplayer available only on PC, PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One.

Gamemill/NASCAR PR

Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway... In 183 NASCAR Cup Series starts on the pavement configuration at Bristol Motor Speedway, RCR has scored nine wins, including Dale Earnhardt's seven wins at the track (both races in 1985 and 1987, plus victories in 1988, 1994 and 1999). Kevin Harvick won in 2005, and Jeff Burton found Victory Lane for the organization in 2008. RCR has racked up 35 top-five and 71 top-10 finishes.


Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at The Last Great Colosseum... RCR has nine NASCAR Xfinity Series victories at Bristol led by four wins by Kevin Harvick (2000, 2001, 2003 and 2005). Other drivers who have posted Bristol wins for the Welcome, N.C., based organization include Jeff Green (2002), Clint Bowyer (2008), Elliott Sadler (2012), Austin Dillon (2016) and Tyler Reddick (2019). The team has racked up 38 top-five and 63 top-10 finishes at the Tennessee short track. 


Carolina Cowboys to Host Free, Family Friendly Festival During PBR Teams Homestand at Greensboro Coliseum Sept. 22-24... The Carolina Cowboys will host a free-to-attend, family-friendly festival that will accompany the event outside Greensboro Coliseum September 22-24. The Cowboy Days Festival will take over the area surrounding Greensboro Coliseum, opening at 5:15 p.m. on Friday, September 22, 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 23 and 11 a.m. on Sunday, September 24. Daily at the Cowboy Days Festival, fans will be able to enjoy food and music, get up close with the Carolina Cowboys, Richard Childress Racing and more. Eventgoers will also be able to interact with a host of other exhibitors including Davis Rodeo Ranch, Childress Vineyards, Bass Pro Shops, eBay Motors, Bobcat and others. Local food trucks will also be present to accompany a for-purchase bar. 


Tickets to the 2023 Carolina Cowboys Home Stand Are Available Now... Driven by the same passion for performance that guides his race team, Richard Childress’ latest endeavor brings Professional Bull Riding to the Carolinas. The Carolina Cowboys represent the Carolinas in the PBR Team Series, an elite league featuring the world’s top bull riders competing in games throughout the country. The team is owned by Richard Childress and Jeff Broin with 2018 Daytona 500 Champion Austin Dillon serving as General Manager. Don't miss the Carolina Cowboys 2023 "Cowboy Days" Home Stand September 22-24 at the Greensboro Coliseum. Tickets are on sale at and Ticketmaster.


Catch the Action... The NASCAR Xfinity Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway will be televised live Friday, September 15, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET on USA and the NBC Sports App. The race will be broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90. 


The Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway will be televised live on Saturday, September 16 beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET on USA Network and NBC Sports App. The race will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

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Austin Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/Ranger Boats Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Bristol Motor Speedway... In 17 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Dillon has one top-five and three top-10 finishes, including a career-best fourth-place finish in August 2016. The 2013 NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion has nine NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at the half-mile track with a win in 2016. He has also made three NASCAR Truck Series starts at Bristol Motor Speedway.


Winner, Winner... Dillon has won at Bristol Motor Speedway on both the paved and dirt configurations. In addition to winning a NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the Tennessee track in August 2016 (paved), Dillon was among the first drivers to compete on the track’s dirt surface in 2021. He won two features and a heat race in dominating fashion in a 604 Crate Late Model for Corey Hedgecock Racing.


About Bass Pro Shops... Bass Pro Shops is North America's premier outdoor and conservation company. Founded in 1972 when avid young angler Johnny Morris began selling tackle out of his father's liquor store in Springfield, Missouri, today the company provides customers with unmatched offerings spanning premier destination retail, outdoor equipment manufacturing, world-class resort destinations and more. In 2017 Bass Pro Shops acquired Cabela's to create a "best-of-the-best" experience with superior products, dynamic locations, and outstanding customer service. Bass Pro Shops also operates White River Marine Group, offering an unsurpassed collection of industry-leading boat brands, and Big Cedar Lodge, America's Premier Wilderness Resort. Under the visionary conservation leadership of Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops is a national leader in protecting habitat and introducing families to the outdoors and has been named by Forbes as "one of America's Best Employers." Bass Pro Shops has a long relationship with NASCAR, dating back to 1998. For more information, visit


About Ranger Boats... Headquartered in Flippin, Ark., Ranger Boats is the nation’s premier manufacturer of legendary fiberglass and aluminum fishing boats, with acclaimed models and series in the bass, multi-species, fish ‘n play, saltwater, waterfowl utility and pontoon boat segments. Founded in 1968 by Forrest L. Wood, Ranger Boats continues its commitment to building the highest-quality, strongest-performing boats on the water. In 2015, Ranger joined White River Marine Group, part of the Bass Pro Shops family. For more information, go to


Meet Austin Dillon... Fans traveling to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend have several chances to meet the driver of the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/Ranger Boats Chevrolet. Dillon is scheduled to make an appearance at the Team Chevrolet stage at Bristol Motor Speedway for a Q&A session on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. Additionally, Dillon is scheduled to appear at 4:00 p.m. at the RCR Merchandise Hauler to greet race fans. Stop by and pick up new RCR gear. Dillon’s last scheduled appearance of the day is a Coca-Cola Q&A session at the Bristol Motor Speedway Fan Zone Stage at 4:30 p.m.



