Steven B. Wilson

Steven B. Wilson

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Fresh off exciting news of their switch to Ford Performance in 2018, JGL Racing entered the season finale with Corey LaJoie piloting their No. 24 Toyota once again.  Despite some troubles on pit road, LaJoie steered his No. 24 youtheory Toyota to a solid 15th  place finish in the running of the Ford Ecoboost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
 
"We had a solid day in our No. 24 youtheory ride," said LaJoie.  "We had very good speed and got inside the top-10 there at the midway point of the race.  But we had a droop chain break in the right rear which made it difficult during our pit stops and that cost us some valuable track position.  We also were fighting being a little loose but that is characteristic of the Homestead track and something everyone was probably dealing with."
 
Corey would start the season ending 300-mile event from the 17th position as a result of his qualifying effort on Saturday morning.  LaJoie would move up quickly in the opening laps and sit in the 15th spot when the first caution flew on lap 18.  Corey would report to his crew that despite the charge forward he was battling a loose condition.  He would briefly move up to the 13th position before sliding back a few spots and ending the 45-lap first stage in 16th place.
 
A trip down pit road before the start of the second stage proved harmful as a broken droop chain made for a longer stop that normal with Corey returning the track in the 20th position.  Once again, the No. 24 youtheory Toyota would charge forward in the field once back to green flag action and a caution free second stage would find LaJoie cracking the top-10 when the stage ended on lap 90.
 
With a trip down pit road once again costing LaJoie some track position, the North Carolina native would once again charge forward early in a run.  With the second half of the race featuring Championship excitement, while also being caution free, Corey would deal with the loose condition of the track and his No. 24 youtheory Toyota.  When the sun set and the checkered flag flew, Corey would earn a solid top-15 finish to end the 2017 season.
 
"I want to once again thank youtheory for the great support this season and everyone at JGL Racing for all of their effort and hardwork," added Corey.  "Also, congratulations to Cole Custer on the race win and William Byron for winning the Championship."
 
With the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series season now in the rear-view mirror, JGL Racing now turns their attention to switching manufacturers for next season as they join the Ford Performance family.  They also welcome Kaz Grala to full time competition next season as he will pilot the No. 24 Ford Mustang.  Stay tuned for further sponsor and additional driver announcements.
 
ISM PR

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80)

Kevin Harvick started ninth, finished fourth.

Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion came to pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 38 for tires and fuel.

Harvick entered the top-five on lap 47 and the top-three on lap 58.

The No. 4 teampitted at the end of the stage for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

Started fourth, finished third.

Harvick raced up to second at the start of Stage 2 and challenged Kyle Larson for the lead before falling back to third on lap 116.

The Jimmy John’s Ford came to pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 122 for four tires, fuel and a small adjustment.

The No. 4 team came to pit road under caution on lap 147 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to correct a tight-handling car.

The pit crew gained Harvick a position on pit road to restart in second on lap 150.

The No. 4 team came to pit road at the conclusion of Stage 2 for four tires, fuel and several adjustments.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):

Started fourth and finished fourth.

The Jimmy John’s Ford suffered right-front fender damage from hitting debris on lap 180 while racing in fourth.

The team came to pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 199 for four tires, fuel and an attempt to repair the fender. The No. 18 stayed out to attempt a different strategy, causing the Jimmy John’s Ford to briefly fall a lap down.

Harvick raced his way back to the lead lap on lap 208, racing in the eighth position and advancing to second by lap 228.

The team came to pit road under caution on lap 228 for tires, fuel and repairs and restarted second on lap 234.

The Jimmy John’s Ford battled for the lead following the restart before falling back to fourth by the checkered flag.

 

Notes:

● Harvick scored his 14th top-five and 23rd top-10 finish of 2017.

● This was Harvick’s ninth top-five and 15th top-10 finish in 17 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Homestead.

● There were five caution periods for a total of 26 laps.

● Only 12 of the 39 drivers in the Ford EcoBoost 400 finished on the lead lap.

● In winning the Ford EcoBoost 400, Martin Truex Jr. captured the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship for the first time in his career, outdueling fellow 2017 Championship 4 contenders Kyle Busch, Harvick and Brad Keselowski. Truex is the 32nd different Cup Series champion.

