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Theriault, Cindric to take turns in BKR's third truck
Brad Keselowski Racing announced Thursday that it plans to field a third truck in two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races in May. BKR plans to field the No. 2 Ford for Austin Cindric on May 13 at Dover International Raceway and for Austin Theriault on May 20 at Charlotte Motor Speedway . The two will race alongside the Statesville, North Carolina-based team's two full-time drivers -- Daniel Hemric and Tyler Reddick . The 17-year-old Cindric is scheduled to make just his third Camping World Truck Series start. He was 25th (Martinsville) and 14th (Phoenix) driving BKR's No. 29 Ford in two appearances near the end of last season. "A track called the 'Monster Mile' shouldn't be taken lightly," Cindric said in a news release provided by the team. "They tell me that the two truck races that I was able to do last year at Martinsville and Phoenix were difficult tracks to figure out, and I believe Dover will be the same. As I haven't been able to test, I've been watching as much video as possible while reaching out to as many people as I can to pick their brain about what it takes to be fast at Dover. I'm just going in with no expectations, trying to absorb as much information as possible and have fun with it." Theriault, 22, will be making his second start of the year after placing a crash-related 27th in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway . He also made nine starts for BKR last season, recording two top-five finishes (Daytona, Texas). "I was really proud of the effort at Daytona and how strong our performance was, and I feel like Charlotte won't be any different," Theriault said. "I'm going there with the expectation to win. I know we will have a strong Ford F-150 race truck at Charlotte and we plan to perform well, just like we did earlier this year at Daytona. At the end of the day, we want to win, and we have all the resources here at BKR to do just that at Charlotte."
Pursuing NASCAR's triple crown intrigues Bobby Labonte
TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Bobby Labonte quietly bowed out of full-time Sprint Cup Series competition at the tail end of the 2013 season. No retirement tour, no gifts. Certainly no ponies. The 2000 premier series champion has selectively dabbled in the sport since, however, with a handful of unremarkable starts at Indianapolis and the restrictor plate tracks, knowing the pack racing may be his last remaining shot at picking up his first -- and likely final -- Cup victory in over a decade. Labonte is slated to run in Sunday's GEICO 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Talladega Superspeedway , his second of a scheduled four-race slate in 2016. While not sure if this same type of deal will continue to be available to him in future years, the brother of NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte hinted at an interestingly hush-hush opportunity that could be coming down the pipeline later on this season. "I do have a couple other possibilities I am excited about that might come to fruition later on in the year that I didn't see coming around the corner but they are opportunities that might lead to something that I have been more excited about than anything I have done in my career," Labonte said Friday at Talladega. "Racing is still a big passion of mine and I know I am not going to go do a lot of things I used to do but there are still some opportunities out there that are still up on my radar that I would like to do." But what does he have left to prove? What racing goals remain? "That is a great question too. Winning any race. It might be a bicycle race. Racing at the Sprint Cup level has gotten so intense that if you can't do it every weekend … (Talladega) is different as we all know. Last weekend and next weekend is different than here," Labonte said. "It is one of those things that I guess I kind of want to race more in a way but I don't want to race more in some ways. I don't want to do it every weekend but I know there are different series you can do that aren’t quite as strenuous as this. "My brother told me one time after about two years of retirement, 'You know, you will have a lot more friends later that you didn't know you had.' And that is true. I am enjoying that. As far as racing goes I am enjoying it and my opportunity is only four times right now through a little bit of what I want to do and a little bit from other people." One remaining goal is obvious: becoming NASCAR's first Triple Crown-winner by notching a championship at each of its three national series levels. Labonte has the two arguably tougher feats down, winning the XFINITY Series (then Busch Grand National) title by 74 points over Kenny Wallace in 1991, then taking his first and only Sprint Cup Series (then Winston Cup) title by a wide, 265-point margin over Dale Earnhardt (!) in 2000. It's a long shot, and Labonte admits that "everything has to line up right," but he's at least considered the prospect of running for a Camping World Truck Series title. He has 10 career starts in the series , with one win (2005 at Martinsville). "It is absolutely something that we have talked about and met with some people about," Labonte said. "I couldn't just make it happen by snapping my fingers and we couldn’t quite get it all lined up. I definitely had it in my mind that it was something I really wanted to do. I would still entertain that but there is also a point where if you can chase the championship that is one thing, and you can do it in a lot of ways. "When I started racing when I was little, the passion was to race and win and that is what you want to do. You want the chance to do that. We did it back then and I think the Truck Series is very appealing to me. I loved it when I did a few of them for a couple of guys and won a race and finished in the top five quite a bit. It is definitely a different level and the garage area is a lot calmer there than it is in the Sprint Cup Series and it kind of, at this point in time, is very appealing."