What are your thoughts on Bristol Motor Speedway?

“Bristol Motor Speedway is a high-banked, concrete half-mile track and it's one of the most fun tracks we race at. Every lap you are fighting for speed and pushing the envelope from top to bottom. Bristol never lets you take a breath. Your heart rate is constantly up. The tires give out, but you can still go fast on them. You’re working hard for 500 laps. The Bristol Night Race is a grind and that’s what fans love to see. There’s action all over the track and I’m looking forward to the race. Having run well there in the past, I know that we have the chance to contend for the win in the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/Ranger Boats Chevrolet this weekend.”


Kyle Busch and the No. 8 Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen/Alsco Uniforms Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Bristol Motor Speedway... Kyle Busch will make his 34th NASCAR Cup Series start this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway (pavement races). The driver of the Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen/Alsco Uniforms Chevrolet leads all active drivers with eight victories: 2007 (spring), 2009 (both races), 2010 (fall), 2011 (spring), 2017 (fall), 2018 (spring) and 2019 (spring). Busch leads all active drivers with 2,593 laps led at the .533-mile Tennessee speedway (1,382.06 miles). That distance equates to just over seven round trips from RCR’s Welcome, N.C., headquarters to Bristol, Tenn. Busch has nine NASCAR Xfinity Series wins and five victories in the NASCAR Truck Series, giving the Las Vegas, Nev., native 22 wins at Bristol across all three NASCAR national series.


The NASCAR Hat Trick, Twice... In 2010, Busch made history at Bristol Motor Speedway, becoming the first driver to win all three NASCAR national series races in the same weekend. Seven years later in 2017, Busch repeated the accomplishment - again at the Last Great Colosseum - when he secured victories in the Truck, Xfinity, and Cup Series races.


NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Update... Last Sunday at Kansas Speedway, Busch scored a seventh-place result, his 15th top-10 finish of the 2023 season. Busch enters the first round cutoff event seventh in the Cup Series driver championship standings, 24 points above the cutline. In the opening two Playoff races, Busch's average finish is 9.00, despite starting from the rear in both races.


Did You Know? Busch has made 336 green flag passes in the first two Playoff races this season. He led all drivers with 184 in the opening round at Darlington and made 152 passes at Kansas – second most overall.   


About Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen... Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen is the homestyle casual dining restaurant where guests always Get a lot. For not a lot™. The restaurant offers a variety of scratch-made meals and generous portions served up in a warm, welcoming atmosphere – all at an unbelievable price. After being welcomed with a signature Honey Butter Croissant on the house, guests can enjoy signature entrées like hand-breaded Chicken Tenders, homemade Chicken Pot Pie and Fall-off-the-Plate Baby Back Ribs. Cheddar’s operates more than 170 restaurants in 28 states and employs more than 15,000 friendly and passionate team members. For more information or to locate the nearest restaurant, visit Fans can like or follow Cheddar’s on FacebookTwitter , and Instagram.


About Alsco Uniforms... Alsco is a fifth-generation family-owned and operated uniform company founded in 1889 and recognized by the prestigious Hohenstein Institute for having invented the uniform rental industry. Celebrating over 130 years of business, Alsco provides uniform laundry services and other products that keep businesses clean and safe to all kinds of customers in the healthcare, automotive, industrial and hospitality industries. With more than 180 locations and 20,000 employees, Alsco provides laundry rental services to more than 355,000 customers in 14 countries, which makes Alsco Uniforms the largest uniform company in the world. Visit to learn more about how Alsco Uniforms is the industry’s best kept secret.     



Why is the Bristol Motor Speedway pavement race your favorite?

“Bristol concrete is my favorite track just because I’ve always enjoyed that racetrack. I’ve always enjoyed watching it as a kid on TV and seeing all the races there. And then it being a short track and high banked is cool and fun and reminds me of some tracks that raced at as a kid coming up through the ranks. I look forward to going there. Bristol is a challenging track. You’ve got to be on top of your game all the time. You can really push the car and try to get the most out of it on the bottom or on the top. I’ve always loved being on the bottom there and have found most of my wins from the bottom but still you’ve got to be agile and move around.”


Pitting at Bristol Motor Speedway is unique with the frontstretch and backstretch pit roads. How difficult is that and how big of a challenge is that since this is the only time all year you do it? 

“Pitting at Bristol is unique because you have two pit roads, the frontstretch and the backstretch. Typically, you don’t really pit there under green a whole lot but if you did, you have only one pit road. You’ve got to remember if you’re on the backstretch or frontstretch where you would come off of the racetrack and get down to get to pit road. It’s not that big of a deal but I’ve always had my pit selection be on the backstretch just so there’s never any confusion. We’ll see if we can get that pit selection that I prefer.”