 

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“We just got really loose and then got a hole in the nose and it started to get tight in. We got that fixed. We were pretty good on the next-to-last run, and we were just really loose on the last run. I want to thank everybody on my Jimmy John’s, Busch Ford for everything they’ve done. It was great to have a chance. We were in the mix all day. Didn’t quite have what we needed at the end. I want to thank Mobil 1, Hunt Brothers Pizza, Morton Building, Textron, everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing. Thank you guys for everything you did all year. We’ll be back.”

 

Give us a sense of what an accomplishment this year was.

“Well, I think when you look at it from the inside out and all the work that everybody went through, the preparation that we went through to get to these playoffs was second to none. It was a championship effort. Just came up a little bit short. Congratulations to Martin (Truex Jr.). Those guys have been the dominant car all year. To go win the race and make it happen at the end, they were able to get their car better and win the championship.”

 

Take us through the last stint.

“I was just really loose the whole last run. When it started to get dark we started to get tight in the corner, and then we got a hole in the nose. We got that fixed and just couldn’t quite get it where we needed to be to make good times. Some runs we fell off. Some runs we were tight on entry. There at the end we were just too loose.”

 

Next Up:

The 2018 season kicks off Feb. 10-18 with the traditional Speedweeks at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The 60th Daytona 500, the first points-paying race of the season, is scheduled for Feb. 18 and will be broadcast live on FOX.

 

TSC PR

Austin Dillon and the Dow WeatherTech Team Close Out 2017 Season with Strong, 11th-Place Finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway 
"The Dow WeatherTech Chevrolet was pretty good today, so I'm glad we could put a period on the 2017 season with a solid finish. I didn't have enough grip to run the high line during the race, which is normally the preferred line at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but I felt pretty good running lower on the track. During that last run, we were just too loose to make anything happen. Still, we were able to clinch 11th in the final driver's point standings, which is pretty cool. I'm proud of everyone on this program and appreciate all of the hard work this year. We're a bunch of racers and we'll be back even stronger next season."
- Austin Dillon

Paul Menard Ends 2017 Season with a 16th-Place Finish in No. 27 Richmond / Menards Chevrolet
"It was nice to finish the season and my time at Richard Childress Racing with a solid finish here at Homestead. The Richmond / Menards Chevrolet was a handful to start, but Matt Borland made a great adjustment and the car came to life. I have to thank Richard Childress and everyone at RCR and ECR for all of the support over the years. We didn't have the best season, but this is a great group of guys and we have had some fun."
- Paul Menard

Ryan Newman Drives the Caterpillar Chevrolet to a 10th-Place Finish in the Season Finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway
"What a comeback for us. We battled tight through the corner and loose off. It cost us some valuable track position there in the first stage, but we raced our way back onto the lead lap and that's when our Caterpillar Chevrolet became pretty sporty. It really responded well during the long green-flag runs so we knew if we kept up with the track, we would stay in the game. To pick up two spots at the end to finish our season and finish 10th, gives us some momentum going into next season. I want to thank all the guys back at the shop at RCR as well as ECR for giving me a car capable of running for a championship."

- Ryan Newman
 

RCR PR

Martin Truex Jr.’s dominant 2017 campaign finished with a storybook ending in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Coming into the Ford EcoBoost 400, the Mayetta, New Jersey, native had a series-leading seven victories, but none was more important than his win on Sunday, which earned him the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship of his career.

“I don’t even know what to say,” said Truex. “We just never gave up all day long. We didn’t have the best car. I don’t know how we won that thing. Never give up. Dig deep. I told my guys we were going to dig dipper than we ever have today. With 20 laps to go I thought I was done. They were all better than me on the long run all day long. I just found a way. I found a lane that I could use, and I found a lane that was blocking enough of their air that they couldn’t use it and just made it happen. I can’t believe it. I’ve wanted this since I was a little kid. Just never give up on your dreams no matter what happens.”

To win the title, Truex beat out Championship 4 contenders and past Monster Energy Series champions Brad Keselowski (2012), Kevin Harvick (2014) and Kyle Busch (2015). Busch finished the race in the second position, while Harvick and Keselowski finished fourth and seventh, respectively.  Kyle Larson, who led a race-high 145 laps, finished third.

Truex, who drives the No. 78 car for Furniture Row Racing, became the 32nd different driver to win a Monster Energy Series championship. His win in the Ford EcoBoost 400 also marked the fourth consecutive year where the series champion was also the race winner.