Aspen Dental to sponsor annual dirt track race at Eldora
Eldora Speedway announced Friday that Aspen Dental will sponsor the Ohio dirt track's annual race for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series . The fourth annual 150-lap race, the only NASCAR national series event on a dirt speedway, is scheduled July 20 (9 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The track discontinued the Mudsummer Classic name in the offseason because of a conflict with Major League Baseball's "Midsummer Classic" name for its annual All-Star Game. NASCAR returned to dirt-track racing with the inaugural truck event at Eldora in 2013, marking the first national series race on dirt since 1970. Friday's announcement coincided with a media event at Talladega Superspeedway featuring Danica Patrick -- who drives the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 10 Chevrolet with Aspen Dental sponsorship -- and Tony Stewart , who purchased the Eldora track in 2004. Aspen Dental is in the midst of a five-year partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing . The East Syracuse, New York-based business increased its backing of Patrick's efforts this season, doubling its role as primary sponsor to four NASCAR Sprint Cup races in 2016.
Keselowski and Hendrick: What might have been
On April 18, 2009, Mark Martin won the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway . It was the 36th NASCAR premier series win for the 50-year-old driver and his first with team owner Rick Hendrick. A week and a day later, Brad Keselowski won the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway . It was the first career win for the 25-year-old, and the first premier series victory for independent car owner James Finch. Two distinctly different races won by two distinctly different drivers. Martin's NASCAR career was beginning to wind down; Keselowski's, on the other hand, appeared to have only just begun. But there was one string that tied the two together -- Hendrick Motorsports . HMS was home to Martin, Jimmie Johnson , Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr . And it was expected by many to be the future home of the up-and-coming kid from Rochester Hills, Michigan. But a collection of factors that came together throughout the course of that season altered the racing landscape as well as the career path of Keselowski. It would be nearly three years before the next driver change at HMS. By then Keselowski had not only found a new home, but he was also on his way to winning the Sprint Cup championship. 'I WAS NOT GOING TO LOSE' The sun was out and the grandstands were packed when the 2009 Aaron's 499, the season's ninth Sprint Cup race, went green for the final time. As race leader Ryan Newman tried to keep Earnhardt Jr., the crowd favorite, in check, Keselowski darted to the inside behind Carl Edwards on the track's massive backstretch. It was a move that didn’t seem to mean much at the time. But at the start-finish line with two laps remaining, Edwards and Keselowski shot to the outside entering Turn 1. "Here they come; look at the 99 and ..." NASCAR on FOX analyst Darrell Waltrip began. " Brad Keselowski ," lead announcer Mike Joy and co-analyst Larry McReynolds chimed in. When the white flag appeared, Edwards and Keselowski had caught and were beginning to pull away from Newman and Earnhardt Jr. Racing back through the tri-oval, Keselowski turned his No. 09 Chevrolet to the outside, and then quickly dropped to the bottom as Edwards moved up to block. Realizing the bottom lane was now open, Edwards reacted quickly -- but not quickly enough. Contact sent the No. 99 Ford spinning. Edwards' car came off the track briefly and was beginning to settle back onto the track it was struck by Newman's Chevrolet. The impact sent Edwards roof-first into the frontstretch catch fence. Meanwhile, Keselowski kept his foot in the gas, racing across the finish line for the win just ahead of Earnhardt Jr. "I was not going to lose," Keselowski said in his post-race winner's interview. "I was not going to lift and (I was going to) hold my ground and consequences be damned." A full-time competitor at the time for JR Motorsports (which, coincidentally, counts Earnhardt Jr. and Hendrick among its ownership group) in what is now the NASCAR XFINITY Series , Keselowski said he didn't know what the future held after his first premier