Xfinity Series News (7639)
NASCAR Xfinity Series News
Justin Allgaier continued what has become a JR Motorsports tradition today by being named the winner of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Most Popular Driver Award. Allgaier, driver of the No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet for the team owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., is the sixth driver overall from JRM to win the award and adds to the team’s run of 10 titles, which dates back to 2008 with Brad Keselowski.
“It’s incredible,” an elated Allgaier said upon learning he had won the award. “I am absolutely humbled that this would be the case. Never in a million years did I think this would be the outcome (of the fan voting) this year. I am honored and truly humbled. It’s an amazing award and one that will go down as one of the greatest accomplishments in my career.
“JR Nation is absolutely incredible. It is amazing to me the support they have for our sport and all of JRM, how passionate they are, and that is something I couldn’t be more proud of. It’s pretty special.”
It was also a bit of a surprise, he said.
“I didn’t see this coming. In my mind, I guess a little part of my mind figured that this would never be the outcome. I love our fans. I figured there were other drivers that had a better opportunity to win it. There are a lot of good guys in our sport, so to even be in the running for this award means a lot. To be able to take it home is really incredible.”
Allgaier, 33, completed his fourth season with JRM in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway last month, marking the third time in those four seasons he’s done so. To reach the final race with a chance at the title, Allgaier won the penultimate race of the season at ISM Raceway, his eighth with JRM. That total makes the Illinois driver the career leader in victories for the team.
Allgaier earned the victory, 16 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes in 2019, leading 607 laps on the season. A midseason surge that saw him earn 16 top-10 finishes in the final 17 races leading up to Homestead-Miami Speedway’s finale gave him the chance at earning a third straight NXS championship for the team, but a cut tire in the late stages thwarted that drive and he finished fourth in the final point standings.
Keselowski began JRM’s streak by winning back-to-back MPD awards in 2008-09. Danica Patrick won it in 2012, Regan Smith followed in 2013 and Chase Elliott swept the award in 2014-15 before Elliott Sadler won it three straight seasons from 2016-18. Sadler is the only driver to have won three straight MPD awards for the same team and has won the most overall with five.
“GMS Racing will not field a NASCAR Xfinity Series entry next season. We have decided that in the best interest of the organization we will put our complete focus on our Gander Trucks and ARCA Racing Series programs in 2020. We can’t thank John Hunter (Nemechek) and everyone that has been involved in our Xfinity effort over the past four years enough for their hard work and dedication to the organization. We wish John Hunter (Nemechek) the best in his future endeavors.” - Mike Beam, President of GMS Racing
NASCAR will formally honor its newest NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series champions Friday at the year-end banquet at the Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C.
Richard Childress Racing driver Tyler Reddick, 23, earned his second consecutive Xfinity Series title Saturday evening in the Homestead-Miami Speedway season finale after a thrilling lap-by-lap battle between himself and Stewart-Haas Racing driver Cole Custer. With the victory, Reddick becomes the first driver to win consecutive Xfinity Series championships since Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in 2011-12 and the Californian is the very first to do so with different teams (last year he drove for JR Motorsports).
ThorSport Racing driver Matt Crafton, 43, won his third career Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Austin Hill, who had been eliminated from title contention, won the race and Crafton finished second – best among the four drivers vying for the title. It follows historic back-to-back title runs in 2013-14 making the Californian one of only three drivers in series history to earn three championships.
Reddick will take a pre-celebration trip to Florida’s Universal Studios on Wednesday, joking that he may have to find someone to ride the roller coasters with him because his longtime girlfriend is about to deliver the couple’s first child. Reddick announced the baby boy’s name will be “Beau”. The couple decided if he won the title, he would get to pick the name.
Reddick and two of his championship challengers – Custer and Christopher Bell – will be moving up to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2020.
Crafton heads into the banquet on the cusp on some significant historical possibility. Crafton’s efforts tie him with Jack Sprague (1997, 1999 and 2001) for second place on list of championships. Only NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday has won more titles (1996, 1998, 2007 and 2009).
