Xfinity Series News

Xfinity Series News (6465)

NASCAR Xfinity Series News

Spencer Gallagher
No. 23 Allegiant Chevrolet Camaro
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Start: 13th (to the rear)
Stage one: 14th
Stage two: 15th
Finish: 14th
Points: 5th
Additional Info
- Gallagher had to start from the rear of the field because of an unapproved adjustment after qualifying.
"Coming home from Atlanta with a top-15 finish and the car in one piece makes me very pleased. We couldn't quite get the handling where it needed to be. I was fighting with a tight No. 23 Allegiant Chevrolet in the center of the corners all day and I needed more center rotation. I can't thank my GMS Racing team and the guys back at the shop enough for building this solid car. I am really looking forward to the west coast swing and getting back to my hometown of Las Vegas next weekend."
GMS Racing PR

Atlanta Motor Speedway, otherwise known as "Hotlanta", was the first of many 1.5-mile race tracks on schedule for the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Most 1.5-miles tracks tend to be labeled as "cookie cutter" tracks, but due to the old pavement, Atlanta is a place entirely it's own. 

Spencer Boyd and team would start in the 35th position for the Rinnai 250. It only took Boyd a handful of laps to slice through the field and pick up about 6 positions in his Grunt Style Chevrolet Camaro. The 00 of Cole Custer made hard contact with the wall to bring out the caution early on lap 11. Despite fighting an ill handling car, Boyd battled leader Kevin Harvick late in the stage to stay on the lead lap. Caution signaled the conclusion of stage one, as Kevin Harvick took the green and white checkers. 

Boyd would start the second stage in 20th position after crew chief Jason Miller used a bit of strategy to move his driver up the running order. In effort to conserve his tires, Boyd slipped back to around the 30th position for most of the second stage. Kevin Harvick continued to show dominion over the field and won stage two. Boyd said the car was just too tight in the center of the corner. Jason Miller called for some big adjustments to the car, as Boyd came in for new tires and fuel on lap 84 of the 163 lap event. 

A solid pit stop from the crew had Boyd restarting in the 28th position for the final stage. Boyd balanced aggression with tire conservation and managed to battle up toward the 25th position during the long green flag run of the final stage. With about 32 laps remaining, Boyd lost some time during the final green flag pit stop, as he was forced to maneuver around neighboring cars on pit road. Kevin Harvick took the checkered flag after absolutely dominating the entire race. Despite all circumstances, Boyd kept the car clean and brought home the Grunt Style Chevrolet in the 29th position.  

After the race Boyd stated, "Wow. This place was a handful! We knew coming in tire conservation was going to be the key. We battled a tight handling car for most of the race, but Jason made some great adjustments for that last stage. I hate we had a few spots get away from us at the end there, but we're learning. Jason and Hayden did a great job coaching me this weekend. It's hard coming into a place where you've never been, but I feel like I learned a lot. We'll keep improving." 

Boyd will take a few days to rest up from this weekend's activities, before heading out to Vegas for the beginning of the West Coast swing. Boyd currently sits 31st in the NASCAR Xfinity Series standings. 

Spencer Boyd PR

Roush Fenway Racing driver Chase Briscoe began his NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) career with a solid 15th place run. The rookie driver started the race from the 18th position after working throughout the weekend to acclimate himself to the difference in handling between his No. 60 Ford Performance Mustang and his previous asphalt experience.

“Overall, it was a really good learning experience,” said Briscoe. “You obviously want to win every race you get in, but you have to be realistic when you come to this level. It’s probably not gonna happen the first time you get in the thing, and this was probably the toughest track that I’ll get to run this year as far as tires and the way you’re slipping and sliding around – physically too. I feel like this was a really good thing for me to come and run this race and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year. I’ve got to get better and we’ll find some more speed in the cars as we go along and start to learn each other, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Briscoe and crew chief Mike Kelley worked all weekend on the handling of the Mustang, with the race marking Briscoe’s first appearance in an NXS car and just his 49th race on an asphalt surface ever. He would advance to the second round of qualifying Saturday morning in Atlanta, ultimately qualifying 18th.

The start of the 163-lap event saw Briscoe continue to adapt to the new body style after spending the previous season in the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series. He would lose several positions on the initial start before getting a feel for the track and settling into the 20th position. A caution on lap 35, just before the conclusion of Stage 1, saw teams take a variety of strategies. Briscoe stayed on the race track but his old tires succumbed to the field and he finished the first Stage of the race in the 22nd position.

Briscoe restarted for the second Stage 25th, and as his on-track experience accumulated lap by lap he began to push forward through the field. The Indiana native finished the second stage 14th, and held his ground there until the closing laps of the race when his Ford Mustang began to get looser and looser. Briscoe finished the race in the 15th position.

The No. 60 will return to action next week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where Austin Cindric will return to the car. Briscoe makes his next start in the No. 60 April 7 at Texas Motor Speedway.