series win. "I know I don't have anything locked in," he said. "That's really all I can say ... I don't have a job secured for next year, and everything to this point has been wait-and-see. I know this certainly can't hurt." But behind the scenes, moves were already underway. Finch's Phoenix Racing, which purchased it engines from HMS, had put Keselowski in the car at the suggestion of Hendrick. And the JRM/Hendrick pipeline, which grooms talent in the lower series to help restock the Sprint Cup program, was taking root. Keselowski had made two starts for Hendrick the previous year, and would make seven all together in '09, in addition to five races with Finch. Perhaps his future wasn't as cloudy as it appeared. "Rick had come out and told me, actually had made it a point to say to the media that he thought I was a future driver at Hendrick," Keselowski told NASCAR.com recently. There was only one problem. SWAN SONG? On July 4, 2008, HMS officials announced that Martin had signed a two-year agreement to drive the organization's No. 5 Chevrolet. According to the news release, Martin, who would run a full schedule in 2009, would "run a partial Sprint Cup schedule ... in 2010, sharing the No. 5 Chevy with a to-be-determined second driver.” By most accounts, that driver was expected to be Keselowski. But in May of '09, less than three weeks after Martin's Phoenix victory, HMS officials announced a revision to the '08 agreement. The veteran driver would return in 2010 to once again run the entire season. With Keselowski waiting in the wings and Martin winning and agreeing to return the following year, "Rick was kind of half pregnant," Keselowski said. "He (was) stuck. "My feeling was, after I had won Talladega, I'm going to get this 5 car ride partially next year, pair it with something else, let's go. I didn't know what it was going to be. We'll figure it out; let's go." A phone call and subsequent meeting with Hendrick, however, changed all that. "I was kind of expecting more of a 'Hey, we're going to expedite the process of clearing out the rest of this,' " Keselowski said of the meeting, "And instead I got a 'Hey, I don't have a ride for you. You need to figure something else out. I'll try to help.' "That was late April, early May of that year. My intent ... was to give him that time to kind of make right on it somehow, find a ride because he had made me the promise that I would have that car. It didn't sit all that well, but I understood the circumstances and so forth." Months passed and Keselowski busied himself with his full-time XFINITY Series effort at JRM while making a handful of Sprint Cup starts for Hendrick and Finch. Hendrick, in the meantime, was exploring the various avenues that might keep Keselowski in the HMS camp. Possible scenarios included Stewart-Haas Racing , at the time a two-team effort, and Red Bull Racing. Consideration was even given to fielding a Sprint Cup entry out of the JR Motorsports shop, according to the owner. But the pieces didn't fit and as the summer wore on, Keselowski's future remained uncertain. "I wanted him to wait a year," Hendrick told NASCAR.com. "... I don't remember all the details, but I do remember that Mark had done so well, and I had tried to talk (Mark) into staying. "I've told all our guys, the first time I sat down with Brad he impressed me because he was so intense about the whole car and wanted to be involved in everything. He was just so committed. I told our guys he's got the right attitude about racing and driving. I just needed him to wait." Waiting, though, wasn't part of Keselowski's plan. "My perception is a driver is a lot like a perishable fruit," Keselowski said. "You've got so much time, then he spoils and goes bad. There are a lot of variables, much like anything." PENSKE COMES CALLING The Keselowski family has always been involved in racing. Brad's father Bob was an ARCA Series standout and a former winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series . Ron Keselowski, an uncle, scored two top-five finishes in 68 premier series starts while older brother Brian Keselowski has one or more starts in all three of NASCAR's national series . "We knew the Keselowski name from being here in Detroit," Walt Czarnecki, an executive vice president at Penske Corp., said. "His dad, his uncle, all that. They would run out at MIS ( Michigan International Speedway ) when (Penske) owned the track." But it was a business associate, lawyer/agent John Caponigro, who brought up the young driver's name during a conversation in 2009. "We thought he was committed to Hendrick," Czarnecki said. "He'd been on loan to James Finch to run several races. But some things were changing." Conversations with Keselowski ensued, in Michigan as well as Mooresville, North Carolina, where Team Penske is headquartered. "All this time," Czarnecki said, "Still having this somewhat uncertain situation with Mr. Hendrick." Team Penske had grown from a two-team to a three-team organization in '08, fielding cars for drivers Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman and Sam Hornish Jr . In '09 Newman departed to join owner/driver Tony Stewart at Stewart-Haas Racing and 32-year-old David Stremme was brought on board to fill the open seat. But the Keselowski opportunity was intriguing, according to Czarnecki. "We've tried to sign on what we consider to be the best available young drivers with a great deal of potential that we could mold and have them grow in our organization," he said. "And I think that Brad certainly fit that description. "But above and beyond that, he had a bigger vision as to what role he wanted to play in terms of the development of the team. ... Just how he saw different things coming together ... "Some of it may have been a little unrealistic; some of it was certainly the enthusiasm of a young man who had a goal in mind. ... But he had this great enthusiasm and he had this great desire and this great commitment. And that appealed to us." With the Hendrick effort seemingly stalled, Keselowski went back to Penske with a request -- to compete full-time in both the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series . In addition to its Sprint Cup effort, Team Penske was fielding one full-time XFINITY Series team with driver Justin Allgaier . Expanding that program to two teams running all the races was problematic, given the economy at the time. Told such a scenario was unlikely, Keselowski was left to consider his few available options. But Penske officials continued to work until enough of the appropriate pieces were in place. "Sure enough, Roger called me one night and said 'Alright, I've got it put together,' " Keselowski said. "It kind of caught me off guard. I was sold. That's it; he made it happen." "I couldn't sit around and wait. ... Roger had gone above and beyond to put something together that I felt like was the opportunity I needed. ... The economy was on its way down fast; Roger (through his various businesses) had a lot of immunities to the economy. Rick made it very clear to me that he was not going to invest himself without having a sponsor, and the economy was not in a spot where he could facilitate that." Hendrick had been aware of the Penske interest from the beginning, having had conversations with his fellow team owner about Keselowski's status. "Roger called me and asked me could he talk to him," Hendrick said. "I didn't want to stand in his way. Brad's a hell of a talent. It was a timing issue. "It's worked out for him. At his age it would have been nice if we could have kept him. ... If I got a call from Roger and I was in his spot I would have done exactly what he did." POSTSCRIPT On Sept. 1, 2009, Team Penske officials announced that the organization had signed Keselowski to compete full-time in both the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series beginning the following season. Since then, Keselowski has won 17 Sprint Cup races, 28 XFINITY Series races and championships in both series . "I don't want to sound mercenary but he brought us our first Sprint Cup championship (in 2012)," Czarnecki said. "Because that vision that he outlined, we tried to work with him and bring people along, bring people into the organization, have him work with people like (crew chief) Paul Wolfe, it was really the realization of that vision. That's what it (has) meant. "And his intensity hasn't changed." Former teammates Busch and Hornish have departed, and fellow driver AJ Allmendinger has come and gone. Keselowski, now 32, is the veteran of a Penske group that now includes 25-year-old teammate Joey Logano . "I wasn’t looking to switch," Keselowski said. "If things would have gone the way they were supposed to go before Mark won that race at Phoenix, I would still be there."