The Sunoco Rookie of the Year Awards will also be formally celebrated. Stewart-Haas Racing driver Chase Briscoe, 24, took home the rookie honors in the Xfinity Series earning his second career win at Iowa Speedway this season. The Indiana native finished with 26 top-10 finishes in the 33 races and fifth in the championship – best among those that didn’t qualify for the Championship 4.
Tyler Ankrum won top rookie honors in the Gander Trucks. Even after missing the first three races of the season because he had not turned 18 yet, Ankrum rallied to earn a Playoff position. The California native won his first career series race in the DGR-Crosley Toyota at Kentucky Speedway in the summer to earn a championship opportunity. He ultimately finished eighth in the standings.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Awards Banquet will make its Nashville, Tenn. debut on Thursday, Dec. 5. when Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch will be feted for his second Cup championship.
After a year of ups and downs, Asheville, North Carolina’s Stephen Leicht led the way for JD Motorsports with Gary Keller in the season standings. Despite finishing in last place at the first race of the year in Daytona, Leicht was able to come home with an 18th place points finish following the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
2019 has been considered somewhat of a career resurgence for Leicht, as it marked his first full time season since 2007. Topping the year off in terms of highlights is an impressive fifth place finish at Daytona in the July race – the first Top 5 of his career since Homestead in 2007.
Other notable statistics from the year include nine Top 20 finishes with an average finish of 23.5. Stephen earned a best starting spot of 18th place at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and ended the season with an average start of 26.8. During the second race of the season in Atlanta, Leicht eclipsed a career milestone, making his 100th career start in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Leicht was quoted following the race at Homestead saying “I can’t thank Johnny Davis, Mark Setzer, Paul Clapprood, and everybody who worked on my cars at JDM for all of their hard work and dedication this past season. Huge thanks to our fantastic partners at Flex Glue, JaniKing, KSDT, and our wonderful associates for helping put our cars out on the track this year. I am looking forward to the off season, but more importantly, I am excited for what’s in the future with myself and JDM.”
In 33 starts this season, Leicht primarily drove the team’s No. 01 Chevrolet, save for four starts in the No. 4, and one start in the No. 15 Chevrolets.
As the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series season comes to a close, JD Motorsports would like to send our sincerest thanks to everybody who helped support our effort this year. Fans and partners alike help this race team continue to grow, and we look forward to making 2020 another year of further progress.
To keep up with Stephen Leicht, be sure to follow his social media pages. Facebook: “Stephen Leicht”, Twitter: @StephenLeicht, and Instagram, @SLeicht29. For all things JDM, follow along on our social media pages @JDMotorsports01. #TeamJDM
Team 08 Panini Chevrolet Camaro:
Gray Gaulding and his No. 08 Panini Chevrolet Camaro team scored a 17th place finish for SS Green Light Racing in his first ever Homestead-Miami Speedway appearance Saturday in the Ford EcoBoost 300.
Gaulding's first laps on the 1.5-mile paved oval came early Saturday afternoon during qualifying after practice was rained out on Friday afternoon. The 21 year-old driver from Colonial Heights, VA. posted a lap of 33.597 seconds, which earned him a 26th place starting position for Saturday's 200 lap race.
The first caution of the day came early after Gaulding's teammate (Ray Black Jr) went up in a cloud of smoke, which ended his day prematurely. Gaulding was able to drive from 26th to 18th in the opening five laps of the race. On lap 14 the caution waved again after the 15 car made contact with the outside wall. Gaulding radioed to crew chief Patrick Donahue that he was fighting a tight handling condition on free roll in the center of the corner. Donahue elected to bring his driver to the pits for a quick wedge adjustment during the caution. Gaulding restarted in the 26th position and was able to drive back up to the 23rd position before the third caution of the day on lap 32. Donahue decided to leave Gaulding on track for the final laps of the first stage. Gaulding restarted in the 12th position on old tires and managed to finish the first stage in the 18th position.
Donahue called Gaulding to the pits under the stage ending caution and serviced the No. 08 Panini Chevy by adding left front packer, four fresh tires, fuel, a wedge adjustment, and an air pressure adjustment. Gaulding would roll off from the 22nd position for the beginning of the second stage. Gaulding was able to work his way up to the 17th position during a 40 lap green flag run in the stage. On lap 89 caution waved after two cars made contact just before the conclusion of the second stage. The caution would serve as the stage ending break with Gaulding in the 17th position.