Ryan Reed followed up his third-place finish at Daytona with a 10th-place finish Saturday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  Reed qualified his No. 16 Drive Down A1C Ford 12th and ran in the top 10 for a majority of the race.  The 10th-place finish boosted Reed to third in the NASCAR XFINITY Series driver standings.  

“A top 10 finish with some stage points was good,” said Reed.  “I felt like we checked a lot of boxes today.  We faded there about the middle of the second stage and never quite got it back, but I think we have something to build off of which is exciting.  I think everyone at Roush Fenway did so much hard work over the offseason that when you come out and you knock out a top 5 and then a top 10, especially when Atlanta is not one of our best tracks, it’s a good start.”

Reed made it to the third and final round of qualifying Saturday morning at Atlanta.  On his final attempt, Reed made great time through turns one and two, but lost some ground in three and four, resulting in a 12th-place qualifying effort.

Just a few laps into the 163-lap race Reed cracked the top 10, despite reporting that he needed more rear grip and was a little tight through the center.  A caution fell just before the conclusion of Stage 1, setting up a strategy call for the field.  Knowing how valuable tires are, crew chief Phil Gould brought Reed down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.  Reed restarted 15th on lap 39 and in one lap raced his way up to third to close out Stage 1.

Reed started Stage 2 third, but the tight handling in the center continued.  Reed closed out Stage 2 in 10th then headed down pit road at the break for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.

Reed took the green flag for the final Stage of the race in the 12th position.  Once again the tight through the center condition continued, but Reed was still able to gain some ground and work his way up to a 10th-place finish. 


Matt Tifft's Tire Management Strategy Helps Earn Top-12 Finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway

"We had a great No. 2 Surface Sunscreen Chevrolet Camaro for the long runs at Atlanta today. I just lacked the speed needed on the front end of the segments today. It was like the nose was too heavy, which made it hard for me to get up to speed and start passing other cars out there in the beginning. Our Camaro really came to life towards the end of the segments, and the drivability was great then. We just ran out of time to crack the top 10. We were close though. The No. 2 team worked really hard all weekend and throughout the entire race on this car to give me what I needed. If we keep that up, we'll be putting together some great finishes this year."
-Matt Tifft 
Ty Dillon Rebounds to Finish 13th at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Red Kap / Alsco Chevrolet Camaro SS

"My team brought a fast Red Kap / Alsco Chevrolet to Atlanta. We didn't have the qualifying effort that we wanted, but we were fast in practice and knew that  it would race well. I built tight through the middle of the corners in Stage 1. After adjustments, I still built tight through the corners, but I had a fast Camaro SS underneath me. I was running top-three lap times and gaining on the leaders. My team really had it dialed in for the final stage, and there wasn't anything that I needed to be better. We just needed track position. It's unfortunate that a pit-road penalty put us behind there at the end, but this team didn't give up. We rallied, and I drove it as hard as I could to bring home a top-15 finish."
-Ty Dillon
Daniel Hemric Brings the No. 21 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Home 11th at Atlanta Motor Speedway

"That finish is not a reflection of all the work that went in this offseason at RCR to come to these mile-and-a-halves. The results didn't show our efforts today. We'll go back to the shop and figure out exactly where we missed it. We already have a pretty good idea. It was just kind of rough weekend hitting our stride, but we still managed a decent finish out of it. We have a little bit of time to think about things before we head out west. We know we have to be better as a group, but I'm proud of all of the hours being put in back at the shop. We just have to make sure we maximize our days at the racetrack. Next week, we're headed to Las Vegas, so I can't wait to see all of the folks at the South Point Hotel & Casino and put on a good show for all of them."
-Daniel Hemric


Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-40):

●  Started fifth, finished first.

●  The No. 98 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang restarted third on the lap-16 restart and immediately drove to the lead.

●  Harvick maintained the lead until a pit stop under caution on lap 37. Several cars stayed out and he restarted 10th.

●  Harvick made the pass to retake the lead on the final lap of the stage.


Stage 2 Recap (Laps 41-80):           

●  Started first, finished first.

●  Harvick and the Hunt Brothers Pizza team led every green-flag lap of Stage 2.

●  The No. 98 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford came to pit road for four tires and fuel at the conclusion of Stage 2.


Final Stage Recap (Laps 81-163): 

●  Started first, finished first

●  Harvick brought the Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford to pit road with a 6.250 second lead under green for four tires and fuel on lap 128.

●  He led the remainder of the event.



●  Harvick scored his series-best fifth win in 17 XFINITY Series starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

●  It was his 47th win in 341 XFINITY Series starts and his 98th win in NASCAR’s top-three series.

●  Harvick’s last Xfinity Series win prior to today was at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California in March 2015.

●  The win marks the second Xfinity Series win for Stewart-Haas Racing. SHR teammate Cole Custer scored the organization’s first win at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway in the 2017 season finale.

●  Harvick swept both race stages, led four times for a race-high 141 laps and scored the win.