Aspen Dental to sponsor NCWTS Eldora race
Tony Stewart talks about Aspen Dental becoming the title sponsor of the fourth annual NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway on July 20th.
Truck doesn't stop here: Hornaday relishes in NCWTS glory
Ron Hornaday, four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, may not be racing in NASCAR anymore but his legendary career is full of special memories.
NASCAR announces 2016 Camping World Truck Series schedule
RELATED: Buy tickets now " 2016 schedules for top two national series MORE: Highlights of the 2016 schedules DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 10, 2015) -- NASCAR today announced the 2016 schedule for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series , which features 21 tracks hosting 23 events in the U.S. and Canada. As with the previously announced NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series schedules, agreements have also been reached with the tracks to host the Camping World Truck Series through 2020. Iowa Speedway will host its first NASCAR national series companion weekend, with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series joining the NASCAR XFINITY Series on June 18-19. Other changes for 2016 are: • The Dover International Speedway event moves two weekends earlier in the schedule (May 13). • The first visit to Texas Motor Speedway moves one week later to June 10. • The Gateway Motorsports Park event moves two weekends later in the schedule to June 25. • The Canadian Tire Motorsport Park event returns to the Sunday of Labor Day (U.S.) weekend, on Sept. 4. "For more than 20 years, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has been home to some of the closest side-by-side racing in the sport, and we're committed to delivering that to our fans for many years to come," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "We expect that the stability of five-year agreements will benefit the entire industry, and anticipate the continuation of compelling NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship battles, like the one we're watching unfold in 2015." The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series kicks off the 2016 season during Daytona Speedweeks, as the iconic track welcomes fans to experience its $400 million redevelopment project, DAYTONA Rising. After Daytona, the trucks will race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in a double-header with the NASCAR XFINTY Series for the second consecutive season. Two popular Wednesday night events -- at Eldora Speedway (July 20) and Bristol (Aug. 17) -- also return to the schedule for 2016. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series closes the 2016 season with five events in five weekends, including three triple-header weekends with the NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR XFINITY Series at Texas Motor Speedway , Phoenix International Raceway , and Homestead-Miami Speedway . FOX Sports will provide broadcast coverage of every race event in the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck season.
Chase format extended to XFINITY, Camping World Truck Series
RELATED: NXS, Truck Series receive Chase format for '16 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 19, 2016) – Using the overwhelming success of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format introduced in 2014 as a guidepost, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France announced today the implementation of a playoff system in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series . On the heels of a 2015 Chase that saw the highest season-finale viewership in nearly a decade, record-breaking page views on NASCAR.com, and unparalleled volume on social media, the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will each feature a seven-race Chase to decide its respective championships starting in 2016. The announcement was the first of a number of racing innovations presented by NASCAR on Tuesday. "Fans, partners and the industry have embraced the new Chase format like nothing we’ve seen in the sport's history," said France. "Winning never has been this important, and the excitement generated the past two seasons in the Sprint Cup Series has led to this implementation of the Chase format in all three national series . Competition in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will undoubtedly elevate to new heights and shine a spotlight on the rising stars of our sport." The NASCAR XFINITY Series , where "Names Are Made," and the rugged NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will implement seven-race, three-round Chase formats with unique characteristics but very much in the same spirit of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . All three series will conclude the season with a Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway to crown a champion. However, all three will begin at different tracks: Chicago ( Sprint Cup Series ), Kentucky ( XFINITY Series ) and New Hampshire ( Camping World Truck Series ) Drivers still must declare a series in which they will earn points, and will only be eligible to compete for a championship in that series . The 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who qualified for the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will be ineligible to compete in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship 4 races at Homestead-Miami Speedway . NASCAR XFINITY SERIES CHASE The seven-race NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase will begin at Kentucky Speedway on Sept. 24, and feature 12 drivers and two elimination rounds, with four drivers competing in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway . A win in the first 26 races all but guarantees a driver entry into the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase, provided the driver is in the top 30 in points and has attempted to qualify for each race. Drivers who win two Dash 4 Cash bonuses are also all but guaranteed a Chase berth. The first round, called the Round