“I was a wreck thinking about all the tough days, the bad days, the times where I thought my career was over with, the times when I didn't think anyone believed in me,” said Truex following his win in the Ford EcoBoost 400. “But the guys, the people who mattered did – my fans, my family. Then I got with this team. They're unbelievable, and they resurrected my career and made me a champion.”

For the 37-year-old, the victory was his first in 13 Monster Energy Series starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and makes Truex the eighth different driver to celebrate a Monster Energy Series title at the 1.5-mile championship track.  He is also the 13th different winner of the Ford EcoBoost 400.  Truex led a total of 78 laps on Sunday, the most by a Ford EcoBoost 400 winner since 2010 when Carl Edwards led 190 laps.

Today was the third NASCAR championship celebrated by Truex at Homestead-Miami Speedway, as he claimed XFINITY Series titles in 2004 and 2005. Both titles were won under the Dale Earnhardt Inc. banner, in which Dale Earnhardt Jr. was a co-owner.

In addition to winning the driver’s championship title tonight, Furniture Row Racing owner Barney Visser also claimed the owner championship. The win is Furniture Row Racing’s first series owner championship in the Monster Energy Series.

Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 was also the final race of Dale Jr.’s storied career. The 14-time NASCAR most popular driver finished the race 25th.

“We retired and Martin wins the championship. That’s storybook,” said Dale Jr. “I hope all the fans enjoyed this season. I know it wasn’t everything we wanted on the race track, but we just had fun off of it, and I’m going to miss everybody. We’ll be back.”

Erik Jones, driver of the No. 77 car for Furniture Row Racing, won the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year award. The 21-year-old finished the season with five top-5 and 14 top-10 showings.

Homestead-Miami Speedway PR

Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team weren’t able to close their time together with a strong finish in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway as they had hoped, but that was only a hiccup in what has been a remarkable 88-race run for the young driver and the sport’s oldest continuously operating race team.

The Wood Brothers and Blaney have scored a win at Pocono Raceway, poles at Kansas Speedway and Phoenix Raceway, eight top-five and 25 top-10 finishes, 49 lead-lap finishes, 317 laps led, four Stage wins, a 9-race playoff run this season and a ninth-place finish in the final 2017 points standings.
 
The three Blaney Years in Wood Brothers history, which were made possible by an alliance with Team Penske and support from Ford Motor Company and its Motorcraft and Quick Lane brands, have seen the team surge forward in on-track performance, gain fans off the track, raise money for charity and lay the groundwork for future success.
 
 “We’ve enjoyed our time with Ryan, and we can’t say enough about what he and the crew have done to elevate our race team,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said. “They will always be a big part of our Wood Brothers racing family.”
 
Wood also thanked the fans who have stood by the team through the tough times of the past and the good times of late.
 
“We have some of the most loyal fans in the sport, and while we’ll all miss Ryan, I think they’ll like what they see going forward,” he said.
 
Despite the successes of recent seasons in races on intermediate tracks like Homestead-Miami Speedway, Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 was a disappointing outing for the No. 21 team.
 
After qualifying a solid 11th, Blaney faded early and was in 32nd place, two laps down after the first stage. Trapped that far behind the leaders, the team was never able to find the speed or employ a strategy to rejoin the lead lap and wound up in 29th place, three laps down.
 
“It wasn’t the day we wanted, and it wasn’t the day the Ford teams wanted, but congratulations to Martin Truex Jr. on the championship,” Wood said.
 
Now the focus for the Wood Brothers and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team turns to the 2018 campaign and the season-opening Daytona 500.

“We’re looking forward to the start of a new era, and we’ll go home and start getting ready to go to Daytona for the 500,” Wood said.

WBR PR

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

Clint Bowyer started 16th and finished 10th. He earned one race point.

Told crew on the pace lap that he appreciated its hard work in 2017 and that he was proud to be on the team.

Pitted during a lap-five caution and dropped to 20th.

Bowyer used new and much faster tires to climb into 10th despite reporting his car was sliding sideways off the corners.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

Started 12th and finished 15th.

Bowyer told his crew if it could tighten the car he would be able to go much faster.

The adjustments plus the changing track conditions made the car harder to turn, slowing his progress.

At lap 142,Bowyer put on used tires for the final 10-lap run, preferring to save new tires for later in the race. He dropped to 15th.

 

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 161-267):

Started 15th and finished 18th.

Bowyer told his crew on the opening lap of the final stage that the car took off the best it had all race.

● Bowyer pitted from 13th on lap 198 for fuel, tires and handling adjustments after telling the crew his car was “sideways off the corners.”