●  Only seven of the 40 cars entered into the race finished on the lead lap.

●  Harvick’s SHR teammate Cole Custer finished 39th after being involved in a wreck on lap 10.

●  This was Harvick’s first NASCAR XFINITY Series start of the year for Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste.


Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 98 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste:

“The race track has stayed very similar to what it’s been for a number of years. I think as you look at the techniques and the things that I do in the car, they give me what I want in the car as far as the feeling it just applies here. It’s been a great race track for us. I was frustrated last year here. We didn’t leave here with the trophy on either day and that’s always our goal is to win one day. I’ve just got to thank Hunt Brothers Pizza, Fields, Haas Automation, Ford, Jimmy John’s, Busch, Mobil 1, Morton Buildings, Textron Off-Road, Ollie’s, LiftMaster, everybody who puts all this effort into this XFINITY program. Last year was our first race here together as a team and on the race track it was our second race total – Cole ran Daytona – so they’ve done a great job at Stewart-Haas Racing. I’ve got to thank Gene Haas, Joe Custer and Fred Biagi and Bill DenBeste, and everybody who works on this thing. It’s a great day.” 


Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule is the Boyd Gaming 300 on Saturday, March 3 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race starts at 4 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FS1.



Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-40):

● Cole Custer started fourth, finished 39th.

● Custer piloted the Haas Automation Ford inside the top-three in the opening laps of the race.

● On lap 11, Custer was contacted by the No. 42 car sending him into the wall, ultimately ending his day.



● This was Custer’s second NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

● Four cautions slowed the race for 21 laps.

● Only seven of the 40 drivers finished on the lead lap.

● Kevin Harvick won the Atlanta 250 to score his 47th career Xfinity Series victory, first of the season and fifth at Atlanta. His margin of victory over second-place Joey Logano was 4.183 seconds.


Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing With Biagi-DenBeste:      

“I was just kind of biding my time there trying to save my tires and I don’t even know exactly what happened. I just got hit going down the straightaway and got wrecked from there. It sucks because I thought we had a great Haas Automation Mustang. We’ll go on to the next one and battle our way back up in the playoff points standings.”


Next Up:          

The next event on the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule is the Boyd Gaming 300 on Saturday, March 3 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race starts at 4 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FS1.



Cellairis, a leading global device repair and accessory company based in Atlanta, partners with professional driver Garrett Smithley on board the No. 15 JD Motorsports with Gary Keller Chevrolet Camaro for this Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Rinnai 250. Cellairis was eager to team up with Smithley, who grew up in Peachtree City, GA, at his home track, the Atlanta Motor Speedway where the Rinnai 250 will take place. Smithley’s impressive top-five finish at Daytona International Speedway last weekend further boosts excitement for this new partnership.

“I’m really excited to partner with Cellairis, a cool, local Atlanta company that has strong roots in this city,” said Smithley. “This is a huge weekend for my team and we have a lot of eyes on us to see how we follow-up our Daytona finish, so it means a lot to have the Cellairis team’s support behind us.”

Thrilled to support a local top-level driver, Cellairis is proud to continue to increase their presence and foster their relationships within Georgia, where they have been headquartered since 2005.

“We are proud to support a successful, upstanding local Georgia driver,” said Jaime Brown, co-founder of Cellairis. “All of us at Cellairis are extremely passionate about our Atlanta roots and we are thrilled to partner with JD Motorsports and Garrett. Merging entertainment and retail has always been in our DNA as a tech company and we are excited for our partnership.”

The NASCAR Xfinity Series Rinnai 250 begins on Saturday, February 24th at 2:00PM EST. The Atlanta Motor Speedway is located at 1500 Tara Place, Hampton, Georgia, 30228.

Coming off of his impressive top-20 finish in the season-opening race at Daytona, Vinnie Miller is excited to race his No. 01 JAS Expedited Trucking Chevrolet Camaro at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS). Saturday’s Rinnai 250 will be the first of many races in the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series season in which the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller No. 01 will be sporting the JAS Expedited Trucking red, white, and blue paint scheme.

This will be Miller’s first time racing AMS, but he hopes that momentum from his Daytona finish and help from his teammates will lead to a successful weekend.

“I’m really excited to race in the Xfinity Series at Atlanta this weekend,” said Miller. “It will be the first race with our sponsor JAS Expedited Trucking, and I am looking forward to driving the red, white, and blue JD Motorsports with Gary Keller Camaro!  From what I’ve heard, Atlanta is a tough track and definitely a ‘Drivers’ track.  I understand that saving my Goodyear tires will be bonus at the end of the race. I learned a ton from my teammates last weekend in Daytona, and honestly, I’ll be leaning on them a lot this weekend.”

The NASCAR Xfinity Series with practice is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. and 3:05 p.m. (ET) Friday. Qualifying will start at 9:10 a.m. on Saturday, and the Rinnai 250 will get the green flag at 2:00 p.m. (ET) on FS1.