of 12, consists of the races at Kentucky, Dover, and Charlotte. All drivers will start with their points adjusted to 2,000, with three additional bonus points added to their total for each win in the first 26 races. If a driver wins a race in the Round of 12, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions (1-8) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points. Each driver who advances to the Round of 8 (Kansas, Texas, Phoenix) then will have their points reset to 3,000. Drivers who win a race in the Round of 8 automatically advance to the Championship 4. The remaining available positions (1-4) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points. The four drivers who advance to the Championship 4 at Homestead will have their points reset to 4,000. The highest finishing Championship 4 driver will be crowned the NASCAR XFINITY Series champion. NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES CHASE The seven-race NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase will begin at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 24. It will feature eight drivers and two elimination rounds, with four drivers competing in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway . A win in the first 16 races all but guarantees a driver entry into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase, provided that the driver is in the Top 30 in points and has attempted to qualify for each race. The first round, called the Round of 8, consists of the races at New Hampshire, Las Vegas, and Talladega. All drivers will have their points adjusted to 2,000, with three additional bonus points added to their total for each win in the first 16 races. If a driver wins a race in the Round of 8, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions (1-6) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points. Each driver who advances to the Round of 6 (Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix) then will have their points reset to 3,000. Drivers who win a race in the Round of 6 automatically advance to the Championship 4. The remaining available positions (1-4) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points. The four drivers who advance to the Championship 4 at Homestead will have their points reset to 4,000. The highest finishing Championship 4 driver will win the championship. All rules outlined above also apply to both series' owner championship structure. The 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular season will kick off with the 58th running of the Daytona 500 ® on Sunday, Feb. 21 at Daytona International Speedway ®. The Great American Race® will be broadcast live on FOX, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, with additional coverage on NASCAR.com.
Erik Jones wins Camping World Truck Series title
RELATED: Complete Miami race results " Series standings HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- With the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title now in Erik Jones ' rear-view mirror, the immediate question becomes "What's next for the 19-year-old prodigy?" With a relatively nondescript, problem-free sixth-place finish in Friday night's Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway , Jones secured the series driver's championship, as well as the owner's title for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Discovered by Busch when he beat his future car owner as a 16-year-old in the Snowball Derby for Super Late Models, Jones delivered the championship after running two part-time seasons for KBM. "I can't think of a better way to repay these guys," Jones said in Victory Lane, after securing the title by 15 points over runner-up Tyler Reddick . "I can't think of a better way to thank Kyle for all these years (than by) getting the driver’s championship for him. He's wanted one since the company started, and to bring it home for myself and for KBM, you couldn't really ask for a better ending than that." The youngest champion in series history at 19 years, 5 months, 21 days, Jones has been earmarked for a meteoric ascent to the top level of NASCAR racing. "It means so much more to have the opportunity to help these younger drivers and to help these kids that are coming up through the ranks to be successful," Busch said. "And to do that with Kyle Busch Motorsports and Toyota, there's nothing greater than to have that feeling and to build that company from the ground up, from nothing, and take it to where it is today." But first things first. Team owner Joe Gibbs reiterated on Friday the plan to run Jones in a full season of NASCAR XFINITY Series racing next year, with a few selected Sprint Cup events added to the mix. Jones has already gotten his baptism in Sprint Cup . Earlier this season, he subbed for Kyle Busch at Kansas, the last of 11 races Busch missed after breaking his right leg and left foot in the season-opening XFINITY Series event at Daytona. Jones filled a relief role for Denny Hamlin at Bristol in April, after Hamlin's neck locked up during a rain delay. And when Matt Kenseth earned a two-race suspension for wrecking Joey Logano on Nov. 1 at Martinsville, Jones was tabbed to replace him. His first laps in a Sprint Cup car were hardly tentative. Behind the wheel of Busch's No. 18 Toyota, he ran consistently in the top 10 before crashing on lap 196 of 267 at Kansas. Subbing for Kenseth at Texas and Phoenix, Jones qualified sixth and seventh, respectively, and finished 12th and 19th against the top stock car drivers in the world . Despite the speed he has shown in the Sprint Cup series , Jones is content to let his career take its course. "Absolutely, I think the XFINITY Series is completely necessary," Jones said. "I have no problem running a year there … as long as need be there. I don't know what the exact career path is for me down the road. "At some point, yeah, I want to race in the Cup series every weekend. I feel like there's a plan in place for that opportunity to arise. And I'll just keep taking what's given to me every week and go out and try to win races."