Bowyerclimbed as high as ninth with 45 laps remaining.

A caution with 39 to go saw Bowyer pit from 10th for minor, front-end repairs after he said he hit a brake rotor on the track.

Bowyer restarted the race in 10th with 34 laps to go, but handling issues kept him from climbing higher.

 

Notes:

●  Only 12 of the 39 drivers in the Ford Ecoboost 400 finished on the lead lap.

●  There were five caution periods for a total of 26 laps.

●  Martin Truex Jr., won the Ford EcoBoost 400 to score his 15th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory. It was his series-best eighth win of the season, but his first at Homestead. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was .681 of a second.

● In winning the Ford EcoBoost 400, Truex won the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship for the first time in his career, outdueling fellow Championship 4 contenders Kyle Busch, Harvick and Brad Keselowski. Truex is the 32nd different Cup Series champion.

 

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“Man, the track was a lot slicker than I expected when we started the race. We had a good car, but we were on knife edge all night. First we are too loose, and we made an adjustment and we’d be too tight. It’s hard to believe the year is over. I’m proud of all the people on the No. 14 team. They worked hard this season. We’ll enjoy the off-season and be ready to race again in Daytona.”

 

Next Up:

The 2018 season kicks off Feb. 10-18 with the traditional Speedweeks at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The 60th Daytona 500, the first points-paying race of the season, is scheduled for Feb. 18 and will be broadcast live on FOX.

 

TSC PR

Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 Roush Performance Products Ford Fusion, overcame an unscheduled green flag pit stop for a flat tire on Lap 65 to record a 19th-place finish in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

“We battled all day,” said Bayne after the race. ”We rallied back after having to make that unscheduled stop under green and never gave up. I want to thank all of my guys on this team for their hard work throughout this entire season. We fought hard and even though tonight’s result wasn’t what we were looking for I am proud of our effort and will be ready to come back stronger in 2018.”

Bayne took the green flag for the 267-lap event from the 12th position after advancing to the final round of knockout qualifying on Friday afternoon. The driver of the Roush Performance Products Ford battled a tight-handling condition for much of the opening stage that ultimately shuffled Bayne back to the 25th position before the first round of green flag pit stops commenced on Lap 37. Bayne returned to the track following the stop in 23rd but was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop under green on Lap 66 after slight contact with the outside retaining wall led to a flat right-rear tire. As a result of the pit stop, Bayne took the green and checkered flag to end Stage 1 in the 33rd position.

Stage 2 began with the Knoxville, Tenn. native continuing to fight a tight-handling condition rolling through the center of the corner. Despite the handling woes, Bayne patiently moved forward throughout the stage, improving six positions over two green flag runs to end the second stage in 27th.

When the final stage went green Bayne radioed to crew chief Matt Puccia that the Roush Performance Products Ford had shifted toward the loose side rolling through the corner. Although now on the loose side, the 2011 Daytona 500 Champion continued to move forward, driving up to 23rd before another round of green flag pit stops began on Lap 200. After pitting for four tires and a chassis adjustment Bayne returned to the track in 24th and maintained his track position until a caution on Lap 227 provided Puccia another opportunity to bring the Roush Fenway Racing driver to pit road.

Bayne took the ensuing restart from the 25th position and climbed six positions in the closing laps to record a 19th-place finish in the 2017 MENCS season finale.

RFR PR

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

Danica Patrick started 25th and finished 24th.

● The No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion team cracked the top-20 at lap 14. Patrick noted the car was “tight in the center” and lacked grip as she dropped back to the 25th position, so crew chief Billy Scott called for a wedge adjustment when the team pitted at lap 38.

● The adjustments help improve the car’s handling, and Patrick went from 26th to 24th in the final laps of the stage.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

Started 27th and finished 37th.

● Patrick raced her way up to the 18th position as the car’s handling continued to improve after additional adjustments by the team. She made contact with the outside wall with more than 20 laps to go in Stage 2 and noted smoke in the cockpit.

● The team checked for damage, and the following lap the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford made contact with the wall in turn two after cutting down a tire. The car sustained significant damage, which ended the team’s day with a 37th-place finish.

● Patrick was evaluated and released from the infield care center following the accident.

 

Notes:

● This was Patrick’s fifth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Homestead-Miami Speedway and her 190th career NASCAR Cup Series start.

● Patrick finished the season with 511 points, which put her 28th in the driver point standings.