Despite having a few radio issues, Gaulding was able to communicate to his team that the car was pretty good, he just needed to be freed up a bit more. The 08 crew serviced Gaulding with four tires, fuel, and another slight adjustment. Gaulding restarted in the 13th position before another quick caution waved after debris was spotted on the race track. The race resumed on lap 100 with Gaulding in the 14th position, but after a wild restart the 08 dropped back to the 20th position. On lap 123 the seventh and final caution of the day waved after the 98 of Chase Briscoe blew a tire. Gaulding communicated the car wasn't bad, but he needed to fire off better. After a blazing fast pit stop, Gaulding would restart in the 16th position with 73 laps remaining. Gaulding made his final stop of the day under the green flag on lap 160. After a 73 lap run to the finish, Gaulding came across the line in the 17th position. The finish put an exclamation mark on a career year for Gaulding.
In 33 races Gaulding was able to achieve: 13th in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings (best non-playoff driver), 0 DNFs, second in most laps completed (99.1%), 28 top-20 finishes, 17 top-15 finishes, four top-10 finishes, and one top five finish (2nd at Talladega).
"I just want to start off by saying how thankful I am to my race team and my team owner Bobby Dotter for believing in this small group to go out and have this awesome season together. This season was a big year for me to go out and prove to myself that I do belong here and I felt that we as a race team turned a lot of heads this year. For me, that was the goal from day one. I had a blast this year and it’s bitter sweet that the season is over; however, I can’t wait for the 2020 season to get started in Daytona. Thank you to all of our partners and fans for their support. It means a lot and we definitely couldn’t make this season happen without them."
Bobby Dotter Thoughts on the 08 Team:
“Gray and the 08 guys fought hard all day. This track is already challenging and when you mix in no practice time with no previous experience at this track, it makes for a difficult task. I thought Gray handled himself well and was able to deliver a respectable finish. 2019 has been the best year in our team's history and I'm really thankful for everyone's hard work. To finish 13th in points and be the best non playoff team says a lot about our program."
Team 07 Isokern Fireplaces & Chimneys Chevrolet Camaro:
Ray Black Jr.'s 2019 season came to an early end after his engine exploded on lap four of 200 in the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Black was only able to complete 6 laps of practice on Friday before Mother Nature set in at Homestead-Miami Speedway. After final practice was officially canceled, Black's next time on the race track would be qualifying on Saturday morning. Black clicked off a 33.719 second lap, which earned him a 30th place starting position for the 200 lap race.
The green flag waved and Black quickly began making his way forward. On lap four the No. 07 Isokern Fireplaces & Chimneys Chevrolet was engulfed in a thick cloud of smoke as the engine let go. Black dropped to the inside of the front stretch and spun around in the turn one grass before the No. 07 came to a rest. The blown engine ended Black's day relegating him to a 38th place finish. Despite a rough end to the season, this year marked Black's best career season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. The 28 year-old driver from Palm Coast, FL. captured 22 top-20 finishes and eight top-15 finishes in 33 races. Black finishes the year 16th in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings.
Ray Black Jr:
“It's really disappointing to end the season like this with a blown engine; however, it doesn't take away from how proud I am of this team. We fought hard all season and I can't thank Bobby Dotter, Jason Miller and all my guys enough for giving me the opportunity to have the best season of my career. I can't wait to re-group and go at it again in 2020 with this team."
Bobby Dotter Thoughts on the 07 Team:
“I hate the 07 team didn't have an opportunity to show what they were capable of today. There's not much you can do when an engine lets go in that capacity. I'm really proud of what Ray and the entire 07 team were able to accomplish this season. This year has been a lot of fun with some great results. We'll see everyone in Daytona."