NASCAR announces innovations for XFINITY, Camping World Truck series
RELATED: New-look Dash 4 Cash unveiled " Caution clock comes to trucks DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 19, 2016) – NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell announced today several racing-related innovations to the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series , beginning with the 2016 season, designed to ignite and energize the growth of each series . In the NASCAR XFINITY Series , where "Names Are Made," each event in the popular Dash 4 Cash program now will be comprised of Two Heats and a Main. Drivers who win two of the four Dash 4 Cash bonuses available also are all but guaranteed a spot in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. In addition, the rugged NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races now will feature a Caution Clock, which will be triggered at the start of each green-flag run. When the green flag is displayed, 20 minutes will be placed on the clock. If/when the clock expires, a caution will be thrown. "These innovations contain the elements of racing that our fans want the most," said O’Donnell. "The enhancements put a premium on in-race strategy, and will create an unprecedented level of excitement as teams make tactical decisions that could impact their spot in the Chase." NASCAR XFINITY SERIES DASH 4 CASH The NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash will be comprised of Two Heats and a Main at four tracks: Bristol Motor Speedway (April 16), Richmond International Raceway (April 23), Dover International Speedway (May 14) and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 23). Qualifying for each Dash 4 Cash event will set the 40-car field and the starting positions for the Two Heats with the fastest qualifier awarded the Coors Light Pole Award. Odd-numbered qualifiers (1st, 3rd, 5th, etc.) will start in the first Heat in respective order, while even-numbered qualifiers (2nd, 4th, 6th, etc.) will start the second Heat in respective order. The Two Heats will set the starting positions for the Main with the top two NASCAR XFINITY Series regulars in each Heat becoming eligible for the Dash 4 Cash bonus. The highest finishing driver among the four Dash 4 Cash eligible drivers will be awarded a $100,000 bonus. If any driver wins two of the four Dash 4 Cash bonuses available, he/she is all but guaranteed a spot in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. In short, two Dash 4 Cash bonuses are equivalent to one race win in the new NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase format. Drivers must have declared to earn NASCAR XFINITY Series points in order to be eligible for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash bonus. NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES CAUTION CLOCK A Caution Clock will be utilized in each NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event (except for Eldora Speedway ). The clock will be set to 20 minutes and triggered at the start of each green-flag run during race events. When the clock counts down to zero, a caution flag then will be displayed and no beneficiary will be awarded. A caution occurring before time expires resets the clock when the subsequent green flag is displayed and the first truck a lap down will be the beneficiary. The caution clock will be turned off with 20 laps to go at all events in the series , with the exception of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Pocono Raceway , where the clock will be turned off with 10 laps remaining. The 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular season will kick off with the 58th running of the Daytona 500 ® on Sunday, Feb. 21 at Daytona International Speedway ®. The Great American Race® will be broadcast live on FOX, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, with additional coverage on NASCAR.com.