Sheldon Creed and the No. 2 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet Camaro SS at Bristol Motor Speedway... Sheldon Creed has made one career NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Bristol Motor Speedway. The Alpine, California native also has three NASCAR Truck Series starts at the World's Fastest Half Mile, earning a best finish of sixth in 2019 and one pole position in 2021.


Playoffs Time... With the NASCAR Xfinity Series regular season complete, the focus now shifts to the Playoffs. Over the final seven races, Creed and his Whelen Engineering team will look to advance from the Round of 12 to the Round of 8 and ultimately the Round of 4. Creed enters NASCAR's postseason eighth in the driver championship point standings, two points above the cutline.


Meet Creed... On Friday, September 15 at 4:50 p.m. ET, Creed is scheduled to sign autographs at the RCR Merchandise Trailer located in the Fan Midway at Bristol Motor Speedway. Stop by to get your Whelen gear and have Creed sign the items purchased. Immediately following at 5:15 p.m., Creed will answer fan questions at the Chevrolet Display in the Fan Zone at Bristol Motor Speedway.


About Whelen Engineering... Whelen Engineering is a family-owned company with a pioneering spirit and a passion to protect the lives of those who protect and serve others. The company mission is to provide industry-defining safety solutions around the world, while creating a community of problem-solvers who are inspired to push boundaries and continue our legacy of delivering ground-breaking innovation. As a global leader in the emergency warning industry, Whelen has been trusted to perform since 1952, when George Whelen III invented the first rotating aviation beacon. Whelen now encompasses two state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Connecticut and New Hampshire with over 750,000 square feet of engineering and manufacturing space and the largest design staff in the industry. Every part of every Whelen product is proudly designed and manufactured in America. We embrace quality as our foundation, we celebrate innovative engineering in every product we produce.



As a Truck Series Champion, you have been through the Playoff bracket before. What is the outlook for your team heading into Week One at Bristol Motor Speedway?

“The beginning of the Playoffs is just about surviving. Someone out of us 12 Playoff drivers is going to have a bad weekend or something is going to happen, which will make survival and finishing the next six races before Phoenix crucial. Stage points and maximizing points will be key for our No. 2 Richard Childress Racing team. As a driver, I'm going to try and be on offense and put pressure on the other guys. I don't have a win yet this season, but if we capitalize on points and have fast Whelen Camaros, that is going to put pressure on those that are right around us in the standings."


Austin Hill and the No. 21 Bennett Transportation and Logistics Chevrolet Camaro SS at Bristol Motor Speedway... Austin Hill has made one career NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Bristol Motor Speedway, earning a third-place finish last season in the No. 21 Bennett Transportation and Logistics Chevrolet. The Winston, Georgia native has also competed in six NASCAR Truck Series events (best finish of 10th) and three ARCA Menards Series East races (best finish of fifth) at the World's Fastest Half Mile.


Regular Season Champion... After his fifth-place performance at Kansas Speedway, Hill captured the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series regular season championship. Throughout the 26-race regular season, the 29-year-old accumulated a total of four wins, three poles, four stage wins, 15 top-five, and 19 top-10 finishes. Entering NASCAR's postseason, Hill sits second in the point standings, 10 points behind leader John Hunter Nemechek.


Meet Hill... On Saturday, September 15 at 12:30 p.m. ET, Hill is scheduled to answer fan questions at the Chevrolet Display in the Fan Zone at Bristol Motor Speedway. Later that evening at 5:25 p.m., Hill will return to the Fan Zone to sign autographs at the Bennett Family of Companies Booth at Bristol Motor Speedway. Stop by to meet the Xfinity Series regular season championship before the green flag waves for the Playoffs.


#ThankATrucker... In celebration of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, Hill will honor Bennett's exceptional drivers with a special message on the hood of his No. 21 Chevrolet Camaro. Hill, along with No. 21 hauler driver Ricky Simmons and fellow RCR team members, attended a special Pit Stop Celebration in Johnson City, Tennessee on Thursday evening. Over 125 owner operators, contractors, and drivers will be at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday to cheer on the Bennett Transportation and Logistics Camaro.


About Bennett Family of Companies... McDonough-Ga. based Bennett Family of Companies is a woman-owned, Women’s Enterprise Business Council (WBENC) certified, diversified transportation and logistics company. Through its 14 affiliated operating companies, the Bennett Family of Companies delivers integrated transportation and supply chain management solutions worldwide. Bennett has 4,625 drivers/owner-operators, over 1,000 employees and 600 agents located across the United States. For more information, visit



What does it take to win at Bristol Motor Speedway?

“I guess I really don't know that yet, because I haven't won at Bristol Motor Speedway throughout my career. Last year, our No. 21 team had a really good Bennett Transportation and Logistics Chevrolet, finished third, and had a shot at winning. Even though I haven't won there, I know a lot of the things that you're looking for. You need a very versatile car. You need to be able to run the bottom when the resin is laid down, and as that starts wearing away, you need to be able to move up the race track and eventually get up against the fence. That is what I was able to do last year and was really good right up against the wall. There are a lot of wrecks and melee that happens at Bristol, so you have to be patiently aggressive, stay up front all race, keep your track position, and minimize your mistakes."



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