Drivers Ray Black Jr. and Gray Gaulding concluded the 2019 season for SS Green Light Racing this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Gaulding was able to capture a 17th place finish on Saturday which secured the 13th position in the NASCAR Xfinity point standings. Unfortunately, Ray Black Jr's day came to an early end after his engine expired in the opening laps of the race. Despite a 38th place finish, Black was still able to capture the 16th position in the Xfinity Series point standings. It was announced Saturday ahead of the Ford EcoBoost 300 that Ray Black Jr. will return to SS Green Light Racing for the 2020 season. Further information regarding the status of Gray Gaulding and the No. 08 team will be released in the upcoming weeks. The 2020 season will kick off with coverage of the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 from the Daytona International Speedway on Saturday February 15th at 2:30 PM ET on FS1.
SS Green Light Racing PR
From the season’s beginning on the Daytona high banks to Saturday night’s very final laps of racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway the 2019 Xfinity Series championship battle was intense; ultimately coming down to a contest of speed, skill and bravado among a familiar lineup of drivers who combined to win 22 of the season’s 33 races.
And for the second consecutive year, it was Californian Tyler Reddick who hoisted a hard-earned Homestead race trophy and celebrated his second straight Xfinity Series championship. He led a race best 84 of the 200 laps Saturday and ultimately prevailed in a good ole NASCAR “slingshot” move that decided an exciting nail-biting lap-by-lap duel in the closing minutes with title challenger Cole Custer.
Reddick took the lead for good with 19 laps remaining and the checkered flag 1.038-seconds ahead of Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Custer and rookie Chase Briscoe. The other two championship eligible drivers - eight race-winner Christopher Bell and Justin Allgaier finished fifth and 14th, respectively.
Reddick, 23, becomes only the seventh driver to win back-to-back Xfinity Series championships – a list that includes some of the sport’s greatest names such as Sam Ard, Larry Pearson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. And Reddick is the first driver to earn the consecutive titles since Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in 2011-12.
What also distinguishes Reddick in championship lore is that he is the only driver to earn Xfinity Series titles in back-to-back seasons for two different teams. He earned this season’s championship driving the No. 2 Richard Childress Chevrolet. Last year he drove for the JR Motorsports.
The joy Reddick showed celebrating this impressive accomplishment was honest and exuberant. And it was hard-earned. This year Reddick, Bell and Custer combined for 21 wins. The veteran Allgaier won at Phoenix last week to secure his chance to chase a championship.
Last year Reddick’s championship win was considered by many to be an underdog triumph. Although he had been consistent enough to earn a shot in the Championship 4, he had only two career Xfinity wins when he arrived in South Florida last November. This year – even after switching race teams – Reddick quickly re-established himself as a championship favorite.
His winning performances didn’t take anyone by surprise.
While Bell, who drives the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, quickly showed himself to be a dominant driver again this year. Custer answered the ante all year himself winning seven times. And Reddick came into Homestead with five wins and the regular season championship – his 23 top-five and 26 top-10 finishes were most on the season.
“It was perfect, it came down to us three," Reddick said of his fellow championship contenders. “And that Stage 3 before the caution [flag] we were battling like we have all year long.
“It was just awesome we were able to come out on top of the deal. It’s been a lot of fun racing them and I’m looking forward to racing them and a lot of other talented drivers on Sunday."
That the season finale featured the same kind of competitive zeal that characterized such an ultra-competitive championship run.
“It was on us to give the guy the equipment to contend with," said his crew chief Randall Burnett. “He can elevate a car from third or fifth to a win or at least a pretty good shot at it."
And that’s exactly what happened Saturday night.
The win seems the perfect send-off for Reddick, who will move up into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driving Childress’s No. 8 Chevrolet. He will join both Custer (No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford) and Bell (No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Toyota) in what will surely be one of the most talented rookie classes.
“I think as a driver I learned a lot about myself," Reddick said of the 2019 season.
It was the fifth series championship for team owner Richard Childress tying Joe Gibbs Racing for the most season titles in Xfinity Series history.
“He’s an amazing talent and I saw that before he won his first championship, his first race," his team owner Richard Childress said. “We’re so excited. I just felt if we could get here we had a great shot at winning the championship and the talent he has I’m excited for next year as I’ve been in a long time."