● There were five caution periods for a total of 26 laps.

● Only 12 of the 39 drivers in the Ford EcoBoost 400 finished on the lead lap.

● Martin Truex Jr. won the Ford EcoBoost 400 to score his 15th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his eighth of the season and his first at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was .681 of a second.

● With his victory in Sunday’s race, Truex Jr. also won the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series championship, the first of his career, outdueling fellow Championship 4 drivers Busch, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski in the season finale.

 

Next Up:

The 2018 season kicks off Feb. 10-18 with the traditional Speedweeks at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The 60th Daytona 500, the first points-paying race of the season, is scheduled for Feb. 18 and will be broadcast live on FOX.

 

TSC PR

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

Kurt Busch started eighth and finished seventh to score four stage points.

● Early in the run, Busch said his Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion was loose on the exit of each turn.

● On lap six, under caution, Busch pitted for four sticker tires and fuel while in ninth position.

● Busch restarted 14th after pitting.

● Busch was up to third with fresher tires and pitted under green on lap 41 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.

● On lap 50, Busch was fourth and reported his car was “a tick loose in.”

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

Busch started eighth and finished sixth to score five stage points.

Busch pitted on lap 83 for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.

● On lap 122, Busch was in seventh and pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.

● Busch reported shortly after the pit stop that his car was really tight in the center of the corner.

● On lap 145, while eighth, Busch pitted under caution for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.

 

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 161-267):

Busch started eighth and finished 22nd.

● On lap 162, Busch pitted for four tires, fuel and a bit of tape on the grill.

● Busch pitted on lap 198 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. He was in eighth.

● On lap 227, Busch hit some debris and cut a tire, which forced him to pit. He lost two laps and finished a disappointing 22nd.

 

Notes:

● Busch finished the 2017 season with one win (Daytona 500), one pole (Texas II) and 15 top-10 finishes.

●  There were five caution periods for a total of 26 laps.

●  Only 12 of the 39 drivers in the Ford Ecoboost 400 finished on the lead lap.

●  Martin Truex Jr., won the Ford EcoBoost 400 to score his 15th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory. It was his series-best eighth win of the season, but his first at Homestead. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was .681 of a second.

● In winning the Ford EcoBoost 400, Truex won the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship for the first time in his career, outdueling fellow Championship 4 contenders Kyle Busch, Harvick and Brad Keselowski. Truex is the 32nd different Cup Series champion.

 

Next Up:

The 2018 season kicks off Feb. 10-18 with the traditional Speedweeks at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The 60th Daytona 500, the first points-paying race of the season, is scheduled for Feb. 18 and will be broadcast live on FOX.

 

TSC PR

Despite a disappointing 29th-place finish in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway today, Ryan Blaney – driving his last race for the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team – handed Wood Brothers Racing its best season since 1995. Blaney and the Wood Brothers end up ninth in the overall season points standings.

Blaney’s otherwise stellar 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season included a win, two pole positions, 14 top-10 finishes and a nine-week NASCAR Playoff run.

"It's been a fun year for sure,” Blaney said after the race. “It's a shame it ended not on a high note but it's been fun to run every week at the race track and be competitive.

“To win a race, that was pretty great,” he continued. “It's been a fun year overall and it’s kind of bittersweet to see it come to an end. Still, I'm happy for what's next to come.”

Blaney transitions to a third Team Penske Cup entry in 2018.

A review of Blaney’s 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, only his second as a full-time driver, includes:

  • Two poles (at Kansas in May and last week at Phoenix)
  • One win (at Pocono Raceway in June)
  • Four top-five finishes
  • 14 top-10 finishes
  • 301 laps led
  • The Round of Eight in his first NASCAR postseason
  • Amassed 226 stage points (ninth among drivers) and won four stages
  • Finished ninth overall.

An early race miscommunication and an ill-handling race car contributed to today’s result at Homestead-Miami. That, however, didn’t keep Blaney from reflecting fondly on his three years driving for NASCAR’s oldest and most-historic team.

“I love driving for the Wood Brothers,” he said. “It's been a fun three years and I'll always remember it. They're very humble people and a humble family. All they want to do is race. They're racers and that's how I grew up. I think that's what made our relationship special.”

The next race for the Wood Brothers’ iconic No. 21 will be the 2018 Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 18 at Daytona International Speedway with new driver Paul Menard behind the wheel. Menard finished Sunday’s race in 16th place.

Ford Performance PR