Richard Childress Racing Caps off 50th Anniversary Celebration with NASCAR Xfinity Series Driver's and Owner's Championships
Tyler Reddick and the No. 2 Tame the Beast Chevrolet Team Win at Homestead-Miami Speedway En Route to RCR's Series' Leading Fifth Title
"It was just an incredible effort by all of the guys at Richard Childress Racing. Our Tame the Beast Chevrolet was really good in practice and qualifying. The car allowed me to move around on the race track early in the run. I have to give it to our competition. They caught up to us on the short run. At the end of the night, when push came to shove, we went to the fence and we got it done. We got around the No. 00 and the No. 20 at the end to pull out the championship. It's my first championship with RCR and my second championship overall. It's just an absolute blast to run in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and go back-to-back as series champion. Hat's off to Team Chevy and all those guys for working on this Chevrolet, and all the guys at ECR for giving us great power. Richard Childress believed I could be a champion before I ever won my first championship, and it means a lot to be able to capture RCR's fifth Driver's Championship in the NASCAR Xfinity Series to cap off their 50th Anniversary Celebration."
With his girlfriend expecting a baby, Tyler Reddick confessed on Thursday that he had practiced changing diapers on a pet cat.
Now, after winning Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 and his second straight NASCAR Xfinity Series championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Reddick gets to name the baby.
Finishing 1.038 seconds ahead of hard-charging Cole Custer, Reddick is the only driver to win consecutive titles in the series for two different car owners. The 23-year-old from Corning, Calif., won his first championship for JR Motorsports last year.
After switching rides to Richard Childress Racing, Reddick celebrated the organizations 50th anniversary by delivering his second straight title to team owner Richard Childress—the crowning achievement of a season in which Reddick collected a career-best six victories.
“It’s about this race team, man, and I was just honored to pilot this Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet,” Reddick said. “I’m losing my breath—I’m that excited. This one means so much more. It was just a lot better year, and it was really cool to go back-to-back.”
In winning for the second time at Homestead-Miami, Reddick was once again the quintessential rim rider, running within inches of the fence as he, Custer and fifth-place finisher Christopher Bell battled for the lead early in the final 79-lap green-flag run.
And now he can name his yet-to-be-born son “Beau,” under an agreement he made with girlfriend Alexa De Leon before the championship weekend. De Leon had another name in mind but agreed to let Reddick have his choice if he won the title.
Reddick had been so successful running the top lane in 2018 that Custer studied his in-car video before the race—but to no avail.
“Tyler—he can rip the top here,” Custer acknowledged after the race. “That’s about all you can say about it.”
After the top two drivers separated from Bell on Lap 167, Reddick closed on Custer until he reached his rear bumper. On Lap 182, Reddick dived to the inside into Turn 1 and slid up in front of Custer’s No. 00 Ford. Custer got the lead back briefly into Turn 3 on the same lap, but Reddick crossed over and cleared Custer for good off Turn 4.
In trying to catch the No. 2 Chevrolet, Custer scraped the wall in the closing laps.
“I could kind of match his lap time there and studied his in-car all the way coming here trying to figure out how to run the top better,” Custer said. “I got close. I tried to find a way to close the gap when I was behind and tried too hard and got into the fence.
“It sucks to come home second two years in a row. We’ll take it. We were a lot closer this year.”
Reddick, Custer and Bell all will graduate to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series next year—Reddick with RCR, Custer with Stewart-Haas Racing and Bell with Leavine Family Racing. But Reddick is the only one who will do so with an Xfinity title.
Chase Briscoe and Noah Gragson ran third and fourth, respectively, ahead of Bell, who claimed third place in the final standings behind the race winner and runner-up.
Despite missing pit road on his first attempt at a green-flag pit stop on Lap 159, Bell grabbed the lead on new tires by pitting three laps before Reddick and Custer. But the two chasers soon ran him down in a thrilling three-way battle for the top spot.
By the time Reddick took the checkered flag, Bell was 17 seconds in arrears.
“We just had great pit stops,” said Bell, who came to Homestead last year as the championship favorite and finished fourth. “Our pit stops would allow us to get up front, and then we would maintain until we started falling off, and then they would drive by me. For some reason, just can’t hit on what I need to, to be able to get around this place for a 30- or 40-lap run.”
A late brush with the wall and resulting flat tire relegated Championship 4 contender Justin Allgaier to a 14th-place finish.